Previously on Outlander, “Useful Occupations and Deceptions”
Claire accompanies Jamie to one of his seemingly daily chess games with Duverney (having watched my husband and his friends play video games, I totally empathize), and things turn icy when the Comte St Germain shows up and drops his snark all over their board. Claire bides her time by drinking the local wine, only to find that someone has poisoned her drink!
Jamie nurses Claire back to health, and she decides it’s time to finally let the cat out of the bag about Black Jack Randall. He is alive and kicking (or kissing, as it were), but instead of fury, or tears, or anger, Jamie is… excited? Like the rest of us, Claire finds that a bizarre reaction, but to Jamie it means that he’ll actually get the chance to exact sweet murderous revenge on Randall himself.
While Jamie goes off to do all of that daytime stuff he does that we don’t see but must be important, Claire spends some time catching up with the Apothecary Ray. She knows the poison came from him, since he’s the only purveyor of poisons in the city, but it was never intentional on his part. To further cement his innocence he gifts Claire with a big ugly new-age rock of a necklace. Be it science or magic, the rock will change colors in the presence of poison. He also reads her future in the sheep knucklebones and very surprisingly predicts that she will see Frank again. Does that mean she’s going to leave Jamie? Is she going back to her own time?
A daytime visit with Louise turns out to be more exciting than the usually deep waxing and card games: Louise is pregnant, which will come as quite a shock to her husband since they have not been “together” for months. But she’s determined to keep the little bastard, so Claire suggests that she go ahead and arrange a *ahem* meeting with her husband to create the illusion that he is having an heir, even if doing so will send Louise’s lover into a jealous rage.
The next time Jamie and Claire see each other, Claire has already retired for the night and Jamie wakes her up with kisses and excitement, although the excitement quickly takes a back seat when Claire discovers whore-shaped bite marks all over his legs and a quick explanation that involves both a blonde and 69. What should have been a conversation about marital expectations erupts into accusations from Claire (who feels like she’s been shouldering this whole pregnancy alone) and some hard truths from Jamie (who still can’t bear to touch his wife because of Black Jack’s memory). They yell a bit, put a lot of themselves out there, and then big baby Jamie walks away to go sleep alone. What a mensch. I feel for Jamie–I do–and I’m sure that a big strapping male never suspects that he’s going to have his inner Fortress of Solitude so completely violated. But the crux of their relationship was formed on total truths, and it hurts a little to watch him think that he couldn’t come to Claire before now with the pieces of himself in his hands.
True to form, Claire comes to find him, and they finally break their dry spell and begin to reconnect on all of the levels they have. Apparently this was a controversial scene that everyone had to fight to keep in; I’m guessing it’s because everyone knows pregnant woman neither have sex anymore nor ever have any other desires for sex once they get babies on the brain nor can be sexy in any way at all. I can’t imagine any moment more intimate than two people and their child expressing their love, and it’s one of the most beautiful scenes the show has given us so far.
Prince Chuck interrupts their reunion by breaking into their house for a little on-the-sly medical attention. It seems that his secret lover’s pet monkey has bitten his hand. Wait a minute! We know someone who has a bitey little monkey… And so do Claire and Jamie. They concoct a rather vicious plan to capitalize on what will be Chuck’s impending heartbreak over his lover and her new condition.
All this drama calls for a stressful dinner party! Claire promises to be back in time from the hospital to make her dinner party magic happen (although she doesn’t do any of the cooking or the cleaning, so she’s kind of unnecessary. It’s okay–she knows). What she doesn’t plan for is the broken wheel on the carriage, so modern-woman that she is, she and Mary Hawkins and Murtaugh just walk home. Modern women maybe aren’t that acquainted with the mean streets of Paris, and they’re attacked in an alley by masked men who beat the shit out of Murtaugh and take to raping sweet (and apparently virginal) Mary Hawkins. When Claire pulls back her hood to yell bloody murder at them, they realize they’ve just assaulted La Dame Blanche and run for their lives. Um, who the hell is La Dame Blanche?
Murtaugh and Claire have to sneak the comatose Mary Hawkins into the house, since all of the dinner guests (including her guardian Uncle and also her ancient fiancee) are already in the house. Jamie and Claire have a whispered but very telling conversation about what exactly this assault will do to sweet Mary’s reputation. It’s not right, and it’s not even all that far off from what we read in the papers now, but this violation of men makes her now “unclean” for any other reputable man. What utter horseshit. But there’s always the very good Alex Randall, who has been sending Mary love letters on the sly and who Mary confessed earlier to having fallen quite in love with. He offers to stay with her and keep her quiet and comfortable while the party rages. Below them at the dinner table, Chuck discovers that his lover is pregnant, and her condition could be either by himself or by her own husband (neither of which seems acceptable). Claire, who needs to fire her housekeeper for the terrible seating arrangements, ends up next to the Comte, and the two of them make slightly veiled poisonous threats at each other.
Alex may be a good secretary, but he’s terrible at subduing the ladies–Mary wakes up in a post-traumatic panic and struggles against Alex to escape and get downstairs. Her screaming alerts the dinner party, who rush in to find Alex subduing Mary by lying on top of her (maybe not the best method, clearly), and everyone overreacts. Furniture is thrown, Jamie and Murtaugh beat up the guests, and the Duke and the Comte slip out the door together to call the police. If this were modern-day college-aged Jamie, that party would have been a total success, but for old-timey French-living Jamie, this is probably just going to be trouble.
Outlander S2E4 = 7.8/10