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Sweatpants & TV | Outlander, Season 3, Episode 8 – “First Wife”

By Emily Parker

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Catch Up:

Episode 1: The Battle Joined
Episode 2: Surrender
Episode 3: All Debts Paid
Episode 4: Of Lost Things
Episode 5: Whisky & Freedom
Episode 6: A. Malcolm
Episode 7: Creme de Menthe

“Yes, here ye are…”

We open with Clare, Jamie, and Young Ian riding into Lallybroch. All three look vaguely worried about what’s waiting for them there. Jenny greets Claire quite a bit less than warmly, then hugs Young Ian and cuffs him about the head for disappearing.

Jenny doesn’t exactly roll out the welcome wagon.

“You had my son selling liquor and consorting with criminals?”

Jenny and Ian are none too pleased about what Jamie has had their son up to. Ian lets it slip that Auntie Claire killed a man and Jenny loses her shit. They banish Young Ian outside, with a warning to be where they can find him when it’s time for his thrashing. The two lecture Jamie and Claire.

The Frasers get a lecture about looking after other people’s children.

“If you treated him like your own son, you can punish him like your own.”

Jamie not-so-gently points out that they hardly complain when he sends them money, and they know very well it’s not all from being a printer. They’re still not happy – their son could have been learning a real trade rather than carrying on like a criminal. Jamie opts not to beat Ian, but puts him to work fortifying what looks like a wall or roof panel with dung. His sister teases him as Ian Sr. and Jamie make up. Jamie concedes that he should have sent word.

Jamie is chastened.

“It smells like the devil’s arse!”

“Dinna want to bewilder the bairn with a strange face.”

Claire tries settling into the house and meets Jenny’s (six!) grandchildren. Jenny is still cold. “That’s what happens when twenty years go by.” She’s not ready to welcome Claire back, yet.

Claire meets two of Jenny’s grandchildren.

“You’re an authority on raising bairns, now?”

Jamie and Jenny argue in the courtyard. She thinks that Young Ian should have been beaten. Jamie says that there are other ways to teach lessons. Jenny snaps at him, and he gently points out that he IS an authority on being a 16-year old farm boy, and that Young Ian is now a man. “You should give him a taste of freedom, while he still thinks it’s yours to give.”

Jenny’s “don’t tell me what to do” face.

“The Claire I kent would never have stopped looking for you.”

Jenny changes the subject to wives, and how Jamie now has two (a sin!) She implores him to finally tell her what happened. He makes up a story that he arranged for Claire to travel to the colonies and hide, and that he heard that she was dead before she left. She, for her part, had also heard he was dead, and gotten on the ship after all. Jenny ain’t buying it. Jamie leaves it be, for now.

Jamie won’t tell Jenny the truth.

“I wasn’t on an island, but I was out there…”

That night, Jamie and Claire discuss making a life at Lallybroch. Claire is concerned that Jenny can’t stand the sight of her, and lobbies for telling her the truth. Jamie doesn’t want to. He doesn’t think she’s worldly enough to understand. Jamie tells Claire about how he went searching for her once, when he escaped Ardsmuir prison. He tells her of the treasure, and of Silkie island, and how he didn’t find Claire, but he DID find the treasure. He took the jewel that he ended up giving to Lord John and re-stashed the rest.

Searching the island for Claire.

“Sassenach witch! You’re supposed to be dead!”

The two of them are having a sweet, romantic moment, when Jamie says there’s something he needs to tell her. I should say so! Before he can get it out, though, two little girls barge in, calling him “Daddy.” Oops. Laoghaire is hot on their heels and bursts in, (metaphorical) guns blazing.

Laoghaire barges in, unannounced and mad as hell.

Jamie tries to head her off at the pass, so to speak, but the situation quickly deteriorates past anything he can save. Jamie goes chasing after Laoghaire, leaving Claire in her shock.

Claire is too shocked to speak.

“There ARE other red-headed men in Scotland, Claire.”

Jamie consoles Joan, the littlest girl, telling her the truth. Meanwhile, Claire is upstairs frantically trying to get dressed. Jamie explains that he doesn’t live with Laoghaire, and that the marriage was a mistake, the children aren’t his, etc., but Claire won’t hear a bar of it. Apparently it’s not so much the ‘what’ as the ‘who’ that offends Claire. “IT’S LAOGHAIRE!” Claire shouts. “She tried to have me killed!”

Cowardice is a poor excuse.

“I dinna want Laoghaire, and I never have!”

Claire makes to leave, but Jamie grabs her. Claire wants to know why he couldn’t tell her about his marriage. “Because I am a coward,” he says, matter-of-factly. He goes on a tirade ending with “Even though you left me.” Whoa, Jamie. Have you forgotten that you FORCED HER TO GO? Men! Claire doesn’t take too kindly to that either. Their argument escalates and Jamie throws a jealous fit, upending the furniture.

You can’t force Claire to leave and then blame her for it.

“I would do far worse than lie to keep you!”

Claire has him between a rock and a hard place, as far as arguments go, and he grabs her and kisses her hard. She slaps him, and the two grapple for a few moments. He kisses her again and they angrily begin to make love, until Jenny throws a pitcher of water over the two of them and scolds them for disturbing the household. Claire storms out.

Coitus Interruptus.

“*I* am his wife.”

In the kitchen, Janet, Jenny’s teenage daughter, pours Claire a whiskey and says it was she who called Laoghaire, at her mother’s request. Yikes! Enter Jenny, hastily exit Janet. Claire confronts her sister-in-law. Jenny and Claire argue. Jenny can’t understand why there wasn’t so much as a letter, all of this time. Claire says she had another husband, and had to make that work, and that Jamie knows. She intended to come back to Jamie’s grave to visit/explain and found him alive instead. Jenny believes Claire to a point, but knows there’s still something that isn’t being said. She says she doesn’t think she’ll ever trust Claire again.

Claire is still unforgiven.

“When someone puts their shite on to boil, you stir like it’s God’s work.”

As Jenny collects the broken crockery from upstairs, Ian Sr. comes in to have a word. Jenny is pissed off at the whole situation, but Ian tells her she’s being foolish – Jamie and Laoghaire don’t live as man and wife, and everybody knows it. He points out that all she ever prays for is Jamie’s happiness, and now that it’s here, she wants to shit all over it.

Ian Sr. scolds Jenny.

Revenge of the second wife

The next day, Jamie stops Claire on her way to leave him, presumably. He’s pleading his case, and she reminds him that they don’t lie to each other, and he’s done nothing but, ever since she came back. Before Claire can react, Laoghaire turns up with her real gun blazing this time, and accidentally shoots Jamie full of birdshot while the three argue. Claire body-checks her and she runs away.

Here come old Laoghaire, waving a gun around.

“Nothing Claire canna fix…”

Claire drags Jamie back into the house, where her plans to escape are interrupted by having to patch up her husband, yet again. She does so, successfully, and she and Young Ian have a whisky.

When Jamie later wakes up, Claire doctors him, but she’s damned cold. Jamie asks her if she really wants to hear how he ended up marrying Laoghaire, or whether she’ll just get angry. Claire says that since she hasn’t stopped being angry, he might as well shoot.

The doctor is in, but she’s not happy about it.

The heat of shame

He tells her of a Hogmanay festival, and of Laoghaire’s daughters charming him – he missed his children. Jenny pushed the marriage, thinking it would make him happy. It didn’t, and end of story, more or less. She needed a man to take care of her, and her children needed a father, so he played those roles. He added that Laoghaire turned out to be distant; a cold fish, because one or both of her first two husbands were abusive towards her. He left to live in Edinburgh because he couldn’t bear that she was afraid of him, and she couldn’t help it.

Jamie with Laoghaire’s daughters, Marsali and Joan.

“I’m only asking for a second chance.”

Claire makes one more attempt to make it up to Jenny. Jenny wants to be told the whole story. Claire says what she can tell her is that she loves Jamie, and all of the rest of them, too. Claire asks for a second chance, but Jenny doesn’t answer. I guess that’s an improvement over “I’ll never trust you again.”

Jenny isn’t quite warming up yet.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned…”

Ned Gowan turns up, and Laoghaire is demanding an outrageous sum for alimony, even though her marriage to Jamie is invalid. Jamie agrees, if only because they can’t really prove that Laoghaire shot him, and if they could, she’d likely be transported to the colonies. “I do hear Richmond is nice this time of year,” Claire snaps. Jamie doesn’t want Laoghaire punished for the sake of the girls.

“She wants you castrated and your bollocks mounted on her wall, but I think she’ll settle for alimony.”

A hell of a plan, shot squarely in the arse

Obviously, Jamie can’t pay the alimony, but he remembers the treasure on Silkie island. Does he really think it’s going to be there when he looks again? And if it is, he thinks he’s going to be able to fence rare goods and turn them into money? However bad a plan this sounds like it is, Young Ian offers to make the swim, since Jamie is still recovering from being shot. Jamie says he’ll fence the goods in France, and he wants to take Young Ian with him. Jenny and Ian agree, begrudgingly. “You can trust us,” Jamie says. Famous last words.

The Murrays aren’t crazy about the plan.

“I’m just not sure we belong together, any more.”

We cut to Ian swimming out to the island while Jamie and Claire watch. To pass the time, Claire and Jamie talk. She confesses that she’s not sure if she did the right thing in coming back. She talks of their separate lives. “It wasn’t the plan, but it wasn’t so bad, was it?” “Being a printer was naught compared to being your husband,” Jamie says. Claire just thought things would be easier, that’s all. “You belong with me,” Jamie insists.

Jamie reassures Claire.

Bad timing

Ian makes it and – what do you know! – the treasure is still intact. Not so fortunately, they have unexpected visitors in the form of what appears to be pirates, rapidly approaching the island. Go figure the timing on that! The pirates capture Young Ian and both he – and the treasure – are gone. Jenny and Ian Sr. are going to love this one! Now it looks like Jamie and Claire need to get the band back together and rescue Young Ian from pirate kidnappers!

“Did we just cause our nephew to get kidnapped by pirates?” “Yup.”

Stray Observations:

  • The moment in the Season 3 trailer of Jamie desperately yelling for Claire showed up tonight – it was while he was searching the little island for the treasure he thought she may be guarding.
  • Claire said the same thing I did at the mention of Ned Gowan: “Ned Gowan’s still alive?!”
  • In a Little Red Riding Hood moment, Young Ian remarks to Claire as she’s operating on Jamie, “those are very fancy knives you’ve got there, Auntie!” All I could think was “All the better to cut you with, my dear!”
  • I wondered if Claire would bring back antibiotics! She takes great pleasure in shooting Jamie in the arse with a very large needle of penicillin to help him after he’s shot.
  • Anybody else a little weirded out that Jenny has six grandkids now? The two little ones that Claire met would be Maggie’s, and Maggie would be around 21, so she’d have had them around 17? How old did those boys look? And wee Jamie at age 24 or 25 being the father of four?! Maybe my math is wrong, but that just doesn’t seem possible!

Join us next week for Episode 9: “The Doldrums.”

Image Credits: Sweatpants & Coffee.

Emily Parker is a musician, writer, and avid reader who started Bucket List Book Reviews, the ‘1,001 Books to Read Before You Die’ project. For Sweatpants & Coffee, Emily hopes to inspire the reading of the classics by a whole new audience by only reviewing the really good stuff.

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