TV Show Review

TV Review: OUTLANDER: Season 2, Episode 3: Useful Occupations and Deceptions [Starz]

Rosie Day Caitriona Balfe Outlander Useful Occupations and Deceptions

Starz’s Outlander Useful Occupations and Deceptions TV Show Review. Outlander: Season 2, Episode 3: Useful Occupations and Deceptions featured the evolution of characters and their storylines from previous episodes in the season.

Most women in Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe)’s new financial position would sit back, enjoy their wealth, and do nothing meaningful all day. Claire is not of that temperament. When she learned of a medical occupation, like her former one, where her brain and hands could be of meaningful use, she jumped at the opportunity. That internal drive coupled with her independence are some of the features that make her such a compelling lead character.

“Mark me,” Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Andrew Gower) is a liar. Six secret backers turned into three and enough money to fund the rebellion turned into forty thousand pounds by the third act of Useful Occupations and Deceptions. Prince Stuart is a clever, untrusting man, telling his audience not what they wanted to hear but something they never expected to hear, stunning them, creating a new reality that made them more malleable and susceptible to suggestion. Prince Stuart is far more wily than he first appeared to be. Bravo.

The fact that innocent Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day) was destined to marry one of the most loathsome characters in TV history, a character that runs neck-and-neck in villainy with The Governor on The Walking Dead, was shocking. Useful Occupations and Deceptions illustrated that Mary knew nothing of human reproduction and coitus yet she would eventually marry a bi-sexual sadist and rapist. The worst part is that Claire knows of the nightmare that Mary will become wed to forever (divorce being taboo and scandalous during that time period) and could say nothing. I can see this rapist, Mary (unaware of her betrothed’s true personality), and Claire in the same room with Claire not saying a word, wanting to spill her guts but not doing so to protect Frank Randall. Claire will rationalize it: she will tell herself that it is for the greater good and that all of this already happened. That she simply has a ring-side seat to the horror this time.

The boy thief segment of Useful Occupations and Deceptions added a diminutive new member to the anti-Jacobite team. During Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and Fergus (Romann Berrux)’s introduction, there was a interesting moment within Fergus’ ‘audition’ where Jaime told Fergus that he wanted something from him and the boy thought Jaime wanted something sexual. This begged the question: How many times had the boy been sexually propositioned by older men (or women)? This subject matter has been touched upon in works about this time-period in books, films, and TV mini-series. Though the subject was not ‘explored’ in Useful Occupations and Deceptions, it raised intriguing questions about the era, its societies, and the people that inhabited them.

Claire’s decision not to tell Jamie about Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall still being alive will have emotional and psychological  consequences in the next few episodes. Murtagh Fraser (Duncan Lacroix) was right: Claire should have gotten in front of the news to lessen its blow. If Jamie finds out by other means, the nightmares that he suffers will pale in comparison to the emotional turmoil he will begin to endure: stay by Claire’s side and continue with her plan or return to Scotland and seek revenge. Murtagh knew what Jamie would do and Claire feared it. What stayed Claire’s hand was love but that very sentiment should have been used to buttress her resolve toward full disclosure.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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