What a rollercoaster ride!
I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting from Outlander Season 1 Episode 14, but what it delivered was...amazing. As usual!
From the moment Claire and Jenny set off on horseback, the hour felt different than what we'd experienced before and that momentum continued throughout, right up until the bitter end as Dougal tried to steal Claire from Jamie before he had even taken his last breath and she won over Dougal's men to try to save the man she loves. Everything in between was magical.
It's unlike me to become so enamored with a character, but this week I was crushing big time on Jenny. So soon after giving birth, she didn't hesitate to jump on a horse and join Claire in finding her brother and damn she's a good tracker! She's the female version of her brother and it's impossible not to love her as much as Jamie.
There is literally nothing she can't do, from sifting through horse dung to aid in tracking to torturing by way of branding on the bottom of feet (and on the nether regions if necessary) to killing the man to keep him from talking.
I loved the juxtaposition of Claire and Jenny as Claire wanted to bandage the courier's foot while Jenny prepared to take him out, an argument only Murtagh himself could finish by swiftly taking the man's life and putting an end to the decision making process.
Jenny: So, Ian sent you I expect.
Murtagh: Aye. But from what I've seen so far, you two are natural outlaws.
Upon Murtagh's arrival, however, it meant the end of the natural outlaws. Only when Claire played prophet did it dawn on me we wouldn't be seeing Jenny for a long time. If you tell me I was the only one who choked up at their goodbye as Claire prepared her new sister for an uncertain future, then you know how smitten I've become with the yin sibling to Jamie's yang.
Considering the elaborate plan up Murtagh's sleeve to lure Jamie to their location, are we to understand that Jamie had an idea he might not make it back to Lallybroch all along, or are the two men really that in tune?
Claire: May I make a suggestion? Perhaps you can sing a song to jazz up the dance a bit.
Claire: To spice up. Enliven.
Claire: Yes, something toe tapping, like [sings Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy].
Speaking of tunes, the entire traveling Claire show was so incredibly entertaining. Not only was it so completely unlike Claire to be so easily persuaded to fall into line with such a plan, but she almost seemed to be enjoying herself, if only just a little. By becoming a traveling minstrel act, it was almost as if she and Murtagh could take their minds off of the true purpose of their road trip while they successfully entertained.
Granted, Murtagh never stopped asking about Jamie, but it wasn't all doom and gloom. They reached the sea, however, with no word of Jamie. Something wasn't working and the two got into a little tussle, with Claire even suggesting Murtagh wouldn't understand, having never loved like Claire loves Jamie.
I should have known there would be a reason Jenny gave Claire the ivory bracelets, but I'm not always that clever. Discovering Murtagh was in love with Jamie's mother and carved them for her as a wedding gift was rather heartbreaking. He looks upon Jamie as he would his own son. Talk about touching!
Murtagh: Do you think you're the only one that loves Jamie? He's a son to me.
Claire: I'm sorry! I'm sorry. [breaks down sobbing]
So it was all going well until the gypsies stole their song and dance routine. I guess when there are two acts touring the countryside, the odds are pretty good a message will get to the wrong one.
The message wasn't from Jamie, after all, however. It was from Dougal. His desires for Claire and Lallybroch know no bounds. Simply put, Dougal ruins everything. It was his fault that Jamie thought Jenny had Randall's baby, his fault Jamie hadn't gone home, his fault Jamie and Claire were separated when she was on trial for being a witch and there are probably a lot of other things we can blame on him, too.
Claire was disgusted to learn so much of what Dougal has done over the years has been because he wanted to control Lallybroch. It's hard to blame her disgust with his crazy notions. It's even worse that he was making passes at her before Jamie was even dead.
It must drive Claire crazy wanting to tell Dougal firmly and finally that all of his talk of the Jacobite cause and being War Chieftain will mean absolutely nothing in two years time, but instead, she placated him. He taunted her by suggesting if marrying him were the only way to keep her out of Randall's hands, Jamie would say to do it.
I'm not so sure I'd agree with that assessment if Jamie were privy to the conversation they just shared, but Claire did what she had to do get the cowardly war chieftain to allow her to take his men to try to rescue Jamie. It proves how much faith he has in her that he gave her the thumbs up, because you know he fully expects her to fail so he can have her hand in marriage and claim Lallybroch as his.
Can the man be redeemed after that? Meh. He wasn't likeable before that discussion. Wee Willie sure stood up when it mattered, however, prompting Angus, Rupert and the rest of the men to follow suit. Now the hard part will begin. Can they successfully break Jamie out of prison?
"The Search" had so much to offer. There were touching family moments, grizzly kills and fanciful song and dance scenes, as well as surprising character revelations that built upon what the series had given us in the past. It's astonishing how every scene can be so carefully plotted so that it comes back around to play into another episodes later.
It's difficult to believe we only have two more hours left in Outlander Season 1. What are we going to do when it's over? Well, for now why not hit the comments and chat about this week's developments. See you there!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.