Previously on Outlander, ‘Both Sides Now’
It’s been seven freakin’ months since our last episode of Outlander, but the story picks up right where it left off: with Claire on the cusp of being raped by Black Jack Randall, and Jaime swooping in through the window to save the day.
Actually, let’s back that up a little. Jaime and company are interviewing Horrocks, trying to get the info to clear Jaime’s name from that pesky murdering-a-British-officer charge (no dice there, since it was Randall who actually did the murdering, but I’m sure that’ll come up again later) when they find out Claire has been taken by the British. With no hesitation they race for Fort William, creep through the fort silent as ghosts, and wrest Claire back half-naked from the clutches of Randall. It’s all very thrilling and tense, and even though no one was killed (acting on the sage advice of Lawyer Ned), you can’t waltz in to a British stronghold, take their hostage, and blow up half the place without inciting a chase.
They spend the next few days riding as fast as they can for the safety of Castle Leoch, but not without stopping to let Jaime and Claire hash things out a little. It’s a monumental fight, and it quickly escalates into screaming things that can’t be taken back, but at the heart of it Jaime is right: if Claire had done as she was told, if she hadn’t wandered off, none of them would be in the danger they’re in with the British soldiers in hot pursuit.
Claire quickly discovers another consequence to her poor choices. The men are all giving her the silent treatment, and the only fix is for her to pay for her actions. Jaime spends a lot of time waxing poetic about justice and lessons learned, but while he’s talking about righting her wrongs, he takes off his belt and starts to fold it as if he’s going to spank her with it. And then, I shit you not, he chases her around the room, bends her over his knee, and SPANKS HER!! It is epic and uncomfortable and hilarious. And it fixes things, too, because the next morning everything is square with the menfolk–they laugh at her discomfort and offer her seats, and except for Claire giving Jaime the cold shoulder, everything is back to normal.
The welcome back at Castle Leoch is unexpected. Someone must have let the new marriage cat out of the bag, because Mrs. Fitzwilliams and the rest of the castle are overjoyed at the newlyweds. Everyone except Collum and Laoghaire, that is. Collum’s pissed because he just found out about the Dougal’s bakesale to raise money for Bonnie Prince Charlie, and it causes enough tension that it could rip the clan apart. Unsure whether to follow their loyalty to Dougal or their fealty to Collum, the men start turning on each other, and it’s only when Jaime slyly suggest the Collum “gift” the money Dougal raised back to him do things return to normal.
Laohaire is a different matter. Seems she was the only person in the whole castle who didn’t notice the chemistry between Jaime and Claire, and her little heart is broken that he went and got married without her. He promises her they’ll talk about it, but when he puts her off for too long she takes matters into her own hands. She catches up with him alone at the river, and reveals her true feelings for him. She reveals a little more than that, too, when she takes off her cloak to show that she’s only wearing a corset (and one that barely contains her at that!). Jaime wavers for a moment but refuses to partake in her goods, turning her away ashamed and mostly naked. Ladies and Gentlemen, take note: this is how you scorn a woman.
Claire is still icing Jaime out, and he’s finally had enough of not being allowed to come to bed. He talks to her about his day, about watching rigid Collum bend to keep peace in the clan, about how wives have always obeyed their husbands, about how maybe for them it’s different. Maybe for Claire and Jaime, they can’t do it the way it’s always been done before. He takes out his knife and swears to her clan-style that he will never raise his hand to her again, and she accepts his promise by having makeup sex. Lots and lots of it, all over the place. They never actually made it off the floor, and basking in the post-coital glow the easiness of their relationship finally returns. They talk and laugh, Jaime adorably asks what all the nasty names she said to him mean, and now everything actually feels right.
There is one tense moment where, right in the middle of their sexy dance, Claire holds the knife to Jaime’s throat and promises to cut his heart out and eat it if he ever puts his hands on her again. Other than that, though, they’re back to good. Until Claire rolls over and finds an ill-wish charm under their bed, of course. But who could possibly want to wish them ill? Now is the time Jaime should explain to his wife that the mostly naked 16-year-old who tried to seduce him earlier has apparently been saving herself for him, but instead he just says her name: Laoghaire.
- Wasn’t the opening a beautiful parallel to the start of the series? I didn’t rewatch any episodes during the break, and I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing it. Even that damn opening song made me giddy.
- That spanking, though. I know I should have more modern feminist outrage, and of course I’m not condoning it (nor would I suggest trying it at home). But I don’t live in 17th century Scotland, and that was some funny shit. I wonder how many people are out of love with Jaime Fraser this week?
- That bit at the end where Claire holds Jaime at knifepoint was… weird. I know it was about her regaining her control in their relationship, but it just didn’t feel natural. Jaime has spent this whole episode growing as a person and as a man and as a husband, and you’re still here trying to get the last word in. Also, that was going on mid-thrust–what if she had slipped? Or what if he bucked her? He’s still new to this game and now you’re going to introduce knives?
- Once you strip out all of the big exciting events of this episode (explosions! rescues! spankings! sex!), this was really just an episode about two very different people trying to make something work. That argument by the river was brutal, but it felt so real–when both people are so right and so wrong at the same time, and no one backs down until the worst possible thing has been said. That was some good writing this week, guys.