Catch up On Outlander : “The Garrison Commander”— Sept. 13, 2014
Immediately after arriving in 1743, accidental time traveler Claire Randall encountered Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall, the British officer is an ancestor and lookalike of Claire’s husband Frank, who was left behind in 1945. Black Jack’s rape attempt was thwarted by a Scot who took Claire back to a band of rebels, led by Dougal MacKenzie. Dougal had an immediate mistrust of the English woman and threatened to slit her throat. That’s just Dougal being Dougal, he doesn’t mean anything by it. Claire also met dreamboat Jamie Fraser. Claire and Jamie share two things: unresolved sexual tension and hatred of the brutal Black Jack. While making a journey, Dougal and Claire got into one of their arguments which was interrupted by redcoats who want to know why an English lady is among the MacKenzie clan. This episode sucks for two reasons: Black Jack Randall’s sadism gets a lot of airtime and we mostly only get to see dreamy Jamie being tortured.
Lieutenant Jeremy Foster thinks the MacKenzie clan might be holding Claire against her will. While she is technically a prisoner at Castle Leoch, it’s kind of complicated since Claire has a rapport with the Scots and gets to go to music recitals and everything. Claire is escorted to meet British officers and Dougal insists on coming along. When he’s not threatening to kill Claire, Dougal can seem almost protective in his own suspicious and occasionally groping way. Claire realizes that yes the redcoats torture people, and yes they oppress the Scottish, but the Brits are her people. They don’t imprison her, exclude her from conversations by speaking Gaelic or brand her a spy. Claire thinks this is her chance to get dropped off in Inverness and find Criagh na Dun, the mystical standing stones that she thinks will transport her back to the 20th century.
Claire is brought to Brigadier General Lord Thomas, who is charmed by “Mistress Beauchamp.” (Claire uses that alias to avoid a connection to Black Jack.) She’s invited to an elegant meal with the officers. Those British manners are not on display when they address Dougal and make snide remarks about his brogue, kilt, and culture. Dougal could probably slit all their throats with a butter knife, but instead waits in the tap room. Claire assures the officers that the MacKenzies are her friends. Everything is going well until a grime-covered officer shows up: it’s Captain Randall. Lord Thomas is dismissive of him and doesn’t want all that dust spoiling the claret. Claire and Black Jack share a lot of significant eye contact and veiled remarks that basically goes like this:
Black Jack: You are exactly the same woman I tried to rape in the woods, what are you doing here?
Claire: Nah, nah, nah, nah nah. You can’t touch me now, perv.
Black Jack baits Claire into a conversation in which she defends the Scots against the Brits making her highly suspect. Claire isn’t the type to quit while she’s ahead.
Lord Thomas goes to see about an attack on a British camp and Claire is left alone with Black Jack. It’s business as usual, Black Jack accuses her of being a whore because the year 1743 has some serious issues with women. They take turns questioning each other, she comes up with another cover story about why a lady from Oxfordshire is among the Scots and pretends she doesn’t know a thing about Dougal raising funds for a Jacobite army to battle the Brits. When it’s Claire’s turns to ask questions, it goes like this:
Claire: Jamie takes his shirt off all the time and I know you left a patchwork of scars on his back. I probably shouldn’t mention this because there’s a bounty on his head and he’s hiding under the alias MacTavish, so just forget I said anything.
Black Jack: I didn’t mean to be cruel, I just couldn’t help myself because … reasons. If only stubborn Jamie had cried out in pain, I wouldn’t have gleefully whipped him two hundred times and the whole thing could have been over. OMG, talking to you to has really helped me to get in touch with my broken inner child. I’ll be nice now.
Claire: Pinky swear?
Black Jack: Pinky swear. Now excuse me while I give you a beating and force an officer to literally kick you while you’re down because women feel so soft that it makes torture even more fun, amirite?
Dougal shows up to BAMF all over the place and rescue Claire. Since the Brits can’t legally hold her, Black Jack relents as long as Dougal pinky swears to bring her back the next day for more questioning or else MacKenzie will be accused of harboring a fugitive and Black Jack will have to do something mean.
Dougal leaves with a brutalized Claire and does the right thing, he has her drink from a stream and then again asks if she’s a spy. According to some mumbo-jumbo, the water didn’t hurt her so she’s not a liar or whatever. MacKenzie tells Claire there is one way to avoid being handed over to Randall again, she has to become a Scot instead of an English woman which can only be done through marriage. Claire gives Dougal some severe side-eye, but he says as much as he fancies the idea of “grinding” her “corn” (Please don’t tell me what that means) he’s nominating Jamie.
It’s a done deal, but Claire asks if her husband-to-be minds that she’s not a virgin, that’s fine by Jamie as long as she doesn’t mind that he is.
Please note that comments don’t appear immediately. If you’ve read the books, please don’t share any spoilers for those of us who have only watched the TV show. Thanks!!!