I feel like The Fox’s Lair may be the most slow-moving, nap-inducing episode of Outlander to date. We’re back in Scotland, so maybe my expectations were too high, but it took me a good three times watching to get through it without nodding off. If you find that this post is shorter than usual, it’s not your imagination. There’s just not a lot to say about this episode.
Jamie and Claire are back in Scotland and at Lallybroch with Ian and Jenny. They are clearly enjoying a quiet life of farming and taking care of their tenants. This quiet bliss cannot last, however, as Jamie receives the post. In it is a letter declaring Prince Charles’ right to the English throne, along with the signatures of the clan heads who support him. The list is public and names the men traitors to the Crown. And what do ya know? Charles so helpfully signed Jamie’s name to the list for him! What a pal! Realizing just how fully screwed he is, Jamie tells Claire that, since he can’t stop the rebellion, all he can do is try to help the Scots win. This doesn’t seem like the best plan, but hey, he’ll be killed as a traitor, anyway, so may as well. Glad he got to enjoy those brief weeks of not being a wanted man in his own country.
In order to better their odds, Jamie and Claire head to visit Lord Lovat, Jamie’s paternal grandfather, to see if they can get men, funds, and general support for the Bonnie Prince. Jamie reveals to Claire then that his father was a bastard, as his grandsire had his way with the kitchen maid. One good thing we saw last week was Fergus and Murtagh leaving for Scotland with the Frasers. It’s decided that they will meet up with Charles while Claire and Jamie run this “errand” to prove to Charles that Jamie is an asset.
When they get to Lord Lovat’s, the Frasers are in for a bit of a surprise when who should they see but The MacKenzie! Yes Colum is trying to get an alliance with Lovat, also. This will go smoothly, I can tell. Things get even better when we see that Laoghaire accompanied Colum and Claire is SUPER excited to see the girl who tried to have her burned as a witch. The highlight of this episode for me has got to be Claire going off of Laoghaire. Can’t really blame her and, hell, it makes her feel better.
Later that night at dinner, Jamie lays out his plans to a less than enthusiastic crowd, save for Lovat’s son, Young Simon, who is quickly shut down anyhow. It doesn’t take much, since it seems the man was born without a spine. Not terribly surprising, with a bastard like Old Simon as your father.
Old Lovat is being incredibly indecisive, and Jamie figures it’s because the sly fox wants something in return for his support. But what? Turns out he’s wants Lallybroch, and for Jamie to swear fealty to him. Jamie says he’ll not swear fealty and he’ll not give up Lallybroch to his grandfather. The best bit would have to be when Lovat threatens to take Claire’s virtue if Jamie doesn’t give him Lallybroch. “Go ahead, try to ravish my wife. After she’s done with you, I’ll send in the maid to sweep up your remains.” Jamie also throws in the little tidbit of Claire being a White Lady, for good measure. Since Lovat is a Scot, and superstitious, this seems to dampen his spirit a bit. This puts Jamie in a quandary. How much faith could he possibly instill if he can’t even get his own grandsire to sign on with the uprising?
Claire’s idea to get the men they need is to go through Young Simon. If he stands up to his father, other men may follow and then this trip wouldn’t be a waste. Young Simon has a pretty huge crush on Laoghaire, so Claire thinks if she flatters him, he’ll gain some confidence to man up. This doesn’t go as planned, however. Simon spouts off a few lines of poetry and is off to who knows where.
Claire, meanwhile, bumps into Lovat’s much abused seer, who tells her a vision she had of an ax looming over Lovat’s head. He’d die a traitor’s death, but she couldn’t tell him which side was lopping his head off. This is probably why we saw him mistreating her earlier in the episode.
So both plans fail. Jamie’s only recourse is to sign away Lallybroch to get the men they need for the Stuart army. BUT WAIT! There’s more! Claire clearly enjoyed her time on stage while looking for Jamie last season, because just before he signs she has a “vision” of Lovat’s death, except this time with white roses, the sign of the Jacobites. Ah, the handy White Lady strikes again! Lovat isn’t a fan of this news, however, and lunges at Claire with a knife, but he is stopped by none other than Young Simon, who declares that he will fight the English. Lovat says “fuck that noise,” basically and he and Colum sign a neutrality agreement.
Claire and Jamie head out the next day, only to find a group of Lovat’s men ready to ride out with them and follow Young Simon. Ya see, Lovat is a first class fence rider. This is his plan to have his cake and eat it, too. If the Jacobites fail, he can always just say, “Kids, they never listen, amirite?” If they succeed, he can take credit. Sly fox, indeed.
Stitch in Time: Either Claire reaming out Laoghaire, or Jamie daring Simon to try to give Claire a go.
What did you think of the Fox’s Lair? Do you agree that this was one of the most boring episodes? What do you think of Lovat? Were you as glad as I was to see Fergus came home with Jamie and Claire?