Old Fox’s Lair Podcast Review Recap S2 E8

In this Outlander S2 E8 episode, Old Fox’s Lair, Jamie and Claire find themselves back to Lallybroch in Scotland after their misadventures and grief in France. 8 months of freedom and family life unseen, potatoes are harvested, Ian and Jenny have a new baby, and a letter to change everything arrives. Off to Grandsire’s to convince Lord Lovat to which way he should go with the rebellion now in Scotland. Oh, but there’s a big shark in our midst. You know who I mean. Time nor punishment has not improved her outlook on matters.

Listen in to find out what I think!


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(I realized after publication I made an error in saying Prestonpans was the next episode. My apologies.) 

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By The Pricking Of My Thumbs Episode 1×10 Review

“By the pricking of my thumbs. Something wicked this way comes.” From Macbeth, Shakespeare.

Misconstrued relationship perceptions and unintended consequences riddle this emotionally charged Outlander episode. The wicked indeed does come in different forms.

The opening scene is a shock to the viewer into intimate pleasures being bestowed upon Claire by a fervent Jamie. An instant “rewind” moment. Young Jamie no doubt has picked up some advanced skills within his short marriage. Such a pleasant dreamy way to greet the morning light.  The expectation is set in the first seconds only to be shattered almost as quickly. An opening that has deep and swift impact.

This short excursion is intruded upon as the reality of the outside world beyond Jamie and Claire’s bedchamber encroaches relentlessly.

This episode starts with this delicious escapade in hope and promise before careening into unwanted events and consequences.

In lieu of breaking down the whole episode, I have chosen to look at two distinct themes overall.

Actions that lead to unexpected outcomes and consequences.

The Duke of Sandringham

A cunning, gutless, and opportunistic man, his arrival served some key purposes. An utter joy to watch to be sure, Simon Callow is absolutely spot on in this role. One, the promise to help secure Jamie a pardon. Two, for the wrath of Colum to send Jamie away from Castle Leoch, and for him to play both sides of the Crown and Jacobite causes so he will always be on the winning side.   The handling of his penchant for men, Jamie in particular was well done for today’s sensibilities while allowing for verbiage from that time period to play out in a couple of scenes without being wholly offensive or stereotypical. His stand out moments are when he caresses Jamie’s face and when he retrieves the petition of complaint from Jamie’s pocket then runs away.

 

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With Lallybroch stars in his eyes, he has to take the risk of trusting the Duke in helping him secure his freedom and restoring his good name. In this risk taking, his agreement to help the Duke in a duel, concludes  in a sword fight against four brothers and a fairly serious wound. Though the Duke honors his word by taking his petition of complaint, he cannot be trusted to follow through against Black Jack Randall in defense of Jamie.  Claire refuses to speak to Jamie while attending his wound, leaving him in lonely encouragement from his “win” with the Duke.

The rage and wrath of Colum rain down upon unsuspecting Jamie. He believes his uncle will be happy he has a plan in place to secure his own freedom to return to Lallybroch. Reality hits you hard bro. Apologies carry no weight with his infuriated uncle. Colum orders him away from Castle Leoch to babysit Dougal. Claire is left behind. A precise and tidy way to have no protection for Claire when events unfold shortly after.

 

Claire Fraser

Claire’s confrontation of Laoghaire over the ill wish, though cross at first, was tempered with compassion and understanding for the young woman. She tries to be kind and reason with Laoghaire. That was until Laoghaire’s insistence that Claire stole Jamie away and vicious insults hurled, prompted Claire to slap her across the face.  She quickly apologized for the slap knowing she should have had self-control, but the damage in Laoghaire’s mind was obviously done. While “Reactionary Claire” is nothing new, it is well used here to incite Laoghaire’s hatred. Though Claire has just cause to be very angry with Laoghaire, she knows not the bounds this scorned young woman will go to get what she wants.

Next of her own volition, she goes to on to blackmail the Duke of Sandringham to help Jamie’s case and then later threatens him if harm came to Jamie during the duel. Is this rash of her? Effective, yes. Rash, I think so especially the threat she placed upon him so boldly during the dinner.  The consequences of these actions are yet unknown. I am certain they will be marked. Put a pin it for future recollection.  

Next to Geillis’ house she went. Seeking answers about the ill wish Laoghaire procured from her. With Geillis not home,  she was directed into the woods by the house girl Jeanie. Claire found Geillis performing a sensual fire ritual summoning ceremony. Discovering Geillis is pregnant, and by Dougal, a surprised Claire agrees to keep the secrets for her friend.  Suspicion is cast upon her simply because of her relationship with Geillis. Did anyone see her there?

Next, while walking back to town with Geillis, they hear a weak baby cry from the Faerie Hill, ignoring good advice to leave immediately and not tend to the cast out child, Claire proceeds to not only go find the child but to hold the dead baby in her arms. The parents left this child to die in the woods under the premise that is was a changeling and the faeries have there healthy child.  These are strong superstitions. The parents could be watching from afar and believe Claire killed the child. Good intentions do lead straight to bad situations sometimes.

Outside of her blackmailing of the Duke, everything Claire does can be made sense of, not even considered reckless. Yes, each, act like crumbs leading the way for a determined and hate filled Laoghaire to have her arrested for witchcraft alongside Geillis. “These are dangerous times mo nighean donn.”  

 

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In truth, she is a suspicious character. Her eye on the prize of Dougal, her down fall.  The summoning ritual Claire witnessed, was an act of praying for freedom for her and Dougal to be together. He needs to be free of his wife Maura, and she, Arthur. In turn, Maura unexpectedly dies of a fire consuming fever.  then during the Duke’s dinner at Castle Leoch, Arthur falls ill in the hall and dies. Just before acting the grieving widow, Claire and Colum catch sight of Geillis and Dougal eyeing each other knowingly.  Colum knows in that moment she poisoned her husband, as does Dougal and Claire. Geillis believes she is untouchable. She believes Dougal would keep her and the baby safe no matter what.  A grave error.   Claire gave her an out. Telling her to leave immediately because Colum’s ire was coming. She refused.

Her own arrogance put her in this horrific position. To the thieves hole, arrested for witchcraft, and Dougal no where near.  Her surprise when the wardens come is flawless Geillis.

 

Dougal MacKenzie

Dougal frankly is a mess of conundrum this episode. One one hand he has a completely out of control melt down that requires sedation, upon hearing the news of his wife Maura’s death that is out of sync for the life he lives. For goodness sake, he is having an affair with Geillis Duncan, and impregnated her in the process. No sister is safe from swiving while Dougal is around the rumors say. So why the theatrics, I cannot say for sure. The outcome of this is an excessively angered Colum.  He is completely over his brother’s antics so much so, that he orders him back to own his estate for the funeral of his wife and to stay there until he says he can return.

 

If that is not bad enough, his telling Colum that Geillis is pregnant with his child and he loves her, sends Colum into a deeper rage against Dougal. He even forbids Dougal from saying goodbye to Geillis on the way out of town.

His unexpected consequences of being forced to leave the castle with Jamie, Murtagh, Rupert, and Angus in tow, he cannot protect his “beloved” Geillis and the baby when she is arrested for witchcraft.

All of their actions have profound and unexpected negative consequences. Viewers are well entertained, while the story lines are properly set up to go where they need to.

 

Relationship Perception

It is very clear that where a relationship is misconstrued by one party problems follow. This notion is keenly woven throughout this episode.

  Laoghaire MacKenzie is certain Jamie was and is hers. She believes they were in a relationship before “cold English bitch” Claire stole him away. She contends even though he turned her away previously, he is in a loveless relationship with Claire and he longs for her alone. Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss. Her fierce protection of this idea leads her to not only ill wish Claire, but to provide a vehicle in which to have her imprisoned, even killed. This is not the action of a misunderstood, sweet young woman. This is willful malicious intent. Being in love with someone is not a reason to have someone harmed or killed. The shine of sympathy toward her as a disappointed, heartbroken lass from The Reckoning, is no more. The layers of Laoghaire are being peeled back, exposing her true nature.   I hope everyone stops apologizing for her. She IS in her own mind. She is choosing to do bad things because she sees her relationship with Jamie completely different than reality.

Jamie is blinded by his desire to gain freedom however he must.  He assumes his dealings with the Duke will be seen favorably by his uncle Colum. He is totally wrong. His relationship with his uncle is far more tenuous than he knows. The punishment for his belief is being sent away with his uncle Dougal. Sometimes it is better to ask first, before banking on the strength of a relationship.

The Duke of Sandringham wrongly believes everyone knows about his “friendship” with Black Jack Randall. This leads him to support Jamie in the quest to free his name and throw BJR under the proverbial bus.  There will be consequences upon him in the future.

Dougal believes he wields more power in his relationship with Colum than he does. He is stunned to be exiled immediately and forbidden from giving his soon to be born child with Geillis his name.  Standing in for Colum, being his legs as it were,  certainly altered his perception of power and equality with his brother the Laird.

All of these misconstrued views of relationship status have immediate and  long reaching impact.

Interestingly, the only key relationship foundation not cracked in this episode is the precarious one of Claire and Jamie. The solid intimate connection the episode started with is the only thread of hope we are left with as the credits roll.

More questions to ponder post viewing. What will happen to Claire and Geillis in the thieves hole? Will Laoghaire pay for her subterfuge? Will Jamie come to Claire’s aid in time? Will Geillis and the baby survive? Will the Duke of Sandringham follow through with his promise?

A last thought on the clever use of the episode title, wickedness indeed is everywhere. From Laoghaire to Geillis, the heart of Dougal, the Duke playing all sides, even the superstition that would leave a baby to die on a faerie hill. Something wicked this way comes.

Bottom line, I am very pleased with this episode. The writers took a large chunk of material and gave us a smart, surprising, and satisfying hour.  All roads lead to the proper exits and entrances but in ways I did not see coming.

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Outlander The Reckoning 1×09 Review with Recap

So now the much anticipated, controversial, and provocative Outlander episode The Reckoning written by Matthew Roberts and directed by Richard Clark has aired. The strapping heard around the world as it were. Yes and so very much more. This episode is deep and rich with story line, character development, and texture well beyond that few evocative minutes. I had so much to love about this episode. Every one seems to top the last. Pure viewing pleasure.

First off this episode completely takes us out of Claire’s point and view into Jamie’s point of view. He speaks the same five words Claire Randall utters in the opening voice over in Sassenach episode 101, “Strange the things you remember….”.  Connecting the first half of the season to the second half with a bit of brilliance there.

He speaks of choices leading each step. When he realizes he had become a man. Choosing and decision making are continuously running themes for Claire thus far, now we see through Jamie’s eyes what he needs to choose, what he must decide. Another point of their intersection and growth.

The other refreshing start to this episode is that we are taken back to before where the last episode ended. We are given the insight from Jamie as to events leading up to Claire’s rescue.

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Moving into meeting with Horrocks a much anticipated scene as Jamie seeks to gain information that might free him from being a fugitive. A hard quick letdown when the name provided is all but useless. What does this mean? Jamie has no hope of clearing his name. So much onus was put on this event, and it just thuds. Really like life sometimes, large expectation and no outlay only disappointment. A vehicle merely to get the viewers to a destination? Perhaps.

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They all find out what happens to Claire when Willie rides up in a panic. I am unsure why no one is angry at Willie as he was charged with staying with and watching Claire when the meeting took place. What purpose was Willie in that scene, if he bore no responsibility? That is baffling.

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Cutting from the ride toward Fort William to Jamie getting dressed almost ritualistically is intriguing and quite beautiful. I venture they stayed somewhere near and rested before nightfall to attempt the dangerous rescue and he had to redress. I am not certain why it is here, but though superfluous is nice.

The rescue attempt is enthralling. Jamie’s emotions though well encased are emanating through the screen pelting viewers. His acting is moving. Drawing us the viewers into his desperate need and desire to get Claire back. He is putting himself at immense risk in this pursuit. He loves her. This is not simply duty. He cannot bear the thought of her under the hands of Randall. Murtagh, Rupert, and Angus all willingly help him. A harrowing climb down the side of the fort wall by Jamie with Jamie sitting in the window stating to Black Jack Randall, “I’ll thank ye to take yer hands OFF my wife.” to a stunned and delighted Randall, takes us to the place where the last episode ended.

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Disturbing and spine chilling inadequately describes the exchange between Randall and Jamie. For a moment it would seem Claire was not even present. Then Randall is quite aroused at the prospect of raping Claire in front of Jamie or including Jamie in the “fun”. An ugly game of cat and mouse between the men all the while Claire being held knife to throat by Randall. In the process she gets her own verbal digs in. Randall is sure he is the winner in this scenario after Jamie puts the gun down. Ultimately, this dance of the two men, an unloaded gun, is not the scenario Randall wins. He is knocked out cold before the escape. Even Jamie wonders in his “Jay-over”, why he did not kill him right then. He had never thought to kill a helpless man. And plot device for the future.

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The rest of the escape is a dangerous romp. An arsenal explosion set off by Murtagh, Rupert, and Angus, a jump into the cold waters below, the ride off into the morning. The tension these scenes created was fantastic.

Once in the clear, the men stopped to rest and water the horses. Or so it would seem. Jamie taking Claire aside for an apology did not go well with her at all. She is bitterly angry at being blamed for being picked up by the redcoats. She did not stay put as Jamie told her to. Not to punish him as he thinks, but “Christ Jamie, I went for a walk” as she put it whilst Willie used the outdoors as a loo, then she saw the standing stones, spontaneously, not intentionally, she ran away from all the horrors of the past week and toward familiarity and safety of the 1940’s. Jamie and Claire’s bitter words and fighting demonstrate their fears, assumptions, and hurts. They must traverse these difficult roads to get where they need to be.

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Jamie is overwhelmed by the fighting and all they have said to each other. He slowly crumples to the ground, emotional and wrought.  “I went to ye at Ft. William armed with an empty pistol and my bare hands. When ye screamed……. Y’er tearing my guts out Claire.” She is deeply affected from his anguish filled, heart breaking words that pierce. Apologizing she is kneeling next to him. Seeking forgiveness. He seeks the same in return. Given they embrace. The “Jamie-over” ends with him saying “that was falling in love.” Gutted is the proper verbiage here. Us, Jamie, Claire. Powerful emotions. Passionate discourse. Again, flawless acting Sam and Cait are nowhere to be found, only Jamie and Claire. We are getting the peeled back layers of their relationship and individual selves.
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The harsh reality of consequences quickly dons on Claire upon return to the inn where Dougal and the others are. The men overtly ignore her while jovially eating, drinking and sharing stories. She is separate from the group she so comfortably belonged. They feel wronged. They feel she put them in extreme harms way.

    

Murtagh makes it clear to Jamie it is his job to contend with her and that justice is served.

Understanding exactly what he must do, Jamie heads up to their room.

In his mind justice. This will teach her to listen to him in these dangerous times they live and to bring her back into the fold with the men. The dialogue tells us this is a customary practice to be punished. It is expected that someone who defies orders, no matter the reason, is to be have a punitive outcome upon them whether man or woman. If it happens to be a wife, then the husband has a duty to in this case strap her. Outlander is set in a fictional 18th century Scotland, not reality. Contextually, this scene has always made sense and does not bother me from my modern perspective.

  

That said Claire fighting back like a modern day woman rings absolutely correct. No woman of the 1940’s or today would just lift her shift and take it.

    

Jamie felt it was his duty not only as a husband, but to all the men being put in harms way. This scene was handled very well overall with gravity, shock, seriousness, and a little humor to break the tension. I am impressed no one on the team shied away from doing it nearly straight out of the book. Modern sensibilities can handle such things and discern what it is.

In the morning things are settled with the men and Claire, but there is a wide divide left to traverse between her and Jamie. He thought justice done, problem solved, and we move forward. Sigh the naively newly married man.

    

The return to Castle Leoch proves to not be a respite at all instead it seems something bad behind every summons or interaction. From the cool greeting by Leticia and Colum, sad sack delusional Laoghaire confronting Jamie on his marriage, Colum being angry about the raid and rescue of Claire at Fort William, Colum knowing about the Jacobite money raising campaign during the rent collection, and Jamie being nowhere back in graces with Claire, all hell is breaking loose in his world.

          

Chaos reigns and Jamie for the first time in his life has no idea what to do. Not yet anyway.

The episode is now moving toward healing and reconciliation with wonderfully unexpected paths.

Jamie has a plan to get Uncles MacKenzie into peaceful, cooperative waters. At first Colum is resistant and then wisdom seen, he gives the Jacobite fund raising monies back to Dougal. Brothers reunited for now with each other and Jamie.     

At the river Jamie is still heavy minded over what to do about Claire. Skipping rocks when Laoghaire MacKenzie approaches. She is presented in a light that begs the viewer to be sympathetic as she tells Jamie she has always remembered him even back to 7 years old and how her heart leapt when he returned years later. She believes he has the same feelings since he took the beating for her and the way he kissed her in the alcove. He begins to tell her though it was an arrangement but… she cuts him off by dropping her cape leaving her in very little except her bodice and shift. She presses his hand to her overflowing breast, and declares she wants him to be the first to have her. Jamie will not kiss her and says he will not break his vows. Then he apologizes to her not once, but twice, as she runs off humiliated.  Why did he apologize to her? Too much a gentleman at times. Frustrating with all his “Jamie-over” about choices, that he does not tell her he has fallen in love with Claire. He does not fully realize that she is officially well scorned now.

    

Once back in his room he has a strong desire to make amends with Claire. He offers an olive branch in relaying the coming back together of Colum and Dougal. That his rigid uncle could bend at the risk of looking weak to all who serve him. He says perhaps things can be different in their marriage than tradition of a woman obeying her husband and the husband punishing the wife. He then draws his dirk giving Claire the pledge he refused to give Colum. Claire sits there not as angry, stunned silent for a moment. She answers his plea. The repairs begin.

  

What a well written and played scene. All those strings of chaos getting tied up neatly. From damage, newness can spring.

As he touches her reached out hand, he tells her how the ring he gave her was smithed from his very own key to Lallybroch, his home. She is his home now and it is okay if he can never return there. YES. The ring scene is now come full circle and book fans can breathe a sigh of relief.

Having had Claire refuse to allow him in bed since the strapping, he tells her he wants her and asks if she will have him. A deep home run. She agrees. Jamie’s clothing flings off as quickly as possible.

With the events and emotions of recent days this is not going to be routine make up sex. This is going to be intense, a bit rough, and very raw. And indeed it is. Several parts of this lengthy scene are my favorite.

  • While already having sex, Claire on top of Jamie grabs his throat in one hand and his dirk in the other, holding it to him says the much lauded words “Listen to me. If you ever raise your hand to me again James Fraser, I will cut your heart out and have it for breakfast. Do you understand me?” Of course he agrees, she is mmphmming him.  
  • After shifting positions, he tells her “You are mine mo nighean donn. Mine. Now and forever.”
  • Then he says, “And I mean to make ye call me master.”

Lying together after mutual release, he has another gem to speak to Claire, “I am your master. And you’re mine. Seems I canna possess your soul without losing my own”.  Swoon. They cemented their path of reparations. Sometimes sex is a way to break down and begin a rebuild. This is that sex. Awesome. Gritty. Realistic. Well except for the dirk to the throat. I have never seen that before.  Sam and Cait chemistry, bravery, and acting chops.

Sweet and fireside moment Jamie seeking some definitions from Claire (fucking and sadist). Claire explains, then asks, “Was I too rough on you?” He responds, “Well if you bed a vixen, you have to expect to get bit. Come here and bite me some more.” A cute, sweet, and funny transition from the heavy emotions and sexual outlay prior. A welcomed respite.

  

All seems wonderful until, Claire finds the ill wish under bed. Puzzled she asks who would do such a thing. A pause and Jamie declares Laoghaire.

Roll credits. I applaud the chutzpah to take the complex subject matters and present them boldly. An excellently adapted episode. Overall a job well done. I will watch it over again.

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4Droughtlander Starz Sneak Peek with Screen Caps

In this latest Outlander Starz #4Droughtlander video sneak peek, Tobias Menzies aka Black Jack Randall provides the introduction. It is quite lovely to see the despicable BJR and wonderful Tobias greeting us in the rain.

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“…,,, evening’s entertainment…”
“…. Stay away from me…”
“….why are you here…”

“….twisted respect…..”

In the roughly two minute clip we hear from Ronald D. Moore, Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Laura Donnelly, Graham McTavish, and Tobias Menzies about the darker, more intense tones, describe many of the relationships, delve into the politics, and much more on what is to come in part two of Season 1.

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A most fabulous moment happens and we see Steven Cree as Ian Murray, Jenny’s husband and Jamie’s livelong friend. I yelled Ian as I was watching. Die hard fan much? No? Me either.

The second half of this season will blow the minds of non-reader fans and certainly still stun the reader fans.

I am exceedingly excited and feel very confident in the team putting out the Outlander show.

To view directly on Facebook, click here.

Of course this post would not be complete without screen caps. Enjoy the very many pictures!

From scenes we know:

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Scenes we cannot wait to see:

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Caitriona describing the need to have a pillow in front of one while watching second half of season.

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I am with Caitriona, I will be watching some of the episodes through my fingers or behind a pillow.