TV Review: “Outlander” – “Wentworth Prison”

Written by Caitlin Cooper May 22, 2015

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I may have been less than impressed with the last couple episodes of “Outlander” because they’ve seemed more like filler, a build-up to the big events in the last two episodes. But this week’s episode reminded me exactly why I started watching “Outlander” in the first place. And it’s a clear indication that while this show may stumble sometimes, it’s a must-watch.

The latest episode of “Outlander” sees Claire (Caitriona Balfe) doing what she does best: using her wits to survive, and in this case to save Jamie (Sam Heughan). As she is forced to wait and plan, she becomes sick with the knowledge that Jamie is in danger. So she refuses to wait any long. She goes off to find Jamie and what she finds is much worse than she expected: Captain Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) has been beating Jamie, torturing him in an effort to break his spirit. And what’s worse is that Randall is far from done, and now he has the leverage he needs to get what he wants from Jamie.

“I won’t surrender.”

This “Outlander” episode is quite disturbing, to say the least. It’s unsettling. It’s not easy to watch. Because Jamie is beaten and tortured by Randall, and some of it is done in front of Claire. In this episode Claire is really pushed to her limits, as is Jamie (though not all of it is on screen). She intends to help Jamie escape, but instead comes face to face with Randall. To save her, Jamie surrenders. And while this episode is incredibly dark, and shows the evil of Randall (and make no mistake, he is clearly a sick, cruel, person) it also shows how much Claire and Jamie love one another. Both risk themselves for the sake of the other, and they don’t give up on each other. While their reunion isn’t a happy one, it’s so easy to see that Claire loves Jamie so much, and it’s also easy to see that he really loves her. By the end, we see Claire in a very different place from the first “Outlander” episode; at the end she is furious, filled with hate for Randall and tells him the date of his death as a sort of payback for what he’s done and will do to Jamie. Because once he knows when he’ll die, all he’ll be able to focus on is a countdown to his death. For the first in awhile she uses her knowledge as a person from the future as a weapon.

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The acting in this episode is so, so good. Balfe’s anger, grief, sadness, horror all seemed so genuine. It’s heartbreaking to watch her attempts to save Jamie, and then have her still be rendered helpless thanks to Randall. Heughan  plays Jamie with incredible strength and vulnerability. These two should win a lot of awards for “Outlander”. Menzies seems to be adept at playing the sick Jack Randall. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen him play Frank, so now all I can see him as is this monster (maybe that’s deliberate). Duncan Lacroix as Jamie’s uncle Murtagh brings some more depth to “Outlander” as he provides support to Claire.

“I curse you. I curse you with knowledge, Jack Randall. I give you the hour of your death.”

So while “Outlander” may have had some weaker episodes, now the show is clearly back in its stride. The writing is intense, dark, and deeply emotional. The acting is amazing, and the cast deserves so many awards for their work. Of course, the episode ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger, so the season finale is sure to be incredibly dramatic and dark as everything comes to a head.

My Rating: 9.5/10

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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