Previously on Outlander, ‘The Watch’
Jamie is still missing, you guys, and since Ian doesn’t know where he is (because he was busy escaping), Claire is taking the search for her husband into her own two hands. Four hands, rather, because even though Jenny just had a baby THREE DAYS AGO, she jumps on that horse faster than Claire can say “Jenny, you just a had a baby three days ago!” and rides off to track down her brother.
So begins the badass lady show of Jenny and Claire, squeezin’ poop, taking hostages, reading sealed mail, and stopping just long enough to pump some breast milk. The whole thing was actually a lot cooler than it sounds–these two ladies could have their own show, tracking asses and taking names. We’d call it Gams for Hire. Or Scot Free. Or just Fraser.
They did capture a redcoat courier, who did have information on Jamie; he’d escaped, and the Garrison at Ft William was being called in to catch him. And if they ever receive the letter Jenny just tore up, they’ll be right on it, I’m sure. Murtaugh shows up just in time to relieve the ladies of murdering their captive, and he and Jenny switch places so she can get home to her newborn baby. Before leaving, Jenny give Claire a garter-knife and the bag of rent money in return for some gardening tips: “plant potatoes”, Claire tells her ominously.
In the great tradition of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Murtaugh and Claire burn across the Scottish highlands, singing and dancing and making a weird, well-known name for themselves. But that’s the plan, you see: when Jamie hears of a Sassenach dressed in drag singing a bawdy sexy Scottish song, as soon as he picks himself off the floor from laughing hysterically he’ll know exactly where to find them! This may be Murtaugh’s ridiculous plan, but what really takes it over the top is Claire’s version of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”.
The birth of Scottish vaudeville–right here, ladies and gentleman!
The plan worked, in a way–they made a few dollars to travel on and a name for themselves, but not to the attention of Jamie. Instead they attracted a band of Travellers who promptly steal Claire and Murtaugh’s whole gimmick and then do it better! Mr. Ward, the head traveller, doesn’t care much for the reasons Claire is singing this song or that Jamie might end up following the wrong singing cross-dressing Sassenach, but agrees to stop when she gives him their entire bag of gold. Murtaugh can’t keep his eyes from rolling out of his head, knowing Ward will go back on his word as soon as Claire turns her back, but when he tries to send her packing home to Lallybroch she pulls rank on him.
More crisscrossing the country without even a word from Jamie. What was once adorable is now tedious, and Claire is getting pissy that she still has to wear pants and sing silly songs with no outcome. She takes her frustration out on Murtaugh, who completely doesn’t deserve it. He’s known loss too, and tells Claire the story of his favorite lassie who had another on the side; she ran off to marry him, and all he could do was give her some boar-tusk bracelets as a wedidng present. Wait a minute–Claire has some boar tusk bracelets that Jenny gave to her…they belonged to Jenny’s mom–Murtaugh was totally in love with Jamie’s mother!!
Since they’ve had no word from Jamie, their best bet is to start back at the beginning of their trip and do it all over again (this time without the stage show, to Claire’s relief). Reading fortunes in a small village crosses their paths with Mr. Ward again. He broke his promise to Claire, just like Murtaugh said he would, but ended up receiving a message that was meant for the real Sassenach: a meeting, as soon as possible, at Glenrowan Cross.
They make the most haste to get to Glenrowan, but when they arrive it’s not Jamie who is waiting for them…it’s Dougal MacKenzie!! The bad news is, while alive, Jamie has been captured and is in Wentworth Prison, waiting to be hanged. The good news is now Claire will be a widow, she’ll be free to marry the MacKenzie War Chieftain. What a generous offer! Dougal tries to make his points to her–she’ll be a penniless, landless widow with no protection and Black Jack Randall on her back–but Claire is far from flattered by this worst proposal ever. But in exchange for helping her attempt to rescue Jamie, she promises she’ll take his hand if it comes to that. With a rousing speech about blood and honor, she convinces three of Dougal’s men to come with them (three cheers for Willie, Rupert, and Angus!) as they try to break in to prison. Counting Murtaugh and Claire, that’s five against… a whole lot.
Thoughts on this episode:
- That first 15 minutes was one long love letter to awesome ladies! Jenny may have resting bitch-face, but she’s the first Fraser I’d pick to have on my team. Okay, maybe not the first Fraser, but at least the first Murray.
- If you’ve ever seen Bedazzled, Mr. Ward and Brendan Fraser’s drug lord are clearly related, and not distantly.
- This episode was such a strange amalgam of genres: Jenny and Claire as buddy cops, Claire and Murtaugh as cowboys (then minstrels), the Victor/Victoria cross dressing, Claire’s Lifetime-worthy melodrama, and then her turn at an impassioned William Wallace-style speech. That’s a lot to cram into one hour. Some of it worked, but a lot of it felt just too silly to really be happening. Yes, in a show about a time-travelling war nurse married to a Scottish Highlander, her dressing in pants and singing an Andrews’ Sisters song was the breaking point into absurdity.
- That last shot of them looking at the prison, though–that totally saved the episode. Because no matter how ridiculous this episode was, the next few are going to be harrowing and tense and most likely full of awesome. How else could six people break a man out of there?!