‘Outlander’ Season 2 Episode 2 Recap: Not in Scotland Anymore

Outlander Season 2 Episode 2 Caitriona Balfe Red Dress
Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) and Duverney (Marc Duret) in ‘Outlander’ (Photo © 2016 Sony Pictures Television Inc.)

Vive Les Frasers!!! The name of Outlander episode 2 in season 2 is ‘Not in Scotland Anymore,’ oh boy I’ll say! France could not be more polar opposite from Scotland, and the ruling class is THAT on steroids. All the external changes are troubling enough; while Jamie (Sam Heughan) is dealing with post-traumatic stress after his torture at the hands of Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies).

The episode opens with what you think is Jamie and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) finally having marital relations again, when suddenly Claire turns into Black Jack begging for more. Jamie pulls a dirk from somewhere unknown and starts stabbing him. Blood covers Jamie’s face, then Jamie wakes up in a cold sweat and breathing hard. He realizes it is a dream when Claire touches him and he actively tries NOT to recoil from her touch. He decides he will not go back to sleep so he should head down stairs to review some paperwork. Claire tries to reassure him that BJR is dead. Jamie admits he knows that, he just doesn’t know how to get him out of his head.

The next morning Claire is preparing to head out. The costumes in this episode are just astonishing. Claire steps out of her room in what is known as The Dior dress, a 1740s reversal on the 1940s version of a Dior original. The costume department, and more particularly Terry Dresbach, have outdone themselves. The 1940s took many of their fashion inspirations from 1740s France, so Terry and her team turned it right back around to create much of Claire’s wardrobe. The sets, created by Jon Gary Steele and his team, are so incredible and exact to the moment that you will not be able to keep from feeling you are back in the court of the King Louis XV of France.

Okay, enough fangirl gushing…back to Claire’s outing. As you follow Claire through the house you realize she is very much a fish out of water. Having come through World War II, and now the mud and roads of Scotland, Claire has not had the duty of running a formal household, especially complete with servants. The Lady’s maid, Suzette (Adrienne-Marie Zitt), is too cute begging for her to be more of a mess. I found myself wishing I had one of those – a daydream that most any mom has had, I’m sure. As Claire travels through the streets she contemplates her last visit during the end of WWII and the celebrations that took place at the war’s closing. She also thought of the revolution that was to come in this very same city just a few decades from where she is now.

Time passes so much quicker on the show, of course, than in the books. Many activities occurred between the timing of episode 1 (‘Through A Glass, Darkly’) and the timing of this episode. Nothing is made of Claire’s morning sickness, but the books put heavy emphasis on this daily exhaustive ritual in the cycle of bringing a baby into the world. Many other activities happen before Claire takes her first trip to the Apothecary and meets Master Raymond (Dominique Pinon). In the show, Jamie’s nightmares motivate her to seek herbs she does not have. This shop is just a feast for the eyes, even more so than how I pictured it in the books. Jon Gary Steele really did hide treasures in every corner of this room, as well as openly hangs an alligator from the ceiling. *snort*

Claire charms Master Raymond with her knowledge of herbs and ability to understand several of his tricks for the public. They take an instant liking to each other. He also lets her know that he has heard of her through the dust-up with Le Comte St. Germain (Stanley Weber). Claire fears he would be friends with Le Comte, but Master Raymond assures her that they are not friends, and thus it should mean that she and he can be.

Jamie is outside the house on a task of his own, with Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix). They are practicing swords, trying to strengthen Jamie’s hand. This was not in the books, but the book did reference to the fact that they did practice a lot and it helped to strengthen Jamie’s hand again. Murtagh gets far more time in the show than he was given in the books. My theory is because you can see more of Jamie’s encounters than just everything through Claire’s first person perspective as the book has it. I like the wider view of things, hence my pointing it out.

Murtagh always makes me laugh with his surly attitude; he is less than gentlemanly when he tells the gawkers standing nearby to go away. Murtagh wants to devise a plan to kill the Bonnie Prince outright and not mess with all this strategy and secrecy. Jamie, ever level-headed, points out the lack of logic in the plan.

As they return home, Jamie has a letter waiting that came for him from Jared. He has arranged an introduction with the Prince himself. The catch is that Prince Charles Edward Stewart (Andrew Gower) wants to meet in a brothel. That will make things nice and complicated for Jamie since he hasn’t been able to make love to Claire in quite a long time.

I do not possess the words to accurately describe the scene inside the doors of the establishment. You can easily see Jamie and Murtagh are highly uncomfortable as the women walk around running a hand down their arm or over their shoulders. Prince Charles is drinking it all in with his eyes, as well as the decanter of wine on the table. The Madame Elise (Michele Belgrand-Hodgson) of the house walks in to welcome the nobility in the room to her establishment and says for them to also welcome THEIR WIVES. All of the men with current occupants on their laps, remove the draped lady with gasps and eager eyes searching the room. Prince Charles knows it is a joke so he begins to laugh, as does Jamie to please the Prince. The rest of the room realizes the display was a rouse and other ladies of the night come in, half clad, to call everyone naughty and such. The Madam of the house peddles the additional commodity of the establishment, TOYS.

Once the fun has been had the Prince and Jamie get down to the discussion at hand. The Prince wants to feel out if Jamie will give him an honest answer. Jamie does tell him that the clans are not united, much less ready for a rebellion. Prince Charles is surprised to hear this, and he was noticeably dismayed by this news. Murtagh helps Prince Charles to understand that the Scottish people are simple people, so he will need to see things differently than the way other advisers have been whispering in his ear. Prince Charles feels it is God’s will to unite the clans and be placed back on the throne. (Odd sentiment coming from a man sitting in the middle of a brothel, but that is a personal opinion.) He does realize he has to have funds, so the Prince asks Jamie to go to court and enlist the help of the Minister of Finance to the King. Further work will have to be done to stop the rebellion, the Bonnie Prince is not listening to anyone but God, so Jamie and company will have to go to the court to prevent support for the Prince’s financial needs.

Claire has a new found friend that can help get them to the court and to the ears of those that can aid in the prevention of the rebellion. Claire’s friend, Louise de Rohan (Claire Sermone), is getting her legs waxed. She explains to Claire that she would love to introduce Lady Broch Tuarach to the court. Then she calls in Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day) to meet Claire. Mary is very shy, the exact opposite of Louise. Claire recognizes the name, but doesn’t place it yet. The book readers know why Mary is so pivotal, but the show will reveal all in time. Louise tells Claire she will introduce her to the best dressmaker in Paris, she must have something spectacular when she meets the King. Then Louise spreads her legs to allow the waxing of her hairiest part. Claire stares in amazement, poor Mary looks like she will faint dead away.

Now comes the chat most of the book readers fondly call the “honeypot” discussion. In the show Claire actually gets her honeypot shaved too, in the book she only had the legs done but it upset Jamie enough just for her to have the legs done. In the show, Claire takes Jamie’s hand and moves it down her body. Of course Jamie is nervous given his nightmares of BJR, so he looks less than ready for what she is voicelessly asking for. As his hand reaches the area between her legs his expression changes to that of major surprise. Claire asks if Jamie would like to see what it looks like. Now there is a new line that I love… Jamie says, “It is more complicated than it looks thatched over.” *giggle-snort* You think they are going to get down to what fans have waited for, but as activities start to get hot things take a turn for the worse. Jamie starts having flashes of BJR that stop him mid-motion. Claire tells him it is okay, but Jamie is still very disturbed by it all.

A couple of weeks later the Fraser party is on their way to Versailles. Jamie and Murtagh are waiting at the bottom of the stairs as Claire comes down in the much anticipated Red Dress. At first you think the gentlemen think she looks beautiful, but then Jamie asks her if she is “mad”. He says the iconic line that he can see down to the third rib. The fashion of the time is very low cut for women’s gowns. The idea is to catch the eye of the King and the court, but Jamie is none too happy with this approach. When you see the King’s mistress, Claire’s gown is not so daring after all.

Outlander season 2 episode 2 Sam Heughan
Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), King Louis XV (Lionel Lingelser), and Murtagh Fitzgibbons (Duncan Lacroix) in ‘Outlander’ (Photo © 2016 Sony Pictures Television Inc.)

As they enter the room an old friend of Jamie’s bursts into his arms, Annalise de Marillac (Margaux Chatelier). The look on Claire’s face is priceless. He is forced to explain how he fought a duel for her. You can feel Jamie’s embarrassment during the entire exchange. {more giggles here} Annalise whisks him away to take him to watch the dressing of the King. Murtagh grumbles that he sure “wouldn’t want to miss that.” I just love that bearded curmudgeon. They come into the presence of the King of France, Louis XV (Lionel Lingelser). In a room full of gentlemen, the King is sitting on a throne (in both senses of the term), trying to move his bowels with no luck. I just love how they start offering the King advice on how to get things moving. Our always gallant Jamie offers up that the King should start each day with a bowl of porridge. Fiber is a constipated man’s friend, little does the King know.

Out in the main room with the other guests Claire is chatting with other court Ladies when she sees Mary speaking to a young gentleman. She doesn’t know who he is but is pleased to see Mary smiling for the first time. She then excuses herself to get some air. Louise notices the Minister of Finance, Monsieur Joseph Duverney (Marc Duret), across the room and rushes over to tell him that Lady Broch Tuarach is looking for him with desires to meet him. He takes this in an entirely lecherous way, his alcohol intake helps in this perspective, and he sets out to meet up with her. Claire seeks to find a nice place to sit down, and has only been at her ease for a minute when the Minister found her. He introduces himself, but is rather hands-y. He kneels down at her feet. The next thing she knows he takes her foot and begins kissing it, Claire protesting all the way. {insert more giggle-snorts here} Claire finally pushes him off when he raises up to attempt to kiss at her open bodice, and he bumps into Jamie as he stumbles back. Jamie throws him off the bridge about the second Claire is trying to tell him that he is the man they came to find. A waterlogged Minster of Finance exits the lake below the bridge a bit soberer and certainly humbler in countenance.

He begs their pardon and they pleasantly oblige. As they are all standing before the fire, and the Minister is trying to dry his water soaked wig, the King walks up behind them. He is accompanied by his mistress, Madame Nesle de la Tourelle (Kimberly Smart), wearing the long awaited nipple dress. The designs on the dress are amazing, once you get past the fact that her breasts are exposed above the bodice with swan designed nipple piercings. The look on Murtagh’s face is just too hilarious to describe. She gives Murtagh a look of interest, and that is the first time I have seen Murtagh give a delighted smile to any woman. Jamie is about to die of embarrassment. I have to admit I busted out laughing at this entire exchange.

Then the smirk turned to rage on Murtagh’s face as he noticed the Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow) across the room. The paper that was to give Jamie his freedom in Scotland was given to Black Jack, and he burned it right in Jamie’s face during his torture. After a pleasant {said in all sarcasm} exchange, Claire asks Jamie to take Murtagh to have a drink with their new friend, the Minister of Finance. After they leave, Claire certainly calls the Duke out for his bad deeds. Then the aid to the Duke walks up. Claire discovers that this is none other than the younger brother to the notorious Black Jack Randall, it is Alex Randall (Laurence Dobiesz). In the book they meet this man in a different way. He looks far more like BJR, and fans were hoping that Tobias Menzies was to play a third role in the show because of the way it is done in the book, but the show handles it differently. Jamie has not seen or met him yet, but Claire now has. Alex is a much nicer person than his elder brother, and weaker of constitution. He is repeatedly coughing and Claire offers a suggestion of an herb to sooth his throat. Alex and the Duke tell Claire that Jack Randall is not dead as Claire and Jamie thought after the escape of the prison. And Claire has no idea how she will tell Jamie that his nightmare still lives. Our poor Nighean Donn.

Outlander Season 2 Recaps:

  • Episode 1 Through a Glass, Darkly
  • Episode 3 Useful Occupations and Deceptions
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