Show/Episode: Outlander Season 2, Episode 3, “Useful Occupations and Deceptions” (SPOILERS for the episode ahead, of course)
When we last left Jamie and Claire, she’d taken to French customs for body hair (Jamie approved) and discovered that Black Jack Randall is still alive (and she hasn’t told Jamie). They’re making headway on their mission to stop the rebellion. They’ve met key players in the previous episodes. Now they need to move forward with the plan.
Jamie and Claire’s quest to stop Bonny Prince Charlie’s progress means they are spending less time together. Jamie is out at the brothel with Charles every night, drinking and enduring the prince’s blathering. As Claire points out when he comes home in the morning, the stench of cheap perfume on him isn’t helping her morning sickness. Their cause is to save them both, but playing this game has the power to drive a wedge in a marriage, especially when one of them is pregnant and the other is spending evenings getting drunk at brothels.
Keeping secrets, though, doesn’t help a marriage, either. Claire puts together whom Mary Hawkins in while she’s at tea with Louise. The realization that not only is Black Jack still alive but that if Claire wants Frank to exist Jack must live for at least another year drops yet another weight on Claire. Hiding facts from your spouse is never a good call, but the added complication of your past/future husband’s life being tied to that choice makes everything all the more worse. Claire’s always been good about communication, but this is one of those truths that could do damage. Jamie’s PTSD alone would be concern enough, but adding in the Frank complication? Rock, meet hard place.
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Claire confides in Murtagh about Black Jack. One thing I love most about Claire is she is consistently forthright. Good or bad, the woman is great about speaking her mind and not holding back. Murtagh, though, suggests keeping the secret from Jamie is vital. Claire may be “living a lie,” but Murtagh says it’s worth it to keep Jamie alive.
Unfortunately, that only exacerbates Claire feeling not herself. She finds her way to the charity hospital and lends her services. She has purpose again. Only even that act drives another issue between her and Jamie. He has come home with news about Prince Charlie raising funds—their work being for naught—and she’s not home. This is another moment when we remember the big difference in culture compared to now. Jamie doesn’t understand his wife being out, essentially at work, when he needs her at home to help him solve problems. Typically he’s more understanding of Claire, but lack of sleep and high stress is only enhancing the strain between these two.
And that makes this viewer very, very sad.
Luckily, their respective projects collide. Jamie needs help deciphering code written in German music composition. Mother Hildegard from Claire’s charity hospital is the one to help them read it. This puts Jamie and Claire back working together. They are both working against Prince Charlie now, they’re in the same room without fighting, and that progress would be wonderful, if it didn’t lead to another issue.
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Discovering where Charlie is getting funding only puts Jamie back on track to learning about Black Jack’s “alive” status. He’s in celebration mode, while Claire and Murtagh have to prepare themselves to let Jamie in on the dark fact. Claire can’t do it, though. Not yet. And after so long seeing Jamie without a smile, I can’t blame her. He needs to know, yes, but why ruin that one moment of joy he’s had in so very long? Claire wants to reconnect with her husband, and her choice to delay telling him about Black Jack is coming from a good place.
When the truth bomb detonates, though, it’s going to be huge and painful. Knowing she kept the secret from him isn’t going to go over well. Jamie needs connection, truth, and loyalty.
Let’s hope our Jamie gets a few more moments of happiness before it gets dark for him again.
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Claire Clothing Watch: The yellow cape was divine.
Jamie: “Give my regards to your ladies at tea.”
Claire: “They’re not my ladies.”
Mary (on the basics of sex): “Men don’t do that where I come from.”
Louise: “And where is that? The moon?”
Next Stop: Next week we’ll see Season 2, Episode 4, “La Dame Blanche”
Charting the Course: We should get way more Jamie and Claire together next week. They’re going to get to work together on their mission to change the future, as they invite the key Jacobite players over for dinner.