Bonsoir Mesdames!!! The title pretty much explains the gist of the third episode for the second season of Outlander. The deception and intrigue grow deeper and more intense for Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), as Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) struggles to find something useful to do with her time. Claire is not a woman of that era, and she cannot suppress her need to be useful for very long. This episode is keeping with the spirit of the book, but is considerably different than actual events from the book. It accurately moves the main story items along, so I will not focus on the book as much in this recap; the differences are just too extensive.
As the episode opens, Jamie bursts in after being out all night while Claire was sleeping. He runs up the stairs shedding clothes and weapons as he shouts instructions to the servants. Claire meets him at the top of the stairs and Jamie starts enumerating the various activities he has to engage in through this day and the next. He is not going to get much sleep, other than in carriage rides to and from Versailles or rides to and from the brothel as he goes from meeting to meeting. He also has to meet an inspector at the warehouse where Jared’s stock is housed. Our poor Jamie is a man in high demand as he weaves the web of deception in the effort to stop the uprising. All the while, Claire sits and listens; the wish to be busy herself clearly etched on her face. Of course Jamie is too distracted to notice, most men do not notice when a woman most needs some attention, especially while being pregnant, but I digress. He acknowledges the fact that constant female tea parties are a drudgery. Thanks for the simple validation, big man!
When next we see Claire she is at tea with the vivacious Louise de Rohan (Claire Sermonne) and the sweet, innocent Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day). Poor Mary is upset about being forced to marry a French nobleman. She is sure that only the French men make a woman take his male member up inside of them. Apparently no “Birds and Bees” story has ever been bestowed upon our innocent Mary. Louise could not get a bigger kick out of this declaration. All of a sudden Claire remembers where she heard Mary’s name before. She realizes that Mary ends up the wife to Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies). Apparently she is not to wed the French nobleman and have him do those horrible things to her…**giggle-snort** I have no idea where she thinks babies come from, but she is in for a surprise no matter the man she marries. The process is pretty much the same all over, dear girl.
I must take the opportunity to mention this gorgeous golden dress Claire is wearing. Yellow is a favorite color of mine and this dress uses it so exquisitely, even down to the golden cloak she wears over the gown. Okay, fangirl moment over, moving on…
Claire scares the ladies when she turns white in the face. This reinforces the issue even further that BJR is still alive, and to make things worse, he must remain alive for at least another year. He must be the ancestor to Frank Randall (also played by Tobias Menzies) or Frank will never be born. The book readers know how this all plays out, so get ready show enthusiasts…it is a bumpy ride to say the least. Claire heads home after this realization. She has to think, and Jamie still knows nothing of Black Jack’s survival at this point.
When she returns home, Mangus (Robbie McIntosh) the butler is explaining the usual household items about social invitations and such. He pulls out a lace hanky that Claire left in the kitchen, or more accurately that her maid left in the kitchen and did not mend as instructed. Claire goes on the hunt to Suzette’s room to ask her why the task had not been done when she walks into an interesting scene. Suzette is in her room all right, but she is not alone. Suzette takes the interruption in stride, like you might think a Frenchwoman would do. Lovemaking is almost a social sport for the French. Her companion was not so happy with the interruption.
Claire leaves and as she is sitting in the parlor Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix), yes dashing and curmudgeon Murtagh, comes out to voice his protest for the interruption. They have a brief tense exchange, but as with most things in life, what we pop off about is not the real reason for the argument. The fight doesn’t go very far when Claire apologizes for the outburst and admits she is not herself. Murtagh agrees that she is most certainly not herself and stands there silently waiting to hear her say why. Claire spills the beans about meeting Alex Randall (Laurence Dobiesz) at Versailles to convince Murtagh that BJR is still alive. Murtagh is supportive of Claire not mentioning this to Jamie because he knows the need for vengeance would overwhelm our dashing young hero.
Then we find Jamie at Versailles playing chess with the always entertaining Minister of Finance, Monsieur Duverney (Marc Duret). The sets are just so mind-blowing; sorry fangirled again. The pair conduct their business over an ego-bruising game of chess for the Minister; Jamie the victor, of course. Jamie then gets down to the business at hand. Prince Charles (Andrew Gower) wants to meet with the Minister to discuss support for the invasion. Jamie is asking that the Minister meet with him, but also dissuade him from thinking he can get the funds he desires from the French court. So they go to meet the Prince at the usual rendezvous spot, Madam Elise’s (Michele Belgrand) brothel.
In the meantime, Claire thinks it might be prudent to get something to prevent her maid from getting pregnant given her dalliance with Murtagh. This gives us the pleasure of seeing the enjoyable Master Raymond (Dominique Pinon) again. As she approaches the shop, Master Raymond is wrapping up some business with none other than Le Comte St. Germain (Stanley Weber). Claire tries to turn to go, but Master Raymond sees her. Claire turns to be forced to see Le Comte in the face once again. Pleasant usual words are exchanged, but the dagger throwing from the eyes cannot be mistaken on the part of Le Comte. Here I go again, does anyone else think the wardrobe of Le Comte St. Germain is just incredible? Intricate embroidery, amazing colors, just dazzling. Into the store Claire and Master Raymond go after Le Comte leaves. I could spend hours in this shop; such a wealth of items on the shelves and treasures to entertain in every corner. Okay, I’ll stop with the fangirl stuff!
Claire notices a poison on the counter, and Master Raymond is surprised she knows about it. He explains the deception he actually employs when people come in looking to purchase the poison. He actually uses something that induces vomiting and such, but will not cause death. The deception makes the purchaser happy while not actually killing anyone. Master Raymond is increasingly surprised by her knowledge of his wares and Claire ends up revealing that she is not happy with the conventional role she finds herself in. He asks her if she would be interested in helping at a charity hospital. This puts a genuine smile on Claire’s face, and a much needed sparkle in her eye for the first time in a long while. She sets out urgently to go to the hospital that Master Raymond suggested so she can offer her assistance, something she has been desiring to do for far too long.
Murtagh goes with Claire, but warns her that Jamie will not be happy with her being around all these very sick people. Claire dismisses the warning and does it anyway. Would we expect anything less? She is shown around and introduced to Mother Hildegarde (Frances De La Tour) and her companion Bouton (Scamp) the dog. Mother Hildegarde thinks that Claire is like other noble woman who want to donate their time. Long on ‘want to help’ and short on ability to help. So she sets her to doing menial tasks about the hospital. Claire comes upon a woman who she notices has the symptoms of Diabetes, known in that time as sugar sickness. Mother Hildegarde is impressed that she would know how to determine this diagnosis, very few women know what it is. Mother Hildegarde allows her to do more direct medicine after this encounter.
Jamie and Minister Duverney speak with the Prince in the brothel. The Prince mentions that he has English backers who will ensure he comes to the King without empty hands. Jamie shows a distinct expression of shock at this news. The Prince offers an alliance between England and France if King Louis XV (Lionel Lingelser) would join with him in financing the invasion. Jamie takes this news home and is very upset that Claire is not there for him to explain this new little devastating development. When Claire comes in glowing with exhaustion and enthusiasm about her time at the hospital helping the sick, Jamie is upset and the battle of words ensues. Once Jamie gets slightly out of his pouting mode and starts speaking again he reveals the issue that the Prince presented to him in the brothel. Claire is sympathetic to the stress and situation Jamie is in, but he pushes off her words. He is in ‘all about me’ mode at the moment. He leaves and Murtagh sees him go from the top of the stairs. The maid, Suzette, tells him that the couple has lost their love in the bedroom. I’m sure Murtagh will bring up that subject later given this bit of news and his knowledge of how much Jamie and Claire love each other.
Jamie goes back to the brothel to brew over the situation and notices wee Fergus (Romann Berrux). He notices the lad has sticky fingers and goes unseen in his task of gathering valuables from the clientele. Jamie gets a genius idea to hire the lad to do what he does so well, and lift letters from couriers who take messages to the Prince. Jamie is in dire need of information and this boy, with Murtagh’s help, will get the necessary intel. When he takes the boy home and informs Claire of his idea, she is surprised but pleased at the resource. But you can still cut the tension between them with a chainsaw.
Jamie and Murtagh continue to gather information from the letters and Claire continues to work at the hospital under Mother Hildegarde’s eye. Jamie sees through some of the coding in the letters, but they find a piece of music that is in a letter format. What makes it even stranger is that it is in German, sent from an Englishman. It just so happens that Mother Hildegarde’s talents are not just medicinal. Jamie takes the music letter to the hospital to see if Mother can help. He doesn’t want to admit it but Claire taking this work in the hospital is actually a substantial help to their task.
At the hospital, Claire and Mother Hildegarde are looking over a patient. They cannot tell why he still shows signs of infection. Enter the master, the amazing Bouton, to sniff out the issue…literally. The inspection is the cutest little bedside manner at work I have ever seen. He reports that there is a secondary infection well below the skin in the man’s upper leg. This discovery probably saved the man’s life. Claire is able to open an incision that produces a large, and very deeply embedded, piece of wood. Bravo and Merci Bouton! Dog biscuits all around!!!
Enter Jamie with his music letter. I wish the little exchange between Bouton and Jamie that was in the book was in the show. It was a precious, and most hilarious, exchange between the two. Mother Hildegarde does recognize the melody, but finds it very odd. She recognizes a work from Bach, who just so happens to be a friend of hers. She recognizes the inconsistencies in the letter version. The key redone in the melody is the key to the encryption that they needed. They discover that the English conspirators are real, and they riddle it out that it is the Duke of Sandringham. They are so excited, but Claire realizes she must tell Jamie now. If the Duke is to return to France, it is likely Jamie will discover that BJR is alive. She almost tells him right then, but can’t crush his new found happiness at having this breakthrough. What to do? What to do? I bet if Bouton delivered the bad news it would go over much easier…wishful thinking, I know, but a girl can dream!
Outlander Season Two Recaps:
- ‘Outlander’ Season 4 Episode 13 Recap: “Man of Worth” - January 27, 2019
- ‘Outlander’ Season 4 Episode 12 Recap: “Providence” - January 20, 2019
- ‘Outlander’ Season 4 Episode 11 Recap: “If Not For Hope” - January 13, 2019