Vengeance Is Mine – Outlander Season 2 Recap and Critique

Murtagh used a bit of the ultra-violence to wrap up a loose end in “Vengeance Is Mine”. Wrapping up that loose end, though, involved Murtagh doing away with one of Outlander’s best guest stars. Claire and Jamie seem to be no closer to stopping the Battle of Culloden: the other generals disagree with Jamie’s (and Claire’s) advice to push on to London rather than retreat to Scotland until spring. And, Rupert‘s in a bad way. Already mourning the death of Angus at Prestonpans, Rupert sustains a potentially fatal injury at the hands of the redcoats …

Vengeance Is Mine – My Recap

“Vengeance Is Mine” starts with the bonny prince making his case to take London rather than wait out the winter and remount their offensive once the weather improves. Lord George Murray and Sir John O’Sullivan are in a rare state of agreement on this strategy but Jamie stands with Stuart. Eventually though, not even Stuart’s patriotic entreaties can sway the two older men, and the officers agree to winter in Scotland so that they can replenish their stores and recruit more men to their cause. Jamie delivers this bad news to Claire after leaving the meeting.

Vengeance Is Mine
“Yes, it hurts when I do everything!!”

As they make their way to the Scottish border, they run into an English patrol. All parties scatter in order to make it more difficult for the redcoats to track them. But, as Claire, Jamie, Rupert, and Dougal make their escape on horseback, a musket ball hits Rupert in the right eye. Dougal performs an impressive bit of horseback riding, jumping from his horse to Rupert’s. He grabs the unconscious Scot just before Rupert falls off his horse. They lose the redcoats and seek an appropriate place to assess and care for Rupert’s life-threatening wound. They take refuge in a church and shortly after Claire has finished patching Rupert’s eye the redcoats arrive and threaten to burn the church down unless the Scots surrender.

There is much frenzied discussion about what to do. Claire decides to again pretend that she is a captive of the Scots. The group hesitantly agrees to Claire’s plan, knowing that the English are unlikely to attack if they have an Englishwoman in their midst. After making plans for Jamie to retrieve her at the nearest English garrison once the patrol has moved on, Claire pretends she has fainted. Dougal carries Claire out of the church and presents her to the English officers. After a brief negotiation between Dougal and the commanding officer, the English agree to withdraw.

Claire’s plans to be rescued, though, hit an apparent snag when she learns that she will not be taken to the nearest English garrison but Belmont, which is closer. Claire’s concerns mount when she realizes that Belmont is the home of one of her and Jamie’s nemeses, the Duke of Sandringham. Luckily, one of Jamie’s longtime allies, ill-fated mute Hugh Munro, happens to be in the town that Claire and her English escort stops at on its way to Belmont. Recognizing Munro, she is able to covertly instruct him to tell Jamie that she is being taken to Belmont. Munro nods in understanding and the two part ways.

Arriving at Belmont, the Duke of Sandringham doesn’t blow Claire’s cover. He calls Claire “Mrs. Beauchamp” and pretends not to know her rather than outing her as “Red Jamie” Fraser’s wife. After some dinner, the duke explains his own predicament. He, much like Claire, is interested in being rescued from Belmont (he’s tired of being scrutinized by English soldiers). So, the duke requests that Claire send a letter to her husband asking Jamie to save them both. Claire writes to Jamie in Gaelic and the duke has his courier deliver it to Hugh Monroe. The courier delivers the letter to Munro and Munro nearly clobbers him for his efforts. No tip?!

Back at Belmont Claire has a reunion with Mary Hawkins who we learn is the duke’s goddaughter. He intends to marry her off to a Mr. Granger, but in private Mary begs Claire to help her avoid the wedding. In an even unhappier reunion, Claire recognizes one of the duke’s servants, by the birthmark on his hand, as the man who raped Mary. She begins to question the duke as to the rapist’s employment history and the duke scolds his servant, Danton, for being recognized. The duke admits to employing Danton to rape her and Mary in France. He assures Claire, though, that rape was a better option than what his accomplice le Comte St. Germain had demanded. The duke explains that he owed St. Germain a great deal of money. Claire looks on, sneering in the duke’s face the entire time.

The Duke of Sandringham goes on to explain to Claire that, now that “Red Jamie” is on his way to Belmont, the redcoats will be able to set a trap for him. The duke explains that his facilitation of Jamie’s capture will solidify his reputation as a true English patriot. After telling Claire of his dastardly plan, the duke orders his servant to escort Claire to her room and lock her in. We also see Munro successfully deliver Claire’s poorly translated message to Jamie and Murtagh. The two Scots, commenting on Claire’s bad Gaelic, determine that she is at Belmont with Sandringham and wants rescuing.

Claire paces by her window and sees Munro running across the lawn. She fears that the redcoats will catch Jamie and hand him over to the English. Startled by someone’s entering her room, she sees Mary. Mary asks Claire to rescue her from Belmont (a common theme around here!). Claire agrees and asks Mary to go outside and tell Munro that Jamie is walking into a trap. But, Mary’s not the bravest person around and she refuses to go outside and talk to a beggar. Claire, probably noticing a theme, realizes she’ll have to do it herself. Claire makes her way downstairs to the exit but is stopped at the door by the wig-less form of the duke.

The duke claims he needed a midnight snack: Claire lies, badly while edging away from the door, that she came down for the same reason. Over what appears to be some cold chicken, the duke presses Claire on how she killed St. Germain. Mary Hawkins’s sudden appearance interrupts their conversation and the duke orders her back to bed. As the duke and Claire resume their conversation, though, Mary makes for the front door. Luckily, Munro is right outside dealing with a redcoat and Mary is able to deliver her message. Danton drags Mary away but doesn’t notice Munro outside dragging away his redcoat victim.

Danton brings Mary back to the kitchen. Mary lies that she was trying to escape Belmont for fear of having to marry Mr. Granger. The duke again orders Mary to bed but just as she’s about to be dragged off once again Jamie and Murtagh burst in. I guess Munro didn’t deliver Mary’s message (he is mute). Danton grabs Claire and puts a dagger to her throat. The duke scrambles to get his wig on. Hoping to spur on some kind of superhuman revenge strength or something, Claire announces to the room that Danton raped Mary and that the duke hired him to do it. The duke tries to explain his dastardly behaviour and, as he does, Mary runs Danton through with Jamie’s dagger. Danton collapses and, with Claire safe from harm, Murtagh raises his axe and cleaves the duke’s head from his shoulders.

Vengeance Is Mine
“There can be only one!”

Murtagh places the Duke of Sandringham’s dismembered head at the feet of Mary and Claire saying, “I kept my word. I lay my vengeance at your feet.” The four outlaws stand in silence for a bit until Mary quite rightly says, “I think we should go now.”

Vengeance Is Mine – My Critique

Go Mary! That’s one rapist down, uh several more to go! “Vengeance Is Mine” was a good episode that gave Simon Callow a great opportunity to go out with a bang. Callow did a great job highlighting the Duke of Sandringham’s apathy and frivolity. The duke was a villain I loved to hate so I hope that Outlander is able to provide a suitable replacement, especially since Black Jack Randall seems to have traveled back in time to the Dark Ages. Wait, that’s a different show …

Vengeance Is Mine
It’s Frank! It’s Black Jack! No, it’s Edmure Tully!

“Vengeance Is Mine” also gave viewers another taste of why it would be logistically difficult to go back in time and influence historical events. Even armed with the knowledge that the Scots might’ve won if they’d initially taken London rather than wintering in Scotland, Jamie couldn’t change the generals’ minds. Because the officers don’t know their own futures, they must rely on their instincts that tell them to retreat.

“Vengeance Is Mine” provided viewers with a lot of character development. Both Rupert’s wistful remembrances of Angus’s vulgarity and Mary’s proactive approach to justice made “Vengeance Is Mine” worthwhile. It was a great touch that Murtagh beheaded the duke with so little pomp and circumstance. Obviously, Murtagh had been looking forward to that for a while.

Michael Bedford
Michael Bedford
Under intense scrutiny by the Temporal Authorities, I was coerced into actualizing my capsule in this causality loop. Through no fault of my own, I am marooned on this dangerous yet lovely level-four civilization. Stranded here, I have spent most of my time learning what I can of the social norms and oddities of the Terran species, including how to properly use the term "Hipster" and how to perform a "perfect pour." Under the assumed name of "Michael Bedford," I have completed BA's with specialized honours in both theatre studies and philosophy, and am currently saving up for enough galactic credits to buy a new--or suitably used--temporal contextualizer ... for a friend.