Wentworth Looms…Looking Ahead to Outlander Episode 15   35 comments


This morning my Twiiter feed and FaceBook pages were filled with images from the upcoming episode of Outlander on Starz.  Episode15 has been talked about and feared since the series was announced. What happens at the prison is that controversial and that disturbing.  I have no real words of comfort to offer because Wentworth looms and its shadow casts a chill of foreboding.

Diana Gabaldon, the author of the book, has already seen the finished product and has felt the need to warn fans that:

  1. The actors were brave
  2. It follows the book
  3. It will be uncomfortable viewing

Just these three statements alone are reasons enough for me to both look forward to and yet feel somewhat nervous about watching this episode. Diana Gabaldon’s story of what happens between the sadist Black Jack Randall and our beloved Jamie is tough to read and knowing that we will “see” what happens is disconcerting… to say the least. This visual version of Diana’s story has had a tendency to be well acted, well executed and well…it’s going to feel real. I’ve seen some social media posts that suggest this episode could trigger feelings and memories for folks, especially for those suffering from PTSD and I believe it could. Quite frankly, it IS a concern and I’m glad folks are being warned.

Read the rest of the article after the jump!


Only Diana truly knows what happened in that dungeon room, but she said she shared her knowledge with the producer and actors.  They were then able to decide what they would feel comfortable acting and showing us.  They haven’t shied away from difficult scenes yet and I don’t imagine they’ll start now.  I fully expect to be staggered, impressed and emotionally exhausted by the end of the episode.  This series will continue to be ground-breaking and I couldn’t be prouder.

Yesterday, I ran across an interesting thread on Facebook that paired an image of Jamie in irons and the poem Invictus by Ernest William Henley.  I asked Denise Cataudella, the lady who shared the poem and picture, if she would mind my using her post for inspiration for this article.  She was gracious and said, “please do”.  I was struck by the feelings this poem and picture evoked when paired with the book fan’s knowledge of what will happen to Jamie.  People were sharing with Denise that it sent a chill down their spines and brought tears to their eyes.

I’ll admit, I too got a chill when I thought of how close jamie came to losing his  soul.

…black as the pit from pole to pole… There in that dungeon…alone…believing he would die the next day…never again to see his love…his Claire…

fell clutch of circumstance…captured…escaped…captured again…in the clutches of a man he knows to be a monster…who has flogged him to within an inch of his life…and…desires him…

under the bludgeoning of chance…what he suffers…the torture…physical…mental…spiritual….his despair…

beyond this place of wrath and tears…how desperately he tries…tries…to hold on …to himself…

looms but the horror of the shade...soon…soon…it will be over…think on her…until they come…

I am the master of my soul…

A soul.

The word represents one of those concepts that we all understand and yet have a tough time defining.


  • the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body
  • the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect
  • the emotional part of human nature; the seat of the feelings or sentiments.
  • the animating principle; the essential element or part of something.
  • a human being; person

These definitions are good, but I think Jamie explained it best when he said:

“It’s …difficult to explain. It’s…it’s like…I think it’s as though everyone has a small place inside themselves, maybe, a private bit that they keep to themselves. It’s like a little fortress, where the most private part of you lives–maybe it’s your soul, maybe just that bit that makes you yourself and not anyone else.” …”You don’t show that bit of yourself to anyone, usually, unless sometimes to someone that ye love greatly.”…”Now, it’s like …like my own fortress has been blown up with gunpowder–there’s nothing left of it but ashes and a smoking rooftree, and the little naked thing that lived there is out in the open, squeaking and whimpering in fear…”
– James Fraser, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This Saturday, a soul will be in jeopardy and a fortress blown to ash.


Posted May 13, 2015 by bethwesson in Outlander, Outlandish Anticipation

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35 responses to “Wentworth Looms…Looking Ahead to Outlander Episode 15

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  1. I wish all places like Wentworth could be burned to ash and people like BJR, who take advantage of their positions of power to inflict horrendous torture would burn with them! It brings back memories of Steven Spielberg’s movie, Schindler’s List and the horrors of WWII. It leaves a pain and sorrow in my heart, which never goes away. I only hope that anyone watching episodes 15&16 will take something positive away from it and remember that Jamie will come out of this darkness with the support of those who love him.

    • I will have more to say on the subject, but yes I too am reminded of WW2 and all those who have had to face horrible circumstances they were powerless to control and yet survive and go on. TY for reading!

    • I would like to see all political prisoners released inc!uding the ones in our prisons too.

  2. maybe just maybe, like the build up and warnings of the spanking punishment scene that had us all ready with hankies that mostly didn’t get used because i think we were prepared for the horrible worst ..perhaps this will be the same….

  3. Great post, although I question the use of “desire” with reference to BJR, which would indicate physical attraction through homosexual tendencies. As a sadist, his sexual gratification comes from inflicting pain and humiliation, regardless of gender. Jamie is the ultimate challenge, because he’s already tried, and failed, to break him.

    • I feel he does desire him. And I think we agree. Sex is just a tool to BJR. His desire for Jamie is more for the challenge he represents. He was unable to break Jamie and that has set up fascination, a “desire” for him. I loved the scene at Fort William when Tobias sits a his desk contemplating Jamie. I could almost hear his thoughts
      ” what would break him? ” I think he has concluded that sex might be an effective tool.

      • It was the definition of desire I was after – so yes, we agree, it’s not based in any romantic proclivities on BJR’s part, but a need to destroy Jamie both physically and emotionally. And yes, BJR’s shrewd calculation of Jamie’s achiiles heels (revulsion to buggery, and Claire), gave him all the tools he needed.

      • Oh so right! BJR uses sex as a tool to break Jàmie , also using Claire and Jenny the same way. He is so twisted.

  4. Oh boy. Just reading Jamie’s words about the “little fortress within” sends chills up my spine. I’ve read Outlander several times and knowing the outcome does not diminish the impact of the incident. It’s brought me to tears each time.
    I agree with Victoria that BJR’s desire for control and sexual gratification through pain and humiliation transcends gender. If he had a dog he would probably mistreat it.

  5. Je suis pres. For what my eyes will see, my heart will feel and what I have read via the words in the book. Thanks to all who have prepared me for this weekends episode. I am sure the strength of the following weeks episode will help to heal the heart, blur the image of BJR, and make me anxious for Season 2.

    Barbara L. Randall
  6. I to am looking forward to it but also as it is a sin that someone would have such a black heart as Randall has but to not show it would be a tragedy and yes it should have a disclaimer on it for someone who has PTSD. I know that when I had read the book I had gotten so mad I had threw the book across the room it made me so mad but. I had seen Clair as not only a healer but a woman that wanted her true love back back from a darkness from the pits of hell she gave her soul to save his soul and I also commend all the actors for what they had done to do this

  7. Another great article Beth.. I do agree that BJR DOES desire Jamie… I think that is what makes what he does so devastating because it is done in a tender way not a sadistic way (at least in the book). I keep thinking back to what Diana said at Paley — “it was one of the bravest things she had ever seen two actors do on screen”. I think that because they are such great actors it is hard to remember they are playing characters. I know I have to honor the actors and their craft and will watch because of that.

    • Thanks for reading! I was just thinking that WE know that Jack’s desire for Jamie is complicated and sadistic, but Jamie only knows this man wants him to surrender his body to him. I think he senses the sadism , but not sure he would understand. Although, Claire did define it! I’m sure they will do the scene justice.

    • I couldn’t say when I read the book, what BJR did to Jamie was gentle, anything but that. Given his entire back of his body had been flogged and hand nailed.

  8. But would it be so uncomfortable to accept that BJR in fact desires Jamie? And that it is sexual desire? Yes he is a sadist and gets off apparently on/when inflicting pain and in fact may require it to be fully satisfie. But there is something beyond pain that he wants from Jamie. He wants his soul. But I think honestly he desires him as a man also. I don’t think we need to dance around it.

    • I didn’t think I was! I think he does desire him, but I was trying to make the point that it is much more complicated than what we would consider simple lust. DG has said he is an equal opportunity sadist, men, women it’s just who he has access to. She has gone on record saying he isn’t homosexual, so….

  9. I saw the Invictus poem and photo a day or so ago and found it to be very powerful. By chance, last night I re-read the Wentworth chapter (it’s been some time since I read Outlander) in preparation for this weekend’s broadcast. The passage that you quote is the part of that chapter that I recalled most vividly! Keeping that passage in mind as I re-read Invictus and your dissection of it brought tears to my eyes. I’ll be thinking on it Saturday as I watch. I consider it akin to “bearing witness”. Jamie’s sacrifice deserves that.

  10. The first time I read “Invictus” it sent chills down my spine. It was given to me by my father to memorize after I had suffered what my teenaged self considered a devastating setback. A visually powerful poem it speaks with an eloquence that resonates with anyone facing adversity. Many years later I thought of it often whenever difficulties would arise. It absolutely fit the first time I read about Jamie Fraser’s trivial at Wentworth prison. The courage it took for a young man of 23 to bargain his soul to save the love of his life. He had pledged “the protection of his body” to Claire Fraser and he meant every word even as he himself was brutally restrained by the “fell clutch of circumstance.” It takes mastery of oneself to face adversity by conquering fear. Conquering and moving beyond it. The effects of Jamie’s imprisonment will always haunt his days, as does any personal violation, but it’s how one handles and transcends such circumstances that makes one whole again. Trust.

    Denise Cataudella
    • Thanks Denise! I appreciated your post and the inspiration. There is much to be said about this part of the story beyond what physically happens to Jamie. Hoping I get to write about the aftermath of Wentworth next week.

  11. Oh my !!…After reading the books knowing Jamie will be facing unimaginable horror at
    the hands of BJR…Knowing he will be broken, physically, mentally and emotionally, to the
    point of welcoming death…I’m not looking forward to the next episode.
    It is said…”Forewarned is forearmed” and we have certainly been warned…it being said by
    both Caitriona and Tobias…”You’ll be hiding behind a cushion!!”.
    That being said, how can I not watch Jamie’s suffering…My heartbeat quickens at the mere
    thought but with Claire’s loving care and devotion, we will see him rising stronger from the darkness
    back into the light as the brutality of Randall gradually fades with the passage of time.

    Thanks for your posts Beth. The poems brought tears.

  12. I agree, that as fans of the books and the TV Series, we have to take the good with the bad in order to appreciate the scope of Jamie and Claire’s capacity to face adversity and emerge stronger, not only because of who they inherently are, but because together they can overcome just about anything. I also agree that we need to honor the courage of these actors who are finding these types of scenes extremely challenging, disturbing and exhausting. At some point they have to go to that dark place with a crew of people around them. Sam was up at 4 am each day to have the prosthetics applied, which for these episodes took about 4 hours and another hour to remove it all after a long day of exhausting filming of difficult material. I wonder how well he was able to sleep when he got back to his trailer. We owe it to him and Tobias to bear witness to their portrayal of the darkest hour in all of the Outlander books. For me this was rock bottom and how Jamie and Claire emerge is an accent into the light.

  13. My stomach is in knots knowing whats to come after reading the books. However seeing will be much more difficult. The poem really grab me. Thanks Beth for this outlet.

  14. Lord John Grey is homosexual and a loving person of the highest integrity. He desires Jamie, but most of all he loves him and because of that he would not risk pushing Jamie into a physical encounter and losing his regard and friendship. He said trading physical contact for lifelong friendship was a worthy exchange. He came to love Claire too as a friend and did everything he could to protect her in Jamie’s absence both because of his personal regard for her and because she held Jamie’s heart forever. Lord John is the polar opposite of BJR.

    Rebecca Anderson
  15. Another fantastic discussion ! Can’t wait to see it and then discuss when everyone knows the story. I’ve been worried about the ‘hand wound’ and your picture just made me shudder. Until next week …

  16. The fact that BJR wants to strip Jamie of his pride, then taunt him and taint his love for Claire by evoking Jamie’s lust, and then sending him to his death with BJR’s evidence of his cruelty upon Jamie’s person, makes him the worst villain. BJR has no soul. I believe he is insane.

  17. Reblogged this on Ana Fraser Lallybroch Blog.

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