Je Suis Prest means “I am ready” in French, for those of y’all that forgot (like me). I did remember that it’s Jamie’s family motto, and it’s more than fitting for this episode. So y’all get ready to get this party started!
Some more time has passed. A few of the men have deserted Claire and Jamie due to their hatred of being bossed around by Lord Lovat. Lovat’s son had to go back and persuade them to rejoin the ranks, with the promise of land after the war ends (40 acres and a mule, anyone?). Claire, Jamie and their remaining soliders finally meet up with Murtagh and Fergus (last week, little Fergus insisted on joining them to fight), and set up camp. The next day, Claire and Jamie get another blast from the past! Angus, Rupert and shady ass Dougal McKenzie join the army (Willie married an Irish woman and moved to America, much to the fellas’ chagrin)! Claire and Jamie are more than happy to see Angus and Rupert. Dougal? Not so much. Dougal, on the other hand, is glad to see that Jamie’s taken up the Jacobite cause, but it’s short lived when Jamie lets him know that he’s in charge and that the men are going to to stay at the camp for further training, ’cause Lord knows they need it. Dougal’s more hellbent on just charging in on the British as is. Fool.
While the soldiers train, Claire begins to have flashbacks of her time as a nurse in World War II, which reveal that she’s struggling with a form of PTSD. Jamie has his hands full not only trying to figure out what’s going on with Claire (she won’t admit that she’s reliving WWII), but trying to lead the soldiers, who are no where near ready to fight a war. Oh, yeah…and Dougal keeps trying to undermine Jamie’s authority. During another one of the soldiers’ bumbling training sessions (if that’s what you call them…I’m not well versed in military shit), Jamie gives a Braveheart type speech about the horrors of facing a real war with trained killers, and reminds them that they need to take training seriously. Two seconds later, Dougal and his boys come running up wielding swords, scaring the shit out of the men and causing them to fall out of rank, despite Jamie and Murtagh telling them to halt. Dougal starts braggin’ about how the real way to defeat the British is to surprise them just like he and his boys just did. Jamie puts Dougal in check by letting him know that he’s the boss, and he’s the one calling the shots. I heard that.
Dougal can’t resist the urge to start more drama, so he corners Claire in the kitchen and takes the opportunity to blackmail her into talking to Jamie about having him “help” with training the troops. He reminds her of their little deal about marrying him if Jamie died in Wentworth Prison, how he’s so sure that Claire never mentioned it Jamie. Claire is quick to remind Dougal that she already told Jamie about their deal, and he was fine with it. She also tells him that he’s only concerned with his own self interests and should really stop pretending to be Barack Obama when he’s really Donald Trump. Then she ends her rant in true Claire badassery: “Fuck yourself!”
Dougal admits he’s a narcissistic asshole, but he also admits that as much as he loves himself, he loves Scotland more, and would give his life to make sure King James takes his rightful place on the throne. Claire appears unmoved. Personally, I believe him. Dougal is a jerk, but he’s proven that he loves his country time and time again.
In the meantime, the soldiers are getting better (they’re still not great, though), but Claire’s PTSD is getting worse. She has another flashback while she’s going in on Angus for not taking better care of his feet, which is crucial for soldiers. By the way, when the flashback ended, Claire dropped another F bomb. 18th century society will learn the meaning of that word yet. Later that night, Dougal continues to be a douchebag, and forces a few locals to join the army, claiming they “volunteered” for the cause. Jamie sees right through that and sends the men home. Jamie has to pull rank on Dougal’s behind again, and reminds him that he is to follow orders, and places him and his men on sentry duty. As for the sentries that let the men in without even saying a word, they’re gonna be punished. The following morning, they each get six lashes from a leather strap. It reminded me of all the times my mom put the belt to my behind.
When the men have target practice later, Claire experiences another flashback, and this one is much worse than the others. She remembers her car being shot down by the Germans while trying to take some American soldiers back to their unit. Claire and one of the Americans are hidden in a trench, while the other private is somewhere across the street, badly injured and screaming for his mother. The Germans are patroling the streets with tanks, searching for the enemy. The American solider tries to cross the street to get to the injured private, but he’s seen and quickly killed. Claire stays in the trench for the rest of the night and is later found by another American soldier the next morning, clearly traumatized. Jamie finds Claire cowering on the ground, just as she was in the trench. She finally tells Jamie about how training for the Jacobite Rebellion is bringing back bad memories of the war. Jamie offers to send her back home, but Claire tells him that leaving him is not an option. If she goes back home, it’ll be like lying in the ditch again, because this time, people that she loves will be lost, and she’ll be helpless to save them. Jamie promises she’ll never be alone again. Awww…
That night, while Jamie’s takin’ a pee (ill…), he’s attacked by a young British guy. The young Brit claims he saw the lights from the camp’s fires and went to investigate, when he came upon “Red Jamie,” a traitor to the crown. Jamie tries to find out what army the boy marches for, but the kid ain’t talkin’. Claire walks in and pretends to be a helpless English lady held prisoner. She and Jamie put on a convincing show as a would be vicious rapist and a scared victim. The boy starts talking immediately, and reveals that he is William Grey. Jamie lets the boy go, but not before Young Grey states that since Jamie spared his life, he owes him a debt, but once that debt is paid, he will kill him (if I’m not mistaken, I remember the book readers saying that William Grey will be an important figure in this series). Jamie, being a fair man, decides that he himself deserves an ass whuppin’ for not shielding the camp’s fires. Murtagh does the honors (I don’t think he’d have it any other way). Man, Jamie doesn’t friggin’ play in his camp.
After Jamie gets whipped, he and some of the men get ready to do some guerrilla warfare and sabotage William Grey’s army. What I loved is that they went full on commando just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, baby! They had the camouflage paint on and everything! Dougal thinks he’s going to be in on the action, but Jamie lets him know that he’s on sentry duty, and he has to stay to guard the camp. Shots fired! Jamie reaches the British camp, but he doesn’t do too much damage. He just takes the wheels from the cannons, and burns them, which is enough to cripple the hell out of them. Jamie tells Claire about their victory and they get lovey dovey…but Jamie cuts the sexy time off, saying they have to move out before the British camp wakes.
The camp picks up and leaves, and reaches Prince Charles’ encampment soon after. Jamie allows Dougal to ride to the prince and let him know that they’ve arrived. He then turns to Claire and tells her that there’s no turning back now. She responds by saying, “Je suis prest.”
This episode was better than last week’s. It turns out that it’s more interesting to see these men prepare for war as opposed to seeing them talk about why it’s necessary, or seeing Claire, Jamie and Murtagh try to stop the war. It was also really interesting to see Claire deal with her PTSD. You can argue that she never showed any signs of it before, which she hadn’t, but at the same time, nothing had ever set her off to make her relive those traumatic moments until now. I was reading an internet article about “Outlander” last week, where someone was comparing the first season with the second, and it was pointed out that whereas the second season mostly dealt with politics and intrigues, the previous season dealt mostly with human relationships. This episode was one of the best ones (it ranks #3 in my list) so far this season because it dealt with human relationships: Claire reliving the war, the soldiers slowly realizing that fighting is no laughing matter, Jamie and Dougal’s power struggle, etc. Also, it was great to see Dougal, Angus and Rupert again, especially Dougal. He always brings the drama. My only gripe with this episode was once again, they cheated us out of a love scene. I honestly believe that one scene in “La Dame Blanche” is the only one we’re gonna get. Aside from that, it was a good ep. Keep ’em comin’!
—Written by Nadiya
So what did you think about “Je Suis Prest”? Was it a welcome relief to see some type of action, or do you long for the days of chess games and long conversations? What did you think about Claire’s struggle with her PTSD? Were you happy to see Dougal come back? What about Rupert and Angus? What about the arrival of young William Grey? Do you think he’ll be an important character? Give me your thoughts!