Previously on Outlander: Jamie is released from Ardsmuir and sent to Helwater. John Grey is like all of us, and crushes on Jamie. Brianna grows up. Claire becomes a surgeon. Frank dies after a long and bitter marriage.
The plot is cruising right along, isn’t it? It took three episodes to catch Claire’s story up to where Season 2 ended, but here we are: she’s once more “spending [her] life chasing a ghost.” While Brianna and Roger make cow eyes at each other, Claire, Brianna, and Roger are deep into researching prison records and ship manifests to see if they can find what became of Jamie. (They bicker about the Dunbonnet, too—if only they knew! Well, they will soon enough, I suppose.) Eventually, however, they hit a dead end and the ladies return home to Boston, much to the trio’s dismay.
This is another episode heavily focused on Jamie’s story, however, and it’s a doozy. It is also an episode that heavily features Jamie’s body, which battles with my conscience regarding the skeevy setting.
Jamie has been sent to Helwater to serve Lord & Lady Dunsany, and their two daughters, Isobel and Geneva. Geneva, who belongs in the 18th century version of Mean Girls, has decided that she wants the D: her stable boy’s D, that is. I can’t blame her there: she’s engaged to an ancient overstuffed armchair of a man who looks like he’s been dipped in powdered sugar. (And it’s not like he has a nice personality, either.) So Geneva blackmails Jamie into sleeping with her—she knows who he is, and she threatens to tell. Jamie—I mean, Alex MacKenzie—eventually complies, and we’re treated to a booty call that looks like an extraordinarily well-filmed Skinemax flick. When post-coital Geneva sighs “I love you,” he hastily corrects her that this is not love. Are you sure, Jamie? I know it’s mostly the hormones talking, but have you seen yourself lately?
Since freely-available birth control is not a thing in this society, Geneva gets knocked up and dies just after childbirth. Her angry beignet of a husband threatens to kill the child; he knows the boy isn’t his because they never had sex. Jamie of the Glorious Glutes steps in to save the day—and his son, who is whisked off with the Dunsanys to be raised in luxury. No one seems to realize wee William is Jamie’s spawn.
Lady Dunsany informs Jamie that she knows who he is, and he’s free to return to Scotland; he demurs and tells her he’d like to stay and send money to his family. This works for about eight years, right up until people start realizing that gee, that tiny child looks an awful lot like the hunky groom. Time to skedaddle!
Meanwhile, Isobel, the surviving sister, has been crushing on John Grey—eventually, they end up engaged, which shocks Jamie. (This is just after Jamie offers to have sex with John so that John will watch over wee William and act as his father. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Also, John declines the sex, in a show of great moral strength.)
Kilt Drops: 1
I still feel morally compromised by sort of enjoying this. Also, it’s quite the conundrum: would you rather have really good sex with an insanely hot partner once, and therefore know the difference, or just resign yourself to banging a poisoned powdered donut for the rest of your life, and try to assume all sex is that bad? Geneva’s a jerk and this is sex by coercion, but I can’t fault her logic in wanting at least one good partner.
Wit and Wordplay
Jamie: “Married…to a woman?”
John Grey: “I think there are not many alternatives. But yes, since you ask.”
- Oh, dropping Geneva in the mud. GLORIOUS.
- John Grey talking about how he thinks he can prove to be an adequate husband to a woman is heartbreaking.
- Good thing the 60s had some seriously aging fashion and makeup, because lord knows Claire’s face doesn’t look nearly 50.
- I liked that Lady Dunsany is wearing a miniature of Geneva when she confronts Jamie. That was quick work—or she had it done before Geneva’s death. Either way, I love the detail.
Next week: Claire gets ready to go back in time.