It was two years ago today – July 7, 2013 – Sam Heughan was cast as James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. How appropriate I should be publishing my final episode-related Top 30.
When we left Jamie in Episode 115: WENTWORTH PRISON (a hauntingly spectacular episode and one of my favorites of the season), Claire was forced to surrender her beloved husband into the hands of Captain Jack Randall at the end of a failed rescue attempt. I’m sure you recall Jamie’s now-famous tear tracking down his cheek.
Unfortunately, Jamie is subjected to much worse than a nail through his hand in Episode 116. None of us want to dwell on the many painful faces he wears during his torture, but I’ll do my best to highlight Sam Heughan‘s brilliant acting, without the assistance of good ol’ PocketJamie. After all, this episode is for adults only. PJ doesn’t meet the height requirement.
In this episode, Jamie faces his worst fears in the depths of Wentworth Prison – the only thing more agonizing than torture being the loss of Claire. The darkest and deepest of emotions are explored and used to tear our hero down then build him back up again. In the end, it’s Claire’s devotion which saves Jamie. She promises to follow whichever path he intends to take – life or death – because a blood oath is a blood oath:
They swore on “our Life,” not “your Life” or “my Life.” Jamie and Claire are one to the end.
So, here we go with Jamie’s Top 30 of the finale. I can’t guarantee many laughs, but I hope you appreciate my selections. Don’t worry. Even the faintest of hearts can handle this list.
#30: Jamie’s Dead Zone Face – Much like our last look of Janet Leigh‘s Marion Crane in Psycho (not a bad title for this episode), Jamie looks dead to the world – his soul crushed beneath Psycho Randall’s boot.
#29: Jamie’s Worst Nightmare Face – Even at his worst, Jamie somehow looks his best. And, now I know who the hand is in “Lord John and the Hand of Devils.”
#28: Jamie’s Get Out Face – The last thing poor Jamie wants is company, but then . . . who in the world thought it a good idea to take a dagger into the room of a man who wants to die? Check all weapons at the door please, Willie.
#27: Jamie’s Far Away Face – I can’t decide which is worse – Randall’s brutal tactics or his gentle touch, though both pretty much suck.
#26: Jamie’s Broken Man Face – After Jamie confesses all to Claire, he’s in turmoil because she doesn’t seem to understand. He’s the one who doesn’t understand that Claire will never give up on him.
#25: Jamie’s Shattered Nerves Face – Randall shares a flask of whiskey then shows what a d*ck he can be by not letting Jamie get drunk. Yeah, because that would be cheating.
#24: Jamie’s Temper Tantrum Face – And with that . . . it just occurred to me, Sir Marcus MacRannoch is much nicer in the book. Of course, it’s not his fault the ending had to be squeezed into one episode.
#23: Jamie’s Dazed & Confused Face – Ah . . . the lingering effects of Randall’s mind- f#@*. I really, really want to know what happened to that man in his childhood to make him such a fiend . . . or maybe not.
#22: Jamie’s False Comfort Face – What I most appreciate about this look is Jamie’s innocence and vulnerability, perhaps surprised by Randall’s seeming kindness in offering to make him more comfortable. Such a bastard.
#21: Jamie’s Wounded Pride Face – Jamie is horrified then ashamed when Claire finds the JR brand on his torso. Even worse, he has to admit to branding himself. Let’s see . . . what name haven’t I called Randall yet?
#20: Jamie’s Death Bed Face – A truly touching scene between Jamie and Murtagh, entirely in Gàidhlig. He argues with his godfather about making Claire a widow.
#19: Jamie’s Hapless Wretch Face – Another gut-wrenching moment when Jamie tells Claire he “couldn’t help himself.”
#18: Jamie’s Sorry Survivor Face – Claire tells Jamie he did what he had to do to survive, but it was never about his survival – only hers.
#17: Jamie’s Bad Patient Face – The only thing better than whiskey is milk of the poppy. Drink up, Jamie. You’ve more than earned it.
#16: Jamie’s Debt Owed Face – It’s difficult to keep track of the number of heartbreaking moments in this episode, but Jamie practically begging Randall to slit his throat is near the top.
#15: Jamie’s Take-Down Face – I kind of wanted this fight to go on a bit longer, if only to watch Jamie wrestle in his apron. (You know I had to put at least one racy and inappropriate comment in here.)
#14: Jamie’s Sturdy Stomach Face – Noble Jamie puts on a brave face for Claire, even in the midst of seasickness. What a trooper, er, sailor.
#13: Jamie’s “Too Much . . .” Face – “. . . and not enough,” our hero says. Whatever doesn’t kill us . . . Yadda. Yadda.. Yadda.. The man is strong enough already.
This is kind of a SPOILER, but I have a bee in my bonnet now. Jamie has several more trials ahead of him in his long life, but Randall is the worst he’ll ever have to endure. Thank goodness.
#12: Jamie’s Bad Husband Face – . . . just can’t think of anything this man could ever do to make him not worthy of being a husband. Nope. Not even Laoghaire is worth tossing him aside.
#11: Jamie’s Biting Down Face – Okay. I’ll admit it. This is my chest shot.
And here we arrive at Jamie’s Most Emotional Top 10:
#10: Jamie’s Stare Down Face – Yeah . . . I’m staying out of this one.
#9: Jamie’s Eye Contact Face – Actors aren’t supposed to look into the camera, but yowza . . .
#8: Jamie’s Good News Face – It’s just not registering yet, but he’ll get there.
#7: Jamie’s Tender Moment Face – Full of shame and self-hatred, Jamie takes his first step toward healing.
#6: Jamie’s Peaceful Slumber Face – You might be wondering what this look is doing in the Top 10, considering what Jamie is enduring. But his face is so tranquil, it’s almost possible to forget.
#5: Jamie’s Will Return Face – Jamie promises Claire they will return someday. Let’s face it. No one likes to leave Scotland.
#4: Jamie’s Wonderful Life Face – Claire’s pledge to follow Jamie unto death sparks life back into our hero, making him see what he’d be throwing away.
#3: Jamie’s F#@* Off Face – Jamie is no victim, which, unfortunately, is what makes him such enticing prey . . . to black-souled sadists, that is.
#2: Jamie’s Good Riddance Face – Yikes. It might have been easier simply to tattoo “Who shot” in front of the JR brand.
C’mon. I’ve never seen “Dallas,” but even I know that one.
#1: Jamie’s Father-to-Be Face – There it is!
Jamie showed us several different smiles this season from seductive to playful to roguish and every flavor in between. While this smile isn’t his brightest, it’s mood appropriate given what he’s been through. Bravo to Sam Heughan for not making it over-the-top and artificial. Of course, we expect nothing less from The Man Who Would Be King.
Thanks to Mr. Heughan for springing Jamie from the pages of Diana Gabaldon‘s Outlander novel in the most heartfelt and courageous manner all season.
I normally add this information at the end of my main review, but composer Bear McCreary is just as late as me. In his final blog entry of the season, he discusses the darkest material he’s ever scored in both Episode 115: WENTWORTH PRISON and Episode 116: TO RANSOM A MAN’S SOUL.
Outlander Season 2 returns in 2016. The premiere date has not yet been announced.
If you missed Episode 115’s Top 30, you’ll find it here: Jamie’s Top 30 Looks from Outlander Episode #115: WENTWORTH PRISON
My recapped review of this episode is also available, here: A True Fan’s Review of Outlander Episode #116: TO RANSOM A MAN’S SOUL