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Two Takes: Outlander “The Fox’s Lair” 

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Although Claire seems certain their failure in Paris means the future remains unchanged, Jamie isn’t convinced. After Prince Charles Stuart forges Jamie’s signature on a letter pledging loyalty his cause — thereby branding Jamie as a traitor to the Crown again — he decides he’s going to work with what he’s given. The problem? Jamie needs to go to his grandsire for support and there’s some serious bad blood there. Jamie admits that his father was an acknowledged bastard, but a bastard all the same. His grandfather, Lord Lovat, tried to prevent Jamie’s father from marrying his mother. On top of that, after Jamie’s mother died Lovat promised to make Jamie’s father his heir if he spurned his dead wife. No luck. Despite the less than cordial relations, Jamie must now go to his kin to ask for men to support the second Jacobite uprising. What they don’t expect when they arrive at Castle Beaufort, is the presence of both Colum and Laoghaire. Let’s talk “The Fox’s Lair.”

Kara: Jamie’s grandfather is such an interesting character. He’s morally reprehensible on many levels, but he’s also incredibly cunning — which he proves by the end of the episode. He’s played both sides in the past and he does a great job of doing so again. Not only does he sign Colum’s neutrality agreement, in case the British win, but he also sends his heir to join the Stuart cause, in case the Scottish win. Of course Jamie still has to worry about Lallybroch, but it’s safe for now.

Let’s delve a little bit more deeply into Lord Lovat before we touch on anything else. What did you think of him, Tina?

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Tina: Before I get to that, I want to say that it feels good to have the action back in Scotland. I didn’t know how much I missed this location until they returned. It immediately provided the opportunity to learn more about Jamie’s family history and it all culminated with this visit to his grandfather. I agree he’s interesting. But, to me, he’s not likable on any level. He has a lot of flaws, the biggest of which is the way he treats women. They should be barely seen and never heard. They definitely shouldn’t be present when politics is being discussed. Boo, Kara. Boo.

Kara: I also missed Scotland and I’m so happy the Frasers have returned, even if one of their first orders of business is to deal with Lord Lovat. What a disgusting piece of work. I did some helpful googling and discovered the fictional Lovat was based on a real historical figure, who was indeed a notorious flip flopper and who will eventually lose his head. Good. He deserves it.

Tina: Uh, that is something we can agree on. Big time.

Kara: I didn’t love his treatment of Claire either, but more than that I hated that he was so cavalier about threatening rape. The only thing that saved Claire from being assaulted by Lovat or any of his men was Jamie telling him Claire was a witch — and that any man who raped her would suffer. Why is it that physical harm and the threat of eternal damnation seems to be in the only protection against rape? Seriously. I’m tired of this.

Tina: I totally agree with you. So done. Jamie had no choice but to play the “La Dame Blanche” card. His granddad has a healthy respect for the supernatural. If he needed to tell Lovat his wife’s The White Lady, then so be it. Anything to not have rape on the table again. There was enough of that in France as far as I’m concerned.

Having said all that, I really did love hearing how much confidence Jamie has in his wife. I loved how dramatic he was when he explained to his grandfather what La Dame Blanche is capable of should he try to touch her. His privates would be blasted; his soul would burn forever in hell. And he topped it all off with throwing his glass into the fire at which point there was a nice little explosion for effect. Lovat’s a bastard. Jamie did what he had to do to keep his wife safe. Plus, the moniker came in handy later in the episode. But we’ll get to that in a bit. I want to discuss a certain return. You know who I’m talking about. One of Claire’s main sources of trouble from last season: Laoghaire.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: Laoghaire claims she’s changed, but she’s still carrying a serious torch for Jamie. I mean she smelled his shirt, which is pretty harmless. But she also pledged to win his love. Jesus. Can she just give up already? She does seem contrite, but like Claire, I don’t think I’d be forgiving either. But since it’s obvious to anyone with eyes that Simon Jr. has a crush on Laoghaire, Claire decided to use that to their advantage when they were still trying to get Lovat on their side. I did laugh when Claire’s machinations didn’t go exactly as planned. The fact that a peek down Laoghaire’s dress sent her potential paramour scampering off made me laugh.

And, once again, Laoghaire doesn’t seem to believe she has any worth outside her looks. It’s not all about sex, Laoghaire. Given the times and how she’s been treated all her life, I get why she thinks that. But I love that despite everything, Claire’s still trying to make sure Laoghaire understands that she has more to offer.

Tina: I like that Claire didn’t condemn Laoghaire but she didn’t forgive her either. Kara, I don’t think Laoghaire was in the Dragonfly in Amber book. I wonder why they decided to include her in the second season? So that we won’t forget that she’s still in love with Jamie? Even though she went a little overboard with Simon Jr., he did manage to dig deep and find the strength to stand up to his father. Thankfully, he wasn’t all poetry spewing. He decided to show us he has a little swagger.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

On a completely different topic, this episode made me appreciate (even more) the way Jamie and Claire are so in sync with each other. Jamie worked one angle while Claire worked another. Claire used her La Dame Blanche-ness to capitalize on the information she learned from Lovat’s seer, Maisri. It was such a funny scene. Jamie was thisclose to signing over Lallybroch when she claimed to have a vision of an executioner in a black hood standing behind Lovat…and there was a shadow of an axe. Jamie and Claire should have been nominated for an Oscar for that performance.

Kara: Lovat deserved to be played like that, even if their actions ultimately led him to get what he wanted all along. I did like that they were devious about trying to get their way.

But, yes, it’s so so nice to see the Frasers completely in sync. But even though that connection has been restored, we also get to see just how much the loss of their child has affected Jamie. Seeing him comfort and talk to Jenny’s new bairn brought a tear to my eye. I loved how he was with the wee one and I appreciate that Claire got to see it as well. Just from that scene alone, it’s clear to see that Jamie would be such a great dad. Too bad he never gets to see his second child with Claire grow up. Yep. I totally went there.

Tina: Yeah, Jamie talking it out with the baby was adorable. I may have melted a little bit during that scene. Meanwhile, how great was it seeing Jenny and Ian again? I wish we had had more quality time with Jamie’s sister. Also, how cute is Fergus? He wasn’t about to stay behind. I’ve decided he kind of reminds me of Gavroche in Les Miserables. Let’s just hope what happened to Gavroche in Les Mis doesn’t happen to Fergus. I love him too much.

Photo Credit: Starz
Photo Credit: Starz

Kara: I love Jenny and Ian and hopefully we’ll see more of them later in the season. Fergus is awesome and I love that Jamie makes sure he won’t be too much trouble for Murtagh while he’s away. Although, let’s be honest: Fergus is now and will always be a handful and that’s part of his charm.

Tina: This first episode back in Scotland wasn’t super eventful but it was informative. Jamie and Claire are back on track with each other. We mentioned earlier that we love how they’re in sync. But it’s more than that. Things in Paris were toxic. It feels like leaving France and returning home did wonders for their relationship. They continue to reconnect (and do so while Jaime’s shirtless. Thank you for the shallow TV alert, Outlander!).

Of course, there’s trouble ahead with the Jacobite rebellion and Jamie most likely being labeled a traitor because of that forged signature of his. Part of me wishes Jamie would do what Claire suggested and go to Ireland and get away from the whole thing entirely. But that’s not Jamie. That’s not Claire either. They are too honorable. And they have history to deal with — if they can’t stop the uprising. They’re going to do their best to win it.

Outlander airs Saturday nights at 9/8c on Starz.

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