Throughout its first season, Outlander has been a show about truths. It does not sugarcoat anything. It does not tone down the harsh realities of a different time. It does not try to be politically correct.
What Outlander shines at, and the reason it has such a vast following, is the ability to incorporate characters we relate to into a completely different time. A time in Scotland where a way of life – the clans, their language, their heritage – were being stripped away, raped, until there was barely a shell left.
Last night Jamie survived Black Jack Randall’s rape, but he will carry the scars of it throughout his life. From the beginning, Black Jack has been obsessed with Jamie. He scarred his body with lashes. It wasn’t enough, because he wanted to possess Jamie’s soul. Make Jamie succumb to his desires and to scar Jamie’s mind as well as his body. And that Black Jack accomplished, almost to the point where Jamie, even after he was rescued, still wanted to die.
The worst part of Black Jack’s attentions weren’t just the physical or just the mental, but the combination of the two that caused Jamie to escape into his mind and confuse Claire with Black Jack. Jamie, if only for a brief time, wanted to escape the pain and abuse, and in his confusion, he accepted and initiated a warped interpretation of making love with Randall.
Even after Jamie was rescued from Wentworth, safe in a monastery, his broken hand attended to, his mind cannot accept that he’s given himself to Black Jack. Jamie feels he’s now broken. Claire, delirious with relief, cannot understand why he won’t eat. Why he wants to die. Finally, after Murtagh threatens that he won’t let Jamie waste away, that he will end Jamie’s life if he doesn’t come back to his senses, Claire confronts Jamie and learns what happened.
In a brilliant move, Claire says that being ripped from her time had to be for something. That she and Jamie belong together and if he wishes to die, well, then she’ll die alongside him. And so begins his recovery.
Murtagh buys them passage on a ship, the Cristabel,to France; after it’s decided that the whole of Scotland is not safe for them. After many years away, Jamie has only had a few months back in his homeland. Now he must flee again. You can see the heavy weight of all he’s endured etched on his face as he stands aboard the Critabel looking back at his homeland.
In this final scene, Claire suggests that they try and sway history. That they have foreknowledge of the Battle of Culloden and the Bonnie Prince is in France. Perhaps, they can change the course of events. He’s dubious, but accepts the challenge.
Claire, with the sea air whipping around her, tells Jamie she’s pregnant. We see the confusion on Jamie’s face. He thought she couldn’t have children, as did Claire. But this isn’t a typical show where a baby makes everything right. No, this is Outlander where Jamie is only as happy as he can be right now. And, though he loves Claire and the unborn child, cannot hide the added worry this places on the two of them.
Things that struck me while watching this last episode of Season One.
At the monastery, Claire confesses to a monk her whole story. After the Father Bane episode, I found it odd that she would tell him about her time travel, given the Catholic Church is burning witches.
The cows played a pivotal role and even knocked over Black Jack, trapping him under a door. Of course, we know he’s not dead. The best we can hope for is maimed.
Murtagh is going with them to France. What will the French think of him?
Claire, again, dons men’s clothing as she waits for Jamie.