When you hear the term “Hail Mary,” a lot of things come to mind. Some people will think of a desperate long pass in football. Others may think of prayers whispered in a church. Personally, when I hear “Hail Mary” I think about any last ditch efforts I can make to get my kids to fall asleep before #HangOutlander starts.
For us faithful Outlander viewers “The Hail Mary” will forever represent the last chance for our well-informed heroes to change the future of Scotland before the Battle of Culloden.
We should have prayed harder.
1. Dirty Jamie is the best Jamie
Thanks to five months of grueling retreat in wet and gloomy Scotland, wet and dirty Jamie is back. I don’t know what we did to deserve this gift, but we all need to be doing more of it. Fergus may have been able to fall asleep standing up, but there’s no way I’d be sleeping through a chance to look at that face. What’s that, Claire? Who cares how the bloody hell we ended up here after “all of that plotting” when all of that plotting brought us to this glorious moment of Jamie’s perfection. Their entire world may crumble apart in three days time, but at least they’ll part knowing Jamie’s hair was on point.
We Noticed That To: Murtagh made Fergus ride bareback behind him on that horse. I wonder what the 18th century equivalent of Bengay was.
2. Claire Being Claire
We all know Claire isn’t happy unless she’s getting herself into trouble. As a strong minded female myself, I have always appreciated Claire’s Claire-ness. She does what she wants when she wants, which I’m all about. But, this week her questionable decision making skills led her to the infuriating choice to help Alex Randall and, therefore, Black Jack Randall.
Sure, she felt like she owed Mary for convincing Alex to leave her in Paris. Yes, Diana Gabaldon needed a plot device to keep Black Jack Randall in Frank’s family tree. But seeing Claire help Black Jack, even for information that could stop the Battle of Culloden from happening, was upsetting.
We Noticed That Too: Did Claire invent shotgunning when she blew that thorn apple smoke in Alex’s face? Stoners everywhere salute you.
3. Mark me, Bonnie Prince Charles Sucks
Armed with the information Claire got from Blackjack regarding the British army’s location, Jamie attended another boring war council with Prince Charles and his band of bewigged imbeciles. Earlier in the episode, Bonnie Prince Fussypants called Jamie his “most loyal companion and friend” (doesn’t say much for the Prince’s people reading skills) but, despite Jamie’s urging, he still made the decision to move forward with an attack at Culloden Moor. This time, Jamie is successful at talking the Prince into one final Hail Mary, a surprise attack on the British troops during the celebration of General Cumberland’s birthday.
Once again, Prince Charles demonstrated that he is the polar opposite of our Highlander heroes. He cares more about gentlemanly behavior than winning. He is more focused on the joke he can make presenting Cumberland with a bottle of wine than he is with the battle it’ll require to get there. He treats the lives of the men under his direction as disposable while Jamie bears the weight of responsibility like Atlas holding up the sky. At this point I dislike the prince more than I do the British army. If the Battle of Culloden ends the way history says, we’ll have no one to blame but Bonnie Prince Charles. Plus, he really needs to brush his teeth.
We Noticed That Too: Only one “mark me” this episode. It’s like they don’t want me to finish that bottle of whisky playing the “mark me” drinking game. Rude.
4. Tobias Effing Menzies
Black Jack Randall is back this episode which means one thing: Tobias effing Menzies.
By now you should know that we are Tobiased around here. He elevates every show he appears on whether it’s playng an OB/GYN in Catastrophe, as Edmure Tully in Game of Thrones or as a dirty government official in The Night Manger. But, as Black Jack Randall, Tobias is in a class of his own.
I could watch an entire hour of Jack Randall’s face changing from concerned over his brother’s health to pure evil discussing the noises his rape victim makes when he orgasms. It doesn’t matter how much Jack appears to care for Alex by reluctantly agreeing to marry pregnant Mary, his kindness is a mask to his true nature. A mask that Tobias wields believably, even when it would have been easy to make it campy. Black Jack is unapologetically bad, but Tobias Menzies is a geniusly good.
We Noticed That Too: Alex Randall’s wig has seen better days. Like maybe when it was attached to the Shetland Pony they harvested it from.
5. Murtagh is the best
Not everything works when you transition from book to screen, but the development of Murtagh’s character has been perfect. I didn’t care much either way for Murtagh in the books, but Duncan Lacroix and the writers have brought him to life in a way that makes him indispensable to the story. When Murtagh jumped between Black Jack and Claire with anger on his face, I was fully prepared to see him drop Jack with a battle ax. Then, only moments later, Murtagh offered to protect Mary by marrying her instead of Black Jack. He plays both fierce and earnest in such a way that is true to the honor of the Highlanders. When he reminded us that he is Jamie’s godfather I got a little teary eyed thinking of their relationship and how wonderful Murtagh would be as a father. He epitomizes the Scotland they’re fighting for and I love him for it.
We Noticed That Too: Murtagh called Frank a prick and we were all like, “What he said!”
6. Colum Drops Bombs
Colum arrived to Inverness and ol’ gangly legs is not looking so good. Dougal assumes that his brother has come to pledge the support of the MacKenzies to the Jacobite cause, but he’d be very wrong. Instead, Colum has come to appoint Jamie as the guardian over his heir, young Hamish and to have a brief debate over the moral implications of assisted suicide with Claire, or something like that. Naturally, Claire carries poisonous yellow jasmine around with her, but she never thought to put poor Alex Randall out of his misery in between gasping breaths. Luckily she didn’t have the same compunction with providing Colum with the means to his end.
I really enjoy the cerebral games Colum plays. Whereas Murtagh and Dougal are more prone to brute displays of strength, Colum is a good compliment to Jamie’s cunning intelligence. I found myself questioning why he would want to leave the comfort of his home and family to die in a strange place. But then I came to realize that, just like he said about Jamie, Colum holds the lives of those under his responsibility as Laird of Clan MacKenzie at a higher value than his own. He was admirable to the end even if his broken matchstick legs made me viscerally uncomfortable to look at.
We Noticed That Too: In a heavy case of foreshadowing, Geillis and Dougal’s baby boy lives! I guess that means means we have some more climbing to do in the MacKenzie family tree.
7. The Redemption of Dougal MacKenzie
Dougal MacKenzie is a complicated man. When you look at him objectively, there is every reason to pity him, and yet throughout the show he makes so many despicable decisions that you can’t help but think he brings his fate on himself. He is singularly focused on the Jacobite cause, but at times it’s hard to determine if his passion comes from a love of Scotland or his personal ambitions.
In this episode we finally see Dougal confront Colum with the difficulty of what it’s been like to be the younger brother. Dougal’s life hasn’t been his to live. He has lived in service to his brother and Clan MacKenzie and yet when he needs them most he feels like they have let him down. When Colum drinks the poison during Dougal’s speech he lets him down once again by leaving the words of love and confrontation that Dougal has stored up inside of him to die with him.
Graham McTavish played this scene masterfully.
We Noticed That Too: “All because you couldn’t keep your ass on a horse” sounds like a slogan you will find cross-stitched on an Etsy pillow soon.
8. Alex Finally Dies
Claire traveled 200 years back in time in less time than it took for Alex to finally stop breathing. Seriously, your baby mama just married your brother at the foot of your death bed; you’d think you could hurry it up. Don’t you realize that we only one episode left in the season? Take your last breath and be done with it.
We Noticed That Too: Black Jack’s reaction to his brother’s death was to repeatedly punch his fresh carcass in the face, giving us the Walking Dead crossover moment we never knew we wanted. It was pure evil, shocking, and yet a perfect depiction of his depravity.
9. Jamie and Claire are perfect
Like all of us, Jamie was flabbergasted with Claire’s quintessentially Claire-like decision to encourage Mary to marry Black Jack. Talk about throwing a bug eyed lamb to the wolves. Claire explained that if for some reason he doesn’t die at Culloden, she’ll keep her promise and help Jamie “bleed him.”
This was apparently a huge turn on for Jamie who said, “Remind me not to get on your bad side, Sassenach” while giving her his sexy bedroom eyes. Gah, why are they so perfect?
We Noticed That Too: Still no sex. I’m not pleased.
10. Jamie’s WTF Face
Once again, Bonnie Prince Charles ruins everything when he and his portion of the Highland army can’t find their way to crash Cumberland’s birthday bash. When Murtagh arrives to tell Jamie that the midnight attack is off, Jamie’s face was all of us. Their final Hail Mary has failed. There’s no denying the fact that the battle on Culloden Moor will happen the next morning. Jamie and Claire have failed in their mission to stop the destruction of the Highland clans.
We Noticed That Too: Wet and dirty Jamie is back again and we aren’t mad at it.