Outlander Season 2, Episode 5
Posted by Kim
The moment you relax about something or someone terrible is the moment that you will be forced to confront it. You WILL run into your ex-boyfriend at the supermarket when you’re wearing sweatpants, with your greasy hair in a bun, clutching a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. You WILL encounter your ex-best friend at your favorite brunch place because you failed to work out a custody agreement when the friendship ended. That’s just how the universe works. I don’t make the rules. I should have been prepared for the moment that Claire and Jamie were forced to share space with Blackjack Randall again. I really should have. (Look at the episode title, for Pete’s sake.) I should have known that the moment Jamie found out Blackjack was alive and well in Scotland that his arrival in France was imminent. The encounter was just as devastating as you could imagine, if not worse. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We pick up in the aftermath of the dinner party brawl that closed “La Dame Blanche”. Someone committed the ultimate party foul and called the cops. Jamie, Murtagh, and Alex Randall were carted off to jail for the night under the assumption that Alex was responsible for the attack on Mary Hawkins with Jamie and Murtagh were accessories. Claire and wee Fergus wait up for Jamie’s return the whole night and it’s precious. Jamie returns at the break of dawn thanks to an intervention from Duvernay (“It’s fortunate to have friends in high places.”) and the picture he and Claire create as he scoops Fergus up into his arms melted my cold dead heart. (They are already parents and they don’t even realize it.) While Jamie and Murtagh were easily freed, Alex was not so lucky. Silas claims he SAW Alex attack Mary, so unless Mary comes forward to clear his name, he’s in deep shit. Sandringham has completely abandoned him, refusing to employ a secretary that’s been publicly disgraced. Claire urges Jamie that they have to help him. Alex is innocent, and more importantly, he’s a good man. “He’s not his brother.” No. No, he is not.
Jamie presses Claire for more details about their attackers so they can deduce if St. Germain was behind the assault. She says that they spoke like aristocrats and wore fine clothes. They were NOT people who lived on the streets. When Claire says that the only thing that stopped them was mistaking her “La Dame Blanche”, Jamie grimaces. “I may have once mentioned that I was married to La Dame Blanche.” This would be hilarious aside from the fact that Claire was nearly burned at the stake for being a witch last season. He claims he said it to prevent Charles from pushing women on to him. “I wanted to stay true to you but not appear unmanly.” Soooooo…OBVIOUSLY the best solution to that problem is saying your wife is a WITCH? OKAY. It’s pretty funny NOW but it won’t be if the witchhunters come a-callin. Whatever gets you through the times at the brothel, I guess. But what’s clear is…the La Dame Blanche story started at the Maison Elise. One of the frequent patrons? St. Germain. The evidence is pretty damming.
The next morning, Jamie and Murtagh catch up, trying to piece together the identity of the assailants. While St. Germain’s activities are easy enough to track, there is nothing blatantly suspicious about them. They do learn that there is a gang called “Les Disciples”, a group of aristocrats that prowl the streets looking for prey. The cost of entry into the gang? Taking a girl’s virginity. (Gross.) Murtagh is devastated over the attack. “Ye gave me yer trust. Yer wife and yer child unborn to guard. And that wee English lassie. I canna forgive myself for what happened in that alley. Or what could have happened.” Jamie dismisses Murtagh’s apologies. There is nothing to be sorry for. They were outnumbered. The only thing they can do now is try and tie the attacks to St. Germain and Les Disciples.
Meanwhile, Claire pays a covert visit to Mary. As per the views of the time, Mary is ruined. Her uncle refuses to let her leave the house and is planning on sending her back to England as soon as she recovers from her injuries. She gives Claire a letter explaining Alex’s innocence. “Alex is a good man…with a kind heart. You, of course, know of my fondness for him.” What happens next is SO important and BLESS the writers of Outlander for including it. When Claire inquires about how Mary is feeling, the girl replies with one word. Ashamed. “Like I’m a different person now…and I’ll never be the same.” Claire replies with SUCH ferocity and sincerity. “You have nothing to be ashamed of. What happened was not your fault.” It’s very easy for rape victims to assign blame to themselves. I shouldn’t have been wearing that. I shouldn’t have been out that late. Why did I walk down that street? Why wasn’t I strong enough to fight him off? It’s an endless and dangerous cycle that victims can fight for years. Claire’s steadfast reminder to Mary that what happened to her was NOT her fault and that it will not define her is the ultimate act of love and friendship that Mary needs and deserves. The two women even manage to find a silver lining: now that she’s “soiled”, Mary won’t marry the Vicomte. “Good riddance,” Claire scoffs. “You are far too pretty, not to mention sweet, to marry such a warty old man.” (SOLIDARITY.) It’s only when Mary shares her hopes to marry Alex when Claire pauses. (Side note: Of COURSE Alex would still want to marry Mary. He’s too good for this world.) She KNOWS that Mary has to marry Alex’s brother to ensure Frank’s very existence. Mary can’t possibly marry Alex, a man who genuinely loves her. But how to stop that from happening? Does Claire allow him to rot in the Bastille for a crime he didn’t commit? TIME TRAVEL IS HARD WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO NOT FUCK UP THE FUTURE.
Claire is not a monster though. She may not be willing let an innocent man do time but she IS willing to play the “can you really give her the life she deserves?” card. Claire visits Alex after he is freed and begins to plant the seeds of doubt. She comments on his health as he coughs into a hankie, Satine style. “Surely you wouldn’t want Mary robbed of her youth playing nurse?” (But seriously, does he have TB? How soon till he starts coughing up blood?) She comments on his ability to land a position in Paris, thanks to the Duke slandering his good name. All of these things point to one inevitable conclusion: there is no possible way that Alex can marry her. “I love her enough to want her to have the future she deserves,” Alex admits. (TOO PURE FOR THIS WORLD.) Then he thanks Claire for her candor and says that Mary is lucky to have a friend like her. Knife to the heart much? Last week, Claire questioned if she and Jamie were bad people for the way they were manipulating Louise and Prince Charles. When Jamie said that they were doing bad things for good reasons, Claire replied “Isn’t that what all bad people say?” That conversation HAD to be echoing in her head as she walked away from Alex. Sure, she is looking at the cold hard facts of a timeline but what she didn’t realize is that she would be dealing with real people and real emotions. Maybe Alex was always destined to break Mary’s heart. We’ll never know, will we?
Jamie meets with the Prince, who delivers both good news and bad news. (Well, to Jamie it’s good news and bad news. To the Prince it’s just news.) The good news? The Prince’s investors have shown their true colors and revoked their funding. The bad news? The Prince is about to come into 10,000 pounds sterling. (Jamie, dying inside: “I’d say this is what we’ve been waiting for!”) The worse news? The money is coming from Comte St. Germain, who is looking for an investment partner to go in with on a large shipment of wine. Jamie tries to warn the Prince of the Comte’s terrible reputation and ties to the occult, but the Prince dismisses it. “Rumor and innuendo. I pay no more attention to that than I do to the rumors about your wife.” ALREADY BITING YOU IN THE ASS, JAMIE. The Prince tells Jamie that he wants him to be the one who sells the wine, so that he can keep watch over St. Germain. He’s even arranged a meeting for the two of them at Maison Elise to hash out the details. GOODY.
The meeting between the two men is brief because neither of them want to be there. They agree on the details about the wine and then Jamie is able to issue a not so thinly veiled threat. “Since you brought up my wife, let me make this clear… someone tried to poison her and attacked her in the street, then raped her friend. My memory is as long as yours. When I find the man responsible, he’ll die a very slow and very painful death.” In other words: I know you did it. Stay woke, asshole.
At home, Claire jokes about trying to infect St. Germain’s shipment with another round of smallpox. Which again…maybe be a little more cautious since everyone thinks you are a witch? (Am I making too much of that?) Jamie decides to take advantage of the rare quiet night at home with his wife by presenting her with a surprise: a set of silver Apostle spoons. “Christening gift for the bairn,” he says bashfully. The spoons are a family heirloom, passed down through generations of Frasers. Jamie wrote to his sister Jenny (I MISS HER) after he found out they were expecting and she sent them to France, expressing her own excitement. It’s a sobering reminder of the quiet life Jamie and Claire are giving up, but also a reminder of the world they are trying to protect. Claire is incredibly touched by the gesture and then shares her own fears about becoming a mother. (Again, you already ARE a mum to Fergus, I don’t know why you’re so worried, Claire.) “I know how to deliver a baby,” she says. “How to feed one, how to take care of one when it’s ill, but…that’s not being a mother. I only have a vague memory of my own mother…nothing really to guide me.” Jamie says they will learn together and my heart OVERFLOWS. It’s so lovely for them to have a scene where they are just sharing their fears and comforting each other. They love each other so much and it’s a reminder that no matter what, they are on the same team.
Of course, what that scene really was was just a reminder that we are but a moment away from everything going straight to hell. The next day, Jamie and Claire travel back to court, where Jamie is to assist Sandringham in picking out a new team of horses. As the two of them take stock of the horses, Sandringham shares his true opinion of the Prince. “He’s an utter ass.” He then questions Jamie’s judgement for pledging himself to the Prince’s service. “I see the Prince for what he is,” Jamie replies. “But his father is the true king.” He’s SO GOOD at this political game, I’m so proud.
Meanwhile, Annalise corners Claire to play a game called “Who did Jamie love more?”, which Claire has very little patience for. It’s MADDENING and entirely passive aggressive and I’m just going to put all the dialogue here because Claire’s shade was GLORIOUS.
Annalise: James was never a man for intrigue… at least not in those days. He was direct, honest, simple.
Claire: I wouldn’t call Jamie simple.
Annalise: Not today. Now he’s a man of business…of politics…like all the others. It saddens me to think of him like that.
Claire: He’s still Jamie. I doubt he will ever lose sight of who he truly is at heart.
Annalise: When I knew him, he was impulsive, headstrong.
Claire: He still is.
Annalise: Ah, but when I knew him, he was a boy. You’ve turned him into a man.
Claire’s subtext = step off bitch. What exactly is Annalise’s game here? Befriend the wife so she can worm her way back into Jamie’s life? Keep your enemies close? What exactly happened between her and Jamie? Before we can get any more information about this, Annalise notices a “rather dashing man” checking Claire out. And that’s the moment where everything goes to shit. It’s the meeting your ex in the supermarket moment. Well…at least she LOOKS fabulous.
Blackjack Randall saunters over to Claire and Annalise and Claire stiffens as if someone shoved a metal rod up her spinal cord. The WORST thing about this encounter is that she has to play nice. She can’t exactly list his long list of crimes in polite society nor can she let him see her sweat in front of Annalise. So she bites back her distress and grits out a “Yes” when Annalise asks if they are acquainted. Blackjack gets off on seeing Claire fight back her distress as he casually brings up his past injuries, saying he met with an “accident” recently. Claire tries to excuse herself, claiming illness, but Annalise pipes up saying that she’ll fetch Jamie for her. (Any excuse to be alone with Jamie, clearly.) You actually SEE Blackjack’s eyes spark up at the mention of Jamie. “He’s here? Where?” STAY AWAY FROM HIM YOU SICK FUCK.
The horrible thing about this encounter is the fact that Randall KNOWS Claire’s threats are empty. Jamie can’t walk up to him and slit his throat. Not if he values his own life. So he is able to taunt Claire without any recompense. “The fates are toying with us now, setting our feet on seemingly divergent paths that still somehow converge in the most unlikely of places. Claire, surely you of all people can step outside the passions of the moment and appreciate the sublime preposterousness of a universe that would guide us to a meeting…at the French court.” The situation gets even more awkward when King Louis and his entourage stumble upon them, right after Claire drops a glorious “Fuck the King”. Whoops. Luckily, Louis is in a jovial mood and takes no offense to the f-bomb. Instead he chooses to comment on Randall’s uniform, noting that it is a look not commonly seen in the French Court. Jamie arrives and the King is all “So how do you three know each other?” and it’s SO TENSE I want to die. You KNOW that Jamie is dying inside. Not from fear, but from an all-consuming RAGE that he has to maintain a polite face in front of his tormentor.
After some exceedingly tense small talk (seriously, could no one there read the mood?), King Louis finally asks what brings Blackjack to court. It turns out that he is there on an errand of mercy for Alex, proving that while he may be the devil, he is at least a good brother. He’s come to ask Sandringham to reconsider his decision to fire Alex. “To ask such a favor of a man like the Duke would not be possible,” Louis smirks. “To beg him, however, that is a different matter. On your knees.” Blackjack’s face says “Wut?” He kneels to NO ONE.
Blackjack kneels and the King bursts out laughing. “Not now. You English are so…literal.” Blackjack’s face is a mask of barely suppressed rage. As much as I love seeing Blackjack humiliated, I can’t help but think that SOMEONE is going to pay for that later. Claire FINALLY gets them out of this audience with the king feigning illness. (Perks of being preggers, yo.) Jamie starts to escort her away but doubles back to Blackjack. It’s both maddening and brilliant that we see this long-awaited confrontation from Claire’s perspective. What the HELL did Jamie say? I’m dying to know. Jamie bounds back to Claire and he’s practically skipping. “I challenged him to a duel and he accepted. He said he owed me a death.” Well shit.
That night Claire interrupts Jamie and Murtagh’s gleeful planning, saying there will be no duel. Randall is locked up in the Bastille, after Claire swore an accusation that HE was the one who attacked her in the alley. (Great, another reason for him to be pissed at her.) Jamie is horrified. Why in the HELL would she throw away his shot at revenge. Claire’s first line of reasoning is simple logic: dueling is illegal in France and moreover, he’s about to become a father. Murtagh tries to assure Claire that the duel will take place somewhere they won’t be caught, but she’s not having it. She asks him to leave, saying that this is between her and Jamie. AKA it’s time to drop some future knowledge.
Jamie is FURIOUS. “You gave me a gift, Claire, when you told me Randall was alive. A gift know that I would be the one to end that bastard’s life. Now I claim that gift.” Claire says that he CAN’T kill Blackjack and when Jamie presses her further, claiming there is no reason that he SHOULDN’T, Claire finally drops the truth bomb. If Jamie kills Blackjack now, Frank will never exist. Blackjack HAS to marry Mary Hawkins and she has to have his child. “If you kill Randall before the child is born, then it would be as if you were killing Frank too. And he won’t exist, and he MUST exist. It’s part of the future.” “I thought we were here to CHANGE the future,” Jamie spits back. And he has a point. It’s a bit hypocrticical that Claire feels like she can pick and choose how she wants to shape the future. She’s trying to alter a MAJOR point in history. The Jacobite Rebellion never happening could result in countless lives never existing. But at the same time, one has to apply some Donna Noble logic here. “Just one.” It’s a horrible situation but Claire has chosen to fixate on her future/past husband. He hasn’t done anything to merit being erased from history.
But at the same time how in the HELL can Claire ask Jamie to spare the life of the man who destroyed him? “You SAW what he did to me,” Jamie growls. Sam Heughan is SO BRILLIANT in this scene. He’s taut rage and he’s a gaping wound of raw pain all contained in one body. The energy between Jamie and Claire in this scene is the most dangerous kind of electric. (If Jamie were a worse man, I imagine he would have hit her. That’s how much rage was there.) Claire tries to backpedal, saying that all she is asking is for Jamie to delay his revenge until the child is conceived. Jamie is not having it. He holds his sword to his chest, telling Claire she might as well plunge it into his heart. “One year,” Claire begs. “I swear I will help you bleed him myself. You OWE me that much, James Fraser.” WHOA. It’s true that Claire has saved his life twice before, but Jamie is astounded that THIS is how she is claiming her debt. (Also really…keeping score that way? Ouch.) “You’d stop me taking vengeance on the man that made me play his whore? The man that lived in my nightmares and in our bed? Who almost drove me to take my own life?” Jamie is practically begging Claire to take it back, but she doesn’t. She schools her face into a stone-cold expression (that single tear the only thing betraying her agony) and says that yes, she is asking him to pay her with the life of Blackjack Randall. Jamie kisses his sword and promises to wait a year, and not a day more. Claire cries with relief and tries to embrace her husband. He shoves her off.
“Do not touch me.”
Something breaks between Claire and Jamie in that moment. I don’t know if this is something they can come back from. Sure, they may reconcile, but this wound is always going to be there between them. My heart hurts.
Swoon Worthy Jamie Fraser Moment of the Week
This is pornographic. GOD BLESS THE KILT.
Did Ye Ken That?
- First of all, thank you to our lovely reader Brittany for coming up with the new name for this section. It’s “Did you know that?” in the Scottish vernacular and I love it.
- That being said, I really don’t have anything else to say on this episode, so I’ll just leave you with this:
What did you think about Claire asking Jamie to spare Blackjack’s life? Let us know in the comments.