Episode 210 delivers the battle that viewers have been promised all season. The Rebellion has officially arrived. The Jacobite army is buoyed by their recent capture of Edinburgh and Perth, both cities having been taken without a single bullet being fired. However, they now face their first real test at Prestonpans. The episode is packed with battle scenes as expected, but it’s the before and after the fighting that makes it a true Outlander episode.
Sword Score, Before the Battle: 7/10. All of Prince Charles’s men are jockeying for position in his war room, and it’s distracting from the task at hand- namely, planning the battle. The ground between the Jacobites and the British is too marshy to cross, and there’s no solution in sight. As such, tension are running high both inside the tent and out. Some soldiers are taking their frustration out on each other, while others are making pacts to look after wives and children should they fall in battle. Dougal almost gets himself killed trying to prove his valor. In the midst of all of this, young Fergus’s plotting to join the fight himself go almost unnoticed. It’s a welcome relief when he’s the one to bring forth the solution to everyone’s problems- a way to the British.
Sword Score, During the Battle: 9/10. It’s Richard Anderson whom Fergus brings forth. Richard is from the area, and he knows of an unmarked trail down the ridge that avoids all of the uncrossable marsh. The army arrives at the British’s front door at dawn, and claim a decisive victory. Unfortunately, that victory does not come cleanly. There is loss on both sides. Fergus sneaks off to join the battle, and must kill a British soldier. Kincaid falls in battle. Rupert is gravely injured, but Claire and her field hospital are able to save his life. The hardest loss to stomach though, has to be Angus.
Skin Score: 9/10. Angus gets Rupert to the hospital, and then refuses to be treated himself. Unfortunately, his internal bleeding goes undiagnosed, and Angus dies just moments after Charles declares a formal victory. In the manner of true friends, Rupert honors his pre-battle pact to Angus by claiming Angus’s sword. It’s an exceptionally moving scene, and it contains one of the main themes of the episode: how to find purpose and meaning in the midst of a war.
Overall score: 8/10. No battle is without its casualties, and Prestonpans proves the rule. Friends have been lost, lives have been changed, and the course of the war is now more important than ever. Jamie has had to make some very hard decisions, including sending Dougal away to form the Dragoons. On top of everything else, the Battle of Culloden still looms on the horizon. Jamie and Claire are safe this episode, but what does the future hold for them?