Outlander Je Suis Prest Review
Starz’s Outlander: Season 2, Episode 9: Je Suis Prest was a preparation episode for the series that afforded the broadening of an already established character. Turning farmers, carpenters, etc. into soldiers was a running gag in Je Suis Prest. None of the recruits were trying to be quick or efficient besides the “officers” when it came to training and warfare. Even when Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) pointed it out, their lackadaisical behavior continued. None of them seemed to realize what they were about to fight (soldiers that had been trained and drilled in modern warfare for years). They couldn’t grasp that they would most-likely be walking directly into cannon fire.
If the recruits truly knew what they were volunteering for, they never would have volunteered. Jamie had been trying to avoid the misery of the battle field. Many of the recruits seemed happy to be going to war, to be facing the British war machine in open combat. This was a case of ignorance truly being bliss.
If Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) thought she had her hands full during World War II with injured soldiers, she hasn’t seen anything yet. Claire is about to be initiated into screaming, amputation hell (with no morphine or any other type of medicine available). She will be the conductor of that orchestra with a dripping Liston knife as her baton.
Claire’s post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) flashbacks from World War II dominated the majority of her scenes in Je Suis Prest. During smaller, previous combat / battle scenes in Outlander, Claire’s PTSD had not been activated. It took a full war camp to do it and she was disoriented by its emergence. The very fact that Claire suffered from PTSD was surprising. Claire showed no signs of PTSD previously, expect regarding Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall. The viewer has heard about the negative effects of PTSD on soldiers, primarily flashbacks, anger, and violence (the main character in American Sniper suffered from it). The viewer had no idea how close to the violence of World War II Claire had been until a key flashback moment in Je Suis Prest. She may have escaped that war physically uninjured but she did not leave it mentally uninjured.
Claire has a formidable personality but even that could not suppress the dominating influence of PTSD. Jamie knew all about PTSD. He had been suffering from it all season because of his rape at the hands of Black Jack. Claire and Jamie’s PTSD made them more suitable for each other than if only one of them were suffering from it. Because of the disorder, they know where the other was coming from when they spoke of its effects.
Claire telling Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) what he was to his face was a high-point of Je Suis Prest. Claire has always spoken her mind, sometimes to her detriment. On this occasion, it was pure passion, possibly bolstered by a slight unhinging due to PTSD. I say “possibly” because Claire told Laoghaire MacKenzie to her face in The Fox’s Lair what she thought of her in a similar fashion to Dougal in Je Suis Prest. Claire wasn’t suffering from PTSD in The Fox’s Lair. That was anger based on Laoghaire’s past actions. That was most-likely the case with Dougal in Je Suis Prest as well.
Dougal willingly subordinating himself to Jamie was clever. The militia needed Jamie Fraser, his sword, and his military expertise. Dougal knew that and did what was necessary to keep Jamie with the militia at every turn, no matter how much he disagreed with some of Jamie’s decisions regarding training or the way the camp was run.
Jamie must-likely sensed this along with Dougal’s thirst for royal acknowledgement and reward (Claire sure did), which was why Jamie let Dougal announce their arrival to Prince Charles Edward Stuart’s encampment. Now Dougal will be that much more loyal (and grateful) to Jamie.
Jamie sparing the boy assassin’s life is certain to come back into play in a future episode of Outlander. The boy assassin went out of his way to say that he owned Jamie and that his family always paid its debts (like a Lannister). If Jamie is captured by the British again, the boy assassin is sure to speak up on Jamie’s behalf or engineer Jamie’s escape from whatever cell they are holding him in.
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