This was an incredibly strong episode of Outlander, this week’s episode is an example of the confidence Outlander displays in its move to France and the rich storytelling opportunities the writers are exploring this season.
The episode starts on a darker note though, Jamie having another nightmare about Randall, still haunted by him. Claire assures him that he’s gone and dead, “He’s alive in my head” is Jamie’s response. Again, it’s important that they’re showing the aftermath of what Jamie has suffered, and how it’s affecting not only him but his marriage to Claire. Claire takes a trip to a acopathery to try and get something to help Jamie sleep, while there she quickly befriends Master Raymond who happens to be a rival of Comte St Germain, who has heard all about Claire causing him to lose his ship due to the pox ridden crew.
Meanwhile Murtagh and Jamie are causing attention while practising their sword skills together. Murtagh tries to figure out what Claire and Jamie are doing to prevent the rebellion in their time as “Wine is for drinking, not for selling”, pointing to the lack of action happening so far in their plan. he suggests assassinating Bonnie Prince Charlie so the rebellion loses its key figure, an idea which Jamie quickly dismisses.
However on a return to the house, it appears Jamie’s cousin has helped them after all. Jamie receives an invitation to meet with Prince Charlie himself to discuss the progress of the rebellion, only to Claire and Jamie’s surprise the meeting is in a brothel.
We meet Bonnie Prince Charlie, and between the talk of prostitutes and sex toys, they get down to politics. Prince Charlie has a weak character and doesn’t appear to be a strong person than can inspire great devotion, but asks for the truth about how well the Scottish Clans will unite to help his cause. Jamie is incredibly honest, saying the clans are too busy fighting each other to work together for the cause of an English King. Prince Charlie is persistent in his cause for his father to gain the English throne, claiming “God demands that a Catholic King sit on the English throne” . After Murtagh learns Prince Charlie has never been to Scotland, he questions why they should risk their lives to put “a more sympathetic arse on the English throne” Prince Charlie doesn’t take their advice though, claiming its God’s will for him to continue. Still, Jamie has gained his respect and sets him to gaining the support from the French Minister of Finance, since Prince Charlie isn’t officially in the country and can’t be accepted at Court. Once returning to Claire, they decide the way to stop the rebellion is to prevent the cause from gaining funds.
We are introduced to Claire’s new friend Louise while getting her legs waxed, a character who is hilariously honest and charming straight away. We meet the girl she’s chaperoning while in Paris, a quiet English girl called Mary Hawkins who is betrothed to a much older and uglier man. Claire is invited to Versailles with the two of them, with the promise to help get a dress “fit for a Queen”. Louise soon shocks the ladies by getting a bikini wax in front of them, though Claire is intrigued and tries it herself, However later Claire and Jamie’s attempts to get intimate are soon thwarted again by Jamie being haunted by Randall. Claire awkwardly suggests they go to sleep instead.
The time for Claire, Jamie and Angus to go to court has arrived, and Jamie and Angus are ready to go until they see Claire at the top the stairs wearing her beautiful red dress. This dress is absolutely stunning.
Jamie even has to slap Angus for staring too much at her. Arriving at court Jamie runs into an ‘old friend’ a young woman named Annalise. After being introduced it turns out that Jamie once fought a duel in her honour to try and win her heart. Throughout this conversation Jamie just looks as if he wants the ground to swallow him up, the facial expressions between Jamie and Claire at this point are brilliant.
Annalise gets Jamie an introduction to the King, Louis XV only it’s in his chambers in front of 30 people while Louis is on the toilet complaining about being constipated. “Only in France does a king need an audience to shit” mutters Murtagh, who gets all the best lines in this episode. Jamie recommends the King eat porridge, a suggestion the King begrudgingly agrees to try eventually.
Louise finds the very drunk Minister of Finance Monsieur Duverney and tells of him of Claire’s interest to meet him. He then finds Claire outside but before she can get to discussing politics he’s all over her, and even begins to kiss her feet. Claire’s harassment soon ends when Jamie turns up and tosses Duverney over the edge of the balcony, into the river below without even looking. Unaware he was the Minister of Finance, Jamie retorts “Told you that dress would bring us grief”. However Duverney is incredibly apologetic for his behaviour to Claire and gives them his friendship, also inviting Jamie to a game of Chess.
However the enjoyment of the evening is soon cut short when they spot the Duke of Sandringham, who betrayed Jamie last season. Claire has a tense conversation with him, clearly believing to have the upper hand. The moment is fleeting however, when he introduces his secretary Alexander Randall, Jack Randall’s younger brother. The casting for him is brilliant, I had to look it up and see if he was actually related to Tobias Menzies, which he isn’t. He appears to be a kinder character, not that it’s hard to beat his brother in that regard. Claire is soon shocked when she learns that Jack Randall is still alive, though how the hell did he survive getting trampled over by numerous cows? The Duke smugly walks away when the fireworks begin outside, but Claire can’t even register them. She walks away and looks at Jamie from a distance, troubled about how to tell him that their tormenter is still alive. She knows that if she doesn’t he will find out eventually, but what will happen to the progress of their plan when he discovers the truth?
Despite the ending, this week was a much needed lighter episode of Outlander, and I have to give credit to the writers for introducing all these new characters so seamlessly into the story. The costumes and the sets this season have been incredible in this episode especially, the production of this show is fantastic, especially when considering they haven’t even filmed in France at all for this season. All the sets and locations are gorgeous and add to the colorful and addictive life of Paris.
Until next week,