Show/Episode: Outlander Season 2, Episode 6, “Best Laid Schemes"
Outlander hasn’t never shied away from the hard stuff, and, well, it just keeps getting harder for Claire and Jamie to function. Last week she told him she owed her a life for saving his—that’s right she saved her husband’s life and threw it in his face. The life? The man who abused and tortured him, so that her husband of the future/past would still be born. Timeline stuff is weird, y’all, but the crux is she wants Frank born so she wants Jamie to forego killing Black Jack Randall.
He’s a man who pays his debts so he agrees, but once you’ve essentially blackmailed the person you love most in the world, it’s really hard to have an intimate, trusting relationship.
And this is how we enter Season 2, Episode 6, “Best Laid Schemes.”
Claire is gone when Jamie gets up at the opening of the episode. She’s gone to the hospital, where she hears the gory details of how the king plans to execute the practitioners of dark magic. She fears for her friend Master Raymond and goes to confide in him. She clearly has already forgotten that La Dame Blanche business, which is, of course, the first thing that comes to my mind.
At home that evening, Jamie massages his pregnant wife’s feet. He brings up her comment about “owing” her a life, and points out that he’s saved her life just as often and truly they’re even. He explains that he owes Frank nothing now, because she had a choice between them. She could have gone back through the stones to Frank, but she didn’t. She chose Jamie. Her claims that Frank is innocent, and Jamie counters that what Black Jack Randall did to him was worse than death.
Jamie didn’t call of the duel for Claire’s benefit or for Frank. He did it for Prince Charles, he says, but more specifically, in case they can’t change the future and he’s going to die in that rebellion. He wants there to be someone to take care of Claire and the baby. “I want it to be a man who loves you,” he says, once again reminding us that Jamie Fraser is wonderful and THIS is why he’s a book boyfriend to thousands. (And now a TV boyfriend—is that a thing? Editor's Note: Yes, yes it is) Because no matter how much pain he’s suffered, the idea that his wife and child not be taken care of by someone who loves and adores them would wreck him far worse than anything Black Jack has done. He asks her to promise to go back to Frank, if the time comes.
Jamie and Claire move forward on their plan to mimic small pox. They first test the concoction on Jamie, who complains at first that he isn’t feeling anything. It doesn’t take long, though, until he’s clinging to Claire and very sick. In this moment of anguish, they agree it’s time to let Murtagh in on the secret, in on the truth about Claire, about why they’re scheming against Bonny Prince Charlie in this fashion. All of it.
With Murtagh on board, they move forward with the plan. Only now Prince Charles wants Jamie to secure the wine before the harbormaster finds out about the illness. And he’s not going on this journey alone. Claire thinks it’s too risky, but the men assure her they have a plan.
After many episodes without a shirtless Jamie Fraser, we get a little somethin’ somethin’ with Jamie and Claire in bed the night before he’s to leave to transport the wine. They have what could only be a foreshadowing conversation apologizing and suggesting that bad things always happen when they are apart. Claire is NOT WRONG in saying this. Anyone remember the witch trial from last season? They get distracted, though, when the baby kicks, and Jamie talks to the baby for the first time, and everyone melts. Sexy kisses follow.
Claire is bleeding a bit at the hospital, and as such stays the night. When she gets home, Jamie is gone. He’d originally gone to bail the prince out of debt at the brothel, but he ran into Black Jack Randall there. By the time Claire got home, the men were in the woods dueling. She rushed there, ignoring any personal health concerns, but they were already in the thick of it once she arrived. She couldn’t say anything, lest it distract Jamie.
Jamie managed to strike Black Jack in a most appropriate place given their history, just as Claire screams and begins bleeding in earnest, and the police arrive. She asks to be taken to Mother Hildegard, Jamie yells her name, and then Claire passes out.
Now we have to wonder if the baby will survive, if Jamie will end up in jail or worse, and if Claire can forgive him. (And to a lesser extent, can Frank be born if Black Jack was stabbed in his nether region?)
Jamie: I didn’t give you Randall’s life in payment of a debt. I owe Frank nothing.
Jamie: Promise me, if the time should come, you will go back through the stones.
Murtagh: Masquerades and games. What’s next? A rousing game of charades?
Jamie: If anyone can deliver pestilence and disease, it’s us.
Claire: The whole thing’s dangerous.
Claire: Every now and then it is okay for you to lie to me, you know. Just to put my mind at ease.
Jamie: I’ll remember that next time.
Next Stop: Next week we’ll see Season 2, Episode 7, “Faith”
Charting the Course: Once again everything will be in limbo for Jamie and Claire. They’ll be separated, which never leads to anything good. Now we have to wait to see when they’ll be reunited, and if it’ll be with a baby, too.