Outlander Season 2 – Episode 1 Through a Glass Darkly
Outlander Season 2, Episode 1, “Through a Glass Darkly” finds Claire waking up at the circle of standing stones in modern Scotland wearing 18th century clothing. She screams and begins to cry piteously. Claire is no longer in the 18th century and with her beloved Jamie.
The next scene sees her stumbling down a modern road when a man in a car stops to ask her if she is all right. She asks what year it is. Why 1948, the man responds. Then she asks, who won the Battle of Culloden? The British did, of course. Claire has another meltdown at that point.
Later, Claire’s 20th century husband, Frank Randall, arrives at a hospital in Inverness, Scotland to find his long-lost wife psychologically traumatized. The noises of 20th century traffic bother her. Frank, because of his uncanny resemblance to his 18th century ancestor, the psychotic Jack Randall, terrifies her.
Frank takes Claire to stay at the Reverend Wakefield’s to recover. There, Claire tells the incredible story of her two-year stay in 18th century Scotland and France. The news is hard for Frank to believe. Harder for him is Claire’s news that she fell in love and married a Highlander named Jamie Fraser and is now bearing his child, conceived over two hundred years ago. Frank, ordinarily the soul of the British stiff upper lip, goes into a storage shed and starts breaking things.
Still, Frank loves Claire and is willing to accept her back and to raise the child as his own. But Claire must leave the past behind and with it the handsome, red-haired Jamie. They travel to America, where Frank has accepted a position at Harvard, to try to start over.
Next, a flashback occurs of Claire, Jamie, and Murtagh arriving in Le Havre, France. Their mission is to prevent the uprising of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the destruction of the Highland clans. But they are not at port more than a few minutes before Claire notices that the crew of a newly arrived ship have smallpox. The crew have to be quarantined, and the ship burned, which angers the ship’s owner, the Comte de St. Germaine. Now Claire and Jamie have made an enemy with powerful connections at the French court, which without a doubt will complicate their mission. More thoughts on Outlander Through a Glass Darkly.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 2 Not In Scotland Anymore
Outlander Season 2, Episode 2, “Not in Scotland Anymore,” is well named. Claire and Jamie are now settled down in the house of Cousin Jared in Paris, with income from a wine export business, Claire’s knowledge of the future, and contacts at the French court to aid them in their mission to prevent the rising in Scotland and the destruction of the Highland clans. But the rules are different here, as Claire finds out when she has to deal with servants driven to distraction that she makes her own bed and folds her own clothing.
In any case, Jamie and Murtagh get a meeting with Bonnie Prince Charlie in a Parisian brothel. They explain to him that Scotland is not ready for rebellion against the English crown and that he should wait for a more suitable time. Charlie, however, is listening to a higher power. He believes that God himself wants him to put his father, the pretender James III, on the English throne and restore Catholic rule to Great Britain. Around this time, Jamie and Murtagh wonder if it is not the time to put a dagger in the silly prince.
However, Claire, Jamie, and Murtagh get an invitation to go to Versailles, where everyone who is anyone in 18th century Europe wants to go. The rules here are very different, where a cutting remark is just as deadly as getting poked with a sword and where every act of the King, even his constipated bowel movements, is a subject for public spectacle. Jamie offers His Majesty the advice that porridge, which we know is heavier in fiber than the rich food that European royals of the era liked to eat, might be of benefit for his gastrointestinal system. As reticent as the King is to eat peasant food, constipation is even more irksome.
In the meantime Claire, elegant in a red dress with a plunging neckline and with her legs and certain other areas having been waxed, has an adventure with the French Minister of Finance, a crucial player if Bonnie Prince Charlie is to be denied the funds he needs to oppose the English. Unfortunately, the visitor from the future is obliged to toss the French aristocrat in a pond to keep him from pawing at her. Fortunately, he is more apologetic than he is angered.
Finally, Claire runs into the Duke of Sandringham, who proved to be such a disappointment in Season One. The Duke is accompanied by none other than the younger brother of Black Jack Randall, who was far worse than a disappointment in the previous season. It seems that Jack is still alive, which is a very bad thing. Jamie is still in the clutches of the PTSD from Randall’s rape and torture of him. He has nightmares and has not been able to have sex with his wife. If (when) he finds out that his worst enemy is still breathing, he might just decide to go off mission and try to remedy that situation. Then, appropriately symbolic, the fireworks display begins at Versailles. More thoughts on Outlander Not In Scotland Anymore
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 3 Useful Occupations and Deceptions
In Outlander, Season 2, Episode 3, “Useful Occupations and Deceptions” Jamie proceeds to intrigue with his and Claire’s new friend, the French Minister of Finance, to ensure that Bonnie Prince Charlie doesn’t get enough money to invade Scotland. The attempt to put Charlie’s father on the throne of Great Britain will lead to disaster. However, much to his horror, Jamie finds out that Charlie has already gotten most of the money he needs from unknown English Jacobite nobles and has offered France an alliance in exchange for the rest. King Louis is intrigued, to say the least.
In the meantime, Claire is bored out of her mind attending teas with babbling, empty-headed women. At one of those teas, Claire listens to Mary Hawkins express fear at the thought of having sex with a man. Then, to her horror, she remembers that Hawkins is destined to marry none other than Black Jack Randall, which means that ordinary sex will be the least of her problems.
Claire likes sex, but she is still not getting any. The same cannot be said about Murtagh, who is carousing with her lady’s maid Suzette. So Claire goes to her friend the apothecary to procure a drug to make sure that Suzette does not get pregnant, birth control being the least of Suzette’s or Murtagh’s worries. The apothecary, noting how bored the 20th century nurse is with her 18th century existence, suggest she help out at the local charity hospital run by the good sisters.
Claire finds plenty of work to do, since the hospital is all one might expect of a medical facility of the time. She soon earns the respect of Mother Hildegard, who seems to have a great deal of medical knowledge for someone of that era, even to the extent of using her pet dog to sniff out diseases. Like her medieval namesake, the Reverend Mother also has some skill in music.
Jamie is not pleased with his wife’s activities, partly because he thinks it places their unborn child at risk and partly because he is frustrated at how little he has accomplished in the project to prevent the Highlander uprising. He hires an urchin to intercept letters between Prince Charlie and his various supporters but soon finds himself stymied by a music code being employed.
The music code is where Mother Hildegard comes in. She finds the style similar to a then-obscure composer friend of hers named Bach, whom she doesn’t think has much of a future in the music business. But she can ascertain that the sudden and inexplicable changes in key are – so to speak – the key to cracking the code.
Having decoded the letters, Jamie discovers that one of their other friends, the Duke of Sandringham, is one of Charlie’s chief backers. There is nothing for it but to meet with the Duke and persuade him that the Prince’s rebellion is a bad investment.
The problem is that Sandringham’s private secretary is the brother of Jack Randall, the man who raped and tortured Jamie. Jamie will be sure to discover that Black Jack is still alive and will likely go off mission to try to kill him. He will also probably find the Claire knew about this fact and kept it from him. And so the episode ends with that conundrum. More thoughts on Useful Occupations and Deceptions
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 4 La Dame Blanche
Outlander, Season 2, Episode 4, “La Dame Blanche” continues Jamie’s and Claire’s intrigue to try to derail Bonnie Prince Charlie’s attempt to spark a Highlander uprising and take the English crown for his father. Things do not proceed as well as one might have hoped, as was foreshadowed in the first episode of the current season.
Claire tells Jamie the dreaded news that Black Jack Randall is still alive. However, instead of flying into a rage and hauling off immediately back to Scotland to take a claymore to the psychopath, Jamie practically dances a jig for joy. To be sure, Black Jack will die by his hand, but it is something to look forward to at the first opportunity. Jamie will not go off the mission to see it done right away.
Claire’s friend Louise tells her that she is with child by a man not her husband and requests that she help her get rid of it. Claire tells her that abortion in 18th century France is no safe matter, and it might be best instead to fool her husband into thinking that the child is his.
Later, Jamie comes home with bite marks on his body and in too happy a frame of mind. It seems that one of the working girls at the brothel where he spends his time in political wheeling and dealing tried to have at him. Instead of coldly shoving her away, Jamie actually had to struggle not to reciprocate. His manhood has returned. Is it not wonderful! Claire takes this the wrong way, and the couple have a row that ends with them stomping off to separate bedrooms. Later, Claire thinks the better of it, slips into bed with Jamie, and the couple have the first sex they have had in months.
While cuddling in the afterglow, they hear a noise on the rooftop. The noise turns out to be none other than Bonnie Prince Charlie making his escape from the house of his mistress, who turns out to be none other than Claire’s friend Louise. Jamie and Claire devise a diabolical plan. They will invite all the movers and shakers of French society, including Bonnie Prince Charlie, as well as Louise and her husband, for a dinner party. The gossip will slip out that Charlie has seduced and impregnated Louise. The news will be hard for Louise and her marriage, but the scandal will ruin Prince Charlie and will end his dreams of a Stuart restoration.
On the day of the dinner party, Claire goes to the charity hospital to help out, since the servants have the preparation well in hand. But delays in the surgeries and a broken carriage force Claire and her companions, including Mary Hawkins, Murtagh, and Fergus, to go back to the house on foot. While Jamie is trying to entertain the guests, they are set upon by brigands, who proceed to rape Mary. But, when catching sight of Claire, they scream, “La Dame Blanche!” and run off.
Claire and company take the comatose Mary back to the house and upstairs to recuperate, Alex Randall, Black Jack’s mild-mannered brother, volunteers to watch over her. Claire dresses and greets her guests, conducting them to the dining room. She is shocked to find her enemy Comte St. Germaine present. She suspects that he is responsible for the attack and a previous attempt at poisoning.
Still, things are proceeding well with Louise and her husband announcing that they are expecting, Prince Charlie, who knows better, starts to make snarky comments when the dinner is interrupted by a scream. It seems that Mary awoke, took one look at Alex, and ran shrieking out of the bedroom. The dinner guests find them wrestling on the floor in the next room. Mayhem ensues, and the dinner party is effectively over without the goal of humiliating Charlie accomplished. More thoughts on La Dame Blanche
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 5 Untimely Resurrections
Outlander Season 2, Episode 5, “Untimely Resurrections” begins in the aftermath of the dinner party from hell, which ended in a brawl and with most of the guests who had been incautious enough to stay hauled off to the Bastille. Jamie is able to arrange for his release and has the good news that the dinner party had the intended effect of scaring off Bonnie Prince Charlie’s investors.
Alex Randall, Black Jack Randall’s younger and much nicer brother, is not so lucky. The Duke of Sandringham has released him from his service and has left him to rot in the Bastille. However, Claire and Mary Hawkins together arrange for his release, informing the French authorities that, far from attacking Mary, Alex had been trying to help her.
Because of the rape Mary endured the night before, her arranged marriage has been canceled, much to her relief, as it turns out. Mary and Alex are in love and intend to marry. However, knowing that history records that Mary will wed Black Jack instead and will have a child who will become the ancestor of her 20th century husband Frank, Claire warns Alex off, pointing out that he is in no position to support a wife and family at this time.
In the meantime, Bonnie Prince Charlie has another scheme to raise money for his expedition to Scotland. If Jamie and Comte St. Germaine can execute a wine shipment deal financed by a loan from the prince, the profits would be enough to get the war to restore the Stuarts started. Of course, both men hate each other but will set aside their differences for the sake of business. Jamie tells the comte that he suspects him of poisoning his wife and setting thugs to attack his wife and her friends in the streets. If he finds evidence linking St. Germaine to the crimes, he will die a slow, twitching death. Jamie and Claire plot to make sure the wine deal falls through, closing off another source of revenue to Prince Charlie.
Finally, who should Claire and Jamie come across in the gardens of Versailles but Black Jack himself, resplendent in his red uniform? He is there to help his little brother out of his predicament. Jack has an aggravating encounter with King Louis when His Majesty cuts him down with a few well-spoken insults. Jamie and Jack arrange for a meeting to settle their differences once and for all.
The prospect of Jamie cutting Jack into haggis places Claire in a precarious position. Jack has to live long enough to impregnate the unfortunate Mary Hawkins so that Frank’s ancestor can be born. With a lot of tears and begging, Claire convinces Jamie to leave off cutting up Jack for a year. Jamie agrees, but the matter has placed a great strain on their marriage. More thoughts on Untimely Resurrections
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 6 Best-Laid Schemes
As Outlander, Season 2, Episode 6, “Best-Laid Schemes” opens, Jamie and Claire put the latest plot in motion to derail Bonnie Prince Charlie’s scheme to raise money for his expedition to the Scottish Highlands to put his father on the throne of Great Britain. The plot involves simulating the effects of smallpox on the crew of Comte St. Germain’s ships, which succeeds brilliantly, causing the shipment of wine meant to finance the rebellion to go sideways. But a twist occurs when the Prince begs Jamie to ship the wine instead. The plea allows Murtagh to devise a scheme to hijack the wine shipment on the road and make it appear as if Jamie is saving St. Germain’s life.
In the meantime, Murtagh is put out that Jamie has called off the duel with Jack Randall. Claire persuades her husband to let Murtagh in on the truth about her origins. When he does this, the rough, tough Scotsman hits Jamie in the face, which is how Highlanders apparently make up after an argument. Jamie extracts a promise from Claire that if anything should happen to him, she will go through the stone back to the 20th century and Frank.
Claire finds out that the King is about to start a crusade against practitioners of “the dark arts” which will involve drawing and quartering. She is obliged to warn her friend the apothecary of this development. Claire is also beginning to lose her patience with French high society, among whom the topic of conversation seems to be the sexual dysfunction of various husbands and lovers.
The episode ends with a cliffhanger. Jamie and Jack Randall have that duel after all. The affair is brutal until the moment that Jamie runs his enemy through the crotch, causing an injury that looks as if it would derail his siring a child who will become Frank’s ancestor. Jamie is hauled off to the Bastille for illegal dueling. Claire seems to be having a miscarriage and is last seen in a pool of blood. More thoughts on Best-Laid Schemes
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 7 Faith
Outlander, Season 2, Episode 7, “Faith” deals with the horrible aftermath of the duel between Jamie and Jack Randall and Claire miscarrying her child. The holy sisters of L’Hopital des Anges were unable to save the child and were almost unable to save Claire. But a seemingly miraculous intervention by Master Raymond, Claire’s apothecary friend, stops her fever and restores her to life.
The body can heal, but healing the soul is not so easy. The fact that Mother Hildegarde, in defiance of church and secular law, gave the born dead baby a name – Faith, as it turns out, well named – and buried her in hallowed ground is of little comfort. She believes that she has lost her husband as well. He has gone back on his vow to kill Jack Randall and has proven that his need for revenge is greater than her.
Claire keeps seeing a vision of a heron in flight. In a strange flash forward to a 1955 school room, she is explaining what the bird is to a red-haired young girl, apparently the baby she carried with her back to the 20th century.
Finally, Claire returns home. There she finds the young boy Fergus crying in his sleep. He confesses to her that Jack Randall raped him in the brothel and, when Jamie caught him, became so enraged that he demanded satisfaction then and there. Suddenly, Claire understands what drove her husband. She likely would have wanted blood immediately as well, no matter what would happen to Frank in the 20th century.
Claire petitions King Louis XV for clemency. But first, the King demands a couple of services from her. She is required to judge two prisoners, who turn out to be her enemy Come St. Germain and her friend, Master Raymond. She finally uses some knowledge of alchemy she learned from her friend to give him a potion that will make him sick and then, through a slight of hand alteration, use the same potion to kill St. Germain. His Majesty is satisfied with the strange mode of justice, though he advises Master Raymond should leave France for his health.
The other service is of a more sordid variety and involves the King raping Claire with most of their clothes on in an encounter that must have been unsatisfying to both of them. She closes her eyes and thinks of England.
Jamie, freed from the Bastille, is devastated by what he has done. Claire holds nothing back, even telling him what she had to do to get him free. He accepts the rebuke with good grace, but the forgiveness and reconciliation may be long in coming. The last scene is a good start. The couple is praying over the grave of their little girl. They will shortly be returning to Scotland, where the dangers are less subtle than in France but are just as real.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 8 The Fox’s Lair
Outlander, Season 2, Episode 8, “The Fox’s Lair” finds Claire and Jamie back in Scotland in their beloved Lallybroch. At first they live a quiet life in which the highlight of the day is the harvesting of a potato crop. But then a letter arrives announcing that Bonnie Prince Charlie has landed in Scotland and has raised the standard of rebellion. Included on the list of lairds who have declared for the Jacobite cause is Jamie’s forged signature. He is now a traitor to the British crown.
After briefly considering running, Claire and Jamie decide, having failed to forestall the uprising, they now have to make sure it succeeds. To that end they ride over to the holding of Jamie’s grandfather, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, a piece of decaying work if ever there was one, to see if he cannot be persuaded to join the uprising.
The problem is, Lord Lovat likes to be on both sides of the Jacobite question, which means fully committing to one side or the other is not his style. He is considering a pact with Colum MacKenzie that would make him neutral in the war to be.
Complicating things further is the presence of Laoghaire MacKenzie, who had tried to get Claire burned as a witch back in season one. However, Claire decides to put aside her ill feelings about that incident by enlisting the girl, who seems to have repented, to put a little backbone into Lovat’s son, the younger Simon Fraser, to influence the old man into throwing in with the uprising.
Claire also tries to use the vision of Lovat’s old seer, who had a vision of the old man being executed by an axe. Was the executioner working for King George or for the Jacobites? She tries to persuade him it was the latter.
However, it looks like all is lost and that Lovat has decided to try neutrality, having decided against the notion of providing troops in exchange for Jamie signing over Lallybroch. But in a twist, Lovat’s men show up anyway, commanded by his son the younger Simon. The old fox has found a way to be on both sides at once. He’ll tell the King in London that he has decided to remain neutral and that his son has gone off to fight without his permission. He’ll tell the Prince from across the water that his son and his men are there on his behalf. Of course, as it turns out, Lovat is too clever by half, as the seer’s vision suggests and history records. More thoughts on The Fox’s Lair
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 11 Vengeance is Mine
Outlander, Season 2, Episode 11, “Vengeance is Mine” starts with the Jacobite rebellion at a crossroads. The army of Bonnie Prince Charlie has invaded England, with much success, and is five days’ march away from London. However, the generals of the Jacobite Army, noting that the British forces outnumber them six to one, urge a withdrawal back to Scotland. Jamie’s is the only voice calling for a descent on London, a final throw, risking all for victory. However, the Prince is overruled, and the army is to fall back.
Jamie, Claire, and their men are sent on ahead, partly as a means to separate Jamie from the Prince. They are ambushed by a patrol of redcoat dragoons and are trapped in a barn. But Claire manages to get them out with another subterfuge, pretending to be an English hostage. Jamie and his men exchange Claire for their freedom, with the promise of rescuing her later.
Claire finds herself under the roof of the nefarious Duke of Sandringham, who has been playing both sides of the Jacobite rebellion against the other. Claire’s old friend Mary Hawkins is present, as well as the Duke’s goddaughter.
The Duke makes Claire an offer she can’t refuse. When Jamie comes to spirit her away, he would like to go with them. Claire, albeit suspecting treachery, agrees to the proposition, and a letter is sent to a Jacobite spy, the mute Hugh Munro, to set things up.
However, Claire notices that the Duke’s manservant was one of the men who attacked her and raped Mary in Paris. Indeed, His Grace is being treacherous again. He intends to have the redcoats grab Jamie and thus ingratiate him with the English side.
Fortunately, Jamie and Murtagh infiltrate the estate alone. Having found out about the Duke’s plans and what he did in Paris, Mary ends the manservant with a knife, and Murtagh decapitates the Duke and “presents her vengeance” at Mary’s feet. Then they slip away into the night. More thoughts on Vengeance is Mine