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Outlander Recap: Je Suis Prest (S2.E9)

With all the shark jumping, minnow leaps, tuna twirls and screwed pooches hopefully behind us, Outlander marches towards war this week.

Previously on Outlander... A lot of shenanigans with Lord Lovat result in.... nothing, basically. As the episode opens, only half of the men Jamie and Claire managed to get from the old fox remain. Most of the men could give a you know what about Bonnie Prince Charlie and have gone home. Lovat Junior has gone to try and get them back while Jamie and Claire meet up with Murtagh, Fergus, and the Lallybroch Fraser Fighting Fifth.

Jamie brings Murtagh up to speed on Lovat's machinations only to turn around and find another master manipulator strolling towards him: Dougal MacKenzie is in the house! And he's brought along Rupert and Angus (But no Willie who, alas, has gone to America wed to an Irish lass) and plenty of sass. Dougal wastes no time in making everyone feel completely uncomfortable. Dougal's ready and willing to do anything. Almost. Jamie says Dougal can help train then men. Ack! Says Dougal. Their hearts are all they need to fight the British. We'll teach them as they march, he says. "They dinna march," says Jamie, "They walk, they stroll, they caper about, but they dinna march." Jamie says they're staying put until the men look more like corporals than cotters.

Gunnery Sergeant Murtagh sets out to whip the Fighting Frasers into shape but no amount of bagpipes or barking can turn these maggots into soldiers. They don't know how to form lines, follow orders, or stop complaining about their lack of proper weapons. Move your bloomin' ass, Kincaid! Dougal gets a big kick out of all of it as Jamie looks on with concern.

Claire, meanwhile, is showing signs of PTSD: a memory of her time in a WWII army camp suddenly coming to mind as she watches Murtagh drill the "soldiers." Claire moves away only to find Fergus playing ball with some of the men which triggers another memory of soldiers playing baseball. It's too much, and Claire takes her anger and frustration out on Fergus, pulling him out of the game and yelling at him, telling him he was supposed to be getting water for Jamie.

The training continues.... We're gonna need a montage, oh it takes a montage...  Dougal thinks that's enough to get them ready to fight and urges Jamie to leave and get to Prince Charlie (mostly because he wants to get in good with the Prince before the other clan leaders have a chance).  Jamie tells Dougal the men aren't ready and to stuff it. Basically.

The next morning Claire continues her stroll down terrible memory lane. She's reminded yet again of that one time at World War II camp when she met two Americans. And learned a new phrase: Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ. At least one good thing came out of it. Claire is increasingly disturbed by these memories but when Jamie asks her about it, she brushes it off as stress over getting ready despite the fact that she's clearly struggling.

Meanwhile, despite yelling, spitting, kicking and screaming Murtagh is still struggling to get the men to act as a real fighting unit. Jamie's had enough and gives a rousing speech inspiring the Scots to understand why the training is so important, only to be completely be undercut by a bare chested Dougal and gang barreling into the company screeching the Highland yell. Sigh. That. Is. It!!! yells Jamie. He pulls Dougal to the side and puts him in his place reminding Dougal Jamie's the one in charge. So either get in line or get walking.

Dougal seems to take all this in stride, and immediately heads straight for Claire to attempt to use her to get to Jamie. You have met Claire, right, Dougal? Needless to say, when Dougal threatens to tell Jamie that Claire once promised to be his wife if Jamie died unless she helps him, Claire drops the mother lode of f bombs telling Dougal to go f himself. Dougal takes it in stride, giving an impassioned speech about how much he loves Scotland.

We're gonna need a montage... Oh it takes a montage... The men are starting to at least look a bit more like soldiers. Which gives Jamie and Murtagh a chance to gossip about Claire. Murtagh says not to worry, Claire won't hold back how she's feeling, but maybe this time, Jamie's going to have to really work to find out what's going on.

He better work fast because Claire's flashbacks are getting worse and causing more chaos in the present past. When Claire finds that Angus has the beginnings of trench foot it triggers another memory of her time as a nurse during World War II. WWII Claire was much more pleasant - this one throws around another f bomb - this time lashing out at Angus. Realizing she's losing it, Claire hightails it away from the men only to be overwhelmed by the sounds of war.

Somehow, in the meantime, Dougal has managed to ride out into the countryside, conscript a group of farmers, and march them back into the camp unmolested by the guards. This greatly displeases Red Jamie who demands that guards Ross and Kincaid (of the ass kicked by Murtagh variety) be brought to punishment for their sins. "Oh, and all you new recruits," says Jamie, "you can go." And they quickly do, having been dragged there by Dougal rather than appearing of their own free will. Jamie then puts Dougal and his men in charge of sentry duty for the entire camp. The next morning Jamie has Ross and Kincaid whipped for their carelessness.

Later as Jamie leads his men in target practice Claire walks by only to be overcome by the sounds of the guns. She collapses to her knees as she's overtaken by a terrible memory from the war. She was traveling in a jeep with the two American soldiers when they were hit by German machine gun fire. Claire finds herself pinned down on the side of the road with one of the soldiers while they hear the pained screams of another allied soldier. When the man with Claire goes to help, he too is shot and killed. Claire is left all alone in the ditch having to hear the screams of the wounded. All she can do is cover her ears and yell, "Shut up! Shut up!"

Jamie finds her crumpled in the same position on the ground, and slowly pulls her to her feet. Claire tells him what she witnessed, and Jamie reassures her there was nothing she could have done. When Claire tells Jamie she's not sure she's ready to go to war again, Jamie tells her she doesn't have to. He wants her to go home to Lallybroch, but Claire's not having it. She says she'll feel helpless, like a "dragonfly in amber." So she's staying. Jamie doesn't put up any argument. He promises her she will never be alone again.

Having started to help Claire through her PTSD Jamie makes time to be attacked by a young British lad named John William Grey. The young 16-year-old reveals that he recognized "Red Jamie" while wandering away from his camp. When Jamie tries to get information out Grey he realizes he's going to have to try torture to get his answers. Claire, seeing this, rushes in and pretends to be a British citizen being held hostage. She says if Jamie lets the boy go she will surrender herself to him, hoping the boy will be moved to reveal his information in order to save her.

When Jamie looks all too willing to "ravish" Claire (who knees Jamie in the groin for good measure) the boy cracks, and reveals everything about his troops: they have 16 canon, lots of men, yada yada. As a thank you for the info, Jamie lets the boy live. Mr. William Grey isn't too grateful, promising if he is ever to meet Jamie again he will repay the debt he owes him for saving his life, and then Grey says he will kill Jamie. "Then I must hope, sir... that we do not meet again," says Jamie.

Afterwards, Jamie says someone must be punished for letting Grey get through the lines. So Jamie says he should be whipped because his fire drew the lad to the camp. He doesn't hesitate to take off his shirt and have Murtagh administer 18 lashes for Jamie's mistakes. He then promises they'll go take care of those troops Grey told them all about. Jamie leaves Dougal and his men behind at the camp in sentry duty.

The raid is successful and Jamie returns to camp in high spirits (but not high enough to make love to his wife.... but I digress). Jamie bursts in on a sleeping Claire who is confused to see Jamie's face covered in dirt. "Commando raid," he tells her. Claire gave him the idea when she told him about it. Jamie tells Claire he and his men stole the pins and the wheels to the cannons so they won't be able to be moved. Claire pulls Jamie into a passionate kiss and Jamie tells her, "We should get dressed." ?? No time for love making, we've got to get marching! The British are coming and there's no time to waste.

Jamie and Claire leave with the men on the final march to join Prince Charles and the rest of the Highlanders. As they approach the camp, Jamie calls for Dougal and asks him to ride in first on behalf of the troops and announce their arrival to Prince Charles. It's a nice reward for Dougal who finally managed to toe the line and follow Jamie's orders.

Next week on Outlander... The Bonnie Prince in plaid!

Outlander Recap: Je Suis Prest (S2.E9) Reviewed by Deborah Thompson on 12:21 AM Rating: 5

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