Recap: ‘Outlander’ – ‘Wentworth Prison’ is where common sense goes to die

Deputy Entertainment Editor
05.16.15

Starz

We”re nearly to the end folks. With only two episodes left, Claire and her merry band of Scottish rascals will have to work fast to save Jamie from “Wentworth Prison.”

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Tonight is the night the wheels came off “Outlander” for me. There were just too many baffling choices all piling on top of each other like an Idiot Ball mated with a Tribble.

Let”s start with Claire. From the moment she enters Wentworth Prison to look for Jamie, all common sense goes out the window. If you told me a wizard had placed a spell of Genre-Savvy Forgetfulness over the lintel, I would believe you. Claire knows Jamie is set to be hanged at any moment. Her initial attempt to get Wentworth”s warden to give Jamie a letter fails miserably. Which would”ve been fine if they”d been using Claire as either reconnaissance of the warden”s office or as a distraction while the men knocked out the guards. But no. Claire was legitimately just trying to get Jamie a letter and as such is WASTING VALUABLE RESCUING TIME.

Luckily the Tweedle Twins are way better at covert ops, get a jailer drunk, and discover the warden leaves his office unattended at the same time every day to spend an hour in prayer. All this leg work is completely squandered by Claire”s series of unfortunate decisions. 18th century Scotland puts a lot of stock in a proper lady with a British accent. Nobody sees Mrs. Fraser as a threat. Up until this point, Claire has acquired at least a knife and a pistol. We”re about two hundred years away from metal detectors, and no one at the prison would”ve dared to frisk her. Yet, for reasons unknown, she is not armed to the garter with weapons. Had Claire been bristling with knives and tied her pistol under her dress, this episode would”ve gone down very differently.

Alas, the spell of Genre-Savvy Forgetfulness is a powerful thing. Instead of watching a war veteran (Claire) storm through the castle hallways with Murtagh, killing guards and freeing her love, we get Murtagh leaving Claire to bumble around by herself in the underbelly of the prison, completely unarmed. After alerting every prisoner in the building that she”s on the search for Jamie – and none of those guys rat her out to the patrol? – Claire stumbles upon a door to the outside. For a hot second it looks as if she”ll either arm herself with that heavy iron pipe or go get reinforcements to Trojan horse in and rescue her husband en masse. Yet no. If she did that, Jamie would be free and not in the clutches of Black Jack Randall. The show seems hellbent on making Jamie suffer, even if it means giving his wife a temporary lobotomy (and raising my blood pressure).

Speaking of Jamie being in Randall”s clutches, making terrible decisions is not confined to Claire. After being rescued from imminent death by the worst white knight ever, Jamie finds himself in the company of a man who wants to have sex with him right before he murders him. Randall even brought muscle to help subdue his victim. If Jamie had the sense of a box of rocks, he”d have waited for the opportune moment. After all, he has those handy chains just waiting to choke a man to death on the floor. All he had to do was play Randall”s game, maybe act interested to bring the psycho closer. But, true to form, Jamie can”t play the long con and gets his hand shattered with a hammer for his effort.

Annoyed he broke his new toy, Randall leaves Jamie to weep in pain and give Claire a chance to rescue her husband. Considering she was hiding in the darkness, it could be assumed she saw Randall walk past her on his way out. Obviously not though, as she is shocked to discover Black Jack return mid-rescue attempt. Too bad she didn”t have a gun or she could”ve shot Randall and been done with it. Too bad she didn”t have a knife or she could”ve stabbed Jack”s muscle. Too bad she didn”t have a breast dagger or she could”ve been sobbing over Jamie”s bloody hand nailed to the table right until she jammed it into Randall”s eye and spit on his corpse. Too bad she didn”t lean in to whisper the hour of Black Jack”s death to him and said “Now,” beaned him in the head with the iron pipe and watched his body fall into the corpse pit.

After who knows how many months in this time period, and with the sheer number of times her life has been in mortal danger, I cannot believe Claire wouldn”t come to this battle better prepared. This feels so forced. If the show needed Jamie to stay in Randall”s clutches, there were better narrative ways to do this. For example, it”s definitely not outside his character for Black Jack to forge transfer papers and take Jamie to an undisclosed location.

Even once Claire is free from Wentworth Prison, her common sense remains impaired. Regrouping with her band of Merry Scots, they rack their brains for a way to get back into the prison. Claire has seemingly forgot she LITERALLY left the back door open for them. There”s no need for a mass distraction when a stealth assassination will suffice!

Too bad, because it appears we”re getting an unnecessary distraction in the final episode, whether we need one or not. And it will apparently involve cows.

Sigh.

Odds & Ends

• Poor Talon even has to hold the Idiot Ball, agitating his executioners to the point they let him choke to death instead of getting the fast death of a snapped neck. These guys are professional killers. There was nothing accidental about Talon”s demise.

• Knowing Randall is a sadistic psychopath, I can”t believe Jamie ate the food he sent. I also can”t believe Randall didn”t drug it.

• Murtagh carrying a sobbing Claire away from Wentworth Prison was more heart-wrenching and loving than any scene between Jamie and Claire thus far. I”m probably not supposed to be shipping these two.

• Did the Frasers really only make one copy of the pardon request? Rookie move, y”all.

• This fun historical romance has quickly taken a dark turn towards “torture porn” and I don”t like it. I prefer less gore in my love stories.

• Was Jamie”s mom a succubus? Why did everyone in the tri-county area want to bang her? She's Mary Sue-ing from beyond the grave.

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