Deep Thoughts Outlander 308: First Wife

This week, the series came roaring back with the goodness. Last episode was the troublesome middle child in the Fraser Reunion Trilogy, but this week resolved all my issues with 307. 308 was all the things I love about Outlander: real talk, athletic sex that serves the story, a successful Bechdel test, emotions, Science!Claire and more fun words (kebbie-lebbie, Hogmanay) than you can shake a stick at.

[Quick personal update: Still doing the recaps, just very slowly. I knew the moment the series changed from summer to fall that I would likely not be able to keep up, so for the meantime there are these, and recaps to come when life slows down.]

Spoilers ahead for episode 308.

Here are five takeaways:

The Gideon of Scotland. For a dude who is nominally childless, Jamie sure does have a lot of kids. Only William and Brianna are of his body, but besides Fergus and now Young Ian, we find that he has played father figure to Laoghaire’s two daughters, and that he was upset when his nephews didn’t recognize him upon his return from Helwater. Jamie genuinely loves children, and enjoys their company. The two young men closest to him, Young Ian and Fergus, differ in that one was bred in a whorehouse and is no stranger to crime, and the other raised in a peaceful home, with only the stories of his uncle’s (mis)adventures to aspire to. The real kicker with children is that as much as you counsel them with words, it’s the actions that they mimic, and Ian Sr.’s advice to Jamie to be mindful of Ian’s love and tendency to follow him “like a puppy” proves to not only be accurate, but premonitory.

Dishonorable Second Wife. Whatever else you can say about her (mouth like a sailor, cute daughters, fine ability to sew a pleated cap) maybe the most relevant thing, to me, is that Laoghaire MacKenzie MacKenzie MacKimmie Fraser is a woman who courts unhappiness. I never hated this character like a lot of people did. I have a lot of sympathy for her early unrequited love of Jamie. I think her setup of Claire was more heedless than evil. To me, she is more of a cautionary tale about the dangers of drawing self-worth solely from the object of one’s affection. As a young woman, Laoghaire let her feelings for Jamie and an assumed moral superiority over Claire draw her into sinful and criminal behavior. As an adult, holding on to her unhappy union with Jamie supersedes everything. She is not above using her children, a gun or the law. And I don’t think it’s because Laoghaire truly values what Jamie provides. She’s an attractive woman, and could still marry elsewhere. The reason Laoghaire balks at giving Jamie up is because having him is the sole thing that has given her life meaning, and if he goes, he takes her identity with him.

Ghosts of Past and Present. For all the comparisons that can be legitimately drawn between Frank and Laoghaire — most obviously the fact that they both failed miserably in their chance at happiness because the person they loved would never love them back, and their resulting bitterness — what struck me most deeply was their differences. Frank wanted to make things work with Claire, but ultimately decided to let her go. Laoghaire and Jamie seemingly struggled from the very beginning, but even when the end was inevitable Laoghaire turned to violence rather than accept the inevitable. Frank and Claire both struggled to put parenting Brianna first, while Laoghaire thinks nothing of subjecting her daughters to their stepfather’s humiliation, leaving Jamie to console little Joan and assure her of his love. It’s not the first time I’ve thought that, after all is said and done and for all her own suffering, Claire was much luckier in their life apart from each other than Jamie.

If You’re Coming for Jenny Murray, Make a U-Turn. The world according to Jenny Murray might have shades of grey in it, but probably only two or three. She is, without a doubt, the best representation of the moral compass of the time. Jenny’s greatest asset is her ability to see directly into the heart of a matter. Her greatest failing is her resistance to applying that insight inward.  She may have seemed hard, but when Claire first came back, Jenny gave her a brief opportunity to come clean. When Claire attempted to resume their old closeness without its accompanying honesty, that door shut tight. Instead, Jenny hastened to arrange matters to lance the infection she saw poisoning her family.  Not even Ian agrees with the way she dealt with the situation, but where other people have self-doubt, Jenny has a gold-plated statue of herself giving herself a thumbs-up. I may not always agree with her, but she speaks a lot of truth (love her pointing out that Claire went looking for Jamie last time she was told he was dead, and that by leaving him, she left the rest of his family, including Jenny herself). I can’t help but love a woman whose f*ck field is so very, very fallow when it comes to anything other than her family.

The Power of Love. One of the things I have always loved best about the story of Jamie and Claire is that neither is perfect in anything but their love for one another. Time and again it has served as both an inspiration and a reality check. As much as we all love to call him the King of Men, it’s instances like this that show how Jamie gained the wisdom he did to truly earn this moniker. He and Claire were not married long before their separation, and though his delay in telling her the truth was understandable, so is Claire’s disappointment. These are two people who have risked much to be together, and though it would be tempting to make their reunion all wine and roses to compensate for their time apart, it felt very satisfying to finally see the depth and complexity of these feeling exposed and discussed. Unlike last episode, this all flowed, it all felt rooted in genuine emotion. This is the part of marriage that almost no one shows on television: the constant reaching out, past hurt and pride, that ties each pearl and sinew of a lifetime together. The look, touch, or words from one heart to another to say, “Are you still in this with me?” “Are we okay?”

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Deep Thoughts Outlander 307: Crème de Menthe

This week is all about when people stop being polite and start being real. It’s like The Real World: Edinburgh. Claire and Jamie don’t get naked once this episode, but there is a lot of bared insecurity. Their second honeymoon over, the Frasers get down to the business of attempting to find their partnership once more. Despite some initial push-back due to the circumstance, Jamie doesn’t stand in the way of Claire being a healer, and despite disagreeing with the way Jamie handles the situation with Ian, Claire doesn’t blow his cover. But there are little clashes here that highlight the differences in their character, and the manner of lives they have lived when apart.

Spoilers ahead for episode 307.

Here are four takeaways:

Things Get Real. Real Shouty. Now that the thrill of reunion is past, we’re starting to see how some of the Frasers’ years of independence will work against them. These are no longer two young adults, but two middle-aged people with a lot of baggage that colors their decisions. No matter the time, Claire is a healer, first and foremost. Her instinct to save lives without judgment will clash not only with the fluid morality of Jamie’s current career path, but also the rigid gender roles and expectations of the 18th century. It’s not in Claire’s DNA to meekly accept limits, so it’s interesting to note when Jamie defers to her and when he chooses to assert his will over hers, and how that all works out for them going forward.

Bros Before Ho’s. Let me take a moment and fangirl over the joy of seeing Young Ian and Fergus BROTP’ing hard, talking about the ladies, Claire’s badassness and her general propensity for trouble, and the effects of brandy on a man’s mphhmm. Young Ian is an able negotiator in true MacKenzie fashion, but also a sweet peach-faced virgin, and the last time we ran across that combo it worked out pretty well for us. As for Fergus, I’m not surprised at all that he lost his virginity in a three-way, or that he’s got a practical, results-oriented take on art of seduction. What was a very gratifying surprise was hearing Fergus call Ian “brother.” This relationship is one of my favorites from the novels, and I may have clutched at my heart a bit when I heard that word.

Slim Shady. Now I love me some Jamie, but I must admit I laughed out loud at the “I didna realize lies had shades” line. This was a man lying about who he was since well before he met Claire, whose character is largely founded on gauging and reacting to nuance.  It doesn’t mean Jamie is dishonest, but he has always known when and to what degree to fudge the truth. That’s not a sin he can lay at Claire’s feet, who is if anything, a terrible liar. It seems to me that the fact that he didn’t get to parent either of his children should sensitize Jamie to the plight of a worried parent, not the other way around. As for calling back to the bikini and using that to deflect Claire’s pretty dead-on points about Ian, it seemed an obvious ploy to change the subject. Jamie is withholding an actual other wife from Claire, so his overreaction to being called out on a lie seems to stem more from guilt than righteousness.

Fire Sale.  The Print Shop was more than the scene of a sex-a-thon between two baby rabbits. It was also the physical manifestation of Jamie’s new life. Granted, it was largely cobbled together out of lies and treason and held together by prostitution, but there was a beat last episode — when Jamie cleaned the sign — where you could see real pride and accomplishment in what he managed to put together. Claire’s return throws a wrench into his life. He verbally reassures her of his commitment, but the reality of making space for her is more complex. This week, he literally watches that life go up in flames, a fire that ends one of his lives and forces a return home to Lallybroch, which in turn hints at the moment of truth that will likely come next week. In TV-speak, there’s nothing like the reassurance that nothing will happen (“Balriggan is miles from Lallybroch,” Jamie says confidently) to assure that it will.

 

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Deep Thoughts Outlander 306: A. Malcolm

I’m coming off my third re-watch, and it’s almost one pm and I am in my pajamas and I have NO REGRETS. I don’t think anything was ever going to equal the thrill of reading these moments after waiting years for these two to reunite, but there are a lot of nuances in this episode that became apparent after a few viewings, and that’s what I’ll address here. I’m off to a birthday party and then date night, so I won’t be live-tweeting, unfortunately. I’ll get into more detail in the recap when I write that.

Spoilers ahead for episode 306.

Here are five takeaways:

Room for secrets, but not for lies. This is the bit that proved to me the most that these are not the two people who left each other 20 years ago. Claire is no longer the one with secrets, but instead is open, sharing readily of herself and asking questions. Finding out about Willie was a change from the books, but it worked here to establish that, whatever else Jamie is tentative about with Claire, he is at first determined to hold true to the promise he made to her after learning she was a time-traveler. However, his work as a smuggler means that massaging the truth is his stock and trade. Book readers especially will note Fergus’s “What about…”/Jamie’s need to consult Ned Gowan and the seemingly partial translation of Yi Tien Cho’s honorific for his wife.

Tricorns are the suspenders of hats. It’s tough to be back in Scotland and see zero kilts, but it’s even tougher to be back in Scotland and see all the men in mullets and tricorns. Let’s face it, this wasn’t an attractive era for male fashion to begin with, but when you add the hair and the hats to it… It’s just not sexy. I’m sure there’s someone out there with a door-sized Hamilton poster ready to argue with me on the virtues of the tricorn, but it’s fine. I’m crossing my fingers for it to be a blessing in disguise, as these clothes will need to be routinely taken off in order to remind the audience that these men are, in fact, hot tamales. Or whatever the Scottish equivalent of a tamale is.

A many-shaded love. Literally, that one shade is grey. Hold your tricorns up high if you noticed that Claire’s outfit when she returns to Jamie is in the same greys and whites of both her wedding outfits. When Claire was first married, she was largely of the same mind as her husband-to-be, who recognized her as an intellectual equal. Her second wedding was engineered for her and the fussiness of the gown is uncharacteristic for her. Although beautiful, Claire is a woman attracted to simple, classic lines. Even if many of the beats and camera angles hadn’t echoed E107, the clothing here (not to mention the way it was removed) is a clear call-back to that episode, and had the feel of a re-commitment between these two characters. Claire’s dress, once she removes her cloak, is not only firmly in her style wheelhouse once more, but also imparts the fact that she is older, wiser, and ready to be a partner in marriage once more.

Wink to the book readers on this one.

That’s life, isn’t it? When you think you have your shit together…you don’t.

What kind of dog is that? I like that they kept this passage from the book in, even though it occurs later then, and I was happy that it opened the door to Jamie speaking about Willie (not in the books), but I missed the segue they used for the William conversation that, in the books, diverges instead towards Claire’s feelings of loss at having left her daughter behind and Jamie comforting her. He does tell her here that he knew she was a good mother, but this was an emotional beat that was not directly about them and their reunion that I would have very much liked to see onscreen. Here’s hoping they insert it later.

Pros and Cons. I guess the adrenaline of running back to the love of your life after twenty years and some good lovin’ make you forget that the past is full of people trying to kill him. Claire has returned from a peaceful existence in the Boston suburbs back to a world that is lawless in many respects. Even though she is back with Jamie, his warning that he is not the same person he was and the fact that she is accosted in his very rooms serve as a reminder that there is more than a personal re-connection that will need to take place now that Claire has returned to the 18th century. There will have to be a re-calibration to the dangers this century poses, and how and why her husband seems to always draw them to himself.

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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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Outlander Recap 112, “Lallybroch”

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Man you guys, I have been NAPPING, but I figured I should start on my backlog of long recaps before the month is out and give all you folks standing in line at ComicCon something to read. Ready?

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Also, remember when people complained that this episode was slow? HAHAHA. Oh, we were so young back then.

Open on a Claire and Jamie, riding towards Lallybroch and talking about the wonders of the modern world, such as air travel, which Jamie is curious about.

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Suddenly, Jamie asks Claire her age. “I’m twenty-seven,” she answers, and he replies that he always thought she was his age, or younger. She asks if he is disappointed, and he replies that it’s only that when he is 40, she will be “245,” which sets up an age difference of about five years, minus a couple of centuries. She laughs, and suddenly he halts the horse. “There it is,” he tells her, and we get our first panoramic view of Lallybroch.

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They dismount to gaze upon it, and while Claire says with a smile that it is just as he said it was, but Jamie remembers his last time there, and Randall’s attack on his sister, and his face falls.

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As the walk the horse towards the entrance, Claire reminds her husband that those events are in the past, and he tells her that Dougal told him that there were rumors that “Randall had got Jenny with a bastard child.” Claire tells him that they are just rumors, but his “Aye,” seems unconvinced.

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Upon entering the courtyard through the archway, Jamie once again flashes back to being tied up and whipped while Claire gamely approaches a small boy sitting outside and starts asking his name.

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It is only a moment before his mother comes around the corner and we see her-Jenny, Jamie’s sister, pregnant and obviously not for the first time, as she has called the little boy ”Jamie.” Jenny is looking at her son, but her gaze is pulled to her brother, standing in the archway, and she drops her basket and runs to embrace him.

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At this show of friendliness from his mother, the little boy runs over, and Jenny, who is tearfully chiding Jamie for his four years away with no word, smilingly introduces him to his uncle, who he was named after. Jamie’s face hardens, and he asks why she would name him so. At first she thinks he is ill, but Jamie speaks bitterly to her, asking if she does not think he has suffered enough that she must name Randall’s bastard after him, to reproach him all his life.

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The joy is gone from Jenny’s face, and after sending wee Jamie in, she gives her brother the benefit of the doubt, patiently asking if he is saying she “played the whuure to Captain Randall.” Jamie doesn’t answer, lost in his memories and regrets and probably trying to forget he saw her boobs. Instead, he bemoans his sister’s fate, saying that he would rather be dead than see her dishonored.

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Jenny listens with a sort of incredulity as he points at her belly and says, “And whose is this one?,” bemoaning that it’s not enough that she was dishonored because of him, but now she’s hung an “open for business” sign on her uterus and is using it to shoot another fatherless child into the world. “We shouldn’t have come,” he snaps at his silent, observant wife, and Claire tries to ask him to go inside, but she is cut off by a fed-up Jenny.

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His sister tells Jamie that he should “Tell that trollop to keep her neb out of my business.” As he walks back to his horse, Jamie angrily points out that the trollop is his wife, and she should speak of her with respect. Jenny snatches at his arm and when he roughly pulls away, she threatens him with a technique she employed when they were children: grabbing onto his dangly bits to keep him still and attentive. I know the scene is meant to be dramatic, but I get SUCH joy out of Jamie acting like a normal little brother, and how easily she riles him.

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Jamie is outraged that she should shame him in front of his wife, but Jenny retorts that if Claire is his wife, she imagines she is more familiar with his balls than she is, and you guys, mark 8:25 as the instant I fall in love with Jenny. She is fresh out of f*cks and not intimidated by someone she’s seen in diapers.

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She brings up again that the last time she saw Jamie he was beaten bloody and hung up in the archway, and all this time she thought he was dead. They are both arms akimbo and glaring at each other, and when Jamie retorts by asking whose child wee Jamie is, his answer comes from a man with a wooden leg. Ian Murray, his sister’s husband.

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He tells Jamie he is the father of both her children, and welcomes his old friend back. “You always knew how to make an entrance,” he says with a smile, and mentions that they thought him dead until only recently, when his chest of belongings came from Castle Leoch. Ian looks at Claire, wondering who she is, and she introduces herself as “The trollop. Otherwise known as Claire Fraser.”

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Even if Jamie and his wife are now on good terms with Ian, when Jamie turns and attempts to speak gently to his sister, she is the one who is resentful and not disposed to listen, telling him he is a damned fool, and no wiser in the four years they have been apart.

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Inside, Ian serves whiskey to Claire, who is being coy about her consumption but at least the two are speaking cordially, which is more than can be said for the Fraser siblings, who are silent, eyes downcast. Finally Jamie turns to his sister and asks to be told the story of what happened with Randall, and she tells him that she will tell it “once..and never again.” The entire time, she holds tight to her glass and mostly avoids eye contact, and my heart goes out to her.

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After Randall knocked Jamie out, Jenny says, he took her by the hand and up the stairs of the house to a bedroom, talking the entire time. She can’t recall what she said, because her mind was racing, trying to plan what to do. “I was just trying to keep my wits.” Once in the bedroom, he smells her, makes her taste her brother’s blood and takes her hand, placing it on himself. It says something about the level to which I am sensitized to his
batsh*ttery that what struck me as the strangest, most disturbing thing
was Jack ghosting his lips over Jenny’s face and eventually, kissing her
neck.

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It is just this, however, that finally gives Jenny an idea. She spots a candlestick nearby and reaching for it, hides it in her skirt as she turns and pulls Randall behind her, swinging back to hit him with it and dart for the door. She is not swift enough, as Randall catches her and pays back her attempt by throwing her against a wall, dragging her by the hair, tossing her on the bed, and backhanding her.

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Back in the present day, Jenny remembers that, although she did not know it at the time, he was trying, quite unsuccessfully, to get himself “ready”, and the reaction it provoked in her. She laughed, and even though Randall struck her twice, she kept laughing. Present-day Jenny says that she does not remember why she laughed, only that it was the only thing she could think to do, and that she kept doing it because she could tell he didn’t like it.

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At the time, Randall was trying to get her to lay on the bed, but after additional laughter he pushes her hard and her head strikes one of the posters on the bed. Jenny loses consciousness, and she tells Jamie in the present that when she woke, Randall was gone, and that was the last time she saw him. “Ye satisfied?” Jenny asks her brother.

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Jenny points out that he was mistaken, and she expects an apology. Jamie, whether due to sheer little-brother orneriness or honest confusion, asks if he hasn’t already “said as much.” It isn’t Jenny who answers, but Claire, who tells her husband that no, he hasn’t, and that Jenny is right and deserves an apology. Jenny interjects to tell Claire that this is between she and her brother, and as she tries to explain herself, Jamie in turn interrupts her and asks to speak to Claire in private.

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Once alone, Jamie tells Claire that she mustn’t embarrass him in front of his family and servants, and she points out that he is doing a pretty good job of that himself. Jamie tells her that she has a sharp tongue, “but there’s a time and a place for it.”

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Claire is indignant that he thinks to be the judge of what those times are, but Jamie tells her that he needs her trust. “This is my family. My land…my time.” He points out that he is Laird and she, Lady, and they should conduct themselves as such. Claire tells him she’s “not the meek and obedient type,” and Jamie stands in for the fandom when he wryly says that he doesn’t think anyone would ever make that mistake.

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He tells her that Colum’s wife, Letitia. She is known and respected as a strong woman, “feared even,” but she never gainsaid Colum in public, even if in private he “dodged a lot of crockery in his day.” Claire accepts this as a reasonable enough request, and jokes with Jamie to be careful, as her throwing arm is much better.

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They go once again into the sitting room, and to break the uncomfortable silence, Ian asks Claire where she is from. She gives the usual response, but then looks at Jamie with a bit of wonder as she says she supposes that Lallybroch is now her home. Jenny is surprised to hear he is staying, and asks about the price on his head. Jamie tells her that he is expecting a pardon with Sandringham’s aid, and Claire adds that it has not yet come through, but they hope it does soon. “Never thought ye’d be so trustin’ of the English,” Jenny says tartly.

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Even though everyone in the room notes the insult, Claire rises from her seat gracefully as a Queen and asks Jenny for water to wash up. “Been a difficult few days,” she says with a look of her own, and asks Ian about their trunk from Leoch. Ian says he had it put in the spare room, but Jenny notes that if they are staying, they should have the spare room and asks a servant to have her things moved to the North room. Claire politely declines to put her out, but Jamie singsongs that it is the Laird’s room after all…in a tone that seems designed to needle his big sister.

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Upstairs, Jamie hauls in the chest while Claire tells him about the “whirlwind” as the servants took the Murray’s things away. Jamie looks around, once again lost in memories that he relates to a smiling Claire as they occur to him: where his father kept his book, his boots and finally, his sword.

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She identifies it as Viking, and looks at it while Jamie tells her that the Laird’s room was sacred, and he used to slip in and hold it when his father was out in the fields. Claire points out that it is now his, and he corrects her. “Ours.” Claire repeats it, and he says that his father built the house, his blood and sweat in the stones, and now it is also where his bones are, buried out in the graveyard next to his mother and brother Willie. This causes Claire to ask the last time Jamie saw his father, and he responds, “It was at Fort William,” about a week after the first flogging.

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 Flashback, Fort William. As two soldiers drag Jamie down a hallway, Brian Fraser calls his name. Jamie is surprised to see him there, and Brian informs him that he had come to have a word with Captain Randall to see if they could get him out. Jamie immediately apologizes to him for what happened to Jenny, but Brian tells him that what happened was not his fault, and he knows that he was flogged.

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One of the soldiers interrupts to tell Brian curtly that “Captain Randall is waiting” for Jamie, but Brian cries out to them that this is his son, and do they not have compassion? The soldiers pause, and Brian addresses his Jamie. “Remember ta pray, and I’ll stand by ye no matter what happens.” Suddenly, he reaches out and embraces his son, kissing him on the cheek and activating all my tear ducts.

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One of the soldiers pushes him off and starts to take Jamie back down the hallway, and as he does, Brian calls out after them. “Ye’re a braw lad, son!” Ellen, girl, I can’t hate. This man. I can see where Jamie gets it.

The soldiers take Jamie to Randall’s office, where the Captain tells him he just met his father, who is worried about him.

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Randall also mentions that he was disappointed to hear that Jamie’s charges are so serious that he can’t be released on bond without a written clearance from the Duke of Argyll. You waiting for the other shoe to drop? ME TOO. “The thing is, Randall says, “even if he does succeed in getting such a clearance, which I doubt, it would be impossible for him to make it back in time.” I quoted this entire line because it encompasses two of what I believe are the traits that make Randall so chilling: his ease of manner and his reasoning. Buffalo Bills are easy to distance oneself from. How much harder to do so from Hannibal Lecters. It’s a quality that never fails to terrify, turning the familiar into the other.

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Randall says to Jamie that it is a shame that they got off to such a poor start, as if flogging the back off someone were akin to serving them cold tea.

Jamie must think the same, because in the flashback his head jerks sharply up, and the older version of him shakes his head at the window in Lallybroch. Older Jamie tells Claire that only a week before, Randall had flogged him “near to death,” and that he didn’t understand him. Randall kept talking. “He likes to do that. Likes ta play with his toys.” In the end, Jamie tells Claire that Randall was quite blunt about what he wanted. When she asks what that was, Jamie answers simply, “Me.”

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At Fort William, Jack explains his “quite simple” plan to the young Jamie: “Give over to me. Make free of your body…and there will be no second flogging.” Jamie looks away, clearly shocked by the request.

“And if not…”

Randall walks over to him and worms a finger into the neckline of his shirt, inserting it into a cut as Jamie jumps and hisses in pain.

Back in Lallybroch, Jamie explains that his back was still raw from the first flogging, he could barely handle the touch of his shirt, he felt dizzy every time he stood up and that he couldn’t imagine being bound and flogged again, being helpless… Claire listens, silent and teary-eyed.

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Even if he had no real idea, he thought “being buggered” would perhaps be less painful and over quicker than a flogging, not to mention Randall told him he would be set free the same day…so he considered it. Jamie looks down as he says this, not at his sympathetic wife’s eyes, and Claire, eyes full of tears, walks across the room to put her arms around him.

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Jamie does not look down, but his arms wrap around his wife as well, as he tells her that he could still feel his father’s kiss on his cheek, and the thought of what he would think of him–not for the buggery, he would not have cared nor given it a thought–for giving in stopped him. “For letting that man break me. So I couldn’t do it.”

In the flashback, we once again see Jamie being flogged, and he tells Claire that Dougal was there, as well as his father, though he did not know that at the time. About halfway through, Jamie fell, and Dougal said they thought he was dead, and that Brian “let out a small sound and dropped like a rock, and didn’t get up again.”

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Back at Lallybroch, Jamie tells Claire he didn’t see his father there, die, carried away, or buried. He has not even seen his grave. Claire, bless her rational little heart, asks him if he thinks that giving in to Randall would have made a difference. In her opinion, Randall would have still had him flogged, “just for the sick pleasure it gave him.” Jamie sniffs ruefully, and tells her they’ll never know. Just then Jenny knocks on their door and crabbily asks how long it takes them to get dressed, because supper won’t keep, and Jamie tells Claire they should get cleaned up.

Downstairs, dinner is just the chipper affair you would expect with two alpha females circling each other. Claire breaks the ice as only Claire can, grabbing the wine and pouring some first for Jenny, then for herself. Her sister-in-law asks if she has ever run a house, and Claire says no.

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As the men walk in, chatting amiably, Jenny says that she will have a lot to learn about running a place like Lallybroch in the tone of a person who thinks maybe the other person is a moron. Claire responds that she can imagine it’s challenging, but that she is a quick study.

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Ian sits down and tells Claire that she will get her chance, as Quarter Day is tomorrow. When she asks what that is, Jamie explains that it is like the Mackenzie’s collection of rents, except at Lallybroch the tenants come to them. Jenny explains that the money is sorely needed, as they have had poor harvests the past two years and are “piling debt upon debt.” Ian says with a smile that they can talk finances later, as tomorrow will be a time for celebrating the Laird’s return.

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He and Jamie toast, but Claire is worried at the public nature of the affair, and asks if it is not risky before Jamie’s pardon comes through. Jamie starts to answer, but Jennie interrupts him, saying that their tenants are like family, and that “not a man, woman or child would think about betraying Jamie to the redcoats at any price.” Jamie hums at his sister, but spares her the talk about being submissive because I am assuming there’s a lifetime of “just shut up” built there. Claire says “Of course” in an irritated tone, and Jamie tells Ian that he will look at the ledgers after they’ve eaten.

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Once again, Jenny interjects with her unsolicited opinion, and tells her brother that she thought he would visit their father’s grave. Jamie says in a reasonable tone that he will go the next day, but Jenny will not let it go, saying that if Brian were alive, he would expect a visit that evening. “If he were alive,” Jamie finally responds, irritated, “he’d expect me to go over the ledgers and prepare for Quarter Day.” Jennie sighs, hands over her belly, and tells him to suit himself. The tension is palpable as the four begin to eat.

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Quarter Day. Jamie is dressed up in his father’s coat and looking dapper as his tenants come to greet him and be introduced to his lady. Trust this production team to remember the small details, as Claire is gifted with a small vase, in the same blue and white tones of the ones she once admired outside a shop in Inverness.

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As she admires it, Ian pokes his head out to ask Jamie if he’s ready to begin, and Jamie follows him in, leaving Claire to greet the later arrivals. Inside, the atmosphere is warm and jovial as the tenants who have already paid entertain themselves, the women chat and children run around. Even Jennie is laughing as she speaks to the other women, but she still keeps an eye on Jamie and Ian across the room.

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Jamie greets the tenants affably, while Ian enters the payments into the ledger. One tenant, Duncan, only pays half of what he owes. When Ian advises him of this, he apologizes, saying he and his wife lost a cow to illness two months ago. Jamie dismisses him with an assurance that he can make it up next quarter, when he is sure things will be better.

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Duncan thanks him for his “understanding and mercy” but Jamie says it is no mercy. He reminds him that his father was a good man who was farming the land when Jamie was a child, and asks Ian for the money Duncan just gave him,  He gives it back to him, saying that he will not “squeeze the last penny out of him when times are hard.”

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He continues in a louder, more stentorian tone than we usually hear from him to say that this was his father’s view, and his as well. Ian looks uncomfortable, but says nothing, and across the way, Jenny watches.

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Outside, Claire is talking herbs with the local wives when we see a boy of around eight steal a bannock from the table holding the food gifts.

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A man, presumably his father, catches him as well, and slaps him three times before Claire makes her way over there. She introduces herself to the man by her married name and title, and he ignores her, telling the boy that he told him there would be nothing for him and placing the stolen bannock back on the table.

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Claire exclaims in exasperation that there are plenty of bannocks, and his only response is to look directly into her face and comment that people had said that “he had married a Sassenach.” Claire replies coolly that this is correct, and asks if she can be of some assistance. The man shakes his head and says that the boy just has to learn to do as he’s told. Claire offers politely to take the boy off his hands for a while so he can enjoy himself with his friends.

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He accepts, but not before warning her not to fill his head “with any of that English claptrap” and his son to behave. He shoves the boy aside and leaves, and when Claire reaches a hand to him, the boy flinches. She tells him it’s okay, and with one last annoyed look behind her and a gentle hand on his back, leads him inside to the kitchen to get something to eat.

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Once inside the boy runs to Jennie, and she looks worriedly at the red welt on his cheek. Claire mentions that his father was “very rough” with him. The boy is rubbing absentmindedly at his back, and Claire asks him if it is sore. When she raises his shirt, there is a giant bruise on his back that Jamie can see from across the room, which causes him to come over and ask about who did that.

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Jenny answers that it is not his concern and takes the boy off to find the housekeeper, but Claire tells him that it was his father, and that she saw him beat him outside. Jamie tells her he remembers the man, MacNab, but then gets drawn away by Duncan, who asks him to have a drink with him.

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Claire calls after him, asking if they shouldn’t do something about it, but Jamie doesn’t respond, and she heads upstairs alone, visibly annoyed.

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Later that night, a drunken Jamie stumbles into their bedroom trying to undress quietly so as not to wake his wife, but is unsuccessful. Claire huffs awake and tells him that she’s “seen elephants sit down with less impact.“

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Jamie mutters to her in Gaelic, and when Claire asks for English he leans over to shake her hip and replies that she is a Scot now, and should work on her Gaelic. “Where have you been?” Claire replies, and Jamie replies that he’s been out with MacNab. He says he tried to reason with him, but in the end had to “show him the difference between abuse and discipline-with these,” and to illustrate, taps Claire on the rump with his hand.

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He then tells her that he finally had to warn him that if he ever saw evidence of abuse on his son that he would “have to answer to Laird Broch Tuarach-that’s me,” he clarifies with another tap to her rump. “Yes, I know,” Claire says, eye rolling so hard it’s a wonder she doesn’t pass out. Jamie slumps amiably over her as she tries to go back to sleep, and ignores her comment that he reeks to ask if she has actually seen an elephant. Claire’s side-eye is epic.

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“Yes. Rode one, too,” she says smugly, but Jamie is worn out, and he flops on the bed mumbling that she will have to tell him all about it. A second later, he is snoring, and although Claire shrugs off the rest of his weight with an annoyed grimace, she watches him sleep for a moment and settles back down with a smile on her face.

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The next morning, Laird Broch Tuarach is late to breakfast, hung over and unable to eat. Claire serves him some “hair of the dog,” and he sips gingerly, telling her he thinks he may need the whole hound. Jenny sweeps in to tell him that Ian informed her he didn’t collect the rents the day before.

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Jamie tells her it’s been a hard year, as she herself said, and as Laird he decided to give the tenants a break. Jenny counters that they certainly won’t be at ease when the estate goes under because they can’t make ends meet. Claire gently suggests they postpone the conversation until Jamie is feeling better, but Jenny goes on, reminding Jamie that he has “saddled [them] with another mouth to feed,” because thanks to their talk last night, Rabbie MacNab’s father threw him out.

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He said “If Jamie Fraser thinks he can be a better father, he can damn well pay for his upkeep.” Claire points out that Jamie was trying to help, and that clean clothes and bannocks weren’t likely to stop the boy from being beaten. Jennie strikes back, asking if they think life started when the two of them walked in. She explains that she and the boy’s grandmother had been working on MacNab’s sister to take Rabbie, and asks Jamie if he didn’t even think of talking to her before he “pulled out [his] fists?” She may have gotten somewhere until she asks him if that is how their father would have handled things.

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Jamie jumps up, his face inches from hers and snarls that he is Laird now, and does not need to discuss the running of the estate with his sister. Jenny, however, is not at all intimidated, and her voice drips with sarcasm as she uses his formal title to beg his pardon and flounce out.

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Jamie takes two steps after her, but she shuts the door behind her and he does not open it. Instead he angrily flings his napkin down and grabs a bannock, biting into it as he glares through the door through which his sister just exited. Suddenly he chokes and spits it back out, calling for Mrs. Crook. He tells her the bread tastes “like it was made with pebbles,” and she tells him that it is because the mill is not working properly, and they had to grind the flour by hand.

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Jamie asks what is being done and she tells him that the mistress Jenny had him send for a Davy McAndrews to fix it, but Jamie gets up and says he will do it himself.

Once at the mill, Jamie discovers that the wheel isn’t turning, and guesses that something must be caught in the sluice.

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He quickly strips off his boots and kilt to go into the pond to investigate, and the music rises to cover the collective sigh of every homo sapiens who has been yearning to revisit the view of his backside.

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Claire watches him approach the water in only his shirt, saying worriedly that he will freeze to death, and Jamie agrees with a grin. “At least ye’ll be able to serve decent bannocks at my wake.”

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He climbs in, cursing at the frigid water as it envelops his lower half. Suddenly Jenny’s voice is heard griping that Mrs. Crook told her “the stupid fool” had come up there. Claire is concerned that she is running around in her condition, saying that there was no need, but Jenny grasps her around the shoulders and quickly spins her around. “Aye, there was,” she says grimly.

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Six English soldiers are riding their way, and Claire sees them just as Jamie does, rising up out of the frigid water only to dive back below to hide. Jenny pushes his clothes and boots under her and pulls Claire close to sit down next to her, spreading their skirts out as a cover. She urges Claire to stay silent to hide her English accent, and pastes on a cheerful grin just in time for the soldiers to stop. Jenny attempts to make them leave, saying cheerfully that if they have stopped for grain, the mill wheel is not working just now.

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Instead of moving on, however, an officer dismounts and asks what is amiss, walking towards the mill. When Jenny tells another solider that he should call him back instead of letting him meddle in things he doesn’t understand, the soldier reassures her that the Corporal’s father owns a mill in Hampshire. “What he doesn’t know about water wheels would fit in me shoe,” he says, as we see the Corporal from Jamie’s view, still underwater.

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The corporal suddenly calls out that he’ll have to go under to see what’s harming the wheel. As he takes off his bag and prepares to undress, the wheel suddenly starts to move. The corporal exclaims, wondering at it, and when he turns, sees Jamie’s shirt in the spokes. He picks it out, proclaiming it “perfectly good,” and hands it to one of his soldiers, asking how he thinks it got stuck. “It’s Scotland, Sir,” he says wearily, and with an apologetic glance at Jenny and Claire, the Corporal mounts and the soldiers ride away.

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Claire jumps up at once, shouting her husband’s name, and he bursts out of the water naked as a newborn. “Blessed Micheal defend us!,” Jamie exclaims, reading my mind. He attempts to get out, covering himself with one hand, but is not prepared for Jenny to come over to chastise him. He turns around to preserve his modesty, shouting at his sister to please turn around so he can get out “before [his] c*ck snaps off.”

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Jenny is still for a brief moment as she finally sees the network of scars on his back, and with a sudden, silent intake of breath, turns and runs away. Claire notices this and is grim-faced, snapping at Jamie when he asks what the hell Jenny was doing there. “Heard about the redcoat patrol. She was just trying to warn you,” she tells him, turning and following her sister-in-law. Jamie takes a moment to process this, and then climbs out of the water.

That night, Claire is wandering the halls with a candle pretending to haunt Jenny, looking at the family portraits.

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Ian surprises her, kindly joking that she is a night owl. At her agreement, he tells her that Jenny is “up with the lark,” but that he too has always been an owl. Claire holds the candle up to a portrait of a young girl with a bird, and Ian confirms that it is Jenny, and that as a child, she would heal any lame birds and have them eating from her hand.

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Claire stares at the portrait and says nothing, and Ian asks if she is surprised that Jenny has a gentle side. Claire immediately denies it, then smiles a bit at Ian’s expression and admits “Perhaps a little.” Ian reminds her that his wife is a Fraser, which means “their hearts are as big and soft as their heads are thick and strong.”

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He tells Claire that it was Jenny who cared for him after his return from fighting in France “with a stump of wood.” He also comments offhandedly that while it doesn’t slow him down much, it does hurt towards the end of the day. Claire asks if he has tired guelder rose or water pepper, and at his admission that he has not tried the latter, offers to make some for him. Ian says that Jamie mentioned she was a healer, and asks if she has seen many mangled men.

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“Jamie hadn’t,” Ian replies, and tells her that her husband tried to hide his initial shock when he first saw Ian’s injury. Then Jamie brought him back, and Jenny made him whole again. “Is that why you married her?” Claire asks, and Ian laughs, asking her in return if she thinks he had any choice in the matter. He tells her he was mending a fence in the field one day, and she came to him “like a bush covered in butterflies,” and though he doesn’t remember what she said to him at first, it ended with her kissing him and telling him they’d be married on St. Martin’s Day.

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He says he tried to explain to her why he could not, but before he knew it he was in front of a priest saying “I take thee, Janet…” Claire laughs, and comments that Jenny is an extraordinary woman. Ian agrees that she is, “when she’s not being an outright stubborn-headed, pain-in-the-arse mule.” He tells Claire that once Frasers have dug in their heels, there is no budging them, and that she doesn’t want to get between them when their danders are up.

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She asks him earnestly how he manages. Continuing his metaphor, Ian tells her that she can tug on the rope or give “a wee kick to their backside” and they might move- or she might get bit for her trouble. “And then what?” Claire asks. “Kick them harder,” Ian says seriously, and Claire sighs deeply, and nods.

Back in the Laird’s bedchamber, Jamie sleeps pleasantly as Claire walks in.

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She pauses for a moment by the door, watching him, and then reaches over quick as a snake and tugs the sheets tight around him, causing him to wake when he topples off. “Good. Now I have your attention,” Claire says sternly. She kneels down next to him and tells him to listen to her. She did not marry the Laird of Lallybroch, she tells him. She married Jamie, who has been scarce since they walked through the gates.

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“That’s who I am-” Jamie tries to interrupt, but Claire isn’t having it. She reminds him she is speaking, and he can do so once she is done. She bluntly reminds him that his father is dead, but even if that were not so, Brian would give him a thrashing for the way he has been acting. “You’re trying to be someone you’re not, and in the process you are wrecking the family that you do have left,” she says urgently as he listens, serious. “And if you’re not careful, you’re going to lose them, too.”

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The next day finds Jenny climbing the path to the cemetery, where Jamie stands paying his respects to his father’s grave. His sister startles him, and when he admits it, she jokes that he must have thought for a minute that it was a ghost.

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There is an uncomfortable pause as the both realize that they are, in fact, in the presence of ghosts, and they speak as one, both saying the others’ name in a chagrined tone. Jamie asks her to speak first, and at her nod, hands her the rent he must have gone back and collected from the tenants. Jennie is surprised, but takes the money.

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Jamie also offers to speak to Rabbie’s aunt, but Jenny waves that away, saying that even if she had agreed to take the boy, it likely would not have lasted, as the woman has too many children of her own. She admits that Lallybroch is a better place for him, and that their father would have thought so as well. “Aye,” Jamie admits softly, and they exchange a tiny smile.

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He immediately admits to his sister that he was wrong not to consult her, and that he is sorry for it. When Jenny does not look up, he adds, “Truly. I hope to do it different in future.” She lifts her gaze then, and her eyes are red. She tells Jamie that she is the one who wronged him, and she is “so ashamed.” “Of what?” her brother asks, and cannot look at him as she admits that when their father died, “a small, dark part of me has blamed you for his death.” Jamie is stung, but says nothing.

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Jenny explains that when she was told that Randall flogged him and that seeing it is what killed Brian, she thought he must have shot his mouth off, “acted without thinking of the consequences, as you have done all your life,” or done something else to bring it upon himself. Jamie opens his mouth to say something, but she starts to cry in earnest, talking about when she saw the scars on his back at the mill pond, and how they must have been “laid down with such…fury…” Jamie interrupts to tell her not to worry about it, but she continues, admitting on a sob that it was her fault that Randall beat him so.

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If she hadn’t mocked him, she says over her brother’s protests, and given him what he wanted, then he wouldn’t have treated him as he did and their father… She can’t finish, bursting into sobs, and Jamie croons to her in Gaelic and holds her.

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He admits that he did anger Randall at Fort William, and that he spent the past four years blaming himself for Brian’s death because of it. “But now you know better?” Jenny asks, her face still buried in his chest. Jamie grins and kisses her forehead, fixing a strand of hair that has come loose.

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He tells her he knows that it is not her fault, or his. “There’s a devil in that man that no one can influence,” he says darkly. “The only one responsible for putting father in his grave is Jack Randall.” Jenny nods, accepting the truth of this. Jamie tells her that it did bother her that she went with Randall to save him, and that he would have died to spare her. Jenny sounds back to her old strong self when she replies. “And if yer life is a suitable exchange for my honor, tell me why my honor’s not a suitable exchange for yer life?”

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She tells him that if he is saying she may not love him as much as he loves her, it’s not true. “No,” Jamie says, smiling, and Jenny smiles back. “Welcome home, Laird Broch Tuarach,” she says, and Jamie walks over to place another kiss on her forehead. He puts an arm around her, and with one last glance at Brian’s grave, leads his sister home. I don’t have anything intelligent to say about the Jamie-Jenny conflict than no one knows where to strike better than a sibling, and nothing feels better than making up a fight with someone you love.

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That night as Jamie readies himself for bed, Claire sits at their window and comments on the tower from which Jamie’s title originates, pointing out that for a “north-facing tower,” it has no face.

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Jamie grins and tells her the door faces north, which makes her laugh. “Frasers,” she mutters with a smile. As Jamie walks over, she tells him hesitantly that she is starting to feel like she actually belongs there. Jamie pulls her against him and settles himself at the window, telling her that he knew she belonged with him almost since the first time he laid eyes on her.

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He tells her that it was one of the reasons he agreed to marry her, though not the main one. Claire, intrigued, asks what the main reason was and Jamie replies with a playful growl that it was because he wanted her “more than he had ever wanted anything” in his life.

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Claire smiles, turning to kiss him. He continues, telling her of the moment he fell off his horse and woke up in the dark, looking at her face. Then, he tells her, was their long shared ride, “with that lovely round arse wedged tight between my thighs”-at this he palms the part in question-”and that rock-solid head thumping me in the chest.”

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Claire smiles, asking if he agreed to marry her for her round arse and rock-solid head? “I wanted ye from the first moment I saw ye,” Jamie says tenderly, “but…I loved ye when ye wept in my arms that first night at Leoch.” Claire is visibly touched, but Jamie continues, telling her that now he wakes up every day and finds he loves her more than he did the day before. They kiss, and when they break apart, Claire looks into her husband’s eyes in the moonlight and quietly says, “I love you.” Jamie pauses, smiles, and carries her off to bed.

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The next morning a very satisfied-looking Claire awakes to find Jamie is not in bed with her.

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She emerges from the bedroom, dressed for the day, to overhear Jamie arguing with someone. She takes a look over the balcony to the parlor below, to see her husband held at gunpoint by a man advising him to stay silent as a lamb, lest the “lovely lass” have to scrub his brains off the floor.

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Jamie turns slowly to make eye contact with his wife, shaking his head minutely in the negative as Claire stands frozen, a horrified look on her face.

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Thanks for reading! If you liked it, here is a list of my other recaps for the season, and I will be catching up on these long S1 ones during the hiatus. Follow me here or on Twitter @ conniebv (omit the space) for more fun!

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