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'Outlander' recap: 'To Ransom a Man's Soul'

Jamie reveals the horrible torture he endured at Black Jack’s hands.

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TV Show
Drama, Romance, Sci-fi
run date:
Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Gary Lewis, Graham McTavish, Tobias Menzies
Current Status:
In Season

Well, we did it. We made it through the most harrowing hour of Outlander‘s first season—which also happened to be the last hour of Outlander‘s first season. If you’re a reader of Diana Gabaldon’s source material upon which the Starz series is based, you’ve likely been dreading this episode all year. (I know I have.) And it was, in fact, one of the most vicious hours of TV that I’ve ever watched. But credit should also be given to the Outlander team for not shying away from Jamie’s rape and its terribly messy and necessary aftermath. Let’s recap: 

It’s the dawning of a new day at Wentworth Prison. Jamie, naked and bloody, is lying wide awake in his cell with Black Jack nestled close behind. Randall gets up and begins to put himself together for the day, but a disturbance from the hallway draws his attention. He goes to investigate and is unceremoniously trampled by a herd of cattle that Murtagh and Co. got past the gates. (Night-night, Black Jack?!) The MacKenzie-Fraser Rescue Brigade emerge with a nearly lifeless Jamie to meet Claire—who notes the smell of lavender oil (a known healing ointment) on her husband’s skin. But it’s not there for purposes of good (more on that to come). 

The group take shelter in a nearby monastery, where Brother Paul delivers a damning prognosis: “I have no doubt you can mend his body,” he tells Claire. “But there are other wounds not so easily dealt with. His soul, I’m afraid, is in turmoil.”

To wit, Jamie can’t stand to be touched by Claire, and at points, hallucinates that she’s Black Jack. Claire begs to know what Randall did to him. His chilling response: “Too much and not enough.”

Cue the first flashback: It’s moments after Claire is delivered safely from Wentworth, and Randall dislodges the nail from Jamie’s palm. The Scot falls backward, and Black Jack cradles him, painting a sort of an unholy Pieta. In fact, the Biblical allusions are almost a little heavy-handed here, with Randall soothing water onto Jamie’s brow like a baptism and referencing Christ (lest we forget the nail-punctured palm).

“Dear God you are a magnificent creature,” he purrs before kissing him. “It’s like kissing a corpse,” Randall says when Jamie doesn’t reciprocate. (Here’s hoping Randall doesn’t actually know what smooching a dead body is like…) “I know you can do better. My men can have Claire back here in an hour. We have an agreement.”

Black Jack then bends down and pulls up Jamie’s kilt, spreads his legs, and begins fondling him. 

“Jamie, I just want this to be a pleasant experience for us both,” he says.

“Do what you must,” Jamie replies. “Take your pleasure and be done with it.”

At that, Black Jack drops Jamie’s kilt, bends him over the table, and rams himself inside Jamie, instructing him to scream. 

Back to the present, Claire is fretting over Jamie’s mangled hand. She needs to reset nine bones. She administers laudanum to knock him out and gets to work. (And seems to do a pretty solid job given the fact that she has to work with 18th-century supplies.) But it’s a terrible endeavor—both physically and mentally—and Claire gets sick in the hallway afterward.

The next morning, Jamie refuses food and is running a fever. 

“You cannot save a man that doesn’t want saving,” Jamie tells her. Murtagh, too, is worried and pays a visit to the ailing Jamie’s room. The two argue in Gaelic. 

NEXT: Come sail away