Outlander S2 Epi9 – Je Suis Prest
Directed by Philip John Written by Matthew B. Roberts
This conversation is between Blacklanderz Amanda-Rae, Vida and Jean. All have read the book. Edited by Vida.
CUNNING | BOSSY | STRONG | COURAGEOUS | FEARFUL
Amanda-Rae: The fancy wagon wheels in the title card, I believe belong to the British Army. They’re moving in on the Highlanders. They look nothing like the cart Jamie had at Lallybroch. This episode is definitely my favorite so far this season. The scenes were set up so the audience could feel the of countdown until the final Battle of Culloden. Several weeks worth of traveling and battle preparations in the novel were nicely condensed. Claire’s PTSD flashbacks were a very good window into her mind and the fears that she has repressed. The William Grey scene is an iconic moment in the novel and the changes made in the episode improved upon it’s drama. I also liked the development of the power struggle between Jamie and Dougal. This episode laid a good foundation for later events while also making things clear for non-readers.
HAUNTING | TRAUMA | PREPAREDNESS | KING OF MEN
Vida: This episode had it all. The acting once again was brilliant from Claire showing us what PTSD looks/feels like, Murtagh barking commands like a Drill Sergeant to Jamie and Claire getting information out of William John Grey. I really liked the way they adapted that scene and changed it around. It made a lot of sense and didn’t lose the essence of the scene from the book. There was even a discussion of time travel, sort to speak, with Claire recounting what happened when she was in the war. There was also action when Claire’s company was ambushed during the war and with Jamie and the Highlanders raiding the British camp. This episode introduced a new character – Lord William John Grey, who will be an essential character in future seasons, and brought Claire and Jamie back together with Murtagh and Fergus, even reconnected them with some of our favorite characters from S1 – Angus, Rupert and Dougal. I loved that they stayed at the encampment the majority of the episode. Granted it slowed the pace down a bit, but it was needed and really gave one a sense of what it took to train/prepare the men for the battle to come and the insight into Jamie’s mindset as a commander of an army without rushing to another location. This episode was certainly character driven allowing the viewers to get inside the mind of Claire and the heart of Jamie. The intimacy was palpable from the closeness shared and tender moments to the concerns from both Jamie and Claire for each other and the Highlanders.
DEVOTION | HUMILITY | NEVER HELPLESS AGAIN
Jean: First and foremost, a happy Dougal makes my skin crawl! It’s an equivalent of Black Jack smiling in jubilation because he’s in love . . . that weird. I get the devotion to country and his Jacobite brotherhood, but the best part of the episode is when Claire issued him a profound f– you! The fact that he took that with a bit of humility made me briefly pity Dougal. However, a snake is a snake…I don’t buy this gentile nature for a hot minute!
Je Suis Prest – I am ready!
READY . . . TO RECONNECT
A: Fergus trying to be a grown man is just too endearing. You can tell Murtagh really likes him.
V: I know. I couldn’t help but smile when he appears at the door. I was so glad to see him. Romann Berrux is an excellent Fergus.
A: Fergus and Claire are super close too, which is interesting because in the books Jamie bonds with him a lot more.
V: At first I thought the same thing. But after thinking about it, I like the change, especially after Claire lost Faith. Her maternal instincts kicked in this episode with watching over Fergus.
A: Angus and Rupert are just a bit TOO happy to see Claire! Willie went to America. As a book reader, I’m wondering if that’s a foreshadowing of Voyager or just an excuse for actors not coming back.
V: I was thinking the same thing. It would be nice if he were reunited with Claire and Jamie later on in another season. That Angus is still the comedic relief for the show; though Murtagh gave him a run for that spot in this episode.
When Dougal comes back into the story, he’s the war chieftain of clan MacKenzie, and the question to the viewers is, what is his expectation? What does he want to be in this army? We know Colum is against this, so how does he come back to the Jacobite rebellion? Is this with Colum’s blessing, or is he going against his brother? What role does he want to play in this army that Jamie is putting together? Dougal has always been the older uncle, Jamie has always been the younger nephew, but now Jamie is the commander. So can Dougal deal with being his subordinate? There’s a lot of conflict and tension around the fact that he’s returning to the story.
~ Ron D. Moore, The Hollywood Reporter
READY . . . TO FACE DOUGAL – MANO A MANO
A: Dougal and Jamie’s disagreement over how the troops should be organized will definitely escalate. Some of these moments may not be in the book, but it will make later events make more sense to non-readers. Dougal is definitely interested in promoting himself into a position of power. I’m sure he has plenty more dirty tricks up his sleeve.
J: Yes, even when Dougal referenced his few band of derelicts storming the prison to save Jaime (and, the blackmail wedding betroth between Claire/Dougal) that let me know that his ass-hat nature still burned inside his jealous MacKenzie chest.
V: I loved that Jamie stood toe-to-toe with him, looking him square in the eyes. It took a minute, but Dougal realized he is not the same Jamie of S1, the one that helped him collect money for the Jacobite cause by showing supporters his scarred back. No, this is Jamie – the man!
I’m really excited for [episodes] 9 and 10. These are the two big war episodes. One is a training episode with Claire flashing back to her experiences in WWII, which is really cool. I really liked the way that turned out. And then we have our full war story where we actually deal with combat and watching them plan and strategize and the cost of war, and how does Claire fit into that? We really shift gears in the next few episodes.
~ Ron D. Moore, The Hollywood Reporter
READY . . . TO PREPARE/TRAIN HIS MEN
A: I love drill sergeant Murtagh! He’s incredibly intimidating. The Highlanders are like the little kids who sign up for karate lessons and expect to become like Jackie Chan overnight! These soldiers don’t look very intimidating at all.
V: I did too. I just love Murtagh and Duncan Lacroix’s bringing a different Murtagh to the scene than in the book. Though training for war is never a laughing matter, I laughed several times at Murtagh barking out orders. I am so happy about the expansion of his character this season.
READY . . . TO PROTECT | REMEMBER | CONQUER
A: Pulling Fergus away from playing Shinty was such a Mom thing to do! She definitely doesn’t seem herself though, as if the memories she’s locked away are slowly coming up to the surface. I find it interesting that she’s not prepping medical supplies, which was something Claire did in the novel for battle prep. It may be a sign that her fears about the future of the war are starting to take over.
V: Yes, that is exactly what I was thinking. Again, her motherly instincts were kicking in. Also, I think they wanted to show a different side to it. Rather than prepping for war, her PTSD was triggered with the men preparing. This was certainly a change from the book and a a nicely transitional one. The idea that Claire had tucked away the emotions from the war night later revealed was played out well in the directing and acting of Caitriona Balfe. It seemed very authentic that she didn’t want anything to happen to Fergus or the Highlanders she loves and cared about.
A: I like the stylistic choice of close to pitch black for many of the nighttime scenes. The Highlanders wouldn’t have infrared glasses the way today’s soldiers do. The darkness protects them.
V: It did make it hard to see, at times, but I also liked it because it showed the transition from day to night, allowing the viewer to know time had passed. It’s just incredible how beautiful it is in Scotland and the cinematography highlighted it masterfully.
In the book, this section for Claire is very internal. She’s thinking a lot. And she had the backstory of being a WWII nurse which we saw in the very first episode of Outlander. As we were breaking this episode, we thought that it wouldn’t be going off book so to speak if we were just to tell part of that story, when in fact we know this all happened. These lines of dialogue are in the books, just from different parts. I wanted to incorporate all these little exchanges and moments from all the different books into a script somehow, and so I did it with these flashbacks.
~ Matt B. Roberts, The Hollywood Reporter
A: I do like however the sepia tones of Claire’s World War II flashbacks. The viewer knows that they’re seeing her memories.
V: I did too. The crew and staff certainly upped their game this season from the different locations to the type of lens from which we are viewing different scenes.
A: The mess hall flashback is my favorite. It not only explains one of Claire’s most iconic quotes (Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!). I squeed a bit when I heard one guy is from Yonkers, NY. I went to college not too far from there.
V: LOL. I bet you did. That really was a nice touch. The continuity of this season is so spot on. I always wondered where that phrase came from and this scene nicely tells its origin.
J: I also liked these scenes. Claire’s wonderful portrayal of a PTSD survivor. With what happened this week in Houston (a US solider [serving 2 tours in Afghanistan/Iraq] going on a shooting rampage in Memorial Park area), her riveting, emotional journey back to WWII, just tugged my heart again. It’s awakening to see a female’s perspective. Most folks feel men were born for war…but a woman, no! This goes to show that no one, man or woman were born for war. Men, women, families, citizens all bear the burden while the powers that be look onward through the glass.
A: I noticed that none of the Highlanders are wearing any uniforms. They’re wearing their old work clothes or arasaids/kilts. They’re not a professional army at all, and their costumes really show this. It also highlights the power struggle between Jamie and Dougal. Many of the men may even agree with Dougal, but Jamie has to teach them that they need to act like a modern army if they have any chance at all of winning the war.
V: That’s true. But remember, these are common people who tend to their homes, families and land. They are not soldiers and I think the costumes Terry and crew made perfectly depict this. And, that is the point Jamie is trying to get through that thick skull of Dougal, who just wants to run around like a banshee thinking that will be successful against a modern, well-disciplined British army. I also loved that Terry put Jamie back in his dad’s jacket – nice touch!
A: Jamie’s apology for bringing her to the war don’t make sense because we didn’t see any previous conversation about her involvement in war preparations. It’s possible that the context for this is on the cutting room floor.
V: Well, I don’t think he meant bringing her ‘to war’ per se, as it is he sees how her being there – watching the men prepare for war; the toll it’s taking – is effecting her and he is concerned. I loved that scene and it showed how closely connected, in tuned, they are with each other.
A: I LOVE seeing Jamie as the leader he was born to be! I also noticed the music for the pep talk switched to a hopeful-sounding instrumental opposed to the chanting vocals in earlier scenes.
V: I did too! It truly showed the man and leader Jamie has become. He is a warrior, but also a soldier who knows of the kind of war/battle they will face and he has the decency to try to prepare his men as best he can.
A: Dougal’s bringing the Braveheart crazy! Also, Graham McTavish and the other MacKenzies had to have been freezing filming shirtless. You can see their breaths on screen.
J: I know, right?! Dougal’s sappy ass…what’s wrong with him? War turns him on more than breathing!! Running out there in the cold as ice-nippled Scotlanders!
V: I was thinking the same thing. I could see the smoke coming out of their mouths when they spoke and thought about how cold it must have been. But once again, this is so Dougal’s character to try to undermine Jamie’s efforts and take control of how things are done.
But, I loved how Jamie took control of the situation and put Dougal in his place!
A word wit you, Uncle.
I ken what these men will face and I know how to prepare them for it. You don’t!
These are my men, my clan. They will answer to me and no one else.
I’ve been tolerate wit you before now becasue I respect you, ’cause you’re my uncle. But, if you chose to fight with Clan Fraser, then you’ll respect my orders without any objections. If you can’t abide by these terms, then take your men and be on your way.
A: I love how Claire told off Dougal and called him out for being narcissistic!!! You know she’s angry beyond measure because she dropped the modern f-bomb.
J: To me, that was the best part of the episode when Claire issued him a profound f– you! Then, he goes on with his confession about his devotion to Charles Stuart.
V: Agree with you both. The look on Dougal’s face let’s the viewer also know he realizes he can neither persuade/dominate Jamie nor Claire.
A: Claire yelling at Angus and Rupert was like her in terms of not only her struggles to impart medical knowledge on the Highlanders, but also not like her at the same time. She never got that angry before when the people at Leoch or Lallybroch were ignorant about modern hygiene. Caitriona Balfe is doing an excellent job of portraying PTSD symptoms. Although not everyone reacts the same way, Claire’s anger and the panic attacks are very convincing.
V: That’s what made this addition work. Her PTSD was making her behave erratically to the point I don’t think she even realized what was happening to her; it was just all consuming at that point and bubbling over. I am just glad that they decided to let the camera show us what was happening to her rather than her tell us with a voice over.
J: There was much restraint shown between Claire and Angus as she cursed him out…old Angus wouldn’t have his bollocks busted like that before others!
A: Overall the music in this episode is a lot more vocal heavy than usual. It definitely sets the tone of the Highlands prepping for war. In some of the scenes, the music is actually in time with the actors’ movements, which is a really cool audiovisual effect.
V: I loved the vocals to the Skye Boat theme. I read a tweet from Bear McCreary that indicated Griogair (@GhettoCroft) provided the ‘haunting new voice singing the Jacobite anthem – Moch Sa Mhadainn’. It was beautiful and as an anthem, I guess we will hear more of it.
A: I loved Jamie saying his full name. It sounded really lush and powerful at the same time!
James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser!
V: I did too. Again, letting crazy-ass Dougal know who IS in charge!
A: Murtagh delivering the lashes reminds me of BJR. However, Jamie has to show that HE’s in charge not Dougal.
J: Indeed, Jaime surrendering his lash-ridden back, again…in front of his soldiers showed a lot of humility.
V: It also gained his men and Dougal’s respect. He was not asking more of them than he was willing to take – responsibility/consequences for your actions.
A: This final flashback reminded me of the World War I ‘shell shock‘ scenes as depicted in various period dramas.
V: Hell, I found myself shaking along with Claire. That Caitriona has some acting chops on her!
A: Jamie understands Claire’s pain perfectly even with their differences.
I just closed the door on that night. Walked away. I haven’t looked back ever since, until now.
Now, I look at Ross and Kincaid and the others being turned into soldiers, putting up a brave front. All I can hear is Max Lucas crying out for his mother in the dead of night.
For two years, I’ve tried to stop this war from coming.
Now that it’s here, I am not sure I’m ready to go to war again.
No, I can’t do that either [return to Lallybroch]. If I go back, it will just be like lying in that ditch again . . . helpless and powerless . . . like a dragonfly in amber.
A: BOOK TITLE DROP. I’m wondering if we will see the actual thing this refers to in the show.
J: Yes, I loved the Dragonfly in Amber title shout-out.
V: Yes, again, that was a nice touch and explanation of the title of the book and the gift Hugh Munro gave Claire as a wedding gift in S1.
V: I also love how they continue to show/tell us that Jamie and Claire must be together regardless of what is happening. This alone is enough to tear our hearts apart knowing that she will go back through the stones and back to Frank.
Whatever happens, you will never be alone again. ~ Jamie
Oddly enough, we always joke about spinoffs, whether it’s Lord John or Black Jack [Tobias Menzies] or this person or that person, because there is just so much material. [Author] Diana [Gabaldon] gives us so much in the books that you can probably make 10 series and the fans would watch it all. We haven’t really discussed it seriously if we could do that, but that would be something for Starz to order before we could start talking about it seriously. But we know there’s a whole line of books that Diana wrote about just that one character, so it was great to have his introduction in my script. Just knowing what’s coming up in Voyager, I really enjoyed the Lord John and Jamie dynamic in that book. It adds a lot to Outlander to have that odd friendship that they forge. To start that off was an honor. I wanted to stay as close to the books as possible, but there were some slight changes with that scene.
~ Matt B. Roberts, The Hollywood Reporter
A: HOLY CRAP IT’S WILLIAM GREY!! This is a super important scene for us book readers.
J: Yes, there he is. The intro of William Grey…the weakling, young man that will forever savor the stare of Red Jaime.
It was all because of Claire’s PTSD story. In the book, Jamie initiates ripping her bodice off. He uses her as the ploy to extract the information from John Grey. But when we were writing the episode, it felt wrong for Jamie to do that after the scene just prior when Claire is having this emotional catharsis. Plus, we also tested that out in prep and our bodices are so well made that none of us could rip the bodice. It wasn’t going to happen in the way it was described in the book anyway. So Claire just gives Jamie that little nod to give him the okay to go down this road, and I wanted to keep the tone of the book where Jamie takes it just a step too far and it was reminiscent of the first season spanking scene.
~ Matt B. Roberts, The Hollywood Reporter
A: I’m actually glad the show changed the way it played out. Those quick glances and the kiss between Jamie and Claire show that she’s in on the ruse. The scenario for them is nothing more than an over-dramatic display of their naughtiest bedroom antics. Claire isn’t completely sure where Jamie is going with this scenario but she trusts that he won’t hurt her emotionally or physically. In the book, Claire is caught completely off guard and was under more duress to play along. Jamie comes off way too violent, as if he started to believe the role he was playing. The change works because it adds a layer of consent while maintaining the need for the scenario to scare Grey into spilling the beans.
You Scottish barbarian . . . you sadist . . . you pig!!
V: I also loved how they adapted this scene, one of my favorites of the episode. It made more sense this way and continued the story from where they were. The seriousness, as well as playfulness, between Jamie and Claire was too cute for words. At times, I wasn’t sure Claire would be able to contain herself in the role. And, that look on Jamie’s face when she kneed him and him mumbling Sassenach were priceless.
A: Jamie’s bad reputation is also in tact since Grey in the show has no idea that Claire is actually Jamie’s wife. The British would be less likely to try to capture him knowing that he’s armed and dangerous so to speak.
V: Hell, he even had me scared there for a minute! Love the Red Jamie shout out too!
A: Grey’s threat to kill Jamie definitely means he’s a character to watch for those who haven’t read ahead.
A: The raid on the British camp included the wagon wheels from the beginning. I was right!
V: Yes you were! I like how the pictures used in the title card for the writer and director always give a hint about a major theme or scene in the episode. I think it’s brilliant.
A: Jamie thanking Claire was really sweet. Their playful back and forth proves that their relationship is stronger than ever, which is good because the war will test their love for each other. The book has more romantic scenes in between the battle prep but throughout the episode Jamie proves his love by sensing Claire’s feelings.
So much as I want you, Sassenach, we’d best be off. The British camp will be waking . . . soon.
V: I liked it too. Even though Claire (and probably some of the fans) wanted more, I liked the intimate, tender moments throughout the episode. The closeness they shared and the concerns they had for each other were much more intimate and realistic than just showing a sex scene.
READY . . . TO LEAD
The closing scene was just EPIC! Loved seeing Jamie (and Claire) leading the Highlanders to join the other Highlanders at the prince’s camp. And as the brilliant leader he is, Jamie deciding to order Dougal ahead to announce their arrival (appeasing his needs) was the icing on the cake!
KING OF MEN!
The gang is back together again. Really missing Willie.
Do the honor.
Ride ahead and announce our presence to His Royal Highness, Prince Charles Edward Stuart.
No turning back now, Sassenach.
I would say not. Je Suis Prest!
Loved how Jamie looked back at Murtagh and Fergus!
YES now, they are both ready!
What we are looking forward to in the upcoming episode.
Amanda: I’m looking forward to seeing Jamie commanding his men in battle and his reunion with the Bonnie Prince.
Vida: I can’t wait to see Jamie and the Prince back together – hopefully, no more ‘mark me‘, as well as the battle sequences. I am also looking forward to seeing all the surprise twists and additions Ron and the writers have in store for us, even the book readers. That should be fun to watch.
Jean: This season’s is full of all the trials and tribulations of 18th century tragedies. I know Caitriona will soar like an eagle through the turbulence of it all. But the ride, is going to be hell for the fans!
Episode Rating (1-5): 4.5 – Shots
We really liked this episode and give it 4.5 shots. It provided just enough detail from the several weeks of battle prep scenes and travel sequences to get the point across; it gave the viewer the feeling of being trained along with the Highlanders. The acting was excellent. Caitriona really honed into what it felt like having PTSD; Sam exuded the Jamie from the book and showed how he became the man and leader (KING OF MEN!) he was meant to be. Jamie and Claire’s scene with William Grey was just as we’d hoped! We also loved the conflict between Jamie and Dougal. The writing was excellent with Matt Roberts dropping little Easter eggs from the book and writing in the PTSD flashbacks that were a very good window into Claire’s mind. We also loved how Matt adapted the William Grey scene. It was much improved from the book and the changes made sense for where we were in the story. The directing by Philip John was also superb by providing the nuances of PTSD with the camera spanning around Claire (made us dizzy/nauseous and think that was the point) and the sepia tones used for the flashbacks of the war. The cinematography also provided different shots of the encampment, the beautiful scenery, all the Highlanders and props. The costumes and location were just as detailed as they were in Paris and gave us a real sense of Scotland and her people. Again, the music was sweeping and haunting with the men singing the Skye Boat theme and the Jacobite theme, Moch Sa Mhadainn.
How did you rate the episode and why?
Let us know in the comments section.
Outlander S2 Epi10 Preview – ‘Prestonpans‘ ~ Video via Starz
Directed by Philip John Written by Ira Steven Behr
Jamie uses Claire’s knowledge of the future to lead the Jacobite army into battle against the British, while Claire tends to the wounded, a harsh reminder of the cost of war.
Disclaimer: We hold no rights to any of the pictures; all are from Starz. No copyright infringement intended.