Recap: ‘Outlander’ – ‘By The Pricking Of My Thumbs,’ horny teens ruin everything

04.11.15 3 years ago

Starz

Welcome back, “Outlander” fans! We did it. We survived the Great Disagreement™ of 2015. Just a quick reminder that I am actively avoiding the books. I came into the show without foreknowledge and I plan to keep it that way. So anything that happened in the books that explains a scene or adds dimension to a character doesn”t exist for me (and many other ‘virgin” fans).

After last week”s divisive episode, “Outlander” gets back onto solid ground by opening a huge can of subplots. Let”s dive right in!

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Jamie tries to win back some much needed brownie points with morning cunnilingus, and he is either a quick study or a significant amount of time has passed. Claire definitely seems into it. The devil”s advocate in me wonders who is better at this: Jamie or Frank?

In other news, Murtagh finally has a nickname! And it”s Muffblocker. When a married couple doesn”t respond to insistent door banging, other than with suspicious moaning, NOW IS NOT THE TIME!

Muffblocker cares not for interrupting foreplay – probably because the idea of female pleasure is foreign to him – and shoulders his way into the Fraser bedroom. Turns out the Duke of Sandringham is in town and has enough power to clear Jamie”s name and reinstate him as a Laird. Claire, with all the smoothness of a gawky teenager asking her crush out, insinuates she knows Black Jack Randall and Sandringham are friends, but she totally can”t tell Jamie how she knows that. Because time travel. Muffblocker is suspicious but Jamie puts that line of questioning on lockdown because the good news of possible pardon barely outweighs screwing up the mood.

In good spirits despite what must be a RAGING case of blue balls, Jamie goes to get Budget Ben”s official lawyer opinion. Budget Ben urges caution, since the English are a tricky lot and the truth has very little to do with the law. But he seems to think Randall”s continued sexual assault of Claire – a woman of noble birth – might be enough to tar him in Sandringham”s eyes, garner a court martial, AND clear Jamie”s name. Either 18th century English courts were kinder to victims of sexual violence than modern ones or Budget Ben is naive.

I kind of wish the show had opted for quick captions that tell viewers the date. Using Claire”s clothes to indicate the passage of time is an inexact science. Has it been a week since the belt? A month?

I only bring this up because as Jamie goes to lawyer up, Claire goes to confront Leery about putting the ill-wish doll under their bed. That implies this is the next morning, yes?

The conversation starts with Claire trying to be understanding – after all, Leery is sixteen, a volatile age in any era – and ends with Leery getting slapped. Claire warns her to stay away from her husband and I am super confused. If my timeline is right, Claire was trying to get to Frank less than a week ago and now she”s acting righteously upset about some strumpet trying to ruin her marriage to Jamie. So, I guess this is point where the metaphorical strand of pearls officially breaks and Claire makes a conscious decision to make this insane time travel accident work? A woman with one foot out of the stone circle wouldn”t be this irate about a former flame of her beard of a ‘husband”.

In less confusing news, Claire”s bodice in this scene is gorgeous! I look forward to seeing it on cosplayers in the near future.

Leery confesses she got the ill-wish doll from Gilly. Of course Claire instantly goes to confront her friend, but runs into the disgusting Mr. Duncan instead. I wondered why they”d even bother to bring him into the episode, but it”s clearly so we all have his boorishness in the front of our minds for later. Smart writing is smart.

Gilly”s maid tells Claire her mistress will be in the woods tonight because it”s a full moon. I think Gilly needs to find a maid who won”t go blabbing about her witchy ways hither and yon because that”s kind of stuff gets a girl burned at the stake.

But perhaps Gilly meant for Claire to watch. After all, she”s writhing mostly naked on the ground in the chill of the night, is careful to lift up her gossamer robe to expose her pregnant belly, and knows Claire is watching. This feels like a set up. For what, I”m not yet sure.

The moonlit dance reminds Claire of the women at the stone circle. Before that train of thought can follow through to remind her that she was trying to return to her original husband, Gilly drops a bomb worthy of an episode of Maury. Scottish Santa is the father! Man, he gets around. Gilly says the dance was asking Mother Nature to free her and Dougal from their respective spouses so they can be together. Claire is skeptical.

Said skepticism continues on the road home as dawn breaks. It sure took a long time to put out like three fires. Whatever. I”m enamored with Gilly”s cloak and will forgive any egregious time skips. Claire confronts the redhead about the ill-wish and Gilly swears she never would”ve given it to Leery if she knew who it was for. Geillis also let”s it slip that Dougal and Sandringham are friendly, triggering a memory of Frank discussing Sandringham”s alleged Jacobite ties. Hi Frank! Sorry, but you”ve been replaced, I guess? Nice to see you, though!

As the ladies are walking home, Claire hears a baby crying in the distance. Gilly warns her not to interfere, as the wailing is coming from a fairy hill and is obviously a changeling. Claire, being a reasonable human, calls poppycock and runs off to save the infant from its superstitious parents.

She”s too late.

Catriona Balfe does a better job of displaying grief over a rubber babydoll than anyone should be able to achieve. Some time later, Jamie finds Claire still cradling the lifeless baby. “Outlander” outdoes dozen of shows and films by remembering to toss in a throwaway line about how Jamie found her out in the middle of nowhere: he ran into Gilly. Plot hole averted.

Jamie coaxes the baby out of Claire”s arms. He understands her kind-heartedness but explains it doesn”t matter if he and she know the superstitions are dumb. The people believe it. They”ll never see a speck of dirt outside their community, their worlds are tiny and full of customs. It”s the first time in a long time that Jamie reminds the audience that he is no mere farm boy. Though now I want him to say “As you wish” at least once.

Back at Castle Leoch, Jamie explains the plan. Claire will sign a petition saying that Randall attempted to sexually assault her multiple times and then Sandringham will HAVE to take action. Clearly none of these men have ever reported an assault. Claire hesitates. I”d like to think she”s weighing the consequences of opening herself up to questioning. There”s a reason women don”t report rape; often the system set up to protect them does nothing but more harm. This scene is probably as close as we”re getting to “Outlander” acknowledging just how mentally traumatized Claire should be after her whirlwind month of assault and kidnapping.

Claire signs.

Hedging her bets, she then hoofs it to Sandringham”s estate without telling Jamie. The opulence of a British home is jarring after the rough-hewn walls of Castle Leoch. In what might turn out to be a tactical error, Claire basically tells Sandringham he”ll sign the petition for Randall”s court martial or she”ll tell on him for accepting Jacobite gold. While this has the short-term result she”s after, Sandringham seems the type to be in it for the long con.

Girl, you in danger.

As for Sandringham, he is delightfully untrustworthy. He clearly has his own agenda and it doesn”t involve furthering anyone”s goals but his own. And he is so obviously batting for the other team. Yes man, we get it. You can stop saying how “fond” you are of Jamie.

Back at the castle, Scottish Santa is inconsolable. His beloved wife Moira, so beloved in fact that we”ve never heard a word about her, has died mysteriously. Well, that”s convenient. After putting on a drunken, grief-stricken show, Claire and Muffblocker conspire to drug him and Dougal goes down for the count.

Gilly is pleased with this turn of events. I know you all say Leery is the bunny boiler, but Gilly has just thrown her hat into the ring for the title.

Unaware of his wife”s machinations, Jamie approaches Sandringham with the petition. Because the Duke is better at this game than Claire, he agrees to help Jamie…if Jamie will be his second in a duel over an unpaid debt. With Mackenzie clan enemies, the McDonnell”s.

Things get real at dinner that night when, in FULL VIEW of all the Mackenzie nobility and the Duke of Sandringham, Geillis murders her husband via arsenic. Girlfriend has balls of steel. Dougal”s small, pleased smile gives me (and Colum) pause. Was he really upset Moira died? Or did he give her a hand into the grave?

No time to dwell on it because it”s time to learn about duels. They weren”t the barbaric murder sprees we might think they were. Instead, two men go through the rote motions of restoring honor by aiming poorly and hitting nothing. Stormtroopers would be AWESOME at duels.

The baby McDonnell”s are not pleased. They wanted their patriarch to shed some English blood. One things leads to another, Jamie insults their mother, and suddenly it”s an all-out brawl. Jamie wins but takes a sword to the side for his trouble. Even back in the day, insulting a man”s mother brought serious consequences. Sandringham quips, “Please tell your wife it wasn”t my fault” and flees the scene with petition in hand.

Claire seems to disagree with the Duke”s assessment and settles for taking out her anger on Jamie”s wound.

Just when Jamie was about to cue the sad trombone music to indicate his day couldn”t get worse, it does. Colum is livid that Scottish Santa knocked up a murderous witch. To add insult to injury, the fool is IN LOVE with her. Colum banishes Dougal to his own estates and refuses to let him take Gilly along. Jamie is caught in the crossfire and sent to babysit his Uncle for the crime of stabbing clan enemies after insulting their mom. Feeling particularly bitchy, Colum also decrees that Claire can”t tag along.

Damn Colum, just because you aren”t getting laid doesn”t mean you have to make sure no one else is!

Saddling up to ride into the sunset, Jamie and Claire share a kiss. Jamie warns her to stay away from Geillis because Colum is on the warpath. What Claire hears is, “You should absolutely try and help Gilly escape punishment and make yourself look like an accessory to the crime.”

Which is exactly what she does. A note sent from “Geillis,” but actually sent by Leery if I were a betting gal, lands Claire at Gilly”s house just as the cops show up to arrest her for witchcraft. A little bird told the constables that Claire was a witch too, so into the paddy wagon she goes.

In the distance, Leery smiles. Teenagers are literally the worst.

So, what did you guys think? Is Gilly a Machiavellian genius or just a pawn in a bigger plot? Will Claire choke the life out of Leery?

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