[WATCH] ‘Outlander’ recap of ‘Vengeance is Mine’: Diana Gabaldon writes outstanding first episode

In this edition of our weekly “Outlander” recap (watch below), Gold Derby editor Rob Licuria is joined by contributing writer Amanda Spears to dish episode 11 of the show’s second season, “Vengeance is Mine.” This action-packed episode directed by Mike Barker was scripted for the first time by Diana Gabaldon, author of the celebrated novels on which this Starz drama series is based.

Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Jamie (Sam Heughan) and his men are unexpectedly ambushed by British soldiers and forced to find refuge in a church. After being surrounded, they hatch a plan to escape unscathed. Claire poses as a hostage so that she can be taken away by the British soldiers. She encounters the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow), and learns that he was behind both her assault and the brutal rape of Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day) by thugs in Paris. When Jamie and his men arrive to free Claire and Mary, Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) takes to the Duke with an axe, fulfilling his promise to the women to seek vengeance.

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“I’ve literally just finished watching it and I’m still shaking. I really am!” was my first reaction after watching this stand-out installment. “I just can’t believe how good this show is getting. I am just shocked by the end of that episode, I had no idea that was coming!” Amanda also expressed her admiration. “It flew by so fast, I didn’t even realize it was over until the credits started rolling!”

Once again, we reserved special praise for Lacroix, who plays the trusty and ever loyal Murtagh. “He was so good in that episode again” I sigh in appreciation. “That ending was so good and so violent. The look on his face, like a scowling lion; you could just see this rage, and then he follows through, the Duke of Sandringham is gone, literally, and Mary stabs the rapist. It was just a brilliant, brilliant conclusion to a very, very good episode.”

[WATCH] Caitriona Balfe (‘Outlander’) dishes steamy romance between Claire and Jamie (Exclusive Video)

“I love, love, love Duncan Lacroix. He is so good as Murtagh,” Amanda agrees. “Jamie was very smart, because killing a Duke is going to add to his problems, so he beat him up a little bit and pushed him into the corner. But Murtagh is all ‘that’s not good enough’,” Amanda says. “When Murtagh takes to the Duke with an axe, it was shocking,” I add. “It was very graphic, and reminded me that this show airs on Starz, on premium cable. It was warts and all.”

However, I explain why that works. “It was necessary, I don’t think it was gratuitous. You needed that closure from that whole story from those moments in Paris when Mary and Claire were attacked, we find out the Duke was behind it because he needed to pay some debts to Saint Germain, and then Murtagh and Jamie were there in the end to put an end to it, and they sure as hell did that.” Amanda concurs. “I love how after Murtagh brought vengeance to her feet as he promised, Mary simply says ‘I think we need to go’.”

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We also discuss how empowering it is to watch Claire, who put herself in great danger to pose as a hostage and be taken away by the British soldiers just to save Jamie and his men. “This is the kind of character I would like to see young girls aspire to. Someone who is smart and who can think, and doesn’t need rescuing every five minutes,” I point out.

We also make special mention to Andrew Gower as Bonnie Prince Charlie, who shines brightly at the beginning of the episode, and Callow who plays the villainous Duke, who met a particularly bloody end at the hands of Murtagh.

Finally, both Amanda and I analyze the recently released Emmy ballot and disclose what has been submitted by “Outlander” for consideration by TV academy voters. We then discuss the show’s best chances for Emmy nominations.

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