Outlander Season 2, Episode 8
“The Fox’s Lair”
Posted by Kim
THE BAGPIPES ARE BACK. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
Look, Paris was great. It was opulent and the clothes were to DIE FOR. But GOD I missed Scotland. I missed the vivid green landscape. I missed Claire’s cozy sweaters (she looks way more at home in her Scotland clothes, no?). I missed Jamie’s wild (and unruly) hair. But most of all, I missed the Gaelic score and those bagpipes in the opening credits. Sage and I actually got to watch this episode together on my parents’ SUPER fancy curved HDTV and let me tell you…you haven’t lived until you’ve watched Outlander with a picture so crisp it feels like you could lean over and nibble Sam Heughan’s collarbones. I digress. As we watched the new opening credits, I could feel the downbeat coming and I looked at Sage and squealed “THEY ARE BACK”. We cheered as the bagpipes finally kicked in (oh so triumphantly) and my mother looked at us like we were insane. It would not be the first time that happened during this episode.
Jamie, Claire, and Fergus (THANK GOD) have settled in at Lallybroch with Jenny, Ian, and their children and their life is so domestic it HURTS. They are growing potatoes. They are getting their hands dirty harvesting them. They have family gatherings in the kitchen talking about how to cook the potatoes with Jamie and Claire being all loved-up and snuggly. (“Oh, I dinna ken you could cook, Sassenach.” “I’m not sure I can cook but I can certainly boil a potato.” STOP.) It’s a glimpse of the quiet life you KNOW the Frasers long to lead. Naturally, this means it’s all about to go to shit. The post comes and amongst the standard letters (including one from Louise! I miss her.) and parcels is a letter for Jamie. It’s not just ANY letter though. It bears the Stuart Crest, declaring the Highland chieftains in support of the Stuart Divine Right to the throne and it’s signed by those pledging their loyalty to him. Among those names is Jamie’s. One problem though. Jamie didn’t sign it. Charles, assuming Jamie’s loyalty after their dealings in France, forged his signature. Welp. To make matters worse, this list was circulated. Jamie’s name is out there as a Jacobite supporter and all the names on that list are now traitors to the crown. So much for a quiet life as a potato farmer.
Claire and Jamie talk alone outside, mainly so we can appreciate the landscape and so Jamie can show off his thighs in his kilt as he perches his leg on a log. This rebellion is coming whether they like it or not. Claire says they can just run away to Ireland (They DO know how to farm potatoes) or America (because it’s so great in the Colonies right now? Claire, you’re from the future, you KNOW they are on the verge of a revolution). Jamie scoffs at this, saying what about his family? His tenants? They can’t take everyone with them if they run and Jamie, being a man of honor, refuses to deliver those he is responsible for to the hands of the British. Claire argues that Jamie will be hung if he’s caught. Staying is not an option. But what if the Jacobites WIN this time, Jamie shoots back. Has Claire given up on changing the future? After what happened in Paris, how could she not? This is where I am in awe of Jamie: after everything he’s been through, he still has HOPE. They HAVE changed the future already, he reminds her gently. Claire saved Paris from a smallpox outbreak when she took down St. Germain’s shipment. Louise de Rohan is having Charles Stuart’s baby. He doesn’t even MENTION the fact that Claire’s very appearance altered the entire course of HIS life. One small alteration can change the entire fabric of history. Maybe the very fact that Jamie is going into this at all, never mind going into it knowing they need to WIN will be enough to turn the tide. “You want to fight for Prince Charles?” Claire asks. It’s SO MUCH MORE than just Prince Charles though. Jamie knows that. “Fight for our family. And for Scotland. Canna see any other way. Can you?”
Decision made, Jamie has Murtagh gather all the able-bodied men in Lallybroch. You can’t go to war without an army after all. Prince Charles has enlisted Jamie to enlist more men from Lord Simon Fraser of Lovat. The very mention of Jamie asking him for a favor sends Jenny into a rage. Who is Lord Lovat? Their Grandfather and a right bastard. There’s a wee bit of bad blood between Lovat and the MacKenzies, with Lovat even going as far to trying to have Jamie and Jenny’s mother kidnapped so she wouldn’t be able to marry his father. He’s also notorious for switching loyalties according to what will benefit him the most. (Basically, he’s a real peach.) “‘Tis not only degrading for ye to crawl to that man and ask him for help. ‘Tis a fool’s errand,” Jenny snarls. “The old fox does nothing that’s not in his best interest and never without a price.” Have I mentioned Jenny is my favorite? Jamie busts out the full name treatment, putting “Janet” in her place by saying he refuses to let pride get in the way of saving what he holds most dear. That shuts her up quickly. Advantage: Jamie.
In their bedchamber, Jamie confesses that he hasn’t been entirely honest with Claire about his family. It turns out his father was a bastard (even though he was acknowledged as legitimate by Lovat) and he apologizes for keeping that from her. Claire could give a shit about Jamie’s parentage and says as much. (Me and Sage during that entire scene: TAKE OFF YOUR SHIRT. My Mom: *Rolls Eyes* *Jamie takes off his shirt* Us: THANK YOU. My Mom: *silently agrees*) The whole bastard conversation out-of-the-way, Jamie takes Claire to bed and for ONCE Outlander cuts away from the good stuff. Why, show? What did we do to you?
Claire wakes to an empty bed. She goes in search of Jamie, only to find him snuggled up with Jenny’s baby, talking to her because the show felt like punching me in the ovaries. It’s a beautiful scene and a stark reminder of both everything Jamie and Claire have lost and everything that they are fighting to protect. Claire is joined by Jenny, who is equally touched by the scene before her, even though she tries to brush it off as Jamie trying to get back on her good side. “The man has to wait until the child’s born, and then they hold their bairn and feel all the things that might be and all the things that might never be… and weep, not knowing which ones will come to pass,” Jenny says, sharing a moment of understanding with Claire. Jenny may not be an open book when it comes to her emotions, so this is her way of telling Claire that she knows what they’ve been through and she knows why they must go to Lord Lovat. I just wish Claire could have Jenny with her always.
Upon their arrival at Lord Lovat’s, Jamie and Claire encounter Colum MacKenzie. The Frasers are immediately on guard, basically saying WTF are you doing here, dude? Colum plays coy but it’s clear that there is now going to be a battle for Lovat’s allegiance. Jamie and Claire don’t trust Colum one bit, given that he was instrumental in Claire’s witch trial. Again, he plays innocent, saying that he thought Claire had merely been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but everyone knows he’s spouting bullshit. It was his servant girl Laoghaire (Sage: Jesus, is that how her name is spelled? Scottish people are insane.) who put everything in motion just because she felt that Claire stole Jamie from her. One would think this would merit being sacked but Colum smirks, saying she was kept on because Mrs. Fitz (HI ANNETTE BADLAND WE MISS YOU) promised to keep her in line. So yeah. Colum was behind the whole thing. Claire pointedly asks if Dougal will be the one leading Clan MacKenzie into battle and Colum merely replies “I’d forgotten what a curious mind you have lass.”
Before Claire and Colum can rip each other’s throats out, Lord Lovat makes his grand entrance. He immediately makes a horrible impression, proclaiming that Jamie is indeed his father’s son, given that he married a Sassenach. “Who’s to expect the boy to have more sense choosing a wife than did the bastard who made him?” “At least I had no need to take a wife by means of rape or trickery,” Jamie snarls and I hope Lovat knows that no one insults Claire in Jamie’s presence and gets away with it. It may not be now, sir, but Jamie is going to GET YOU. Lovat laughs off Jamie’s comeback, thinking it mainly proves that the boy has more spirit that his father did. “Enough breath wasted on a woman!” he declares. “Leave us! It’s time to talk politics with my grandson and my rival.” I’m totally starting a campaign to get Claire’s bitch face at that remark hung in the Louvre because it was a work of art.
Banished from the interesting talk, Claire wanders the grounds and encounters the last person she cares to see: Laoghaire. She is resplendent in all her Puritan dowdiness (GO WITH IT) and the whole encounter comes off like Abigail Williams trying to apologize to Elizabeth Proctor for calling the devil down into Salem. “I am sorry beyond measure for the horrible wrong I did to ye,” she says, crocodile tears streaming down her face. “My grandmother has made me see I canna be right with God until I make amends for the pain my evil actions have caused. I believe it is God brought us together here so I could do so.” HA. Claire turns into the Ice Queen, saying that she’s dreamt of all the violent acts she would subject Laoghaire to if she ever saw her again. AND THEN Claire twists the knife because she’s NEVER going to give Laoghaire the satisfaction of having her ire. “I don’t hate you, Laoghaire. I pity you. The dark places you must’ve inhabited in the hopes of getting something that you’ll never have. As for getting right with God, you’ll just have to find another way…’cause I can’t help you.”
YAS QUEEN YAS. Teach me how to live like you do, Claire Fraser. If only I was able of coming up with put-downs like that in the heat of the moment. Jamie says as much when Claire relays the story to him later. “I wouldn’t have given that brazen besom the time of day.” Perfectly content with how that went down, Claire changes the subject, asking if she will be permitted to join the men for dinner that night. “My grandsire’s not opposed to a bit of decoration at the dinner table…as long as that decoration doesna speak.” He’s totally riling her up here and it works. The bitch face got overtime pay for this episode and I AM ALIVE.
There’s a lot of male posturing at the dinner table, with Jamie valiantly trying to convince the men that they need to band together under King James. (Claire on the other hand just tries to keep her face in tact.) Colum tries to plant seeds of doubt in Lovat’s head as he tries to weasel out information from Jamie regarding his time in France. He points out that France is an unreliable ally but Jamie insists they don’t NEED the French. Lovat’s meek son Simon (who has the worst wig ever) tries to interject with ideas but is quickly shot down by his father, who humiliates him in front of Laoghaire, who he clearly fancies. Me: “Fiddle dee dee. War war war. This war talk is spoiling the fun at every party this spring.”
With Lovat’s refusal to commit either way, it’s clear to Jamie that he’s angling for something. Jamie speaks with him alone and after he hurls many an insult at Jamie’s late mother, the truth finally comes out. Lovat wants Lallybroch in exchange for pledging men to Jamie and the Prince’s cause. Jamie balks. If he wouldn’t pledge his fealty and land to Colum, who is definitely his kin, why does Lovat think that Jamie would entrust his land to someone who may or not be? (Ahhhh…there’s the reason for all the bastard talk.) Lovat laughs. “Implying yer grandmother’s a whore to keep what you want? Oh, ye’re my kin, all right.” He offers a counter: his men for a night in Claire’s bed. HA. Jamie’s like I WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOU TRY. In fact, I’d wager he’d sell tickets to that show. “Go ahead. Try to ravish my wife. And after she’s done with ye, I’ll send in the maid to sweep up yer remains.” BLESS. Knowing that Lovat has a personal seer, Jamie also plays the La Dame Blanche card. (Me and Sage: ENOUGH WITH THE WITCH TALK JAMIE FOR REAL.) “The man that takes her in unholy embrace will have his privates blasted, like a frostbitten apple. And his soul…will…burn…forever in hell,” Jamie says, throwing a glass into the fire for dramatic effect. “Like that.”
Claire has the same REALLY WITH THIS WITCH STUFF AGAIN? reaction and I don’t blame her. Sooner or later that shit is going to catch up with them. She asks if Jamie is really going to consider giving up Lallybroch and he says that he doesn’t see any other option. The Prince will lose faith in his abilities to lead men if he can’t even convince his own grandfather to join him. Thus plan “Manipulate Wimpy Simon” is born. Claire noticed that Simon fancied Laoghaire, so maybe they can use her to stroke his ego into believing that he can stand up to his father. (The lengths some dudes will go to in order to impress a woman, I swear.) Claire finds Laoghaire sniffing Jamie’s laundry (CREEPER) and pretends not to notice, especially when she gives the whole “I swear I’ve changed” spiel again. She cries out that Jamie and Claire were sent here to test her, so if they aren’t going to take their vengeance on her, they may as well leave so she can pine in peace.
This is where Claire dangles the carrot and I cheer for her sheer ability to manipulate people. “Jamie will never love you, Laoghaire. But there might be a way to earn his forgiveness…for him to think of you without rancor.” Obviously, this peaks her interest and then Claire details her plan regarding Laoghaire persuading him. Laoghaire is appalled, thinking that Claire is asking her to sleep with Simon so he will persuade his father to join Jamie. HA. It’s all Claire can do to not have her eyes roll completely out of her head. “A woman has more to offer a man than her body.” (HELL YES) All Laoghaire needs to do is flatter him and make him feel like a hero. If Laoghaire can get him to stand up to his father, Claire promises that she’ll speak to Jamie on her behalf. That’s all Laoghaire needs to say yes.
Meanwhile, Jamie tries to convince Colum that staying neutral in this uprising equates to a death wish. He HAS to pick a side as either way someone is going to see him as a traitor. Colum remains firm in his wishes, as he is going by how things have happened in the past. These rebellions and uprisings always flutter away because they can’t garner enough support. Who’s to say that this one would be any different? They will be left alone if they remain neutral and he insists that Lovat would feel the same way if not for the prospect of getting Lallybroch. “Do not trade your home for a war ye canna win,” he stresses. I may loathe Colum, but I can see where he’s coming from. It’s a generational gap of taking comfort in the past versus fighting for a new future. It’s an apathetic approach and it’s not how Jamie wants to live his life. He would never be satisfied with that, even if he wasn’t driven by Claire’s knowledge of the future. “I will do what I must to save those things you and I hold most dear.” In other words, he is not throwing away his shot.
Claire takes a walk with Simon, under the pretense of him showing her the chapel and WHOOPS they oh-so-accidentally run into Laoghaire as she is picking mushrooms. Claire says she would prefer to see the chapel in solitude, how convenient! She leaves the two potential young lovers alone and it’s JUST as painfully awkward as you would think it would be. Simon tries to recite poetry and she rolls her eyes while her inner monologue just spouts “JamieJamieJamieJamie” so she can get through the whole thing. Poor Simon. You may be wimpy, but you deserve so much better.
In the chapel, Claire comes upon Lovat’s seer, Maisri. Claire is kind to her because much like with Master Raymond, she feels an instant kinship with anyone burdened by the curse of foresight. She’s ALSO looking for any sort of weakness of Lovat’s that she can use to her own advantage, so she gently pries regarding visions that she’s had. Maisri shares her vision. “He was standing there before the fire in his study, but it was daylight. A man stood behind him, still as a tree, his face covered in black. And across His Lordship’s face, there fell the shadow of an ax.” Sounds like something that could be very useful indeed. Before she can get anything else, she is interrupted by Laoghaire calling for her. Simon has run off. “I flattered him. I told him how much I admired a man who made decisions, who thought for himself. I gave him a keek down the front of my dress, I–” Claire cries that she TOLD her it was not about SEX, no wonder Simon ran off! (To take care of himself? I read too much smutty fan fiction) Guess Laoghaire is not so cured from being a trollop after all.
The moment of truth arrives. Jamie and Claire have done all they can to sway things in their favor, to little avail. (Scottish people are STUBBORN.) Jamie cannot go to the Prince with no men, so now he is faced with doing the unthinkable: giving up his beloved home. Lovat has him between a rock and a hard place and he RELISHES it, grandly presenting both the contract of neutrality and the deed for Lallybroch. All Jamie has to do is sign. (“I’m a very busy woman and I haven’t got all day…it won’t cost much! Just your home!”) Colum urges Jamie not to be a fool, but he’s made up his mind. “I do this to ensure the future of my family and my people.” NOOOOOOOOOOO.
A clatter rings from the back of the room as Claire drops her glass. She gasps and holds out her arm, going FULL LA DAME BLANCHE AND I AM ALIVE. Jamie, GOD BLESS HIM, catches on immediately, rushing to her and cradling her in his arms as she has another “vision”. Lovat is freaking the fuck out while Colum, who was SO CLOSE to getting what he wanted, calls bullshit. Claire repeats the vision that Maisri told her, knowing how seriously Lovat takes the supernatural and that hearing the same prophecy from a new source will sway him. “The ground was covered in white roses,” she adds, knowing it is the symbol of the Jacobites.
For a terrifying moment, it seems this whole charade has backfired, as Lovat lunges to attack her. But then Simon (BLESS) finds his spine. “You and MacKenzie are fearful old men. And you’re wrong. My cousin is right. It’s our duty to stand up for our country and our kinsmen. I will fight for King James. I will fight to change the White Lady’s vision… Even if ye will not.” Just to spite his son because he’s a nasty bastard, Lovat signs the neutrality agreement. The disdain Lovat shows for his son is very Denethor and Faramir and I HURT for Simon. But I also know he is brave and kind and wants to do the right thing. Jamie tells Simon that he is proud of him and will be honored to fight by his side. On this day, Simon Fraser learns to sit a little taller and my heart grows a size. Protect him at all costs. (He’s totally doomed.)
As they pack up to go meet the Prince, Claire pulls Jamie aside and tells him that he must go say thank you to Laoghaire. Jamie is essentially like “I’ll do that when pigs fly out of my arse” but he begrudgingly goes to thank her and rainbows shoot out of Laoghaire’s eyes. “I hope one day I can also earn your forgiveness, Jamie,” she simpers. Jamie scoffs and goes back to Claire. “And your love,” she whispers. I KNEW THAT BITCH HADN’T CHANGED.
When Jamie, Claire, and Simon reach the crest of the hill, they are met by Lovat and all of his men. They are coming after all. He’s playing both sides. The Stuarts will credit Lovat for sending his heir to war and the neutrality agreement will protect him should the British win. Jamie has his men and he has his home (“For now,” Lovat smirks). To war we go.
Swoon Worthy Jamie Fraser Moment of the Week
How am I supposed to…
Pick only one moment…
Because this episode was JAMIE PORN.
Did Ye Ken That?
- Not that I ever thought they WOULDN’T, but I am so relieved that Jamie and Claire took Fergus with them. Their devotion to each other kicks me right in the heart. HE DOES BELONG WITH THEM.
- ALSO FERGUS ON THE DONKEY. Fat chance he was going to stay behind in Lallybroch. I’m so glad this paves the way for more time with my favorite brOTP of Murtagh and Fergus.
- Dear show, this better not be the last we see of Jenny.
- Seriously, how awful is Simon’s wig?
- ONE MORE BITCH FACE FOR THE ROAD.
What did you think of “The Fox’s Lair”? Have you ever watched Outlander on an amazing HD TV? Let us know in the comments.