Sunday, May 3, 2015

Episode 113: "The Watch" (SPOILERS)

Here are my reactions to Episode 113 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled “The Watch”.

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.

S

P

O

I

L

E

R

S

First of all, I have to say that I enjoyed this episode MUCH more on the second viewing! There's a lot to absorb here, and quite a few differences from the book, but I think overall it works very well.

Opening scene:  I liked the visual play on words (it’s a watch <g>), and this is clearly meant to be the same one that MacQuarrie shows Jamie later in the show when they're riding in the rain.

I liked Jamie’s opening line.  “I hope you kept your powder dry. Misfire, and I’ll ram that pistol down your gullet.”  He’s very calm, considering he’s being held at gunpoint.

Jenny’s a quick thinker:  “That’s no scoundrel, ye fool, it’s my cousin.”  Clearly MacQuarrie is not from around there, or he would have recognized Jamie at once!  But I can’t help thinking that it must really gall Jamie to have to pretend to be “Jamie MacTavish” in his own home.

“But we’ve come to know Claire. She’s a decent woman. We don’t mind her Englishness so much.” – good line from Jenny!

I really like the look on Jamie’s face when he says, “They’re criminals, out to line their own pockets!”

The idea that Ian and Jenny have been paying the Watch for protection in Jamie’s absence is believable (what choice did they have?), but it still took me by surprise.

I like the details of the kitchen. Very authentic-looking.

“Tread lightly and don’t provoke them” – not easy, for a man in Jamie’s position!

I found the dinner-table conversation about soldiering in France a little hard to follow, lacking knowledge of the historical background.  But I liked the “Jamais ĂȘtre pris vivant!”  MacQuarrie comes across as a likeable, decent man.

“Here’s to a long life, and a merry one. A quick death, and an easy one. A pretty girl, and an honest one. A stiff whisky, and another one.”  I like this toast from MacQuarrie very much.  And I also liked the way he shoved the other man’s boots off the table.

I liked the look Jamie exchanges with Ian after the Watch men leave the dining room, as if to say, “See? I managed not to provoke them, didn’t I?”

Good to see Jamie tending the horse.  And I liked seeing young Rabbie again.  Just as Jamie says, “No wonder he turned up lame,” you can see the Watch man starting the fire in the hay wagon, blowing on the embers to get it going.

The bucket brigade was fun to watch.  And I liked the fight afterward.

“I’ve done enough fightin’ in my life. I’m settled now.”  When Jamie says this, I thought immediately of FIERY CROSS, and how he really didn’t want to go and fight the Regulators.

Glad to see they remembered the dogs, Bran and Luke! <g>

I was not surprised to see Horrocks show up, mostly because of the previews for this episode.

I like the laird’s study. Very nicely decorated. (And if you've read WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD, take a good look at that desk! <g>)

Claire’s line, “Whatever happens, we’ll handle it. No matter the cost" is just wonderful!  That could be the motto for the entire series, and I don't mean just the TV show!

The laundry scene is very good.  (Finally, we’re back to the book!)  Wee Jamie is awfully cute. 

“I’ve stitched more wounds than clothes, but I’ll give it a whirl.” – good line

Are those Ellen’s yellow roses by the steps?  I think so, but I'm not sure.

“Jamie was only eight when we lost Willie to the smallpox.” No, actually, Jamie was six when Willie died.  He was eight when his mother died.

But I'll forgive this bit of date-confusion, because I'm SO glad they included the bit about “guarding his chief’s weaker side”!!

My biggest problem with the whole childbirth subplot is Claire’s total lack of experience as a midwife!  How the hell does she know what a breech baby feels like, let alone how to deliver one safely?  She was trained as a combat nurse, not a midwife! Yes, it’s dramatic and makes for good television, but it requires a MAJOR suspension of disbelief, especially for those of us who've read the book. :-(  Claire is entirely too confident throughout this whole scene, as though she’s done this dozens of times before.  I didn’t find it believable at all.

I liked the reference to Grannie MacNab’s fertility advice. <g>

About Jenny’s refusal to let Ian know what’s going on (“Tell him the bairn’s comin’, but nothing else.”), I can see why they did this. In the book, Jamie and Ian spend the whole time that Jenny’s in labor sitting downstairs, getting drunk.  But that wouldn’t be very entertaining to show on TV. This way Jamie and Ian’s storyline with the Watch can continue through the rest of the episode.

Again, I like the laird’s study very much.  The diamond-paned window, the bookshelves – it looks like a very cozy and comfortable place.

Horrocks is fun to watch, though he’s a pretty despicable character.

“Tell me what it’s like, being pregnant.”  I’m really glad they included this part!  Some of you may recall that this (or rather, the version of it that eventually ended up in the book) is the first scene that Diana Gabaldon ever shared on Compuserve, several years before OUTLANDER was published.

I liked the addition of “You get down on your knees and promise God anything he asks, if he’ll just keep them safe.”  Also the view of Jenny’s belly through her shift.

The discussion about Jenny taking a dram of whisky while she’s in labor will likely cause some controversy among younger viewers, but Claire didn’t have a problem with it, and neither do I, given the time when this story takes place.

I liked the scene with Ian and Jamie.  Ian’s explanation of why he likes MacQuarrie makes sense to me, especially the part where he calls MacQuarrie “a man who doesna look on me with pity.”  Obviously Ian has had to make some hard choices during Jamie’s absence, but he’s doing what he thinks best to protect the estate and the tenants, and I liked that very much.

The scene with Jamie and Claire is excellent, really well done!  Cait does an amazing job here. You really feel Claire’s anguish.  Though I want to tell her not to worry!

“I never counted on loving you” – great line!

“I can bear pain myself, but I couldna bear yours. It would take more strength than I have.” – this is very well done!

But as that wonderful scene ends, we suddenly realize that Jenny is still upstairs, all alone as far as we know, still in labor, and we’ve momentarily forgotten all about her!  I didn’t like that.

The scene with Jamie and Horrocks is very good.  A few thoughts: 1) If you give in to a blackmailer, he’ll just keep wanting more and more, and surely Jamie is smart enough to see that!  2) Much as I liked seeing Ian run the man through with the sword, I can’t figure out how someone with a wooden leg could sneak up on him from behind like that, over rough terrain, without making a sound.  3) The suddenness of the man's death reminded me very much of young Ian killing Allan Christie, thirty years later.

I like the way Ian’s hand shook when he tried to sheath the sword.

“Remember, we used to argue which was the bigger sin, fornication or killing?” – this reminds me very much of the conversations between Jamie and Ian in Diana Gabaldon's novella, "Virgins", although I just checked the story and they didn't talk about that specifically.

“Well, if you’re goin' to hell, I might as well go, too. God knows, ye’ll never manage alone.” This, on the other hand, is a direct quote from "Virgins", and a terrific line! <g>

(For more information about "Virgins", see my FAQ page here.  It's a very entertaining story, and I would definitely recommend it to any OUTLANDER fans.)
 
I’m so glad they included the little wooden snake!  This is changed somewhat from the book, where Jamie has kept it in his sporran all along, but I think the way they did it here (“Give it to Jamie for me.” “You’ll give it to him yourself.”) works better on TV.  More dramatic.

Macquarrie giving Jamie money to buy more hay surprised me. Maybe he is a decent man after all?  And I like his dialogue in the next scene, as he figures out what happened to Horrocks.

I loved the way Jamie stepped in and took the blame for killing Horrocks, much as he’ll take the blame for the scrap of tartan at Ardsmuir many years later.  The way he says “I ran him through,” very calmly, and then takes a bite of his bannock, is just chilling!  I was taken aback by MacQuarrie’s reaction, though.

Things are happening very fast.  Just when I’ve decided that MacQuarrie might be a good guy after all (on the principle that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”), he coerces Jamie at gunpoint to accompany the Watch.

I don’t think it’s realistic that Jenny would have let Jamie or Ian see her in labor.  On the other hand, it’s totally in character for her to insist she doesn’t need them, that it’s all right for them to go.  I liked her “Haste ye back” line very much.

The farewell scene between Jamie and Claire is very good!  “You heard your sister. Haste ye back, or else.” “Or else what?”  My thought was, Oh, God, no!  You really don’t want to know!  There’s such a strong sense of foreboding here, but also the promise that Claire will find him and bring him back.  We’re going to need that thought, in order to get through what’s coming next.

That long, lingering kiss, and the look Claire gives him, is very reminiscent of the last time she saw Frank, back in Episode 101 just before she went through the stones.

MacQuarrie is an interesting, and surprisingly complex, character, with a taste for adventure similar to Ned Gowan’s, and his own personal "code of honor", so to speak.  “Money taken is twice as sweet as money earned”, but he would never betray Jamie to the Redcoats because he’s seen the inside of the Tolbooth, and “I wouldna wish it on a dog”.  I thought that was a good explanation of his motives, as well as a very sobering bit of foreshadowing of what Wentworth will be like.

I liked the next scene with Jenny and Claire. Laura Donnelly does a terrific job, and I don't just mean the screaming!

Re the ambush: it’s hard to believe that Jamie would let himself be trapped like that, without a means of escape.  He's spent four years on the run as a wanted man, after all.  But it is undeniably effective, from a dramatic point of view, and I liked the use of slow motion during the ambush.  (And the thunder, which only heightened the tension.)

“Your bonnie little lass just landed on her feet.” – good line

Margaret Ellen was named for Jenny’s grandmother?  Well, maybe in the TV series, but not in the books. <g> The OC lists Jenny's maternal grandmother as Anne Grant and her paternal grandmother as Davina Porter.

I was delighted to see that they included the boar’s tusk bracelets!!  They’re perfect, just as I imagined them.  My friend Betsy saw a pair like this in a shop window in Edinburgh when we visited Scotland on the Celtic Journeys OUTLANDER Tour in 2012. (For more about my trip to Scotland, look here.)

So let me see if I have this straight:  Horrocks betrayed the Watch to the Redcoats “to buy his freedom”.  (Meaning they agreed not to hang him for desertion, I suppose?)  MacQuarrie was wounded in the attack, Jamie wouldn’t leave him behind, and the only remaining man from the Watch brought Ian home.  Was this the same man who set the hay on fire?  (I’m not sure.  I had a hard time telling the men of the Watch apart.) If so, he’s redeemed himself here.

When the man said, “The Redcoats have him,” my first thought was, “I’m scared!”  I think it’s much, much harder for book-readers to see this part, knowing what’s going to happen next. <shudder>

What about the rest of you? I'd like to know what you thought about this episode. Please leave a comment here or on my Outlandish Observations Facebook page.

Here are my previous OUTLANDER episode recaps. Please come back next week for more!

Episode 101: "Sassenach"
Episode 102: "Castle Leoch"
Episode 103: "The Way Out"
Episode 104: "The Gathering"
Episode 105: "Rent"
Episode 106: "The Garrison Commander"
Episode 107: "The Wedding"
Episode 108: "Both Sides Now"
Episode 109: "The Reckoning"
Episode 110: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"
Episode 111: "The Devil's Mark"
Episode 112: "Lallybroch"

14 comments:

Judy Lowstuter said...

This was great to read! I only watched it one time and you made some things clearer to me. We share some of the same curiosities. And I thought about Betsy's bracelet photo too!

Anonymous said...

Nice review Karen! I love checking in with the you the morning after the show.

Yes, the dogs make another appearance but I wont' forgive them for exchanging a Mastif for a Scottish Deerhound. How hard is it to get a Deerhound in Scotland?

No, it was not the same Watchman who set the fire and brought back Ian. The one who set the fire had a very red complexion and facial scars.

Why didn't they stick to the book regarding Jamie's capture by the British? One could make that just as dramatic.

Anyone else find Lallybroch fancier than what they imagined from the book? Love the decor of the Laird's bedroom but find it a bit too regal. I haven't been to Scotland, so those who have, does this seem right to you?

Not looking forward to what is ahead - will need a dram or two to get through it.

Victoria

Linda Bouley said...

I liked this episode very much, especially as a follow-up to EP112. I'm so pleased that Sam's acting chops are really showcased in both EPS. He's a very nuanced actor who uses his eyes, voice tone, body, and facial expressions so effectively. He also brings a great deal of 'Jamie detail' into his characterization - you can tell Sam's read and studied the books (finger tapping on the fireplace in 112 is something Jamie would definitely do). Sometimes I'm disappointed when fans fixate on Sam's looks and personality instead of the skill he has as an actor. Back to 113, I don't think Jamie would have ever been part of the Watch as Ron Moore implies in the post-episode wrap-up on STARZ. If he'd remained single the thought might have enticed him, but in the end I don't think he could bring himself to forcing Scots to pay for protection. I wished Claire & Jamie had had more time to be at Lallybroch. There are many scene's from those sections of the book that I would have like to see mostly because Jamie would have more time to find his full blown laird self which happened in the book.

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoy your comments on the episodes. You often point out things I had missed and then I can look for them on my many subsequent viewings!

Anonymous said...

Dear Karen, I enjoyed Outlander Episode 113 as well as your recap. I might add that even though Claire had a job as a combat nurse during WW 2 during the early 1940's, she had to have training in and knowledge of other nursing specialties. In order to become a licensed nurse, whether it be a practical or a registered nurse, you must have 2 to 4 years of extensive training followed by the passing of a tough comprehensive exam. In the US in the 1940's you must have had training and exams in medicine, surgery, Obstetrics/ gynocology ( incl. pregnancy, labor and delivery), pediatrics (child care), psychology and pharmacology( study of drugs). So even though Claire had never personally delivered a baby, I'm sure she was able to determine if Jenny was having a breach (feet first) delivery and the best way to tackle the problem. Pat

mountaingirl1961 said...

Howdy!

Am very much enjoying your blog, and your observations on the episodes as they air. Thanks for taking time to do all of this!

These last two episodes have been a mixed bag for me, largely because of how they're developing Jamie's character. In the books, Claire's observation about Jamie at Lallybroch is that "you were born for this." In these last two episodes, you don't get that feeling at all, and in fact he comes off as being a bit of a misfit. In watching Mr. Moore's commentary after the episode, he says that Macquarrie represents what Jamie could have been had he made different life choices. I don't see any reality in the books that would have taken Jamie voluntarily in that direction, once he returned from his exile.

And - Ian was a soldier, too, and (in the books at any rate) a quiet leader. Lallybroch was able to field 30+ able bodied men for Culloden and still leave defenders at home. Where are they now? Why bring in the Watch when you have people at home who are able to bear arms, and a factor with as much military experience as Jamie?

I'm not one of those folks who are all hung up on this adaptation having to be "true to the books," but I do think that some of the writing choices they've made in these last two episodes don't do the story justice.

I'm imagining "Red Wedding" level shock ahead with Wentworth, particularly among the non-book-readers who don't know it's coming. I hope the producers knock that one out of the park, it's so critical to the overall story arc.

Bev Sykes said...

Jenny's grandmother was Davina Porter? Surely you jest.

Theresa said...

In this episode I really felt that Cait played my Claire. She had now thoroughly convinced me that she IS Claire.

Jenny is so matter of fact. Just as she is protrayed in the book. The way that she delivers her lines - no muss, no fuss.

Jamie telling about the price on his head - loved this scene. He takes the measure of a man and decided that the truth must out.

Jamie and Claire's departing kiss - total reminder of Frank and Claire's departing kiss. Foreboding. And the slow motion really helps to focus the viewer on the scene as foreshadowing something....

The man who returned Ian was not the same as the man who set the fire (I only know since the man who returned Ian also played a character in Breaking Bad and I recognized him).

Great review again.
Thanks

Karen Charbonneau said...

Excellent review, Karen. I also find their home more refined than I expected, based on the book. And larger, too. What I came away with is that Jamie attracts violence by his very nature. I didn't feel that about him in the book - it was just happenstance there. But he does act like a youth so used to using his sword during the previous few years, using his wits comes secondarily. He has to put more gray matter into it. Makes for quite a drama, though. I think Claire would have at least studied childbirth in a book while training as a nurse. She wouldn't want to frighten Jenny by admitting her ignorance. And beside, she can do just about anything, she's that clever of a lass.

Anonymous said...

As always, I enjoy reading your observations. In terms of MacQuarrie, I really got to like his character by the end of the episode. I was skeptical at first, and like you, surprised at his reaction to Jamie saying he ran Horrocks through (good riddance to bad trash BTW). But after that I saw him in a different light--a renegade criminal who had a good deal of honor in other respects. Much more honor than some of the bad guys we have yet to meet. Also, I thought perhaps MacQuarrie left the money for the hay as some kind of recompense for the burned tobacco. The guy who burned it reminded me of Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Leeann said...

I miss Murtagh! Hope he is back next week to help Claire rescue Jamie, but I don't think he will, looks like he has been written out. :-(

Mama K said...

According to the MOBY family tree, yes, Davina Porter was Brian Fraser's mother.
http://outlander.wikia.com/wiki/Fraser_of_Lovat

mrs vee makes said...

I just read Virgins and enjoyed it. Wished it could have been longer. Ended rather abruptly. Hope Diana wraps up the Annalise mystery someday. Wondering about her.

Hayley Burns said...

Please clear something up for me! This is driving me crazy. Did Jamie really let himself get roped into going on a robbing trip with that guy from "The Watch"?? Is that what they were doing? Was this a deviation from the books? I can't believe that's something Jamie would ever do! I've read the books but it's been a while. Please help me understand.