A True Fan’s Review of #Outlander Episode 106: THE GARRISON COMMANDER

Check out the Top 30 Looks from Outlander Episode #106: THE GARRISON COMMANDER

The latest episode of Outlander can be summed up entirely in two words: Bloody Brilliant!

“I dwell in darkness, Madam, and darkness is where I belong.”

With those words, Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) defines himself to the winded and wounded Claire Beauchamp (Caitriona Balfe). If she has any doubts as to his humanity or his relation to Frank, they are wiped out in that searing moment.

This is the episode for which we’ve been waiting. Yes. Yes. I know. It’s not THE WEDDING, but Black Jack’s obsession is the driving force behind the first novel in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. His existence compels almost all the major decisions Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) makes in his life.

Yadda. Yadda. Yadda. SPOILERS ahead.

The script by co-Executive Producer Ira Steven Behr grabs the story by the balls and doesn’t let go. Sorry for the visual, but it’s what popped into my head and I write from the gut. It’s filled with humor, darkness, drama, horror, and twisted sentimentality. Black Jack and Dougal’s (Graham McTavish) characters come on strong. Claire still hasn’t learned when to keep quiet and seems to forget in which century she is living. Jamie steps up in the end to do the right thing. No Angus. I half-expected Dougal to offer the wee bugger as a bride-groom in place of Jamie, rather than Rupert as in the book. Lots to cover tonight, so let’s not delay talking about Angus, aye?

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We return to the scene of Claire and Dougal by the stream with Lt. Jeremy Foster (Tom Brittney) awaiting an answer to his question of last week. From the look on Dougal’s face, he’s been waiting as long as we have.

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Pretty Boy Lt. Jeremy Foster (Tom Brittney) comes to Claire’s aid. He’s got his boys to back him up this time.
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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) tries to keep her options open. Has she tried just asking someone to take her to Craigh na Dun? Duh.
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Dougal (Graham McTavish) wants to trust Claire, but she’s a woman, so . . . there’s that.

We already know – no matter what Claire says – she’s going with the English. Of course, where Claire goes, so goes Dougal.

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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Dougal (Graham McTavish) escorted by British Soldiers. She’s so happy in her voiceover. Is she hiding it from Uncle Dougal?

Although Claire doesn’t look thrilled in the picture above, she is quite happy to be among her countrymen, British soldiers no less. She is finally going home. Tra la la la la la la.

Right.

This episode is the best example of Claire’s naiveté. Even though she knows how strained relations are between the Scots and the English in 1743, she doesn’t seem to grasp how precarious her situation is as her voiceover indicates.

She and Dougal are escorted to a small Scottish village, occupied by enemy soldiers. The ever polite Lt. Foster escorts them into the upstairs banquet hall of the local inn. A party is in progress with the most gracious English officers you’d ever meet in the 18th Century – as long as you’re not a Scot.

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Lt. Jeremy Foster (Tom Brittney) introduces Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Dougal to his superior officers. He probably doesn’t like them any more than Black Jack. They never seem to do any soldiering.

The conversation is civilized if not pompous. Brigadier General Lord Oliver Thomas (John Heffernan), commanding officer of the Northern British Army, is thrilled to see an “English Rose” enter the room – less thrilled with the horrendous accent of the war chieftain accompanying her. I don’t think he’s ever been so close to a real Scottish warrior in his life, or he wouldn’t talk the way he does – as if Dougal cannot hear his condescension.

There is much yuck-yucking around the table until Dougal shows them he is not in the least intimidated by a room full of red coats. He suggests the General stay in London if he doesn’t like the country.

Apparently, it’s fine for the British to poke fun at the savages, but the General can’t take what he dishes out. His party face turns sour as he reminds Dougal the only reason he’s in their country is because the Scots won’t behave.

Dougal does not reply with words, but his now famous “F#@* You” face is plain.

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Dougal’s (Graham McTavish) answer to anything he doesn’t like is a “F#@* You” face.

However, the General doesn’t read my blog, so he misses it and turns back into a dancing monkey – claiming how much he would enjoy being called a Laird. He doesn’t like the idea of having to wear a woolen skirt though, and I must admit – I do not need to see him in one either.

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General Dancing Monkey (John Heffernan) doesn’t want his party ruined by a Scot taking offense to his rudeness.

Oh, do we feel the bristles on the back of Dougal’s neck go up when the General asks what a clansman wears under his skirt. That has to be the oldest joke in the UK.

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Dougal (Graham McTavish) is tired of being asked what he’s wearing under his kilt.
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Lt. Foster (Tom Brittney) is just doing his duty even though it sucks.

With hands on their weapons and Dougal ready to go medieval on their asses, starting with the kind Lieutenant, Claire takes command and tells everyone to stop acting like children. The General falls even more in love with her – a common reaction around Claire. The entire scene is vastly entertaining and makes a wonderful addition to the story.

After Dougal is summarily uninvited to the party, a montage follows of Claire charming her hosts over a pleasant dinner of venison – killed by the General himself  – with happy harpischord music playing in the background.

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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is the English Rose of the party and none of these guys are listening to a word she’s saying.

Because everyone in the room is enthralled by Claire’s beauty, they fail to see the holes in her story. She is offered an escort back to Inverness. Yay! Happiness all around.

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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) can’t believe how lucky she is.
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General Thomas (John Heffernan) is hoping he’ll get lucky later.

Claire decides it’s safe to drink up and asks for more wine. She’s almost home.

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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) decides it’s safe to get drunk now. Maybe she think it’ll help her get through the stones.

Enter Black Jack Randall in grand fashion because how else would he ever make an entrance? The General throws a hand over his glass of claret, appalled at the amount of dust clinging to Randall’s uniform. He delivers one of the best lines of the show:

“You’re putting the claret at risk.”

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General Thomas (John Heffernan) can’t take these interruptions to his party. First the savage Scot, then a real soldier with real business.

Followed by Randall’s cocky rejoinder:

“By all means, we must protect the claret.”

Whew! Glad they’re all in agreement. If not, I thought Black Jack was ready to take off a few heads.

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Captain Jonathan Randall (Tobias Menzies) cannot believe the Dancing Monkey outranks him.

I’m going to stop to acknowledge from here on out, this is Black Jack’s show. We don’t need a voiceover to sense what he’s thinking or feeling. Tobias Menzies, in a performance keeping me riveted on the edge of my seat, is simply fascinating to watch. Steve McQueen, the master of dominating the silver screen while simply standing still, comes to mind while watching Mr. Menzies. I have not seen anyone command attention the way he does in this role.

Mr. Menzies brings Jonathan Wolverton Randall’s character to full life in a way not explored in the novel. Ron Moore talks about expanding the scene between Claire and Randall in order to accomplish this task. With the aid of Mr. Behr’s script and Brian Kelly’s direction, we meet the real dark menace.

Like a rose – black, of course – he reveals his petals one at a time. Within seconds, we know he thinks very little of his commanding officer and his entourage. Black Jack is a true soldier and hates being subordinate to these lesser men.

As expected, he and Claire lock eyes. Unfortunately, Claire is feeling a bit smarmy and doesn’t shy away. She holds his gaze with a “F#@* You” face to rival Jamie and Dougal’s, only with a pretty smile. I would start a countdown of all the things she does wrong in this episode, but what’s the point? We all know Claire underestimates Black Jack every time they meet.

They exchange a few pleasant words. “Na na na na na. I’m under the General’s protection, you wanker,” says Claire.

“I’m evil. No one can protect you from my wrath,” Claire completely misses – too much wine and delusions of 20th Century grandeur on her mind.

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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) has learned nothing from her several scrapes with danger and throws Black Jack a “F#@* You” smile, but not in the good way.
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Randall (Tobias Menzies) counters with one of his many natural sneers.

With an unexpected bit of dazzling comic timing, Black Jack continues to the door whence he came and sheds himself of road dust, stomping his boots against the door jamb and slapping his uniform into tidiness. Then he reenters the room to the General’s general chagrin and is invited to join the party.

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Randall (Tobias Menzies) steals the show with this demonstration of disrespect. He should have just pissed in the General’s glass and been done with it.

At this point, Black Jack has completely stolen the show for me. I am happy simply to watch each facial tick, each calculated glance, each casual gesture without the aid of dialogue. If I didn’t know better, I’d say he was chewing gum. But he does speak, and his speech is pretty damn good.

The word I keep associating with Black Jack in my mind is fascinating. I am fascinated by his darkness though it hasn’t been fully revealed in the show just yet. We are introduced to it bit by bit through this episode, but we won’t truly see the depths of his darkness until Ep15.

Up until now, Claire has been interrogated by amateurs. She has no idea Black Jack’s interrogation begins the moment he sets eyes upon her. Even when not addressing her, he’s questioning her story. He already believes it’s bull, so he knows it won’t be difficult to trip her up. With a few well-placed barbs, he is able to induce exactly the response he wants from her. I think Claire needs to cut out all consumption of alcohol until she’s safely back in the 20th Century.

Going back to Ep101, when she first meets the MacKenzies in the cottage, she tells us in voiceover:

“The wisest course of action would have been to keep my head down, my mouth shut, and wait for the search parties Frank must have called out by now.”

Boy! How far she has strayed from that good advice. And how many times did we mentally scream out.

Stop talking, Claire!

Black Jack starts out easy, making a general statement about how the Scots and the English can’t be friends, and jumps right into . . . so Claire and Dougal must be sharing a bed. I’m kind of getting the sense no matter what you say or do as  woman in the 18th Century, all the men pretty much think you’re a whore – unless you’re sleeping with said man.

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Randall (Tobias Menzies) makes the first strike. Child’s play.
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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is tired of being called a whore even though everyone at the table has been staring at her like one.

Claire responds with the usual huffy:

“How dare you!?”

and is defended by the General who also thinks she’s a whore, but a nice one he’d like to boink until she starts spouting off about the Scots:

“. . . wanting the same freedoms we enjoy.”

Shut up, Claire.

The faces around the table grow less friendly. Black Jack all but laughs at how easy that was. Of course, the officer to the right of General Dancing Monkey looks exactly the same as he does in the happy picture up above. He must have been smiling inside. Black Jack snickers.

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General Thomas (John Hefffernan) doesn’t want Claire as a girlfriend or a whore any more because she’s too political and a little traitorous sounding.
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Randall (Tobias Menzies) has a good chuckle at his pawns in the room.

Right on a cue,  a soldier bursts into the room declaring attack from a band of rebels. One of their own is wounded. Claire to the rescue. She rushes down to the tap room where Dougal is relieved to see her and is well past ready to get the heck out of Dodge. Claire assures him she is fine and insists he leave in the event the English start pointing fingers.

What follows is a lovely amputation scene with squirting blood, sawing through flesh sounds, screaming, and a table of local Scots barely letting the impromptu surgery interrupt their meal. Ah, it’s entertainment!

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These villagers want to know what time the next amputation is.

Now we get to the nitty gritty. Claire finishes her nursing duties and traipses back upstairs to ask her new friends what time the stagecoach leaves. Alas, she finds the room emptied. Only Black Jack remains with the poor Corporal assigned the task of giving the Captain a close shave.

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An unlucky Corporal tries to close shave Randall (Tobias Menzies) with a steady hand. Randall must go through Corporals the way Darth Vader goes through Death Star Commanders.

Claire’s mind immediately flashes back to an intimate scene early in her marriage where she is pampering Frank with the very same straight razor cutting a close shave across Black Jack’s face.

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Claire and Frank Randall (Caitriona Balfe & Tobias Menzies) spending quality pampering time together.

Like the cut to Culloden in Ep105 RENT, the time shift is jarring, more so because it’s personal to Claire. In the novel, we know she’s comparing her husband to his ancestor, searching for commonality. This vision of him using what will some day become Frank’s razor presents a false sense of familiarity with this man.

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Claire and Frank (Caitriona Balfe & Tobias Menzies) turning close shaving into something more interesting.

The scene between Claire and Frank above is quite tender and perfectly placed as we transition from one man in love to another. Black Jack is in full control of the situation, merely toying with Claire. She still has not grasped how out of her league she is with this man.

For the next 20 minutes, we are in Black Jack’s mind. There are no voiceover interruptions from Claire to break the spell. He asks her to tell him who she is knowing she is going to lie. As she weaves her sad tale of love gone wrong, Black Jack watches with a dispassionate face, almost bored with her transparency. A few moments pass where he looks about to laugh. There is no challenge here.

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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) tells of her affair of the heart with fake tears and all. I’m telling you, girl. Just ask to be taken to the stones. Promise – I’ll tell you everything you want to know.

Claire finishes her weak story, adding a few tears to sell it. Without a word, Black Jack rises and busies himself sharpening a charcoal pencil almost as if Claire is not in the room. If she’s going to waste his time, he might as well make the best of it. Claire follows his every movement in confused wonder.

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Randall (Tobias Menzies) sharpens his pencil while thinking he should have listened to his mother and gone to art school. No one ever goes megalomaniacal after art school.

This is the beginning of my favorite scene. It’s something that needs to be watched with rapt attention, not described in a summary. Black Jack reveals the beauty of his darkness to Claire, something I don’t believe he’s done with anyone else in his life. He make a confession to her, not to seek forgiveness but to share his favorite memory.

That it involves Jamie, I don’t need to tell you.  This is where the script takes a huge departure from the novel and what makes this episode so bloody brilliant. In the novel, the tale of Jamie’s flogging is told by Dougal from a heroic point of view. Jamie is brave. Jamie withstands more than Dougal could have. Dougal tries to save him by paying Black Jack a ransom of sorts.

While there is nothing wrong with telling the story through Dougal’s eyes, what element is missing is subjectivity. Dougal can only imagine the suffering and pain Jamie endures. During the original telling, Randall is a black figure with no emotion.

By giving the story to Black Jack Randall to relive, we feel both his rapture and Jamie’s agony On the first stroke of the whip, Randall talks about pacing himself. This is something he wants to enjoy and make last. With each successive stroke of the whip, he talks about not feeling pity for the boy and fondly recalls the

“sheer judder of the whip coursing up my arm . . . exploding into my heart.”

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Randall (Tobias Menzies) remembers fondly how it felt to whip Jamie. Okay. That’s just plain not funny.

A masterpiece, Black Jack calls not only Jamie’s back but their connection. He may not pity him, but he admires, hates, and loves this boy with each stroke. He wants to break him, but loves and admires him more for remaining strong. Perhaps he feels Jamie is the only person worthy of his affections – not forgetting about A, of course.

The scene of the flogging is appropriately gruesome, and Sam Heughan’s performance is on par with Tobias Menzies’. Not only is it visually appalling, but the sound of each stroke makes it more real. I have a rather high tolerance for movie gore so was not bothered by the scene. Jamie’s deterioration is impressive to watch, and Randall’s degeneration continues to fascinate.

During the narration, I enjoy watching Mr. Menzies’ face. He is sentimental but not gushing. The parallels between Frank’s tenderness for Claire and Black Jack’s passion for Jamie are eery and perfectly performed. How horrifying for Claire to watch the same emotions cross Black Jack’s face as those to cross her husband’s. Because we aren’t privy to her thoughts, we can only wonder if this is the moment she recognizes the depth of Black Jack’s feelings for Jamie.

Once the tale ends, Black Jack looks on Claire with a passive face while she shows heartbreak for Jamie and him. It makes me ask if he’s disappointed she doesn’t see the beauty in his creation – maybe even disgusted. No one seems to understand him. Did he hope she would? Perhaps not.

In any case, he goes back to playing his game of pretending he has a soul that didn’t expire long ago and letting her think there can be a joyful ending to their meeting. We reach another departure from the novel here – an extension of Black Jack’s character.

Calling a Corporal Hawkins (Edmund Digby-Jones) into the room as he gentlemanly assists a happy Claire up from her chair, Randall punches her in the gut, taking her completely unaware.

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Randall (Tobias Menzies) punches poor unsuspecting Claire (Caitriona Balfe) in the gut – not that expecting it would have helped.

While she’s down on the ground, trying to recover her breath, he whispers in her ear my favorite Black Jack line:

“I dwell in darkness, Madam, and darkness is where I belong. I need no sympathy from you, and you will get none from me.”

Turning Claire onto her side, Black Jack orders Hawkins to kick her, telling him “it’s very freeing.” He really does live in a different reality than the rest of the world. What’s so freeing about kicking a woman? I’d like to know. Corporal Hawkins doesn’t look convinced when he taps Claire with the toe of his boot.

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Corporal Hawkins (Edmund Digby-Jones) is afraid of what his mother will think when he tells her he kicked an English woman in the stomach today.

More terrified of his superior officer than the angels weeping down on him, the milksop kicks her for real upon Black Jack’s insistent and loud urging. Before he can kick her a third time, Uncle Dougal bursts through the door.

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Dougal (Graham McTavish) arrives just in time – well, almost – to save Claire from Black Jack’s (Tobias Menzies) treachery.

Much chest thumping ensues, and Dougal threatens war with clan MacKenzie. Black Jack doesn’t feel like starting a war today, so backs down and politely requests Claire be delivered to Fort William by sundown of the next day upon penalty of death to Dougal and anyone else who harbors the dangerous fugitive.

Claire and Dougal hightail it out of the village – friends of my enemy sort of friends – and stop for a refreshing drink of water at St. Ninian’s your-gizzard-will-burst-if-you-tell-a-lie spring. Not quite sure why he didn’t bring her here a long time ago if he really believes in this mumbo-jumbo, or perhaps send Ang or Rup to fill a canteen to make her drink, but whatever . . . We’re here now.

Dougal asks her for the last time:

“Are you a spy for the English or the French?”

Claire’s had just about enough of interrogation and spits out:

“I am plain Claire Beauchamp and nothing more.”

Well, okay then. He believes her. Now, down to business. She can either A) be turned over to the English, imprisoned, questioned none too politely, tortured almost certainly or B) become a Scot by marriage. Yeah, choice B sounds good as long as it’s not Angus. I’d have to give that some thought.

Here, Dougal is awarded his best line of the series thus far when Claire asks if he’s to be her bridegroom.

“Well, I must admit, the idea of grinding your corn does tickle me, but it’s not myself I’d be nominating for the position.”

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Dougal (Graham McTavish) wants to “grind Claire’s corn.” Really? I don’t think he’s doing it right.

If you’re a fan of the novel, you know why Dougal can’t marry her. If you don’t know, I’ll tell ya. For one thing, he’s married. For another thing, he can never be clan chief if he takes an English wife.

Oh, who does that leave? Besides Claire’s best friend, Ang, there’s Rupert or Willie or some other red-shirt Highlander, but none of them are in line to be Laird of clan MacKenzie and in direct competition with Dougal. So . . . Jamie it is.

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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) solves all her problems with alcohol. She really needs to get with the program. I think she drinks a lot on the wedding night, too.

The engagement is short and sweet. I like Claire and Jamie having a moment alone to discuss the matter, though there’s not much to discuss. She’s in a pickle, and he wants to put his pickle inside her. Plus, he doesn’t mind turning the screws on Black Jack Randall.

The show ends with one of our all-time favorite quotes by Jamie when Claire asks if he minds she’s not a virgin:

“Well, uh, no. So long as it doesna bother you that I am.”

Pause for effect on Cougar Claire’s stunned face. It also serves to give the women in the audience who have never read the books a moment to collect themselves. Plus, all the women who have read the books are now squealing with delight that Jamie actually said the line the way they always imagined him saying it.

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Cougar Claire (Caitriona Balfe) has never in her life met such a good-looking virgin. Maybe marriage isn’t such a bad idea after all?

“I reckon one of us should ken what they’re doing.”

he adds with an excited inhalation of air before striding off.

Claire follows later and crashes Jamie’s bachelor party, grabbing a bottle from Dougal’s hand – hopefully not the only spirit left in camp. Happy Wedding Day!

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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) walks through the most boring bachelor party of the 18th Century. What? No music? No whores? What kind of country is this?
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Claire (Caitriona Balfe) takes another bottle. What? Did she finish the one Jamie gave her already? Maybe this whole time travel thing is a booze illusion.

Much attention was given to Graham McTavish’s powerful performance last week. This week, Tobias Menzies is the toast of Outlander. Both gentleman rightfully deserve the accolades, but I wanted to raise a glass to the continuation of Caitriona Balfe’s weekly performances. She’s so perfect in the role of Claire Randall, it’s easy to forget she’s acting. I almost feel like I take her excellence for granted sometimes.

This week’s episode may very well have been her most difficult challenge, playing against Tobias Menzies’ Black Jack Randall – not because of his mesmerizing portrayal, but because she’s the only actor playing with such a strong inner conflict.

Claire is of a different time, speaking with a man who resembles someone she loves. This is a dual aspect she must carry through every scene with him, and she does it well. We see the change in her at the end when she finally realizes she is completely cut off from Frank. Up until the moment Randall punches her, she feels a connection to her future through him.

I can safely say this is one of my two favorite episodes so far this season. THE GATHERING still continues to hold sway with me because of Sam Heughan’s performance. In Ep104, we meet the real James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. In Ep106, we meet the real Jonathan Wolverton Randall. Heaven help us when these two men come together.

My expectations for Ep107 THE WEDDING are in a quandary because the romance factor has been subdued the last few episodes. I don’t want to watch Jamie and Claire have sex – okay, I do – but I want them to feel something. I want them to feel what they both feel in the novel. Having said that, I continue to have faith in this production team and the actors. I believe they will melt our hearts next week.

Ron Moore’s podcast for Episode 106: THE GARRISON COMMANDER is available for free on  iTunes or you can listen to it here. He also gives us another inside look at the making of this episode:

Outlander Episode #107: THE WEDDING airs on Starz on Saturday, 20 September in the U.S.

60 thoughts on “A True Fan’s Review of #Outlander Episode 106: THE GARRISON COMMANDER

  1. Ira Behr is my new hero. I adored his script and how this episode played out. It was the best episode so far, IMO. And Tobias! Wow! He was mesmerizing. Cait was outstanding, too, to say nothing of how good Graham and Sam were as well. Kudos to the make-up and SFX teams. I could barely make myself look at Jamie’s back. It was heartbreaking. Excellent review, but your reviews always are.

  2. Excellent review. If this scene was a movie, I believe Sam, Tobias, Graham and Caitriona would be up against each other for an academy award. (I know I am Outlander bias, but truly this is great acting) We are really getting to the nitty gritty of Diana Gabaldon’s book now, heaven help us all!

  3. Love your bawdy comments as well…totally in line with Dougal’s remarks. I could barely watch this episode; it was truly horrific. But I do feel Tobias Menzies plays BJR with more passion than I see between he and Catriona Balfe as Frank Randall. Frank is a nasal historical scholar. But as Black Jack Randall, Tobias Menzies sizzles like lard on one of Mrs. Fitz’s massive skillets. He positively crackles on the screen. Having read the books, I shudder to think of how we will see him later in the season.

  4. pickles, lol. Glad for your witty comments, they lighten things up a bit! What a heavy (and very well acted) episode this was! My gore treshold is not that high so I didn’t want to see all there was to see with the wounds, but wow did they do a great job in making them look real or what. The whole episode is so intense, and they succeeded verra verra nicely in making the audience feel horrified, chilled to the bone, shocked, with that uncomfortable feeling of eeriness and creepiness that witnessing a psychopath in action creates. Brr. I agree that Tobias comes better out as BJR than Frank. Brr brr brr.

  5. I agree. This episode was brilliant in many ways, but it also demonstrates what is driving me crazy about this show. It seems that they will sacrifice Jamie and Claire’s relationship for every other story line. It seems to me that they think they can make up all the character development of Jamie and Claire with longing looks between two good-looking actors and that’s just Twilight in a kilt.
    By the time, Jamie takes Claire to the stones, you have to really believe (as you do in the books) that Claire would give up the 20th century for Jamie. In order to believe that, you have to believe that their relationship is THAT compelling. So far, on the TV show, not at all.
    There are only so many episodes between now and then, which means that they better change the focus of the story fast. It’s driving me nuts, so thank you for pointing it out!
    For years, I was so glad that Outlander was not being adopted to screen because I had the feeling that they would sacrifice the romance for everything else. And that is what they’re doing.
    I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but, if the wedding night gets right to the sex without Jamie saying all the things that make us love him, I’m going to start throwing stuffed animals at my TV. Whew! /rant.
    Thanks for the great reviews!

    1. Yes Jamie and Claire’s relationship seems kinda packed up, especially in this last episode, I would have preferred more friendship and longing development (not just the smoldering looks), now it’s like “oh hey haven’t seen you in a while let’s get married”. But I choose to believe things will shift next week 🙂 btw the trailer gives hope that it won’t get right to the sex.

    2. ICAM OmniJ. Some viewers want to go right to the sex scene, but I think many are forgetting that Claire has just agreed to a marriage of convenience less than 24 hours before. I can only hope that from the preview onscreen when she hesitates and asks Jamie about his family that there will at least be her voiceover about how they lay together and talked for hours and hours accompanied with glimpses of their changing facial expressions and responses to each other–something–anything–that shows Claire WANTING Jamie. And even then, I don’t know how it can be done very successfully, and I think that would be a shame, particularly knowing the dilemma she will face ahead. I don’t know how the marriage/budding relationship can be downplayed successfully against her later decision. And I hope her response to Jamie when they do consummate their marriage is not played as Claire feeling that she is obligated to do that. That would just be too tragic, imo

    3. I actually like how they’ve handled Jamie & Claire thus far. In the book, their relationship changes dramatically in a very short period of time. She likes him well enough and pragmatically considers that a marriage to him could solve many short term problems, freeing her to continue planning her escape to the stones. But several harrowing experiences plus some really good sex make for an intense bonding experience. I’m really hoping that the show will really nail the post wedding stuff, before they return to Leoch, since imho that’s the real foundation of their marriage.
      That said, Black Jack gave me nightmares and if next week’s episode lives up to expectations, I fear for my ovaries *fans self* Love your blog 🙂

      1. Thank you, and thanks for bringing up Claire thinking “using Jamie” lol could help her get back to the stonse via less eyes on her. It’s an important factor.

        Claire’s so silly thinking she can “love him and leave him.”

          1. and when he said it he had been totally in love with her for a while, yet was able to say just “i like ye fine” lol. although he probably didn’t want to reveal the depth of his feelings at that point.

              1. JoAnn, thank you for that quote. Just an example of the reason I bought the kindle version of the books– just so I could highlight particular conversations that were meaningful to me (which have turned out to be a LOT); and I didn’t want to highlight in the actual books–that I had just bought, too.

                1. You’re most welcome. I don’t like to put marks in my books either so mine are full of those little red sticky “flags” like lawyers use to indicate “Sign here.” 🙂

        1. Absolutely, in the book Claire admits that she finds Jamie very attractive and is maybe infatuated with him, possibly due to proximity, stress and sexual deprivation! She had felt like this at times during the war but didn’t act on it because she knows infatuation is fleeting and an affair could have had horrible consequences for her relationship with Frank. She doesn’t want to marry Jamie or anyone else and is horrified by the idea. Her only thought is getting back to the stones. However, having realised she has no choice, she gets on with it as a means to an end. The intense, loving relationship that she will ultimately give everything up for only really develops after the wedding. But for Jamie, it was always forever!!!!,

    4. I have to disagree. In the book, Claire hardly notices Jamie until Dougal proposes the marriage plan. If you really think back to your first reading I think you will agree? Unfortunately as book readers we cannot be surprised again by the depth that their relationship goes to. If you have read further than Outlander it is hard to forget that they were ever not utterly and completely in love. (sorry about the gushing 🙂 )

      1. she might seem to hardly notice him but she also admits in the book, before the wedding, that she had been fighting her attraction towards him for some time. It seems like in the show they’ve paced things up with the intense looks and hand-touches, without having anything specific happen between them yet.

  6. Is that not a wristwatch just below the straight razor? In the opening credit scene you see the shaving mug , brush and what looks distinctively like a modern wrist watch. Although there were watches in the 1700’s I don’t believe any were that small and compact. Could it be Frank’s? Did he go back in time to become Jack Randall?

      1. Ron Moore said placing the watch there was intentional because he wanted to reinforce the connection between Frank and Jack Randall. I don’t recall if he said that in his brief discussion about the episode or where he said it, but I saw it somewhere on line today.

        1. Jo Ann, I believe that was in his tweets with fans after the Outlander episode, as he was preparing to leave for Scotland, and he took questions from fans while waiting for his flight.

  7. Well done, Candida! You have eloquently echoed many of the same thoughts I had regarding this episode. Truly it is the high point of the series so far. Also, like you, I fear that Jamie and Claire’s budding relationship is being sacrificed to develop the characters of Black Jack, which I can understand since it is he who is the catalyst for most of the events of the novel, and Dougal, whose complexity I admire but who so far makes Jamie appear almost shallow in comparison. Diana tells us to trust Ron, so I will, but I’m not sure how he is going to pull this off. While it is true that, in the book, Jamie really comes into his own as a character after the wedding, he is also much more important as a help to Claire before this. It isn’t so much I wish Jamie had more screen time because of his sex appeal (not that that doesn’t help!), but I genuinely like the man and think that his and Claire’s friendship is clearly developed by this point in the novel. We’ll see. I hope I don’t have to join you throwing things at the television. Thank you for validating my feelings about the series up to this point.

    1. lol. I believe it was one of my commenters who threatened to throw stuffed animals at her television, not me. I restrict myself to scrunching my nose and asking myself, “Ooh, why’d they do that?”

      I, too, am keeping the faith. I think Sam has shown he’s more than eye candy which translates directly to Jamie. I think we’ll see more of character after the wedding + his raw sex appeal.

    2. And for the reasons mentioned in this thread, this is why I think it important to read the books, and that is what I am recommending to ‘newbies’ in other forums who are watching the series and questioning “Should I read the books?” I answer with a resounding YES and caution them to prepare for the wildest roller coaster ride of their lives. I am a newbie who just finished reading Outlander, thanks to the STARZ series myself, so I empathize and respond as a newbie–not as someone who has read the books but then cautions newbies against reading the books and just watching the series–and I have read that in blogs.

      1. YES. If you have discovered Outlander through the television show, we long-time fans highly recommend reading the novel versus summaries on wikipedia which I know some people are doing.

        1. Funny timing for me, I discovered the books at the same time I learned that the show would air in August, like literally a few days before. I’ll soon be done with the 2nd book and will keep reading. Oh it will be a long wait for the next season(s).

          1. Voyager is my absolute favorite in the series. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do every time I read it. Contains my favorite scene in the series, too. I’ll tell you what it is when you get there.

            And welcome to the clan, lass!

                1. tsst tsst tsst, spoiler alert ! 🙂 thank you Candida, I’m looking forward to book 3, although I’m having a bit of a hard time stomaching the about to happen 2 decade-separation (it seems so cruel!!). Plus I have some suspicions about Leery that I’m afraid to see become true. I will let you know when I get there, it’s so good to discuss Outlander 🙂 I really enjoy your blog and am glad to be in the clan. Greetings from Paris 🙂

                  1. Merci beaucoup!

                    My favorite part of Voyager is actually the separation, watching Jamie mature. Mature Jamie is sooo yummy.

                    Love the friendship formed with Lord John Grey – my favorite non-main character in the series.

                    Then the reunion. Le Grand Sigh.

                    1. i can’t wait for the reunion and in my readings they aren’t even separated yet lol. I see there are great reads ahead, and she’s writing the 9th book it seems. I hope they turn them all into new show seasons too.

  8. Like everyone else, I was amazed by Tobias Menzies. I remember him as Brutus from “Rome”- and this was certainly no Brutus. His sheer malice made me shudder- literally- even before he was alone with Claire. The most unexpected part was that he made me laugh, too- he got that out of me even when I didn’t want to give it, giving me the tiniest foretaste of what Jamie will feel. Disturbingly brilliant.

  9. Hi, Candida!

    After watching this episode, I came directly to your website, because I feel that your level of “fandom” to the books and the series is something I can trust. O.k. so I just have to ask you a question, did you have any difficulties at all swallowing the portrayal of Claire in this episode in comparison to the book? Because unfortunately, I’m having a really hard time. The initial interrogation scene in the book is actually one of my favourite parts in the novel because you really see how strong and ballsy (is that a word?) Claire is. When she tells Black Jack (or as I call him the “rat bastard”) “Your wig is crooked” after he punches her, that was when I fell in love with Claire! I felt this episode made her look weak and very foolish. I agree with you when you were saying in your head “stop talking Claire!” I was doing it aloud. So basically, I did enjoy the episode, but more and more the show is becoming more of a reinterpretation of the books, because I feel like some of the essence of Claire is being lost in translation. Great acting, don’t get me wrong (from them all!) but I want Claire to be stronger, she is such a saucy bitch sometimes and I love it.

    The show is doing VERY well in playing up Jacks evil sadistic side, but in the novels he was said to be charming, and I quote “he smiled, with that unnerving resemblance to Frank’s smile; that lovely smile which I had seen charm students and melt the stoniest college administrator.” In this show Jack is so dark, he doesn’t have a charming bone in his body and I can’t imagine Claire having sudden impulses to start making out with him as she did in the novel. I’m pouting/venting a bit too. Thank you for listening. I am just wondering if anyone else feels the way I do. Also I will be interested to see how the connection/romance between Claire and Jamie is re-established too, as I noticed the same distance in the last episodes as well.

    1. Thanks for such a wonderful compliment, Erin, and for seeking my opinion.

      Regarding Claire appearing weak in this episode, I think her humor during the punch-in-the-gut scene had to be eliminated in order to sell Black Jack’s darkness. I am thrilled with the expansion of his character in the series, so I’m willing to overlook the absence of her remark. It would have ruined the scene.

      I believe we did see Frank in Black Jack, as you notice in my #1 pick for Black Jack’s Top Look. He became Frank for a few minutes which causes Claire to trust him long enough for him to punch her in the gut. I think it was a bit of brilliance.

      Regarding Black Jack losing some of his charm, that is also a necessary sacrifice. I believe they COULD have made him more charming in this episode, then turn him into a full-fledged “rat bastard” at Fort William. I am sooo looking forward to that scene. Will Claire have her spunkiness back, playing with the ink on his desk or will she be scared because of The Garrison Commander encounter? We’ll have to wait and see.

      Did I have trouble swallowing her portrayal, I have to say no because of the changes made to Black Jack. His being so much worse in the show than in the novel means changes/adjustments have to be made accordingly. It increases the fear factor for the audience to buy Claire marrying Jamie. Unfortunately, it’s a device to make up for the gap in the closeness that’s missing between them.

      It’s been said the producers/writers think Jamie’s character comes to full strength after the wedding, so I am eagerly waiting to see if they back up their claim. I cannot take neutered Jamie for one more episode.

      As this is an adaptation, allowances have to be made for the non-novel readers – hooking them, I mean. I know for a fact if the story had concentrated “too much” on Jamie & Claire, the men at my work place would not be enjoying the show. They come to my desk every Monday morning to discuss the episode. I love it!

      You read my review for RENT. I was more disappointed with that episode than any other because I feel they really dropped the ball on establishing Jamie & Claire’s friendship. Why the hell was Angus the star of that show? I like him, but – you know what I am saying. It made no sense to me at all. I really did expect Angus to be offered up to Claire with a last second change – ha ha kind of thing “we fooled you.” Of course, we know why Dougal paired Claire with Jamie though they left that out in this episode. I can’t remember when it comes up or if Jamie will even mention Dougal’s motives.

      But I’ve gotten off-track from your original concern. Your concerns are my concerns though as I keep saying “I have have faith” because the producers of this show love & respect the novel as much as we do. Jamie has taken the biggest hit as far as changes to his character which I desperately hope is “fixed” soon. Claire is different also. I think she’s a little “dumber” in the show shooting her mouth off rather than keeping quiet when she’s so close to getting home. Really? I guess that’s why they keep getting her drunk, so her lips will keep flapping.

      Having said all THAT, I am reserving final judgement until after the wedding when Claire & Jamie open up to one another. The upcoming episode will either get their relationship back on track or it won’t – simply put. I think the actors have a big job making up for the lack of scenes they should have had to establish the missing camaraderie.

      I hope I answered your question.

      1. O.k. you have smoothed some of my ruffled feathers, lol! You do make valid points and observations and I now gain a clearer picture of why Claire is a bit different in regards to the extreme Black Jack portrayal that she has to adjust to. The flogging scene in this last episode was done so well that it really gave me a deeper level of horror and appreciation for the sacrifice that Jamie will make in the future (you know what I’m talking about). As one of my friends said, at the end of reading Outlander, “holy cow I feel like I just went through a battle!” Thank you so much for your feedback and taking time to talk this over with me. I look forward to more of your recaps and perspectives.

        1. I hadn’t thought of it but indeed this scaring the hell out of Claire should explain her “willingness” to marry Jamie in comparison to the way more developed friendship they had by that point in the book. I remember Jamie saying “I would’ve missed talking to you” and find it beautiful. I would’ve enjoyed more of the friendship development (although those looks were great too); in the last episode it felt a bit like “oh hey haven’t seen you recently let’s get married”. They do have a lot to make up for and I’m hopeful, Caitriona said in an interview that she thinks the wedding episode will meet the fans expectations, and I expect it to get better and better from there.

      2. Can’t resist jumping in here. I’ve read ALL the books numerous times, but THIS is an adaptation. It’s never going to be exactly like the books and many people don’t seem to realize that. We’ve had many scenes that were almost word-for-word from the book and many of our favorite lines have been included. We have Ron and Diana to thank for this extraordinary faithfulness to the book.

        I think every single one of the actors has perfectly captured the essence of their book character. Scenes may not be exactly the same, may be moved around, or perhaps not included at all. On the other hand, some truly new terrific scenes have been added. I love the books, but I’m loving this film adaptation, too. They’re different animals, ye ken?

  10. Great recap…….BUT to answer all the questions of those that HAVE read the books……..you summed it up nicely in just these few words…..As this is an adaptation, allowances have to be made for the non-novel readers – hooking them, I mean. I know for a fact if the story had concentrated “too much” on Jamie & Claire, the men at my work place would not be enjoying the show. They come to my desk every Monday morning to discuss the episode. I love it. And that is why a lot of the what they do is being done! Herself likes what they are doing with her storyline so have patience.

  11. SPOILER ALERT: I hope it is okay to speculate on future episodes of this series in relation to the book. I would really like to see a discussion about how they will film future episodes of the First Season. Is anyone else speculating on how Episode 8 will end? Will it be a cliff hanger? Maybe at Ft William? I am hoping they take the time for us to really feel the romantic chemistry develop in each episode in addition to all the action and drama. Also, any speculations on the last 8 episodes?

    It seems like the first half season only takes us about a third of the way through the book, so how will they condense the rest of the book into 8 episodes? Considering all the drama to come, I honestly don’t know how they do it in 8 without dropping something big. My favorite dialog in the book is the verbal fight between J and C both on the road and at Castle Leoch and the reunion dialog/fight between Jamie and his sister. I really hope they don’t shorten or gloss over those scenes. Plus I really like the expanded scenes and diversions from the book so far and look forward to similar explorations of character, plot and environment. Any ideas or comments?

    1. I speculate on how *I* think ep108 will end in my O/L Posters post but Ron did once say he liked the idea of ending the episode with Jamie appearing in BJR’s window.
      Of course, we don’t know the layout of Ft William or BJR’s off, so we don’t know how Jamie will ultimately enter & rescue Claire.
      Personally, I am hoping they spend as much time building Claire & Jamie’s relationship as possible. We know she meets Hugh Munro, so hopefully we’ll get scenes of J&C alone while Dougal goes off rent collecting.
      I predict (per my post) they end the with Claire alone, heading back to the stone while Jamie goes off to meet his contact. Boom. She runs into Black Jack.
      So many juicy options are possible.
      Regarding the second half of the season. Here’s my guess on the breakdown for the last 8 shows:
      ep109 Rescue/On the road/Spanking
      ep110 Return to Castle Leoch/Argument over Leery
      ep111 Sandringham’s Visit/Arrival
      ep112 Witch Trial/Rescue
      ep113 Lallybroch Arrival
      ep114 Lallybroch Arrest
      ep115 Wentworth Prison
      ep116 France

      Lots to fit in there. Arthur Duncan’s murder. Jenny’s birthing scene. With the new character perspectives, i.e. not all from Claire’s POV, I am very excited to see how the story unfolds. Will we see Jamie & BJR “real-time” rather than as a flashback? What other scenes will Jamie have on his own? One with Leery when he returns? Very exciting times ahead!

      Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to write a comment.

      1. I agree with your prediction on each episode, although episode 112 will be jam packed with witch trial, Gueilis revelations, confession to Jamie and trip to the stones, not to mention the required drama of her decision and Jamie’s reaction which should not be rushed since it is the big dramatic high for the whole series and completely changes Clare and the relationship dynamic going forward. Again, I don’t know how they do it in less than 2 hours.

        Everyone loves a cliff hanger, so that Episode 108 is likely to end with Clare rushing for the stones and a last image of BJR tracking her so the audience doesn’t know if he will catch her or if she makes it. However, my hope is that it will end as you suggest with Jamie pointing a gun in the window at Wentworth. Mostly because the image of Jamie in all his manly glory will sustain me until the 2nd half of the season and I am tired of the image of Clare always looking upset and scared. However, taking the plot in 108 beyond that point, through another capture/confrontation with BJR to get to the window scene will, again, be a lot to pack into episode 108 without it being an extra long episode. With that in mind, wouldn’t it be nice if they surprised us with a 90 minute episode for 108?

        Thoughts?

        1. Well, we do have images of Claire being grabbed by a couple of Redcoats near the stones – at least, it looks like that’s where they are. So, maybe she makes it there and then gets nab. That would be exciting. I’m sure wherever they break the story, will be perfectly torturous.

          Yes, so much to pack into the show. No time to spend on Angus! If he gets one more story line – Grrr.

          1. In a video interview with Diana and the cast, she said episode 108 “ends with screaming, but no blood.” Sam piped up and said very quietly, “There will be blood” then smiled rather conspiratorily.

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