While Jamie makes one more last ditch effort to prevent the Battle of Culloden, Claire finds herself in the middle of Randall Family drama. Full recap of “The Hail Mary”, including new images and clips (first aired Saturday, June 25 at 9:00pm ET|PT on STARZ).
“The Hail Mary” picked up about five months after the events of “Vengeance is Mine”, on April 13, 1746. Claire, Jamie, Murtagh, Fergus, Dougal, Rupert (with eye patch), and the Lallybroch men made it to the Jacobite Army is camped outside of Inverness.
Claire told us that after months of retreat, lack of provisions, and a difficult winter, the soldiers seem tired and discouraged: “It was hard to believe that these were the same brave Highland warriors who had beaten the British Army at Prestonpans and Falkirk, who had marched triumphantly into England.”
While the men rested, Jamie asked Dougal to take a small patrol and start scouting to find where the British Army was currently located.
Meanwhile, Jamie, Claire, and Murtagh reflected on their current circumstances. Based on Claire’s knowledge, the Battle of Culloden was THREE DAYS away and, in fact, the Jacobite Army was now only a few miles east of Culloden Moor. Truly it seemed like Claire had given up all hope. Despite all of their attempts, they were still on the eve of the destruction of the Highland way of life.
However, Jamie hadn’t given up hope quite yet. He asked Murtagh to bring Prince Charles to the war council meeting. And to Claire: “Dinna wave the white flag just yet. There’s still time to avoid the fight we canna win, if I can make Charles see reason.”
As Jamie tried to find food for his men, Claire went into town to restock her medical supplies. While visiting a shop she came across Mary Hawkins, who was purchasing various medications.
After Sandringham had died at Bellmont Castle, Jamie and Claire had sent Mary back to her family in England. Soon after, Alex Randall had sent word for Mary to join him. He was now an assistant to an overseer of a large English estate near Inverness. Alex and Mary were planning to marry.
The meeting between Claire and Mary was very cold… it turns out Alex had told Mary of the conversation he had with Claire in Paris where she discouraged him from pursuing Mary. Claire apologized, but insisted that it was for Mary’s own good. Alex was sick and didn’t have many prospects for employment. However, Mary assured Claire that she was taking care of Alex and receiving advice from their landlady at McGilvrey’s boarding house. Claire volunteered to come see Alex and provide any assistance she could and apologize.
Later on the war council met and Quartermaster O’Sullivan insisted that their only choice was to battle the British Army on Culloden Moor. Jamie voiced his disapproval, saying that at Culloden, flat, plain ground, the British would decimate the Jacobites… especially since they didn’t have sufficient cavalry or artillery. Jamie implored Charles to walk the camp and observe the poor state of the Jacobite Army. Instead of facing the Jacobites at Culloden, they should split the soldiers into smaller units (easier to hide) and await the gold promised by King Louis of France. With the funds, they could get supplies and food, and once rested, the Jacobite Army could face the Redcoats on better ground.
Jamie was passionate and determined, but Charles disagreed. He was tired of retreating… the soldiers would rest for a few days and then march to Culloden.
That evening Claire visiting Alex and Mary at the boarding house and Alex was really in a bad way… he was coughing blood, wheezing, and shivering. Claire set about making a poultice to help ease Alex’s pain, but then Black Jack Randall arrived. Claire was horrified; however, Alex and Mary were happy to see “Johnny”. BJR had been supporting them for the last few months and was here now to spend time with his younger brother. BJR was very tender with Alex, but Claire couldn’t bear to be in his presence.
Before Claire left, she encouraged Mary to reconnect with her family because Alex wouldn’t survive his sickness. Mary grew more upset… she was pregnant!
As Claire walked away from the boarding house, BJR chased after her. He asked Claire not to take her hatred of him out on Alex… that she should help his brother. Claire told Black Jack what she’d said to Mary, that there was no cure; however, she could ease his pain. In exchange, Claire wanted information about the British Army’s current location. BJR agreed and gave Claire the information.
BJR: “My, you would barter over an innocent man’s sufering. Madame Fraser, you impress me.”
Claire: “The woman I am now is not the woman I once was, Captain Randall.”
That evening, Claire told Jamie and everything that had transpired, including that the British Army was currently camped at Nairn (only 12 miles away) and two nights from now there would be a celebration of General Cumberland’s birthday.
Jamie was still upset… would they ever be rid of BJR?! Besides, Black Jack couldn’t be trusted! When Alex died, what would stop BJR from lashing out and then killing Claire?
Claire would continue seeing to Alex, but Murtagh would go with her.
In the middle of their conversation, Colum MacKenzie arrived! Unfortunately, Colum wasn’t doing too well either. He was clearly in pain and couldn’t walk on his own. He had arrived to speak with Jamie, Dougal, and Claire.
Claire performed a brief examination on Colum and came to the conclusion that he was dying (like the MacKenzie’s new healer at Leoch). However, Colum wasn’t afraid: “I’ve been dying for years. It’s a wearisome process. I welcome its conclusion.”
Interestingly, when Jamie told Colum that Dougal was away leading a scout, the MacKenzie was impressed… after all, he’d used similar tactics to keep Dougal at bay—“give him enough authority to keep him content, but not enough to allow him to grab for more.”
Colum then spoke with Claire in private… he admitted to being wrong about opposing her marriage to Jamie. Colum also confessed that Geillis’ child with Dougal was alive! They waited until she gave birth to burn her at the stake. The boy now lived with William and Sarah MacKenzie.
He also asked for a favor, something to help him end his life.
Claire: “Isn’t suicide a sin?”
Colum: “What’s one more sin to a sinner?”
She gave him a vial of yellow jasmine: “It will be like drifting off into a deep sleep… for when you are ready.”
Colum: “For what it’s worth, you have my deepest gratitude.”
The next day, Claire and Murtagh went to see Alex, Mary, and BJR. Although Black Jack gave some pushback, Claire helped Alex to breath in smoke of coltsfoot and thornapple. It did help ease Alex’s coughing so he could breathe and speak. Unfortunately, there was nothing more Claire could do (which made BJR very angry).
As Alex rested, he called Johnny and asked him to marry Mary… that way BJR could look after Mary and their child (who would have the Randall name). Plus, Mary would have more security and position as Black Jack’s wife, as opposed to as Alex’s widow.
BJR was clearly distraught, but Alex tried to convince him: “You think I am unaware of the density of the dark wall you have built to protect your better self from the world. But I have borne witness to your tenderness. I’ve been the beneficiary of your generous soul. That inner man is the one whom I entrust my love and my child.”
Black Jack apologized and left the room. Claire asked Murtagh to go after him. Honestly, Murtagh wasn’t very happy that Claire would encourage the marriage between Mary and BJR: “…all to save goddamned Frank Randall. Hasn’t enough suffering been had in the name of saving that mythical prick?”
Interestingly, Murtagh volunteered to marry Mary himself! He believed he would be a good husband… they could learn to get along. Plus, as a godfather to Jamie, Murtagh knew he would watch over the baby.
It was sweet, but Claire wasn’t convinced. Murtagh could die at Culloden… and even if Mary married Black Jack and he died, she would benefit from his property, pension, and family standing. This would make it easier for Mary to reconcile with her family.
Claire went to speak with BJR in a pub and encourage him to agree to Alex’s plan. This was a chance for Jack Randall to redeem himself. Besides, Claire knew that BJR would die in a few days at Culloden on April 16, 1746. As his widow, Mary would be well taken care of.
BJR then taunted Claire with what he had done to Jamie at Wentworth, saying that he reveled in the memories of the pain and fear. Was he the kind of person Mary should marry? Claire was horrified, but maintained that since Black Jack seemed to genuinely love Alex, that should extend to Mary and the child.
That afternoon, the minister arrived and performed Mary and BJR’s marriage. Alex, Claire, and Murtagh were witnesses.
Elsewhere, Dougal returned to the Jacobite camp and confirmed that the British were camped at Nairm. Jamie also took Dougal to see Colum immediately. At first, Dougal believed Colum wanted to have the MacKenzies join the Jacobites, but Colum quickly disabused his brother of the idea. Before he died, Colum wanted to settle some clan business.
He named Hamish as his successor and then assigned Jamie to be Hamish’s guardian. (OMG!) Dougal was livid! Hamish was his real son anyway. And why would Colum select a Fraser (Jamie) over Dougal, his brother? Besides, Colum was mistaken… Jamie would lead the MacKenzies into the Jacobite war too. Jamie was honored, but agreed that he would join bring the MacKenzies into the conflict.
However, Colum knew this too… but there was one difference between Jamie and Dougal: “You will not sacrifice your men needlessly. If the cause is lost, then you will put the lives of yer men above all else.”
Dougal couldn’t say the same.
Afterwards, Jamie went to see Prince Charles and his advisors to propose a plan. During Cumberland’s party, the Jacobites would lead a surprise attack to capture the general. Jamie would lead one group of soldiers, while General Murray would lead the other. They would trap the British and capture Cumberland. Charles agreed to the plan, but after Quartermaster O’Sullivan insisted that Jamie and the General would go together while he and Prince Charles led the second group.
That night, several things happened—
Dougal came to Colum and reminisce about their lives together… how Colum’s injury at age 10 (the injury that triggered the Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome and crippled him), had changed Dougal’s world and created so much pain for him. But Colum had taken the yellow jasmine and died in the middle of Dougal’s tirade.
Dougal: “Oh brother. So ye turn your back on me one final time, eh? And ye leave me alone in the dark, the darkness of the world. And all I hoped to say to you remains trapped in here… Unsaid. Forever.”
And Dougal cried.
In Inverness, Mary, Claire, BJR, and Murtagh watched as Alex took his last breath. When Black Jack realized his brother was dead, he beat Alex’s face and then left the room. Claire held Mary as she cried.
Later, Jamie was shocked that Claire would agree to let Mary marry BJR. What if he didn’t die at Culloden?
Claire: “Then perhaps his death will come about by some other means…I am prepared to keep my promise that I made to you in Paris.”
Claire and Jamie said goodbye while he went to lead their attack on Cumberland.
Unfortunately, while Jamie, General Murray, and their men had arrived at Nairn, Prince Charles and the Quartermaster had “lost their way” and turned back for camp. General Murray called off the attack and ordered the men to march back to Inverness.
The Battle of Culloden would happen.
If you missed tonight’s show, you can watch “The Hail Mary” on STARZ Play online HERE or via the STARZ Play app.
Here we are Sassenachs… after 12 episodes of scheming and plotting to avoid Culloden, we’re on the even of the historic and devastating battle. How can we watch Claire and Jamie separate, her going back through the stones? Will Jamie know that she is pregnant before she leaves? And then we’ll have to watch Jamie, Murtagh, and his men fight (and lose) at Culloden. I really don’t know if I have the strength or the tears to survive the Season Finale on July 9.
Thanks to STARZ we already know the finale (“Dragonfly in Amber”) will be 90 MINUTES! Plus we have the episode synopsis, so we know we’ll be spending time with Claire in the 1960s too! For more information, go HERE.
Also, remember that on Saturday, July 2 starting at 12:00pm ET|PT, STARZ will show a marathon featuring the first 12 episodes of Season 2, too.
Join me in a prayer circle Sassenachs and tell me in comments what you’re feeling!