Outlander 2×09 Recap: Je Suis Prest

For the Frasers, being home isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Jamie managed to talk Lord Lovat into providing him with some men, but not all have stayed. It seems not everyone is crazy enough to want a part in a war, especially without some…let’s just call it incentives. Besides, there’s also the fact that no one is loyal to Lovat. No one.

Jaime and Claire meet up with Murtagh at the beginning of “Je Suis Prest” and we hear young Simon has been dispensed to round off the deserters, offer them lands in exchange for fighting. It’s a stray comment – but don’t forget about Simon. This might be important later.

The reunion with Angus and Rupert is a bit more bittersweet, as they have news about Willie. Bad news. Well, bad news for them. It seems Willie got married and sailed off to America with his bride’s family. The way this news is framed is a nice little moment of levity in the middle of an otherwise serious episode.

Outlander - ‘Je Suis Prest’

And, of course, there’s Dougal. As Claire says, it wouldn’t be Scotland without Dougal.

He’s proud of Jamie for exactly five seconds, until Jamie suggests they need to stay where they are until the men are trained. But Jamie does have a point – these guys that Lovat provided them with are nowhere near ready to fight.

Cue the training montage, interspersed with Claire’s memories of the war. With Claire’s fears. Because Jamie and the others might follow the saying “je suis prest” – I am ready, but she’s not ready. She’s lived through war before. She’d rather avoid it.

Except this time, it seems unavoidable.

There’s also a battle of wills going on between Jamie and Dougal. Jamie has always had to follow Dougal, to listen to him. Now he’s in charge, the men are his, and he’s just an equal to his uncle. This rubs Dougal the wrong way, because he’s not used to Jamie standing firm. He’s used to his nephew folding.

Jamie has changed, however. Jamie is not the same man Dougal knew. He doesn’t have the same desires and dreams. Now Jamie is doing this to protect his home and the people he cares about. He’s doing it to change history. And he can’t afford desertion in the ranks.

With Jamie standing firm, Dougal, however, plays another card. The Claire card. This also backfires, because Dougal, like many a man before, fails to grasp that the way Jamie and Claire care for each other, the way they conduct their marriage, is nothing like what he’s used to seeing. They’re not just two people brought together by circumstances; they’re truly partners in life.

Claire, however, is still struggling. With Dougal. With what they’re doing. With the idea of war.

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Jamie, however, isn’t. He’s taken to leading the army as if it’s always been his destiny to do so. Maybe it has been. When Dougal brings new recruits, he recognizes the fear in their eyes and allows them to leave without repercussion. He also punishes the men who were on sentry duty with six lashes apiece for letting the new recruits pass without sounding the alarm.

Through this all, Jamie has never stopped noticing what’s going on with Claire. He asks and she promises everything is fine, but he knows she’s lying. He just doesn’t know how to reach her. After Claire collapses from the strain of her memories, she shares with Jamie the painful story of a war that has yet to happen and yet it feels like it’s still happening to her.

He reassures her, of course, and at her saying that she doesn’t want to go through war again, he offers to send her home. But going home is not the answer. Going home makes her helpless, and if there’s something Claire never wants to be again is helpless.

“Whatever happens you’ll never be alone again,” Jamie promises then, and we want to believe him. We just know he’s lying. And it breaks our hearts.

The resolution of this Claire storyline with enough time left in the episode for something else to happen leads to – well, something else happening. That’s the way of Outlander, after all.

A boy tries to kill Jamie. I say a boy because though he claims to be sixteen he could very well be confused for fourteen. Jamie is prepared to torture the truth about where he came from the boy, but Claire offers him another choice. She shows up, pretending to be just a common English woman ready to sacrifice herself for the lad. Chivalry does the rest.

Until he speaks the fateful words “My name is William Grey,” and those of us who’ve read the book jump a bit. Jamie, of course, doesn’t kill him, which Mr. Grey regards as a debt of honor. The information is enough for now. Mr. Grey is just a footnote to this story. But mind our words, don’t forget him. He’ll be important soon enough.

Outlander - ‘Je Suis Prest’

At the end Jamie does what every good commander will do, he proves that no mistake will go unpunished, not even his. It’s just that seeing someone – even Murtagh – beat Jamie is something we’re hardly prepared for. Even if he seems mostly unharmed and well enough to raid the British encampment later and make sure their cannons are unusable.

The episode closes with Jamie, Claire and the rest of his men, finally joining the presumptive King’s army. It’s time for that war that they tried so hard to avoid. And we can’t wait to see what happens.

Reactions:

  • I’m really glad the French is gone from my theme song. Now I can sing all the way.
  • “I did not think you could talk that old bastard out of a loaf of bread, let alone men.” – Murtagh, you’re my fave.
  • Scottish garb might not be as pretty as the clothes Claire wore at the beginning of the season, but there’s a certain sense of comfort to everything – even the clothes.
  • I love me some Fergus.
  • Jamie does give a good speech.
  • Nice use of the phrase “like a dragonfly in amber,” tv show. Nicely done.
  • When Jamie and Claire are “fake” struggling, she still knees him in a delicate place where he goes a bit far. Ah, Claire. We love you.

Outlander airs Saturdays at 9/8c on Starz.

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