'Outlander' season 2, episode 5: Claire and Jamie face an unwanted return
All hail Caitriona Balfe for bringing it this episode.
And even though we've gone a little off-book, "Untimely Resurrection" still gave us tense intrigue when Black Jack Randall returned.
So, Captain Randall is back, and everything else this episode pales in comparison with that moment. So let's quickly go over everything else leading up to it.
We return right where we left off, to the dinner party catastrophe. Claire awaits Jamie's arrival after he and the other men were arrested. Things seem to go smoothly with his release, but I raise an eyebrow since Jamie has had so many brushes with the law.
Jamie asks Claire about the attack and it seems he's the one who spread the La Dame Blanche, "The White Woman," rumors to explain why he's not womanizing with Prince Charles Stuart. Smart! So this means the men who attacked Mary and Claire frequent the whorehouse that Jamie and the prince go to. Hopefully this information will lead back to this season's villian: Comte St. Germain.
Claire checks in on Mary, who is still recovering. She brings her herbs and helps Mary understand what happened, and didn't happen. She's not pregnant, and now Mary doesn't have to marry that gross old man. Mary has rewritten a letter to claim Alex's innocence. She plans to marry him, but Claire knows she's got to meddle to make sure that the Randall timeline stays intact. Jonathan and Mary will wed, and have children, so Frank can eventually be born. So Claire goes to Alex and convinces him that because of his poor health, he'd just be a burden to Mary.
Meanwhile, Jamie is still scheming with and against Prince Charles, who still needs money. His plan now is to benefit from his new friendship with Comte St. Germain. Charles has secured a business bank loan and will buy St. Germain's shipment of wine, to sell for profit, with Jamie. Jamie tries to tell him that's still not enough money to fund an army, but Charles says it's enough for now. Jamie needs to come up with a better argument here.
The men meet up to go over the wine plan. Jamie agrees to St. Germain's demand that he keeps the wine until Jamie presents buyers. This is good, because Claire and Jamie have a plan to doom the entire shipment with an herb that mimics small pox.
And we get a very touching moment between the parents-to-be when Jamie presents his family's collection of spoons to Claire. She worries about not being a good mother, and Jamie reassures her that she's going to be great. These two have so much respect for each other, and this will come into play later in the episode.
So now we arrive at Versailles, and Captain Randall's return. Claire chats with Annalise, you know, that other woman that was in Jamie's life.
Black Jack is also there, and he walks up to Claire, who is wearing a dress as stunningly beautiful as the red dress in the premiere episode. He's in town to help his sick brother. But he gets a little excited to hear that Jamie is there, too. Ugh.
Claire tries to get away, but all the sudden the King is there. The King also does not like Black Jack. He mocks his uniform. He tells him to get on his knees, only to laugh in his face. At that point, Jamie has walked up to the group. (It was hard not to think of the taunting French knights in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)
Balfe is exquisite during all of this. Watching Claire's turmoil in her face made us all feel the intensity of the situation. It feels wrong to love the return of Capt. Randall, but Tobias Menzies is wonderfully evil and menacing, and makes this whole scene truly unbearable.
Jamie challenges Black Jack to a duel, which is illegal in France. Claire will not have it and runs off to falsely claim that Jonathan Randall was the one who attacked her and Mary. Because there won't be actual evidence to hold him on, he'll be released soon enough, and she'll just claim she was "mistaken." But this buys her enough time to convince Jamie to keep Black Jack alive.
Claire tells him why this is so important: Frank's lineage is at stake. She reminds him that she's saved Jamie's life twice, so he owes her this life. One year. She wants one year to let Mary and Jonathan have a child, then Jamie can rightfully kill Black Jack. Jamie concedes, but this isn't over. Black Jack is still in town, and you can bet he'll be around again. And again.