Recap: ‘Outlander’ – Over the hills and through the vale, to ‘Lallybroch’ we go

04.25.15 2 years ago

Starz

After leaving Geillis to an undetermined fate last week – those judges seemed to draw the line at burning a pregnant woman at the stake – and Claire finally confessing her dark secret, everything has changed for the Frasers. In a time before highways and interconnected police precincts, making a break for Lallybroch was basically the same as hiding out on the moon.

Time to find out what adventures await our heroes at Jamie”s childhood home!

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Before anything else, it just needs to be said. The Scottish Highlands are gorgeous. These aerial shots of lush greenery are one Fellowship away from Middle Earth. I”m also astounded once again how anyone traveled anywhere in 18th century Scotland. The Romans never made it this far and without the remnants of their paved thoroughfares, roads are little more than a suggestion.

Claire also longs for a time when horsepower wasn”t literal, regaling Jamie with stories of airplanes. See? Now this is something I can get behind. Claire explaining how aerodynamics work to someone that believes her is nice layer to the time travel trope. I hope we find Gilly again and she talks about the Space Program. Maybe someone from the 90s will pop up and bring glad tidings of nascent Internet connections and cellular phones!

The Frasers arrive a Lallybroch – a melodic name that delights me to type – to see Jenny has been holding down the fort in the four years Jamie has been on the lamb. She”s quite obviously pregnant, but good grief! 18th century clothing does a bang-up job of disguising a woman”s “delicate condition.” No wonder nobles of the era (and earlier) questioned if a Queen was pregnant practically up until the nursery was decorated.

Jenny introduces Jamie to his namesake and, true to his “jump to conclusions” nature, Jamie instantly assumes the boy is Randall”s bastard and that Jenny has soiled herself by getting knocked up again. After missing four years of her life, Jamie”s first thought is “My sister”s a whore” and not “My sister got married.” Sigh. Jenny is brokering none of this slut-shaming garbage and tells him so.

I like Jenny. Sass for days!

We meet Jenny”s husband, a dude named Ian who is friends with Jamie and also a war hero with peg leg. Claire and Ian are left to make awkward small talk in the parlor while the Fraser siblings bicker. The family resemblance is uncanny.

Because nothing says “Welcome home” like being forced to recount the worst day of your life, Jamie needs Jenny to tell him what happened with Black Jack. There”s not even time to get Claire a shirt first. Jenny agrees to tell it once and never again.

Seems fair.

I immediately like the cinematography of this flashback, with red being the only color to bleed through. We are walked through Jenny”s ordeal with her. Tobias Menzies manages to be more sinister with a finger on her lips than most men could manage with their whole bodies. Jenny”s attempt at saving herself draws a tiny cheer from me, which is immediately snatched away as the camera lingers on Randall trying to ‘harden up” for the assault. Male frontal nudity is still such a shock in any format, and I can”t recall ever seeing it in this manner before. It”s…unsettling.

Jenny bursts into hysterical laughter at her situation and Black Jack bristles under this turn of events. I”m reminded of an old quote. Margaret Atwood once asked groups of men and groups of women what their biggest fear of the opposite sex was. The response? “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

Blessedly, Randall knocks Jenny out for her insolence and we”re all spared from deciding if we can get through watching another on-screen sexual assault.

ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, JAMIE?

Claire tries to take Jenny”s side after the story and Jenny rebuffs her for it. Turns out the Fraser sister is none to pleased her brother came home married to an Englishwoman. Jamie has to take Claire aside and point out that 18th century noble marriages are like parenting: United front in front of company, bickering over whether or not you made the right decision in private. I”m now burning with curiosity to see what goes on behind closed doors between Colum and Letitia.

Speaking of privacy, Jenny and Ian give up the Laird”s bedroom for the eldest son and his bride. After all, Jamie”s home and now he”s in charge. I wonder if this is going to cause any issues…hahaha, of course it will!

But for now, I”m just going to stare lovingly at the blue wallpaper in the Fraser bedroom. It”s beautiful. Jamie recounts his few childhood memories sneaking into this forbidden room and even procures his father”s blade from under the bed. 10th century and Viking made, Claire points out with her archaeologist”s eye. QUIT TEASING ME SHOW GIVE ME FLASHBACKS TO CLAIRE”S WICKED COOL CHILDHOOD!

Another flashback studded with red. This time we”re taken back to when Jamie last saw his father alive. Turns out it was when Dad Fraser came to Fort William to secure Jamie”s release. Of course, Black Jack would never let a plaything go so easily. Just when I think Randall will settle for rubbing salt in the wound by telling Jamie about how he deflowered Jenny, the show takes a hard left turn into bisexuality.

Is this going where I think it”s going? It is. Randall agrees to release Jamie if Jamie agrees to bottom for him. Jamie can”t bring himself to it and takes another flogging for his trouble. The ordeal is too much for Dad Fraser, who drops dead of a heart attack.

Please, “Outlander,” don”t make the only two queer people on this show be villains. Please let Sandringham turn out to be an okay guy.

As the flashback ends, Claire puts on her genre-savvy hat and assures Jamie the outcome would”ve been the same even if he”d agreed to Randall”s demands. Black Jack is playing straight out of the “Evil Psycho” handbook and would”ve flogged him again either way. I agree with her.

The Fraser house gets on with the business of being a business. Jenny is cranky about being displaced and I don”t blame her. She”s pregnant and has been running things just fine, thank you very much. And now here comes Jamie to play benevolent Laird and not accept the rents because the tenants have had a rough quarter.

Side note: I love the wallpaper in the dining room too..wait, these are tapestries. Doesn”t matter, LOVE. THEM.

While Jamie let”s the rents slide, Claire steps in to prevent child abuse. Somehow, I don”t know how, but somehow this is going to blow up in her face.

In a bid to keep the peace, Jamie comes home super drunk after trying to convince his fellow men that hitting kids is not cool. Drunk Jamie is pretty adorable, especially when he”s impressed that Claire has seen a real live elephant. But he should probably stop slapping his wife on her recently lacerated back.

Hangovers are a bitch in any century. Especially when your sister is – rightfully – giving you eight kinds of hell for not thinking like an adult. How is the castle gonna run without rents, Jamie? On top of that, the men disagree with Jamie”s stance on child abuse. Jerk-Dad has gifted his unwanted son on the Frasers to raise.

When in doubt about his abilities as a man, Jamie Fraser finds something to do with his hands. Like getting mostly naked to fix a jammed water wheel at the mill. Unfortunately for him, the Red Coats are on patrol. Fortunately for him, Jenny is quick under pressure. Somehow I knew as soon as the camera focused on Claire throwing the sword down that the Brits would be coming along shortly. The ladies blouse their skirts over Jamie”s effects and bluff their way to safety.

It”s nice to see not all the British soldiers were sexually assaulting murderers. Two ladies alone in a field would”ve been ample opportunity, and not one of those guys took advantage of the situation.

Also, for those playing along at home with the “Hold Your Breathe With The Character” game, we”re all dead.

Jamie pops up out of the water and he and Jenny get into again. You can see the dawning horror on Claire”s face as she realizes, this is her life now. She married into some Scottish Jerry Springer drama.

Luckily for Claire, this isn”t Ian”s first time at the Fraser rodeo. He”d known the these kids for a long time. Fought in the war in France with Jamie – where he lost his leg – and married Jenny after she insisted. The story of how those two got engaged is adorable.

Having an ally against Fraser bull-headedness gives Claire the courage to continue. Filled with fire stoke by Ian, she takes Jamie”s advice from earlier and chooses to air her displeasure with his behavior in the privacy of their bedroom. “I. Am. Speaking.” she declares. Claire”s domme is peeking out. The faster Jamie realizes he”s the sub in this relationship, the faster we can get to the juicy BDSM.

Between his sister and his wife, Jamie finally sees the error of his ways. Jenny finds him at their father”s tombstone, finally paying his respects. Jamie tosses his sister a bag of money, sheepishly admitting he went and got the rents. Kind of wishing they”d showed that. He must”ve turned the Fraser charm to MAXIMUM WATTAGE to get that money without losing the love of the tenants.

Jenny also apologizes, admits she blames herself for their father”s death. Jamie also blames himself for the death of Dad Fraser. Both of them now realize the real culprit is Black Jack Randall. Neither of them realize the other culprit is a high fatty diet and lack of cardiovascular exercise.

The kids hug it out over dad”s grave. More complex sibling relationships, please!

That night, Claire admits she is finally feeling like she belongs here. I”m still not sure if she went back through the stones or not. While the book readers seem insistent she did not, the show left that intentionally vague. Claire”s newfound ease with 18th century life makes it seem as if she MUST have gone through the stones, found that time travel is wonky and Frank had moved on or that her feelings for Jamie were just too strong, and came back. Either way, when Jamie confesses he”s loved her since he first laid eyes on her, Claire says she loves Jamie too (for the first time ever!).

I believe her!

Content in their love, the newlyweds go to bed. Huh. Things seem to being going suspiciously well. Something bad must be about to happen.

Oh look, a gun battle.

What did you guys think? Has Claire found her true place in the world? Will Jamie manage to not get shot…again? And just who are these pistol-wielding dudes?

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