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Date Posted: 21:20:38 06/18/16 Sat
Author: Shadow
Subject: Episode 211 - Vengeance is Mine

Written by Diana Gabaldon, Directed by Mike Barker

Months have passed.
The Jacobite army is poised to attack London, but Charles’ generals and advisors demand a withdrawal back across the Scottish border as their troops are greatly outnumbered. Jamie’s efforts to alter events as Claire knows them and proceed to London fail. Annoyed by Jamie’s outspoken support of Charles’ wishes, the quartermaster orders Jamie and his men to separate from the prince’s side and proceed to Inverness to prepare winter quarters for the main body of the army. The Fraser contingent is attacked en route and scattered. Rupert is shot. Jamie, Claire, Dougal, Rupert, Murtagh, and Fergus hole up in a church with Ross so that Claire can perform emergency surgery on Rupert. During the night, the British find them. Claire again pretends to be a captive and the British trade her “rescue” for the Scots’ freedom. Dougal takes Ross and Rupert to reassemble what men he can find. Murtagh and Jamie follow Claire to effect a rescue. While traveling with the redcoats, Claire encounters Hugh Munro. The British drop Claire off with the Duke of Sandringham. Mary Hawkins is also there, awaiting yet another unwanted marriage, and revealed to be Sandringham’s goddaughter. Claire discovers that the duke is setting a trap for Jamie. Mary agrees to help warn Jamie on the condition that she be permitted to leave with them. Claire agrees and Mary manages to warn Hugh. Jamie and Murtagh evade the trap with Hugh’s help and surprise the duke. Claire tells Jamie that Sandringham was responsible for the attack in Paris; his valet one of the rapists. Mary stabs the valet. Murtagh beheads Sandringham and lays the head at the women’s feet, fulfilling his vow of vengeance.

I loved the opening titles scene with the powdering of Sandringham’s wig and it tumbling from the table. Nice foreshadowing there.

This was a most satisfying episode. It managed to interlace the action with wonderful character development scenes without losing the vibrancy of the pacing. It was nice to see Claire performing her regular healing duties—in this case, dentistry—- while the war council argues. We haven’t seen much of that since she returned from Paris, and it is the key element of Claire’s perception of herself. It also allowed us to see how much Rupert has been wounded by the loss of Angus. He’s not whole anymore and no one appreciates his jokes. I thought the subtlety of his toast to Angus when the child’s mother turned her back on him spoke volumes.

A big thank you goes out to DG for including the scene with Jamie praying over the sleeping Claire. Jamie’s devout spirituality is a big part of his personality in the books but hasn’t really appeared much on screen before now. It was a gorgeous scene and beautifully filmed and performed.

Great chase scenes, though I am still not quite sure how they managed to hide the horses. I didn’t realize immediately that Rupert had been shot in the eye. (which, BTW, ewww!) But watching him try to cling to the horse while so badly injured, then Dougal switching horses at the gallop to prevent Rupert from falling off, was impressive. Excellent stunt riding. Very exciting stuff.

The surgery in the church was pretty horrific. The thought of having to do that (or worse, have it done to you!) without anesthetic gives me the shudders. The argument over whether Jamie or Claire should surrender to the British was very well done. I really loved Claire’s capping argument that she was as responsible for the safety of the men as he was.

On a side note—-it was interesting to me that Claire got her very own horse back when the British took her away. That white horse is distinctive. You’d have thought the director or wrangler or whoever made that choice would have picked a bit more randomly. Still, maybe Claire claimed it was the horse she was riding when she was abducted by the highlanders. She did look great on it.

I saw a lot more affection for Claire from Dougal in this episode than I have in some of the previous ones. He respects her, even if he doesn’t always agree with her and I think he likes that she isn’t Jamie’s doormat but will argue with him when she thinks he is wrong. I melted when he said to Jamie, “Bring our lass back safe.”

It was good to see Hugh again and I am glad they didn’t kill him. It wasn’t necessary here.

Sandringham’s house was amazing. I was wondering if it was a real house—it looked like one— or a set. Either way it was freaking gorgeous. The portrait that conceals a door seems awfully familiar for some reason, but maybe it’s just a quintessentially English Great House.

I was delighted to see Mary Hawkins again. I loved her dress when she first greets Claire. It’s been awhile since we saw anything fancy and it caught my eye as such a radical change from the practical garb of the camp followers.

Sandringham was, as always a delight to watch. I have enjoyed all the scenes with Andrew Gower (Sandringham). His line delivery is just perfect and the character is a twisty little SOB. I quite liked his babble about all the differing rumors of how Claire killed Saint-Germain. I also liked how casual he was when alone with Claire in the kitchen, not caring about his wig, but the minute Jamie appeared he clapped the wig back on his head and tried to look pretty. (As if!)

Murtagh was also wonderful, but he always is. The beheading scene was ….stunning. Barbaric. Brutal. Just. The peace he radiated as he laid that head before the ladies he’d failed to protect in Paris was very powerful.

However, if I have to choose one person who owned this episode, I think it was Mary Hawkins. The reason I feel this episode belongs to her is that we get to see Mary leave her childhood behind and discover that there is a woman of courage, cleverness, and strength within herself. She becomes a woman in command of her own life. She doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but what she does have is gold. She takes an active role in warning Jamie despite her fears. When she is caught at the door, she distracts her captor until Hugh manages to clear the evidence from sight, then lies about it to fool the duke as to her business. When she learns the depth of her betrayal by the people she believed were protecting her, the moment of Awful Realization is clear on her face. The look in her eyes as she picked up the kitchen knife from the floor…wow. That was not in the book but it was absolutely brilliant television. Giving her the final line of the episode and making it such a practical and prosaic comment was utterly perfect. Well done, Rosie Day. Well done, DG.

I loved this episode.

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[> Oops! Simon Callow played Sandringham. My bad. I should have double checked that before posting. -- Shads, 05:30:26 06/19/16 Sun

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[> You're all caught up. I think I will re-watch this one tonight. Enjoyed DG's script so much! -- M&M, 18:48:41 06/19/16 Sun

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[> Another way to describe this episode is with the word 'arc'. Herself provides a smooth arc to a story with such skill. Hence, Mary's final line. Who else could have delivered that line and cemented the 'arc'? Masterful writing. Did we expect anything else? -- Swarl, 06:40:48 06/20/16 Mon

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[> That was an actual house, and Herself even commented that the room that Claire was locked in had been slept in my the Bonnie Prince himself in real life! They added using the secret door behind the painting to leave just because it was so cool! -- Lady-Jane, 17:20:42 06/25/16 Sat

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