Recap: 'Outlander' - 'The Reckoning' drives home the reality of 18th century sexism
We’re back, we’re back! “Outlander” has returned for the back half of the first season! And that means more recaps, more mixed metaphors, and more attempts to guess where this story is going. Warning: By the end of this episode, I am still solidly Team Frank.
Quick key for those just joining us:
Column - Colum MacKenzie
Scottish Santa - Dougal MacKenzie
Leery - Laoghaire
Tweedle Twins - Murtagh and Angus
Budget Ben - Ned Gowan
Gilly - Geillis
Got it? Good. We’re off!
Instead of diving right back into the climatic moment where Jamie deus ex machina’d his way in to rescue Claire from Black Jack Randall, Season 1B begins with Jamie narrating about how he’s a special snowflake and ruminating on the twists and turns of his life. For added symbolism, a river rushes by to metaphorically sweep Jamie up into a chain of events. It’s two centuries too early for him to heed the wise advice of TLC: don’t go chasing waterfalls or time-traveling women, Jamie.
As we fade into a flashback, a woman is walking towards a pensive Mr. Fraser. That’s not Claire…
Yay, the gang’s all here! Scottish Santa is ready to take a crack at some poor Red Shirt™ for bringing them information they can’t use. The Tweedle Twins are just impressed the guy defected from the British in the first place. And Budget Ben is having a hard time believing Black Jack would shoot his own man, because he is apparently the Fluttershy of this merry band of archetypes.
Then everything changes when the kid who was watching Claire comes in freaking out because she’s been captured. I’ll give them this, not one of the men hesitate to go storm a fortified British stronghold to retrieve a woman they’ve known only for a few months.
Honor: the cause of, and solution to, all of 18th century problems.
After properly suiting up — I had no idea putting on a kilt involved laying down — the men head over to save Claire under cover of darkness. If they alert too many guards, the GAME OVER screen will flash and they’ll have to restart the level. Fortunately for them, Jamie put all his stats into stealth, wall rappelling, and bluffing.
Finally, we get back to the point where the mid-season finale cliffhanger left us last year. While everyone would been more than pleased if Jamie had followed up his pithy one-liner with a bullet in Randall’s face, then Frank wouldn’t exist so what can you do? Instead the men basically play a game of chicken with Claire’s virtue and, knife to her throat or not, I keep hoping she cracks her captor in the solar plexus or gives a good stomp on his instep. I have to believe a nurse from WWII who saw active combat and grew up with a world-traveling archaeologist uncle would have learned some kind of rudimentary self-dense techniques. But perhaps that’s just me putting modern “Strong Female Character” expectations onto Claire, who behaves more like a real person and quietly waits for Jamie to either finish his rescue attempt or get killed in the process.
For a hot second it looks like it’s going to be the latter as Jamie stupidly gives up his weapon to keep Randall from slitting Claire’s throat. Joke’s on Black Jack though, because the guns aren’t loaded. Budget Ben said not to kill anyone, the hippie. The Tweedle Twins saw that request as more of a guideline really, since they opt for explosions. Pretty sure explosions kill people.
With the guards distracted by the fire and Black Jack temporarily indisposed, the newly married couple makes their escape by jumping into the dark water below and swimming to safety. Claire's superpower is not drowning while swimming in a woolen cloak.
Worst. Honeymoon. Ever. But at least the worst is over.
Hahaha, just kidding. Quite literally as soon as they are safe, Jamie reveals himself to be a victim-blaming jerk who wants an apology from Claire for getting kidnapped. Then his logic gets even worse. Jamie thinks Claire must have purposefully gotten herself captured and almost sexually assaulted to PUNISH JAMIE for him not being able to save her from being assaulted by the British deserters earlier. So, Jamie thinks Claire wandered off to get captured and raped to get back at Jamie for letting her get raped. Are. You. Kidding! Me!?
Do you want to get murdered in your sleep, Jamie Fraser? Because this is how you get murdered in your sleep.
Claire is righteously furious over this treatment. For the first time she’s seeing how men in the 18th century viewed their wives, as little more than a uterus with legs. The couples’ screaming fight ends with Jamie breaking down over how afraid he was for Claire and they both apologize and forgive each other.
The gang, on the other hand, does not forgive Claire. She can’t sit with them and they completely ignore her when they get back to the house. 18th century Scotland is apparently “Mean Girls,” only on Wednesdays we wear tartan instead of pink.
Just when things are settling down for the night, Jamie’s old-fashioned morals rear their ugly head again. Claire put the group in danger and must be made to understand. What that actually means is that Jamie is going to beat the willfulness out of her. Literally. With a belt.
There’s a second where I think Jamie will be smart about this and say the guys downstairs are waiting for a show, so let’s give them one. Then he’d beat the bedsheets and Claire would shriek and they’d have a laugh and a tumble and bond over their shared aversion to BEATING WOMEN FOR BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED.
Do you want to be castrated and fed your own manhood in your sleep, Jamie Fraser? Because this is how you get castrated and fed your own manhood in your sleep.