Episode 116: "To Ransom a Man's Soul" (SPOILERS)
The acting was SUPERB throughout this episode! Sam and Tobias's scenes together were raw, powerful, emotionally intense -- and courageous on both their parts. Caitriona was wonderful, too. I liked what they did with the script. Yes, there are plenty of changes, just as Diana Gabaldon warned us, but they managed to capture the essence of this part of the book, and I think it works very well indeed!
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
I liked the opening shot of the seal (used in the branding scene), the rosary, and the bottle of oil of lavender very much. It's especially meaningful after you've seen the episode!
That first glimpse of Jamie is just heartbreaking. The expression in his eyes -- he looks as though he wants very badly to be dead. And then the camera angle widens and we see Randall lying naked beside him. I shuddered all over when I saw that.
I really did NOT want to see BJR fully naked (not out of prudishness, but because of my feelings about his character), but I don't think it was gratuitous nudity, just raw honesty. And it takes guts for an actor to do that.
As Jamie watches BJR leaving, he says, "You owe me a debt." And then, "Please." It's clear he means that he wants BJR to kill him.
I loved the cattle stampede! It was better than I've always imagined, in fact.
Claire wearing men's clothing took me by surprise. I can understand wanting to disguise herself so that she looks like a man at a distance to any Redcoats who might be pursuing them, but I was still taken aback a bit.
The way Jamie sees Claire's face blending with BJR's (in the scene in the wagon, and throughout this episode) is very effective.
"What did Randall do to you?" "Too much, and not enough." Great line!
The scene where BJR pulls the nail out of Jamie's hand was hard to watch. And it appeared to me that Jamie fell on the injured hand (owwwww!) But the way BJR cradled him so gently, like a child, murmuring, "It's all right, the worst is over now, you'll see", made my skin crawl with revulsion.
"Dear God. You are a magnificent creature." My instant reaction was, yes, and you RUINED him, you bastard!! (Jamie may eventually find the strength within himself to forgive Randall. I don't think I ever will.)
"It's like kissing a corpse. You can do better than that." And then he taps him on the nose like a small boy. Those tiny gestures add so much to Tobias's performance. He's just mesmerizing to watch!
The first rape scene was so hard to watch, but Jamie's reactions throughout are just perfect -- heartbreaking! I was not expecting him to spit in BJR's face, but I liked that, because it proves his spirit still exists.
"Scream. Scream!" And he does, finally. That was horrible. Very intense and difficult to watch, but I didn't look away. (Watching this, I had a sudden memory of the infamous scene in the stable in LORD JOHN AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BLADE: "I could make you scream." So this is what Jamie was remembering. I don't think I'll ever be able to read that bit in BOTB again without thinking of this scene from the TV show.)
I liked the next scene with Jamie and Claire. Although it's different from the book, I think the use of laudanum works well here. It gives us a chance to concentrate on what Claire is doing (not just the surgery itself, but her voice-over, which is taken straight from the book) without being distracted by Jamie's agony during the surgery. And I liked the way they showed Jamie hearing fragments of BJR's voice in memory as he's slipping into unconsciousness.
Claire throwing up immediately after the surgery -- is that stress, or morning sickness?
I'm glad they included the scene in the chapel with Claire and Father Anselm, even though it doesn't address the question of Claire's adultery/bigamy. Diana Gabaldon fought hard to have this scene included, but she didn't get everything she wanted, as she explained on Compuserve here.
"Through my selfishness, I've brought great suffering to both my husbands." Good line.
"Eight months ago" -- Claire went through the stones on Samhain, in the TV series, so that means it's around July 1744 now.
I liked the montage as Claire tells her story to Father Anselm. It reminds me a bit of Jamie telling stories about his family on their wedding night. Father Anselm is much older than I expected, but I liked him.
Back in the sickroom, Jamie has a fever. It's the wrong time of year for snow, so Claire asks for "the coldest water you can find."
"Ye canna save a man that doesna want saving." Good line, but chilling!
The scene between Murtagh and Jamie in Gaidhlig is fascinating to watch, even if I don't understand a word of what they're saying. (See the translation here.) Murtagh is very good here.
Another flashback: "Have you reached your limit yet?" BJR is very calm, almost clinical, as though he's conducting a scientific experiment.
I liked the way Jamie reaches for Claire and her face melts into BJR's. "She's gone," Jamie whispers. "There's no more Claire." Heartbreaking!
BJR's mind games ("Are you mine?") are just sickening, revolting, but undeniably effective. Still, even under torture, Jamie can't stop loving Claire. ("You [seeing Claire in his mind]...there's only you.") I found that reassuring.
Lovely shot of BJR's face in firelight, as he blows on the fire in the brazier.
The branding scene is much more intense than I imagined from the book. "Show me you're mine." Jamie nods as though mesmerized, but then he manages to turn the red-hot signet away at the last moment, so that the brand falls on his side, not over his heart. I was very glad to see that!
I liked this line, in reference to Jamie's cousin Jared: "The man's a merchant. He couldn't fight sleep."
The scene with Willie and Jamie was well done. Willie is very earnest, trying to do the right thing, but Jamie clearly wants to die.
I liked the scene with Murtagh and Claire very much.
"I'll not watch Jamie waste away, die like an animal in the woods with his foot caught in a trap!" Great line. And Claire faints -- is that a sign of early pregnancy, or only a combination of extreme stress and tight stays?
I liked the scene where Claire makes the oil of lavender. She is a wise-woman, after all. <g>
The confrontation between Claire and Jamie is a terrific scene, very intense! Yes, there are differences from the book, but I think the way it's done here works very well. Caitriona is just wonderful throughout this whole sequence.
"These are Claire's hands. Think of Claire." I'm shuddering all over, again. And watching BJR masturbating, preparing to rape Jamie yet again, makes me feel sick. The way he uses his hair to evoke Claire's presence is just horrible....but at the same time, it's an interesting twist on the way it's done in the book, where Claire evokes BJR's "ghost" (his voice, his scent, his touch) in order to get Jamie to fight back. And it is very much consistent with Jamie's description in the book of how BJR would not stop talking about Claire, but kept her image always before him.
"Say my name" -- and this time Jamie's body responds, and BJR, seeing it, deliberately makes it worse by saying, "How could she ever forgive you?"
I absolutely loved Claire's reaction: "You belong to no one else but me. And I belong to you. And nothing will ever change that!" Wonderful quote, one of my favorites in the whole series.
"We were meant to be together....It's all been for you and me." I love this, too. (Yes, I'm a hopeless romantic where J&C's relationship is concerned....)
"How can you have me like this?" "I'll have you any way I can. Always!" Another terrific pair of lines! And when Jamie finally reached out and put his good arm around her, I had tears in my eyes.
Murtagh is very good with a blade! I was so glad to see that sickening brand tossed in the fire.
"Keepin' you and Jamie out of harm's way proves to be a full-time occupation." Good line from Rupert. I also liked the gallant way he kissed Claire's hand in farewell. Angus's antics in this scene made me smile. I'm going to miss these two! They're always entertaining to watch.
Claire is puking again. This time it really does seem like morning sickness.
"I believe we can do anything we want, just as long as we're together." Another great line, and finally Jamie gives her a half-smile.
Jamie's reaction to the news of Claire's pregnancy is very good. And they sail off into the proverbial sunset together. <g> I loved the music at the end, with a vocal arrangement of the series theme song that I've never heard before.
This episode was riveting and very emotionally intense, but it left me feeling hopeful at the end. I'm so glad they didn't end with a cliffhanger! It's going to be a long, long wait for Season 2 (no, we still have no idea when the next season will air on STARZ -- keep in mind they've only been filming about three weeks) but I'm happy with the way this season ended.
I hope you enjoyed this recap. 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:
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"
Episode 113: "The Watch"
Episode 114: "The Search"
Episode 115: "Wentworth Prison"