That’s What She Said
Now that we’re planted firmly in 1745 (for the time being at least), much of Claire’s portion of the episode focused in on the character establishing herself in the upper French society. As she attempted to acclimatize to luxuries like servants and the torture of “honey pot” waxing, it was immediately apparent that this is a world in which Claire is anything but comfortable. The character has always been most at home when she’s healing—no matter what time period—so it was only a matter of time before she sought out like-minded people and attempted to busy her bored mind. Given the sexual frivolities that ensued at the brothel and court, she’s probably putting her energy to good use.
That’s What He Said
If stopping Prince Charles’ upcoming Jacobite revolution is a key theme of the second season, in a way Jamie becomes an even more important character than Claire. While she has the basic knowledge of history on her side, it’s up to Jamie to actually execute the plans, given his proximity to the clans and, as of the second episode, Prince Charles himself. The brothel scenes between Jamie, Murtagh and the “Bonnie Prince” were telling for the audience, which already knows that this guy had no clue what he was doing, but it was also eye-opening for Murtagh and Jamie. If they had faith in the cause before, surely this meeting made them realize just how dangerous a leader this man could be. Cutting him off at the knees financially was only the next logical step, but it was refreshing to see Jamie, Claire and Murtagh come up with the plan collectively. It makes them that much more equal going forward.
Cheese and Baguettes
It was strange to see the Parisian landscape without the Eiffel Tower, but the lavish costumes featured throughout the episode more than made up for that particular lack of visual. The hoop skirts and all-but-there necklines were matched with beautiful materials and gorgeous accessories that would make anyone want to travel back to that time period and play dress-up for a day.
The continued effects of Randall’s assault played prominently throughout the installment, as Jamie dealt with nightmares and episodes of confusion whenever he was being intimate with Claire. It’s a shame for viewers who are longing for that steamy romance to pick back up, but makes perfect sense to allow for proper healing time after everything the character went through.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though healing is actually in the cards for this couple anytime soon, though. As was revealed in the last few minutes of the episode, Jack Randall is alive and well, and not dead as everyone presumed. Whether Claire tells Jamie herself or lets him eventually find out on his own remains to be seen, but it’s not going to be a great scene when he does learn the truth. Given Jamie’s temper and history of violence with the man, things can’t possibly end in anything other than a blood
bath. Especially with the duplicitous Duke of Sandringham involved.
A Revolutionary Cause
We could watch Jamie push the minister of finance off a bridge all day long. Witnessing the King of France attempt to pass a bowel movement, on the other hand? Now that’s really putting yourself out there for the cause.
Puttering With Potions
The jury’s still out on crocodile’s blood, but with this episode came the introduction of Master Raymond, a soon-to-be close ally of Claire’s with all kinds of fun drugs and potions at his disposal. Sure, he looks nothing like the “frog” character described in the book, but considering his importance in future episodes it’s a small detail to be overlooked for now—so long as they get the rest of it right.
Jamie’s right-hand man makes an excellent point several times in the episode—would it not just be easier to kill the Prince than to let him and his misguided religious notions take the clans towards ruin? The argument that his father would lash out anyhow makes sense to a point, but with one pretender out of the way, one would think they’d have a better chance at altering the course of history. Of course, killing someone when there could be an alternative would make Jamie a bad guy, and something viewers have grown to love about him is his moral compass. So, for now, we’ll accept it as being in line with the story, but it’s pretty apparent that Prince Charles has no idea what he’s doing. One life for many, and all that jazz.
By the Book
The revelation of Jack Randall being alive was a disappointing one at best. As avid readers are aware, not only does the character make an in-person return with hard consequences for both Claire and Jamie, but his younger brother Alexander is also supposed to have a strong resemblance to Frank and Jack. It’s also interesting that casting went with a different actor rather than use Tobias Menzies in a third role. That could be because producers thought it would be too confusing to the viewers, or maybe pulling that off would have been a technical pain. Either way it means there’s less of Menzies in these episodes, and that’s a real shame because it would have been great to see a more sympathetic side to the actor, in pulling off Alexander’s role.
“Outlander” airs Saturdays at 9pm on Starz. Next week: Jamie makes a new young friend and Claire puts her healing skills to good use. For more, check out our video interview with Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies and Caitriona Balfe below.
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