Outlander -- The Garrison Commander
Where Black Jack shows how black he is
This is one of my two least favorite episodes of the season. My name for it is the Black Jack Randall episode. It's kind of a filler episode. Nothing we've seen up to this point has suggested this character has any kind of shades of gray. And this episode does nothing to prove otherwise. I really disliked Claire in this episode. The attitude she cops is really annoying, as annoying as the British aristocracy and their looking down at the Scots as inferior to them.
The episode opens where it left off with the dragoon asking if Claire with with Dougal by choice. Claire says she's a guest of the clan Mackenzie. He insists that his commander will want to speak to her, and Dougal insists he go with Claire.
The British are having a fine dinner when Dougal and Claire arrive. His commander immediately sidles up to Claire and invites her to dinner. Lord Thomas is a pompous jerk, but so is the rest of his crew, as they put down Dougal's accent. Claire tries to correct the Lord on his ill manners. Dougal and Lord Thomas lock horns. You can really see why the Scots can't stand the English.
Lord Thomas lets Claire cow him. Thomas refuses to let Dougal join him and Dougal leaves saying he can keep his scraps. What follows is Claire holding court as she has all the English eating out of the palm of her hand. She has them convinced to get her back to Inverness.
Of course, Claire starts sucking up the booze, per usual, which makes her tongue trip over itself.
That's when Black Jack enters. Lord Thomas also looks down on him, as well. That's when Black Jack spots Claire and acts like he doesn't know her. I hope she isn't dimwitted enough to think he's going to let her get away with her games.
Black Jack starts casting aspersions on Claire. Lord Thomas offers to have Black Jack take her to Inverness. He tells her about a dragoon who was found with his severed head in his lap. Claire counters with the story of the Scotsmen hanging on stakes. Black Jack suggests that Claire has been sharing Dougal's bed. And Claire makes it worse by speaking up for the Scots. Lord Thomas is no longer so enthralled by her.
When an English soldier is hurt, Claire further damages her fragile English Rose act by offering to go and help the soldier. She proceeds to help amputate the man's arm. When she returns to where the dinner party was held she only finds Black Jack there. As she watches Black Jack being shaved she has a flashback to shaving Frank. In the flashback Frank is actually instigating some romance between them. I wonder if that was before the war. Seriously, that is the one scene where he's even instigated anything between them.
Claire orders Black Jack wanting to see Lt. Foster. She tries acting the dominatrix with Black Jack ordering him to do this and that. Black Jack says he wishes to apologize for attacking her in the woods. He says the memory of it brings him shame, and she arrogantly says she should hope he is sorry. He says he hopes to reveal his true nature to her and the dumb bunny is buying his act.
He asks who she is and why she's in Scotland. To tries to feed him her line of bull and he says he knows that's not true. Then loose lips lets him know she knows where he was born, which she found out from Frank's research on him. He asks what her maiden name is. She tries to backtrack speaking up for the Scots. He says her attitude isn't helping her case. For once I agree with him.
Now she claims she had an affair of the heart. An officer of the infantry. She followed him. But he played her most badly. He was a raper and whoremonger. He only felt lust for her, not love. And that story is lamer than her other one. She claims she refused him and he attacked her leaving her only in her shift. She's been reading too many Victoria Holt novels.
Black Jack remains silent as she begs that he pry no further. He finally asks what the man's name is. She says she doesn't want to ruin his career and reputation. He's a raper and whoremonger who played her false but she doesn't want to ruin his reputation. Yeah, that's believable. I wonder how she can cry over some fake story. Black Jack lures her near asking for her opinion on his sketch of her. He says he's calling it, “Beautiful Lies.” He demands Claire give him proof that Dougal is raising funds for the Jacobite cause. He suggests she's sympathetic to the cause.
Black Jack says she won't leave the room until she can prove she's as innocent as she claims. She mentions knowing how Black Jack likes to flog people. She brings up what he did to Jamie. God, how dumb is she to mention Jamie to him. That gives him a good place to look for Jamie, since he knows she's been staying at Castle Leoch.
Black Jack recalls the day he flogged Jamie. Before doing so he digs the end of his whip into Jamie's bloody wounds. He asks if Jamie is scared, but Jamie says he's just afraid he'll freeze before he gets down to it. Black Jack says he will break Jamie. Then he prepares to start flogging Jamie. He says his stomach fluttered and his legs shaked when he brought the whip down on Jamie's back, but he doesn't admit it's with pleasure. He claims he intended to pace himself, but Jamie wouldn't cry out. He wonders if Jamie hoped to stir up his pity by not crying out. He says he knew he was hurting him, he could feel it. Jamie wouldn't beg for mercy and Black Jack kept lashing at him. He pulled Jamie's head back wanting him to scream and say that was enough but he wouldn't do it. He began savagely lashing Jamie. When the crowd laughed and one of his men fainted, he intended to make Jamie bleed to the bone. The crowd began to cry and look away in horror. He finally stopped when Jamie passed out. He says the crowd could only see the horror, but he could see the beauty in it. He says Jamie and him were creating a masterpiece. An exquisite bloody masterpiece. It was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. This man is sick. He says he promised to reveal himself to her and he has.
Claire says the fact that Black Jack cares what she thinks gives her hope for his soul. He says he's not the man he once was since he's come to Scotland. That the darkness and hatred has grown within him. He says he no longer recognizes the man he's become. She says he's not the first soldier to be changed by combat and is a hopeful sign. She says that buried within him is a decent man that can tell right from wrong. She believes a part of him still lives within. He can't undo the things he's done but it's not too late to win back his humanity. He asks if one day he can gaze at his own reflection and not feel loathing. She says she believes he can do anything he wants. Gag!
He says perhaps he should begin by having her escorted to Inverness. He asks if he's made her happy. He says it's an odd sensation. A beginning perhaps. He calls Corporal Hawkins in. Then when she's about to thank him he punches her in the stomach. He says darkness is where he belongs. One way or another he will get the truth out of her. He orders the corporal to kick Claire. He says it's very freeing to kick a woman. He does it softly, but Black Jack makes him give her a proper kick. He orders to corporal to kick Claire again, but Dougal rushes in the room. He helps her off the floor and takes her away.
Black Jack orders Claire be delivered at Fort William tomorrow where he can probably continue having the corporal kick her.
Dougal takes her out to the woods. He has her drink from a brook that's supposed to have magical powers, not that she knows it. He once again asks if she's a spy. He finally believes her because the water proved she was telling the truth. The spring is called the Liars Spring. If you drink from it and lie it'll burn your guts out.
Then Dougal comes up with a plan. He says if she marries a Scot, Randall won't have any power over her. And he suggests that Jamie would make the perfect bridegroom. It will also make it impossible for Jamie to ever become laird of Clan Mackenzie.
Jamie comes and sees her as she looks at the marriage contract. Jamie says he's willing. She asks if he'd mind that she's not a virgin, and he replies if she doesn't mind that he is one. He jokes that one of them should ken what they're doing. Then walks away as Claire downs more booze, I'm assuming.
Nothing that happened in this episode happened in the book, aside from when Dougal takes Claire away. Everything after that moment did actually happen. I'm guessing they were trying to make Black Jack more complex, but I don't think it worked.