“Never too early for a whiskey…”
We open in Scotland 1968, around where the Season 2 Finale left off. Claire, Roger, and Brianna are tirelessly tracking Jamie through history, to little avail. Claire finally discovers his name in a ledger from Ardsmuir prison. A breakthrough!
“Alexander MacKenzie, your servant.”
Back at Helwater, 1756; the Dunsanys return home from holiday and Jamie meets them for the first time. Lord Dunsany has a brief word with him – he knows Jamie is a Jacobite, but the missus doesn’t – let’s keep it quiet. Their son, Gordon, died in the Rebellion on the opposite side, and she has never forgotten it. Jamie sympathizes. “I’ve lost two children, myself.” Dunsany is charmed and tells Jamie to forget it – he’ll just tell his wife that Jamie comes highly recommended by John Grey and pay him a stipend for his services, but for Jamie not to forget that he is, indeed, a servant and a prisoner.
Cute AND handy…
Back in present-day Scotland, Brianna and Roger are broken down on the side of the road, and Bree is ribbing Roger about Fiona’s obvious crush on him. She feels him out about their relationship and Roger manages to stammer that he doesn’t have a girlfriend. In response, Bree fixes the broken-down car and it starts. “What do I owe ye?” Roger asks. “You’ll think of something,” Bree smiles. Grilling him while he’s a captive audience! Clever girl.
Time to draw straws
The grooms draw straws to determine who is stuck accompanying Geneva Dunsany on her daily ride. Jamie fetches her horse. “Hurry up, useless Scotchman!” she snaps. “A boot in the hindquarters is what that one needs,” Jamie mutters to another groom as Geneva rides away. “The horse, or my sister?” Isobel Dunsany inquires from behind them. Whoops. Jamie apologizes, but Isobel brushes him off. “I know exactly what you meant. And I doubt it would do her any good.”
Isobel laments that the horses are kept confined, but Jamie assures her that Helwater’s stables are top-notch. “A cage is still a cage,” she says, knowingly. She asks how long Jamie “worked for” Lord John. She confesses that she knows John well and is crazy about him. Jamie brushes off the notion that John might marry, citing his devotion to the military rather than his more private proclivities. Lady Isobel is unswayed.
Meanwhile, back in Boston…
Joe Abernathy calls Claire in Scotland about hospital business, and Claire begins to realize that after what seems to be about a month, it’s probably time to go home. She still has a life in Boston. They both do.
“A mere fortnight until you’re mine…”
In 1757 Helwater, Lady Geneva is to be married off to Lord Ellesmere, an insufferable prick three times her age who talks about her in her presence as if she is not there. He snaps at Jamie, then remarks “My God, if a child of mine had hair that color, I’d drown him before he drew a second breath.” Foreshadowing! Needless to say, Geneva does not look thrilled about these arrangements.
Geneva demands that Jamie accompany her on her daily ride. The other grooms snicker. She asks what Jamie thinks of the Earl of Ellesmere, and Jamie is as polite as possible. “He appears to be fond of you.” Geneva shamelessly flirts with Jamie, asking what he finds attractive, then refuses to turn back at the onset of darkness. “You HAVE to do my bidding.” Jamie rides after her to find her unconscious on the ground, having been thrown from her horse (or so he assumes.) She giggles as he scoops her into his arms. “I knew you would do as you were told.” Furious, he dumps her right back on the ground. Geneva simply laughs. “I look forward to our next ride!”
Lord Melton, I presume…
Jamie plays chess with John Grey during a visit. The two are interrupted by the Dunsany sisters and Colonel Melton, John’s brother. Melton only knows Jamie in the context of being a Jacobite outlaw and a prisoner, and the tension is thick. You can see Lord John and Jamie silently begging him not to out Jamie to the Dunsany sisters. Fortunately, Melton is savvy, replying “If it were up to me, I would not have let such a man go,” when Isobel asks him how his family is getting along without Jamie. “But I am not my brother,” he adds.
“Shoveling shit, milady.”
Geneva comes to Jamie in the stables the next day to harass him. She whines that she could have told her father that he dropped her in the mud, and that he’s fortunate that she’s merciful. He’s none too amused by her, and she starts complaining about her impending marriage. She asks if Jamie has ever been married. “Aye,” he answers. “Then you’ll know what to do,” she says, matter-of-factly, “when you come to my bed.”
“Filthy wee bitch!”
The two threaten each other, and Jamie scolds her for her behavior. “I’ll be damned if my maidenhead will be given to a depraved old goat like Ellesmere!” Jamie dismisses her and walks away, and she drops the hammer. It seems that old Colonel Melton had a few too many glasses of port and let on to her who Jamie really is. Basically, the deal is to do as I say or I’ll have your parole revoked, Red Jamie. She orders him to her room that evening. Jamie is furious, but ultimately nods.
“May I touch you, milady?”
Once in Geneva’s room, she’s demure, but all business. “You may disrobe,” she says, then turns away. “You can watch me if you’d like,” Jamie sighs. She does. He pauses before revealing his scarred back. She gasps, and he reassures her that it doesn’t hurt. She gazes at him for a long moment, until he points out that they should get on with it. She’s suddenly very girlish. “I don’t know what to do,” she worries. “The first time can often be…vexing,” Jamie replies.
Consider me vexed
Geneva asks if it will hurt much. “I think not…if I take my time,” Jamie replies. Swoon! “Move with me,” he whispers. The two make love and Geneva tells him that she loves him. Jamie gently dismisses her. “It’s not love, milady. It’s just the feelings I’ve roused in your body are…strong. But it’s not the same thing as love.” The first time is vexing, indeed.
We cut to some time after the wedding, Geneva arriving back at her parents’ house for a visit with Lord Ellesmere, visibly pregnant. Oops!
Finding what has been lost
Back in 1968, Fiona has found the pearls that Jamie gave Claire on their wedding night. Fiona’s grandmother had kept them safe for Claire all of these years. Meanwhile, Brianna and Roger have arranged to search the ships’ manifests at the National Archives.
Bree and Roger relax by the fire. Brianna remarks that ever since her mother told her about Jamie, the walls between them have started to come down. She’s afraid that if they actually find him, she will lose Claire. Roger confesses that he’s afraid that if they find Jamie, he’ll lose Brianna. On impulse, Brianna kisses him. They both grin.
Wee Willie’s arrival
Lady Isobel runs to the stables to fetch Jamie. Geneva is going into labor and they’re all headed to Ellesmere – Geneva isn’t well. Once they arrive, they learn that the baby – a boy – is healthy, but poor Geneva has bled to death. Isobel is furious. When Jamie happens upon her crying in a corridor, she tells him that Geneva is gone, and slaps the hell out of him. “Ellesmere knew the child wasn’t his,” she hisses, “and so did I. She told me they had never shared a bed. She was in love with you!” The two are interrupted by a maid, who demands their presence. “There’s trouble!”
“I’ll kill the bastard before I’ll let you have him!”
Upstairs, Lord Ellesmere is screaming at the Dunsanys and brandishing a knife. He’s none too pleased that the baby isn’t his. Dunsany is horrified at his accusations and pulls out a gun. Fearing for the safety of the baby that Ellesmere is holding, Jamie steps in between the two and mediates. He takes the gun from Dunsany, then demands the knife. The Dunsanys demand the baby, and Ellesmere flips out, making a move to stab the newborn. Before he can even finish his thought, Jamie shoots him dead and scoops up the baby, who is unharmed.
“My sister was…a difficult woman, and you were kind to her.”
Back at home, a few days later, Isobel runs into Jamie as she is walking with the baby. They’ve named him Willie. Jamie smiles. She apologizes for the way that she treated him. She leaves the baby with Jamie for a moment, who privately admires his son. “You’re a braw laddie, Willie! You’re so wee! Dinna fash yourself. I am here.” Lady Dunsany, for her part, lets Jamie know that the coroner has ruled Ellesmere’s death an accident. She’s grateful that Jamie saved her grandbaby, and says that she knows who he is after all. Nothing gets by the lady of the house! She says any time he wants to go home, he can say the word. Jamie is blown away with gratitude, but as he looks at Willie, he says he’ll not go home just yet.
She’s not wrong, you know
We cut to 1764, where Jamie is teaching a 6-year old Willie to ride a horse. His grandmother jokes that he’s spending so much time with Jamie that he’s starting to look like him.
Freedom & Whiskey
At the National Archives, Claire, Roger, and Brianna hit a dead end with the ships’ manifests. The dates are all more than a century off. Sadly, it’s everything which is available. The three go out for a somber drink. Bree and Roger are still hopeful about their chances of finding Jamie, but Claire is done. She raises her glass. “To all of those we have lost,” she toasts. “It’s time to go home.” Brianna nods, sadly.
Saying our goodbyes
Similarly, Jamie is telling young Willie that it’s time for him to go home, too. The two quarrel, then make up. Willie is devastated to lose Jamie. Lord John is sorry to see Jamie leave England as well, but he assures Jamie that it’s only a matter of time before Jamie’s secret is discovered – Willie is starting to look just like him. Best make himself scarce before everybody – even Willie himself – figures it out.
“You shall always have my friendship, if it has any value to you.”
Jamie and John go for a walk and Jamie asks John to look after Willie; to serve as his father. In return, he offers himself to John Grey. Really, Jamie? After all this time, you still think that your body is currency? He’s never gotten over his trauma at Randall’s hands. Lord John is dumbfounded, then chuckles. “You dinna want me, then?” Jamie asks. “I shall probably want you until the day I die,” John says, but dismisses his offer nonetheless. He confesses that he is to be married to Lady Isobel. Jamie is aghast, but grateful – John will be in a good position to look after Willie, as his uncle.
“I’m a stinking papist, now!”
Late that night, Jamie and Willie share a nice moment before Jamie leaves, and Jamie gives Willie a small, hand-carved snake, just like the one his own brother Willie gave him as a boy. Back at the manse, Claire packs up all of their research. Jamie says his own goodbyes, and Willie chases him down the road, heartbroken. Roger sits similarly dejected in his home, missing Brianna.
- When Willie cried “Please, Mac, I want to be like you!”, did anyone else’s heart break into a million pieces?
- Most will know this, but a “stinking papist” would have been a Roman Catholic. Meaning that the Dunsanys were likely Protestant.
- In the goodbye scene, the use of a version of Bob Dylan’s “It’s a Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” was a nice touch. The lyrics are particularly fitting.
- The love scene with Geneva could have been played a lot of ways, but I enjoyed how it went, in general. Who could help but fall in love with Jamie, honestly? And, despite the fact that he was blackmailed into her bed, he didn’t treat making love to Geneva like it was any great hardship for him. It played as if the two were fond of one another for real, on top of her girlish infatuation and his general disdain for her. I enjoyed that choice.
- Seriously, though, Geneva wasn’t savvy enough to at least sleep with her new husband once? Just in case she needed to claim that a baby from Jamie wasn’t a bastard? Not very bright, Geneva. Although if Lord Ellesmere had thought Willie was his, he wouldn’t have ended up dead and Jamie wouldn’t have ended up practically raising him, so all’s well that ends well, I suppose. Although done for the sake of the story, it still seems like a silly failing on Geneva’s part, however.
Join us next week for Episode 5, “Freedom & Whisky.”
Image Credits: Sweatpants & Coffee.