Loretta Sisco Reviews Outlander S02 E09: Je Suis Prest
Last week’s episode of Outlander introduced Lord Lovat, Jamie’s grandfather. He put his poor grandson through a great deal of strife before allowing his men to join Jamie’s cause. What happened this week? Meet me after the jump to find out.
This episode was titled “Je Suis Prest,” which translates to mean “I am ready.” What I was ready for was the hour to be over. For the better part of the first half, we saw unlikely soldiers being prepared for battle, while Claire was having flashbacks of her time spent in World War II, and her mood swings as a result. It didn’t get much more interesting beyond that.
The Frasers lost some men on their way to camp, particularly those ordered away from their homes by Lord Lovat. His young son Simon was trying to persuade the deserters to return through the promise of land after the victory. It turns out that Lovat kept his best men from joining the cause, leaving a group of men to train who shouldn’t have quit their day jobs. Murtagh tries his best to whip them into shape, but they exasperate him more than anything else.
Claire and Jamie are reunited with Angus and Rupert at camp. They learn that Willie has married and left for America. Jamie’s Uncle Dougal Mackenzie tells his nephew he is proud of him for assisting with the Jacobite cause. He, along with Angus and Rupert, are prepared to fight for the cause, and Jamie wants them to help him train the new recruits.
Meanwhile, Claire has plenty of wartime flashbacks that cause her to become moody and irritable with those around her. These painful memories are brought back through witnessing the troops training on the field. She’s not sure she is ready to be involved in another war. Jamie had earlier apologized for bringing Claire to camp, and offers to send her home to Lallybroch. She refuses, because while she isn’t ready for another conflict, she isn’t ready to feel helpless to be able to assist if she is away from the action. The difference with the upcoming war is that she knows the people involved, who are dear to her.
Jamie and Dougal disagree on the readiness of their troops. Dougal is anxious to show allegiance to Prince Charles Stuart, but Jamie doesn’t believe they are prepared enough for battle. Jamie tries to motivate his men with a Highland pep talk, but at the conclusion of his speech, his men are ambushed by Dougal and four others in warrior garb for a sort of teachable moment. The troops take flight rather than fight, much to the annoyance of Jamie. This results in a conversation with Dougal, where Jamie tells him it’s his way or the highway, I’m the boss, you’re not.
Since he’s not making any progress getting his nephew to see his way, Dougal appeals to Claire to ask Jamie to allow him to help train the men. There was an agreement between Dougal and Claire that they would marry should anything happen to Jamie, so that Claire would be protected. Jamie is well aware of Dougal’s offer to Claire. They have words, with Claire accusing Dougal of being a selfish narcissist. He admits as much, but promises her that he would give his life for Scotland.
While sitting around a campfire, Dougal appears with alleged volunteers for the rebellion. Jamie is annoyed that Dougal and his group were able to breach their security. Jamie explains what it means to be a soldier, and how they will be executed as traitors should they lose the battle. Given the option to bail out by Jamie, all the potential recruits leave, with Dougal the only man left.
As punishment for his interference, Jamie puts Dougal and his men on sentry duty for the entire camp. To add injury to insult, Jamie decides to make examples of Ross and Kincaid, the guards who allowed the intruders to pass into camp, by having them flogged in public by Murtagh.
One night Jamie is attacked by a young man wielding a knife named William Grey. He saw the firelight from the camp, and recognized Jamie when he followed the light. He is convinced to talk by a bit of torture involving a very crafty Claire, and warns them of British troops close by. Jamie wants the boy taken back toward the camp and tied to a tree if his information is true, but the men are ordered to slit his throat if he proves to be a liar. Through their parting exchange, it sounds as if young William Grey will cause Jamie problems in the future.
Dougal and his men are responsible for letting Grey get through security. This time Jamie also takes a flogging, as part of the fault lies with him for the fires being visible to outsiders.
With the information garnered from his assailant, Jamie plans a sneak attack on the British troops. He orders his uncle to stay behind and continue with sentry duty. They infiltrate the enemy camp, removing the cotter pins from the cannon wheels before setting the wooden wheels ablaze.
At long last satisfied with their progress, Jamie finally leads his ragtag group to meet with Prince Charles Stuart. He allows Dougal the honor of riding ahead to alert the prince that they have arrived.
I thought this episode was one of the most lackluster of the season. Too much time was spent showing the training of the troops, and there were too many flashbacks of Claire in the war. Some of the flashbacks just seemed like unnecessary filler. “Outlander” fans got great news this week with the announcement that the series will have seasons three and four. Let’s hope things pick up next week with the return of Prince Charles Stuart to the show.