While last week’s episode of Outlander was a magical, blissful journey down Jamie and Claire road, this week took us deep into a dark, scary cave…and left us there for the next six months. When we last saw Claire she had been ripped from the throes of her newfound marital bliss by a reminder of the pesky fact that she kind of has another husband already.
Meanwhile, back on the farm…
Remember that lovely fellow, Frank, that Claire was hanging out with before she was so rudely ripped out of her own time and forced to marry a sexy, ginger highlander to keep herself safe from the murderous ancestor of aforementioned lovely fellow? Let’s see what he’s been up to, shall we?
We open on a phone ringing in a 1940s precinct and a whispered conversation between a detective and a sergeant who tells him that his good friend, Frank, has come to pay him a visit yet again. From the look on his face it’s clear that Frank has paid him visits quite frequently. Guys can be so annoying when their wives disappear without a trace in the middle of their honeymoons.
The frustrated detective declares that he thinks “today is going to be to the day” and that he’s “let this go on long enough.” The sergeant replies by pulling open a drawer and offering the detective some liquor because that’s how they roll in the 1940s. The detective pours some liquid courage into a darling little teacup and heads over to tell Frank what’s what.
This is the first of many scenes in which my heart breaks for Frank. After a heated conversation with the detective in which he basically tells them that he’s not disappointed because he really didn’t expect that much to begin with cause you’re all incompetent and stuff, the detective has enough and shouts at Frank that the mysterious Highlander he saw outside Claire’s window is obviously her lover and they ran off together.
Frank has clearly reached his breaking point, and he pounds his fist on the desk shouting that his wife is NOT with another man. Everyone looks super uncomfortable at this uncharacteristic display of emotion from the uber polite British historian. Frank quickly goes from looking angry to looking incredibly sad. He gathers his hat and his dignity and makes his exit. The dejected look on his face just KILLS ME. Damn you, Tobias Menzies. You’re making it incredibly difficult for me to keep rooting for Jamie.
My wife is NOT with another man
We cut to the most scenic picnic in the history of scenic picnics. Claire appears to be distracted by the view, while Jamie (as usual) only has eyes for her.
Jamie asks Claire if he can ask her a question, and she is all ‘of course, dimples.’ because who could resist this precious face?
Jamie asks Claire “Is it usual? What it is between us? When I touch you, when you lie with me. Is it always so between a man and a woman?” I would like to take this opportunity to say once again that I LOVE THESE TWO SO MUCH. Everything about this moment in the scene is perfect, right down to the super sexy handholding as Jamie asks his question.
Claire tells Jamie “It’s often something like this…” and Jamie looks like this:
But then Claire tells him “No. This isn’t usual…it’s different. And then Jamie looks like this:
Did I mention there will be a lot of screen grabs and memes in this recap? It’s the last time I get to do this for a while, you guys…
Jamie and Claire make sex eyes at one another and continue to make love to one another with their hands and how do they do that? I mean, this is some SERIOUS hand sex:
The sexiest hand-holding ever is interrupted by the whoosh of an arrow flying through the air and landing mere feet from the blissful couple. Jamie immediately throws Claire to the ground, shielding her with his body, and then jumps up to cautiously investigate while looking like the sexiest ninja ever.
After a moment, Jamie breaks into a grin and greets a raggedy-looking man as he walks up the hill. He introduces him to Claire as Hugh Munro. You guys, how precious is Hugh? Another wonderful casting choice, just look at that perfect, slightly mischievous smile.
And then there’s this emotive, wide-eyed expression as he gestures and grunts, asking Jamie about Claire.
Jamie introduces Hugh to Claire, adding proudly “My wife.” and they both give one another adorable, lovebird eyes.
Hugh gives Claire a little bow, and Jamie informs him (and us) that they’ve been “married but these two days.” Naturally, this calls for a toast. Jamie tells Claire that Hugh has news, but that he insists they drink to Claire first. They all sit down for a wee nip and a chat, and Hugh gives Claire a wedding gift…a dragonfly in amber.
Jamie asks Hugh if he’s “made it official” and explains to Claire that the tokens Hugh is wearing are gaberlunzie – licenses to beg. He goes on to tell her that Hugh was captured by the Turks and spent many years as a slave in Algiers where they cut out his tongue in order to try and convert him from Christian to the Mussulman religion. That’s just awful no matter what, but it’s got to suck even more when you’re living in an age prior to the dawn of ASL. Oh, and in case that’s not bad enough, they also poured boiling oil on his legs. So, yeah. I suppose a license to beg is the least they could do…the VERY least.
Jamie breaks the tension following Hugh’s sad tale by reminding him that he said he had news. Hugh gives Jamie some news regarding a guy named Horrocks as Claire sits looking concerned that she may be missing a very important plot development. All I can think about is that I have to find a pattern for knitting that amazing shawl wrap she is wearing.
Plot point delivered, Hugh says his goodbyes and heads back down the hill. Jamie explains to Claire that there is a chance he can get the price removed from his head, and that Hugh has given him the name of a witness who may be able to prove his innocence. His face lights up as he tells her that this means he may be able to finally go home…with his bride. Claire doesn’t look at all displeased by this idea.
This is followed by a very sweet kiss and Jamie and Claire embracing one another tightly. Everything is all puppies and kittens and rainbows until Claire opens her eyes and sees the shiny, gold-banded reminder of her other life. Cue sad music.
This, of course, means it’s time to check in with our good buddy, Frank, again.
Reverend Wakefield: worst detective ever
We transition from a shot of Claire’s wedding band to a shot of Frank’s wedding band on his hand as he discusses Claire’s disappearance with Reverend Wakefield. The Reverend is insisting to Frank that Claire could have fallen into the river after getting lost at Craigh na dun and been carried downstream. Oh, and carried away 20 miles because the current is fast. But totally not dead, he assures Frank she could have made it to shore and found shelter in a cave and is probably still there, subsisting on fish and frogs. It’s a good thing he’s a reverend and not a detective. Frank looks thoroughly unimpressed with this theory.
The reverend’s crackerjack detective work is interrupted by the entrance of WEE ROGER!!! Oh em gee, I just want to pinch his adorable little cheeks because he is the cutest thing in the history of EVER.
Mrs. Graham offers Frank some tea, and he declines saying he needs “something stronger.” He heads off to the bar, telling the reverend and Mrs. Graham not to wait up.
Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen…
We follow sad Frank to a dark, smoky bar where he is attempting to drink away his pain, one shot at a time.
As Frank sits drowning his sorrows, a tall blonde named
Trouble Sally takes a seat next to him. She pulls out the Ghost Jamie reward flyer, telling Frank she knows where he is and can take him to him but she can’t tell him here in this crowded bar so could he please meet her in this dark alley at the specified time? Oh, and also bring the reward money. Oh, and also come alone. Frank’s common sense has clearly been replaced with liquor and false hope, and he agrees to meet her despite the fact that everything about this is screaming IT’S A TRAP.
Raiders in the rocks
We are back to the 18th century once more, and now it’s nightfall. Everyone is sitting around the campfire as Rupert tells a story about a waterhorse, Dougal looks pouty and everybody drinks. Claire and Jamie sit far away from the group snuggling, making love eyes at one another and generally being adorable.
Oh, and there’s more hand sex because these two just can’t stop touching one another like teenagers and it makes my heart happy.
Jamie tells Claire that it will be Yuletide by the time they get back to Leoch. Claire responds that she doesn’t suppose they hang stockings by the fire and Jamie says “To dry them off, you mean?” Claire gives him a dismissive “Nevermind.” and I’m thinking Jamie might have asked her at this point why she brought up stockings when the subject at hand was Christmas but their chat is interrupted by the nervous whinny of a nearby horse.
Everyone exchanges pointed looks with one another as they subtly grab their weapons and get ready because restless horses = shit is about to GO DOWN. Showing once again that she is accustomed to the much safer, much cozier twentieth century, Claire notices Jamie looking concerned and ask him what’s the matter. Jamie explains that the horses are restless, which means someone’s near. He tells her to run to a nearby fallen tree and not move as soon as he says go, then leans in and pretends to kiss her so he can slip her a knife. Which sounds dirty, but it isn’t.
As soon as Jamie yells “Go!” to Claire, all Highlander hell breaks loose. Claire peeks out from behind the tree as everyone fights off the would-be bandits, and even Ned manages to get a shot in. Everyone is super coordinated and it’s over as quickly as it begins with only the loss of a horse and three bags of grain. Everyone stands around looking a bit tense and then starts chuckling and everything is all kittens and rainbows once again. Except for me, because the scene fades out and I’m unreasonably upset because I really, REALLY wanted the waterweed scene to be included. Please, please, please let this be a deleted scene on the DVD…
Shades of BJR
Back to sad, film noir Frank again as he makes his way down a dark alleyway on a cold and rainy night. His pal, Sally, is waiting in the alleyway. She tells him she was beginning to think he wouldn’t show, and Frank responds “I believe I’m on time.” She says that she just thought he might be early. Apparently this whole thing is really cutting into her super busy schedule. She leads him further down the alley where (surprise, surprise.) two thugs are waiting to beat the crap of him and run off with the reward money. But it turns out Frank was not so oblivious to the possibility of this being a trap as we thought. As soon as the first punch is thrown, Frank begins releasing his grief rage all over the place.
Oh, and he also brought a weapon…a blackjack. Goddamn this show is clever.
Sally makes the rookie mistake of interrupting Frank’s violent fit of rage and he is quick to re-direct his anger at her. Or, more specifically, at her neck. For a moment I’m afraid he might actually kill her, but he releases her and we cut to Reverend Wakefield counseling him on not going to the darkside. He tells Frank not to drink from the cup of evil because that’s what the Nazis did and we know how that turned out. After expounding this metaphor a bit, he urges Frank to return to Oxford and start his life over. He adds that he should let Claire go, as she has let him go. I knew he didn’t really believe in that whole frog theory.
Meanwhile, back at camp seventeen hundred and forty-three…
Jamie and Rupert help Claire search for the knife she dropped somewhere the previous night. Rupert spots it and turns to hand it back to Jamie who gives a nod in Claire’s direction, indicating that she ought to hold onto it. Claire takes it reluctantly, saying “It’s too long and heavy for me…”. Rupert is quick to chime in “Lassies says that to me all the time.” Who knew ‘that’s what she said’ jokes dated back to the 18th century?
Ned interjects, chiding Jamie for giving Claire a knife but not showing her how to use it. Willie nominates Angus for the job. Claire starts to protest that she’s just fine, thank you and Jamie interrupts, telling her that everyone needs to be able to defend themselves, especially those married to a Fraser. Claire gives him I love you, doe eyes and that’s the end of that argument. And here’s a gif of this moment, because the world can never have too many J&C gifs.
Dougal (who is looking incredibly nonplussed by all the affection Claire and Jamie are showing one another) says that Claire needs a sgian dubh. Claire is all ‘Ummm…what? Is this another Gaelic thing I don’t know?’ Jamie explains that a sgian dubh is a hidden dagger. Ned tells her that some people hide them in their socks but that he keeps his in a more…private place. Which actually sounds like an accident waiting to happen. Just saying.
As Angus gives Claire a lesson in gettin’ stabby wit it, Murtaugh tells Dougal that he believes the only good weapon for a woman is poison. Dougal responds that poison has certain deficiencies in combat. The lesson ends with Claire learning the proper way to stab a man from behind (straight up and into the kidney) and everyone looks at her with approving nods. She’s totally ready to stab a man to death later in the episode, you guys.
Memories of the way we were
In case this episode isn’t giving you happy/sad whiplash yet, it’s time to spend some more time with sad Frank. He’s packing his things and getting ready to hightail it back to Oxford, but not before he spends some time reminiscing over the contents of his missing wife’s suitcase. Of course there is a framed photo from their wedding day in the suitcase. Just twist that knife a little deeper, guys.
As quickly as this scene begins, it’s over. Before you can say ‘juxtaposition’ we cut to Jamie and Claire making out in the green, green grass.
Other husband? What other husband?
It’s been awhile since Outlander gave us a new euphemism for sex, and this one is probably my favorite so far. Note to husbands everywhere: Want to go look for some wee herbs, Sassenach? = WIN. Okay, I’ve read the books, so I know things are about to go south very quickly. But I still thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of this scene, and there were a couple of my favorite lines from book with a new spin put on them.
Here’s one more lovely meme, because I gotta throw in something nice before all the terrible, awful pain starts.
I seriously had to go pour another glass of wine before recapping this scene. It didn’t help. Rather than give a play-by-play (which would be pointless and excruciating) I’m going to focus on the positive and say that 1.) the cinematography in this scene is amazing. I loved the way it was filmed with a slow motion blur, because I think that tends to be the way we remember traumatic events, blurring out the parts that are too completely horrific for our brains to handle. 2.) Caitriona Balfe breaks new ground in this scene, and the expressions on her face rip my guts out.
All that training earlier comes in handy as Claire stabs her assailant in the back. Assailant number two is caught off-guard just long enough for Jamie to slit his throat. He pulls the dead redcoat off her, picks her up and carries her uphill and away from the carnage.
I’m genuinely relieved when we cut back to the 1940s this time. Mrs. Graham arguing with Reverend Wakefield over the logistics of telling Frank what she believes happened to his wife at Craigh na dun seems super lighthearted in contrast with the scene we just witnessed, if we’re grading on a scale.
Mrs. Graham is angrily folding towels whilst declaring “I know what I know!” and Reverend Wakefield is arguing that it’s a bunch of “dribble drabble and nonsense.” when Frank wanders down the seriously creaky stairs and is all “YOU GUYS. The walls in this house are SUPER THIN.”
Mrs. Graham is like ‘Yeah. Yeah, I got something to say.’ The Reverend is NOT HAPPY about this, but he’s all ‘Okay, Mrs. Graham. I’m gonna let you finish.’ I’m sorry, you guys. Things are just so terrible and uncomfortable that I’ve resorted to bad jokes about Kanye West. I’m not proud of it but…coping mechanisms.
Frank looks skeptical, but when someone gives you this look, you listen.
We cut to Frank and Mrs. Graham sitting at the kitchen table (because callback to first episode, you guys…) as she tells Frank about the stories of people who travel through the stones, explaining that the stones are a place where the powers on the earth, you know…come together. Reverend Wakefield is standing in the corner biting his tongue but can’t help himself at this point and yells “Superstition!” because he’s clearly been hanging out with father Bain. I’m also kind of wondering at this point how this Wiccan lady ended up in his employment, but I digress. Frank ignores the Reverend’s cries of ‘this is twiddle twaddle!’ and urges Mrs. Graham to continue with her story because he’s a historian and he’ll be damned if he’ll pass judgement without gathering all the facts, thank you very much.
Mrs. Graham tells Frank that she believes that when his wife travelled up to Craigh na dun she didn’t come back down, and that she travelled to ‘some other time.’ Frank is like ‘Which time? Which time exactly did she travel to, Mrs. Graham?’ because he has to make sense of this non-linear exposition.
Mrs. Graham (who doesn’t do this whole ‘time is linear’ thing) is quick to respond ‘Every traveller makes their own journey. That’s like asking where a leaf will land and stuff.’ Annnnnd she’s lost Frank. He’s not even listening when she tells him that the travelers often return. He’s already halfway back to Oxford at this point.
Ever the polite Englishman, Frank refrains from snarky comments and tells the wide-eyed Mrs. Graham “I simply do not share your beliefs.” With one last look at the adorable wee Roger, Frank is OUT.
Where’s a tree when you need one?
Back in the 1700s, we pan in on Claire’s bloodstained hands. Just, you know, in case you forgot for a second how much 18th century life sucks and is completely full of violence.
Jamie rushes up to Claire murmuring “I’m sorry…a gràidh…I’m so sorry…” and I completely forget everything that’s happened and just want to listen to Sam Heughan speak Ghàidhlig forever…ok, I’m back now.
Claire tells Jamie “It’s alright…we’re alright…” as she tries to convince herself, Jamie, and the rest of the world that everything will be okay. Jamie condemns himself for letting this happen as he looks around angrily like he could really do with a giant tree to punch right about now.
Jamie tells Claire “You’re so cold, mo nighean donn…you’re hands are like ice.” and she’s all I’m in shock…duh.’
I’m sorry, you guys. I know this is the least funny recap I’ve done EVER, but this is a dark, dark episode. Let it never be said that I failed to keep it real.
Dougal interrupts Claire and Jamie’s recovery from all that has just gone down saying ‘Hey, you guys alright? We heard a shot…I’m not interrupting a moment, am I?’ while totally hoping he’s interrupting a moment because (in case you forgot…) he totally wants to hit that. I’m sorry, I just typed that to lighten the mood. Did it work? Didn’t think so…
Claire is left alone on the hilltop, staring at her shaking hands and muttering “I’m going into shock…”. Detached, clinical knowledge is so discomforting sometimes.
Claire tells us via voiceover ” my mind jumped and danced from thought to thought, like a stone skipping around a pond. My parents…men I’d seen die…the smell of uncle Lamb’s cigarettes. Errol Flynn, swinging on a rope. The feeling of my dagger tip, puncturing the kidney.” That last line is followed immediately by this visual, and can someone please give Ron D. Moore all the awards now, thank you? <standing ovation>
Claire monologues from the hilltop abut how she knows how worried Jamie is about her, and how she knows that he wants to talk about what’s happened. But she’s all ‘I’ll totally tell you how I fell through a bunch of stones and your people will totes burn me as a witch so I’m just gonna wander around this hill looking cray-cray for awhile, k? Kk, thx.’ Self preservation, and all. Willie stands by looking super-concerned and refrains from stepping in like a good little guard boy
From bad to worse
Dougal and Murtaugh are quick to offer Jamie the opinion he never asked for, warning him that he’s totally gonna end up deaded if he goes off to meet with Horrocks on his own. They’re all ‘we got your back, bro.’ Jamie agrees and then looks up the hill at Claire just so we can see this gorgeous bit of celluloid:
We cut to Frank again, who has finished packing and is blowing this joint and heading back to Oxford. He’s leaving Claire’s suitcase behind because symbolism.
Back to Claire and the gang riding their horses through the most fairytale-looking forest ever. Claire is too busy being angry to appreciate the scenery. Jamie interrupts her voiceover, pulling his horse over to the side of the road and telling her ‘I know you’re in the middle of a super traumatic crisis right now, but I gotta take off with the guys for awhile. That cool?’ He tells Claire that he won’t risk her again and she’s all ‘I can take care of myself, remember how I totally stabbed that guy to death earlier?’ You can almost hear the sound of Jamie’s pride balloon deflating.
He tells Claire to stay put, promising that he’ll be back. Claire tells him not to write checks his arse can’t cash and Jamie assures her he’s good for the funds. He makes Claire promise that she’ll be there when gets back. She promises him she will, which means she absolutely won’t be. Jamie rides off into the sunset with the rest of the clan, leaving Claire in the safekeeping of the guy who is on the road for his first time ever. Seriously, Jamie? You couldn’t have left someone with a tad more experience behind to guard your precious wife?
As Claire explains to us via voiceover that she’s not mad at Jamie, she’s mad at herself for forgetting about Frank, we cut once more to the 1940s. Frank is on the road, heading out of Inverness. For plot point convenience, he passes by a sign that says ‘Lost your wife at Craigh na dun? Turn left here!’ After stopping his car and looking around pensively for dramatic effect, Frank decides he really should make a quick pit stop. I mean, he didn’t really believe Mrs. Graham’s tale, but no stone unturned and such. See what I did there?
Back to Claire again, who is leaning against a tree looking sullen and wearing a fierce cape. I want to raid the Outlander wardrobe closet so bad, you guys. Willie tells her that he needs to go take care of ”some personal business.” Translation: I’ll be pooping in the woods, just holler if you need me. Claire is all ‘Go really far away, okay? It’s cause of the smell, it’s not cause I’m gonna wander off…’ and Willie is like ‘Sure, okay.’ and saunters off into the woods. Worst. Guard. Ever.
Claire decides to go for a stroll and I’m going STOP Claire, because Claire wandering off on her own never, ever ends well. She is so focused on her thoughts of the incident in the meadow that she doesn’t realize where she is until she walks through some trees and sees Craigh na dun. Without so much as a ‘nice knowing you, Jamie, thanks for the good times.’ she is off and running for the stones. I’m sorry but…WHAT? I mean, I know we’re supposed to be getting the enormity of the struggle Claire is feeling between her two lives but COME ON. She could have at least hesitated for a second. Did all that hand sex mean nothing to you, Claire?! So disappointed. Sigh. Okay, moving on.
From worse to absolutely horrific
Lack of Claire’s inner turmoil aside, this scene was SERIOUSLY well done. Frank and Claire running up the hill at the same time = brilliant. And I don’t even care that it’s slightly campy, Claire and Frank hearing one another through the stones coupled with Bear McCreary’s ridiculously amazing music turned me into an absolute sniveling mess. And Frank’s sobbing? Heart-wrenching. Tobias Menzies is a damned fine actor. I never thought I could like Frank, but Tobias makes me want to give him a gazillion hugs.
And how amazing was the shot where they panned up from the stone that Frank was standing by to Claire running up the hill? Don’t remember? Here’s a gif.
Because Claire just can’t seem to catch a break, she is snatched up by a bunch of redcoats mere moments before she touches the stones and returns to her own life. It’s okay, Claire. Everything happens for a reason. Before you can say ‘I make bad decisions’, she is headed down the road to Fort William in the back of a wagon. And they didn’t even give her any chickens to keep her company. Claire knows what she’s headed into, and so do we. Pour yourselves another dram, guys, cause this is gonna be brutal.
Blackjack pours Claire a glass of wine and offers her felicitations on her marriage because BRITISH. Hey, we both know that I want to torture and rape you, but let’s not do away with social etiquette. He comments that Claire’s marriage must be super important to her because she’s still wearing her old wedding ring and all. Claire responds that she’s wearing it for sentimental reasons and BJR is like ‘Ha, ha…yeah, right.’ He asks her why Dougal considers her so important that he would force her to marry a sexy Highlander rather than allow him to question her. Claire answers that she has no idea what he’s talking about with the worse poker face since Jamie said that key ring wasn’t significant.
BJR drags a chair across the floor and who knew a chair scraping across a floor could be so menacing? He sits down next to Claire and is all ‘I WILL get the truth out of you. By any means necessary?’ Translation: It’s gonna be a whole lot worse than that time I punched you in the stomach and forced my subordinate to kick you repeatedly. As BJR goes to take a sip of wine Claire pulls the ace out of her sleeve and is all ‘Duke of Sandringham, bitch.’ causing him to spit red wine all over his fancy redcoat suit.
Things are looking pretty good for Claire and she’s ready to throw on her cape and trot smugly out the door when she falls right into BJR’s not-so-subtle trap because THE DUKE ISN’T MARRIED. Kids, this is a lesson in paying attention in history class, cause you just never know…
Realizing that she’s made a fatal tactical error, Claire flees toward the door and runs smack into BJR’s ever subservient lackey. She begs him to help her and I don’t blame her but COME ON, CLAIRE. The guy took orders to kick you in the stomach, do you really think he’s going to disobey orders to close a door?
Once again, I’m going to skip the play-by-play of this next part and just say that Tobias Menzies is scary good at being evil and Caitriona Balfe portrays Claire’s terror so well that I’m gonna hunt someone down if she doesn’t earn an Oscar for her performance.
Just as things are looking the absolute bleakest they’ve ever looked, Claire’s knight in kilted armor bursts through a window saying ‘Take your hands off her, you bitch.’ Oh, wait. That’s ‘Aliens’. Whatever, this is still the best moment ever.
And just as the Jamie I’ve been waiting for since the show began FINALLY makes an appearance…it’s over. Sigh. Well, if there’s one thing Outlander fans know how to do well, it’s wait. What does everyone have planned to pass the time during the long hiatus? And what did you think of episode 8?