Outlander: Lallybroch

Outlander-LallybrochPreviously on Outlander: Jamie was banished to Colum’s castle, just in time for Claire to be put on trial for witchcraft, alongside Geillis. Though Ned put up a spirited defence, the ladies were about to be found guilty, but then Jamie appeared to rescue her, and Geillis fell on the proverbial sword, just after telling Claire that she, too, was from the future. 1968, to be exact. Afterwards, Claire told Jamie about her own time-travelling ways and he delivered her to the standing stones so she could go home if she chose. She chose to stay.

As they ride along, Claire tells Jamie all about elephants and flying and her age (27, older than him). They top a hill and Jamie’s home, Lallybroch, comes into view in the distance. They stop to admire it and Jamie takes a moment to flash back to the assault on him and his sister by Randall. Claire senses it and tries to convince him to put it all behind him. Jamie says that there were rumours afterwards that his sister bore Randall’s child, which makes it a little hard to put everything in the past.

They continue on to the house while I wonder just why Jamie’s suddenly allowed to go home. His name hasn’t been cleared yet, and also, he was explicitly ordered by Colum to stay with Dougal. He’s going to get his ass handed to him for this.

They reach the front yard and Claire immediately lights on a little boy playing with a dog and some chickens. She introduces herself and starts playing with him, and then Jenny comes around a corner with a basket and a giant pregnant belly. She rushes over to embrace her brother, who’s too busy giving that poor tot the stink eye to enjoy it. Jenny happily introduces the kid, who’s been named Jamie too, and Jamie immediately starts flipping out, saying that it was bad enough to have all that awfulness happen to him, but now his sister’s gone and named Randall’s bastard after him too? Wow. First off, he’s saying all this right in front of the kid. Not cool, Jamie. Second, maybe get the full story first. Third, how about you not make everything about you? Yes, what you suffered was horrible, but then, what your sister suffered (or, rather, what you assume she suffered) was pretty awful as well. Fourth, way to totally ruin your homecoming.

Jenny, not one to take this sort of shit from anyone, ditches the smile and sends the kid away, so Jamie can go on accusing her of being a total whore.

Claire: Hey, now, maybe we should all take it down a notch?

Jenny: Who the hell is this slut? Know what, I don’t care. Tell her to shut the hell up, this is none of her business.

Claire: Right, then.

Jamie: That slut is my wife, and you’ll speak to her with all the respect I refuse to afford you!

Jenny: Might I offer to kick your ass right now, like I did when we were kids? Don’t think I can’t do it.

She goes on to scold him for coming through the door in full asshole mode, and then her husband, who’s missing a leg but getting around fairly well on a peg, appears and tells Jamie that both kids are his. This is Ian, Jenny’s husband, and he and Jamie go way back. Ian’s pleased to see Jamie, and Jamie greets him with a smile and a hug and half-assedly tries to apologise to Jenny, who’s having none of it.

Inside, Ian offers Claire some whisky, which she eagerly downs while Jenny and Jamie just marinate everyone in discomfort. Jamie finally asks her for the full story of what happened with Randall, and she tells him that Randall took her inside to rape her, but wasn’t able to get it up. She didn’t fully understand what was happening, but knew this was hugely embarrassing for him, so she just started laughing. That is either the best or the worst response to a situation like this. In her case, it was best, because then he definitely couldn’t manage, so he smacked her hard and she hit her head on the bedpost and was knocked out. When she came to, everyone was gone. See, Jamie? Ask first, assume later.

Jenny then reminds Jamie that he totally owes her an apology for calling her a whore in front of her child, and Claire agrees because she’s still trying to suck up to in-laws who already hate her. And then Jenny gets all pissy at Claire for speaking again, because Claire just can’t win, and her pissiness infects Jamie, who takes Claire into another room to remind her that he’s her husband and she’s not to embarrass him in front of his family and the servants. Because it worked out so well the last time he tried to play this particular card. Surprisingly, Claire does not bring that up and Jamie calms down a tiny bit and says they both need to act a little better. He holds up Colum’s wife as an example of how to behave: she’s a fierce woman, but never contradicted her husband in public. Claire backs down, and they return to the others.

Jamie still doesn’t apologise, so Ian breaks the tension by making small talk with Claire, during which she and Jamie reveal they plan to stay at Lallybroch. Jenny asks about the price on Jamie’s head and Jamie tells her he’s expecting a pardon. Uh, that pardon’s a long way off and far from assured, Jamie. In fact, the petition that Sandringham took with him wasn’t about a pardon at all, it was about discrediting Randall, which is step 1 towards getting you a pardon. Maybe it would have been wiser to continue laying low for a while, instead of defying Colum and heading right for the first place anyone’s going to look for you.

Jenny offers up the main bedchamber for ‘the laird’ and calls for a servant to move her and Ian’s things to another room. Claire feels badly about putting them out like that, but Jamie’s like, ‘hey, it’s my rightful room!’ and off they go.

Upstairs, Jamie wrestles a trunk through the door of the bedroom and notes that the place hasn’t changed at all from the days when it was his father’s room. He reminisces a bit and then retrieves his father’s hidden blade, which Claire admires and identifies as being Viking. Jamie tells her how he used to hold it when he was a kid and dream of the day it would be his. He then looks around and says his father built the place, and his sweat and blood are in the stones, and his body out in the graveyard, alongside his wife and eldest son, who died young. Claire asks when he last saw his father and learns it was at Fort William, to which his father went to plead for mercy on Jamie’s behalf. We all know how that went.

In flashback, Jamie is sat down with Randall, who tells him that he told Jamie’s dad there was no way Jamie was getting out of his punishment without an express order from the Duke of Argyll, which is nearly impossible to get and definitely impossible to get before the beating. Randall sits back and looks at Jamie, who’s already been flogged once, and offers to let him off the second flogging if Jamie lets Randall screw him.

In the present, Jamie admits that he was tempted, just to avoid the second beating, because the first one was still quite raw. He figured being buggard would be less painful, and quicker. But in the end he just couldn’t go through with it. Claire goes to him and wraps her arms around him. He continues that he couldn’t bear the thought of his father knowing that Jamie had given in, so he went through with the flogging (oh, thanks for showing us that all over again, show! We really needed to see that!) and Jamie’s dad was there to see it, and it was so horrifying he dropped dead right then and there. Claire reassures Jamie that, even if he had given in to Randall, it probably wouldn’t have made a difference. He probably still would have beaten Jamie, because that’s just the kind of douchebag he is. ‘Maybe. We’ll never know,’ he says sadly.

Dinnertime! The ladies are sitting at the table, facing off and waiting for the men, and of course Claire goes right for the wine. Jenny gives her serious side-eye for that, even though Claire does have the grace to serve her first, and asks if Claire has any experience running a household like this one.

Claire: No, but seriously, how hard can it be?

Jenny’s Face: F*ck you.

[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Ian announces it’s quarter day tomorrow, when all the tenants show up to pay their rent. What an excellent time to have a fugitive staying with you! [/cryout-pullquote]

The men finally show up and Ian announces it’s quarter day tomorrow, when all the tenants show up to pay their rent. What an excellent time to have a fugitive staying with you! Jenny says they really need those rents, because they’ve had poor harvests the past two years and are running up serious debts.

Claire: Maybe you shouldn’t be showing yourself until after your pardon comes through?

Jenny: Our tenants love us! They’d never betray Jamie!

Ian suggest Jamie take a look at the ledgers, and then Jenny passive aggressively sniffs about him not visiting their father’s grave first and Jamie says he’ll do so tomorrow, after he goes over the ledgers.

Jenny: Fine. Do what you want. As always.

The next day, tenants arrive and greet Jamie and Claire and offer up congratulations and wedding gifts. Claire’s sweetly gracious, Jamie’s heartily doling out handshakes and smiles. Ian calls him inside for the man stuff, and Claire takes over the receiving line. Inside, some of the tenants are discussing babies and things with Jenny, who’s convinced she’s having a boy. In the adjoining dining room, Jamie’s drinking and speaking Gaelic while tenants offer Ian their rents. One guy’s way short, and when Ian points this out, the guy offers up a sob story about his cows being sick and Jamie lets him off until the next quarter, because the guy’s father was so nice. In fact, he won’t even take what little rent the guy paid up. He’s just that generous! He hands the money back, because apparently when Jenny told him that they were swimming in debt, his brain and ears just shut down.

Outside, Claire and some of the ladies are taking some refreshment and talking home remedies. Some kid sneaks a bannock and his father brutally smacks him and starts screaming at him. Claire hurries over to intervene, because child abuse isn’t cool in any century, and offers to take the kid off his dad’s hands for a little, so the man can enjoy himself without having to worry about being a responsible parent. The man sneers at her not to fill his kid’s head with ‘English claptrap’ and hands the boy over. Claire kindly reassures the boy and takes him to find something to eat.

Inside, she finds Jenny and pulls her aside, telling her that the boy’s father has been very rough with him. They lift the back of the boy’s shirt and discover some seriously nasty bruises. Jamie notices and comes over to find out what’s happening. Jenny just calmly says they’ll get the kid cleaned up and fed and this is not for Jamie and Claire to worry about. Claire tells Jamie that this is undoubtedly the kid’s father’s doing, and maybe they should do something about it. But Jamie’s pulled away to keep drinking.

He stumbles into their bedroom that night, seriously, seriously drunk, waking Claire as he fumbles around. He tells her he tried to show McNabb, the kid’s abusive father, the difference between discipline and abuse (which seems to be a very fine line with most of these people) and told the guy that if he hits the kid again, he’ll answer to the laird. Jamie has clearly quite enjoyed swinging his dick around. Claire is less charmed by him than he thinks she should be.

The next day, a severely hungover Jamie stares at the breakfast spread and tries not to vomit. Claire pours him a bit of hair of the dog, but before he can even drink it Jenny bursts in and asks WTF Jamie was thinking, not collecting rents the day before. He tells her he decided, as laird, to give his tenants some reprieve, since it’s been a hard year. And it’s not like his family has any bills to pay, right? Oh, also, McNabb threw that poor child out of the house, because he’s a completely worthless piece of shit, so now they’re responsible for this child. Claire defends Jamie’s decision to step in, because he was only trying to help keep a kid from being beaten, and Jenny informs them both that she was working on this already, trying to convince the child’s aunt to take the boy in. These Frasers suck at communication. Maybe you should have mentioned that yesterday, Jenny?

Jamie angrily reminds his sister that he’s laird now and doesn’t need to discuss the running of this estate with her. Except, Jamie, you do, because she’s the one who’s been running this place for the past few years and she’s the one who knows what’s going on. She scoffs at him and leaves. Jamie tries to rage-eat a bannock but just spits it back out, then calls in the cook and asks why the bread tastes like it was made with pebbles. The woman informs him that the mill’s down, so they have to grind the flour by hand. Jamie heads out to fix the mill himself, because that’s what lairds do.

At the mill, he figures there’s something stuck under the wheel and he has to go down and see if he can pry it loose. Claire worries that he’ll freeze, as he dumps his kilt and gets into the frigid water. Jenny comes steaming up and Claire, not yet knowing when to keep her trap shut, sighs that Jenny shouldn’t be ‘chasing around’ in her condition. But any further discussion is put on hold when Jenny spots some redcoats riding their way. The two ladies drop onto the ground, spreading their skirts to hide Jamie’s clothes.

Jenny: I know this is hard for you, Claire, but keep your mouth shut for the next five minutes or so. Hello, hello! What a fine day! We’re just sitting here next to a non-working mill, as us Scottish ladies are wont to do!

Redcoat officer: Not working, you say? Why, it just so happens I’m a mill expert! Why don’t I have a look and ratchet up the tension a bit?

Jenny’s Face: Well, isn’t this an extreme bit of poor luck?

The guy goes to check things out and determines, as Jamie did, that something’s blocking the wheel and he’ll have to dive down and check it out. Just then, things start moving again, and then Jamie’s shirt appears, stuck on the wheel. He wonders how a perfectly good shirt got stuck in the mill and one of his fellow soldiers just says, ‘it’s Scotland, sir.’ Yeah, we have a strange habit of throwing our clothes into mills. It’s just one of those things we love that nobody understands, like haggis or Alex Salmond. The soldiers ride away and Jamie is finally able to resurface. I must say, his ability to hold his breath is admirable. He’s also clutching his crotch and yelling for Jenny to turn her back, although if the water’s as cold as he’s making it out to be I doubt there’ll be much for her to see anyway. He turns away from his sister and she sees the wreckage of his back for the first time and runs away in horror.

That night, Claire wanders the halls of Lallybroch and is joined by Ian, who’s something of a night owl as well. They check out a portrait of Jenny as a child and Ian tells Claire that, when she was little, Jenny used to nurse wounded birds back to health. Later, she nursed Ian when he returned from France with a stump. There’s some talk about Claire’s work as a healer and then the story of how Ian and Jenny got engaged: she basically went up to him one day and told him they were going to be married. Yep, sounds like her. The two of them basically say, ‘Frasers, amirite?’ Ian, who’s been in this family longer than Claire has, gives her some advice: if she wants Jamie to do something, keep pushing until he does.

Bright and early in the morning, she goes to their room, yanks him out of bed, and tells him to stop being such a douche. He looks thoughtful.

He finally goes to visit his father’s grave, and Jenny finds him there. They both start to apologise, then stop awkwardly, and Jamie pulls out a bag of money and hands it over. Rent from the tenants. He also offers to speak to little Rabbie McNabb’s aunt but Jenny’s moved on from that, since the woman already has too many kids, so it probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway. Lallybroch’s better for him. Jamie admits he was wrong not to consult her and hopes to do differently in the future. She says that she was the one in the wrong, because she’s been blaming Jamie just a little for their father’s death. She assumed Jamie had somehow brought the flogging on himself by, basically, being an ass, but when she saw his scars she realised that no one could bring that sort of brutality on themselves no matter what they did. She thinks it was her fault Randall beat him like that, because she laughed at the man and angered him. So, really, she’s the one guilty of patricide here. She begins to sob and Jamie hurries to comfort her, telling her he blamed himself for the death for a while too, but now he knows it was neither of their faults. It’s Randall’s fault, because he’s an A-1 nutcase. Jenny calms herself and nods. Jamie continues that it did always bother him that Jenny went off with Randall in order to spare Jamie, when he would have gladly died to protect her. Like Jenny Fraser wants anyone to protect her, ever. Everyone’s calmer and happier now, so she officially welcomes him home and he kisses her forehead and they walk back to the house together.

That night, Claire admits she’s finally starting to feel like she belongs here. Jamie cuddles her and says he knew she belonged there from the first moment he laid eyes on her. It’s one of the secondary reasons he married her. The main one was he wanted to sleep with her. She laughs. He gets serious and says he’s loved her from the start, and he loves her more every day. She looks into his eyes and tells him that she loves him, which may be the first time she’s said that. Sexy time!

The following morning, Claire wakes and finds Jamie’s side of the bed empty. She’s all just-got-laid smiley and gets dressed and heads downstairs, where she finds a couple of guys circling Jamie, with pistols pointed at his head.



2 thoughts on “Outlander: Lallybroch

  1. [“Claire hurries over to intervene, because child abuse isn’t cool in any century, and offers to take the kid off his dad’s hands for a little, so the man can enjoy himself without having to worry about being a responsible parent. The man sneers at her not to fill his kid’s head with ‘English claptrap’ and hands the boy over. Claire kindly reassures the boy and takes him to find something to eat.”]

    Claire is a child of the early 20th century. Why would she prevent a father from disciplining his kid with a smack on the latter’s bottom?

    1. That guy was going a bit beyond that, clearly. And although it’s true that, shall we say, sterner disciplinary measures were often employed at the turn of the century, they weren’t universally used. It’s been fairly well established that Claire’s uncle was a fairly easygoing and indulgent man as far as she went, so it’s doubtful he was the corporal punishment type. And Claire is clearly not ok with that type of punishment (see her reaction to the spanking Jamie gave her a few episodes back). So, in this case, her reaction was totally believable.

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