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Outlander’ Season 2, Episode 6: Promises
Season 2, Episode 6: ‘Best Laid Schemes …’
In 1940, David W. Maurer, a professor of linguistics, published a sociological study of the confidence artist’s culture called “The Big Con.” The book dived deeply into the hierarchies and language among grifters and served as a source for the 1973 film “The Sting.” The study touched on how lying affects the ways we move through the world and on the loyalty that exists in the various castes of the grift.
These con artists, of course, did not come from the extravagant world that Claire finds herself navigating as she tries to change the course of history in Paris 1745. But, watching Saturday’s episode, “Best Laid Schemes …,” I couldn’t take my mind off the men Mr. Maurer profiled, thinking that they could teach Claire an important lesson. Everyone has the propensity for larceny, especially when reconciling it as a way to protect loved ones. It could only be a matter of time before the elaborate confident game Claire and Jamie have been playing would upend the promises they’ve made to one another.
More than their relationship, though, this episode focuses on the importance of friendship and the way Jamie’s and Claire’s careful masquerades have impeded them from fostering true connections.
Murtagh may be implicitly loyal to Jamie but his patience wears thin. He finds the “masquerades and games” to be fruitless, preferring a more direct approach. The tension between the two men has been mounting. Once Jamie decides against the duel, thanks to Claire’s influence, it sets off a chain reaction that leads them to tell Murtagh the truth. Keeping him in the dark about where and when Claire is from has become a liability.
Not much of what Jamie says to Murtagh in their mother tongue is understood. Instead we’re left to measure the shifting dynamics from their troubled facial expressions as Claire watches from above. Murtagh may be a simple man but when he makes a promise he keeps it. His belief in Jamie isn’t surprising, nor is his kindness toward Claire when he tells her, “I wouldn’t want to bear that burden.” I am continually drawn to Duncan Lacroix’s understated performance of Murtagh.
Friendship has never been a major fixture in Claire’s life. So far this season, she has grown closest to Louise and Master Raymond. The mask she wears is far more complex than Jamie’s, and she has more to lose if her masquerade fails. She isn’t just pretending to carry herself in a certain manner to help undo the Jacobite Rebellion and Prince Charles’ quest. She also has to maintain the lie of when she’s from and keep quiet with the knowledge she holds of the future.
She doesn’t fit in with the frivolity of Louise and her companions whose privileged status keeps them from empathizing with the poor that huddle on the streets of Paris, or with those that Claire cares for in the charity hospital. Her friendship with Master Raymond feels the most genuine and begs to be further explored. She warns him to flee Paris because the king is preparing to kill several suspected practitioners of magic, something she learns during a tense scene with Monsieur Forez (Niall Greig Fulton). But Master Raymond is too important a figure to disappear from Claire’s life just yet.
I haven’t talked in much detail about Jamie, Claire and Murtagh’s plan to prevent Prince Charles from receiving the money from the wine sale. That’s because it provides the episode with its most leaden moments. (The emotional landscape of their time in France has been fascinating in how it speaks to the ideas of loyalty and family. But “Outlander” is suffering in adapting such dense source material.)
Their plan is successful but leads to unintended consequences: Would Prince Charles refuse to pay his debt at the brothel if the St. Germain’s wine wasn’t “stolen” by a disguised Murtagh and hired bandits? Would Fergus have ended up in Randall’s sights if he didn’t accompany Jamie to the brothel to settle Prince Charles’ debts? Whatever happens to Fergus offscreen leads Jamie to break his promise to Claire and move forward with his duel with Randall.
When she learns of this from Suzette she rushes to track down Jamie, with Magnus (Robbie McIntosh) at her side, hoping to keep Jamie from getting himself killed or Frank from having his future obliterated. The duel feels inevitable. Claire may not see that; but it’s hinted at when Jamie says he owes Frank nothing, then in the next breath says he wants Claire to be able to travel back to Frank in case he doesn’t survive. Jamie’s desire for revenge is boiling underneath the surface, and his ability to lie apparently is deft enough to fool Claire.
“Best Laid Schemes … ” ends on a tragic note. Jamie gains the upper hand in the duel, stabbing Randall in the groin. The French police arrive and arrest Jamie as Randall bleeds out in the woods. But it’s Claire who suffers the most, the stress causes her to miscarry. Blood pools around her ankles as she uses Magnus to steady herself. That’s the thing about con games: The fallout is often worse than the mistruths.
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Data d'iscrizione : 2016-03-27
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