There are many things that we identify as key characteristics for Jamie Fraser on “Outlander” season 2, and honor is one of them. What we learned tonight is that rather than lying, the man has discovered another way to get around keeping his word: Technicalities.
Specifically, we’re referring here to Jamie determining that since he had saved Claire just as she had saved him, he did not owe her anything in regards to Frank Randall’s life. Therefore, following an hour that featured the latest scheme to disrupt the Jacobite Rebellion (which led in turn to Prince Charles becoming incredibly distressed and causing incidents at the brothel), he ended up meeting Black Jack Randall in the woods for that duel — you know, the one that he said that he would not have previously. Randall has clearly been up to far more than it would first appear in France, and as it turns out, someone had a contingency plan to make them both losers in the duel. Officials arrived to arrest the participants in the episode’s closing minutes, which also presented a terrifying moment for Claire as she collapsed to the ground, seemingly about to lose her baby.
When it comes to drama and conflict, there has been no moment more representative of this than what we saw in this episode. There were also many examples elsewhere; for example, the Comte St. Germain blamed Jamie for the wine operation attack, even though he at one point did protect him. Charles threatened suicide at one point over his misfortune, and in a slightly tamer moment, Claire proved just how agitated she was with French high society and their feeling as though the poor and disenfranchised in city should be taken advantage of. Claire also was warned that complications could be coming for her child, and while she took heed, the moment she learned about Jamie’s whereabouts at episode’s end trumped all else in her mind. Her desperation was palpable, as was her pain. This may be Caitriona Balfe’s strongest sequence of season 2 so far, and a moment where we sympathized with her struggle greatly.
If you love “Outlander” for the show that it is, we don’t know how you do not love this episode. Even some of the quieter scenes, such as Murtagh getting a little bit of a present / future lesson from Claire, were layered and entertaining even without bloodshed or tears. This is a show firing on all cylinders, and one that also may have left us on the most painful cliffhanger to date. (The fight scene leading up to this was excellent stunt work and choreography; easily one of the more believable fight scenes we’ve seen.)
Also, don’t forget about the whole “dark arts” story and Master Raymond. Don’t you think that could play a role down the road? Episode Grade: A.
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