TV Review: Outlander 2.10 “Prestonpans”
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Season 2 Episode 10: “Prestonpans”
Directed by Philip John
Written by Ira Steven Behr
Created by Ronald D. Moore
Based on the books by Diana Galbadon
Starring Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Duncan Lacroix, Graham McTavish, Stephen Walters, Grant O’Rourke, Romann Berrux, Andrew Gower, Scott Kyle
Air Date: Saturday, June 11th, 2016, 9:00pm

Last week on Outlander, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) had severe WWII flashbacks in the midst of prepping the army, who are sorely in need of training. When she finally talked about it with Jamie (Sam Heughan), she felt a bit better, but war is ugly no matter who wins. One of the most pivotal moments in the books happened last week, as a young (John) William Grey was captured and spilled all for fear of Claire’s “honor.” Jamie spared him and he is now in his debt. Dougal (Graham McTavish) arrived at the camp with his men, and was really proud of Jamie for joining the cause. Of course, Dougal got in trouble often because he is Dougal. Jamie took a whipping and thus was an example of a true leader.

Spoilers below.

Outlander 2.10 “Prestonpans” review: Gruesome opening scene – wounds with crawling maggots. Claire fears that it will be for naught. “How many men have I seen killed in war? Far, far too many.”

Prince Charles (Andrew Gower) is listening to bickering army leads – to strike or maintain defenses? Jamie mentions the bog they would have to wade through, but the arguing continues to get nowhere with next steps.

The prince asks Jamie to tend to the British wounded first. Jamie tells him to keep that to himself, and the prince responds with surely Claire listens to her lord and master Jamie – yeah, right!

The men are really antsy with the wait. Dougal volunteers to scout out the marshlands (Jamie’s idea). He wants to “prove his mettle” to see if the British guns can reach. They can when he gets stuck in the mud, and another strategy is needed. Dougal is happy that the prince recognizes his valor.

Claire instructs the ladies on jobs while caring for the wounded. A man comes with news of a drier bog trail, and will lead them through to the British. Can they trust him? Either way, they are going. The men make “if we die in battle” talk. Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) is having a particular hard time. Death and meaning. Jamie feels the same way.

Fergus (Romann Berrux) wants to join the men.

“We will win this day.” They say goodbye.

They go through the bog on the trail. Fergus sneaks and goes too, to the surprise of no one, including us. The prince wants to lead, but Jamie won’t let him. He is the symbol of what they fight for, and needs to be alive for the victory. The British are taken “bloody” unawares. The battle scene is magnificent – slow and sad, and vicious and bloody.

And the day is theirs.

Scene that made me cry: Claire’s relief that Fergus was physically safe, and then horror when he says he killed a British soldier. Fergus is in complete shock. Claire hold him and rocks him. I cry.

Dougal is skewering all wounded on the field, enjoying it brutally.

The prince is in the middle of a rousing, we-are-all-brothers speech, when Dougal runs in growling happily, but violent and wants to kill the Englishmen in the infirmary. The prince wants Dougal gone, but Jamie saves the day, suggesting he be promoted to lead a scouting party.

Dougal to Jamie: “You champion me and exile me at the same time. Thats a plan worthy of my brother Colum.”

Angus (Stephen Walters) passes. “He was bleeding internally the whole time!” – from the cannon blast. So sad. That curmudgeon was one of my favorite side characters.

They won, but it is hollow with the death surrounding them.

Jamie: “You were right about Prestonpans after all.”
Claire: “That means I’m also right about the disaster awaiting us at Culloden.”

Rupert and Ross (Grant O’Rourke and Scott Kyle) drink and bellow a song in sorrow for the deaths of their best friends: “Down among the dead men, let them lie!”

God, I love the music this episode (and every episode), but the strings are particularly haunting with the backdrop of the quiet after battle. The battle and the aftermath lived up to my high expectations. There were unexpected small wonders in the character interactions, mostly through looks with few words – Claire kissing Angus goodbye, but not Rupert, the smile between Jamie and the British soldier right before the pissing contest, the almost imperceptible nod between Angus and Ross. These moments are what turns good shows into masterpieces, and Outlander certainly is that.

Next week is the church scene.

Outlander airs Saturday nights at 9:00pm on Starz.

Image Gallery


Outlander | Episode 210 Preview | STARZ

In “Prestonpans”: Trusting in Claire’s knowledge of “history,” Jamie leads the Jacobite army into a critical battle with British opposition near the town of Preston. Meanwhile, Claire attends to the dead and dying, a reminder of the truest costs of war.

Outlander | Ep. 210 Clip: I Want to Fight | STARZ

Fergus begs to be allowed to fight at Prestonpans in this clip from Episode 210.

1 Comment »

  1. This episode was really good and so much better than the awful one last week. Glad to see Jamie’s character is back as he belongs with lighting quick and brilliant ideas, inspiring his men and keeping that Bonnie and Foolhardy Prince Charlie in check. Mostly. And Claire doing what she does best, not cowering in PTSD flashbacks (not to insult people that suffer from this but Claire of the novels never let’s herself dwell on such things but focuses on healing and bossing people around).

    The drinking song turned dirge at the end was so moving. I was sad and inspired at once and wishing these brave men could win their freedom but Culloden looms ahead.

    Comment by Dawn of Pendraig — June 12, 2016 @ 1:58 am

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