It’s about to get all spoilery up in here, sassenachs. If you haven’t watched the newest episode of Outlander, “Useful Occupations and Deceptions,” avert your eyes now. Also: I’m filling in for Alicia this week, but she’ll back with thoughts on Prince Charles and everything else next time around.
Oh boy! Those of you who have read the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon were probably as tickled as I was to learn tonight’s episode brought in Mother Hildegarde (Frances de la Tour), her dog Bouton, and the pickpocket Fergus (Romann Berrux). So many great faces! The introduction of those characters brought some excitement into a look at the otherwise somewhat sleepy life of Jamie and Claire–at least it’s sleepy compared to all their adventures in the first season of Outlander. Jamie’s spending all his time either with Bonnie Prince Charlie or plotting against him; it’s practically a 24/7 job. Claire, however, is stuck running the household and socializing. As you can imagine, she doesn’t find her job incredibly satisfying.
Claire isn’t happy with being a lady of leisure. There’s nothing wrong with such a lifestyle, of course, but it’s not for her. Her happiness over learning about L’Hôpital des Anges was evident in the way she grabbed Murtagh and raced to the hospital immediately. When she returned home at the end of her long first day, her tone was gleeful. She was thrilled to be using her skills and to have a purpose again. She liked tasting urine, for goodness’ sake.
Jamie was not as pleased with her ambition. He’s basically stuck in a job he doesn’t want to do and pretty much despises. He’s an honorable man, and even if he agrees Charles must be stopped, it’s clear pretending to be Charles’ friend while working against him is taking a toll upon Jamie’s conscience and well being. He said as much to Claire. By the way, they talk awfully freely in front of their servants. I get that there’s an unspoken loyalty code, but given how sensitive the subject matter is, you’d think they’d be a tiny bit more cautious. They have to know servants gossip with each other.
At first, I was a little surprised with Jamie’s selfishness. He should have been glad Claire found something to give her life meaning again. However, with the aforementioned disgruntlement over his role and the fact that he’d been awake for hours and hours, his knee jerk reaction was understandable. I get it, Jamie. But you’d better have apologized to Claire when we weren’t looking.
It was important for Claire and the audience to see her back in her element. Hildegarde’s personality is quite the match for Claire’s, and I’m already head over heels for any screen time they get together. Claire’s determination and levelheadedness shined when she and Hildegarde worked side by side. I’ve never seen a woman so proud about squeezing out pus (eww). And how about Bouton? He’s a quirky little addition and watching him work is just what I pictured when I read the book and somehow didn’t come across as totally unsanitary.
Speaking of quirky additions, Berrux is spot on as Fergus. The little pickpocket is charming as hell. It’s amusing and sad to see the way he knows how to get affection or food is by complimenting women’s breasts. Ah, the things you learn growing up in a brothel. Fergus proved himself to be a quality addition to the household in no time at all and was able to swipe enough letters going to and from Charles to confirm what Charles told the Minister: he has financial backing from English collaborators.
It’s not the best news to learn. Since Charles actually has money to fund his rebellion, it’s going to make it more difficult to talk him out of moving forward. Jamie and Claire possibly have a leg up with the Sandringham connection but learning about his possible involvement presented a whole other problem: Claire’s going to have to come clean with Jamie about Jack Randall being alive. That’s a delicate situation to say the least.
What do you think about Hildegarde and Fergus? Do you think Jamie and Claire actually stand a chance? What about Murtagh’s sexy moves? Head to the comments and share your opinions on all of it with me!