Outlander: Untimely Resurrection   Books Included 
May 9, 2016 1:05 AM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Claire and Jamie reunite and attempt to extinguish fires until Claire makes an unexpected change of course; Jamie and Claire's relationship is tested when the past rears its ugly head.

In the aftermath of the dinner party shenanigans:

* Mary is ditched by her troll fiancé, and declares she will marry Alex Randall. Claire, knowing that Mary is supposed to marry BJR, tells Alex to abandon her.
* Jamie and Alex Randall are thrown in the Bastille; Jamie is released but Alex is freed only after Mary writes a letter explaining what happened
* St Germain announces he will support Prince Charles by providing the proceeds of a ship full of wine bound for Paris, if Jamie will find the buyer. Jamie and St Germain are now reluctant business partners
* Sandringham dismisses Alex from his service, leaving a clearly consumptive man jobless

Claire and Jamie have some quality time with Sandringham at Versailles. Claire goes for a walk with Annelise, who explains how Claire has turned Jamie into a man with political thoughts (how dare she?). Claire bumps into the untimely resurrected Jonathan Wolverton Randall, Esq., who is then humiliated by the King of France himself in a very weird and awkward scene. Jamie arrives, composes himself well in front of the royal entourage, then quietly challenges BJR to a duel.

Claire gets understandably upset and has Randall thrown in the Bastille (aw, brothers get the same treatment), to which Jamie is furious. Claire is concerned about Frank's future existence and forces Jamie to agree to wait one year before killing BJR. Jamie in return is furious and disappointed with Claire. THE END.

A/V Club Review: A-
At the end of the day, Outlander is about so much more than war and politics. It’s about sacrifice for the ones we love.
posted by tracicle (22 comments total)
I wonder if the apostle spoons Jamie gives to Claire will appear in Claire's future timeline somehow. I have never heard of apostle spoons before.

Again Sandringham is brilliant. The Schrodinger's Villain everyone loves!

I really didn't like the scene with Randall and the King. Randall is meant to be smooth and capable in day-to-day situations. Yes, he loses his head when it comes to intimacy, but the contrast between his utter capability and calm in public and his loss of control in private is what makes him truly nasty. Having him humiliated by the King might fit with French-British relations and with the King's temperament, but it doesn't do anything for Jack's character. He is not a weak man and would not be placed in a position of weakness.

Jamie and Claire in that last scene were heartbreaking. Such good acting from Heughan and Balfe.

Like the AVC reviewer, I wish Claire weren't so obsessed about Frank. I love the theoretical side of time-travel which is partly why I love Outlander, but she doesn't seem to be fading away a lá Marty McFly, so presumably all will work out. Just have faith, Claire! Let Jamie kill the bad man!
posted by tracicle at 1:11 AM on May 9, 2016

Yeah the Black Jack scene with the King was pretty awkward, but as usual, excellent chemistry between Balfe, Heughan, and Menzies.

I'm really wondering about the spoons. Someone on the Gabaldon FB page commented how that "answered a question" for her about Jamie but that she "wouldn't spoil" it. Is there some significance I'm missing?

This episode is kind of the first time in the book or show series where I really get mad at Claire. Which I think is good. Yes, she's the protagonist, but she's so perfect in every way with every plot device, it feels good to find her personality and reasoning really flawed and unlikable for once. Not sure that's actually what they were going for, but it works for me.
posted by olinerd at 5:34 AM on May 9, 2016

In trying to "save" Frank, I think she's primarily motivated by guilt. If she's going to leave him and stay in the 18th century because she fell in love with a hot Scottish dude, the least she can do is try to ensure his existence isn't wiped out. To me asking Jamie not to murder someone for a year is less terrible than manipulating two people in love into not being together. I really, really disliked her in that scene with Alex Randall.

One thing I do like is how the show makes it more obvious just how traumatic losing the baby is going to be for Claire. I don't think the book did a great job of making clear how far along in the pregnancy she was.
posted by something something at 7:13 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

This episode is kind of the first time in the book or show series where I really get mad at Claire. Which I think is good. Yes, she's the protagonist, but she's so perfect in every way with every plot device, it feels good to find her personality and reasoning really flawed and unlikable for once. Not sure that's actually what they were going for, but it works for me.

For me, it's just frustrating that Claire wouldn't have told Jamie all about Mary+Randall being Frank's ancestors. Her keeping Jack Randall's un-death a secret made sense character-wise, as she was trying to protect him. But once she knew that Jamie was thrilled that he'd be able to avenge his honor by killing Randall himself, she could have made the 'please wait one year' plea then, instead of springing it on him after he'd already issued the challenge. I don't think it's quite a "someone has to carry the idiot ball for this plot to work" level of bad writing, but it's not great.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:36 AM on May 9, 2016

I'm breaking with the crowd and proclaiming my love for the King's scene. It was so absurd and really played up the feelings of the time between the French and English. I thought it was funny and poignant in what was a pretty serious episode. The King's hand gestures...! I mean.. seriously. I just ended up giggling, a lot. Which was a nice contrast to the puddle I was at the end of the episode. Sam's acting, the expressions, just incredible.

And yea, the Randall timeline thing, I can't remember exactly how that played out in the books but it felt a lot less awkward than they're making it in the series.
posted by danapiper at 7:46 AM on May 9, 2016

For me, it's just frustrating that Claire wouldn't have told Jamie all about Mary+Randall being Frank's ancestors.

Yeah, I agree, I was kind of confused when it became apparent in that scene she hadn't already mentioned it.

If she hadn't mentioned it by the point of discovering Randall was still alive, though, I can see how maybe it wouldn't have occurred to her that she'd need to make explicit that Jamie shouldn't immediately murder him. She's coming from a time in which husbands don't generally go around revenge-murdering people. It probably wouldn't seem quite real that he was actually intending to do it.
posted by something something at 8:07 AM on May 9, 2016

I was also so baffled to realize she hadn't already told Jamie, because it's completely out of character for Claire- and I actually realized as I typed that it doesn't make sense. As far as she knew until very recently, Frank was way too dead to marry Mary and father a child and she seemed cool with that.

I had assumed the source of her upset was that she needed to be on honeymoon with Frank in Scotland to fall through the stones and meet Jamie, but I guess we're supposed to believe that this is all about feeling guilty about undoing Frank's existence entirely? I almost feel like there was a subtle concern about that in the books at some point - after all, they're having to guess at how time travel works, and it's good to see that it's all conjecture - but I don't remember it being this dramatic or as huge a plot point. Whatever it is, I don't care for the way it's being played here.

I also didn't care for the King/Randall scene as a piece of storywork, though I enjoyed it for entertainment purposes and the opportunity to see Menzies playing Randall off his game. But I feel like the writers might feel like they have to hamfist the French-British tensions because viewers are dumb and haven't caught on to the fact that Jamie's presence in France (also Sandringham's) is in and of itself subversive.

maybe it wouldn't have occurred to her that she'd need to make explicit that Jamie shouldn't immediately murder him

I thought that too for a second, except that's literally the source of Jamie's joy at the news of Randall's continued existence, that he gets to kill him personally. THAT would have been the moment Claire should have said, "um, actually..." (But then Jamie would have been all "um, we already thought he was dead and that didn't bother ye" and all of us at home would have been "right??" so maybe this is the corner they painted themselves into.)
posted by Lyn Never at 10:22 AM on May 9, 2016

I've read that the Scots and the French have been long term allies.
posted by brujita at 12:32 PM on May 9, 2016

Yes, it's known as the Auld Alliance -- "my enemy's enemy is my friend" and all that. Kind of like how Irish/Scots/Welsh sports fans, in the absence of any Irish, Scots or Welsh sports teams playing that day, will root for Not England by default.

This was an outstanding episode for fans of costumes, gardens and horseflesh, by the by.
posted by stuck on an island at 1:10 PM on May 9, 2016


Sandringham is really getting on my tits, though. Nasty, slimy, awful little fellow. I mean, I get why Jamie's all, "well no I don't like him really but I don't want him to not like me because that would be super murder-me-bad" but on the other hand are we absolutely sure we can't just stuff the man's wig down his throat and drown him in a chamber pot?

At least BJR is sort of entertaining in his fucked up way. When he made his slow-mo reappearance all I could hear was "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta".
posted by angeline at 4:09 PM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I loved Jamie breaking out the religious curses in the end scene. That was a real "oh shit" moment.

The king, oh god. It was a great scene, and the actor is doing wonderful things with the character but it makes me personally want to arrange my life so that I never have to encounter him ever ever because oh god what a fucked up thing that whole situation is.

Side note: Is anyone else in this thread a show-only watcher? If I started show-only threads, would there be interest? Mostly I've enjoyed the bits about how the book differs, but I'm a little wary of plot spoilers, like that she loses the baby mentioned up-thread. That was my working assumption anyway (vs. she has the baby but has to leave it in the past) so I'm not too fussed about it, but it does make me worry about other potential spoilers.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:14 PM on May 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

There wasn't much activity in the show-only threads last season, but you should go ahead and start them up again (if you build it, they will come?) so we don't ruin things for you. There will undoubtedly be more spoilers as we get closer to the finale.
posted by oh yeah! at 5:23 AM on May 10, 2016

I knew we were coming to France and staying there, but this season makes me realize that maybe my favorite character in s01 was... Scotland.
posted by stuck on an island at 5:40 AM on May 10, 2016 [8 favorites]

this season makes me realize that maybe my favorite character in s01 was... Scotland.

WORD, stuck on an island.

Also...eponysterical?? Maybe? A little?
posted by angeline at 9:49 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I liked the scene with the king, it felt like the interaction between Jamie, Claire, and Randall needed someone else before shit got too real. I never had a great mental image of the king when I read the book, so I'm enjoying seeing how he's played on the show.

That last scene between Claire and Jamie was excellent, such great acting! Claire's demand for Randall's life always sat wrong with me in the book, and that hasn't changed with the show. I could really see it drive a rift between her and Jamie in this scene.

Not a fan that the show is trying to make Annalise a thing. I'm not sure where they're going with that character, but she seems completely unnecessary.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 6:13 PM on May 10, 2016

Claire is still Bad At Time Travel.

"Hey, Jamie! We have to make sure that Frank lives because if he was never born, I would not have gone to Scotland and passed through the stones to meet you."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:31 AM on May 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

My sister, ever the purist, is endlessly annoyed by all of the small changes from book to show (eg: Jamie doesn't tell her not to touch him in the book, after she demands he not kill BJR for a year). Over on Facebook, Diana Gabaldon has been posting the excerpts from the book that made for good dramatic scenes in the episode and also noting the changes.

I still haven't recovered from the gorgeous costume Claire wore - I've been waiting for it ever since the first stills were released before the season began!
posted by kayebee at 6:57 AM on May 11, 2016

I just read the latest excerpt on the Gabaldon fb page and it seems pretty close to the show to me. The small departures make sense most of the time because there are time or continuity restraints. And most of the time the big changes are also good, because it adds an element of unpredictability to the show for book readers as well as fleshing out motivations in some cases. The scene with the King though still bugs me, heh.

Oh and yes! I've seen pictures of that brown dress so many times now that I didn't actually realise that was her first time wearing it! The fabric and the cut are stunning. There is something still slightly 1940s about it, something with the neckline/collar, but maybe I'm imagining it.
posted by tracicle at 9:32 AM on May 11, 2016

You're not imagining it, tracicle. Terry Dresbach has talked about how Dior's New Look was a big influence on Claire's France look - Terry's blog post on the topic.

I went through the whole blog in a weekend, it's so fascinating!
posted by angeline at 10:38 AM on May 11, 2016

OH MAN she has a new post up about this dress and it's FAB.
posted by angeline at 10:49 AM on May 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Is anyone else in this thread a show-only watcher?

I'm only halfway through the first book, and a latecomer to the show as well. I've been reading the Books Included threads, having decided not to worry about spoilers. I actually prefer to get some forewarning if things get really squicky, like they did towards the end of S1 - and the baby (apparently) dying belongs to that category as well. Now I know I'll need to brace myself.

Anyway, this episode. It was great to see Sam Heughan show off his acting chops in the dramatic final scene. I'd been getting increasingly annoyed with him narrowing his eyes and half-smiling cynically for a couple of episodes now; I thought that his performance was veering towards a soap opera depiction of scheming and plotting. You know, where acting like you're thinking hard is done by frowning and staring into emptiness while your jaw juts. He's much, much better at dynamic scenes where he's playing powerful emotions.

I'm a bit sickened by Claire planning to hand poor little Mary over to BJR in the hope that he will knock her up her within a year, knowing what a brutal rapist and sadist he is. That seems horribly callous. Never mind breaking up the young couple; Claire should be worried about Mary getting victimized, jeez.
posted by sively at 6:52 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I feel like Claire would suck at the trolley problem. She would willingly send the trolley over the five people tied to the rails, rather than the lone person on the other. If that lone person was Frank, at least. She is blind to everything except Frank's future existence, despite knowing what Jack Randall is capable of, and would send Mary to a lifetime of abuse or, at the very least, neglect and dislike.
posted by tracicle at 10:07 AM on May 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

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