Episode 211: "Vengeance is Mine" (SPOILERS)
The script for this episode was written by Diana Gabaldon. For more information, look here and here.
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
I liked the symbolism in the opening scene with Sandringham's wig falling to the floor. My instant reaction was, "Oops, he lost his head."
Good to see Claire acting as a healer, though I do wonder where she picked up tooth-pulling skills. It doesn't seem like the sort of thing they'd teach in WWII nurses' training. I liked the way even Murtagh can't bear to watch.
"I must say this is a damned inconvenient time to be conciliatory." Good line!
Not sure I like the idea of Jamie being so forceful in support of continuing the push toward London, but it becomes clear a little later why he said it.
"But if we turn back now, all hope that currently resides in the hearts of our supporters will be filled with doubt and fear." Huh? This line as Jamie says it here makes no sense, and I can't imagine that Diana wrote it that way, with such mangled syntax. I'm surprised that no one involved with the production noticed how odd it sounded.
Good to see Rupert thinking about Angus. "He didna shite for a week for fear of being bitten" made me smile, and I liked the way Rupert raised the flask for a moment, as though toasting his friend's memory, before drinking. But no wonder the little boy is scared to death, hearing that!
And finally we see Charles Stuart making an impassioned speech without a single "mark me"! That catch phrase was getting really old, and I'm glad Diana didn't resort to it.
"So is there no one among you still willing to stand by your Prince, your rightful King, and your God?" And once again, Jamie sticks his neck out. I liked the way he knelt with his sword before Charles, vowing his loyalty without saying a single word. This is Jamie in pure Highlander mode, in a way we haven't seen for a long time.
Andrew Gower was really good as Charles Stuart in this scene.
I liked the way Jamie and Claire embraced the moment they saw one another, taking comfort from one another's presence, as they've done so many times in the books. Jamie's explanation of why he was so forceful in support of the push to London makes sense in retrospect, since he's still thinking they might be able to change history.
"And you, Sassenach. I'll see you safe, no matter what happens." Yikes! Major foreshadowing here, and a reminder that time is running out.
The next scene, with Jamie speaking in Gaelic to Claire as she sleeps, is just wonderful, one of the best scenes in the whole season, IMHO.
"White dove" - Diana has said this is a deliberate reference to this bit in OUTLANDER:
"Your hair is silver-gilt and your skin is white velvet. Calman geal. White dove."Jamie's prayer is based on the Resting Prayer from the Carmina Gadelica.
(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "By the Pricking of My Thumbs". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Most of what Jamie says to Claire after she wakes comes straight from the book:
"Let me tell ye in your sleep how much I love you. For there’s no so much I can be saying to ye while ye wake, but the same poor words, again and again. While ye sleep in my arms, I can say things to ye that would be daft and silly waking, and your dreams will know the truth of them. Go back to sleep, mo duinne.”This is one of my favorite quotes from the whole book, and I'm so glad Diana included a version of it here!
I turned my head, enough that my lips brushed the base of his throat, where his pulse beat slow beneath the small three-cornered scar. Then I laid my head upon his chest and gave my dreams up to his keeping.
(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 45, "Damn All Randalls". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I was relieved to see, in the next scene, that the Dougal I know from the books is back! <g> I was very disturbed by his behavior in last week's episode, but here he seems entirely back to normal.
As soon as I heard "Inverness", I felt a chill of foreboding (not for the last time this season, I'm sure!), because Culloden is not far away from Inverness.
"How long since you've visited Inverness?" Oh, about 200 years, give or take a few months. >g>
Gorgeous views of the Scottish countryside as they make their way back into the Highlands! I especially love those glimpses of the snow-covered mountains.
I like the fact that we're seeing more of Claire's healing skills in this episode.
"I wish I could give you a tetanus shot." Good line. I was thinking that Claire must have said that, or at least thought it, many times over the years, and then I remembered Byrnes, the overseer in DRUMS OF AUTUMN who died from tetanus.
The attack on their camp took me completely by surprise, just as it did the Highlanders. (I guess the guards haven't learned much since Prestonpans, to let the enemy sneak up on them like that.) I liked their hasty departure from the camp, under fire -- very dramatic and suspenseful.
I loved Dougal's display of expert horsemanship after Rupert was shot! Very impressive, and even if that was a stunt rider, it still must have taken a lot of effort to film, not to mention skill on the part of the rider.
Speaking of horsemanship, I was glad to see Fergus riding with Murtagh. Much safer for Fergus to be with an expert, battle-trained rider like Murtagh, than riding by himself in these conditions.
I wasn't really surprised to see Rupert wounded in the attack (knowing what happens to him in the book), but the sight of that bloody eye socket caught me off guard, making me shudder.
I loved the brief glimpse of Jamie's bare knees when he crouches down with Murtagh by the stone wall. (Yeah, there is definitely something about a man in a kilt....)
That church is bigger than I expected. I had always pictured it in the book as a very tiny, cramped little building. I liked the way Jamie approached very cautiously, and I thought his encounter with Ross was an effective way to increase the tension in the scene.
"I decided to take a closer look at a musket ball." Great line, and a good example of the way Diana can bring out a bit of humor even in the midst of a very grim situation.
Claire is amazingly calm, considering that she has presumably never dug a musket ball out of a man's eyeball before. (I'm thinking of all the times in later years that she'll have to operate on injured or diseased eyes -- Jocasta in ABOSAA, Lord John in MOHB, the poor slave on Jamaica in VOYAGER with the loa-loa worm, etc. <shudder>)
I liked Claire's comments about pirates, and Rupert's reaction.
The scene where the Redcoats threaten to set fire to the thatch is just as tense and suspenseful as it is in the book, though the details are a little different.
I loved this exchange between Jamie and Dougal:
"I'm the one with the price on my head. Maybe I can bargain with them, give myself up in exchange for your freedom."
"Oh, stop being such a hero!"
Two thoughts flashed through my mind simultaneously when I heard that: Jamie at Wentworth, giving himself to BJR in exchange for Claire's freedom, and Claire in one of the later books, saying something like, "Of course he's a bloody hero, he can't help it!"
The argument between Jamie and Claire was well done. My favorite part was this bit:
"You stubborn Scot!"
"I will NOT!"
We haven't seen the two of them nose-to-nose, shouting into each other's faces, since "The Reckoning" in Season 1. I loved this!
Dougal had a good point about the soldiers possibly recognizing "Red Jamie". In the book, they're more concerned about Claire herself being recognized, but of course Jamie is at least as notorious as La Dame Blanche, so it's better for him to stay out of sight.
"We will find each other. Trust in that." Good line!
Dougal is very good in this scene. I especially liked the way he said, "Oh, I'll be glad to. As soon as the true king is wearing that crown."
Through this whole sequence, in fact, I was thinking what a relief it is to see the Dougal we know from the books, in contrast to the one from last week's episode!
Rupert's last line to Claire ("Gi' her one for me") comes from the book.
Good news and bad news when Claire gets to the town: Hugh Munro is here (yay!), but there's a broadsheet with Red Jamie's face on it tacked to the inn's front door (uh-oh!)
I thought Claire was pretty clever and quick-witted in the scene with Hugh, recovering quickly from her surprise at seeing him and managing to get her message across without arousing undue suspicion from the Redcoat escorting her.
Good to see Simon Callow as the Duke of Sandringham again. He's so much fun to watch! Notice that he's wearing a different, much less formal, wig in this episode, in the privacy of his own home.
"So tell me, does it ever occur to ye that takin' Claire to wife might not have been the wisest thing ye ever did?"
"No." (drawing his dirk) "It doesn't."
LOL! I love that.
The scene with Claire and Sandringham is not in the book, but I quite enjoyed watching these two match wits with one another.
Sandringham: "The last thing I would do, my dear, is to blurt." I giggled at that, because I hear Diana's voice so clearly here. We have had discussions on Compuserve about Lord John's tendency to blurt things out under stress.
The idea of Claire writing a note in Gaelic makes me laugh.
So the man Mary is supposed to marry is a Mr. Granger. I wonder why they changed it from Isaacson (later Isaacs), as in the book?
"Customarily I'd be given a tip on delivery." I didn't like the anachronistic sound of this. The reference to tipping seems much too modern.
The scene with Claire, Sandringham, and Danton is very good.
"You could be hanged side by side. So romantic." I thought instantly of the famous scene in the movie THE AFRICAN QUEEN, with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn: "I now pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution." <g>
I liked the scene with Jamie, Murtagh, and Hugh Munro very much. In the middle of a very serious situation, the letter from Claire, with its misspelled and ungrammatical attempt at Gaelic, adds a bit of very welcome humor.
The secret door hidden behind a painting took me completely by surprise. Very cool!
Mary's stammer seems to be much less evident now, even when she's terrified.
Sandringham, in his banyan and sans wig, seems like a rather ordinary, even pitiful old man. I loved the fact that when Jamie burst into the room, the first thing Sandringham did was to shove his wig haphazardly back onto his head.
I was very startled by the fact that Mary actually killed Danton, her rapist. But I thought it was very fitting, for someone who's been portrayed as essentially powerless to be the one to take her own revenge.
And before I had time to absorb the shock of that, Murtagh steps forward, raises the ax, and in three massive blows, relieves the Duke of Sandringham of his head. I don't think I've ever cheered at the sight of such a gruesome, horrific murder before, but I was glad to see Sandringham get what he deserved!
Murtagh laying vengeance at the feet of Claire and Mary Hawkins is based on a scene from the book, and I'm glad they included it, because it ties back to a scene near the beginning of Episode 205 ("Untimely Resurrection"), where Murtagh vowed to Jamie to do just that.
"I think we'd better go," Mary says. And the last thing we see as the episode ends is Sandringham's elegantly-dressed but headless body, sprawled on the floor.
I really enjoyed this episode! Congratulations and many thanks to Diana Gabaldon for writing such a terrific script!
I hope you've enjoyed this recap. Please come back next week to see my comments on Episode 212.
Here are my recaps of the previous Season 2 episodes:
Episode 201: Through a Glass, Darkly
Episode 202: Not in Scotland Anymore
Episode 203: Useful Occupations and Deceptions
Episode 204: La Dame Blanche
Episode 205: Untimely Resurrection
Episode 206: Best Laid Plans...
Episode 207: Faith
Episode 208: The Fox's Lair
Episode 209: Je Suis Prest
Episode 210: Prestonpans
Look here for my recaps of all of the Season 1 episodes.