Outlander Season 2, Episode 9: Claire suffers from PTSD

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

After a year and a half of watching Claire in her element, preparations and training men to fight leads to PTSD from the war rearing its ugly head.

PTSD is one of mental illnesses that can affect someone later in life. It’s possible for memories and situations to remain buried, until a sound or sight happens. For Claire, that happened in Outlander Season 2, Episode 9. Years after World War II (or technically centuries before to mess with your head), preparations and training for the Battle of Culloden cause memories to come back to haunt her.

Meanwhile, Jamie spends his days training the rag-tag team of men who will now become his army. Is it possible to create fighters who will change the course of history? Well, “Je Suis Prest” certainly made it look like they had the right spirit, but we all know how it all ends.

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Dougal brings his men to fight

The most important thing to come out of the episode is Dougal’s return, and with that Angus and Rupert. But before we get to that, it’s important to touch on the situation with Jamie. He’s trying to train his “army,” but all he has is a bunch of farmers from his grandfather’s lands. A bunch of them deserted too, with Young Simon sent off to bring them back, so Jamie has a handful to work with.

Once the Frasers get to Murtagh and co. in Perth (five days late, as Murtagh shares), they’re reunited with Fergus. He’s adorable, as he shares everything that Murtagh has done to discipline him.

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Watch Outlander with a FREE 7-day trial of Amazon Channels! /

When Dougal does appear, he only has Rupert and Angus. Willie has gone off to the Colonies with his new wife (the actor had taken up a new show and needed writing out quickly) and these are the only three who have broken from Colum’s forces. Of course, Dougal wants to jump straight into the fight, but Jamie needs to train his men.

Most of the episode is spent on training the rag-tag bunch, with Dougal and Jamie constantly at loggerheads. Dougal wants them to be a guerilla force, while Jamie wants to train them like the British. Dougal is willing to fight Jamie for the position of leader, but decides to get Claire to fight his battle for him. Of course, Claire isn’t going to give him that satisfaction.

Claire struggles with PTSD

Throughout the episode, Claire has more important things to deal with. She’s suffering from PTSD from World War II—a war that hasn’t happened yet in Jamie’s lifetime, so he won’t quite understand it. As the sounds of training happen around her and some of the men enjoy some downtime, Claire thinks back to a group of American soldiers she met.

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

As the memories play out, it turns out the Americans were killed in a German ambush and she was left in a trench alone until help came the next morning. There’s clearly guilty for not helping the American soldiers, but if she’d have tried, she would have been spotted and killed by the Germans.

Jamie only learns of the memory when he sees Claire balled up by a wagon with her hands over her ears. She shouts “please, shut up,” but not to Jamie or the sounds around her. They’re at the man dying, as he screams out for his mom.

Once Claire tells the story, Jamie suggests that she goes back to Lallybroch. She isn’t interested in being in the ditch, helpless again. She’s going to stay.

Meet John Grey

As the preparations for the small army continue, Jamie is jumped by a man from behind, while he’s trying to do his business. It should be scary, expect the man is actually just a teenage boy; but still a member of the British army.

It doesn’t take long for us to learn that this is John William Grey (who we know we’ll see again in Outlander Season 3 and beyond), and he thought he’d have the chance to kill Red Jamie. Jamie, instead, takes the young man into the Jacobite camp to get information. Grey is willing to die with his secrets, until Claire appears. Grey instantly believes that Jamie has kidnapped Claire and will have his ravage way with her, but he can save her virtue by telling them everything.

Grey decides to sacrifice the secrets and plans for Claire’s honor and it foreshadows the man he will later become. The British Army isn’t too far away. A team go out with Grey, with the promise that if the information is right, Grey will be tied to a tree for his fellow soldiers to find him.

“I give you your life. I hope you use it well,” Jamie tells Grey, but it’s Grey with the last words, vowing to pay this debt back but then kill Jamie afterwards. “A Grey does not forget an obligation.” Oh yes, we know how that all works out.

The big question is how Grey got through the men on watch. Dougal and his men were supposed to be on watch at the time, but Jamie doesn’t fully blame Dougal. The unshielded fires didn’t help, so Murtagh is tasked with whipping Jamie. It’s a smart move, proving that nobody is exempt from responsibilities and punishment.

Now that is over, the men can raid Grey’s camp, taking pins, wheels and other items that the soliders would need.  It’s a smart move, as while the soldiers can get those items back eventually, it will take time. By that time, Jamie’s men will be with Bonnie Prince Charlie, with Dougal announcing the arrival.

Next: Outlander Season 2, Episode 8 recap

What did you think of Grey’s first appearance? How did you find the memory for Claire? Share your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.

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