It”s a brand new episode of “Outlander” and a brand-new format for the recap! When I first started watching this show last year, I was still very green to recapping. Over the last few months, with more shows under my belt, my style has changed. Starting with “The Watch,” it”ll be less play-by-play. But still just as sassy as ever!
Last week”s episode ended on a cliffhanger when – after Claire finally declared her love for Jamie – the rules of drama demanded a sacrifice. Thus the Frasers were held at gunpoint in their own home. Luckily “The Watch” is not interested in retreading the same dangers Claire and Jamie have already faced.
Especially when there are so many new dangers to pick from!
Taran MacQuarrie – henceforth known as Talon because reasons – has come to collect his quarterly shakedown. Not knowing who Jamie is, he assumed his paying customers were being robbed. A comedy of near-deadly errors. Once Jenny smoothes is over, Talon declares he is going to use the Fraser household as a base of operations for a raid, because that”s what the Highland Mafia™ does. Robs from the rich, gives to themselves. Or perhaps to the poor? After all, throughout the episode Talon is nothing if not the epitome of “honor amongst thieves.” Unfortunately, not all his men follow the same code. The rules are more like guidelines, really.
This is especially the case for Talon”s minion Horrocks. The Irishman knows Jamie is a Fraser and not a McTavish and plans to make good use of this information to scam Jamie for cash. Horrocks is disarmingly charming and without Claire around to smack some genre-savviness into him, Jamie falls for the old “Sure, I”ll blackmail you within an inch or your life, but I”d never stab you in the back!” routine. Fortunately, Ian is able to step in and deal with the Horrocks” problem in a succinct PERMANENT manner. Ian Murray is the kind of man willing to kill to protect his family.
In fact, if there”s a theme running throughout the episode, it”s the desire to protect the ones you love in a cold and unforgiving world. Jamie may be incensed that his brother-in-law would dare to pay the Scottish Mafia™ protection money, but the highlands are dark and full of dangers. Ian might be a war hero with no qualms about killing in self-defense, but there”s only so much a single man can do in the face of British soldiers or marauding clans. And yes, Jenny seems like the kind of gal who can – and has – turned any household item into a deadly weapon. But what good is that when the wolves come howling in the night?
Jamie”s attitude towards the Watch reminds me for the 800th time this season that he is meant to be in his early twenties, complete with the fiery passion and short-sightedness of youth. Only the arrogant or the young can sit in such righteous judgement of other people”s hard choices.
Speaking of hard choices, the boys got off easy this week with their “Which devil do you trust?” quandary. The stress of keeping her little brother from screwing everything up (again) sends Jenny into labor. Claire finds herself in the role of midwife, a duty not usually required of a war nurse.
Exploring the inner lives of women is one of the places where “Outlander” shines. From interesting tidbits about how women “knew” the gender of their baby in a time before ultrasounds – the same old wives” tales that linger today – to Jenny sharing her fears of the unknown in a world centuries away from comprehensive obstetrics medicine, the show encapsulates the fret and worry mothers have felt since time immemorial.
Never was a woman”s life in more danger in 18th century Scotland…or 18th century anywhere…than during childbirth. It was a battlefield populated only by women and “Outlander” doesn”t shy away from the terror bubbling just under the surface of anticipated joy. As Jenny”s labor stretches on for a full day after her water breaks, the concept of a bacterial infection leading to death looms like a specter over the birthing bed. Having the baby in breech only ratcheted up the fear factor. While it could be seen as morbid for Jenny to recount the deaths of her mother and brother during active labor, the focus on the ghosts of her past supplemented the sheen of sweat and Jenny”s palpable fear that she would also leave her children to grow up without a mother.
In the end, Jenny is delivered of a beautiful breech baby girl. Of course it was a girl. The characters were FAR too convinced it was a boy for that to actually be the case.
Meanwhile, Claire”s confession to Jamie that there will never be any children for them because Claire fears she is barren rings as false as manufactured soap opera drama. Sure, girlfriend was married for years, but she spent most of that time covered in the gore of strangers. She only saw Frank a handful of times during the war, and I seriously doubt the British army let them schedule shore leave around Claire”s ovulation. The couple had only been on their second honeymoon for a handful of days before Claire tripped and fell through time. There is absolutely nothing about those circumstances that should make a NURSE believe she”s barren. Clearly this is just a setup for Claire to be shocked when she comes up pregnant later.
Probably right after Jamie gets kidnapped by British soldiers. Surprise! The conniving Irishman who was blackmailing his way to America sold out his fellow Watchmen. Somehow, I actually didn”t see it coming until Jamie did. Well played show.
Odd & Ends
• “Tread lightly, don”t provoke them.” Claire have you met your husband?
• Only Jamie Fraser could bring a knife to a gunfight and win.
• Was anyone else expecting Claire to get elbows-deep in her sister-in-law”s uterus to turn that ornery baby around?
• Any minute now, modern hospitals are going to remember laying on your back is the worse way to give birth and bring back the birthing chair.
• I love how Jamie”s plan was to clandestinely meet Horrocks” under cover of mid-afternoon, three feet from the house.
• Ian Murray is terrifying. Do you have any idea how hard it must be to sneak silently through the underbrush with a peg leg?
• I”m pretty sure Jamie would like being dragged around by his hair quite a bit…the show is still easing on into that BDSM lifestyle.
• It was super nice of Jenny to give Claire her mother”s wedding gift bracelets. How long until they”re a relevant plot point?
• Please, please, please let Ian have lost his peg leg because he used it to beat a Red Coat to death.
• Jamie”s kidnapping has me suspicious that we”re book-ending the season with Claire bursting in to save Jamie mid-sexual assault.