Outlander just finished airing its season 1 finale. It’s been a season of highs and lows, and the finale explore some of the darkest material to date.
As jailbreaks go, it certainly was an inventive one. Nineteen-head of Highland cattle run through the bowels of the one of Scotland’s most infamous prisons makes for one hell of a distraction. Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) was trampled by the herd. He is presumably seriously injured if not in fact killed.
For those who are familiar with 18th century music, kudos to Bear McCreary for another superb score. There was a certain irony to the tune being played by the English soldiers. The title is Gentleman Soldier. Clearly the actions of Black Jack Randall were the farthest thing from gentlemanly and honorable as a soldier in His Majesty’s services could get.
After a gravely wounded Jamie (Sam Heughan), both physically and mentally, is rescued, he is brought to a nearby monastery by Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Angus (Stephen Walters), Rupert (Grant O’Rourke), Willie (Finn Den Hertog), and Murtagh (Duncan LaCroix). Although Claire manages with some struggle to set the woefully mangled bones of Jamie’s hand, there is a far more serious matter. Jamie is a broken man spiritually. He longs for death, so that he will presumably be set free from his mental anguish. He cannot bear the thought of anyone, especially Claire, of touching him.
Jamie asks both his godfather, Murtagh, and Willie to help him end his life. One notable scene, spoken only in Gaellic, viewers don’t need a translator to realize that after hearing horrible details, Murtagh is telling Jamie not to be so thickheaded, that there are people who love him unconditionally, and what happened was not his fault. Jamie, unfortunately is not quite able to believe that.
Up until now, Claire has not been a very religious person. A lapsed Catholic, she seeks out the chapel to gather her thoughts. When one of the monks comes in, she is able to unburden everything that has been building up inside her for months. She hadn’t entered the chapel to make her confession and ask for forgiveness, but nonetheless, that is what she receives. Unexpectedly, she finds some peace and new resolve in being able to unburden herself to someone other than Jamie. She’s able to admit to the conflict in her life, and the feeling that somehow she was ultimately responsible for what befell Jamie, because she chose not to return to the present day and Frank. The monk absolves her of all that she has confessed.
Step into the darkness
The only thing that can be done to save Jamie, is for someone to step into the darkness with him and hear all that Jamie has to tell, and let him know that the actions he took to survive and to save Claire do not make him any less of a man, or any less worthy. The only person who can fully accomplish all of that is Claire.
Claire resolves not to be gentle in that Jamie only responds to strength not weakness. She is able to get him to tell the full tale of what transpired between him and Jack Randall. Claire already new about the vast majority of the physical wounds. It was the psychological damage that Randall inflicted that was worse.
Jamie was raped and abused by Randall for several hours. Though the physical attack was horrendous and painful, the hardest part was that Randall made a semi-conscious Jamie think that Claire was with them in the room. As Randall stimulated Jamie sexually he goaded him, “Say my name.” Jamie’s reply was “Claire.” Jamie ending up continuing to think about Claire as Randall forced a climax upon Jamie. Before Randall had a chance to speak again, it was obvious that Jamie was utterly devastated. Randall sealed Jamie’s degradation by stating, “I understand. How could she ever forgive you?” In the next moment, Jamie branded himself with Randall’s ring as if his was Randall’s property. He tearfully tells Claire, “He broke me…and we both knew it.”
Love conquerors all
After much struggle, Claire finally gets Jamie to realize that he truly is still the man she knows and loves. The attack, and what Randall got Jamie to do does not diminish him in her eyes. Jamie still struggles to believe it until Claire tells him that if he ends his life she will too because she can’t go on without him. She tells him, “There’s nothing to forgive…You did what was necessary to survive that’s all. You belong to no one else but me, and I belong to you. Nothing will ever change that. Randall had you body, I’ll be damned if he has your soul as well…You’re my husband James Fraser. Don’t you dare give up on me now. You swore to me, you promised to me, the protection of your body if need be. Randall had your body, I’ll be damned if he has your soul as well. You’re mine; we are meant to be together. It’s the only way I can wrap my mind around what’s happened these past few months…If you take away the one last thing that makes sense to me, then I will die with you right here now.”
Jamie finally finds within himself the strength and will to live. He enlists the aid of Murtagh, and has Jack Randall’s brand cut out of him. The Jamie we know is back.
To change the future
After saying good-bye to all their rescuers but Murtagh, Jamie and Claire set sail for France where Jamie has a Fraser cousin. Knowing the future, that the Battle of Culloden looms, and with it the destruction of the Highland way of life, they resolve to try to change history. Bonnie Prince Charlie lives in France. They will try to stop him from reclaiming the Scottish and the English crown.
Of course there are more complications. Just before they sail, Claire tells Jamie that she is pregnant. She is not unable to bear children as she previously thought. As they sail into the sunset, new adventures await.
Join us on Monday night at 10:00 p.m. for Hangoutlander, our weekly, live, post-show Google Hangout that we do with the crew from That’s Normal. Use the hashtag #Hangoutlander to respond during the show on Twitter, or to ask a question/give a comment ahead of time. We can guarantee that we will have a lot to talk about this episode. Come and join us as we wrap up the season.