‘Bout GD time. Arrow Recap E316, “The Offer”

In under the wire guys! Sorry so late, RL kicked my ass this week.

We pick up where we left off, with Oliver being surprised by the offer to become the Head and the torso and the entire superlative body of the Demon.

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He mutters to himself as Oliver is untied, something along the lines of “The people that made that shirt really knew what they were doing.” Just kidding ha ha, it is an old phrase that means “The tale to be told begins thus”, and was spoken to him by the man whose place he took, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

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They walk down a hallway and R’as stops a duel to tell one of the students what they did wrong. You can tell Oliver is surprised he didn’t kill them, but R’as points out that “all men need guidance”. When Oliver interprets this as the fact that his followers have to kill for him, R’as clears it up by saying that no, they have to die for him.

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They sit at a table with a banquet laid out, and Oliver is not impressed. R’as says it’s pretty much an FYI, and proceeds to lay out his case: Men have called Oliver a murderer, and a torturer, but he would never be so blunt. He sees the struggle in Oliver’s eyes between his dual identities, and points out that “Oliver Queen is a man destined to be alone.”

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He mentions that he loves a woman he cannot have, and right away Oliver interjects, saying that R’as doesn’t know him. R’as points out that he knows The Arrow, “Al-Sahim”, and that the people he saves will never think of him as more than a vigilante, and that his city will turn on him, the police will call him a criminal, and that he will be “scorned, hunted, and then killed”, dying as he began, alone.

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You want to think that Oliver would know enough to remain stoic, but no one, not even Diggle or Felicity, has ever hit him up with such a dispassionate list of his fears. R’as’ is ticking off his greatest insecurities, and we see it in his eyes. The idea that this man can read him so easily is almost as distressing to him as the idea of what he is offering.

Back at the Foundry, Thea is trying to get Nyssa to kill her, but Nyssa’s all ‘thanks but no thanks,” saying that the blood debt ends with Malcolm’s death, which she is sure her father has already taken care of.

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Laurel and Roy come down the stairs, and attack Nyssa to protect Thea. Roy knocks her out with a tranq dart, and when he asks Thea how she got out, she’s all ‘IDK, maybe League training’ and skedaddles out.

Back in Nanda Parbat, it’s storytime ft. R’as, Oliver, and the Lazarus Pit. R’as tells Oliver that the waters have allowed him to live well past his time, but that they are losing their effect on him, and that when he survived death by his own free will, without its help, he proved that he was a worthy successor.

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Oliver is all ungrateful and doesn’t want to “become an instrument of death,” but R’as points out that he could save the world if he wanted, not only one city. As it turns out, the League is loyal to their leader, no matter his credo, and if Oliver-as-R’as told them to stop killing, then they would. Oliver asks what would happen if he says no, and as a gesture of goodwill, R’as allows him to leave with Diggle and Malcolm, “all debts forgiven and all blood oaths waived.”

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With a final glance at the Pit, Oliver tells the men, “Let’s go home,” and they walk out.

That night at their apartment, Thea is the fandom when she tells Oliver that they need to stop having these “Thank God you aren’t dead” moments.

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Oliver reassures his sister there isn’t a scratch on him. When she asks how, he looks at Malcolm laid out on her couch, and she is both surprised he got out and upset that R’as didn’t kill him. She tells Oliver he can’t stay there, but he replies that there is no other place he can take him, and that he isn’t asking for her to pity or forgive him- just to let him heal.

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Oliver walks back into Verdant and dodges Diggle’s attempt to be specific about why they were allowed to leave Nanda Parbat, basically telling him that they should just be happy to be back and alive. Oliver is like St. Peter, he only answers something after you ask it three times.

***FLASHBACK ALERT*** I’m gonna deviate from the usual and just summarize the entire flashback in one go. Oliver takes Akio to the Botanical Gardens to try to find his folks, and they are found by the people looking for his parents. As Oliver tries to escape with the boy, he runs into a woman who looks exactly like Shado. ***END FB***

Oliver and Diggle walk into the lair, and Oliver ignores Laurel and tells Felicity that Malcolm is still alive, right before he opens the door to Nyssa’s cage and tells her she’s free to go.

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Laurel should just write your questions down on a piece of paper and have Felicity ask them. Nyssa doesn’t believe her father would trade her life for Oliver or Malcolm. “He didn’t,” Oliver says, loquacious as always, and tells her to go home. Both Laurel and Felicity start to question him, but he snaps that it doesn’t matter and eye-begs Felicity until she pulls up a crime in progress.

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At least you can always count on something awful happening in Starling City.

That something awful is a robbery of an armored truck by trigger-happy guys in masks, one of who has his lips sewn shut for no reason other than it looks scary, because no way do I think this dude gives a flaming f*ck about meditation. The baddies are surprised by Roy, Oliver and Laurel, but escape with a diamond shipment because it’s hard to catch the bad guy when you have to keep saving one of the ‘heroes.’

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Oliver drops off the criminals he did capture at Captain Lance’s, but is surprised to find out that he knows he lied to him about Sara, and he’s really, really ticked about it. Lance tells The Arrow that the idea of knowing right from wrong was precious to him, and he knew vigilantism was wrong, but he threw his lot in with The Arrow because he trusted him.

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But now he sees the man he is, and he “lies so he doesn’t have to carry around the weight of his decisions,” and Lance is done with him.  If he’s ever done with the law, he should look into psychology because HIS ANALYSIS IS ON FLEEK.

Roy & Felicity are at the office geek-bonding. Felicity is hanging playfully onto Ray’s arm while he tries to figure out how she solved a problem he couldn’t.

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Oliver sees them, composes himself and knocks, and when Felicity looks up and sees them, she jumps back like a woman who just realized the love of her life is watching her rebound hard with a human asterisk.

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Oliver’s voice is so deep when he greets Ray it’s like he underwent a second adolescence just for that purpose. Ray seems surprised by his request to speak to Felicity, but he leaves them alone. Felicity apologizes for not telling Oliver about them, but he tells her she doesn’t owe him anything. “That’s not true. You’re one of my closest friends,” she replies.

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Just like that, with a smile and a deep sigh, we have a detente on the Olicity Wars of 2015, and I for one couldn’t be happier. Oliver and Felicity need conflict to grow, and they are bound to clash every so often, being each the yin to the other’s yang. However, the moments where they demonstrate their faith and trust in each other are the lifeblood of this relationship. That’s the long version, The short version is it gets damned old and depressing watching them fight for almost a whole season, so FUCK YES ARMISTICE.

Oliver tells Felicity about the man with the scarecrow mouth, and she brings up a rap sheet for Micheal Amar, “Murmur”. She notices Oliver is on edge, and she gets him to tell her what Lance said to him, “some variation of go to Hell.” She tries to comfort him, but he says that the Captain is right, had every right to know, and he lied to him for months. Felicity steps in close to his body, her Green-Arrowy-senses tingling as she tells him she has a feeling something else is going on with him, besides Lance and her ‘thing’ with Ray.

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She places her hands on his forearms, and whether it’s the touch alone or the fact that this is the exact same place she held on to him when they kissed, Oliver pulls back abruptly in an echo of her earlier withdrawal from Ray.

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With a smile faker than a flashback wig, he thanks her for her help and leaves her with her hand up in the air where his arm was, just as she left him after their kiss.

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Also, an Arrow writer comes out at this point wearing a mankini and shouts “ECHO!” just in cast you didn’t get the parallel.

Laurel shows up at the Queen’s apartment to see Thea Malcolm and compare father-drama.

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Malcolm, who was awake on the couch the entire visit, gets to hear her non-apology, along with a confession that she was willing to die because of what he made her do. She tells him that she hurts more than she did when they met, and he does the fatherly thing and urges her to kill him-but quickly-because Malcolm Merlyn doesn’t want to suffer or anything.

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In yet more father drama, Nyssa finds out that R’as asked Oliver to be his heir. Nyssa claims that he never approved of Sara, but R’as says what he didn’t really approve of was her weakness.

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Then, because 75% of the people on this show are either active or recovering homicidal maniacs, Nyssa tries to resolve this by good ol’-fashioned patricide.  R’as stops her blade with his hand, and when she tearfully tells him she will not stand there and see her legacy handed to a stranger, R’as responds “Don’t” because if R’as ever gave a fuck, it got washed off and the wound healed over immediately, like his hand does in the Pit.

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Back in the Arrow Cave, Digg, Oliver and Roy discuss why Amar wanted to steal industrial-grade diamonds, and when Digg suggests asking Felicity to help, Oliver says she’s ‘preoccupied’ like someone who is caught up in a momentary problem that they are trying to get out of, WHICH IS ACCURATE. Roy offers to ask around in The Glades, and takes off. Once they are alone, Oliver finally caves and tells Diggle that R’as predicted that the city would abandon him, and he would die alone. Now that Lance is shutting him out and he sees “Felicity with Palmer,“ he feels like he saw into his future.

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When Diggle tells him that it’s a mindf*ck and asks why, Oliver tells him about his proposal to become the next Demon’s Head. Digg can’t believe that Oliver would accept, but R’as made a pretty compelling argument about the difference he could make, and Oliver has obviously been thinking about it.

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My take: It’s not only that Lance is angry and Felicity is “temporarily unavailable” (props to whoever wrote that line for John), but that R’as managed to shake the bedrock upon which he has isolated himself: his belief that the sacrifice of his personal life is making a difference.

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If this belief isn’t true, then all his pain has not bought him or his city anything measurable in return, and his life holds no meaning. True to form, any call to self-analysis causes Oliver to RUN AWAAAY, and R’as knows it. Why spend time troubleshooting when he can just escalate the escapism to the next level and parkour into a whole new identity?  I totally get why Digg does this.

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In the end, Oliver says, if he can’t be himself, and the Arrow isn’t making a difference, maybe he should be R’as Al Ghul.

Oliver comes home to check if Thea killed Malcolm yet, and they talk while Malcolm listens from the couch. Thea doesn’t recognize herself anymore, and only the thought of Moira kept her from killing him.  Even though Oliver reassures her that she is nothing like Malcolm, she says one thing is true: both she and her father are broken.

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She leaves, and Malcolm and Oliver discuss Malcolm’s parenting, and Ra’s offer. It turns out Malcolm suspected this was the case, as there is a prophecy that states that “the man who doesn’t perish at the blade of R’as Al Ghul’s will become the next R’as Al Ghul,” and he warns Oliver that he shouldn’t delude himself into thinking he has a choice on whether or not to accept.

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At the Foundry, Oliver walks in to find Felicity waiting. He thanks her for being there, and she takes a moment to let him know that even if she and Ray “may be something”, she still believes in what they do and she is committed to it. Translation?

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She coyly asks about his own commitment, since John told her of R’as’ offer, and that he might be considering it. Oliver points out that he, at one time, was also an assassin, and that there is “more than one path to justice.”

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Felicity asks how he knows he isn’t already on the correct path, and he expresses all the same doubts he did to John about The Arrow not making a difference, linting the people he’s lost and how Thea’s in “ten different kinds of pain.”

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Felicity counters, “So you leave? Then what?”, which is THE MOST succinct counterargument anyone can ever make to Oliver and everyone in his life should just tattoo it on their wrists and flash it during arguments.

Oliver finally admits to her that he just doesn’t know why he is doing it any more, and she tells him that while she can’t give him the answer, she doesn’t think he became the Arrow so people would say “thank you.” She also curiously points out two things he didn’t mention to her personally at all: Lance shutting him out, and dying alone. Oh Digg, way to stand in for the fandom, son! Felicity acknowledges that they are not together, but it’s because of his choice.

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As for the reason they do what they do, she says, that’s a question that they all struggled with when they thought he was gone- and now it’s just his turn.

 

Digg and Roy come back with a lead on the diamonds, and Felicity promises to contact Lance, but he’s not picking up. Laurel shows up at his office and asks her to “just let her have it” but not imagine for a minute that she will give up on them.

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Lance tells her that he knows she tries to save the world, but he doesn’t know if she can save their relationship. He’s thought long and hard about it, and even though he loves her, he doesn’t know if he can forgive her.

Suddenly, they hear shots, and Lance reaches out to pull Laurel down. Outside the station, Murmur is shooting the place up. Felicity tells Oliver and Roy, who head for the station. Lance tells Laurel to run, but she won’t leave him. He retorts that “just because [she] thinks she’s some kind of hero” doesn’t mean he won’t protect his daughter.

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Laurel does run, but ends up being attacked in the hall. Nyssa arrives to save her and Laurel sends her after Lance, and Oliver and Roy show up soon after. In the alley outside the station, Oliver manages to knock Murmur unconscious, and Lance asks him why he is waiting around, and if it’s because he needs a thank you. “That’s not why I do this,” Oliver retorts, and rappels out like a boss.

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Back at the Foundry, Oliver thanks Felicity and tells her she was right, and Digg and Roy considerately exit so they can talk.

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The Flirt is off the charts as she saunters over and he tells her that at first he embarked on his crusade for his father, but had not stopped to think of why until she asked him to. Then that night at the precinct, he thought of how the officers and how their families counted on him and the team to come home safe, and that is why.

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Felicity asks if this means “a pass on becoming the most handsome Demon’s Head ever”? Oliver ALMOST smiles and says that he’s not ready to give up on what they’re doing. Felicity reminds Oliver of how he is always telling her that he just wants her to be happy, and with a smile that rivals his at the end of “The Climb,” says that “The thing is, as long as you’re in my life, I am.” He and Felicity then proceed to make not only sweet eyeball love for four full seconds, but to have what really feels like a whole eyeball rom-com.

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That is, until some asshole named R.Palmer calls and c*ckblocks my fun.

Outside the station, Laurel leaves to find Nyssa waiting for her. It turns out both women are having Daddy issues and Missing Dead Sara issues, so they decide to have a bite to eat and begin a chickmance. Platonic? Romantic? Who cares! I am HERE for this.

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Bonus: Nyssa will teach Laurel not to suck. Win-win! I’ve heard some folks speak out against this ship, but I am ON IT. These two women are going through the same issues and share many of the same problems. Even if it never goes romantic, I am all for something that makes Laurel less annoying and more palatable and gives Katrina Law something to play other than “fierce as sh*t,” which she has already mastered.

In the meantime, Oliver meets Maseo and formally rejects R’as offer despite his warning that the decision is already made, and that there are consequences. When Oliver asks if it’s a threat, he says it’s just “the will of R’as Al Ghul.”

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Speaking of ships that share the same issues, Roy is at home pretending to read when someone knocks on his door. He is ready to lead poison them to death with a pencil, but It’s Thea, who is feeling lost and wants to stay with him a while.

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She hugs him for comfort and when they pull apart, she kisses him. Roy, who knows when to deviate from his mentor’s teachings, is IN.

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Somewhere in what looks like the Glades, a figure that looks like the Arrow shoots one of the men who helper Murmur steal the diamonds. He tells one of the survivors to “tell everyone” what he saw, and when the camera pans to where we can see his face, it’s R’as Al Ghul.

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Consequences, indeed.

 

Like it? Want to read past eps? Here’s a link to my masterpost!

Ex-Post Facto, Y’all. Outlander Recap 101, “Sassenach”

Here it is, set complete, promise kept. My sincere thanks to everyone complicit in this labor of love. See you all after April 4th!

 

We start with a view of stormy skies over dappled hills and a female voice over saying “People disappear all of the time…” As she talks about housewives and kids who are found (usually) and how most disappearances have explanations.

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And so we meet Claire, who contemplates that she never had reason to buy a vase, mostly because she has never been anywhere long enough to build the kind of stable decorative support system a young vase needs. I expect her to start talking about other ornamental pottery she never got to own, but no, just the vase. At least the voice over gives us a time. “It was a Tuesday, six months after the end of the war.” So 1946.

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Flashback to France, where Claire was a nurse in an army hospital. We see her clamping a vein like a boss, being bled on and kicking ass when a doctor takes over, and she wanders outside to find that the war is over and Champagne is being passed out like cookies, or VD.

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Back in present day, Claire muses that “the end of the bloodiest and most terrible war in human history” grows fainter, but damn if she doesn’t remember every detail “of the day [she] saw the life [she] wanted sitting in a window.” She wonders what would have happened had she made a home for the vase. “Would I have been happy? Who can say?” You guys, this is trippy because the voice over is Claire From The Future. She is all-knowing. Like Yoda. “I know now,” Cloda/Yaire says, “even after the pain, death and heartbreak that followed, I would still make the same choice.”

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand intro! Stream-of-consciousness thoughts:

Dancing nuns! Bambi’s dad! A whip, a pipe and some truly fantastic jawlines & silhouettes prance around the countryside riding horsey horses and metal horses and shooting things and stabbing things while running and walking. There is also some portion of anatomy that I will just say is the back of someone’s knee because I’m a recapper, Jim, not an anatomist!

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It ends with a couple on horseback riding like hell, and a stone circle. I played this back about 3x in a row but only pretended to be the dancing nuns twice. The third time I was the stag. Good times. Good credits. Gorgeous song.

Because I read the books, for me seeing the stones was like seeing The Beatles.

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Big-band music plays as we close in on Claire and her husband Frank Randall driving through the Scottish countryside on their second honeymoon. Turns out the war kept them apart for five years, and this is a way to reconnect.

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The town square is adorable and so are they, with their coats and hats and their inquiries about blood on doorways of superstitious Scots… PRECIOUS. They go register Mrs. Baird’s Inn, and the namesake tells them that the blood they see on the doors is from a black rooster, meant to honor St. Otteran on his feast day (Oct 27). This causes Frank to riff on Christianity squatting on pagan holidays, basically outing himself as a history nerd, and Claire confirms it when she says he’s due to start a professorship at Oxford in two weeks. As Frank nerds hard with Mrs. Baird, I remember who he reminds me of:

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Mrs. Baird comments that they picked a good time to visit, near Samhain,  and warns them to look out for carousing ghosts who ‘get a pass’ that day. They smile politely while obviously not believing a word she says, and head upstairs.

They walk into their room, and the voice over tells us that although Claire and Frank were once inseparable, they only spent 10 days together in the last five years, and things had not gone back to normal. You can tell by the way they act around each other, Claire determinedly cheerful and Frank a bit nervous.

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Frank sits down on the bed and comments on the very loud mattress, dryly noting that “Mrs. Baird will be kept appraised of any renewed attempts to start a family.” I take this as a sign of impending shenanigans, but he goes back to reading his notebook. Claire, obviously the fun one, calls him out as a “lazybones” who will never manage to grow that family tree unless he actually um, fertilizes the soil.

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She starts to jump on the bed and convinces him to join her, and they both laugh and bounce so hard that Mrs. Baird below glances up at her chandelier. They stop to catch their breath and Claire says that one of the things she would try and be unable to recall at night was the sound of her husband’s laughter. Frank, touched by this, reveals that he used to sketch the lines of the palm of her right hand, even once into a report. He kisses her palm very tenderly, and she kisses him.

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He tries to interrupt her to say something, but she shushes him and pulls him down with her to kneel on the bed as she takes his jacket off. Downstairs, Mrs. Baird watches the chandelier shake gently, and smiles.

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Some time later, they are driving through the countryside. Frank points out Cocknammon Rock, where English soldiers would lie in ambush for Scottish brigands and rebels in the 17th and 18th centuries. Claire smiles indulgently, and remembers being raised by her Uncle Lamb, an archaeologist. She traipsed all over the world as a child, digging latrines and smoking cigars like all little girls dream about doing. This is no wilting flower.

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They arrive at some ruins, and Claire tells us that Frank had developed an interest in his personal genealogy while she was cataloging plants for their medicinal purposes. Frank announces that they are at “Castle Leoch, the ancestral home of the Laird of the Mackenzie clan until midway through the 19th Century.” They go inside to take a look in what he thinks was the kitchen, crumbling and overgrown with vines. Claire tells us that delving into his past allowed Frank to forget his recent work during the war: running covert operations and overseeing spies.

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He had sent dozens of men on secret missions, most of whom never returned. He didn’t talk about it often, but she knows it preyed on him. Frank tells Claire with a smile that there is no proof that his ancestor was ever there, but it was “within his operational sphere” so he may have walked those same halls.

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They walk down a dark hallway and push their way past a stuck door into a basement room littered with bottles. Claire jokes that it was where the castle trolls lived, and Frank dryly answers that trolls are solitary and don’t live in pairs, because Frank cannot let an opportunity to nerd hard pass him by. This scene then takes a hard left at Albuquerque. Claire sits on a table and coyly crosses her legs. “All this, and no one to share it with?”

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Frank, seeing the glint in her eye, says she’ll get dirty. “You can give me a bath,” she entices, hiking her skirt up. What follows makes me wish I could high-five every single woman reading this recap, and I don’t even have to tell y’all why. I think it’s enough to note that Frank remarks on Claire’s lack of underthings, and when he tries to kiss her, she pushes him downward. He doesn’t even take the camera off his shoulder, people. That’s love.

All Hallow’s Eve, about a week later, the Randalls visit the Rev. Wakefield, who is helping them look into Johnathan Wolverton Randall, Frank’s direct ancestor and a Captain in the Dragoons back in the 1740s.

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He was stationed in the area, harassing the locals for about 4 years. Claire remarks on the continuing ill will towards the English, saying that she heard someone in the pub refer to them as “Sassenachs”. Rev. Wakefield clarifies that it just means they are English or at worst, “outlanders.” The reverend’s housekeeper, Mrs. Graham, shows up with tea for the men, and asks Claire if she would like to take hers in the kitchen, which hell yes she does.

Claire remarks on the quality of the tea, and Mrs. Graham reveals that she reads tea leaves, offering to read hers.

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Claire laughingly asks if she will meet “a tall dark stranger and take a trip across the sea“? Mrs. Graham smiles, but then frowns at the cup. “Could be…or could not”. It turns out her tea leaves contradict each other. A leaf indicating a journey is crossed by one indicating staying put, and though she meets strangers, one of them is her husband. Mrs. Graham asks to see Claire’s hand, and tells her the pattern on it is one she has not seen before. Some things she can tell: Claire is strong-minded, with a will “not easily crossed,” and her husband “is not likely to stray” from her bed.

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Claire’ lifeline is “interrupted, in bits and pieces,” and while her marriage line indicates two marriages, it is not broken, but forked. Just as Claire starts to look worried, Frank and the reverend interrupt. They are discussing the possibility that Black Jack had a powerful protector in his time, and suspect the Duke of Sandringham, a suspected Jacobite who died under suspicious circumstances. Claire takes this opportunity to leave, and warns Frank to come home before the storm breaks.

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It is during her walk home that she sees the vase, and is bothered by “a certain sense of prophecy” in Mrs. Graham’s words. The war taught her to cherish the present, the voice over tells us, because tomorrow may never come, but she did not know that tomorrow would come to matter less than yesterday.

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That night, Claire brushes her hair by a window and takes the Lord’s (and Roosevelt’s) name in vain. Frank, walking home in the rain, is stopped cold by the sight of a man silhouetted in the dark, looking up at his wife through her window. He is in traditional Scots garb, and seen only from the back.

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When Frank approaches him saying “Excuse me, can I help you with something?”, the figure turns to the left and vanishes.

Arriving upstairs in the hotel room, Frank rushes to the window to look outside. Claire, lighting candles since the lights went out, tries to get his attention. She tells him he looks like he’s seen a ghost, and he says that he can’t say he hasn’t. A little later he tells Claire that the man was close enough that he should have brushed past him, but he didn’t feel anything, and he vanished instantly.

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He then carefully asks Claire if she had any Scots in her care as a nurse. She remembers one of many in particular, a piper who didn’t like needles. She smiles at the memory, but at the sudden closed look on Frank’s face, Claire wants to know what exactly he is asking.

It turns out Frank thought the man was someone Claire met during the war who “wanted to reconnect,” telling her it would not be unusual that she would have sought comfort. Claire is upset that he thinks she would have cheated on him, but she never actually says she didn’t.

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Still, Frank tells her that even if she had it would not matter to him. He loves her, an nothing would stop him loving her. He asks for her forgiveness, she gives it, and they make repentant geek love with their watches on. Claire’s voice over wants to make sure we know that the Randalls never lost their sex-mojo, it being the one way they could find their way back to one another.

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Later in bed, Frank tells Claire that he wants to set an alarm to “see the witches”. It turns out there is a circle of standing stones called Craigh Na Dun outside town where druids gather before daybreak, and he wants to see their Samhain celebration.

Early the next morning, they hide and watch the ceremony. Figures in white come out with paper lanterns and begin a stately dance. Among them is Mrs. Graham, the reverend’s housekeeper.

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Claire thinks that they should have been ridiculous, but instead there is a voice in her head that tells her she is witnessing something “ancient and powerful,” and that she shouldn’t be there. The dance ends with the rising sun, and the participants disperse slowly.

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Frank and Claire walk to the stones afterwards to look around, but sneak off when they see one of the girls coming back. Later that day, Claire wonders about the purple flowers she saw at the base of one of the stones, and Frank recommends she go back and have a look, since he will be at the Reverend’s house all day doing research. They kiss goodbye.

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Claire arrives at the stones in her car, and walks up the hill. There is no one there when she picks her flowers, after which a strong wind begins to blow. She stands and walks to one of the stones as if compelled, placing both hands upon it, and the screen goes black.

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Via voice over (man, there is a lot of it) Claire tells the story of falling asleep in a car once that fell off a bridge, and how that is the closest she can come to describing how she felt -“but even that fell woefully short.”

 

She wakes up on the ground next to the stones (which now have trees growing among them) and runs to find her car, except her car isn’t there…and neither is the road.

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She keeps wandering around the much denser woods when suddenly, the sound of gunfire startles her and she sees men in the distance. “When confronted with the impossible, the rational mind will grasp for the logical,” says V.O. Claire. She wonders if she has stumbled onto the set of a costume drama (hint: she has), but does not think it makes sense that they are firing live ammunition. An officer shoots at her and she runs away, losing her belt in the process, and right to a creek, where we see a familiar face filling a canteen.

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Claire thinks it’s Frank as well, and upon seeing his expression, realizes that it is SO NOT. When she asks him who he is, he introduces himself as “Johnathan Randall, Esquire, Captain of his majesty’s 8th Dragoons, at your service.” When Claire, spooked, runs like a pony, he gives chase and backs her up against a wall with a sword at her throat, asking who she is.

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Claire tells him that her husband, Frank Beauchamp, will be looking for her, but he doesn’t believe her. Claire, exasperated, snaps at him to get off her, calls him a bastard and spits in his face, to which he responds that she has the speech of a lady, but the manners of a whore. “I choose the whore,” he says, turning her around and ripping at her underthings. Suddenly, a highlander falls from the sky like a hairy dirty angel and knocks him out, gesturing to Claire to come with him.

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She doesn’t understand him but goes along, all the while asking who he is and where they are. The highlander, trying to hide from the redcoats, takes the expedient route to quiet her, knocking her out.

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Claire wakes up on his horse, which is arriving at a small cottage. She was wishing it was a dream, but dreams don’t come with smell-o-vision. What they DO come with, however, is a lot of men in kilts. She is shoved inside while the men quite obviously discuss her, but there is no way of knowing because it is not translated for us.

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A large man by the fire stands up and walks over, the living personification of a bald eagle, speaking gently to her in English, asking her to come closer to the fire to have a look at her, and for her name. Claire decides to use the surname Beauchamp, in case they intended to ransom her so as to keep her trail from leading to Frank. It’s sweet that she wants to protect him, but if the Captain is any indication, only bastards claim the Randall surname.

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The highlander, Murtagh, tells who he found her with (”a certain Captain of Dragoons”) and that there seemed to be a question of whether or not she was a “whuuuure.” The man asks for Claire’s position on the debate and she testily snaps out “I. Am. Not.” Murtagh agrees, saying he would stake his life on it, and uses his name: Dougal. One of the other men jokes about testing her, and Dougal silences him, saying he does not hold with rape.

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He is clearly the leader, as the men fall into line immediately. He adds that they will sort it later, and walks back to the fireplace, saying they have to “do something about Jamie first.”

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Claire contemplates escape, but has no idea where she is and feels that doing so in the evening “would be a fool’s errand.” She watches the men discuss what to do with Jamie, who has what seems to be a dislocated shoulder and cannot get back on a horse. One of the men wants to “force the joint back” and although Claire knows it would have been wiser to stay silent, she cannot help but rush forward, shouting “Don’t you dare!” when the man gives Jamie a drink to ease the pain, and then takes the arm up to begin.

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She tells them to step aside, or they will break his arm. She speaks to Dougal, saying that the arm must be in the correct position before it is slipped back into the joint. He steps aside and lets her examine the injured man, Jamie, who is noticeably less hairy and younger than the other men. YES PLEASE.

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She gently bends his arm and then with a brief heads-up, pops it back in. He is astounded, saying that it no longer hurts. She warns him it will, for about a week, and looks up, asking the nearest man to “fetch her a long piece of cloth, or a belt” for a sling. He mocks her, but Dougal snaps at him to giver her his belt. The injured man, Jamie, wryly comments that she must have done this before. She tells him she is a nurse, and his eyes immediately go to her bosom. “Not a wet nurse!” she snaps, and OMG you two, just kiss. He meekly submits as she gives him his instructions for care, at the end of which a much grumpier Dougal makes sure he can ride, and tells the group they are leaving.

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When they step outside, Claire worries that she cannot see Inverness, but Jamie tells her she is looking straight at it. She notices the lack of electric lighting and finally accepts that she is no longer in the 20th century. Dougal comes out and tells her that she is ride with them and if she wanders, he will slit her throat. I guess when she was helpless he was a gentleman, but now that he knows she’s a thinker he gets to treat her like dirt. Man, time travel is looking less romantic all the time.

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Dougal hoists Claire up into the saddle in front of Jamie, who struggles to cover them both with his plaid to keep them warm and dry through the night, as they will be riding through the next two nights. Even though Claire at first rejects him, she is nothing if not practical.

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Lots of gorgeous scenery shots. What an advertisement for the country.

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The party is going down a wide path in daylight when Claire looks up, recognizing the rock formation that Frank showed her at the beginning of the episode. She mentions to Jamie that she knows the place, and that the English use it for ambushes. Jamie looks around, noticing that it is a good place for one, and rushes ahead to tell Dougal. Dougal is immediately suspicious of Claire’s information and where she got it from (”the village”), but apparently trusts it enough to give it merit.

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As he gestures for them to turn around, however, redcoats burst out at them and Jamie quickly yanks his arm out of the sling and dumps Claire off his horse, telling her to hide herself as the men rush into battle.

 

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Claire briefly lays low and observes the fight, but then takes off running through the woods in an effort to escape. I have no idea why. You would have to pry me from that man’s thighs with a crowbar. Unfortunately for her but fortunately for us, Jamie intercepts her, asking sarcastically if she lost her way.

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Claire must feel that misdirection is the better part of valor, because she immediately notices that he is hurt, and points it out to him.

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He assures her that it is not his blood (”Not much of it, anyway”) and that they must return as Dougal and the others are waiting for them upstream.

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Claire picks this point to dig in her heels and say she isn’t going with him, but he points his sword at her and tells her she is.

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She asks him if he will cut her throat if she doesn’t, but he doesn’t rise to the bait. Instead, he uses her earlier concern over his wound to tell her that if she will not come, he will pick her up and throw her over his shoulder.

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“D’ye want me to do that?“, he asks, and Claire tearfully spits out a no. “Well then,” says Jamie, “Suppose that means yer comin’ with me.” IF ONLY.

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Further up the road, the highlanders toast Claire and Jamie offers her a drink as Dougal glares at her. At first she refuses, but later accepts when he tells her it won’t fill her belly but at least she’ll forget she is hungry. That’s some homeless logic, right there.

 

That night, they are riding single file when Jamie tumbles over off his horse like a big ol’ handsome oak.

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Claire alerts the others and climbs down to examine him. She pulls on his neckline and discovers a bullet wound, promptly berating him for not saying anything while asking the men for disinfectant to avoid germs. What follows is a round of blank stares and repetition of terms which are obviously unknown in this century:

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Finally Claire hits upon  timeless terminology everyone understands: alcohol. She pours it into the wound, waking Jamie up and causing him to assure everyone that he is all right. What follows is a glorious dressing-down of a grown man by an alpha-female in high dudgeon, and it’s worth recording.

You’re not all right. Couldn’t you tell how badly you were bleeding? You’re lucky you’re not dead, falling and fighting and throwing yourself off horses! All, right, I need a sterile bandage and some clean cloth. [More blank stares.] Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ! [rips her shift and holds her hand out for the alcohol]

As she bandages Jamie, wrestling with the bit of shift, she lets out a “Come ON, you GODDAMNED BLOODY BASTARD,” which manages to shock even Dougal, who comments that he has never heard a woman use that sort of language in his life.

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One of the highlanders comments that her husband ought to tan her hide, and another chimes in that St. Paul says ‘Let a woman be silent-’ but he doesn’t finish, because Claire interrupts him, addressing him first, and then Jamie.

You can mind your own bloody business and so can Saint Paul. [To Jamie] And if you move so much as a single muscle while I am tying this bandage, I’ll bloody throttle you!

And the entire time, Jamie stares at her like she just invented ice cream.

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At the end of this, Dougal quietly tells her that they have five to seven hours yet to ride, and they will stay only as long as it takes to stem his bleeding and dress his wound. Claire complains that Jamie needs rest, but Dougal ignores her. It is Jamie himself that explains to her that Randall commands the local militia and will have sent out search parties, so it is not safe to stay put for long. Jamie says he knows him, and would not leave her or any other man to risk becoming his prisoner.

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He tells her if he is not well enough to ride that they should leave him behind with a loaded pistol. Claire tells him that he should have mentioned being shot. “It didna hurt much at the time,” he says with a grin, and Claire asks if it hurts now. At his affirmative, she smiles and says “Good.”

She offers him a hand up, telling him that it is all she can do for him and the rest is up to her. He says, “Thank ye, Sassenach, truly,” and it is auditory chocolate cake to hear that word said out loud.

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She tells him, “Get back on your horse, soldier,” and I am glad she has a super-good looking ally in these crazy, smelly times.

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The next day the party rides towards what is unmistakably Castle Leoch, and hallucinates herself, remembering being there two days ago.

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“Or is that in the future?”, she wonders, asking herself how she could remember something that technically hasn’t happened yet.

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As they enter the grounds, Claire lists the things that have happened to her so far: “assaulted, threatened, kidnapped and nearly raped,” and knows that her journey has only begun.

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Want to keep reading? Here’s a master post of all my Outlander stuff.

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Outlander Photo Recap S1E2, “Castle Leoch”

In my continuing quest to quit playing attention to my family altogether and frolic in a world of Diana Gabaldon’s imagination, here is the previously missing recap for 102. 101 will be done before the premiere, and then I’ll be all caught up! Thanks for reading, sharing is love. Rest of my recaps archived here. Enjoy! ~Connie

We find Claire where we left her, at MacKenzie HQ: Castle Leoch. The highlanders are all happy to be home, but our heroine grimly remembers visiting with Frank, and marvels at the difference time travel makes on the structural integrity of the facade and how much action she’s likely to see once she’s in there. Not everyone is grumpy, dirty, or ridiculously hot, though. There are womenfolk here! A chipper looking lady walks over after a brief hug from Rupert and an even briefer sexual innuendo from a smiling Murtagh.image

She looks pretty scandalized at the sight of Claire, who is ‘homeless chic’ by 2015 standards but just plain homeless by 18th-century ones. It’s a great moment, because even if Claire is wet, dirty, and exhausted, her b*tchface game is expert-level and she is not about to lower that head after the day(s) she’s had. The stare-down is quick, intense, and exquisite.image

Someone light a torch because it got DARK UP HERE UNDER THIS SHADE.

Jamie rushes to explain to the older woman, Mistress Fitzgibbons, that Claire was found by Murtagh and Dougal decreed that they should bring her along.image

Good enough for Mistress FG, who takes her by the arm to do God’s work: feed her and slap her in constricting underthings. As she does so, Claire protests that Jamie’s wound needs cleaning. “Mrs. Fitz,” impressed that Claire knows how to tend to wounds and isn’t scared to put a 6-ft. Scotsman in his prime on blast, recognizes a kindred spirit, and shoos Jamie inside as well.

Indoors, Claire are Jamie are left alone by the fire so she can tend to his wounds and they can window shop each other now they’re barely decent.image

If you didn’t ship it before, you will after this scene. Jamie is wrapped toga-style in a red cloth like a hot roman senator, and when Claire gently uncovers him, we find out why. Homeboy is carrying what looks like a layer of fine salted ham around, because there is no way I can think of that as a human back. I’ll just look elsewhere while he drops some necessary exposition.image

Jamie tells Claire that his scars are the result of being flogged twice in one week, which just seems like overkill. Turns out that he escaped a charge of obstruction about four years ago, resulting from a visit by English soldiers sent to collect levies on his family farm. His father was away when he heard a scream from the fields, and found his sister Jenny accosted by redcoats.image

When he fought them to save her, their leader captured and held her at gunpoint, and when Jamie surrendered, responded like a real douchcanoe: a dry comment about her attractiveness and a yank of her bodice which exposes her bare chest to her brother. This is the same Captain Randall who assaulted Claire in the premiere, and now you know everything you need to about this character: he’s the kind of soulless bastage that will show a man his sister’s naked boobs just to make a point. Jamie knows what I’m talking about.

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On top of that image burned on his poor retinas, Jamie also gets to endure his first flogging in his sister’s presence as a lesson to just shush and submit. Randall, exhausted from flaying a man for a pithy reason with what I am sure is a very warm wig, stops for a water break and to casually barter raping Jenny in exchange for putting the breaks on Jamie’s whipping. Jamie warns his sister not to accept, even if Randall should kill him right in front of her. Randall, who must take this as a dare, smirks, takes a knife and knocks Jamie unconscious.

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Back at Leoch, Jamie explains to Claire that his sister went with Randall, and when he woke up he was with the most starstruck chickens ever in a wagon bound for Wentworth Prison. Claire straps his injured arm to his side and tells him she is sorry, prompting him to sweetly reply that she is “a kind woman with a good touch” and that her husband is a lucky man.image

We ain’t nothing but mammals.

Claire finally takes a moment as she gazes into the fire, and the thought of Frank overwhelms her -and us- as we get our first Frankback. It makes sense that Claire would wonder how he’s handling her absence, and if he he thinks her abducted, dead, or unfaithful. We see Frank and the Reverend in a flashback
(flashforward?) searching for Claire and finding only her abandoned car which is great because at least he doesn’t have to deal with his insurance on top of all the other stress he has going on.

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Back in the 18th century, Claire finally breaks down. Jamie, who is totally asking for a friend, inquires if her husband is “not alive”, and she  answers with a strangled “No, actually, he’s not alive” as she realizes her husband is centuries from birth and she is for all intents and purposes, a hot widow. Claire cries as Jamie holds her and shushes her and I know it is inappropriate but I hear fireplace sex is amazing  and life-affirming in the face of our unavoidable mortality. JUST SAYING. I mean, LOOK AT THEM.

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There is a beat where they pause and stare at each other, and I silently will them to kiss. Or fist bump. Or do my taxes. I don’t care, I just love them together. Proper Claire must feel it too, because she jumps back a couple of feet and apologizes to Jamie for letting him smell the donuts when she can’t let him taste the
sprinkles.

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Jamie quietly tells her that she “need not be scairt” of him, “nor anyone else here,” so long as he is with her. It’s a lovely offer and well-timed, but Claire, who has never met a blanket statement worth taking at face value asks what she does when he is NOT with her, and the answer’s pretty obvious to me.

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Jamie, who is unlike me mindful of the plot, advises her to never forget she is an Englishwoman “in a place where that’s no’ a pretty thing ta be.”

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He then gently tells her to rest, as she’s “worn out” and someone will want to grill speak to her soon.

That evening, Mrs. Fitz wakes Claire up and we learn that she slept the entire day. After one lone spoonful of broth, Mrs. Fitz helps her shed her weird French corset, and introduces her (and us) to the process
of dressing a decent lady in 18th-century Scotland.  It is long and involves a lot of wool, but the end result is
pretty spectacular, as far as makeovers go. Like a Jacobite Miss Congeniality.

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She’s escorted to meet with the MacKenzie, where she sneaks a peek at a letter to glean the date:1743. The man in question stands in the doorway, and introduces himself as “Colum ban Campbell MacKenzie,”
Laird of the Castle. The camera pans to his bowed legs, but Claire says nothing. He speaks to her very kindly, and Claire responds to him just as gracefully, asking him to thank his brother, Dougal for his
assistance and to arrange for her transport out. It’s all crazy civil for two people who are BS’ing each other with every syllable.

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Colum quickly answers that he is sure he can arrange it, but leans in to ask for more information about how she came to be found in her shift, wandering in the woods because we all know the English would never wander in the woods in such informal clothing. Claire remembers discussing interrogation techniques
at a pub with Frank and the Reverend Wakefield, and that the advice given to officers was to “stay as close to the truth as possible, altering only that information which must be kept secret.” Mmmkay….

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So she tells Colum she is a “widowed lady from Oxfordshire” who was on her way to France with a manservant when they were set upon by bandits, and escaped, leaving her horse and property and sucker manservant behind. It was when she was in the woods, minding her own, that Capt. Randall happened upon her and she was “relieved of [her] clothes.” Man, that accent makes it sound way better than it was. Colum asks her if she expects him to believe that an English officer would rape a lady “for no good reason” and Claire responds on behalf of all womankind, asking him if there is “ever a good reason” for rape.

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Attagirl. Colum, knocked off guard by a thinking female, chooses to zag instead of zig and tells Claire she
can leave with a tinker, Sean Petrie, when he passes through Leoch on his way to Inverness 5 days hence. In the meantime, she should you know, chill and maybe put on another layer of clothing.

Claire wanders to the ramparts to muse via voiceover about how trippy it is to witness history firsthand when she looks down and catches some of the young boys at play with a laughing Dougal. Dougal smiling sincerely is such a surprising sight that it’s damn near magical. Like some sort of magical animal.

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But really, he is quite handsome as he smiles and plays with a little redhead boy (Hamish, he calls him) that he is clearly close to, and Claire questions if this time is truly that much different from her own.

Later that night Claire and her rack (she is seriously the only woman not wearing a kerchief or fichu and those babies are time traveling at least a couple of seconds into the future) go to the Hall for dinner.

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She is invited to sit at the main table with the family, where she is introduced to Colum’s wife Letitia, who has only known her 5 seconds and is already complaining about her ovens because she has no manners whatsoever. NO ONE CARES, LETTY. Colum plies Claire with wine and asks about the pronunciation of her name and what part of France her relatives come from.

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Claire fields both neatly (Some relative adopted the English spelling, near Compiègne in the north) and then witnesses a bit of strain about the brothers when she asks about Jamie. It turns out that Dougal has sent him to the stables for some reason, and tells his brother that he can countermand the order if he disagrees. After a pregnant pause, Colum agrees that he is fine there and asks for “the rhenish” to be brought out. The rhenish we come to find out, is pink and packs quite a punch. Claire drinks it eagerly, remarking on how delicious it is while Colum continues to pepper her with questions about her planned trip to Compiègne. Claire’s starting to get suspicious, and thankfully the little redheaded boy from before, Hamish, comes running through and she stops him to say hello.

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Laetitia tells him to introduce himself, and Claire answers enthusiastically that she saw him playing in the courtyard with his father, who she implies is Dougal. Hamish is confused and the adults are stock-still. Claire, well-lubricated, has said something she should not.  Hamish says he is the “son and heir of Colum MacKenzie” and everyone groans in unison over the laugh track.

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Claire hastens to excuse herself, pleading tiredness, and once alone in the hall, berates herself for falling for “the oldest trick in the book,” allowing herself to be plied with food and liquor into letting her guard down during an ongoing interrogation. She promises to be more vigilant, but not to quit drinking wine because that’s just ridiculous and untenable.

The next morning, Claire wanders into the kitchen to ask Mrs. Fitz about Jamie so she can ‘change his dressing’ and Mrs. Fitz is all ORLY? I KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS.

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Petition for a flashback series where Mrs. Fitz roams the Scottish countryside dispensing wisdom, food and eyerolls and IDK, solving crimes. And making out. I bet Fitz was a RIOT.

Claire walks to the stables and notices one of Dougal’s men following her. She arrives to the sight of Jamie leading a white horse around on a lead while he coos at it, heretofore known as “the moment we all wished we were a horse.” He’s closing in on first base when Claire knocks a metal bit over and the clang startles the horse, who rears up. Claire apologizes, but Jamie says that “she’s just a girl with spirit,” which is “never a bad thing” because Jamie is trying to make me leave my husband. Even the horse is in love.

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Now that his horse is on a break, Jamie asks Claire WHATUP and she is all BANDAGES AND GRUB, SON so they move the party to the stable.

Jamie is eating like a growing boy when Claire decides to food-shame him by implying he’d eat grass. JOKE’S ON YOU, CLAIRE.  Not only has he sampled the delights of turf-n-turf, but he has also raided cattle, is a wanted man with a price on his head as much as a farmer earns in a year, and accused of murder but says he didn’t kill the man. He tells Claire he was unconscious because of the flogging, and escaped with the aid of friends, one of whom killed the guard to aid his escape. On second thought Claire, you may want to avoid this one.

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Claire correctly guesses that his last name is NOT MacTavish, and Jamie crouches down to tell her that while he doesn’t think anyone in the castle would betray him, there might be those in the countryside
that would like to make money by turning him in. In other news, I had to rewind four times to write that one sentence. I think Claire knows what’s ailing me.

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Was everyone not RIVETED? If you were not, you are dead inside. DEAD.

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And yet Claire is a woman out of time, not out of her damn mind. She manages to get her eyes up long enough to ask if Colum knows he is an outlaw, and Jamie grins, probably because it’s time to reel us all back in with the power of his lady-mojo so we will forget that he is truly %$#@. IT WORKS.

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I know, honey. You two are adorable. I want to put you in my Barbie Dream Scottish Keep and smoosh your faces together with all the finesse and passion in my romantic 9 y.o. heart. Anyhoo, both Colum and Dougal know because get this: they are Jamie’s uncles, his mother’s brothers. SOMEONE BOTTLE THOSE GENES. The MacKenzies make hot potatoes, and Claire clearly wants to mash them.

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She asks Jamie why he didn’t lie to her or tell her it wasn’t any of her business. Jamie says he didn’t think of it and decided to trust her instead. I’ll tell you what I trust. SCIENCE. Specifically, chemistry. There’s a reason Jamie decided to trust her, and you can see it clearly here in exhibit A.

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Still, it’s only episode 2, so that bastard Auld Alec had to come and ruin our fun.

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He wants Jamie to quit freaking nourishing his body and get back to talking to horses, damn it. Claire asks Jamie to thank her by trying not to get flogged or stabbed today. “No promises, Sassenach,” he grins, and I faint like a small goat.

This is about the high point of Claire’s day, because when she heads back, she decides to confront Rupert, and ask if Dougal is having her followed. He gives a really complicated answer about eyes and heids which is pretty much a yes.

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Claire stomps off to give Dougal a piece of her English mind while Rupert follows her and recites a litany ways Claire can avoid having his guard partner Angus attempt to shag her, most of which involve not being a barnyard animal or bathing. Hopefully she won’t regret taking notes on that.

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Once Claire catches up to Dougal and confronts him, he quietly admits that he thinks she is an English spy, since she’s not been honest about why she is there. Until he is sure of her, he’ll have her watched all the time. Claire answers that it’s fine by her because he won’t see anything in the next four days. When he looks surprised, Claire hits back with the information that Colum told her she is leaving with Mr. Petrie on Saturday, and maybe Dougal doesn’t “ken” his brother’s mind as well as he thinks. I mentally high five her and then immediately cringe. Dougal doesn’t seem like the type to forget being bested.

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Claire decides that for the next few days, she’ll fight fire with a complete lack of oxygen and bore her guards (and Dougal) to death. She sets off to pick things from the garden at Mrs. Fitz’s request, and runs
into Geillis Duncan, who makes overtures of friendship via jokes about offing your spouse LIKE YOU DO. She’s pretty friendly and cute as a button, but still sets my Spidey-senses off.

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She knows who Claire is through gossip that she is “likely a Sassenach spy”, but doesn’t mistrust her enough to reveal things about herself, such as that she knows about herbs and people think she is a witch. She tells Claire that the women in the village come to her for abortifacients, and invites her for a visit to
look at her potions and medicinal herbs.

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That night in the Hall, Claire mentally diagnoses Colum with Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome, “a degenerative disease of bone and connective tissue.” She thinks that because of the state of current medicine, Colum is “certainly living on borrowed time.” As Geillis translates, Claire listens to several people bring their grievances to the MacKenzie for him to rule upon.

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One such is a young blonde, whose father “accuses her of loose behavior” and “wishes the MacKenzie to have her punished for disobedience.” Everyone is riveted to this outcome when Jamie, who has been whispering to Murtagh, speaks up loudly in Gaelic, walking up to the dais where his uncles are.

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Geillis tells Claire that he is offering to take the girl’s punishment. Claire is outraged that he is still injured, but Colum allows it. Jamie chooses fists instead of the strap, which is understandable because that boy has been whipped more than an omelet. Murtagh warns Jamie that his uncle Dougal, who has been
glaring at him this entire time, is “up to something.”

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Rupert steps forward and you can tell that he doesn’t really want to punch Jamie very hard, but he’s loyal to Dougal, who has no such misgivings and cues him on every blow. I do love that both puncher and punch-ee are so darn friendly about it, though.

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WOOKIT DAT FACE. Poor Rupert.

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And it can’t be easy being the one punched, but you wouldn’t know it from this curly little ray of amber sunshine.

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Claire asks Geillis how long it lasts, and she answers that only until blood is drawn, “usually when the nose is broken.” Even though Rupert does in fact break his nose with the next punch and Jamie spits blood, Dougal cues another hit, right in Jamie’s wound.

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Rupert turns to see if he is done, but no. Everyone but Dougal wants this to be over, but especially Rupert, whose regret is obvious as he hits Jamie hard once more in the face, knocking him down. Murtagh walks over to help Jamie up, and as they stand and stare at Dougal, he finally silently nods to Rupert that it is done. You can almost see the tears of relief on this koala’s face.

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Jamie, bruised, bleeding and smiling, limps over to his uncle Colum and bows in a show of  gallantry/respect/defiance/endurance, and I think it is important to note that this is when I fell in love with this character. There is an instant of eye contact between he and Dougal, but Murtagh wisely drags him away and out of the hall.

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Claire wants to check on Jamie and darts towards him, but Geillis leads her down an alternate route where she is less likely to stir gossip. The girl whose beating Jamie took stares longingly after him as he leaves the Hall.

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In the kitchen, Claire asks Jamie why he took the blonde’s punishment, and it wasn’t, as she assumed, because he knew her. He stepped in because the punishment “would have shamed the lass” and it would only take him a couple of days to get over his injuries.

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Mrs. Fitz comes in briefly with some willowbark tea and thanks Jamie for what he did. Turns out the girl, Laoghaire, is her granddaughter. Claire tells Jamie to change his bandage in the next couple of days and when he asks if it would not be better if she does it, she answers that she cannot, as she will leave with Mr.
Petrie the next day and will be gone. His disappointment flashes on his face but is quickly masked. He stands up and says, “Then perhaps this is goodbye,” to which she responds “Yes.” They stare at each other for a brief moment when…

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The spell is broken as Claire notes that the girl he saved is waiting to speak to him, and says a heartfelt farewell using his first name. “Goodbye to you then, Jamie.” “Safe journeys to you…Claire,” he reciprocates. After she leaves, Jamie sighs once deeply, and turns his attention to the girl waiting in the doorway.

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The next day Mrs. Fitz is seeing Claire off with food and hugs when Dougal comes up to them as they are loading her meager possessions in Mr. Petrie’s wagon, saying that Colum would like to see her.

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Claire follows him in, flashing back to when she and Frank wandered the halls of the ruined keep in
episode one. Dougal stops to ask if she is okay and she assures him she is, but she is noticeably nervous, and rightfully so.

Inside a large room waits Colum, who casually tells Claire that this was the surgery of Davie Beaton. Clan Beaton produced reknowned healers, and since Davie died from a fever, there has been no healer at Leoch. He asks Claire if she has skill as a healer (“It’s an interest of mine, yes,” she replies) and if she knows the uses of the potions kept there (“Some”).

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Claire finds it fascinating, but reminds him that she has to leave. It seems, however, that Claire proved her worth a little too well. Colum tells her that he wants her to continue his work. “But I am leaving,” she says, trying to assert herself. “No,” Colum answers simply, “you’re staying.”

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Claire, panicked, asks him if something Dougal said changed his mind. He clarifies that his brother “keeps his own counsel” on her, and that this decision was his.  She wants to know why, and he responds simply that it is because it pleases him that she do so. I expected better from thoughtful, polite Colum but I guess now I know why Letitia is so bitter.

Claire, finally pushed to her limit, blurts that it is because of the rumor that she is a spy, and attempts to downplay it.

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Colum finally looks her in the eye and tells her that he does believe that she is keeping secrets, and “maybe they’re the type of secrets that every woman has, that pose no threat to me, to Leoch, or to Clan MacKenzie,” but until he knows for sure, she will remain there as his ‘guest’.  As he walks away, Claire shouts that he means she will remain as his prisoner.

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“Only if you try to leave,” he rejoins, and after he walks through the door, his brother locks it behind him.

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Claire, all her hopes in tatters, walks into the same room where she once had some afternoon delight with her as-of-yet-unborn- husband, and breaks into tears.

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Welp… Arrow Recap E315, “Nanda Parbat”

R’as is busy soaking the leather so it’s pliable when his daughter wanders in to tell him something he already knows, namely that Oliver is alive and didn’t kill Sara.

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Nyssa brings up that her father never approved of Sara, but R’as says it’s because he always knew she’d get the romantic shaft. Nyssa tells him even if Oliver didn’t kill her, he defied him and should die.

Verdant is ‘closed for repairs’ and in the basement, Malcolm fights both Queens at once and eats a sandwich and does his taxes.

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I
get it, he’s good. He criticizes Oliver training with a bow for a sword
fight and I’m sure there’s a euphemism in there. Thea tells him off,
but not as awesomely as Digg does, who tells Malcolm straight
up not to speak to him.

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As Malcolm and Oliver argue about whether or not
to stay in the loft (Thea wants to, so they will), Laurel
walks over to Thea to tell her her fighting style reminds her of Sara, and you can pretty much hear Thea’s internal crying.

Diggle
catches Oliver alone to ask him if he is sleeping and Oliver is all
I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD which at this point is every Wednesday circa
7pm.

***FLASHBACK
ALERT***General Shrieve debriefs Oliver and tells him that Amanda
Waller and A.R.G.U.S. are off the Omega cleanup, and that he
can return to Japan with the Yamashiros and from there to anywhere he
likes, thanking him for his service. It’s such a polite exchange that you know it’s gonna go to hell.

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***END FB***

Thea sits at the
bar at Verdant and comes clean to Roy, despite being told not to talk to
anyone. Do you, Ms. Queen. Roy tells her in turn about killing the police officer under
the Mirakuru and how he wishes he didn’t know, though it gets easier.

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Thea doesn’t think it should, and points out he doesn’t have to see the cop’s family every day.

At Ray’s apartment, Felicity
shows
up because he hasn’t been to work in a week and someone probably called
the police because of the smell.

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He can’t get the suit to
work and won’t sleep or eat because obsessive superheros are
Felicity-bait. He says he needs to focus and asks her to go.

Laurel
leaves a message for her father, who we can assume is not speaking to
her because OH YEAH YOU LIED TO HIM FOR MONTHS ABOUT YOUR DEAD SISTER
OMFG LET THE MAN PROCESS. Thea shows up and tells her the truth about
her role in Sara’s death.

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To Laurel’s credit she doesn’t immediately
make this about herself, telling Thea that if she didn’t get a say in her
involvement up to this point, she certainly can do so going forward, and
that she doesn’t need to feel obligated to work with Merlyn.

At the Foundry, Laurel
shows up and tricks Oliver into admitting that he knew about Thea’s
part in Sara’s death, calling him out on how easily he lies to her.

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I
can’t hate here, they are both right. Laurel is hurt that he didn’t stop
to think of how protecting Merlyn reads for her (not good), and Oliver that she
won’t understand that he’s acting on behalf of a sister that
he still has a chance to save. When Laurel tells him that it’s hard to
remember a time she loved him, I don’t even want to cheer.

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Even if the
character has annoyed me endlessly, she was at the very least a
supporter and a friend, someone who had faith in him, and Oliver is burning these bridges pretty quickly.

Oliver
comes home to confront his sister, only to find
that the danger he keeps bringing up to her no longer exists. Thea
proved her bloodline on both sides by making a strategic move: turning
Malcolm in to the League.

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Anyone who underestimates her, Oliver
included, needs to remember that Ms. Queen is ICE COLD when crossed.

In an alley, Laurel is
dumb enough to think she could get the drop on Malcolm. He both
physically and mentally slays her, making fun for thinking she
could “dispatch him with a stick”.

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She denies it, pulling out a gun, but
never gets to use it on him. LoA members drop from above, and Nyssa
tells Laurel to step aside. I love how no one calls her Canary despite
being in full regalia. Malcolm tries to fight Nyssa, but she bests him.
As he is dragged away, unconscious, Nyssa’s all ‘I got this’ to Laurel. Maybe she can still catch a movie or something.

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Back

in the Cave, Oliver walks in AAAAALLL ticked off, looking for Laurel.
I may or may not have replayed his anger strut several time. Laurel
tells him she didn’t give a damn about him saying that Merlyn
was off-limits, and he finally lets her have it. He lies to her, he
says,
because she makes decisions based on her emotions, and that will get
her killed.

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Sure it’s criticism of Laurel, but it’s even better insight
into Oliver. She is committing what in his eyes is THE cardinal sin of
superhero-dom:
putting her own desires ahead of the common good. Oliver cares deeply,
but he acts strategically-you could mistake
it for a lack of emotion, but it isn’t: it’s discipline, honed
by hard
years and hard circumstances. Fighting technique is the least of
Laurel’s problems, frankly. She isn’t a hero yet because her motives are
selfish, and her personal desires trump everything else around her.
She’s got to undergo a radical change of attitude before she can wear
that suit with anything but irony, IMHO.

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So
Merlyn is captured, and while
Laurel is satisfied with the status quo, Oliver knows his
next step is rescuing Merlyn so Thea is not responsible for his death.
Felicity and Laurel both object, but Oliver explains himself to Felicity
saying that Thea acted out of anger, and there would be no coming
back from being responsible for her father’s death. When he says that
the guilt would “eat away at  her until there’s nothing left,” he’s not
just hypothesizing, and they both know it. “Please,” he says quietly,
and when
Felicity says she will help, he closes his eyes in relief. Ugh, my
heart.

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Laurel, who heard the same thing he just told Felicity, thinks Oliver is out of his mind and he snaps at her that she
doesn’t need to be there. In all fairness, she never really needed to be there. She just keeps showing up.

Felicity finds out that Starling Aviation’s cameras just went dark, and Oliver heads out to investigate.

***FB
ALERT*** Oliver and the Yamashiros are on the docks getting ready to
leave for Japan on a boat Oliver hates when Maseo notices they’ve been
set up and starts shooting while everyone else takes cover. Honorable
mention here to Stephen Amell’s jeans.

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BLESS. ***END FB***

On an
airstrip, Malcolm faces Nyssa and decides to deploy some psychological
warfare.
He tells her that her relationship with Sara cost her the
chance to succeed her father, and she must know it.

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Oliver shows up to
save Malcolm, and though he manages to neutralize and capture Nyssa, her
Assassins get a fighting Merlyn onto a helicopter and take off.
Proving that swordsmanship isn’t the only thing they teach in Nanda
Parbat, Nyssa takes the opportunity to rub her victory in Oliver’s face.

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Back

at the Foundry, Nyssa meditates in her cage while Oliver explains to
the team that
even if R’as won’t trade her for Merlyn, she is still a source of
information and leverage. He politely asks for the room, letting others
assume he will torture the location of Nanda Parbat out of her.

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He asks
twice, but no
one leaves the room until John tells them to because FYES DIGG. Before
he leaves, Diggle tells
Oliver he can’t save Thea’s soul at the price of his own, and really,
everyone else can just leave because John is everything. Alone with his prisoner, Oliver knows torture isn’t necessary. Nyssa wants
him to go to Nanda Parbat, confident that once he gets there he will be
killed for obstructing Malcolm’s capture and she is pretty okay with
that.

Upstairs
the team looks at their new security and Felicity lets slip to Laurel
about the jail on Lian Yu.

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Oliver pops in with the location info and why
Nyssa gave it to him, and they all list reasons why they think going is
a bad idea. Roy doesn’t think a brother’s death would guilt Thea any
less than a father’s, Laurel is
angry at him but not enough to want him on a suicide mission, and
Felicity cautions him that the last time he went not-meaning-to-die’ing
he
actually did die.

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Oliver looks around and notices that John
has yet to give an opinion. Diggle asks everyone to leave them alone,
and the look on this poor baby’s face when she realizes she is not being
taken into account on this decision is just UGH.

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My heart
breaks for Felicity, who wants so badly to feel important and heard. You
can tell by her face as she leaves that she takes note of the fact that
she is not included in a conversation that she previously would have
been part of.
Once alone, Digg tells Oliver that he understands his reasons for going,
but he
feels like there is something else at play. Oliver denies it, saying it
is all about Thea, and of course that means he is lying because he used
oxygen to make words.

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At Ray’s apartment, he can’t access the Palmer Tech
server because Felicity, eager to save SOMEONE from a bad decision, has
locked the servers until he gets some sleep and takes a shower. Ray’s
too tired to argue, so he says OK.

At Casa Diggle, Baby Sara is
still precious and Lyla is still a BAMF.

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When John tells her Oliver is
going to Nanda Parbat, she knows that as a soldier, it goes against his
grain to let his friend go into battle alone. She generously tells
Diggle
that she doesn’t want to see him blame himself if something were to
happen to Oliver and tells him to go with him.

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Just a moment to point
out that this is what acceptance and support of your partner looks like,
folks. You gotta know and love what you have. Diggle asks to borrow the
A.R.G.U.S. jet.

At Verdant, Ollie tries to sneak out when Thea
catches him, thanks to both Roy and Laurel snitching. She is afraid he will die, but
he tells her that he is doing it for her, to spare her the guilt of
knowing that her actions caused her father’s death. “Both of our parents
are dead because of me,” he says, and he doesn’t want that for
her.

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Despite the fact that she begs him in tears, he smiles and says he
will be back as soon as he can, and leaves. Hero, guys. Greater good.

Outside
Verdant, Diggle waits for Oliver to tell him he has a jet waiting, and
when Oliver mentions that he couldn’t ask him to come, Diggle points out
that he didn’t. If Oliver is Starling’s hero, John Diggle is Oliver
Queen’s hero.

In Nanda Parbat, R’as pontificates and Merlyn
begs for his life. Seriously, what is Arabic for bitch-ass? Even The
Demon’s Head is all, ‘Dude. Have some dignity.’

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He tells Malcolm that he
can only pay in suffering and blood, and that he will not enjoy
watching it. Malcolm gets dragged away, and he doesn’t go quietly.

Felicity
wanders around Ray’s apartment when he comes out of the shower.

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He
thanks her for taking care of him and pretty much sets about validating
every aspect of her personality that she feels Oliver slights: her
judgement, her ability to call him on his BS, and finally echoes the
magical words that Oliver once said to her on that date so long ago: he
sees her as a person. He doesn’t even get to finish his sentence before
she launches herself at him. She pulls away and apologizes, but he’s in
and it’s on.

I know the Raylicity sex upset some people and visual aids always help me, so let me draw this out for you.

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Because

that is EXACTLY what is going
on. Palmer is getting the poison out with a trusted friend and Felicity
is scratching an itch she got from too much fern cuddling. That’s IT. As
a matter of fact, feel free to imagine a cardboard cutout of Oliver
right next to Felicity every time they interact from now until the
inevitable breakup. They will likely try to give this a go in the
interest of not admitting that neither of them is the least bit
interested in a relationship with each other and dragging out the
Olicity angst, but the Ray character is problematic in so many ways, and
this only makes the situation worse. I don’t blame Felicity-he is
attractive and she’s lonely and single, but don’t expect me for a moment
to think she caught feelings: Ray is such a hard rebound they should
award his ass
points. So they sleep together, and I’m glad she got a workout but I
didn’t even flinch, it is such a non-event emotionally as to be
laughable. There was more emotion in the one long look she shared with
Oliver than in the entire sex scene.

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As long as I’m talking about it, let me take a moment
to address the other half of this ship. Now Olicity is my endgame, and
yes, I believe that they love each other but even though it’s a worthy
goal to love and be loved, I honestly don’t think it is the motivating
factor in character growth, nor should it be-especially Oliver’s. If the
theme of the season is identity, then love is more the icing than the
cake itself, as well it should be. The thing
about love-and I can say this because I am old and I know
the songs are true-the greatest love of all is inside of you.
Oliver
loves deeply, and truly, and he is committed past all reason to
everyone…except himself. Until Oliver realizes that his inner life is
worth the care and time investment that he puts into his crime-fighting
life, there will be no happiness for him, with Felicity or anyone
else.

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His entire identity is wrapped up in an ideal he keeps (in
his own mind) falling short of, and while he forgives and understands
others (Laurel, Roy) who on occasion fall short, he doesn’t allow
himself the same benefit of the doubt. At the end of the day, nothing
will happen without that faith in himself, without the belief that his
happiness is as worthy an investment as the happiness of others.  It
can’t be Felicity, or Thea, or the memory of his dead parents, or John
Diggle or any other person he cares about. It comes down to the basic
truth that one has to love themselves first before they can love anyone
else. You have to feel that you merit love, that you deserve
fulfillment. Only Oliver
Queen can keep his light on. He’s not there yet by a long shot, but when
he does, the rest will fall into place as easily as breathing.

In
Nanda Parbat, Oliver and Digg fail to get the jump on the guards, and
race inside to try to save Malcolm before R’as finds out they are there.

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***FB
ALERT***Oliver covers the Yamashiros as they run to a truck nearby in
an effort to escape what has become a full shootout. ***END FB***

Laurel
visits Nyssa, who has some peace from knowing that Malcolm is being
punished, and that his “last hours will be spent in agony.” Laurel just
knows that once it is over, she has even less of her sister to hang on
to. She asks Nyssa if she remembers Sara’s smile, and she tells her the
story of when Sara first met her father and laughed with joy at his show
of intimidation. That is when Nyssa fell in love, and Laurel thanks her
for the story. It’s a sweet moment, and it humanizes Nyssa’s anger.
This was the love of her life.

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Nanda Parbat. Diggle and Oliver
find Merlyn unconscious and suspended above hot coals. When they try to
cut him down he wakes up just enough to mumble “Trap…” The three men
are locked behind a metal door. R’as walks over and welcomes them
because he’s nothing if not polite and super old.

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Later on,
Oliver and John wake up chained to the floor. Oliver is upset that he
brought Diggle there to die, but he finally understands why they came.

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For Thea, yes, but also because Oliver is haunted by the memory of his
fall and the knowledge that there is someone out there that beat him.
Moment of silence for a rare Oliver Queen truth bomb. It isn’t letting
him live, he confesses, ashamed that it is “egotistical and insane” to
think as he does.

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John says that so is putting on a mask, and that it is
part of the mindset of a soldier: you have to believe that you are
coming home, or fear will paralyze you. “R’as got in your head,” he
tells Oliver, who doesn’t deny it. Instead he asks him about the favor
he mentioned earlier, and Diggle’s speech, like the man himself, is full
of dry wit, sentiment and probably shouldn’t make me cry (BUT IT DID):

I
always assumed if I ever got married again that Andy would be by my
side. But I lost my brother. I never thought I’d get another one. So
pretending for a moment that we aren’t two dead men chained to the
floor… How do you feel about being my best man?

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Oliver
says that he feels pretty good about it, and damn if I am not happy
these two found each other. Oliver desperately needs someone to look up
to. The door opens, and Maseo arrives to tell Oliver that it’s time to
see R’as. I almost don’t care that they are going to ‘die’ because this moment was so beautiful.

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***FB ALERT***Maseo & Tatsu, trapped by
gunfire, trust Oliver with getting their son out of the line of fire,
telling him they will find him later. ***END FB***

Somewhere in
Starling, Roy drives Thea to the officer’s house, and shows her his
child and widow. It turns out he gives them groceries and other gifts
anonymously, and it helps him with the guilt of what he did. Thea
appreciates it, but tells him that maybe a killer is what she is because
he taught her to be one. Even if Roy doesn’t believe it, he is quiet
when she tells him that she sent her own father to his death, and asks
him to take her home. Special mention to the car, which is exactly the
kind of car Roy would be if he were a Transformer.

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At Ray’s
apartment, he wakes up and sneaks out from under Felicity to work. This
is how all the best relationships start. He gets into the servers and
finally puts the Atom suit on. The music wants me to think that it is
really exciting but it is basically a diving suit with car parts on it,
and NO. Nothing about this character excites me, and the damn thing can
fly. The only thought I had was:

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He even flies right outside the window where Felicity is sleeping,
and in a visual representation of what I am feeling, she rolls over and
keeps sleeping. No one cares, Ray.

Thea arrives in the basement to
tell Nyssa that she lied to her about Malcolm killing Sara. She
explains that even if he was the one that set the plan in motion, she
fired the arrows, and offers her a sword so that she can take her
vengeance.

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In Nanda Parbat, R’as comments on Oliver coming again
to seek his death, and when he unsheaths his sword, Oliver says that he
can kill him, “but spare John Diggle’s life. Let him go. I will beg for
it.” Even Maseo lifts his eyebrows like WTF because coming from Oliver,
this is about as flowery as you get. R’as however, doesn’t want to kill
Oliver. He compliments his “strength, fortitude, and power” and then
drops his bomb: he wants Oliver to take his place as leader of the
League of Assassins.

And that’s it for a few weeks! Thanks for reading till the end! Sharing is love, and I always love comments!

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