Outlander “Lallybroch” Review (Season 1, Episode 12)

Outlander Lallybroch Season 1 Episode 12 01

“It’s Scotland sir.”

Or if you’re Ian speaking to Claire you could say “They’re Frasers, ma’am” and it would mean the same thing (more on that later).

Any episode following “The Devil’s Mark” last week was going to suffer in terms of pace. Not many shows are able to move at a break neck speed every outing (True Blood possibly being the one exception). That being said, “Lallybroch” still did a very good job in setting up what I’m sure will be a packed venture next time. And while a lot of action didn’t take place per se, the character building was essential, especially in terms of Jamie. Mr. Fraser has been more or less perfect since his introduction. Aside from his messing around with Laoghaire he’s taken a beating for the girl, settled fights between Colum and Dougal, been a token for the Jacobite cause, and married Claire to shelter her from Randall’s wrath. Basically, a boy scout. His first moments back at Lallybroch were quite a change from what we have been accustomed to seeing. James Fraser is not perfect, and now, more human.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone becomes more unbearable around family. No matter how much you love them, old wounds and bad memories bubble to the surface. For me, I can truly be myself around my parents and sister in ways I can’t in front of others. This means good aspects shine through but also the bad. With Jamie, his arrogance and quick judgement spills out after being around Jenny for less than a minute. Granted, his PTSD (and fears that Randall impregnated Jenny) informs his hasty remarks about Young Jamie, but then he had the gall to ask her if she was currently pregnant with another bastard. Give the woman a moment to talk! He later believes he can run a household in whatever way he wants because he’s the Laird. Nevermind that he’s been gone for 4 years and didn’t have to run anything on his own at Castle Leoch.

It was easy to understand Claire and Jenny’s mutual frustrations. Jenny’s had her own PTSD to cope with for 4 years too. Her recollection of what she incurred after Jamie’s flogging was definitely the most difficult scene to date for me to watch. The amount of time taken by Randall to toy with her was agonizing. I could always sense his pleasure each occassion he tried with Claire, but this scene rang differently. It was very predatory. Perhaps he was pretending she was Jamie. And every time Jenny fought back I was proud and frightened for her at the same time. She was lucky Chibi Randall (yup, I’m calling it that) couldn’t get it up. Jenny wasn’t going to get a savior in the way Claire had each time (Murtagh, Dougal, and then Jamie). I’m honestly surprised Randall didn’t just kill her for laughing in his face (this moment of Jenny’s makes her my new hero). He seems like the type of guy who would murder over hurt pride. Maybe he decided to keep her alive as a bargaining chip over Jamie later. Either way, that scene was truly disturbing. Both Jenny and Jamie have suffered horribly due to the actions of one man.

It was the acts of forgiveness on both their parts that made for the most moving section of the episode. Forgiveness of one’s self and those we love is essential. And only after Jamie and Jenny absolved one another of blame were they truly able to move on. This was wonderful work by Sam Heughan and Laura Donnelly. It was also the first time Outlander made me cry. There is something so open and honest about Donnelly that when she started crying as Jenny remarked about Jamie’s scars that I lost it. I’m glad they settled their differences quickly because I don’t think I could bear Jenny harboring guilt over what happened to Jamie.

Considering everything that happened, “Lallybroch” ended up having a very acceptable pace. These slow moments were necessary to understand Clan Fraser at its core. And since we were left on the cliffhanger of Jamie being held at gunpoint, next week should be back to rollicking speed.

More Thoughts as I Ride Elephants

– Going back to the top quote, my second favorite scene was Ian shedding light on the Frasers to Claire. It was very similar in tone to the British soldier saying “It’s Scotland sir” to his superior. Like Laura Donnelly, Steven Cree is a welcome additon. Ian and Claire balance out the bullishness of their respective partners. Claire can be stubborn herself, but she is also more objective than Jamie in certain matters (and in other cases, her modern sensibility permeates through- like butting in between Jamie and Jenny’s agrument- don’t worry Claire, I would have done the same). And Ian’s advice gave Claire that wonderful moment afterwards of setting Jamie straight.

– Claire may be from the future yet she still doesn’t know the danger of alcohol passing to a fetus (which wasn’t discovered until the 1970s). Watching her serve pregnant Jenny a drink was super weird.

– Loved the opening aerial shot of the Scottish countryside. It was made even better by Claire telling Jamie about airplanes.

– Damn you Outlander for getting my hopes up about Dougal by having Graham McTavish listed in the opening credits. He had all of 3 seconds of screentime. In other news, I think I need to come to terms that Dougal may not be around the rest of the season.

– Why is Murtagh not with Jamie? Doesn’t he follow him everywhere? Can’t Angus and Rupert watch Dougal on their own?

– Male nudity alert: Jamie by the mill hubba hubba and Tobias showing off his little Menzies in the scene with Jenny (which caught me completely off guard by the way; it’s rare to see male frontal nudity, granted Menzies has done so previously on Rome– more shows need to be like Rome– it divvied out the nudity to everyone).