[This is not a spoiler-free review/recap of the episode. If you have not seen the episode yet, read it at your own spoiler risk.]
Episode 208: “The Fox’s Lair”
Written by Anne Kenney, Directed by Mike Barker
Oh, oh, new opening sequence, gone are the French clips and singing, they have been replaced with new Scottish snippets. Ah, back to Scotland we have come, the beginning is uplifting with the strong sweeping Bear McCreary score and the scenery of the Scottish Highlands and wildlife. The family home of Lallybroch has really brought Jamie and Claire back together, you can see the relationship pieces that were shattered from last week’s emotional ride forged and getting stronger. Everything is happy, and lovey, and potatoey, until the mail comes.
Mark Me! Prince Charles has ruined yet another happy moment. He forged Jamie’s signature and has put his “good friend James” in yet another predicament. On a personal note the discussion between Claire and Jamie after the letters arrival really makes me happy, not just seeing them communicating and working it out together, but because I really like what they did with Jamie’s hair, it’s the little things that make me happy sometimes when watching.
It is so great seeing Jamie, Ian, and Murtagh standing around the table planning even if it is for something that isn’t so positive. But the real force in this scene is Laura Donnelly, she has taken the character of Jenny Fraser Murray and made it her own. She never fades into the background, and when her and Sam Heughan start arguing she raises the bar and somehow makes Jenny seem as tall as Jamie, and just as strong.
How heartwarming is the Jamie talking to the baby scene? I was watching it and thinking it is so sweet and endearing when BOOM! Bear McCreary decides to throw in “Faith’s Theme”, well played Bear, well played.
Oh the goodbyes, we are always saying goodbye to Lallybroch too soon. Just when it starts to get a little heavy, team Murtagh and Fergus come in for the save. I love watching when they have interaction together and think of them as just that “a team”, almost like Rupert and Angus, you have to have one with the other. I think Murtagh likes having Fergus around more than he would ever admit to anyone.
When Jamie and Claire arrive at Lord Lovat’s Beaufort Castle, it really drove home they were back in Scotland when Colum MacKenzie (Gary Lewis) comes out from around the corner. When Lord Lovat (Clive Russell) enters the room he was everything I was expecting from the character. Then enters Laoghaire, ugh she’s back (I do love Nell Hudson, she is great at portraying a character that we all love to dislike). I don’t believe her and if I was a person that talks to my television I would tell Claire out loud, “Don’t listen to her”. But Claire has just dealt with the ultimate “mean girl” in King Louis XV and can’t be bothered by Laoghaire, even though she does give her a good dose of her thoughts. When Jamie later follows up his thoughts on Laoghaire with “you can come to dinner” but Claire has to zip her lips, I thought, “Wow, lets go ahead and test all of Claire’s abilities.” First she is confronted with Laoghaire, and now she has to sit through a dinner and not give input, this should be an interesting dinner, and the last dinner party went so well.
The dinner starts out well, Jamie seems to be holding his own, Laoghaire is pouring wine to the men, and it seems like all are listening. Colum speaks up and reminds us all how intelligent he really is considering he doesn’t get out of Castle Leoch much. Then we are introduced to the man that is eyeing up Laoghaire, it is Young Simon Lovet (James Parris), the Old Fox’s son. In trying to impress Laoghaire he makes a slight fool of himself not thinking about what he is saying, poor guy. P.S. Simon, she isn’t worth impressing.
Clare is walking down a hall and hears an argument (again if I was a tv yeller I would at this point be yelling for her to “Walk faster, stay out of it!”) when a lady is thrown out of a door behind her and introduces herself as Maisri, the seer, all I can think is NOPE! Claire, no more magical, mystical friends, wish her a good day and move on. Luckily the lady runs off before Claire can ask more questions.
Lord Lovat and Jamie are having a nice little Highlander chat over family relations when we get some more Fraser fire this time for real, Jamie throws whisky in the fire to drive home the point that he is “yet again” calling his wife a witch to someone they have said they can’t trust. What will it take for him to stop telling people she is a witch? I thought in the room Claire would remark to this fact, instead she was just frustrated that Simon had thrown Maisri into the hallway. Claire has a “great” idea to use Laoghaire to get to young Simon and when she goes to approach her, Laoghaire is smelling Jamie’s shirt, and says sadly it was like she didn’t even exist to Jamie at the dinner. (I have thoughts but they aren’t kind to type out, so I will just say at this point they should think of another plan). But Claire continues with her request to have Laoghaire help them, adding that it “is for Jamie”. (Ok, maybe I get why Jamie keeps telling everyone she is a witch, they both just keep the ball rolling)
Claire and Master Lovat are walking and chatting about life, and fathers, when the moment of no return arrives. Claire leaves Simon with Laoghaire and it is painful to watch, I did have the thought “is there anyway to give her to Lord Lovat instead”? Claire has continued on to the chapel to give Laoghaire time to work her wonders, and happens upon Maisri (again tv yeller me is yelling “get out of there”). Claire speaks with her and hears the vision that the woman is hiding from Lord Lovat. Before they get into more discussions and Claire can give her thoughts, Laoghaire is calling for Claire. She has scared poor Simon with her boobs,…oh Laoghaire *sigh*. I really liked when Claire went to find Jamie he was in the stables, it kind of brought it back that Jamie is, and was a farmer and stable hand. It has been so long that I had forgotten he isn’t a chieftain, or member of a court, he wants that simple life, just one that is safe and secure.
Lord Lovat has had his contracts written up and in all honesty I really expected Ned Gowan to pop out of the crowd and somehow come to the rescue of Lallybroch, instead we get Claire having a “vision”, and Jamie being (thankfully) quick witted enough to go with it and play along, even though his face is I sure hope you know what you are doing.Then apparently it is Laoghaire’s breasts that have the magical powers here because, this whole interaction causes Master Simon to stand up to his father in front of Laoghaire and the whole of the room.
Everyone is leaving and taking off in their own directions. I love that even though they disagree on many things there is that strong bond between Jamie and Colum, there is a respect there even when they don’t see eye to eye. All is going well, and then Claire requests Jamie go thank Laoghaire. Personally I would have just requested he wave to her, and she proves me right with her little “and your love,” as he is walking away. (Poor Nell Hudson, I just know she is going to get hate Tweets or hate mail).
I like the way the episode ends with the quick little tidy up of Lord Lovat, riding out to inform Jamie and Claire of his sly ways. It was quick, to the point, and provided an ending that wasn’t on Laoghaire, which would have made that the main focus and “remembrance” of the episode. We see where Jamie gets some of his skills in being able to manipulate situations, and are reminded that there are bigger things in store than the relationship with Laoghaire. Overall, it is a very nice episode of Outlander.
From the start this week is different, the French sequence is gone from the opening, replaced with new Scottish characters and scenes and the episode gets us right back into Scotland. Jamie and Claire have gone back to the family home of Lallybroch where Jenny, Ian, and their children (there is a brand new addition) are happily residing. Claire is telling the viewers that they have returned and that the daily routines have helped their “battered souls”. Young Rabbie (Jamie Kennedy, who we met in Season 1 when Jamie and Claire first arrived at Lallybroch) digs up potatoes and comes to tell Claire they are ready. The family (including Fergus) gathers around the table to admire the magnificent crop that Claire has recommended they plant, and instructs Mrs. Crook on how potatoes can be prepared.
Murtagh and Ian (Steven Cree) soon enter with the daily mail including bills, and letters from Jenny and Jamie’s aunt Jocasta. Jenny is admiring some new books that have come in when Jamie gasps in frustrated astonishment. A letter has arrived from his cousin Jared in France congratulating Jamie on what is his (we soon find forged signature) in support of King James as the divine right to the throne. Prince Charles has landed in Scotland and all of the names on that list that has been “published and distributed are now considered traitors to the crown”. Claire and Jamie discuss what they can do now that this letter has arrived, Claire suggests moving to Ireland, but Jamie tells her that they have the rest of the family to think about, they can’t move all of the family and friends. Claire reminds Jamie that his name on that list marks him a traitor and they can’t stay as he will be hung if caught. Jamie says the only option is to stay, fight, and win. He also reminds her of all the ways that the future has been changed already because of Claire. Fight for the family and for Scotland.
Ian, Jamie, and Murtagh are going over the list of men that can join in the fight, Jamie asks Murtagh to take the men and meet him and Claire in two weeks time, then they will all travel to Crieff together to meet up with Prince Charlie. He is going to go and meet with his Grandfather Lord Simon Fraser of Lovat, at Prince Charlies request to gather more men. This piece of information lights the Fraser fire under Jenny’s pot, she starts the discussion of the intelligence of this plan to request assistance from Lord Lovat, since there is such tension and distrust from past interactions between their father and grandfather. Jenny reminds Jamie that anything with Lord Lovat comes with a price, even after Jenny’s protests Jamie states that he and Claire will leave the following day to go petition Simon Fraser.
Jamie and Claire have moved to their bedroom, Jamie tells Claire that he hasn’t been completely honest or forthcoming about his family. His father was acknowledged by his grandfather but that his grandmother mother had been the kitchen maid. Claire convinces Jamie that his parentage makes no difference to her, and that they should just go to bed. Claire wakes in the middle of the night and Jamie is gone from the bed but she hears him muttering, upon leaving the room she sees him on the seat by the fire wrapped in his plaid speaking Gaelic to Jenny and Ian’s baby (a look at what could have been). Jenny comes out and joins Claire and tells her that Jamie couldn’t sleep and decided to take the baby for a bit so Jenny could get some sleep. Jenny and Claire have a sweet bonding moment as Jenny talks of the way you can speak to a baby that you can’t any other.
The gang is parting ways, Goodbyes are being said and Fergus rides up on on his donkey saying that he will be going with Jamie. They all agree that even though fighting is no place for a boy of his age, his home is with Jamie and Claire now and so he will be with them. He is sent off to stay with Murtagh while Jamie and Claire make the quick trip to Lord Lovat’s. Claire’s voiceover gives us a brief history of Lord Simon Fraser of Lovat, that in the past 50 years he had shown to be “loyal” to both crowns,(sly as an old fox). He had quiet the history in his personal life as well.
Jamie and Claire have arrived to Lord Lovet’s and are shocked to be welcomed by Colum MacKenzie who is there to discuss the response to the rebellion as well. Claire confronts Colum about the witch trial and the involvement that she presumed he had had. He confirms it was indeed the fault of Laoghaire MacKenzie and she was punished and would have been thrown out of Castle Leoch if not for Mrs. Fitzgibbons her grandmother. Colum informs Jamie that Dougal is not with him and that it was decided it best that Dougal stay at his estate and not at castle Leoch. Enter Lord Simon Fraser Lovet who enters with all the salt, and insults that we would expect given Jenny’s reactions about him. Jamie of course gives it right back to him, and Claire is dismissed. Now we see Laoghaire MacKenzie who has been sent along with Colum to assist in his daily needs, and cleaning. She finds Claire and attempts to apologize for her actions that lead to the witch trial in Crainsmuir. Claire is not having it and doesn’t accept that Laoghaire has changed. Jamie is surprised that Claire even spoke to Laoghaire and the conversation moves to dinner where Claire will be allowed to attend as long as she stays quiet.
Dinner time and Jamie is holding court while young Simon Lovat (Lord Lovat’s son) is checking out Laoghaire who is helping pour wine. Colum throws Jamie under the bus and asks questions about French support for the Jacobites, and gives all the men a laugh on the French behalf. Jamie continues on and Young Simon Lovat speaks up and puts his foot in his mouth not thinking about his comment before making it in his company. Jamie informs Claire of what Colum is doing and how he wants the MacKenzies to stay neutral in the fight and wants Lord Lovat to join in that neutrality which would make the smaller clans follow as well and make the rebellion collapse. However, since Simon doesn’t trust Colum, Colum is having to use Jamie as a pawn to get Simon on his side. Jamie realizes that Jenny was correct and Lord Lovat wants something from him.
Claire is walking down a hallway when she hears a skirmish between Lord Lovat and someone he is saying is hiding something from him. A lady is thrown out in the hallway behind Claire and she goes to check on her. The woman says her name is Maisri and she is Lord Lovat’s seer.
Lord Lovat and Jamie are having a moment discussing Jamie’s parents and when he goes to storm out it comes up what Lord Lovat really wants out of this deal. Simon wants Jamie to yield fealty to him so he can claim the land that Lallybroch rests on, this creates some more tension in an already tense scene. Jamie gives the same pledge he gave Colum, and Simon says if he doesn’t give Lallybroch he will have many of his men take Claire’s honor. Jamie goes straight to La Dame Blanche, telling his grandfather she is a wise woman, a witch, and what would come to any man that would dare have their way with her.
Jamie is back in the room with Claire and they are discussing the actions that happened when he met with Simon, Jamie is considering giving over Lallybroch when Claire comes up with the idea to go through Young Simon, and use Laoghaire to give the boost to his confidence that he will need to go up against his father. Claire requests the assistance from Laoghaire out by the laundry, Laoghaire gives some reluctance but Clare says it would be for Jamie and his forgiveness and so Laoghaire agrees.
Jamie is attempting to tell Colum that he knows that the clans will fall if this rebellion doesn’t have the resources needed to win. But Colum holds his own that he is using history of the past uprisings to make his decision to stay neutral, and he requests that Jamie not make the bargain with Lord Lovat on Lallybroch. Jamie promises to protects what they hold most dear.
Claire and Master Lovat are walking chatting, when she starts to put their plan in action, they happen upon Laoghaire and Claire leaves the two together. Claire goes to the chapel and sees Maisri the seer lighting at candle, Maisri has already heard that Claire is a “white lady” and is surprised to see her in a chapel. Claire talks with the seer and discusses her visions and how they work, Maisri also tells Claire what it is she saw about Lord Lovat that she isn’t telling him, which was a vision of Lord Lovat being beheaded. They are interrupted by Laoghaire calling for Claire, who has scared Simon after flattering him and then showing him her breasts. Claire finds Jamie in the stables with the horses, and they both discuss their progress with Colum and young Simon, she tells Jamie of the seer’s vision. Jamie decides he must give Lord Lovat Lallybroch in order to secure the men.
Simon Fraser has called all to the signing of a neutrality pack with the MacKenzies as well as a transfer of deed of Lallybroch from Jamie to himself. Claire is distraught at the idea of Jamie signing over the property and gets the idea to convince Lord Lovat (and everyone in the room), that she is having the vision that the seer told to her, of the ax shadow over Lord Lovat, this spooks the old man and as he is going at her with his dirk, young Master Lovat stands up to his father (in front of Laoghaire), and says that he is going to go and support Jamie. Lord Lovat signs the contract that he will stand with the MacKenzies and remain neutral in the war and sends his son off.
In the courtyard, Claire and Jamie are preparing to set off with Master Simon Lovat, they are approached by Colum who says “go back to your home” and asks Claire if she “can not convenience him of reason”? Jamie sees his uncle into his carriage, but before they take off Claire asks Jamie to “thank” Laoghaire. Even though he is reluctant and doesn’t know the reasoning he does indeed go thank her uncomfortably, and she replies that she hopes one day she can also get his forgiveness,…and his love.
Jamie, Claire, and Master Simon are on the trail to meet with Murtagh and the Lallybroch men when they see Lord Lovat’s men on the ridge. Lovat is with them and has again been the “sly fox” he is known to be. “He” is sending his heir to fight, so the Stuarts will see it as support for the cause, however if they fall, he has the signed neutrality pack with the MacKenzies showing that he himself wasn’t involved (it was all his son’s idea to support) and was therefor not a traitor to the crown and King George.
This closes out the episode with the men marching, flags flying and Claire telling us “maybe they can change the future, maybe they already had”.
Next Week, Saturday, June 4th- EPISODE 209: “JE SUIS PREST”
“Claire and Jamie reunite with the Lallybroch and MacKenzie men as they train for war. Jamie’s power struggles with Dougal and Claire’s personal battle with her memories of WWII weigh upon them, but new, helpful information comes to light when a young Englishman named William Grey pays a surprise visit to their camp.”
Source (Clips and Photos): Starz