Wow, we’re back where we belong, in the beautiful Scottish countryside.
The Fraser motto – Je Suis Prest – I Am Ready is the title of episode 9. And yes, I was ready for this episode. Like a lot of other fans, I was waiting, with open arms and heart to embrace this story, bringing back the Jamie we know and love, The King of Men.
Jamie, a natural leader, takes charge of the clansmen who have come to fight for their future, their families and country.
It was verra nice to Claire and Fergus share some affectionate moments. Angus and Rupert are back, sharing their despair that Willie has married and gone off to the colonies with his new bride’s Irish family. Angus and Rupert bring a nice touch of humour with them.
Murtagh is in full military training mode (think of the 1745 version of military boot camp), trying to get a rag tag bunch of farmers up to speed on discipline and fighting techniques.
Jamie gives the men a speech about the reality of battle and I’m a bit surprised they didn’t all flee right then. But to their credit they did not flee.
Jamie’s uncle, Dougal Mackenzie thinks they can win against the British using the traditional Highland war charge. Jamie knows the men need more training and a different method of attack and takes Dougal aside to reinforce who is charge. Jamie let’s Dougal know that he is simply tolerating Dougal’s presence out of respect.
Conniving as always, Dougal tries to get Claire to speak to Jamie, but is vehemently rebuffed by her. Claire’s comments to Dougal use very modern and direct language, designed to confuse Dougal, who I’m sure, has never had anyone speak to him in such a way.
There is a lack of discipline in the camp when men stray into the camp unchallenged by the sentries. Dougal is unhappy when he is put in charge of the sentry duties for the entire encampment. The sentries who failed in their duties are punished by being lashed.
The goings on in the camp bring back bad memories for Claire, who experiences disturbing PTSD flashes of her time as a World War II combat nurse until the sounds and smells of training for the battle, and specific events in daily camp life make Claire tense and irritable. Eventually Claire’s condition triggers a full on collapse.
For the guys, when a woman says “I’m fine.” It usually means just the opposite. Just saying!
Claire eventually tells Jamie of her experience in WWII, and her distress and guilt about what happened.
In another lapse of security a young British solider enters the camp and attacks Jamie when he is taking, shall we say “a personal moment”. Jamie breaks he young man’s arm. Murtagh finds a letter on his person, indicating he is carrying correspondence for the British. He has recognised Jamie as “Red Jamie” who he describes as “an unprincipled and traitorous rebel”. When it seems the honourable young man will not divulge details of the British, Claire steps in. She portrays herself as being held captive by the Scots and offers herself up to her supposed captors in exchange for freeing the lad. After suitable encouragement the young man introduces himself as William Grey, second son of Viscount Melton and goes on to tell Jamie about troop numbers and movements. Jamie order the boy be taken and tied to a tree 1 mile from the British camp IF his information is correct. If incorrect Jamie orders William’s throat be cut. William states he owes Jamie his life, as a debt of honour which he hopes to discharge in the future.
Once more there is punishment due for the sentries carelessness, and Jamie also takes the blame himself for the unshielded fires. Murtagh is forced to use the lash on Jamie.
In fact William has told the truth and Jamie’s men go to the British camp undercover of darkness. Dougal is relegated to remain back at the Scots’ camp while the others sabotage the British.
Next morning the whole camp departs marching along with a haunting Gaelic vocal and evocative music, arriving at Prince Charles Edwad Stuart’s encampment.
My opinion (if it matters), I loved this episode.