Bienvenidos, mis amigos, and welcome back to our mock season three of Outlander. As you can see, I’m already switching from French to Spanish, getting excited about our upcoming voyage to Hispaniola. But we’re not quite ready to head there yet, because we’ve got a couple crazy episodes to get through first.
Now as you know by now, I’ve broken up much of Jamie’s backstory (covered by Diana in the first 200 pages of Voyager) into various locations throughout the season. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons. First, it helps give Claire and Jamie equal screen time, and allows their “real-time” story—ie: not flashback—to get started much sooner. But the second reason is equally important. Namely, it allows us to thematically incorporate Jamie’s life during those 20 years into the life lessons he (and Claire, of course) will be confronting in season three.
Sorry if I’m already getting a bit English Major on you guys. I promise it’s going to get more fun… starting now.
Last week, Jamie’s smuggling and printing careers went up in flames, literally. Realizing it was time to start anew with Claire, the two decided it was time to go “home,” to Lallybroch.
Now let’s take a look at Mock Four, or as I affectionately call it, “The Bitch is Back.”
THEME: You can’t go home again. Safety, stability, permanence: all the things home represents once again elude our star-crossed lovers. Can they find a “home” in each other instead?
BOOK CHAPTERS COVERED:
PART TWO: LALLYBROCH:
This section includes: Jamie living as a hermit in the cave for seven years (and Fergus losing the hand); Jenny giving birth to the baby Ian Jr (and having to pretend he was stillborn when the British troops arrive and Jamie is hiding with the infant in the closet); and Jamie’s decision to surrender himself to the British, risking prison in order to keep his family safe.
PART SEVEN: HOME AGAIN:
Includes all of the stuff with Jenny and Ian back at Lallybroch, plus the revelation of Jamie’s marriage to Laoghaire, who has two daughters from a previous marriage, and the fact that Fergus is in love with one of them. (This section also includes Chapter 33, “Buried Treasure,” which contains a detailed description of Jamie’s prior attempt to claim the treasure at Silkies’ Island. We’ll be moving this to the next episode, however.)
Jamie, Claire, and Ian Jr., still raw from his recent burns, make their way on horseback, sweaty and exhausted, towards Broch Tuarach. Finally, it appears on the horizon, a thin wisp of smoke escaping the chimney.
“Much changed, no?” Jamie asks.
But Claire can’t take her eyes off it. “Not at all.”
As they get closer, Ian Jr. asks his uncle if he thinks his parents will whip him for running away to Edinburgh.
“Yes, son,” Jamie answers. “I suspect they will.”
Now Jenny, Jamie’s sister, is one of my favorite characters. In the book, there’s a rather long scene in which she upbraids Jamie for involving Ian Jr. in his escapades in Edinburgh, and Jamie reminds her that those escapades pay for the food her children eat.
It’s a great scene, and if I were Ron Moore, I’d pretty much leave it as is. We don’t get to see a whole lot of Jenny this season (spoiler alert, she’s not coming with to Jamaica), so let’s at least give her this, shall we?
I’m just going to add one little thing to this scene, and that is this dialogue:
Jamie: I’ve done everything in my power to protect this house since the night wee Ian was born.”
Jenny: “I don’t want to talk about that night.”
(Spoiler alert, we’re going to talk about that night in just a sec.)
After this scene, Ian Sr. makes Jamie whip Ian Jr., and Jamie in turn makes Ian Jr. whip him back for being a bad uncle.
IN BED THAT NIGHT
Claire asks Jamie about the night wee Ian was born. (See, I told you.)
And now we get a FLASHBACK. In the book, this is where the Silkies’ Island stuff goes, but we’re going to dive into a very different flashback here:
SUPER: NOVEMBER 1752… EIGHT YEARS AFTER CULLODEN
Fergus—about 20 years old—rushes through the night to Jamie’s cave to tell him that Jenny is giving birth and Ian Sr. is nowhere around. Jamie says something about how he’s not supposed to come to the house because there have been warnings of Redcoats swarming about, but Fergus convinces him Jenny needs help.
So Jamie rushes to the house and we have the great scene where Jenny gives birth to wee Ian Jr. Just as in the book, Jenny uses the moment to illustrate to Jamie that he could remarry and have children of his own someday (foreshadowing much?). And Jamie confesses to Jenny that Claire was pregnant when he lost her. Alas, this beautiful moment is interrupted by…
The Redcoats… who always ruin everything.
And now, if you’ll bear with me, I’m going to combine a couple different events from Jamie’s cave years into one big mammoth scene. Because that’s what I do. So Jamie is hiding in the closet with the infant Ian and Jenny is telling the Redcoats that the child was stillborn in order to explain why there’s no baby in her birthing room.
And just when it seems like the Redcoat in question might search the armoire anyway, exposing Jamie, Fergus and his little scamp of a friend, Rabbie McNabb, fire a gun outside to distract the soldier. It works (civilians aren’t allowed to have guns, remember), and the Redcoat and his friends rush outside to arrest the wrongdoers. Jamie emerges with the baby, hands him back to Jenny, and watches from the window as Fergus is grabbed by the Redcoat.
Jamie is powerless to do anything to help as Fergus is dragged to the front of the house and the Redcoat takes out his sword and slashes off the young man’s hand as retribution for firing the gun.
And that’s when Jamie knows—his time of hiding is over. He is going to surrender himself to the British in order to keep them away from the house.
So we have Fergus making a great sacrifice in order to save Jamie, and Jamie in turn sacrificing his freedom to protect the house.
END OF FLASHBACK
Jamie explains to Claire that after surrendering, he went to prison at Ardsmuir and later into indentured servitude at Helwater. “It was years before I could set foot in this house again,” he says.
“But you’re home now,” Claire points out. “We’re home.”
And now Jamie tells Claire that there’s something else he hasn’t told her, but now he must. But Claire says that it’s late, and he can tell her in the morning.
So there’s this great sex scene in the book at this point (ladies, you know which one I mean), and I’m going to go ahead and keep that one in here. Because, you know, I think it’s important to the plot and stuff.
And just as it’s starting to get good, in walks Marsali to discover Jamie between Claire’s legs. Marsa-who, you ask? Marsali, Laoghaire’s daughter. And she does her whole “Daddy! Who is this woman?” bit.
The rest of the episode doesn’t veer too much from the book. Claire finds out that Jamie married Laoghaire and he’s stepdad to these two kids.
The only thing I’m going to change is that in the book, Laoghaire is portrayed as having been cold and unresponsive to Jamie, never really warming to him as a wife. Yeah, I’m tossing that. (And I’m guessing, based on the way Laoghaire has been played in the series so far by Nell Hudson, that the writers of the show are going to change it, too.)
What makes a lot more sense is that the more desperately Laoghaire tried to get Jamie to love her back, the more she only succeeded in reminding him how much he missed Claire. It almost seemed like in the book, Diana chose to make the loveless marriage Laoghaire’s fault, so that Jamie could be the good guy who couldn’t be blamed for leaving her.
But the series has been allowing Jamie to be a more flawed character than that. I don’t have any problem with the fact that he left Laoghaire even though perhaps she didn’t “deserve it.” He simply didn’t love her, so he chose to support her financially while not living as her husband. Jamie’s not perfect. (Remember, a recurring theme of this season is: Can Claire and Jamie still love each other, even though they’ve both changed and made mistakes? So we need those mistakes to be real and significant. I think Jamie abandoning Laoghaire, a selfish choice from those outside looking in, is the more interesting choice.)
Okay, moving on:
Jamie tries to do what men do: use sex to make up with his wife instead of, you know, talking to her. It doesn’t go well. And Claire decides to flee to…
Where she races back to Craigh Na Dun because she’s going home to the 20th century. Except I’m changing this too, because, well, it’s ridiculous. Sorry, but it is.
In my version, Claire gets on her horse and begins to ride back, after Jenny makes her believe that Jamie will never betray his promise to Laoghaire and there’s nothing left to fight for. Yes, I’m making Jenny the bad guy a bit here, but we’ll give her some time to redeem herself next week.
In the meantime, Claire gets about halfway to wherever the hell she’s going before she realizes, WAIT A MINUTE– and we might need some VO here to drive this point home– WHERE AM I GOING? She made a commitment to be with Jamie, and she’s leaving at the first sign of trouble. She realizes that she has no other “home” to go to—THEME ALERT! Because Jamie IS her home.
Claire knows now that she will fight for Jamie until her dying day. She doesn’t turn back because Ian Jr. tells her Jamie’s been shot. She DECIDES to go back on her own. It’s an important distinction, and one that helps us keep Claire as proactive a protagonist as possible.
And then on the way back, she meets Ian Jr., who tells her about the gunshot. (Remember, Laoghaire shot Jamie in a jealous rage. The bullet went through his arm and into his side, causing infection.)
Back at the house, Jenny and the priest are saying their goodbyes/ last rites over Jamie. They’re sure he’s going to die from the infection. In the book, Diana pretty much lets us know early on that Jamie’s going to make it, but I’d like to make his chances a bit slimmer here. The stakes need to be as high as possible.
So the priest leaves the room. Jenny looks down at her brother’s body and says, “In the end, he did save this house. But he couldn’t save himself.”
And she leaves the room. And Claire says, to no one in particular, “No, he couldn’t. But I can.”
She takes out the medical kit she’s had hidden with her the whole time. She melts down the penicillin tablet and fills a syringe with it. She leans down over Jamie’s listless figure, kisses his forehead, and sticks the needle in his ass.
“Don’t you ever leave me again, James Fraser,” she whispers to him.
All he can do is grunt.
END OF EPISODE FOUR
Okay, what do you guys think? I’ll be honest: this one was a bit of a bear to figure out (hence the reason it took two weeks to write!) But I think incorporating the flashback of Ian Jr.’s birth into the modern scenes really solidifies the plot of “home,” and the things we do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from outside invasions… be they invited or not.
And now we’ve got a lot of fun stuff set up for next week. Everybody ready to hunt for buried treasure?
Until then, let’s all be good to each other, shall we? See you guys in a week.
And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link: Sassenach Jewelry