Who DIDN’T have a turning point this week? This episode could not be more aptly named. I think we’re all sitting here dizzy from how fast this hour spun around! Love, betrayal, death, ego – all led everyone except maybe Rollo to a turning point! Once again, we have a fantastic season 7 outing, leaving us gasping and wanting for more – but once again, Droughtlander descends.
Despite several different characters having their own moments this week, Jamie and Claire felt front and center (not by much, though, I’d have to say!). Claire, our avenging angel, defends her man from battlefield thieves. I have to say, I thought this scene was done well, just as I did in the book. It reminded me of the scenes from Season 2, after Prestonpans, and season 3, after Culloden, when the victors went through the battlefield looting the dead and killing survivors. Let some looter have at Jamie, and kill him as he lay there? Not our Claire.
But it was true to Jamie telling her when he was first dragged home after being bit by the snake in Season 5, that he knows he’s really in trouble when Claire speaks soothingly and sweetly, but knows he’ll be all right when she yells at him. And boy, did she! “Why did you enter the fray?” she scolds him (and unfortunately, that’s one of those lines that looks better on paper than it sounds when spoken…). “You’re a rifleman, you’re supposed to be fighting from a distance, not hand to hand. Bloody…. Why, you vainglorious, pigheaded, grandstanding…. SCOT!” This made me laugh, delivered with such seriousness. Jamie must have taken comfort from her tone, feeling that despite likely being in pain, he wasn’t in imminent danger.
Of course, being Jamie, he was more concerned for the men he fought with, and the results of the battle, than he was for himself. And Sam did this so well! How he kept from laughing at Claire’s deathly worry-scolding, I’ll never know. “The subject is your sodding hero-complex. You think I have nothing better to do than follow you around, sticking pieces back on?”
708 Claire: “Oh, you vainglorious, pigheaded, grandstanding Scot!!”
509 Jamie: “When you scold me like a magpie, I ken I’m going to be alright.”
Here’s to magpie Claire & grandstanding Scot…
best cold open of the Season!!#Outlander #OutlanderAtMidnight
— C. Dianne Manning (@CynthiaDianneM1) August 11, 2023
And later on, when he gives her permission to cut body parts off if necessary – here’s a man who’s learned his lesson from his stubbornness of the past. Although, of course, what is the potential loss of a finger compared to what she might have amputated two seasons ago? Fortunately, that didn’t happen – although you might remember that iin the book, he did lose the finger. But I’m sure the consideration of having to CGI Sam’s hand for the rest of the show entered into this decision to change that detail, like it did when they decided to not have J&C carve their initials into their thumbs, or to change eye color for some characters. Jamie compares this to the trials of Abraham, who bargained God down from finding 40 good men to avoid destroying the city of Plains. Jamie certainly can lose a finger to save 50 men in Col. Michah Johnson’s company.
And then we get the second, decisive battle of Saratoga, the one that turned the tide of the American Revolution. The shot above, silhouetted in the rising sun, was really nice. As Claire tells Ian, there has to be something big enough that causes the French to join the war. This one was chock full of great moments – Jamie siting on, but choosing not to shoot his cousin, General Simon Fraser, and instead shooting right through William’s hat made me laugh – the look of surprise on William’s face was priceless.
Benedict Arnold’s discussion with Claire about whether it’s better to know your limits, or if knowing them makes you actually have limits was an interesting philosophical discussion, a moment we haven’t had too often on this show. Claire is impressed with this man whose name she doesn’t know. He hasn’t treated her as the other doctors have – he recognizes her professionalism, is willing to trade with her on whatever level she chooses (medicinal or personal), and accepts easily that she’s a literate, intelligent woman. Unfortunately, once she learns who he is, she knows that his eventual choices will ruin him personally, but as she says, without him making that choice, it’s a good possibility that things could have turned out much differently. And so Jamie and Claire know that they have to let history play out as it must, and not work to either remove him or convince him to do otherwise.
— Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) August 12, 2023
One of the high points for me was Jamie leading the charge into the fort. Climbing up the walls, turning the gun to hit the soldier with its butt rather than shooting him – a terrific action sequence! The guns firing, bombs thrown into the attacking rebels, and then Arnold getting stabbed with a bayonet – and you knew it had to be in the same leg he had earlier told Claire had been injured. This was his turning point, I think (at least in the show) – when his ego couldn’t take having been wounded and letting another officer take the glory for winning the battle as he lay injured. Arnold is a fascinating character in American history – a brilliant strategist, beloved by his men, committed to the cause of American independence – until he wasn’t.
Another one of my absolute favorite moments of the episode was the fire between Rachel and Ian. HOT!! Of course she slaps him – a well bred, young Quaker woman doesn’t go around getting kissed. Except when she does. They both know there’s so much between them, and you can almost see Ian burn. “I think it’s better if ye dinna touch me. Because if ye do, I’ll take ye, here and now. Then it’s too late for us both.” Sorry, boyo, it was too late the minute you laid eyes on each other. And when Rachel tells her brother part of the story, you can see she’s made a decision – and Quaker or no, her mind won’t be changed no matter what Denzell feels about it.
When Ian asks her to care for Rollo while he’s away, and she agrees because it means he’ll come back – to her – I almost sighed. In that moment, she’s told him without saying it that she knows he’s right, she is in love with him. The chemistry between couples on this show has truly been hit or miss – it’s a miss, for the most part, between Roger and Brianna, and while I liked Ian’s lovely Indian wife Emily, the sex scene between them was cringe. But Ian and Rachel – it’s a definite truth that opposites attract, and these two have an attraction stronger than magnets.
General Fraser’s death scene was so beautifully done! As Simon Fraser lay dying, Jamie crosses battle lines to have one last word with the friend of his childhood. “I am sorry it must come to this. Away from kin. Away from Scotland,” Jamie says. Even dying, it’s easy to see why his men, especially William, loved and respected this leader. “I have kin with me now,” he whispers to Jamie. “and I am content to die among my comrades.”
His dying wish, to be brought back to Scotland for burial, by his kin, gives Jamie and Claire the closure to their time at war, at least for now. Jamie’s continued difficulty with severe seasickness was a funny moment, and I appreciate the production being faithful to what’s come before – Claire asking if he wants to use Willoughby’s needles to combat the debilitating effects. “We are the representation of the dignity of our cause on this ship. I will not walk around looking like a porcupine.” There’s dignity in tossing your cookies and everything else over the side? But that quickly became one more touching, emotional moment as they spot Scotland on the horizon. What awaits them on their return? Family with arms wide open? Jenny and Ian accepting their son and what he’s become?
Once More Through the Stones
Of course, we have another cliffhanger moment as Roger and Buck return to tell Brianna that Rob Cameron has, they believe, kidnapped Jemmy and taken him through the stones. They have to leave now so that Cameron only has a short headstart. I don’t know if it was emotional overload at this point in such a wild ride of an episode, or if it was the breakneck pace of the entire season, but this definitely felt rushed.
Such a momentous event – chasing the villain and child into the past should have had more of an impact than I feel like it did. Yes, the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming, with Jemmy’s scarf and Tufty button left at the base of a stone, but the entire plotline with Rob Cameron has been abbreviated and condensed, and drained of much of the fear and emotion that any disaster befalling a child should hold.
However! If you want to prepare for the second half of the season, knowing that Roger and Buck DO go back to the 1700s, I suggest you read Diana’s novella A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows. We don’t know at this point if that story will be included, but I for one will be horribly disappointed if it isn’t. There’s plenty of story without it as the two men search for Jemmy, but this is my favorite side story.
When You Have Something Worth Taking
And finally, the last emotional moment – when Ian told Rachel that he worried that loving him could get her killed, this might be what was on his mind. Finally, he would have something worth taking, and Arch Bug’s threat couldn’t be far from his thoughts. When Rachel and Rollo come across a stranger – to her – in the woods, of course Rollo goes right to him. After all, Arch is familiar to the dog, and Rollo doesn’t realize that he is a threat. But he is, and he sees quickly that she must be someone important to Ian if he left his dog with her. More stress to carry on to the second part of the season!
— Outlander (@Outlander_STARZ) August 12, 2023
About That Song
Several people have asked for information on the song that was sung over the closing credits – this was our Outlander friend Griogair Labhruidh, and the name of the piece is Tha mi sgith ‘n fhogar seo. Unfortunately, he was not credited in this episode, but he’s done several other pieces throughout the series! Late last night, I found this TikTok from Griograir singing part of the song, then a bit of a tribute to Sinead O’Connor, who sung this season’s version of the Skye Boat Song, and tragically passed away recently.
@griogairmusic OUTLANDER: Sinéad O’Connor tribute. #outlander #sineadoconnor #scottishhighlands #fyp #singer ♬ original sound – Griogair
For more information about this song, check out this article on Decider.
I’ve been busy this week! If you missed them:
Chatting with Executive Producer Maril Davis – click here
Meet the “new” Rollo and owner Wendy – click here
Update on S5 Outlander Trading Cards – click here
My review of the premiere episode of Men In Kilts, Season 2, will be up tomorrow morning!
And join us Monday nights for our live Instagram chat, the Outlander Gab- SO much to talk about this week! 9 pm eastern/8 central, Instagram.com/OutlandishlyTIBS
Looking for a fun Outlander Facebook group? We hope to see you at Outlandishly Three If By Space!
Follow me on Twitter: @ErinConrad2 and @ThreeIfBySpace