This is the 10th article in a series of mock Outlander season-three episodes. For the rest, click here.
Okay, very exciting episode this week, people. We are going to the governor’s party, hence the masquerade masks. (And yes, I realize that the party isn’t actually a masquerade ball, but in some ways, it kind of is.)
Now you’ll remember that early on, I decided to move some of Jamie’s backstory from the beginning of the novel Voyager to other parts of the series. I did this for a couple reasons. One was just practical: Jamie has about 200 pages of twisting, turning plot over the course of his 20-year separation from Claire, during which A LOT of stuff happens.
Claire, of course, has her own travails during that time period, but in the novel, those 200 pages are very heavily weighted to Jamie’s story, and for the sake of compelling television, I simply couldn’t have Claire practically disappear for several episodes while Jamie got through all this storyline.
The second reason for moving some of the backstory had to do with theme. Specifically, you’ll notice that each of my mock episodes has had a unique theme which is separate unto itself, but also ties into the larger theme of Voyager: FREEDOM VS. ENSLAVEMENT. By shifting some of Jamie’s story around, we could reallocate those segments into episodes which share a similar theme.
All of this is a long way of reminding you that we skipped the whole Helwater/ Geneva Dunsany storyline early on in the season. But if you’ve been missing it, don’t worry, because we’re doing it now! And for people who will be watching this series who haven’t read the books, it’ll be very effective to learn about this isolated chapter of Jamie’s past along with Claire.
So let’s do it:
THEME: Deception. Everybody’s wearing a mask at this thing. Jamie is literally pretending to be someone else—a French aristocrat—as Claire realizes he’s been living a double life this whole time. The B story of Willoughby potentially killing the woman at the party after feeling he’s been sexually manipulated echoes the story of Jamie and Geneva. What other secret identities will be revealed?
BOOK CHAPTERS COVERED:
PART NINE (WORLDS UNKNOWN) STARTING WITH CHAPTER 58:
The party at the Governor’s Mansion in which the following happens: Jamie and Lord John Grey are reunited, a woman is murdered and Willoughby is suspected (and later flees), and Claire learns from Grey that Jamie fathered the child, Willie.
PART FOUR: THE LAKE DISTRICT:
Jamie is indentured to Helwater where he begrudgingly takes the virginity of Geneva Dunsany, fathering Willie.
BLUE MOUNTAIN HOUSE, JAMAICA
When last we saw our fearless leaders, they were arriving at cousin Jared’s plantation in Jamaica. In the book, we now get a fabulous sex scene, and I’m going to go ahead and open with it, because why not? It’s sexy, fun, and it reaffirms our protagonists’ devotion to each other, which is about to be tested.
At dinner, we learn a bit more about Mrs. Abernathy of Rose Hall (remember that the escaped pirate/slave Ishmael confirmed last week that several white slaves were aboard the Bruja, Ian possibly among them, and were brought to a “Mrs. Abernathy.”)
We also learn that a new minister in town has been asking about her as well. And who is this minister? Why, it’s none other than Archie Campbell who we met back in episode three with his crazy sister Margaret. (I love it when a plot comes together!)
Only now we learn that Margaret has disappeared. Nobody can find her. And so it is resolved that they’ll head over to the new governor’s mansion, where he’s having a reception, to ask about both missing people—Margaret and Ian. But of course, as Jamie is a wanted man, he’ll have to go in disguise as a French wine merchant.
THE GOVERNOR’S MANSION
Okay, so we get to the mansion—Jamie decked out in a wig and clothes that hide his identity, and speaking his flawless French which our poor Sam Heughan is just going to have to figure out more of—and Claire looking ravishing in something with a corset. And we meet the new governor.
Now as many people have pointed out, in the book, Claire does not realize that the man she met on the Porpoise, John Grey, is the new governor of Jamaica, and Jamie and John both have no idea that the other one will be there. But I’ve changed this up a bit. As I’ve said before, I’m not a big fan of coincidences, and this book is chock-full of them. (Really, Diana? No offense, but EVERYBODY we met in Scotland just HAPPENS to be going to Jamaica at the same time for totally unrelated reasons? Okay, I guess.)
So in my version, these people are slightly more aware of each other’s identities prior to this. But no matter how you slice it, they’re aware of each other now! John is overwhelmed with excitement to see Jamie again (who can blame him?) and they agree to talk more later.
So we’re at this fabulous party, and Willoughby, the only Chinese person most of them have ever met, is the center of attention. The women fawn on him, but it’s not quite sincere, is it? Like a hipster in a blacksmith class, they’re more interested in one-upping each other, using Willoughby as a prop.
But what everybody really wants to talk about is Mrs. Abernathy, who has had all the tongues wagging since she got there due to her unorthodox living style. More on that later.
And just when the party is starting to warm up, who should Claire run into but Reverend Campbell himself, come to ask John Grey to help locate his sister? But first, Reverend Campbell has some choice words about a certain “James Fraser,” the man who destroyed his sister’s honor during the Battle of Culloden, thus leaving her the addle-brained Mrs. Havisham of Glen Crazytown.
Willoughby’s getting drunker and making a spectacle of himself, and Claire is having a little internal meltdown at the news that the mystery soldier Margaret Campbell was lusting after may have been none other than her own husband (so THAT’s why Margaret shouted “Jamie!” when Claire first met her. It’s all becoming clear now!)
Down the hallway decorated with Lord Grey’s weapons collection, Claire tries to collect herself when she hears that husband of hers, having a hushed conversation with Lord Grey. Only it’s not a conversation, she sees as she peeks in the door, but a fervent embrace. Claire runs down the hallway, wondering just how lonely Jamie may have gotten at Ardsmuir and what kind of affection he may have sought.
Ducking into a retiring room, she tries to collect her thoughts. But there’s an even bigger problem in this room, as one of the women who had been fawning over Willoughby seems to be lying in a chaise, neck at an unnatural angle, totally and completely dead. And whose bloody footprints lead from the corpse to the window? Willoughby’s.
And that, my friends, is how you set up some conflict!
Claire sits in Lord Grey’s suite, very late at night. She is disheveled and exhausted, waiting for Jamie’s interview with the police to be finished. Investigators are still circling the grounds, looking for clues and questioning weary guests who just want to go home.
John Grey comes in and sits with Claire.
“There are some things you should probably know,” he says. “About your husband.”
And with that, let’s go to our first FLASHBACK!
Jamie arrives at Helwater, where he has been indentured to finish out his sentence for sedition. He is given his orders—to work as a groom with the horses; work that takes him back to his days on his own land—and is eyed with more than just curiosity by one of the master’s daughters, Geneva.
Over time, Geneva corners Jamie and reveals her plan to him: he should take her virginity. She has no choice but to marry the ugly old man her father has basically sold her to, but she’ll have a small victory in knowing that at least he won’t have been her first.
Jamie is not on board with this plan… like, at all. But she quickly makes it clear she won’t give him a choice.
Jamie sneaks into her room late that night and they have REALLY AWKWARD sex.
Lord John Grey pulls out a little miniature portrait of a 10-year-old boy, who looks so much like Brianna that Claire can’t even pretend that it isn’t Jamie’s child.
“Who is his mother?” is all Claire can ask.
“Her name was Geneva Dunsany. She’s dead.”
Claire is shocked. “How?” she asks.
The second half of the Helwater episode plays out as Geneva dies in childbirth, the boy being passed off to Geneva’s old husband, who turns out to be a madman. In an episode that quickly gets out of hand, Geneva’s husband threatens to throw the baby out a window.
Jamie, knowing that the boy is his (and even if he weren’t, not about to let a madman throw a baby out a window), rushes to save the baby and is forced to kill the old man in the process.
The Dunsanys, overcome with gratitude that Jamie saved their grandson’s life (while removing the heinous old man that stood between the boy and his title), owe a debt of honor to Jamie. Jamie continues to live with them, being treated well, while acting as teacher/caretaker to Geneva’s son Willie.
But over time, as Willie gets a few years older, the resemblance is starting to become too clear. Geneva’s mother sees it, though she doesn’t say anything. And Jamie must admit that he’s starting to love his son. He knows he has to go, before it’s too late.
He writes a letter to Lord Grey.
Lord Grey explains to Claire that Jamie sent for him, and asked him to look after Willie. (Grey and the Dunsanys are old friends, which is how Jamie ended up there in the first place.)
As it turns out, we now learn, Grey is going to marry the late Geneva’s sister Isobel, which will make taking care of wee Willie a pretty convenient matter. In many respects, Grey will be like a stepfather to Willie—a fact which, more than anything, lets Jamie know that his son will be fine.
Jamie gives his son his family rosary– the only heirloom he has left to give.
Grey stays behind while Jamie makes his way back to Broch Tuarach, his sentence complete, and his future uncertain.
Grey explains that the embrace she saw between Jamie and Grey wasn’t one of passion—at least, not on Jamie’s part—but one of relief upon seeing the small picture of Jamie’s son.
Oh, and one more thing gets revealed now—Grey remembers Claire from when she set his arm over 20 years before, when as a boy he attacked Jamie and their crew.
“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” Claire says upon remembering who he was.
On the way home, Claire asks Jamie if he thinks Willoughby is guilty. And while she wants to know the answer, of course, she’s really introducing a larger conversation about guilt, innocence, and honesty.
They conclude that they don’t know if Willoughby did it or not. That deep down, maybe they don’t know him at all.
BLUE MOUNTAIN HOUSE
Near dawn and completely exhausted, Jamie and Claire take off their masks… literally. The wig, the dress, the fancy clothes. They take off their disguises, looking out over the gorgeous lagoon.
Jamie takes out of the picture of Willie, which had made its way back into his pocket, and he tells Claire he has a confession to make to her. He tells her that he fathered Willie.
She asks why he wasn’t just honest with her, and he says that he was afraid that after what happened with Laoghaire, she wouldn’t know what to believe. After all the experiences he had with other women, how would she know that, deep down, she was always the only one?
It’s such a gorgeous scene—seriously, some of Diana’s best writing—that rather than try to replicate it in my own words, I’m going to do what I sincerely hope Ron Moore and his staff do: I’m just going to copy and paste.
END OF EPISODE 10
“Blood of my blood…” I’m melting.
Till next week, darlings.
And if you’re looking for Outlander-themed jewelry, here’s the link: Sassenach Jewelry