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).
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
NEVER CHANGE, CLAIRE, you bold human grenade.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
As he continues, Claire becomes increasingly more agitated.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
Behind him is Ian, who was guarding his Laird’s weak side.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Upstairs, Jenny writhes on her pallet while Claire, Jamie and Ian speak in the doorway.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
They discuss the plan, and MacQuarrie comments that Horrocks knew the perfect place to plan an ambush.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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!
In my continuing quest to quit playing attention to my family altogether and frolic in a world of Diana Gabaldon’s imagination, here is the previously missing recap for 102. 101 will be done before the premiere, and then I’ll be all caught up! Thanks for reading, sharing is love. Rest of my recaps archived here. Enjoy! ~Connie
We find Claire where we left her, at MacKenzie HQ: Castle Leoch. The highlanders are all happy to be home, but our heroine grimly remembers visiting with Frank, and marvels at the difference time travel makes on the structural integrity of the facade and how much action she’s likely to see once she’s in there. Not everyone is grumpy, dirty, or ridiculously hot, though. There are womenfolk here! A chipper looking lady walks over after a brief hug from Rupert and an even briefer sexual innuendo from a smiling Murtagh.
She looks pretty scandalized at the sight of Claire, who is ‘homeless chic’ by 2015 standards but just plain homeless by 18th-century ones. It’s a great moment, because even if Claire is wet, dirty, and exhausted, her b*tchface game is expert-level and she is not about to lower that head after the day(s) she’s had. The stare-down is quick, intense, and exquisite.
Someone light a torch because it got DARK UP HERE UNDER THIS SHADE.
Jamie rushes to explain to the older woman, Mistress Fitzgibbons, that Claire was found by Murtagh and Dougal decreed that they should bring her along.
Good enough for Mistress FG, who takes her by the arm to do God’s work: feed her and slap her in constricting underthings. As she does so, Claire protests that Jamie’s wound needs cleaning. “Mrs. Fitz,” impressed that Claire knows how to tend to wounds and isn’t scared to put a 6-ft. Scotsman in his prime on blast, recognizes a kindred spirit, and shoos Jamie inside as well.
Indoors, Claire are Jamie are left alone by the fire so she can tend to his wounds and they can window shop each other now they’re barely decent.
If you didn’t ship it before, you will after this scene. Jamie is wrapped toga-style in a red cloth like a hot roman senator, and when Claire gently uncovers him, we find out why. Homeboy is carrying what looks like a layer of fine salted ham around, because there is no way I can think of that as a human back. I’ll just look elsewhere while he drops some necessary exposition.
Jamie tells Claire that his scars are the result of being flogged twice in one week, which just seems like overkill. Turns out that he escaped a charge of obstruction about four years ago, resulting from a visit by English soldiers sent to collect levies on his family farm. His father was away when he heard a scream from the fields, and found his sister Jenny accosted by redcoats.
When he fought them to save her, their leader captured and held her at gunpoint, and when Jamie surrendered, responded like a real douchcanoe: a dry comment about her attractiveness and a yank of her bodice which exposes her bare chest to her brother. This is the same Captain Randall who assaulted Claire in the premiere, and now you know everything you need to about this character: he’s the kind of soulless bastage that will show a man his sister’s naked boobs just to make a point. Jamie knows what I’m talking about.
On top of that image burned on his poor retinas, Jamie also gets to endure his first flogging in his sister’s presence as a lesson to just shush and submit. Randall, exhausted from flaying a man for a pithy reason with what I am sure is a very warm wig, stops for a water break and to casually barter raping Jenny in exchange for putting the breaks on Jamie’s whipping. Jamie warns his sister not to accept, even if Randall should kill him right in front of her. Randall, who must take this as a dare, smirks, takes a knife and knocks Jamie unconscious.
Back at Leoch, Jamie explains to Claire that his sister went with Randall, and when he woke up he was with the most starstruck chickens ever in a wagon bound for Wentworth Prison. Claire straps his injured arm to his side and tells him she is sorry, prompting him to sweetly reply that she is “a kind woman with a good touch” and that her husband is a lucky man.
We ain’t nothing but mammals.
Claire finally takes a moment as she gazes into the fire, and the thought of Frank overwhelms her -and us- as we get our first Frankback. It makes sense that Claire would wonder how he’s handling her absence, and if he he thinks her abducted, dead, or unfaithful. We see Frank and the Reverend in a flashback
(flashforward?) searching for Claire and finding only her abandoned car which is great because at least he doesn’t have to deal with his insurance on top of all the other stress he has going on.
Back in the 18th century, Claire finally breaks down. Jamie, who is totally asking for a friend, inquires if her husband is “not alive”, and she answers with a strangled “No, actually, he’s not alive” as she realizes her husband is centuries from birth and she is for all intents and purposes, a hot widow. Claire cries as Jamie holds her and shushes her and I know it is inappropriate but I hear fireplace sex is amazing and life-affirming in the face of our unavoidable mortality. JUST SAYING. I mean, LOOK AT THEM.
There is a beat where they pause and stare at each other, and I silently will them to kiss. Or fist bump. Or do my taxes. I don’t care, I just love them together. Proper Claire must feel it too, because she jumps back a couple of feet and apologizes to Jamie for letting him smell the donuts when she can’t let him taste the
Jamie quietly tells her that she “need not be scairt” of him, “nor anyone else here,” so long as he is with her. It’s a lovely offer and well-timed, but Claire, who has never met a blanket statement worth taking at face value asks what she does when he is NOT with her, and the answer’s pretty obvious to me.
Jamie, who is unlike me mindful of the plot, advises her to never forget she is an Englishwoman “in a place where that’s no’ a pretty thing ta be.”
He then gently tells her to rest, as she’s “worn out” and someone will want to grill speak to her soon.
That evening, Mrs. Fitz wakes Claire up and we learn that she slept the entire day. After one lone spoonful of broth, Mrs. Fitz helps her shed her weird French corset, and introduces her (and us) to the process
of dressing a decent lady in 18th-century Scotland. It is long and involves a lot of wool, but the end result is
pretty spectacular, as far as makeovers go. Like a Jacobite Miss Congeniality.
She’s escorted to meet with the MacKenzie, where she sneaks a peek at a letter to glean the date:1743. The man in question stands in the doorway, and introduces himself as “Colum ban Campbell MacKenzie,”
Laird of the Castle. The camera pans to his bowed legs, but Claire says nothing. He speaks to her very kindly, and Claire responds to him just as gracefully, asking him to thank his brother, Dougal for his
assistance and to arrange for her transport out. It’s all crazy civil for two people who are BS’ing each other with every syllable.
Colum quickly answers that he is sure he can arrange it, but leans in to ask for more information about how she came to be found in her shift, wandering in the woods because we all know the English would never wander in the woods in such informal clothing. Claire remembers discussing interrogation techniques
at a pub with Frank and the Reverend Wakefield, and that the advice given to officers was to “stay as close to the truth as possible, altering only that information which must be kept secret.” Mmmkay….
So she tells Colum she is a “widowed lady from Oxfordshire” who was on her way to France with a manservant when they were set upon by bandits, and escaped, leaving her horse and property and sucker manservant behind. It was when she was in the woods, minding her own, that Capt. Randall happened upon her and she was “relieved of [her] clothes.” Man, that accent makes it sound way better than it was. Colum asks her if she expects him to believe that an English officer would rape a lady “for no good reason” and Claire responds on behalf of all womankind, asking him if there is “ever a good reason” for rape.
Attagirl. Colum, knocked off guard by a thinking female, chooses to zag instead of zig and tells Claire she
can leave with a tinker, Sean Petrie, when he passes through Leoch on his way to Inverness 5 days hence. In the meantime, she should you know, chill and maybe put on another layer of clothing.
Claire wanders to the ramparts to muse via voiceover about how trippy it is to witness history firsthand when she looks down and catches some of the young boys at play with a laughing Dougal. Dougal smiling sincerely is such a surprising sight that it’s damn near magical. Like some sort of magical animal.
But really, he is quite handsome as he smiles and plays with a little redhead boy (Hamish, he calls him) that he is clearly close to, and Claire questions if this time is truly that much different from her own.
Later that night Claire and her rack (she is seriously the only woman not wearing a kerchief or fichu and those babies are time traveling at least a couple of seconds into the future) go to the Hall for dinner.
She is invited to sit at the main table with the family, where she is introduced to Colum’s wife Letitia, who has only known her 5 seconds and is already complaining about her ovens because she has no manners whatsoever. NO ONE CARES, LETTY. Colum plies Claire with wine and asks about the pronunciation of her name and what part of France her relatives come from.
Claire fields both neatly (Some relative adopted the English spelling, near Compiègne in the north) and then witnesses a bit of strain about the brothers when she asks about Jamie. It turns out that Dougal has sent him to the stables for some reason, and tells his brother that he can countermand the order if he disagrees. After a pregnant pause, Colum agrees that he is fine there and asks for “the rhenish” to be brought out. The rhenish we come to find out, is pink and packs quite a punch. Claire drinks it eagerly, remarking on how delicious it is while Colum continues to pepper her with questions about her planned trip to Compiègne. Claire’s starting to get suspicious, and thankfully the little redheaded boy from before, Hamish, comes running through and she stops him to say hello.
Laetitia tells him to introduce himself, and Claire answers enthusiastically that she saw him playing in the courtyard with his father, who she implies is Dougal. Hamish is confused and the adults are stock-still. Claire, well-lubricated, has said something she should not. Hamish says he is the “son and heir of Colum MacKenzie” and everyone groans in unison over the laugh track.
Claire hastens to excuse herself, pleading tiredness, and once alone in the hall, berates herself for falling for “the oldest trick in the book,” allowing herself to be plied with food and liquor into letting her guard down during an ongoing interrogation. She promises to be more vigilant, but not to quit drinking wine because that’s just ridiculous and untenable.
The next morning, Claire wanders into the kitchen to ask Mrs. Fitz about Jamie so she can ‘change his dressing’ and Mrs. Fitz is all ORLY? I KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS.
Petition for a flashback series where Mrs. Fitz roams the Scottish countryside dispensing wisdom, food and eyerolls and IDK, solving crimes. And making out. I bet Fitz was a RIOT.
Claire walks to the stables and notices one of Dougal’s men following her. She arrives to the sight of Jamie leading a white horse around on a lead while he coos at it, heretofore known as “the moment we all wished we were a horse.” He’s closing in on first base when Claire knocks a metal bit over and the clang startles the horse, who rears up. Claire apologizes, but Jamie says that “she’s just a girl with spirit,” which is “never a bad thing” because Jamie is trying to make me leave my husband. Even the horse is in love.
Now that his horse is on a break, Jamie asks Claire WHATUP and she is all BANDAGES AND GRUB, SON so they move the party to the stable.
Jamie is eating like a growing boy when Claire decides to food-shame him by implying he’d eat grass. JOKE’S ON YOU, CLAIRE. Not only has he sampled the delights of turf-n-turf, but he has also raided cattle, is a wanted man with a price on his head as much as a farmer earns in a year, and accused of murder but says he didn’t kill the man. He tells Claire he was unconscious because of the flogging, and escaped with the aid of friends, one of whom killed the guard to aid his escape. On second thought Claire, you may want to avoid this one.
Claire correctly guesses that his last name is NOT MacTavish, and Jamie crouches down to tell her that while he doesn’t think anyone in the castle would betray him, there might be those in the countryside
that would like to make money by turning him in. In other news, I had to rewind four times to write that one sentence. I think Claire knows what’s ailing me.
Was everyone not RIVETED? If you were not, you are dead inside. DEAD.
And yet Claire is a woman out of time, not out of her damn mind. She manages to get her eyes up long enough to ask if Colum knows he is an outlaw, and Jamie grins, probably because it’s time to reel us all back in with the power of his lady-mojo so we will forget that he is truly %$#@. IT WORKS.
I know, honey. You two are adorable. I want to put you in my Barbie Dream Scottish Keep and smoosh your faces together with all the finesse and passion in my romantic 9 y.o. heart. Anyhoo, both Colum and Dougal know because get this: they are Jamie’s uncles, his mother’s brothers. SOMEONE BOTTLE THOSE GENES. The MacKenzies make hot potatoes, and Claire clearly wants to mash them.
She asks Jamie why he didn’t lie to her or tell her it wasn’t any of her business. Jamie says he didn’t think of it and decided to trust her instead. I’ll tell you what I trust. SCIENCE. Specifically, chemistry. There’s a reason Jamie decided to trust her, and you can see it clearly here in exhibit A.
Still, it’s only episode 2, so that bastard Auld Alec had to come and ruin our fun.
He wants Jamie to quit freaking nourishing his body and get back to talking to horses, damn it. Claire asks Jamie to thank her by trying not to get flogged or stabbed today. “No promises, Sassenach,” he grins, and I faint like a small goat.
This is about the high point of Claire’s day, because when she heads back, she decides to confront Rupert, and ask if Dougal is having her followed. He gives a really complicated answer about eyes and heids which is pretty much a yes.
Claire stomps off to give Dougal a piece of her English mind while Rupert follows her and recites a litany ways Claire can avoid having his guard partner Angus attempt to shag her, most of which involve not being a barnyard animal or bathing. Hopefully she won’t regret taking notes on that.
Once Claire catches up to Dougal and confronts him, he quietly admits that he thinks she is an English spy, since she’s not been honest about why she is there. Until he is sure of her, he’ll have her watched all the time. Claire answers that it’s fine by her because he won’t see anything in the next four days. When he looks surprised, Claire hits back with the information that Colum told her she is leaving with Mr. Petrie on Saturday, and maybe Dougal doesn’t “ken” his brother’s mind as well as he thinks. I mentally high five her and then immediately cringe. Dougal doesn’t seem like the type to forget being bested.
Claire decides that for the next few days, she’ll fight fire with a complete lack of oxygen and bore her guards (and Dougal) to death. She sets off to pick things from the garden at Mrs. Fitz’s request, and runs
into Geillis Duncan, who makes overtures of friendship via jokes about offing your spouse LIKE YOU DO. She’s pretty friendly and cute as a button, but still sets my Spidey-senses off.
She knows who Claire is through gossip that she is “likely a Sassenach spy”, but doesn’t mistrust her enough to reveal things about herself, such as that she knows about herbs and people think she is a witch. She tells Claire that the women in the village come to her for abortifacients, and invites her for a visit to
look at her potions and medicinal herbs.
That night in the Hall, Claire mentally diagnoses Colum with Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome, “a degenerative disease of bone and connective tissue.” She thinks that because of the state of current medicine, Colum is “certainly living on borrowed time.” As Geillis translates, Claire listens to several people bring their grievances to the MacKenzie for him to rule upon.
One such is a young blonde, whose father “accuses her of loose behavior” and “wishes the MacKenzie to have her punished for disobedience.” Everyone is riveted to this outcome when Jamie, who has been whispering to Murtagh, speaks up loudly in Gaelic, walking up to the dais where his uncles are.
Geillis tells Claire that he is offering to take the girl’s punishment. Claire is outraged that he is still injured, but Colum allows it. Jamie chooses fists instead of the strap, which is understandable because that boy has been whipped more than an omelet. Murtagh warns Jamie that his uncle Dougal, who has been
glaring at him this entire time, is “up to something.”
Rupert steps forward and you can tell that he doesn’t really want to punch Jamie very hard, but he’s loyal to Dougal, who has no such misgivings and cues him on every blow. I do love that both puncher and punch-ee are so darn friendly about it, though.
WOOKIT DAT FACE. Poor Rupert.
And it can’t be easy being the one punched, but you wouldn’t know it from this curly little ray of amber sunshine.
Claire asks Geillis how long it lasts, and she answers that only until blood is drawn, “usually when the nose is broken.” Even though Rupert does in fact break his nose with the next punch and Jamie spits blood, Dougal cues another hit, right in Jamie’s wound.
Rupert turns to see if he is done, but no. Everyone but Dougal wants this to be over, but especially Rupert, whose regret is obvious as he hits Jamie hard once more in the face, knocking him down. Murtagh walks over to help Jamie up, and as they stand and stare at Dougal, he finally silently nods to Rupert that it is done. You can almost see the tears of relief on this koala’s face.
Jamie, bruised, bleeding and smiling, limps over to his uncle Colum and bows in a show of gallantry/respect/defiance/endurance, and I think it is important to note that this is when I fell in love with this character. There is an instant of eye contact between he and Dougal, but Murtagh wisely drags him away and out of the hall.
Claire wants to check on Jamie and darts towards him, but Geillis leads her down an alternate route where she is less likely to stir gossip. The girl whose beating Jamie took stares longingly after him as he leaves the Hall.
In the kitchen, Claire asks Jamie why he took the blonde’s punishment, and it wasn’t, as she assumed, because he knew her. He stepped in because the punishment “would have shamed the lass” and it would only take him a couple of days to get over his injuries.
Mrs. Fitz comes in briefly with some willowbark tea and thanks Jamie for what he did. Turns out the girl, Laoghaire, is her granddaughter. Claire tells Jamie to change his bandage in the next couple of days and when he asks if it would not be better if she does it, she answers that she cannot, as she will leave with Mr.
Petrie the next day and will be gone. His disappointment flashes on his face but is quickly masked. He stands up and says, “Then perhaps this is goodbye,” to which she responds “Yes.” They stare at each other for a brief moment when…
The spell is broken as Claire notes that the girl he saved is waiting to speak to him, and says a heartfelt farewell using his first name. “Goodbye to you then, Jamie.” “Safe journeys to you…Claire,” he reciprocates. After she leaves, Jamie sighs once deeply, and turns his attention to the girl waiting in the doorway.
The next day Mrs. Fitz is seeing Claire off with food and hugs when Dougal comes up to them as they are loading her meager possessions in Mr. Petrie’s wagon, saying that Colum would like to see her.
Claire follows him in, flashing back to when she and Frank wandered the halls of the ruined keep in
episode one. Dougal stops to ask if she is okay and she assures him she is, but she is noticeably nervous, and rightfully so.
Inside a large room waits Colum, who casually tells Claire that this was the surgery of Davie Beaton. Clan Beaton produced reknowned healers, and since Davie died from a fever, there has been no healer at Leoch. He asks Claire if she has skill as a healer (“It’s an interest of mine, yes,” she replies) and if she knows the uses of the potions kept there (“Some”).
Claire finds it fascinating, but reminds him that she has to leave. It seems, however, that Claire proved her worth a little too well. Colum tells her that he wants her to continue his work. “But I am leaving,” she says, trying to assert herself. “No,” Colum answers simply, “you’re staying.”
Claire, panicked, asks him if something Dougal said changed his mind. He clarifies that his brother “keeps his own counsel” on her, and that this decision was his. She wants to know why, and he responds simply that it is because it pleases him that she do so. I expected better from thoughtful, polite Colum but I guess now I know why Letitia is so bitter.
Claire, finally pushed to her limit, blurts that it is because of the rumor that she is a spy, and attempts to downplay it.
Colum finally looks her in the eye and tells her that he does believe that she is keeping secrets, and “maybe they’re the type of secrets that every woman has, that pose no threat to me, to Leoch, or to Clan MacKenzie,” but until he knows for sure, she will remain there as his ‘guest’. As he walks away, Claire shouts that he means she will remain as his prisoner.
“Only if you try to leave,” he rejoins, and after he walks through the door, his brother locks it behind him.
Claire, all her hopes in tatters, walks into the same room where she once had some afternoon delight with her as-of-yet-unborn- husband, and breaks into tears.
Thanks for reading! If you like you can follow me here or @conniebv on Twitter.
As I get ready to hibernate like a bear, only occasionally opening up my maw to curse and maul at stray campers, let me thank everyone once again for reading, reblogging, liking, tweeting and all other manner of cyberhugs. This fandom is populated by awesomeasauruses.
Trigger warning: If awful violent acts that rhyme with “grape” are upsetting to you, please note this may not be a good episode for you to read about. Proceed under your own judgement.
Back to Claire and Jamie, who are in a meadow looking for some Afternoon Delight. I can’t blame them, because I have it on good authority that when the time is right, it’s right.
Claire asks Jamie between kisses if the Mackenzies “won’t come looking for us”, and Jamie says that he told them that they needed to find more of Claire’s “wee herbs.” That is what I will now say to the hubs when it’s time for him to submit and fulfill his duties.
“Oh it’s my idea?” Claire laughs, and asks if he thinks they believed him. “Not a chance,” he replies, grinning, and sets upon her like he’s the hungry young man he is and she’s the world’s sexiest steak. In true proof that men are incapable of logical thought during nakey Twister, he asks her “Does it ever stop, the wanting you?” at the same time as he is hiking up her skirt in the middle of a $#@! field. It merits the same serious problem-solving techniques I applied to conundrums back when I was a wee Flea. Time to consult the Oracle.
Outlook Not So Good, you guys. This sexymoon will, like Rose’s heart, go on and on. Jamie and Claire’s boat is rocking when Jamie says “Now I know why they call it a sacrament.” Claire, distracted, asks him why. “Because I feel like God himself when I’m inside you!” he exclaims, overjoyed, and she laughs and he grins at her and asks if that is “a foolish thing to say.” Claire can’t answer properly because she is too busy laughing at him.
When she admits between giggles that she is laughing at him, he, smiling, tells her she’ll “get what [she] deserve[s]!” and gets down to business in earnest. I start to feel like I am intruding, sitting on my couch in my own living room. The sky and grass are bright, the sex is playful and passionate and they are beautifully open and immersed in each other, so of course it has to go to hell. Don’t sleep, y’all. No matter what your library may tell you, this is not a romance novel.
There is the subtle click of a gun cocking and Jamie and Claire freeze. An English voice says “Get up, you rutting bastard” and Jamie is unceremoniously pulled off his wife, who shakes in obvious fear as she struggles to cover herself. We then see that their assailants are two grubby redcoats, and one mentions to the other that he shouldn’t have pulled Jamie off “before he finished” because it’s “bad for a man’s health.” It’s good to know he has his priorities straight. The other soldier answers that he’s not concerned with Jamie’s health and you can see that Jamie is vibrating with anger, but there is nothing he can do with a gun aimed at his head. The tension is making me twitchy.
The soldier’s partner says to “go ahead and kill him, then” because he means to have “a piece of that.” “That” is Claire, laying on the ground with her bodice undone and disbelieving as the soldier unbuckles his belt and moves toward her. Jamie roars and lunges in her direction, but is stopped by the other soldier’s gun. The redcoats joke coarsely among themselves about “letting him watch” and “showing him how it’s done” and it’s obvious by his expression and Claire’s that they are both horrified and powerless. I am a sobbing mass of empathy.
As the officer not holding the gun kneels and drags Claire toward him and Jamie shouts in the background, suddenly the sound seems to go mono and everything slows down as the camera focuses very tightly on Claire’s face. I pause mid-cat-chase (her fuzziness is soothing) to admire how freaking stunning Cait is. Probably not the time, but that’s never stopped me before.
The soldier must think so as well, because as he lowers himself onto a seemingly docile Claire, his guard is down and he doesn’t expect what happens next at all.
Jamie takes advantage of this to quickly draw his knife and slash the throat of the soldier who was holding him back.
He then runs to Claire, pulling the dead redcoat off her, tossing her into his arms and running with her to higher ground, where he sits her upon a stump and curls around her protectively. The camera is still slightly shaky, there is no music, everything is both slow and fast, and I am in a right panic, because I’ve somehow managed to convince myself that the redcoats aren’t really dead and I am screaming Zombieland’s rule #2 at my screen.
Back to Frank’s time and the vicarage, where Mrs. Graham is complaining loudly to the Reverend about how she has “held her tongue for weeks now” and that she “will be silent no longer”. Rev. Wakefield says that he won’t have her parading her “dribble-drabble as fact.” She says she will tell Frank and let him make up his own mind, but he says that the “poor man just made up his mind that his wife left him.” Because they are loud and the house is old, Frank comes upon them and very calmly gossip-shames them.
Noticing the tension, he asks Mrs. Graham directly if there is something she would like to tell him. She says there is, and that even if it should cost her her position, he should know “the truth.” Wakefield tries to interject but before he can, she amends “the truth as I know it,” and tells Frank that there is another explanation for what happened to his wife.
They sit at a table and while the Reverend paces in the background, Mrs. Graham tells Frank about stories “old as the stones themselves, passed down from generation to generation by bards and songs.” She says she heard the story from her grandmother, who heard it from hers. He seems calm enough as he listens and his face is pretty impassive. As a matter of fact, his suit matches the wall and he gives off a general air of IDGAF-ness. Frank is like a ghost of himself, going through the motions and being polite.
Mrs. Graham tells him of people who traveled through the stones, and that the stones at Craig Na Dun represent a place where “the powers of nature come together” and that the stones gather the power and give it focus. She says that “certain people, on certain days, can pierce the veil of time.” She adds that Frank knows Claire went up the hill, but she did not come back down the same way, and believes she “traveled to some other time.”
Frank asks where or when did she, and Mrs. Graham responds that she doesn’t know, every traveler has “their own journey,” but that the songs say the “travelers often return.” In short, she describes exactly what happened in the clearest way a Druid can and because it sounds impossible and Frank is dealing only in things he can touch now, he writes it off, albeit very politely. Tobias Menzies can communicate pain with a simple downturn of the mouth, and it is apparent here that speaking of Claire pains Frank, however well he may hide it.
He is still resolved to leave that afternoon, and Mrs. Graham is at a loss. “Did you no’ hear me? THEY OFTEN RETURN.” “I did hear you,” Frank says kindly and quietly as the Reverend places a supportive hand on Mrs. Graham’s shoulder. “I simply do not share your beliefs. Forgive me.” Her disappointment is obvious, but she doesn’t say anything else to stop him.
He turns to leave, pausing briefly to smile at this wee nugget, and the scene is done.
Back to the tree stump, where Jamie is being eaten alive by guilt and Claire is going into shock. For those of you unfamiliar with shock, here is a visual aid I totally made up:
Jamie, high on adrenaline and the blood of the oppressor, is apologizing to Claire. “I’m sorry, charaid,” he says, taking both her hands in his. “I’m okay. We’re okay” is her response. She sounds too calm for what just happened, and her gaze is fixed on her bloody hands, held inside Jamie’s. “MY FAULT,” he growls,“To bring you here without taking proper heed and to let you be….” Here his voice breaks, and he swallows, continuing with tears in his voice. “…To not stop him….” She only says “Okay.” It is obvious that Elvis has left the building.
Suddenly Jamie pauses, noticing that Claire’s hands are cold and he tells her “You’re so cold, mo nighean donn. Yours hands are like ice.” As he is kissing her hands to try to warm them, he hears is name shouted from the meadow below. It’s Dougal and the rest of the group, and thank God for them.
Jamie leaves Claire–staring at her bloody hands, bodice still undone, shaking and muttering to herself that she is going into shock but “it’s all right,”–to go take care of the redcoats, leaving Young Willie to guard her. In a voice over, Claire explains that her mind jumped from thought to thought “like a stone skipping over a pond” and lists the random thoughts she had during this time, which include her parents, the smell of her uncle’s pipe, Errol Flynn, men she’d seen die and finally, the feel of her dagger tip puncturing the kidney. Basically, none of these things:
Jamie looks up at her from below, and Claire’s voice over continues, saying that she knew he was worried and wanted to talk to her about what had happened, but that if she “started to give rein to her feelings” then things would pour out of her that she wanted to “keep locked away forever.” Instead of screaming, she paces back and forth like an automaton with an open bodice while Willie tactfully averts his eyes.
Down in the meadow with the bodies, Dougal says the men are redcoat deserters like Munro said Horrocks was, and that if Jamie is to meet with him he cannot go alone, since “this is what becomes of a man who breaks his oath to king and country.”
Murtagh concurs with Dougal, saying that they should all accompany him “with our swords in our hands,” or Jamie should not go at all.
Jamie nods once, tersely, and growls out a low “Aye,” after which his gaze travels up to Claire, pacing in the mist like a ghost. They are not the same two people who snuck away only moments earlier for a giddy moment alone, and the disconnect is palpable. Props to the director for this last shot of Claire, symbolically haunting the moors à la Wuthering Heights. Beautiful, and chilling.
Back at the vicarage, Frank gets ready to make a clean break and be that dude that leaves a drawer full of underpants when he vacates a house.
Damn it, Frank. Mrs. Graham is your housekeeper, not your maid.
Back in the 18th century, the Mackenzies are back on the trail, and Claire won’t meet Jamie’s eyes. Her voice over tells us that all she “could remember about that pivotal time in her life was that [she] was angry,” and she didn’t know why. Really? I can name a few reasons.
Suddenly everyone stops, and Claire sulkily asks Jamie why. He doesn’t answer her directly, but tells he she will have to stay there with Willie. At her startled “What!” he explains that Dougal was right, and the meeting with Horrocks could be a trap. “I’ll no’ risk you again,” he says earnestly, “You’ll be safer here with Willie to look after you.” Claire’s reaction is cringe-worthy. She says in a bored tone that she doesn’t need an explanation, he can “go ahead and take Willie with him” because she “can look after myself. I think I’ve proven that earlier.”
OUCH, girl. MEE-OW. Jamie blinks at the insult and turns away from her, muttering “Ye needn’t prove it again” under his breath and Claire looks down as she hears him, but does not otherwise react that he can see. Jamie addresses Willie in a loud voice, saying it is likely that there are redcoats about and if they come, it will be from the South. Willie promises to keep an eye out. Jamie once again speaks to Claire, saying, “You stay here. I’ll be back. I promise.” Claire tells him he “shouldn’t make promises [he] can’t keep.” but the subtext is obvious.
“This one I will keep, Claire,” he insists, and asks her to promise him that she will stay put. Dougal calls him and he stalls, insisting. “Promise me, Claire. Swear you’ll be here when I get back.”
Finally and with little grace, Claire gives in. “Fine, I promise.” “Good,” he responds, and gallops away without another word. As she watches them leave, Claire’s voice over tells us that “In that moment, the reason for [her] bitterness became clear” to her.
She wasn’t mad at the redcoat deserters, or Jamie. She was mad at herself for forgetting her plan to get back to the stones at Craigh Na Dun, to her own time, and to Frank.
Speaking of Frank, he is headed out of Inverness on the road that passes right by…you guessed it, Craigh Na Dun.
He has barely missed the exit when he suddenly stops, focusing on a couple on a motorcycle clasped tight to each other as they zoom past. As he stares forward, his gaze focuses on his hand, and his decision is made.
I have no explanation as to why Frank’s ring sounds like an extra on Goodfellas. He looks behind him at the road, shifts the car into reverse, backs up until he is by the exit to the stones, and makes the turn.
Back in the past, Claire is pouting and leaning on a tree when Willie shouts out that if she needs him, he’ll be “takin’ care of some personal business.” I applaud his tact, and wish that Claire could respond in kind. “Go at least fifty yards away and downwind”, she says crabbily, and as he walks away, I am shouting at him.
He walks one way, and Claire walks another, using the opportunity to think out loud at us via voice over as she gets ever-further from her guard. She says that she “tried to avoid thinking about the incident in the meadow”, but that her mind “kept returning to it again and again, like picking at a festering sore that’s left untouched.” As she wanders through the woods, all of a sudden she stops cold.
“There it was,” says V.O. Claire. “Craigh Na Dun.” She hadn’t recognized the road they had taken on the way in, but now, she was “back, to the place where it had all begun. So much had happened, so much had changed.” Last time she was here, she was Claire Randall, then Claire Beauchamp, then Claire Fraser. “The question was…who did I want to be?”
Well that was a gut-check. Traumatized, alone and past her breaking point, Claire bolts for the safety of what she left behind. This begins a truly poetic series of parallel cuts between 18th-century Claire and 20th-century Frank as they both rush towards the stones, and their last memory of each other. The music swells and builds, imbuing what follows with a sense of the epic. No insult to Bear Mac, but when things get epic, at least in my mind, really only one song will ever do.
Claire is hauling her long legs and probably an additional 20 lbs of wool and assorted armature as fast as she can, but it’s no match for an internal combustion engine and a lead foot. Frank arrives first, and takes a moment to take in his surroundings, in case he finds Claire under a rock, or maybe the stones will become sentient and and tell him where they stashed his woman. Nothing sounds weird to me anymore.
More cuts, back and forth. In the 18th century, Claire runs full tilt, and her urgency is palpable. Meanwhile, Frank pauses by the stone with the flowers at its base and finally, heart-stoppingly, allows to himself to cry.
It starts out quiet and builds into big, gulping sobs in between which he brokenly calls his wife’s name, and ends with his best Brando.
It’s exactly like that except he says Claire. For her part, Claire, who is still running towards the stones in the 18th century, pauses when she hears an echo of his voice sound out over the clearing, and likewise, shouts out his name in the timey-wimeyest, most high-stakes game of Marco Polo ever.
“Frank!,” she shouts while running, “Wait for me, Frank!” In the 20th century, Frank quits his manly weeping as he too, hears his spouse’s voice calling his name echo across time. He turns around and quietly says her name, unsure it is her. Wonder who else he thinks it could be.
In the 18th century, Claire finally arrives at the stones, and specifically, the one she touched when she traveled. You know it’s the right one, because the plaid wrap she wore is still there, wet and bedraggled at its base. She leans down to touch both hands to the stone and—
Yep. The redcoats get her, because maybe tearing uphill while screaming at the top of her lungs was not the best way to keep a low profile, but whatever. Bygones. She screams “NO,” as they haul her away, and Frank, who can no longer hear her in the 20th century, seems to tell that big rational brain of his that he imagined the whole thing. He takes a moment to settle himself, and still teary-eyed, walks downhill to his car in a world that seems leached of color, while 200 years in the past, Claire stumbles down the same hill to an uncertain future, the red of their coats so vibrant, it almost hurts your eyes.
I know there is a lot of dislike for this character and I promise this will be short, but this was heartbreaking, and I was perversely happy to feel this way because it means that this scene, this entire relationship, was done right and for that I am glad. This was a couple who loved, who married in joy and hope, who was dedicated to making their marriage work and who were torn apart by circumstance. It is, no matter what you think of their personalities or Jamie’s, a muthaf#@! tragedy. *sigh* /drinks wine
Onward. In the back of the soldiers’ wagon, Claire tells us via voice over that she knew where they were taking her: “Fort William, the site of Jamie’s incarceration and flogging” and the purview of a man she knew “all too well,” who would have no notice of her coming. She however, had the “entire jolting journey in the back of the wagon” to plan what she would say, and she hoped it would be enough.
Time for fun with Captain “Black” Jack Randall, and by that I mean, constant douche chills, to the point where I had to watch later portions barricaded behind a mountain of pillows like a fugitive. There is something that Tobias does with his mouth when he does BJR that I cannot. stand.
First, Capt. Randall offers his “congratulations and felicitations” on her recent wedding, and tells her that he does not care whether or not she considers herself Scots or an Englishwoman, and apparently neither does Claire, he points out, as she is still wearing her old wedding ring. “Sentimental attachment,” she counters.“I doubt you have a sentimental bone in your body,” he says.
BJR always enjoys a side of affability with his crazy, but Claire seems to be almost imitating him, and if anything, it ratchets up the tension to an unbearable level. Watching these two be nice to each other is like watching a bear juggle salmon.
“The more interesting question,” he continues, “is why would Dougal Mackenzie consider [her] of such value” that he would make her one of his own instead of allowing him to question her. “I’m sure I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she demurs, and they toast to the king. “I’m glad to see you still consider him your sovereign, he says, and she says that “All the Mackenzies are loyal English subjects.” Which makes him laugh, which CREEPS ME OUT.
He says that that is “the single most amusing comment” he has heard “all week.” Claire comments that he must not have been amusing himself by flogging prisoners, then. He tells her that it is an unusual thing to say, because she should know from their last meeting that he “takes flogging very seriously.” For a moment, Claire’s facade drops and you can see the nerves and uncertainty, and as Capt. Randall walks around her in silence to noisily drag a chair next to her, she tries to school her expression.
“Madam,” he tells her, “you need to understand your position.” On this, their third encounter, he intends to discover her “true nature” and her secrets “by any means necessary.” “Perhaps you should ask the Duke of Sandringham,” Claire retaliates, and BJR actually chokes on his wine, so you know someone’s gonna die. That $#@! will NOT stand. Claire however, feels smug in having scored a point on her no good, very bad day, and it shows on her face.
Claire thinks about how this is a dangerous gambit, but that Randall’s reaction tells her that Frank and the Reverend’s speculation about who Randall’s patron was was spot-on. In essence, he could do as he wished because he was under the protection of a powerful man. “The cost of such protection,” thought Claire,“was always silence…and fidelity.” She makes a pointed comment about his cravat staining, and as he gets up to rinse it in a basin, there is a subtle shift in the power dynamic in the room, and this just puts me on edge.
Randall asks how Claire knows the Duke, and she tells Randall that it should be obvious that they are “both in the employ of the same great and powerful man.” Randall says that this is “Impossible,” because he would know, but Claire counters that Sandringham does not tell him all his secrets. She is so smug and confident at this point that I just want her to shut up. This man is a grenade.
Claire says he must be “a very special officer indeed” and Randall says that he will simply send a messenger to the Duke to ask after her. Claire gets up, and reaches over to help him tie his cravat. “Excellent idea,” she says. “I’m sure he would be most pleased at your skill and acumen and discovering my identity, OR….” she holds the ends of the cloth threateningly, “perhaps your destruction of the Duke’s carefully laid plans will not be rewarded. Perhaps he will be displeased, and take measures to terminate your special relationship, withdraw the protection to which you have become accustomed and thus leave you at the mercy of your superior officers and local authorities.” BJR stands docilely during this speech, and that is crazy alarming.
She finishes, saying that “the wisest course of action” would be for him to allow her to continue with “her mission” and give no indication to the Duke how close he came to interfering with his “efforts on behalf of the King.” She crosses to get her cloak and leave the room, when Randall stops her by saying, “You mean his wife’s efforts.”
That’s right, he tricks her into admitting that she communicated with the Duchess, who doesn’t exist, and just like that the balance of power shifts again, and it sends Claire into a panic, running to the door to escape and finding the same poor Corporal Hawkins there that kicked her last time. A low “Coorpooraal…” from Frank is enough to make the young man fearfully pushes her back inside with a whispered “Sorry, madam,” and Claire realizes how desperate her situation has actually become.
Randall ties her hands behind her back, and tells the Corporal not to come back, no matter what he hears. He walks calmly back to his desk, takes off his jacket, and takes out a giant knife with a curved blade. The look of horror on Claire’s face erupts into a sudden scream for “Help, someone!!!” and Randall reacts by drinking some wine. That is how you know you are f&%$#ed.
He comes at Claire with the knife and she backs against the door. Randall advances with his patented smirk, and lists the things he wants to question her about as he cuts through her laces. First, her real name, then Dougal, Collum, the Jacobite rebellion and finally, the Duke of Sandringham. At first you think that he is just going to intimidate her, but by the time he has ripped her chemise off and she is standing there exposed, you know it will be nothing so simple.
He means to exert power over her in the tradition of @$$holes throughout time, with his penis. Claire whispers angrily that he will regret this. “I doubt it,” he answers, grabbing her by the hair and dragging her to a table and bending her over it. When he flips her skirt over her back, he notices the sgian-dubh in her boot, and laughs as he pulls it out. “My, my..the lady has claws,” he comments, showing the blade to Claire as he pets her hair. He wonders how sharp it is, and to make his point…
I couldn’t show it, not even with words covering the bits. Suffice it to say this crazy f*ck was going to make it so she could never breastfeed, but suddenly the window bursts open and Randall transfers the blade to Claire’s neck instead. It’s Jamie, thank God, perched in the window with a gun like a verra angry handsome bird and pointing it right at Randall. In contrast with his expression, his voice is almost polite as he says, “I’ll thank ye to take yer hands off my wife.”
Randall lets out a surprised “Good God,” over Claire’s quiet sobs and then, like the insane crackpot he is, begins to laugh. This sort of heroin nightmare is what gets him off, of course, so while everyone else is at a zenith of tension, I feel like I know exactly what this bastard is thinking.
But I won’t know for sure till April.
For more Outlander fun during hiatus, follow me here or on Twitter @conniebv.
So here we are at the mid-season finale. I laughed, I cried, I considered perming my hair and I knit like a flipping banshee. Much like the lauded high-quality bootie we have been exposed to thanks to this show, I hate to see it go, but I LOVED watching it leave. Posted in 2 parts because.
We begin as always with the lovely Skye Boat Song, and I play my usual mental game where I try to recognize each clip and where it comes from. Some are harder than others. Like, why is Claire running here? Towards or away from something? Let’s look.
RUN, GIRL. Damn it, I miss this show already.
First scene, we are in Scotland, 1946. Specifically in the Inverness Police Station, where cops spike their drinks to deal with those pesky victim’s loved ones who won’t leave them alone and get over it already.
That’s right. Frank has become such a fixture at the station that he’s someone used his coat for graffiti. It happens. At least the unnamed vandals who defaced his suit understand what makes him tick. Can’t say the same for the detective, who is very obviously patronizing. Frank listens to him apologize and say that he “wishes he could do more” for him and calmly says it’s his job, perhaps he could do that? The detective replies that he understands he is “disappointed” and I actually stood up and cheered “Disappointing? That’s an interesting word. It suggests expectations that were unmet. My expectations of your department were low to begin with and I can assure you that you have met those expectations at every turn.” DAYYYYUM SON. /highfive
This is enough for the detective to finally lose his patience and let him have it. He reminds Frank that they spent the past six weeks “searching over 100 square miles of rugged terrain, conducted 175 interviews, invested over 1000 man hours…” but Frank don’t care. He wants to know what he “has to show for these efforts.”
As he speaks, the camera pans over to bulletin board and the missing persons rewards being offered for both Claire, and the Highlander Frank saw watching her on the night of their arrival, who looks pretty familiar…
Frank emphasizes that his wife has disappeared. “Do you have any idea–at all–what might have happened to her?” The detective says that they didn’t find a body, so they assume that she is still alive. There was “no blood in the car, no sign of a struggle”, so they assume she “probably wasna taken against her will.” Franks’s face hardens. He has heard this before, and deadpans that is is the detective’s “favorite theory.”
The officer’s calm begins to crack and he raises his voice, telling Frank that he admitted that he caught a man staring at his wife through the window the night before she disappeared. Frank says that he has said since the beginning that “the Highlander is certainly involved in some way,” and then the detective finally loses his patience.
He shouts that “OF COURSE he is involved, you fool! He is her lover and the two of them left, together.” Frank doesn’t take well to this.
He slams his fist on the table and shouts, his body shaking and more emotion than we have seen from him in the entire series to date. “My wife is NOT with another man.” It is telling that when he looks around the station and notices everyone is watching him, he almost immediately reverts to calm, as if he himself cannot handle the emotion and the illusion of control is important. He gets his hat and prepares to go.
Back to 1743, where Claire and Jamie are having a snack and gazing at each other like teenagers.
Jamie acts all cute which means he is mostly just breathing and shyly asks Claire if he can ask her a question and she replies “of course.” He says he does not want to embarrass her and imply that she “has a vast knowledge of men,” but that she knows more than he does in such matters. After some prodding from Claire, he reaches over, holds her hand and asks “It is usual? What it is between us when I touch you? When you lie with me? Is it always so between a man and a woman?”
At first Claire demurs and says that “It is often something like this,” but at Jamie’s somewhat dejected look she seems to reevaluate her approach and alters her response. “No. This is unusual. It’s different.”
That seems to please Jamie and there is a very sweet beat as they lock eyes, and then a wee interruption.
Jamie’s eyes widen and he throws himself over Claire to shield her, then tells her “don’t move” as he crawls over to examine the arrow. When he gets a good look at it, this is how you know they are in no real danger.
It really is good and refreshing to see honest open smiles on either of their faces. They are so often swimming upstream a river of sh*t that the moments of joy really hit home for me. Not only is it not danger, it is a friend! Hugh Munro, what looks like the Highland equivalent of a homeless person crossed with that one stuffed rabbit you loved all the fur off of when you were a child.
Hugh is mute, and so communicates mostly by grunts and signs, which Jamie interprets for Claire. I don’t speak Munro, so I just made crap up.
Hugh found them because he saw Dougal watering the horses and came up to where he figured Jamie would be. When he signals towards Claire, Jamie introduces her as his wife, “married just these two days past” and Hugh pulls out a wineskin, insisting that they drink to Claire, after which he has some news for Jamie. Jamie agrees and they all sit. As they pass the wineskin around, Hugh reaches into his bag and pulls something out. Jamie interprets that it is for Claire, “a wedding gift.” It is a dragonfly, trapped in amber.
As Claire admires her gift, Jamie reaches over and taps one of the medallions sewn onto on Hugh’s vest, joking that he has “gone official.” he explains to Claire that they are gaberlunzie pendants, which are official licenses to beg within the borders of a single parish. Claire notes that he has “at least a dozen” by her count, and that is when Jamie says that Hugh is special, as was “captured by the Turks at Sea, and spent many years as a slave in Algiers”, where he lost his tongue. Claire asks if they cut it out and Jamie says that that and hot oil on his legs is how they got “Christians to convert to the Musulman religion.” When Munro appears lost in memory, Jamie prods him for his news.
Turns out he has encountered a man named Horrocks, a redcoat deserter, who is willing to meet Jamie and provide testimony that Jamie did not kill the Seargant at Fort William. Munro cannot vouch for Horrocks’ trustworthiness, but Jamie wants to go meet with him, as having the price lifted from his head would mean he could take his new wife home to Lallybroch. He is terribly excited and hopeful and he hugs Claire, who has to go be a total downer because God forbid you should just hug your hot young Ginger husband who is totally into you and JUST ENJOY IT.
A sincerely awesome shot of her hands blurs into Frank’s left hand with is ring finger on it, and we are back to 1946 to the owner of said hand, in the Reverend Wakefield’s house telling him that the police are not interested in his theories on what may have happened to Claire. The Reverend thinks she may have fallen in a river and been carried up to 20 miles into the forest. Even though Frank is being polite, you can tell that the Detective hit a nerve and that the Reverend, however well-intentioned, is starting to annoy him.
Rev. Wakefield is getting on his last nerve by telling Frank about how Claire could be living in a cave (IT HAPPENS) and subsisting on “fish and frogs” when he (and all of us) are distracted. Mrs. Graham comes in with a snack and she is followed by his tiny, adorable nephew, Roger. Pause FOR THE CHEEKS. They demand it.
There is a sweet bit when Roger asks for two cookies and the Rev. Wakefield tickle-chases him asking if he is going to “eat all my biscuits” and I am thinking about how it must say to share somewhere in the Bible and Frank is staring at them like “Great, now I have to be reminded that I am a childless sad sack, too.” Roger goes upstairs to bed, and Frank glares at the board with all the clippings related to Claire’s disappearance.
Mrs. Graham offers him tea because he is English and I’m pretty sure that is how they mediate all disputes, but Frank says he needs “something a bit stronger” and, refusing the Reverend’s company, asks that they not wait up for him.
At what I assume to be the nearest pub, he looks like a PSA for how you handle this situation.
I honestly identify with Frank probably for the first time ever during this scene. There is a fragility to Tobias Menzies’ sadness laid over a core of anger that feels very real, a man at absolute emotional bottom. So of course, here comes a blonde Eve to tempt him with a metaphorical apple.
She sits next to Frank and greets him with a smile and a “Good evening…Mr. Randall” which gets his attention. She says he can call her Sally, although that is not her real name. He gives her a once-over and asks, “What can I do for you, Sally?” She says it’s what she can do for him, and you can tell he’s intrigued.
Sadly, no sexcapades (and really, who could blame him). Rather she takes out one of the leaflets advertising a reward for information regarding Jamie and tells Frank that “I ken where he is”. “Where?” Frank says immediately, and she replies, “Close. I can take you to him.”That’s all Frank needs to hear to jump up and get ready to go, but Sally places a hand on his arm and says “Not now. There are too many eyes and ears in here.” She asks Frank to meet her “at half past midnight” on Drummond lane, past the cobbler’s shop, to bring the reward, and to come alone. She gets up to leave, but poor hopeful Frank has one more question, and he grabs her hand to stop her from leaving and ask if Claire is “with him”. Sally says she doesn’t know, she’ll arrange the meeting and the rest is up to him.
When she leaves, he drinks the rest of his drink and asks the bartender for another. You get the sense that he’s not going home until after the meeting, and that he may be drinking up to that point. Wise choice.
In 1743, the Mackenzies have camped for the night, Rupert is telling the legend of the water-horse, and Jamie and Claire are gazing at each other, vigorously handfornicating and waiting for everyone to fall asleep so they can hit it.
Jamie tells Claire that “it will be Yuletide” by the time they return to Leoch, and she asks if they hang stockings by the chimney. “To dry them off, you mean?” says adorably clueless Jamie and Claire laughs because she is a heterosexual human female and adorable Jamie demands it. It is a lovely, sweet calm moment.
But is is Outlander, so those don’t last.
Claire notices the change in the vibe and asks what is wrong, and Jamie says the horses are restless and that someone is out there, and not to move. Those horses are better than an alarm. The storytelling goes on and everyone appears to continue what they are doing, but there is an alertness that underlies each action that tells you every man in that camp is preparing for sh*t to go down.
Jamie gives Claire his knife under cover of a kiss, and tells her that at his say-so, she is to go behind a hollow log and hide.
He strokes her hair, waiting for word from Dougal and, at his nod, yells “GO!” and all hell breaks loose.
I wanted to try to cap some of the fight, but it is one giant blur, so let me refer you instead to this excellent gifset by outlander-online, and you can just imagine me yelling over it like you do when there’s a fight in the hallway in high school: “FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHHHHT!”
And then it’s over, and it turns out it was a raid by the Grants. Even though they are some grain and one horse poorer for it, everyone is okay and giddy with exhilaration. Jamie calls Claire and she comes, saying she is all right. Ned is downright chipper, asking if anyone saw him hit a perfect shot. The comment breaks any remaining tension and everyone laughs. A crisis averted.
Back in Claire’s time, Frank finally shows up to meet Sally for their appointment, and the moment I see the contrast I worry for the outcome of this. Costuming alone will tell you who holds the power in this situation, and the fact that you can’t really see Frank’s face is visual foreshadowing.
Sally complains that he is late, to which he counters “I am on time” and she explains that she just thought he would be early. You think a lot of things, Sally. She leads him to a secluded area behind a shop, and it becomes obvious that this isn’t what Frank thought it was.
The man who punches him yells “give us the reward” and this is when I check my TV to make sure I am not watching another channel because Frank goes full Batman, but like DARK KNIGHT BATMAN.
Side note: when I was watching this for the recap, my husband wandered in and yelled “Yeah, blackjack that guy!” I got all excited thinking that he watched the show and somehow knew a plot point, but NO. Turns out that what Frank takes out of his pocket for this epic beat down is called a blackjack, and is get this: LEAD WRAPPED IN LEATHER. Kudos to the geniuses behind this production, who managed to tie this all together so neatly.
But first, said epic beat down:
I make fun because it’s what I do, but it is honestly chilling to watch this gentle, hurt man lose whatever control he was hanging on to and echo his ancestor in such a manner. Not only does he viciously kick one of his assailants over and over again once he is down and then start up beating him with the blackjack, but when Sally runs over and shouts “Stop! Ye’re gonna kill ‘im!”, this happened, and my heart just dropped.
That’s right. HE MOTHERF*CKING CHOKES HER as he growls “There is no highlander, is there?” Oh I don’t know, Frank, you’re a goddamn professor. FIGURE IT OUT. A lot of things can be said for violence in this story, both past and upcoming, but I’ve always personally felt it flowed with the time and the story, and this struck a discordant note for me. I did not feel it was justified, or really even congruent. I could have fathomed him grabbing her and tossing her to the ground, wrenching her arm, but this just felt out of bounds. Any sympathy I felt for Frank flew right out of my mouth in a string of curse words. In an episode riddled with violence, it was the one moment I felt truly uncomfortable. Although, if that was the writers’ purpose, bravo folks. You got me.
Sally finally chokes out a no, and Frank lets go of her, flipping back to Bruce Banner before our very eyes. He backs up slowly, we hear the Reverend Wakefield’s voiceover begin as the scene shifts back to the vicarage, and it’s an important one.
“It’s fashionable in this modern age to dismiss the idea of good and evil. But there is evil…and it finds purchase in good men by giving sin the sweet taste of ecstasy. The Nazis drank from that poisoned cup thinking all the while they were slaking their thirst with the sweetest wine.”
Franks wants to know if the reverend thinks he drank from that same cup, to which Wakefield responds that “Evil has but one cup,” and taking the metaphor right to its limit says that while many “drink long and deep” his was “but a sip” and that he should make it his last. “Turn away from the darkness that beckons you and turn back to the light,” he counsels gravely. For my purposes, he could have been a bit more direct.
Frank takes this as indirect advice to leave Inverness, and Reverend Wakefield does not disagree. He tells him to “go back to Oxford, start your life over.” “What of Claire?,” Frank asks. “Let her go, just as she has let you go,” Wakefield says very gently. Still, the impact on Frank is visible.
Mrs. Graham overhears them and leaves the room without saying anything when Frank asks the reverend if he believes Claire left with the Highlander “of her own volition.” Wakefield asks him if he has ever read Sherlock Holmes, and tells him that “once you eliminate the impossible, what remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Frank shuts his eyes and sways and for one terrible moment, I think the is going to vomit. Reverend Wakefield’s point has hit home.
Thank God for comic relief, as we are now back with Jamie and Claire as they hunt through the hills for Jamie’s knife, which Claire dropped the previous night during the raid. Rupert finds it and tries to give it back to Jamie, but he indicates that Claire should have it. “It’s too big and heavy for me,” she complains, and then Rupert answers “Lassies say that to me all the time” so now, to paraphrase Diana, we know how old that joke is.
Ned tells Jamie that if he’s going to give Claire a knife, someone should teach her how to use it to “defend herself from assailants.” Angus is called up as the best man for the job and Claire objects politely, but Jamie cuts her off, saying that “every man and woman needs to learn to defend themselves, Sassenach- especially those married to a Fraser.” He punctuates this with a smooch, and she relents, saying “I think I’m more aware of that every day.”
Dougal, who is overseeing the proceedings while sharpening his own knife, says that “the lass needs a sgian-dubh,” which Jamie says is a “hidden dagger.” Ned explains that most highlanders hide them in their socks, but he has “a more private place” for his.
Claire grimaces, but takes the dagger, and the lesson commences.
Angus explains to her that it is best for her to stab underhanded, as overhead is only good when you are “coming down with considerable force on someone from above,” and Claire nods. Murtagh, watching with Dougal and Jamie, says that “I still say the only good weapon for a woman is poison.” “Perhaps,” Dougal replies, “…it has certain deficiencies in combat.”
Angus helpfully lifts his shirt to show Claire where to stab a man if he is facing her, and when she pantomimes it, he tells her to go off to the side, not in the breastbone lest she lose her knife. He then volunteers an obviously reluctant Willie as victim for a back-stabbing. It’s all informative, but I am riveted by two people I swear I haven’t seen before. Am I alone here? Have I been high?
Seriously, it’s like Dougal and Rupert’s stunt doubles or something. Ghosts? Anything’s possible. In any case, Angus tells Claire that it is hard to stab between the ribs from the back, so her best bet is to go beneath the last rib and stab straight upward into the kidney, and they “will drop like a stone.” Claire pantomimes stabbing Willie and playfully pushing him, and the reactions from the men are priceless. Claire is proud as she laughs and tells Angus “See? Got it.”
In 1946, Frank is sadpacking his sad suitcase when Claire’s suitcase telepathically links to him, because he turns suddenly to look at it.
He must be ripe for seduction, because he picks it up and sets it on the bed, bracing himself to open it.
After a beat, he opens it and stands looking inside. It looks pretty standard, with her books and gloves placed neatly above her clothes, but he tugs something out by the edge and stands looking at it, swallowing convulsively. When the camera finally gets hold of it we see what it is, and while I know it’s meant to tug at my heartstrings, the reaction I experienced was somewhat um, uncommon.
At least he has a visual aid to get him through this lonely time. We can understand that, can’t we, Outlanders?
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This is it, the home stretch, and I don’t mind saying that I enjoyed every freaking last 20 minutes of it, luxuriating in the gooey rewatches like a baby double-fisting birthday cake.
Small disclaimer for those of you hoping for nekkid funsies–you’ll have to Google. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel weird putting the actors’ bodies out there in still form, so I’m drawing a line there and I’ll try to cover the bikini bits. Probably NSFW. Read at your own risk. Onwards.
Jamie tells Claire that after the way she kissed him, (full tiptoe) he had hoped she “did not regret marrying him, after all.” Her expression clues you in as to what she may be thinking.
Because let’s face it: when you’ve been alone and stranded on a mad lib of an Adventurequest and have a young strapping lad telling you you are lovely and dropping metaphors like Browning, the last thing that comes to mind is to issue a shagamatum, amirite?
It’s great to watch all the subtle expressions cross his face when he realizes it’s on, and if this recap takes another 70 caps, it’s because Sam and Cait are geniuses and I need to capture everything.
Claire walks to one end of the room, briefly looking uncertain, but I like to imagine it’s the millions of fangurls like me giving her courage to go through with it. Do it for us, Claire. And by “it”, I mean Jamie.
She turns decisively on her heel and tells Jamie to “Take your shirt off. I want to look at you.”
His expression is at first confused and then somewhat cocky. He stands up and once again proceeds to make love to the fabric because these are the two most tactile people in Scotland and we’re about to be verra verra grateful for that.
He keeps eye contact with her until the last second he pulls the shirt over his head, and we get a glimpse of Jamie from the back and Claire’s expression, which was the same one Cher Horowitz had when she first laid eyes on Christian.
His gaze is no less smoldering, and DAMN IT SAM STOP LOOKING LIKE THAT I HAVE THIS RECAP TO WRITE.
Fine, you win.
His expression becomes a bit more uncertain when Claire starts to walk around him. He keeps his eyes down, and only follows her with tilts of his head.
She comes over to his cabin to see him and he puts on a Solomon Burke record and she apologizes for lying to her father about the money… No wait. I’m remembering something else.
*sigh* Oh, Johnny. Still gets me.
Back with the Frasers, Claire walks around him in a leisurely, slow circle, and he is quiet until she is done. It is a beautiful moment, intimate and vulnerable and with the traditional genders reversed, which is a refreshing twist.
When she finishes making the circle, the tension is palpable, and he doesn’t break eye contact with her when he says “Fair’s fair,” and asks her to take hers off, as well. I actually flinched when he rolled those two r’s in a row. I flinched like someone had drawn a gun.
I don’t know why, but in my head the sexier things get, the more formal the language of the internal monologue. This next part, however, honestly doesn’t really need my captions because the thoughts are broadcast all over his face. Kudos to Sam, who probably gets flashed bewbs at the drugstore buying cough drops, for convincing me Jamie’s never been at arm’s reach from a pair. Now that’s acting.
He even steps back to get a better gander at her, which, if any boys are reading this PULL THIS MOVE. You’re welcome.
It knocks Claire a little off her game, because she smiles a little nervously and asks him if he’s never seen a naked woman before. Jamie replies that he has, but he grins self-consciously and adds, “but not one so close…” That’s all the encouragement needs to get back in the driver’s seat. She takes Jamie’s hand and places it on her breast, and his voice drops a good octave as he finishes his statement. “…and not one that’s mine.”
He grabs her, they kiss and get your lace fans and your smelling salts, ladies because the brakes are OFF, and they are both taking this gig out for a spin.
Jamie flips her over and unlike last time, seals the deal for Claire and she gets to finish as well. I am so happy for her, because after all she has been through, she really deserves to have her bell rung.
Jamie, alarmed by her noises, gets startled and thinks he’s hurt her. When he stops and apologizes, Claire laughs and says “You didn’t”. He asks if she is sure and as she gasps out “yes” and tries to calm her breathing, Jamie clues her for looks, smiles, and the candle lights.
He asks her, “I did not know a woman could….does it happen every time?” Claire, flush with energy, flips him over and says “only when the man is a very good lover,” which okay I’ll let you have that but the correct answer was “IT SHOULD ALWAYS YES AND IT’S YOUR JOB TO SEE IT DOES.”
Jamie, worried tells Claire that she is “so small” and he just doesn’t want to hurt her. Claire is feeling generous because what woman doesn’t want to be told she’s dainty and crushable, so she decides to teach Jamie a bit about pain. She grins and kisses his palm, then nips his wrist where the wedding cut is still healing, and his chest, playfully asking “Did that hurt?” Poor Jamie, a little perplexed as to where this is going, goes for honesty and admits “A bit.”
And I think this is where I fall in love with them as a couple all over again, because while people make a big deal of Jamie (and he is), he is relentlessly practical and Claire brings some playfulness to his day-to-day (and now night-to-night) that is so heartwarming to see.
Exactly because Jamie is a quick study, when Claire moves her hand down and asks if he wants her to stop, however, he seems to get with the program.
And he seems to enjoy it. I know I did. /high five
He mumbles something in Gaelic and when Claire asks what he said, he tells her he thought his heart would burst.
They are both perfectly happy and in sync, so Jamie has to go be a dude and fall asleep in the time it takes Claire to take one deep breath.
HOW DO DUDES DO THIS?
Doesn’t seem to bother Claire, though. She gets up to get some water from the ewer only to see it is empty, so she pulls on Jamie’s plaid and heads downstairs to get some, since all is quiet and most everyone has gone off to bed. Down there she meets IntroKitty.
That was largely pointless except it made me lol, so let me rephrase and say it was crucial.
Claire wanders about, finds a pitcher of water and gets ready to walk back upstairs to hydrate when she is interrupted by the sound of a door closing and Dougal saying, “Mistress Fraser.”
Turns out he’s just back from informing Randall “that Claire is no longer at his beck and call.” Claire wants to know what he said, and Dougal jokes that there are “likely even limits to [her] tolerance for foul language.” Kind of sounds like a challenge to me.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy Graham McTavish (I do), but Dougal is like the Tywin Lannister of Outlander. I know that the acting will be superb, the quips will be sharp and most of all, that %$#@! will go down because the end, to him always justifies the means. This is why I wasn’t at all surprised at what happened next. Claire, worried, asks if Randall “plans to take any further steps” and Dougal replies that he doesn’t think so, as he has “better things ta do than to chase one stray Sassenach around….(WAIT FOR IT)………no matter how pretty.”
Claire looks modestly down, but you can tell she’s not comfortable with what he just said. Dougal adds that Randall is not likely to want to “rile up Collum by kidnappin’ his nephew’s wife.” Claire smiles, thanks him and prepares to go back upstairs to her husband when Dougal has to go Dougal sh*t up.
He tells Claire that while he “commends her for doing her duty” (and how!), that it “needn’t stop her from taking other pleasures,” and that he “finds her the most singular woman.” This would all be more romantic if she wasn’t coming down to get something to drink because she’s parched from all the sex she just had with her new husband, WHO HE PAIRED HER UP WITH. Oh, Dougal. Your brain is the most complicated of corn mazes. HAHAHAA MAIZE. Sorry. Back to Dougal and Claire:
Likely because he hardly ever gets denied what he wants, Dougal is surprised when Claire pulls her chin away, brow wrinkled and quietly but firmly reminds him “I’m Jamie’s wife.” And when I meant surprised, I meant furious.
He drops his hand and she steps back as they hear the door open, and Rupert comes in, flush with drink and singing a cheerful tune like a man who doesn’t know he’s walking on a land mine.
Claire takes advantage of his entrance to make a beeline for the stairs. Right before she starts to climb them, her manners get the best of her and she turns to thank him for “[his] kindness towards” her, saying “the ring is magnificent.” This is how you know it’s love, kids.
Rupert, touched by the compliment, tells her she is welcome and offers her “a most hearty congratulations on [her] weddin’ day.” This is what they look like while this is happening.
Claire thanks Rupert and turns to go, and as she does, Rupert leans over to Dougal and says that “young Jamie may not have much experience, but that one looks well ridden” and well, Dougal’s had enough of people using their mouths for things he doesna care to hear.
Rupert, who did not expect to get punched for doing what he does, is ticked and asks Dougal what that was for. Dougal takes a pull from a bottle and tells him to go check the horses. When he says he already did, Dougal tells him to “do it again”, and he grimaces but obeys and walks out, neither noticing that Claire is hidden by her doorway in the balcony above them, and has seen everything before letting herself back into her room and leaving Dougal alone downstairs.
Upstairs, Claire is gazing into the fire wrapped in the Fraser tartan, and Jamie wakes to see her there.
He quietly stands to get something out of his sporran, then walks up behind Claire and drapes the object, a pearl necklace, over her neck. He takes a seat by her as they both pause to admire it.
They are “scotch pearls”, he tells her, and they belonged “to my mother, now to my wife.” They are “one of the few things” he has “left of her…very precious to me….” and here his voice drops to a gruff whisper, “…as are you, Claire.”
She is startled by his admission and he knows it, dropping his head and not looking her in the eye. But Claire isn’t made of stone, damn it, so she does the best she can without saying a word.
It of course segue-ways into round three, but the tone is much different than the first two. The first time was a kind of ripping off of a band-aid and the second time was two incredibly hot people acknowledging each other’s naked game–but this is LOVEMAKING. Every touch is slow, deliberate and no words are spoken, so I had to take the gag off my id.
The next morning, they are playful and in a hurry to get downstairs to breakfast.
Jamie jokes about being so hungry that he’s about to take a bite out of her. Claire reminds him he already did, and he tells he looks forward to doing it again real soon.
He dashes out and reminds her to hurry, lest she be left only with crumbs. It is cheerful and domestic and she is happy. You can tell, cause I wrote it right there.
One Jamie is gone, she reaches for her wedding dress to pack it up, and as she shakes the dust off, a bit of symbolism rolls out to greet her.
Not only is Claire in shock, but we are as well. The last twenty minutes did such a fine job of cocooning us in the Fraser’s wedding night that we forget all about Claire’s other husband. Her gold wedding band, stuck in the floorboards of her current honeymoon suite, reflects her distorted shape as she bends over to pry it out.
She shakily puts it back on the third finger of her left hand, notices Jamie’s parallel to it on the third finger of her right, and contemplates the physical evidence of her dilemma.
And that’s it, guys. Tomorrow is the mid-season finale, which I will also recap, and then a bit of a drought. I plan on doing some character appreciation posts and for some reason, an alphabet, so there will be more silliness in the months to come. In the meantime, follow me here or @conniebv on twitter. Thanks for reading and as always. comments are love!
First of all let me say that this was delicately and honestly brought to life by all involved and it was a highlight as a fan of a beloved book series to see this produced so superlatively. That said, I was sitting on my couch waiting for this to start and all I could think was:
And what glorious nudity it was. On to the recap.
The episode starts near the end, chronologically speaking, with a Frankback of her memories as Claire remembers her first wedding, and periodically jumping back to the events that lead to this moment, so if I seem to jump around it’s because yes, I’m jumping around.
Pre-War Frank and Claire are on their way to meet his parents at a restaurant when Frank, inspired by a couple getting married in a civil service at the registrar’s stops Claire in the street. Although Claire points out that his parents have never even met her, Frank says they never have to meet Claire Beauchamp, because he will introduce them to Mrs. Frank Randall. My mom would have smacked me, but whatevs. He proposes, Claire says “of course” and they kiss…
…which brings us to Claire and Jamie at the end of the ceremony, and the declaration of “man and wife”.
Jamie is obviously humming with HELL YES, the attendants are in full tumblr fandom mode, and Claire has an expression that we will see repeated a whole hell of a lot this episode:
Forward to the room at the inn, where Claire is seated at the vanity in her undergarments, musing on how memories are like a strand of pearls that can break and be lost forever, or maybe you try to lose them but can’t? I’m a bit confused by it but the gist is she is trying not to remember Frank during this her waaaay waaay better wedding night OR she is missing her pearls.
I understand in her mind she’s a bigamist and conflicted but thankfully the show moves on and Jamie comes into the room, adorably apprehensive when he sees her dejectedly sitting and not making eye contact, just how every groom imagines his bride will receive him.
Claire breaks the silence by asking if the wedding party is still going on downstairs and if they will go to bed any time soon, to which Jamie replies that yes it is, and no they won’t leave until they “have made things official”.
Claire snaps that it’s a wonder they didn’t want to watch, and Jamie says only Rupert and Angus. When she looks up, shocked, he says it was a joke and she says he’s no Bob Hope. Jamie asks if he was a funny man, and Claire smiles, saying she always thought so. More awkward silence, until Claire proposes, “perhaps a drink?”
Jamie adorably toasts his bride in a speech he makes up on the spot and during which he is visibly nervous and Claire is terribly embarrassed. IT IS THE GODDAMN CUTEST THING EVER SINCE CATS HAD KITTENS. Text of toast: “To a lady of grace…um…a woman of strength…and a bride of astonishing beauty. My wife…Claire Fraser.” He enunciates those last two words with an intense look that pants-meltingly awesome, and Claire reacts with silent panic.
They drink, and Claire reaches back to refill both their glasses. As she downs her second glass in one pull, and goes back for thirdsies, Jamie’s brow knits and he realizes she may be panicking.
He gently tells her that she doesn’t need to be afraid of him, because he is not the kind of man to force himself on her. She smiles nervously and says she never thought he would. Then, as you do when you have a hot piece of ginger man ready to come at ya, you tell him you have questions and want to talk.
Jamie agrees and asks her what she wants to know. Claire says she will just come out with it, and the obvious question is why did Jamie marry her? This leads to a flashback of the moment when Jamie was told of Dougal’s plan.
Dougal and Ned are explaining to Jamie and Murtagh that they are setting out in “a boat made of paper”, and that they must follow the letter of the law to make sure Claire is safe from Randall. Ned tells them that the la specifies not only that the marriage be consummated immediately, but that witnesses must be present “in the building, if not in the room itself.”
Jamie asks if Claire is aware of this, and Dougal says that she has no say in the matter. Jamie makes subtle eye contact with Murtagh, who quietly says that he thought Dougal didn’t hold with rape. Dougal replies that it isn’t rape, but persuasion (ugh). he crosses over to Jamie and says that Claire is a “smart lass” who will see the need for it in the end, but that Claire and Jamie could secretly agree to say the marriage was consummated when it wasn’t. He then says he can think of worse things than…. well, I’ll let the picture do the talking:
That’s right. He describes having sex with the woman he is giving in marriage to his nephew, in case there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that he a) wants to bang her b) wants Jamie to know that he wants to bang her. Wedding party foul, Dougal, and Jamie’s not having it. He roars “Enough!” and stalks out of the barn, fuming that if Claire does become his wife, he’ll thank Dougal to “stop talkin’ and thinkin’ of her as some common whuuurre”. Dougal, realizing he may have approached this the wrong way, catches him to apologize.
Haha, no. Did I say ‘apologize’? I meant “berate”. He tells Jamie that there is no “if” about it. Claire took several hits from Randall and kept silent (which is “a fair sight more than [Dougal] expects of any ordinary” woman”), but Jamie knows Randall and what can be expected from him if he delivers her back to him as promised. It is here that we see that Dougal is genuinely concerned for Claire’s safety, even if he is a total sh*t about it. and that the thought of Randall putting hands on her finally prompts Jamie to make his decision.
Back to their room at the inn where Clare asks if he married her to keep her safe. Jamie says a gruff “Aye, that’s the gist of it” and their expressions here are the sweetest. Jamie is revealing how much he cares, and Claire is noticeably struck by it.
It also leads to one of the more beautiful monologues between these two to date. Jamie earnestly tells Claire “Now you have my name, my clan, my family, and if necessary, the protection of my body as well.” Claire finally realizes the caliber man she is getting.
That’s right, a speech so heartfelt and bosom-heavingly awesome that the only way to repay it is immediately put out. Claire puts her glass down with an audible clink, Jamie accepts with an audible gulp, and it seems this show is about to get on the road.
Claire does what any experienced woman should do with a skittish man-child she’s about to induct into the ways of love and holds his hand to reassure him that it’s okay.
Claire thinks this is as good a time as ever to use the age-old Scottish trick of getting a Scots to speak of his family to buy time and delay the inevitable a bit longer. Jamie proves once again he has both intuition and a fine sense of the ridiculous when he asks her how many generations back she would like to go. She smiles and says his parents is far enough. Ah Jamie. It’s adorable because you’re a hot virgin and Claire is actually nervous about banging you instead of the other way around.
In a voiceover, Claire mentions that they spoke for the next several hours of each others’ families and how they were raised, generally getting to know each other as new spouses. Jamie, she says, was charming, a born storyteller like most Scots, and after some time and some drinks she started to feel not only relaxed but to enjoy herself and they seem perfectly in sync, laughing and content…
…So you know something had to happen, and those two somethings are drunk, hairy, full of innuendo and will walk into a married couple’s bedroom without knocking.
Jamie is visibly annoyed and Claire hurries to try to cover herself (because she is in her underthings, even if she looks fully dressed). It turns out that they are interrupting on a mission from Dougal, who wants to know if the deed’s been done because he wants to tweet it.
When Angus points out that they can’t have because they “still have their clothes on”, Rupert says you can still do it with your clothes on, to which Angus, outraged retorts “No on yer wedding day!” This is enough for Jamie, who pushes them out the door and shuts it in Angus’s face when he expresses a desire for a peek at Claire’s um, rack.
And as angry as he seems, the moment the door is shut, both he and Claire start to laugh. Claire asks if he is related to them and Jamie says only Rupert, who is a distant cousin. Awkward silence as they once again remember their pending matter.
Claire takes the leap, telling Jamie that it is late and they should get to bed. His clarification of this statement is ENDEARING AS F&^%$.
Once he is sure things are going to happen, he nonchalantly says that whichever way things go, Claire is not likely to sleep in her corset, so he will help her with that. It warms my heart that he has thought about his “move” and that this is it. Practical AND provocative? Gold star, sir.
She stands so that he can help peel her layers off like a sexy banana, and he gets the same expression I would if I had to figure out what to untie first.
And just because I’m curious, let’s see how many layers he has to peel off before we can get to the good stuff.
Poor Jamie. It’s taking a while. Claire even laughs at his exasperated expression.
But once her corset is off and she is in her shift, the tone changes.
Jamie leans down to kiss her once more, but Claire delays him again by saying it is now her turn, and she reaches for his belt. Let’s compare, shall we?
And that’s as far as we’ll get because that is all it takes for Jamie to lose his cool and basically kiss her face off. It’s damn sexy.
When they break apart, Claire asks him where he learned to kiss “like that”. Jamie says he’s a virgin, not a monk…
…and if he needs guidance, he’ll ask. With that he does what we have all been waiting for since Sam Heughan was cast.
Round 1 is ON.
As the books say, what Jamie lacks in experience he makes up for in enthusiasm, and before Claire knows it, he is done and she is left hanging. There is a brief moment of awkward silence where he suspects he may not have done things quite as he should before he smiles like any proud owner of a sexual organ does when he or she discovers they can make it go boom, and Claire asks him if it was like he thought it would be.He starts to tell her something but repents, saying that she will laugh at him. Claire sincerely promises not to and then does when he confesses he thought they would do it back to front like the horses.
As they laugh together, Jamie picks that moment to ask Claire if “she liked it”. Claire tactfully lowers her eyes and says nothing, but message received. Poor Jamie.
He says that Murtagh was right about that, then and Claire questions him. He says that Murtagh told him that women “generally do not care for it”, which was an opinion then echoed by Rupert and (omg) NED. That’s quite the brain trust. Apparently he heard a lot of advice on the subject the night before. He sits up at the edge of the bed looking dejected and it breaks my black heart. I can’t stand it, and neither can Claire.
She tells him in a very quiet voice. “I DID like it, Jamie,” and in a voiceover, states that this is her problem: not only is she a bigamist and an adultress, but she’d enjoyed it. Suddenly the guilt and the hopeful look on her new husband’s face is too much and she excuses herself to get something to eat.
Jamie tries to stop her, but too late.
She comes out to realize that the entire wedding party is still downstairs and as such has heard everything, not to mention she and Jamie are standing on the balcony in their shift and shirttails, respectively. They tease Jamie about his night and he takes it in good humor, but his playful expression changes when he looks at his wife.
He tells them off and then asks Claire to go back into the room, since they won’t be at peace until they have “had their fun”.
Jamie goes downstairs to get their food, and Claire shuts herself in their room.
And that’s it for Part 1. Hard to be snarky because I am a romantic at heart, but 80 caps for 20 minutes? I am EXHAUSTED. This show.
I am EXHAUSTED. This show.
You guys, I can’t stop. I am probably sick like Black Jack except my illness causes me to look for sexay Frasers in frames of the next episode preview instead of beating the crap out of people and being a total tool that people hate. Lucky for you guys, this is the sort of juvenile nonsense that you have to look forward to when you follow me!
This is the flashback bit in between Jamie’s attempted kiss, frame by frame, because I heart you:
I’ll be in the shower, saying the rosary, hoping that I travel forward in time to Saturday.
Guys, Ron Moore is NOT F$#@ING around. Things happen in this episode that shouldn’t happen to a girl that was just trying to eat dinner and watch Outlander at the same time. The episode warning really should have looked like this:
Big cliffhanger last week resolves itself immediately.
Dougal is so happy. Lookit his happy face:
Contrary to what I thought she would say, Claire tells Lieutenant Foster that she is “a guest of the Clan Mackenzie”. You can see his disappointment (and Dougal’s infinitesimal but obvious smirk), but he still requests that she go speak to his commander, who is staying at the inn at Brockton. She accepts, and Dougal says that if she is going, so is he, so they all set off for the English Garrison in the title.
As they travel. Claire is filled with warm fuzzies because she is once more again her own English army in which she spent six years nursing, and being treated with sympathy and respect. She also thinks about how she knows how Dougal must feel as the lonely Scotsman surrounded by enemies on his own land, but I think she underestimates his hubris.
A friendly reminder to everyone that Dougal gives zero f*cks. As they walk in, the officers are at what I assume to be their evening meal, and they are way happy to see an English lady.
The Lieutenant briefly introduces Dougal as the “Dougal Mackenzie, War Chief of the Mackenzie and brother to its Laird” while spending almost 15 minutes introducing his top dawg, “Brigadier General Sir Oliver Lord Thomas, Knight of Bath and Commanding Officer of the Northern British Army.” Here is a picture of what that introduction looked like, and it is exactly as you imagine.
General Thomas tells Dougal that he certainly looks the part of a War Chief and finally speaks to him directly to ask how to address him but fails to understand his accent, which leads to him openly mocking the War Chief as unintelligible and the room joins in to give it the feeling of an animal in the zoo.Thomas even refers to him as “the creature”. Alhough both Lieutenant Foster (“He is speaking English”) and Claire (speaking of Newcastle accents also being hard to understand) try to gently maintain the polite atmosphere, Dougal lets his temper show for the first time when Thomas says the world would be an easier place if everyone spoke like Londoners.
Even though his voice is very low and fatherly when he says it, General Thomas (who now miraculously perfectly understands him) gets his dander up.
Thomas says that he would happily oblige him and go back, if not for the Scots not acting like “loyal subjects of the British Crown” and as the two men stare at each other, you realize just how tense the atmosphere in the room is, and how easily things can get out of hand, and just how freaking huge Dougal’s balls are.
General Thomas then jokes about how he does enjoy the field, and wishes his servants moved as fast as his soldiers, even fancying that he could be a Laird, telling everyone that he knows it’s bad form to ask what he wears under his “skirt” when Dougal interrupts him, once again speaking like you would to a child, to ask if he enjoys embarrassing Claire or if he’s just arrogant. This sets the Lieutenant and Dougal against each other (one insisting on an apology the other won’t give) until Claire interrupts, probably really hungry damn it, telling them they are both acting like children. Thomas gets all turned on by Claire’s bossiness and put out when Dougal agrees with a smile that she is good at telling men what to do.
The entire thing basically stops one yo momma joke away from a full rap battle. General Thomas kicks Dougal out under the guise of not having enough room and the venison getting cold, and Dougal says to keep their “scraps”, as they are still serving “good Scottish ale in the taproom” and he tells Claire he will be downstairs.To Dougal’s credit, the entire time he remained impassive and derisive and if there is a class for broadcasting different ways to imply “fuck off”, please have Graham McTavish teach it so I can take it.
After he lets himself out, We see some scenes of Claire eating and laughing with the English soldiers. She has obviously got them in the pal of her hand, and she has just managed to get General Thomas to agree to have Lieutenant Foster escort her to Inverness.
Then it all goes to hell.
Turns out Capt. Randall has interrupted his commanding officer’s dinner because he just saw Dougal downstairs and when he is ordered to go outside and shake off the dust of the road, he sees and recognizes Claire.
When Thomas asks if they know each other, he says he thought he recognized her, but that he was wrong. Claire picks up on this and says she thought the same thing. The clueless General then introduces them, and then presents himself again to the table to tell them about Dougal. Thomas clarifies that they know, Dougal brought Claire and when Randall says he “can’t wrap his head around” an English lady with Scots, Thomas has the bright idea to ask him to escort Claire to Inverness to tell him her stories. Foster claims she was treated well by her “Scottish friends” and this causes Randall to say that he didn’t know “the English could have Scottish friends”, and he bets “Private McGreavey would agree with me.” Everyone gets very quiet, and Thomas is annoyed.
He tells Randall that Claire will have the vapors if he brings up that story, but Claire says she’s not the type. Randall then tells the story of how two weeks ago, Private McGreavey wandered away and was found two days after, tied to a tree with his severed head in his hands. Claire blanches and says it was a terrible day when he was assigned to Scotland but that’s not good enough for Randall, who scoffs “Is that all you have to say” at Claire.
She then counteracts with the story of the crucified Highlanders, to which one of the English officers says is only English justice to what were surely traitors.
Claire says both sides have committed atrocities which they should be ashamed of, and the same officer says this is why he never discusses politics with women. Claire smartly says she thought they were discussing morality, not politics and this give Randall the perfect opening to imply that Claire is Dougal’s whore, otherwise why would she side with “the Scottish aggressors” over her own people?
This makes me sad because almost three hundred years later, slut-shaming is still considered THE way to get a woman’s opinion dismissed.
Claire tries to stick up for herself and the Scots, claiming that English are the aggressors and that the Scots just want the same freedoms the English enjoy, and that they are occupying Scots land. Randall smirks out the window, and it becomes obvious that this was his purpose all along, to neatly cut the ties of trust and friendship that Claire managed to establish with the officers prior to his arrival. Mission accomplished.
General Thomas points out that the land is the Crown’s, and questions Claire’s loyalty. Claire sees her opportunity to get back to Craig Na Dun evaporating and hurries to reassure them that she is a loyal subject, but the damage is done. Proving he is a class A mindf*cker, Randall now sticks up for her and says she has “lived among the savages too long” and when Thomas menacingly says she should get back to her family posthaste, Claire says she will leave today if he allows it. His consent is interrupted before it can be given, however, by the announcement that men are being shot at outside the town, and that there is a wounded man downstairs but that even though they have sent for the surgeon, they are not sure where he is.
Claire offers to go, citing her medical experience. Downstairs she sees Dougal, who tells her that he saw “that bastird Randall” go up and asks if she is okay. Claire asks if his men would have been responsible for the attack and when he responds that never without his say-so and that he can’t be held without evidence, Claire tells him that they are just looking for someone to blame and she would feel better if he made himself scarce. This provokes as close to a double-take as we’re gonna get from Dougal, who takes her advice and steps out.
Claire takes charge with her usual aplomb, diagnosing an amputation and prepping the patient until the surgeon comes in. I know this because he haughtily announces “I am the surgeon here” and asks Claire if she’s going to faint. She says she’s stayed awake through worse and maybe she won’t faint, but I sure as heck might the second I see his tools.
Ugh. She does stay awake, but I’m pretty sure she cries throughout and when she makes it upstairs, it’s to be greeted by the sight of Psycho “Black Jack” Randall getting a very erotic (I can’t be the only one that thought this) shave from his young ginger page, LIKE YOU DO.
Claire asks where General Thomas has gone, and he responds that he has gone “hunting rebels”. As she watches, Claire sees the razor he is using is the same as her husband’s, a cherished antique, and we get another short Frankback (shaving pron edition) where Claire shaves Frank during one of his breaks during the war.
I know I’m supposed to care about their relationship and Ron Moore really is doing an excellent job in theory, but damn it, I just don’t. I care more about that excellent nightgown and where I can get one. Claire’s indrawn breath after coming out of her daydream causes the young Private to nick the Captain, which causes this really odd scene where he yanks him down and then proceeds to force-shave him while crooning advice about controlling his nerves.
He dismisses him with orders to not let himself and Claire be disturbed and let me tell you, if you are already uncomfortable with the mixture of anger and violence and sexual overtones, better skip to the end of the episode because it gets WAY worse before it gets better.
Claire wants to leave for Inverness and advises Randall not to touch the General’s claret, but because he is a sociopath, this is his response.
He wants to question her again, and goes back to the well on what is fast becoming his patented move: lure them in with kindness. He apologizes for near-raping her when first they met and assures her that he is ashamed to think of it, and looks forward to showing her his “true nature”. Claire’s thoughts really are written on her face.
Doomed for disappointment, dear. He asks that she be as honest with him as he plans to be with her, and she agrees. He questions her about where she is from, why she is in Scotland and won’t accept her usual answers. He tells her there are no Beauchamps in Oxfordshire, and she points out that he is from Sussex, so he shouldn’t know. They speak briefly in French and he tells her he doesn’t see anything of the prostitute about her, for which she thanks him. When she asks her for her maiden name, she apologizes for her comments about the Scots and saying she needs to be along her journey. He says she isn’t helping her case, and she denies having a case. He comes clean and says that she is either a spy or a whore. When she asks if those are her only choices, he says that if she has another explanation she shouldn’t keep it to herself. Claire then invents a long tale about falling in love with an officer stationed in Scotland who ended up being false tried to rape her, which is why she ended up in her shift, and begs him not to pry further if he is a gentleman which, SPOILER ALERT HELL NO HE IS NOT.
It is very obvious she is barking up the wrong tree. He asks her for the name of gentleman and when she demurs, stares at her like a velociraptor, walks over and sketches something on a napkin with what I assume is a blackened piece of his soul. He then asks her for her opinion on the sketch, which he will call “Beautiful Lies.”
We really need to be more respectful of that which we as a society allow ourselves to call “art”. AMIRITE? Randall tells her that if she wishes to get to Inverness, she will provide him with proof that Dougal is raising funds for the Jacobite cause, which he already knows to be true. Claire denies having witnessed anything of the sort during her travels, and of course he doesn’t believe her because Claire is an awful liar.
Claire finally gets tired of his interrogation and says she will not submit to it unless she is under arrest, flouncing off to sit in a chair to wait for General Thomas to come back so she can go to Inverness. She says if he wants to guard her, that’s fine by her. Randall comes to stand behind her chair and informs her that she will not go anywhere until he is satisfied that she is innocent as she claims, and that if she won’t submit he has…alternative methods that he’ll have to try. Claire says she knows all about his methods and I want to scream SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP CLAIRE because you can see him tense up when he realizes she must know Jamie, but Claire is just at the end of her rope and you can tell she wants to chastise him for it.
Claire tells him that she has heard of him through tales told by the Mackenzies of one of their own that was whipped by him to the bone. This is where sh*t starts to get VERRA CREEPY because while Claire is shaking with outrage, this motherf*cker is all dreamy like he is hearing about a hot chick he used to date and remembering the first time they did it. Claire says she has heard flogging is a sport, and he says no, he takes it very seriously, and that the “poor Highland boy” she refers to is a “wanted thief and murderer”. When Claire says he had only stolen a loaf of bread, Randall asks if Dougal told her this and she nods her assent. This brings us to a flashback, through Randall’s eyes of Jamie’s famous flogging.
Disclaimer: I am not going to show his back. I am sure you can find images online if you wish, but it was harsh and has zero comedic value so no. I canna.
Randall opens with the fact that Dougal was there, and even though Jamie had already received 100 lashes for trying to escape, he felt an additional 100 were merited when he didn’t make a sound, feeling that this was not a message he wanted to send into a crowd of rebels.
I can’t even enjoy shirtless Jamie, and that is how you know this was a motherf*ckin crime against humanity. GOD DAMN YOU, BLACK JACK.
Jamie is brought out into a courtyard and chained up to a post, and Randall walks around him like he’s examining a horse he wants to buy, finally coming up by his manacled hands and explaining that he usually “likes to work on a blank canvas” because then he can really see the marks. When Jamie doesn’t respond, he points out that he is shaking, and Jamie retorts that it’s only because he is worried that if he keeps talking it’ll take so long he’ll freeze stiff before it’s done.
You want to cheer Jamie for his cheek, but you also cringe because Randall gives him a half-smile and tells him that he will break him, punching him in the gut before walking around to begin. Back at the Inn, Randall dreamily asks Claire if she has “ever seen a man scourged” and that “the thought of the whip coming down on that pitiful, raw flesh” made his “stomach flutter, my legs shake.” Claire stares at him, and while she seems to think he is repentant, he really sounds transfixed, and once again, IT IS CREEPY.
Randall tells Claire that he had meant to pace himself because whipping someone is hard work, let’s face it, but that Jamie wouldn’t cry out. He wonders if he hoped to stir him to pity, which was a mistake, because he knew he was hurting him. He describes the sensation of the whip going “up [his] arm and exploding into [his] heart” and it is so disturbing because it is then you start to realize that Randall’s pain/pleasure wires are not only crossed, they are very likely tied into knots like a psychotic abacus.
Flash back to the courtyard, where Jamie can barely stand upright because he is slipping in a pool of his own blood and oh Jesus save us WHY WHY WHY. What follows are some screen caps with my train of thought laid over them, and by train of thought I mean the sh*t I was screaming at my TV.
At this point Randall is splattered in blood, Jamie is barely conscious and the skin of his back is in ribbons with great chunks missing and I want to get on a plane, fly to Craig Na Dun, travel back in time, find Randall’s mother and punch her in the uterus. Except I can’t because this is fiction. DAMMIT.
Randall pulls Jamie’s hair to wake him and asks him if he’s had enough. when Jamie does not respond, he resumes flogging him, so hard at one point that he slips and falls on his blood and flogs from the ground as he struggles to get up. It is so violent that one of his men faints at the sight, and it causes a nervous titter of laughter through the crowd.
Laughter of course is emblematic of happiness, so of course Randall puts a stop to it in the most violent way he can. He tells Claire that in that moment, he “determined to bleed him to he bone”. He describes how the world narrowed to himself and Jamie, the whip connecting them both and that the crowd’s laughter went from gasps to crying. More random thoughts laid over these images.
Ron Moore, I’m going to need you to fork up for my therapy. You know you’re a good director when you give your audience PTSD. Congrats.
Back at the Inn, Randall calls the crowd fools for “only seeing the horror” while he “could see the beauty” and “the truth”, that Jamie and he together “were creating a masterpiece, an exquisite bloody masterpiece” which was “the most beautiful thing [he] had ever seen”. His expression and Claire’s could not be more opposite, and you realize, as Claire does, that this man is batsh*t insane.
He then tells Claire that “the truth carries a weight that no lie can counterfeit” and that he had promised to reveal himself to her, and so he has. He also says that no doubt she imagines him a monster, and that “it very well could be so”. Claire answers that the fact that he still cares what she thinks gives her hope for his soul. Randall says that he was not always that way, that he came to Scotland to serve King and country and found himself a guardian of so a “squalid, ignorant people prone to the basest superstition and violence” (takes one to know one) and now he finds himself so consumed with “darkness and hatred of the very world itself” that he hardly recognizes the things he does or the man he has become. Claire tearfully tells him that he can’t undo what he has done, but that he can “win back [his] humanity” and that with his “insight and self-knowledge” can still choose to be the man he wishes to be.
Randall jokes about “the rehabilitation of ‘Black Jack’ Randall and says that maybe he will start with having her escorted back to Inverness. Claire smiles happily, and he orders another soldier, a Corp. Hawkins in to assist him. We soon find out for what.
That’s right. HE PUNCHED HER IN THE GUT and while she lays on the floor gasping for air Randall pulls her head back by her hair, not unlike he did to Jamie, to tell Claire that he lives in darkness, and that’s where he belongs. If she was looking for sympathy from him she will find none, and he will get the truth from her one way or another.
He then matter-of-factly asks the corporal if he has ever kicked a woman, and says it is “very liberating”. When the younger man expresses reluctance and kicks her only lightly, he bullies him into kicking her harder and expresses disdain that Claire is “soft”. He says to kick her again. The young Corporal is crying, Claire is crying and I am punching my pillow pretending it is Randall’s groin when thank God, game changer:
That’s right, Dougal is there and for once I am happy to see him. He tells Randall that he is taking Claire back now that he knows she is not a prisoner of Collum’s, and Randall tells him he has no right to hold to keep her from him since she is an English subject and has to be available for questioning. Dougal says that may be, but that he is not questioning her on Mackenzie land unless he cares to start a war.
Randall relents, but tells Dougal that he must deliver Claire to Fort William before sundown the next day, or he will be accused of “harboring a fugitive from English law and hunted and punished even unto death, war chief or no.” He orders the guards to let them pass, tells Claire he looks forward to their next meeting and they get out of there.
Thank God. My poor heart. Claire tells us via voice over that the last thing she wanted was a gallop through the highlands and that she was close to fainting by the time Dougal stopped. He tells her there is water nearby and they climb down into a lovely sort of grotto that is just gorgeous. Let us stop and restock our souls with its beauty:
Claire balks at the water’s smell, but Dougal urges her to drink since it’ll “wet her throat” all the same. As she drinks, he takes his dagger out and hides it behind the folds of his tartan, once again asking if she is a spy for the English or the French. Claire is annoyed she has to answer that again….
…but Dougal says it is the last time, so she yells that no, she is just plain Claire Beauchamp and can they be done with it now? Dougal says “Aye,” and puts away his dagger. When Claire sees it, she asks if he was going to use that on her. Dougal said he would have regretted it, since she is “a handsome woman” but had she proved false, he would have had to.
Claire asks how he knows she is telling the truth, and he says that the water is St. Ninian’s Spring, and that anyone who drinks from it and lies would have their “gizzard burnt out”. Claire mocks the “magic spring” but Dougal says she should believe in the power of magic, being a healer. Claire snarks that she doubts Captain Randall will be so easily convinced, but Dougal says that if he does what he tells her, she never has to see him again.
Dougal explains he thought it may come to this and so he consulted Ned Gowan, who said that an English officer cannot compel a Scottish person to appear unless they have proof a crime has been committed and even so, not without the permission of the Laird concerned, so the way to get Claire safe from Randall is to convert her from an Englishwoman to a Scots and that way is…to marry one. Claire at first flatly refuses, but when Dougal points out that maybe she would rather go to jail, she asks if it will be he whom she marries. His reaction is delightful, telling her that it would “tickle” him to “grind her corn” but no, he has another nominee which is…..
THAT”s RIGHT, Y’ALL! Time for our OTP to make it official. But first, real talk from Claire, who has been reading the marriage contract like a good 20th Century gal. Once Jamie sits down, she announces in a mopey voice that Dougal wants them to be married.
Jamie surprises her by saying he knows, and already earns hubby points by bringing her hard liquor to help her process. She asks him if he is willing, and Jamie explains that not only has she mended his wounds more than once, but he’d be a crappy friend if he let “that mad bastard Randall” get his paws on her, so he figures he owes it to her. So romantic.
Claire, clearly drunk and forgetting their Sexy Blanket Loan, mentions that certainly a young man like himself has someone in who he is interested. Jamie says that no, he is not a very good prospect for marriage what with the poor soldier’s pay and the likelihood that he will be caught and executed by the English, ha ha.
Claire waspishly says that by him then, they may as well start the honeymoon tomorrow and Jamie says “Aye, whatever suits you”. Seeing that she will get no help dodging bigamy (even though she is technically single as Frank isn’t born yet) she blurts out to Jamie if it doesn’t bother him that she isn’t a virgin.
His response is adorable and not unexpected. I doesn’t bother him that she isn’t, as long as it doesn’t bother her that HE IS. He is verra serious when he confesses it, then his natural playfulness takes over and he whispers that he “reckons one of us should ken what they’re doing.”
Claire stares at the fire, momentarily nonplussed as she thinks about what decision to take and the whopper she just unearthed, but really, when faced with the option of going to 18th-century jail or nailing James Malcolm Mackenzie Fraser like a gazebo, which would YOU take?
That’s right, Claire. Smart girl. Always err on the side of the hawt ginger.
Next week: THE WEDDING. I will be doing finger exercises and picking out my formal wear. Then just one more episode left, I don’t know what I’ll do! (Recap Arrow, but still, I will miss my Frasers). Leave a comment if you can, you know I love them, and if you share, thanks and please credit me! Till next week!
At the next village they visit, Claire witnesses Dougal’s kindness to a man whose home was sacked by Redcoats and now can’t feed his family. He gives him and his son a sack of grain and invites them to the Extortion Cocktail Hour (ECH). Claire calls him out on appearing kind when he is really fleecing Collum and stealing from his clan. Dougal remains calm and says that if he is, it is clan business and not hers.
NED’S FACE THO.
That night at the ECH, Jamie takes his shirt off instead of having it ripped off (his mending is excellent you guys, you can’t even tell) and Claire sits bored again until one word stands out: Stuart. This takes us to a Frankback and yeah yeah, OKAY.
So no, Dougal is not an extortionist, he is a rebel, raising money to put Bonnie Prince Charlie on the throne and using Jamie’s back as propaganda. Claire is now confronted with a paradox. Does she intervene in history, or leave it alone? If you know Claire, you already know the answer.
Her musing is interrupted by voices, and we get to use her snooping to overhear a convo between Jamie and Dougal.
Basically Dougal thinks Jamie should want a Stuart king because it would save his “silly neck” but Jamie says his neck and his back are his own business, to which Dougal replies that not while he’s traveling with him. Jamie knows he has nowhere else to hide and punishes this tree for no damn good reason.
Claire comes down from her hidey-hole and they have a brief exchange where she says Dougal will keep using him, Jamie responds that yes, because it gets him what he wants and Claire asks why he lets him. Jamie responds simply that he is his uncle, that a man “has to choose what’s worth fighting for” and that Claire should know this. The looks they exchange are LEGEN…………………………………………………………….
…………DARY, made all the sweeter by the fact that these are two souls once more connected in their circumstances: powerless, but making the best of it.We can see now that Jamie’s advice was given to Claire because he and she are in the same place. Jamie breaks the spell and says that it’s time to go to bed, but when Claire jokingly says he shouldn’t punch any more trees, he responds that “The trees are safe, Sassenach” and we get two more looks. Jamie’s is adorable, and Claire looks like she’s going to ignite.
Where is my lacy fan? MY HEAD WILL LITERALLY EXPLODE WHEN THEY HAVE SECKS. Don’t expect a recap cause I will be dead.
The next morning they pack up camp, and Claire is still mulling over the inescapable outcome of the rebellion. She thinks that most of these men will die for a lost cause and it is depressing, you guys.
I just focused on the cute horse until they went to the next scene, but imagine my disappointment when it turned out to be an emotional landmine that mad me want to barf with sadness. I’ll share, because it’s not Outlander if you don’t bemoan the nature of humankind via sadbarf at least once per ep.
Two men crucified on the road, branded as traitors with a T cut into their bellies, and left to rot for over a week. Dougal orders them cut down, a solemn funeral is said, they are buried and that night, Jamie’s back gets a rest because now Dougal has a new awful story to tell. The mood is somber, people contribute well, and Dougal is definitely going to hell.
They seem to be staying at an inn, because Claire has a bed for once, out of which she is awakened by noises late at night. Claire is no’ scairt, so she handles it the only way she knows how, by rushing to confront said intruder without thinking about consequences. GUUUURRRL.
Silly Claire, it’s just Jamie sleeping on your doorstep LIKE PLATONIC GENTLEMEN FRIENDS DO when they are staking a claim on you like a magnificent ginger lion. No worries.
Jamie explains that the men downstairs in the taproom are “half gone with drink” and he wanted to make sure none of them wandered upstairs to try to get under Claire’s woolens. She laughs it off like it’s cute, except this has happened to her not once, not twice, but three times before. Poor Jamie is just playing the odds. Claire mentions that they are probably not feeling very friendly towards an Englishwoman and then she apologizes for stepping on him. There is a beat when this happens…
NO ONE BLAMES EITHER OF YOU. Even that door frame is probably squeeing with joy.
Because she is a polite lady, Claire points out that Jamie can’t be comfortable in her doorway and invites him into her room. His reaction is PRICELESS. He obviously thinks she is propositioning him.
He tells her that he could not stay in her room with her because it would “ruin her reputation”. Claire’s reaction mirrors my own, which is–
Claire says that he’s slept with her under the stars for weeks-him and ten other men. He gets very gruff and says that that isn’t the same at all. She says then that the very least she can give him the blanket from her bed, and what follows is THE sexiest exchange of bed linens in any series ever. I feel confident in this assertion.
When their hands touched, I yelled out loud like I was lit on fire and someone had doused that fire with bees. You can’t tell from a screen cap, of course, but when Jamie touches her hand, his instinctively tightens and she starts. All praise to Cat and Sam for these subtleties.
Jamie finally breaks the tension by telling her he’ll be right there. And then that sinks in.
An eleventh-hour silent parting shot from Jamie. Imagine having to shut a door on THIS:
Well played, Sir.
Next day at breakfast, Jamie quickly finishes eating when Claire comes down the stairs and when she intercepts him to say “Hello Mr. McTavish” very sweetly, he just as sweetly replies, “Hello, Mistress,” and ducks out to see about the horses. Some men in the tap room overhear this and start to speak to each other in Gaelic, but Claire ignores them as she sits down to ask Ned why he let her think that he and Dougal were thieves. Ned plays it off.
But Claire takes him by surprise when she tells him she knew enough Gaelic to make out “Long live the Stuart” and then proceeds to stick her foot into the mouth of history by telling Ned that it is a war they cannot win.
Good job, Claire, cause no one THINKS YOU’RE A SPY OR ANYTHING. She tells him that history will “never record the name of another Stuart King, but it will record the names of the thousands of highlanders who died needlessly for a doomed cause”. When Ned says “History be damned,” she begins to get an inkling of what a hardheided breed she’s up against, but their conversation is soon interrupted by the sound of all hell breaking loose.
Claire grumpily tends their wounds and gripes at “any excuse for a fight”.
Then Murtagh shows up and tells her she was the excuse. The other clansmen had called her a whore, and that’s a right they haven’t earned in the Mackenzie book.
Claire is strangely touched by this, and everyone else rushes to pretend it didn’t happen because they are dudes.
Outside, Rupert is once again regaling everyone with the heroic exploits of his todger and two women fighting over who he would infect pleasure first when Claire lands a doozy and tells him that if anything, she’ll believe “his right hand gets jealous of his left”.
Jamie totally slides into view like he cannot even believe that came out of her mouth, and neither does anyone else, because they are silent and stoic for a few beats until this happens:
Turns out Rupert’s never heard a woman tell a joke. Even Dougal laughs, and Jamie tells her she’s witty and once again SPARKSOMG.
Jamie laughingly mentions that it will be a long ride before they reach Culloden Moor and we get another Frankback as Claire recalls visiting the site of the Battle of Culloden.
It’s another dreary, depressing recitation of facts from the professor whose info I have to bullet because it makes me sad.
-The highlanders faced English cannons and mortars with mostly only their broadswords.
-Over two thousand highlanders died.
-Because they lost and the crown appropriated their property and outlawed their ways, it signified the end of the Highland Clans.
Damn history indeed, Ned. As she remembers, Claire recalls that the war is but three years away from her current time, and wonders if any of the Mackenzie men she travels with are doomed to die in that field. Only time will tell.
When they make camp that afternoon, Angus Mhor helps her untie her bedroll and when Claire asks to go wash at the river by herself lo and behold, permission is granted. Maybe she’s getting Dougal’s trust back after all?
Nope. Ned gave her a hard look right before she asked and now we know why. Dougal wanted her alone at the river so he could confront her about her seeming intel on the Jacobites away from his men.
He asks her who she is, and confronts her about her “strong political opinions” and what she has witnessed on the road, which, if she tells the English would get he and his men strung up. Claire denies she is a spy, and even as Dougal acknowledges that she very well may not be, he accuses her of sowing “the seeds of doubt” in his midst. Those are some stale seeds, Dougal. Hate to tell you. #sorrynotsorry
Claire finally breaks and admits to trying to save his life and it stuns him into silence.
But he doesn’t get a chance to ask further because THIS.
They forgot about him, but the young English officer has obviously been tracking them, and he brought friends. Dougal goes to draw his sword but immediately desists as he and Claire are surrounded, and he left his men behind. “Lieutenant Jeremy Foster, of His Majesty’s Army” introduces himself to Claire, glares at Dougal and once again asks if he can be of assistance.
Dougal rushes in to give his own long, pompous introduction (“Dougal Mackenzie, War Chief and Brother to Collum, Laird of the Mackenzies and of the land on which you currently stand”) and to clarify that Claire is a guest of their clan. Lieutenant Foster breezily replies that Mackenzie or no, if he is holding Claire against her will, he will answer to him.
And that is it. Fade to black. Our spleens must subsist until next episode.
Lastly: You guys. Thanks so much for all your sweet comments and funny responses. It makes this labor of love so much easier to do, when I know you all enjoy it. Until the next one!