The writers of ‘Outlander’ have a wonderful ability to title each episode perfectly, and ‘Je Suis Prest’ is no exception. The episode is all about getting ready for war. Jamie has his work cut out for him in training up the new recruits before they reach Charles. He’s also got a whole host of returning faces to deal with, several of whom are out to make his task as difficult as possible. Meanwhile, Claire is struggling with the preparations in her own way. The episode is heavily weighted on the sword side, and most of the action in taking place inside everyone’s heads. It’s a solid run up to the final four episodes of the season, and leaves viewers ready for more.
Skin score: 6/10. With this episode being so heavily focused on the sword side, there isn’t much left on the skin side. What is there isn’t anything groundbreaking. Viewers get to meet some familiar faces- Dougall, Angus, and Rupert from Clan MacKenzie- and catch up on happenings within the clan. There’s also a very sweet scene when Fergus is reunited with Claire and Jamie. He’s really starting to see them as parents, and even Murtagh is starting to come around to the boy’s charms. There’s nothing wrong with the scenes themselves, but they’re not standouts. Even a romantic interlude between Claire and a victory-ecstatic Jamie barely begins before it’s literally back to the march to war.
Sword score: 9/10. The biggest plot line here is Claire’s flashbacks to WWII. Jamie is caught up in the preparations for battle- trying to turn 70-odd Highlanders into trained soldiers as quickly as possible- and misses the buildup of Claire’s stress. Every part of the battle prep is triggering a memory in her of two young soldiers in WWII, and it’s causing her to lash out at the soldiers in Jamie’s army. He finally senses that there’s something amiss, but it’s not until Claire melts down on the training ground that he gets the full story out of her. In typical Jamie fashion, he tries to send Claire back to Lallybroch. In typical Claire fashion, she refuses. She won’t sit back and be helpless again. (Fans of the books will appreciate the name drop of Dragonfly In Amber, the 2nd book in the series and the inspiration for this season.) It’s not peace for long on the battlefield though, as 16-year-old William Grey sneaks into the camp and tries to cut Jamie’s throat. He refuses to talk until Claire leaps in and pretends to be a kidnapped British woman. A rather hilarious scene (to those who know Jamie and Claire) ensues, and William spills the beans on his troop. The part to remember here is that William now owes Jamie a life debt, and he’s also vowed to kill Jamie the instant it’s repaid. That teenager is going to be one to watch.
Final score: 7.5/10. It’s a solid episode, if lacking on the skin side. The preparations for battle are well under way, and Jamie and his men are on their way to Charles. They’re well past the point of no return now. With Claire’s vow to remain by Jamie’s side, whatever happens on the battlefield is going to have immediate repercussions for both of them. And at some point soon, viewers will learn just what it is that drives Claire back through the stones to 1948.
Kade is often described as, “here just a minute ago” and can often be found just around the corner from where you’d expect. Approaching is not encouraged, unless you come with a strong wifi connection and a nice charcuterie board with gluten-free breads.