[Season 1 !Season 2 !Season 3 !Season 4 !Season 5 ]
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ) take a trip to the Scottish Highlands. He is a military history buff, and wants to find where his ancestor Jack Randall was stationed during the Jacobite Rising of 1745.
Scotland is mysterious and magical. Claire gets her palm read by the housekeeper, who gives her an ambiguous prophecy. She will travel but stay in the same place, and have two husbands. Lots of great foreshadowing, even if it makes the Scottish look like a bunch of ignorant savages. They even conduct secret druidic rituals at Samhain, which is quite unlikely in a country which is strongly Presbyterian or a region that has a long history of Jacobite Catholicism. After all, the place has a history or burning witches.
Claire accidentally gets sent back in time by the druidic stones. She discovers that her husband's ancestor, Jack Randall, is an officer but certainly no gentleman. However, she is rescued by some big butch Jacobites. Hopefully she will find a love interest. Meanwhile she puts her nursing skills to use looking after the youngest and prettiest of the highlanders. Unlike the others he does not have a beard, so he is probably too young to shave.
What makes this story unusual is that it is not a modern-day person travelling into history, or even a historical person in the modern day. Claire is from the 1940s, a veteran nurse who served in the Second World War. This means that she will be able to adjust to life in the 1740s far better than anyone from the digital era would.
The Highlanders take Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) to their castle. Despite her knowledge of science and medicine, nobody has tried to burn her as a witch yet. She tends to the pretty-boy's wounds, and discovers that he has many scars from his previous encounters with Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ). He is Jamie MacTavish Fraser (Sam Heughan), and he is the obvious love interest while she plays Florence Nightingale.
We get a flashback to Randall's first mission in the Highlands. Several years ago, the government wanted rich landowners to pay their taxes. Randall and his redcoats were sent out to collect a small amount of food. Unfortunately the lord of the manor was off at a funeral, and his son and heir was out working in the fields like a common farmer. The place was looked after by the sister. Randall has already been established as NAFF (not attractive for fornication), and now the pretty-boy gets established as a White Knight.
Claire has to spend a few days in the castle before anyone can take her back to Inverness. She is at the wrong end of Loch Ness, it seems. Luckily Nessie does not make an appearance in this show.
The locals are suspicious of Claire. They have no reason to trust her. However, she seems to make one friend - the local herbalist ( Lotte Verbeek ).
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) is being held in the MacKenzie clan's castle. As a trained nurse she is the only healer the clan has access to. She is allowed out and about in the village, but she has an armed guard to watch her at all times.
This week's tales concern a couple of young boys. One is stricken with a mysterious illness after wandering in an abandoned abbey that everyone thinks is haunted. The village priest (Tim McInnerny - Doctor Who ) thinks the boy is demonically possessed. Claire has to find the true cause of the ailment.
The other boy stands accused of stealing two loaves of bread, for which the sentence may be the loss of a hand. Yes, before the penitentiary system was invented in the Nineteenth Century the standard punishments were corporal and capital in nature. Not unlike the Sharia system in the Islamic world. Luckily the law-giver (John Sessions - ) is the husband of the local herbalist ( Lotte Verbeek ), who can convince him to be lenient.
Jamie aids Claire in helping both boys. Yes, he is still a central character with nothing else to do but spend time with the protagonist.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) plans to escape from Castle Mackenzie. Her best chance will be during the clan's annual gathering, when the men all line up to swear allegience to the Laird.
Jamie has a young woman interested in him. She is a bonnie young lassie who asks Claire to make her a love potion.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) is conscripted into being the field medic on a Uncle Dougal is in charge, while Jamie and his men come along as muscle. She befriends Ned the bean-counter (Bill Paterson - Adventures of Baron Munchausen ).
The Highlanders are presented as being completely alien. They speak in gaelic, a language the protagonist does not understand. Their sympathies are with the Jacobites, presented here not as a faction in the British royal court but rather as a Scottish force that is entirely independent of the British. How ironic that Britain itself was unified by a Scottish king, the grandfather of James Stuart (after whom the Jacobite cause was named).
En route they also encounter the mandatory signs of Redcoat cruelty.
This is one of the strongest episodes so far. It does not rely on spectacular scenery or action, since it is mostly conversation set in a single dining room. The writer is Ira Steven Behr, of the Star Trek franchise.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) is invited to dinner with the redcoats' general. Him and his officers are portrayed as effete snobs. The only one who is efficient or effective is Captain Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ), the villain of the show who has only appeared in the first episode so far. He is re-introduced, and properly fleshed out as a character.
The gist of it is that the redcoats are meant to be an invading army of occupation. The officers are from Sussex and London, while the Scots they oppress are Highlanders. There are no lowland scottish, or northern English, because this would introduce shades of gray into this black-and-white version of history.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) has a flashback to the day she married Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ). Now she is marrying her second husband. Although she has not yet buried her first husband, this is not technically bigamy or adultery. After all, what happens on a time travel trip to the past STAYS in the distant past.
Claire and Jamie get married off-screen. The law requires that they consumate it that night. They do not have much choice, if Claire is meant to become a Scottish citizen by marriage. Although Jamie mentioned last week that he still has a bounty on his head, nobody points out that by marrying him Claire is committing another felony. Instead of Black Jack Randal coming after her for helping the Jacobite fund-raising, he would be after her for harbouring a wanted fugitive.
This is the first properly romantic episode, where the bodice-ripping really starts to happen. Claire is unhappy about the arranged marriage, but Jamie is much younger and prettier than she is so he eventually wears her down with his niceness. Also he claims to be a virgin, but despite his lack of experience he is somehow a very skilled lover. Totally a cliche of the genre, the flawless two-dimensional character purely there to service the protagonist.
The wedding, and the events leading up to it, are shown in flashback. All very romantic and so on. Then there is lots of nudity and sex. We get to see Jamie's hairless buttocks, shaven for the female audience, no doubt. This episode was written and directed by women, so it is a fine example of the Female Gaze.
Jamie gives his topless wife a pearl necklace. If you know what I mean. No, literally he fastens a string of pearls around her neck. One imagines that the original novel contained mention of a certain sex act, and the writer adapting this episode took the reference literally.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) meets a friend of Jamie's. He is a beggar named Hugh, mutilated by Turkish muslims instead of by English redcoats. His wedding gift for the couple is a piece of amber with a dragonfly trapped inside. Claire is so happy with her new life, she has almost forgotten about her plans to escape back to her own time.
Back in 1945, Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ) is frustrated by the mysterious disappearance of his wife. He puts up a reward for the mysterious highlander. It turns out that he has a dark side, just like Black Jack.
Meanwhile, the Highlanders teach Claire how to kill with a dagger. She should have a much better knowledge of anatomy than they do, but they mansplain about how a stab in the kidneys will prove fatal. This will do her no good against Black Jack, because she needs him alive in order for her husband Frank to exist.
This episode is narrated by Jamie, and starts with the climax of the previous episode - from his point of view. He performs a daring rescue by infiltrating the castle. He even swings through a window, SAS style. To avoid yet another count of murder against him, he does not want to actually kill any of the redcoats.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) learns that her actions have consequences. As soon as her husband gets her home, he has to punish her for her disobedience by giving her a good spanking. This is what Cat-girl in Gotham deserves for repeatedly attempting to murder her friend Jim Gordon, but in this show it just looks like domestic violence. It becomes a sticking point in the relationship, and Jamie must atone for it by pledging fealty to her in a feudal manner. Now she has to be on top during sex.
The rent-gathering party returns to Castle Mackenzie. The Laird is less than happy because they have been fund-raising for the Jacobites. Well, since Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ) knew what they were up to it is hardly a surprise that the Laird found out as well. The two brothers, Laird and War Chief, are now at each others throats.
Jamie still has a stalker. The bonnie wee lassie from Outlander [Season 1, Episode 4] The Gathering is still interested in him, even though she knows he is married. Can he resist temptation?
The Duke of Sandringham pays a visit to Castle Mackenzie. He is an English Jacobite (AKA a Tory), but for some reason he is only a short journey away from the castle. This being despite the fact the Mackenzie lands are so vast that it took several weeks for the rent-gathering trip.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) reveals that Sandringham is the man who keeps Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ) safe from punishment for his crimes. Sandringham is willing to undermine his protege, but in return Jamie must be his second at a duel with Chief MacDonald.
At a feast in Sandringham's honour, the law-giver (John Sessions - ) falls mysteriously dead. The symptoms are of cyanide, which only Claire can recognise. However, they know that the dead man was the husband of the local herbalist ( Lotte Verbeek ). The Clan chief sends her lover Dougal away before he can marry her. Jamie is sent along with him, but Claire is kept in the castle.
The witch trial is conducted in a church court. Nobody actually says which particular church this is. The Scottish Kirk was very strict in enforcing anti-witchcraft laws. However, this appears to be a Roman Catholic court, because the village priest (Tim McInnerny - Doctor Who ) is allowed to testify. Under British criminal law a pregnant woman cannot be executed, but the superstitious rabble do not care for British law. Small wonder that Black Jack Randall and his bloodthirsty redcoats must use extreme measures to keep law and order in the barren landscape.
Claire gets a chance to talk with her co-accused. The herbalist is a fanatical Jacobite, but her devotion to Scottish Independence will not save her from the Scots themselves. There is something else to think about. A smallpox vaccination scar would be taken as the mark of the devil. But is Claire the only one who has one?
Jamie's claim to fame is he survived two hundred lashes from a cat-o-nine-tails. Just like Jack Bauer, he never flinched under torture. In contrast, Claire cannot withstand even a mild spanking. Will Jamie save her in time? After all, despite being an empowered modern woman she is just a damsel in distress.
Claire is a reactive character, with no clear goal but to return home. She only travelled back in time by accident, and everything else she does is at the whim of fate. Without Jamie, who looks like the anachronistic cub of Fabio, this story would simply be one of her being tortured by a series of different abusers.
We get a couple of flashbacks to the evil deeds of Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ). He seems to be an equal-opportunities raper, which explains why he is such good friends with the Duke of Sandringham, but luckily for the Fraser siblings he cannot get it up. It turns out that their father died of a heart attack when he saw Jamie get his second hundred lashes, a week after the first hundred.
Jamie takes his job as Laird very seriously. The first thing they do is hold the fayre and collect the rent. Then he goes to personally fix the wheel of the water-mill. This results in him stripping naked, for the benefit of the female audience. Like a male version of Jane, who was reduced to her underwear at every opportunity. There is one good thing about this, however. Jamie may somehow wax his buttocks, but at least he has manly pubes.
Tarran McQuarry (Douglas Henshall - Primeval ) and his band of thugs pay the castle a visit. They make themselves at home, accepting free bed and board. Nobody can report them to the local Watch, because they ARE the local Watch. Jamie begrudgingly accepts their presence, because he cannot reveal his true identity. After all, until Sandringham gets him a Pardon there is still a reward for his capture.
The Watch team up with a redcoat deserter in order to stage a heist. The bad news is that the new man is Horrocks, who met Jamie a few episodes previously. Now Jamie must decide whether or not to pay extortion money. Horrocks wants to go to the Colonies, and start a shop in Boston. However, unlike most Irish people he does not want to endure indentured servitude.
Jamie's sub-plot happens independently of Claire's, even though she is the protagonist and does most of the narration. She is busy elsewhere, looking after Jamie's pregnant sister. Predictably the only midwife is called away to an emergency elsewhere. This is the equivalent of being trapped in an elevator with a pregnant woman, as happened with Worf and Keiko O'Brien in Star Trek: TNG .
Jamie joins the Watch on their mission. It turns out that Horrocks picked the perfect spot for an ambush. This is not necessarily a good thing.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and Jenny ( Laura Donnelly ) go looking for Jamie. They have to adopt the Jack Bauer method of interrogation, which leads to the usual moral quandries. Claire is quick to judge people, using her twentieth-century morality. However, events conspire to prevent her from becoming an even bigger hypocrite.
Claire and Murtagh tour the Highlands in search of Jamie. They plan to lure him out of hiding by posing as a song-and-dance group. Murtagh is the dancer, and Claire adapts a 1940s boogie-woogie song with lyrics more appropriate to the 1740s.
The bad news is that there is no concept of intellectual property rights in that era. As a result, the local gypsy band decide to copy her act. Claire becomes a hypocrite again, willing to give the thieves more benefit of the doubt than she would to an honest redcoat.
Like all Mary Sues, Claire is sexually irresistable to all men. Black Jack Randall will do whatever it takes to get his hands on her, as will Jamie's Uncle Dougal. In Dougal's case he is also interested in her inheritance, because if she is Jamie's widow then she would have the Fraser lands.
This is not set in the fictional womens' prison in Australia. Instead it takes place in a fictional castle in Scotland. Can Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and four minions break Jamie out before he is executed by hanging?
Tarran McQuarry (Douglas Henshall - Primeval ) tries to raise Jamie's spirits as they are to be hanged together. The previous episode, where Jamie escaped and was recaptured, was therefore Ironically, Jamie's friends are not much use but it is his arch-enemy Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ) who saves him from the gallows. Of course, what Randall has planned for him is a fate worse than death. And then death afterwards, of course.
Claire takes her time to formulate a rescue plan. The minions do some intelligence-gathering, and Murtagh is around for moral support. However, Claire has to do the hard work all by herself. Luckily she seems to have superhuman strength when necessary.
The climactic confrontation has a lot of familiar tropes. Randall has a henchman, a mute giant. The threat of sexual assault is ever present. Of course, since this is a gender-reversal the victim is not a barbie-doll bimbo but a ken-doll pretty-boy. In an unintended consequence, what would normally be an exercise in sex-shaming is now a negative homophobic stereotype.
The previous episode ended on a cliffhanger. Will Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and the Highlanders manage to rescue Jamie? Well, all that is wrapped up in a few minutes. The rest of the episode is spent on Claire nursing the wounded Jamie.
Jamie's physical wounds are nasty, but the the real damage is psychological. He is now a wounded little animal, for Claire to nurse him back to health. Real Florence Nightingale mythology stuff.
Most of the episode is extended flashbacks to Jamie's torture by Randall. They are both in a state of undress, and the torture is of a sexual nature. However, because the characters are both male this is aimed at what a Gender Studies course would term the Female Gaze. But can anyone name a television show that featured female characters in such a predicament? Perhaps Spartacus: Blood and Sand in its early Seasons, but again they focused on male nudity. Female characters in mainstream television has been victimised with sexual torture - in the early days because right-wingers opposed sexual content, and in modern times because left-wingers ippose portrayals of unempowered women.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) wakes up like Rip Van Winkle, in the middle of a Druidic circle of standing stones in Scotland. She is back in 1948 again, and she has to adjust to modern life with her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ). However, she secretly longs for her long-lost lover, like in Somewhere in Time .
Finally, she has a flashback to the 1740s. Her bodice-ripper fantasy life had taken her and her perfect lover to France. A bit of exposition explains their plan - to infiltrate the Jacobite conspiracy and prevent the failed Rising of 1745.
In France, they also have to deal with Smallpox. The local aristocrat does not think this deadly plague is a big deal, and makes a big fuss about losing his ship and cargo when half the town's population (including himself) have been exposed to this pathogen. The peasants are no better, crowding around the infected man as closely as possible. And Claire herself, despite being pregnant, exposes herself and her unborn foetus to this deadly disease. Luckily it was established in Season One that she had been vaccinated!
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and her husband try to blend in with the nobility of Paris. The husband is so young and pretty-looking that he cannot grow a beard. Perhaps this anachronistic touch, evidently aimed at the Female Gaze of this bodice-ripper's target audience, can be explained in-story by the fact that he had previously lived in Paris. However, his sidekick has a big beard (albeit a well-trimmed one) so he is a much better stereotype of the Scottish Highlander.
Claire meets with some Ladies of the Court. She thinks they are shallow and vain, while agreeing with them that it is a bad idea to have a husband who is old and warty. Meanwhile, Hubby and sidekick are invited to meet Bonnie Prince Charlie, who is hanging out with the old warty husbands in a high-class brothel. Naturally, Hubby and Sidekick realise that Claire is right. Charlie is incompetent, and any Rising that he commands is doomed to failure.
They are invited to a party at the Court of King Louis in Versailles. Louis has problems of his own. He delegates everything to his Chief Minister, a sexually adventurous man who gets the wrong idea when he sees Claire's cleavage-enhancing red dress. Also, there is an English aristocrat Lord Sandringham at the Court. He has a history with our heroes, and no good will come of it.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) tries to make herself useful in Paris. She goes to the free hospital, and works as a nurse. The head nun, Frances De La Tour, is very impressed with her basic Twentieth Century medical skills. However, hubby is unhappy about her risking the health of her unborn child. Also, he does not like being abandoned when his wife is having a career as a hobby.
Claire's husband finally gets round to introducing the French Minister to Bonnie Prince Charlie. The good news is, Charlie does not suspect that hubby is undermining the Jacobite plot. The bad news is, Charlie claims to have other sources of funding. Hubby must steal and then decode the letters Charlie got from his secret allies.
All the social contacts that Claire meets turn out to be essential to the plot. The head nun is a pianist who is pen-pals with Johann Sebastian Bach. The young Englishwoman, Sally Hawkins, is destined to be distant grandmother of Claire's future husband. The English aristocrats at the French King's party last week were part of the conspiracy.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and her husband decide to throw a dinner party for Bonnie Prince Charlie. They plan to trick him into humiliating himself in front of his financiers, so that they will see his rebellion is doomed to failure.
The French aristocrat from Outlander [Season 2, Episode 1] Through a Glass, Darkly is still in town. He is the prime suspect when Claire gets a mild case of poisoning, and may also be responsible for other attacks on her person. That said, the local criminal element seem to know and fear Claire as La Dame Blanche. Perhaps the Englishman Lord Sandringham is up to no good. After all, he certainly seems untrustworthy enough.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) tries to sort out the legal difficulties from the previous episode. The bad news is, the male secretary is in the Bastille. The good news is, the English girl was not meant to marry him anyway. The bad news is that her actual fated husband, the villainous Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ), is in Paris too.
The beardy Scottish Highlander goes looking for the rape gang. He has a lead - they may be regulars at the high-class whore-house. Strangely, the suspicion is still that the French aristocrat was behind the attack. This is illogical, because if the attackers had intended to target Claire then why would they be surprised when they realised who she was?
Bonnie Prince Charlie has been abandoned by his supporters. However, the disasterous 1745 rebellion has not yet been averted. The French aristocrat has offered him an investment opportunity. Charlie gets Claire's husband to act as intermediary. After all, he is nominally in charge of his cousin's wine business. Naturally he plots to ruin the business deal. It never occurs to him that the Frenchman has planned a double-cross of some kind.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) has her husband pull out of his duel with Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ). The hairy Highlander is confused by this decision, so Claire has her hubby explain everything about the time-travel to him. The discussion in Outlander [Season 2, Episode 2] Not in Scotland Anymore had implied that he already knew, but apparently not.
The French King has instituted a crackdown on magic-users, and Claire knows that being branded a witch La Dame Blanche will put her on the death list. She warns her friend the apothecary to get out of town, although he tells her that the crackdowns usually blow over. After all, the King's father Louis XIV repealed the Edict of Nantes and drove the Hugenots out of France. This brings out the fact that the glamourous portrayal of the Jacobite conspiracy is in many ways similar to the Lost Cause of the American Confederacy. Both are explored in Alternate Universe/Counterfactual literature, but the fact is that they did not deserve to survive. History is written by the victors, but more importantly modern democracy was created by the victors too. If the Confederacy or the Jacobites had won, today the English-speaking world would be living in a dictatorship.
Bonnie Prince Charlie's fundraising depends on the French aristocrat's wine being delivered. Claire's first plan is to make the ship's crew think they have smallpox. Naturally, the aristocrat tries to cover things up. Hubby gets called in to help, and gets given the responsibility of moving the potentially infected wine. As a result he has to arrange a convenient highway robbery. Unfortunately the aristocrat is unhappy about not getting paid, despite the fact that distributing smallpox-infected wine would get everyone involved brutally executed.
Claire is jealous of the men. They go out and do some fighting, while she is stuck in a soap-opera subplot involving the other women. She tries to start a communist revolution, but the women are so deep in their Dangerous Liaisons gossiping (after all, it was the original Sex in the City) that their response to the deep poverty of Parisian citizens is reminiscent of Queen Marie Therese' famous quote Let them eat pie-crust.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) ends up in hospital, with the King's Royal executioner looking after her. The blood loss does not do her any favours, and she is in a bad way.
Claire's husband is locked in the Bastille for the crime of dueling. Fergus finally comes clean about the reason for the duel, which turns out to be more mistaken identity than deliberate antagonism on behalf of Black Jack. However, to get her husband freed Claire must have a personal encounter with the French King. Worse, he wants her to preside in a secret trial over two men accused of witchcraft. One is an ally, the other is an enemy - but will the King get to execute someone?
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and her husband have been successful in France. They got a Pardon from King George, courtesy of a favour from the French King, and they are now back home in Scotland.
Our heroes had successfully thwarted Bonnie Prince Charlie's plans for an uprising. Without funding or French allies, his Jacobite rebellion has no chance. However, Charlie realises that he does not need any of that. He publishes a public announcement with a list of signatures from his Scottish supporters. Claire's husband is shocked to discover that his own name has been forged on it. Therefore it is possible that most or even ALL the signatures have been forged. After all, the whole rebellion is founded on wishful thinking.
Claire's husband has drunk the Jacobite kool-aid. Despite knowing that Charlie has none of the essentials actually required for success, he gives in to the same wishful thinking and goes off to help the rebels. His first stop is at the castle of his father's father, Lord Lovat. Unfortunately his mother's brother, Mackenzie ( ) is there too.
Claire accompanies her husband, and helps his cause. The local superstitions about witchcraft play a major role. A maidservant is indebted to Claire over an accusation and a witch-trial in Season One. Also, Lord Lovat has a seeress who can apparently predict the future.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) joins her husband's army in camp. However, she has PTSD because of flashbacks to her role as an army nurse in the Normandy offensive in 1944. Back then, the soldiers did not think they should stay clear of bright fires at night - even though the fire would easily silhouette someone as an easy target for the enemy. And does Claire give this wonderful piece of advice to her husband?
Claire's Hubby Lord Broch Turoch wants to train his men as soldiers. While he has served as an officer on the continent, and is familiar with French bayonet drills, his uncle is in town and prefers the highland charge. Who will prevail?
Strangely the Jacobites keep using the revisionist view of their uprising, They refer to their enemies as the British, and imply their their own goal merely concerns Scotland. In reality, Scotland is part of Britain and the Jacobites wanted the British throne. To do so, they were willing to destroy Parliamentary democracy and murder their political opponents. In other words, they were the true villains of the piece.
Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army are camped on a hilltop overlooking the Hanoverian forces. Between them is a boggy marshland. Claire's Hubby Lord Broch Turoch sends his favourite uncle down alone to check if the ground is safe.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) organises a field hospital for the Jacobites. Charlie orders that, to foster the spirit of reconciliation when he wins, the British wounded should be treated before the Jacobites. This is ironic, because while Charlie acknowledges that his goal is the throne of Britain (AKA England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) he ignores the fact that the Jacobites were British Citizens. Broch Turoch complains that the British have never cared for the Scots - again, forgeting that the Scots are part of Britain. The most important part, in fact, because Charlie Stuart's ancestor James the Sixth of Scotland and First of England was the one who united the thrones of the Three Kingdoms.
The Jacobites use cover of night and fog to launch a sneak attack. Despite all the pike and musket drill last week, they use the Highland Charge. Charlie wants to accompany the men, along with his General and the Quartermaster. Yes, instead of staying in the safety of the headquarters he wants to endanger the revolt's commanders by venturing unnecessarily into harm's way.
Fergus the page-boy wants to join the Highlanders. He claims he can sneak into General Wade's tent and steal his sword. However, things did not end well the last time he snuck into a redcoat's room. Meanwhile Uncle Mackenzie, the bloodthirsty Highlander, is not keen on taking prisoners. This is at odds with Charlie's policy. Will Broch Turoch be able to put things right?
Charlie's army gets as far as Manchester. Soon, walking at thirty miles a day, they are only five days march from London. However, the General and the Quartermaster agree that they must retreat to Scotland. Jamie Broch Turoch is the only voice of dissent, aware that they must continue to London if they are to change the timeline. As a result, the senior officers have Jamie ordered back to Inverness.
Jamie's unit is ambushed by redcoats, and the survivors get scattered. Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) has to pretend to be a hostage again, and ends up a guest of the redcoats. They take her to a nearby country mansion, where she meets some old acquaintances.
This episode basically ties up a few loose ends from the Paris storyline. Everything is quite predictable.
Bonnie Prince Charlie and his revolting Jacobites have retreated to Cullodden. In a couple of days time they will meet the far superior Hanoverian army. Jamie does everything he can to talk the Prince out of a suicidal frontal assault.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) joins young Mary, who has been tending to her dying lover. Yes, somehow in the last five months with the Jacobite Army she has hooked up with a Hanoverian officer. Unfortunately he is dying of tuberculosis, and there is no way Claire can cure him. She must ensure that Mary marries the evil Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ) so the timestream is unbroken. However, Jack is unaccountably reluctant to marry her.
Back in the Jacobite camp, there is another dying man reunited with his brother. Jamie's two uncles, brothers of his mother, say their goodbyes.
This takes place in 1968, to close the bookend that opened in 1948. Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) returns to Scotland to attend the Reverend's funeral. She is wearing makeup intended to make her look twenty years older, but she looks a lot better than she did in the 1745 scenes. Her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies - Game of Thrones ) has passed away, but she brings her daughter Brianna with her. Brianna befriends the Reverend's adopted son, although they are both descended from MacKenzies so they are distantly related.
Brianna is meant to be a tall American with a Boston accent. The actress is an average English girl attempting a MidWest American accent. One would think that, for an American show produced by Ron Moore ( Battlestar Galactica ) they could have gotten an actress who actually sounds like a Bostonian. Think of the accent used by Michael Weston in Burn Notice.
A rabid Scottish Nationalist, Geillis Duncan ( Lotte Verbeek ), is in town to preach radical revisionist history. She is opposed to Queen Anne for being an Anglican Episcopalianism, but she believes the myth that Bonnie Prince Charlie was a true Scotsman who wanted to seperate Scotland from the rest of Britain. Even worse, it turns out that she thinks human sacrifice is necessary to create time-travel.
Jamie is wounded, but survives Culloden. Murtagh gets him to safety, and then makes a run for it. This means Jamie is left in the hands of an aristocratic English officer. The General has ordered all Jacobite prisoners to be shot for treason. However, the officer owes Jamie a debt of honour because Jamie spared the man's brother.
In the 1940s, Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and her husband move to Boston.
In the 1950s, Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) decides that being a nurse is not enough for her. She wants to study for the next eight years and become a doctor. So much for her being a wife and mother. At least she gets to make a new friend in her medical class. While she is the only woman, there is a token black man there as well.
In the 1740s, Jamie hides out in a cave near his sister's castle. The villainous English soldiers are still after him. Worse, one of them is actually a Scotsman. Yes, the show admits that some Scots actually supported the Hanoverian dynasty. In reality, the majority of Scots - especially lowlanders - opposed the oppressive Jacobites and prefered Presbyterian-style democracy. This TV show reduces that to a single Scotsman who is a turncoat and a thug.
In the 1950s, Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) has ignored the concept of work-life balance. She spends all her time training as a surgeon, and lets her husband Frank bond with her illegitimate daughter Brianna.
In the 1750s, Jamie is serving a life-sentence for Treason. The good news is, his old friend Murtagh is one of the other inmates. Even better, the officer in charge is a familiar face.
In the 1960s, Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and Briana are in Scotland. This takes off from where the last episode of the previous Season ended.
Back in the 1750s, Jamie is paroled on work-release as a footman in a country house. There are two daughters there, both in need of a husband. The elder one is a bossy little princess who becomes obsessed with Jamie. Yes, the old-fashioned princess-and-pirate pairing. The younger daughter is plain and boring, and would like to marry the young army officer. Unfortunately he is a closeted homosexual, which could lead to a very frustrating sexless marriage for her.
The elder daughter works out who Jamie really is. She uses this to blackmail him into doing her sexual favours. Of course, like a true two-dimensional character from a bodice-ripper he valiantly attempts to resist her ... until he acknowledges his status as a sex symbol, and submits to her desires.
The summer is over. Mother and daughter have given up the hunt for Jamie's records, and returned to Boston. Briana attends Harvard, studying American literature. Her lecturer's next class is on how fictional prose alters the perception of history. However, she decides to drop out of college.
Briana's love interest, Roger the young Scotsman, visits Boston. He discovered a pamphlet from 1765 that contains an anachronism - it quotes lines from a Rabbie Burns poem a couple of decades before Burns wrote it.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) helps her friend, the Token Black Doctor, examine a box of bones from the Caribbean. They are from a white woman in her late 40s, buried in a secret slave cave grave in the late 1700s. Claire somehow instinctively knows that the woman met a violent death.
Claire wants to go back in time. She packs her stuff, including a hand-made dress with secret pockets, and takes a trip back to Scotland. Yes, it seems like time-travel tourism could be a thing.
Jamie is finally reunited with Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ). However, he has a life of his own. By day he is a hard-working owner of a printing business. However, he has a couple of illegal sidelines. One is that he prints treasonous pamphlets that undermine democracy, and another is that he illegally imports untaxed French brandy. In other words, he is a terrorist and gangster.
Claire only has one concern about Jamie's links with the criminal underworld. He lives in a luxurious attic apartment above a middle-class brothel. She worries that he might have been a regular customer there. No mention is made of the fact that he was the victim of coerced sex (technically rape) in the previous episode. But she does not seem as if she would care about that. Her only issue appears to be jealousy at the thought he might have found pleasure elsewhere.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) fights off a thug. Luckily he is a rapey type, not a professional killer, so he is typically clumsy and oafish. However, he is not killed outright. She decides to show off her skills as a surgeon by trying to conduct life-saving surgery on him. Jamie thinks this is a waste of time and effort, regardless of the fact that a living prisoner can be a great source of info.
The eeevil Englishman of the week is an aristocrat in charge of collecting import taxes. Jamie avoids paying the proper taxes by bribing the tax collector. In typical mealy-mouthed style he pretends to be an innocent victim of blackmail. Claire labels the tax-man as a corrupt servant of the Crown. This doubly damns him, as both a greedy capitalist businessman and an employee of a democratically-elected government.
Claire befriends a man who is imaginatively named Archibald Campbell. His sister Margaret apparently has a mental disorder, but he claims she can genuinely see the future. Of course, he keeps her dosed with laudanum so we do not get any examples of her alleged soothsaying abilities. The most she can tell Claire is Abanda-way will devour ye. However, Archie and Maggie will soon take ship to the West Indies, a piece of info that will probably be important to the storyline.
Claire gets a couple of rude reminders about how primitive the eighteenth century was. For example, health and safety rules would not be invented for centuries. The print-shop is filled with highly flammable paper, while the only sources of heat and light are open flames.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and Jamie head back to Lallybroch. The print shop has been destroyed, and the law will be after Mr ALexander, so they went the only place they might feel safe.
Claire is not exactly made to feel welcome. Jamie's sister is now a grandmother, although she does not look it. However, Jamie has not fully divulged everything. Well, it has been twenty years since he saw her. He may have spent the last few years living in a whore-house, but it turns out that he has a spare wife at home.
Now Jamie has two wives to choose from. Luckily they are both stereotypes, just as he is. One is a bunny-boiler who will shoot him rather than let another woman have him. The other is a professional care-giver, who can patch him up and let the Florence Nightingale effect take over.
Ned the bean-counter (Bill Paterson - Adventures of Baron Munchausen ) somehow survived the lynch-mob in Season One . He delivers the bad news - Jamie's spare wife demands alimony. In an era when average earnings is ten pounds a year, it mounts up. However, the good news is that Jamie lied to the prison governor about the treasure. It is still hidden where he left it. Jamie cannot swim for it, since he is still walking wounded. Rather than get a boat they send a teenage boy across in the hope that he can somehow swim while holding a heavy box. On the bright side, it is completely unlikely that anyone will interfere. After all, what are the chances of a three-masted sailing ship turning up at exactly the same moment?
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and Jamie hire a ship so they can rescue the kidnap victim. They take along a small army of retainers. A couple of scotsmen for heavy lifting, Willoughby the Chinese man, the young Frenchman - and the Frenchie's new wife!
Jamie is bedridden with sea-sickness. This renders him sufficiently passive that he is still a supporting character so that Claire can remain the central protagonist to the story. However, he recovers in time to climb the rigging when some swashbuckling is required.
As the episode title implies, the ship is becalmed mid-Atlantic. The crew are superstitious, and start to look for a Jonah.
The Chinese man, introduced several episodes ago, finally gets some character development. To start with, he is an expert in acupuncture. Secondly, we discover his personal history. He was given a choice between life as a eunuch and life as an involuntary celibate. Did he make the right choice?
To remain the protagonist, Claire must do something important herself. This week it is some doctoring. Specifically, she must Florence Nightingale a hundred sailors who are sick with gastro-intestinal disorder, Typhoid Fever.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) is a virtual prisoner of the Royal Navy. The ship is plague-ridden, and she is the only doctor they have got. Luckily, she has immunity to the disease and she knows the best treatments to give the sick sailors. In other words, it is merely a matter of logistics.
Just to spice things up a bit, there is some intrigue aboard the ship.
Elsewhere, Jamie is a prisoner aboard the ship he hired. The Captain cannot be blamed for locking up a paying passenger, because Jamie literally tried to start a mutiny. And despite being imprisoned, Jamie tries to get Fergus to start a mutiny too.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) gets washed ashore on on unknown island. The obvious course of action would be to walk along the beach, where the ground is flat and she can see ships on the horizon. Instead, she walks into the jungle where she has no idea where she is going.
Eventually she finds other people. However, it turns out that she made a mis-calculation when she hand-made her time-travelling clothes. Her corset has a metal zipper, a most embarrassing anachronism.
In an incredible coincidence, we get some exposition about flesh-eating beetles from a cave in Jamaica called Abanda-way. Claire remembers a Scottish seer woman who told her Abanda-way will devour ye. It turns out that the cave is sacred to the natives, and people have been known to disappear there. Is it the burial spot that the bones came from in Outlander [Season 3, Episode 5] Freedom & Whisky? Or is it another time-travel portal, like the standing stones in Scotland?
Meanwhile, Jamie has had mixed luck. The ship was in a storm and lost a sail. By incredible convenience, it also lost the senior crew-men. Now Jamie is in command of what is left. Yes, it is an ill wind ...
We get the past few episodes from the missing boy's perspective. It turns out that the Portuguese ship did not stumble on the island or the treasure by accident. The timing is a bit suspicious, but apart from that it makes sense. The Portuguese were sent by their employer, The Bakra. This is a rich plantation-owner in Jamaica, who has inside knowledge.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and Jamie get to Jamaica ahead of the Royal Navy, even though they had a massive course-diversion in the previous episode. The town is a centre of slave-trading, and Claire chooses to be very offended by the morality of the era. She foolishly intervenes in an auction, and Jamie has to buy a slave for her. After all, if you break it then you bought it!
At the Governor's party, our heroes meet some familiar faces. Yes, somehow a lot of plot threads all converge thousands of miles from Scotland. Margaret Campbell the soothsayer and her brother have arrived.
How did the Bakra know about the treasure? Who was the White Witch associated with the Jacobite cause who delivered it? And if Ned the bean-counter (Bill Paterson - Adventures of Baron Munchausen ) somehow survived the lynch-mob in Season One , what really happened to Geillis Duncan ( Lotte Verbeek )?
Jamie has been arrested by the Royal Navy. Fortunately they are on land, so the Governor - an Army man - demands the appropriate paperwork. Also, Jamie is friends with the Governor so it is not a matter of skill, merely a matter of friends in high places.
Meanwhile, Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) continues the hunt for Ian. She ends up a reluctant guest of Geillis Duncan ( Lotte Verbeek ), although neither knows exactly what the other is up to. Geilis is an extreme Nationalist, spouting her usual rhetoric about how her homeland must be freed from the oppressors so it can claim its rightful place in the world. If one replaces Scotland with England, she sounds like a Brexiteer.
Claine and Jamie, reunited, go to watch a voodoo ritual. Unfortunately the locals do not take kindly to interlopers. Can our heroes find an ally among the people of colour? What happened to the ex-slave that Claire freed in the previous episode? Luckily Mr Willoughby, the Chinese man, is still hanging around. He has fallen for Margaret Campbell the soothsayer.
Margaret's prophecy was that Scotland will get a new King on the day of the death of a 200-year-old child . To make this happen slightly sooner, Geilis plans to return to her own time and sacrifice Brianna. Rather than go all the way back to the standing stones in Scotland, she decides to use the cave at Abandaway. This leads to a face-off between the two white witches. Which witch becomes the bones in the box?
This starts a few months after the end of the previous Season. Despite the small period of time, one of Jamie's men has managed to have an affair with a married woman. That affair led to the death of her husband, and the conviction of Jamie's pal for the murder. Yes, it has been a busy few months. Now Jamie and his surviving crew must arrange their friend's burial. For some reason the local church has a minister instead of a priest, so it must be Episcopalian rather than Catholic. Regardless, the Jacobites are happy to plant their friend there.
Jamie and his friends help a condemned man who was convicted of piracy. This man is clearly set up as a recurring character. Is he a friend or a foe?
Jamie gets a couple of job opportunities. One of them is as a helper of the British Governor, who is willing to make Jamie a landed aristocrat in exchange for feudal service in time of war. Claire is unhappy about this, because she knows that the war is coming and the Governor will be on the wrong side of history. The other option is to work for his aunt, who has a large farm nearby.
Jamie is warmly received at his aunt's farm. Unfortunately this is North Carolina in the Eighteenth Century, so the farm workers and household servants are literally slaves. Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) objects, with her usual high-minded principles. Jamie tries to be more pragmatic, but some local allies explain the difficulty of freeing the slaves. It seems the local politicians have made it extremely difficult for abolitionists to legally free their own slaves.
By incredible timing, a slave chooses to strike an overseer. A mob of slave-owners turns up, intent on killing the offender without any kind of trial. This puts the morally upright protagonists in a hell of a pickle.
The Governor's offer is still open. Jamie would get land of his own, which he could farm without slavery, and he could also fight against the cruel slave-owners. But as Claire knows, the villainous slave-owners would win anyway.
Jamie and Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) leave the slave plantation. Auntie blames Claire, who has 1940s morality. However, Jamie experienced more than his fair share of imprisonment and torture while a Jacobite ... so he can hardly be expected to participate in a system which treats black slaves with equal cruelty.
Two hundred years in the future, Roger goes to the USA to meet up with Brianna. They go to a Scots-American folk festival together. Roger's plan is to propose, but Brianna has other plans than marriage.
Jamie signs for his ten thousand acres, granted by the Royal Governor of the North Carolina colony. Then he and his entourage stake out the land, which he has named Fraser's Ridge. Unfortunately the local Native Americans are not exactly friendly. They do not appear to speak English, which means they may not have legally sold the land to the Governor. Worse, there seems to be a ferocious bear lurking in the woods.
Two hundred years in the future, Roger gathers more info on Fraser's Ridge. He has to read books for info instead of wikipedia, and send letters instead of e-mails. In return he receives photocopies. Yes, this is set before such hi-tech machines as the fax!
Jamie and the tweenager go to town, in the hope of recruiting farmers to settle on Jamie's land. He offers them a hundred acres each, far more than they would ever get back in Scotland. Unfortunately they refuse, out of hatred for the corrupt tax-gatherers employed by the Governor. Luckily the head of the Regulators is an old friend of Jamie's.
Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) is left alone in the newly-built farmhouse. She helps the German neighbours birth a child, but the Germans have friction with the Native Americans. This all spirals out of control, into a horrendous tragedy. Is this what was alluded to at the end of the previous episode?
Two hundred years in the future, Roger follows Brianna's trail. It turns out that she left a letter for him.
Jamie is visited by his former prison warder, Lord John. The warder has brought his foster-son, the illegitimate son of Jamie and the aristocratic woman who coerced him into sex a decade ago while he was on parole in Outlander [Season 3, Episode 4] Of Lost Things. This gives Jamie and his son the chance to bond, although the adults all swear not to let the boy discover his true parentage.
The warder falls ill with the measles. Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) has been innoculated, so she stays to nurse him. Since they both wanted to be Jamie's love interest, they have a lot in common.
Jamie goes camping with his illegitimate offspring. He specifically orders the boy to stay on the correct side of the boundary, and not under any circumstances to tresspass on Cherokee land. This is clearly setup for a climactic encounter.
We finally get to see what happened to Brianna after she went back in time. She did not have much of a plan, and intended to hitch-hike to the nearest port. Instead she falls and twists her ankle. Luckily a woman helps her and gives her shelter until the ankle heals. Brianna graciously accepts the woman's hospitality, but never thinks to ask any pertinent questions. Worse, despite having heard her mother's tales about what a dangerous and hostile era the 1700s were, she divulges personal information that puts her identity at risk.
Roger went after Brianna, a few days later. Somehow they missed each other, and he got to the port first. He managed to get a job on a ship's crew, working for a familiar-looking captain who used to be a pirate. The Atlantic crossing goes swimmingly, so to say, until the Captain has to take dire measures to contain a smallpox outbreak. Roger is a high-minded humanitarian, but he does not realise that it is necessary to sacrifice those who cannot be saved in order to protect the uninfected. Of course, Roger is innoculated against most common 1960s illnesses so he probably thinks he is immune to the smallpox as well.
Jamie and Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) visit Wilmington, Virginia, for a night at the theatre. They are guests of the Governor, who is also playing host to Colonel George Washington. Another gentleman, a senior government employee, has what Claire diagnoses as a hernia. His doctor claims it will get better by itself, but if this were true it would have done so already.
It turns out that Murtagh and his Regulators plan to hijack a wagon load of tax money. Unfortunately the Governor has a spy among the rebels, and the tax wagon is filled with well-armed redcoats. Jamie must get word to Murtagh before the ambushers are ambushed.
Roger and Brianna are finally reunited. They decide to get married immediately, so they hold an improvised Gaelic hand-fasting ritual. Then they get down to some post-marital naked sex.
Brianna is just as clueless as in her previous episode. She seems to completely forget that she has a servant, and abandons the poor girl without a word. Later she trusts an untrustworthy pirate, and something bad happens off-camera. This is hardly gratuitous rape-as-entertainment, as Game of Thrones is often accused of.
Roger explains to the Captain that he wants to stay in Wilmington, as agreed. For some reason the Captain has decided to overlook Roger's sloppy sailing and his mutinous impudence, and insists that Roger serve the rest of his term on the crew. This leads on to a couple of misunderstandings. One is Brianna's unfounded belief that Roger has abandoned her. The other is the servant girl's suspicion that Roger was the raper, not just a cabin boy, instead of the Captain himself.
Lizzy the servant girl hears some gossip, and lets Brianna know about the events at the theatre last night. This leads Brianna to the trail of her parents. Yes, they are finally reunited!
A month later, they have all settled into Fraser's Ridge. Brianna confides in Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ), but they keep secrets from Jamie. Similarly, Lizzy confides in Jamie - and they keep secrets. So when Roger inevitably turns up, there is a predictable case of mistaken identity.
Brianna discovers the terrible case of mistaken identity. Of course, she blames everyone except herself. A plan is quickly made. Jamie, Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) and cousin boy will go north after Roger, who is now a slave of some travelling Mohawk people. Murtagh will take the now-pregnant Brianna to River-run.
Brianna arrives at Riverrun, and is welcomed by her father's aunt. However, she has to be married before the baby is born. Auntie arranges a dinner party with a lot of rich single men. The bad news is that to become rich one must either inherit wealth, and thus be an inbred aristocrat, or work hard - and thus be middle-aged. Billy Boyd ( Lord of the Rings ) is among the suitors.
Murtagh gets back to Wilmington, where he meets his Regulator buddies and plans to abduct Captain Steven.
Billy Boyd ( Lord of the Rings ) wants to propose marriage to Brianna. Can she blackmail Lord John into marrying her instead?
Murtagh and his Regulator buddies try to abduct Captain Steven. Unfortunately Murtagh has his face on Wanted posters all over town. The local Militia will arrest him if they recognise him.
One rescue team gets to the native American village, and attempt to bargain for Roger's release. Unfortunately Claire ( Caitriona Balfe ) is wearing the necklace she found on the skeleton of the time-traveler she found. Yes, that storyline is finally explained away.
The other rescue team breaks Murtagh out of prison. They forget that Captain Steven is something of an escape artist, and they are giving a very dangerous man an opportunity.