[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 112, “Lallybroch,” Written by Anne Kenney, Directed by Mike Barker
The episode begins on the road to Lallybroch. The music from the opening credits continues into the beginning of the episode as the camera travels over the landscape of Scotland. There is a horse with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) on it, and they come closer into view as the seconds pass. Since Jamie now knows Claire is from the future, Claire tells him about airplanes as they stare into the sunny sky. The conversation moves to age as Jamie asks how old Claire is. “I’m 27,” Claire responds. “I always thought you were about my age, or younger,” Jamie replies. He does not care about her age, but makes a crack that when he is 40, she will be 245. They then crest a hill and in the distance is Lallybroch. Seeing Lallybroch for the first time since he was taken by the Redcoats, Jamie has a flashback to Jack Randall’s (Tobias Menzies) treatment of his sister, Jenny (Laura Donnelly). After he sees this in his mind, Jamie’s expression darkens. Claire can feel his change in mood. Even though it is a ways to go, they dismount and walk the rest of the way.
Claire tries to calm his fears and trepidations about returning to Lallybroch. Jamie tells Claire of rumors that Jack Randall got Jenny pregnant after raping her. Claire tries to remind him that those were only rumors.
They arrive at the entrance to Lallybroch. Jamie sees the archway and is taken back again to being tied up and whipped there. Jamie is taken out of his thoughts by Claire saying hello to a young boy playing. Jenny comes out of the house and says, “Jamie.” The little boy responds to the name and so does the other Jamie. Jenny sees her brother, drops the laundry basket, grabs her pregnant belly, and runs to her brother. He has been gone for four years. Jenny introduces the two Jamies to each other. Jamie becomes angry because he thinks Jenny has named Jack Randall’s kid after him. Jenny figures out why Jamie is angry and sends her son away. A heated conversation begins and Jamie wants to know who the next child belongs to. Jenny then insults Claire by calling her a trollop when Claire tries to calm the situation. This makes matters worse as Jamie jumps to defend his wife. Jenny threatens to grab him by the balls to make him stay and listen to her, just as she did when they were kids. As Jenny begins to explain, a man with a wooden leg enters the archway and responds to the question asked about whose child it is. The man is Ian Murray (Steven Cree), Jenny’s husband. Jamie now realizes what he has just said about his sister. Ian and Jamie embrace. Ian asks who the woman is and Claire responds, “The trollop. Otherwise known as Claire Fraser,” while looking partially at Jenny. Jenny does not turn or change her expression. Jamie tries to apologize, but it is not received well. As she walks up the steps, Jamie flashbacks again to her being dragged down the stairs by Randall.
In the “living room,” they sit down to have a drink. Jamie cannot let Randall go and asks Jenny what happened with him. She agrees to tell him once and never again. The story begins in flashback fashion. After Jamie was knocked out by Randall, Jenny went with Randall back in the house and upstairs to a bedroom. Randall smells her head and sticks his finger in her mouth. He gropes her and makes her grab his crotch. He kisses her neck and she takes that opportunity to grab a candlestick and strike him on the head. She tries to run, but he catches her. He throws her on the bed and slaps her hard. He starts to undress, including unbuttoning his trousers. And out comes little Jack Randall, hello there penis. He tries to arouse himself before sex, but can’t seem to do it. Jenny laughs at him, and keeps doing it even after he slaps her again and again. He eventually knocks her out against the poster of the bed. He had left the house after Jenny came to. After Jenny finishes the story, she points out that Jamie was wrong and she expects an apology. Jamie thinks he already has in some way, and Claire corrects him and tells him to apologize. This gets stares from the servants, Ian, and Jenny. Jamie takes Claire away for a moment to explain that she cannot tell him what to do in front of his family, servants, etc. Of course, Claire is not the type of person to stay silent, but he says it is perfectly fine to do so behind closed doors.
They return to the room and an awkward silence. Ian breaks it by asking Claire where she is from. She says she is from Oxfordshire, but Lallybroch is now her home. This surprises Jenny, as she did not expect Jamie to stay with a price on his head. They explain that a pardon should come through from the Duke of Sandringham. Jenny makes a snide comment about trusting the English which is clearly meant as an insult to Claire. Because the Laird is back, Jenny and Ian move to the spare bedroom, with Claire and Jamie settling into the master.
The scene changes to Claire and Jamie in the bedroom. Claire has removed the kilt from her body and you can see that her shift is still torn from the witch trial, but her corset is intact. Jamie looks around the room, remembering his parents. Jamie pulls a sword out from under the bed, where his dad kept it. It is a Viking blade, and Claire identifies it correctly. Jamie continues to reminisce about his father. Claire asks him when was the last time he saw his father.
Jamie starts to remember his time at Fort William. It was a week after his first flogging and Jamie is being taken to Randall’s office. His father, Brian (Andrew Whipp), meets him in the hall, and they are given a few moments together. Jamie apologizes for not protecting his sister, and like any good dad would do, he says it was not Jamie’s fault. His father leaves him with a kiss on the cheek. Jamie sits in front of Randall at his desk. Randall explains that even if his father was able to get a pardon, it would not make it back in time to save him. Randall tries to give Jamie a break in the next flogging if he will give his body over to him to use and abuse sexually. Randall tests his restraint, poking at Jamie’s fresh back wounds. Jamie ultimately turns down Randall’s bargain, realizing that he would not let the man break him or show weakness. Moving forward in time, we return to the setting of the second flogging. This time it is more focused on Brian and Dougal (Graham McTavish) in the crowd. Brian falls to the ground after seeing his son pass out or die from such a flogging. Brian ended up passing away.
Jenny and Claire sit at the dinner table, awaiting the men to join them. It is awkward and Jenny is not welcoming. The men come in and talk about “quartering day,” basically like what the MacKenzie’s did to collect rent except the tenants come to Lallybroch. It will also be a day of celebration of the Laird’s return. Claire questions how public this is and the risk of having Jamie out in the open for all the locals to see. Jenny corrects Claire by telling her that none of their tenants would rat out to the Redcoats. Jenny further strains the situation by admonishing Jamie for not visiting his father’s grave that night.
The next day, the tenants start to come to Lallybroch and bring welcoming gifts to Claire and Jamie. Ian and Jamie go inside to start the process of collecting the rents. It is a happy event inside as well, as everyone is drinking and eating. It appears the Jamie is not as tough on his tenants like the MacKenzies. He is letting some go and pay next quarter if they are short.
Outside, Claire observes a father, Ronald McNabb (Richard Jack) abuse his son, Rabbie (Jamie Kennedy), over trying to take a bit of food. Claire takes the boy off his hands and it is clear that the young boy has been abused repeatedly and probably is hungry as well.
That night, Jamie returns to bedchamber drunk as a skunk after Claire has already gone to bed. Of course, he wakes her up and makes a couple of funny comments and gestures. He pushes him off her body and he falls asleep, snoring. A little smile creeps onto Claire’s face.
The next morning, Jamie is very hungover. Jenny comes at him since he failed to collect rents in favor of being easy on his tenants. And she is thoroughly mad that Rabbie McNab will be staying with them because of Jamie’s drunken lecture to his father about discipline versus abuse. Jenny is just done with Claire and Jamie coming in and disrupting the place. Jamie retaliates with his position and Jenny storms out of the room.
Tasting a bannock that does not have fine enough flour as an ingredient, Jamie learns the mill is not working. He visits the mill with Claire to repair it. He ends up having to disrobe, all but his shirt, to dive in and see if something is preventing the wheel from turning. Jenny arrives to tear into her brother again, but immediately sees a troop of Redcoats arriving on their horses. Jamie surfaces and sees them also. Jenny tells Claire to keep quiet to not let them know she is English, and both sit down to cover Jamie’s clothing on the ground. It turns out this is a helpful troop of Redcoats as their leader offers to help fix the mill. The Redcoat also starts to disrobe to dive in and get the wheel to turn. Luckily, Jamie gets it to start again and throws his shirt on the wheel to give it a cause. Jamie surfaces further downstream, freezing cold. He is at once cupping his manhood and shielding it from his sister’s eyes. He turns around, and Jenny is able to see his scarred back for the first time.
Ian and Claire meet that night in the hallway as she is looking at some of the Fraser portraits. Ian explains how Jenny is and how alike she is to her brother. Ian comments on his lost leg and Claire recounts hearing about it from Jamie. She suggests some herbs to help with soreness. Ian also recounts how he became married to Jenny. It was none of his doing.
Claire literally pulls Jamie out of bed to remind him that she married Jamie, not the Laird. He has lost himself in coming to Lallybroch and his father would not be pleased. This spurns Jamie to visit Brian’s grave the next day. Jenny finds him there. He ended up collecting the rents and gives them to her. She then admits that she wants to apologize to him because she has blamed him for their father’s death, but seeing the scars on his back, she thinks that her laughing at Randall spurned him on to take his anger out on Jamie’s back. Jamie says it is neither of their faults, it is Jack Randall’s fault alone.
The episode returns to the bedchamber where Claire is looking at the “north-facing tower” that Broch Turrach is named after. The tower is round, she questions him about how is it north-facing. The door is on the north side is Jamie’s response. Claire is beginning to feel like she belongs at Lallybroch. It is in this moment that we find out the moment that Jamie says he fell in love with her; the fall off the horse on the way to Castle Leoch, staring up at her. Claire responds with “I love you.”
Claire awakens to an empty bed the next morning. She comes out into the hall and sees four men in the foyer, some of which are pointing guns at Jamie. They notice Claire, Jamie looks up at her, and Claire looks down to him in terror.
I finished my last re-read of Outlander over a year ago, long before any of the episodes aired. It has given me some distance from the material and has helped blur the lines between the details that happened in the book and those in the series. I am not able to nit-pick about scenes not being there or lines I loved that were omitted. It certainly has helped me enjoy the series more. Having said that, I can still recognize the lines taken straight from the book. There were quite a few in this episode with the most recognizable being the Jamie and Claire scene where he recounts when he first fell in love with her and her “assets.”
Even though I have not read Outlander in a while, the depiction of Jenny as somewhat of a cold, angry person especially towards Claire threw me. While I remember her being very strong-willed and a take charge person, I would never describe her as being cold or just plain unhappy. While the TV Jenny starts to act more like book Jenny towards the end, it is one of the things about this episode that I did not enjoy. I can’t imagine Jenny and Claire banding together to save Jamie from his predicament because at this point, they have no friendship. I am wondering how Episode 113 will play out.
The appearance of Ian in the series is quite wonderful. He gives some great looks to Claire and Jamie like, “I know she is difficult,” in relation to his wife. He does not have a lot of lines compared to Laura Donnelly, but Steven Cree is able to convey his being uncomfortable and “just go with it” attitude so well on his face. His performance received quite a few laughs from me.
The direction of this episode is unlike any other, especially in regards to the flashbacks. The use of muted colors except for the red in the soldiers’ coats is especially striking. There are several flashbacks used in this episode and only two are new to us. The coloring continues with Jenny recalling what happened between her and Randall, but the coloring comes back a bit when they get inside the house. With Jamie’s new memory of seeing his father for the last time, some of the muted coloring is still there.
We also revisited the devastating flogging scene from “The Garrison Commander,” but in this case, it is told from Jamie’s perspective leading up to it. It gives us a better look into the mind and perversions of Jack Randall, and is foreshadowing to future events.
No review on this episode could be complete without mentioning the first appearance of some male anatomy (PENIS!) in this show. We have had plenty of breasts and butts, but no manly bits to be seen. Who would have guessed that Tobias Menzies would have been the first actor to have that honor? Not I since I thought having Sam Heughan in some dicey (maybe that is the wrong term) situations would have proven him the first to show. Randall’s problem had Tobias messing around down there for a while, so it was not quick show and tell.
This is an episode mixed with familiarity and newness; one mixed with laughter and cringing. While this is the episode where Jamie comes home, it is not a completely happy episode. Has there even been one of those yet? It is a balanced episode that fans will hopefully be pleased to see with some of those iconic Diana Gabaldon lines delivered really well by the great Outlander actors. Writer Anne Kenney does an outstanding job at making an episode both new and familiar at the same time.
— Tobias Menzies (@TobiasMenzies) April 25, 2015