The cracks in the Fraser marriage caused by spying and deception are evermore present in the third episode of Outlander. Jamie is out all hours with Prince Charles, charming French whores and trying to save his people by undermining their cause. He’s put off Charles as long as possible, and the Bonny Prince is now insisting on meeting with Monsieur Duverney about France helping Scotland restore a Catholic King.
The parties and drinking are causing resentment in Claire and frustration in Jamie. Not to mention that he’s lost Sawny, the wooden snake his late brother gave him as a kid, and the servants go on a hunt for it while Jamie once again leaves home, this time to see Duverney. Claire’s time is less fruitful as she has tea with Louise and Mary Hawkins, who needs The Talk more than anyone I’ve met. Of course it’s not uncommon for young unmarried English ladies of the 18th century to not know about sex, but Louise finds Mary’s horror hilarious. Claire finds it endearing, until she remembers who Mary is. A flashback to her time with Frank reminds her and us why Mary seemed so familiar. Turns out Mary is to be Jack Randall’s wife, and Frank’s direct ancestor. This gives Claire a bit of a shock as she has to force herself to admit that it’s a good thing Jack isn’t dead. As Jack Randall’s direct descendant, Frank’s entire existence depends on Jack Randall living until the date Claire tormented him with in Wentworth.He can’t die until he marries Mary and that isn’t for another year.
The realization that she has more reasons to lie to Jamie about Jack Randall’s not-quite-deadness coupled with her general frustrations at life causes Claire to lash out when she finds Murtaugh and her ladies maid, Suzette, enjoying some afternoon delight. Murtagh notices that Claire isn’t herself and she confesses to him about Randall. Murtagh agrees that they can’t tell Jamie, lest he hightail it to Scotland and get himself killed. Because deception is exactly with this marriage needs right now.
Meanwhile Jamie is playing chess with Duverney, both literally and figuratively, while trying to convince him that Scotland isn’t ready to fight England yet. There isn’t enough funding and the highlanders can’t agree amongst themselves whether or not they should fight. Duverney agrees that France isn’t ready to get into a fight with England and is happy to tell Charles this, unofficially, of course.
Jamie’s days are full of intrigue while Claire’s days are boring and pointless in comparison. She goes to Master Raymond for birth control for Suzette, and runs into Compt San Germaine talking to Master Raymond. Dude is still salty about losing his ship and cargo, and we will surely not see the last of him. While at the apothecary, Claire learns of a charity hospital, L’Hopital des Anges, and their need for volunteers. She drags Murtagh with her over his objections, and there she meets Mother Hildegard and her dog, Bouton.
Claire finds purpose and fulfillment in helping others and impresses Mother Hildegard, while Jamie is having a harder and harder time single handedly trying to stop a rebellion. This is made worse when, while at the club with Duverney and Charles, Jamie is blindsided hearing that Charles has 40,000 pounds from aristocratic English sympathizers in his war chest, and if France helps, they will have an ally in England. This proves too tempting for Duverney, who agrees to talk to the king.
Jamie’s plan is screwed, and when he goes home his wife is nowhere to be found. When she returns from the hospital hours later, he’s resentful and upset that she wasn’t there to help him figure out what his new findings mean for their mission, and she doesn’t understand why she should wait around for him to come home when she found something meaningful to do with her day. The tension between them builds as Jamie leaves to go back to Maison Elise to drown his sorrows, and Suzette tells Murtagh the two aren’t having sex, having overheard their fights and by virtue of being Claire’s maid.
While Jamie is drinking he notices a young boy picking pockets and chases him down. He makes a deal with the boy to not tell the boy’s boss about the stealing, as long as the boy steals letters for Jamie. Here, he also finds Sawny!!
Back at the house, Claire can’t sleep, again. When she hears a noise, she goes to investigate and there she finds a young boy in her dining room, eating a chicken leg and complementing her breasts. Jamie tells her he’s living with them now, his name is Fergus and I am a happy camper. I love Fergus and have been dying to see him this season. He’s one of my favorite characters in the books and I cannot wait to see him grow in the show’s universe.
It’s not long before Fergus is earning his keep and proving himself useful by snaking letters for Jamie and Murtagh. They aren’t the only ones interested in the prince’s correspondence with his dear old dad, though, and most letters have already been read at least once. No wonder they write in code. There is one letter that is peculiar though, and it’s a sheet of music. The song doesn’t make much sense, but neither Jamie nor Murtagh can make any sense of it. They decide to take it to Mother Hildegard, who is a musical prodigy (as we learned earlier from Claire), to see if she can suss out its meaning.
Claire is at the hospital while our boys are decoding letters. She is spending more time there between her social engagements and we can see right away she is more herself and feeling more comfortable in her own skin again. I’m so grateful for this; here’s hoping it means their marriage can get a back on track, even a little. Jamie shows up to ask for Mother Hildegard’s assistance with the strange musical letter.
Mother Hildegard agrees, somewhat reluctantly, to help decode the music for them, mentioning that it is a lot like that of a German friend of hers, Bach, who keeps sending her music. It’s fun, she says, but not meant to endure and we all (Claire included) chuckle a bit at the thought. The music is strange, though, with more key changes that make no sense for a piece this short.
The key of the music, Jamie figures out, is the key to the code and he, Claire, and Murtagh learn that the money Charles promised he had does in fact exist. Not enough to fund an entire war, mind you, but enough to convince Louis to cough up some more. The letter is from Sandringham, which makes Jamie happy since it’s someone he can sit down and talk to. The duke is playing both sides against the middle, and that always ends well. But while Jamie is celebrating, Murtagh and Claire pale. If Jamie talks to Sandringham, he’ll learn that Randall is alive. Murtagh tells Claire she has to tell him now, but he’s so happy she can’t bring herself to ruin it.
Stitch in Time: Jamie and Fergus meeting for the first time and Jamie literally shaking him by the ankles. I’m so excited to see this relationship grow, you guys!