Outlander 1.08: “Both Sides Now” Review

The Ever-Evil Cliffhanger

A Television Review by Akash Singh

NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!

This is Outlander’s last episode before it returns on April 4th, 2015. Just to make a note before we get to the episode, that is a super long mid-season hiatus, but whatever. They can release the soundtrack in the interim, right? Anyhow, Both Sides Now continues the Outlander tradition of episodes with very literal titles and solid material. There’s the every dirty cliffhanger employed at the very end here, with Jamie’s frame literally hanging off of a door. This wasn’t the best hour of the show and I’ll discuss its flaws down the episode, but it was still engaging material, made all the more effective that the episode cut between Frank’s and Claire’s perspectives.

Frank as it turns out has been searching for Claire for six straight weeks with no luck whatsoever. To his immense frustration, the detective agency seems to be under the impression that Claire just eloped with the Highlander Frank described. He’s undeniably furious, but the detectives unfortunately have a point, too. There was, after all, little to no evidence that Claire was taken away forcefully. He goes on a drynking binge as anyone in that situation would in that situation before he’s approached by a woman who calls herself Sally and says she knows where the Highlander is. It’s a bit bemusing, but it makes sense when Sally is revealed to be in league with two thugs who just want the reward money. It’s a horrible despicable thing to do. Frank is undoubtedly furious and he savagely beats the two men, nearly choking Sally at the end of the process. The seeds of his ancestor are still alive in the modern-day Frank.

Claire goes through a rough hour. She does get a bit of fun weapons training that was a Chekov’s Gun sequence if there ever was one. At the onset of the episode her and Jamie are having sex while they’re accosted by two Redcoats. One of them holding a gun to Jamie’s head watches calmly as his compatriot attempts to rape Claire. She struggles before grabbing her short knife and stabbing her rapist to death. Jamie takes advantage of the other’s momentary lapse and slashes a knife across his neck. Claire is understandably shaken from being nearly raped yet again in this world and stabbing a man to death. As Jamie races off to potentially clear the price on his head, Claire shakily runs towards Craigh na Dun, having finally had enough with that Scottish world.

Frank is informed of the tale of travelers who disappear through the stones at Craigh na Dun. Like most logical individuals, he just mostly takes that as a lame, mythical attempt to gain him some semblance of hope. Nevertheless, he traverses over to the runes just as Claire is doing the same in the eighteenth century. The seeuqnece of both of them running to Craigh na Dun as the camera keeps on cutting between both of them with Bear McCreary’s music swelling in the background is breathtaking. Claire can hear Frank shouting her name, but can he hear her? It’s as astounding sequence that functions to garner the most emotions out of its audience and succeeds monumentally on that front.

Suddenly the screen fades to black and Claire is being hauled away by Redcoats. She makes the unfortunate acquaintance of Captain Jack Randall once more. Ever the clever woman, Claire tries to use Jack’s Duke benefactor as a way to prove to him that the both of them are on the same side. It works until she slips into the captain’s verbal traps. He begins to assault her just as the door crashes wide open. “Get your hands off my wife,” Jamie thunders quietly and the screen cuts to black. And my fellow Outlanders, it’s been fun and I will be back in April with our weekly reviews.  Until then, sayonara Sassenachs!

Great/Not-So-Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:

+The opening shot of 18th-century Scotland was gorgeous

+The scene with Hugh was wonderful and sweet

+Nice foreshadowing with the dragonfly in amber, both emblematic of being trapped in time and the title of the second book in the series

+I am absolutely in love with the color palette that gives the twentieth century scenes so much added visual texture

+Roger Wakefield

+The scene where he goes to give the reward had a great detective vibe

+This should be Caitriona Balfe’s Emmy submission so far. She’s fantastic and plays an incredible range of emotion over an hour. Same for Tobias Menzies. Sam Heughan’s hour will come next year.

+“Evil finding its patches in good men.”

-Two attempted rapes in one episode is a little too much

-No Geillis

-No Mrs. Fitzgibbons (I know they’re not at Castle Leoch, but still)

Brilliant

9/10

Episode Title: Both Sides Now

Writer: Ronald D. Moore

Director: Anna Foerster

Image Courtesy: IB Times

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