{TB Talks TV} Outlander Review: “The Reckoning”

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Tweetable Takeaway: Jamie comes to Claire’s rescue, but must rescue his relationship soon after on #Outlander.

Airtime: Saturdays at 9pm on Starz

By: Jeff Iblings, Contributor

is back and to be honest, I’ve missed the hell out of it. From the very beginning this show has fascinated me with its blend of sci-fi and historical fiction. Tonight’s episode takes a formula we’re used to and turns it on its ear.

Our way into the show so far has been entirely from the point of view of Claire. She’s been our guide into the customs and the strangeness of a modern era person in 1740’s Scotland. We can relate to her, and she helps us relate to the different mindset of the time. But what would it be like to flip things and see events from the viewpoint of a person from the era Claire finds herself trapped in?

“The Reckoning” does this very thing. We last left Claire in the hands of Blackjack as Jamie bursts in through the window to save her from being raped. This episode backtracks a bit and shows the events leading up to this moment from Jamie’s point of view. Where we would normally have Claire’s voice over letting us in on her feelings and internal struggles, this time Jamie takes over.

The rescue scene is gorgeously shot, and as nail biting as anything you’ll see in an action movie. It also shows us how Jamie has become more calculating and confidant. He comes in guns drawn, but with Claire at knifepoint, Blackjack has the upper hand. When he makes Jamie put down the pistol it seems he’s bested the Scot, but he’s in for a rude awakening when the gun doesn’t fire. Jamie bluffed his way in with an unloaded pistol, and in the end the gamble paid off. Blackjack was confident in the pistol and let his guard down, allowing Jamie to get the best of him and escape.

Blackjack clearly won’t let things go, and in rescuing Claire, the entire clan has put itself at risk. This danger she’s invited into their lives will become a wedge between the two of them. Part of the reason for their troubles stems exactly from the differences and customs of the two time periods they both come from. When Jamie wants an apology, Claire’s perceived stubbornness in the face of the social mores of that time period blow up into a huge argument. She slaps his face and horrible words are exchanged between the two before they finally make up.

The problem is that she’s lost the respect of the clan, and unless Jamie punishes her for what she’s done, he’ll loose their respect as well. In a way, Jamie is a prisoner of his time. The relationship he has with Claire is far more modern than any other we’ve seen in the series, and although this is true, he still has to live in this world where respect is key. His need for the respect of his fellow clan members leads to the brutal and uncomfortable spanking scene. As a kid who had his fair share of whooppings as a kid, including a leather belt, I can understand the mentality of why he does it. But again as someone who has felt the sting on his own behind, it is far too brutal of a way to try and teach someone a lesson. The reconciliation they had falls completely apart in the aftermath of the spanking.

Besides his relationship with Claire, things do not go well when they return to Castle Leoch. Their wedding announcement excites and delights many of the castle residents, but not Collum, and certainly not Laoghaire. Collum is upset Jamie has married a Sassenach and now will no longer be seen as a viable heir by the rest of the clansmen. He’s also found out that Dougal and the boys have been raising money for the Jacobite army without his permission. There’s always been tension between Collum and Dougal, but things get so bad that hostilities between the two sides threaten to break the clan into opposing factions. Jamie’s advice to Collum on how to pacify Dougal saves the day, and most likely raises Collum’s esteem for him.

Now he just needs to mend his own relationship and fend off a sexual advance by Laoghaire, who’s been waiting for him to come back from collecting the rents. She thought they were meant to be together, but Jamie rebuffs her. He took a vow and he’s in love with his wife. When he renews his vow to Claire and swears on his knife that he’ll never raise his hand to her again, it mirrors the fealty oath the clansman took with Collum. It leads to Claire’s letting him back into her heart, but not before she makes an oath of her own mid sex scene with the very same knife. If he strikes her again, she’ll cut his heart out. Something tells me he’ll never do that again.

More thoughts:

  • After Jamie smashes Blackjack in the face and rescues Claire, there’s no doubt it’s going to fuel Blackjack’s hatred and intensify his persecution of the couple.
  • Laoghaire is bitter and angry with Claire for stealing Jamie away from her. She plants the hex or witchcraft piece under Claire and Jamie’s bed, so there’s no doubt she isn’t giving up on winning him back. I wouldn’t be surprised if she tries to physically harm Claire to get what she wants.
  • How shocking was it when Dougal announced that Collum’s son was actually his own?
  • I loved the POV reversal, and hope we get to bounce back between Claire and Jamie’s view of things.
  • At this point it seems like Claire’s lost all hope and/or interest in getting back to Frank again. Perhaps I’m wrong, but after having a man that’s the spitting image of her 20th century husband be so violent physically and sexually with her, I’d imagine it would be awfully difficult to look at her husband the same way again.
  • I have to say that the refreshing thing about the sex scenes in Outlander is they are erotic and intimate without being exploitative and crass. They respect and love each other and it shows. They’re a team in a way that couples in this time period usually aren’t, and I look forward to seeing what they can accomplish together.

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 For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates. Twitter: @OfSoundnVision

Keep up with all of Jeff’s Outlander reviews here.
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1 Comment

  1. “At this point it seems like Claire’s lost all hope and/or interest in getting back to Frank again.”

    Um, the whole episode was from Jamie’s POV, so we can’t deduce from the episode whether or not Claire still wants to get back to Frank, based on what was presented to us. Future episodes may shed light on this point, but not Ep 109: Jamie doesn’t know about Frank, time travel, etc.

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