Outlander Season 2, Episode 4
“La Dame Blanche”
Posted by Kim
Our long international nightmare is over. Claire and Jamie finally had sex again and “La Dame Blanche” was the best episode of the season so far. Coincidence? I think not. Not that I only watch for the sex, mind you, but the tension between Jamie and Claire has been unbearable. These two are facing enough without being at odds with each other. I’m not saying things are going to go back to completely normal straight away but they made the all-important first step towards each other and it was EVERYTHING it needed to be.
“La Dame Blanche” opens with another chess date with Jamie and Duvernay but this time Claire is tagging along. (Baby steps, people!) There is still some lingering tension as Claire and Jamie get snippy over their equally terrible baby names. (Lambert? Dalhousie? God help this child.) St. Germain stops by to glower at Claire BECAUSE THAT’S ALL HE DOES and then proceeds to give away the rest of Jamie’s chess strategy. Petty much? Jamie concedes the game but Duvernay refuses the victory, claiming that Jamie was distracted and he would prefer a clean victory. There’s a slightly awkward pause before Claire gets the hint. “Perhaps I should find something else to do,” she quips. She walks away and you just know her inner monologue is “Since I’m obviously such a horrible annoying distraction to him…what’s he going to be like when we have kids?” Claire grabs a glass of wine and wanders around to look at the abundance of books whilst Jamie tries to focus on his game. Moments after Claire takes a sip her body starts to seize up and she can’t breathe. She desperately tries to get Jamie’s attention as she gasps for air. …someone has tried to poison her. BUT WHO? (The Comte obviously.) Jamie swoops in and sweeps Claire into his arms as if she weighed nothing. Now I can’t breathe for an entirely different reason.
Luckily, Claire wasn’t really poisoned and she and Baby Fraser will be just fine after a little R&R. Whoever roofied Claire’s wine (the Comte) didn’t use actual poison but a herb that takes on all the qualities of it. (It’s a herb called bitter cascara, which Claire conveniently spotted at Raymond’s in the last episode.) Whoever did this (the Comte) merely wanted to scare her. When she shares her suspicions with Jamie, he gets all caveman “I’m going to kill him” and it’s so amazing to see his devotion to her even when they are at odds. Petty fighting aside, Claire is his wife and they love each other and no one better DARE lay a hand on her and get away with it. Claire says that no matter how much she’d love to see Jamie kick St. Germain’s ass, they have no PROOF that he did it. As much as Jamie may want to go to town on the Comte, they can’t afford any sort of scandal that could put distance between him and the Prince. Claire asks Jamie to tell her the latest on Duvernay to distract her. The promise of an alliance with England has intrigued the King so their entire plan is on edge because if Charles DOES secure the money from Sandringham, France will follow suit.
Jamie suggests that they throw a dinner party for the Duke so that Charles can meet him in person. Charles may be very charismatic and convincing when he wants to be but Jamie also knows that beneath that charming facade is a zealot who is convinced that’s God’s will that he rule England. If they can force a situation where Charles would “expose himself for the delusional poppinjay that he is,” perhaps they can cut off his funding at the knees. Jamie turns to Claire, who has a hesitant expression on her face. At first, Jamie thinks that she doesn’t think it’s a good idea but we all know what she’s REALLY feeling. The moment of truth has arrived: she HAS to tell Jamie about Blackjack because it’s all over once Sandringham arrives with Alex Randall. She takes a deep breath and tells him, looking at him as if he’s a skittish animal about to run. Jamie’s reaction is…not what I would have expected. Instead of crumpling with the knowledge that his tormentor lives, Jamie is THRILLED. He actually LAUGHS. “Why did you wait so long to tell me?” Claire is dumbfounded and says as much. “Don’t you see, Sassenach? This has plagued me for months, thinking Black Jack Randall died and I missed it, knowing I’d never look in his face and see the blood flow from his body, watch him breathe his last. But now…” Ohhhhhh. So Murtagh was right. Jamie wants the chance to end Blackjack himself. Claire scrambles, saying that Jamie can’t go back to Scotland and he just scoffs. He has no intention of doing that, both because he values his life and because he knows he can’t abandon his work in France. “You’ve given me something to hold on to, something to…look forward to, and that is a gift. Thank you. Truly.” Okaaaaaaaaaaaay?
Once Claire recovers, she pays a visit to Raymond to confront him about the bitter cascara. Raymond bumbles about, saying he only sold the herb to one person in the past few months and it was a servant he didn’t recognize. I WANT to believe him and it’s clear Claire does too, so she takes him at his word. In what I saw as a gesture of trust, Raymond escorts Claire to his back room, where he keeps all of his mystical objects, far from the prying eyes of the King. “I am fascinated by things not of this time,” he says pointedly, as Claire looks over all of his artifacts. DOES HE KNOW? Is HE not of this time? DON’T TELL ME. There is clearly more to Raymond than he is letting on, right? He senses that Claire has something on her mind. “I’m worried about an old friend,” she confesses. Yep, Jamie’s renewed interest in killing Blackjack Randall has caused Claire to fear for Frank’s future, given that he HAS to knock up Mary for Frank to even have a chance at existing. Raymond has Claire pour out some bones on an animal hide so he can read them. “I cannot see his fate, but you have no need to worry,” he says. “You will see him again.” WELP. Then he gives Claire a beautiful necklace with a stone that changes color in the presence of poison. “Some would call it nature, some would call it magic. I would certainly charge more for it when I do, but for you, Madonna, today there is no charge.”
Claire pays a visit to Louise, who has some urgent news. She is pregnant. The problem? She and her husband haven’t had sex in months. Knowing that Claire has a medical background, Louis has called upon her for advice in how to get rid of the baby. Claire says she CAN help her but warns that the concoction of herbs could kill her too. “What other choice do I have?” Louise bemoans. Claire delicately asks if Louise actually WANTS this child and she confesses that she does. She also knows that it’s a tricky situation even if her lover claims he wants to marry her. She fears that her husband would have her arrested or banish her to a convent. There is really only solution if Louise wants to keep the baby: she has to convince her husband that the baby is his. “But how will I raise a child with a man who is not the father?” “All that matters is that the child is brought up with love.” FORESHADOWING.
Later that night, Claire finds Jamie in a rather amorous mood. (Dear God, thank you for Sam Heughan’s ass. We are truly blessed.) Claire starts to question WHY Jamie is in such a good mood but really she’s just so ready to get laid finally that she just goes with it. It’s HUGE that Jamie is the one initiating it after all. Things come to a screeching halt when Claire finds that her husband’s inner thighs are littered with love bites. What the FUCK? Jamie is all “There is TOTALLY an explanation for this” which yes DO TELL PLEASE. So it turns out Jamie hasn’t just been keeping Prince Charles company at the brothel, he’s been partaking in activities where he’s gotten naked. He SWEARS to Claire that nothing happened but yeah getting naked enough to have someone bite your inner thighs is plenty enough to set Claire off.
Jamie, bless his heart, just digs himself into a deeper hole as he tries to explain. He says that he really WANTED to sixty-nine (OH MY GOD) this woman and that he was consumed with lust but REALLY he’s not explaining this well. Claire is hurt and insulted and she has EVERY RIGHT to be. Jamie has barely touched her in months. He has rejected her advances when she has tried to initiate sex and she’s been INFINITELY patient with him. So how else is she supposed to feel when she finds those love bites? It’s such a rejection. Until this moment, she’s been able to dismiss Jamie’s rejections as a part of his trauma. But this? This is a rejection of HER and she’s devastated. Jamie, on the other hand, is just rejoicing that he was able to get it up in the first place. Which. Not helping. “Well, that’s the great thing, don’t you see? I…I’ve tried for so long to find a way back to you, but to not see that bastard’s face every time I take you in my arms. But tonight I started to…to feel like a man again.” Yeah. WITH ANOTHER WOMAN. Totally fine. I’m with Claire on this one.
Jamie switches tactics and says that it was all because of Claire that he was able to feel this way. It was all because she told him about Blackjack after all. “You know, it lifted something from my heart. I began to feel I should stir up those feelings inside myself so I could feel that way again with my wife.” I want to give Jamie leeway here because he IS recovering from trauma but like Claire, I have trouble wrapping my head around this line of thinking. It cuts so close to where Claire has been feeling vulnerable about their marriage, especially when she’s been doing everything she can to entice him and be there for him. Jamie has been struggling but he has not seen that she’s been struggling too. She’s been walking on eggshells around him because she’s been afraid of setting him off and in doing so she hasn’t been able to share her own fears with him. She’s carrying their child and they never talk about it. Jamie’s been there but he hasn’t been THERE and Claire has felt like she’s going through the entire pregnancy alone. Jamie tosses back that she doesn’t know what it’s been like for him since Wentworth Prison, which point taken.These two have been doing everything but what they need to do most: talk about it.
FINALLY Jamie cracks his soul open for his wife and the result is beautiful and heartbreaking and such an accurate description of what happens to victims of sexual assault. “There was this place inside me…a place I think everyone has that they keep to themselves. A fortress…where the most private part of you lives. Maybe it’s your soul, the bit that makes you yourself and not anyone else. But after Wentworth, it was like…my…fortress had been blown apart. The thing that once lived there was suddenly exposed, out in the open, without shelter, without…that’s where I’ve been ever since, Claire. Naked. Alone. Trying to hide under a blade of grass.” Jamie had a vital and essential part of him violently ripped away. It was like every part of him was an exposed nerve and he’s been doing whatever he can to protect himself ever since. The healing process is unique to every victim and it’s not something that can be explained or analyzed. But what it CAN be is shared. Jamie grabs a blanket and says he’s going to sleep elsewhere even though it’s clear neither of them are going to get any sleep that night.
What happens next is so beautiful. Claire takes that first step. She comes to him and strips naked. “Come find me, Jamie. Find us.” It’s an act of bravery and it’s an act of forgiveness. They make love and it’s gentle and passionate at the same time. It’s a reminder of the beauty of what they have together and it’s a promise for the future. “Remember when I told you I was lost,” he says to her afterwards as he holds her close. “Perhaps you’ve built me a lean-to…at the least. And a roof to keep out the rain.” Jamie is far from okay…but they’ve taken that all important first step towards healing and that is everything.
Jamie and Claire’s love-fest is interrupted by the surprise arrival of Prince Charles. It turns out the Prince found himself in a sticky situation where he had to flee his lover’s house when her husband arrived home early. Hmmmmm. Claire tends to a bite on his hand (“An epidemic around here.”) when suddenly things click. Charles’ lover is none other than Louise de Rohan. Meaning that Louise is pregnant with his child, a child she has decided to pawn off as her husband’s. After Charles leaves Jamie and Claire hatch their plan. They are going to invite Louise and her husband to their dinner party and use the knowledge that Louise and Charles are secret lovers to their advantage. They will make sure that Charles finds out about the baby in front of the Duke in the hopes that he will become unhinged. It may be cold but desperate times call for desperate measures.
The day of the dinner party, Claire escapes to the hospital to tend to victims of an explosion (and because the servants won’t let her prepare anyway). It speaks WORLDS that Jamie doesn’t throw a hissyfit, he just sends Fergus and Murtagh with her to make sure she gets back in time for the party. The minute he says that it’s OBVIOUS that Claire is going to get held up. Claire (along with Mary) tends to patients until the last-minute and Murtagh sends Fergus ahead to tell Jamie that they are going to be late. Then when Claire is ready to leave they discover that one of the wheels on the carriage is broken. They have no choice but to walk home. As they walk Mary confesses to Claire that she has been corresponding with someone in secret for weeks…a man named Randall. Claire freezes, naturally thinking she’s referring to Blackjack. She cautiously asks Mary how she met him and then breathes a sigh of relief when Mary says it was the night of the red dress. She means Alex Randall. “Is there another?” Mary inquires innocently.
Before Claire can answer, a group of men descends upon them, knocking Murtagh out. Claire tries to fight back but she watches helplessly as Mary is brutally raped. It’s absolutely horrific, even more so as it is intercut with the guests arriving at the dinner party. (Among those guests is St. Germain, which points to him being involved here.) Then men advance on Claire until one of them looks at her with a shocked sense of recognition. “La Dame Blanche!” WHO? I don’t know what this means (other than the White Woman) but it puts the fear of God in the men. They run away immediately.
At the party, Jamie is stalling for time. He meets Alex Randall, who Sandringham takes GREAT delight in introducing. (WHAT A DICK.) He makes sure the Prince and the Duke are properly introduced and he bites back a smirk as the Prince and Louise pretend to not know each other. This is shaping up to be the most awkward party EVER. Murtagh and Claire arrive, carrying an unconscious Mary. Jamie is ready to fuck some people up but Claire stresses that this party is far too important to cancel now. They sneak Mary up to the guest room via the back stairs. Claire says they need to alert the authorities about what happened to Mary but Jamie says they can’t. Mary’s fiance is there and if word gets out that she’s no longer a virgin, she’ll be ruined. “It’s hardly her fault she was raped,” Claire says testily. Jamie knows it’s not right but it doesn’t matter. If they don’t keep Mary hidden away, any hope she has for a good marriage is gone. They leave her under the watchful eyes of a devastated Alex Randall as Claire dresses and gets the lowdown on the party so far. LET’S DO THIS.
The party is just as awkward as you imagine it would be. Jamie tries to bait the Prince by asking him to share his plans with the table (“God’s plans? Mark me, His are the only plans that matter.”) but Louise steers the conversation away from the dull topic of politics. (I hear ya, gurl.) When conversation turns toward Baby Fraser and its impending blessing in the looks department, Jamie takes his shot. He congratulates Louise and her husband on their impending arrival, all while carefully measuring the Prince’s reactions out of the side of his eye. The Prince grips his wine glass, trying to maintain his composure as he congratulates them. “Of course, the world is not always a happy place. It’s quite unpredictable, really. One day you’re happy, and the next…porca miseria.” OHHHHH HE IS GONNA CRACK.
Upstairs, Alex keeps watch over Mary. “You’re safe now,” he whispers. “I love you, Mary. I’ll take care of you.” Alex is everything his brother is not and HOW does Mary wind up with his brother? HOW. He loves her SO MUCH. Mary stirs and when she wakes she is thrown right back into her state of panic. Claire had warned that the tonic she had administered would cause visions, so Mary doesn’t see the man she loves trying to soothe her. She only sees the face of her attacker and she runs away from him screaming. Alex chases after her but Mary makes it downstairs and her screams alert the diners to her distress. Alex (bless him) tries to pin her down but that only results in giving the appearance that he’s attacking her. Mary’s father screams that his daughter has been ruined and all hell breaks loose. (Murtagh: YAS I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS.) Jamie and Murtagh brawl with Mary’s father and fiance while the rest of the guests get the hell out of there. Fergus delightedly helps himself to the abandoned dinner. Now that’s what I call a successful dinner party.
Swoon Worthy Jamie Fraser Moment of the Week
- How much did I love Claire tossing Jamie the rope from the curtain while they were brawling. It was the equivalent of saying “Go get ’em Tiger!”
- Murtagh and Fergus are my new brOTP
- More Mother Hildegard, please and thank you.
- Sam Heughan’s thighs. That is all.
- I LIVE for Caitriona Balfe’s bitch face. It has filled the gaping hole left in my heart by Grace Abigail Mills. IF LOOKS COULD KILL…
Who IS La Dame Blanche? Is St. Germain ever going to do more than glower? Leave your spoiler-free thoughts in the comments!