Tara Ward recaps episode 13 of Outlander, including 18th century skinny jeans, creepy puppets and Colin Farrell’s grubby doppelganger.
‘The Search’ begins with a marionette show. Puppet Claire sits at Craigh Na Dun, chilling in her 1940s white frock, when there’s a sudden explosion of light and flames. That escalated quickly. Is this a metaphor for Claire and Jamie’s future? What will become of Claire? Who is pulling Jamie’s strings, and were they holding up his trousers? Only two minutes in, and I am very worried.
Lallybroch is a hive of activity as Claire prepares the Search for Big Red. She’s determined to do this solo. Ian can’t come because he only has one leg and Jenny must stay because she just had a baby. “Pfffft” says Jenny, who reckons anyone can push a human out of their hoo-hah. Claire still needs her to decipher Ian’s chicken-scratching of a map.
Fortuitously Jenny is an expert tracker, having enjoyed the recent Bear Grylls marathon on the Discovery Channel. Look, a hoof print! Behold, ravens flying! Mmm, warm horse dung! Jenny McGrylls leads the way, stopping only to express breast milk. Fancy showing breasts on television doing what they were biologically intended!
McGrylls arrives at a Redcoat camp, but there’s no sign of our Ginga Ninja. Claire worries that he’s already dead, but McGrylls reckons Jamie’s not stupid enough to pick a fight with ten armed soldiers. Not like you and Jenny, eh Claire? Let us all fall about in the heather, laughing hysterically. Remember that time in 1945 when all you wanted was a blue vase, Claire? Those were the days!
Unleashing their inner Thelma and Louise, the women ambush a passing Redcoat. McGrylls busies herself by warming a red-hot poker, while Claire asks the hard questions. “Where is the red-haired Highlander?” she demands. “Shifty eyes. Fine cheekbones. Auburn curls so glorious you want to grab hold and hang on for dear life.” Jenny sears the poker into the soldier’s foot. “Next up is your bollocks!” she adds, enjoying this a little too much.
“I’m just a courier!” wails poor Mr Redcoat, smoldering quietly in the corner. We’ve all heard that excuse: ‘I rang the doorbell but nobody was home!” “Your parcel was too big, please collect from the depot!” I take it back, Jenny – do your worst.
Claire discovers a letter reporting that Jamie has escaped. While Clare and Jenny argue over whether they should kill the soldier, Murtagh arrives to get the job done without the silly chit-chat. Hey ho, Murtagh, but for the love of all things hairy and tartan – he was just a courier!
Murtagh’s arrival means Jenny can take her lactating breasts back to Lallybroch. Before they part, Prophet Claire imparts three pieces of important wisdom: grow potatoes, prepare for war, and skinny jeans do not suit everyone no matter what the shop assistant says. Gotcha, says Jenny, bidding her sister-in-law goodbye.
Murtagh’s cunning plan to find Jamie is to let Jamie find them. To do this, they’ll gain fame and fortune through Highland’s Got Talent. Alas, Murtagh is eliminated in the first round. He’s disgusted, believing his dancing talents are wasted on these backwater idiots. Jamie’s fate now lies with Claire’s talent to dress as a man and sing a bawdy Scottish song.
It’s all beer and skittles until they meet Colin Farrell the Gypsy, who is also travelling the countryside singing and dancing. Claire and Murtagh tell Colin Farrell that if he persists using their song, Ned Gowan will lay a lawsuit on his Irish arse quicker than you can say ‘really bad plotline’.
Also if two Sassenach’s become famous, Jamie will be confused about which one is looking for him. His eyes will go all shifty and his jaw will flex. Please Gypsy Colin, please think of Jamie all alone in the forest in that terrible condition. If that doesn’t make you stop, then perhaps this bag containing all Claire’s money will. “I promise,” says Colin Farrell, fingers crossed.
Thankfully, Gypsy Colin later redeems himself by giving Claire a message: go to Glenrowan Cross with haste. Claire’s thrilled – she can finally stop wearing this stupid outfit! Oh, and there’s a message from Jamie!
Alas, it’s not Jamie, but the Great Bearded One. Dougal has bad news – Jamie’s alive (happy face) but is due to be hanged in Wentworth Prison (sad face). Enough about Big Red: Dougal wants to propose. Geillis who? “You complete me,” he tells Claire. “But mostly, you’re an English widow with no money, property or protection, and Black Jack Randall is all over that stuff”.
Poor Claire, forever hounded by men attracted to her beauty, intelligence and independence. It’s a cross many of us bear. Is it too much to ask to freely dress in men’s clothes and sing our way through the countryside looking for our fugitive husbands, without having to manage these emotionally confused males?
Claire refuses to give up on Jamie, but agrees to marry Dougal if Jamie dies. Excellent Plan B, Claire. No ginger curls, but a fine downy beard to keep you warm on those cold Highland evenings.
Duncan’s men are reluctant to help Claire. After all, most of them broke into Wentworth in episode nine and they already have the t-shirt. Eventually Angus and Rupert (Outlander’s version of Ant and Dec, as I can’t tell which is which) and Willie agree to help. As long as Willie doesn’t go off for a crap at a crucial moment, this bodes well.
With only two episodes remaining, we stand with Claire and her band of Hairy Men at a veritable Skippers Canyon of emotional drama. We are equal parts terrified and uplifted as we gaze into the abyss. Ahead of us, Jamie awaits his fate. Let’s just hope it doesn’t involve an exploding marionette puppet.