Outlander S2 Epi12 – The Hail Mary
Directed by Philip John Written by Ira Steven Behr & Anne Kenney
This conversation is between Blacklanderz Michelle and Evelyn; both have read the book. Edited by Vida.
HOPELESSNESS | DESPERATION | SACRIFICE | DEATH
Michelle: Jamie, Claire, Murtagh and the rest of the gang have arrived in Inverness three days before the Battle of Culloden. During this time, we meet up with some old characters and resolve many loose ends for S2. Themes of brotherhood, family and death are explored leading us right up to the night before Culloden.
PROPHETIC | HOPEFUL | RESOLUTE
Evelyn: This episode has so much in it …where to begin? Three days before Culloden and it all looks bad. Claire is beside herself and Jaime is still trying to subvert history, but time is running out. The story line of the brothers is interesting. Juxtaposing the differences between how each man (Dougal and Colum; BJR and Alex) interacts with his sibling were great. The episode has now set the stage for the final battle to come. We see who is fragile and who still has some fight left in them. Graham McTavish and Tobias Menzies are at their finest. I am really enjoying the book adaption to the screen. Although scenes do not always play out in the same sequence or characters, the writers have made a huge effort to keep the salient points while creating an entirely new experience for the people who have read, adored and memorized specific scenes of the book.
THE HAIL MARY – In sports-football . . .
A Hail Mary is a desperate attempt by a team to score at the last minute and avoid a loss. The quarterback of the team that is behind throws a long, last-second pass into the end zone hoping his team member will catch the ball and win the game.
M: What an ominous title card. We are inching closer and closer to Culloden. Five months have passed? Were you confused about this timeline? Can we talk about the adorableness of Wee Fergus? I had wondered where he had gone after last week’s episode. The expansion of his role via his connection with Murtagh and Claire, particularly, has been a true delight. They truly are a family unit – Jamie, Claire, Murtagh, and Fergus.
[V: I absolutely love Fergus in the adaptation; Romann Berrux has truly brought him to life. It was heartwarming watching Fergus fall asleep behind Murtagh and how Murtagh reached back to hold/protect him on the horse. They really are a family.]
E: No, the timeline did not confuse me; it took a long time to travel. After retreating 500 miles, everyone looks somewhat defeated. They had their chance to take London, but were thwarted by the war council. It’s been a long five months and everyone is tired, hungry, and ready to go home. I felt chilled to the bone just looking at everyone sopping wet.
M: Jamie’s command of Dougal is amazing! Jamie has really matured into a leader – King of Men.
E: Yes, it is and yes, he has. Claire seems so despondent, but Jaime is going to give it one more try with the Prince to stop the inevitable.
Murtagh, ride to Inverness; fetch the Prince.
The 16th of April, you said?
That’s when history records the battle?
Three days from now.
All that work. All that plotting.
How the bloody hell did we end up here?
Don’t wave the white flag just yet.
It’s still time to avoid the fight we canna win.
In the face of that kind of adversity and in the face of fate where you know in your heart of hearts that it’s all about to go wrong, you can’t believe it. Because if you did, you would just stop right there. For Jamie and Claire, this is where we see that they are fighters to the end. Even if they know that it’s a futile fight, they’ll still fight to the end.
~ Caitriona Balfe, The Hollywood Reporter
M: Seeing Rupert with the eye patch made me laugh a little thinking back to Claire’s comment about the pirate. It has been nice to see him and Ross connect over losing their dear friends. This type of character development is what will make the loss at Culloden harder to bear.
E: I also enjoyed this scene with them. Still reeling from the recent losses of their best friends, Ross takes the first step in forging a new friendship.
HAIL MARY – MILITARY STRATEGY (Last ditch effort)
M: Oh the War Room: While I am not always interested in the vast amounts of politics this season, the war room always gives Jamie a moment to shine. It really highlights his intelligence. He has a wonderful ability to think on his feet and oftentimes gets his way (granted he is often helped by the knowledge Claire possesses).
E: I agree. Jaime’s still fighting the fight to no avail. The Prince looks so disheartened about the general’s conversation that he just drinks. He really is only interested in himself and what others will think of him once history has been written. He doesn’t care that the men are exhausted and hungry. Jaime’s idea of waiting for the French gold is a sound one, but classic Prince, he doesn’t listen and says to march on. No Gold = No Food = Half Dead Army = MARCH TO DEATH!
M: Also can I note – why is the Prince constantly touching people’s faces!? Boundaries Sir.
M: I felt there were too many scenes in the war chamber. I would love another perspective on this because we already know the plan will fail due to the first episode. I don’t know why we are still focusing on it in such detail. With that being said, the set and costumes in this scene are beautiful.
[V: With the book being from Claire’s point of view, we needed to see what was going on with Jamie when Claire was elsewhere. This was the only way to do it. Regardless of knowing the outcome, it was necessary to show the strategic plans and maneuvers that led to the failed battle.]
E: Yes, and Jamie had a good plan. Now that we know where the British troops will be and that they are having a birthday celebration, Jamie tries to steer the conversation to a surprise attack. He gets all to agree, but loses the battle when he and George want to lead the separate line of troops. Classic Prince, surprise attacks during celebrations are not gentlemanly, but now he chooses to be a soldier and he and John will lead the troops. Mark me…bringing his best bottle of wine to celebrate Cumberland as his prisoner was such a classic example of him being out of touch. The look on George’s face said it all…
THE HAIL MARY – In a religious sense . . .
A Hail Mary is a Catholic Prayer asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.
HAIL MARY – GRACE & PROTECTION
This episode was also about other last ditch efforts as it relates to Mary, Alex & Black Jack and Colum & Dougal.
Mary, Alex & Black Jack
M: And, we have Mary! The change between the Mary we saw last week and this week is drastic. Her voice is deeper, her stutter was almost completely gone (until it wasn’t), even the way she carried herself as different. I am also very glad she called Claire out on her meddling. It was a very uncomfortable moment for me in this adaptation.
E: That is so true. Mary did seem changed, but so had Alex. My first thought was OMG… Alex looks like death. Claire is not surprised at his illness, but she is completely taken aback at the progression of the disease since she last saw him.
Mary, what are you doing here?
I’m here with Alex Randall.
E: Her very cold reaction to seeing Claire was surprising; yet, great to see. I would be upset as well if someone got between me and my man…the attitude is warranted. All that arsenic and laudanum would have done Alex in even if he didn’t have TB.
M: Luckily, Claire was there to help. I am always impressed by her healing skills and ability to control the room.
M: Mary calling Black Jack, John, really threw me off. I almost want to say it humanized him – Black Jack is a very villainous name (twirls mustache), while John/Johnny is just so normal. I have always wondered how much Alex knew about BRJ’s biddings in the Highlands?
E: I wasn’t as thrown off by that as I was by him. His entrance, preceded by the sound of his boots, and the stare when he sees Claire were perfect. Tobias looked so dashing in his all black waistcoat that I was completely entranced when the camera panned to him. Caitriona has such amazing facial expressions that you can see her level of disgust and her skin crawl at his entrance. After my trance wore off, Ii wanted to run out of that room like she did. BJR providing for Alex and Mary is touching, but we all know this is as much as he can give of himself. Baby reveal was quick and Claire still doesn’t get it yet that this child is going to be Frank’s 6th removed grandsire.
M: True, but she does have nerves of steel. Any dealings with BJR can never turn out good. BJR also called her Claire, which I don’t think he has ever done before (I could be wrong). It reminded me of Frank.
E: I don’t recall him calling her by her first name. BJR and Claire going toe-to-toe was not long enough; I wish it had been longer. The book presented this differently, but the length was nice so that the drama was intensified. Black Jack still thinks he can force people to bend to his will, but it doesn’t work on Claire. By the way he looks at her he still can’t figure her out. She is one of the most formidable people he has ever met. I was delighted in BJR’s shocked, but gleeful response to Claire wanting British troop movement in return for Alex’s palliative care. Not being the woman she once was becomes her when placed in tight situations.
The inevitability of it is barreling down on them, it feels like a pressure cooker — no matter what they do, no matter what they try, fate is stronger than their will. Claire makes a very, very unusual alliance … It’s less about him, it’s more about Mary Hawkins and Alex, and the guilt she feels over having inserted herself into their relationship before and causing their split for a while. But the fact that she is in contact with Black Jack after everything he’s done and she has to make this alliance for information is so telling about how desperate they are. As an actor, every fiber of your being is screaming there’s no way she would stay in this room because she hates him so much for what he’s done, but Claire is pragmatic and I think she needs his help and she needs that information and she needs to also help Mary Hawkins and Alex. It’s a very tough situation that she’s put herself in, but it’s so indicative of how out of control everything is that even Jamie would allow it.
~ Caitriona Balfe, Variety
M: I love protective Jamie! You could see on his face that even the prospect of Claire being hurt by BRJ would send him into a rage. The perfect solution – always take Murtagh. Again, the trust between Jamie and Murtagh is heartwarming. I really am enjoying the expansion of his character.
E: I did enjoy Claire telling Jaime about BJR’s return, but I was expecting Jaime’s rant from the book—Damn all Randalls.
M: I am constantly amazed by Claire’s medical knowledge. It’s astounding! That makeshift inhaler is amazing!
M: It is endearing that Alex believes that BRJ has a tender heart. But I also don’t buy it – that man is the devil himself.
E: Yes, and eventually, it shows. BJR getting angry with Claire because he thinks she is backing out on helping Alex is funny and I love how Murtagh steps in and says he will help BJR get over his frustration.
E: Alex knows he is near death and now is the time to ask, blindside, BJR to step up. BJR’s response was both surprising and utterly shocking which is a huge but delightful departure from the book.
M: That was a good scene. Following that, I am so glad that Murtagh brought up the Frank issue. While I understand Claire’s concern, I couldn’t fathom sentencing anyone to a lifetime with BJR, even to save Frank.
He stole the show when he offered to marry Mary. Dare I say he sounded excited at the prospect of becoming a father. Can we please save Murtagh?
E: Yes, he did. Murtagh offering to marry her was sweet, but Claire can only see that Frank’s destiny lies with BJR marrying Mary. I have really enjoyed the expansion of Murtagh’s presence in the show. He is an integral part of the story. I love how Claire went after BJR. She is going to make this work or die trying.
M: Isn’t that the truth. That bar scene directly brought me back to their scenes at The Garrison Commander; but, this time, Claire got the last word. Once again, Cait and Tobias are magic on screen.
April 16, 1746.
Yes. The date of your death.
E: He is such a despicable character, yet I felt sorry for him because he has forgotten how to feel. He has totally given over to the dark side and doesn’t want to return. Case in point is how his mood lifts when he asks Claire about Jaime telling her what happened at Wentworth Prison. He looked like he was trying to get a rise out of Claire by continuing to escalate with his horrible comments. I do agree though, Tobias plays this so well. How can a man never regret the most heinous things he has done; yet, ask for help to get out of a marriage his brother desperately needs him to be in.
It’s a marriage of convenience, for sure, but they both, in different ways, need each other’s help. In that way, we see the depth of Jack’s feeling for his brother.
~ Tobias Menzies, Variety
M: Talk about the most uncomfortable wedding ever! I felt sick to my stomach watching.
E: Wow, to see two people who least want to be together get married was painful to watch. Even the minister was out of sorts with performing the ceremony over a death bed. BJR looks like he is going to hurl as he says,“I will,” and poor Mary looks as white as a sheet. Claire is of two minds. This marriage helps the future but hurts her friend. Glad it was quick.
It was so intense and I think there was a lot of conversation about whether he would do it, whether he wouldn’t. There was a thought of ‘do we leave Black Jack with any redeeming qualities?’ I thought it was a really powerful way to show that this is how emotions are worn by this man; this is the perversion within him. This is a man that, when he feels or when he’s made to feel, he deals with that by inflicting pain upon other people. Because ultimately he’s a sadist, and ultimately it’s that perversion and that sickness that has made him do everything he’s done up to this point. It was hard as an actor in those scenes to be like ‘what would your character do at this point?’ because my instinct was to protect Mary, but you’re like, ‘is he going to come after us next?’ The fact that he just straightens his suit and walks out of the room, it’s so chilling. It’s so creepy, and Tobias just does such an amazing job with it.
~ Caitriona Balfe, Variety
E: Waiting for Alex to die post the wedding was excruciating. The labored breathing left me gasping for breath. A little of Mary died with him.
It came out of pretty free conversations on the floor when we were shooting. There was a common feeling that we wanted something emotional from Jack, something that revealed how important his brother’s death was to him. In the original writing he just broke down, he wept, but that felt like we’d all seen that scene before, and I suppose the one consistent thing about Jack is that he’s surprising in his responses, so I think there was a common feeling that we needed something odder and weirder in that moment. And in a way, we see that darker nature reclaim Jack. While we were shooting, through talking about it, we came up with the idea that he attacks the body, which feels very transgressive and definitely in the right territory for and consistent with his character. We’ll see how people respond to it.
~ Tobias Menzies, Variety
M: BRJ beating his brother was horrible. I’m not sure I bought that he would hurt the one person he loved so brutally. But it did remind me of Frank going ham on the Rev’s shed in Epi201 and in Epi108 when he beats up those people in the street. The Randalls have some serious anger issues. Parallels.
E: It really was. When he started beating Alex’s body, I was just as shocked as Claire and Mary. I have never seen this before and it was totally unexpected. I had to ask myself if it was out of fear, anger, or if violence is the only way BJR can express himself?
It seemed like maybe it was going to be too dark, but I’m glad it made it. We didn’t have that long to do it, and in a way it’s a purely physical thing. You don’t see the body at all, it’s mainly just my back, which I think is much more sinister – it’s through suggestion and it’s sold through Claire and Mary’s reaction.
~ Tobias Menzies, Variety
E: I couldn’t blame Jaime for being appalled that Claire helped Mary wed BJR. He can’t understand how she could doom her to such a life. Claire’s reminding him that BJR is going to die on Culloden Moor does not sit well with him as he is still trying to change history with the surprise attack. If he is successful then BJR won’t die and then what. Loved that Claire reminded him of the possible outcomes: 1) Mary weds BJR only to become a widow; 2) BJR will die on Culloden Moor; and 3) If BJR survives, she will help Jaime hunt him down and they will bleed him together!
Even Jaime is scared of her but he is quite happy that she will participate in ridding the world of Black Jack Randall.
Remind me not to get on your bad side, Sassenach.
Colum & Dougal
M: Colum – poor lad! He is looking ROUGH! I really like how reverent the clansmen are in his presence. You can really see that Colum loves his men, despite the fact that they choose to follow Dougal.
E: Didn’t he? He looked so bad and close to death. Asking Rupert why he didn’t die with Angus was a bit rough. I thought the MacKenzie motto was Tùlach Àrd not We fight together; We die together.
M: Gary Lewis’s performance was truly heartbreaking. I loved that Claire started this journey will Colum and now it is coming to an end. I was quite surprised that Claire spoke up for Geillis. This was also a setup for the next episode – nicely done!
E: Yes it was. Apologizing for being against Jamie and Claire’s marriage was a good thing, but it was still sad to see him ask Claire to help him die. I wasn’t too surprised at all. It was good that Colum told Claire Geillis’s son was alive, but don’t talk trash about her friend.
E: I did giggle when Colum was amused about Jaime giving Dougal enough responsibility to keep him occupied. Exactly what he has been doing all of his life with Dougal.
E: In the end, it seems Claire is the one burdened with everyone’s death. She knows not when they will die, but all will be dead soon and it is starting to wear her down.
M: In regards to the line about sin – what’s one more sin for a sinner: anything that touches on religion always strikes me as odd in this adaptation. Unlike the book, religion is not a constant thread.
[V: But remember, this entire episode has been all about religion – Jacobite Rebellion (Catholic Stuart as King on the throne) and British Forces (Protestant King on the throne). And, let’s not forget Prince Charles always talking about God’s will and how God will provide.]
M: What a great scene between Jamie, Dougal and Colum. Having Jamie and Dougal stand side-by-side and react to Colum’s news highlighted exactly why Jamie is meant to be a leader and a laird. Talk about opposite reactions. As Colum said, Jamie would never do anything that would endanger the lives of the MacKenzie needlessly; can we say the same thing about Dougal?
E: That was a great scene. Dougal was so excited to see Colum hoping he has come to join the cause. Boy was he mistaken. Choosing Hamish as the next clan leader with Jaime as his guardian was a gut puncher for Dougal, who feels he should be the next Clan leader after playing second fiddle to his big bother all of these years. Colum’s jab about Dougal not being as popular as he thinks he is with the Clan was another eye-opener. But like you said, Colum is right that Jaime wouldn’t sacrifice his men needlessly; and to prove his point, he tests Dougal’s character. As we all witnessed, he can’t and walks out.
No anger, retribution, or malice in Colum’s business with Dougal. Colum seeks to understand the developing situation and makes decisions based on what he thinks will be best for the clan, many years down the line. He sees that Dougal is incapable of that. Dougal is more about instant gratification. No thought or foresight. Graham says that Dougal is ‘complicated.’ Whereas he is really just a havering arse driven by his knob and his pride. So Jamie is the man.
~ Gary Lewis, Yahoo
M: The line about Colum being crippled in body, while Dougal is crippled in the mind, was so powerful! Two halves of one whole – they need each other.
The end of Colum’s reign is very sad, very emotional. Colum’s choice to name Jamie as his successor comes as a slight surprise to [Jamie] and certainly to Dougal. Dougal’s expecting to be given the leadership and the power, but Jamie’s the natural successor and doesn’t want it – he’s finally taken on board the responsibility and [he’s] becoming a new leader.
~ Sam Heughan, Variety
M: Graham did such a magnificent job in this scene. The bitterness and loathing from Dougal right now. The resentment he carries and to then be upset when Colum dies was astonishing. Can we say, narcissist? I think we are going to see a very different side of Dougal next week as a result of this. Mark Me!
E: Yes, Graham was wonderful in this scene and he made me feel sad and angry for Dougal all at once. We get to see how much Dougal only thinks about himself. Knowing his brother is dying (not knowing Colum took the poison to hasten his death), he still can only talk about the injuries and perceived slights Colum put on him. He doesn’t even realize he has passed until he finally asks him a question. When the realization hits him Colum is no longer, he goes into another rant about Colum turning his back on him for a final time. Now he will never have the air cleared between them. It was sad to see him cry and realize he lost his only chance for redemption in the eyes of his brother.
They had an extremely complicated relationship. They are at each other’s throats a lot but at the end of the day they are brothers and they mean a lot to each other. And it all leads to that moment. Very much so. That scene with Gary where Dougal tells him how he really feels in particular was a very challenging, interesting one for both of us. What I brought to it or tried to bring to it was relating it to my own life experience and particularly the regrets that you have when someone dies, regrets of things you could have said to them or asked them. I thought of my own father and, in that case, those are regrets that I have. For Dougal to pour his heart out as he does and talk honestly, possibly for the first time, and then for his brother to die while he is doing it and for Dougal not to realize what has happened until it is too late. It is utterly heartbreaking. If he himself didn’t die later in the series, he really would have been consigned to a prison of his own making.
~ Graham McTavish, Yahoo
Jamie has this idea of going on this surprise attack; he knows that they need to do it now, they cannot wait until the point in time that history has foretold that they’re going to lose this battle. Ultimately, the commanders and Bonny Prince Charlie have the upper hand, and it feels very desperate.
~ Sam Heughan, Variety
HAIL MARY – EPIC FAILURE
M: The Bonnie Prince Charles is the absolute worse. He is the unreliable friend, who is always dragging people into trouble, but nowhere to be found when things actually go down.
E: Trekking 12 miles to only have to wait for the no show Prince was horrible. I wanted to beat him myself. I was wishing it was going to work only because I was looking for a new twist written into the story. When Murtagh brings the bad news my stomach turned. Murtagh’s mentioning Culloden just brought it all home.
Where in God’s name is that imbecile, Charles?
He was supposed to be here hours ago.
The Prince and his men, they turned back. They lost their way in the darkness. His troops are scattered from here to kingdom come.
Tomorrow. The Prince will have his battle on Culloden Moor.
What we are looking forward to in the upcoming episode.
Michelle: I am looking forward to seeing how they tie up the end of the book as well as introduce Brianna and Roger. I wonder if the episode will open in present-day for Claire or back in the past? I am also anxious to see how they age Claire. It’s a lot of material, good thing they have 90 minutes. In S3, they will cover Voyager, which is one of my favorite books. Like all of DG’s books, there is a lot of material. My hope is that they choose some great scenes and we get a little glimpse at what certain characters (*wink, wink*) were doing over time – but not too much.
Evelyn: I am looking forward to the 90-minutes the finale will give us. The story will more than likely be interwoven between the past and the future as there are still some scenes that have not played out that are in the book. Hopefully, it will show the showdown between Dougal and Jaime, Claire’s pregnancy and how Claire gets back to the standing stones. I am also very interested to see how the writers adapt the story of how Claire tells Bree about her true identity. Maybe we will get to see the old kirk scene in the final episode that kicks off the flood of memories for Claire.
Episode Rating (1-5): 4.5 – Shots
We give this episode a 4.5. As always, Outlander is one of the most well-acted and beautifully shot shows on television. The cast and crew worked extremely hard. Caitriona, Duncan, Tobias, Graham, Gary and Laurance’s performances were powerful and gut-wrenching. This episode was filled with a palpable sense of loss and reminds us of the remaining losses to come. This episode also succeeded in tieing up many storylines (Mary and Black Jack marry ensuring Frank’s lineage, Alex dies, Colum made final decisions for the MacKenzie Clan before he died and the failed attempt to thwart Prince Charles’s plans) and setting up the plot for the final episode – Claire’s return to the 1940s and the Battle of Culloden.
How did you rate the episode and why?
Let us know in the comments section.
Outlander S2 Epi13 Preview – Dragonfly in Amber ~ Video via Outlander America
Directed by Philip John Written by Toni Graphia & Matthew B. Roberts
Claire visits Lallybroch and Culloden Moor to make peace with the past, while Brianna and Roger bond over researching Randall family history. Jamie and Claire come up with a dangerous plan, which Dougal overhears, inciting him to a murderous rage. Jamie must do everything he can to save the ones he loves, even if it means saying goodbye to some — or all — of them.
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