When we left off last week, our favorite red-headed Scot had been ambushed by the redcoats, possibly captured or killed. A devastating prospect for Outlander fans, I know. This week in “The Search”, the episode follows, well, Claire’s search for her husband. It sounds like it would be a somewhat dreary episode, and in the beginning, it is. However, as the episode continues, it becomes something a bit more light-hearted, which was sorely needed given the dramatic events of late.
Claire and Jenny, despite protests from Ian, go on the search for Jamie using Jenny’s skills as a tracker. I like the idea of two women setting out as the heroes. Armed with only two pistols, a crude map of the area, and a still recuperating Jenny, the two made an unlikely rescue party. (As an aside: Jenny gave birth and then days later hopped on a horse to ride through the woods? She is a brave, brave woman.) Even in such a bleak situation, Claire retains her usual tenacity and dry banter. When Jenny informs her that the redcoats are using a wagon that should be easy to track, the sassenach responds, “Hopefully because there’s a rather large, red-headed Scot weighing it down.”
One of the things I enjoy about Outlander is the way it depicts war. As Claire so aptly puts, “The victors carry their dead from the field and bury them; the losers are left to slowly decay back into the soil.” It’s certainly something she’s witnessed as a medic, and in the world of Outlander, there is no glory in battle, only survival for another day. Claire knows there aren’t heroes in war and the victims are always the innocent parties. A fact Claire is fully aware of as the pair holds a redcoat courier at gunpoint. They learn that Jamie has escaped the redcoat capture is hiding somewhere in the Scottish highlands. Claire doesn’t want to kill the redcoat after, as there has been enough death already, but she also knows that should he live, it puts everyone else’s lives at risk.
The decision to kill is taken from Claire’s hands when Murtaugh Fraser shows up and does the job for her. Murtaugh’s appearance allows Jenny, sore and bursting with breast milk, to return home to her newborn baby. Before she leaves, Claire implores Jenny to prepare for the future, to plant potatoes instead of wheat, as times ahead will be disastrous for the Scots. Jenny doesn’t bat an eyelash at Claire’s prophet abilities and instead agrees to do as she says because she trusts Jamie.
Claire and Murtaugh decide that scouring the countryside for Jamie as he hides from the redcoats is an asinine plan, so instead Murtaugh suggests bringing Jamie to them. At first he uses Claire’s abilities as a healer to attract attention. A sassenach healer and fortune teller traveling the highlands would be a hot commodity, sure to catch Jamie’s ears as he jumps from place to place. Still, Murtaugh doesn’t think it is large enough news to travel fast enough, so he comes up with another plan: a singing and dancing sassenach.
Claire is hesitant at first, but she warms to the idea of becoming the “Sassenach Sensation” rather quickly as she sees the crowds drawn in to watch the act. Naturally, such attention would catch the eye of anyone looking to make some gold, and that’s the case with a gypsy who copies the concept, even using the same name. It presents a problem because now Jamie won’t know which sassenach to follow, so Claire approaches the gypsy with all the gold in her possession to silence his sassenach copy. Murtaugh thinks her a fool to trust a gypsy, but Claire knows she has no other choice. She isn’t just traveling the countryside with Murtaugh to go sight-seeing; she has to find Jamie.
I appreciate the relationship between Claire and Murtaugh. It was he who saved her in the first place and I always adore any situation where a male and female become friends without the need for romance. Nevertheless, the subject of romance does come up when in the middle of an argument Murtaugh reveals to her that he was the one who gifted Jamie’s mother with the boar tusk bracelets. Because of his feelings, he’s felt the need to protect Jamie as a son and the heartbreak brings the pair closer, now with renewed spirit. It was a much needed scene in an episode that was clearly dragged out to fill the hour, as it spent far too much time on horseback and traveling from town to town.
It doesn’t take long for them to happen upon the gypsy once more, only this time, he validates Claire’s trust in him by giving her a note about the whereabouts of Jamie. Unfortunately, instead of Jamie, the pair finds Dougal, and I can’t say anyone is glad to see him. He tells them that Jamie was caught trying to follow Claire’s dancing act and sent to Wentworth prison where he was sentenced to hang. Immediately, Claire plans to rescue her husband, but Dougal, in an increasingly creepy fashion proposes to her as he thinks Jamie is a dead man, and he only thinks of Claire’s protection. As if anyone in the highlands would buy that line. But Dougal doesn’t stop Claire from going on an insane rescue mission, nor does he stop her when she enlists the help of a few MacKenzies. God, I love Claire’s determination. Next week, “Wentworth Prison.”
Outlander airs on Saturdays at 9PM ET/PT on Starz.
Photos courtesy of Starz.