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Reason A gnarly corpse; more war-related injuries.

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Outlander Gets Bogged Down In War

The Jacobite Rebellion is on, and the only thing standing in the way of their first military victory is some stupid mud.

  • Symbolism
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    A Less Than Exquisite Corpse

    The Scene: Claire is taking a leak on the side of the road.

    The Symbol: This dude.

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    The Meaning: War fucking sucks, y'all. But Claire's ready for it, if her pilfering the dead man's broadsword is any indication.

  • Alert!
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    Daddy Always Said Those Battle Tactics Classes Would Come In Handy

    Alert Type: Troublesome Wetland Alert.

    Issue: The Jacobites were able to seize Perth and Edinburgh without firing a single shot thanks to their element of surprise, but taking hold of the village of Prestonpans will prove more difficult. Between them and the sizable British regiment is a marshy bog. Despite possessing the high ground, the bog negates the Jacobites' "Highland charge" strategy, which Dougal demonstrated for us last week. (Is it weird that, in a time of drone warfare, I find the idea of a bog being a major factor in battle...charming? Yep, it's weird. We live in a horrifying world.)

    Complicating Factors: Charles (now sporting locale-appropriate tartan) is proving an indecisive leader, and his counsel is no help. Irish Quartermaster John O'Sullivan believes their army will be able to overcome marching through "a little mud," but Scottish Lord General John Murray thinks the British will use their superior firepower to gun them down before they can reach the other side (and Jamie agrees). Murray and O'Sullivan don't just disagree on battle strategies; they seem to actively hate each other. They spend most of the meeting hurling insults at each other -- although they make sure to follow up their name-calling with a sarcastic "sir"s, so that's nice, I guess.

    Resolution: Charles initially wants to try striking a deal with the British general, believing he will be welcomed with open arms by the people of Prestonpans the way he was at Perth and Edinburgh. Except, that's not exactly how things went down. Jamie reminds him that the other regiments surrendered to them because they had no other choice, not because they were inspired to do so by the return of the Stuarts. Since no one else can agree on a different course of action, Charles goes with Murray's suggestion of doing nothing.

    Spoiler: They eventually do...something.

  • Here's An Idea
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    How About Not Treating The Men Fighting Your Rebellion Like Collateral Damage?

    After the meeting, Charles instructs Jamie to tell Claire -- who has been put in charge of the field hospital -- that once the fighting does get underway, she and her nurses are to tend to the British captives before their own men. Charles wants the English to know that he loves all British men, not just the Jacobite rebels. Charles is damn lucky he suggested this to Jamie and not to literally any other person. Can you imagine Dougal putting his life on the line for a prince who would put his enemies' well-being ahead of his own soldiers'? Jamie advises Charles to keep that notion under his wig where it belongs, but this is probably not the last time this will come up.

  • Meeting Time
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    Would It Be So Terrible If Fergus Were Still Too Traumatized To Get Out Of Bed?

    Who called the meeting? Claire.

    What's it about? Orientation for her nurses -- and Fergus.

    How'd it go? Claire, unlike Charles, has already proven herself to be a natural leader. She is a calming, reassuring presence for her anxious crew, even though they fail to grasp some of her queerer 20th century notions of medicine, like the sugar water needed to keep the patients' "blood pressure" up, whatever that is. It would be a perfectly successful meeting, if not for Fergus, who refuses to sit still and stop playing with every object in sight. He is unhappy with being assigned "women's work" while the other men go off the battle, and...I think you know where this is headed. Fergus is a curious, curious cat.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    The MacKenzies vs. The Frasers

    While Charles continues to punt on a decision, the natives are getting restless. With no one to stab, Angus takes out his pent-up energy on Kincaid, one of the two Fraser guards who missed John Grey sneaking into their camp, by spitting beer in his face while they sit around the campfire. Though they have much love for Jamie and Murtagh, Angus and Rupert are no fans of the rest of Clan Fraser, and the feeling is mutual. What starts off as an innocent prank very quickly devolves into pointed weapons and death threats. Luckily, Jamie is walking by to break up the fight before it can get too serious. Where is Claire to shake her head and mutter "ugh, men" when you need her?

    Winner: No one. If the Brits' plan is to postpone battle until infighting destroys the Jacobites, it's working.

  • Place Of Interest
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    Boggy Bottom

    No one knows exactly how deep the bog separating the Jacobites and English is, which is why an all-out assault through it is such a risky prospect. So, Jamie wants to send a soldier on horseback to the middle of the bog to test it out. The trouble is that British rifles are accurate within 100 feet, so the test subject would be putting himself in mortal danger by getting so close. Who better to risk his life in the name of Scottish glory than Jamie's uncle? Dougal accepts the mission, eager to prove his mettle to Charles.

    The whole army comes out to watch Dougal ride his horse into marsh -- including Charles, whom the majority of the Scots have yet to lay their eyes on.

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    Dougal doesn't even get halfway across before the British are able to shoot his cap clean off his head. You'd think this would inspire Dougal to retreat with a little urgency, but no, he's gotta show off by taking his damn time. Despite confirming their worst fears about the bog, Dougal receives much fanfare upon his return, including a hug (!) from Charles.

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    Dougal is on his way to becoming the hero he's always wanted to be. I SURE HOPE HE DOESN'T FUCK IT UP (wink wink, nudge nudge).

  • That Quote
    "And now I'm off to change my breeks, because the hero of the hour has shat his pants."
    - Dougal MacKenzie -
  • Character Study
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    The Only Boy Who Could Ever Lead Me Was The Son Of A Farmer Man

    Name: Richard Anderson.
    Age: Early 20s.
    Occupation: Local farmer's son.
    Goal: To use his knowledge of the landscape to lead the Jacobites to the other side of the marshlands without the English realizing...if that is truly his intention. Murray is somewhat suspicious of Anderson's sudden appearance, and the fact that the path he's suggesting isn't marked on any map. But, with no other obvious course of action available, Charles decides to trust the townie.
    Sample Dialogue: "I'm not one for fighting, but I can get you from here to there."
  • That'll Do
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    That'll Do, You Morbid Misogynists

    With the possibility of death on the battlefield looming over them, Ross and Kincaid strike a deal to leave their belongings to each other if things go pear-shaped for one of them. And their "belongings," of course, include their women. Really, guys? You don't think your wives would maybe want to choose their second husbands themselves? (Just kidding. It's 1745. They'll be happy just to avoid being exiled to whatever mossy cave widows are forced to live in after their husbands die.)

    Angus overhears their conversations and suggests to Rupert that they make a similar arrangement, although he only has his sword and his favorite whore (pronounced "hoo-err") to offer. Rupert refuses, not because he is a chivalrous gentleman who thinks of women as more than property, but because he's a big believer in what the 18th century version of The Secret is (the Bible, I suppose) and does not want manifest such bad juju.

  • That Quote
    "In a raid, every man has a part to play. You tell yourself that the raid's success or failure is dependent on your actions....If you were to be killed, you'd die knowing that your memory would live on within your clan. Your death would have meaning. This is different. We're part of a two-thousand-strong army. My death, your death alone would be meaningless."
    - Murtagh, getting into the spirit of things -
  • Party!
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    On Your Way, Soldiers

    What's the occasion? It's the night before the Battle of Prestonpans, and the men are saying their (hopefully temporary) goodbyes to Claire.

    Who's being a party pooper? Fergus is still not happy about being relegated to the field hospital. He tells Jamie and Claire that he can sneak into the British general's tent and steal his sword, as if that would change the outcome of the battle somehow. What an adorable moron.

    Who's definitely not getting laid ? Angus, who tries to guilt Claire into giving him a goodbye kiss, just as he did before the Frasers left for France. And just like last time, Claire grants him a kiss on the cheek.

    Whose big public scene will everyone be talking about tomorrow? Perhaps Jamie and Claire, who have a furious make-out session right before Jamie sets off. And in clear view of Angus. Manners, guys.

  • Fight! Fight! Fight!
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    The Jacobites vs. The English

    Before dawn, Richard leads the Jacobite army through the thick fog to the other side of the marsh. Turns out he was telling the truth after all! Joining the soldiers is Charles and...

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    Fergus, you dumb stupid idiot, I hate you! Who the fuck let this kid sneak in? I seriously hope whoever did dies a gruesome, painful death on the battlefield.

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    Before the Jacobites charge the British, Jamie instructs Murray to watch over Charles and keep him behind the line. Charles is none too pleased about being overruled, since he was hoping to lead his men into battle. (Initially, I found this bravery out of character for Charles, but then I remembered he's an megalomaniac who believes God is personally guiding him to victory.) Jamie tells Charles that the rebellion would have no chance of survival with him dead, which is true, and that his father would find no joy in winning the British throne if it were to cost him his son, which is, according to Charles, not true at all. Can't wait to meet that guy!

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    When dawn hits, Jamie gives the signal and then men charge down the hill. It's total mayhem. It's also really well directed and fun to watch, if you don't mind seeing buckets of blood squirting out of men in every direction (which, since you're watching this show, I'm going to assume you don't). Meanwhile, as Murtagh, Dougal and the others tap into their most primal, murderous selves...

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    The field hospital starts filling up with injured soldiers. Claire runs around tending to as many as possible, but one soldier who is beyond her help is Kincaid, whom Ross has carried to the hospital on his back. Sorry, buddy.

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    It isn't long before the British army is in complete shambles. Those who don't fall on the battlefield flee, either to the village or the Jacobite hospital. Claire and the nurses tend to soldiers on both sides, prioritizing the most injured men first.

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    Rupert ends up on the business end of broadsword courtesy of the British general himself. It's a brutal hit, but, before another soldier can ride in and finish Rupert off, Angus shoots him off his horse with his musket. And just as Rupert's about to give his BFF the thumbs up, Angus is knocked to the ground by cannon fire.

    Somehow, Angus is able to recover and carry Rupert to the hospital. When Claire tells Angus he'll tend to Rupert as soon as she can, Angus screams bloody murder (and rightly so, since she was treating an enemy soldier at the time). Claire sews up Rupert's enormous wound as best she can, but tells Angus that she has no way of knowing whether it will be enough to save him. As for Angus himself, Claire is worried he might be concussed, but otherwise he seems fine.

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    A minute later, Jamie barges into the hospital, bloody but shaking with joy. Just like the real Battle of Prestonpans, the TV Jacobites achieved victory after only ten or fifteen minutes. Murtagh reports that they lost around fifty men, which pales in comparison to the hundreds of fallen British soldiers.

    Winner: The Jacobites.

  • Wrap It Up
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    THANK JESUS, FERGUS IS ALL RIGHT! (He is literally the only child I've ever cared about on any show, and I don't think my brittle soul would have survived his death.) Though unscathed, he did kill a British soldier and is now, once again, severely traumatized. Someone develop some rudimentary form of psychotherapy to help this kid out, stat!

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    Dougal is finishing off the fallen English soldiers when he comes across Jeremy Foster, the lieutenant who escorted Dougal and Claire to an English stronghold when he discovered them arguing on the road last season. Dougal plops down next to him, and, at first, is uncharacteristically cordial to him. But when Foster tells Dougal, not unkindly, that the Jacobites have zero chance against the full strength of the British army, Dougal...

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    While the rest of the men Dougal was dealing with were already as good as dead, Foster's injuries were relatively minor. Clearly, Dougal does not share Charles's sentiment that the English and Scottish are brothers from different queen mothers.

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    Back in the hospital, Claire notices a hoofprint on Jamie's shirt, near his kidney. In the heat of battle, Jamie kinda forgot about BEING STEPPED ON BY A HORSE. Claire tells him to pee in a cup to make sure there's no blood in his urine, so Jamie, who DOES track with Charles's philosophy of compassion, uses the opportunity to make a friendly wager with the English prisoners: six pence if he can fill the glass from six feet away. They agree to the bet, but just as Jamie's whips it out...

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    The Jacobites were victorious, but Charles is, nevertheless, somber. He addresses the Scots and English alike, decrying the violence necessary to put a Stuart back on the throne. Everyone is listening to Charles's impassioned speech, but he is cut off in the middle of it by Dougal, who comes bounding in shouting "VICTORY!" at the top of his lungs.

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    Douglas picks up one of the nurses and gives her a few (much appreciated, from what I can tell) dry humps before noticing the English soldiers in the corner. Having not received Charles's notice about compassion and all that, Dougal is disgusted to find them being treated next to Scottish clansmen. He pulls out his dirk and makes to charge at them, but is held back by Jamie.

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    Witnessing Dougal's severe lack of "Christian charity," Charles dresses him down in front of the whole room, shaming Dougal into silence. Charles points to the door and demands that Dougal leave his sight AND his army at once.

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    As Dougal is about to walk out with his tail between his legs, Jamie speaks up, calling Dougal a "true warrior...despite his foolish tongue." Instead of discharging him, Jamie recommends putting Dougal in charge of a dragoon of Highlander trackers that will follow the English army and report back on their findings. That way, he can still be of service while remaining out of Charles's sight. The prince agrees, and warns the "rogue" on his way out not to waste his second chance.

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    At first, Dougal seems grateful, but it's just a front. "You champion me," he whispers to Jamie, "and exile me at the same time. That's a plan worthy of my brother, Collum."

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    And then, out of nowhere, Angus is bent over, blood pouring out his mouth. Claire pulls off his shirt and, seeing the purple bruise on his side, realizes he's been bleeding internally since he was hit by the cannon fire. With no way to help him, Claire, Jamie and Dougal are forced to watch Angus gargle blood until he finally dies. WHAAAAAAAAAT???????

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    When Angus finally stops moving, Rupert rises from his daze, walks through the pain to his best friend's side, and, without a word, takes Angus's sword from his sheath and returns to his cot. I LITERALLY CANNOT STOP CRYING. PLEASE SEND HELP.

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    That night, while the rest of the army celebrates, Murtagh, Jamie, and Claire huddle together, mourning their friend. To lighten the mood, Jamie points out that Claire was correct in her prediction that they would be victorious at Prestonpans. Except, as Jamie must realize, he shouldn't exactly be celebrating the fact that events have unfolded according to her understanding of history. If she was right about Prestonpans, chances are she's right about Culloden, and about the Jacobites' ultimate defeat.

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    With both of their best friends dead, Rupert and Ross have come together to work out their grief through heavy drinking. They end the episode singing out a traditional British drinking song, "Down Among The Dead Men." See you next week for even more light-hearted tales of war and death!

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