So what was a less than stellar episode in 307 was more than made up for in this one. This is another benchmark episode everyone was waiting for. Once again, the production team nailed it. I was very happy to see the essence of the story brought to life by the actors and writing team. This one hit all the high notes from the chapters from Voyager, and I think it made a lot of the fans very happy. There was certainly less grousing about changes in this one as opposed to the outcry many made about the last episode.
So let’s get down to it and see how things played out, shall we?
1. The intro gets us into the action really quickly. There are no extraneous bits in the rapidity of Claire’s meeting with the Murray clan. She sees Lallybroch and something doesn’t sit right with her.
Bringing the prodigal son back does little to soften the blow of Claire’s arrival after twenty years. Jenny just stares at her for a while before saying, “You’re back then. When Ian told me you were alive, you could have knocked me down with a feather.” Claire’s all, “Yeah, so what now?”
Obviously, they are all keeping a secret here, and Claire can sense it. I think they’re waiting for Jamie to tell her about that secret because nobody is giving anything away here. Jenny goes to young Ian and gives him a hug before slapping the nonsense out of him. “You gave us a fright. We were worried about you.”
“I sent word, and you kent where I was,” Ian starts, but his father butts in and says, “Shut up if you know what’s good for you. You don’t want to make it any worse than it already is by talking.”
I get it, Ian. I’ve been in that position before with parents. Many of us have. The best course of action is to admit you were wrong and take your beating. Don’t worry, they love you. It’s just you’re a clot hied sometimes, and you need to be disciplined from time to time.
As they go in the house, Jamie’s doing that nervous finger thing. And I would be nervous too, considering what awaits him when Jenny Murray gets tuned up.
2. Inside, the long-awaited argument between Jamie and Jenny ensues. I love the chemistry between these two. And since he’s a guy, he’s totally in the wrong here. Firstly, he didn’t tell Ian that young Ian was with him. He didn’t send word that the kid was alright.
The word for the day is “Wee”, as in little, small, insignificant. Also, let’s see how many times during this episode we can say “Wee”, shall we?
So immediately, Ian tries to defend himself. But he goes one bit overboard when he mentions a fire at the print shop.
“Wee fire?” Ian says, “You wouldn’t be standing here if it was wee.” Jenny jumps in, “So that’s why you’re back, tail draggin’, because you’ve got nothing left.” She looks at Claire like a woman who’s smelled something bloody disgusting, then says, “And wi’ a stray.”
“There was an exciseman trying to extort money out of me. Everything would have been alright, but the heat was on.” Jamie tries to explain. Then young Ian says, “Then Claire came back and first thing right away killed a guy. It was awesome!”
“Out. Now,” says Jenny. Then when the kid has left, she looks at Claire and asks, “So you killed a man in front of my boy?” And Claire’s all, “Well, not in front of him, but yeah, I did. Claire Fraser is back, I guess. Oh, but it was self-defense. I did try to save the guy, kind of. I mean, there were drills and scalpels and stuff. Damn eighteenth-century medicine!”
“Oh, while we’re listening to tall tales maybe we should gather around the fire,” Jenny retorts. “I know you, the Claire Fraser I knew wouldn’t try to save a guy.”
All the while during this episode, I’m wondering why all the hostility toward Claire. Ian is cool with her, but Jenny is just being a tool about it. She should be overjoyed about her return, but then, I remember, oh yeah. There’s a reason this is called First Wife. Because the second wife is right around the corner.
“Ian was doing alright until everything went tits up,” Jamie says. “He was earning a wage and learning a trade.”
“It would have been fine if you taught him the printing trade. Consorting with criminals, hoors, and going to taverns is earning a wage?” Jenny says. And I’m thinking, “That’s kind of how I spent the better part of my teens, yeah?”
“I promise you, I treated him like my own son,” Jamie says with pride. Ian says, “Then you can discipline him like your own son.” He strips off his belt and hands it to Jamie. But Jamie has a better idea.
And the next scene has young Ian making something out of manure.
SIDE NOTE: My book purist is coming out here. I really wanted to see Jamie go out and thrash young Ian. And have him do the same to Jamie. This was such a wonderful scene from the book. And I can understand why they took it out, but come on, man. It would have been hysterical.
3. While Ian is making Dung Cakes and being mocked by his sister, Ian and Jamie have a heart to heart. Jamie apologizes to him, and Ian’s all, “Yeah, that’s cool.” and it’s back to besties for these two. Because that’s how guys do it. They don’t hold a grudge over stuff like this. Now if there was a woman involved, holy hell, watch out.
4. Inside, Jenny is trying to herd the grandchildren while Claire looks on. The ladies are catching up on who had the most grandchildren when Wee Jamie Murray comes down holding another Wee baby. (BTW, yes, I’m going to hammer that all through this recap so stop now if you don’t like reading the word Wee.)
I notice here that Jenny is trying to avoid eye contact with Claire. And Laura Donnelly is doing a bang up job with this role here. She’s just fun to watch. Whenever I read the books, I can only see her in that part now. She is an awesome actress!
Jamie Murray hands off the child to Jenny and says, “Gotta go say hello to uncle.” Jenny says, “I have to change this baby’s diaper.”
Oohh, have you got some ointment for that burn, Claire? Jenny is hardcore throwing shade at Claire all through this episode and I love her for it.
5. Later, while Jenny is doing laundry outside, Jamie comes to chat with her. He tells her young Ian has done his penance, and Jenny’s all, “So you know how to raise bairns, now?”
“Fair point,” Jamie says. “But I know what it’s like for a teenager growing up on a farm. He’s a man, now. You should treat him like one. He should be given his freedom, while he still thinks it’s yours to give.”
“Listen to you, giving advice to me,” she says. “You must know it’s a mortal sin to keep a wife while the other one still walks the earth.”
“If I had known she would come back, I wouldn’t have married again,” Jamie says. Jenny is a bit peeved that he didn’t share his grief with her, but he tells her that he didn’t want to speak of it with her. Jenny presses him on what happened.
“Well, it has nothing to do with time travel, that’s for sure,” Jamie says. “Actually, I sent her away, because I thought I would die at Culloden. Which I didn’t, by the way. I sent her away to safety and the British came to the village she was in and slaughtered everyone. I thought she was dead. Little did I know she actually got to the colonies. She thought I was dead, so there’s that. Again, nothing to do with time travel.”
“Listen, boyo,” she says. “I sat with her for days watching for your return after that time you spent with the Watch. We went out to try to find you. The Claire I know would never have stopped looking for you.”
And she’s right. I mean, come on, Jamie. You knew the truth of it. You sent her away to the twentieth century, knowing she had a way back to you. She was still alive as far as you knew. It was only a matter of time since your love was so strong. All you had to do was wait. Or leave notes, or drop a few hints along the way that you were alive. Duh! Foolish highlander. Now, you’ve got yourself ina wee pickle, don’t you, Ginger?
6. That night, Jamie and Claire are talking about what to do next.
“We could tell Jenny the truth,” Claire says, “You know, about me being a Timelord.” And Jamie says, “No, she’d never buy it. You may as well make her believe in mermaids.”
“But we told Murtagh,” she says. “He believed it.” and Jamie says, “Yeah, but that was Murtagh. He was a superhero. Jenny, not so much.”
“Only the superhero of throwing shade,” Claire says. “If she loves you, she loves you. If she doesn’t, you may as well be her worst enemy. If I don’t tell her the truth, there’s always going to be this wall between us. I mean, I’m not even in the friend zone with her.”
Jamie says, “I still can’t believe you’re really here. I went looking for you once when I escaped Ardsmuir.”
Then he tells her of the meeting with Duncan Kerr. And how the old man told him of the Frenchman’s gold and the white witch. Then we are shown a flashback of Jamie swimming to Selkie island, thinking he would find Claire, but finding the gold instead. So he took one of the gems for the watch commander and left the rest because he couldn’t go anywhere with it anyway.
Then we get a lovey-dovey scene where Claire tells him that every time she heard birds singing, she thought it was him talking to her. And we’re all, Aww… but there’s tension brewing here.
Now, Jamie decides to tell her about the other woman. He says, “I wanted to talk to Ned Gowan before I told you but I fell like I must tell you now.“ She says, “Ned is still alive? Awesome. But why do you need Ned the head?“
He wants her to listen because he can finally tell her the truth. But the truth barges in the door and doesn’t let him finish.
“Daddy?” says a young red-haired lass. And the blond woman behind her says, “Daddy, who is this woman?”
Well, you may have just smacked Claire upside the head with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire because this is the last thing she would have imagined.
7. Nope, scratch that.
This is the last thing she would have imagined.
Claire is speechless. Like literally, cannot say a word she is so surprised. She can’t even form a coherent thought because the horror of this whole incident has completely shut her down mentally.
“How could you, Jamie Fraser?!” She screams. “Go behind my back and slip your prick in that hoor?”
Then she turns on Claire, saying “We‘re married now, you adulterous bitch! He’s mine! Stay away from him and get ye gone to the hell you came from, witch!” And then she uses the C-Word, which is totally uncalled for, and I wondered if that word was in common use back then? Someone correct me on that if you would.
Leghair is screaming, Jamie is screaming, and then the girl says, “I hate it when mommy and daddy fight.”
Jamie tries to hold her back from Killing Claire. “Go, I’ll explain!” he says to Claire, and he pushes Leghair out of the room.
Claire is left like
8. Downstairs, Jamie consoles young Joan that he will always love her. This is an adult thing right now, and it’s all pretty complicated even for the adults. It’s true. Who has ever been put in that position? Except for characters in a DG novel, that is? So he tells her to go back with Marsali and her mother. He’ll straighten everything out, and the girl gives him a big hug and he’s left with this guilt-ridden look on his face.
9. He goes upstairs to find Claire packing her bags. She’s going to leave. She’s had it with #TeamJamie. And for good reason.
“I can explain,” he tells her. She’s all, “Dude, you lied to me, the time for explanations is over. I’m out.” and we don’t blame her. She didn’t come back for this. Mary MacNabb, she would have understood, maybe, but not this.
“The marriage to Leghair was a mistake,” he starts. But she’s having none of it. “Oh, fine time to realize that, when you already had two kids with her.”
“We haven’t even lived together,” Jamie says. He goes on to explain that Leghair was a widow, and he was trying to protect her bairns. Besides, he goes on, “You told me to be nice to her.”
“I told you to thank her,” Claire says, with a look of incredulity, “Not marry her. God, are you stupid? Did you forget she tried to have me killed that one time?”
Then she goes to the door and he stops her. “I’m not letting you go. Not until you let me explain.” She’s all, “You told me about your son, why didn’t you tell me about this?”
And he opens up because he’s got nothing to lose, really. “Because I’m a coward,” he says. “I didn’t want to lose you again, after having you gone for the first time. Do you know what it’s like, living half a man and trying to exist in the bit that’s left?”
“Yes, I fucking know,” Claire yells. “What did you think Frank and I went back to being peaches and cream? And what is it with both of my husbands falling for blonde harlots? I’m Wonder Woman here, and you guys are going for Batgirl?”
“I was prepared to die with you at Culloden. Do you forget that? But no, you sent me away. And I come back to this?” She says. “Do you blame me for sending you away? All the times I thought of you, bedding with Frank, letting him hold OUR child, and hating you for it!”
Well, there’s more yelling and shouting, and then he grabs her and plants a wet one on her. He tells her he loves her, throws her on the bed and kisses her again. Then she gets into it, because this is a sexually charged scene, and soon they’re on the floor calling each other names and tearing each other’s clothes off until halfway through, Jenny throws a pitcher of water at them.
“Y’all need to stop rutting like pigs, the whole house can hear you. Have ye’ no shame?” she says.
10. Claire is staring into the fireplace, wishing this was all a tall tale. Wee Janet comes to her and offers Claire a wisky, which Claire gladly takes because what better way to soothe the nerves than alcohol. Especially at this time, after learning her husband had married a woman who had her put on trial for being a witch.
“I apologize for creating such a stir in the house,” she tells Janet. And Janet’s all, “No prob. I should say sorry to you. I told Leghair you were here.” I didn’t know it would cause such a kebblewebble, or something. (For the life of me, I would love that word if I could understand it. Please, someone, tell me because, in 5 viewings, I still couldn’t understand what she said.)
“Why did you do it?” She asks Janet. And the girl says that her mother told her to. Oh, really? And just like that, I’m no longer friendly to Jenny Murray.
Jenny comes in carrying a pail because naturally, it’s the sister’s place to clean up the fight your brother and sister-in-law had.
“So what gives?” Claire confronts her. “Why did you tell Leghair about this whole thing?” And Jenny’s on her like a shot.
“I couldn’t stand having my sister in law get blindsided with the reappearance of my other sister in law, you dig?” Jenny answers. Claire tells her she just wants to be part of the family again, but Jenny throws it back in her face.
“Family writes letters. They don’t just disappear or get stuck in time.” She says.
Well, Claire comes up with a story on the spot that seems to soothe Jenny a bit. Claire tells her of a husband in Boston, and how he didn’t have any kids. He lived for twenty years, and he was kind of a dipshit, but it was a survival thing. When he died, she came back to tell Jamie’s grave what had happened, and lo and behold, I found him alive. Isn’t that serendipitous?
Jenny’s like, “Pull the other one, it’s got bells on. Until you can tell the whole truth, we can’t be friends.” Then she turns on her heels and goes upstairs.
11. In the den of iniquity formerly populated by a screaming married couple, another married couple has a more subdued conversation. Jenny and Ian talk about the situation while Jenny picks up the pieces of the previous occupants’ knock down drag out.
Ian tells her that Jamie is in the stables and Claire is in the guest room. “If mother were here, this would kill her all over again,” Jenny says. But Ian says how this is her fault.
“How is it my fault? He’s the one married to two women,” she says. “Am I the only one angry about this?” Ian says, “You’re always stirring the shit pot. Sometimes it’s okay to let things go. Why can’t you let Jamie be happy? You pray for it every night.”
“Does this look like happiness?” She asks.
12. The next day, Claire is all dressed to leave. She’s got the bat suit on, and her bag of necessaries over her arm. Jamie tries to stop her. But she’s not having any of it. She wants him to let her go.
“You said we could have secrets, but not lies. Those are your words, Jamie.” and this was a whopper. Jamie, did you honestly think that she would stay after she found out you were married to her mortal enemy?
“There was always one love, Claire. And that was you,” he says.
Well, that’s all Leghair had to hear, because she comes around the corner of the house with a gun. A hand cannon, actually. She’s all, “I’ve heard enough. I’m going to end this woman.”
Jamie steps in front of Claire, trying to get Leghair to put down the gun. “We weren’t happy, Leery,” he explains. “Maybe it wasn’t happiness, but you were mine. You provided for me!”
But before she can go on, the gun goes off and Jamie is in the way of the bullets. Leghair tries to go to him but Lady Jane just pushes her away and gives her this look
13. In the dining hall of Lallybroch, Claire leads Jamie to the table and tells the others what happened. She is the practiced surgeon now, and everyone goes to grab water, towels, bandages, and Claire’s med kit form her bag out front.
Then she goes all Claire Fraser, MD on him. Tis but a scratch, he says, but one pellet has gone deeper than that. It rests close to an artery, and if she hits it he’ll bleed out and there’s nothing she can do about it.
During the surgery, young Ian remarks on her scalpels. “That’s a fancy set of knives you’ve got there, Auntie,” he says. “Yes,” she says, “I got them from a guy named Bill Moran, in Boston, he’s a master cutler.”
Soon, she’s done with the delicate operation and Ian hands her a wiskey. “He can’t have any,” she says. But Ian is all, “It’s for you, auntie.” and she gladly takes it, because her default state is inebriated.
Later, a half-naked Jamie Fraser wakes up and says, “You should have let me die. It would have been easier.” and she grabs a chair and says, “Okay, spill it. What gives?”
And he’s all, “Are you still angry?” and she says she never stopped being angry. Of course not, Claire. This is a lot to take in here. Get an explanation, and then decide what you’re going to do.
So he goes into another flashback to his days after Helwater where he met Leghair at a Hogmanay dance. He felt sorry for her, being twice widowed and with two daughters. So he married her and tried to make a marriage work. When it was revealed to him that Leghair wouldn’t really let him touch her, and she was afraid most of the time, he couldn’t take it and left. He fled to Edinburgh where he worked as a printer and sent money back. That’s all.
This seems to make Claire a bit happier, but then she reaches out to him she realizes he’s got a fever. “Why didn’t you tell me you were hot, you bloody Scot?” she says, as she goes to get more medicine.
“I thought it was the heat of shame, Sassenach,” he explains. Then she comes back with her penicillin syringes and he’s all, “Dude, what’s that?” and she says, “Remember Germs? This takes them away, now roll over on your side.”
Why do you need to stick it in my bum if my arm hurts?” he asks.
14. Later, Jenny and Claire have a heart to heart. It’s mostly girl talk, and Jenny can’t understand why Claire doesn’t tell her the truth about why Claire came back.
It’s always going to be a sticking point in their friendship. Jenny brings up the lame horse analogy, and Claire’s all, “Yeah, that’s pretty dark, care to choose something where a living creature doesn’t die?“
Jenny only wanted to see Jamie happy. Claire is all, “I only know I love your brother very much. I loved you too. I just want to be friends again.”
Jenny nods a bit, so there’s that. Whether they’re going to be friends in future relies heavily on if something bad doesn’t happen to the family ever again.
SIDE NOTE: I feel like in the truncation of these episodes, the writing staff is really missing out on the chance to give Young Ian a few of his more signature ‘Punchlines’ as I call them. The way he introduced Ned Gowan was hysterical. He comes running to the priest’s hole and says, “He’s here, and it’s bad, ma’,” or something like that. Then, Jenny says, “Did he bring a gun?” Ian replies, “No, it’s worse than that. He’s brought a lawyer!” Naturally, I’m paraphrasing here, but throughout the books, he’s got a bunch of those types of lines. And each one comes at a heightened emotional scene. I soo wanted that to be in the show.
15. Ned Gowan! Claire sees him coming down the hallway to meet Jamie and she is overjoyed. He doesn’t look like he’s aged a day. When Claire asks him what his secret is, he tells her, “I never married.”
Ned tells Jamie and Claire that the second marriage to Leghair is invalid. Which is a relief. Since she had a gun and it’s outlawed she could get indicted for attempted murder and owning a pistol in the first place. Jamie asks, “What could happen to her if that happened?” And Ned answers, “She could be sent to the colonies. Virginia, most like.”
But Jamie says, “Let’s just let her have her freedom, what does she want?” Ned says, “Well, she wanted you castrated and your bollocks hung over her mantle, but there’s a number I’m going to write down. You’re going to look at it, scoff, and then I’m going to say yes, that’s what she wants. Then your life with your first wife can go on back to normal, albeit slightly less wealthy than before.”
16. “Twenty pounds?” Jenny scoffs. “How are you going to find that kind of money?”
Jamie explains, “She wants ten pounds a year to keep up the house too. But I have an ace in the hole, or rather, a money chest in a hole. All I have to do is swim out there and get it.” Claire says he’s in no condition to swim, so that’s where Young Ian comes in.
“I am a bonny swimmer,” he says. I can do it. “Yes, let him do it,” Jamie says, “What can possibly happen? Hell, I did it like ten years ago, and I didn’t have a problem with it. And I was undernourished and starving then.”
“What are you going to do with all that money?” Jenny asks. “It’s not like we can sell gold doubloons on the open market in Edinburgh, ye ken?”
Jamie explains that he’ll go to Paris and meet with Jared. He’ll take the jewels, trade them for sterling, and then send them back to Lallybroch. Then, we’ll pay off the Leghair debt, start a home here on the outskirts of Broch Turach and live happily ever after.
“Oh, and I want to take young Ian,” he says. “And don’t worry, he won’t have anything bad happen. He won’t be consorting with hoors and criminals. I’ll bring him around to only polite society. You’ll see.”
Jenny relents, “Best to give him his freedom, while it still seems like it’s mine to give.”
17. Jamie and Claire are on the cliffs looking out over Selkie Island, watching young Ian swim to the shore. When they see he is there, they have a talk. Claire opens up that maybe they have too much baggage between them to make it work. she says, “I had a life in the twentieth century. I had a daughter who loved me, a medical career, hot and cold running water, and an absence of blonde harlots shaking up my love life.”
“But you didn’t have me, sassenach,: Jamie says. “Besides, we can make it work. everything is ironed out. All my baggage has been neatly tied up. We are married, I love you.”
But she is still unbowed. “Maybe we just don’t have anything in common anymore.” She says. Then he says this iconic line, “Will you risk the man I am, for the sake of the man you knew?”
Just then, she looks out and sees a ship on the horizon, heading toward the island. Young Ian can be seen through the telescope, the proud owner of the box of treasure. But it’s too late. Men in a rowboat come to get him. Jamie and Claire run off to the shore, just in time to see the kid get kidnapped. Their hopes and dreams for a better life are dashed on the rocks.
I love the last part where they just stand there, like
And then the credits roll.
Now here it is, your Jamie Mooney Eye Pic of the week.