Claire, dressed in fine clothes, rushes around the house with the servant on her heals, wondering why Claire continually folds her clothes and makes her bed, among other household chores the maid sees as her duties. She tries to instill in Claire that a woman of her standing, especially one that is with child, simply does not carry out these menial duties. Claire pleases her when she tells the woman she will “endeavor to be sloppier in her personal habits.” Claire has found running a home in Paris to be a greater undertaking than she could have imagined, but Claire was appreciative of Jared’s selection of the servants, who she deemed to be trust worthy. Entering her carriage sets off to attend to the day’s agenda. The pair has been in Paris for several weeks, but the city still fascinates Claire, who had last been in the city at the end of the Second World War.
Exiting the carriage, Claire takes to the streets to find an apothecary shop. She enters, taking in the sights before asking after a Master Raymond (Dominique Pinon), who appears at the sound of his name. The pair exchange pleasantries before Claire asks for a sleep aid for Jamie’s nightmares. Raymond moves about the ship collecting ingredients for something he believes will be more suitable for Jamie’s needs. He recognizes Claire as someone with a connection to the profession and she admits to being a healer. This bit of information sparks something in Raymond, who immediately knows her name from the Comte’s tale of her arrival to the city and her part in the burning of his ship and cargo. Raymond says the man is his rival, a kinder way to say enemy, and since he is also Claire’s, that makes them friends. Claire is grateful for his kindness and his gift to her.
Back at home, Claire greets Jamie with a letter from Jared inviting Jamie to meet with Prince Charles at a brothel. Jamie and Murtagh walk the streets at night until they arrive to their desired location. Inside, they are seated with Prince Charles and Jamie hopes to discuss the matters at hand, but is interrupted briefly by the ladies of the establishment. When their conversation resumes, Charles is put off by Murtagh’s presence at their meeting, but he hopes that Jamie lives up to being the man Jared has described him as; a “man of substance” and one who “speaks his true mind.” The price inquires about the state of the clans in Scotland and wonders if they are prepared for his call to arms. Jamie is honest, saying the clans cannot “agree on the color of the sky,” let alone put their differences aside to fight alongside each other against the British. Charles is distressed by the news, since it is contrary to what else he has heard and difficult to hear from someone who claims to be a Jacobite. Jamie assures him that he harbors no warm feelings for the British, but he refuses to lie to the price and lead all of Scotland to disaster. Murtagh interjects, asking if the prince has ever been to Scotland, which he has not, and Murtagh goes on to describe it as a beautiful country with people of the land who will fight, but for what? The prince has now heard the truth from “two loyal Scots,” but to Charles, God’s truth is the only one that matters and that is that he is the one to unite the clans and the cause shall succeed. However, they need money and this may come to be if they can sway the French Minister of Finance, Frances Duverney. Because Charles is in the country unofficially, he cannot be received at court, but Jamie can go in his place since he has the “heart of a true patriot.” He encourages him to go to King Louis’ court and be his “advocate for rebellion.” He leaves the pair to seek the comfort of a woman, and as he leaves, Murtagh reminds Jamie that it is not to late to just slit his throat.
Claire is proud of what Jamie has accomplished that night, but Murtagh angered by the prince, who he believes is determined to get everyone killed if he is not stopped. Claire thinks there is still time to sway Charles, but Jamie is less sure of being able to change his convictions. Claire points out that the prince is right about needing to raise money for the war and they can work to make sure he does not receive the funds he needs, as well as secure an invitation to Versailles.
During their three months in Paris, Claire had become friends with Louise de Rohan (Claire Sermonne) and hoped her efforts there would prove fruitful to her cause. Claire stands by as Louise has her legs waxed and calls out for Mary, a girl she is chaperoning in Paris, to join her and Claire. Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day) shyly enters the room and is introduced to Claire, a fellow English woman. Claire seems familiar with the girl’s name, but she cannot place where she heard it at the moment. Mary, who is engaged to the Vicomte Marigny, an older widower of means, is put off by Louise’s vulgarity. She tries to leave, but is stopped as Louise exclaims Claire will join her and Mary at Versailles. Claire is pleased by the news and also secures an invitation for Jamie. Louise resumes her position on her chaise, this time exposing herself for a more intimate waxing.
Claire climbs into bed with Jamie and reveals she has followed Louise’s example and presents her bare “honeypot” to her husband. Jamie is intrigued and the pair attempt intimacy, but the ghost of Black Jack Randall halts their efforts once more. Claire reassures Jamie that everything is all right and the pair simply goes to sleep.
Two weeks later, Jamie and Murtagh are preparing to leave for court as Claire descends the stairs as a vision in red. Both men are rendered speechless, but Jamie is shocked by how exposed Claire is in the dress and suggests she covers up a bit. Claire is ahead of him, producing a matching red fan to cover her chest.
Jamie, Claire, and Murtagh arrive on the heels of Louise and Mary. Louise is happy to introduce Claire to whoever she wishes to meet and when she expresses an interest in Monsieur Duverney, Louise promises to help her make his acquaintance. A young woman rushes up to Jamie as the group moves about the room and Jamie embraces Annalise (Margaux Chatelier) as Claire looks on, her face full of curiousity. Jamie introduces the pair and Annalise congratulates her on having such a “strong, passionate man” for a husband, but clearly bothers Claire with the familaiar way she touches Jamie, who is uncomfortable with the situation he now finds himself in. Annalise offers to take Jamie to meet the King and, with Claire’s permission (and Murtagh’s supervision), the pair head off to see the King.
Louise and Claire gossip among a group of women as Mary stands off to the side, engaged in conversation with a young man. Claire excuses herself from the group, as does Louise when she spots Monsieur Duverney (Marc Duret) across the room and informs him that Claire wishes to meet him. He is anxious to meet her, having noticed her and her dress earlier in the evening. Louise moves to escort him to Claire, but he stops her, insisting he goes on his own.
Claire strolls outside before taking refuge on a bridge. Duverney catches up to her and mistakes Claire’s interest in meeting him for something more. He attempts to seduce her, but is interrupted by the appearance of Jamie, who tosses the other man into the water before Claire can inform him that it was the Minister of Finance. Back inside, Claire, Jamie, and Murtagh surround Duverney as he attempts to dry himself by the fire and extends an apology to the couple for his behavior, which Claire accepts. He extends an offer to assist them, but Jamie assures the man that his friendship is service enough.
After a brief appearance by the King, Murtagh is disturbed by someone he sees across the room. Taking off, with Jamie on his heels, Murtagh comes face to face with the Duke of Sandringham, and threatens him. Jamie is quick to stop his companion, reminding him never to draw a weapon in the presence of the king. The duke turns his attentions to Claire, who has caught up with the others, but she refuses his niceties. He tries to assuage his guilt by placing the blame on Randall for not succeeding with the petition, and although Jamie dismisses it with a simple “what’s done is done,” Claire and Murtagh are clearly disgusted by his presence. When the duke inquires about their residence in France, Claire simply mentions assisting Jared with his business. She also dismisses the men, so she can stay to talk to the duke alone. The pair exchanges pleasant jabs at one another until a young man, the one previously engaging in conversation with Mary, interrupts to inform the duke of the impending fireworks. The duke introduces him to Claire as Alexander Randall (Laurence Dobiesz), his new secretary and brother to Jonathan Randall. She is shocked to hear Alexander mention his brother in the present tense, news that clearly distresses her. Their conversation is interrupted by the start of the fireworks as the duke leaves; clearly proud of the state of distress he leaves Claire in. Claire looks about the room from Jamie, resolved not to tell him about the news, but frightened about what will happen when he inevitably finds out.
Review: For some reason, I had convinced myself that I was not going to be a fan of season two. No concrete reason, just a gut feeling. That being said, the first two episodes, especially the latest, have done a great deal to alleviate those worries. Do I miss the gorgeous Scottish landscape? Yes. Do I miss Rupert and Angus as much as Murtagh does? Probably more, but this new season provides enough intrigue to make you forget them for an hour.
One carry over from season one that I am happy to see here is Murtagh. He was one of my favorite parts of the earlier episodes and it is nice to see Duncan Lacroix’s chemistry with Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan has survived their journey to Paris. You just have to love everything about the Versailles scenes, from his anger at seeing the duke to his appreciation for one of the court’s more scandalous looks.
The show’s casting department deserves a round of applause for finding Laurence Dobiesz for the role of Alexander Randall. Not only does he share physical similarities to Tobias Menzies, but there is something in his demeanor that also evokes a bit of Jonathan Randall. I look forward to seeing more of him this season and his brief appearance here has certainly peaked my interest for upcoming episodes.
Next week’s episode, titled “Useful Occupations and Deceptions,” airs April 23rd on Starz.
Jamie’s days and nights are dominated by political machinations, while Claire finds solace in her healing skills. As their plan to stop Culloden progresses, including engaging the aid of a young pickpocket, the past threatens to derail their forward momentum.
Below are newly released clips from tonight’s episode.