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Monday, July 11, 2016

Michelle Monkou's Recap of Outlander, Season 2, Episode 13

Outlander Season Two, Episode Thirteen - Dragonfly in Amber
(See below for links to all recaps)
(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)

Finales always have that bittersweet edge. We know everything comes to an end, if only for the season. But for those precious 90 minutes, Outlander took us to heaven Scottish Highland heaven where romance, history, and adventure intertwine for one final emotional and sentimental ride.

Dragonfly In Amber rocked! No other way to say it. Definitely one of my favorite episodes of the series.

From the start with The Avengers (one of my favorite series to watch) launching the scene in 1968, I was fully invested in the contemporary world where Claire, now a widow, arrives for Reverend Wakefield's wake accompanied by her adult daughter, Brianna.

Thanks to the wonderful wardrobe, hair styles, and makeup artistry, the 60s were solidly in play for Claire's current world. We had to get used to the older Claire with quiet, reserved demeanor, along with the tidbit about enhanced skills as a surgeon. I'm guessing that those skills will be necessary. But you have to agree that Caitriona nails her "new" role. She embodies the stylish quality of the 60s screen stars. And I truly enjoyed the stark difference in her mature temperament with a sort of low-keyed physical performance, alongside the pure emotions through her actions and expressions.

Instantly we recognize the strain between mother and daughter. Brianna's suspicions about her mother's feelings toward her father - Frank - grow to a feverish pitch that brings her to question her mother ever loving her father. Claire gives her answer and dodges the full truth to Brianna. While the tension is thick, they've met Roger Wakefield, the Reverand's son, whose last name is really Mackenzie. Roger knows he is adopted and had his genelogy researched.

(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)
Straddling the two time periods could be tedious, but the episode is laid out with perfectly timed, repeated hops from 1968 to 1746 where we get to see a frazzled Jamie among the king's men preparing for battle. Although the grim dark reality of the Battle of Culloden weighs on him, he still manages to be the most handsome highlander in the room.  Setting aside his good looks, Jamie can't dissuade the prince from the mission. The prince is cocky with his delusional god powers and dismisses Jamie's concern as his "doubting Thomas" in living flesh. Mark me, that prince is a dangerous idiot.

In desperation to prevent the battle, Claire offers to murder the prince. Times sure has hardened her moral compass. Claire has shown that she's always willing to do what's necessary for her cause. Maybe that harebrained plan would have worked to give the prince the same poison that she'd given Colum, if Dougal didn't overhear.  Nothing will calm Dougal who is like a raging bull hell bent on killing Jamie. All Dougal wanted was his war and his rightful prince on the throne. The extent of the betrayal plays like a Shakespearean drama as he stumbles around the room wounded by his nephew's duplicity and by the bidding of an English (fill in any vulgar term).  There was no way that this scene was going to end with a handshake and blessings. In a massive fight, Jamie gets the upper hand and drives Dougal's short sword into his gut. A surprising twist - Claire helps put pressure on Jamie's hand to end Dougal's life. Now they are complicit in a terrible offense.

Jamie must face the consequences of his actions when Rupert unexpectedly stumbles onto the bloody scene. As Rupert tries to wrap his mind around his dead chieftain and Jamie-the murderer, he is asked for a two-hour reprieve. Jamie is determined to get Claire out of harm's way. The only option for him is to take Claire back to the stones and send her to a time where he can't go and to a man who has always been a shadow over their marriage. Talk about grand gestures -- this one was a mammoth. And we fall in love with Jamie even more.

Back in 1960s we, viewers, get a shock at who turns up -- Geillis Duncan from 1746, while her name in 1968 is Jillian Edgars. Regardess of the identity, Geillis is still the captivating creature with a rebellious nature and uncanning ability to hold a crowd's attention. She is a woman who truly loves Scotland, as a nationalistic charmer ready for a revolution. Geillis eventually meets Brianna and Roger, but neither side knows the close ties that they share.

(Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television)
During a brief stay at Roger's house, Claire heads off on private (and secretive) jaunts. She visits Lollybroch and sees the dilapidated state of this once robust home, but the shell of a house doesn't erase the tender memories of Jamie standing in the archway at the edge of the property. And we can all collectively sigh because we were there to see this young man turn seasoned man before the Battle of Culloden became a looming terror. We also see Claire at the stone marker for Clan Fraser. in the distance are the other stone markers. History didn't change its outcome. There she sits to tell him about his daughter and her life, thus far, before saying a final good-bye.

Brianna doesn't let up with her suspicions about her mother and father's relationship, especially after learning that he had flown into an uncharacteristic rage. She and Roger dive into the reverend's journals and come across the newspaper clippings about her mother's disappearance. Suspicion turns to anger. Brianna, with a reluctant Roger to witness, accuses Claire of having an affair.

Claire chooses to tell the truth. We understand this chaotic tale. We know what happened and believe in those stones. But to Brianna, the story sounds like her mother should be committed. Learning that Frank is not her father devastates Brianna and she initially refuses to hear anything about Jamie. I want to join in with Claire with an enthusiastic thumbs up that Jamie was a good guy. You would've adored him. You would be proud of him. He would've loved you like a proud father, if destiny was kinder.

As you can tell, this episode was chock full of information. Here's a quick run through, Claire spies a propaganda pamphlet that Brianna got from Geillis. Of course, she's shocked that Geillis is alive and wants to talk to her, since she may very well be the only other person who has entered and exited the through the stones. But Geillis's personal life is a shambles. Her husband is at home waiting for her to come home. When he's distracted in his drunken, sad state, Claire takes Geilis's diaries which contain a wealth of information about her views on time travel.

As usual, Claire inserts herself in another mission to save the world...well, in this case, to let this younger Geillis know what she knows. That she will have Dougal's baby and burn as a witch. With Roger and Brianna in tow, they head to the stones. Too late. Geillis killed and burns her husband's body because she thinks a human sacrifice is necessary before her time jump through the stones.

Brianna, the cynic, can't believe what she's witnessed. But instantly, in that light bulb moment of seeing Geillis disappear,  she is a believer that her mother's story is true. Like a cherry on top of a dessert, Roger shares that historical accounting shows that Jamie survived Culloden. YES!! And the angelic choir sings.

So you know what happens, Claire wants to return to find Jamie. And we can all understand the pain of loss that she endured thinking he was gone forever.



My recap isn't necessarily in the order of the show, but I must mention another memorable scene -- the return of Claire to the present. Jamie, with time running out, escorts Claire to the stones for their final farewell. Bring out the tissues. They make love with such desperation to hold onto each other for one more time. The cannon blasts from the ensuing battle signals that time is up. And in the most tender of good-byes, Jamie guides Claire's hand to the stones and sends her home. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

(Courtesy of Sony Television Pictures)

Until we meet again, dear friends, see you at Season 3. Time to rewatch Outlander.

My Weekly Recaps
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Michelle Monkou writes for Harlequin Kimani, Evernight Publishing, and her indie pursuits with Stella Maris Publishing. Michelle’s website is michellemonkou.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook.


2 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Thank you so much, Michelle, for leading us through Season Two of Outlander! A love story for all time - and a lesson in history. I'm sure tens of thousands of people know more about Scotland's history than ever before.

Sarah Raplee said...

This has been an awesome season and we look forward to the next! Your insights have made the season even more enjoyable. Thank you.