Recap: OUTLANDER Dabbles in Time Paradoxes and Ruins My Tea

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Season Two, Episode Five: “Untimely Resurrection”
Written by Richard Kahan
Directed by Douglas Mackinnon

AN: This episode continues to deal with the sexual violence we saw in Episode Four. Therefore we will continue to discuss that plotline in this piece.

Good day, dear readers, and welcome to another of our recaps! We’ve got quite a bit of ground to cover so let’s begin, shall we?

As you may recall, we learned several things last week:

  • Le Comte St. Germain is not above a mild poisoning of his enemies, particularly Claire. He may also have engineered an attack in which Murtagh was knocked out, Mary Hawkins was raped, and Claire was almost raped. Luckily (?), her attackers thought she was “La Dame Blanche” and ran off.
  • Jamie knows Black Jack Randall is alive. He’s super excited for the chance to murder him. I, too, am super excited for Jamie to have the chance to murder him.
  • Master Raymond has a secret room for magical purposes. He also gave Claire a white stone said to detect poison.
  • Louise de Rohan is pregnant with Prince Charles’ child but she’s successfully passed it off as her husband’s.
  • The Frasers had a dinner party in which the Duke of Sandringham was unimpressed with Prince Charles, Claire and Le Comte had a deliciously tense conversation, and Alex Randall accidentally appeared to be raping Mary Hawkins. This led to a delightful brawl in the parlor.

Are we all together? Wonderful.

Spoilers_Outlander-Jamie

This week picks up right where we left off. Jamie (Sam Hueghan) and Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) have been hauled off to the Bastille prison for fighting. Alex Randall (Laurence Dobiesz) has also been arrested for apparently assaulting Mark Hawkins (Rosie Day).

Jamie returns home and he and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) discuss the attack of the night before. Claire has discovered that “La Dame Blanche” (“The white lady”, in English) is some sort of mythical sorceress. Jamie admits that he may or may not have told some prostitutes that he was married to La Dame Blanche in order to defend his virtue when he hangs out with Prince Charles (Andrew Gower) at the brothel. So now an unknown portion of the Parisian population may think Claire is a witch. Which is just fantastic. Because, you know, that worked out so well for everyone back in Scotland.

Good job, Jamie. (Sam Hueghan as Jamie Fraser)
Good job, Jamie. (Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser)

But it seems that some of that portion includes “Les Disciples”, a gang of noblemen that hang out at Prince Charles’ favored brothel and also like to roam the streets of Paris and rape random women. And it’s likely that it was this gang that attacked Claire and Mary, potentially at the behest of Comte St. Germain. So that’s fun.

Claire visits Mary Hawkins, who is still recovering both mentally and physically from her assault. There is a silver lining, though- now that her stupid patriarchal society has declared her “soiled goods”, she won’t be forced to marry some ugly rich dude. So…you know…pros and cons.

Mary gives Claire a letter to take to the Bastille, assuring Alex’s innocence and asking him to come get her so that they can marry. Claire is torn. On the one hand, she can deliver the letter and assure her friend’s happiness. But if she does, then (she believes) Mary won’t marry Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) and her husband Frank will never exist.

Yeah, Jamie, I'm as confused as you.
Yeah, Jamie, I’m confused too.

If you’ve been keeping up with these recaps, you’ll know that I’m still not convinced about this time paradox. So when Claire holds Mary’s letter over the fire, considering whether to burn it and let Alex languish in prison, I may or may not have spat tea out of my mouth as I screamed at Claire to quit being an idiot.

Back at the Fraser business office, Prince Charles swans in to talk to Jamie. Turns out he’s become quite chummy with the Comte St Germain. They’ve hatched a plan in which the Prince and the Comte will buy a shipment of fancy wine and sell it for a significant profit. Then something, something, blah, blah, convince the King that the Jacobite Rebellion is a worthwhile investment. Charles needs Jamie to partner with the Comte to make this all happen. Charles can’t handle the details of trade himself because that’s a surefire way to catch Poor People Cooties. Or something.

Charles (Andrew Gower) had a nasty bout with them as a child. So his fear is understandable.
Charles (Andrew Gower) had a nasty bout with them as a child. So his fear is understandable.

It turns out Claire heard my frantic yelling and used Mary’s letter to free Alex from prison. Thank God. Sadly, it didn’t come soon enough to prevent the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow) from dropping Alex like a hot potato in order to avoid scandal. But as Claire and Alex take a walk, I at least found it safe to return to my tea.

Alex has an attack of coughing; it seems like his illness from earlier in the season has only gotten worse. Claire uses this as an opportunity to…well…you know what? Allow me briefly summarize the next few minutes in this way:

Claire: Oh man, that cough is super bad.

Me: Yeah, I hope Alex isn’t consumptive. Can you fix this, Claire?

Claire: You know, Alex, you’re like…pretty sick and very unemployed.

Me: Claire?

Claire: You’re probably gonna be hopping from city to city for the rest of your life, trying to find work and like, not die and stuff.

Me: Claire, stop…Claire, please…cease…desist…

Alex: sadface puppydog

Claire: I am Mary’s friend and I super love her and that is my only motivation for telling you this. But you probably shouldn’t marry Mary. Just break up with her so she can be with someone who isn’t a total failure.

Me:

 

I should probably start wearing a bib when I watch this show. It will at least save my clothes from all the tea spitting.

While I mourned the loss of my tea, Jamie faces off with the Comte at everyone’s favorite brothel. Again, allow me to summarize:

Jamie: I hate you and you smell like the murdered soul of a rosebush. Also, I know you did bad things to my wife and friends and one day I’m gonna spit you and roast you like a pig. But in the meantime, I’ll sell this wine with you.

Comte: I, too, hate you and you smell like a dead dog rolled in a week old pile of puke. I will do all the business things. You can only talk to me if you’ve found customers for me to do business things.

Jamie: Fine, poopyhead.

Comte: Later, loser.

Above: Jamie and the Comte

That night, Claire and Jamie discuss plans to sabotage the wine sale. Jamie also gives Claire a set of twelve silver “Apostle Spoons” as an early christening present for their child. He assures Claire that they will be fantastic parents. Though I’m still annoyed at Claire, I at least acknowledge that this is a heartwarming moment.

The next day takes us to Versailles, land of Fancy People walking in Fancy Clothes around a garden of Fancy Plants. The Duke of Sandringham tells Jamie that he was unimpressed with Prince Charles and he’s therefore surprised that a man of Jamie’s good judgement would be supportive of him. Jamie does his best to sidestep the question but the Duke is clearly still suspicious. I have a bad feeling about this.

All the Fancy Plants in the world won't make me feel better. (Jamie, Claire, and Simon Callow as the Duke of Sandringham on right)
All the Fancy Plants in the world won’t make me feel better. (Jamie, Claire, and Simon Callow as the Duke of Sandringham on right)

Across the gardens, Claire is having a chat with Annalise de Marillac (Margaux Chatelier), Jamie’s old flame. According to her, old Jamie was brash and impetuous but now he’s married and settled down and boring and it’s just the worst.

"You have got to be kidding me with this." -Claire, probably. On left, Margaux Chatelier as Annalise de Marinac
“You have got to be kidding me with this.” -Claire, probably. On left, Margaux Chatelier as Annalise de Marinac

This conversation is brought to an abrupt halt by the appearance of the Devil Himself, Black Jack Randall, strolling through Versailles in all his evil glory. He’s creepily excited to see Claire. He urges her put aside their mutual loathing for a moment and revel in the impossibility of their meeting. “The fates are toying with us now,” he says. “Or the writers,” I grumble.

Claire is having none of this. She is trying to escape when King Louis (Lionel Lingelser) shows up, quickly followed by Jamie, just to make things more interesting. King Louis seems fond of the Frasers and also bizarrely fond of speaking in the third person.

If you were this fabulous, you'd talk in the third person too. (Lionel Lingelser as King Louis XV)
If you were this fabulous, you’d talk in the third person, too. (Lionel Lingelser as King Louis XV)

Jamie and Jack exchange tense pleasantries with seething hatred hidden just beneath the surface. Jack, who is clearly still recovering from his cattle-caused injuries, says he’s shown up to ask the Duke to hire his brother again. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but King Louis manipulates Jack into getting on his knees in front of him. The King then giggles and wanders off. It’s pretty great.

Above: Me.

Claire and Jamie beat a hasty retreat, though Jamie stops long enough to challenge Jack to duel. I am all about this.

But Claire runs off to the Bastille and accuses Jack of being the one who attacked her and Mary, ensuring he’ll be locked up for at least a little while. She pleads with Jamie to put off Jack’s well-deserved killing for at least a year, long enough for him to father a child with Mary Hawkins. Jamie owes her, she says, for all the times she’s saved his life. I ask Claire why she insists on stealing all of my happiness.

Because he is a better person than me, Jamie agrees to give Claire her one year. He is quite angry about it. I have given up on the tea entirely and am throwing pillows at the tv instead.

There was a lot to like about this episode so I’ll talk about that before I get into just how furious I am with Claire.

Just let Jamie kill him, Claire!
Just let Jamie kill him, Claire!

First, a little moment I really enjoyed: We had Jamie carrying little Fergus to bed after he waited up all night for Jamie to get home from the Bastille. Aside from the intense “aww” factor of Jamie carrying the boy, we got an interesting peek at what the Frasers will look like as parents.

Next, Claire’s scene with Mary: Outlander has done a decent job addressing the complicated and traumatic aftermath of rape. While I hope that rape doesn’t become as commonplace on Outlander as it is on certain other big budget shows (coughGameofThronescough), I am grateful that the writers allow Mary to show how shaken she is and how this one event will change the course of her life forever.

My poor tiny child. (Rosie Day as Mary Hawkins)
My poor tiny child. (Rosie Day as Mary Hawkins)

The audience really felt Mary’s terror and pain last week. This week, we feel how shell-shocked and bereft the event has left her. But while Mary may be down, she’s not out. She’s still able to take hold of her suddenly fiance-free future and go for what she wants- Alex Randall.

The brewing war between the Comte St. Germain and the Frasers remains a high-point of the season. Stanley Weber makes one of the best disgusted faces I’ve ever seen and his character is shaping up to be a spine-chillingly menacing villain. Aside from revenge on Claire, we still don’t know what stake he has in the Jacobite game. And as I discussed last week, we are never sure where exactly his attacks will come from. All of this means that he pretty much steals whatever scene he’s in and I can’t wait for more.

His clothes also remain the fanciest. (Stanley Weber as Le Comte St. Germain)
His clothes also remain the fanciest. (Stanley Weber as Le Comte St. Germain)

While Black Jack remains at the tippity top of my “People I Imagine Killing While I’m Stuck in Traffic” list, the interactions between him, the Frasers, and King Louis were amazing. Jack is still a Terrible, Awful, No Good, Very Bad Man. But he’s been changed, however subtly, by his tangle with the Highland cows.

Tobias Menzies agrees. In a recent interview with Variety, he says, “I wanted it to be a different Jack, someone who’s slightly less confident…I wanted it to be a real thing, that he had been physically diminished in some way…you see the thrill and connection that he does feel with both Claire and Jamie…he feels a profound connection with them, but then he is in a situation where he’s not in control, and we’ve not really seen that.”

Outlander Season 2 2016

Jamie’s calm and collected response to Black Jack’s appearance was fantastic. It’s refreshing to see a situation where Jamie finally has the upper hand against his tormenter. But it was King Louis that really made the situation interesting. As Menzies says, “Louis almost intuits that he’s [vulnerable], it’s a very peculiar moment, but great, because it’s great to lower Jack’s status where he’s not in control.”

Louis clearly enjoys wrong-footing Jack and I enjoy the King enjoying it. Louis is a delightfully bizarre character, with his third-person talking and embarrassing people I don’t like. As an added bonus, he seems to have a soft spot for the Frasers and could potentially prove to be an invaluable ally against their enemies. In the meantime, King Louis, you just keep on being you.

Outlander Season 2 2016

As for what I didn’t like about this episode, that continues to be the dubious “Save Future Frank” storyline, which I am hereby officially naming the Birther Debacle.

It is abundantly clear that this season is all about testing Claire and Jamie’s relationship.

In an interview with Variety, Sam Heughan says that this week’s argument is, “indicative of Season 2 and their relationship now — it’s complicated, and everything that they do then has a repercussion in time and in history. Season 2 is all about time and this finite point that they’ve got to stop, and the closer that they get to that, the more pressure it adds to them and their relationship.”

Prince Charles chatting with Jamie.
It doesn’t help that Prince Charles keeps weirdly stroking Jamie’s face.

Caitriona Balfe adds, “they keep trying to be on the same team, but they’re not dealing with the core issues — and that’s that Claire feels abandoned by him, he feels misunderstood and alone, and so does she, and they’re two people who through lack of communication are on their own private islands…Claire has asked something insane of him…it’s too much, and she realizes that, but she has a very sacred place in her heart for Frank and feels very strongly about trying to protect him…”

Outlander Season 2 2016

I’ve discussed before how tenuous the logic of this issue is. Jamie even points out that fact to Claire. “Haven’t we come here to change the future?” he asks her. Claire is all gung ho about stopping a war and has no qualms with the potentially monumental changes to world history that would cause. So why is she suddenly so obsessed with following what she believes is the original path of history?

One could argue that she is blinded by her love for Frank and her guilt over staying with Jamie instead of returning to her own time. Her actions also continue a debate we began last week when Claire invited Louise to her dinner party, knowing that doing so would risk exposing Louise’s adultery to her husband. “Does this make us bad people?” she asked Jamie. “We’re doing a bad thing but for a good reason,” he replied. “Isn’t that what bad people always say?” she counters.

Outlander Season 2 2016

But while I understand the narrative purpose of the plot line, it still seems entirely out of character for the rational and analytical Claire. We’ve been working on this issue for three weeks now and there’s still plot holes so large, you could toss an elephant through them. So the Outlander writers are going to have to work some fairly impressive writing magic to get me anywhere near on board with this.

That’s it for me this week! I’ve got to go buy more tea to spit on myself.

In the meantime, check out the full Variety report. Or rifle through the rest of our Outlander coverage.

And take a wander over to the Starz official Outlander website for full episodes and behind-the-scenes goodies.

 

Outlander airs on Starz every Saturday, 9/8c.

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