The Garrison Commander

Claire and Dougal are taken to the local army base where they meet  Brigadier General Lord Thomas, the garrison commander.

Picking up from the previous episode, Dougal is waiting to hear what Claire will tell the Redcoat, Lieutenant Foster, about her being with the clan. She tells the soldier she is a guest of the MacKenzies. Despite this, she is asked to escort the soldiers to meet their commander in Brockton. Dougal insists he goes with Claire.

The army party ride into Brockton. There Claire and Dougal are introduced to the officers, including the commanding officer, Brigadier General Lord Thomas. The commander is pleased to meet Claire, saying that it is too long since he had the pleasure at meeting such a beautiful English woman. However he is less impressed with Dougal. The two men exchange pleasantries, but it apparent to all that the two warriors dislike each other intensely.

Thomas continues to taunt Dougal. He criticises the efforts Scottish servants and states that if he were a Laird he wouldn’t enjoy wearing a ‘skirt’. Dougal ask the Brigadier if he is trying to embarrass Claire, or if he is simply arrogant. This is not taken well, the officers all take offence and Foster almost comes to blows with the highlander. Claire steps in to calm the men accusing them of acting like children. Dougal takes the opportunity to leave, telling Claire that he’s heading downstairs to the Scottish ale.

Dining with Redcoats woks out well for Claire. She tells them she is keen to return to her family. Thomas says that he expects she has had enough of Scotland and asks Foster to escort Claire to Inverness, from where she can organise her onward travel. Claire is overjoyed, seeing this as a perfect opportunity to get closer to the stones at Craigh na Dun. However, her joy is about to be interrupted.

Captain Randall rushes into the room, announcing to them that Dougal is downstairs. Thomas asks if they are under attack. The captain say they are not, to which the General responds by asking why then did he put their wine at risk. Randall is unconcerned about the wine and asks about Dougal. The General explains that Claire is the reason for Dougal’s presence. Randall recognises Claire, and pursues questioning Thomas, asking if it was not strange Claire would be with Dougal. Thomas, not over-pleased at being questioned by a Captain, tells Randall that he, instead of Foster, should escort Claire to Inverness.

Randall continues to challenge Claire. He discusses the recent killing of Private McGreavey at the hands of the Scots. Claire responds by mentioning the two crucified highlanders, saying both are equally barbaric. The captain continues to bait Claire, suggesting that she is sleeping with Dougal. Claire is offended! Thomas supports her, says Randall has gone too far with his questions. However Claire trips up saying that the Scots only want to live free on their land. This annoys the English, all of whom view it as the King’s land. The general advises Claire to return to England as soon as possible.

At that moment a Redcoat rushes in, reporting an attack on three soldiers outside the nearby town. Lord Thomas is shocked that this should happen, and takes his men out to hunt the men responsible. Claire lets Dougal know what is going on, and suggests he keep his head down. With Lord Thomas gone, Claire is left with Randall. The captain apologises for his behaviour during their initial encounter, and asks her to sit.

The questions begin. Randall starts by asking Claire about why she is in Scotland. She recounts her story about coming from Oxfordshire, as she had previously told Lord Thomas. However, the Captain is not convinced. He continues, telling Claire that she has the accent of a prostitute, but does not look like one. She thanks him for that, and attempts to stress that her previous comments and the fact that she is accompanying the highlanders is not meant to be treasonous, and that all she wants to do is return home. Randall is unimpressed.

The captain refers back to their first meeting. He reminds Claire that he was knocked out, shortly after they met, by someone he has learned was a member of group of Scottish rebels led by Dougal Mackenzie. This suggests that Claire is either a stupid whore or is spying for the king’s enemies. She denies this and response with a story of her following an infantryman she fell in love with to Scotland, and how he mistreated her, causing her to flee. Again, the Captain is unmoved.

Randall mentions that he knows Dougal is collecting for the Jacobite cause. He ask what Claire knows about this, to which she denies all knowledge. Frustrated, Claire ask if she is under arrest, and refuses to answer any more questions until Lord Thomas returns. Unaffected, Randall tells Claire that she will remain in the room until she proves her innocence. And if she doesn’t cooperate he will use harsher methods. She says she is well aware of his torturing habits.

As Randall recounts the event, we see a flashback of Jamie being whipped by the Captian. We also learn that Jamie was whipped for stealing a loaf of bread, and that Dougal attended the whipping. Also, we see crowd laugh as a Redcoat soldier faints at the torturous whipping, only to be followed by the horror of Randall responding by trying to whip Jamie to the bone.

Back in Brockton, Randall shows a change of character. He tells Claire that he is not a harsh man, but that his character has been blackened by his time in Scotland. He convinces her. He then punches her hard in the stomach. Following this he orders a reluctant Corporal Hawkins to kick her. Then to repeat the kicking. Luckily, Dougal bursts in! Stopping any further violence, he adds that any more questions by Randall could start a war with the MacKenzies.

Dougal rides off from Brockton with Claire. Before they return to the camp, they stop at a steam. There, he offers Claire some water that stinks, but is refreshing. Dougal asks Claire if she is a spy, for the English or the French. Annoyed by even more questioning, she says no. Dougal believes her. The water was from Saint Ninian’s Spring, the liar’s spring. The fact that she survived tells him that she is being truthful.

Dougal explains Claire’s options. As Claire states, he has to return her to Fort William the following day. However this can be avoided. No Scot can be arrested by an English soldier without proof of crime, or removed from clan lands without the laird’s approval. So, if Claire becomes Scottish she won’t need to return for further questioning. This can be done by marriage. She is repelled by the idea of marrying him. Dougal laughs, explaining that he was thinking of Jamie.