The Show-only Sassenach: ‘Outlander’ Episode 308 Review, “First Wife”

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**This is not a spoiler-free review of this episode. This is also a review from a non-reader and any comments revealing spoilers from the books will be deleted.**

Take Me Home to Lallybroch: Episode II-Revenge of Laoghaire

Episode 308:  First Wife 

Written by Joy Blake, Directed by Jennifer Getzinger

Here’s a drinking game Outlander fans. Take a shot of whiskey every time Jenny Murray (Laura Donnelly) mentions twenty years in this episode! Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are returning to Lallybroch with Young Ian (John Bell) in tow. Claire quickly begins to realize that she should’ve brought warmer clothes for her frosty reception.

Jenny Murray is not one to mask her emotions. She’s an honest woman, and Claire can see that she’s not happy to see the return of her long-lost sister in law. Frankly, I think it’s great that not everyone is happy to see Claire. It makes sense why Jenny is upset, and I think it’s indicative that she was one of the people who cared about Claire the most.

To just drop back into our lives after twenty years as if nothing’s changed.”

Jamie owns up to the fact that he knew Young Ian was in Edinburgh. He defends his choice, saying that everything was safe until Sir Percival the Douchebag started extorting him. Jenny is not impressed by Young Ian’s enthusiastic declaration that Claire killed the exciseman who attacked her.

Thinking that Claire killed the man in front of Young Ian, Jenny lashes out at her. Jamie lashes back, defensive. “You dinna complain when I sent you money every month.”

     Jamie says that he treated Young Ian as his own son. Ian is like, “Ya wanna be a dad? YOU can go thrash him.” Jamie successfully gets Young Ian a less painful punishment, but his nephew complains anyway.

Teenagers.

Claire reunites with wee Jamie (Conor McCarry), who is now a father himself. Jenny pointedly does not introduce her as Jamie’s wife. Jenny continues to ice out Claire by turning down her offer to help with one of Jamie’s babies. “I would not want to bewilder the bairn with a strange face.”

Ouch.

     I do love the interactions between Jenny and Jamie even when they’re arguing. From how to parent Young Ian to JAMIE’S OTHER WIFE, Jenny isn’t afraid to call Jamie out on his shit. She tells him that she needs to know what happened to prevent Claire from returning for twenty years.

Jenny doesn’t buy Jamie’s tale.

Claire’ doesn’t buy Jamie’s plans to settle down at Lallybroch. Saddened by Jenny’s behavior, she asks Jamie earnestly if they can tell her the truth. Claire argues that Murtagh understood, but Jamie stands his ground.

Jenny casts a warm light on those that she trusts. But a very cold shadow on those she doesn’t.

     Jamie tells Claire the tale of his escape from Ardsmuir, filling in the gap we never saw in the third episode. Desperate to see if Claire is on Silkie Island, Jamie swims the whole way in freezing water. Heughan’s desperate cry for Claire is heartbreaking. While he doesn’t find his wife, he does discover a box of ancient coins.

Jamie and Claire share a tender kiss. Not able to stand it anymore, Jamie starts to own up about his secret wife when A CHILD INTERRUPTS.

“Daddy, who is that woman?”

I could practically feel Claire’s heart drop to her stomach.

I just wanted to hop into the room and hand her a bottle of strong whiskey when Laoghaire (Nell Hudson) entered the room and started swearing up a storm.

Our harebrained hero runs out after Laoghaire, leaving Claire looking more shocked than when she was first sent back to 17th century Scotland through magical time-traveling stones.

Laoghaire’s youngest daughter is naturally upset to see her adopted father with another woman. She clearly adores Jamie, and he does his best to reassure her that he’s not abandoning her. He’s not so successful in calming Claire down.

His normally romantic style goes completely out the window when he sees his worst fear being realized, losing Claire for the second time. Jamie says every wrong thing in the book.

You’re the one who told me to be kind to the lass!”

     “Even though you’re the one who left me!”

     Jesus H. Roosevelt CHRIST guys. The look Claire gives Jamie after he says that is the most tragic thing I’ve literally ever seen.

You can tell Jamie knows he crossed the line. Claire is like, “You are actually blaming ME for this?” It’s interesting how this is a call back to the scene where Claire gets angry at Frank for Sandy showing up at her graduation party.

She’s a proud woman in two scenarios where she has been utterly humiliated. Claire finally admits to Jamie that she wasn’t happy with Frank whatsoever. She can’t stand the fact that Jamie is acting like the victim and I really don’t blame her for being upset.

What Jamie fails to realize is that Claire isn’t upset that he married again. It’s that he didn’t tell her.

Plus the fact that he ended up marrying Laoghaire.

      I’ve never been a fan of stories that pit women against each other. Claire is an educated and secure woman. I like that she calls Jamie out on his treatment of Laoghaire, asking him if he would really just dump her like nothing the second Claire returned.

People often rank the sex scenes on this show, and what follows will certainly make future lists. Jamie’s possessiveness mixed with Claire’s anger stirred in with their twenty years of pent up passion is a potent mix.

     It’s almost frightening really.

Just as Jamie and Claire have ripped each other’s clothes apart and are about to show us the true definition of “angry sex.” they’re stopped with a cold bucket of water.

Jenny has successfully killed the mood.

Claire makes a hasty exit and mulls her life choices by the fireplace. Poor sweet little Janet (Cora Tsang) gets Claire some whiskey and apologizes for telling Laoghaire to come to Lallybroch. Janet confesses that she did it because her mother asked her to.

As if on cue, Jenny enters the room ready to rumble. Claire asks her why she wanted Laoghaire to return to Lallybroch.

“Because she’s his wife.”

Claire preps herself for showdown number two. Without the clothes ripping.

Jenny doesn’t buy the “Claire thought Jamie was dead” story. She’s like, “We may not have social media yet, but you could’ve at least written a damn letter.”

     The only thing that seems to soften Jamie’s sister is when Claire tells her she had another husband in America. “It was a matter of survival.” Claire declares passionately.

Survival is a word Jenny understands.

Jenny believes her, but not entirely. She tells Claire she’s not sure she can trust her again.

Ian calls Jenny out on her behavior. The chemistry between Donnelly and Cree is incredibly underrated. Ian argues that Jenny had prayed so long for Jamie’s happiness. Why does she not accept him being happy with Claire?

“Does this look like happiness to you?” She retorts back.

Claire is all set to take a one-way ticket back to the future the next morning when Jamie stops her. “I knew it was a risk,” She tells him, sounding like she’s reprimanding herself more than anything. Jamie stops her when Claire tries to say that maybe they are indeed too different now to continue being husband and wife.

“I’m still the same person that fell in love with you.”

His first wife is not convinced. Claire throws his words back at him about being allowed to have secrets but not lies. Jamie’s biggest secret and lie show up with a pistol cocked at Claire.

Oh, Laoghaire. Attempted murder is never a wise way to win sympathy with anybody, let alone your husband. Especially when you accidentally end up shooting him. I did love the detail of seeing part of the scene from Laoghaire’s point of view as her hand shakes holding the pistol. In a way, it shows she’s still the same insecure girl from season one.

Claire rushes Jamie back inside to treat him. Jenny, Ian, and Young Ian rush in and aid Claire as she immediately starts to operate on Jamie’s arm.

Only Young Ian can ask, “Did it penetrate…the artery?” and make it sound adorable. John Bell is a gem.

Even Claire is charmed by him continually calling her “Auntie” and offering her whiskey.

As Jamie comes to, he realizes his near death experience wasn’t enough to quell Claire’s anger. Claire demands that he explains himself, and Jamie fills in another gap by telling her and the audience what happened after he returned to Lallybroch after working at Helwater.

The cheeriness of Lallybroch almost made Jamie feel even lonelier. Unbeknownst to him at the time, he accepts a dance from Laoghaire’s daughters. He longed to feel needed again as a father and husband and agrees to marry her.

Hopefully, Claire notices that Jamie never says he grew to love her. He does admit he tried to be a husband to her but speculates that her first two husbands must’ve been abusive to her.

“I could see the fear in her eyes.” He tells her.

Claire realizes that Jamie has been stricken with a fever. “Why didn’t you say something?”

“I thought it was the heat of shame.” He says earnestly.

Is it just me, or does Claire seem rather pleased with herself when she gives Jamie a shot of penicillin in his butt? (I don’t blame Jamie for being terrified! Butt shots are the WORST. Especially I imagine when you didn’t even know immunizations existed. )

Jenny tells Claire how she had a vision of her standing between Jamie and Laoghaire as they got married. She always had a feeling that there was something mysterious about Claire but she never questioned her brother’s wife. Part of me wants Claire to tell Jenny the truth, but I know that’s very unrealistic.

Ye were like a sister to me.”

I loved you too Jenny.”

Claire asks for a second chance. Jenny doesn’t reply.

Ned Gowan (Bill Paterson) returns. Claire is like, “Holy crap you were in season one, and you’re still alive?” Gowan is like, “My secret? Avoiding matrimony.” And I’m just like, Tell that to DOUGAL.

Gowan says they can turn the pistol Laoghaire used over to the British. She’ll likely be sent to the Colonies as a punishment. Claire’s all like, “I hear Richmond is nice this time of year,” but Jamie hesitates. He doesn’t want her two daughters losing both father and mother.

Jamie agrees to pay Laoghaire twenty pounds in alimony, plus ten pounds for her daughter’s upkeep and wellbeing. Jenny and Ian wonder where the hell he’s going to get two years worth of salary. Jamie thinks he could use the box of ancient coins he found on Silkie Island to get the money.

Claire says that it isn’t safe for Jamie to swim the quarter mile to the island so sweet Young Ian volunteers. Mamma Jenny is like hell no. However, she does agree to let Jamie take him along to France, where he plans to ask cousin Jared to help him trade the ancient coins for money.

He tells Jenny and Ian that he’ll take the coins to cousin Jared in France, who will know how to trade them for money. Wanting to take Young Ian with him. Jamie wins the agreement of Jenny and Ian. They make him promise that he’ll take care of the adorable young lad and Jamie swears to it.

So naturally, he allows Young Ian to make the swim to Silkie Island. Jamie decides it’s a great time to talk with Claire while Ian grabs the treasure. Claire’s hesitant about the possibility of them sharing a future together, acknowledging that life in Boston wasn’t so bad.

My question is, is it possible to be nostalgic about something that hasn’t happened yet? Time travel is confusing.

For twenty years I was haunted by the memory of you.”

Will you risk the man I am for the sake of the one you once knew?”

     Claire doesn’t get a chance to answer because poor Young Ian is literally being abducted in front of their eyes. They watch helplessly as Jamie’s poor nephew is taken away on a ship.

Well, folks, I don’t think Claire is going anywhere for a while.

 

NEXT WEEK, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH AT 8 PM ET: EPISODE 309: “THE DOLDRUMS”

“Claire and Jamie leave Scotland, sailing to the West Indies on an urgent quest. But when the superstitious crew looks for someone to blame after a string of bad luck, rescue comes from an unlikely source.”

Clips and Photos courtesy of Starz.