...despite never making an appearance. This week on Outlander: The resolution of last week’s riotous cliffhanger, plus a moral quandary for Claire as she seeks not to change the future, but to keep it the same, in one very personal aspect. And the man we love to hate is back!
Perhaps Ronald D. Moore is consulting with Benioff and Weiss - these episodes seem to be moving pretty quickly, just like Game of Thrones, albeit with fewer disparate plotlines. I knew this season would have to get through a lot, based on the book, but it’s another thing to see it playing out. Let’s see if we can recap all the highlights...
Claire and Jamie’s efforts against Prince Charles are starting to converge neatly with the Comte St. Germain’s revenge plot against Claire. After the disastrous end to last week’s dinner party, which resulted in only a brief stay for Jamie and Murtagh in the Bastille, St. Germain is making moves. He has ingratiated himself with the Prince, even as the Duke of Sandringham has resolved not to involve himself with the fop. Charles and St. Germain have invested in some Spanish wine, the profits of which should allow Charles to equip himself enough to sway France to his side.
Jamie’s role is to sell the wine once it arrives in Paris. If only there was a way to keep it from arriving at its destination... Fortunately Claire stumbled on a method to destroy shipments earlier in the season - make everyone at the dock think it’s infested with smallpox. Then the entire shipment would go up in smoke. Claire gets some homework to research what herbs they could use to simulate smallpox in between visits to Versailles.
Jamie and Murtagh continue investigating the gang that attacked Claire and Mary last episode; they believe the group to be Les Disciples, a club of sorts whose initiation is to take a “maidenhead” - ughhh. They’ve just got to connect St. Germain to Les Disciples to form the beginnings of a case against St. Germain.
But let’s get to the good stuff, shall we? BLACK JACK IS BACK. Black Jack is back!
Welcome back, Menzies! We missed you.
OK, everybody but Claire missed you.
OK, everybody but Claire and the King of France missed you.
OK, everybody but Claire, Jamie, and the King of France — you know what? Nevermind. Moving on...
After his brother was falsely accused of rape - and subsequently released thanks to a written account from Mary describing the events in the alley and afterwards - the blight was still such that the Duke of Sandringham dropped Alex like a hot potato. Black Jack shows up in Paris to assist his brother in gaining a new position, or trying to persuade the Duke to re-employ his brother.
What I thought was interesting about this scene, aside from Black Jack just being humiliated - which was satisfying, I’ll admit - was that the Scottish Lord had the upper hand against the English Captain thanks to the French King. My, how the tables have turned.
The first thing Jamie does once the King leaves and they dispense with the pleasantries is challenge Black Jack to a (highly illegal) duel. Jamie is over the moon. Claire runs straight to the Bastille and gives a statement saying she thinks Black Jack was one of the alleyway attackers, ensuring Black Jack remains behind bars long enough for Claire to ask Jamie to call off the duel. Not only does she fear for his life; she also fears for Frank’s.
Claire and Jamie’s fight here rivals that of “The Reckoning” after he rescued her from Fort William. Claire begs Jamie not to kill Black Jack for a year - long enough, she thinks, for Frank’s ancestor to be conceived. He...does not take to the idea. She appeals to Jamie’s honor, saying he owes her a life and she’s calling in the debt. Jamie very reluctantly and angrily agrees, but as he walks away from Claire, we see a gaping chasm yawn wide between them. What will Claire’s request cost them?
Claire spends a lot of this episode with Frank on the mind - trying to prevent Mary Hawkins from wanting to marry Alex, trying to prevent Alex from wanting to marry Mary, trying to ensure Black Jack stays alive long enough to marry Mary...aside from the personal attachment she feels to Frank, one wonders if she is meddling with her own time paradox. If Frank is never born, would Claire ever have been at Craigh na Dun to travel back in time to be here, fighting for Frank to be born? The mind reels.
Next week...some stuff with that shipment of wine, but most importantly, Murtagh gets a new wardrobe!!
“Calling your wife a witch was your best idea? After everything that happened at Cranesmuir??” - Claire
“I can’t help but wondering if I’ll be any good at it. Being a mother...I’m a nurse, I know how to deliver a baby, and to feed one, and to take care of it when it’s ill, but that’s not being a mother.” - Claire
“I failed you...You gave me your trust, your wife and your child unborn to guard, and that wee English lass...I cannot forgive myself for what happened in that alley. Or what could have happened.” - Murtagh
“I will lay just vengeance at your feet, or be damned.” - Murtagh
“The fates are toying with us now. Setting our feet on seemingly divergent paths that still somehow converge in the most unlikely of places...Surely you of all people can stand outside the passions of the moment and appreciate the sublime preposterousness of the universe that would guide us to a meeting at the French court.” - BJR
“The King gives you leave to rise. It would be a shame to stain such pretty britches.” - King Louis
“I challenged him to a duel, and he accepted. He said he owed me a death.” - Jamie
“I can stand a lot more than most. I’ve proven as much. Must I bear everyone’s weakness? May I not have my own?” - Jamie
“I’ve saved your life, not once, but twice. You owe me a life.” - Claire
All images via screencap.