The Crimson Field Recap E5

The next to the last episode of this complex drama, and things only get better.

We begin with a flashback to Joan’s conversation with Jaco, when he promises to send her letter to Germany and asks where he should leave any reply. She is currently out at night looking for just such a reply, buried in a can by the barb-wire fence. It says simply, “Meet me. Tomorrow at midnight.”

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She obviously intends to, but her plan is foiled when Matron asks her to take the night shift at the hospital that same night. Brett mentions her fiance, telling her that he will allow her some leave when he has his, and later, Miles jokes about doing something outrageous and knocking her “off her pedestal.” She snaps at being the subject of gossip and when Kitty asks what is wrong, she complains that everyone has such “boring, little lives” that all they can discuss is her, finishing by stating that she just wants everyone to leave her alone.

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Among a new batch of wounded is Major J. Ballard of the 5th Punjabi Rifles, a cranky bastage who does not want to be there and isn’t shy about asserting it.

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Grace tells him calmly that she will inform Col. Brett that he wishes to speak to him and asks for his weapon. When he will not give it up, he snaps at her that he doesn’t like taking orders from a woman and to go get her CO. He ends this with an exclamation in Punjabi, and is surprised when Grace replies to him in the same language, enough to hand over the bullets, if not his gun. Grace sees Roland on the way in, and tells him to speak to Ballard ASAP. He notices her color and asks if she has been running with SUCH A LOOK on his face that I instantly ship it.

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Grace, flustered, replies that she never runs.

In the meantime, Peter is taking care of a sniper by the name of Gorman that says he has business with Ballard, and asks Peter to pass on a message from him that he says hello. When Peter tells Ballard, however, he denies knowing him. Gorman tells Peter that Ballard is a famous marksman, and so is he, and no matter his denial, he knows him.

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Later on when Ballard steps out for a smoke he speaks to Gorman, who reminds him of a contest he lost to him some six months back, and asks for a rematch. Ballard tells him he is due to go back to the front and that he’ll “just have to stay beaten,” but Gorman says very friendly that he can wait forever, once he has a man in his sights, and he’ll see him there at his convenience.

Flora wants to mark the three-month anniversary of their arrival at the hospital by a “do,” just games and maybe songs and asks Kitty, Reggie and Rosalie for their participation.

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She sweetly asks Roland for permission, and when she tells him it will be fun, give a boost and bring them together, he tells her to carry on. Kitty asks Miles for his participation and he good-naturedly throws out options, but when Tom happens upon them and gives her a monosyllabic “no,” it is clear he is still hurt.

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In the office’s tent, Ballard is grousing that he has not been spoken to yet, and tumbles the table over in his anger.

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Roland finally stops by, none too happy at being summoned this way, and Ballard tells him he has to be released, since the man he left in charge speaks fluent Greek, but no Punjabi and cannot communicate with his troops.

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Brett tells him he isn’t going anywhere as he has an open wound. Ballard then says that it is confidential, but there is a push that cannot be executed if the soldiers can’t understand their command. Brett agrees to let him go the next morning if he will let himself be treated, and be quiet. Ballard says he will allow Matron to treat her, and she agrees, despite Roland’s assertion that she is not there to “dance attendance” on him.

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Later when she is curing him, Grace mentions that she should expect his sort of behavior from a man who belongs to a regiment called “The Fire Eaters.” He notices dryly that he thought her interest was in himself (ME TOO), but now thinks it is in his regiment. He asks her if there is someone she would like to ask about, and at her denial, he tells her she is lying. She asks if he has a lot of experience with women, and he qualifies that with “real women, yes,” but not with the “unbreached, untouched, unloved” “professional cold fish” army virgins.

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She tells him he is trying to provoke her but does not rise to the bait. He confesses to being intrigued by what would make a woman like her take up the life of a nun, what does she get? “I help people,” Grace answers. He tells her he doesn’t need her help, but is only submitting to get out of there. She tells him to be good, and then he will get what he wants.

As Rosalie and Flora get ready to rehearse for the show, they wonder where Kitty is. The answer is that she is dropping off some supplies in the pre-op tent, and trying to have a quiet chat with Tom, who is laying out instruments.

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She asks him baldly if they are going to continue to ignore each other, and he answers her not with her christian name, but by her surname, saying he would prefer it. He is trying to avoid even looking at her, but Kitty does not move from in front of him until he gruffly points out that she is in his way.

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She takes a step back and asks if they can’t at least “be civil.” Tom answers reasonably that he avoids her for a reason which should be clear to her, but is unsure of what she wants from him. “Come running when you click your fingers? I’m sorry to ruin your fun.”

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His perception of her angers Kitty, who asks if he thinks she is having fun, to which he responds that he does not know. “Maybe it’s entertaining for you. Maybe you collect men and tie us up in knots for your amusement. Well, find someone else to dance to your tune because it’s not going to be me.”

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It is obvious he is hurt by her rejection and jealous of seeing her with Miles, and has assigned it the only explanation he knows. What he does not know is that this is a woman who has had her integrity called into question one too many times, and is done with being judged by righteous men. Kitty finally reaches her breaking point, and slaps him.

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He gasps, pauses and then hauls her up with both hands on her hips. It is HOT. I wonder who is panting, and realize it is me.

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They both pause, staring alternately at each other’s eyes and mouths and I am rolling on my carpet in a squee so deep I am hoping to travel through time and smoosh their faces together.

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But alas, it is not to be. Though it is obvious Kitty is ready for a kiss, Tom sighs again, dropping his gaze, and pushes her away, turning silently back towards his tools and silently ignoring her until she stalks out, only a flexing jaw betraying his emotion.

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When she does, he throws the instrument he was holding on the table, and turns to look in the direction she left.

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OMG YOU TWO GET IT TOGETHER. At this rate they’ll never make babies by the end of next episode!

At a quarter to midnight, Joan sneaks out to meet Jaco at midnight, only to learn that he and his daughter are leaving. The situation has become too dangerous for them, and he regrets not having a response to her letter. Joan tells him that she feels in her heart her fiance is dead, and thanks him for trying.The next morning, she comes into camp as Rosalie is planting some bulbs she got in a package from home outside her tent.

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The young VAD tells her she wanted to make up for letting the news slip about her engagement, and Joan thanks her, but mentions she may not be there next year. “Oh yes, the war might be over. Anything’s possible,” an optimistic Joan says, mistaking her meaning. That same morning as Jaco tries to leave, he is intercepted by a group of men from town, and he sends his daughter off running to find Joan before they find his German book of poetry, and punch him off a bridge.

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Matron checks on Ballard, and notices that he cannot see her waiting by his bed. The next morning when Ballard is getting ready to leave, she has Roland examine him to prove her suspicions. Ballard is annoyed, dismissive, and then defeated when Roland notices he is losing his sight. He is left with only his peripheral sight, and losing that quickly.

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Roland tells him he cannot stay in France, but must go back to England that night. Ballard finds Matron and complains bitterly that she would have tricked him, calling her an “empty husk, all rules and duty.” She tells him that he needs help, and he cuts her down in a cruel, beautifully written little sentence:

Well, when I am in England, a country where I’ve never lived, when I am having my food cut up for me and being poked and prodded by pitying hands, when I am just a diagnosis on a scrap of paper, I shall think of you standing here and your remorseless help.

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Walking outside after his disappointment, Ballard finds Gorman waiting for him, and agrees to revisit their wager at that moment. Later, when Matron goes to give him his pass to return to England, she finds him gone and hears a shot. The contest has started, and Gorman good-naturedly shoots a shot glass off Ballards’s head. Ballard announces it is now his turn, and waits for them to exchange places, but he never gets to take the shot. Grace finds them and whispers at him to stop.

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Ballard doesn’t put down the gun, however, and it is not until Gorman overhears Grace ask if he can even see him that she forces Ballard to give up on proving himself. Gorman hobbles over and looks at Ballard, calling him a “poor bastard” and lamenting that he cannot even claim victory. It is a bitter pill for such a proud man. He laments Grace’s competence, and she in turn shares some of her background with him. She tells him her father was an unhappy man with many guns, and she spent her childhood hiding the bullets.

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When “the inevitable happened,” she blamed herself. Ballard realizes that this is at the center of her need to help save people now. When they are ready to leave and he is unsure of which direction he is facing, she tenderly takes his arm. Later, as they wait for his transport, he reminds her that if she does, as he suspects, have a question for him, she should ask it now. She finally gives in, and asks if he knows of a Subedar Major Amar Singh. His initial assertion that he does know him makes such a girlish, hopeful expression appear on her face it is hard not to tighten with gleeful anticipation…

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But it is not to be. Ballard clumsily admits that Singh has fallen. Grace struggles to hold back tears, and calls him “a passing acquaintance of many years ago,” but Ballard guesses correctly that he was more. She admits it, and her grief is compounded by the belief that she always harbored that she would know if he fell, and when the time came, did not. Ballard cannot respond, and leaves her.

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In the woods, Kitty and Reggie find Jaco with Matilda’s help. When Reggie leaves him alone with Kitty for a moment, he mistakes her for Joan and tells her to “Go to the house…waiting…” Later, Roland tells Joan that Jaco is suspected of being a spy. Joan says that he and his daughter were hoping to go to London, and seems surprised when Roland tells her to pack up their things so she can help. Joan asks if he doesn’t think Jaco is a spy, and he says instead he was “incredibly naive and stupid.” Roland mourns a world where one is beaten for a book, but tells Joan Jaco is lucky he did not hang.

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As they discuss their performance that night, Rosalie is putting away her bulbs, and happens upon an article in one of the newspapers where they speak of Kitty’s husband petitioning for divorce with her signed confession, portions of which are transcribed and admit that she was “guilty of taking up residence with Mr. Fraser Morley during their marriage…”

Joan sneaks in to speak to Jaco, and he manages to relay the message he previously told Kitty. As the concert begins, Kitty is waiting in Joan’s tent to confront her about going back to Jaco’s house. As she dresses to go, Joan says it is to get a book of Mathilde’s, but Kitty doesn’t believe her. Little by little as she says things out loud, Kitty begins to put together that the fiance Joan has tried to keep secret is not British.

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Joan doesn’t admit anything, but can’t hold her gaze. Kitty is horrified, and tells her “They’ll crucify you, Joan,” but Joan pleads with her, saying it is only a letter, and the means by which she will find out if he is dead or alive.

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“I have to know. It’s just a letter. Please. Please,” she whispers, tears in her eyes, and Kitty steps aside to let her pass.

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At the performance, Kitty has not shown up and Rosalie begins to play while a terrified Flora misses her first cue. She tries again, launching into a shaky rendition of There’s A Long, Long Trail A-Winding, and Rosalie joins her with a soprano in the second line. Miles and Brett smile from the audience as Kitty runs with her alto and joins her onstage. While the girls sing, we cut away to scenes both inside and outside the tent.

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Inside, Thomas comes in and Kitty makes eye contact, seeming to sing directly to him with a sweet expression. He fights a smile, perturbed, and leaves.

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In her office, Grace opens a box and takes out a picture of young, mustached man with a turban to stare at it: Amar Singh.

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Reggie sneaks out with his contraband, and poor, lovelorn Joan goes one last time to Jaco’s now empty house to look for her letter. As she searches vainly in the dark, a man’s voice whispers “Liebchen?” She peeks over and walks forward like a woman entranced. There, alive, is her fiance, Anton. He got her letter, and escaped to come to her after being taken prisoner.

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Who can be a patriot with a jawline like that? As she cries, they embrace.

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Joan is worried for him and tries to convince him to go to a crossroads where she can bring him clothes and food and he can move on. He says he is not leaving her there, but she rightly points out that she is the one with the British uniform, and not the one they will hang or shoot if caught. “You are. So you are leaving now,” she says lovingly, his face in her hands.

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She walks him out and gives him her motorcycle and coat. As in any good story, I can’t help but put myself in her shoes, and to marvel at the way simple, declarative sentences can so vividly paint the portrait of this couple. Joan and Anton are more than in love, they are soulmates. What a thing to allow a war to corrupt. I can’t say I blame them.

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As they exchange I love you’s and kiss, their reunion is being observed by Reggie, who reveals himself to Joan after Anton leaves with an ominous, “Good evening, sister. What have you been up to?”

NOBODY LIKE YOU, REGGIE.

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The Crimson Field Recap E4

%$#@’s getting real, guys.

This episode opens with a funeral, and a chaplain asking us not to mourn the passing of eight men buried in a mass grave, but to “rejoice” in their great sacrifice. The language is flowery, and the sight itself is brutal. TCF is a show that has not shied away from the cost of war, but also from the things people do to cope in times of war. Like crack jokes, maybe.

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One such group is the men of The Lucky Thirteen, whose leader, a man they affectionately call “Dad” gently and honestly tells them that there is no joy to be found in the death of good men, and reminding them that they are in it together and by luck before he asks them to bow their heads.

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It’s Margaret’s birthday, and Grace is gently reminding Roland that he needs to make her feel appreciated, which he smartly calls out as her guilt at being chosen Matron, though she denies it. When she insists he show appreciation, he tells Joan he appreciates her because ROLAND IS A BOSS.

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In line for breakfast, Tom asks Kitty about her plans for the day and she answers coyly that she though about tidying the tent and darning socks.

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I am sure that is code for “making out.” He notices her uncharacteristic humor, and asks her quietly to meet him.

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At her whispered, furtive “yes”, he is so surprised he takes a moment to come up with a location: the woods, around two.

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These two dumplings are so adorable. I just want to gobble them up. I also want dumplings now.

Also at breakfast, one of the men of the Thirteen, Deeley, speaks to Dad about a secret they both share. Apparently Deeley is worried that Dad might get into problems if they listen to his chest, and it would kill the men to lose him.

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Dad calms him, assuring him it won’t happen because it’s luck keeping them together. Don’t say that, Dad. Now you know bad stuff will happen, DAMN IT.

Back in their tent, Tom is making Miles blissfully happy by giving up his day pass so that he can stay and meet Kitty-even though he tells Miles he’ll be doing some darning and cleaning the tent.

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Miles meets Roland on the way out, and he warns him to be back by seven. As he walks away, Matron hands Roland a note, and he comments that someone has “connections.” It turns out that the note is a summons for Kitty from Mr. Elliot Vincent, asking that she meet him in town that day. Matron gives Kitty the news and tells her to be at the entrance by two o’clock if she wants a ride into town.

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Whoever Vincent is, he is a master c-blocker. Poor Tom.

Another romance facing hard times is that of Flora with shy, awkward Charlie from The Lucky Thirteen. His fellow soldiers try to hook him up by asking Flora her name and setting him up for a compliment, but he fails spectacularly, snapping irritably at her instead.

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As they tease him, a Captain Oberston arrives to inspect and approve them for service, and Deeley tells Dad that his luck may be in, as the Captain is a bit deaf and obviously not all there. As Deeley watches him, he notices he is not listening to the men’s lungs, but his hopes are shot when Joan notices the exams are taking long, and offers to help him, picking up his unused stethoscope and hanging it about her neck.

As Kitty waits for her transport, she is surprised to note that it is Miles who will be driving her into town.

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Margaret notes that it’s only a matter of time before all the girls want unchaperoned trips and get knocked up, because Margaret is THE WORST. On their way there, Kitty asks him about the hotel, and he tells her about his plans. In the woods, Tom waits in his dress uniform, and my heart just breaks for him.

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Miles flirtatiously invites Kitty to a steak dinner and later a bath, and she becomes outraged and gets out of the car, saying she will walk there and back. Miles attempts to convince her to get back in the car, but finally tells her he’ll be outside the hotel at five to drive her back, and that he gives up on her.

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Back in the wards, Joan wants Dad to come through her line, even though he offers to wait for the doctor. He pushes his chair back nervously when she insists, and the sound sets a patient off. The sick man dives under his bed in a panic, and as they all rush to his aid, goes into convulsions. Roland is there and goes to examine him, when he notices it is Prentiss, the man he thought he had Margaret send home in defiance of orders.

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At the hotel Rose Sur Mer, Kitty waits for Mr. Vincent, who unknown to her, is sitting behind her, observing her as she fidgets. Miles sees her in the dining room, but goes on to his room without saying anything.

Back at the hospital, Tom gives up his wait and leaves the woods.

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Flora is turning Joan’s motorcycle engine over to keep it running when Charlie comes up to her and shyly begins to chat with her.

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Flora’s natural honesty and friendliness cause her to talk about what a modern girl she is, and seemingly overwhelmed, he excuses himself to leave. Rosalie notices them talking, and warns her fellow VAD about giving the young man ideas, which makes Flora angry.

In the tent, Joan finally examines Dad and he confesses to pleurisy, a double pneumonia that “sounds much worse than it is.”

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He begs her to keep it between them, but she will not. Dad begs Captain Oberston not to make the findings official, saying he “holds his boys together.” Still, Oberston stamps him C-3 instead of A-1, and Dad asks Joan what he is supposed to do. “Go home and wait for the telegrams to start coming?” Joan tells him gravely that she had to do what was best for him. Dad goes out to the beach and sees him men playing soccer, and when he tells Deeley, the younger man shouts that they’re all dead now and tries to run.

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Dad warns him not to run lest he get shot, and that they won’t die because he won’t let them. The unit walks back as one in the dusk.

Roland confronts Margaret about lying to him, informing her that if she did as she said, it would be impossible for Prentiss to be there. “With me, Sister Quayle. Now,” he growls, and asks her to go to his office. There, together with Matron, he demands answers, and she tells him she was late, missed the convoy, and lied so he would think well of her.

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Roland says he would have thought better of her had she told the truth, and dismisses her. When she leaves, Matron remonstrates him for going against orders, but he tells her that he had a chance, and now he has grand mal seizures and almost no control of his limbs. He is still angry that Margaret lied, and obviously tortured by Prentiss’s fate.

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Matron notices a shadow in the doorway, and assumes Margaret was listening at the door, which she was. Margaret rushes to her room and finds the pass Roland gave her, hiding it in a porcelain figurine. Roland goes to Prentiss and tries to play the music that once soothed him, but it sends him into another seizure.

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Kitty is anxiously waiting when Mr. Vincent shows up and strokes her as he comes around the table. He admits to being busy, but says he had to see her, and hands her papers telling her he wants her full confession so that proceedings may take place and he can marry again. So this is her husband.

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She reads the confession he hands her and although she did not write it, she signs it when he tells her the fact is, she did have an affair. Elliot tells her to ask, as he knows she wants to. “How is she?” Kitty says, and he tells her she is getting taller, losing her baby teeth, and that she lives with his sister. “She’s happy,” he says, which causes Kitty to tear up and ask if she asks about her.

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His response is that she scared her, and that she shouldn’t have taken her away. Kitty wants to write to her, to tell her she isn’t forgotten, that she loves her more than her own life, and that she thinks about her “every minute of every day.” Elliot says she can tell her herself, and slides a key towards her. Kitty is overjoyed that her daughter is there, and rushes up to the room to see her, calling out for “Sylvie.” Outside the room, she takes a fork she had hidden in her sleeve and leaves it outside, letting herself in…

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…but the room is empty. It is a trap set by Elliot to get her alone. His calm demeanor is suddenly threatening, and Kitty begins to cry when she realizes Sylvie is not there and she will not see her again. She tries to get herself under control, telling him bravely that she is going to leave, as she is expected at the hospital and they will come looking, but as she tries to get out, he, slams the door on her, and grabs her by the hair and throws her into the hall.

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She grabs her fork and holds it out, backing her way down the hall as he advances, but thank the Lord, Miles appears, and warns him off. He takes one last chance to call Kitty a whore and malign Miles’s rank, but as he starts after him, he notices Kitty cowering in the corner and goes to her.

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She gamely picks herself up and casually says they must get back, but when he tries to hold her upright, she flinches and sobs in fear, pulling away. Poor Kitty. How limited her options were as a battered wife, and how badly her brave attempt to leave it all behind turned out.

That night, Matron tries to tell Margaret that Roland is mad at the situation, and not really at her. She asks if she destroyed the pass, and Margaret of course lies and says that she did, and never wanted to have it in the first place.

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Matron stares after her when she walks away, and it is obvious she does not believe her.

The men of The Lucky Thirteen are being dismissed back to the front lines, and as Dad says goodbye to each individually with words of encouragement, he notices Charlie is missing. He has gone to see Joan, who he earlier recognized. He tells her that he was a waiter at a restaurant she used to frequent with her German fiancé.

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Joan asks if he is blackmailing her, and he says that for two weeks he said nothing, but now he has to use what he has to keep his mates together. He tells Joan to work out what means more to her, giving Dad the green light or having her situation come to light, and Joan stamps an A-1 on a new report, handing it over in tears.

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Before he goes, Charlie tells her again that he takes no pleasure in what he has done, and almost apologetically tells her that she and her man “look good together. Right.” War is hell, guys. Charlie runs back out to the line and tells Dad to line up and not ask questions, and he gets through.

Miles and Kitty arrive back, and Miles tells her he will not gossip. When she thanks him, he says there is nothing to be thankful for.

That night, at her birthday celebration, Margaret brings up publicly that Joan is engaged and asks to know about her fiance. As Joan demurs, Rosalie realizes she may have spoken out of turn.

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At Margaret’s insistence, Joan shows them the ring from around her neck. Margaret continues to ask his name and rank (Charlie, Lance Corporal in the Royal Engineers, she lies), and Joan, upset, starts to cry and leaves. Later that night in bed, she reads of the German casualties, and throws the papers away, frustrated.

Matron observes this unkindness and also leaves, but she goes into Margaret’s tent to look for the pass. Margaret finds her there and accuses her of turning against her, her oldest friend, in favor of her new master. Matron tells her that it is because she has known her for so long that she knows she did not throw away the pass because she knows she can use it against Roland, and all because she still resents not becoming Matron.

“You should have turned it down!” Margaret shouts in perhaps her first honest utterance of the series. “But I didn’t!” shouts Matron, and keeps looking as Margaret complains about the humiliation of everyone expecting her to get the position, and the shame of being passed over for her protege instead. Margaret reminds her that she saved her, and expected her loyalty. “Perhaps I’d have been happier if you hadn’t,” Matron says, and Margaret sneers that instead she would have been “ruined, a laughingstock, a pariah,” and certainly not Matron.

She tells Grace that there is a rumor she and Roland are “especially close,” but she could dispel that, as she knows her tastes are much more exotic. Matron is shaking with anger, but her voice is calm when she says that Margaret is obviously exhausted, and that she is sending her home on two weeks’ leave, and that while she is on leave, she should think about whether or not she can continue to work there, under her. If she cannot, she will arrange for a transfer “as far away as possible.”

Margaret is shocked into silence, and Matron leaves with her head held high, but once outside appears shaken.

At dinner, Kitty finally sees Tom, and walks outside where he follows so they can talk by the supply crates. She tells him she could neither get him a message or turn down the pass. He says with a chagrined smile that “no one turns down a pass.” He mentions she probably made Miles’s day, to which she says she only saw him in the car, and he was very polite.

They both smile, and Kitty, weighed down by the events of the day, drops her bomb. “Maybe it was for the best…not meeting.” When Tom asks why, she clarifies, ”I’d be the one sent home. Not you. I don’t want to be sent home.” They hear the click of a lighter, and Tom pulls her down into a crouch. It’s Sgt. Soper, stealing some whiskey from a crate, but as they stay quiet so as to not be noticed, Tom and Kitty stare into each other’s faces, and the attraction is practically a third presence.

Tom notices as well, and leans in to kiss her, when Kitty blurts out that she came to work, “not to get entangled.” It’s about all the rejection poor, proud Tom can take for one day, and he removes himself from her person, standing and quietly voicing his acceptance. “Understood.”

Kitty shuts her eyes in frustration as he walks away because COME ON. She could have locked lips with that and it’s gotta sting.

Outside the camp, the men of The Lucky Thirteen are marching to the front and as promised, Flora is there to wave them off. “Goodbye! Good luck!” she calls out sweetly, and when he hears her, Charlie finally decides to go for it. He breaks ranks and runs to her, even as Dad has to reassure his Sergeant he is not making a run for it. He stands in front of Flora and takes her face in his hands, and kisses her as his mates coo at them.

He tells her that he “reckons she’s the prettiest girl ever” and at her delighted, “Ooh, Charlie Dawlish!”, kisses her again and runs back into line with a smile on his face, where Deeley gives him a hug, and the men of The Lucky Thirteen march off as Flora waves. I can’t hate, kid. Carpe diem.

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Outlander Recap 112, “Lallybroch”

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Man you guys, I have been NAPPING, but I figured I should start on my backlog of long recaps before the month is out and give all you folks standing in line at ComicCon something to read. Ready?

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Also, remember when people complained that this episode was slow? HAHAHA. Oh, we were so young back then.

Open on a Claire and Jamie, riding towards Lallybroch and talking about the wonders of the modern world, such as air travel, which Jamie is curious about.

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Suddenly, Jamie asks Claire her age. “I’m twenty-seven,” she answers, and he replies that he always thought she was his age, or younger. She asks if he is disappointed, and he replies that it’s only that when he is 40, she will be “245,” which sets up an age difference of about five years, minus a couple of centuries. She laughs, and suddenly he halts the horse. “There it is,” he tells her, and we get our first panoramic view of Lallybroch.

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They dismount to gaze upon it, and while Claire says with a smile that it is just as he said it was, but Jamie remembers his last time there, and Randall’s attack on his sister, and his face falls.

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As the walk the horse towards the entrance, Claire reminds her husband that those events are in the past, and he tells her that Dougal told him that there were rumors that “Randall had got Jenny with a bastard child.” Claire tells him that they are just rumors, but his “Aye,” seems unconvinced.

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Upon entering the courtyard through the archway, Jamie once again flashes back to being tied up and whipped while Claire gamely approaches a small boy sitting outside and starts asking his name.

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It is only a moment before his mother comes around the corner and we see her-Jenny, Jamie’s sister, pregnant and obviously not for the first time, as she has called the little boy ”Jamie.” Jenny is looking at her son, but her gaze is pulled to her brother, standing in the archway, and she drops her basket and runs to embrace him.

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At this show of friendliness from his mother, the little boy runs over, and Jenny, who is tearfully chiding Jamie for his four years away with no word, smilingly introduces him to his uncle, who he was named after. Jamie’s face hardens, and he asks why she would name him so. At first she thinks he is ill, but Jamie speaks bitterly to her, asking if she does not think he has suffered enough that she must name Randall’s bastard after him, to reproach him all his life.

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The joy is gone from Jenny’s face, and after sending wee Jamie in, she gives her brother the benefit of the doubt, patiently asking if he is saying she “played the whuure to Captain Randall.” Jamie doesn’t answer, lost in his memories and regrets and probably trying to forget he saw her boobs. Instead, he bemoans his sister’s fate, saying that he would rather be dead than see her dishonored.

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Jenny listens with a sort of incredulity as he points at her belly and says, “And whose is this one?,” bemoaning that it’s not enough that she was dishonored because of him, but now she’s hung an “open for business” sign on her uterus and is using it to shoot another fatherless child into the world. “We shouldn’t have come,” he snaps at his silent, observant wife, and Claire tries to ask him to go inside, but she is cut off by a fed-up Jenny.

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His sister tells Jamie that he should “Tell that trollop to keep her neb out of my business.” As he walks back to his horse, Jamie angrily points out that the trollop is his wife, and she should speak of her with respect. Jenny snatches at his arm and when he roughly pulls away, she threatens him with a technique she employed when they were children: grabbing onto his dangly bits to keep him still and attentive. I know the scene is meant to be dramatic, but I get SUCH joy out of Jamie acting like a normal little brother, and how easily she riles him.

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Jamie is outraged that she should shame him in front of his wife, but Jenny retorts that if Claire is his wife, she imagines she is more familiar with his balls than she is, and you guys, mark 8:25 as the instant I fall in love with Jenny. She is fresh out of f*cks and not intimidated by someone she’s seen in diapers.

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She brings up again that the last time she saw Jamie he was beaten bloody and hung up in the archway, and all this time she thought he was dead. They are both arms akimbo and glaring at each other, and when Jamie retorts by asking whose child wee Jamie is, his answer comes from a man with a wooden leg. Ian Murray, his sister’s husband.

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He tells Jamie he is the father of both her children, and welcomes his old friend back. “You always knew how to make an entrance,” he says with a smile, and mentions that they thought him dead until only recently, when his chest of belongings came from Castle Leoch. Ian looks at Claire, wondering who she is, and she introduces herself as “The trollop. Otherwise known as Claire Fraser.”

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Even if Jamie and his wife are now on good terms with Ian, when Jamie turns and attempts to speak gently to his sister, she is the one who is resentful and not disposed to listen, telling him he is a damned fool, and no wiser in the four years they have been apart.

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Inside, Ian serves whiskey to Claire, who is being coy about her consumption but at least the two are speaking cordially, which is more than can be said for the Fraser siblings, who are silent, eyes downcast. Finally Jamie turns to his sister and asks to be told the story of what happened with Randall, and she tells him that she will tell it “once..and never again.” The entire time, she holds tight to her glass and mostly avoids eye contact, and my heart goes out to her.

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After Randall knocked Jamie out, Jenny says, he took her by the hand and up the stairs of the house to a bedroom, talking the entire time. She can’t recall what she said, because her mind was racing, trying to plan what to do. “I was just trying to keep my wits.” Once in the bedroom, he smells her, makes her taste her brother’s blood and takes her hand, placing it on himself. It says something about the level to which I am sensitized to his
batsh*ttery that what struck me as the strangest, most disturbing thing
was Jack ghosting his lips over Jenny’s face and eventually, kissing her
neck.

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It is just this, however, that finally gives Jenny an idea. She spots a candlestick nearby and reaching for it, hides it in her skirt as she turns and pulls Randall behind her, swinging back to hit him with it and dart for the door. She is not swift enough, as Randall catches her and pays back her attempt by throwing her against a wall, dragging her by the hair, tossing her on the bed, and backhanding her.

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Back in the present day, Jenny remembers that, although she did not know it at the time, he was trying, quite unsuccessfully, to get himself “ready”, and the reaction it provoked in her. She laughed, and even though Randall struck her twice, she kept laughing. Present-day Jenny says that she does not remember why she laughed, only that it was the only thing she could think to do, and that she kept doing it because she could tell he didn’t like it.

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At the time, Randall was trying to get her to lay on the bed, but after additional laughter he pushes her hard and her head strikes one of the posters on the bed. Jenny loses consciousness, and she tells Jamie in the present that when she woke, Randall was gone, and that was the last time she saw him. “Ye satisfied?” Jenny asks her brother.

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Jenny points out that he was mistaken, and she expects an apology. Jamie, whether due to sheer little-brother orneriness or honest confusion, asks if he hasn’t already “said as much.” It isn’t Jenny who answers, but Claire, who tells her husband that no, he hasn’t, and that Jenny is right and deserves an apology. Jenny interjects to tell Claire that this is between she and her brother, and as she tries to explain herself, Jamie in turn interrupts her and asks to speak to Claire in private.

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Once alone, Jamie tells Claire that she mustn’t embarrass him in front of his family and servants, and she points out that he is doing a pretty good job of that himself. Jamie tells her that she has a sharp tongue, “but there’s a time and a place for it.”

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Claire is indignant that he thinks to be the judge of what those times are, but Jamie tells her that he needs her trust. “This is my family. My land…my time.” He points out that he is Laird and she, Lady, and they should conduct themselves as such. Claire tells him she’s “not the meek and obedient type,” and Jamie stands in for the fandom when he wryly says that he doesn’t think anyone would ever make that mistake.

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He tells her that Colum’s wife, Letitia. She is known and respected as a strong woman, “feared even,” but she never gainsaid Colum in public, even if in private he “dodged a lot of crockery in his day.” Claire accepts this as a reasonable enough request, and jokes with Jamie to be careful, as her throwing arm is much better.

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They go once again into the sitting room, and to break the uncomfortable silence, Ian asks Claire where she is from. She gives the usual response, but then looks at Jamie with a bit of wonder as she says she supposes that Lallybroch is now her home. Jenny is surprised to hear he is staying, and asks about the price on his head. Jamie tells her that he is expecting a pardon with Sandringham’s aid, and Claire adds that it has not yet come through, but they hope it does soon. “Never thought ye’d be so trustin’ of the English,” Jenny says tartly.

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Even though everyone in the room notes the insult, Claire rises from her seat gracefully as a Queen and asks Jenny for water to wash up. “Been a difficult few days,” she says with a look of her own, and asks Ian about their trunk from Leoch. Ian says he had it put in the spare room, but Jenny notes that if they are staying, they should have the spare room and asks a servant to have her things moved to the North room. Claire politely declines to put her out, but Jamie singsongs that it is the Laird’s room after all…in a tone that seems designed to needle his big sister.

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Upstairs, Jamie hauls in the chest while Claire tells him about the “whirlwind” as the servants took the Murray’s things away. Jamie looks around, once again lost in memories that he relates to a smiling Claire as they occur to him: where his father kept his book, his boots and finally, his sword.

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She identifies it as Viking, and looks at it while Jamie tells her that the Laird’s room was sacred, and he used to slip in and hold it when his father was out in the fields. Claire points out that it is now his, and he corrects her. “Ours.” Claire repeats it, and he says that his father built the house, his blood and sweat in the stones, and now it is also where his bones are, buried out in the graveyard next to his mother and brother Willie. This causes Claire to ask the last time Jamie saw his father, and he responds, “It was at Fort William,” about a week after the first flogging.

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 Flashback, Fort William. As two soldiers drag Jamie down a hallway, Brian Fraser calls his name. Jamie is surprised to see him there, and Brian informs him that he had come to have a word with Captain Randall to see if they could get him out. Jamie immediately apologizes to him for what happened to Jenny, but Brian tells him that what happened was not his fault, and he knows that he was flogged.

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One of the soldiers interrupts to tell Brian curtly that “Captain Randall is waiting” for Jamie, but Brian cries out to them that this is his son, and do they not have compassion? The soldiers pause, and Brian addresses his Jamie. “Remember ta pray, and I’ll stand by ye no matter what happens.” Suddenly, he reaches out and embraces his son, kissing him on the cheek and activating all my tear ducts.

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One of the soldiers pushes him off and starts to take Jamie back down the hallway, and as he does, Brian calls out after them. “Ye’re a braw lad, son!” Ellen, girl, I can’t hate. This man. I can see where Jamie gets it.

The soldiers take Jamie to Randall’s office, where the Captain tells him he just met his father, who is worried about him.

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Randall also mentions that he was disappointed to hear that Jamie’s charges are so serious that he can’t be released on bond without a written clearance from the Duke of Argyll. You waiting for the other shoe to drop? ME TOO. “The thing is, Randall says, “even if he does succeed in getting such a clearance, which I doubt, it would be impossible for him to make it back in time.” I quoted this entire line because it encompasses two of what I believe are the traits that make Randall so chilling: his ease of manner and his reasoning. Buffalo Bills are easy to distance oneself from. How much harder to do so from Hannibal Lecters. It’s a quality that never fails to terrify, turning the familiar into the other.

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Randall says to Jamie that it is a shame that they got off to such a poor start, as if flogging the back off someone were akin to serving them cold tea.

Jamie must think the same, because in the flashback his head jerks sharply up, and the older version of him shakes his head at the window in Lallybroch. Older Jamie tells Claire that only a week before, Randall had flogged him “near to death,” and that he didn’t understand him. Randall kept talking. “He likes to do that. Likes ta play with his toys.” In the end, Jamie tells Claire that Randall was quite blunt about what he wanted. When she asks what that was, Jamie answers simply, “Me.”

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At Fort William, Jack explains his “quite simple” plan to the young Jamie: “Give over to me. Make free of your body…and there will be no second flogging.” Jamie looks away, clearly shocked by the request.

“And if not…”

Randall walks over to him and worms a finger into the neckline of his shirt, inserting it into a cut as Jamie jumps and hisses in pain.

Back in Lallybroch, Jamie explains that his back was still raw from the first flogging, he could barely handle the touch of his shirt, he felt dizzy every time he stood up and that he couldn’t imagine being bound and flogged again, being helpless… Claire listens, silent and teary-eyed.

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Even if he had no real idea, he thought “being buggered” would perhaps be less painful and over quicker than a flogging, not to mention Randall told him he would be set free the same day…so he considered it. Jamie looks down as he says this, not at his sympathetic wife’s eyes, and Claire, eyes full of tears, walks across the room to put her arms around him.

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Jamie does not look down, but his arms wrap around his wife as well, as he tells her that he could still feel his father’s kiss on his cheek, and the thought of what he would think of him–not for the buggery, he would not have cared nor given it a thought–for giving in stopped him. “For letting that man break me. So I couldn’t do it.”

In the flashback, we once again see Jamie being flogged, and he tells Claire that Dougal was there, as well as his father, though he did not know that at the time. About halfway through, Jamie fell, and Dougal said they thought he was dead, and that Brian “let out a small sound and dropped like a rock, and didn’t get up again.”

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Back at Lallybroch, Jamie tells Claire he didn’t see his father there, die, carried away, or buried. He has not even seen his grave. Claire, bless her rational little heart, asks him if he thinks that giving in to Randall would have made a difference. In her opinion, Randall would have still had him flogged, “just for the sick pleasure it gave him.” Jamie sniffs ruefully, and tells her they’ll never know. Just then Jenny knocks on their door and crabbily asks how long it takes them to get dressed, because supper won’t keep, and Jamie tells Claire they should get cleaned up.

Downstairs, dinner is just the chipper affair you would expect with two alpha females circling each other. Claire breaks the ice as only Claire can, grabbing the wine and pouring some first for Jenny, then for herself. Her sister-in-law asks if she has ever run a house, and Claire says no.

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As the men walk in, chatting amiably, Jenny says that she will have a lot to learn about running a place like Lallybroch in the tone of a person who thinks maybe the other person is a moron. Claire responds that she can imagine it’s challenging, but that she is a quick study.

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Ian sits down and tells Claire that she will get her chance, as Quarter Day is tomorrow. When she asks what that is, Jamie explains that it is like the Mackenzie’s collection of rents, except at Lallybroch the tenants come to them. Jenny explains that the money is sorely needed, as they have had poor harvests the past two years and are “piling debt upon debt.” Ian says with a smile that they can talk finances later, as tomorrow will be a time for celebrating the Laird’s return.

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He and Jamie toast, but Claire is worried at the public nature of the affair, and asks if it is not risky before Jamie’s pardon comes through. Jamie starts to answer, but Jennie interrupts him, saying that their tenants are like family, and that “not a man, woman or child would think about betraying Jamie to the redcoats at any price.” Jamie hums at his sister, but spares her the talk about being submissive because I am assuming there’s a lifetime of “just shut up” built there. Claire says “Of course” in an irritated tone, and Jamie tells Ian that he will look at the ledgers after they’ve eaten.

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Once again, Jenny interjects with her unsolicited opinion, and tells her brother that she thought he would visit their father’s grave. Jamie says in a reasonable tone that he will go the next day, but Jenny will not let it go, saying that if Brian were alive, he would expect a visit that evening. “If he were alive,” Jamie finally responds, irritated, “he’d expect me to go over the ledgers and prepare for Quarter Day.” Jennie sighs, hands over her belly, and tells him to suit himself. The tension is palpable as the four begin to eat.

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Quarter Day. Jamie is dressed up in his father’s coat and looking dapper as his tenants come to greet him and be introduced to his lady. Trust this production team to remember the small details, as Claire is gifted with a small vase, in the same blue and white tones of the ones she once admired outside a shop in Inverness.

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As she admires it, Ian pokes his head out to ask Jamie if he’s ready to begin, and Jamie follows him in, leaving Claire to greet the later arrivals. Inside, the atmosphere is warm and jovial as the tenants who have already paid entertain themselves, the women chat and children run around. Even Jennie is laughing as she speaks to the other women, but she still keeps an eye on Jamie and Ian across the room.

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Jamie greets the tenants affably, while Ian enters the payments into the ledger. One tenant, Duncan, only pays half of what he owes. When Ian advises him of this, he apologizes, saying he and his wife lost a cow to illness two months ago. Jamie dismisses him with an assurance that he can make it up next quarter, when he is sure things will be better.

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Duncan thanks him for his “understanding and mercy” but Jamie says it is no mercy. He reminds him that his father was a good man who was farming the land when Jamie was a child, and asks Ian for the money Duncan just gave him,  He gives it back to him, saying that he will not “squeeze the last penny out of him when times are hard.”

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He continues in a louder, more stentorian tone than we usually hear from him to say that this was his father’s view, and his as well. Ian looks uncomfortable, but says nothing, and across the way, Jenny watches.

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Outside, Claire is talking herbs with the local wives when we see a boy of around eight steal a bannock from the table holding the food gifts.

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A man, presumably his father, catches him as well, and slaps him three times before Claire makes her way over there. She introduces herself to the man by her married name and title, and he ignores her, telling the boy that he told him there would be nothing for him and placing the stolen bannock back on the table.

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Claire exclaims in exasperation that there are plenty of bannocks, and his only response is to look directly into her face and comment that people had said that “he had married a Sassenach.” Claire replies coolly that this is correct, and asks if she can be of some assistance. The man shakes his head and says that the boy just has to learn to do as he’s told. Claire offers politely to take the boy off his hands for a while so he can enjoy himself with his friends.

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He accepts, but not before warning her not to fill his head “with any of that English claptrap” and his son to behave. He shoves the boy aside and leaves, and when Claire reaches a hand to him, the boy flinches. She tells him it’s okay, and with one last annoyed look behind her and a gentle hand on his back, leads him inside to the kitchen to get something to eat.

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Once inside the boy runs to Jennie, and she looks worriedly at the red welt on his cheek. Claire mentions that his father was “very rough” with him. The boy is rubbing absentmindedly at his back, and Claire asks him if it is sore. When she raises his shirt, there is a giant bruise on his back that Jamie can see from across the room, which causes him to come over and ask about who did that.

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Jenny answers that it is not his concern and takes the boy off to find the housekeeper, but Claire tells him that it was his father, and that she saw him beat him outside. Jamie tells her he remembers the man, MacNab, but then gets drawn away by Duncan, who asks him to have a drink with him.

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Claire calls after him, asking if they shouldn’t do something about it, but Jamie doesn’t respond, and she heads upstairs alone, visibly annoyed.

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Later that night, a drunken Jamie stumbles into their bedroom trying to undress quietly so as not to wake his wife, but is unsuccessful. Claire huffs awake and tells him that she’s “seen elephants sit down with less impact.“

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Jamie mutters to her in Gaelic, and when Claire asks for English he leans over to shake her hip and replies that she is a Scot now, and should work on her Gaelic. “Where have you been?” Claire replies, and Jamie replies that he’s been out with MacNab. He says he tried to reason with him, but in the end had to “show him the difference between abuse and discipline-with these,” and to illustrate, taps Claire on the rump with his hand.

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He then tells her that he finally had to warn him that if he ever saw evidence of abuse on his son that he would “have to answer to Laird Broch Tuarach-that’s me,” he clarifies with another tap to her rump. “Yes, I know,” Claire says, eye rolling so hard it’s a wonder she doesn’t pass out. Jamie slumps amiably over her as she tries to go back to sleep, and ignores her comment that he reeks to ask if she has actually seen an elephant. Claire’s side-eye is epic.

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“Yes. Rode one, too,” she says smugly, but Jamie is worn out, and he flops on the bed mumbling that she will have to tell him all about it. A second later, he is snoring, and although Claire shrugs off the rest of his weight with an annoyed grimace, she watches him sleep for a moment and settles back down with a smile on her face.

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The next morning, Laird Broch Tuarach is late to breakfast, hung over and unable to eat. Claire serves him some “hair of the dog,” and he sips gingerly, telling her he thinks he may need the whole hound. Jenny sweeps in to tell him that Ian informed her he didn’t collect the rents the day before.

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Jamie tells her it’s been a hard year, as she herself said, and as Laird he decided to give the tenants a break. Jenny counters that they certainly won’t be at ease when the estate goes under because they can’t make ends meet. Claire gently suggests they postpone the conversation until Jamie is feeling better, but Jenny goes on, reminding Jamie that he has “saddled [them] with another mouth to feed,” because thanks to their talk last night, Rabbie MacNab’s father threw him out.

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He said “If Jamie Fraser thinks he can be a better father, he can damn well pay for his upkeep.” Claire points out that Jamie was trying to help, and that clean clothes and bannocks weren’t likely to stop the boy from being beaten. Jennie strikes back, asking if they think life started when the two of them walked in. She explains that she and the boy’s grandmother had been working on MacNab’s sister to take Rabbie, and asks Jamie if he didn’t even think of talking to her before he “pulled out [his] fists?” She may have gotten somewhere until she asks him if that is how their father would have handled things.

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Jamie jumps up, his face inches from hers and snarls that he is Laird now, and does not need to discuss the running of the estate with his sister. Jenny, however, is not at all intimidated, and her voice drips with sarcasm as she uses his formal title to beg his pardon and flounce out.

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Jamie takes two steps after her, but she shuts the door behind her and he does not open it. Instead he angrily flings his napkin down and grabs a bannock, biting into it as he glares through the door through which his sister just exited. Suddenly he chokes and spits it back out, calling for Mrs. Crook. He tells her the bread tastes “like it was made with pebbles,” and she tells him that it is because the mill is not working properly, and they had to grind the flour by hand.

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Jamie asks what is being done and she tells him that the mistress Jenny had him send for a Davy McAndrews to fix it, but Jamie gets up and says he will do it himself.

Once at the mill, Jamie discovers that the wheel isn’t turning, and guesses that something must be caught in the sluice.

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He quickly strips off his boots and kilt to go into the pond to investigate, and the music rises to cover the collective sigh of every homo sapiens who has been yearning to revisit the view of his backside.

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Claire watches him approach the water in only his shirt, saying worriedly that he will freeze to death, and Jamie agrees with a grin. “At least ye’ll be able to serve decent bannocks at my wake.”

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He climbs in, cursing at the frigid water as it envelops his lower half. Suddenly Jenny’s voice is heard griping that Mrs. Crook told her “the stupid fool” had come up there. Claire is concerned that she is running around in her condition, saying that there was no need, but Jenny grasps her around the shoulders and quickly spins her around. “Aye, there was,” she says grimly.

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Six English soldiers are riding their way, and Claire sees them just as Jamie does, rising up out of the frigid water only to dive back below to hide. Jenny pushes his clothes and boots under her and pulls Claire close to sit down next to her, spreading their skirts out as a cover. She urges Claire to stay silent to hide her English accent, and pastes on a cheerful grin just in time for the soldiers to stop. Jenny attempts to make them leave, saying cheerfully that if they have stopped for grain, the mill wheel is not working just now.

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Instead of moving on, however, an officer dismounts and asks what is amiss, walking towards the mill. When Jenny tells another solider that he should call him back instead of letting him meddle in things he doesn’t understand, the soldier reassures her that the Corporal’s father owns a mill in Hampshire. “What he doesn’t know about water wheels would fit in me shoe,” he says, as we see the Corporal from Jamie’s view, still underwater.

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The corporal suddenly calls out that he’ll have to go under to see what’s harming the wheel. As he takes off his bag and prepares to undress, the wheel suddenly starts to move. The corporal exclaims, wondering at it, and when he turns, sees Jamie’s shirt in the spokes. He picks it out, proclaiming it “perfectly good,” and hands it to one of his soldiers, asking how he thinks it got stuck. “It’s Scotland, Sir,” he says wearily, and with an apologetic glance at Jenny and Claire, the Corporal mounts and the soldiers ride away.

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Claire jumps up at once, shouting her husband’s name, and he bursts out of the water naked as a newborn. “Blessed Micheal defend us!,” Jamie exclaims, reading my mind. He attempts to get out, covering himself with one hand, but is not prepared for Jenny to come over to chastise him. He turns around to preserve his modesty, shouting at his sister to please turn around so he can get out “before [his] c*ck snaps off.”

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Jenny is still for a brief moment as she finally sees the network of scars on his back, and with a sudden, silent intake of breath, turns and runs away. Claire notices this and is grim-faced, snapping at Jamie when he asks what the hell Jenny was doing there. “Heard about the redcoat patrol. She was just trying to warn you,” she tells him, turning and following her sister-in-law. Jamie takes a moment to process this, and then climbs out of the water.

That night, Claire is wandering the halls with a candle pretending to haunt Jenny, looking at the family portraits.

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Ian surprises her, kindly joking that she is a night owl. At her agreement, he tells her that Jenny is “up with the lark,” but that he too has always been an owl. Claire holds the candle up to a portrait of a young girl with a bird, and Ian confirms that it is Jenny, and that as a child, she would heal any lame birds and have them eating from her hand.

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Claire stares at the portrait and says nothing, and Ian asks if she is surprised that Jenny has a gentle side. Claire immediately denies it, then smiles a bit at Ian’s expression and admits “Perhaps a little.” Ian reminds her that his wife is a Fraser, which means “their hearts are as big and soft as their heads are thick and strong.”

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He tells Claire that it was Jenny who cared for him after his return from fighting in France “with a stump of wood.” He also comments offhandedly that while it doesn’t slow him down much, it does hurt towards the end of the day. Claire asks if he has tired guelder rose or water pepper, and at his admission that he has not tried the latter, offers to make some for him. Ian says that Jamie mentioned she was a healer, and asks if she has seen many mangled men.

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“Jamie hadn’t,” Ian replies, and tells her that her husband tried to hide his initial shock when he first saw Ian’s injury. Then Jamie brought him back, and Jenny made him whole again. “Is that why you married her?” Claire asks, and Ian laughs, asking her in return if she thinks he had any choice in the matter. He tells her he was mending a fence in the field one day, and she came to him “like a bush covered in butterflies,” and though he doesn’t remember what she said to him at first, it ended with her kissing him and telling him they’d be married on St. Martin’s Day.

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He says he tried to explain to her why he could not, but before he knew it he was in front of a priest saying “I take thee, Janet…” Claire laughs, and comments that Jenny is an extraordinary woman. Ian agrees that she is, “when she’s not being an outright stubborn-headed, pain-in-the-arse mule.” He tells Claire that once Frasers have dug in their heels, there is no budging them, and that she doesn’t want to get between them when their danders are up.

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She asks him earnestly how he manages. Continuing his metaphor, Ian tells her that she can tug on the rope or give “a wee kick to their backside” and they might move- or she might get bit for her trouble. “And then what?” Claire asks. “Kick them harder,” Ian says seriously, and Claire sighs deeply, and nods.

Back in the Laird’s bedchamber, Jamie sleeps pleasantly as Claire walks in.

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She pauses for a moment by the door, watching him, and then reaches over quick as a snake and tugs the sheets tight around him, causing him to wake when he topples off. “Good. Now I have your attention,” Claire says sternly. She kneels down next to him and tells him to listen to her. She did not marry the Laird of Lallybroch, she tells him. She married Jamie, who has been scarce since they walked through the gates.

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“That’s who I am-” Jamie tries to interrupt, but Claire isn’t having it. She reminds him she is speaking, and he can do so once she is done. She bluntly reminds him that his father is dead, but even if that were not so, Brian would give him a thrashing for the way he has been acting. “You’re trying to be someone you’re not, and in the process you are wrecking the family that you do have left,” she says urgently as he listens, serious. “And if you’re not careful, you’re going to lose them, too.”

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The next day finds Jenny climbing the path to the cemetery, where Jamie stands paying his respects to his father’s grave. His sister startles him, and when he admits it, she jokes that he must have thought for a minute that it was a ghost.

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There is an uncomfortable pause as the both realize that they are, in fact, in the presence of ghosts, and they speak as one, both saying the others’ name in a chagrined tone. Jamie asks her to speak first, and at her nod, hands her the rent he must have gone back and collected from the tenants. Jennie is surprised, but takes the money.

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Jamie also offers to speak to Rabbie’s aunt, but Jenny waves that away, saying that even if she had agreed to take the boy, it likely would not have lasted, as the woman has too many children of her own. She admits that Lallybroch is a better place for him, and that their father would have thought so as well. “Aye,” Jamie admits softly, and they exchange a tiny smile.

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He immediately admits to his sister that he was wrong not to consult her, and that he is sorry for it. When Jenny does not look up, he adds, “Truly. I hope to do it different in future.” She lifts her gaze then, and her eyes are red. She tells Jamie that she is the one who wronged him, and she is “so ashamed.” “Of what?” her brother asks, and cannot look at him as she admits that when their father died, “a small, dark part of me has blamed you for his death.” Jamie is stung, but says nothing.

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Jenny explains that when she was told that Randall flogged him and that seeing it is what killed Brian, she thought he must have shot his mouth off, “acted without thinking of the consequences, as you have done all your life,” or done something else to bring it upon himself. Jamie opens his mouth to say something, but she starts to cry in earnest, talking about when she saw the scars on his back at the mill pond, and how they must have been “laid down with such…fury…” Jamie interrupts to tell her not to worry about it, but she continues, admitting on a sob that it was her fault that Randall beat him so.

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If she hadn’t mocked him, she says over her brother’s protests, and given him what he wanted, then he wouldn’t have treated him as he did and their father… She can’t finish, bursting into sobs, and Jamie croons to her in Gaelic and holds her.

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He admits that he did anger Randall at Fort William, and that he spent the past four years blaming himself for Brian’s death because of it. “But now you know better?” Jenny asks, her face still buried in his chest. Jamie grins and kisses her forehead, fixing a strand of hair that has come loose.

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He tells her he knows that it is not her fault, or his. “There’s a devil in that man that no one can influence,” he says darkly. “The only one responsible for putting father in his grave is Jack Randall.” Jenny nods, accepting the truth of this. Jamie tells her that it did bother her that she went with Randall to save him, and that he would have died to spare her. Jenny sounds back to her old strong self when she replies. “And if yer life is a suitable exchange for my honor, tell me why my honor’s not a suitable exchange for yer life?”

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She tells him that if he is saying she may not love him as much as he loves her, it’s not true. “No,” Jamie says, smiling, and Jenny smiles back. “Welcome home, Laird Broch Tuarach,” she says, and Jamie walks over to place another kiss on her forehead. He puts an arm around her, and with one last glance at Brian’s grave, leads his sister home. I don’t have anything intelligent to say about the Jamie-Jenny conflict than no one knows where to strike better than a sibling, and nothing feels better than making up a fight with someone you love.

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That night as Jamie readies himself for bed, Claire sits at their window and comments on the tower from which Jamie’s title originates, pointing out that for a “north-facing tower,” it has no face.

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Jamie grins and tells her the door faces north, which makes her laugh. “Frasers,” she mutters with a smile. As Jamie walks over, she tells him hesitantly that she is starting to feel like she actually belongs there. Jamie pulls her against him and settles himself at the window, telling her that he knew she belonged with him almost since the first time he laid eyes on her.

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He tells her that it was one of the reasons he agreed to marry her, though not the main one. Claire, intrigued, asks what the main reason was and Jamie replies with a playful growl that it was because he wanted her “more than he had ever wanted anything” in his life.

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Claire smiles, turning to kiss him. He continues, telling her of the moment he fell off his horse and woke up in the dark, looking at her face. Then, he tells her, was their long shared ride, “with that lovely round arse wedged tight between my thighs”-at this he palms the part in question-”and that rock-solid head thumping me in the chest.”

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Claire smiles, asking if he agreed to marry her for her round arse and rock-solid head? “I wanted ye from the first moment I saw ye,” Jamie says tenderly, “but…I loved ye when ye wept in my arms that first night at Leoch.” Claire is visibly touched, but Jamie continues, telling her that now he wakes up every day and finds he loves her more than he did the day before. They kiss, and when they break apart, Claire looks into her husband’s eyes in the moonlight and quietly says, “I love you.” Jamie pauses, smiles, and carries her off to bed.

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The next morning a very satisfied-looking Claire awakes to find Jamie is not in bed with her.

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She emerges from the bedroom, dressed for the day, to overhear Jamie arguing with someone. She takes a look over the balcony to the parlor below, to see her husband held at gunpoint by a man advising him to stay silent as a lamb, lest the “lovely lass” have to scrub his brains off the floor.

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Jamie turns slowly to make eye contact with his wife, shaking his head minutely in the negative as Claire stands frozen, a horrified look on her face.

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Thanks for reading! If you liked it, here is a list of my other recaps for the season, and I will be catching up on these long S1 ones during the hiatus. Follow me here or on Twitter @ conniebv (omit the space) for more fun!

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The Crimson Field Recap, E3

So we’re at the halfway mark, and when most shows would still be introducing you to their characters and rounding things out, The Crimson Field instead presents you with an allegory on love, loyalty and boundaries.  HOLD ME.

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Running like a descant over this episode is the story of Nicholls, a man whose hand is mostly gone after having held a detonator; an event that he claims was an accident. His surgeon, a pompous bag named Major Yelland, assures Brett it is self-inflicted, in which case Nicholls would be court-martialed as a deserter. Brett agonizes over his decision, but ultimately cannot ignore the claim.

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While others view the man as a coward, or “a ghost,” Matron and surprisingly, Miles, treat him with
compassion. Miles writes down his observations that the injury is consistent with an accident, and hands them to Joan so Matron can add them to his things. Joan calls his expected punishment “monstrous” and “barbaric”, a view which Miles urges her to keep to herself.

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Jaco and Mathilde, Belgian refugees, come to Joan for help. Mathilde burned herself, and as Joan tends to her, her father drops a book of German poetry. Joan returns it, but urges him to keep it to himself lest someone think him a spy.

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She sends them home, promising to come later to check on the girl.

In the woods, Peter the orderly looks around as he walks deeper in, and does not notice Flora observing him nearby.

Also featured are two Irishmen, Sergeant McCafferty, and his obvious favorite and surrogate son, Lance
Corporal Peache.

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McCafferty is a duty-bound sort who obviously dotes on his charge, and has a strange respect for Sister Margaret, who he holds in high esteem for saving his life in heroic fashion. If only he knew she was a cake thief. Eh, probably wouldn’t care.

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Margaret is equally taken with him, but it doesn’t stop her from giving awful advice. Peache receives news
that his mother is being harassed due to his enrollment in the British army, a brick thrown through her window, and his brothers and sisters are being jeered at in school. Peache wants to take leave so he can show his face, but McCafferty tells him that he can’t, and there is nothing he can do about it.

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Later, at a tea with Margaret, the Sergeant seems inclined to help in some way, but Margaret, fresh from her disappointment with Matron, tells him he is the boy’s Sergeant, not his father.

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In the wards, Captain Gillan is doing his rounds and discovers that a patient upon who is he
attempting an experimental procedure has been neglected on Major Yelland’s orders, and his wound become re-infected.

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The patient, Mostyn, is not 100% on board and in pain, but Tom is adamant to continue. As his patient is being prepped for surgery to clean the wound, Thomas encounters Kitty in the storage room.

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She thanks him for his discretion in not telling anyone she was swimming, and Tom replies in the curt manner of a man who was DEFINITELY NOT fantasizing about her in wet underthings at the top of the hour by snapping that what she does is no concern of his. Kitty, who has looked down and knows she’s packing, seems as flabbergasted as the rest of us.

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Thomas goes into surgery to clean Mostyn’s wound, and Yelland stops by to insult his intelligence, technique, and call him a torturer in front of the conscious and suffering patient.

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Tom replies with Scottish surgeon for “piss off”, a clipped “You’re in my light, Sir.” After surgery, a pain-ravaged Mostyn complains to Tom that he is being treated as an experiment, a piece of meat, and demands his leg be cut off, but Thomas finally loses his temper, saying he doesn’t care who says what, the
wound is to be irrigated every two hours, and walks out.

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In the meantime, Peache tries to get his leave by any other means he can, speaking to the chaplain and Thomas, who both echo the Sergeant’s assurance that the British Army does not allow for him to take leave to go see his family and that it would have to be his Sergeant speaking on his behalf. Later that day, he speaks angrily about his disappointment in the British Army, and when McCafferty hears him say that it’s not his country, gets punched in the face by his hysterical superior.

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The Sergeant’s aggression masks his fear that Peache will be overheard and marked a traitor, but the young man cries on the ground, frustrated and desperate. Later that night, Peache turns his back on his mentor, angrily staring at nothing as McCafferty explains that he hit him for his own sake, because it doesn’t take an actual desertion to be taken away, to become a ghost. It can happen for “flapping” his
mouth. “I did it for you, Peache. I did it for you, son,” the Sergeant whispers furtively, but Peache does not react.

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In the wards, Joan, already off-center due to the episode with Jaco, is shocked to discover a trophy hanging from the neck of one of her patients-a pair of ears. Miles finds her and gives her a flask so she can self-medicate, waving away her apology for her unprofessionalism. He tells her that while nasty, it does not bear thinking about. Joan asks him how he does it, and he replies with his characteristic mix of candor and humor: “Willpower and gin.”

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Like Matron earlier, his kind advice draws a harsh line between “them and us”, and does not comfort Joan as much as increase her anxiety.

Brett tells Matron that Nicholls is to be court-martialed for cowardice, and expresses frustration at the time spent healing him only to have him stand trial. Matron gives Nicholls the news, and tells him that Peter will help him until they come for him.

Joan visits Jaco and Mathilde at their home, and is thanked for her kindness and discretion. Jaco trusts her enough to confess that Mathilde was not a mute from birth, but stopped speaking all together when her father told her never to mention her German mother, afraid she would betray herself and her father. “This world,” Jaco mourns, and notices that Joan looks ill.

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Joan tells him she cannot stop thinking about the terrible things she has seen, and Jaco guesses that she must have someone fighting. Joan, in tears, says she has not heard from him. When Jaco asks why she would not be able to get information about his location being that she works for the army, Joan becomes uncomfortable and attempts to leave…and Jaco realizes that it is because “he was on the wrong side.” Joan confesses that she met a German man before the war, and cries at not knowing anything about him.

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At her assertion that she will go mad, Jaco kindly gives her pen and paper, urging her to write to him so he can get the letter through to the other side. Joan looks terrified, but she writes.

Dinnertime. Matron embroiders a handkerchief for Nicholls when Margaret brings her dinner and takes a look at it, asking if it is “for the coward.” Matron chastises her, saying that they cannot condemn a man simply because he is not meant to be a soldier, but Margaret’s sarcastic “Can’t we?” is hatefully succinct.

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Elsewhere, Nicholls plays cards with Peter, and asks him if he ever killed anyone. Peter tells him to look at the cards, but the accused man warms to his subject, telling him that it is not like in training, when they stabbed sacks of grain, and no one tells you that the person’s face is “right there. I could feel his breath. I just wanted it to stop.”

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Later that night when he is walked out to his transport, Nicholls has a moment of panic, and balks, shouting “No, no, no!!” and turning away. Matron Carter holds him gently and shows him the handkerchief, telling him she made it so he would know that she is thinking of and praying for him. Nicholls seems to draw strength from this kindness, and walks quietly but uprightly, supported by Matron and Peter, to his fate.

Joan returns and takes a moment for a sponge bath, but Rosalie spies her ring, hanging from her neck.
The two women are still estranged, and Rosalie has grown close to Margaret, who she later tells about Joan’s supposed engagement. Margaret mentions that Joan did not list it on her personal information, and gleefully ponders the significance.

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In the officer’s hall, the surgeons are having dinner, and Yelland takes the opportunity to talk down to, ridicule and otherwise insult Tom.

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The envy is strong and Tom would perhaps have let it slide with his customary respectful dismissal, but despite Miles’ caution, Yelland goes off on a monologue that downplays his achievements as a soldier and a surgeon, intimating that he didn’t earn his position and asking what his “tribe” and parents in “the  tenement” say to him “now they’re his inferiors”?

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The entire table falls under a tense silence, waiting to see how Tom will react…and it’s unexpected. Tom laughs, looking at Yelland right in the eye and when the latter comments that it is funny, delivering one of the best put-downs on film:

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Kidding. That one’s good, but this one’s better.

“Isn’t it? You sitting there like you’re God almighty when everyone here knows that as a man, you are a waste of skin… and as surgeon, you couldn’t find your c*ck with both hands…Sir.”

There is a delicious beat of silence, and then Yelland jumps up and runs over, demanding that Tom stand up. Tom does so immediately, and follows by holding his fist out and saying “Anywhere you like. You first.”

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Yelland does not take him up on it, instead shaking his finger in Tom’s face and flouncing out. Tom sits down to resume his meal as the other officers begin once more to chat around him, and I fall a little more in love with the hidden depths in Capt. Gillan.

Morning. McCafferty’s unit is getting ready to leave the hospital, While Peache is at Mass, the McCafferty takes his swim, washes up, and gets dressed in his khakis to ready himself to leave. When he approaches his men, however, Peache is naked, saying he will do his duty, but not in an English uniform. Instead, he will do it in his “own Irish skin.”

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The Sergeant drags him into a tent and begins to lecture him angrily on what he owes the British army. As it goes on, however, he begins to cry, and it becomes clear that the biggest rejection he mourns is that of himself. Peache is amazed, and speaks gently to calm him, which only prompts McCafferty to shout at him to put the uniform on. Peache does, but he tells him quietly that while the men might think he is a hardass, he will know different. “The army is your family, Sergeant. Not mine.” He stops next to him, and quietly delivers the killing blow. He tells him even if he could not get him home, trying alone would have caused him to love him “like a father forever.” But he didn’t, so now he is nothing to him. Just a ghost.

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In Brett’s office, Tom is being censured for the events at last night’s dinner. Thanks to Miles, who roused himself early to plead his friend’s case, Brett understands there is a reason, if not an excuse for why he snapped at Yelland but informs him that he is “brassed off” at everyone involved and tells him to “go away.” Instead Tom turns to ask Brett if he is correct in insisting on such a painful experimental treatment when it makes him feel “like a torturer.” Brett snarks that he isn’t allowed the expensive equipment simply because he is “assailed by wild and uncontrollable doubt” at the probable success. He issues a polite “Kindly bugger off and do your job” and sends him on his way.

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In the woods, Flora has been trying to find out more about Peter, and begins to tell him about how she has never been kissed. When he asks why she is telling him, and if she expects him to do something about it, she casually responds that of course not, because he’s homosexual.

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Peter freezes and demands to know who told her, but she assumed from seeing him go to the dunes and because her brother is also a homosexual. She cautions him to be careful, but he angrily tells her she doesn’t know what she is talking about, and walks away.

In one of the wards, Kitty stands quietly when Tom comes in, questioning if she is doing anything.

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At her calm assurance that she is, he wanders over to Mostyn and explains that yes, the treatment is an experiment and he will amputate at his request, but he is young, and he would like to see him walk through life on two legs. Kitty observes this with interest. Given a choice to quit or continue, the young soldier chooses to keep going.

Tom’s smile is gentle, and genuine, and it’s a good, redeeming moment for a character who hasn’t seen too many wins.

Across the ward, a patient with a head wound becomes agitated and utters his usual complaints about children climbing on his trees. As Tom watches her, Kitty runs over and holds his hands, preventing him from tearing off his bandages and telling him kindly that she has spoken to the children’s mothers.

The man calms down, and Kitty walks over to Tom and explains that this is what she was doing, “not that it is any concern of his.” Tom drops his indifference, and tells her that when he saw her clothes on the beach, he thought someone was drowning.

Kitty tartly apologizes for alarming him, and he matter-of-factly declares his intentions, causing her head to whip up and both pairs of eyes to lock on each other. “I’ve been alarmed since the moment you arrived.”

Now that’s how you tell a girl you want a pound of what she’s selling, boys.

 

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The Crimson Field Recap, E2

One of the joys of this show is what you can infer from each character in the silence between dialogues. Sarah Phelps has a way of layering motivation as well in pauses as she does in words, like a delicious quiet tiramisu. When she does deliver blows verbally, however, they are as direct and unadorned as bullets. This episode features several such of my favorite moments, and remains an example to me of the perfect integration of main and subplots.

Kitty isn’t sleeping all that well, maybe because she keeps getting up to write heartfelt pleas for help to her mother and mailing them in the wee hours of the morning. Matron catches her during one such occasion, and after ordering her to work, uses her key to open the mailbox and read her outgoing letter.

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Back in the wards, two patients await visits from their families. The first, a Private George Shoemaker, is catatonic and needs to be spoon fed by Kitty, his expression one of unchanging surprise. It is during this that she is told that the second, Major Edward Crecy, is awake. She goes into the surgery tent to tell Thomas, who snaps at her to leave.

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She seems unruffled by his bad mood, calmly stopping him as he leaves to tell him to take off his apron before he enters the ward.

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Major Crecy is being looked after by Private Byeford, the man who saved him by bringing him to the hospital. Thomas informs Crecy that his wife is on the way, and asks if he would rather be moved to an officer’s ward, but he would rather stay with Byeford, the only other survivor from his unit.

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On the nurse’s side, Joan presses for additional training and responsibility for the VADs, which Margaret disagrees with because Margaret is some sort of nurse purist. This character is a bit of a conundrum. She does seem dedicated to the care of her patients, sweetly cleaning Pte. Shoemaker’s wounds and demanding his nurse feed him, but also seems to get a perverse pleasure from gainsaying Joan’s orders, even though they benefit the hospital.

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Unknown to her cranky colleague, Joan goes ahead with her plan to give Rosalie and Flora additional responsibility after the former confesses that she felt useless before the war, and thinks that Joan is brave.

In a smaller side plot, Lt. Col Brett rescues Joan’s motorcycle from being confiscated by Reggie, who claims that he needs to track the petrol it uses. Col. Brett is not fooled, and warns Reggie that he knows the latter makes some things “disappear” in the bureaucracy in order to line his own pockets, ordering him to release the motorcycle back to Joan.

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Outside, a recently arrived Mrs. Crecy can no longer wait as asked, and leaves to find her husband. Maj. Crecy is nervous to tell his wife that he is a double amputee, so Pte. Byeford makes him laugh, suggesting funny things he can say to his wife when she arrives. Even Kitty is amused, but the lighthearted moment is broken by Mrs. Crecy’s intrusion into the tent, and her sudden, panicked flight out as she realizes her husband has lost both legs.

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It would be easy to discount Adelinde Crecy as an annoyance, but the truth is that the women we see at the hospital are prepared for and somewhat inured to, the horrors of war. Here is a housewife, a woman of means, facing what her life will mean with a husband who no longer embodies what she feels a husband should, and the process by which this is shown is finely drawn and as painful to watch as it must be for her to process. First she complains bitterly to Capt. Gillan, his surgeon, about the amputations, and when he assures her that they were necessary, changes tack and focuses instead on reinstating what status she can by asking that he be moved to the officers’ ward.

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When Kitty comes to tell her that she thinks it a bad idea to split the two men up, she tells Kitty that she is grateful for the private’s actions, but discourages further contact between him and her husband.

Later that morning, Matron calls Kitty into her office and informs her that she has read her outgoing mail, as is her custom. Kitty does not wish to discuss the contents of the letter, but Matron insists, confirming that Kitty has a child from which she is forcibly being separated. She tells Kitty that “no woman is a blank slate,” and she is not about to claw apart through her history. Aside from reading her correspondence, I suppose she meant.

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Kitty, a mother herself, is convinced her mother will forgive her, but Matron asks her to consider what may happen if forgiveness does not come. When Kitty rushes outside, overwhelmed and in tears, she  is intercepted by Thomas, who is attempting to explain why he was rude to her earlier that day.

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She waves it aside, tells him she is sorry about his patient and starts to walk away and Thomas, annoyed, tells her that most people “have the decency to accept an apology” when it is owed them. Kitty, desperate to get away, points out that not only does he not owe her anything, he also hasn’t actually apologized.

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When he returns to his tent, he finds that an article he wrote on femoral trauma wasn’t published. To top it off, Miles asks him if Kitty has ever smiled at him, and he denies ever having spoken to her. Better luck next time, Tom.

That night at dinner, Mr. Shoemaker speaks frankly to Adelinde Crecy about his son. George cannot speak after sustaining a wound in the head. He tells her he suspects the boy neither sees him nor knows he is there. He says he doesn’t think he will make it. All this is too much for Adelinde, who reassures him with vague platitudes. “It will all be as it was before. I am certain of it.” When she leaves, looking alarmed, he stares after her with pity.

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The next morning as he says goodbye to his son, he speaks to him as you would a child, asking him to “be a good boy” for his dad, and pausing at the entrance to the tent for one final, pained look before departing.

The Crecys dance nervously around each other, unsure of how to deal with their new dynamic. Both their attempts (his with humor and hers with flattery) fall terribly flat. Late that night, Maj. Crecy attempts honesty, and unburdens himself by sharing some of the horrors of war with his wife.

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Adelinde, unable to deal, tells him he must forget it, because she “does not want that, all that filth and ugliness.” To her assertion that he is no longer a soldier, Crecy tells his wife that then he is nothing, and bitterly asserts she should not have come. Adelinde walks out in tears, and Crecy hits his legs repeatedly until he causes wets his bandages with a hemorrhage.

As the staff waits for a convoy of wounded to come, tiny but significant character moments. Miles plays golf in the dark, and assures Kitty of his continued dedication to winning her over.

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Once the convoy arrives, Flora is energized to prove herself upon Joan’s request (and does so admirably), and Rosalie, asked to help a soldier wash, is put off by the realities of a male human body and leaves him, unable to finish her task.

The next morning, Joan finds Rosalie in the linen cupboard and kindly offers to teach her about the male body by using corpses as examples, but she only manages to outrage her even more, so that Rosalie confesses Joan’s methods to a self-satisfied Sister Margaret.

Kitty finally receives the letter she was waiting for, and the news isn’t good. She wanders into the woods in a stupor to cry, but comes upon Mrs. Crecy, who was informed of her husband’s suicide attempt.

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She heroically sets aside her own grief to ask after the Major and listen to Adelinde mourn the “giant of a man” she sent away, and the “ghost with a head full of horrors” she got back, a man who would rather be dead with his soldiers than home with her. Kitty points out she should be back with him, and Adelinde falls apart, crying that she is not prepared to do what she must. “Everything is over,” she cries, and Kitty walks over, handing her the letter her mother wrote, where she tells her she is “dead to her” and will never see her daughter again. In a speech that has me in tears every time I hear it, she reminds Mrs. Crecy not of what she has lost, but of what she still has.

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Adelinde walks back with Kitty to her husband’s room, and sits with him, holding his hand. He admits that he cannot remember their children’s faces, to which she responds with a calm, “You will.” Her speech to him is no less touching, and I am electrified anew at the way we as women have such a power within us to feed others with our strength, and to heal.

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She kisses him sweetly, and leaves him with a “See you in England, darling.” I have such hope for these two crazy kids.

Much as Kitty did for Mrs. Crecy, Matron provides Kitty with the motivation she needs to go on. When Kitty tells her the contents of her letter fell way below her expectations, Matron kindly but firmly advises her to do her job. “The work saves us, Trevelyan. It saves us.”

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I have to wonder at what caused Matron Carter to commit to a life of nursing.

At the beach, Kitty sighs deeply, tearing her mother’s letter into tiny pieces and taking her uniform off on the shore, running into the water in her shift in a sort of baptismal renewal.

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She is surprised there by Cap. Gillan, who seems as entranced as the first time he saw her.

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As Kitty walks out in her wet shift, Tom politely looks down, but she seems not at all embarrassed. She forthrightly sticks out her arm, asking without words for the uniform he absentmindedly picked up upon discovering her, and as he gapes after her, she turns once, and SMIZES at him.

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Poor bastard.

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