Outlander Recap: My Cousin Jamie

OUT_113-20140710-ND_0156.jpg Photo: Neil Davidson/Sony Pictures
Episode Title
The Watch
Editor’s Rating

A handsome, if dinged-up, pocket watch lies on the leaves. Before it can explain itself, we return to Lallybroch, where a greasy-haired stranger, surrounded by other even rougher-looking strangers, has a gun pointed at Jamie. Claire doesn’t know what to do; luckily Jenny does. Put your gun down, she tells the stranger. This is my cousin Jamie. Cousin? Claire and Jamie play along and the stranger apologizes for being hasty. 

The stranger identifies himself as [Gibberish McGibberish]. Ian hobbles in with a fake smile and gives McGibberish a sword that he had repaired for the man. Oh good, another lethal weapon, just what the doctor ordered. McGibberish is pleased.

Once our heroes gather in the kitchen, we learn that the interloper and his compatriots are members of the Watch — which, in the manner of the mob, provides protection from the redcoats and enemy clans in exchange for extortionate fees — and they’ll be staying for a couple of days. Jamie, who you may recall has a price on his head and recently had a pistol pointed at it as well, thinks this is a bad idea. Jenny and Ian know they have no choice.

Over dinner, Jamie, Ian, and McGibberish bond about having fought in France, where their motto was “Never be taken alive!” But, McGibberish wants to know, in all of Ian’s war stories in the past, why has Ian never before mentioned Jamie? “I’m sure I must’ve,” protests Ian. “No, I’m sure ye didn’t,” says McGibberish.

After Jenny lightens the tension, McGibberish stands up and makes a great toast: “Here’s to a long life, and a merry one; a quick death, and an easy one; a pretty girl, and an honest one; a stiff whiskey, and another one.” I’m going to remember that for my next Russian family dinner.

The next morning, Jamie makes an impolitic comment to one of the members of the Watch about Ian’s tobacco. In response, the fellow sets a wagon of hay on fire and shouts gleefully as Jamie and some others struggle to put it out. Then, of course, there’s a fight, and of course, Jamie takes on the whole assemblage at once.

This impresses McGibberish, who breaks up the stramash and offers our hero a job. Jamie politely declines; his destiny is to be a lover, not a fighter.

Oh good, more members of the Watch! Jamie and McGibberish go to greet the guests. One of them is Horrocks, the English deserter Jamie met up with several episodes ago. He pretends not to remember Jamie, but nothing gets past McGibberish.

Claire and Jenny do laundry together in a rare moment of Scottish sunshine and domestic harmony, till the latter is broken by a pain in Jenny’s abdomen. Her water has broken. Upstairs, Claire notes that the baby seems to be breach; she has Jenny lie on her side so that Claire can try to coax the little Murray into a more appropriate position. When Jenny asks if Claire knows about babies and such, Claire’s not entirely comforting response is “I’ve seen childbirth.”

Jamie and Horrocks the deserter face off in the library. What does Horrocks want? To sail to the colonies. He would like Jamie to help fund his passage, as his share of the Watch’s profits won’t be enough. “Put up some money now and I swear, you won’t see my face again,” says Horrocks.

Upstairs, Jenny paces in a see-through nightie. To distract her, and because she’s never read a mommy blog, Claire asks Jenny what pregnancy is like. If the discussion helps calm them, it doesn’t work for long: Word reaches them that the local midwife has been called away to co-star in a BBC series. “It’s all right,” Claire says in what she hopes is a reassuring tone. “’Tis possible to deliver a breach baby. I just have to reach inside and guide it out.” Oh, is that all? Jenny is grim but determined, as long as Claire promises to keep her well lubricated with Scotch.

Outside, Ian and Jamie squabble over Jamie’s inability to be nice to the friendly neighborhood extortionists. “Ye pay one devil to protect you from the other?” Jamie asks. “I’m not proud of it, but there it is,” says Ian. Also, he kinda likes the devil; McGibberish reminds him of Jamie. Aw? Then they squabble more over whether he should take some of his dad’s money to pay Horrocks for his silence.

“I’ve let you down,” Jamie tells Claire. That money of his father’s was supposed to go toward filling the farmhouse with children. Claire looks somber, but not because she’s missing money she didn’t know she was due. “It’s I that’s let you down,” she says. “The truth is, I may never give you a son … I don’t think I can have children. I tried before I met you.” The tendons in her neck are working overtime as she tries not to cry. “I should have told you before we were married, but I never counted on loving you, much less having children with you.” Poor Claire. Also, poor Jenny — who’s with her and her upside-down baby right now?

Because Jamie’s a gentleman, he takes a moment to feel his feelings and then comforts his wife, saying, “Maybe it’s for the best. So many things can go wrong.” Though he can bear his own pain, “I couldn’t bear yours.” He kisses her throat and sends her back to Jenny.

Slipping a gun into the back of his kilt, Jamie goes off to placate his blackmailer with cash. Horrocks takes what he’s given and wants more. He’s certainly got a death wish, baiting Jamie this way. Before Jamie can shoot the bastard, though, a sword skewers him through his heart. Horrocks falls, revealing Ian. One-legged Ian managed to sneak up on the soldier, with the very sword he got fixed for McGibberish! Not bad. Then Ian starts shaking because he’s a good guy and he thought he had killed for the last time. Jamie comforts him with some thoughts about hell, and the men smile wryly at each other before preparing to bury the body.

Jenny is getting nervous. Her own mother died in childbirth. Claire, battle-ready, reassures her. Downstairs the unwashed rabble have the temerity to mock Jenny’s labor pains to Ian’s face. These are the forefathers of #GamerGate, one imagines. Ian pushes by them to get to his wife.

McGibberish gives Jamie some extra money for hay but also faux casually mentions that no one’s seen Horrocks. The next morning: no baby and no Horrocks, either. “His horse is outside,” says McGibberish, “so he can’t have gone far.” He couldn’t help but notice that, the day before, three men went out and only two came back. Aye? Jamie plays dumb so McGibberish puts it to him straight: “Why’d you kill him?”

Eyes glittering over his muffin, Jamie tells McGibberish the truth, or a version of it: “He threatened me, my family. So I ran him through.” After a moment, McGibberish pronounces, “Good! I never liked the Irish bastard.” He does expect Jamie to come with him on the Watch’s raid of the Chisholms, though, in exchange. Jamie agrees to go and Ian volunteers to go, too, just in case. “Hasty back, or else,” says Claire, quoting Jenny, who’s still working on the whole pushing out a child thing.

On horseback in the rain, McGibberish shows Jamie his pocket watch, which we recognize as the one lying on the grass in the first shot, so that definitely bodes well. Plus, the casing is shaped like a skull. McGibberish does prove his bona fides, though, by appearing honestly disgusted at the idea of turning Jamie into the British. He’s been in Tollbooth, an English prison. “I’d shoot you first,” he says.

In the makeshift maternity ward, Jenny is roaring like a lion and cursing like a sailor. Time to push! We hear her screams overlaid with horses hooves as Jamie and the men of the Watch ride to the spot Horrocks suggested they lie in wait to ambush the Chisholms. Except, Jamie notices, they could easily be ambushed themselves. “There’s no way out,” says Jamie, drawing his sword, and just in time. The Redcoats arrive, muskets at the ready, and fire.

Jenny has a lass! The girl seems safe and Jenny, too. But how about their menfolk?

“He will come home,” Jenny assures Claire, after they’ve been waiting for three days. “He always does.” She gives Claire some beautiful ivory bangles from her ma. Then the dogs bark. It’s Ian, bloodied and hobbling toward the house. But Jamie’s not with him. “They took him,” Ian says. “The Redcoats have him.”

Once again, the hands of the Fraser family clock are pointing at “mortal peril.”