Previously on Outlander, “La Dame Blanche”
You can always tell how good a party was by the clean-up you have to do the next day; in this case, the Fraser’s dinner was pretty epic. When Jamie finally returns from his night in the Bastille, he and Claire have to recap for each other the bits they missed–standard post-party rehash. Duvernay was responsible for saving Jamie, but poor Alex Randall is not only still there but also currently unemployed; the Duke of Sandringham didn’t even wait for the bars to slam shut before firing him via post-it note. And while Jamie was cooling off for the night, Prince Chuck left with the Comte St. Germain, looking 100% up to no good. Oh yeah, and Jamie might have told everyone that Claire was a mythical French witch to keep her safe, which sort of explains why the men called her La Dame Blanche when they attacked her, but doesn’t explain how Jamie forgot that Claire was almost burned at the stake.
Sweet Mary Hawkins is still recovering from her gang initiation, and apparently her uncle is wasting no time in telling her that she’s tainted goods. Her ancient fiancee has broken up with her, which is a plus, but Alex is still in jail. Claire spends less time comforting Mary than she does convincing Alex to break up with her; even though they love each other, Alex is unemployed and clearly dying of some sort of consumption, which means Mary will be left a young and broke widow. Also, Claire needs his brother Black Jack to get with Mary so that they can conceive Frank’s ancestors and Frank can continue to live in the future. See how everyone wins here?
When the Prince and the Comte left the party together, they hatched themselves a little business plan: buy a boat, buy some wine, sell the wine, payoff the boat, finance a war. Pretty standard after-party plan with lots of enthusiasm and few details. Chuck informs Jamie that he has to be the one to sell the wine, and Jamie and the Comte meet to discuss business, but really just spent the time dropping a lot of veiled threats at each other.
At Versaille, Jamie gets to help the Duke of Sandringham pick out a new pony while Claire gets to stroll around the gardens with Jamie’s ex, Annalise–I suspect later in private they would have vied for the Who Had the Worse Day title. Jamie and the Duke just had a lot of vague talk about ponies and princes, while Annalise sort of accused Claire of turning Jamie into a man. Those French insults can be subtle and tricky, ‘cause Claire didn’t look all that unimpressed with the accusation.
But then, of course, Claire clenches the Worst Day title because from behind Annalise walks up none other than Black-Jack-fucking-Randall. We all knew he was alive, of course, but who the hell thought he was just going to show up again? In Paris? At the palace of the French King? In his smarmy British uniform with that evil little grin on his face?? Claire nearly loses her shit on him but is interrupted by the King, who takes great joy in making Randall look foolish in front of everyone. I don’t know why King Louis has it out for Randall–maybe because he’s British–but he gets all of the laughs by mocking Randall and making him get on his knees to beg. King Louis might also be kind of a jerk, but in this instance he seems pretty delightful.
Jamie has been given the heads up that Randall is at hand, and somehow has the restraint not walk up and run his sword right through him. That last night in the Bastille probably helped cool him off just a little. But he does have a few private words with his tormentor, and it looks like we’re all invited to a duel!
Murtaugh and Jamie prepare the weapons, and no one notices that Claire has been missing for a minute. She triumphantly arrives back at the house and announces that there will be. No. Duel. She’s had Randall arrested for attacking her and Mary Hawkins in the street, and even though he’ll only be in jail for a few hours, it’s enough for Claire to talk some sense into Jamie. I guess she didn’t think very far ahead to realize that Jamie has no interest in sense and reason. He wants a duel, and he wants to get this man out of his head and out of his bed and off the planet. His arguments are legit, and Claire does what is becoming standard Claire fashion and plays a trump card: Jamie owes her a life, and that life is Randall.
Even though Randall is a guilty sadistic bastard and Jamie deserves closure and Claire saved his life because she loves him and not so he’d owe her a favor, she needs Randall to stay alive so that Frank will get to live later. Because it’s okay that they’re trying to change the future to stop a war, changing the future to affect Frank is not on the table. If Claire has heard of the Butterfly Effect, she may not fully understand how that works–changing the future is changing the future, no matter how big or small the event. Jamie concedes, because what choice does he have? He gives her a year, so that Mary Hawkins can conceive this Frank-ly ancestor, and then he can have his vengeance. Claire goes to hug him and he shove her arms away from her, and in that second she may have fully grasped what damage she just did to her marriage. It’s going to be a long, cold year.
Outlander S2E5 = 8/10