Last week: Post-witchcraft trial, Claire was almost burned at the stake and Geillis was possibly successfully (?) burned at the stake. And after Jamie rode to Claire’s rescue, Claire — overcome by the knowledge that Geillis is a Jacobite rebel from 1968 — confessed to Jamie that she’s from the future. Wanting Claire to be back in a safer, less violent time, Jamie took her back to the stones at Craigh na Dun. But our sassenach just couldn’t leave her new husband. So they set off for Lallybroch, Jamie’s home, together!
As Jamie and Claire continue the long ride to Lallybroch, Claire describes the experience of riding in an airplane for Jamie. Jamie — who’s shown an admirable level of credulity for pretty much everything Claire has told him — is suitably impressed. Sadly Claire doesn’t take this golden opportunity to toy with Jamie and tell him that the 1940s has mind control technology or that aliens/robots/alien robots are our overlords, because apparently she’s a lot more mature than I am.
Jamie asks Claire how old she is, and we find out that she’s 27 and he’s 22. … Okay, if you both say so, I guess I have to believe it. Jamie then muses that when he’s 40, Claire will be 245. Claire laughs at Jamie’s abysmal math, while I nervously imagine him puzzling over Lallybroch’s account ledgers. I know it’s a joke, but, um, maybe hire someone to do math for you, Jamie.
Arriving at Lallybroch, which is a modest country house, Jamie has mixed feelings. He’s happy to be home, but haunted by the memories of his first flogging at the hands of Black Jack Randall … and his own sister Jenny’s decision to “entertain” BJR to spare Jamie further abuse.
Jamie shares that Dougal heard that Jenny was pregnant with BJR’s bastard child. Claire dismisses this as an empty rumor. But once they get to Lallybroch, there IS a young child out front. And a very pregnant Jenny emerges from the house. She and Jamie share an emotional hug. It’s all hearts and stars until Jenny introduces her young son, also named Jamie — after his uncle.
Our ginger-headed Scot is incensed — he interprets this as Jenny throwing some epic shade and naming her bastard child, the ostensible product of rape, after him, as a way to blame and shame him forever for Black Jack’s actions. He also accuses her of being pregnant with another bastard child.
Jenny is understandably PRETTY PISSED that she’s seeing her brother for the first time in four years and he’s spent 97 percent of their welcome home chat talking about what a vindictive whore she is. Claire tries to ease the tension but Jenny calls her a trollop and tells her to shut up. Claire, if it’s any comfort, I’ve had “meet the parents” trips with boyfriends that have gone just as poorly, perhaps worse.
Jenny’s frustrated that Jamie’s not listening to her and threatens to grab him by the balls so he’ll hold still. I like you, Jenny. You’ve got some spirit. When Jamie presses again about the identity of the boy’s father, a man with a wooden leg emerges from the archway to say “I am.” His name is Ian Murray and he’s apparently the father of both children — and he’s Jenny’s husband.
Jamie appears to know Ian — they fought together in France — but I have to admit I’m thoroughly confused as to whether he knew that Jenny and Ian had a relationship, simply because he doesn’t seem all that surprised by it? Anyway, Jamie is understandably relieved and tries to apologize to Jenny, but she’s still a little sore, calling him a “damned fool.” I feel you, Jenny; I’ve heard him try to do math.
Once inside, Ian offers Claire and the rest of the Fraser/Murray family some whiskey, but Jamie is so tormented by the past that he insists on knowing exactly what happened between Jenny and Black Jack — right there and then! Remember how, back in the first episode, I thought FRANK might be bad at parties? How naive I was.
Jenny replies that she’ll tell this story ONCE and that’s it. We flash back to the first flogging, when Jenny agrees to take Black Jack into the house. Inside, Black Jack takes her into the bedroom and creepily sniffs her hair and puts his finger in her mouth. He really shoves it in there. I briefly wonder if Black Jack thinks this is sex. But no, it’s just sadistic psychosexual foreplay. As Jack kisses her, Jenny reaches for a candlestick and hits him over the head with it. Not hard enough, because he reacts immediately, throwing her to the ground. Grabbing her arm, he smacks her hard across the face and tosses her onto a nearby bed. Ughhhh, God.
While Jenny lies on the bed, Jack undoes his pants and we see our first full frontal male nudity on this show. Suddenly, I remember this tweet from Tobias Menzies, which makes a LOT more sense now:
Hashtag what modesty pouch, indeed! Not to make light of what is a very intense scene, but we saw way more of Tobias Menzies than I ever anticipated seeing, not to mention that it’s a vastly different context than I might’ve HOPED to see Tobias Menzies naked. Jack is having trouble … performing, so there are a lot of quick shots of him trying to “make himself ready.” I know I’ve spoken admiringly of Tobias Menzies’ performance in the past, but holy shit, it takes some … um … balls (!!) … to agree to full frontal nudity when the entire point of the scene is how impotent you are.
While I am beyond exhausted by the prevalence of rape threats and rape scenes on this show, it is refreshing to at least have the kinda gratuitous nudity be gratuitous MALE nudity, so points for that, Outlander.
Anyway, Jenny swiftly realizes that Jack can’t get it up so SHE LAUGHS IN HIS FACE. I can’t decide whether this is incredibly awesome or unbelievably stupid. Jack ends up shoving Jenny back into the bedpost, and she’s knocked unconscious. When she wakes up, Jack has left, and Jenny says she hasn’t seen him since.
Back in the present, Claire encourages Jamie to apologize, but Jenny thinks Claire is overstepping her bounds. And it seems Jamie agrees — he pulls her aside privately to discuss how she shouldn’t cross him in public, since he’s now the laird of Broch Tuarach. “I’m not the meek and obedient type,” Claire asserts. “I don’t think anyone would ever make that mistake, sassenach,” Jamie replies. Basically, Jamie tells her that she can disagree with him as much as she wishes and she can make that disapproval known — but in private. Oh, Jamie…
Claire and Jamie return to Jenny and Ian, and after Ian politely inquires where Claire is from, she tells him she’s from Oxfordshire…but Lallybroch is her home now. Jenny mentions the price on Jamie’s head, and he reveals his connection to the Duke of Sandringham. Jenny’s surprised that Jamie’s “so trusting of the English,” which is a nicely done subtle burn on Claire, I must admit.
Jenny announces that she and Ian will vacate the laird’s bedroom so Jamie and Claire can move in. Luckily, Mrs. Fitz sent a trunk of clothes from Leoch, so the laird and lady of Broch Tuarach are quickly settled in. It clearly means a lot to Jamie to be taking over the position once held by his father; he recounts tiptoeing in because the room was so sacred, and he pulls out his father’s sword to show Claire. He seems much like an awed little boy, speaking in hushed tones about finally having his father’s sword and running Lallybroch, as his father did before an untimely death.
Claire asks when Jamie last saw his father. Flashing back to Fort William, we see Jamie being escorted through the corridor by two Redcoat soldiers as he runs into his father, the latter of whom was trying — in vain — to plead with Black Jack to release Jamie. Jamie’s father doesn’t place any blame on him for the flogging, and he urges Jamie to remember to pray, and to remember that he’ll stand by Jamie no matter what happens. Before leaving, he places a tender kiss on Jamie’s cheek.
Jamie’s brought to Black Jack’s office, where Black Jack explains that he told Jamie’s father that Jamie can’t be bailed out without clearance from the Duke of Argyll. It’s doubtful that Jamie’s dad could get the clearance at all and, even if he did, it wouldn’t arrive in time.
So BJR proposes an alternative to a second flogging. Can you guess what it is? CAN YOU?
Black Jack says: “Give over to me, make free of your body and there will be no second flogging.”
So, here we are, finally. Black Jack has some kind of deep sexual obsession with Jamie. According to Diana Gabaldon, the Black Jack of the books isn’t gay — he’s a pansexual pervert with a boner for causing pain. Essentially, he’s like the evil version of John Barrowman’s Jack Harkness — which, I don’t know why you’d choose to be the evil version when the good version is so amazing.
That said, I’m not sure how closely the show is following the books since Black Jack definitely was taking Jenny against her will but was obviously out of Pain Boners. I’m not wild about the “man’s madness is fed by repressed homosexual lust” trope, but it’s the only thing that seems to make sense with the information we have. Also, this puts us one step closer to my theory that BJR and the Duke of Sandringham were totally getting it on.
Since the first flogging was so painful, Jamie honestly considered Black Jack’s offer. But Jamie couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing his father — not because of the sex, but because giving in would mean Black Jack had broken him. A tearful Claire embraces her husband.
At the second flogging, where Black Jack and Jamie “created a masterpiece” together (as you’ll recall from “The Garrison Commander”), Jamie’s father was there, unbeknownst to Jamie. When BJR flogs Jamie so hard that he passes out from pain and blood loss, Jamie’s father thought Jamie had died. Jamie’s father lets out a gasp and falls down dead. And Jamie missed everything — his father’s death, his funeral, and he hasn’t yet visited his grave.
In the dining hall, Jenny and Claire sit in uncomfortable silence. Claire pours a glass of wine for Jenny and herself because I guess the no-alcohol-during-pregnancy dictate came AFTER 1946. Jenny throws some shade about Claire having to learn how to run a household and Claire bats it right back by noting that she’s a quick study.
And Ian tells Claire she’ll have a chance the following day — it’s Quarter Day, when the residents of Broch Tuarach come to pay rent. Jenny says it’s been a hard couple of years and they’re in debt, so the rents will be welcome. Meanwhile, Claire worries about Jamie being seen so publicly since the pardon hasn’t come through yet, but Jenny insists that none of their people would dare betray Jamie.
Jenny asks if Jamie plans on visiting their father’s grave but he’s firm in telling her that he needs to go over the ledgers in preparation for Quarter Day, and that’s what their father would want. Ian, Jenny, DOUBLECHECK THE MATH. DON’T LET HIM DO MATH.
It’s the next morning and the folks of Broch Tuarach have come out to welcome the laird and his lady with some lovely gifts and kind words. But Ian pulls Jamie in to formally collect the rent and…Jamie’s kind of terrible at it? I mean, he’s incredibly generous of spirit and doesn’t want to take money from people who aren’t doing all that well, but he’s clearly trying to mimic his father’s behavior without assessing their current situation. Ian clearly disapproves but Jamie’s the laird.
Claire’s outside chatting with the ladies when a man proceeds to smack the stuffing out of his kid for stealing a cookie. As you can imagine, Claire’s not having it. She marches over to the man and berates him, explaining that she’s the lady of Broch Tuarach. He’s like:
Claire offers to take the boy off his father’s hands and he grumpily agrees, telling her not to fill the boy’s head “with English claptrap.” So glad you and Jamie came back here, Claire, no place like home, etc., etc.
Once inside, the boy runs to Jenny, and Claire tells her how rough his father was being. The boy has extensive bruising on his back, which Jamie notices from across the room. Coming over, Jamie asks who’s abused the boy, but Jenny tells him it’s none of his business and takes the boy into the kitchens to be cleaned up and fed. Claire tells Jamie it was the boy’s father — McNabb — and tells Jamie he should do something about it, but the laird is already being swept off for some more whiskey. The Scots start early!
And keep going all night apparently, as Jamie enters his bedchamber with Claire COMPLETELY SOUSED. Claire’s in bed when he slams down on the bed. She’s irritated as hell and wants to know where he’s been. Well, he drank with McNabb and tried to reason with him but when reason failed, Jamie just kicked his ass and threatened to keep kicking it if McNabb doesn’t stop hurting his son. “He’ll have to answer to the laird of Broch Tuarach. That’s me,” Jamie says, smacking Claire on the butt for emphasis. Oh boy.
Claire gives Jamie some hair of the dog to cure his hangover, while Jenny storms in to yell at Jamie for not collecting the rent. Jamie tries to justify himself by claiming generosity, but Jenny doesn’t find it especially generous to allow the entire estate to go under just to peacock about as the laird. Oh, and Jamie’s fight with McNabb? Well, McNabb responded by throwing his son out and telling him to live at Lallybroch. Claire tries to defend Jamie on this one, since she’s partially responsible for sending him off to handle it.
But Jenny’s on fire right now. “Do you think life just started when you two walked through the door?” she shoots back. Apparently Jenny was attempting to find safe haven for the McNabb boy, and Claire and Jamie have fucked it all up with their interference. Jenny points out that Jamie could’ve consulted her and he does the macho male thing of asserting his ~*lairdship*~. Jenny’s like “yeah, sure, whatever,” and peaces out.
Jamie angrily bites into the bread and it would make a lot of sense if Jamie said those regrettable things out of hanger, but we don’t get much time to consider this since the cookie/biscuit thing is apparently awful. He calls the cook into the dining hall and she explains that the mill isn’t working properly. Jamie’s irritated that it hasn’t been handled quickly enough, so he decides to go down there and fix it on it his own.
I don’t know how or why but fixing the mill wheel requires Jamie to strip off most of his clothes and head into the nearby water, where he dives down to examine the bottom of the partially submerged wheel. Jenny chases after them and Claire’s on the edge of irritation but Jenny’s trying to alert her: Redcoats are on the property. Jenny warns Claire to be silent, to keep the Redcoats from knowing she’s English. Meanwhile, Jamie’s just ducked underwater to avoid being noticed.
The Redcoats greet the ladies and Jenny tells them, quite amiably, that she can’t give them any meal since the mill’s not working. Unluckily for them, the commanding officer has an extensive knowledge of water wheels since his father owns a mill. Fabulous. We see from Jamie’s underwater POV that he ducks just out of sight of the officer. Quickly, the officer realizes he’ll need to actually get in the water himself to fix the wheel — but just as quickly the wheel springs to life. With Jamie’s shirt stuck on the top. The officers all shrug and ride off.
Jamie, whose lung capacity is astonishing, finally pops up from under the water, gasping for breath and…totally naked. Jamie keeps a hand over his private bits, but we see almost all of Sam Heughan’s incredible, powerful body.
But it’s not all about admiring this gorgeous Scotsman. As Jamie turns around for the sake of modesty, Jenny finally sees the deep scars on his back. Stunned, she runs off.
That night, Claire wanders around Lallybroch and ends up running into Ian. There’s a portrait of Jenny in the hall, holding a bird. Ian explains that Jenny has a soft spot for injured birds and nurses them back to health; she may seem prickly, but Jenny is a true Fraser, like her brother. According to Ian: “Their hearts are as big and soft as their heads are thick and strong.” Jenny took care of Ian when he returned from the war, and Ian shares a charming story of Jenny basically proposing to him. “She’s an extraordinary woman,” Claire says, with a clear measure of admiration. Ian tells her that the Frasers are stubborn and that you’ll have to give them a “wee kick” to budge, but they might bite … or not listen to you at all. “Then what?” Claire asks. “Kick them harder,” Ian advises.
So Claire kicks Jamie harder! She marches into their bedroom and shoves him awake, telling him that she didn’t marry “the laird of Lallybroch,” she married Jamie Fraser. And he hasn’t been himself since they got there — he’s too busy trying to be some idealized version of what he thinks his father would expect him to be. And he’s put his relationship with Jenny at risk. Jamie sighs, knowing Claire’s right.
The next morning Jenny discovers Jamie at their father’s grave. After discussing the McNabb boy, who’ll be staying at Lallybroch, Jamie admits that he was wrong not to consult Jenny. On the verge of tears, Jenny apologizes — for secretly blaming Jamie for their father’s death. The depth of the scars spoke of a lash brought down with such fury … that Jenny can only blame herself for Jamie’s second flogging. Jamie embraces her and tells her that neither of them are responsible for what Randall did or for their father’s death. The only one responsible for the former laird of Broch Tuarach dying is Black Jack. In an episode loaded with mildly victim-blaming behavior (Jamie toward Jenny, especially), this was a welcome message.
Jamie and Claire have a chat that night — Claire admits that she’s finally starting to feel like she belongs at Lallybroch. Jamie says he’s always known she belonged there, it’s why he married her. Well, that and her amazing ass. Seriously. He actually says that. But he also says that he wanted her from the moment she wept in his arms at Leoch. Now he loves her more with each passing day. Jamie?
(Except for the math thing, obviously.)
And then they lived happily for the rest of their days. Haha, no, of course they didn’t. Claire wakes up the next morning, and leaves their room only to find Jamie being held at gunpoint by a group of men. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that McNabb-more-like-McStab-You-in-The-Back is responsible for this.
Next week: Looks like these thugs are taking Jamie and Claire on the road. I never thought I’d be nostalgic for the rent-collecting road trip with Dougal and the other Leoch rebels but … I miss those fellas.
What are your thoughts on Outlander thus far? You can find all of RT’s Outlander coverage, including more of my recaps, here.