Outlander Best Laid Schemes Review
Starz’s Outlander: Season 2, Episode 6: Best Laid Schemes featured how Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan)’s pre-teen retainer Fergus (Romann Berrux) grew in importance to Team Anti-Jacobite. Through his successful intrigues, Fergus had increasing made himself indispensable and a reliable asset. Through his personality, he had made friends out of Jamie and Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe), replacing the contractor / retainer relationship that previously existed.
Best Laid Schemes brought up a dark question that could further complicate the character of Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall (Tobias Menzies). Is he a pedophile in addition to bi-sexual, attacking any nubile fly that stumbled into his web? Left to the imagination of the viewer in the third act of Best Laid Schemes (the potential victim is not seen for the remainder of episode), the viewer completely understood why the male hero of the series felt compelled toward aggression. Captain Jonathan Randall had presumably done something so egregious that the male hero was outraged beyond the confines of his own personal motivations (which were extreme). If fisticuffs didn’t happen, Captain Randall would have kept roaming the countryside, ravaging, seeking new prey. In the hero’s mind, Black Jack had to be put down once and for all, no matter the collateral damage.
Claire Fraser is a strong, compassionate person but even a woman of her strength could not withstand what happened at the end of Best Laid Schemes nor what proceeded it. The women of Claire’s current time period showed that they couldn’t have cared less for the poor or their struggles. At first the viewer didn’t know why Claire was uncomfortable. When the reason became known, what Claire had to say was foreign to those gathered in the room. They couldn’t understand what Claire was driving at. This was not out of ignorance, it was an example of sheer obliviousness. These women did not even see the poor, even when they were right in front of them. They saw through them, around them, never at them, not like Claire.
These women had vast sums of money potentially at their disposal yet helping the poor and indigent never even occurred to them.
Best Laid Schemes proved that even though Claire was strong enough to fight this mentality and physically help the poor, she was not strong enough to fight her own biology. Best Laid Schemes provided the beginning of the cost levied on Claire for trying to help the poor and keep Frank Randall alive.
“Mark me,” the wine transport scene in Best Laid Schemes was the nail-in-the-coffin, for now, to Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Andrew Gower)’s scheme to obtain enough funds to bankroll his father’s return to the Scottish throne. Like Black Jack, Le Comte St. Germain (Stanley Weber) was no fool and could smell that something was off, that everything that had transpired was far too convenient to be accidental or coincidental. Like Jamie with Claire’s attack on the road in La Dame Blanche, Le Comte had no proof, only assumptions, only intelligent supposition. Le Comte will not take two massive financial losses at the hands of the Frasers laying down. Jamie added fuel to Le Comte’s revenge fire in Best Laid Schemes.
Murtagh Fraser (Duncan Lacroix) handled the truth about Claire and the reason behind the Anti-Jacobite plan far better than anyone could have imagined, though he filtered his acceptance of those truths humorously through his own belief system i.e. “Claire is a witch.”
King Louis XV of France’s executioner, Monsieur Forez (Niall Greig Fulton), initially gave the impression that he was a functional psychopath except: a.) he displayed empathy for the patients of the hospital by virtue of being there and b.) he showed concern for Claire’s brief lack of color during his draw-and-quarter story. A psycho wouldn’t have cared about either. What also came cross during his singular appearance in Best Laid Schemes was that Forez had no qualms about killing people and enjoyed theatrically dismembering them alive in front of an audience. This was the type of person that was the head physician at the Parisian hospital for the poor.
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