At the next village they visit, Claire witnesses Dougal’s kindness to a man whose home was sacked by Redcoats and now can’t feed his family. He gives him and his son a sack of grain and invites them to the Extortion Cocktail Hour (ECH). Claire calls him out on appearing kind when he is really fleecing Collum and stealing from his clan. Dougal remains calm and says that if he is, it is clan business and not hers.
NED’S FACE THO.
That night at the ECH, Jamie takes his shirt off instead of having it ripped off (his mending is excellent you guys, you can’t even tell) and Claire sits bored again until one word stands out: Stuart. This takes us to a Frankback and yeah yeah, OKAY.
So no, Dougal is not an extortionist, he is a rebel, raising money to put Bonnie Prince Charlie on the throne and using Jamie’s back as propaganda. Claire is now confronted with a paradox. Does she intervene in history, or leave it alone? If you know Claire, you already know the answer.
Her musing is interrupted by voices, and we get to use her snooping to overhear a convo between Jamie and Dougal.
Basically Dougal thinks Jamie should want a Stuart king because it would save his “silly neck” but Jamie says his neck and his back are his own business, to which Dougal replies that not while he’s traveling with him. Jamie knows he has nowhere else to hide and punishes this tree for no damn good reason.
Claire comes down from her hidey-hole and they have a brief exchange where she says Dougal will keep using him, Jamie responds that yes, because it gets him what he wants and Claire asks why he lets him. Jamie responds simply that he is his uncle, that a man “has to choose what’s worth fighting for” and that Claire should know this. The looks they exchange are LEGEN…………………………………………………………….
…………DARY, made all the sweeter by the fact that these are two souls once more connected in their circumstances: powerless, but making the best of it.We can see now that Jamie’s advice was given to Claire because he and she are in the same place. Jamie breaks the spell and says that it’s time to go to bed, but when Claire jokingly says he shouldn’t punch any more trees, he responds that “The trees are safe, Sassenach” and we get two more looks. Jamie’s is adorable, and Claire looks like she’s going to ignite.
Where is my lacy fan? MY HEAD WILL LITERALLY EXPLODE WHEN THEY HAVE SECKS. Don’t expect a recap cause I will be dead.
The next morning they pack up camp, and Claire is still mulling over the inescapable outcome of the rebellion. She thinks that most of these men will die for a lost cause and it is depressing, you guys.
I just focused on the cute horse until they went to the next scene, but imagine my disappointment when it turned out to be an emotional landmine that mad me want to barf with sadness. I’ll share, because it’s not Outlander if you don’t bemoan the nature of humankind via sadbarf at least once per ep.
Two men crucified on the road, branded as traitors with a T cut into their bellies, and left to rot for over a week. Dougal orders them cut down, a solemn funeral is said, they are buried and that night, Jamie’s back gets a rest because now Dougal has a new awful story to tell. The mood is somber, people contribute well, and Dougal is definitely going to hell.
They seem to be staying at an inn, because Claire has a bed for once, out of which she is awakened by noises late at night. Claire is no’ scairt, so she handles it the only way she knows how, by rushing to confront said intruder without thinking about consequences. GUUUURRRL.
Silly Claire, it’s just Jamie sleeping on your doorstep LIKE PLATONIC GENTLEMEN FRIENDS DO when they are staking a claim on you like a magnificent ginger lion. No worries.
Jamie explains that the men downstairs in the taproom are “half gone with drink” and he wanted to make sure none of them wandered upstairs to try to get under Claire’s woolens. She laughs it off like it’s cute, except this has happened to her not once, not twice, but three times before. Poor Jamie is just playing the odds. Claire mentions that they are probably not feeling very friendly towards an Englishwoman and then she apologizes for stepping on him. There is a beat when this happens…
NO ONE BLAMES EITHER OF YOU. Even that door frame is probably squeeing with joy.
Because she is a polite lady, Claire points out that Jamie can’t be comfortable in her doorway and invites him into her room. His reaction is PRICELESS. He obviously thinks she is propositioning him.
He tells her that he could not stay in her room with her because it would “ruin her reputation”. Claire’s reaction mirrors my own, which is–
Claire says that he’s slept with her under the stars for weeks-him and ten other men. He gets very gruff and says that that isn’t the same at all. She says then that the very least she can give him the blanket from her bed, and what follows is THE sexiest exchange of bed linens in any series ever. I feel confident in this assertion.
When their hands touched, I yelled out loud like I was lit on fire and someone had doused that fire with bees. You can’t tell from a screen cap, of course, but when Jamie touches her hand, his instinctively tightens and she starts. All praise to Cat and Sam for these subtleties.
Jamie finally breaks the tension by telling her he’ll be right there. And then that sinks in.
An eleventh-hour silent parting shot from Jamie. Imagine having to shut a door on THIS:
Well played, Sir.
Next day at breakfast, Jamie quickly finishes eating when Claire comes down the stairs and when she intercepts him to say “Hello Mr. McTavish” very sweetly, he just as sweetly replies, “Hello, Mistress,” and ducks out to see about the horses. Some men in the tap room overhear this and start to speak to each other in Gaelic, but Claire ignores them as she sits down to ask Ned why he let her think that he and Dougal were thieves. Ned plays it off.
But Claire takes him by surprise when she tells him she knew enough Gaelic to make out “Long live the Stuart” and then proceeds to stick her foot into the mouth of history by telling Ned that it is a war they cannot win.
Good job, Claire, cause no one THINKS YOU’RE A SPY OR ANYTHING. She tells him that history will “never record the name of another Stuart King, but it will record the names of the thousands of highlanders who died needlessly for a doomed cause”. When Ned says “History be damned,” she begins to get an inkling of what a hardheided breed she’s up against, but their conversation is soon interrupted by the sound of all hell breaking loose.
Claire grumpily tends their wounds and gripes at “any excuse for a fight”.
Then Murtagh shows up and tells her she was the excuse. The other clansmen had called her a whore, and that’s a right they haven’t earned in the Mackenzie book.
Claire is strangely touched by this, and everyone else rushes to pretend it didn’t happen because they are dudes.
Outside, Rupert is once again regaling everyone with the heroic exploits of his todger and two women fighting over who he would infect pleasure first when Claire lands a doozy and tells him that if anything, she’ll believe “his right hand gets jealous of his left”.
Jamie totally slides into view like he cannot even believe that came out of her mouth, and neither does anyone else, because they are silent and stoic for a few beats until this happens:
Turns out Rupert’s never heard a woman tell a joke. Even Dougal laughs, and Jamie tells her she’s witty and once again SPARKSOMG.
Jamie laughingly mentions that it will be a long ride before they reach Culloden Moor and we get another Frankback as Claire recalls visiting the site of the Battle of Culloden.
It’s another dreary, depressing recitation of facts from the professor whose info I have to bullet because it makes me sad.
-The highlanders faced English cannons and mortars with mostly only their broadswords.
-Over two thousand highlanders died.
-Because they lost and the crown appropriated their property and outlawed their ways, it signified the end of the Highland Clans.
Damn history indeed, Ned. As she remembers, Claire recalls that the war is but three years away from her current time, and wonders if any of the Mackenzie men she travels with are doomed to die in that field. Only time will tell.
When they make camp that afternoon, Angus Mhor helps her untie her bedroll and when Claire asks to go wash at the river by herself lo and behold, permission is granted. Maybe she’s getting Dougal’s trust back after all?
Nope. Ned gave her a hard look right before she asked and now we know why. Dougal wanted her alone at the river so he could confront her about her seeming intel on the Jacobites away from his men.
He asks her who she is, and confronts her about her “strong political opinions” and what she has witnessed on the road, which, if she tells the English would get he and his men strung up. Claire denies she is a spy, and even as Dougal acknowledges that she very well may not be, he accuses her of sowing “the seeds of doubt” in his midst. Those are some stale seeds, Dougal. Hate to tell you. #sorrynotsorry
Claire finally breaks and admits to trying to save his life and it stuns him into silence.
But he doesn’t get a chance to ask further because THIS.
They forgot about him, but the young English officer has obviously been tracking them, and he brought friends. Dougal goes to draw his sword but immediately desists as he and Claire are surrounded, and he left his men behind. “Lieutenant Jeremy Foster, of His Majesty’s Army” introduces himself to Claire, glares at Dougal and once again asks if he can be of assistance.
Dougal rushes in to give his own long, pompous introduction (“Dougal Mackenzie, War Chief and Brother to Collum, Laird of the Mackenzies and of the land on which you currently stand”) and to clarify that Claire is a guest of their clan. Lieutenant Foster breezily replies that Mackenzie or no, if he is holding Claire against her will, he will answer to him.
And that is it. Fade to black. Our spleens must subsist until next episode.
Lastly: You guys. Thanks so much for all your sweet comments and funny responses. It makes this labor of love so much easier to do, when I know you all enjoy it. Until the next one!