The penultimate episode of “Outlander” season 1 aired on Saturday, and if there is a specific word that can be used to describe it, is is “brutal.” This is one of the hardest episodes of the entire series to watch. It is violet, shocking, and takes no prisoners virtually from start to finish. If you manage to sit through this without feeling incredibly uncomfortable at some point, then you are stronger than most.
So what sort of emotional and physical torture did Black Jack Randall put Jamie through inside of Wentworth Prison? He had a role in having his hand smashed, he used it almost as a post for nail, and sexually assaulted him in a variety of different ways. He had him begging for death and surrender, and completely spoiled any sort of reunion between himself and Claire, who has been desperate to see him. There were times in here that Jamie probably wished for a hanging.
This is a particularly difficult episode to review, mostly because so much of it is more about brutality than almost anything else. Jack was out to break Jamie, and almost prove that he can make almost any love feel insignificant. Maybe he did find some temporary success in that, but both the end of the episode and the tease for the finale give us hope that Claire may still be able to save him … or at least whatever is left of him.
Still, we do have to wonder just how traumatic this may have been for some viewers to witness. To the credit of Tobias Menzies, this is one of the most terrifying performances that we’ve seen from an actor this year; he was so calculated as a villain, knowing precisely what to do and how to best destroy Jamie completely. Tonight’s episode can be best described in two words: Nightmare fuel. Hopefully everyone watching “SNL” or something else to have a laugh after all of this. Grade: B (for execution, and possibly also a B for Brutality). This may have been even too much for us, and watching a variety of TV is our job.