On Goodness, Thankfulness and Outlander

On Goodness, Thankfulness and Outlander

Outlander Photo Recap 113, “The Watch”

Last time we saw our heroes, Claire was being complimented by a dude holding a gun to her husband’s head. Ups and downs. Just another day in Outlandertown (motto: If no one’s hurt or dead, wait a minute).

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Jamie quietly goads the Ginger of Christmas Future by turning to look down the barrel of his pistol and warning him that if he by some chance misfires, Jamie will shove the pistol “down his gullet.”

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Claire, who speaks fluent testosterone, runs down the stairs as she sees the older man raise his pistol to her husband’s forehead and reply that “there is only one way to find out.” Sounds like someone needs an anatomy lesson!

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Upon arriving downstairs, Claire locks eyes with Jenny, who has come around the corner. The pregnant woman’s face registers brief alarm, and then she strides confidently into the room, calling the gunman “Taran” and chiding him to put his gun down because JENNY MURRAY, SON.

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He seems to know her, and mentions he caught “this scoundrel” in her house. Jenny laughs and says that it is no scoundrel, but her cousin, Jamie. Jamie introduces himself as Jamie MacTavish, and Taran puts his gun down and excuses himself, saying he’s never laid eyes on Jamie before.

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Jenny walks over and explains that he just showed up one day, wife in tow, for a visit. At this, Claire steps forward and says that Jenny and Ian did not know they were married, and that it was a surprise. This causes one of the men in Taran’s group to exclaim at her being a Sassenach, but once again Jenny steps in.

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She says she almost took a gun to Jamie herself when she found out, but that she has gotten to know Claire, a decent woman whose “Englishness they don’t mind so much anymore.” Taran grins, sketches a bow to Claire and introduces himself formally as Taran McQuarrie, leader of the local Watch, who intervened because he thought Jamie was robbing the place.

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Jenny says sarcastically that they like to leave the robbing to him, and McQuarrie laughs as he pours himself some wine. Into this barely polite scene walks Ian, smiling and saying he didn’t expect him until next month. MacQuarrie says he was pining for Jenny’s rabbit stew, and Ian helpfully supplies that he took his sword to the smithy for him and had it polished.

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Jamie looks on incredulously as Ian seems to cater to the man who only moments ago, held a gun to his head. McQuarrie compliments the work on the sword, seated on a chair with everyone else standing. Though he thanks Ian for his trouble, he immediately segued into a comment about his stomach growling, and tells Jenny to put supper on.

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She, straining to hold her tongue, replies only that everyone knows their way to the dining room and leaves, Jamie hot on her trail and visibly seething.

Both couples meet to speak in the kitchen, as Jenny runs around trying to make supper. Jamie asks why she would invite The Watch into their home, and she snaps for him to be quiet, that it isn’t as if they had a choice. Ian says McQuarrie is a decent fellow, and it’s only for a couple of days.

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Jamie hisses that maybe along with fixing his sword, Ian would also like to polish his boots. Ian reasons that he only did the man a favor, but Jamie speaks directly to his sister. He reminds her that The Watch are criminals, but Ian interjects that the money they pay protects them from the Redcoats and other raiding clans. The Watch looks out for them, and their tenants.

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Jamie ignores him, speaking directly to Jenny, who quietly chops leeks and doesn’t look at him. “What about the price on my head?” He points out that they would turn him over to the redcoats in a second for the reward. Jenny calls him “cousin” and says that is why they will feed them, give them a place to sleep, and Jamie should keep his wits about him until they have moved on. Jamie is obviously not in agreement, but he has nothing to say.

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Claire asks how often the men come around, and Jenny responds that every few months for almost two years. “I never would have agreed to this,” Jamie whispers angrily. Jenny ignores him the way you’d ignore a toddler taking his socks off in public.

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Finally, he sets his sister off. “But you weren’t here, were you Jamie MacTavish?” she practically shouts at him. Claire hisses at them to keep their voices down lest they be overheard.

The siblings stare at each other a moment longer and first Jamie, then Jenny look away. The tension among all four is high.

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Jamie stares sullenly at Jenny as she chops, and Ian deliberately walks into his sight line and gently asks if he doesn’t think if the situation hasn’t taken its toll on the two of them. He then assures them it has, but it was their burden to bear, and if he has a better idea, he’d like to hear it.

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Chagrin registers briefly on both Claire and Jamie’s faces, but any apology is waylaid when Jenny bends over, clutching her belly in pain. Jenny snaps at her brother’s obvious question of “Is it the bairn?”, and Claire gently urges Jamie to listen to his sister, “tread lightly, and don’t provoke them.”

That evening at dinner, MacQuarrie sits at the head of the table as his men complain about being served the second-shelf liquor. Jenny dryly shrugs off his comment that she hides the best liquor and tobacco when they come, while Jamie does the opposite of treading lightly, glaring mutinously at the wall.

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MacQuarrie notices that he is being quiet, and asks him where he’s from. When Jamie answers in the Gaelic for the Outer Hebrides, the older man points out that he doesn’t sound like an islander. Claire quickly interjects that he spent some time in France, fighting in the French army with Ian, and likely that influenced his accent.

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MacQuarrie takes this bit of information quite genially, revealing that he too fought alongside the french in Austria, and asks Jamie if he was in Spain with Ian. “Aye, the border, mostly,” he responds, and Ian elaborates that they were separated in battle and he thought Jamie had died on the field. “That was Silesia, in ‘40,” Jamie says gravely, “He spent the next three weeks convalescing in a brothel.”

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This little joke goes over well with everyone except Jenny, who stares coolly at her husband while he rushes to clarify that it was a hospital, not a brothel. MacQuarrie laugh, and tells the table that he was in Silesia in ‘42, storming Prague. He raises his glass in a French toast, which both Jamie and Ian echo.

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Claire translates it as “Never be taken alive,” and compliments it as daring. MacQuarrie, no happily talks of the excitement of dashing at your enemy after the first volley, before they have a chance to reload. Jamie points out with a grin that a sword to the head puts a quick end to a second attack, and MacQuarrie smiles, calling him “an old colleague.”

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His affability is a front, however, for a ruse meant to draw out the truth about Jamie. MacQuarrie reveals his curiosity that he has traded a lot of army stories with Ian, but he has not once mentioned MacTavish. Ian smiles apologetically and assures him he must have. MacQuarrie’s face hardens a bit as he insists he is sure he didn’t. Jenny attempts dry humor again, pointing out that if MacQuarrie wasn’t so deep into drink he might remember.

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Once again her wit makes the leader laugh, and he stands to offer a toast. “Here’s to a long life, and a merry one, a quick death, and an easy one, [to Jenny] a pretty girl, and an honest one, a stiff whiskey, and another one.” They all toast, and one of the men puts his horse-poo feet up on the table.

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Claire notices this, as does MacQuarrie, and she casually asks how long they are staying. He replies that a few days, pushes the mans’ feet off, then addresses Ian, saying that he has a few more men coming tomorrow, as they are planning something big. He then turns to Jamie and says he will tell him about it the next day, if he should be interested.

Jamie makes no comment, and MacQuarrie goes on, telling Ian that one of his horses has turned up lame and he will need to see the smithy to get him shod. Jamie offers to look at the animal, since he is good with horses and he “wouldn’t want anything to keep them from their travels.” MacQuarrie grins, toasts Jenny’s cooking and exits with his men to sleep in the barn.

The next day, Jamie leads the lame horse out to the forge and notices some of the Watch men standing about, one of whom is smoking Ian’s tobacco near a wagon filled with hay.

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The man comments on the quality of the tobacco, and Jamie’s sulky response is that it is “too fine for the likes” of him. The man hears him and takes visible offense. While Jamie tends to an abscess on the horse’s hoof receives a rude answer to asking when he was last shod, the man empties his pipe into the wagon and blows on it to start the fire going.

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He shouts “FIRE!” and laughs uproariously as Jamie shoves his way to the hay, calling in Gaelic for his clansmen to help him douse the fire. MacQuarrie’s men stand around laughing at the Fraser’s efforts, shouting and mocking them. Once the fire is put out, Jamie rushes at the men, telling them that they have been taken in, fed and sheltered, and they might want to show some gratitude.

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The man who smoked the pipe takes out his gun and points it at Jamie’s head, saying that he might want to remember who has the pistol. He laughs as Jamie backs away in seeming fear, only to grab the heavy iron pliers and take a swing at his head, knocking him out. One by one he fights the other men, holding his own against them admirably.

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He’s got the last one held at gunpoint when MacQuarrie walks in upon the scene and orders his men to stand down. He walks right to Jamie, pushing his gun away from his man’s head, and tells his man to get out of there. MacQuarrie then turns to Jamie and apologizes for the “stramash,” which I am pretty sure is a kind of scandalous potato.

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He says his men are “good lads, just a wee bit coarse,” and that he is trying to school them since they did not benefit as he and Jamie did from the army. Jamie wishes him good luck and walks away, but MacQuarrie tells him he could use a man like him. “Not just a bonnie fighter…a warrior.” Jamie takes a deep breath and looks down at the gun he is holding, finally turning it over. “I’ve done enough fighting in my life. I’m settled now.”

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MacQuarrie tells him to let him know if he ever changes his mind, but Jamie walks away, calling the dogs to him as he goes through the arch to check on new arrivals. The rest of MacQuarrie’s men have arrived, along with one unfortunate addition: Horrocks, the English deserter who extorted Jamie back in 109 for information that ultimately revealed that Black Jack Randall shot the man Jamie was imprisoned for killing.

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Horrocks obviously recognizes Jamie as well, but when MacQuarrie asks him about it, he responds that he thought so, but all Scots look alike to him. MacQuarrie can tell he is lying, but lets it go and invites him in for a drink.

Later in the study, Jamie tells Claire about Horrock’s arrival, and she worries that he knows about the price on his head. Jamie agrees, pointing out that a traitor to the British who has no compunction robbing and killing Scots won’t stay quiet for long. Lost in regret, he tells Claire that he thought Lallybroch was the one place they would be safe, and that he should have never come back.

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Claire tells him not to say that, and rushes to him to look earnestly at him while pledging her allegiance to the republic of Jamie Fraser. “Whatever happens, we’ll handle it. No matter the cost.”

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While walking reaaally slowly through the house in total view of men who are professional mercenaries, Jamie overhears Horrocks tell MacQuarrie of a plan to lift the Chisolm’s rents from them by ambushing them at a bridge on the border with Fraser lands, one day’s ride away.

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No one sees him. NO ONE.

Outside, Jenny and Claire do some laundry and hold on a second I can’t concentrate because wee Jamie is being adorable and literally has to be carried out of the scene because his mom is like “No one will listen to Claire and I if this kid stays because they’ll be busy falling in love with his tiny vest”.

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Also: carrying children about like logs is THE BEST.

Basically Jenny tells Mrs. Crook to take wee Jamie because she is fantasizing about the things all mothers do, namely doing chores without stepping on a child and using the privy alone. This leads to her saying that soon Jamie will have a brother to play with, and Claire asks her how she knows the new baby is a boy.

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Jenny lists the fact that she’s had no morning sickness, a taste for salty food, and that she is carrying low, all things that she experienced with wee Jamie and that make her sure the child is a boy. She asks Claire if she has siblings, and Claire answers that she is an only child.

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Jenny remarks that it is good for a man to have a brother, and that Jamie was only eight when they lost their brother Willie to smallpox. Claire tells her that Jamie thinks of Ian like a brother, and Jenny agrees. “The two of them were like one after Willie died, especially in a fight,” Jenny explains, recalling that Ian’s father used to tell his son that his job was to guard his chief’s weaker side, and he did.

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“When Jamie and Ian stood shoulder to shoulder, there was no one could take the pair of them down,” Jenny tells Claire, and the two women share a smile right before Jenny bends over with a gasp of pain. Claire rushes to her, asking what’s wrong, but a quick pan of the camera downwards answers for us even as Jenny confirms her water’s broken.

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Her labor has commenced.

Once Jenny is inside and in her bed, Claire palpates her belly and informs her that the baby is breech (or as Jenny calls it, “a footling”) and that they will have to attempt to turn him. She answers Jenny’s question about whether or not she knows about babies with a succinct “I’ve seen childbirth,” as she attempts to turn a baby with nothing but theory and brute strength like a freaking wizard.

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NEVER CHANGE, CLAIRE, you bold human grenade.

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Jenny asks if she has never been with child herself, and Claire answers that she hasn’t, which Jenny takes as an opening to regale her with Granny McNab’s recipes for fertility, which include raspberry leaf and rose hip tea drunk when the moon is waxing and lady’s mantle with “a bit of raw egg beaten up in it.” It’s hard to know if Claire’s distressed expression is due to her effort or a reaction to this take on infertility treatment.

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Jenny watches her tense face and discerns that she is unable to turn the baby, and Jenny jokes that “He’s determined to land on his feet.” Claire returns her humor a bit shakily, saying that the baby is stubborn and has Fraser in him for sure. Claire offers to go get Ian and tell him what is happening, but Jenny says she will not say anything to him about it, and neither will Claire.

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“No point worrying the man,” she says with conviction, and instructs her only to say that the baby is coming.

Downstairs, Jamie discovers Horrocks looking through the study, and both men recognize that the time has come to talk, and Jamie shuts the door. Horrocks gestures around him and asks if all of it is Jamie’s. Jamie doesn’t answer, but Horrocks laughs and says he saw the name “Fraser’ carved on the lintel.

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His next question is to ask who Jenny is to him, but Jamie’s only answer is a glare. Horrocks then says he doesn’t have to tell him, but points out that both Jenny and his bride, Claire are bonny. “They speak about the luck o’the Irish, but you, Jamie Fraser, you’re the lucky man.” Jamie’s patience gives out, and he asks point-blank what he wants.

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The answer is money for his passage to the colonies, Boston specifically. Jamie points out that he’ll have plenty after the raid he has planned, but Horrocks says that is only a start, since the money will have to be split with MacQuarrie’s men. He posits Jamie might be willing to help him, sure as he is helping Jamie by keeping his mouth shut, and swears that if he pays him, he won’t see his face again.

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Jamie asks how much.

Upstairs, Jenny is pacing and tells Claire she has felt the baby drop. Since all they have left to do is wait, Claire asks Jenny what it’s like to be pregnant. Jenny snaps back that it’s “no romp in the heather,” if she can’t tell by her face, but Claire insists.

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What follows is a sometimes blunt, enchantingly poetic description of the highs and lows of manufacturing people and the meaning of it all. The longer, full version of it is one of my favorite passages in any of the books. As Jenny speaks, she paces, sometimes pausing for a contraction while Claire listens.

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Claire smiles gently and somewhat sadly at her sister-in-law when she is interrupted by Mrs. Crook, who tells the women that the midwife will not be coming as she was called away to tend to a sick relative. Claire dismisses her and she and Jenny share a meaningful look before she assures her sister-in-law that it is possible to deliver a breech baby.

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Claire tells her she will have to reach inside and guide it out. Jenny accepts this news with a nod, and tells Claire to fetch her a dram before they start. Claire points out that if she does, the baby would likely be drunk as well. Jenny snaps that “then he’ll come into the world a true Scot.”

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Claire smiles and leaves to fetch the drink.

Out in the courtyard, Jamie and Ian repair the hay wagon that burnt in the fire, and Ian chastises Jamie for provoking MacQuarrie’s men. Jamie angrily points out that they burnt the hay that they needed for the winter, and questions if he wants him to just turn the other cheek. Ian replies, “That’s why you’ve got two cheeks, ye limmer.” Jamie replies that Jenny hates them, and he can’t figure out why Ian doesn’t.  Jamie’s been on the defensive so long, he really does see people as friends or potential threats.

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Ian explains that MacQuarrie doesn’t take as much from them as other neighbors. Jamie asks if then that makes Ian “boon companions” with them. Not only does Ian accept Jamie’s assessment, but he says he looks forward to MacQuarrie’s visits, and to drinking whiskey with a man who doesn’t look upon him with pity, as if he’s “a lame cur.”

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Maybe, he continues, he favors him because he is a soldier or because…and here he pauses, looking at his best friend, “Because he reminds me of you.” Jamie pauses, and the look he gives him speaks volumes. Yes, Ian guarded his side, but he also once guarded Ian’s. Seeing this, Ian continues in a gentler voice, telling him that MacQuarrie pays the redcoats to stay away from Lallybroch and when they won’t, he fights them.

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Jamie asks if he pays one devil to protect him from another, and Ian tells him he’s not proud of it, but there it is. He steps closer to Jamie and even before he speaks, his face is grave, and we know what he is about to say is important. “What happened here with Jenny never will again. But no man can stand up to that monster Randall alone. Not you, not me. It takes an army. The watch is our army now.”

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Jamie doesn’t respond, but Ian can tell by his face that something is bothering him and asks about it. Jamie confesses that Horrocks knows about his identity, the price on his head, has asked for money to keep quiet, and he doesn’t know what to do. Ian tells him that Jenny mentioned a small sum his father left, hidden away in a nook in the tower.

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Jamie doesn’t want to use that money, but Ian tells him half of it belongs to him by right and that if Jenny knew about it— But here Jamie cuts him off, saying that Jenny doesn’t know, and he wants it kept that way. Ay. These Frasers. Jamie tells him he won’t take the money, but Ian insists, saying it’s not only what Jenny would want, but what he wants, as well.

Back in their room, Jamie tells Claire about the money, and explains that it was meant for her, and their sons and daughters. “I wanted to fill this house with our children, hand down the good Fraser name.”

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As he continues, Claire becomes increasingly more agitated.

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When Jamie says “I’ve let you down, Claire,” and turns away from her, she turns as well, and for a moment there is a gap between these two that just breaks your heart.

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It’s perversely moments like these that make me love Outlander. So many shows lead you to believe that the consummation of a relationship somehow downgrades the ability to inject drama and emotion, and that after the love is found there is nothing left to explore. But a real love affair is also a partnership of equals that requires a lifetime of negotiation and overcoming obstacles.   Seeing these two flounder and reach out, break and rebuild over and over again will never not ruin me and enchant me.

TL;DR: MOTHEREFFING FRASERS4EVA, Y’ALL.

After a few moments, Claire turns around with tears in her voice, saying it is her that has let Jamie down. He turns to look at her, but she keeps looking down as she confesses that she may never give him a son as beautiful as little Jamie. “I don’t think I can have children.” Claire isn’t looking at Jamie, but we are, and the sadness on his face is unmistakable.

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Claire hazards a sidelong glance but immediately looks away. “I tried…before I met you,” she says, voice trembling. “With Frank,” Jamie clarifies tonelessly. Claire nods and begins crying in earnest, saying she should have told him before they married, but that she never counted on loving him, much less having children with him. “I’m so sorry.”

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She is holding herself, sniffling, clearly miserable, and through Jamie’s throat works once, twice, he makes a decision to be kind to his clearly suffering wife. “Perhaps it’s for the best,” he says with a small smile. Claire finally looks at him, incredulous.

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He says that there are so many things that can go wrong. He looks earnestly at her face and reaches for her arms. “I wouldn’t want anything to happen to ye, or for ye to suffer.” Claire tells him she wouldn’t mind the pain. “I would,” he tells her gently. “I can bear pain myself, but…I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have.”

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They hug, and he kisses her neck, and they part, Jamie telling Claire that he shouldn’t keep her from Jenny, and Claire reassuring him that she won’t let anything happen to his sister. Jamie smiles at her retreating back, but once she is gone, he looks around his empty bedroom and sits heavily down.

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Of course his heart is broken. He’s taken a direct hit to his hopes and dreams once again, but he recognizes Claire’s enormous guilt and chooses not to burden her with his disappointment over something she cannot help. This, folks, is how you marriage.

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That gif is so bad I laughed myself to tears. But it needed to be done.

 

Later that day, Jamie goes to meet Horrocks with a pistol hidden in his belt. As Horrocks stands above him, Jamie takes a purse from his waist and tosses it up at him.The Irishman chortles, thanking him for his generosity, and Jamie tells him they are done and begins to walk away.

Horrocks interrupts with an additional concern, which Jamie anticipated he might have. It turns out that the money he just received may be enough for safe passage to the colonies, but he wants to buy a business once he gets there so he can make a living, and he hears Boston is an expensive city.

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“That’s everything I have,” says Jamie with a rueful grin. Still, Horrocks insists, Jamie is Laird. Certainly he can raise his tenant’s rents, or sell off livestock or lands? Jamie resists, pointing out that land belongs to the clan, and has been in his family for hundreds of years. The Irishman chooses that moment to make an overt threat, saying that more would be the pity if he lost it. Jamie is amazed at his cheek, and comments that he must be “deep in the drink to say such a thing.”

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Horrocks doesn’t care, glibly stating that an Irishman’s not drunk while he can still hold on to blade of grass, and that he does partake from time to time, which loosens his tongue and makes him a danger to himself and others…like his kith and kin. Jamie reaches behind his back for his gun and advances slowly on the man, telling him to leave his kin out of it, but Horrocks has the higher ground and with it, the tactical advantage, which makes him reckless.

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He warns that the British army doesn’t take kindly to people who harbor outlaws, and that prison is no place for decent folk. Jamie is not close enough to take him unawares, and Horrocks grins, takes out his gun and holds it over his shoulder, telling Jamie that he is sure he would agree. As soon as he is done speaking, however, a knifepoint protrudes from his heart and he stares down with an amazed expression before he slumps over, dead.

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Behind him is Ian, who was guarding his Laird’s weak side.

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Jamie is stunned, and as both men stare at the lifeless body on the ground, Jamie looks up, and notices Ian’s hand is shaking. “I thought I killed my last man in the war,” Ian says, breathing hard. Jamie walks over to the dead man and kicks him, thanking his brother-in-law and saying that if he hadn’t done it, Jamie would have.

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Ian says Horrocks was an absconder, a traitor and a thief, unworthy of the Watch, and even of the redcoats. Jamie takes the purse back and tells Ian that they will bury the bastard, though it be more than he deserves. Ian nods, but is unable to put his sword back in its scabbard, where it rattles due to his shaking, and it calls Jamie’s attention back to him.

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Jamie hisses at him to wipe the blood off first and Ian does so, though quite robotically. Jamie finally notices that his friend is affected, and speaks to him gently about a discussion they used to have about which was the greater sin, fornication or killing, and if it meant they would go to hell.

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This surprises a laugh out of Ian, and he passes down his bloody sword into Jamie’s waiting hand. Ian understands what Jamie is trying to do, and the habits of a lifetime aren’t easily diverted.  He replies quietly that if Jamie’s going to hell, then he might as well go, too. “God knows you’ll never manage alone.”

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There is a beat where they are once more in perfect accord, and then Jamie tells Ian to go get the shovel.

 

Evening, Jenny is in active labor, screaming and holding on the the bed posters while Claire prepares a pallet for her to give birth on.

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As Claire passes by her, she mentions her fingers have swollen, and hands her rings and tells her to put them away in the jewelry box she has hidden in her drawer. Claire opens the box and smiles at a tiny carved snake she finds there, turning to show it to Jenny.

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Jenny says that their brother Willie carved it for Jamie for his fifth birthday, and that she recently found it and meant to give it to him. Under the snake, the word “SAWNY” is carved, a pet name based on Jamie’s second name, Alexander, and Willie’s nickname for his younger brother. Jenny holds the snake and gets emotional, saying that she knows Willie would want Jamie to have it.

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She then takes a deep breath and tells Claire that Willie is buried “out there” next to her mother. “She died two years after he did. In childbirth.” She looks gravely at her sister-in-law, and neither speak of it, but she is scared. Jenny hands the carving back and tells Claire to give it to Jamie for her. Claire holds the snake inside Jenny’s hand in both her own, and tells her firmly that she can give it to him herself.

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Another contraction comes, and Jenny drops the snake– a representation of love, loss and evil– and screams in the pain that Genesis tells us women endure as God’s punishment for the original sin.

Downstairs MacQuarrie and his men are drinking, and one of them shouts up the stairs for her to be quiet. The man who set the fire stops Ian and Jamie, who are on their way in, and tells Ian that she is “screaming like she’s giving birth to a harpsichord.”

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Ian, hearing her, is in no mood for teasing and rushes past him to go upstairs. Both MacQuarrie and Jamie look on him with pity. When the man who started the fire attempts to stare Jamie down, MacQuarrie casually walks over and says that he thinks they used more of their hay than usual, and gives him money to buy extra in case they run short in the winter.

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He then casually mentions he has not seen Horrocks since supper. Jamie pauses while serving himself wine, and says that neither has he. One of the men comments that he’ll turn up, and MacQuarrie looks at Jamie as he mutters that he’d better, because they leave the next day.

The next morning, MacQuarrie, Ian and Jamie gather for breakfast and MacQuarrie asks after Jenny, who is still in labor. Ian says the babe is taking its time, but she is coming along. The Watch commander again brings up the missing Horrocks, calling it a “wee bit of a puzzle.”

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Horrock’s horse is still outside, so he can’t have gone far, MacQuarrie reasons, and he was lazy enough that he “wouldn’t wander ten steps to pish,” much less wander away. He keeps going, saying that he has a fair grasp of mathematics, and three men went out, but only two came back in. He knows that Jamie and Horrocks knew each other already and hid it from him. “That doesn’t tally up.”

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Ian is visibly nervous, but Jamie calmly butters a bannock and says he doesn’t take MacQuarrie’s meaning. “Why’d you kill him?,” the Watch commander asks quietly.

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Jamie and Ian look up, and Ian rushes to try to explain, but Jamie speaks calmly over him, addressing MacQuarrie. “I’m a wanted man. There’s a price on my head. Ten pounds sterling.” He continues telling him it is likely double now, and that Horrocks knew it, and threatened him and his family. “So…” he picks up his bannock and bites into it “…I ran him through.” This is when my brain short-circuits because EATING BREAD should NOT BE THIS HOT.

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BRB, gotta take a shower in cold butter. NURSE.

Back to the action.

Jamie is by all accounts perfectly calm as he awaits MacQuarrie’s reaction, but he is both protecting Ian and using his ability to read people to play the odds that the Watch commander with be sympathetic to him… and the odds are in his favor. “GOOD,” MacQuarrie replies. “I never liked the Irish bastard. If ever a man needed killing, it was him.” He genuinely seems pleased.

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Even though they all chuckle, MacQuarrie is not yet done. He reminds them that they are raiding the Chisholms today, and thanks to Jamie he is now a man short. He could do with a “tall, strong, Scotsman who is swift with a sword.”

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He advises Jamie that unless he is ready to dig seven graves, including his own… Jamie agrees, stone-faced, to ride with him just this once. Ian stands and says he is coming, too, but Jamie says he is not. MacQuarrie interjects and says to let Ian come, as he has two hands and can hold a gun. MacQuarrie will take them both. He really does seem to get off on chaos.

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Upstairs, Jenny writhes on her pallet while Claire, Jamie and Ian speak in the doorway.

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Claire warns Jamie that MacQuarrie could still turn him in for the reward after he’s served his purpose, but Ian tells her he doesn’t think so, and in any case he is going with Jamie. Claire hurriedly tells Ian to stay, saying that Jenny needs her husband with her, but Jenny pipes in crankily from the floor that what she needs is her brother home safe, as she lost him once already. She points out that Claire is staying with her, “so off with the both of ye.”

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She tells Ian to hurry back, because his newborn son will be waiting to meet him. Ian smiles gently at his wife and comes inside to say his goodbyes, and Claire motions Jamie out into the hallway. They then proceed to have brief but scorching eye sex.

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They stare at each other for a moment, and Claire hands him the carving, saying Jenny asked her to give it to him. He recognizes it instantly, calling it by name, and telling Claire that he hasn’t seen it in a long time.

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As he puts it in his sporran, she rubs his arms and reminds him of what his sister said. “Haste ye back, or else.” Jamie smiles at her, and asks “Or else what?” Claire winds her arms about his neck and replies playfully that or else she will follow him, drag him back by his thick, red curls, “and you won’t like it one bit.”

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As she says this, she tugs on his hair and Jamie is obviously enjoying it. His voice is low and rough  and he smiles when he answers that “No… Sassenach, I’m sure I wouldn’t.”

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They kiss, and when they pull apart, staring at each other’s eyes, Jamie nods at his wife and she responds in kind. They pull apart, and she watches him walk away in slow motion, which is NEVER GOOD.

Once on the road, MacQuarrie asks Jamie if it isn’t good to be there, and Jamie’s response is that it’s a dangerous place to live. He asks him why he does it, since robbing is not an honorable profession. “I’m a fighter,” the older man responds, “I’m good at it.”

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He grew tired of fighting for nobility and royalty, so he fights for himself and takes his money instead of earning it. He shows Jamie a watch, a souvenir from this last raid. It is a watch shaped like a skull, based off this drawing of a watch said to belong to Mary, Queen of  Scots.

Jamie opens it and reads the inscription aloud. “Pale Death visits with impartial foot, the cottages of the poor and the palaces of the rich.”

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MacQuarrie confirms that it was Mary Stuart’s, and that she was a “a real barrel of laughs”. Both men chuckle at this, and MacQuarrie says he doesn’t mind death, as long as it comes under an open sky, and Jamie agrees. The commander tells him it doesn’t have to end today, and that they could branch out and raid far and wide and make a name for themselves, but Jamie says even if he paints “a bonny picture,” he cannot take him up on it because of Claire.

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MacQuarrie says they’ll talk again once his blood’s up and he has gold in his pocket. Jamie asks if he’ll turn him in, if not, and MacQuarrie says “Never,” with a serious face. He tells Jamie he has seen jail himself, a place called the Tolbooth, and that he wouldn’t wish it on a dog.

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“I’d shoot ye first,” he says very kindly, and rides up ahead to the bridge where they plan to stage the ambush.

Back at Lallybroch, Jenny has reached the estate-planning portion of labor, and wants Claire to promise to look after Ian.

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Claire soothes her and plays along as Jenny alternately pleads with her and damns her, saying she can’t do it. Claire reminds her that she has before and will again, and Jenny tells her to get behind her as the baby is coming.

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Claire tells her she sees him, and Jenny gets on all fours and screams.

Back with the men of the Watch, who ride under a bridge into a ravine that is surrounded by high ground. This is where Horrocks told them to wait for the Chisholms.

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They discuss the plan, and MacQuarrie comments that Horrocks knew the perfect place to plan an ambush.

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Jamie agrees, pointing out the dense cover and high ground that surrounds them…and suddenly realizes that THEY are the ones being ambushed. He mutters to MacQuarrie that there is no way out, draws his sword, and charges as Ian screams his name. Slowly the camera pans to show us that the men are completely surrounded by redcoats, and outnumbered.

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The English are given the command to fire, and we the smoke obscures the image.

 

Lallybroch, moments after the birth, Claire cleans the baby and hands her to her mother, telling her that her “bonny little lass just landed on her feet.” Jenny is surprised but pleased by her daughter, and the two women smile at each other, now bonded. Jenny looks the happiest she has ever looked.

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Time passes at Lallybroch, and three days later Claire stands at the door to the house with baby Margaret Ellen Murray (named after Jenny’s grandmother) in her arms, staring at the empty archway. Her voiceover informs us of the time elapsed, and that there has been no sign of Jamie or Ian. She sits on the steps and rocks the baby, staring at the road “as if I could will them to appear.”

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Jenny arrives to look at her baby, and Claire points out that while Wee Jamie takes after Ian Maggie has the Fraser eyes. Jenny takes the baby to Mrs. Crook for a nap and sits next to Claire. She tells her she looks good with a wee one in her arms, and that she’ll be holding her own soon enough. “I don’t know that I will,” Claire says absently, still staring at the road. Jenny notices her gaze and puts a hand on her arm, asking that she listen to her.

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She says that she stared at the same road, every day for four years. “He will come home. He always does.” Claire nods, and looks away. Jenny reaches into her pocket and pulls out two bracelets, telling Claire that they were her mother’s, and that she is tall and queenly like she was. “The lady of Lallybroch should have them.” They are two boar tusks, tipped in silver, and Claire compliments them, saying they are gorgeous and “unique.”

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Jenny smiles and says they were a wedding present, but that her mother would never say from who. She remembers her father would tease her about her secret admirer, but she would just smile “like a cat who’s had cream for its supper.” Claire, touched, leans over and kisses her sister-in-law on the cheek. Jenny smiles uncomfortably, but nothing more is said as the dogs begin to bark. Someone is coming down the road.

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The women both run down the steps and we see Ian, hopping on one leg while leaning on a man whose face we cannot see. When they come out of the shadows, we see it isn’t Jamie, but the older man from the Watch.

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Ian is not hurt, but he lost both his horse and his wooden leg in the fight. Claire walks past him to look at the road, and though it is empty, she asks anyway. Ian explains that they were ambushed, and that the redcoats knew they were coming and had waited for them. The Watch member says Horrocks must have cut a deal with them, and the other lads were killed outright, so he fetched Ian home, which was the least he could do.

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Claire turns at this and demands to know where Jamie is. Ian says MacQuarrie was wounded, and Jamie wouldn’t leave him behind. When Jenny asks if Jamie was hurt, Ian replies to his wife that not he could see, but then he turns to look at Claire. “But they took him. The redcoats have him.”

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Jenny and Claire lock horrified, identical expressions, and once more Claire turns to look longingly at the road, as if willing her husband to come home.

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Thanks for reading! I plan to knock another one out before Christmas, and then the other two before the hiatus is over. Next season will likely be only shorter ones, since not having episodes in advance makes it hard to stay timely. I’ll continue to plug away, though! If this is your first time reading, you can find the rest of my OL recaps here. For more fun, follow me here or on Twitter (@conniebv). Happy Thanksgiving!

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