At first, I wanted to yell from whatever perch I could find just how awful it was that this episode was written the way it was written but then I re-watched it (to my horror). Now I find it brilliant. So let me recap a bit and tell you why.
We start off in Wentworth Prison where Jamie wakes next to Black Jack Randall (he's the f-ing bastard we talked about last episode). Jamie is clearly in turmoil here which is a wonderful touch because it brings out a truth about rape. You aren't okay afterwards.
Randall gets up to dress though Jamie asks for his part of the deal which is death (NO!). But there is a sound and Randall wants to investigate. Much to his surprise there are cows thundering through the prison.
Okay I have to pause to say I've read and heard much criticize about these cows and how cows wouldn't just do this but that really isn't entirely true. If you look closely these cows aren't coming in the back door. They are already in the prison which means Rupert, Angus and Murtagh already led them into the prison which is a confined space and they are being herded. If these cows are panicked or scared enough to stampede... they would do this. Would they be able to bust down a metal door? Hinges are the weak link and those cows likely way a ton. I'm okay with this scene.
Murtagh, Rupert and Angus are to the rescue only stopping briefly to see Randall appears to have been trampled. (YEAH! Ding Dong the wicked bastards dead!) They bundle up Jamie and haul ass out of the prison. Claire is waiting in the road a distance away, when they arrived with Jamie in the back of a wagon. Claire tries to tend him but he's still hallucinating and thinks she's Randall.
I like the hallucinations Jamie is going through because his body is probably going through a lot right now. He's been abused and his hand made him lose blood. He's probably having a lot of trouble concentrating and this really shows how his body and mind are dealing with what has happened to him.
They arrived at an Abbey where Father Anselm is introduced by Willie (I was wondering where he was). Father Anselm has everything set up and is more than willing to harbor them. In Jamie's room, Father Paul is trying to get Jamie to eat but he won't take a bit (this isn't like Jamie *weeps*). Claire asks Jamie what Randall did to him and we get the heart-breaking answer of "Too much and no enough."
Jamie's mind takes him back into Wentworth. This is important. We aren't being made to endure what Jamie went through. Jamie is enduring it. If any of you have endured something traumatic or even nerve-wracking you'll know that you replay it in your head. They rethink it with all the what ifs. So now we are watching Jamie do just that.
Randall suddenly seems gentle. He's trying to take care of Jamie who is uncooperative and while he agreed not to resist he isn't going to participate. This upsets Randall who tries to bring Jamie around and when that doesn't work brutally rapes Jamie over the table. (F-ing bastard. You sadistic F! I hate Randall with every fiber of my being more now then every before.)
We comes back to the Abbey in the middle of Claire talking about Jamie's hand and the laudanum because Jamie hasn't been listening. Jamie tries to ingest as much laudanum as possible but Claire takes it away. Jamie asleep but he's clearly back in Wentworth. Claire painstakingly sets Jamie's hands and stitches his wounds. Afterwards, Claire becomes sick in the hallway. (See I think we are to assume it is all the gore done to Jamie but there are other factors at work here.)
I can't tell if this is the same day though I think not, but Claire is in the Chapel when Father Anselm arrives. Father Anselm can tell Claire is suffering herself and so the Monk asks if he can take her confession. This has gotten a lot of flack as well. People seeing confession as admitting ones guilt but confession isn't just about what you've done but also about unburdening your soul from those things that weigh it down.
Claire tells Father Anselm everything (he is bound by church law to keep it a secret people) and tells him she feels it is her fault this has happened. Again, I've read how upset they are that Claire feels guilty asking what sin has she committed? Claire was married when she married Jamie and while she feels she can't get to Frank she did have the opportunity. It isn't about her committing some heinous act but that Claire feels if she'd gone, Jamie wouldn't have had to go through all of this. Sometimes the guilt or upset we feel is not logical. Claire couldn't control what happened any more than Jamie but she, as his wife, is feeling the pain of it. Randall didn't just hurt Jamie but Jamie and Claire as a whole. When Father Anselm absolves her it is the act of Christians/Catholics laying their burdens with God so they can move on. Claire doesn't appear to be the most religious woman but we've learned over the season she knows all about faith and the Bible. Clearly she holds it in some regard.
Claire goes to Jamie's room and finds Father Paul trying to get Jamie to eat though he won't. Claire checks his hand and says it is coming along nicely though Jamie appears to be running a fever. Jamie tells her she can't save a man who doesn't want to be saved.
Outside, Rupert and Angus are drinking while Murtagh worries about Jamie. Willie tries to relate but just upsets Murtagh. Murtagh goes to see Jamie and they have a heated conversation in Gaidhlig which appears to be something about Jamie wanting to die and Murtagh asking Jamie, "What about Claire?" (Great Scot! posted their Gaidhlig bits post so that is where I got that.)
Jamie starts remembering again about how Randall got him to brand himself. Jamie thought he was telling Claire "there is only you," but Randall thought it was meant for him.
Willie rides up to the abbey to report their are Red Coat patrols but they haven't come towards the abbey yet. Murtagh believes it is only a matter of time and they should move on. Rupert says they need to leave Scotland and Angus says there are MacKenzie's in France. Murtagh adds there is a Fraser cousin in France as well but Willie wonders about the family Claire has in France. And on a truly brilliant lie, Claire tells Willie that family was her late husbands and she can't go to them with Jamie. She also believes Jamie would like being with Frasers, though she means no offense and Angus takes none while Rupert tells her the offer will stand. Murtagh goes to find a ship.
Willie checks in on Jamie who wants to use Willie's blade to kill himself but smart boy that he is Willie runs off and tells Claire. (I'm loving Willie more and more.)
Murtagh returns with good news but falls silent when he realizes Claire is upset. Claire tells him about Jamie's wish to die and Murtagh tells her he knew and Jamie made him pledge not to say anything. Claire wants to know why Jamie wants to die and her suspicions (I suspect) are confirmed when Murtagh tells her Jamie was tortured and raped, isn't that enough of a reason? Murtagh then goes on to tell her that he would never hurt Jamie unless it came to a point where Jamie couldn't heal and then he would not leave him like an animal in a trap. Essentially if Jamie is suffering and dying he'd help him along. Claire faints.
When Claire comes around she wants to know how to reach Jamie and Murtagh suggests stepping into the darkness with him. Claire goes along with this and brings Oil of Lavender, which Randall used on him, into his room. Jamie's mind is going from Claire to Randall until he fights back. (This is such a beautiful moment because despite Jamie's despair he fights. Claire is trying to get him to fight the memories and he finally does.) Jamie wants to know why she's doing this to him and she tells him to find out what happened. She tells him, "My husband wants to die and he won't tell me why. Do you want me to hate you?" Jamie finally shows her the brand.
Claire is horrified but Jamie tells her he did it to himself because Randall used tenderness and Claire against him. And when Jamie, hallucinating minds does conjure Claire and finds release, he is devastated and weeps. Randall then drives that proverbial nail in by asking how Claire will forgive Jamie.
Jamie finding "pleasure" has been a sore subject. The idea that Jamie can not be rouse to pleasure from his rapist is a false one. First, Jamie is physically and emotionally weakened after a prolonged bout of torture and rape. He is retreating from what is happening to him which doesn't mean his body is disconnected from the act. Clearly Jamie is out of it and Randall evoking Claire to Jamie's mind doesn't help the matter. But this isn't just about the physical. We are watching Randall psychological rape Jamie as well. Randall is taking what Jamie loves and turning trying to taint it.
This is why Jamie tells Claire; Randall broke him. Claire tells Jamie there is nothing to forgive. Jamie tells her that he feels he will die without her touch but when they do touch he wants to vomit with shame. Claire tells Jamie that everything that has happened did to bring them together but Jamie doesn't seem to be responding until Claire tells him if he takes away the last thing that makes sense to her she will die right there and now with him. This gets Jamie's attention and he starts to reach for her but pulls back. Jamie achingly asks how she can have he is now and she informs him she will always take him however she can get him. Claire embraces him and Jamie slowly responds.
Jamie and Claire then have Murtagh cut Randall's brand off of Jamie.
Claire says her goodbyes to Willie, Rupert and Angus. Willie is a good friends. Angus takes liberties and Rupert is a gentlemen.
Jamie and Claire are on the ship which will take them to France. Claire is at the side sick and Jamie finds it an interesting role reversal since it would normally be him.
Jamie and Claire discuss the upcoming Rising and how Bonnie Prince Charlie is in France. They could try to prevent Culloden but Jamie wants to think on it.
Jamie then reveals to Jamie she is pregnant. Jamie's response in Gaidhilg is "Absolutely brilliant." Jamie embraces Claire and tells her he never though he'd be able to say he was happy again.
Overall, I like the episode because just like Gabaldon's story it isn't predicable. Normally, we watch our heroine suffer rape and are faced with a misconception that it doesn't happen to men. Here we actually get to see Jamie, our hero, going through then physical and psychological aspects of the rape and it is messy. There is no neat package of feelings. Everything isn't instantly all right because Jamie was saved from Wentworth. And if, indeed, Randall is dead; it doesn't help Jamie heal any faster. Jamie needs to go through stages of healing and one of them is accepting he shouldn't be ashamed of what happened. Claire telling Jamie there is nothing to forgive is a beautiful moment because every person who has been raped may know this on some level but hearing it changes something.
And a moment I love in the book and on the show is Claire forcing Jamie from drowning in guilt, shame and self-loathing. Claire makes Jamie face the Randall he keeps remembering. She makes Jamie fight back and this gives Jamie another small measure of healing.
I'm sorry this got so long.
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