Recap: 'Outlander' - 'The Garrison Commander'
At the end of last week’s episode, Claire left us with a brick wall cliffhanger. Would she out Dougal for his terrible wibbly-wobbly definition of “guest” or would she lie to the British platoon to avoid a shootout? Either way, this seems like a no-win scenario. Sort of a six of one, half dozen of a the other when it comes to an undercurrent of sexual violence.
Regardless of her choice, tonight we meet “The Garrison Commander.”
We pick up right where we left off, with Lt. Jeremy reiterating his question. Is Claire hanging out in the woods with the Scottish of her own free will? There is a tense moment as she tries to be the Bobby Fischer of Scottish politics, mentally playing out moves in her head for how any answer would end up. Or at least I assume that’s what her dramatic silence means. After all, she doesn’t know she’s on a TV show.
Claire decides….drumroll goes here….that yes she is a guest of Clan MacKenzie. Yes, that is her final answer.
Lt. Jeremy seems disappointed with her answer. I guess he really wanted an excuse to kill some Scots, but that’ll have to wait for another day. No matter, this was one of those choices that wasn’t really a choice, like a quest in the main storyline of an RPG. The garrison commander wants to meet Claire, so she’s going to meet him.
Of course, Dougal declares he’s tagging along. You can almost feel the Scottish Santa Suspicion rolling off of him in waves. I bet it smells like pine trees. If Claire thought she’d get rid of her MacKenzie host that easily, she had another think coming. Awww, Dougal is so proud of himself, pulling one over on Claire. Just let him have this one, guys.
As they ride on horseback to the Scottish town that’s been commandeered by British troops, our heroine can’t help but voice-over narrate about how happy she is be back among her fellow Englishmen. She says it’s so nice to be back among men who look at her with respect and sympathy. I am aghast at her naive willingness to trust any man in this era. Her optimism is both inspiring and disheartening. Girl, no. You in danger!
In town, Claire muses that even though they are still on Scottish soil, Dougal is the outlander now. She is courteous enough to not rub it in his face or laugh out loud at his discomfort though. But everywhere we turn, Red Coats permeate the very walls. It’s a veritable infestation of lobster soldiers. Gross.
Lt. Jeremy leads his guests to the biggest house in town, and I briefly wonder who lived there before they were displaced by the leaders of His Majesty’s army. I also wonder how Lt. Jeremy was living in that hamlet as a blacksmith with none of his neighbors the wiser, because he seems way too at home with the Brits to be a new recruit. Whatever, maybe a good blacksmith is hard to find?
Inside the not-quite-castle, the leaders of the garrison are having dinner. Holy curly bewigged wigs, Batman! It is a sea of terrible hairpieces. How can you take anyone seriously when they have a dead Tribble perched on their head? Somehow Claire manages not to goggle at this display of unfortunate fashion, nodding pleasantly as she is introduced to the garrison commander, Ser Oliver Thomas.
I’ll be honest, I was legitimately expecting to see Captain Black Jack Randall sitting at the head of the table. But I’m not sorry to not see him. I’m sure his vermin face will appear shortly to ruin my good mood.
In the meantime, things are getting tense at dinner as the British can’t help but be assholes. They make fun of Dougal’s accent, refer to him as a creature, and are generally just arrogant entitled shits in the way only the ruling class can be. The American in me wants to slap them all in their stupid faces. I bet their wigs would spin comically.
Claire is a paragon of sainthood by comparison, merely pointing out that some English accents are just as hard to understand as Scottish ones. The men are discombobulated to be brought to task. God, women just ruin everything. You can’t even been an instigatory asshole to a representative of the opposition without them whining about manners.
Of course Dougal takes the bait, rightly telling them to go back to London if they want to hear Londoner speak. Ser Thomas rebuts by making jokes about kilts because it’s the 18th century and that’s still new material. Things are about to get stabby when Claire calls them all children and virtually demands they stop. Ser Thomas and Dougal finally find common ground by agreeing Claire is super good at ordering men around.
See? We’re not so different after all. Cue the rainbows and puppies.