Episode 114: "The Search" (SPOILERS)

Here are my reactions to Episode 114 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled “The Search”.


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









I really enjoyed this episode! It's very faithful to the book (thank you, Matt B. Roberts!) and I thought Caitriona Balfe, Laura Donnelly, and Duncan Lacroix in particular were just terrific!

I was startled (but fascinated) by the puppet show in the beginning. I really wasn't expecting that, but I like it.

Ian's reaction -- intense frustration at his helplessness, but wanting to do whatever he could to help -- was very good. This is a bit that we didn't see in the book, but I can easily believe it happened just this way.

I liked the way Jenny's wearing two pistols, one in front and one behind.

The music as Jenny and Claire track Jamie is wonderful!

The corbies pecking at the corpses made me think of the opening scene of VOYAGER, of course.

The scene where Jenny expresses her milk was very well done, and just like I imagined from the book.

"True, but he's not daft enough to pick a fight with ten armed soldiers!"  Claire's raised eyebrow at this line made me smile.

I loved the scene with Jenny and Claire and the redcoat! This is one of my favorite parts of the whole episode. Jenny is more vicious than I expected, in a shocking way that reminds me of Jamie interrogating the young Lord John at Prestonpans.

In the book, they left the soldier alive and tied to a tree. But I agree that it makes more sense for them to kill him, so he can't tell anyone they're looking for Jamie. (Minor quibble: why did Jenny tear up the dispatch rather than throwing it into the fire? That didn't make sense to me.)

I laughed out loud when Murtagh turned up out of nowhere! <g>  Although this is not the way it happens in the book, I think the way it's done here is very effective.

"Love forces a person to choose." Great line, both as foreshadowing of Jamie's sacrificing himself for Claire at Wentworth, and as a reminder of Claire's decision at Craigh na Dun to choose Jamie over Frank.

Claire has surprisingly good camping skills, more so than in the books.  I liked the bit about Jenny "bedeviling their suppers" -- what an unforgettable image!

"You two are natural outlaws" -- good line from Murtagh.

Jenny and Claire's farewell is almost exactly word-for-word from the book, and it's just as I always imagined! They left out the reference to the priest-hole, but I think that would have required too much explanation for a modern audience, especially viewers in the US who don't know much about British history. The "plant potatoes" message was far more important, anyway.

The scenery throughout this whole episode is gorgeous!!

Murtagh's sword dancing made me laugh.  Meanwhile, Claire is very obviously copying what Mrs. Graham told her in Episode 101 ("Sassenach") about palm-reading.

I liked the scene between Murtagh and Claire after his performance. The two of them are wonderful together!  I particularly liked this bit:

"Words canna travel by air."
"Not yet, anyway."

During the puppet show, listen carefully and you'll hear exactly the same tune that Gwyllyn the bard played on the harp near the end of Episode 102 ("Castle Leoch"). Which makes sense, because the puppets are apparently re-enacting the same story.

Murtagh's reaction to "jazz" made me laugh. And I laughed much harder at Claire's singing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". That was great!

Claire's "Oh, fuck!" when she goes on stage the first time took me by surprise, but she did a good job with the song. The lyrics are based on a real (and very bawdy) song called "The Reels o' Bogie".

Notice the poster tacked up beside the venue during Claire's second performance, which says "By Particular Demand, THE SASSENACH", with a drawing of Claire in costume. Where on earth did they find a printer, in that remote part of the Scottish Highlands, to have broadsheets made up? (I guess I'm going to have to suspend disbelief on this point.)

My one criticism of this episode is that the song-and-dance routine went on too long.  It got very repetitive after a while. But to be honest, that bothers me in the book, too.  I have always been very uncomfortable, on re-reading/re-listening, with the fact that Claire seems actually to be enjoying herself doing her gypsy-fortuneteller/song-and-dance routine, while Jamie's life is at stake and every minute counts.  That drives me nuts in the book, and so I wasn't surprised that I felt the same way watching it on TV.

"A song is a song is a song. No one can claim the words." I wasn't expecting the "copyright infringement" angle, but it was entertaining. Sort of an inside joke for modern viewers, perhaps?

"I outrank you, do I not?" That took me by surprise.  Claire is certainly not intimidated by Murtagh at all.

"If ye look hard enough [across the water], ye might just see the Americas. It's the only place you haven't sung that damn song yet."  Good line.

The scene with Murtagh and Claire by the campfire is terrific! One of my favorites in the whole episode.

"Nothing about this search has been fine!" I like how Claire's voice breaks when she says this.

Murtagh's story about the bracelets is done really well, even better than I expected from the book, in fact. Duncan Lacroix is just marvelous in this scene.

"Ye think ye're the only one who loves Jamie? He's a son to me." Terrific line!  I love it.  And this is what causes Claire finally to break down, throwing her arms around Murtagh and sobbing, "I'm sorry. I can't bear it!"

Murtagh's revelation about the bracelets occurs in a different place in the book, but I think it works extremely well here, and gives Murtagh's character much more depth. Good to give Claire a chance to release some of her feelings, too, to make sure the viewers see how desperately worried and afraid she is for Jamie.

In the morning, it's clear that things have changed. Claire is back in her regular clothes. And I liked the way she gives Murtagh a half-smile when he says, "We'll manage something."

I liked the underground network of tunnels at Glen Rowan Cross. Very good location for Dougal's hidden stash of supplies for the Jacobites.  The whole sequence with Claire and Dougal is done very well!

"He's in Wentworth Prison." Suddenly I'm shuddering all over and I can't breathe. Oh, God, it's really going to happen!

"We won't talk about Geillis today. This is about you." Good to keep the focus where it belongs.

I like Claire's reaction as she figures out what Dougal is up to. "Don't you DARE speak of him as if he were already dead!!" Terrific line!

I think when Claire says "I will marry you" [if Jamie dies], she's just saying whatever she has to say, to get him to agree to help her save Jamie. I don't think for a second that she really meant it.

I love the fact that it's Willie, the youngest clansman, who is the first to volunteer. Rupert's reaction is great: "If this goes wrong, I'm killin' you first, for gettin' us involved!"

In the very last scene, as they approach Wentworth Prison, I thought the director did a great job of increasing the dramatic tension, by showing Claire and the others reacting to the sight of the prison, but not letting the viewer see what they're seeing until the very end. So we feel what they feel. And like so many of you, I am DREADING what's coming next!!

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"
Episode 113: "The Watch"


leaves on the Raney Tree said...

I enjoyed the episode, but my husband said, "It was dull and she can't sing." Did you catch Claire's accusing Dougal of wanting the Fraser lands through her. She wouldn't inherit if Jamie died, but that's the impression she gives.

Cybergram said...

Hi Karen, thank you for this review, I really agreed with your take on the episode as I read your review! I have a problem with so many other postings I read in that they are way too negative! I love ALL the differences in the TV show compared to the book! (This is still book one, after all!) Then there's the comments by people who obviously DON'T know the books or don't pay any attention to postings on social media, especially any input by RDM, DG or anyone directly related to the show! I know & understand the desire of the show related people to leave some surprizes, so even commentary from them I leave to my imagination!

So, thanks again, Karen for all the time you devote to this wonderful TV Series here on your blog! I'm so glad it's become a series & not just a 2hr movie! I wish it could be more that the 16hrs we're getting for Season One!!

Thanks, again, Karen!!

Bev Sykes said...

As a former nursing mother (x5) I was obsessed with how they did the expressing milk scene. So incredibly realistic (tho not as easy as Jenny makes it look, and her hands not quite right). Someone on Twitter finally said it wax a prosthetic breast with someone hidden with a pump.

Loved the growing friendship between Claire and Murtaugh.

Anonymous said...

I also was pretty sure Claire was lying when she agreed to marry Dougal. As she looked him in the eye and shook his hand, I was reminded of the gypsy, who did exactly that to her.

I agree the singing/dancing went on for too long. There's so much material to cover that I'm really surprised they devoted that much time to it. Still, I guess they are hitting all the important points.

Anonymous said...

Karen, if you read the books you would know that she WOULD inherit!

Anonymous said...

Yes she would!!! Read the book(s)..

Anonymous said...

I can no longer take solace in the existence of 'at least the next episode isn't Wentworth.'
I'm a mess.

Anonymous said...

I really loved this episode (but then I really loved all of them so far). I think, even though we are all dreading what is coming, we will still love it and I am confident it will be done really really well. I have my box of tissues, my whiskey and my cushion to hide behind all ready and I have decided to read the book with each episode lol...just to remind me of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Not long to go now ladies :)

Anonymous said...

Just found your site and love your reviews. I promise I won't go back and put comment in all!
I wanted to add how much I loved the section with Claire and Murtagh at the beach, his story and their wonderful clinging to each other in the end. It is the first time Claire really lets herself fall apart and Caitroina does it beautifully.
Really nervous about how show will handle Wentworth :-(

Anita said...

Isn't anyone frustrated that this whole long, boring, silly episode was a waste of time? Claire singing? There are LOTS and LOTS of important events to cover and this episode should have been skipped. When Ian returned, he should have said "the English took Jamie to Wentworth prison." period. end of search. MOVE ON! They are going to cut other things from the end now that would have had more meaning.

BlogReader said...

I just found your great blog and though I know it's a year old, thought I'd comment about the playbill. I'm currently reading "How the Scots Invented the Modern World" which states in the first chapter that as a result of a drive for literacy begun in the late 1600s, by 1790 there were sixteen publishing houses in Edinburgh, which only had a population of sixty thousand. Paper making was a mainstay of the national economy. A survey in 1795 showed that out of a total population of 1.5 million, nearly twenty thousand Scots depended for their livelihood on writing and publishing. So it may well have been possible to find a printer even in the Highlands! DG does incredible research.

Goat Rancher said...

Bev Sykes, I agree with you that the breast milk self-expression scene didn't look right. I'm the father of nine children, all of them nursed by my very patient wife, who often had to self express milk, and I'm a goat dairy farmer with plenty of experience milking goats, and have had opportunity to compare milk expression in goats and in my wife...

I noticed that Jenny's hand was positioned too far back from the areola, and that the milk squirted out as a substantial single stream of milk. In real life, I've seen that it comes out in at least 2-3 much thinner streams which kind of go different directions, or at least don't combine into a single stream. And it takes a lot more effort and time to get the milk out.

But, props anyway to the director who did a pretty good job of getting the matter-of-fact nature of this real life act mostly right, and did it in a way not to excite or embarrass.

Techman28 said...

Can anyone tell me why Geillis Duncan. Says she came through the stones in 1967 but in Dragonfly in Amber it becomes 1968. This is when Claire brings her daughter to Scotland and tries to find Gillian Edgers (Geillis) to stop her going through the stones. This anomaly has always puzzled me as I have always thoughts Diana Gabaldon is such a thorough person. Perhaps she was having an off day when she wrote Dragonfly.

Karen Henry said...

Techman28 - the answer is that Diana Gabaldon is not very precise about dates in general, and there are a number of inconsistencies like that in the early books. I personally prefer to pretend that the date was always 1968, rather than 1967, in OUTLANDER.


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