Outlander Mini-Recap 112

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High Five! Arrow Recap 319, “Broken Arrow”

This episode is the TV equivalent of LoA DJ Chase: it came out of nowhere, %$#ed me and then tried to kill me. Because so much happened, I will be avoiding a lot of RP character dev and summarizing the flashbacks. Let’s get into it.

 

At Starling National Bank, two guards listen to news of Roy’s arrest as the lights start to go out, so of course they immediately hit the panic button. HAHAHA NO.

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This is Arrow, son. They go investigate and find a metahuman who fries them both with his supercool lava-eyes and walks out like it’s no big.

 

At the police station, Lance hauls Roy in past Oliver and he snarks at Oliver for letting “the kid take the fall.” Shouldn’t you blame the people of Starling, Captain? How do these two even look alike?

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When Oliver asks to sign a full confession, Laurel walks in and BAMFs in the only way she can currently BAMF-bringing a Habeas writ from the DA stating that they will not pursue charges, and that since Oliver confessed only to Lance, it looks fabricated.

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Lance uncuffs Oliver, but tells him it’s not over. When the Captain leaves, Oliver asks Laurel WTH and she says she is ensuring they are not both in prison.

 

At Palmer Technologies, Ray asks Felicity why she is in the office with both Oliver and Roy (yep he knows) in jail. Felicity tells him Oliver was released and asks how he is doing, which is what you should ask your boyfriend when you just got done ignoring his ILY.

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Ray makes up an excuse about being high on tiny robots and meaning “love” with a lower-case L and says they shouldn’t make it “a thing.”

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He excuses himself, kindly saying he will keep a good thought for Roy, but the two are VERY awkward with each other, and Felicity says nothing to reassure him, which is telling, because “being reassuring” is like her second (third?) job.

At SCPD, Oliver visits Roy in holding and asks HIM WTF. There is a lot of that this episode. Roy tells him that he should be punished for killing the officer, but that he gets to return the favor and save Oliver’s life. It’s touching, but Oliver isn’t convinced.

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When Oliver tells him the city still needs him, Roy replies “It needs you more,” because Roy knows the goddamned deal. He says that he feels okay for the first time since he killed the officer, and Oliver looks down at his hands, no answer to that.

 

***FLASHBACK SUMMARY ALERT*** Maseo, Tatsu, their son and Oliver are hiding out with someone who owes the Yamashiros a favor. They cannot run without Waller finding them, so Oliver offers to find her first. Amanda shoots Shreve. She is wounded. She tells Oliver that Shreve’s plan was to unleash the Omega on China, and that he has been holding her prisoner. Shreve has an antidote for himself and his team, and plans to blame The Triad. He wanted to kill Oliver and the Yamashiros because they know about the weapon.

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Amanda tells Oliver to run as far as he can. Oliver reports this to Maseo, and they resolve to steal some of the vaccine. They break in and retrieve it. Oliver wants his friends to take the antidote and run, but they offer instead to help him put an end to Shreve’s plan. ***END FB SUMMARY***

 

Outside Verdant, Malcolm and Oliver speak about R’as. Malcolm warns him that he has yet to have anyone close to him die. Are we watching the same show?

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Because of this flawed hypothesis, Malcolm says that he may want to consider that leading the League is less risky than whatever R’as will devise next to convince him. Oliver, who is not trying to hear it, says he has to go because he’s going to break Roy out of prison.

 

Oliver arrives at Verdant to find that Thea has been watching the news and has found out about Roy’s arrest. When she asks if Oliver put him up to it, he tells her no, and that he will do everything in his power to make it right. Not a lot in your power right now, Oliver, unless you are going to punch a cop.

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Felicity and Digg arrive, and he tells them the same, but Felicity notes the bank robbery by the metahuman on the news, and says they might have something else to worry about. I think worry is now one of Oliver’s basic metabolic functions, along with glaring and breathing.

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Digg points out that it makes sense the metahumans would come to Starling with The Arrow out of commission. Oliver asks Felicity to call S.T.A.R. labs and ask about the metahuman, but he is cut off by Quentin, who barges in with a smirk and a search warrant. Everyone reacts a bit differently.

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Turns out he hauled ass over to avoid the Team wiping away any evidence, and leads officers to the basement door, where they break it down. I mean, couldn’t they have asked for the code?

 

Quentin turns the lights on, illuminating the equipment, and turns to Oliver with a self-satisfied “ I got you now, you son of a bitch.” The officers photograph evidence and break the %$#@ fern, while Lance mocks Oliver’s display choices.

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Suddenly one of the officers tells him that they have swept the place for prints, and only match: Roy Harper. Lance storms out, and warns the team that as smart as they all are, he will be there when they make a mistake.

 

Outside the club, the original three members of Team Arrow stop to talk. Turns out not only did Digg and Felicity wipe everyone’s prints but Roy’s, but they also moved some “Sensitive trunk items” elsewhere.

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Digg tells Oliver that Roy is already in jail, and they didn’t see a point in losing both of them. Oliver doesn’t want to lose Roy, and he also wants to stop the metahuman, and says they need to pick up his extra weapons. Digg points out that they can’t go to the secondary lair because Lance is having Oliver tailed by plainclothes cops who won’t let him stop “so much as a purse snatcher.”

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Am I the only one thinking that maybe cops would want to stop a purse-snatcher? Oliver asks Felicity to call Barry, but she tells him that he’s very busy, and offers someone else.

 

Palmer Technologies. Ray hears the door and tells who he assumes is Felicity about his neural connector, tech which enables him to control the suit’s movements with his mind. As the robotic hand on the table waves, he turns to see both Felicity and Oliver there to ask for his help with the metahuman who is killing people.

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Ray asks if Oliver is okay with this, but he only responds that they do in fact need him. Ray high-fives him because yay team-up, Felicity smiles like a mom who just agreed to take her kid to Disney, and Oliver’s face is the fandom.

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On the desk, the robotic hand hits air and Oliver glares at it like, “I can’t believe I have to carry another goddamned backdoor pilot.” I feel ya, brah.

 

In jail, Roy is taken through to visitation, where Thea sits waiting.

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She asks how he is and he tells her that he didn’t want to see her. When she tears up and asks to know what is going on, he says he promised himself that he would never lie to her again, and he didn’t want to break that promise. She asks why he would, and he tells her to please know he will be fine. “Is that a lie?” she asks, and he Inhales as if in pain, hanging up without answering-but not before they tearfully stare at each other for eight full seconds.

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MY HEART, DAMN IT. Theroy is the Titanic of Arrow, and Oliver is the damned crate piece that they both need to float on, but only one of them can without it sinking, so Roy takes the fall. I am at once amazed by how much he loves the Queens and annoyed Thea again has to suffer because of a choice made without her input or consent.

 

At Palmer Technologies, Ray tells the team that he plays squash with the manager of the bank and somehow managed to get in there and GET TO THE POINT MAN, PEOPLE ARE DYING. Amirite, Oliver?

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Anyhoo, he got magnetic resonance images of the crime scenes. When they remove the radiation, they can see the perp’s face, and he is in the system, a Jake Simmons, last seen at a processing plant. Oliver tries to leave to face him, but Ray interjects himself. They both know he is a killer, but Ray says he is a man of science, and best equipped to figure him out.

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Oliver grudgingly accepts, but makes him promise to get out at the first sign of trouble.

 

Ray arrives at one of the many abandoned warehouses and communicates back with the team over the comms while a nervous Felicity frets.

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Oliver asks her if she ever gets that nervous when he is in the field. When she pleads the fifth, Diggle makes eye contact with him over her head and shakes his head quickly in the negative.

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Ray’s encounter goes about as well as you expect. He shoots the meta and only manages to power him, barely escaping being choked.

 

Ray arrives back, hurt and Oliver and Diggle are not impressed with his performance. Oliver tells him that although his instinct is to rely on his tech, that it is a tool, like his bow and arrows. “I’m the weapon,” Oliver says, as Ray stares blankly and comments on how poetic that thought is.

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Oliver warns him that it he relies on the suit more than himself, it’ll get him killed.

 

In prison, Roy is attacked on his way to his cell and Colton Haynes gets the sexiest, best fight scene of his character’s entire run. Seriously, I needed a minute-and yes, that minute was in my bunk.

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He is taunted about how good he is without arrows, and the answer: pretty damn good! He escapes with just a knife cut across his back…for now.

 

The Queen apartment. Lance is executing a search warrant on the condo, when a colleague comes by and asks him to dial down the crazy. SCPD already has a suspect, no need to harass Queen and risk losing all he’s gained, career-wise.

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Thea complains that there is nothing there, but Lance doesn’t believe her, taunting her with the idea that Roy is currently paying for Oliver’s crimes. Thea kicks him out, but not before Lance gets a call about Roy’s injury.

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He makes sure to tell Thea that even if he is fine for now, it’s a question of when, not if he gets a shiv in the back, and that his body will be on Oliver’s conscience.

 

At Palmer Technologies, Ray remembers that Simmons thanked him for blasting him with compressed light rays. He and Felicity look for potential power sources he could be feeding from, when Oliver hears his sister call his name and rushes out of the office with Digg to meet her.

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Thea tells him that Roy was attacked and that there are more inmates waiting, and Oliver resolves to break him out. Diggle steps in his path to stop him, and Oliver tells him quietly, “John, if you know what’s good for you you’ll get out of my way.”

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Digg doesn’t even comment, telling him that if he knows what is good for him and Roy he will stay put. Oliver tries to walk past him, and Diggle stops him by putting his hand on his shoulder and asking him to listen. Oliver explodes, pushing his friend and shouting at him to take his hands off him. I am simultaneously flailing in panic and turned on.

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The noise brings Felicity into the room, and now John has also lost his cool and is using his loud voice, telling Oliver that he knows what he is going through, but he has to “throttle this back” before he loses everything.

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“I have already lost everything,” Oliver says quietly, his voice rough. “I am not going to lose Roy.” He walks out, and Felicity and Digg look at each other, unsure what to do.

 

Felicity catches up to him outside the entrance. He shouts at her that he can’t believe she and John are okay doing nothing “and letting Roy fight off all of Iron Heights”, but she responds that it isn’t that simple.

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He says it is, and she challenges him with the idea that he would then also be in prison. “I can’t just do nothing,” he answers, calmer now. She tells him that she thinks John is right and he is struggling in so many areas in his life, but that he needs to let people help him.

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She correctly intuits that it isn’t just that bothering him, though. Oliver has given everything up for The Arrow persona, “even you and me,” but now even if he breaks Roy out of Iron Heights, there is no more Arrow.

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Oliver tells her that he was once told a man can’t live by two names, and now he can’t live by either of his-so he doesn’t know who he is. “I know who you are,” Felicity says, stepping closer and looking him in the eye. “Whether you’re in a hood, or a suit…”

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“…you’re the man that I-I…” Oliver freezes and holy shit his face.

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Felicity stops and starts again, never once breaking eye contact.

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“You’re the man that I believe in.”

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A quick beat, and neither is fooled. They both know what she meant to say, and their eyes are locked on each other. Suddenly Felicity gets an alert from Ray that he is ready for her to upload the transponder to a power source. Oliver offers to go with her, but she goes alone, saying it’s adorable how he forgets he’s being tailed, and it’s time he gets some practice letting people help him.

 

Iron Heights. Lance stops by to see Roy, who has signed a confession that doesn’t implicate Thea. He tells him that he knew his obsession with the arrow would bring him to a bad end. “You don’t deserve to be here.” Roy tells him about killing the patrol officer, but Lance isn’t impressed, telling him that his time in there doesn’t make up for any of it. Why is Jail-Roy so hot?

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I’m not being rhetorical here, it is EATING at me.

 

At a power plant, Felicity is looking around for Lord knows what when she runs right into Simmons, dressed as a guard. Back at Palmer, Ray notices that Simmons is drawing power from the same plant Felicity went to. He calls her, and Simmons answers, apologizing that “the blonde can’t come to the phone right now.”

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Oliver ACTUALLY FACEPALMS. I howled. Exasperated Oliver is on my permanent Christmas list.

 

Ray warns him not to hurt her, but now Simmons is the fandom, openly mocking his non-hero-ness. When Simmons hangs up and turns his attention to Felicity, however, she hits a valve nearby and releases steam into his face, and breaks away, running down a corridor.

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Back at Palmer Oliver is already turning away, but Diggle warns him he can’t go. “It’s Felicity!” he says, as if that explains everything and IT DOES. Ray does quick math and says it would take him eight minutes to get there on his Ducati while he can fly. When Oliver warns him he needs more than his tech, Ray figures out a way for his tech to merge with Oliver’s instinct. Ray flies to Felicity while Oliver dons the neural connectors so he is able to remote-control Ray’s movement.

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At the plant, Simmons catches up to Felicity and gets all chokey again. Ray arrives and tells Oliver to “kick his ass”. He forces Felicity to leave and Oliver takes over the fighting. It is truly inspiring to watch Amell punch air, and I need more of it in my life. Eventually, however, Simmons throws Ray into a wall and the neural network is damaged.

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Once Oliver can no longer control his movement, the tide turns and Simmons pummels him. Oliver is shouting him to get up and fight, and because he needs it, he gives him a pep talk about how he put himself in harm’s way to save Felicity, and that is something heroes do.

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In any case it’s motivation enough for Ray to fight back and beat Simmons. Felicity rushes to hug Ray while back at Palmer, Oliver holds his head when he hears her voice.

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He loves her so much, guys. I worry sometimes that when he finally gets a taste of that he might just enter a fugue state and evaporate into a cloud.

 

Iron Heights. Another attempt on Roy’s life. An officer shoves him out of the way, but just when he thinks he is saved, the same officer stabs him in the gut.

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Spoilers, schmoilers. It didn’t dull the pain and at this point I wanted to destroy the CW with fire.

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When Oliver arrives home that night, Lance is on the couch with a crying Thea. “Harper was killed an hour ago,” Lance says, and Oliver gets about-as-ugly-as-he-can-get-crying. FIRE, CW.

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Lance walks out, but not before unloading some guilt on Oliver, frozen in the doorway. “I would say I’m sorry but I think we both know whose fault this is.”

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Later, Oliver is looking through the wreckage of the Foundry when Felicity and Digg show up, exchanging a look. He tells them that he shouldn’t have listened to them. “I might not have been able to save Roy, but I would feel better right now if I tried.”

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John says that he knows he might never forgive them. “I make my own choices, John,” Oliver replies, which is an amazingly generous thing to say to a friend who talked you out of saving another friend who is now dead-but Felicity isn’t talking about the decision not to break Roy out. “he means…forgive us for this.” And Roy walks in.

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I don’t know whether to laugh or break something.

“HOW?” Oliver asks, overcome. Roy came up with a plan to get arrested and had one of Lyla’s A.R.G.U.S. folk special-stab him in a place that would bleed but not be lethal. The blade was laced with a beta-blocker, which simulated death and ta-da! Prison break for Roy, and innocence for Oliver. Oliver points out that they did this without asking him, and Roy answers that he has done the same for them in the past.

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Oliver accepts this with a nod, and then asks the question we are all asking: “What happens to Roy Harper?”

 

That night outside Starling, Roy says goodbye and I am legit crying.

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Colton Haynes started as a character that I could largely take or leave, but where Felicity is the heart, Oliver the brawn and Digg the head, he became the quiet soul of the team-able to be both deadpan blunt and incredibly emotional- and he’ll be missed. Oliver tells Roy that he feels like he is throwing his life away, and Roy says he is starting a new one, asking him to tell Thea he is alive and sorry he couldn’t say goodbye. John tells him “Anywhere, anytime” he needs anything, to call.

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Roy is now openly crying when Felicity says with a smile, “I’ll miss you most of all, scarecrow,” and hugs him.

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She has placed an untraceable satellite phone in his bag and tells him to be ready to get a million calls. Finally, this goddamned pair of noble bastages.

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“Thank you,” Roy tells Oliver. “Thank YOU,” Oliver replies, and they shake hands, these two taciturn men of few words, and there are novels of meaning in the two phrases. Roy gets in his car and drives away as the original Team Arrow stares after him.

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Felicity asks Oliver how angry he is with them on a scale from 1-10, but he is trying, and replies that he needs to start letting people help him. Diggle tactfully walks away to wait in the van, and neither Felicity or Oliver seem to notice he’s gone.

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“I just think sometimes that you are so focused on the people you love,” Felicity says to Oliver as he stares down the road, and she links her arms through his, placing her chin on his shoulder, “that you forget that there are people who love you.” At this, Oliver looks down at the ground and says nothing, and Ray, watching his girlfriend from across the street, realizes why she never said she loved him.

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I have spoken long and hard on my dislike for how Ray is written, but let me point out that if they are going to make this character relatable, human and the kind of superhero that has some sort of insight-scenes like this are invaluable, and that Brandon Routh did more here with a single wrinkle between his eyebrows than any line Ray has had all season. This character has potential, but it’s currently all trapped in an actor who is not getting the sort of characterization that Routh is capable of emoting. I hope to see this change going forward for him in his new show.

 

Another quick insight into the goodbye scene. Roy is in his trademark red hoodie. It is meant to recall the kid he was when Oliver first found him, and it does. Every other character but Felicity is in black. She is in pinks and tans, and in the nighttime in the glare of the street lights, she almost glows, the light in so much darkness, Oliver’s light in his darkest moment. When Ray stares after Oliver, alone, the lights of the buildings behind him are red and blue, the colors of the ATOM suit. Once Felicity is gone, he will find his light in his mission. Kudos to the costume department and director on the lovely visuals.

 

Central City. Ray delivers Simmons to Cisco, and names him “Deathbolt.” These two need more screen time together, as there is clearly a bromance in the air.

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Ray wants to know how the prisoners get fed and how they water the flowers, but Cisco has discovered that Simmons wasn’t in the vicinity of the particle accelerator explosion, so… how can he be a metahuman?

 

Starling City. Thea is looking at pictures of Roy and drinking wine when she feels a presence.

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It is R’as, who is being very anatomically specific about which part of the Demon he is, thank you very much, and that her brother will soon join him.

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Thea denies it, saying that Oliver will kill him, but R’as, unruffled, says, “No. He’s going to beg me,” and catches the knife she throws at him. Thea runs, but he intercepts her, and she does a pretty decent job of fighting him, until R’as throws her into her coffee table and stabs her clear through with his sword, reciting a prayer like he did for Oliver.

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He leaves her there, the broken glass echoing the snow her brother once laid on, both now tinged red with Queen blood.

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GOD DAMN IT.

 

Thanks for reading all the way to the end! For more shenanigans, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv. If you want to read any of my other Arrow stuff, it’s archived here. See you next week for the Olicity Event of the Season: The F*ckening. God help us all.

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Outlander Recap 110, “By The Pricking of My Thumbs”

Those of you who have read MacBeth realize that the title of the episode not only recalls a chapter title in Outlander novel, but also the beginning of a famous quote, and how that quote ends. So a lot has to happen in this episode to get us from happy sexathon to “something evil” coming along, and by King George’s wig, it does. No bathroom breaks!

My mind is sufficiently tuned to the sex on this show that when we open to Jamie touring Claire’s downtown, my first thought is “God, they are buttering us up! This episode is going to end awful.” Claire’s pretty happy though, at least for a moment.

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They both ignore insistent knocking on their bedchamber door, and you know Jamie is learning to be a husband when he picks his head up only long enough to grunt “No,” and then redoubles his efforts until Claire sighs contentedly before grumpily putting on his pants and getting the door.

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It’s Murtagh, who bashfully greets a still-glowing Claire and tells Jamie that the Duke of Sandringham has arrived, and is staying nearby at Norwood House. Jamie is excited that he has an opportunity to petition a pardon from someone who has “always been partial” to him, which he knows from a visit the Duke made to Leoch when he was sixteen. At Murtagh’s warning to be careful, he stipulates that he won’t be offering up his hindquarters for a favor, but rather considers himself “an innocent man seeking justice.”

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Claire interrupts to let them know she recognizes the name, and reminds Jamie of the promise he made her, that if she told him something, he would not ask how she came by the information. He reassures her, and she tells him not to trust the Duke, as he is a close ally to Black Jack Randall, and no friend of Randall can be a friend to him. Murtagh asks how she knows and points out that even if Jamie did, he made no such promise.

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At Jamie’s reassurance that they will both respect Claire’s wishes, Murtagh relents and advises Jamie to speak to Ned Gowan before he addresses Sandringham. Jamie accepts, gleefully telling Claire that if he gains a pardon, they could return to Lallybroch and live as Lord and Lady Broch Tuarach, and that he knows they would be happy there. “As do I,” Claire returns, and he smiles.

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As Ned explains, Jamie is wanted for murder, and a trial would ultimately come down to Jamie’s word against Randall’s. Even with the Duke’s backing, it is not likely that a British judge would take Jamie’s word over an officer’s, though that word be true. In perhaps the most lawyer-y thing ever said by any lawyer, Ned deadpans “Truth or lies have very little to do with the law.”

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He instead suggests that they try to prove to the Duke that his friendship with Randall is dangerous. He proposes to draw up a claim which would include Claire, accusing Randall of “crimes against the Scottish people” and of violating His Majesty’s laws.  If Jamie can convince Sandringham to deliver this claim to the Lord President of the Court of Session, then Randall would be subject to a court-martial, or at least a reassignment far from Scotland. My soulmate Murtagh asks if they can’t “just hang the bastard,” but Ned points out that “sweating the rest of his military career in some West Indies hell hole would be a far greater punishment,” and I think we all fall a little in love. Once Randall is in disgrace, Ned believes he can take Jamie’s case to court and “win him a general pardon.” Poor Jamie is so on board he almost explodes.

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In another part of the castle, Claire makes her way to the kitchens to find Mrs. Fitz raving about the new apron Laoghaire embroidered, likely with her tears, when Claire asks to speak to her granddaughter alone.

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The older woman notices it’s a serious matter and offers to help, but Claire tells her it’s between the two of them, and she goes, taking the rest of her staff with her. Once alone Laoghaire snaps at Claire to say what she came to because she has chores to do, but when Claire shows her the ill-wish, she denies knowledge of it.

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Claire earnestly tells her that she recognizes that Laoghaire had feelings for Jamie, and that “tender regard denied” can be hurtful in one so young as she.

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“I even understand why your jealousy would be directed at me,” Claire says, but clarifies that not only did she never conspire to take Jamie from Laoghaire, but that he was never hers to begin with. This finally breaks through the younger woman’s veneer of indifference. “That’s a lie,” Laoghaire says heatedly, “Jamie Fraser was and is mine!” Claire responds with an impatient, “You’re mistaken, child.” This causes Laoghaire to assert that Claire stole her “puir Jamie” and now he is trapped in a loveless marriage with “a cold English bitch”, and probably has to get “swine drunk” to be able to “plow her field.” So Claire reacts as you do when speaking to teenagers, and literally invents the bitchslap.

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I’m not that surprised when Claire gets physical because this entire thing is going Real Housewives, stat. She should have just hit her with a chair so we could notch it up to WWE Diva-level drama. I get that Laoghaire would be disgruntled and act childishly, but it feels like things get out of hand pretty quickly, like maybe there’s something here we don’t know about. Hmmm.

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It’s a theory.

Claire says she should not have slapped her and bites out an apology, but it no longer matters. Laoghaire admits that she put the ill-wish under the bed, hoping that it would make Jamie hate her as much as she does. “He belongs with me, and one day, it will be so.” Claire answers that she hopes she didn’t pay too much for the ill-wish, because that will never happen.

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Laoghaire then drops a bomb: Geillis sold her the ill-wish, and she tells a surprised Claire that she is as wrong about her friend as about Jamie. “Stay away from me and my husband,” an exasperated Claire bites out, and Laoghaire glares after her. So in one scene, Laoghaire’s conversion from relatable youth with disappointed hopes to hate-filled mastermind who wants to see the world burn is complete. You know who else had that character arc?

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So I guess she’s evil now. I have to say, I still don’t hate her. Maybe it’s because I have a teenager and I know they do stupid things because their feelings go to 11, or maybe because I inherently resist flat characterization. None of the other characters are simple, so I can only think there is more to Laoghaire’s story, even if this isn’t the place to tell it.  I have read the books and I realize these things have to happen in order for other things to shake out as they do, so I’m on board-but I guess what I’m saying is I wish I had been there to feed this girl ice cream and give her an essential truth to build her up instead of tearing her down: No man is worth going full Vader, ladies. Not even Jamie Fraser.

 

In town, Claire goes to the Duncan’s to look for Geillis, but her husband is too busy pooping himself to death to a) be polite or b) any help.

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As the maid Jeannie lets her out, she whispers that it is a full moon night, and she should look for her mistress “in the woods north of the foothills, in the hours before dawn.” P.S. Next time my husband asks if he should pick up dinner, I plan to shout “By Chrrrrist’s Heaven, ya should!”

That night Claire goes wandering through the woods alone with a lamp to find Geillis because it seems like a good idea at the time. She happens upon her dancing among bonfires, and the dance itself, her torch and clothing all recall that Samhain dance Claire witnessed with Frank the day before she traveled through the stones. It also helps that the soundtrack is the same. This being Geillis, however, the entire thing is way sexier…

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…and there is a wee bonus.

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Geillis finishes by letting the grass get to second base and coyly tells Claire she can come out from her hiding place.  I bet Claire always loses at hide-n-seek. Geillis tells her that she would have joined her, if not for her inherent English prudishness, then very thoughtfully appraises her as to the state of her nipples.

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Claire congratulates her on her pregnancy, which Geillis admits has been her “own special secret” for a while now, even from her husband, who has never seen her naked. Poor crapping bastage. Claire mentions that she thought the Duncans “weren’t having intimate relations,” and in a move that is either born out of true friendship or incredibly calculating, Geillis spills her deepest secrets: she has a lover, the child is his, and that lover is… Dougal Mackenzie.

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Claire points out that another man’s child would be problematic for Arthur Duncan, but Geillis breezily asserts that there are months to go until the birth, and that the ceremony she performed, a ‘summoning’, has yet time to take effect. When Claire asks, she tells her that she is asking Mother Nature to grant Dougal and she their freedom. She asks Claire to keep her secrets, not only about the child but about the ceremony, and Claire accepts, saying she understands. “I knew you would,” the redhead smiles, and cheerfully asks for  help putting out the fires.

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In the early hours of the dawn, the two women head back through the woods as Geillis explains she did not know the ill-wish was for Claire, or else she would not have sold it to Laoghaire. She tells Claire that she can do worse to her, now that she knows all her secrets.

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Claire tells her that she has no wish to do her harm and that she is the only friend she has made since arriving to Scotland. Geillis links arms with her and says she feels “much the same,” except for her “Dear Dougal.” She shows Claire a pearl bracelet, a gift from her lover. It was meant for Dougal’s “slag of a wife Moira”, but Dougal instead gave it to her.

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Claire is surprised to hear he has a wife, and Geillis tells her that she has been holed up at his estate for years, since she does not like public gatherings and has “a homely countenance.”

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Claire is surprised that Sandringham gave Dougal a gift, and at Geillis’s blithe assertion that the Duke visits Colum but “likes” Dougal, she remembers Frank and the Reverend hypothesizing about the Duke being a suspected Jacobite himself.

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Suddenly Claire hears a noise in the woods. Geillis tells her it is nothing, but at Claire’s insistence that the cries are from a baby, points out that there is a fairy hill nearby, and the baby is a changeling. She tells Claire that it is known the real child was stolen by fairies and the changeling left in its place “when it does not thrive and grow” as other children.

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This is all healer Claire needs to hear to set off in hopes of saving “a sick child”, but Geillis, not willing to disturb the ritual by which the parents hope to exchange the changeling for their own healthy baby, tells her she must do it alone, and walks off.

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Claire wanders off in the direction of the coughing, crying infant, but by the time she finds it, wedged in the hold of a tree, it is blue and no longer breathing. A stunned Claire holds it and rocks it gently, crying her apologies. It’s brutal and sad, and I think anyone who has ever stroked a tiny sleeping face felt something in their chest clench. Unless you’re evil. In which case, thanks for taking time out to read, Satan.

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Some time later Jamie finds her like this, having met Geillis on the way and she telling him where his wife was. He tells Claire she has a kind heart and takes the baby from her, placing it back in the tree and crossing himself. Claire tells him that they just “left it there to die,” and asks if he believes in the same superstitions. He tells her what is important is that the people do, and most have never been further than a day’s walk from where they were born and are thus uneducated, “knowing only what Father Bain tells them at Kirk on a Sunday.”

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He tries to comfort her, saying that for the parents of the dead baby, it might comfort them to think that it was the changeling that died, while their own child is happy and well and living with the fairies. Claire has seen violent death and the horror of illness, but this is another grim reminder that she is in a time when consigning innocents to death was commonplace, and she cannot reconcile current practice with her vocation. She asks Jamie to take her home.

 

At the castle, Jamie shows Claire Ned’s claim against Randall which includes his “repeated sexual provocation of a highborn Englishwoman” being “a black mark impossible to erase”, and asks for her signature. She hesitates, and Jamie tells her that although he doesn’t question her doubts about Sandringham, he has to try for them, and “for Lallybroch.” Claire signs her married name, right under her husband’s.

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Norwood House. Our first look at Sandringham, who is rocking the Clairiest of hairs and is bored like a rock star. Or a suave actor.

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Claire visits the Duke without Jamie’s knowledge to speak to him about the Petition of Complaint Jamie will be bringing him later that day. The Duke lets out a scathing “Poppycock” and comments that he heard “said Captain is one of the finest officers in the regiment”, (probably from Randall himself) and indicates he must refuse. Claire puts on the same poker-face she did for Randall, commiserating that it must be hard for him to turn against a friend.

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The Duke harrumphs that he “hardly knows the man,” but even if he did it would basically be harmless to either of them. He thanks her for her visit and congratulates her on the future children she will bear Jamie, basically dismissing her with a smirk and an aphorism.

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Claire, who has never met a china shop she wouldn’t run through with a bat, turns and politely asks on her way out how much Jacobite gold Dougal Mackenzie passed on to him, in full hearing of his staff. The Duke freezes and asks her if she wants to make an enemy of him. Claire says that on the contrary, she needs his friendship-”however lowly obtained”- and trusts that it is “preferable to a date with the gallows for treason against his King.”

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After a brief veiled threat against her own pretty neck and how well it holds her head to her shoulders, he jovially states that he will listen to Jamie’s petition, and looks forward to helping her husband, good stouthearted lad that he is, “to restore his good name.”

Upon her arrival back at Leoch, Rupert and Angus come out to find Claire and tell her Colum is looking for her. It turns out that Dougal’s wife has died suddenly from a fever, “burnt up as if by fire” and he is drunk and belligerent.

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They are hoping Claire can give him something to “soothe the mad beast.” Inside, Dougal is alternately crying and blaming himself and cutting down candles like they’re made out of wax while Colum looks on with the gaze of someone mentally tallying up damages.

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Claire arrives and asks the men if they have someplace to put her potion, and brave Angus goes to get a bottle of wine. He is stopped halfway at sword-point by Dougal, who ultimately lest him pass in commiseration for his dry gullet. Claire takes the wine from him and pours some of the mixture down, asking Angus how he will get Dougal to take it. “What makes ye think he’d refuse?”, he deadpans.

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Dougal is busy hacking at Mackenzies with his sword when Angus holds the wine high and shouts “To the fair Moira!” Dougal clutches his heart and sobs his wife’s name. “May God watch over her,” he proclaims, and take the wine, drinking deeply. Dougal says that “Even a blind man wouldna said she was bonny, but she deserved better than me.”

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He halfheartedly wanders around for a bit until he notices his legs not working, then topples over like a tree. Colum barks for them to take him away until he’s sober, and it takes five men to carry him out. “If ye drop him,” Rupert warns,”I’ll have yer balls.” That would be a lot of balls, Rupert.

 

Later at the market, Geillis sees Claire and asks if she heard about Moira. Claire says she did, but it didn’t put a smile on her face the way it did Geillis. The redhead says that of course “It’s a tragedy, God-rest-her-soul,” but that surely Claire can’t begrudge her a little celebration at an answered prayer.

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Claire doesn’t believe that she thinks her summoning had anything to do with it, but Geillis responds, “I don’t know that it didn’t, and I don’t know that it did not-and neither do you.” Claire calls it a coincidence, but Geillis says no matter what, now she and Dougal can be together. Claire reminds her she has a husband who might object, but Geillis’s response is a smirk and a coy tilt of the head, and silence.

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Norwood House. Jamie and Murtagh arrive and see some men from clan MacDonald leaving the house, and Murtagh wonders what they are doing visiting the Duke of Sandringham. Inside, the Duke reads the Petition of Complaint, grumbling about how his association with Randall seems to be common knowledge.

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He dismisses his secretary and tells the men that protecting Randall “from the consequences of his misdeeds” is like a full-time occupation, and the Duke isn’t about to join the working classes. He tells Jamie that it will require delicacy to damn Randall without damning himself, and that since he is scrubbing Jamie’s back, Jamie needs to scrub his.

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He has been challenged to a duel by the MacDonalds over the matter of some unpaid card debts, and needs Jamie to act as his second. “Shots will be exchanged but I’m assured no one will be hurt”, the Duke says, since the matter is purely to restore honor. His servants, he says mournfully, are “chosen for their beauty, not their belligerence,” and sighs as he caresses Jamie’s chin and states that he has within him “a sublime combination of the two.”

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Outside, Murtagh tells Jamie that it is a bad idea to get involved in a matter that includes the Mackenzie’s oldest enemies, but Jamie says that he has to take a chance for Lallybroch. Murtagh tells him there will be other chances, but when Jamie asks him to swear to it, he remains silent and Jamie says it is a risk he will have to take.

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That night, at the dinner honoring the Duke, everyone is gathered in the hall for the presentation of this awesome pie and Colum’s toast to Clan Mackenzie’s “longtime friend and ally,” ending with calls of “God Bless Scotland!” and “God Bless the King!”

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Jamie walks Claire up to the Duke to introduce her, since he is still unaware of their earlier meeting. Claire asks Jamie to get her a drink, and once again unlocks the wonder of her vocabulary, calling the Duke a bastard and accusing him of “getting his pound of flesh” from Jamie by having him agree to the duel.

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The Duke reminds her of “quid pro quo” and Claire tells him it will also apply to him if something were to happen to Jamie during the duel. The Duke clarifies that it will be he, not Jamie facing the bullet, and that she better pray for him lest he not deliver her letter as requested.

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Suddenly right in front of his healer wife, Arthur Duncan stands, trembling and foaming at the mouth. Geillis, seated across from him, is unmoving while Claire races down the aisle with some men and asks that he be turned over, since she thinks he is choking. Everyone in the hall rises to their feet as she turns him back over and checks his pulse. He is gone. She automatically scans the room for her friend, and what she sees is “not a grieving widow.”

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Geillis has locked eyes with Dougal, who is beaming back at her when Colum turns and traces his brother’s gaze, a look of horror on his face.

 

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Geillis sees this and doesn’t miss a beat, letting out a pained scream, running to her husband’s corpse and crying loudly upon it.

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Claire, rising with a stunned look on her face and turning to be held by Jamie, recognizes the scent of bitter almonds on the dead man’s breath, and realizes it was no choking, but murder by cyanide poisoning. For me, this is when you start to see the true amorality of Geillis, and to some extent, Dougal. Was Arthur annoying, smelly? By all accounts yes, but no one is smelly enough to merit death. I know this, because I have teenagers who are still alive right now.

 

The next day at the duel, Jamie and MacDonald’s second, one of his sons, mark the paces and the Duke and MacDonald exchange shots in the least riveting duel ever.

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The Duke apologizes, the MacDonald accepts, and honor satisfied, both parties are eager to have a drink and put matters behind them, but one of the MacDonald complains loudly that “honor isna substitute for coin,” and taunt Jamie and the Duke about their suspected relationship, saying that they should “go off and couple like the dogs they are.”

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Jamie asks MacDonald to control his sons and he tries, but the boys are young men, and alternate between mocking the Duke for his fine house and empty purse, and Jamie for walking off to be bent over a log somewhere. Jamie handles this with patience and good humor, asking jovially if it’s true that MacDonalds “learn of love by rutting with their mother.”

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This is enough to cause the MacDonalds to rush him, and he barely gets a warning from Sandringham before swords are drawn.

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Jamie dispatches the three brothers one by one, but not without being stabbed in the side. When it is over, all four men lay groaning on the grass from their various wounds, and Sandringham picks his way through them to quickly apologize to Jamie and warn him not to tell his wife he was there.

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He tells him he must now leave, as “a duel is one thing but a common brawl quite another.” Still, he reaches into Jamie’s sporran and takes the Petition of Complaint, promising to honor his side of the bargain.

Downstairs in her surgery, a closemouthed Claire sews Jamie’s wound while he chats, periodically looking down at her for a response.

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He tells her that the wound is just another scar, and that the Duke took the letter, so perhaps they have cause “for a bit of a celebration.”

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When Claire doesn’t say anything, he notes that she is “not normally a closemouthed woman,” to which her only response is a sharp tug on the needle she is using to stitch his cut, and Jamie jumps.

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“But a quiet anger can be verra effective,” he placates. The door knocks, and it is Ned to tell Jamie that Colum wants to see him, so he goes.

Jamie and Ned arrive to see Colum already speaking to his brother, telling him to go home and attend to Moira’s funeral and stay there until he is called for. “Yer exiling me,” Dougal immediately notes, and asks for how long. Colum shouts that it is until he comes to his senses, if he is capable.

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Dougal wants to know what he is being asked to do, but Colum clarifies that it is not a request, but an order. Dougal once again guesses his intent. “I will not spurn Geillis Duncan,” he says with conviction, and Colum points out that neither would her husband, and he can see what she did to him. Dougal responds “That bloated bastard’s been dyin’ for years,” and Colum laughs as he realizes his brother is in love. “Yer an even bigger numbskull than I thought.”

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Dougal nods, speaking quietly and tenderly, tearing up near the end. “I do love her, and there’s just cause. Brother…she’s carryin’ my child.” Colum’s response is scathing and brutal, “No no no. That’s Arthur Duncan’s child. Same as Hamish is my child,” and Dougal’s face falls.

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Not only will he never marry “that evil temptress,” but he must leave Leoch that very day, and he is sending Rupert, Angus and Jamie with him. Jamie opens his mouth to object, but it only causes Colum to turn to him in anger and tell him to hold his tongue.

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Colum tells Dougal that he can do whatever he wants after his wife’s funeral, drink and fornicate till “a bloody end,” but at his own house, not Colum’s. Dougal stands silent, until his brother prompts him to acknowledge the orders of his Laird, and Dougal finally does so.

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Colum then turns to Jamie, berating him for shedding MacDonald blood without his approval, and not caring for an explanation. Jamie, finally exasperated tells him that as he is such a disappointment, Colum will be happy to hear that he is to leave for Lallybroch in time. “In time ye can do what you want,” Colum says, but for now he is to keep close to Dougal and make sure he follows his orders “in all things,” and that Jamie will not leave until Colum gives him permission to do so. He also says that, in order to ensure Jamie’s full attention is on Dougal, he is keeping Claire at Leoch.

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Jamie starts to object, clearly displeased, but Colum roars at him that the next time he “flaps that tongue”, he’ll cut have it cut out.

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“Now go,” he hisses at the room, and Jamie collects Dougal, who is lost in his thoughts and starts at his nephew’s touch.

Jamie is readying to leave as Claire frets that she won’t be with him to tend to his wound. Jamie has more important matters to discuss, telling Claire to keep away from Geillis, because Colum is likely to lash out at her next.

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He mentions that “loveless or no’“ the marriage to Duncan kept her safe from her own reputation, and now  with Dougal leaving, there is nothing to keep her from Colum’s ire.

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“Stay away from her, Claire,” he emphasizes, pretty much guaranteeing she won’t. Dougal tells Jamie to kiss his wife goodbye, but not before first warning her that they are in dangerous times, and to be careful.

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They kiss, and as it gets progressively more heated, Dougal gets the best line of the night when he turns to tell him he said to “I said kiss ‘er, dinna swallow her.”

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They part, and a worried Claire asks Jamie to come back to her, which might seem like a no-brainer, but this boy gets hurt a lot. You gotta be specific.

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It is clear on both their faces that the parting is difficult. “Soon as I can,” Jamie answers, and with a final kiss on her forehead, mounts his horse & rides away.

The next day Claire is tending to a burn on Mrs. Fitz’s hand, and the older woman notices her somber mood. She tells Claire that Jamie will be in his Laird’s good graces soon enough, and back with her, in her arms. So now we know something else about Mrs. Fitz.

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When not even your own Nanna ships your ship, that’s a sign.

Mrs. Fitz’s young nephew arrives then with a letter for Claire, and despite her husband’s warning, when she sees it says “Claire-Come quick” and that it is from Geillis, she goes to her friend.

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Somewhere on a horse, Jamie is crying.

Claire arrives to find the new widow in front of the fire, and when she tells her she came as fast as she could, Geillis says that the letter was not from her, and likely a prank. She invites Claire to dinner, but Claire is in no mood. She tells Geillis that she has to leave, but the redhead does not want to.

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“Drop the pretense. i know you poisoned your husband,” Claire says, and urges her to go if she cares at all about her baby. Geillis tells her that her concern, while touching, is misplaced, but Claire has found the vial of cyanide and knows it is not.

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Suddenly, there are knocks and shouts downstairs. It’s the warden, and even as Claire urges her to escape through a window and promises to meet her in the wood that night, Geillis says she will not escape from her own house like a thief. She pours the vial of poison into the fire, assuring Claire that Dougal would never let anything happen to her or their child, and orders her servant to let the warden in. “He made me a promise,” she says, rubbing her belly. “The man loves me to death.”

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At that moment the warden runs upstairs and tells Geillis she is being arrested not for murder, but for witchcraft.

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When Claire rushes to object, she too is arrested as “the other sorceress” and is told she will be informed of her crime at trial.

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The two women stare at each other, alarmed, and are hustled outside and loaded onto a paddy wagon. Claire, looking out the side window, notices a figure smirking at her as the wagon pulls away.

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You win this one, Darth Leery.

Thanks for reading all the way to the end! For more fun, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv. See you next week!

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Outlander Photo Recap 109, “The Reckoning”

Not unlike Jamie and Claire, I’m not much on foreplay, so let’s get right into it.

You know it’s gonna be a great episode when the ratings system features every letter in the alphabet short of the vowels.

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Aaaand segue-way into the preview material and a new voice over. Jamie is skipping stones on water while pondering the importance of life choices.

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When he was young, he just trotted along onward with no discernible path like a fine ginger pony, but looking back on his life, he sees that “each step is a choice” and that those choices-right/wrong, life/death, love/hate-become your life. “The day I realized that, I became a man.” And whatta man.

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We see the firelight reflected in his eyes, and realize that he is not at the lake, but staring into the fire while Horrocks and his hipster beard meet with himself, Murtagh and the Mackenzies. Turns out Dougal is a bit reticent in handing over money to a man he perceives as being untrustworthy, but Jamie convinces him. When the money finally exchanges hands, Horrocks says that the guard was shot by none other than “Captain Johnathan Randall himself”. Ned doesn’t believe that the Captain would stoop to shooting his own sergeant, but Horrocks wryly comments that they know Randall, and so they probably know the answer to that.

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Jamie, upset, tells him that he can’t use Randall’s name to clear his own, but Horrocks answers that he bargained for a name, which is what he got. Dougal rushes the Englishman in anger as he mounts his horse to go, but It is at that moment that Willie comes galloping in leading Claire’s horse, and Jamie realizes she is not with him.

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When Willie relays the news that she was taken by the English and was “thrashing and yelling”, Jamie and the men gallop off after her.

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Intro song, and you might think I am making this up, but that stag knows something. WHO HAVE YOU BEEN TALKING TO, STAG?

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This leads us into a title sequence that shows Jamie’s kilt assembly process.

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He’s like a plaid Transformer, a ginger Rubik’s cube.

Fort William, night. Jamie and Murtagh are applying their fine interrogation skills to one of the English guards, convincing him to reveal Claire’s whereabouts by means of acute testicular coercion. I’m pretty sure this is how Navy SEALS do it.

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Murtagh puts an end to what I am sure would have been a really interesting lecture by applying what shall heretofore be known as the “Murtagh Special”: a knife hilt anesthetic, applied firmly and swiftly to the back of the heid. Jamie whistles for Angus and Rupert, then creeps up on the rooftop guard and uses his rifle like a shinty stick, knocking him out and earning two points according to this judge. Looking around the portion of the roof that is unguarded, he discovers a handy rope secured to a beam, and uses it to lower himself towards Randall’s window, hurrying when he hears Claire scream.

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It is dark and eerily quiet as Jamie rappels down the tower wall, and the lack of visual distractions has the intended effect. Even though I know full well what is coming, by the time Jamie crouches in the window and says the line we all know by heart, I am tense. Randall, however, is positively enchanted.

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He alternately flirts, chitchats and snaps at Jamie in a manic whirlwind: coyly asking to see his back, and giddily telling Claire that they will have an audience. When Claire shouts at Jamie to “just shoot the bastard”, BJR seems to snap out of it a bit, threatening to cut Claire’s throat and demanding Jamie put his gun down on the table. When Jamie hesitates, he swears to him that he will cut her throat, and Jamie believes him. Although his words are threatening, his eyes are bright, and I realize I am avoiding eye contact with an image on film like I think it can steal my soul.

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Claire tells Jamie to leave, and Randall takes Jamie’s gun in one hand and continues casually asks him who the man is in his marriage. Claire swears that she will cut his balls off, and he calls her a “foul-mouthed scold”, matter-of-factly commenting that he has “no idea why any man would pledge himself to a woman, especially a mendacious slut like this one”. JELLY MUCH?

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Like any other character who is into men on this show, Jack is into Jamie. I can’t say I blame him, although it doesn’t make me feel warm inside. If anything, it juts makes him creepier, which I didn’t think was possible. Let me just suggest that, whatever you were planning for Halloween, you immediately drop it and replace it with Black Jack Randall. Be a giant stack of cards that add up to 21 with a tricorn, and laugh at sad stories. Wear thigh-high boots and fishnets as Sexy BJR and shout angrily at random intervals. You will win Halloween every year because THERE IS NO ONE CREEPIER. To say his affection for Jamie is inappropriately expressed is akin to saying the Hindenburg was a snafu.

Jack asks Claire if they she would like her husband to join them, and ends up done in by the dual enemy of any villain: hubris and the seductive pull of a monologue. He taunts Jamie, asking if he would rather watch, and puts his knife down, then takes a shot. The pistol is empty.

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Jamie takes advantage of the surprise to knock his head into the table and hightail it out of there with his wife, leaving Randall unconscious. Jamie thinks back on why he left Randall alive, but it would have never occurred to him “ta kill a helpless man, even one such as Randall.” They run into redcoats on their first few attempts, but thank goodness it takes like a solid half-hour to load those guns or they wouldn’t have made it. As it is, they have to jump off the roof into the murky water below, which is totally not a metaphor.

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The ride back is relatively quiet, and when they stop at a creek to water the horses, Jamie steers Claire away to tenderly ask her if she is all right. At her grateful assurance that Randall did not hurt her, he steps back and sternly if a little insecurely says that he is waiting for her to say something approaching an apology, and just like that, they are off.

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Like any argument with a new spouse, this is pretty much the intersection of two worlds colliding. Claire and Jamie see the marriage from radically different perspectives and, what is less common, radically different time periods.  Claire is outraged that Jamie should assign her fault when she had no ill intent (although one does not absolve the other), and Jamie is rigid in his view that their current predicament is Claire’s responsibility to shoulder (BJR had a bit to do with it). Of course it is coming from a place of fear, but it expresses as anger. Jamie tells Claire that none of this would have happened had she listened to  her husband’s order, and because she does what she wants, he found her flat on her back “with the worst scum of the earth between your legs, about to take you before my very eyes.” Claire reminds him that she begged to go with him, but that he didn’t listen to her “because women are only fit to take orders.”

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Jamie grabs her arm and growls that if only she had done that, they “would not be on the run with a hundred redcoats” on their tail. Claire, for some godforsaken reason that makes about as much sense as the rest of it, decides that it’s a good time to slap her angry husband and it escalates quickly and quite viciously from there.

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The highlights: Jamie thinks Claire got herself abducted on purpose to get revenge for almost being raped before (huh?), and Claire shouts that she doesn’t like that she is married to him and she is nothing but a c*ck-garage (c*ckrage?). They are basically throwing verbal tomatoes at each other.

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Claire follows Jamie around when he tries to turn away, and it finally ends when she calls Jamie a “f*cking bastard” and he retaliates by calling her “a foul-mouthed b*tch” and saying that she won’t speak to him like that.

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I hate it when mom and dad fight.

After he shouts at her, there is an instant and discernible change on Jamie’s face, and you can see that he is surprised at the extent to which he has lost his temper. Surprise turns into dismay, and it is a testament to the acting in this scene that this transition is verbose without a single word being uttered. As his temper cools, Jamie seems to shrink and become frail, falling back against the rock and sliding down so his eye line and the bulk of his mass is below Claire.

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In a subconscious complement to her husband, Claire’s face softens and becomes concerned, her natural healing instincts kicking in.

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Jamie admits brokenly that he faced Randall “with an empty pistol and [his] own bare hands” and starts to shake when he recalls her screams. By the time he utters “Yer tearin’ my guts out, Claire,” she is ready for this to be over, and so am I. She apologizes twice before he looks up. “Jamie, forgive me.”

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Jamie accepts, returning her apology and telling her that he didn’t mean what he said out of anger. Voice-over Jamie admits that it didn’t matter, he would have forgiven her anything she did or was going to do. There was no choice, because he had fallen in love. By the end of this scene I felt like I ate too much Lithuanian food: top-heavy, a bit queasy, and definitely ready for a nap.

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Don’t let that scare you off Lithuanian food though, it’s delicious.

When they arrive at an inn for the night, Claire and Jamie are seated apart from the others, and though quite tender to each other, notice that the men are not replying to Claire’s attempts at conversation and  pretending they can’t hear her speak, which I suppose is the most adult way a room of grown-ass men can handle this situation. Claire excuses herself to go upstairs, and Jamie catches Murtagh’s eye. With a shorthand that is terrifying in its brevity, the older man communicates in one sentence what the problem is “She doesna understand what she nearly cost us,” he tells his nephew. “Aye, and she needs to,” Jamie replies. MAYBE HE MEANT YOU NEEDED A PIE CHART, JAMIE.

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Upstairs, a tired Claire invites Jamie to go to bed, but he tells her they have a matter yet to settle between them.  Claire is tired, affectionate, and Jamie starts out kindly, explaining the things that would have happened to a man if he had put them in danger as Claire had. She apologizes again, and Jamie ruefully tells her that if it had only been him, he could have have let it pass, but it was not,  and it is his duty as husband to see she is “punished.“

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There is a nuanced buildup here that is so realistic and convincing.Claire’s expressions progress from bewilderment, to confusion, to disbelief, to alarm, panic and finally, anger. This is a thinking, logical woman of science, and this is some Lord of the Flies justice. I can totally get why she rejects the hypothesis that physical harm will somehow improve her memory.

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Jamie is educated and open-minded as well, but not two centuries’ worth, and this is not an area where he sees a need to bend, much less for an individual that he is treating the way you would a child, not an equal. He tries reason, coercion, and finally, resorts to brute strength to get his way, holding her on his lap and smacking her on the rear with a folded belt as she fights him back with scratches and kicks.

Thinking about this critically, this is the visualization of every virtue these two possess drawn out to its darker, more negative expression. Jamie is a leader, and pretty good at getting his way. He has no reason to think his wife will not submit and obey like any woman of her time, plus he feels that he is within his rights as a husband. Claire is quick and logical, a healer and problem-solver which is a bit of an anomaly even in her time. She has no reason to think that hurting someone on purpose is justified by any means, or that she needs to be made an example of by a person who has pledged to care for her. Neither stance makes sense to the other, and so, worlds collide.

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I think it would be less accurate to call this a spanking than an all-out domestic, even if Claire was always destined to lose. Jamie doesn’t expect her to fight back to the extent that she does, and Claire is clearly not taking this as anything but deadly serious. Although by the end he seems to get a sort of thrill from subjugating her, it won’t be one he enjoys for long, and he has no idea that the lesson he takes away will last longer and be more deeply impressed than hers.

The next morning the pair come down for breakfast, and the men are in a forgiving mood, joking with and about Claire. Ned even offers that she should sit with him, but she coldly says she will stand… away from Jamie, who stares balefully at her while she eats her oatmeal like a dummy that doesn’t realize that his headstrong wife can hold a grudge with surgical precision.

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“Justice done, problem solved,” Naive Jamie later tells us via voice-over. He thought the matter settled, but that he also had “precious little experience as a husband” and did not realize that their arrival at Leoch would influence decisions he made on their behalf for a long time to come.

Upon their entrance into Leoch Claire and Jamie are greeted by the gathered inhabitants, who are waiting to congratulate them on their marriage.

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The Laird and Lady also make an appearance, but while Letitia is gracious and cues her husband seamlessly, Colum can barely bite out a polite congratulations, and is obviously not pleased, walking out directly after a series of awkward pauses and stares so pointed that there couldn’t have been a single person in that hall who was fooled into thinking he was happy about this outcome.

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In the next scene, we see Jamie rushing down a hallway when, with almost an audible record scratch, Laoghaire steps out to intercept him with a plaintive “Why?”

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She wants to know what happened, explaining to Jamie that after their little kissing interlude, she thought there was something of a promise between them and that she had waited for him to come back and been surprised by his marriage.

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Jamie, whether it is because he is knocked off-game by his argument with Claire or because he is hurrying to attend a summons from Colum, handles this in the absolute worst manner possible. He tells her it was not something he planned, but Dougal’s arrangement, and that an explanation will have to wait. She agrees that he “canna keep the Mackenzie waiting”, but when she nervously asks if they will speak again, he says “Aye,” with a small smile and then touches her shoulder and says gently, “You have my word.”

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UGH JAMIE. She actually doesn’t have your word. You’re married. Someone needs to spank you so you remember it. Now I don’t blame the child for thinking that a man of marriageable age who takes a beating on her behalf and then kisses her stupid perhaps has feelings for her. Hell, when I was sixteen I was convinced I was going to marry George Micheal. What I am saying here is that Jamie, diplomat and strategist, really pooped all over this opportunity to be concise and direct, and I don’t blame her for being or feeling led on.

In Colum‘s study, Jamie joins Dougal and Ned, who are discussing the rents. Colum greets him jovially at first, but then asks which of the three “weasels” want to explain Fort William to him, and whether or not the consequences of that will fall on his clan. Jamie assures him that Randall will make sure they fall only on him. Colum then asks Ned about the rent money, and when he explains that there is still “some of the livestock yet to sell off,” the Laird asks about “the money for the bonnie Stuart prince across the water,” and picks up the purse to show them that he has it.

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Colum points out that at least Jamie looks guilty, but he disagrees, saying he owes no allegiance to James or Charie and his conscience is clear. Dougal does exonerate him when he explains that they only used Jamie’s back to “illustrate British justice.”

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Although taken by surprise, Dougal tries reason to bring Colum over to his side, explaining that the people who gave them gold knew it was being raised to restore “the rightful King” and that the cause “is more important than any clan-or man.” Colum doesn’t take this well.

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He angrily replies that THIS clan remains under the charge of THIS man” and since it is still his pleasure to determine what causes are supported, he determines that “Clan Mackenzie’s welfare comes before any King or country.”

When met with the unremitting wall of his brother’s disagreement, Dougal boils over into anger, listing the things he has done for his brother and what he expects in return, a list that gets JUST A BIT SH*TTIER the longer it goes on.

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“I’ve proved my loyalty to you time and again. I’ve collected your rents, I’ve fought your battles, I’ve protected your person… for the love of Christ, I’ve even assured your bloodline! Now…I think that such fealty is worth a mere bag of gold. Don’t you?”

Jamie’s eyes widen at this last revelation, and even Ned flinches. Colum, although shorter and seemingly weaker than his brother hardens and vibrates with anger, his voice deadly quiet when he orders Dougal to “Leave my sight.”

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Ned follows to try to calm Dougal, and Colum tells him that it is either that, or he “will do it for him.” Jamie, showing his usual ability to read the room, quickly excuses himself with assurances that his uncle probably wishes to chastise him at a later time. “Stay,” Colum bites out, and Jamie does, looking like a school boy.

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In a truly surprising development, Colum lists all the things he did for Jamie, and then takes him to task for marrying a Sassenach, knowing full well that this meant no Mackenzie would back him as his replacement. It is a throwback to The Gathering, and it crystallizes the Laird’s position on his brother’s succession in one moment. Dougal is a good, strong arm, but a hot head, and Colum likely had hopes that his nephew would succeed him.

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It completes the portrait of Colum as the man who first promised Claire her freedom and then reneged. Even when it comes to his brother and his wife, Colum does what is best for the Clan. The parallels to Claire and Jamie’s disagreement are strong: the brothers are in a partnership that is supposed to pull towards a common, united good, but differences in perspective threaten that unity. Added to this dynamic is the fact that both are acknowledged leaders, and men. Jamie answers his uncle with a platitude, saying that he “meant no such betrayal”.

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Colum, done with everyone who doesn’t mean to betray him but does, turns his attention to his pet bird and tells Jamie to get out.

That night, Jamie tells Claire about what transpired in the meeting, and she states that she knew Hamish was Dougal’s from the moment she saw them playing in the courtyard. Jamie says he had heard the gossip and everyone in the room knew it, but it was the first time he heard Dougal proclaim it, and he thought “Colum was going to run him through right there.”

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As they speak, Claire is readying herself for and eventually climbs into their lovely decorated bed, and Jamie’s speech becomes increasingly more disjointed and his eyes wider as they focus on his wife in her thin shift, and the parts of her he can make out through it.

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He takes off his coat with his eyes glued to her breasts, and Claire, not missing a beat asks “What do you think you’re doing?” “Well, I thought I would…” Jamie says, looking at her in bed.

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“Think again,” she snaps, pulling the covers high and turning her back to him. Jamie leaves the room, cursing in Gaelic. HAHA you poor horny optimistic bastard. I think they wrote a song about you once.

When Jamie goes to join the men for a stag hunt, Rupert and Angus are ganging up on Willie, who it turns out was Colum’s informant. He pleads his case, saying that he did as the Laird asked of him, but it is clear that the men assembled are not so loyal to Clan Mackenzie as they are to its War Chief. Jamie pushes Willie behind him and tries to diffuse the situation by gamely pointing out that there is only one Laird, but Rupert points out that this is Mackenzie business, and maybe the Frasers should butt out.

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Dougal arrives and takes in the situation at a single glance. He casually points out that they are hunting for stag, and mildly asks, “Who’s with me?’ with a loaded look around at those assembled. Jamie and Willie avert their eyes and Murtagh, in a moment of sublime wordless communication, takes his sweet time spitting on the ground in what can best be compared to a George Carlin insult, if Carlin had only spoken in phlegm.

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Not even Dougal can help but be amused, and the situation is temporarily diffused, although still simmering.

In a moment of privacy watering a rock, Murtagh tells Jamie that they should leave that very night, since Rupert was right and this is not their fight. Jamie points out that Horrocks was his only chance of exonerating himself, and that living as a fugitive would be hard on Claire. Murtagh suggests leaving her behind and coming back for her when they are able, but it is clear from Jamie’s expression that he doesn’t endorse that and he’s through taking marriage advice from unmarried Murtagh.

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In any case, it’s not urgent, Murtagh says, since the Prince isn’t likely to sail any time soon-information which Jamie repeats with a canny look on his face.

The following day Jamie employs his natural skill for diplomacy (one of his defining traits in the books) on his uncle. He tells a resistant Colum that he must forgive his brother, and that while keeping the money may soothe his anger in the short-term, it will not promote long term-peace. Colum brings up his warring clansmen, and the fact that he would be inciting treason.

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Jamie, in turn, makes strategic use of Murtagh’s earlier comment: Bonnie Prince Charlie’s situation is nowhere near resolved, and his army just a faraway dream. If Colum appears to give his brother a token in the form of the money, he can keep the peace at home, and have time to scope out what is in the best interests of the Clan. Let Dougal play the rebel while he looks at both sides.

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Jamie says that Dougal may be War Chief, but he knows that only Colum can call for war. It is an obvious ploy, but a compelling argument, and Colum asks him to go get his brother and Ned and bring them to him.

Dougal and Ned are brought back in, and stand facing Colum, who is staring at his pet bird, tied to his perch. Dougal finally loses patience and snaps, asking if there is a purpose to the meeting or if they are just meant to stand there all day, and you can see his brother rein in his temper before he turns around.

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Colum walks up to his brother  and says ruefully that one day he will talk his head off, “and right onto a pike.” He pulls his dirk out, and Dougal flinches, unsure.

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Colum reminds him of the oath Dougal swore to him and asks what “a man’s oath is worth these days…perhaps a bag of gold?“ Dougal, offended, says that his oath to his brother was his oath to Scotland, and he has not broken either, nor will he. “We’ll see,” Colum answers, turning to his desk. He tosses Dougal the gold, and asks Ned to write a letter to the Duke of Sandringham, inviting him to a banquet in his honor. Dougal makes an off-color remark about how he should also tell the men to guard their backsides, and Ned snaps at him to guard his tongue, complimenting Colum on the wisdom of obtaining “the true measure of the Jacobite cause from an Englishman’s perspective.”

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But Colum, outmaneuvered and out of patience, tells Ned it will take more than a compliment to get back in his good graces. “Get out of my sight, all three of you,” Colum says to the room at large, and they do.

This situation resolved, Jamie ponders the issue of his still-divided marriage, and while he is thinking on it by the river, Laoghaire comes by. She reminds Jamie that he promised they would talk.

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It starts out innocently enough, with her revealing that she has been in love with him since she was seven. He points out that he is wed now, but she chalks it up to a gallant act of kindness, “marrying the Sassenach to spare her from the British”. Jamie says that it was “true that the marriage was arranged by Dougal but….” then seems to take an inordinately long time to come up with the end of that sentence. Did you have a stroke, Jamie? Did your tongue fall out?

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Laoghaire uses the opening to tell him he does not look happy. “You look like you’re carrying the world on yer back,” she says, reaching for his hand and holding it. Jamie doesn’t only allow it, but strokes her fingers. I thought it was maybe the rage making my vision blurry, but no, I rewound! She tells him that the beating he took for her and later, the kisses in the alcove told her that he felt the same way she did. Jamie’s reaction? Silence.

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So Laoghaire confidently plays her trump card. She tells him that while Claire was married before, she has not lain with anyone, and drops her cloak in the old-undergarments-under-the-overgarment-trick, placing his hand on her breast, naked under her bodice. Jamie could have…

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…but no, in the age-old tradition of men who absolutely don’t want to f*ck someone, he squeezes her breast in a slow waltz beat while she leans in and tells him that she wishes him to be her first and only, whispering the last against his mouth. They sway precariously against each other for a few seconds until he pants out a “No“ and pushes her gently away with the hand he keeps on her breast for the first half of what he says next. “I made a vow, and I’ll no’ break it, not even for a lass as bonny as you. I’m sorry.”

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I am sure I could consider that Jamie, newly awakened to sex and then denied it for an unspecified period could be forgiven for copping a feel, but I resist that train of thought. It feels out-of-character to me that a man who was outraged by Claire offering to share her room with him in “Rent” should not have stricter boundaries, and to say Jamie handles this poorly is a gross understatement, and not just because of Claire. Laoghaire is SIXTEEN, gently raised, in stupid, all-consuming first love and he uses her for selfish reasons. Saving me the need to swan dive into my TV set and kick Jamie in his very blue balls, the scene finally ends when Laoghaire, humiliated and rejected, runs off.

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That night, Jamie comes into his room to find Claire brushing her hair. He tells her that speaking to Colum about Dougal has caused him to realize that there are times when you bend tradition. He says that in his father’s time and before that, if a wife disobeyed, a husband punished them… but maybe for them “it has to go a different way.” He takes out his sword, and kneeling before Claire, swears an oath of fealty.

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When he is done, she stares at him wordlessly, and I am once again struck by how Jamie’s P.O.V. paints forthright, brassy Claire as a creature of mystery. He, and by extension we, cannot guess at her intent. Jamie asks if it is not enough, and if she wants to live separate.

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She should want that, Claire says sternly, and Jamie gets ready to pull away… when her hand lands over his heart, and she whispers, “but I don’t.” Jamie places his hand over hers, and tells her that her ring was made from part of the key to Lallybroch, his family home. He wanted her to tell her when they visited it, so she would know it was part hers, too, although now they may never see it. Claire, guilty, is about to say something when Jamie interrupts. “The thought doesna pain me so much as it once might have.” He strokes her face and comes as close as he can to an admission of love without saying the words. “You are my home now.”  Finally, a reconciliation.

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Jamie then proves consent can be sexy as f*ck, telling Claire that he “wants her so bad he can scarcely breathe” and asking if she will have him. At her affirmative, they proceed to have the kind of sex that neighbors complain about and gleeful recappers rewind several times, then unexplicably blush at because they feel they are intruding .

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Right at the beginning, Claire assumes the dominant position in more ways than one, pulling Jamie’s dagger out of its sheath by his head and holding the tip right to his carotid. While still actively body-^%$#@ing him, she mind$#@s him as well, going full Moriarty and telling him that if he ever lays a hand on her again, she “will cut [his] heart out and have it for breakfast.”

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At his wild-eyed nod of acknowledgement, she tosses the dagger and then proceeds to get flipped like a pancake, Jamie grabbing her breast and growling to her that she is his. It is energetic, athletic, and not a little confrontational, this sex. It’s also pretty hard to get a screen cap without naughty bits, so here’s what I came up with. It’s pretty explicit.

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When it is over, Jamie asks Claire what she meant by “fucking” and “sadist” and she explains both with a grin. He laughs and says that while she does not flatter him, he can’t fault her reasoning. They are very sweet to each other, Jamie tapping her nose and she teasing him.

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When Jamie appears ready for another go, however, Claire confesses that she is “ravenous” and he reluctantly agrees to go to the kitchen for something to eat, pulling his kilt out from under the bed. As he does so, Claire notices something under there and pulls it out. It is a rough sort of poppet, and when she asks Jamie what it is, he tells her it is “an ill-wish.” Claire asks who would have put it under the bed, and Jamie comes to the same conclusion as we do, biting out what I am sure is the first of many an annoyed “Laoghaire”‘s.

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Thanks for reading until the end! if this is your first time finding me, feel free to read my other Outlander recaps, archived here, and see you back for 110, “By the Pricking of My Thumbs”! For updates and other nonsense, follow me here or on Twitter at @conniebv

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My favorite scenes, Arrow 318 “Public Enemy”

Not a full recap this episode, but I did want to briefly highlight two scenes, both of which featured character truths long held back that finally came to light.

1. __?_licity

In the hospital, Ray tells Felicity that he loves her. This causes Felicity to tell him that it is “nice to hear” and hightail it out of the room to get him some hospital jell-o, because he must be hungry. NO ONE IS HUNGRY FOR HOSPITAL JELL-O. And yes, Ray is the jell-o.

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This leads to the scene where Smoak smoaks Smoak. Felicity walks out of the room and gets caught with her guilty-face on (and not because she had hospital sex).

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Those really should be more different.

If part
of Felicity’s charm is her constant unconscious double entendres, large
part of her mother’s charm is in all that Vegas flamboyance hiding a
shrewd ability to read people. It didn’t escape me that she knew her
daughter didn’t return Ray’s sentiments by just looking at her, and it
also didn’t escape me that, for all that Felicity playacts at being
embarrassed by her, Donna is the one person she can admit her feelings
to: she is not into Ray, even if she has tried. When she questions herself because it makes sense on paper, Donna once again hits the nail on the head by pointing out that it is because she is in love with Oliver.

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Throughout
this episode, hints were dropped about Felicity’s father: he was a
criminal, and she quickly deflected any mention her mother made of him.
Felicity has had two great loves: Cooper and Oliver, and both were
fringe elements with questionable moral codes, probably closer to the
father that abandoned her than she herself ever stopped to consider, so
what does she do? She consciously picks good, dorky nerds like Barry and
Ray (or what Ray should have been) and then puts all her energy into
trying to make it work, to be with men who, even if they should leave
her, would not devastate her.

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Momma Smoak is right: So much of the burden of choice has been placed on Oliver’s shoulders this season, but now, Felicity has
to choose. And the choice is, not surprisingly, similar to
Oliver’s: go all in with a risky venture or sit tight on a safe bet?

Bless you, Mama Smoak, patron saint of the S.S. Olicity.

 

2. Oliver and Lance.

I said in my recap for 317 that “not a single thing” in Oliver’s life had shown him that it was possible to love without tragic results, and in this episode he is finally face-to-face with the embodiment of the fallout of two of those instances: Quentin Lance.

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Lance tells Oliver that R’as told him that he and Sara had been together on Lian Yu, and when he questions when Oliver decided that he would take decisions on behalf of his family, Oliver says quietly, and with feeling, that he loved his family, and gets backhanded as a response, along with an admonition to take advantage of his right to stay silent.

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However much that admission riled Lance, it was honest, and raw. Laurel was Oliver’s first love, and for years she was a beacon of hope, an ideal that he could pine for and remember better times. Sara was so like him that if not for the boots knocking they could have been twins, two blonde kids broken and built back up by terrible circumstances, looking to keep a light in their lives after years of darkness. Oliver loved Sara, where Ollie had loved her sister, and whatever his faults, Oliver is not a disloyal man, and one with a rather long memory. When he tells Quentin he returned from the island to try and save the people of the city, Quentin’s response is a deliberate, hurtful recitation of all the people that have died in Oliver’s life.

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It is an echo of the very same list he once brokenly admitted to Felicity. It is the same list that caused him to turn himself in as a criminal, rather than to see harm done to others he loves. He tells Lance he didn’t want Laurel, or anyone else to get involved, but Quentin claims that not only did he involve his daughter, but himself, and that he has made all the people that he “claims to care so much about” into “criminals, liars and victims,” and that he isn’t a hero, but a villain.

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Now if the theme is identity, one of the reasons Oliver loves the Lance family is because they are so intertwined with his memories of himself that while perhaps not happier, are symbolic of a time in his life when things were not as complex and his burden not as heavy to bear. Sara especially, but Laurel too, were people who knew him then and now, endured disappointments and tragedies with him and eventually reconciled as friends. While he may not be involved romantically with either at this point, he values the Lance family, and the father that both girls strove to protect.

And by all means, Quentin is also seeking to replace the identity of grieving father with the much more familiar one of justice-seeker, crimefighter. In this he is much like Oliver himself, who has channeled his pain and loss into a cause, and in this cause found allies, like Quentin himself was once, and they in turn their own identities as heroes.

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So the pieces are reshuffled and the chessboard is reset. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

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FML. Arrow Recap 317, “Suicidal Tendencies”

I actually could not make myself watch this episode again, so now I’m running late and I am just gonna bite the bullet. Forgive me if I gloss over a ton of shit that I just do not care to get into, and an advance warning that this is rampantly anti-Ray. A LOT. I thought about going back and editing some of it out, but I gotta be me-so you’re getting an advance warning. 🙂 If you want to know why I feel this way about this character, read this excellent meta or this one here.

It’s Dyla’s wedding drill! Oliver feels good that he’s early but just like his life in general lately, he’s deluding himself and is actually late. This is an issue because Lyla booked a photo session which he missed, but problem-solver Diggle offers to Photoshop him in.

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Felicity walks in in one hell of a red dress, poses to let her Boo take an eyescape and absentmindedly reaches behind her to pull Ray along.

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We get to see Palmer meet Digg, and the only way it could have ended better is if he snapped his neck and he and Lyla danced their first dance on his corpse like a human bear rug.

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Oliver is on his best behavior, making nice when Digg gets a call. The officiant just got deployed, and OH NOW RAY HAS TO MARRY THEM THAT IS A PERFECTLY NATURAL DEVELOPMENT SHUT IT. Yep, he’s a minister, and he’s coy about why but I don’t care why. Ray cracks jokes, people laugh and find him funny, I don’t get it, and Oliver looks sad and lonely. Wednesday.

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Dyla and Theroy cut a rug while the Arrow writers toss Lauriver a bone. Oliver compliments Laurel’s dress and cast, and she tells him about her new (female) trainer. Oliver wants to ask more but she tells him today isn’t about that. Felicity shows up with the bouquet she caught and Laurel congratulates her and leaves. Felicity and Oliver have a brief convo about her bringing Ray as her plus one, and again, Oliver is supportive and tells her that if she’s happy (”Very,” she lies), then that’s all he’s ever wanted for her: a good guy and a normal life.

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Suddenly the team’s phone alerts all go off and I am mesmerized by Roy’s, who has what seems like an alien abduction going off inside his suit. It’s the news about The Arrow becoming a killer again. Cue double takes!

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Wedding scene: Four whole minutes. Put THAT in your scrapbook.

Later that night and one fabulous costume change from the new Mrs. Diggle, the group gathers in the Foundry to watch what I have to assume is the only TV any of them own. If the mayor speaks we don’ see it. Lance tells the reporters they think it’s The Arrow, Laurel is like “Unsubstantiated, bitches! D.A.’s office takes a hard pass!”

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Then for some reason, Ray speaks. I mean, IN WHAT UNIVERSE?  Like, I am sure I have seen news reports of crimes committed in Washington state, but I have never seen Bill Gates on the news being like, “You guys, I’m gonna take care of this. ON IT.” So basically Ray is like,

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because he’s a genius and I’m sure that makes sense to him, except the premise is ridiculous and NO. But let’s play along with the superhero show.

Felicity is upset because she didn’t see this coming, and the Team think the LoA is behind this, trying to raise public sentiment against the Arrow (so far, so good!). Digg wants to know what he can do, but Oliver is like “What you can do is go to Fiji and get sex drunk, dismissed” and just this once, Diggle prioritizes his family life and he and Lyla leave to get in their limo.

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But they’re not alone in their limo! Amanda Waller has no soul and I think it’s pretty safe to say no idea of romance, because Floyd Lawton is in there, waiting for them. Suicide Squad time!

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They get to A.R.G.U.S. and Amanda gives them their mission: there’s been a terrorist attack at a Kasnian hospital, and US Senator Joseph Cray, whose pet project it was, is caught and needs to be extracted. Digg won’t let Lyla go alone, and when he asks Waller who besides them and Deadshot is going, it’s one of my fave Arrow villains ever: Cupid!

In the Arrow Cave, Oliver is moping the best way he knows how: training shirtless in front of Felicity.

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For once, she doesn’t spare him a glance, plugged into every camera signal she can hack her way into (cover your baby monitors) trying to find “Evil Arrow”. So far, no luck. Roy shows up with info of a huge drug shipment that “Fake Arrow” would likely show at, and although he offers to suit up, he stays behind at Oliver’s request because “It’s the League.”

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SS troops through the woods while Cupid fantasizes about her wedding and the strong babies she and The Arrow would make. Strong AND crazy! Lawton tells the assembly that “love is a bullet to the brain” and people like them don’t get to have families, though Lyla and John disagree.

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When Lyla tells John that the mission only involves getting the senator out, and not the hostages, he asks if that’s her talking, or Waller. Lawton smirks at their disagreement and Digg snaps that he’s not him. “I wasn’t always me, either,” he mutters.

***FLASHBACK ALERT*** Floyd Lawton shows up home after a military deployment. His wife is happy to see him and introduces him to his adorable daughter, who looks about 3. Lawton tells her that he missed her every day, but the little girl is scared of him. You can see the dismay on his face, and his wife tells him that she just doesn’t know him yet, and needs time. ***END FB***

Oliver is headed to the warehouse, where Felicity has seen the Fake Arrow headed. Oliver gets there in time to shoot an Arrow into his shoulder (just to hold him still!) and unmask him, but it’s not R’as. Two more jump out at him and for a while there, it’s like the beginning to the best slashfic ever. A voice tells Oliver that it’s useless, as when one falls, two more will rise, and it is Maseo. Oliver tells him he can’t believe in murdering all these people to prove a point.

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Turns out Maseo is fine with the murdering, but it’s the semantics that bother him. This is a persuasion, he tells him, because R’as sees something in Oliver. So really, it’s like a bouquet of corpses. Oliver won’t embrace it, and tells Maseo he should know him better. Maseo is like “Ok wevs I kill all day every day it’s all the same, really” and poofs his way out like “C U BRAH”.

That night, Ray is flying around in his Atom suit and catches Oliver on patrol. He scans his face and has software that IDs him.

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The next day Felicity walks into the office and gets called to task by the same self-unaware dumbass who has conned her compliance with whatever ridiculous trick he pulls out his ass almost every scene they’ve been in together since his character debut. I made a personal promise to try not to use a single Ray pic this recap, so you get gifs to express my emotions.

Ray tells Felicity that she is insulting his IQ because of course, this is all about him and what she did to him and how he feels. Not like, MURDERS.

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Now Oliver might be a hardheaded tree, but at least he isn’t a walking spleen like this egocentric load. Hey genius, you never once questioned why your VP was okay with helping YOU make a super suit?

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Ray tells her it all makes sense now, and that he basically x-rayed him with the suit he never told her he got working, and using her facial recognition code he “borrowed” that he ALSO never told her about. MINUTIAE. Dick.

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It doesn’t matter that she vouches that Oliver didn’t kill anyone in almost two years and that she knows him better than almost anyone. What Ray gets from this is that she has feelings for him (which is for his purposes, irrelevant), and even though she follows up her immediate “Yes” with denials and assurances that it’s over, he mocks the idea that he’s “supposed to trust her” now.

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He tells her he hasn’t held anything back from her since the moment they met (UM YOU STOLE HER TECH, he hasn’t even been honest in the last 24 hours), and that he thought they could be partners in his mission and in life (I wonder what designerTHAT dress-bribe would have come from). When Felicity says she wanted that, and still does, it convinces no one. She asks Ray what he’s going to do, and he answers that he’s going to honor the promise he made to the city and “bring the Arrow to justice.” So, add Starling city to the list of things Ray’s about to catfish into long-term commitment. My hate frees me.

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In Kasnia, the Squad moves into the hospital.

***FB ALERT*** In a truly disturbing scene, Lawton makes a bad sandwich. No really, he’s been drinking and shouts at his little girl because she doesn’t want to eat. His wife shows up and points out what we all suspect: he’s not sleeping, drinking too much, and can’t hold a job. She wants him to talk to someone, but instead he erupts into a fit of violence, pulling a gun on her in front of the baby, and when he snaps out of it, horrified, she calls the police on him. ***END FB***

Oliver and Roy are in the Cave comparing the fake vs. real Arrow-arrows (they’re identical) when Felicity comes in and unloads Palmer’s entire season-long character arc in one panicked rant. I am a little jealous of Oliver, because this doesn’t even take 30 seconds. Oliver understandably uses his loud voice to ask when she was going to tell him about someone pissing on his vigilante turf, but she says that’s not what’s important: Palmer is going to tell the police who he is. What are they gonna do?

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At the police station, Ray is telling his theory to Laurel, WHO I GUESS IS THE POLICE NOW? I mean, I’m just a caveman here but don’t you report crimes to actual cops? For all the good it does him. Laurel tells him Oliver was exonerated two years ago, calls his digital images unreliable and his testimony “uncorroborated.” Ray then proves once more that there is no belt to low under which to hit by bringing up that she is defending Oliver because they dated and are old friends. Laurel’s face here is gold.

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Also creepy: how does Ray know she trained with Ted Grant? Does he just randomly data-mine? He guesses she is the Black Canary, too. He is like a . In any case, Laurel basically tells him to f*ck off in legalese, and he says he’ll “just have to seek out justice on [his] own” because he really is a self-entitled sh*t. I love me some Brandon Routh, but I have never wanted to watch a hero fail harder in my life.

Kasnia.The senator tells one of the hostages that everything will be okay. The SS shoots their way in, killing all the bad guys, and Lyla tells him that they are there to get him. He gets upset, saying that this isn’t how it should have happened, and pulls a gun on them, because they shouldn’t have come. All hell breaks loose as more men show up to fight them, and Lawton tackles Cutter, taking a bullet for her. This leads to a great scene where Cutter transfers her affections to him, and he considers dying as an alternative. When Diggle goes to treat his bullet wound, he sees Lawton’s tattoo, and the name of his brother.

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Lyla tries to radio out, but her signal is jammed by Sen. Cray. It turns out the kidnappers are mercenaries he hired to stage the hostage situation so he could defuse it and become a hero, then run for President.Now the hostages are witnesses, and he needs to erase the evidence, starting with them.

Ray is in his office smirking with self-satisfaction when Oliver walks in with his hands in his pockets because OLIVER HAS BALLS THE SIZE OF MOUNTAINS, Y’ALL. He responds to Ray’s smug “Arrow” with “Super-suit” and it is so perfect I want to take the writer who wrote that to a nice steak dinner. It turns out Oliver booked an appointment specifically to broadcast how few fucks he gives about the fact that Ray is hunting him. He heard from Laurel, and tells Ray that he didn’t kill those people, which Ray says Felicity told him, but he scoffs at the idea of an impersonator, saying he “hates it when that happens.”

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He once again hits below the belt by insinuating that Oliver is unhinged because of his “5 years on a deserted island,” and Oliver admirably doesn’t react, saying only that Felicity told him the truth, and he “should trust her judgement.” Ray says he can’t do that, because his FREAKING MASSIVE GENIUS of a girl’s brain was broken by her “emotional attachment” to Oliver and she doesn’t see him for what he is: magma-hot millionaire crime-fighter.

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Oliver again chooses not to engage, telling him he has “no idea what the city is up against,” and as he walks out, Ray says something that’s supposed to be ominous but isn’t because he might as well be wearing diapers now.

Kasnia. Digg and Lyla are in a room watching the building be rigged with explosives. The mercs mean to bomb the building and leave the senator as a lone survivor. Lyla questions what they are doing, and at John’s assertion that they accepted a mission like soldiers, reminds him that they are also parents.

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She tears up at the possibility of orphaning their baby girl, and Digg admits Lawton may have been right. At that moment Lawton and Cutter come through the hall. When Lyla tells Lawton they won’t make it out, he looks at her tear-stained face and tells her that they will, and she and John will go home to their daughter.

***FB ALERT*** Lawton is in jail, and gets a visit from a nameless woman (a ‘drone’ from a ‘hive’) who is posting his bail in exchange for his “skills,” i.e., killing people. At first he refuses on account of his family, but upon finding out that his wife has a restraining order on him and that he will never see her or his daughter again, he takes his first assignment: Andrew Diggle. ***END FB***

At the Foundry, Felicity sits, exhausted and on edge when Oliver comes back in. He tells her it didn’t go well, and that Ray is “stubborn” (at which Felicity rightly scoffs) and “unstable” (same thing, but not so rightly this time) and Oliver tries to impress on her that he built himself a suit to seek out a killer, and that’s not normal.

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Oliver comments that “He’s gonna be next,” and Felicity tiredly comments that he would like that. Oliver recoils (”Excuse me?”) and they settle in for the no-holds-barred type of fight you have when you are truly at the end of your rope and stop watching what you say. It’s heartbreaking, raw, and not a little overdue. Felicity tells him that he never wanted her to be with Ray, and all the talk about wanting her to be happy “was just talk.” Oliver says that it’s not true, and that he meant what he said-until he found out Ray was like him, a person with a um, crime-fighting vocation. “You deserve better,” he says gruffly, his voice breaking on the last word, and although he is hurt and speaking from the heart, so is she, and she calls him out.

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“What I deserve is to be with someone who isn’t scared of being happy,” Felicity says. The blow is surgically precise and it hits the mark.

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Oliver turns away from her, and she pushes what she thinks is her advantage: that Ray told her that he wanted a partner in his work, his mission, and his life, and he wants to be “a hero AND a human being.” Oliver’s face hurts me, y’all, because he does want all those things, but let’s face it: this is one pragmatic sonofabitch, and not a SINGLE. DAMN. THING. in his life so far has shown him it is possible to love someone (with the exception of John) in his hero life without things going tits up, and he just isn’t willing to risk her. He takes his opening, and with such uncharacteristic bitterness that it makes me shudder, says that it’s because Ray hasn’t realized yet “that he can’t be.”

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He looks at her right in the eye and reminds her that he never said he didn’t want to be with her. “I said I couldn’t be with you AND save the city…and neither can Ray. He’s just too new at this to know it yet.” OUCH YOU GUYS. They have served the truth tea to each other and it is bitter.

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A beeping on Felicity’s screen interrupts them, and Oliver asks her to have Roy meet him (I guess it’s okay now for Roy to fight LoA?) at Maseo’s probable next target, a power plant.

At the power plant, Roy reports no one there, and he’s kind of right. It’s just Ray in his super-suit, saying things that I don’t care about and blasting them with whatever the hell. Oliver shoots at him but the arrows bounce off. Ray blasts Roy into a fence, knocking him out.

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Another blast knocks Oliver over, but when he is about to gloat his victory, Oliver takes a flechette and kills his power, incapacitating him. Oliver holds him at arrow-point and says that he asked him to back off, and he didn’t. Ray says to go ahead and kill him, show Felicity the kind of man he really is.

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Oliver immediately puts his bow down and says that he “has nothing to prove to her, but you do. She chose you, so trust her.” He helps Ray up, turns his back and walks away because I guess Roy can find his own way home. Damn, Oliver. At least throw a blanket on the kid.

Kasnia. The Senator is apologizing to the people he’s about to kill when Digg, Lyla and Cutter come bursting in the door. He threatens to blow them up, but then notices there are only three of them as Lawton starts shooting from the roof. They evacuate the hostages and run out, but when Cutter asks how Lawton is getting out, he confesses he isn’t, and reassures John that he and Lyla will get back to their daughter, but he needs to cover their escape. As the timer counts down, Lawton takes out a picture of his family and is looking at it when the building blows up.

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Felicity shows up at Palmer’s office and there’s the obligatory pat “I’m totally sorry about not trusting you when I should have trusted you” apology and she asks him if he was sincere about the partner thing. Of course he is, because this is absolutely not like those scenes in horror movies where a couple says they’ll be together forever and then 5 min later one of them is beheaded. Nope.

At Casa Diggle, Lyla tells John that Sen. Cray paid off the hostages. John confesses that he is quitting Team Arrow, because of Sara. Lyla says that he is doing good work, not like her with Waller and that she resigned from A.R.G.U.S. because she wants Sara to be proud of her. “I’m proud of you,” John says, and they hug.

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In the Foundry, Felicity is literally smelling the roses when Oliver walks in. She is leaving for a meeting Ray has with the mayor, but not before she gives him a kiss on the cheek and thanks him for proving her right.

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There is pretty much ZERO animosity on Felicity’s part after what became a pretty heated discussion. Why is that? Oliver has proven to Ray (and through him to her, although he claimed she didn’t need it) that he is a man of his word, and that he respects her decisions. Now that he knows what Ray is, Oliver doesn’t agree with her choice, but he trusts in her to work it out. Felicity can’t help but to take note of this and store it away for future reference. And for Oliver’s part, he now knows that Felicity is wholeheartedly committed to the idea of being a full life-partner to a hero, and that she will do it even if the hero is not him, and that’s got to be food for thought as well. A definite corner, subtly turned.

John walks in and when he asks Oliver what he missed, Oliver says, “Oh, not much,” AND HE IS RIGHT. They must have touched base before he came back in, because Oliver knew he was in Kasnia, and about Lawton. Diggle briefly tells him that he was right, and that doing what they do “having loved ones at home is complicated,” as he pours them vodka from Oliver’s stash.

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I missed his response my first two viewings, but Oliver answers “The things that matter always are,” and I can practically hear the water smoothing this particular stone. The two partners toast, “To Floyd Lawton.“ Digg asks if he found his impostor, and that they need to do so before he arrows any more criminals. “Or before he starts putting them in innocent people,“ Oliver answers.

At the mayor’s office, Laurel, Lance, and Felicity listen to Ray tell the Mayor that he “has it on good authority” that the Arrow was set up. I am not really sure why Felicity has to be there, but that’s because I am STILL not sure why Ray is there. Neither is Lance, who gripes about Laurel’s suggestion to call a press conference.

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As the Mayor tells them she is tired of listening to them, she gets an arrow through the heart and I am a little jealous, because she doesn’t have to sit through any more Raylicity. We see Maseo in a building across the way, dressed in a green Arrow hood and aiming through the window-straight at Felicity.

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Ron Moore on the magic of television

Ron D. Moore live-tweeting the US premiere of Outlander, August 9 2014. That second and third tweet always get me in the feels.