Series Rewatch – Outlander Season 1, Episode 9: The Reckoning – Actions Have Consequences

Written by Diana Gabaldon, Ronald D. Moore, and Matthew B. Roberts
Directed by Richard Clark

Up until this point, Claire has kept her time traveling a secret, not thinking anyone would believe her, and afraid of the reaction even if they did. Secrets have consequences, and, unfortunately, her inability to tell Jamie the truth almost leads to a fracture in their relationship that cannot be repaired.

The Reckoning opens with Jamie (Sam Heughan) narrating instead of Claire (Caitriona Balfe). He’s with Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) and the others, meeting with Mr. Horrocks (Lochlainn O Mearáinn). He tells them that Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) is the real killer of the man Jamie is accused of killing. Of course, Jamie can’t use that name to clear his own. Willie (Finn Den Hertog) rides up and tells Jamie Claire was taken by the Red Coats.

Jamie manages to scale the wall at Fort William and comes upon Claire and Jack Randall just when Jack is about to rape her. Jamie tells Jack to take his hands off his wife, but Jack just taunts him. However, Jamie gains the upper hand and knocks him out. Jamie narrates that the reason he didn’t kill him then was he saw him as helpless and he would not kill a helpless man. It might have saved everyone a lot of headaches if he had. The two escape the Fort, even as the alarm sounds.

When Jamie and Claire take a break to water the horses after the escape, along with Rupert (Grant O’Rourke), Angus (Stephen Walters), and Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix), the two fight. Jamie accuses Claire of doing it deliberately to pay him back for what happened with the British deserters. Claire is incredulous but also doesn’t see that she did anything wrong. She can’t tell him why she ran for the stones at Craigh na Dun. He is angry that she didn’t listen to him and that is a big part of why they fight. However, they manage to work through it.

When they meet up with Dougal and the others, though, it becomes apparent Claire does not understand the gravity of the situation. They refuse to speak to her or acknowledge her presence. Jamie must make it clear to her that she has to obey him, as well as deliver justice for the people she put in jeopardy.

The two return to Castle Leoch to much celebrating, although Jamie and Claire are not quite on speaking terms after everything. Colum (Gary Lewis) and Letitia (Aislin McGuckin) greet them formally. Letitia is gracious, and Colum heaps praise on Claire, but he seems angry at Jamie. He meets with Jamie, Dougal, and Ned (Bill Paterson) and asks about the money they raised for the Jacobite Cause. It seems Colum did not know about this.

Clan MacKenzie’s welfare comes before any king or country…

Colum MacKenzie

Colum is angry that Jamie marries a Sassenach, knowing that no one in the Clan will support him now as Colum’s successor. It would seem Dougal was right to feel threatened by Jamie.

Laoghaire (Nell Hudson) is upset. She can’t understand why Jamie married Claire. She offers herself up to Jamie, who rejects her. He will not break his wedding vows. However, he never says to Laoghaire that he loves Claire. He makes it seem like his rejecting her has everything to do with Claire’s presence and the vow he made to her. He does not give her any reason not to believe that if it wasn’t for Claire, he would have chosen her.

When Claire, still angry over her punishment, refuses to let Jamie share her bed, Laoghaire goes to Jamie and offers herself to him. He refuses her, but he never says that it’s because he loves Claire. He keeps beating around the bush, so to speak, saying that he made a vow and he won’t break it, rather than saying he loves Claire and wants to be with her. Perhaps, if Claire wasn’t there, Jamie and Laoghaire would have married, but as Murtagh stated in an earlier episode, Laoghaire will still be a “girl” at fifty and Jamie needed a strong woman by his side.

Jamie goes and tries to reconcile with Claire. He swears he will never raise his hand to her again, or she can put his dagger through his heart. Claire states she should want to separate from him, but she doesn’t. He tells her the wedding ring he had made for her was fashioned from his key to his ancestral home, Lallybroch, and that she is his home now.

Why doesn’t Jamie say this to Laoghaire? He’s giving her false hope that if Claire wasn’t in the picture, he would be with her. This leads to them discovering an “ill wish” in their bedroom. Jamie knows Laoghaire put it there, but doesn’t see that his inability to firmly reject her is part of the problem,

I think what Claire goes through at the hands of Jack Randall here has an impact on how Claire sees Frank when she goes back through the stones later on. Prior to that, Claire becomes more frightened of Jamie killing Jack thus preventing Frank from ever having been born. Here, when it’s happening to her, she has no problem urging Jamie to just kill him. Perhaps she just didn’t think of that aspect of killing him at the time, but it seems a bit hypocritical that when it’s her well-being at stake, she is all for killing him, but when it’s Jamie’s, she hesitates.

The fracture depicted between Dougal and Colum is interesting. At first, it appeared that Colum knew and supported the Jacobite cause, yet we learn that is not the case. Dougal throws in his face that he’s done everything to support Colum as the Clan’s leader, including ensuring his bloodline goes on. However, Colum is worried about becoming a target for the British should they learn what is happening. He’s more worried about taking care of his people than who is sitting on the British throne. This also is a setup for the next season, when Colum comes to Claire and asks about what will happen at Culloden, knowing she somehow knows more about it than the Scots do.

There has been some controversy about the actions Jamie takes with Claire. The other men are ignoring her in their midst after Jamie rescues her from Fort William. Dougal states that Claire doesn’t understand the jeopardy she put them all in. They expect Jamie to drill it into her head, and he does it the only way he knows how. When he was a lad, he received spankings to emphasize when he did something wrong not to do it again. This is how he handles Claire, to try to drill it into her head that sometimes she must obey him. This goes back to when Jamie stated that wherever Claire came from, it’s not as dangerous as it is here. However, by the end of the episode, he recognizes this as a mistake and that he has to handle Claire differently than he would someone else.

This is important because Jamie is adapting to Claire. In his time, what he did is perfectly acceptable, but he recognizes that it isn’t to Claire and makes a promise to never raise his hand to her again. However, it did drive the point home to Claire that he doesn’t do things like make a decision to leave her behind when he went to talk to Horrocks just to spite her. He’s weighing the risks and trying to protect her. The fact that Claire isn’t from this time (which he still doesn’t know) means she’s not as aware as he is of the dangers that are out there. However, later on, when Claire tells him everything, he realizes he was wrong in being angry at Claire trying to get back to her husband. He would expect the same from her; he expects that she would do anything to come back to him.

The Reckoning contains some great character and situational development. Everyone seems to have a point in this episode, except maybe for Laoghaire. Jamie’s weakness in dealing with her is setting up a disaster.

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