Outlander Wiki
Outlander Wiki

The Garrison Commander is the sixth episode of Season One of the Outlander television series.


Claire's unexpected meeting with a British general turns tense when Captain Jack Randall arrives. Claire finds herself alone with Randall – a dangerous man determined to uncover her secrets.


The following contains plot spoilers – read at your own risk.

The episode picks up where the previous one left off. Lieutenant Foster asks Claire if she is with the MacKenzies by her own choice and Dougal awaits her answer. Finally, she tells him while she appreciates his concern, she is a guest of the Clan MacKenzie. He tells her that his commander presently in residence at the inn in Brockton will wish to speak with her and asks that she accompanies him. Dougal says if the lady goes, he goes and Claire agrees.

The party rides into Brockton and Lt. Foster tells his men to take care of their own horses as he does not trust the Scots to care properly for them. He tells Dougal and Claire to follow him to the inn. He takes them to a large room upstairs filled with British officers being served a meal. Foster introduces Claire to the leader who stands and happily greets Claire. He says it has been too long since he saw a lovely Englishwoman and says the lieutenant says she has an interesting story to tell. Claire says she's glad he's willing to listen to her. He assures her he loves stories and hasn't heard a good once since he arrived on that blasted land. He invites her to join them saying he hunted the venison himself and that Scotland is a great country forhunting, and he's surprised the cheese is edible, but the claret is his own and bottled in 1735.

Lt. Foster introduces Dougal as war chief of the clan MacKenzie and brother to its Laird and in turn introduces Dougal to Brigadier General Sir Oliver Lord Thomas, Knight of the Bath and commanding officer of the northern British Army. Lord Thomas says Dougal certainly looks the part of a war chief, and one of the officers says Dougal is a fine specimen of the local inhabitants. Lord Thomas asks Dougal how should he address him, and Dougal says MacKenzie or Chief MacKenzie if they're being formal, which in matters of war makes them equals, laying thick on his accent. The officers all look confused and Thomas says he didn't understand a word the creature said. One of the officers says he believes Dougal was trying to say Chief MacKenzie would be acceptable, but the rest eluded him. Thomas says that someone ought to teach the Scots the King's English. Foster says Dougal was speaking English, but their form of English. Thomas says it's offensive to the ear. Claire reminds Lord Thomas that in England, especially in Newcastle, the local accents are equally unintelligible. He says she makes a good point, but the world would make a lot more sense if everyone spoke like they do in London. Dougal says he should have stayed in London if he wanted to hear how Londoners speak. The officer helpfully tries to translate, but Thomas says he understood Dougal perfectly. Thomas says he would go back to London if only the Scots acted like loyal British subjects, then he and his troops can return to civilization.

Thomas once again insults the Scots saying that he wishes his servants would move as quickly as his soldiers and if her were there long enough, perhaps he could become a Laird, but then he would have to wear a woolen skirt. He said he had heard it was an insult to ask a clansman what he wears under a kilt. Dougal asks if Thomas is trying to embarrass Claire on purpose, or if he was just arrogant. One of the officers asks Dougal if he knows to whom he's speaking, and Forster warns Dougal who says if he pulls his tiny sword, they'll see who stabs whom. Forster moves to draw his sword, but Claire intervenes, saying they're acting like children. Thomas agrees and says her propriety shames them all, and they'll forget about what men wear under their kilts. Thomas admires Claire's strength and if she were a man, he'd make her a colonel in one of his regiments. He says she certainly knows how to give orders to men and Dougal wryly agrees with him. Thomas says it's been delightful meeting Dougal, but as there's no room at the table for him and rudely dismisses him as their meal is getting cold. Dougal tells him to keep his scraps as there is good Scottish ale in the tap room below. He tells Claire he'll be downstairs and leaves. Thomas wonders how they can make peace with such rude people.

During the meal, Claire charms them with her stories to Lord Thomas's and the other officers’ admiration. Thomas says she has amazing stories, and Claire says she hopes her adventure is over. Thomas says he figures she's had enough of Scotland, and Claire says she found the countryside beautiful and her stay not unpleasant, but now wishes to return to her family. Thomas asks Lt. Foster to escort Claire back to Inverness, and he says it won't be any difficulty in helping her book passage to where she wants to go. She thanks Thomas and he says it's nothing, and she has his word on it. She asks for more wine. Claire thinks that it is only a brief journey to the stones at Craigh na Dun. They all toast to uneventful journeys.

The drinking is interrupted by Jonathan Randall who rushes in to tell them Dougal is downstairs. Thomas protects his wineglass and asks if they're under attack. When Randall says they're not, Thomas admonishes him for putting the claret at risk with his dusty clothing. Randall sarcastically says the wine must be saved and spots Claire on his way to the door. They stare at each other until Thomas asks if they know one another. Claire stays silent, and Randall says he thought Claire looked familiar for just a moment, and Claire says the same thing. Thomas introduces Mistress Claire Beauchamp of Oxfordshire. Randall says he is charmed and steps outside the door to stomp his feet and brush dust from his coat. He declines a glass of wine, and Thomas asks for his purpose in being there. Randall says that Dougal MacKenzie is downstairs. Thomas says he knows, that it was Dougal who brought Claire there. Randall scoffs, and Thomas asks if a general must answer to a Captain. Randall says he meant no offense, but now that Thomas mentioned it, he wonders why an English lady would be with a Scottish war chief. Thomas says it was a fascinating story full of murder and robbery. Thomas suggests Randall take Claire to Inverness so she can tell him her stories along the way. Randall titles it Mrs. Beauchamp Among the Savages and the men all laugh.

Foster says that Claire claimed she was treated well by her friends among the Scots, and Randall says he didn't think the English had any Scottish friends and that Private McGreavey would agree with that if he could. Thomas says don't talk about that as it will make Claire swoon. She says she's not squeamish and Randall tells her that McGreavey wandered away from his patrol, and they found him tied to a tree with his legs crossed and arms folded in his lap. Claire thinks it was a prank until Randall says the private's head was in his arms. Claire commiserates, and Randall asks if that's all she has to say. Claire tells him about them finding two dead Scots hanging from crosses, and one of the officers says if it was done by English soldiers, then it was English justice. Another says they must have been traitors, and Claire says it was carved into their chest and doubts they were given a trial to prove it. Randall says McGreavey's sentence was given without a trial as well. Claire says so then both sides should be ashamed of their depredations.

One of the officers scoffs at her woman's view, and he never discusses politics with them. Claire says she thought they were discussing morality and not politics. Randall questions if her politics are as unclear as her morals. Thomas asks what he means, and Randall says that all the time she has lived among savages he has to wonder if she shared Dougal MacKenzie's bed. Claire angrily asks how dares he make such a charge, and Thomas tells him he's crossed a line. Randall says he will apologize if he's wrong, but why would Claire choose barbarians over her own kind. Why choose aggressive people who kill the English. Claire says the Scots just want the same freedoms they have, that they are not the aggressors, but it is the English who are occupying their land. Randall smiles smugly and Thomas is shocked since it is the King's land, not theirs. Claire realizes what she's done and Randall is triumphant. Thomas and the other officers find Claire's views troublesome and Claire tries to mend what she's said by assuring them she is a local subject of the king. Randall says he time in Scotland has confused her and that she's lived among savages for too long and Thomas says she must return to her family quickly, and Claire says she can leave today if he'll allow it.

Before Thomas can answer a soldier comes in and says three soldiers were shot at outside the town. Thomas is astounded that the English encampment would be so boldly attacked, and Randall says that such small attacks happen every week, and Thomas says he knows that from the reports. The soldier says that one man is dead and two are wounded, and one is very bad, and they've sent for the surgeon. Claire jumps up and says she'll go help. Downstairs, Dougal intercepts her and asks if she's alright since he saw Randall go upstairs. Claire asks if Jamie and the other men attacked the soldiers, and he says they would not do it without his express order and it's Randall she needs to worry about. Claire says the English will look for someone to blame. He says without proof they can't hold him, and she says she'd worry less if he were more scarce.

Claire realizes the wounded soldier's arm needs to be amputated, and she thinks she'd participated in her last amputation when the Nazis surrendered, but it seems she'll have to see more men maimed in battle. One man offers to cut off the arm with his sword and another gives Claire his handkerchief to use as a tourniquet. Claire asks for boiling water and clean cloths just as the surgeon arrives and takes over. He unpacks his equipment and asks if Claire will faint when he begins to saw, and she says she's seen worse. She orders some soldiers to hold him down and takes administers opium to the wounded man. The surgeon gives the man something to bite on and begins to saw the screaming man's arm.

Claire later returns to the dining room and finds Randall there being shaved by Corporal Hawkins, the young man who had told them about the attack. He calls her Nurse Beauchamp and asks if she's back from saving lives. She asks where Lord Thomas is, and he tells her that he and the other officers, including Lt. Foster are off hunting rebels and scoffs that Thomas won't find any as he's a terrible horseman. Hawkins asks the captain not to talk as he's afraid he'll cut him. Claire looks at the straight razor and recognizes it from one that has been in her husband Frank's family for two hundred years that she used to shave Frank before he left for military service. Frank had asked her to keep the razor safe for him and she asks who will keep her safe. Frank told her that was his job.

As predicted, Corporal Hawkins nicks Randall, and he apologizes for the accident. Randall demands the razor back and orders Hawkins to sit down. He tells him a soldier needs a steady hand, or he won't hit what he's aiming at and must control his nerves instead of the other way around. He pulls the corporal's neck up and slides the razor along his dry neck as a nervous Claire looks on. He calls Hawkins a beardless boy and orders him to bring his things back to his lodging and then wait outside making sure they're not disturbed. A shaken Hawkins leave and Claire says that with Foster gone, someone else will have to take her back to Inverness. Randall says in time.

Claire points out that Thomas promised she'd leave today and warns Randall about touching his claret. Randall picks up the bottle, winces at the aroma and calls Thomas an ass. Randall says that Thomas agreed to let her go before he heard Claire speak her troubling words that even makes Lord Thomas question her loyalty. He pours the wine out of the window and drops the bottle to crash below. He tells her that ever since they met he's been troubled about that awful day in the woods, and he's ashamed. Claire is pleased with the apology as she hated to think a King's officer would act that way. He says he's not casual with women, and he looks forward to showing his true nature to her and that his honesty is met with hers. He invites her to sit down.

He says they'll begin with her telling him who she is and why she is in Scotland. She begins her Oxfordshire story again, and he reminds her they promised honesty. There are not any Beauchamps there, and she asks how would he know since he's from Sussex. He demands to know how she knows that, and she realizes her mistake, but covers by saying his accent proves he's from there. He says he doubts his tutors or his parents would be happy to hear that his speech reflects his birthplace as they went to a lot of trouble and expense to educate him. He asks in French if she speaks French, and she says yes, very well. He compares her accent to that of a prostitute, but says she doesn't look like a woman who would apply make up to her breasts. She thanks him for that. He asks about her maiden name, and Claire redirects saying that while she made some bad comments supporting her Scottish acquaintances, her rash words should not be construed for treason nor should they prevent her from leaving. He tells her that her attitude is not helping her case.

Claire tells him she does not make any claims on him or the garrison or the MacKenzies. She only wishes to go home and there's no reason for him to object to it. He tells her that he found her wandering through the countryside in her underwear and when he questioned her he was knocked unconscious by someone he learned was a member of a band of Scottish rebels led by Dougal MacKenzie. He says those facts imply she is either a stupid whore or a spy for the king's enemies. She asks if those are her only two choices, and he advises her to give him another. She gives him another story of how she fell in love with an English infantry officer she met in England, who swore his love for her alone. When he was sent to Scotland, she followed and learned he was an immoral man who wanted her only for her body. When she turned him down, he attacked her, and she was forced to flee dressed only in her shift. She asks him not to ask any more questions. He takes a knife from his coat and sharpens a pencil. He sits closer to her, and begins to draw. He asks the man's name, and she says she will not stoop to his level by telling Randall his name as it would ruin his career and reputation. He finishes his drawing and asks Claire's opinion on her likeness. He titles it "Beautiful Lies."

He tells her that he knows Dougal MacKenzie is raising funds for the Jacobites, but he lacks proof. He tells Claire she will provide him proof since she has lived with the MacKenzies for these past months and must have heard them support for James the pretender and his fool son. She tells him Dougal would be a fool to let an Englishwoman overhear his treason and Randall says not if that woman supports the cause. She says she is not that woman. He asks if she's seen any of her Scottish friends raising funds for the rebellion and she denies it. He asks again and she asks how many times she must say it. He tells her he wouldn't believe her if she said day was light and night was dark.

Claire demands to know if she's under arrest and if not, then she refuses to answer any more questions, and she'll wait for Lord Thomas to return. He tells her she won't leave the room until his questions are answered, and she proves herself innocent. Either she can cooperate or he'll have to use harsher methods other than talking. She says she's heard of his methods and that flogging is a sport for him. He says he takes flogging very seriously. She says he has a reputation at Castle Leoch where she heard he had a man flogged with two hundred lashes to a poor Highlander boy. He says that boy is a thief and murderer. He asks if Dougal MacKenzie told her that Jamie had only stolen a loaf of bread and that Dougal was there for the second flogging.

Randall tells her that Jamie had been flogged before for trying to escape and received one hundred lashes from a corporal who, while skillful with the whip, did not break Jamie, which set a bad example for the witnesses, and he could not allow that so he decided on another hundred lashes and to do it himself. In flashback, Randall views Jamie's scarred back and prods it with the handle of the whip, causing Jamie to writhe in pain. Randall says he prefers to work on a blank canvas so he can observe the progress of the damage. He leans against the post and asks Jamie if he's shaking with fear, and Jamie says he's afraid he'll freeze before Randall is finished speaking. Randall promises he'll break Jamie and punches him in the stomach. Randall removes his coat and prepares to work.

Randall asks Claire if he's ever seen a man flogged and says it's not pretty. He said the thought of the whip hitting across Jamie's raw back made him sick. He sits down, sighs and says he intended to pace himself to keep from tiring out. In flashback, Randall begins to whip Jamie's black who immediately starts to bleed. Dougal and the others watch in horror. Randall tells Claire that Jamie again refused to cry out and wondered if Jamie wanted his pity and was mistaken if he did. Randall said he could feel Jamie's pain, that each stroke exploded in his heart, yet still Jamie would not cry for mercy. Jamie struggles to stay on his feet as a blood covered Randall looks on his ragged back with torn skin hanging in places. Randall begins to whip harder, then asks Jamie if he's had enough. He continues whipping as the people, soldiers and citizens alike, watch in horror. Randall tells Claire then something changed when one of the soldiers faints and the crowd began laughing, that he decided to bleed Jamie to the bone. The world shrank to Randall's arm and Jamie's back with the whip connecting them. The laughter changed to sobs, and the horrified crowd had to look away. He calls them fools who couldn't see the beauty and truth. He and Jamie created an exquisite bloody masterpiece and it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

Randall tells Claire that he did promise to reveal himself, and he did. She agrees with him and he says she must think him a monster, and he admits he could be. She says because he cares for what she thinks there must be hope for his soul. He tells her he is not the man he was before he came to Scotland. Instead of serving his king and protecting his country, he's been tasked to watch over squalid and ignorant people prone to stupid superstition and violence. The darkness inside him has grown, and he's developed a hatred for the world. He says he finds himself doing bloody things and no longer recognizes himself. She tells him he's not the first soldier to be changed by combat, but that he can admit to it means he can find that good man inside him again, and he can choose right over wrong. He said he would like to think he could, and she says he can't undo what he's done, but he can regain his humanity. He asks if she thinks that someday he can look at a mirror and not hate what he sees, and she believes a man like him can do what he wants. He titles that the rehabilitation of Black Jack Randall and says Claire could win a fortune betting against it. He suggests he might begin by taking her to Inverness and notes that makes Claire happy. He chuckles and says that's an odd feeling. Claire agrees that it's a beginning.

Randall calls Corporal Hawkins into the room and stands up and helps Claire to her feet. He tells the corporal they require his help. Claire starts to thank him, when he savagely punches her in the stomach, cause her to fall to the floor, gasping for air. Randall pulls her head up and tells her he lives in the dark, which is where he belongs. He doesn't need her sympathy, and he'll get none from him and one way or the other, he'll get the truth from her. He asks Hawkins if he's ever kicked a woman, and the boy is horrified. Randall says it's very freeing and orders him to kick Claire. Hawkins makes a half-hearted kick, and Randall orders him to kick her, and he obeys, knocking the air out of Claire again. Randall points out that women are so soft. He orders the boy to kick her again, but fortunately he's interrupted by Dougal MacKenzie crashing into the room.

Dougal stalks towards Hawkins, who wisely scampers away from Claire. Randall says he didn't ask for Dougal who ignores him and helps Claire to her feet. Two men with rifles enter the room and Dougal demands they stop where they are. He tells Randall that he didn't come there to fight and to order his men to stand down before he gets angry. Randall says he has no right to Claire, not while she's being questioned by a British officer. Dougal says she is a guest of Clan MacKenzie and Randall points out she is first an English subject. Dougal says she was brought here because they thought she was being held against her will by his brother and now that she's assured them she was not, she must be returned to his protection. Randall says that there are more questions to ask and Dougal says he won't ask them on MacKenzie land unless he wants to start a war.

Randall laughs and says they're done for the day and orders Dougal to bring Claire to Fort William by the end of the following day, and if she is not, then Dougal will be accused of harboring a fugitive from English law and will be hunted down and punished, war chief or not. He tells his men to let them leave. Dougal leads a still choking Claire out of the room and Randall tells her he is looking forward to them meeting again. She answers with a glare.

Dougal and Claire ride out of Brockton and through the hills at a headlong gallop, and Claire is near to fainting when Dougal finally stops. He tells her the men are still at the campsite, but there's fresh water here, and he assumes she needs it. She says it's quite a hike downhill just for a drink. Dougal leads her to a fast stream and drinks the water. Claire starts at the sulphuric smell, and he says it does stink, but it'll quench her thirst. As she's drinking, Dougal pulls out his dirk and hides it behind his back. He asks her if she's a spy for the English or the French. She asks how many times she must answer that question and he says he'll never ask it again. She declares she is not a spy, that she is nothing more than Claire Beauchamp. He looks at her and then finally says yes, and puts away his weapon. She asks if he was going to use the knife on her and he says he wouldn't have wanted to since she's a beautiful woman, but if she proved false, he would have had to kill her. Now he knows that she's telling the truth because she drank from Saint Ninian's Spring also known as the liar's spring. It smells like Hell and if you drink from it and tell lies, it will burn the person from the inside out. She questions a magic spring, and he says as a healer, she should believe in magic.

Claire tells him that Captain Randall would not be convinced of the truth that way, and he agrees with her. Dougal tells her she doesn't have to see him ever again if she does what he tells her to. She reminds him that he has to bring her to Fort William the next day, and he tells her that an English officer cannot arrest a Scottish person if he has no proof of a crime, and he cannot remove a Scottish subject from clan lands without the Laird's permission. She says he's been talking with Ned Gowan, and he confirms that he has as he thought this would happen. He says he can only legally refuse to turn her over to Randall if he makes her a Scot and the only way to do that is for her to marry one. She says no, she cannot. Dougal asks if she'd rather go to an English prison, and she asks if she's to marry him. Dougal laughs and admits he would love to grind her corn, but he's nominated someone else. Claire asks who.

Later, Claire is reading a contract of marriage binding her to James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Jamie approaches and sits next to her. Claire says Dougal wants them to be married. Jamie knows, and Claire asks if he's willing. He says she's fixed his wounds more than once, and it's the least he could do in return and besides, he wouldn't be a very good friend if he let her be turned over to that bastard Randall. She says that a young man like him must have someone else he's interested in. He says he's not promised to anyone as no father wants their daughter married to a wanted man with only a soldier's salary and the threat of being hanged someday soon. Claire asks if he's ready to start the honeymoon the next day, and he agrees on what suits her. She asks if it bothers him that she's not a virgin and he says no, as long as it doesn't bother her that he is. She looks at him and he jokes that one of them should know what they're doing. He leaves her to her thoughts.

A short time later, Claire rejoins the Highlander men and grabs the bottle of whiskey from Dougal and stomps off to get drunk to the men's amusement and Jamie's chagrin.


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • John Heffernan as Brigadier General Lord Thomas
  • Tom Brittney as Lieutenant Jeremy Foster
  • Finn Den Hertog as Willie
  • Ian Dunn as Captain Yates
  • Andrew Whipp as Brian Fraser
  • Matthew Steer as Lieutenant Hughes
  • Edmund Digby-Jones as Corporal Hawkins

Production Notes


  • "The Garrison Commander" is the title of Chapter 12 in Outlander. The events of chapter 13, "A Marriage is Announced," are also covered in the episode.
  • Author Diana Gabaldon confirmed on her Facebook page that Jamie's father, Black Brian Fraser was indeed in the episode during the flashback scene and was played by actor Andrew Whipp. He is the dark-haired man standing behind Dougal.[1]



Last.fm_play.png "The Marriage Contract" – Bear McCreary




  1. Diana Gabaldon's Facebook

See Also