Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe talk punishment, specifically Outlander Episode 9 “The Reckoning”

Outlander Episode 9 "The Reckoning" Starz

Outlander’s back! When the first half of the season ended last September, Claire was under the capture and assault of Captain “Black Jack” Randall with a knife to her nipple when Jamie bursts through the chamber’s window and demands: “I’ll thank ye to take your hands off of my wife.”  SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched Outlander Episode 9 “The Reckoning” (original air date Saturday, April 4) stop reading now because all of the conversation between Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe is focused around this episode, plus detailed information on the plot line will follow.

Outlander Episode 9 “The Reckoning” is told through Jamie’s viewpoint, where he reflects on how every day a man has a choice between right and wrong and life and death and some of those choices become your life, a perfect set up to what follows. As Jamie and the MacKenzie’s engage in their clan business they get word that the Red Coats have taken Claire. Thus begins their rescue attempt, which ultimately finds Jamie with gun pointing at Randall demanding her release. Randall is amused at the thought and quickly turns his knife to Claire’s throat and half-clothed body demanding Jamie drop his weapon. Jamie obliges. Randall struggles to understand why Jamie would liken himself to such a foul-mouthed, “mendacious slut.”

OUT_109-20140303-EM_0387.jpgNow Randall’s got the gun and he points the pistol at Jamie and pulls the trigger.  He’s shocked to learn that the chamber is empty (Jamie unloaded the guns as he had no intentions on killing anyone). It was the perfect moment to make their escape, and the duo knocks Randall  out.

“Sometimes I wonder why I choose at that time not to take his life,” Jamie tells. [Yeah, we wondered too, talk about a missed opportunity …] But killing a helpless man was nothing that would have occurred to Jamie, even a man such as Randall. After their escape the real conflict was just beginning as Jamie waited for an apology from Claire.

Clearly if Claire had stayed put as Jamie had instructed her to do this would have never happened. If she had listened to her husband he would have never found her about to be taken by the scum Randall right before his eyes, he explains. But Claire blames Jamie for not listening to her and not bringing her along and eventually slaps him across his face.

“I ordered you to stay put,” Jamie tells.

“I don’t have to do what you tell me to do,” Claire says.

“You are my wife,” Jamie reminds.

“You think I’m your property?” And Claire lays into him that he only thinks of her as someone to lay his cock in. Ouch! She rages on calling him things like a fucking bastard and sadistic (words he would later need clarity over, as these weren’t part of the normal 1740 vocab).

Outlander Sam HeughanWrong thing to say as Jamie’s beyond steamed and calls her a foul-mouthed bitch and scolds that she can’t talk to him that way. (Meanwhile this whole fight is happening within earshot and eye view of the rest of the clan). Jamie breaks down and crumbles telling her “your tearing my guts out Claire,”

They both apologize, but once they get back Jamie needs to teach Claire a lesson as her actions put all of the men in jeopardy. Jamie explains how she’s done considerable damage disobeying his orders tells, “I’m going to punish you for it.”

What follows is a bitter struggle that ends with Claire bent over Jamie’s knee, bare butt in air, being whipped with Jamie’s belt. “I can tell you from my own experience, a good hiding makes you understand things in a more serious light,” he tells her.

Balfe recalls shooting the scene describing it as very difficult. “We knew coming up to it and we talked a lot about it. We didn’t want to be flippant about it. It’s important to realize that, in the context of 1743, this is something that was done without a second thought and was very normal. OUT_109-20140311-EM_0463.jpgFor Claire, whatever, even just about the physical wounds coming from that, there’s big psychic wounds. I think that it was such a betrayal to her; this man that she had fallen in love with so deeply would then do something to her.

“When we were filming it, we talked a lot about how we wanted the tone of it to be. We didn’t want to take it too lightly but we also didn’t want to exaggerate it too much or really make gratuitously,” Balfe continues. “We choreographed it very well. That was the big thing. I think it was as hard for Sam to put himself in the mindset of this being OK. I think this is what we learn about their marriage is that how a marriage works and how their marriage works is that even though they can’t accept some of the things that each other have done, that they can learn how to understand where they’re coming from and that that’s how then they can finally move past it.”

“I remember going home after we shot that … and feeling really like, ooh, have we achieved the right tone? I really didn’t want to use something that’s so traumatic to people as a form of entertainment. You want to be so careful with moments like this. I think we had the blueprint from Diana’s book. We had the great script and the writers were very careful,” Balfe concludes. “I hope that we pulled it off well.”

They certainly did, as the scene started almost more playful in the cat and mouse chase as Claire realizes Jamie is not kidding, but then turns serious as she struggles through the pain and humiliation. Heughan was equally as sensitive to the scene.

Outlander Sam Heughan“We start off obviously from Jamie’s point of view, and we see everything that he goes through to get to the point where he rescues her, and he is almost forced into a situation where he has to punish her,” Heughan says. “It’s pretty much just the beginning of the fact that he’s from this time, he’s from this period. He has learned this particular way. He may not agree that he has to punish her, but he needs to do it, otherwise the other highlanders will not protect them. It’s about life and death situation, and she needs to learn this lesson.

“Their relationship is now tested constantly. They’re always battling to get back to each other, to find some sort of common ground. It’s just like one of the many moments that tests that. And ultimately, he learns as well. He learns about her, about how he can’t do that, about, and he declares that he will never harm her again,” Heughan concludes. “It’s about their relationship moving forward, and discovering about each other. Largely, that’s what a modern relationship is, really. You learning about how to interact.”

Outlander airs on Starz Saturdays at 9pm ET/PT

Images: Credit Starz





1 Comment

  1. I found Episode 9 to be very “unsettling”. I have read 3 of the 9 books so far. I was both anticipating and dreading this episode (as I am the next 7 episodes in this group). This section of the story is very dark. Everything about this drama is exceptionally well-done. The cast is perfect. I dread most of all the end of this set of episodes. Blessings in this undertaking.

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