Welcome back! This week, Claire and Jamie attempt to damage Le Comte’s shipment of wine, a highway robbery goes awry, and Jamie breaks a promise to Claire.
We open on Jamie at his desk. Murtagh rushes in with the news that Black Jack Randall has been released from the Bastille, and the duel is on! Broadswords, in two days at dawn. He even knows a place for it where they won’t be detected by the police. I guess Jamie didn’t fill Murtagh in on the promise he made to Claire that he wouldn’t fight Randall. Oops! Jamie tells Murtagh that he’s not dueling, and has already sent word, and Murtagh’s pissed. “I ken I’m a simple man, but strive for an explanation!”
Call the executioner
Cut to Claire at the hospital, who looks dead on her feet. The king’s hangman asks for Claire’s assistance in preparing a body for burial; he’s got to excuse himself because King Louis wants a series of executions against those who are accused of “practicing the dark arts.” He leads Claire in a gruesome discussion about the finer points of drawing and quartering. When he can see that he’s making her sick, he takes his leave with a pointed, “Perhaps our friend Maistre Raymond would make better company.”
Claire takes the hint and rushes to the apothecary shop to warn Mr. Raymond to get out of town. He’s not worried, saying this has happened before — meaning witch scares and the like. She impresses upon him that it is serious, and he promises to heed her warnings. “We’ll meet again, Madame, in this life or another.”
“I want you to be with someone who loves you.”
At home later, Jamie and Claire seem like they’ve nicely reconciled after their argument over sparing Frank’s life at the expense of allowing BJR to live. I liked this — many shows depict couples stinging and distant for weeks after a big fight. Part of Claire and Jamie’s appeal is that their love is so strong that if having been born 200 years apart isn’t enough to keep them from finding each other, neither should a fight threaten their union. It’s true to life — you make peace and get on with the business of living, until such time as the discussion needs to be reopened.
As Jamie rubs Claire’s feet, he says that he is just about ready to give up on trying to thwart Bonnie Prince Charlie and the rebellion. If the Battle of Culloden is fated to happen, so be it. He reveals that he didn’t agree to spare Frank just because Claire wanted it. He agreed in order that if he is killed in battle, that Claire would have someone to return to who loves her, and would love their child. He presses Claire to promise that if he dies, she will return to her own time through the stones. She promises, but looks devastated.
“I don’t feel anything.” “Give it a minute.”
The next day, Claire is using her knowledge of herbs to fake smallpox, and testing it out on Jamie. Stinging nettles on his chest to produce a rash; a potion which will upset his stomach and produce the appearance of blood in the urine. They concoct a plan to get Le Comte’s men on the docks to drink it in the hopes that his shipment will be declared contaminated and destroyed. Murtagh is still stalking around, pissed off. Jamie says that they need to tell him everything, and Claire agrees. We watch from the window with Claire as Jamie fills poor Murtagh in on the whole story. “If you believe your wife to be a witch,” Murtagh says, “then who am I to contradict you.” He hauls off and clocks Jamie right in the face. “But you should have trusted me with that knowledge from the beginning.”
Jamie and Fergus leave for Le Havre with Claire’s potions, and Murtagh stays behind. He has more than a little sympathy for Claire and the burden of her knowledge. Fergus proves useful on the docks, and the two return home. When Jamie arrives, the scheme ends up costing him more than he bargained for — BPC is waiting with Le Comte. There has been a disaster at Le Havre! A mystery disease has struck the Count’s men. Jamie suggests paying off the harbormaster to keep it quiet, but alas, the harbormaster is a scrupulous man. The Count wants Jamie to go pick up the wine and store it in his warehouse before the authorities destroy it. Drat! Jamie says that he doesn’t want to do anything that might harm his cousin’s wine business, and Le Comte explodes. “I knew he would try to gouge us for an exorbitant fee!” BPC smooths things over, and the Count spits, “be that as it may, he has ruined me once before.” Jamie reluctantly agrees to transport the wine, and kisses BPC’s ring to seal the deal. Le Comte announces that he’s coming, too, “along with The Almighty,” to guard his investment. “‘Tis a lonely road from Le Havre,” Jamie says. “Your company will be most welcome.”
As Jamie prepares to leave, he and Murtagh come up with a plan that Murtagh will lead a fake band of hired highwaymen, attack Jamie and Le Comte’s caravan, and steal the wine. Claire worries that it’s too dangerous. “Aye,” Jamie says. “Every now and then it is okay to lie to me, you know,” Claire says. “Just to put my mind at ease.” Jamie says he’ll keep that in mind for next time.
The next day, Jamie and Murtagh take off to see the new plan through, and Claire visits Louise and the ladies. She’s even more annoyed by their vapid chit-chat than usual, and excuses herself to go back to work at the hospital. Murtagh and his merry band attack the caravan, and what do you know, Le Comte has to play the hero. The attack goes sideways quickly, and Jamie gets knocked out cold trying to save the Count from being shot. Back at the hospital, Claire is pale with exhaustion and Mother Hildegarde makes her rest. Hildegarde discovers that Claire is bleeding, and reassures her that some bleeding in pregnancy is normal and that the baby must be shifting, but to be safe, makes her stay the night in the hospital. She sends word home with Fergus.
Meanwhile, Jamie, BPC, and Le Comte are home and moping at the brothel about how their plan went so awry. The Count, no mental slouch, is suspicious that Jamie had something to do with it. “False accusations can lead to dire consequences, Monsieur St. Germain.” The Count explodes and reminds Jamie that he’s a Count, not a mister. BPC, ever the way-smoother, reminds Le Comte that by his own admission, Jamie saved his life. He then pouts for a while about his rebellion plans not going well. He speculates that suicide will be better than having to live in Poland. Jamie leaves for home just in time to eat a bite with Fergus. Their chat is interrupted by Suzette rushing in with the news that BPC is in trouble. Gossip travels faster in 18th-century Paris than it does amongst people with cell phones and internet! Jamie and Fergus head back for the brothel where, in an ominous scene, we see a redcoat uniform hanging in a private room that Fergus is stealing a trinket from. The occupant catches Fergus in the act and the implication is clear — Randall!
A duel reinstated
The next morning, Claire returns home from the hospital to a frantic Suzette and a note from Jamie which reads, “I’m sorry. I must.” The duel is back on! Despite her fragile condition and obvious discomfort, Claire rushes to the woods. As she watches helplessly from the tree line, her carriage driver attempts to hold her up. “All I could do was wait to see which of my men would die. Jamie, or Frank.” The stress is obviously causing her to miscarry their child. Just as the police rush in to arrest them for dueling, Jamie fells BJR by stabbing him in the genitals. It’s a symbolic, if non-fatal wound. With any luck, this will prevent him from ever abusing anyone in the future! But what does this mean for Frank? Claire collapses and passes out, calling for Mother Hildegarde.
- Murtagh grumping over his French highwayman getup was cute, particularly with Suzette flirting and fawning over him. Perhaps those two will get together after all?
- Jamie talking to the unborn baby while he and Claire are in bed was adorable. “I’m your father. I canna wait to meet ye.”
- Bawdy Louise never disappoints.
- I enjoyed the interlude between Jamie and Fergus when Fergus brings home word that Claire is staying in the hospital. The two chat about when Murtagh is coming back. “I will miss his happy face,” Fergus jokes. He then makes a joke about how Claire might say “Out of sight, out of mind.” “I’ve never heard her say that,” Jamie frowns. “That’s funny. She says it to me all the time,” says Fergus. Hmm.
- It wasn’t said in so many words, but it seemed to me that the duel was back on at least in part because Randall had done something terrible to Fergus when he caught him in his room. Jamie presumably walked in. I hope that he walked in before any abuse was completed. How horrifying. But, it would drive home the point that if allowed to live, BJR will do nothing but torture, terrorize, and abuse everyone he comes across. Frank’s existence in the balance or not, Randall doesn’t deserve to live.
Join me next week for Episode 6, “Faith,” where we see the hospital trying to save Claire’s unborn baby, and King Louis asks for a favor.