In this episode of Outlander, titled “Creme De Menthe,” Claire’s actions put Jamie’s business at risk, Claire encounters a fortune teller, and Jamie keeps a life-changing secret from his wife.
Claire has only been back in 18th century Scotland for about 24 hours, and she’s already at risk of being violated by a nefarious character. She might have considered taking some self-defense classes or bringing some pepper spray back with her. (It was invented in 1965.) Barton, Sir Percival’s henchman, throws her on the bed, and she stabs him with a knife she grabs from the bedside table. She fails to do any real damage aside from pissing him off. But when trying to evade a subsequent swing of the blade, Barton trips, falls and bangs his head.
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Claire’s Actions Have Consequences
Jamie arrives seconds later, and Claire recalls how she entered their room to find the man rummaging through Jamie’s things and how she had to defend herself from his unwanted advances. Barton groans, and Claire realizes he’s still alive. Still true to her Hippocratic Oath, Claire is determined to do what she can to help the man, even though Jamie thinks the best course of action is to let Barton suffer and die.
The walls are thin in the brothel, so it isn’t long before Madame Jeanne and Fergus show up. Word has spread quickly around the place regarding sounds of a struggle. (If you can hear two people humping in the next room, you can hear an attempted rape.)
Jamie searches the man and discovers that his name is John Barton, and he’s an exciseman (tax collector). Jamie realizes Sir Percival is no longer adhering to their agreement. Jamie explains to Claire that in exchange for a cut of the profits, Sir Percival turns a blind eye to Jamie selling illegal liquor. Sir Percival’s suspicions about Jamie are correct; he’s expanding the business beyond Edinburgh and has failed to apprise Sir Percival of the situation. Jamie figures Barton was most likely trying to discover where Jamie was hiding the additional hooch. When Barton goes missing, Sir Percival will come looking for him, which poses a big problem for everyone in the room.
Madame Jeanne is concerned because the extra casks of alcohol are hidden in her basement. Jamie promises Madame Jeanne that he won’t let any harm befall her. Claire asks Madame Jeanne to send one of her girls for supplies so she can drill a hole in Barton’s head to relieve the pressure.
Claire prepares to head to the apothecary, but Jamie is adamant that Barton deserves neither Claire’s mercy nor her help. He also reminds his wife that if the authorities find out, the law isn’t on her side. All they will see is a woman who was alone in a room in a brothel and are unlikely to buy that her actions were self-defense. The City Guard will arrest her.
Jamie’s attempt to scare Claire into submission fails, and he doesn’t have time to argue. Jamie has some liquor to hide. Jamie recruits Fergus, young Ian, Mr. Willoughby, Lesley and Hayes to help him remove the casks from Madam Jeanne’s. Ian worries that Sir Percival may search the print shop as well, and there is the matter of all those seditious pamphlets. Jamie can only deal with one crisis at a time, and he is confident the pamphlets are well-hidden. Jamie tasks Ian with selling off the casks as quickly as possible at any price.
Claire rushes to the apothecary and is forced to wait in line behind a man, Archibald Campbell (Mark Hadfield), who is searching for remedies for his ailing sister. In exchange for letting her get the items she needs ASAP, Claire offers to come by and treat Campbell’s sister later.
Don’t Mess with the White Witch
Fergus and Ian negotiate a decent price for the brandy and throw in some creme de menthe to sweeten the deal. Ian questions Fergus about Claire, having no memories of his aunt. Fergus sings Claire’s praises, citing her braveness and high-spiritedness. He remembers how fearless she was during all of the battles prior to Culloden. She put men back together who had been ripped apart by swords and cannon fire without so much as flinching. Fergus warns that, while Claire saved many lives, it was also rumored that she took a few as well, and she’s not a woman Ian would want to cross. The two do agree that Claire has managed to create a bit of a catastrophe upon her return.
Claire returns to the brothel and discovers that Barton is awake and an unwilling patient. Jamie has tied him up and is going to brutish lengths to keep the man quiet. She dumps something down his throat that quiets Barton down and prepares to operate. Madame Jeanne alerts Jamie that Sir Percival is downstairs.
While Claire drills a hole in Barton’s skill, Sir Percival and his creepy, cloudy-eyed sidekick, Harry Tompkins (Ian Reddington), search the basement. The casks are gone, but Sir Percival does spot a large wet spot on the floor, which Tompkins confirms is just water. Sir Percival may not have found any evidence, but he knows Jamie is up to something and warns he’ll be watching. (Not much of a search since the two men didn’t even venture into any of the bedrooms.)
Barton doesn’t survive the surgery, which is a relief to Jamie but kind of bums Claire out. Claire doesn’t expect Jamie to understand her disappointment, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to explain that she’s spent the last 14 years learning to respect human life. She doesn’t often lose a patient. So what Jamie views as the will of God, Claire sees as a failing of medical science. Jamie is certain that Claire will have plenty of opportunities to put her knowledge to good use in the future.
It finally dawns on Claire what a pain in the ass she’s become. She returns after 20 years and puts Jamie’s life and livelihood in danger. Because Jamie is practically the perfect male specimen, he reassures Claire that he would give up everything to be with her again.
Fergus and Ian hit a local tavern to celebrate the sale. Ian has a crush on one of the barmaids, Brighid (Zoe Barker). Fergus is determined to get his pal laid for the very first time. It appears Fergus is quite the ladies’ man, having lost his virginity at the age of 15 with not one but two women. Fergus schools Ian on the art of seduction, which basically boils down to getting the bonny lass drunk off her ass. Ian is so focused on Brighid that he fails to notice Tompkins watching him from a nearby table.
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What is Abandawe?
Claire makes good on her promise to call on the Campbells. Archie’s sister, Margaret (Alison Pargeter), is a bit “touched” in the head. Her brother claims she’s a fortune teller, but what comes out of her mouth is gibberish. Archie seems to have a pretty good scam going, claiming he’s able to interpret her visions. Margaret does warn Claire that “Abandawe will devour ye!” (Abandawe is the location of an ancient cave and stone circle in Jamaica in the book.)
After questioning Archie about Margaret’s other symptoms, she comes to the conclusion that Margaret isn’t a psychic; she’s just suffering from a mental disorder. Claire suggests some teas to calm Margaret, but Archie is worried this won’t be enough to subdue his sister since they are leaving for the West Indies. Claire doesn’t think the trip is a good idea, but the brother and sister have a wealthy client who is expecting them. Her only other suggestion is that once they arrive at their destination, Archie makes sure his sister eats lots of fresh fruit. (An apple a day keeps the healer away.)
50 Shades of Lying
Claire returns to the brothel to find that Barton’s body is gone. Jamie had his cohorts store it in a cask of creme de menthe, assuring Claire that there are worse places to be laid to eternal rest. Claire is eager for her and Jamie to get a place of their own. Jamie’s content to stay where they are. He doesn’t pay rent, and he’s able to send all his money home to Lallybroch. Claire suggests that she could earn some money by working as a healer. Jamie doesn’t look thrilled at the prospect, but their conversation is interrupted by the elder Ian Murray.
Ian has come looking for his son, and Jamie tells Claire not to let her brother-in-law know where to find him. Ian is predictably shocked to see Claire. He and Jenny grieved over her for years, and Jamie clarifies that the only reason Claire disappeared was because she believed Jamie was dead. Ian questions where Claire has been, and she tells the truth: Boston. She continues with the tale that she just learned Jamie was alive and returned to find him.
Young Ian has run away before. This time, he’s been gone for weeks, but Jamie lies and says he hasn’t seen his nephew since he sent him home with Fergus months ago. Jenny and Ian are concerned that Ian could have been taken by a press gang — men who are authorized to force other men into military service. Jamie promises that if Ian shows up, he’ll return him to Lallybroch.
Jamie walks Ian out, and we learn that Jamie is married. This isn’t a shock to fans of the book series, but viewers who aren’t familiar with the source material may have suspected this juicy tidbit already. I’ll leave the identity of Jamie’s wife a mystery, but all hell should break loose once Claire finds out.
Claire questions why Jamie would lie to his own family. Jamie didn’t want to admit that he’d recruited his nephew to help with his smuggling business. Claire thinks Jamie could have at least put Jenny and her husband’s minds to rest by revealing that he’d seen Ian without giving away the rest. Jamie doesn’t see the big deal. The bottom line is that Ian is safe. Claire doesn’t share his opinion. How safe is Ian risking his neck working for Jamie without his parents’ permission? Jamie reveals that Ian has fled Lallybroch twice before, and it’s better that he be with his uncle than surrounded by strangers. At least Jamie is able to educate him on the ways of the world.
Claire doesn’t agree with the lying, and Jamie reminds her of all the deceptions they’ve taken part in together. Claire points out that Jamie has no idea what it’s like to be a worried parent. This brings up some issues, particularly how Jamie is Brianna’s father but didn’t get to raise her. He had no say in how Frank and Claire brought her up. Jamie’s still incensed by a picture Claire showed him of Brianna wearing a bikini. Claire questions if Jamie would approve if she and Frank had taught Brianna how to be a criminal and a traitor. Jamie thinks that’s less of an issue than Brianna’s virtue being endangered. Claire finds Jamie’s attitude a bit hypocritical since he’s chosen to live in a brothel.
Claire makes it clear that Frank was a wonderful father, which leads Jamie to question how good of a husband he was to Claire. Jamie wants to know if Claire was in love with Frank, but the kind of love Jamie is talking about didn’t exist between the two once she met the hot highlander.
The increasing incompatibility between these two is becoming evident. And Jamie trying to get Claire to implicate herself regarding Frank is a pretty cheap attempt to cover his own tracks regarding his mystery wife.
Burn, Baby, Burn
Fergus’ advice works because Ian manages to get Brighid back to the print shop for some slap and tickle. At long last, Ian gets to pop his cherry. His happiness is short-lived because Tompkins breaks in to search the shop. Ian sends Brighid on her way. Ian confronts Tompkins, who demands to know where Jamie is hiding the liquor. Tompkins discovers the pamphlets, and a fight between the men leads to a fire. Tompkins retreats, but Ian stays behind in an attempt to extinguish the flames. But since he’s in a print shop full of flammable material, he doesn’t have much luck.
Word of the fire quickly spreads, and Jamie and Claire rush to the print shop. Jamie suspects that Ian is inside because the boy sleeps in the back. He heads inside to rescue his nephew. The two emerge safely, but the shop doesn’t fare as well. And Jamie has an even bigger problem: if and when Sir Percival finds out about those pamphlets, Jamie could be arrested for high treason, which is punishable by death. It’s time to go on the run, forcing Jamie to take Claire to the last place on Earth he wants to go: home.
Claire’s been back for two days, and Jamie’s life has literally been burned to the ground.
Can Jamie and Claire overcome their differences? How will Claire handle the news that Jamie is married? Should Jamie have been honest with Ian about his son? And what is up with the fortune teller’s prediction? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
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