It’s about to get all spoilery up in here, sassenachs. If you haven’t watched the newest episode of Outlander, “Best Laid Schemes,” avert your eyes now and do not travel through the stones.
Well, that was an emotional roller coaster wasn’t it, laddies and lassies? Whew. The best place to begin is the beginning. With a title like “Best Laid Schemes,” something was bound to go awry and oh boy, the episode delivered on that front. Which schemes? Jamie had promised not to duel Jack Randall for a year, and then he, Claire, and Murtagh concocted a couple of plans to stop the Comte from giving Prince Charles boatloads of dollars.
From the outset, Murtagh was nothing but cranky. Okay, to be fair, gruff is his usual state of being. However, he was more caustic than usual. He was annoyed Jamie backed away from the duel and criticized the way Jamie flip flopped. Then, when Claire and Fergus were working on the mixture of herbs and medicines to simulate a case of smallpox, Murtagh wasn’t having any of it.
The plan was clever, and I admire how scientific they were about it. I might have risked just dumping the liquid into drinks and crossing my fingers because testing whether it was effective wasn’t a pleasant task. The symptoms had to look like they were being caused by small pox, including stomach pains. Jamie stepped up to the plate, which I respect because he could have easily made Fergus do it. That’s not how Jamie rolls though.
It gets better/worse. In the midst of suffering from faux smallpox, Jamie and Claire realize they have to bring Murtagh into the circle of trust and tell him the complete truth about why they’re in France and Claire’s history. Like, all of it. It’s always a risk for Claire to let people know where/when she’s from lest they believe she’s a witch (again), but with Murtagh, this was overdue. He’s basically Jamie’s Chewbacca–they can trust him.
So, in between his discomfort, Jamie told Murtagh everything. It’s not a short story and thankfully, they didn’t waste time by staying with Jamie as he went through it. Instead, they went with quick reaction shots. The technique was just right, as was Murtagh punching Jamie in the face at the end for not telling him sooner. And how sweet was the moment later when Murtagh empathized with Claire and felt sorry for her having to carry such a burden? He can be capable of such tenderness.
Murtagh continued to win the night shortly thereafter, by the way, when he was fitted with fancy court attire. The disgusted look he bestowed upon his ruffly sleeves was priceless. Priceless.
Anyway. Fergus and Jamie successfully “infected” Comte’s men to shut down the wine shipment and stop funds from getting to the Bonnie Prince, but it wasn’t enough. Comte and Charles came to Jamie for help hiding the ill men and transporting the merch. Sigh. Jamie tried his best to talk a way out of it, but the Comte isn’t a dumb man and also happens to be highly suspicious. Hell.
The Comte’s reluctance to trust Jamie resulted in them moving the goods together, but Jamie had to come up with another plan involving Murtagh hiring highwaymen to stage a robbery. They did so and wrecked the shipment, but the Comte wasn’t convinced it was all a coincidence. As for Charles, the loss was the proverbial straw. His failed attempts at gaining money to fund his rebellion hit him and the dude straight up started crying. Look, I’m all about expressing feelings and hold no judgment about anyone experiencing cathartic weeping–but maybe right then wasn’t the time or place, considering his status?
And then things got worse. The worst, actually. Charles went to the salon to gamble away his worries and got himself in trouble. He sent for Jamie, and Jamie went and brought Fergus. By the way, this is a fine place to stop and say Romann Berrux is so utterly delightful as the mischievous kid. He communicates so much with subtle facial expressions and makes Fergus completely charming. Sadly, while they were at the salon, Fergus had a run-in with Jack Randall.
Cut to Claire arriving home after a night at the hospital after having a little bit of trouble with the baby and finding Jamie has run off to duel Jack after all. Her rage was tangible. And since she didn’t know the whys behind the fight–and technically, we don’t either, but I’m guessing Jack tried something with Fergus and if so, I want to duel him over it too–I don’t blame her. I could practically see the smoke coming from her ears. She rushed to the woods where the duel was happening, but she was helpless to do anything.
The trip was ultimately pointless, which I’m sure she knew in the back of her head–it was unlikely she would have arrived before the fight started. But I understand why she wanted to be there. So many unfortunate consequences spiraled out of the duel. The law showed up because hey, dueling is illegal, Jamie didn’t even get to kill Randall as far as we know, and Claire experienced significant trouble. Based on her level of pregnancy in the season two premiere and how pregnant she is now, I expect she loses this baby. Such a loss has potential for all sorts of emotional repercussions for her and Jamie.
Whew. Were you taken aback by the bananas events of the episode? Let me know in the comments.