Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You, Sassenach: Outlander, ‘First Wife’

***Spoiler Warning Spoilers for Outlander through Season 3, Episode 8, and Book Spoilers through Diana Gabaldon’s Voyager follow. Spoilers***

After Fergus’ bomb drop about Jamie’s other wife last week, it was obvious the Frasers would be dealing with issues of trust, but nothing prepared viewers for the extreme level of awkwardness that opened this particular hour. As Claire, Jamie and Young Ian arrive at Lallybroch, the home that’s so often provided safety and love instead greets returning family with a bizarre hostility from both Ian and Jenny. Incredulity swirls into anger over lies and secrets, once wide open arms stay crossed in defiance and disbelief, hopeful smiles for welcoming embraces give way to stolid stares and furtive glances (alluding to Jamie’s secret, but still feeling out of place directed at Claire).

Parental threats and meted punishments aside, Jamie stumbles and stammers through explanations to both his family and Claire. On the verge of confessing the rest of his history, he flashes back to a tale of treasure and dreams his wife might still have returned when suddenly the door bursts open, spousal secrets no longer able to be contained. In a flash of anger, Fraser’s secret marriage to Laoghaire, his other children, are wholly revealed; horrible history — “Sassenach witch!” —  fresh and furious on a second wife’s hissing lips.

Two stormy women and a hunky arm full of buck shot later, we’re smack dab in the middle of another gory surgical procedure. Laoghaire’s desire to keep her husband — or at least be compensated for her loss — stands in stark contrast to Claire’s emotional journey. Despite her hurt and anger, neither Claire nor we can deny Jamie’s earnest words; “I can’t take back those twenty years or the life we have lived, but I mean to make things right”. Finally getting the warm welcome she’s craved from old Ned Gowan, Claire and Jamie work out the legalities; sisters-in-law take a small step forward, and the Frasers head with Young Ian back toward Silkie Island, visions of that coin and jewel-filled box dancing away the financial worries in their heads.

As Claire struggles with the overwhelming events that have heralded their quick return to and departure from Lallybroch, of any semblance of a stabile life and love, Jamie reasserts their fated lifelong bond. Ian retraces his uncle’s swimming journey, retrieves the treasure and starts heading back. But of course, as soon as Jamie promised to look after Ian, we knew something would go terribly wrong. In a blink and in between the Frasers’ gut-wrenching intercourse, a nephew is intercepted and quickly kidnapped. Left paralyzed by the moment and with no way to follow, Claire and Jamie helplessly watch everything fall away from them … temporarily tenuous union still their greatest and most necessary asset.

Deep Thoughts:

Is it just me who found Jenny and Ian’s over-the-top anger at Claire, their non-greeting and refusal to even tersely hug her beyond strange? It’s one thing for them to be shocked to see her, to have a hard time comprehending her return and be caught up in emotion. But, as Claire stood there, warmth radiating on her face, clearly wanting nothing more than to embrace these people who were also her family, the anger with which they greeted her just didn’t ring true to me. No matter how upset they are, how confused, or how angry with Jamie, none of that — in my mind — would have kept them from at least giving Claire a hug. It’s absolutely understandable that Jenny is very hurt or upset that Claire was alive and for reasons that don’t make sense to her, Claire didn’t come back sooner. Still … that was a cold, cold scene.

Voyager is a long book, full of many happenings; we get it. After dragging out five episodes just to reunite Jamie and Claire though, why must we be subjected to such a ridiculous scene at the end of this hour? So, Young Ian quickly swims to Silkie Island and grabs the treasure box — then, in the space of a few minutes, a large ship pulls up, people on board speed row to the island, head up at the exact spot where Ian is heading back down and in fact, easily nabs him, brings him back to their rowboat, speed row back to the ship and take off like bats out of hell. Is it a quick way to get across a bit of storyline? Sure. It also came across silly, almost comical, and in contrast with the seriousness of the rest of the episode, it felt very sloppy. In the long run it won’t likely be memorable, though it certainly reminds of Game of Thrones speed-traveling in and around the Seven Kingdoms.

I can’t claim to always understand the choices Ron Moore and producers seem to think are important, like showing the flashback to how Jamie and Laoghaire got together. I’d rather have heard Jamie explain it, and gotten a less ridiculous Iannapping.  Speaking of Young Ian, John Bell absolutely lights up the screen every moment he’s on it.

Catriona Balfe … Emmy. Give it to her. Every single emotion plays on her face; it’s amazing.

I did feel Claire and Jamie’s mad sex scene (which, in a few moments was way hotter than their reunion sex) rang totally true and likewise, Jenny’s reaction to it. That moment gave the great tension busting laugh we all needed. Laura Donnelly is always fantastic.

We missed out on a ***Minor Book Spoilers*** bit of a smuggling story, but honestly it didn’t bother me to skip it. And I for one am happy that we didn’t have to deal with yet another flogging. Changing Young Ian’s punishment from Jamie whipping him (and vice versa) to Ian having to make “dung cakes” worked out just fine. ***End Minor Book Spoilers***

Jamie’s story to Claire about the greylag goose mating for life is truth.

Great Lines:

Jenny to Jamie:  “You had my son selling liquor and consorting with criminals?”

Young Ian:  “Auntie Claire killed him. Killed him, good.”

Ian to Young Ian:  “You’d better be where I can find you when it’s time for your thrashing.”

Jamie to Claire:  “Sometimes, I still cannae believe you’re truly here.”

Claire to Jamie:  “Whenever I’d hear a birdsong, I’d pretend it was you talking to me.”

Jamie to Claire:  “Ye ken the greylag, yeah, it mates for life? You kill a grown one out hunting, you must wait for its mate will come to mourn. Then ye must kill that one too, otherwise it will grieve itself to death, calling through the skies for the lost one.

Something I’ve been meaning to tell you, Sassenach.”

Laoghaire to Claire:  “He didn’t tell you. He’s my husband now? … Let the English cunt stand up for herself now.”

Jamie to his daughter:  “That woman is Claire, my wife. My … first wife.”

Jamie to Claire:  “There are other redheaded men in Scotland, Claire.

You’re the one who told me to be kind to the lass.”

Claire to Jamie:  “I told you to be kind to her, not marry her.”

Jamie to Claire:  “Why? Why? Because I am a coward, that’s why. I couldn’t tell you, because of fear. Even though you left me.”

Claire:  “Left you? Left you? You forced me to go back. I would have died gladly at Culloden beside you. And now, you want to blame me?”

Jenny throwing water on Jamie and Claire:  “Fighting and ruttin’ like wild beasts and no caring if the whole house hears ye!”

Jenny to Claire:  “Did you think we were all just frozen in time waiting for you to return.

When a horse breaks its leg, you put it out of its misery because it’ll never heal right. And, neither will we.”

Claire to Jamie:  “We could have secrets, but not lies.”

Jamie to Claire:  “I’ve only known one love in my life, and that was with you.

I’m still the same person you fell in love with.

Just a few more scars, I’ll be fine.”

Claire to Jamie:  “You’re burning up. Why didn’t you tell me?”

Jamie:  “I thought it was the heat of shame.

Would you please explain why needles in my ass is going to help my arm?”

Claire:  “Because germs are no match for penicillin.”

Jamie:  “We’re the only two people on this cliff and now you cannae meet my eye.

Being a printer was naught compared to being your husband.”

Jamie:  “Will you risk the man I am for the sake of the one you once knew?”

Jamie to Ned when he asks about proving the gun belongs to Laoghaire:  “Well, besides myself and Claire bearing witness, and the five holes in my arm, no.”

Ned answering Jamie what Laoghaire wants:  “Well, I believe her chief desire is to have you castrated and your bollocks mounted on her wall, but I suspect that she may be amenable to alimony.”






Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over ten years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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