Previously on Outlander, “All Debts Paid”
It’s still the ’60s in Scotland, and Claire, Roger, and Brianna are still on the hunt for Jamie. They get as far as Ardsmuir Prison, but when they discover the prison was shut down and the prisoners were transferred, it looks like they’ve hit another dead end. Finally taking the advice Mrs. Graham gave her some twenty years ago, Claire and Brianna decide to stop chasing ghosts and head back home to Boston.
At Helwater, the Lord Dunsany and his family arrive home from Italy to find they have a new giant ginger groom in their employ. Since the eldest Dunsany son was killed in the Jacobite Rebellion, Jamie goes by his new, only slightly less Scottish pseudonym Alexander MacKenzie in order to stay incognito (and keep the Mrs. Dunsany from running him through). It doesn’t go entirely according to plan when Jamie-—er, Alex—makes friends with sweet Isobel, the eldest Dunsany daughter with a hankering for Major Handsomepants, and also catches the eye of her younger and notoriously bitchy sister, Geneva.
In fairness, Geneva has some rights to her feelings; she’s being forced to marry a man 3 or 4 times her age so her dad can make some money off of her. It looks like she’s going to channel her frustrations into torturing Jamie, but once she learns everything about him from Major Grey’s older brother, her intentions take a turn towards an odd sort of extortion. Not wanting to lose her virginity to her cryptkeeper husband-to-be, she blackmails Jamie to her bed at the threat of his family’s safety, and he really has no choice but to comply.
It’s a weirdly unsexy and unnecessarily long scene between Jamie and Genevieve. His anger at being blackmailed dissipates awfully quickly, and he treats Genevieve with a tenderness that she doesn’t really deserve. Or maybe she does: she just wants to own some part of herself before she’s sold off to her father’s highest bidder, and maybe this is the only way she can.
Several months later, Geneva’s prominent baby bump is obviously the fruits of Jamie’s labor. She has a healthy baby boy but the bleeding couldn’t be stopped after delivery. The newly widowed Earl of Ellesmere is also pretty sure the baby isn’t his, since he never got the chance to sleep with his “virgin” bride. There’s a tense showdown involving Ellesmere, Dunsany, several weapons, and a hostage newborn; Jamie, who doesn’t take threats to his family lightly, diffuses the situation with a pistol shot through Ellesmere’s heart.
As a sign of gratitude, the Dunsany family gets Jamie off the hook for murder and offers him freedom from their service-—but how could he leave his son behind now? He stays on with the family for several more years just to watch his son grow, and we get just a small glimpse of the adorable relationship between Jamie and Young Willie. But everyone is starting to notice how much Willie looks like his beloved groom, and Jamie needs to make a hasty exit before Willie notices it himself. Grey agrees to care for Willie in his absence with his soon-to-be-disappointed wife Isobel, and with tears all around and a Bob Dylan song, Jamie heads home to Lallybroch.
Well that was quite a departure from the book for Jamie and Geneva. Maybe they learned from Game of Thrones, but I think it’s more likely that they know what their fanbase does and doesn’t want to see on screen. It’s one thing to be able to interpret what you’re reading to fit your own vision and another thing entirely to have it presented to you with no room for question. I think they erred on the side of caution to the point of overcorrecting the way Jamie reacted once he was in the moment, and then proceeded with one of the most boring scenes ever involving a naked Jamie Fraser.
And speaking of naked Jamie Fraser, the look on John Grey’s face when he had to turn down Jamie’s offer was priceless. He’s a better man than I am to be able to say no and he at least has the decency to look incredulous at the offer. It’s supposed to speak on Grey’s character, I’m sure, and how much he values the friendship, but it also made Jamie look a little bit ridiculous for even offering.
Poor Joe Abernathy makes an international call in the ’60s (which is probably the cost of a small car back then) just to be hung up on by his dear friend. Who ends a phone conversation that way?