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‘Outlander' season 2, episode 11: Winks and wigs

Simon Callow plays a delightful villain. So long, Duke of Sandringham.


Simon Callow plays a delightful villain. So long, Duke of Sandringham.



Fortunate coincidences lead to a some sweet, sweet revenge. Outlander's second season is coming to a close, and "Vengeance is Mine" ties up some loose ends for some characters. So let's get started:

The shouty men continue to shout. Some want to retreat, but Jamie demands they go on, and storm London. Prince Charles Stuart argues that God is on their side, but no one is really listening to him. Jamie and Claire are still trying to change history, but Jamie worries about the future and Claire's safety. As much as this show brings us superb sex scenes, it's the romance that sets my heart aflutter. Sigh, Jamie's sweet prayer as Claire sleeps ...

Anyway, Dougal storms in and presents a letter from the shouty men. They want the both of them gone because they have too much influence on the Prince. The Prince is gone, with Jamie's horse. So now they're off to Inverness. Bye, Felicia.

An aside: Rupert keeps talking about Angus, and it's sweet. What a true bromance.

While camping, they're ambushed by the Redcoats. Claire looks so good riding that horse alongside her men. Now that's feminism. But Rupert gets knocked down, yet again, but Claire extracts the bullet from his face when they take refuge in a church.

But they're not safe. The Redcoats are back — oh, Christ — and demand Jamie and his men turn themselves in. Jamie, being the hero, says he'll turn himself in. But Claire has a better idea: use her English roots, again. The relationship between Claire and Jamie is a constant battle for Claire's independence and Jamie's need to be her knight in shining armor. Jamie has much more respect for his wife than probably all 18th-century men, but no one wants to knowingly put someone they love in danger. As much as we love Feminist Claire, she has too much faith in her safety sometimes. But both of them are stubborn leaders, and Claire wins this fight. "I AM LADY BROCH TUARACH. ARE THESE MEN NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY, TOO?!"

So Claire is placed in the arms of the Redcoats, and the men all turn in their weapons. And for whatever reason, the British soldiers don't actually inspect the church for more men, and the wanted Jamie isn't seen. Jamie and Murtagh plan to rescue Claire. It's adorable how much Claire means to the guys, now. "Jamie, when you find her, give her a wink from me." Oh, Rupert.

The soldiers stop at a local pub with Claire and Jamie's beggar friend, Hugh Monroe, sees her. Claire doesn't have literal breadcrumbs, but luckily she has helpful people in dark alleys. So when plans change the next morning, she gets word to Monroe to give Jamie a heads up. She's on her way to her captor in Belmont. And, of course, we're pretty familiar with this captor.

The Duke of effing Sandringham. Last season's smarmy villain. He's a walking grenade; we never know what sets him off. He plays both sides with delight, and for his own game. At dinner, the Duke mentions to Claire that times are tough. The cook only comes three days a week! But he's also being kept prisoner, so to speak, in his estate, because the English suspect he's a Jacobite sympathizer. Wonder where they got that idea. So they work up a deal: When Jamie rescues Claire, he'd also like to be rescued.

The Outlander world is a small one. Mary Hawkins is staying with the Duke. Apparently she's his goddaughter, and he's trying to marry her off to a Loyalist, to smooth things over with the British. This man would be a great politician.

But here's where all these eyebrow-raising coincidences start to pay off: Claire notices a birthmark on the Duke's valet. And like any great villain, Sandringham spills his schemes. He owed a debt to our Disney-looking villain from earlier this season: Comte St. Germain. So to pay it off, he bargains with Claire's life. The Comte wanted her dead, but the Duke offers up rape instead. Potato, potato. But then he also admits to setting up a trap for Jamie when he comes to rescue his English traitor wife. "You can be hanged, side by side. So romantic." Sandringham speaks with such delight, it's sick.

The note gets to Jamie, but Jamie is smart. He knows it could be a trap. But Claire, who's locked in her bedroom, still tries to plan an escape. She even tries to enlist Mary, but, yeah, Mary can't help. At least not at that moment. When Claire gets stopped in the kitchen by a wigless Sandringham, Mary manages to find Monroe, who is standing at the front door. For whatever reason.

Jamie storms into the kitchen; Sandringham grabs his wig, his valet grabs a knife. Neither of these things were helpful. Claire spurts out the Duke's nefarious plans: He's responsible for the Claire and Mary's attacks in Paris. The Duke pleads for his life, but the little stammering girl — Mary Hawkins — finds a lone knife, and stabs the valet.

But now it's time for Outlander to get all Game of Thrones on us. Murtagh, who loves to protect Claire, too, CHOPS SANDRINGHAM'S HEAD OFF. Sorry for the all caps. But, I have never cheered so hard at this show. Maybe it was this week. Maybe it was my disgust for Sandringham this episode. But it all culminated in my misty eyes as Murtagh set the Duke's head next to Mary's and Claire's feet.

Three more episodes, you guys! We still got a bit to go, including learning more about Claire's future daughter we saw a few episodes ago. Very excited for the rest of this season.

[Last modified: Saturday, June 18, 2016 11:10pm]


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