Last week both Claire and Jamie tried to survive in prison — Claire’s is of her own making while Jamie is an actual prisoner. In the series (unlike the book), Claire and Frank have come to an understanding: as long as he’s discreet, he can do what he likes. The only problem? Neither one are good actors. Claire can’t hide her surprise when she learns Frank’s in a relationship and Frank is understandably upset when Claire tells him no amount of time would’ve ever made her forget Jamie.
On top of that, things must be left unresolved between them because Frank dies. He had asked for a divorce and was planning to take Brianna, and his soon-to-be-new-wife Sandy, with him to Cambridge. At the end of the day, it’s cold comfort — literally — but Claire does admit that Frank was her first love.
Kara: This week’s episode finds us in 1756 Helwater, where Jamie has been paroled (for now). Although Helwater is a nice change of scenery, Jamie is about to learn he’s still in prison, it’s just of a different sort. Is it just me or does this show (and very much so the book) delight in finding new ways to torture Jamie? Because while Jamie seems to be happy enough to tend the horses, Geneva, the younger Dunsany daughter takes a particular interest in him. From the moment Geneva spots Jamie, you just know things won’t end well.
Tina: I feel like in one of our previous Two Takes, I may have mentioned how aside from Claire, Jamie’s adulthood has been miserable. I mean, he’s been flogged, imprisoned (more than once), injured on the battlefield, forced to hide out in a man cave for years and worse (I don’t want to relive what Black Jack did to him).
I will say he is in a better place at Helwater. Yes, it’s still a prison. He can’t simply leave. As one of the resident groomsmen, he has to do the bidding of the family. He also has to hide who he is. He goes by the name Alexander MacKenzie because Lady Dunsany has, understandably, never gotten over her son dying at Prestonpans during a Jacobite rebellion. If she finds out who knows what would happen to him. Something bad, very, very bad. Or so he’s been told.
But all in all, life isn’t as horrible as it usually is. He even gets visits from John Grey. Their association has developed into a real friendship with the two of them continuing to play chess whenever he visits. Of course, something happens that threatens to ruin Jamie’s standing at Helwater and it has everything to do with Lady Geneva. She’s a winner, that one. I’m being sarcastic. As if you didn’t know.
Kara: I know Jamie’s a hot piece, but why must so many people want him? I kinda feel like I need to joke about this because it’s actually quite serious and my feelings are all over the place about it. In the book, the way in which Geneva blackmails Jamie into her bed is much more insidious and unforgivable than she does in the series. I mean, either way, Jamie is pressured into having sex with her, and for that alone Geneva can never be redeemed for me. He should never have been put in that situation, no matter her reasons.
In the episode, he ends up being quite the gentleman â€” which is exactly what we’d expect. He’s very solicitous and makes sure she’s enjoying it. And ultimately he does as well, maybe partly because he hasn’t had sex in quite some time. So, the fact that Jamie is Geneva’s first is another secret that keeps threatening to come out, especially when we find out he’s also her only.
Tina: Yeah, Lady Geneva right off the bat is a pretty spoiled girl. I do feel bad she’s being forced to marry an older man she wants nothing to do with. I don’t think the answer is to force someone else to have sex with you. There’s no need to threaten his family at Lallybroch. But you’re right. Jamie was gentle with her, this being her very first time. He’s an upstanding individual that Jamie. They do the deed, so to speak, and immediately she tells “Alex” she loves him. He’s pretty much like don’t mistake lust for love, girlfriend.
And then next thing we know, Geneva’s married to the Earl of Ellesmere and she’s about to give birth. I think it was from her sister, Lady Isobel, we find out there’s no way this can be the earl’s baby because the two never consummated their marriage. Isobel’s distraught because Geneva died during childbirth and she’s angry at Jamie because her sister told her the entire story.
But Jamie now has a child. William aka “Willie” becomes his reason to stay with the Dunsanys. He’s also the reason he has to save the Dunsanys from the earl, who’s crazy mad. What did you think about that moment? And, on top of that, what did you think about the scene between Jamie and Lady Dunsany? That was one of my favorite moments in this episode.
Kara: Who knew “Death by misadventure” was a thing? Not me. But, ultimately Jamie isn’t punished for taking the life of a nobleman, so that’s good. I did find it shocking, though. But I guess his fatherly instinct took over when it looked like Ellesmere was going to stab his infant son. He did have the loaded pistol in his hand, so it make sense that things went there.
Lady Dunsany was a pleasant surprise. People think they’re keeping things from her, but she’s one of those people who seems to know everything anyway. And she knows that Jamie wants to go home and her husband is in a position to get him pardoned. But Jamie’s not ready to leave yet and I can’t blame him. He’s already lost two children. He doesn’t want to lose this one yet. But when the time comes, he makes an interesting proposal to John Grey. What did you think of that?
Tina: Before I get to the John Grey proposal, I just want to say that with Outlander, I prefer how TV has to condense everything for time. But with this episode, I really wanted to see more of Jamie bonding with Willie. I was enjoying it so much. Like you said, he’s lost two children and this was his moment to bask in fatherhood even though it could never be known that he is Willie’s bio dad. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to stay forever. And then someone says this:
“They spend so much time together he’s starting to look like him.”
That’s Jamie’s cue to exit stage left. And it’s so heartbreaking. The kid is a brat, but he’s Jamie’s. And now Jamie won’t be around for some of his son’s most formidable years. When he’s about to leave he asks John to look out for Willie. He actually offers up his body. HIS BODY, KARA. Wow. There was no need for that. I did love John’s reaction, however. He was all kinds of tempted and insulted and WTF about it. And then he said he wouldn’t accept. Never thought he would for a minute. I mean, come on, Jamie.
Grey does agree to watch out for Willie. It’s going to be even easier for him to do so because he’s going to marry Lady Isobel, which is something I’m still trying to process. John’s gay. I know that’s so very taboo in this time, but I still am a bit shocked he’s marrying a woman. Jamie’s surprised, too. He doesn’t want Isobel to be hurt. She’s one of the good ones. But John assures his friend he really is fond of Isobel. I don’t know, Kara. At least John will be there for Willie?
And before we jump to Claire â€” we haven’t talked about 1968 yet â€” how cute and adorable and heartbreaking was Willie after he found out Jamie was leaving him? I mean, the stinking papist/christening scene. And calling Jamie “Mac.” And then chasing after him when Jamie was riding away. I don’t know how Jamie was able to leave. I really don’t know how he mustered up the strength. I didn’t tear up, but I was close.
Kara: Willie had his bratty moments, but he seems like a pretty good kid. And with someone like Jamie around to guide him and mentor him, Willie could have grown up to get a great person. And he still might. I assume we’ll see him again, but I’m not that far in the book so let’s save that for another day.
Back in the “present,” Claire, Bree and Roger are searching to see if Jamie is still alive. Now that Frank’s gone and Bree’s basically grown up, what’s to keep Claire from going back to her true love if he’s still alive? I liked the amount of time they spent researching and searching for Jamie here, because it seemed like they spent much too much time on that in the book. But, eventually Claire knows they must end their search. She’d been warned by this and by Fiona’s grandmother. Claire could spend her life searching for Jamie and that’s not the life he would’ve wanted her to have. So although she puts an end to the search, for now, we know that’s not the end of it.
Tina: Yeah, I like how when Jamie’s headed home, Claire, in her world, says it’s time for her to stop chasing ghosts and go home. Both moments are sad and I feel for these two. Another standout moment I liked was when Bree calls Claire “mama” and they hug. Claire comments how Bree hasn’t called her that in a long time. Bree then tells Roger how this search for Jamie has torn down the walls between them. She’s conflicted because she doesn’t want to lose her mom. But that’s exactly what might happen.
Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.
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