Much more of a character episode than one brimming with plot development, this fills in a number of the gaps in motivation that have been apparent, particularly Black Jack Randall’s reason for his personal and bitter hatred of Jamie. Put bluntly, he wants to screw Jamie, and when he is refused, takes out his anger in the whipping… which, we now learn, was the cause of the death of Jamie’s father. You have to suspect that Randall hasn’t given up on his quest! As ever Outlander doesn’t shy away from the realities of life in the eighteenth century Highlands – Jenny’s account of her rape by Randall includes some imagery that many series wouldn’t show.
The casting in the series has been excellent, and Laura Donnelly makes a credible sibling for Sam Heughan. The characters’ temperaments are similar enough that sparks are sure to fly, and the scenes in which the two appear together are some of the episode’s best, particularly their final reconciliation. Claire has as much to learn about being the Laird’s wife as Jamie does about being the Laird, and hopefully the end of episode cliffhanger doesn’t mean that their time in Lallybroch is going to be short.
Verdict: Marking the start of a new phase for the series, this is a well-crafted episode. 8/10