Well that was intense. This episode was probably my favorite of the season so far, incredible performances and heartbreaking and shocking moments that just blew me away.
After the chaotic dinner party last episode, everyone has been arrested, Alex Randall being accused of raping Mary, Jamie and Murtagh as well, despite not doing anything wrong.Claire has been awake all night when thankfully Jamie returns, who didn’t expect Claire to still be awake. “I’m not the only one” Clare says softly, and both cast a glance to a sleeping Fergus. Duverny secured Jamie and everyone’s release, minus Alex who has been accused of raping Mary and is still locked up.Sandringham has already released Alex from his service, and Claire and Jamie agree to help him.
Claire and Jamie discuss the attack, Claire noting that they were well spoken and dressed. When telling Jamie they called her ‘La Dame Blanche’ and ran away, his expression makes clear he knows about the nickname. He admits that he started the rumour that she was a witch while drunk in the brothel to keep up his manly appearance to Charles while remaining faithful to Claire. They realise that the attackers must also attend the brothel, and lead them to whether Comte St Germain was behind it.
Murtagh tracks the Comte, but finds nothing susiciuos as he reports back to Jamie.In a heartbreaking scene, he admits to Jamie he feels at fault for the attack and not being able to protect Claire, the baby as well as Mary.”I’ve failed you” Murtagh brokenly claims. It’s horrible to see someone so loyal and trustworthy as Murtagh feel like a failure, considering how important he is to Jamie and how protective and helpful he’s always been in helping both Jamie and Claire. Jamie reassures him and sets him to finding and getting vengeance on the attackers.
Elsewhere Claire pays a visit to Mary, who’s being forced to stay inside and leave Paris once she recovers. Claire has convinced her aunt to let Claire give Mary a medical examination. Mary gives Claire a letter to give to the authorities clearing Alex’s name. It’s another sad scene when Claire asks Mary how she’s feeling and Mary’s response is “Ashamed. Like I’m a different person now. And I’ll never be the same.” It’s an honest and affecting confession. Despite my mixed feelings over Mary’s attack last week I’m glad to see they’re showing the mental impact on Mary and how she’s handling recovery, rather than the attack straight away just being discussed to further Mary’s eventual marriage to Jack Randall. However while with Mary she learns of her and Alex’s plans to marry, which puts Frank’s future in jeopardy. “Did I hold the key to Frank’s existence in the palm of my hand” Claire ponders, dithering over whether to help Alex’s release from prison if it prevents Frank being born.
Charles visits Jamie, and tells him that the cause is about to receive ten thousand pounds, but it’s the Comte who’s offering it. He wants to buy a large shipment of wine, but needs a business partner to make up the funds. From this they can make a profit, and convince the French King to invest in their plan. But Charles wants Jamie to sell the wine to the Comte, to keep an eye on him. Charles arranges a meeting between Jamie and the Comte to work out the details.
Claire walks with Alex Randall, not being able to let him remain in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. However she still wants to prevent Alex and Mary marrying and help Frank be born, so she talks Alex out of marrying Mary, by pointing out the limited options the two face and the standard of life he could bring her. Alex loves Mary and so for he sake he takes Claire’s advice to let her go. It’s another depressing event from this episode, and it’s annoying to see Claire tear them apart. Claire does acknowledge the faults in her actions, but for the sake of Frank she thinks it’s worth it. Still Claire is letting her friend marry a monster like Jack Randall for a man that she’s not planning to return to and has moved on from. I can understand Claire’s actions and I don’t dislike Frank, but the lengths she takes in this episode to secure Frank’s birth almost feels too extreme considering the happiness she’s denying others.
Jamie and the Comte share a tense conversation at the brothel, both acknowledging that they haven’t forgotten their actions towards eachother. They don’t want to work with each other, but they make plans for Jamie to contact him once buyers are secured. Hardly a strong partnership. Claire and Jamie know they need to stop the shipment from reaching the Comte, and since smallpox would prevent the ship’s contents from being usable Claire wonders whether she can mimic the effects of Smallpox on sailors to stop the shipment.
In an beautiful and sweet scene, Jamie presents Claire with a box of spoons for each of the twelve apostles that have been passed down in his family for years. He wrote to Jenny to send them over, who was so happy to hear the news of Claire’s pregnancy. It’s nice to hear Jenny mentioned, I loved her character last season and I hope we see her again soon. Claire openly wonders whether she will be a good mother, but Jamie’s reassurance soothes her worries. It’s great to see a discussion of how Claire would handle motherhood though, and to see Claire communicating with Jamie and acknowledging the fears she has about raising a child. It’s an important and honest scene that I’m glad was shown, especially with Jamie reassuring her that they will both figure it out together.
Jamie and Claire are at Versailles, Jamie helping the Duke pick horses at the Royal stables. As always the costumes blow me away, Claire’s outfit this week is gorgeous.
Jamie and the Duke’s conversation highlights that the Duke doesn’t think too highly of Prince Charles, and he wonders why a smart man like Jamie is backing a weak character like Charles. Jamie admits to the Prince having faults, but maintains his belief in the cause to cover the real reason behind his close relationship with the Prince and the sabotage he and Claire have been planning. While spotting a magnificent horse, the Duke comments that he can’t claim it yet as he is a man “who cherishes options”. How fitting to his character.
Meanwhile Annalise, who Jamie knew as a teenager and fought a duel for invites Claire for a stroll around the gardens. In an icy conversation, Annalise comments on the difference in Jamie’s character and how his involvement in politics and intrigue is so unlike the boy she knew before. “He’s still Jamie” Claire claims to her. Also as if Jamie would still be the same person he was when he was a teenager, Annalise could have hardly expected him to stay the same when he grew up. As Claire says “I doubt he will ever lose sight of who he is”. The important parts of his personality are still there.
Annalise points out that a gentleman is staring at them, and here is the surprise shock of the episode, the return of Jack Randall. I knew Jack Randall was coming back this season, but holy shit I wasn’t expecting him to be back so soon. Let alone standing in the gardens of Versailles as if he perfectly belonged. He looks so out of place in France, and for a second I’d forgotten how much I loathe his character. It doesn’t take long to be reminded though. “Jamie? He’s here? Where?” Randall whispers in a chilling voice once Annalise runs off to find Jamie. Claire desperately tries to leave this conversation but is stopped by Randall whenever she tries.
“The King” Randall notes. “Fuck the King” Claire angrily remarks in what is probably my favorite line of the episode. But no, the King is actually there and greets Claire and Randall. The French are soon laughing at Randall, the King throwing serious shade at his French accent and the English uniform. But then Jamie turns up in an intense and well s hit scene, Randall clutching his sword, Claire looking terrified, and the music swelling as Jamie walks over. It’s anti climatic in the end, but in the best way. Jamie doesn’t even spare Randall a glance, just greeting the King, enquiring about Randall’s health without even looking at him. Turns out Randall is here to help his brother get his job back with the Duke.
“Perhaps you should beg” The King states, as his entourage snicker behind him. Randall gets on knees and everyone’s laughing at him. “Not now, you English arsehole” The King sneers. There’s more laughter, with even Claire and Jamie joining in. I like the King a lot more now for being so rude to Randall, it’s brilliant to see such a threatening monster like him completely powerless in a situation, and below everyone else there. Claire and Jamie rush off, but not before Jamie runs back to Randall and exchanges words. Like Claire, we only see, their interaction and its excurinating not to hear the conversation between the two men. Jamie returns, but tells Claire he’s challenged Randall to a duel, which he’s accepted.
In the best scene of the episode, Claire stops the duel by accusing Randall of attacking her and Mary, getting him locked in the Bastille for long enough to admit to Jamie that she needs Randall to stay alive of at least a year so Frank can be born. “It’s a part of the future!” Claire brokenly cries. “I thought we were here to change the future” Jamie retorts. It’s an excellent point, and yes Claire loves Frank and wants him to exist in the future, but as I said earlier the lengths she’s going to are questionable. Preventing the rebellion is one thing, but stopping Alex and Mary from getting married, and now asking Jamie not to kill the man that’s tortured both of them is too far. Changing the future is going to have consequences and I’m sure some would disagree, but I don’t know if Frank is worth it.But then if she doesn’t save Frank, would Claire never be in Scotland to time travel back to the 1700’s in the first place? I’m a little confused.
The scene between Jamie and Claire is superb.”Must I bear everyone’s weakness?” Jamie bitterly says. Claire then tells him that he owes her a life, she’s saved his life twice and therefore now owes her this debt . It gets through to Jamie, but it’s a cold move. Jamie is an honest man and will repay his debts. Things have changed in their relationship now though, once Jamie agrees to wait a year to kill Randall when Claire attempts to embrace him he halts her in her tracks. “Don’t touch me” he whispers in a hardened and sour tone. It’s devastating but understandable and the raw emotions displayed between these two are so wonderfully painful. And just like that, there is distance between them again. Damn you Outlander, for giving me all this pain in a brilliant but soul crushing manner.
Also please give the cast all the awards.Especially Sam Heughan though, still annoyed he hasn’t gotten the recognition he deserves, he’s simply incredible as Jamie.
Until next week,