Previously on Outlander: Claire fell into the clutches of Randall, who proved he’s a dangerous sociopath who really, really likes to hurt people. Dougal rescued her before things got too horrifyingly rough, but she’s going to have to report back for her beating within 24 hours. The only way out is to marry the hottest guy on the show. Poor girl.
The camera pans over the wreckage of a feast and a cat snacking on it before we flash back to the 1940s. Claire and Frank are on their way to meet his parents but he detours past a registry office and asks her to marry him right then and there. Claire points out that it’s going to be a little weird to meet his parents for the first time and be unexpectedly introduced as their daughter-in-law, but he overrides her objections fairly easily and we know how things went from there.
And back in 1743, she and Jamie are married. He kisses his bride, everyone applauds, but Claire doesn’t smile.
Later, he joins her in their room at the inn, bringing the sounds of the party still going strong downstairs. He, too, seems a bit uncertain about all of this. Claire comments that it’s a good thing that at least nobody’s insisting on watching the consummation. ‘Only Rupert and Angus,’ Jamie jokes. She finds no humour in that. Jamie doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself, so she suggests a drink and he readily agrees, offering up a rather sweet (though pretty rehearsed-sounding) toast. They both down their whisky in one go and she pours another. Jamie doesn’t drink this one, but she does, and starts on a third. Jesus, Claire, I know this is a tense situation, but pace yourself. He gently tells her that she doesn’t have to fear him, because he’s not going to force her to do anything she doesn’t want to. She smiles and says she knows that, then steps back and tells him she has a few questions. He’s prepared for that and gets ready to answer.
Question 1: Why did you agree to marry me?
Flash back to, I guess, the day before. Ned’s explaining the situation to Jamie, adding that the marriage has to be consummated right away and witnesses must swear they were present in the building at the time. Oh, please, this is just an excuse to get these two to finally have sex without Claire seeming like a cheater. They could have totally lied about consummating the marriage, who’s to say differently? Jamie asks if Claire is on board with this and Dougal tells him she doesn’t really have much choice here, so yes. He also reminds Jamie what a dangerous man Randall is, as if Jamie couldn’t teach a masterclass in just that, so Jamie went ahead with this to keep her safe. Which I think she probably already knew or could have figured out on her own.
In the bridal chamber with Claire, Jamie promises her all the protection his clan, name, and body can offer. She comes to sit beside him, takes his hand, and they slooooowly start to come together to kiss, but she stops it at the last second and asks about his family. His father was a Fraser, of course, the younger half brother to the present master, and his mother was Colum and Dougal’s big sister. He goes into all sorts of branches of the family tree and Claire tells him about her family as well and CVO informs us they spent the next several hours drinking and talking and getting to know one another. In case you’d failed to realise this over the past six episodes, Jamie’s rather charming, and he’s also a ‘born storyteller, like most Scots.’ ??? I wouldn’t say that’s a generalisation that’s particularly true. I know some Scottish people who tell a good story, and plenty who don’t.
The door bursts open and in come the two idiots come in, to see if they’d done the deed and if they can just get a quick look at Claire’s boobs. Apparently these two reached the age of about 14 and stopped right there, maturity-wise. Jamie kicks them out. Claire notes that it’s getting rather late, so maybe they should go to bed. ‘Bed, or sleep?’ Jamie asks. He points out that either way, she’s not sleeping in her corset, so he offers to help her out of it. She allows it, directing him to start with her petticoat and the hoops underneath it. I can’t help but wonder who helped her get into this getup in the first place. She couldn’t have possibly dressed herself, and we haven’t seen any women around. She and Jamie gently start unlacing the corset and it’s rather sexy, because in period pieces, corsets almost always = sexy. He reaches underneath her shift, which is only barely managing to hold onto her breasts, and Claire is definitely getting really turned on. She starts to undress Jamie, and he kisses her hard. She takes a beat and asks where he learned to kiss like that.
Jamie: Just because I’ve never had sex doesn’t mean I’ve been living under a rock all these years.
They fall onto the bed and start having some…rather unsexy and hurried sex. Claire gets a look on her face that seems to say, ‘ok, we’ve got some work to do.’ He finishes fast and rolls off of her, trying not to look too pleased with himself. They smile at each other, though again, Claire’s face has ‘project’ written all over it. He admits that he thought that men and women had sex the way horses do, not face-to-face. Although she promised not to laugh, Claire does. He takes it just fine and asks her if she liked it. Her smile disappears and Jamie looks a bit crestfallen as he says that Murtagh was right when he said women generally don’t care for sex. I suddenly feel very sorry for anyone who’s ever slept with that guy. And Ned and Rupert and…everyone else, it seems. These guys all suck in bed. Claire quietly tells him that she did like it. And therein lies the problem. She enjoyed it, but she feels like she just cheated on her husband.
She offers to go get some food and leaves the room dressed only in a nearly transparent shift, walking right onto a balcony over a room filled with drunken men, at least one of whom has already attempted to rape her. Claire, you moron. They all laugh and cheer and shout and one of them says that if she’s still able to walk then Jamie’s not doing his duty by her. Heh. Jamie urges her to go back inside and he’ll get them some food. He heads downstairs dressed ridiculously in boots and a shirt just long enough to cover his bits. One of the idiots asks how his first time was. ‘Did you bleed?’ Jamie told these guys he was a virgin? I find that very unlikely. They would have made his life hell every single day. Jamie tells them all to just shut up and go to bed, because the show’s over. He collects some food and turns to go back upstairs. Dougal, seeming rather angry for whatever reason, growls that Jamie hasn’t thanked him properly for finding him someone willing to sleep with him. Jamie thanks him and Dougal invites him to sit down a bit, lest Claire think he’s too eager to get back to her. On his wedding night.
Jamie, of course, reports that back to Claire as soon as he gets upstairs (apparently he turned down Dougal’s invitation). She asks for more booze. How she’s not soused at this point, having spent several hours drinking, by her own admission, and having about 2% body fat on her is anyone’s guess. He gets her another glass and brushes her neck, but she flinches away from him. But then she relaxes and they share a smile. He calls her ‘my brown-haired lass’ in Gaelic. She dismisses her hair colour as being dull, but he begs to differ, comparing it to the water running over the rocks in a deep burn. She starts to get turned on again and, to distract them both, asks about his brand-new kilt. He tells her it’s in the Fraser colours and she asks where he got it.
Murtagh got it, borrowing it from a local widow who had a Fraser husband. Murtagh complains about what a pain it was to get, and dangerous too, with all the redcoats about, but Jamie says he plans to marry once and he wants to do this thing properly. He asks Murtagh what he thinks of Claire and he grudgingly allows that she’ll do. Jamie wonders how his mother would have felt about her and Murtagh softens a bit and waxes nostalgic about Jamie’s mum’s sweet smile. He tells him that Claire’s smile is just as sweet. Aww, that was kinda cute. Claire’s surprised to hear that Murtagh said something so romantic. She’s also surprised that Dougal waited long enough for the kilt to be fetched, since he was in such a hurry to get the pair of them married off. Jamie smiles mischievously and says he slowed him down.
Previous day: Jamie says he has three conditions before he goes through with this. First: they need a church, with a priest.
One is found, though the church is a draughty half-ruin and the priest seems to have a chronic cold because of it. He’s also got a chronic attitude and tells Dougal he can’t perform the marriage unless banns have been read for three weeks prior to the ceremony, which obviously isn’t an option here. Dougal tries threatening the man with violence, but the priest points out that, if he’s dead, there’s no one around for miles who can perform the wedding. . He quotes some scripture, and Dougal gets ready to really lose his temper, but the young man he has with him quotes scripture right back, surprising everyone. This swiftly becomes a bible-off. Dougal gets bored and again threatens to kill the priest. The priest still refuses to give in, so Dougal gets smart and offers to put windows in the church, so it’s less of a freezing hellhole. And that’s how they got their priest.
Condition 2: a ring. The idiots are sent to a local blacksmith with a key Jamie wants made into the ring. The blacksmith, rather hilariously, obviously knows these two are morons, but agrees to make the ring in a hurry, for an extra price.
Claire examines her ring with a newfound appreciation, asking what the key unlocked. Jamie probably lies that it was just something he had on him. Yeah, people tend to just cart around massive keys that serve no purpose whatsoever.
Condition 3: a wedding dress. Ned is dispatched to a local whorehouse to get a gown for Claire. That seems like an odd place to go shopping for clothes. As extreme luck would have it, the madam has an exquisite number that was left as payment by some hard-up lord who’d originally purchased it for his wife. I’m sure she was really happy to get a dose of the clap instead of a dress. Ned agrees to take the dress, and probably helps himself to some other wares while he’s there.
Claire laughs and Jamie swears that’s exactly how Ned told the story. Apparently, the girl Ned went off with was his date at the wedding.
Claire, meanwhile, spent the time leading up to her wedding getting seriously drunk,. Seriously. And then she was massively hungover for the ceremony. Charming. Jamie’s doing this major favour for her and taking it really seriously and all she could do was hit the bottle. Again, I know her circumstances are difficult and stressful, but heavens, lady, get a hold of yourself.
Jamie remembers getting his first look at her outside the church, describing it to her as feeling like he’d stepped outside on a cloudy day, and the sun suddenly came out. The costumes on this show are outstanding, but this dress is a true knockout. It was actually woven from silver threads, so it shimmers gorgeously. I’ll wager it also weighs several pounds. Everyone approves and Jamie gallantly bows to her. He looks amazing too, in his dress kilt and coat. She suddenly says she can’t marry him, because she doesn’t even know his last name. He smiles and introduces himself: James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. She holds out her hand: Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp. He takes the hand and Dougal’s like, ‘K, can we get this show on the road?’
Claire admits she doesn’t remember all of the ceremony, but some things are clear. She remembers removing her first wedding ring and navigating that dress into the church, which has been filled with candles, all the better to show off that gown. She and Jamie recite their vows and she puts on her new ring after it’s been blessed by the priest. Dougal gives both Jamie and Claire a small cut on the wrist and binds the wrists together. Jamie tells her to repeat after him and begins speaking Gaelic. They’re saying ‘you are blood of my blood and bone of my bone. I give you my body that we may be one. I give you my spirit till our life shall be done.’ And then they’re married. He kisses her, and she kisses him back. He says that he figured when she kissed him like that that she wasn’t sorry to be marrying him after all.
In the bridal suite, Claire tells him to take off his shirt, because she wants to look at him. He gets up and obeys her. Women everywhere thank the director sincerely. Claire slowly walks around him, running her hands up and down his body, around his buttocks, feeling every curve of him. He says it’s his turn and she removes her shift, revealing her breasts first and letting the garment fall to the floor. He stares and she asks if he’s never seen a naked woman before. ‘Not so close, and not one that’s mine,’ he says, stroking her breasts, kissing her, and then carrying her over to the bed. The sex is much better this time, apparently. He still needs to work on the foreplay, though. Claire still orgasms, and Jamie apologises, thinking he’s hurt her. She reassures him that this is a good thing. He says he didn’t know that women could do that. Bullshit. The female orgasm was not only well known, but for much of history it was believed that, for a woman to conceive, both partners needed to orgasm during sex.
She turns him over, which confuses him, and starts introducing him to the ways of seduction and, presumably, oral sex. Jamie’s face says, ‘wow, I never saw the horses do this!’ He laughs in delight once it’s over and tells her, in Gaelic, that he thought his heart was going to burst. Claire gets up and walks, naked, over to the window, then wraps herself in his plaid and heads downstairs (still naked except for the plaid, good lord, woman!) to get some water. The room downstairs is empty, save for a cat picking on the leftovers, but then Dougal comes in and says he’s just been to see Randall, who wasn’t happy but has apparently backed down. Really? I find that incredibly difficult—nay, impossible—to believe. He commends her for doing her duty and tells her that being married shouldn’t stop her from ‘sampling other pleasures.’ She reminds him that she’s Jamie’s wife, and the sound of people moving nearby and the entrance of Rupert puts an end to this awkwardness for now. Claire gets ready to go back upstairs, pausing to thank Rupert for getting the ring for her. Rupert cheerfully congratulates her, and once she’s gone, he comments to Dougal that she certainly looks well ridden. Dougal turns around and punches him in the face and sends him to check on the horses.
Upstairs, Claire sits by the fire, just staring and thinking. Jamie wakes and quietly fetches a gift for her: a beautiful string of pearls that must have belonged to his mother. Claire fingers them as he explains that they’re one of the few things he has left of his mother, and they’re precious to him, as Claire is. Claire kisses him on the shoulder and strokes his face tenderly, then kisses his lips and gets ready to have sex with him again. I want to know where these two get their energy from. If I’d been up all night drinking I’d be passed out by now.
Once the sun comes up, Jamie goes to get them some breakfast. Claire starts clearing up the room, finding her spectacular dress just dumped on the floor. As she picks it up, her original wedding ring falls out and rolls across the floorboards. She picks it up and outs it on her right hand, examining both rings side-by-side.