Outlander: Best Laid Schemes

BN-OA413_duel_M_20160514173838Previously on Outlander: Claire set about making sure Frank would exist someday, which involved breaking up Mary and Alex and preventing Jamie from duelling with Randall, who showed up in France to help support his brother, who was fired from his job because of Claire’s thoughtless idiocy. Also: Jamie put the word around that his wife’s a witch and got involved in a wine transaction with Charles and St Germain.

Jamie sits pensively at his desk. Murtagh comes in and announces Randall’s been released from the Bastille, so he’ll go arrange the duel that day. Jamie tells him there’ll be no duel. Murtagh demands to know why not but Jamie won’t explain himself. Murtagh stomps out.

Claire distracts herself by spending the day at the hospital. She’s suddenly really hugely pregnant. The executioner asks her to take over with a dead patient, as he’s been called away to execute someone accused of black magic. This gives the man a chance to describe in gruesome detail the sort of execution these people face—drawing and quartering, lovely! But the way he describes it it requires quite a bit of skill on the part of the executioner, so I guess it’s good he takes pride in his work? Before he goes, he suggests she go to see ‘their friend’ Master Raymond.

Claire does, immediately, warning Raymond that he needs to leave the city because the King wants to root out practitioners of black arts in Paris. Raymond shrugs that this happens from time to time and it’s no big deal. She thinks it is, actually, because the executioner is preparing for a really busy time, so Raymond needs to be careful. Raymond says that she does, too, and maybe she shouldn’t be there, but he appreciates her concern and will see about getting away for a while.
That evening, Jamie gives Claire a foot massage. Oh, so they’ve made up then? They’re just ok now? Whatever. He reminds her that her notion that he owes her a life is BS, because he’s saved her life at least as often as she’s saved his (more often, actually), so he thinks they’re even. He explains that he only let Randall live because he’s afraid they won’t succeed in derailing Culloden, and if that’s the case he wants her to go back through the stones and return to Frank. It still hasn’t occurred to either of them that they may have already destroyed that timeline. Claire is reluctant to promise to return to the 1940s (if she even can, which is no guarantee) but she does, probably because she realises that life for her in a post-Culloden, Jamie-less Scotland would be really, really rough.

The next day, she mixes up some potions and things to try and fake smallpox. Jamie’s going to be the guinea pig here. Murtagh thinks this is a waste of time when the could just kill Charles and be done with it. Claire thinks that killing him will only make him a martyr throughout Scotland. So? Will the clans unite behind a martyr and march into England to place nobody on the throne? I sort of doubt it.

Claire gives Jamie some things to drink and dabs his skin with nettles. How the hell is she going to do this to crewmembers without them noticing? They’re also going to have to drink no fewer than three potions! How long would these symptoms even last? I’ve been stung by nettles before, and while it hurts for half an hour or so, it then goes away, which makes me think this mysterious ‘illness’ won’t last long enough to fool anyone. And apparently this is all being entrusted to Fergus, because sure, why not put this entire plan in the hands of a child?

Something starts to kick in and Jamie begins groaning as red patches break out on his skin. Murtagh sneers at this plan, like any sensible person would, and stomps out. Again. Jamie sends Fergus away as well and Claire begins dabbing a salve on his chest, noting that Murtagh’s angry. What excellent observational powers you have, Claire! Jamie says they need to tell Murtagh everything. And by everything they mean everything.

Jamie goes outside to the courtyard once he’s mostly recovered, and finds Murtagh pacing back and forth. Claire watches from a window while Jamie and Murtagh chat. Once the story’s been told, Murtagh takes a little while to let it all sink in and then is pretty much like, ‘well if you think your wife’s a witch, I guess that’s all cool with me, but why didn’t you tell me that from the get-go?’ Really? He’s just accepting all this? Sigh.

Claire sees Jamie and Fergus off on their smallpox-faking adventure. She goes inside and finds Murtagh sitting at the desk with a list of dates in front of him. He asks if she really lived through all these years and she says she did, pointing out a few notable dates (when she was born, when she became a nurse, etc). She does not mention marrying Frank. He asks if she knows what happens to the Jacobites and she says she does, confirming that it doesn’t end well. He says he wouldn’t want to bear the burden of knowing what she does.

Jamie and Fergus arrive at the coast, where the shipment’s being held. Fergus leaves some spiked bottles of wine sitting around where crew members can find them, then rubs nettle juice on the inside of their jackets, which are conveniently left hanging nearby. He and Jamie get back on their horses and ride away.

Jamie returns home in the very early hours of the morning and tells Claire it’s done, and they’ll know how successful they’ve been soon enough.

He meets with Charles and St Germain at Maison Elise. Charles is anxious, because apparently some men at the warehouse have come down with a disease that can’t be diagnosed. He seems anxious to hush it up, while St Germain is stopping just short of saying: smallpox! They’ve got smallpox! Which seems a bit odd. St Germain explains that the men have been hidden away, but they’ll soon be missed, and no, they can’t bribe the harbourmaster because he’s a man of principle. Those guys can be such a hassle, right? Charles asks Jamie to get the wine out of Le Havre immediately. Jamie tries to demur, saying doing so could damage Jared’s business, which St Germain thinks is just a negotiating tactic so Jamie can gouge them for a larger fee. Charles works on Jamie’s patriotism and Jamie agrees to go get the wine immediately. St Germain says he’ll be coming too, because he totally doesn’t trust Jamie. Jamie agrees that’s fine by him.

Back at the house, Murtagh’s dressed up in fancy clothes, complaining the whole time. Their newest plan is to dress a bunch of men up as fancy highwaymen and steal the shipment en route, which seems like it would have been a better and easier plan to begin with. Claire frets and wonders what they’ll do if they get caught, complaining that this is dangerous and they haven’t thought it through enough. Like they’ve thought through any of their plans properly so far. But she doesn’t have any other suggestions, so the plan’s going ahead.

Later, she apologises for being concerned, saying that bad things tend to happen when they’re apart. He reminds her that they always come back together in the end. Then they have some cute time over the baby bump, followed by some sexy time.

While Jamie goes to Le Havre, Claire spends the evening at Louise’s, where she’s forced to listen to some boring rich ladies’ gossip about who’s sleeping with whom.

On the road to Paris, the hired highwaymen attack and Jamie and St Germain have no choice but to surrender. Well, Jamie surrenders, St Germain refuses to get down from the cart until Jamie tackles him. For his pains, Jamie gets knocked out by Murtagh (I think) and the shipment is taken.

Claire’s getting increasingly tense and bored at Louise’s and finally can’t hide her contempt for these women anymore and busts in, suddenly asking if they aren’t upset by how the city treats its poor and downtrodden? She mentions seeing a dead woman and child in the road recently and says something must be done. They all give her, ‘wow, thanks for ruining our fun,’ looks, and then one lady says they should do something about these people. Louise suggests getting their husbands to talk to the king about having them moved to slums so they don’t have to look at their gross dead bodies anymore. Claire gives up and just leaves, apologising to Louise, who looks confused. Once Claire’s gone, they return to their gossip.

Claire goes to the hospital and works until Hildegarde tells her she really needs to rest. When Claire lies down, Hildegarde notices some spatters of blood on Claire’s stockings but tells her it’s ok, just the baby taking a new position. She tells Claire she’ll have to stay at the hospital that night, because it’s too late for her to go home now. Claire only agrees if they can send word to Jamie via Fergus. She lies down and Hildegarde gets one of those looks on her face that I know well from Call the Midwife and does not give me hope for a good outcome from this pregnancy.

Jamie has reported the disaster to Charles, who moans that no banker in Paris will ever lend to him now. St Germain suspects foul play here and Charles wonders if Les Disciples might be behind this, because it seems like their MO. St Germain isn’t so sure but Charles doesn’t believe Jamie would purposely put his own life at risk, so it looks like Jamie’s in the clear, for now.

Charles turns his attention to next steps. He’s not quite sure what to do, though, because his roads to the throne seem to be getting cut off mighty quickly.

Jamie returns home to word from Fergus that Claire spent the night at the hospital because, as she knows, it’s best not to be travelling the streets of Paris at night. Jamie sits down for some breakfast, inviting Fergus to help himself from the buffet. Fergus asks when Murtagh will be back. As he’s in Portugal selling the wine, it’ll be at least a month or so.

Suzette comes in and tells Jamie that Charles has gotten into some trouble at Maison Elise, having run up a substantial debt he refuses to pay. They’ll call in the authorities if someone doesn’t cough up the cash soon. Jamie rolls his eyes but goes, taking Fergus with him.

At Maison Elise, Fergus starts wandering around and pops into a vacant room, where he fails to notice the British officer’s coat hanging up. He pockets a perfume bottle just as someone comes in behind him and slams the door.

Claire returns home to servants who won’t look her in the eye. She asks Suzette where Jamie is and Suzette, reluctantly, tells her that he’s in the Bois de Bolougne, having been drawn into a duel after getting into a fight with an English officer at Maison Elise. Claire demands the name of this man, as if she really needs to ask. Claire asks for more details and Suzette, cowed, says that all she knows is the officer came rushing out of a room, smashing into walls, followed by Jamie, who looked like the Vengeance of God. Oh, Jesus, what the hell did Randall do to poor Fergus? Claire finds a note from Jamie on the bed—all it says is ‘I am sorry. I must.’ Claire bends double in pain for a moment, but then rushes down the stairs, calling for the carriage. The butler, Magnus, tries to prevent her from going, saying that Jamie wouldn’t want her to go. She refuses to be stopped, so he goes with her.

The carriage careens through the streets of Paris, Claire gasping and weeping inside.

They reach the woods and she finds Jamie and Jack already fighting. She doesn’t intervene, fearing that, by doing so, she’ll end up causing someone’s death. Sensible! She just watches. The fighting’s fierce, and a bit dirty. Claire watches, and clearly starts going into labour. She’s also bleeding, probably a bit more than most medical professionals would like to see. Jamie finally gets the upper hand and stabs Jack right in the crotch. Woah. That’s some poetic justice there. Claire screams for Jamie, then collapses onto the ground in pain as the authorities arrive and place everyone under arrest. Magnus picks Claire up and she gasps for him to take her to Mother Hildegarde. Jamie calls for her, and she weakly calls for him. Randall’s eyes close. So do Claire’s.

One thought on “Outlander: Best Laid Schemes

  1. Shouldn’t it make sense that Claire would want to ensure that Randall does not die by Jamie’s hands? After all, if Frank isn’t born, Claire would not have a reason to travel to Scotland. Which means she would have never fallen into the time portal and into the 1740s.

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