Episode 115, Wentworth

All photos: Sony/Starz

ahhhghhhhh I hate this episode. Thank goodness I’m doing this post so I can take breaks from watching it. Written by Ira Stephen Behr and directed by Anna Foerster, Episode 115 is intense. Even in the beginning when the implements of torture are being displayed I feel disturbed. Ack, horrid.

It’s the damn cracking necks that I can’t handle. GOD! I watch these episodes on a laptop with headphones and my compliments to the sound effects people because those cracking necks are freaking horrible ?.

And the poor guys watching. Awful! (It’s just pretend, these are actors, no one was harmed, breathe…)

It was bad enough when Taran squirmed like a bug on the end of that rope forever for opening his big mouth, but when BJR rides in like a (dark) knight in shining armor, you can see Jamie thinking, “maybe I prefer the noose.” The anticipation on BJR’s face is so disgusting.

Even though I’ve read the book many times now, and have even watched this episode more than once, I always think there might be a chance that Claire gets Jamie out of there before the inevitable happens this time. I hope. And then he shows up. 

I was busy working on my Outlander In The City post, which is why this one is so late. But if I’m honest, I was happy to put off watching this episode again. Watching this feels like the equivalent of stretching my nerves over a loom. <crack!>

Highlights? I think they’re all lowlights, but here are the moments which stood out in pictures for me:

Taran MacQuarrie as they call his name for the noose

Jamie and the others watch his torturous death



Here comes BJR like some absurd knight in shining armor…

“I won’t surrender… to you, or any man…” Damn, I’m not even sure how Sam got his voice to go that low or gravelly, but in this moment, you believe what he says.


and then he sizes up Marley, and makes his plan of attack while BJR quivers with anticipation over touching his handiwork

But damn it, two against one when one is chained to the wall by one foot really isn’t a fair fight. And then this happens… Look at Tobias’ face here, scary. Even Marley is dreading the smack of that hammer.


I am wondering if Sam has any fillings they had to cover up for this scene. And it does occur to me that he is probably an ideal dental patient or candidate for a strep culture. I’m sure I am using humor to distract myself at this point too.


Horrible scene, well played by Sam and Tobias

Then there’s the sick “why do you make me do this to you” speech. Not to beat a dead horse, but I think Sam and Tobias should’ve gotten awards for this performance.

And for the record, if I were Sam’s mother, I could not watch this. I once played a drug addict who dies in a performance and it was very hard for my mom and husband. Yeah, no. 

BJR collects himself, saying “I will not give in to coarse passion.” WHAT??? This guy is such a sicko 

Thank goodness for cut aways to these guys and Murtagh and Claire for some relief. 

Warden of Wentworth, Sir Fletcher, played by Fraser Hines (whose character Jamie on Dr Who inspired the character of Jamie Fraser long ago)

Thank God for Claire

Such a badass…

But, Jamie’s love for Claire is also his vulnerability, which creepy BJR exploits unfortunately…

Black Jack considers watching Claire and Marley together… 

These guys know that there’s some messed up shiz going down, but who wants to be on BJR’s bad list?

Claire and Jamie almost overcome BJR and Marley, but then things escalate…

and Jamie of course says BJR can have him if he let’s Claire go

He’s disgustingly excited about this

And the reality dawns on Jamie

The test…



Poor Jamie has to allow BJR to kiss him

Poor Claire. I can’t imagine leaving my husband with this monster



Claire manages to get her last lick in, giving BJR the hour of his death… 

before he unceremoniously throws her down the shoot for the dead guys ?

This photo reminds me of a picture I used to look at in one of my parents’ books of art. It was a rendition of hell. 

BJR returns to Jamie and gets his licks in (gross)



Jamie, of course, becomes more and more terrified as things go on, especially when BJR says “shall we begin?” BEGIN???? 



Meanwhile Claire deals with this tragedy the only way she knows how…

And yet another man gave Ellen MacKenzie a precious wedding gift, she must’ve been some woman. Murtagh’s like, huhhhhh?


And we get some foreshadowing at the end as Murtagh gets an idea from the coooooos


Here is a pretty good little interview with Tobias about BJR. Particularly interesting to me is the bit at 1:27, where we see his body language about being Black Jack… Catharsis is: providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions…

Here is a look inside the episode with Ron. The audio is not great.

That’s it for this week (phew, thank goodness)

16 comments on “Episode 115, Wentworth

  1. Spoken for myself, Wentworth and Ransom are two of the most horrific episodes I have ever seen on screen. I know I’m supposed to appreciate the acting of Sam and Tobias and I truly tried. But I cannot watch these horrible scenes without feeling violently ill. I suppose that means they are doing a superb job. But the cruelty and degradation is beyond words. I do wish Sam had gotten an award for this but I think that it was too horrible, even for Hollywood.

  2. Could not agree more with your article. Sam’s performance is the best I have ever seen. So believable that I could not watch after the first few minutes. But I slowly watched bits of it over the ensuing weeks and cried with the inhumane cruelty of it all. I would leave on the sound, but closed my eyes. Finally, I worked up the courage to watch it all at once and regretted my decision because it made me sick and I cried through the whole thing. To make matters worse, I hated the flashbacks shown during Jamie’s restoration of his soul. And that brings me to the whole problem, the breaking of Jamie’s sweet soul. That is what was making me cry all along. Sam was so beautiful in such a sad way and his performance has solidified him with great many fans. I am even crying now just writing and remembering this awful crime.

  3. Every time I re-watch the series, I debate whether to watch Eps 115 & 116. Even re-reading the book I debate that with myself. However, I find that even though these episodes (and chapters) are repulsive and horrifying, I find they are necessary to the complete telling of the story. How are we to understand the depths to which Jamie and Claire have to reach to find each other again if we will not let them experience the attack? We (as surrogates, viewers, identifiers with the characters…whatever you want to call us) need to relive the darkness in order to climb into the light with J&C again. It’s daunting, and I dread it now on re-watches (I hadn’t read the books before discovering the series so I didn’t know what was coming back then). Yes, I sometimes watch through my fingers, but I do watch.

    Thanks Courtney for again bringing us along on this journey.

    • Perfectly said, Tammy. I read the books first – the horror in my imagination (when I read this part) was only magnified when I watched these scenes unfold. I, too, have to make a conscious decision to include these episodes when re-watching Outlander. A necessary insight for what follows.

  4. Your writing is amazing. You are able to evoke that tension yet again in describing the episode. I too had to watch this episode with my eyes closed at times, or with muted sound. This episode was so superbly written, directed and acted. Sam and Tobias should have won awards! A few days after this episode was aired, I reluctantly watched an interview with the cast. I was so disturbed by BJR that I had to keep reminding myself that the rape and torture was fiction and Tobias isn’t BJR, but actually a nice person and a superb actor!

  5. One moment of further gut-wrench for me, was when Claire was handed the box of Jamie’s possessions – when he slid that lid back – Cait’s performance in this scorner was amazing – her loss of control when he left to get the box, and her reactions when seeing the snake etc. were brilliant. This episode and the next one have some absolutely brilliant acting in them from all involved and horror aside, they are amazing to watch. Bear McCreary’s score solidifies the atmosphere of fear, pain and loss – wonderful work by everyone involved in this series.

  6. I agree with all your comments about the difficulty to watch that episode. Never seen anything so disturbing on TV and at times I questioned the necessity of showing such horror however it did enable to confirm Sam and Tobias’s acting range. They were both at their acting best.

  7. I usually watch the episodes at least three times during the week they air. This one however, I only watched once. It came on Starz the other night. I watched 115 and I was relieved that 116 wasn’t being aired after. I remember enough. The performances were so awesome and Emmy worthy. I just can’t bare to watch.

  8. I missed this episode last Friday, and part of me is relieved. If you’ve read the books, you understand what happened, but seeing it on screen is altogether different. I must admit there are parts I cannot listen to and watch through my fingers without the sound. That said, the episode was superbly acted by all and especially Sam and Tobias. In that last look of Sam in the episode, more emotion was conveyed by the blank stare, the movement of his Adam’s apple, and the single tear running down his cheek. That’s acting folks.

  9. Thank you for your review. I love these series (books and tv) so much and have watched it more times than I can count, however, I have only seen snippets of 115 and simply cannot bring myself to watch it in its entirety. The flashbacks alone in 116 kept me up at night because the cruelty is more than I can bear. I do agree that both actors should have been recognized. The fact that they weren’t even nominated for Emmys makes me question their relevance.

  10. This episode and the next one are very hard to watch. Just looking at the pictures gives me goosebumps. I cannot understand how an actor can play such scenes. One thing is to read it (which you really need to have stomach to do), and another very different is to watch it.
    I agree with you that both actors do a superb job, but I can’t imagine them being awarded….it’s too graphic….may be offensive to many viewers. My hubby can’t take it. I have an Outlander calendar in my kitchen, and June has a pic of BJR. He has stuck a post it on his face. That tells you how he feels about him…..
    I love your comments to make the images lighter. You are so witty!
    Thanks for the BTS

  11. Yes, I agree this episode was such a sad, and hard episode to watch, but Sam/Jamie and Tobias/BJR were so believable in both roles…and poor Cait/Claire. ALL 3 did superb jobs with such a sensitive subject, and made it so real!! From the fight in both Claire and Jamie to save each other and trying to not give up and lose to BJR…and the hatred of BJR oozing out of him for Claire and the WANT of Jamie in his beady little eyes (YUCK), DG’s words came out on screen as she wrote them…I have read her books 1-8, 12 times now, and have viewed this scene 7-8 times now…this is great acting at it’s best, and they should have all gotten Emmy’s for it!!! Such powerful, dramatic acting…and if you did not care for BJR before, after all this it became pure hatred!! And if you did not care for Jamie or Claire…you feel in love with them both, sobbed for he and Claire, and rooted for them 100%!!!

  12. You may hate this episode, as most people do, but I love it… for one reason: the acting. Its absolutely brilliant acting from the entire cast, but mostly Sam! I mean, he needs an award for this episode alone.

  13. Always intrigued by your annotated summary. Like you these last two episodes are my least watched. I usually skip to the end when Claire joins Jamie in his torment. Nevertheless, I think these are episodes where Duncan (Murtagh) shows his ultimate devotion to Jamie. Hard to watch but with many tissues hard to ignore the talents of these actors.

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