Things came to a head last week in La Dame Blanche, the fourth episode of Outlander this season. Tension has been building between Jamie and Claire all season, as well as with their plans to undercut Prince Charles and his plans to take the English throne.
It’s comforting to know that people throughout time have come up with truly terrible names for their children, as we hear Jamie and Claire’s ideas over a chess game with Duverney. Jamie is clearly distracted and the Comte St Germaine doesn’t help matters by coming over to insult him. I’d take the insult over the poison, though, which is what Claire gets a nice dose of in her wine. It’s not actual poison, we learn, but it does make her violently ill, and while she’s sure it was the Comte that had the concoction brought to her, she can’t prove anything. While resting, she and Jamie discuss Charles’ progress, and fro the sounds of it, King Louis is intrigued by the idea of an alliance, and Claire and Jamie’s plans aren’t doing enough to slow things. To move their plans along, and show the Duke of Sandringham that his money may not be safe with Charles and his doomed cause, the Frasers decide to host a dinner party for the Duke and invite Charles.
New plan made, Claire finally has to bite the bullet and tell Jamie that Jack Randall is alive. As we all brace for him to go into a flying rage and hop the next boat to Scotland, Jamie surprises Claire and us by smiling and saying it’s wonderful that Jack isn’t dead. Now Jamie gets to kill him! Hooray! Something to look forward to!
The next day while running errands, Claire confronts Master Raymond about the world’s worst prank, and we get to see another nice moment between the two. Raymond seems to see more of Claire than she would like, and his remark of having a fondness for things “not of this time” has me wondering if he has some inkling that Claire doesn’t belong. We hear Claire’s real reason for coming to see Raymond soon enough, though: she’s worried about Frank and his fate. I don’t blame her. It’s one thing to leave your husband for a Scotsman 200 years in the past, it’s a whole other kettle of fish to erase the poor guy from existence. Not to worry, Raymond says, the sheep’s knuckles say Claire will see Frank again. We already know this, but the stunned look on Claire’s face tells us she didn’t see that coming. As a parting gift, Raymond gives Claire a special stone that changes color around poison. I really enjoy their relationship, and look forward to seeing more of it in the coming weeks.
Next on Claire’s list is to visit Louise and Mary. Louise has sent for Claire and, when they are alone, we learn why: Louise is pregnant, it’s not her husband’s (the look on her face when it’s suggested she sleeps with him to convince him the baby is his is priceless), she wants to keep it, but can’t and needs Claire’s help. Claire agrees, but wants Louise to be sure, abortion in the 18th century is dangerous.
Jamie’s good mood carries on into the night when he comes home happy and ready to (finally) bed his wife. Things go awry, however, when Claire notices he’s got bite marks all over his thighs and we get to see that Jamie is still not the smoothest guy around as he stumbles through explanations. It’s nice to see them argue in this way, though. It feels more like previous fights. Claire is lonely and scared. They haven’t talked about the baby, Jamie hasn’t touched her, and she can’t stay quiet and supportive any longer. Jamie finally opens up about what he’s been privately dealing with since Wentworth, and how he feels exposed and that the very core of him is naked, unprotected. He decides to sleep in the office. Just when we think it’s more of the same, Claire goes after him and they find their way back to each other.
Soon after, however, there’s a clattering on the roof and Charles pops in, wet, bleeding, and sad. His lover scorned him, he was bit by her pet monkey, and he had to climb out the window because her husband came home. It doesn’t take long for Claire to put two and two together. Charles is Louise’s lover and the father of her baby. It also doesn’t take long for them to decide to use it to their advantage. Invite Louise to the party, bring up the baby, and let Charles’ inability to shut his feelings down do the rest.
One week later, Claire is off to the hospital to help victims of an explosion, and the house is getting prepared for the dinner party. Jamie insists that she take Murtagh and Fergus with her, and Claire promises to be home in time to greet their guests. Claire meets Mary and we see some super gross bone setting. Fergus and Murtagh are adorable and surly together and I could watch them all day. Sadly, the wheel on their carriage is broken and turns out they’re going to be late for dinner. Having no time for this shit, Claire says “Screw it, we’re walking!” and off they go, Fergus having gone ahead to tell Jamie they’ll be late.
Jamie is playing host to the Duke, Prince Charles, Mary’s uncle and fiancee, Louise and her husband, and of course, the Comte St Germaine, whom the Duke invited at the last minute. Claire was right to tell Jamie about Jack, as it’s pretty much the first thing Sandringham says to Jamie, introducing him to Alex Randall, Sandringham’s secretary. Jamie is uncomfortable, but a gracious host.
Meanwhile, Claire and Mary are chatting on their walk home, and Mary confesses that she’s been secretly writing to Alex Randall. They’re in love. Cutest, shiest couple award goes to them. The girl talk is interrupted, however, when the trio is attacked by masked men. Murtagh tries his best, but is knocked out while it’s discovered that Mary is a virgin. She’s subsequently raped while Claire is held back, screaming. It’s a tough scene to watch, and there is more mystery added when the men try to rape Claire, as well, but upon seeing her face, yell that she is “La Dame Blanche” and run away screaming to save their souls. I feel like it’s a bit late for their souls to be redeemed. Claire pulls Mary’s rapist off of her and holds her while Murtagh comes to and they make haste for home.
Upon arriving, extremely late, Claire has Jamie brought out to discuss what to do. They decide to hide Mary, but not to call the authorities. Claire wants to, but Jamie insists that Mary’s reputation will be destroyed if word gets out that she’s not a maiden. It’s easy to get pissed at Jamie here, but it’s sadly the truth of it. One person doesn’t seem to give a shit, though, and that’s Alex, who comes running to Mary’s unconscious side, terribly worried for her. They get Mary settled in bed, with Alex watching over her, and Claire gets ready for dinner.
What follows is an awkward dinner party, in which Charles forgets about Louise’s personal space, or how to go twenty minutes without saying “Mark me!” Sandringham is loud and the life of the party, telling jokes and flattering his hosts. For some reason, Claire has to suffer sitting next to the Comte, whom she suspects of not only poisoning her, but orchestrating the attack made on her and Mary. The dislike is palpable and mutual, and kind of fun to watch, if I’m being honest. Midway through the dinner, Louise’s baby bomb is dropped, and Charles starts out seeming like he’s going to be cool about it, but soon starts to meander into jealousy. Lucky for him, though, Mary wakes up in the guest room, panics at the sight of Alex hovering over her (poor guy. His heart is in the right place, but man…), and runs downstairs in her shift. Alex follows her, and climbs on top of her to calm her down. This doesn’t work for obvious reasons, but hey it draws the attention of everyone in the dining room, who come in to see Alex “attacking” Mary. Her uncle and fiance take issue and a fight breaks out between them, Jamie and Murtagh. Sandringham has some fun one liners here, and the Comte takes advantage by talking Charles into leaving the party. Jamie and Murtagh look to be having a grand old time, though, since it surely feels like a Scottish party now!
Stitch in Time: Claire and Jamie fighting over the bite marks and finally getting back in bed together. They work so much better as a team and it’s good to see them clearing the air.