Starz’s Outlander The Garrison Commander TV Show Review. Outlander: Season 1, Episode 6: The Garrison Commander showed that the familiar horrors of war were not absent from the world Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) now found her in. An agonizing medical procedure was performed in The Garrison Commander, one whose gruesomeness would be right at home within Edward Zwick‘s Glory. Claire’s true heroism showed itself for the first time as she helped hold the man down as a saw was employed. If this reality of war is present in Outlander, what others will show themselves when major engagements happen in 1743 and beyond?
Claire had the assembled men in the palm of her hand at the Garrison dinner, all of them ready to help her on her journey home, until Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall (Tobias Menzies) stepped into the room. Claire not speaking of the attempted rape at his hands to the assembly said much about her personality, tack, and strategic thinking (she would keep that ace up her sleeve to be deployed when needed or so she may have assumed initially). Once again, Claire let her mouth (and her passion) get away from her and it led her into trouble with those that, a moment ago, were more than ready to assist her. What was curious about this was that with Mrs. Fitzgibbons (Annette Badland), Claire had the clairvoyance not to speak her mind and the truth, knowing that it would brand her a witch. Where was that clear foresight and caution when speaking on the Scots’ behalf?
The Jaime / Black Jack Randall wiping story was one of the highlights of The Garrison Commander, giving the viewer what they had been craving since the first episode of Outlander: more Jack. Not only was this wish granted in The Garrison Commander, the viewer was given insight into Randall’s personality. Now the viewer knows why they call him “Black.” The darkness Randall dwells in has stuck to him. He knows it and so do his victims, the latest being Claire. Black Jack may indeed be a psychopath, one who has charted and is able to recognize his increasing lack of empathy and increasingly violent nature. It takes a very special type of person to see extreme cruelty and human degradation as the creation of beauty.
More surprising was the fact that Claire’s intelligence was matched by Black Jack’s (he sniffed out her lies immediately). Not giving the name of the British officer her tale alluded to was a tale-tell sign of falsehood. Black Jack might actually be as intelligent as her husband since they share the similar genetic material.
Speaking of sharing genetic material, the admission that Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) wants to “grind Claire’s corn” was humorous but what will not be funny is the marriage to keep Claire out of Black Jack’s clutches. From all indications, this will be a real marriage and will have a real wedding night. All the gravitas surrounding it leads the viewer to this conclusion, including the increasing amount of alcohol Claire began consuming. She is in love with her husband but will now have to fornicate with another man, a man whose virginity she must take as well.
Thorough that act, Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) will become instantly enamored with her and with sex (his first time will be with a beauty and his lawful wife). There is also the fact that they do not have condoms in that time period. Will Claire instruct Jaime on where and where not to spill his “seed?” Will she tell him that she does not want to bear his children? Will she pretend a headache or sickness to get out of coitus on their wedding night?
There are many questions to be answered but there are central, new conundrums to be dealt with:
Now Claire will have to contend with: 1.) betraying her first husband with her second husband and vice versa (technically the first one has not been born yet), 2.) having multiple husbands in two time periods, and 3.) trying to get back to her own time period.
Drink up Claire, drink long and deep.
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