TV REVIEW: Outlander, S1, E9: The Reckoning

It’s baaacckkkk! Ok, that sounded creepy and not at all like the exciting squees heard round the world as we’ve come to the end of Droughtlander! The long winter break for the back half of the first season was definitely worth the wait but the honeymoon is most definitely over. This episode also contained one of the more controversial scenes from Diana Gabaldon’s series – The Spanking. Yes, I put that in capital letters, for that’s how much buzz it’s generated.

Woah – Claire’s voice got a lot deeper! Oh wait – it’s now our favorite mo nighean donn but our favorite Scotsman instead! Jamie ruminates about how he got to this point in his life, with added sweeping vistas and rushing rivers for added effect.

We last left our clan of merry men finding out that an English deserter named Horrocks may be able to testify to the fact that Jamie did not commit murder. But before he can go find him, he’s informed that Claire’s been taken by the English so that’ll have to wait. I didn’t realize that putting on a kilt was that much effort – thank you for all your hard work in getting that on (and off!) Mr. Fraser!

It’s off to Fort William and with a little help from his friends (who don’t sing as far as I know but can whistle secret calls) and a terrified scream from his wife, Jamie quickly rappels down the side of the British fortress – we’re back to the cliffhanger scene from last year. It’s a Mexican standoff between Black Jack and Jamie – “I’ll thank you to take your hands off of my wife.” That sounds threatening to me but Randall is incredulous that Claire married the “striped-backed thief”, laughing with a crazy-eyed look on his face. He wants to see his handy work but the request is denied – and Jack looks more than a bit disappointed at that.

Trading verbal jabs, Jamie eventually puts his gun down so Claire doesn’t get gutted (literally). As Jack takes it up and fires – nothing happens. All the weapons have been unloaded and Claire’s jaw is on the floor at the bluff. With Black Jack knocked out cold, Jamie states: ‘It never occurred to me to kill a helpless man.” Oh you are SO going to regret that decision. But I’m sure if Frank knew, he’d thank you…or maybe not, seeing as how you’ve gotten it on with his wife.

Back to the story – apparently Angus and Rupert did not heed Ned Gowan’s instructions about not killing anyone because I’m pretty sure the explosion they set off killed a few Redcoats. As in my sci-fi and fantasy shows, if you’re wearing red and we don’t get to know you as a character, you’re probably going to be dying a lot.

Riding through the night to relative safety, everyone stops to have the horses watered – and for Jamie and Claire to have a major, curse-filled blowout of an argument. Jamie expects an apology for Claire disobeying his orders – because in the 1700’s, a woman is pretty much only good for 3 things: making babies, having said babies and doing whatever her husband tells her. This is unacceptable to a modern woman like Claire and the two trade blows of epic proportions until Jamie ends it with calling her a “foul-mouthed bitch.”

But the insult seems to have hurt Jamie more than it’s intended target – he’s lashing out because he wasn’t able to keep her safe from almost getting raped twice; fear makes people do and say things they wouldn’t normally do. Understanding this, they forgive each other and in voiceover, he states: “I’d forgiven everything she’d done and everything she could do,” he said. “That was falling in love.”

However, just because Jamie’s forgiven Claire, doesn’t mean everyone else has too. Arriving back where the others have been waiting, Claire tries to thank the men but is completely ignored. She wonders if they’ll ever forgive her and Jamie says they will but what she didn’t realize is how much forgiveness will cost…her backside.

And we’ve reached the punishment scene that had everyone in a tizzy – book fans knew this was coming but I’m curious to how TV-only fans felt after seeing it. Kudos to Richard Clark, Moore and Matthews – they handled it really well in the fact that it didn’t feel as serious as it was in the novels. They seemed to try and make it a more darkly humorous – as Claire doesn’t believe her husband, the man who just saved her from being raped and tortured, would do something so violent. But he does, even when he has misgivings about doing so, because that’s just what was done in that time period.

I can understand his mindset – this is how he was brought up and what’s expected of a husband in the 18th Century. But that being said, it doesn’t make it right and Claire deserved better from her man.

Returning to Castle Leoch, things are not good for Jamie – Claire is giving him the cold shoulder…but so is his Uncle Colum. Confused on both counts, Jamie encounters a teary Laoghaire who wants to know why he married Claire when he had shown affection towards her. He promises to talk to her later and he’ll come to regret that decision too. Stop giving the little wench attention, Jamie!

We also find out why Colum is supremely pissed off – he’s found out that Dougal is raising funds for the Jacobite cause. But when he’s informed that Jamie was only used as a way to show English cruelty, he’s convinced to let his brother keep the money. Another bomb is dropped as well – Dougal is Hamish’s father. Jamie and Claire discuss this tidbit and he thinks all is forgiven, getting underdressed to join her in bed. Think again mister – you’re sleeping in the dog house tonight!

In the forest, the lads are going on a stag hunt but the conversation centers around thinly-veiled accusations of disloyalty among the MacKenzies…and the Frasers. When asked where his loyalty lies, Jamie stays quiet – things will continue to get more uncomfortable the longer they stay at Leoch.

Ok so I guess Laoghaire (pronounced Leery but I really just want to call her Leghair…) didn’t take the hint and tracks Jamie down to his super-secret-hiding-spot. She essentially propositions him dressed in a corset with nothing underneath – and though tempted, he turns her down, saying he won’t break his vows to Claire. Embarrassed, she runs off and Jamie heads back to his chambers, unsure of what mood he’d find his wife in.

Informing her of the latest news between Colum and Dougal and met with silence, Jamie explains why he beat Claire and in doing so, also shows that he’s realized that between them, that won’t work and pledges his fealty to her. When he’s met with silence, he thinks she doesn’t want him anymore but that’s far from the truth. The two have pretty damn hot make-up sex and in the afterglow, discover a bad luck talisman stowed beneath the bed by none other than the jealous Laoghaire.

What did you think of Outlander‘s return and the spanking scene? Let us know in the comments! Ron D. Moore’s behind-the-scenes podcasts give great insight into choices made while filming the episode and only serve to add enjoyment to the series. Check out them out below:

BTS Episode 101 | BTS Episode 102 | BTS Episode 103 | BTS Episode 104 | BTS Episode 105 | BTS Episode 106 | BTS Episode 107 | BTS Episode 108 | BTS Episode 109 (NEW!)

Rating: 4/5
Author: Sharlene Mousfar

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