If you’ve been missing an episode with glorious landscapes, horses by the sea, Scottish dancing and a little bit of gore, then this is the one for you. Otherwise, sadly, this is by far the weakest episode of the series to date with the feel of one of those old episodes of Doctor Who in which the lead actor is away for the week, so although you know the companions are busily searching for him, they’re not going to find him. (Sam Heughan is conspicuous by his absence.)
On the upside, Caitriona Balfe gets a chance to show the lighter side to Claire. We’ve seen the fighter, the lover and many other aspects of her character, but seeing her laughing and smiling, albeit in character as the singing Sassenach, is a joy – although frankly we didn’t need quite so many montages of the performances! The whole “copyright infringement” element didn’t feel right either.
Given that the producers have played with the plot to an extent, it would perhaps have been better for the search to have featured Jenny longer than it did – the two women work very well together as characters, and I’d have been interested to see how the discussion over the soldier’s fate played out. The rounding out of Murtagh, though, was interesting.
The episode comes alive once Dougal re-enters the scene and his lust for both the Fraser lands and Claire herself energizes the story. But with Wentworth Prison a looming presence on the horizon (with the original Jamie himself inside, apparently), things seem set to get worse before they get better.
Verdict: A half-hour episode stretched out to the full hour. 6/10