Previously on Outlander: Jamie rescued Claire from Randall, putting himself right in the man’s sights yet again and getting him in a huge amount of trouble with Colum, who’s already pissed off about the Jacobite fundraising that’s been going on. Laoghaire tried to seduce Jamie, and when that failed, she put some kind of curse talisman under Jamie’s and Claire’s bed.
Murtagh rudely interrupts Claire’s and Jamie’s morning cunnilingus to tell Jamie that Sandringham has come north at Colum’s invitation. Turns out, the Duke, a not-so-secret homosexual, has always been ‘fond’ of Jamie, and Jamie thinks Sandringham might be able to get the price on his head lifted. Murtagh agrees it’s worth asking, but warns Jamie that the man doesn’t just grant favours without some sort of payback. Claire warns them both not to trust Sandringham, since he’s a close ally of Randall. That’s news to both of them, though Murtagh seems a bit sceptical. He nonetheless suggests Jamie have a word with Ned before he approaches the Duke. Jamie agrees, then excitedly tells Claire that this could be the first step back to Lallybroch, where he’ll be laird and she’ll be his lady and they’ll certainly be happy. He’s so puppydog excited she just smiles and nods.
Ned hears Jamie out and says that there’s little chance a British judge will take Jamie’s word against that of an English officer, even with Sandringham’s backing. But there is another way: Ned can draw up a petition accusing Randall of crimes against the Scottish people, and if Jamie can convince Sandringham to deliver it to the Lord President of the Court of Session, it could result in a court martial for Randall. At the very least, it would mean a reassignment far from Scotland. Once he’s disgraced, Ned might be able to bring Jamie’s case to court and win him a pardon. Kind of a roundabout way of clearing Jamie’s name, but if it works, who cares?
Claire, meanwhile, seeks out Laoghaire, who’s in the kitchen with Mrs Fitz. Claire asks for some time alone with the girl, who immediately turns on the attitude. Fitz leaves, reluctantly, reminding her granddaughter that she’s just outside if she’s needed. Claire steps forth and produces the curse talisman, accusing Laoghaire of putting it under her bed. The girl denies it, but Claire isn’t going to waste time arguing over the matter. She swears she never conspired to steal Jamie from her and she regrets that things turned out the way they did for Laoghaire, but, you know, life. Claire then rather foolishly and condescendingly tells the girl that Jamie was never hers to begin with, and Laoghaire firmly says that Jamie was and is hers, and Claire has done them both a wrong. She accuses her of trapping Jamie in a loveless marriage with a cold English bitch. Claire slaps her, which seems about right, and then tightly apologises for doing that. Laoghaire angrily tells her that she did put the ill wish under their bed, to make Jamie hate his wife. Claire says that’ll never happen. Laoghaire says she’s wrong about that, and she’s wrong about Geillis, who’s no friend of Claire’s. In fact, she created the talisman. Claire hisses at Laoghaire to stay away from both her and Jamie.
Her next stop is Geillis’s. Geillis is absent, and her husband’s wailing about his stomach and sifting through her remedies, looking for something to help him. Looking a little disgusted, Claire pulls something out for him and hands it over. As she turns to go, the maid whispers for her to look for Geillis in the woods that night. It’s a full moon, after all.
In the dead of night, Claire heads out to the woods and secretly watches Geillis dancing around a small fire, calling to the earth mother, in a ritual that calls to mind the ‘witches’ dancing in the standing stones back in episode one. Geillis’s dancing gets more frenzied, and her thin, barely-there robe reveals a swelling, pregnant belly. She drops onto her back, satisfied, and calls for Claire to come out.
Claire steps out and joins her in the clearing and Geillis says she could have joined in, it’s quite nice, despite the chill. She rather loves the cold wind whispering over her nipples. Claire congratulates her on the forthcoming baby and Geillis thanks her, saying that it’s been a secret for months; not even her husband knows. Claire wonders how that’s possible and Geillis snorts that the man’s never even seen her naked. Claire’s confused, because she was under the impression that Arthur and Geillis weren’t having sex. Geillis says that’s true, she has a lover: Dougal. Claire’s shocked and Geillis giggles. Claire asks how she’s going to handle this and Geillis calmly says that she’s got some months for her rituals to prove fruitful. She’s calling on mother nature to set both Geillis and Dougal free. She gets serious and asks Claire not to speak of any of this and Claire promises.
As the two women walk through the woods at the break of dawn, Geillis says she never would have sold Laoghaire that ill wish if she knew it was for Claire. Claire thanks her for being a friend and Geillis says the same, adding that if it hadn’t been for Claire and her ‘darling Dougal’ life would have been quite grim for her indeed. She shows Claire a bracelet that Dougal gave her. It was presented to him by Sandringham, as a gift for Dougal’s wife, but Geillis laughs that it would be wasted on the likes of that woman. Claire’s surprised to hear that Dougal’s married. Geillis explains that his wife is plain and mostly stays at their estate. Claire asks about Dougal’s dealings with Sandringham and Geillis says that Sandringham comes to see Colum, but it’s Dougal he’s really fond of. Well, I can’t blame him. Dougal is a kind of silver fox. CVO wonders why Sandringham is on such good terms with a known Jacobite, and then she remembers Frank saying something about Sandringham maybe being a secret Jacobite sympathiser.
[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Geillis tells her the baby’s not a real child, but a changeling. Claire’s face is several different kinds of: are you effing kidding me?[/cryout-pullquote]Claire suddenly hears a baby crying in the woods and wonders what’s going on. Geillis warns her not to interfere, because the baby’s not a real child, but a changeling: an evil infant left in the place of a real baby stolen by fairies. You know it’s a changeling because it doesn’t thrive. If you leave the changeling out then the wee folk will take it back and return the child they’ve stolen. Come on, now. You’d think that this superstition would have been nipped in the bud long ago, considering no child would have ever been returned. Honestly, even in rural parts of Scotland beliefs like this had pretty much died out by this period. Claire’s face is several different kinds of: are you effing kidding me? She says it’s not a changeling, just a sick child which will probably die left out in the open. She goes to find it and Geillis refuses to have anything to do with it.
Claire walks through the woods, desperately trying to locate the baby. By the time she does, it’s too late. She cradles the infant’s body, crying and saying she’s sorry for failing to get to it in time. I can’t even watch this sort of thing. That dead baby is waaaay too realistic. Jamie finds her there, presumably some time later, and she whimpers that the baby was just left out there to die. He nods and gently tells her she doesn’t know what she’s dealing with. He carefully takes the baby from her and puts it back where she found it, crossing himself as he does so, and explains that Geillis told him where she was. Claire asks if he believes all this fairy nonsense. He says it doesn’t matter what he thinks, but lots of people around these parts do, and it might comfort the parents to think that it was the changeling that died, while their own child is thriving in fairy land. I don’t know, traditionally fairies were pretty nasty creatures. I don’t think having your child raised by them would be all that comforting.
Back at the castle, Jamie shows Claire the document Ned’s drawn up, accusing Randall of repeatedly sexually attacking Claire. She just needs to sign the document, which she’s reluctant to do, apparently because she doesn’t trust Sandringham. Jamie basically begs her to do it, for Lallybroch, and she does.
She then secretly goes to see Sandringham, who’s being played by Simon Callow, which is fantastic, because I love him and he always has an enormous amount of fun with his roles. He tells Claire that a petition of complaint against Randall is ridiculous, since he’s a highly respected officer. He asks to see the document and Claire explains that Jamie will be presenting it to him later. He thinks Jamie sent her to soften him up but she reassures him Jamie has no idea she’s there. He says he’s really fond of Jamie, but he can’t present this petition. Claire agrees that it’s not easy to turn against a friend. Sandringham claims to hardly know Randall and says he’s super busy—he’s writing a book about how clever he is. He goes to show Claire out and before she leaves she asks how much Jacobite gold Dougal passed along to him. Ballsy, Claire. Also possibly stupid. This man is a highly powerful English duke. He could make the likes of you disappear if he wanted to. He warns her it’s dangerous to hurl about slanderous charges but she doesn’t back down, telling him that she wants them to be friends, and if blackmail is how she has to make that happen, so be it. He tries to threaten to have her beheaded but Claire, of course, is not cowed. So, he bends and agrees to help Jamie out. They drink on it and everything.
Claire returns to the castle and is summoned to help out with Dougal, who just received word that his wife’s suddenly died of a fever and reacted by getting crazy drunk. He’s stumbling dangerously around the great hall, swinging his sword at any poor bastard who gets near, trashing the place, while Colum looks on in disgust and other servants and retainers look on in alarm. Dougal wails that it’s all his fault while Claire sends Angus to fetch some wine. Dougal spots him crossing the room and threatens to kill him, but Angus tells him to chill, he just wants to slake his thirst. Dougal lets him pass and Claire puts something in the wine. She just carries knock-out potions with her? Handy, I guess. Angus raises the flagon and offers a toast to the late Lady Dougal. Dougal sobs, speaks a bit of Gaelic to God, and drinks deeply. Once he comes up for air, he says his wife was ugly, but she deserved better than Dougal. He takes another swig, hands the flagon back, and starts to stagger about, dropping his sword before passing out. Claire checks him to make sure she hasn’t killed him and Ned urges some of the men to go put him to bed. Colum tells them to watch over him; he’ll deal with his brother once he’s sober.
Claire runs into Geillis in the town and of course Geillis is delighted to hear that Dougal’s wife is dead. Claire asks if she really thinks this had anything to do with her ritual and Geillis says she doesn’t know that it did, and she doesn’t know that it didn’t. But it does mean that she and Dougal can be together. Claire reminds Geillis that she still has a husband and Geillis responds with a really creepy giggle.
Jamie goes to see Sandringham, accompanied by Murtagh, and they cross paths with members of the MacDonald clan as they’re going in.
Sandringham reads over the complaint and sighs that he had no idea his acquaintance with Randall was such common knowledge. He damns the man and says that shielding him feels like a full-time job sometimes. He adds that this is going to be delicate work, because he’ll have to damn the captain without also damning himself. But it can be done. Not for free, of course: he wants a favour in return. He’s been challenged to a duel by the MacDonalds over a debt Sandringham hasn’t repaid, and he needs a second. It’s purely a duel of honour, nobody’s going to get hurt (Murtagh doubts that). He wants Jamie to stand with him.
On their way out, Murtagh advises Jamie just stay out of this, since it’s a MacDonald matter. Jamie reminds him this is his best chance to go home and says this is just a risk he’ll have to take.
All the local notables have gathered at the castle for a grand feast in honour of Sandringham. Colum has sobered up and is standing next to the guest of honour, along with Colum, who raises a glass and welcomes Sandringham. Sandringham agrees that it’s always a pleasure to visit. Everyone drinks and Claire and Jamie agree that Colum and the duke appear to be in fine spirits. Everyone digs in as Jamie brings Claire to Sandringham for an introduction. Sandringham does a good job of pretending not to have met her. Claire sends Jamie off for a drink and then scolds Sandringham for dragging Jamie into this duel of his. She warns him she’ll basically kick his ass if anything happens to Jamie. He points out that he’s the one facing the business end of a pistol.
Geillis’s husband starts gasping and coughing. He gets up and suddenly drops while she looks on, calmly. Claire rushes to him and asks for help turning him on his side, since he appears to be choking. Some of the others try to help, but Arthur quickly expires and CVO says she detected the smell of bitter almonds. Poison. Geillis turns and looks pointedly at Dougal, so obviously that even Colum notices, then she makes a big show of screaming and crying and throwing herself over her husband’s body. Nice job ruining the party, Geillis.
The duel gets underway, Jamie and the MacDougal second counting out the paces so the combatants can take their places. The referee drops a handkerchief and Sandringham and the MacDougal combatant fire. They both deliberately miss, everyone’s fine. Sandringham is asked if he apologises for not paying his debt and he says he does. Andrew MacDonald accepts said apology, and the matter is settled.
Andrew’s sons bitch about still not getting the debt paid and refuse to share an offered drink with ‘mollies.’ Jamie warns them to simmer down but clearly all is not well between MacDonalds and MacKenzies, so they just turn their ire on Jamie. Andrew tells his sons to shut it and Jamie just chuckles. The MacDonald boys won’t let it go, so Jamie jokingly accuses them of sleeping with their mothers, and that totally sets them off. The three boys rush Jamie, swords are crossed, he kicks everyone’s ass, but not without getting a little hurt himself. Sandringham says he’s sorry, asks Jamie to tell his wife it wasn’t his fault, and then hurries away, taking the petition from Jamie before he goes. Well, at least he’s somewhat honourable.
Back at the castle, Claire pissily cleans Jamie’s latest wound. He tells her that Sandringham taking the petition is cause for celebration. She doesn’t seem to think so. She just stitches him up in silent rage. Ned comes in and tells Jamie that Colum wants to see him.
Once he’s all stitched up, he goes to Colum’s study, just in time to hear Colum order Dougal to go home for a while, bury his wife, and come to his senses. Dougal declares he won’t spurn Geillis and Colum laughs at him for loving ‘the bitch.’ Dougal breaks the news of her pregnancy and Colum informs him that this will be Arthur’s child, to the world, and there’ll be no thought of Dougal marrying her. He orders Dougal to leave the castle that day, and take Angus, Rupert, and Jamie with him. Oh, and Claire will not be accompanying them. Of course. This seems unduly harsh: Jamie hasn’t done anything wrong. Oh, he’s in trouble for the brawl with the MacDonalds. He tries to apologise but Colum is in a rage and won’t hear it. Jamie protests but obviously gets nowhere. Everyone is dismissed.
[cryout-pullquote align=”left” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Of course Claire rushes right to Geillis’s side, despite the fact that Jamie just told her in the last scene to steer clear of the woman. Jesus, Claire.[/cryout-pullquote]Claire’s chief concern seems to be the fact that Jamie will be travelling with a fresh wound, and she won’t be there to take care of it. Jamie reassures her he’ll be fine, and then quite reasonably advises she steer clear of Geillis for a while, because he has no idea what Colum may do next. And now she’s a widow, she has no one to shield her from Colum’s ire. He reminds her that these are dangerous times and she needs to be careful She promises she will be and kisses him goodbye. Dougal grouses about the prolonged goodbye, but they both ignore him. She tells Jamie to come back to her and he promises to do so as soon as he can. He mounts up and rides off with the others.
Claire is interrupted while applying some salve to a burn on Fitz’s arm by the arrival of a message from Geillis, asking Claire to come quickly. And of course Claire rushes right to her, despite the fact that Jamie just told her in the last scene to steer clear of the woman. Jesus, Claire.
Claire arrives at Geillis’s, only to learn that the note was fake. Geillis has no notion of it. Claire takes the opportunity to tell Geillis she knows that she poisoned Arthur and Geillis needs to get away from there, for her child’s sake. She even finds a tiny vial of the poison Geillis used.
Wardens start hammering on the door and Claire again tells Geillis to get out of there, but Geillis is a moron and won’t flee her own house, believing that Dougal will somehow, magically protect her. She at least has the sense to pour the poison onto the fire and calls for the maid to let the wardens in. They arrest Geillis for witchcraft. Claire too, because it’s a two-for-one deal kind of day. The two women are bundled out of the house and loaded into an armoured cart. Before they’re driven away, Claire spots Laoghaire lurking around a corner, smiling creepily. What a little bitch.