‘Outlander’ season 2, episode 3: Marital support
Jamie is France's most popular guy, apparently. And why wouldn't he be? I'm swooning to the sound of him speaking French in his Scottish accent.
The reason our Outlander duo is in France, remember, is they're trying to stop Prince Charles' Jacobite rebellion by playing a few games of deceit and manipulation. But on paper, that sounds like a boring show to watch. Where's the murder? Ugh, it's like watching a chess game. And we even saw Jamie playing chess with France's minister of finance, Mr. Duverney. So thankfully, Jamie and Claire found other things to do in this episode aptly titled "Useful Occupations and Deceptions."
As Jamie bar and brothel hops with Prince Charles, Claire has tea with her ladies. And soon Claire realizes how she knows the name Mary Hawkins. She is, or rather, will become, the wife of Jonathan Randall. So now we get a little more insight into Outlander's rules for time travel. If Black Jack was actually dead, Frank wouldn't have been born. So if Claire has already "experienced" the future, she can't necessarily change it. But how will this affect going forward with stopping the Jacobite rebellion? Again, remember we know how this all turns out and the Battle of Culloden has the same result. But we can't possibly think all this is for nothing, right?
Anyway, poor Mary Hawkins will have to marry Jonathan Randall at some point in her life. And bear his child. I shudder to think that a young woman who knows nothing about sex will marry a man like that.
Claire immediately tells Murtagh that Black Jack is alive and well. She's wrestling the idea of how and when to Jamie. Or even if she should. Murtagh tells her not to, because he knows Jamie would seek vengeance. He tells Claire she is "keeping a secret to save his life." Claire's ultimate decision is not an easy one. How do you keep your current lover from killing your future/past lover?
After a trip to Monsieur Raymond at the apothecary, she learns of something she can do to pass her time, while also making her feel useful. She begins volunteering at a charity hospital run by nuns. She floats home on a cloud to Jamie after her first successful day tasting urines to diagnose illnesses, but he does not share in her bliss. Her stories of "blood and puss and gangrenous toenails" does not impress Jamie, who is bummed out from his unsuccessful day of "spying."
Earlier that day, he watched as Charles tried to persuade Duverney to make Britain and France allies in Charles' rebellion. "It'll change the world," said Charles with very wide eyes. So even after Jamie tries to plant seeds in both of their ears, it seems like Charles might get his French money after all.
So our Fraser marriage is struggling under pressure. Both Jamie and Claire are trying to find meaning in their cause. And instead of coming together, they find meaning apart and it troubles them both. Jamie needs Claire's support, Claire needs to feel a sense of independent accomplishment. She's not just a supporter. She's a doer. And any 18th century man, even Jamie, cannot understand that. He loves her independence, but only when it doesn't get in the way of his success.
But by the end of the episode, we score a win for the Frasers. After Jamie hires a little pickpocket they name Fergus, the two successfully decode letters of correspondence from Charles. And with incredibly fortunate help from Mother Hildegard, a piece of sheet music actually turns out to be the proof they need that Charles, yes, does have money, but not exactly as much as he boasts about.
The note is also signed "S," so likely the sneaky Duke of Sandringham and Dougal are involved.
In celebration of their small victory, Jamie cheers his wife, "who is always there." But Claire needs to tell Jamie about Black Jack before he figures it out on his own. She doesn't want to take this win away from Jamie, so she doesn't say anything. For now. Remember, Sandringham's new secretary is Black Jack's brother Alexander. Jamie will figure this out very soon.
Three things I loved this episode
Fergus, chomping on a chicken leg in the dining room, complimenting Claire's breasts, like a gentlemen.
The best doctor is a dog. Dr. Bouton diagnoses a patient's wound infection. We need more dog doctors nowadays.
Mother Hildegard just happens to know Johann Sebastian Bach. These name-drops are totally for the history nerds out there.