Previously on Outlander: Claire got captured (again) and taken to Randall, who decided to start the torture at around level 8 by slicing her nipples off. Fortunately, Jamie came bursting in at just the right moment.
Jamie gets voiceover duty this week, and thank god for that, because Sam Heughan is much better at it than Catriona Balfe. She’s a fine actress, and I like her, but voiceover is not her strong suit.
Jamie muses about how strange it is that we remember some things really clearly and others…not. He keeps on about how one day he realised that every step he’d taken in life was a choice. Thanks for those incredibly trite observations, Jamie.
We’re back with his meeting with Horrocks. Unsurprisingly, Dougal and the others don’t trust him, and Horrocks is ready to split, but Jamie gets him to stay and Dougal hands over a bag of gold in return for his info. Horrocks tells them that the sergeant was shot by Randall, not Jamie. Ned finds it hard to believe that even Randall would shoot his own man and Jamie points out that he can hardly point the finger at Randall and expect anyone to believe him, but Horrocks just shrugs that they wanted a name, and they’ve got one now. As he rides off, Willie rides in, panicked, and tells Jamie that Claire’s been captured.
They all ride towards Fort William, and when they get there, Jamie, Murtagh, Rupert, Angus, and some of the others manage to sneak in under cover of darkness, extracting info on Claire’s whereabouts from a captured guard by threatening to cut his balls off. Jamie heads up to the tower, taking out guards along the way (I’m sure all the clans will be happy to know how easy it is to infiltrate this fort). He reaches the top of the tower, tucks a pistol into his belt, and rappels down the side so he can burst through the window and rescue his wife.
He orders Randall’s hands off and Randall laughs and is pretty much like, ‘hey, I didn’t know you married stripy!’ He asks Jamie how his handiwork is holding up and then creepily asks to see it. Claire tells Jamie to just shoot the bastard but Randall holds her up as a shield and orders Jamie to put the pistol down so he can get on with the rape/torture. Jamie advances, but Randall threatens to slit her throat, so Jamie puts the pistol down and backs away when ordered. Claire begs him to just get out of there as Randall picks up the pistol and laughs at Claire, giving her husband orders. She offers to cut off Randall’s balls and he calls her a foul-mouthed scold and he can’t imagine why anyone would actually marry her. Jamie can hardly bear to stand still during all of this. Randall wonders if he should ask Jamie to join in the fun to come, or he can watch, if he prefers. He tosses Claire aside and fires at Jamie…and nothing happens. The pistol wasn’t even loaded. Heh. Jamie swiftly knocks Randall out, explains that they were all under orders not to kill anyone, and gets Claire out of there. VO helpfully tells us that, yeah, he probably should have killed Randall right then, but all he could think of was not letting him raise the alarm. This is one of the very few times the voiceover’s been helpful at all. Also, Jamie’s too noble to kill a helpless man.
Jamie and Claire head down the stairs, but they meet some soldiers along the way who raise the alarm, so they run back up and rush along the ramparts. Soldiers gather in the courtyard below and get ready to fire up at them, but then there’s a massive explosion behind them that sends everyone flying and stuns even Claire and Jamie. Jamie gets her back on her feet and they jump off the wall of the fort and down into the water below, a drop that should have seriously injured them, but when we catch up with them galloping away with the others, they seem fine.
Everyone stops by a stream to regroup and water the horses. Jamie pulls his wife aside, asks if she’s ok, and once he hears she is, he allows himself to get mad, asking if she plans to apologise sometime soon? Claire is gobsmacked that she’s expected to apologise for her own assault and kidnapping, but Jamie points out that she was the one who put herself in the redcoats’ hands, essentially, by wandering off when he told her to stay put. He does have a point. How did a group of soldiers manage to get the drop on her anyway? It’s not like they travelled quietly back then. She must have really not been paying attention. And because she was careless, a whole bunch of people had to put their lives on the line to save her.
So, Jamie’s pretty pissed off about all this, and Claire reminds him that she wanted to go meet Horrocks with him, but he didn’t listen, because women aren’t worth listening to. (In her rage she’s ignoring the fact that he’d nearly just had his wife raped right in front of him; all he knew about Horrocks was that he was a deserter, just like her assailants, and he had no idea if he was walking into a trap and he wanted to protect her.) He grabs her and says that if she had listened to him they wouldn’t have 100 soldiers bearing down on them. She slaps him and he threatens to slap her right back. Welcome to the 18th century, Claire! She calls him a brute and fool and asks if he thinks she got captured on purpose. He does, because he thinks this is revenge for him not being able to protect her from those two deserters. That’s actually kind of stupid, Jamie, and she says as much. To his credit, he clearly realises how ridiculous that is. He reminds her that she’s his wife and belongs to him, whether she likes it or not. She screams that she doesn’t like it, but she figures he doesn’t care how she feels, he just wants something to have sex with. He calls her a foul-mouthed bitch (oh dear, a little too close to Randall’s recent words) and says she’s not to speak to him that way. He then looks really horrified at himself and backs away, collecting himself. He tells her he went to the fort armed with nothing but an empty pistol and his bare hands, and when he heard her scream, it was absolute torture. That seems to get through to her. Apparently she doesn’t give a shit how many peoples’ lives she just put in danger, but hey, she made Jamie cry, so now she feels badly. She softens and apologises to Jamie, asking him to forgive her. He does, of course. And he says he’s sorry too, for being mean just now. She forgives him. All good, right?
The gang rides to an inn, where Dougal and the rest are waiting for them. They sit down for dinner and Claire timidly tries to join the conversation and to say thanks for the rescue, but they all just ignore her while they relate the tale of how they managed this infiltration. Claire pouts and goes upstairs to rest. Murtagh turns to Jamie and tells him Claire doesn’t seem to understand what she nearly cost them. He knows. And he also knows that she needs to be made to understand.
He follows her upstairs, where she’s already tucked up in bed, and tells her the others will speak to her again someday, but first, she has to take her punishment. If one of the men had put the rest of them in danger the way she did, he’d have been flogged, or killed. It’s not fair that she should get off scot free (if you will). He takes off his belt and she backs away in horror, refusing to go along with this. Don’t think I condone spousal abuse in any form, but again, welcome to the 18th century, Claire. You can’t keep going as you have been, thinking that everyone’s going to operate by or bend to your 20th century rules. Doesn’t work that way. Naturally, she doesn’t go quietly, though she does try to talk her way out of it by promising to obey Jamie’s orders, even if she doesn’t agree with them. He’s like, ‘Great! Now for your spanking…’ She starts throwing things, and everyone downstairs can hear the ruckus and laughs. Claire threatens to scream (what does she think that’s going to accomplish?) Jamie finally gets her over his knee and starts hitting her with the belt. She squirms away, accuses him of enjoying this, and kicks him in the face. Everyone downstairs laughs even more and comments they’re not sure who’s punishing whom. Claire promises she’ll never forgive Jamie and calls him a sadist, which is a word that hadn’t even been invented yet (in fact, the man who provided the world with that word was only about three years old at this point). Jamie manages to pin her down and gets started, telling her he said he’d do this, but he didn’t say he wouldn’t enjoy it. Thanks, Jamie.
The next morning, they come downstairs to some ribbing from the others (especially when Claire refuses to sit down for breakfast). She pointedly goes as far away from Jamie as she can get. He VOs that he thought they’d closed the book on an unpleasant chapter, but no dice.
Back to Castle Leoch they all go, and as soon as Claire and Jamie walk in they’re greeted by Fitz and all the other workers, who’ve arranged a little wedding party for them. Hugs all around, food and drink and music. Colum and his lady come in and offer their congratulations. Well, his wife does; Colum takes his time with it and doesn’t really seem all that pleased. But when he finally offers his good wishes, Claire curtsies and Jamie gets glared at. Party’s over.
Later, Laoghaire catches Jamie and tearfully asks why he did that, when she waited for him. Oh, please, child, it’s not like he was a soldier gone to war for years or something, he was gone for, what, a couple of months, max? Waited for him indeed. He tells her that it wasn’t planned and Dougal arranged it. Also, it’s complicated. He doesn’t have time to explain now, because Colum wants to see him. She lets him go but says they’ll be having a chat. He agrees.
Colum has Dougal, Ned, and Jamie in his study to yell at them for the attack on Fort William, asking if the clan’s going to have to answer to this. Jamie promises that any repercussions will fall entirely on him. Colum’s fine with that and now wants to know about that money they’ve been secretly collecting. No fool, Colum. I fail to see how these guys could have expected that to remain a secret for long, honestly. Dougal says they raised the gold honourably, never concealing the fact that they were fundraising to restore the Stuarts, and that this is a cause more important than clans or any person. Colum doesn’t agree and wants to stay out of this matter. Dougal gets in his face and says he’s done a lot for his brother, even assured his bloodline (oh, shiiiiiit) and such fealty is worth a bag of gold. I don’t think Colum’s going to be giving you anything for a while, Dougal. Indeed, his brother is ordered out of the room and Jamie and Ned have ‘awkward’ written all over their faces. Ned promises to go try and calm Dougal down and Jamie tries to escape as well, but Colum orders him to stay to (verbally) spank him for marrying a Sassenach, knowing that now nobody in the clan will support Jamie as his successor. Wow, Colum actually wanted that? Jamie swears he meant no such betrayal, but, you know, it was complicated and he didn’t have much time to actually think this through.
While getting ready for bed, Jamie tells Claire about Dougal’s awkward confession, which everyone always knew but was never actually spoken of. Claire shrugs that the brothers fight all the time, it’ll blow over. Also, Jamie’s sleeping on the couch.
The boys have figured out that Willie was the one who handed the Jacobite fund over to Colum and tattled about it, and they’re giving him hell for it. Jamie finds them and breaks up the fight. Poor Willie protests that Colum ordered him to do it, and he couldn’t just refuse the laird. Angus tells Jamie that the kid screwed up and is getting his punishment (lots of that this episode) and this is MacKenzie business, so the Frasers should stay out of it. Before things can get rough again, Dougal appears and says he thought they were going hunting, so maybe let’s get on with it? Everyone stands around glaring for a bit, then follows him.
Murtagh tells Jamie that it’s time for them to leave Leoch. Jamie reminds him that it’s frigging winter, and he’s an outlaw, and he can’t just go dragging his wife from cave to cave. Murtagh suggests leaving her until they’ve found a safe place but Jamie’s not into that. Murtagh says they can either leave or stay and choose a side: Dougal or Colum. But Jamie has another plan.
He goes to Colum and suggests he make peace with his brother, because this is just breeding violence and pushing the clan towards warfare. He recommends giving the Jacobite gold back to Dougal, but Colum knows that’s essentially treason, since he’d be sanctioning a Stuart restoration, and frankly, they already have enough problems with the British in the area. Jamie points out that the Jacobite rebellion is just an airy hope: there’s no army, and the clans are currently too divided to join together for any cause. And Prince Charlie is just chilling down in Italy and doesn’t seem to want to head north anytime soon. Colum sighs that this is true. Jamie suggests he just let Dougal play the rebel quietly while Colum bides his time to see how things go. If Prince Charlie makes a move, he can decide which side to pick. Not just a pretty face, our Jamie. Colum tells Jamie to fetch Ned and Dougal.
Colum makes them wait a bit before warning Dougal that he’ll talk his head onto a pike one day. He takes out his dirk and reminds Colum that he swore an oath on it just a month ago. Dougal says that oath was also an oath to Scotland, and he hasn’t broken it and never will. ‘We’ll see,’ says Colum, sheathing it. He hands back the bag of gold and tells him to go ahead and play the rebel, if he wants. He then tells Ned to invite the Duke of Sandringham up for a banquet. ‘Better warn the pretty boys to hide,’ Dougal snarks. Ned snaps at him to shut up and tells Colum this is a good idea, to get the measure of the Jacobite cause from an English perspective. Colum informs him it’ll take more than just sucking up to get back in his good graces, and tells everyone to get lost.
Jamie heads outside to moodily skip stones across a nearby stream and VO about how he needed to figure out how to heal the rift with Claire. Unfortunately, any thinking is put on hold by the arrival of Laoghaire, who tells him that the first time she saw him, aged seven, her heart leapt. And then he went away for years and she never forgot him. He reminds her that he’s married and she nods and says it was a gallant thing, to marry Claire to keep her safe, but he doesn’t seem very happy. She takes his hand and says she always felt there was something between them. They made out and everything! She opens her cloak, revealing the fact that she’s wearing a corset and pretty much nothing else, in the Highlands in December (her flesh is very accurately goose pimpled) and tells Jamie that she really wants him to be her first. She takes his hand and puts it on her breast and you can tell he really wants to do it, but he firmly says no, saying he made a vow and won’t break it, even for a hottie like her. He gently says that he’s sorry. Mortified, she grabs her cloak and runs. Aww, poor Jamie.
That night, he goes to his and Claire’s room. She’s already there, brushing her hair. He tells her that Colum and Dougal have made up. She doesn’t seem to care, because apparently she hasn’t considered the horrible implications of an all-out inter-clan war. He tells her that their lives in the Highlands are steeped in tradition, but Colum has agreed to appear weak because peace is more important than custom. And that made him mindful of the possibility of bending as well. He explains to her that wives are expected to obey their husbands and take their punishment when they get out of line, but maybe Claire and Jamie need to do things differently.
He takes out his dirk, kneels before her, and swears his fealty and loyalty to her and if his hand is ever raised in rebellion against her, the dagger should pierce his heart. She stares at him for a while and he asks if that’s not enough and if she doesn’t want him anymore? He asks if she wants to live separately and she admits that’s what she should want, but, you know, he’s hot and good in bed, so she doesn’t (also, she does love him, or at least feels very, very strongly about him). She places her hand on his heart and he takes it, looking down at her wedding ring. He tells her that the key it was made of was the key to Lallybroch, his home. She asks why he didn’t tell her that before and he says he wanted to wait until they got back to Lallybroch, so she’d know the place was as much hers as his. That’s pretty sweet. Sadly, he’s not sure they’ll ever get back there, but the thought doesn’t pain him as much as it did, because Claire is his home now.
He brushes her face with his finger and she kisses him. He brushes his lips against her neck and gasps that he wants her. She agrees and they start having very gaspy sex in front of the fire, Claire on top. Without breaking rhythm, she grabs his discarded dagger and holds it to his throat, telling him that if he ever raises a hand to her again she’ll cut his heart out and have it for breakfast. He agrees, of course, and that little moment seems to have just turned them both on even more. This is an interesting new angle to their sexual relationship I don’t think either of them anticipated. Afterward, Jamie says it doesn’t seem like he can possess her soul without losing his own. They fall asleep on the floor together, and when they wake the next morning (she playfully calling him ‘master’, so, yeah, definitely a new dimension there) he asks her what a sadist is. She gives him a definition, and it amuses him. As they prepare for round…who the hell even knows anymore…Claire finds a bundle of sticks and things under their bed. She asks what it is and Jamie gets serious and says it’s an ill wish meant to bring pain or harm or even death. He tosses it in the fire. She wonders who could put such a thing under their bed and he says it must have been Laoghaire.