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Outlander Recap: The Fox's Lair (S2.E8)

Well now we know. What does the fox say? It says, "Why on god's green earth would you bring Laoghaire back to Outlander?!" And in doing so, we have Outlander author Diana Gabaldon's "jump the shark" moment. But I digress. More on that later.

Previously on Outlander.... Laoghaire is a certifiable capital B bitch, Claire is a good witch (mwah! miss you Comte!) and Bonnie P Charlie is worth a ditch. Time to abandon France and crawl back to Scotland. New credits tonight! I spy with my little eye two significant people visiting a loch together....

We begin with Claire's voiceover saying all the crap they went through in Paris has been healed by their return to Scotland and Lallybroch. Ian and Jenny have added another bairn to their family and it's potatoes all around... The Frasers are celebrating a successful harvest of potatoes (French fries anyone?) when their Scottish idyll is interrupted by some terrible news via the mail.

Jenny's had a nice letter from Aunt Jacosta (fingers crossed for season 4!) but Jamie's found out Prince Charles has circulated a letter declaring his intent to take the English throne. It's signed by several of the Scottish clans... and Jamie, thanks to a bit of forgery on the part of the crazy loon. The letter brands Jamie a traitor in the eyes of the crown. Oh, and Charles has landed in Scotland with an army. Hello crappy reality.

Jamie tells Claire they must go all in, and try and change history. Wait. Is such a thing even possible? Jamie says instead of trying to stop the war, they're going to try and win, baby, win. Claire would rather escape America, but Jamie reminds her they can't abandon their people. They both decide there's no choice but to fight.

Later, the Frasers set their plans in motion. Murtagh will gather the men of Lallybroch while Jamie and Claire go visit his grandfather, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat. Say what? Says Jenny. She reminds Jamie that their grandfather is a double dealing two timing raping asshole. Jamie's only met him once because his father would never let Lord Lovat see them on account of him trying to kidnap Jamie's mother to prevent her marriage to his son, Brian Fraser. None of that is going to stop Jamie from asking his grandfather to help send men to fight with Charles.

That night Jamie reveals another secret. His father, Brian, was the bastard son of Lord Lovat. His grandmother was Lord Lovat's kitchen maid. Jamie feels terrible he didn't tell Claire before they got married. Eh. Says Claire, our 20th century woman. When you look like that with your shirt off, all is forgiven. (And congrats to Jamie who seems to have lost his back scars for the moment...) The two "go to bed."

Later that same night, Claire wakes up to find Jamie gone. When she goes looking for him she discovers him rocking little Katherine, Jenny's new baby. Jamie heard her fussing and told Jenny he would sit with her for awhile. Jenny comes out and finds Claire watching the two, as Jamie pours his heart out to the little girl. Jenny says it's the only way men can talk to children as they don't get to experience talking to them while in utero. It's a sad, poignant moment reminding us all of what Jamie and Claire have lost.

Ian and Jenny say goodbye to Claire and Jamie the next morning, Jenny giving Jamie her rosary. Fergus wants to go along too, and Jamie agrees. Murtagh will bring Fergus with him when he comes along with the men. Claire and Jamie ride all the way to Lovat's. When they finally arrive they're surprised to discover Colum MacKenzie has had the same idea. Only he's there to dissuade Lovat from joining Charles.

Claire is not okay with Colum as she's still holding a grudge, blaming Colum for being tried as a witch. Colum claims he had nothing to do with it, but Claire tells him Laoghaire was responsible. Colum had her beaten, but Mrs. Fitz kept him from throwing out Laoghaire. Oh and Dougal? Not here. He's been banished off somewhere.

Lovat bangs into the room sizing up both Jamie and Claire. He may be the only man who seems to tower over Jamie. Things get off to a good start when they both insult each other. Claire gets kicked out (for being a woman) and wanders downstairs to find.... Laoghaire! Well isn't this just a kick you in the crotch spit on your neck fantastic adventure.

Leery Laoghaire falls to her knees, begging Claire to forgive her. She tells Claire she's a changed woman, but Claire isn't having it, telling Laoghaire she'll never have what she wants (Jamie). Back in their room, Claire tells Jamie she feels better having unloaded on Laoghaire. Jamie's not willing to forgive her, however.

But enough about Laoghaire. Let's get back to the oppression of women. Claire's invited to dinner, but only if she promises not to speak a word. Which is okay, because Jamie's holding the floor trying to convince Lovat to throw in with Charles. Colum's not having it though, doing his best to undercut Jamie. Colum pushes Jamie to explain why the French haven't yet joined forces with Charles. They're always fashionably late, aren't they? While Colum and Jamie go round and round, Claire notices that Lovat's son seems to fancy Laoghaire. Guess there's someone for everyone?

Jamie and Claire retire for the night, having figured out that Colum is clearly trying to stop Lovat from joining Charles. Jamie realizes, however, that Lovat obviously wants something in return and he's determined to figure out what that is. The next morning he talks with Lovat who reveals what he really wants: Lallybroch. When Jamie balks at pledging himself, and Lallybroch, to Lovat, the old fox threatens to have Claire raped by the entire castle. Seems extreme... Jamie takes the threat in stride, telling Lovat how his wife is a witch who will kill any man that touches her. Lovat clearly looks a bit worried.

Back in their room (the only place they seem to be but where sex is not happening) Jamie and Claire discuss the situation. Again, Jamie telling Claire to be careful. Claire reveals she ran into Lovat's seer, who has seen something she doesn't want to tell Lovat. They need to find out what that is, but first, they need to pimp Laoghaire out to young Lovat to convince him to send the men to fight.

Claire finds Laoghaire sniffing Jamie's clothes. Gah! So much for changing, stalker! Laoghaire whines to Claire about how Jamie is ignoring her. This is her problem, how? Claire uses it, though, and tells Laoghaire if she does this one thing for her then Claire'll make sure Jamie gives her lots of shirts to smell. Laoghaire's in!

Meanwhile, Jamie is telling Colum that the Scots are doomed, that he knows the future. Colum isn't really buying it. He refuses to help despite this information. He's determined to try and stop the rebellion and Prince Charles. Colum wants Jamie to promise not to give up Lallybroch to Lovat in exchange for men, but Jamie can't make that promise.

Where Colum has failed, Claire hopes to succeed. She's walking with the young Lovat when they conveniently run into Laoghaire. Claire dumps Lovat with her and heads into a chapel to wait while Laoghaire works her magic. It's hard to tell who is more inept at this: Laoghaire or Lovat Junior. You'll be waiting a long time Claire!

Luckily, Claire runs into the seer, who reveals her vision. She has seen Lovat executed for treason but before Claire can discuss it further Laoghaire bumbles in. She's failed to woo Lovat, instead sending him running off when she tried the old show 'em your breasts move. Claire walks away in disgust. Claire finds Jamie tending to his horse, hiding away.

Claire tells Jamie the seer saw Lovat's execution for treason, but they don't know if the execution was ordered by King James (Prince Charles' father) or King George (the current ruler of Britain). Later that night, Lovat sits Colum and Jamie down for a treaty meeting. On the one hand he has a paper for Jamie to sign over Lallybroch. On the other, a treaty with Colum promising they'll stay neutral and out of the Prince Charles' war. If Jamie won't sign, Switzerland it is. Jamie is about to sign away Lallybroch when Claire takes drastic measures.

Claire pretends to go into a trance, having seen a vision, collapsing into Jamie's arms. Colum is on to her, and Jamie figures it out, but Lovat is buying it all. Claire tells Lovat the seer's vision: that he will be executed for treason. Lovat demands to know which king will do this to him. Claire says she sees the white roses of Prince Charles. This sends Lovat charging towards Claire, knife out, trying to kill her.

At the last minute, young Lovat steps in and stops his father. He swears his intention to fight for King James even if Lord Lovat won't. Lovat rushes over and signs the treaty with Colum. He will not be sending his men to fight. Spiteful asshole, isn't he?

Having failed in their mission, Jamie and Claire pack up to head out. Young Lovat tells them he will come with them and fight. But before they leave, Colum has one last request, urging Jamie to go home. When he still refuses, Colum insults him and heads out.

Speaking of insulting, Claire tells Jamie he has to go tell Laoghaire thank you. "Thank you? For what?" says Jamie, "Not trying to have you arrested in the last few days?" He does, not really understanding why. Laoghaire manages not to swoon. She declares her love for him under her breath. Stalkers gonna stalk.

Claire and Jamie leave, but before they can get too far they're stopped by Lord Lovat and all his men. Lovat orders young Lovat to go see to his men. Turns out the vision did get to Lovat. He's sending young Lovat to fight so that if Prince Charles wins, they will think he supported them by sending troops. However, if the British win, he can deny he sent his men because he signed the treaty with Colum and blame his son for taking the men.

"Please, tell me I'm nothing like him, Sassenach," says Jamie. "I'm afraid I have seen a similarly devish turn of mind," says Claire. "I may have to rethink our agreement not to lie to one another," says Jamie.

Jumping the Shark

You'll remember it was this episode Diana Gabaldon said would "jump the shark", having a character go so far off the reservation she felt the need to ask the show runners to change it. They didn't but throttled back on it, according to Gabaldon. We now know the details of what she was referring to. One word: Laoghaire. Read on for details.

Outlander Recap: The Fox's Lair (S2.E8) Reviewed by Deborah Thompson on 8:57 PM Rating: 5

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