Welcome back! This week, the Highland Army is ordered to retreat, and Jamie and Murtagh rescue Claire and an unexpected guest from the evil Duke of Sandringham.
We open with Claire in voiceover, explaining that since Prestonpans months ago, the Jacobite Army has been moving steadily south, acquiring artillery and succeeding in their smaller battles. Sadly, they’re not gathering the support of the lowlanders in the numbers they’d hoped for. They’re now encamped in Northern England, awaiting further orders from Bonnie Prince Charlie (BPC.)
Luck be a Lady
While literally everybody else wants to turn back, BPC wants to move forward and march on London. Jamie defends the Prince, but is reprimanded by the generals. They’re five days from London, and there are three British armies standing between them and the city. Jamie gives one of his patented inspirational speeches. It’s 30 thousand soldiers on the British side vs. five thousand on the Scots’ side, but Jamie says if they’re lucky, they can slip right by them — retreating is just going to kill the spirits of their supporters. Jamie seems to rely a little more on luck than I’m comfortable with.
Meanwhile, Claire is doctoring people at the camp, pulling teeth and such. Rupert can’t stop talking about Angus to anyone who will listen.
“It is intolerable!”
We cut to the men in a heated debate. BPC is lobbying hard for London. “Is there no one among you still willing to stand by your prince, your rightful king, and your God?” Jamie sides with BPC again, kneeling before him. “One man,” BPC scoffs. All of the men look ashamed, in spite of themselves. BPC loses his shit. He shames everyone for betrayal, then threatens the General and damns him to hell. He finally storms out, tantrum exhausted, and the men sheepishly follow.
Jamie fills Claire in. “I have to give the Prince some credit. Turns out he has a fighting heart, even if his generals don’t.” Jamie is disappointed. If he could have convinced the men to march to London, it would have been different from the history books, meaning that things might still be change-able. The men quiz Jamie on what’s happening, and he says they’re turning back and going home for the winter. Jamie is upbeat, trying to make going home to Lallybroch sound like a good thing.
“God, shield my beloved…”
As they lie in bed that night, Jamie prays over a sleeping Claire in Gaelic. He’s shirtless and ridiculously dreamy. She awakens and they snuggle in. It’s a nice moment.
The hell with it, Inverness it is
The next morning, Dougal comes storming in with a letter. Jamie and his men have been ordered to retreat north to Inverness. Jamie is baffled. Dougal explains that the Generals think that Jamie has too much influence over BPC. “They want you and me gone, and gone now.” Jamie says he’ll talk to the Prince and Dougal says that he’s already gone – spirited away in the night by the General and the quartermaster.
Get to da choppah!
Jamie and Claire lead the army towards Inverness, camping along the way. Claire doctors Ross’s injured hand, quipping that she wishes she could give him a tetanus shot. “I’ll take a shot of anything, just now,” Ross replies. Rupert is still going on about Angus; poor man. The English attack from above, firing into the camp. Everyone scatters. Jamie yells at them to get to the crossroads, and a furious horse chase ensues. Rupert is shot through the eye and collapses sideways, and Dougal gallantly vaults himself onto Rupert’s running horse and props the man up. Dougal’s a badass.
“What in the name of the wee man…?”
The group manages to hide off of the main trail until the redcoats pass, and Claire quickly assesses Rupert. He’ll die unless they can stop somewhere and she can attend to him properly. They take refuge in a small church where some of the highland army has already gathered. As they haul Rupert in, Ross asks what in the hell happened to him. “I decided to take a closer look at a musket ball,” Rupert jokes. At least he’s in good spirits. Claire removes the bullet from his eye socket with no more than whiskey and a pocketknife. Yikes. Claire’s a badass, too.
“If I can save you all with my surrender, I will!”
Suddenly, the British are upon them, demanding surrender. The group debates fighting, but decides it’s futile with their numbers. Jamie offers to give himself up to save the rest of them. “Stop being such a hero,” Dougal spits. Jamie argues, and Claire steps in. She wants them to use her to bargain for their release, and starts yelling for the British to save her. Jamie is horrified and skeptical, and argues with her while the British demand she be sent out at once. Claire roars, “Am I not Lady Broch Tuarach? Are these men not my responsibility, too?” It’s awesome.
Go home, nothing to see here
Dougal goes out to broker the deal, and the British agree that if the Highlanders give up Claire, their weapons, and their horses, they’ll leave. Jamie picks her up to carry her out, and Dougal stops him — they’ll recognize Jamie. Claire and Jamie kiss goodbye, and Jamie hands her off to Dougal. As they mount up to leave, the soldier says that they should all just return to their normal lives. Go home, he says. Fat chance of that. Jamie says that he’s going after Claire, obviously, and orders Dougal and Murtagh to see the rest of the men home. Murtagh ain’t having it, of course, and sticks with Jamie. Dougal fills them in on his best guess where they’ll be taking Claire – Hazelmere.
Right place, right time
Claire and the redcoats (another stellar band name) stop for the night in a town, and Hugh Munro – the beggar and friend of Jamie’s that gifted Claire the dragonfly in amber – is outside the inn. He recognizes Claire and knows something is amiss. The next morning, a soldier tells Claire that the Captain has been called away and that she’s not to be dropped off at Hazelmere after all, but Belmont. Uh-oh! “Don’t worry,” the soldier says. “It’s a big house, owned by a wealthy Englishman. He’ll give you refuge, I’m sure.”
Hugh accosts Claire on their way out of the inn and the soldier shoves him away. Claire recognizes the beggar and leans over to help him up, whispering, “Jamie is looking for me at Hazelmere.” She then makes sure that Hugh overhears that they’re going to Belmont instead. Mission accomplished!
So, we meet again
Claire and company arrive at the rich Englishman’s house, and holy hell, if it isn’t the Duke of Sandringham. He doesn’t give away that he knows who Claire is, but startles when the soldier refers to her as “Mistress Beauchamp.” The soldier leaves her with him and they square off. “I need a drink, and something to eat, and so do you, from your appearance.” He and Claire trade barbs. She finally sighs. “You mentioned a drink?”
Meanwhile, Jamie and Murtagh are making their way through the highlands. Murtagh is less than amused. “Now we’re traitors, murderers, and horse thieves. Does it ever occur to you that taking Claire as a wife might not have been the wisest thing you ever did?” “No,” Jamie says. “It doesn’t.” Swoon!
You scratch my back…
The Duke chats with Claire. He’s delightfully slimy, and glad to see her. He explains that the British are camped out at his house because he’s suspected of being a traitor, and that no doubt, Jamie is on his way to rescue Claire. She says that’s a fair assumption. He admits that he’s a Jacobite, and explains that the reason he didn’t give her away to the soldier is that he wants to be rescued too, and that he’ll get word to Jamie where Claire is if Jamie will deposit him in a safe haven somewhere. Claire says that Jamie may already know where she is, and that he might be riding in at this very moment. The Duke is flippant. “I certainly hope not. It’s a trap.” Well, shit. The Duke proposes sending a note to Jamie through one of his manservants. Claire agrees, and writes a note in Gaelic. She says that the messenger doesn’t go near Jamie — he’s to find Munro and give the message to him. The Duke says he still has enough power to send the guards away temporarily so that Jamie can get through to them.
“Customarily, I’d be given a tip on delivery!”
Mary Hawkins enters the room. Surprise! She’s the Duke’s Goddaughter, and apparently betrothed again to another old man, despite the fact that she’s “soiled goods.” The Duke has arranged it because the man is a loyalist, and it will make the Duke look good to have his Goddaughter married off to a non-Jacobite. Claire tells Mary that she’ll speak to him about it. Meanwhile, our messenger gets his note successfully to Munro, who gives him a bit of a beating for his troubles.
…and I’ll scratch yours
As Claire speaks to the Duke on Mary’s behalf, she spies a birthmark on his footman’s hand. Aha! She quizzes the Duke, who quickly crumbles and admits he was behind the rape / attack in Paris. He tries to justify it by saying at least he didn’t have them killed, which is what the Count wanted. Turns out that Le Comte wanted revenge on Claire (duh), and the Duke wanted Mary available to marry off to his decoy, and so attacking Claire and Mary worked out nicely for everyone. Claire is furious. “You’ll regret sending your guards away once Jamie gets here.” The Duke says he didn’t send them far. “Proving myself loyal to the crown by turning in Red Jamie and his traitorous English wife is a much more permanent way of correcting misconceptions about my loyalties,” he says, evilly. “You could be hanged side by side,” he sighs. “So romantic!” Double crosser! The footman locks Claire in her room.
Munro gets to Jamie and Murtagh just in time. They exclaim over her poor Gaelic, but get the gist. “I’ll give her lessons later!” Jamie says.
Tell me more, tell me more
Claire paces. Through her window, she sees Munro sneak into the garden. Mary comes in and Claire says that she’s escaping. Mary wants to come too, and Claire says fine, but you have to help me — sneak into the garden and tell Munro to warn Jamie that this is a trap. Mary is cowardly and Claire loses it; telling her fine, stay here and shut up. Claire sneaks down through the kitchen to do it herself and runs smack into the Duke, who is having a midnight snack. He asks her to join him, and, having no choice, she reluctantly does.
The Duke attempts to good-naturedly gossip with Claire about Le Comte’s demise. Mary comes in, obviously on her way to warn Munro after all, and the Duke bitches at her. “Go to bed! Now!” Mary sneaks into the garden and warns their friend, but is accosted by the creepy footman/rapist. She tries to fight him, as Munro races to Jamie and Murtagh with the message. Jamie manages to sneak into the house, and the footman interrupts the Duke and Claire with Mary again. “For God’s sake, go to bed!” the Duke snaps.
The truth comes out
Jamie sneaks into the kitchen and all hell breaks loose. The footman threatens Claire as the Duke tries to right his wig. Murtagh bursts in through the back and Jamie knocks the footman over while he’s distracted. Claire shouts “This is the man who attacked us in Paris!” Everyone is appalled. The Duke starts blustering and Jamie looks murderous. The footman throws the Duke under the bus, and Jamie grabs the Duke’s throat. Meanwhile, Mary has picked up a knife and stabs the footman to death. Go, Mary! As everyone is distracted by Mary’s sudden bravery, Murtagh picks up an axe and chops the Duke’s head off in a bloody scene. Whack, whack, whack! He picks the Duke’s head up by the hair and slowly approaches Claire and Mary, presenting it to them. “I kept my word. I lay my vengeance at your feet.” Holy hell, Murtagh. Says Mary, “I think we’d better go.”
- I liked the nice bit of foreshadowing during the opening credits. We see someone tidying a wig on a stand that looks suspiciously like the Duke of Sandringham’s wig. The hand accidentally upsets the wig onto the floor.
- In the last recap, I mention that either Ross or Kincaid survived the Battle of Prestonpans, but I wasn’t clear on which. Ross was the survivor.
- The full text of Jamie’s Gaelic prayer over a sleeping Claire was as follows: “God, shield my beloved – my white dove – and the child that she may one day bear. Preserve her from violence, and from harm, in this place, and every other place. On this night, and every other night.” Swoon!
- I enjoyed Fergus’s clever moment, as they’re debating sending Claire out as a sacrifice to the British. She’s worried that her face will give her away. Fergus says she should pretend to faint, and that way they can’t ask her anything until she gets her head together. Good lad!
- The British soldiers put Claire on her own horse as they ride away? I was skeptical of that.
- Poor Duke! His cook is only there three days a week! I love how nonchalant he is. One minute, he’s gleefully telling you he’s sold you down the river, and the next minute, he’s offering you a midnight snack and wanting to gossip. Gotta love this guy. Simon Cowell killed this role. I loved when he snarked about Mary when Claire expressed surprise that she was his Goddaughter. “Well, she’s certainly not a blood relative.”
Join me next week for Episode 12, “The Hail Mary,” as Jamie concentrates his efforts on preventing as many men as he can from being slaughtered at Culloden, and we meet Alex Randall again.
Image Credits: Sweatpants & Coffee.