This week’s episode opens on the redcoats nailing up a new wanted poster for the so-called “Dunbonnet.” Needless to say, it’s just Jamie in a dun-colored hat. He can’t stay out of trouble, our Jamie! Nor can the boys of Lallybroch: Fergus (formerly Claudel) has grown a ton and is somehow even more beautiful than before, in that cherubic-painting sort of way, while also being a real handful. He takes Jenny’s sons to an outbuilding where he’s stashed a gun; they are all very impressed by it.
As generally happens on days that end in Y, the redcoats are hauling off Jenny’s husband to try to get him to flip on Jamie. Jenny, of course, is hugely pregnant again — at this point, she should probably be asking Ian to pull out — but that doesn’t stop the English from threatening to hang every man, woman, and child in Lallybroch if they don’t tell them where Jamie is.
Where Jamie is, it turns out, is the woods, where he has gone FULL GRIZZLY ADAMS: big, bushy beard, matted hair, thousand-yard stare. (Exactly how I would want my husband to conduct himself if I suddenly fell through time and left him.) I desperately want him to get a therapist, which seems unlikely to happen in 18th-century Scotland.
Back in Boston, Claire is masturbating a little too loudly in bed while fantasizing about Jamie (we’ve all been there, Claire!), but generally speaking, she’s doing a bit better with Frank. Their baby continues to be ADORABLE, although Claire’s attempt to stash her in a hugely unsafe-by-modern-standards playpen so she can read a newspaper is doomed to failure. We get to see Frank in a hotel, but in order to further emasculate him, the show has waxed his chest. Badly done, Starz! Badly done. He’s a Doberman, let him have his chest hair. He does not have Jamie’s abs, but he’s a very good father.
Alas, Jamie’s abs are not in view at the moment, and he’s channeling Gollum by squatting silently in his hovel/cave while cleaning fish. You never clean fish IN YOUR HOME, Jamie! That smell lingers for weeks! Fergus wants him to teach him how to shoot, but Jamie is … pretty much done with these things. “What about the next rebellion?” Fergus asks. “There’ll be no next rebellion.” Fergus, being a punk-ass little kid, calls him a coward.
When Jamie arrives at the main house to help Jenny with the ledgers, as per her request, he discovers that she is in full-on labor. Happily, unlike in season one, we are not subjected to Jenny’s laughable suggestion that late pregnancy feels like getting fucked 24/7. (Spoiler: IT DOES NOT.) Meanwhile, a raven has landed on the property, which is very, very bad luck. Worse luck, however, is when Fergus shoots at it, thus bringing the redcoats scurrying to find the weapon.
Jamie stashes himself hastily behind a door — because he’s holding the baby, naturally — and Jenny has to quickly spin a yarn about a stillbirth. They’re about to insist on seeing the kid’s body when Mary, the quick-thinking maid, busts in and takes responsibility for killing the raven. The redcoats buy the story and leave, and I am QUITE CONFIDENT the show is setting us up for a Jamie-and-Mary arc. Get it, Jamie! It’s been a while.
In the 1940s, Claire, having perhaps tired of masturbating, reaches over to Frank and tells him she misses her husband. Does that mean she misses Frank? Probably not. However, he is sufficiently optimistic and sex-starved to roll with it, and her nightie is off literally four seconds later.
The episode now takes an UNPLEASANT TURN as Fergus leads the redcoats away from Jamie’s hiding spot by baiting and teasing them … until they successfully intercept him and CHOP OFF HIS HAND??? We sure could use Claire right about now! Because life is so terrible in Scotland in this time period, no one, not even Fergus, seems as upset about this as I am, and Jamie pledges to take care of him for the rest of his life. It’s very sweet. It also finally makes Jamie cry, which I have to imagine is a very good thing.
Back to Boston yet again, where Claire and Frank — who’s NOTICEABLY happier now that he’s back in Claire’s, uh, bed — are hosting a dinner for their neighbors, who are also very DTF and seem like they would be interested in swinging if given the slightest encouragement. It’s nice to see Frank and Claire being flirty and intimate again, but in keeping with the show’s tradition of never letting Frank enjoy anything, their hot living-room-floor hookup is ruined when he realizes that Claire now always keeps her eyes shut during sex.
Yes, Claire has her eyes shut during sex so she can picture Jamie, which is poor form. “When I’m with you, I’m with you,” Frank says. “But when you’re with me, you’re with Jamie.” OUCH. But also, where’s the lie? Get it together, Claire.
Jamie, concerned for the financial stability of Jenny and her family during a difficult time, has a proposition for his sister: Turn me in for the reward money. He feels like he’s in prison anyway, so why not make it official? Jenny is unenthused, as you can imagine.
AS PER MY PREDICTION, Mary the maidservant materializes in Jamie’s hovel and strips down to her shift. (Her shift still covers 90 percent of her body, but you can tell it’s a lewd power move by Highlands standards.) Jamie is all, “No, I can’t … really … maybe I could … okay,” and it’s nice to see him do so. Life is for the currently living, Jamie! But he, too, keeps his eyes firmly shut.
Then, in keeping with Outlander’s decision to make all of the Boston scenes full of reminders that THIS ERA IS EVEN WORSE, Claire packs off to Harvard Medical School to be insulted and patronized by her professors and classmates. (The sole exception is one black student, with whom she is instantly friendly, while everyone else looks like the callback room for a fraternity-date-rapist role on Law & Order: SVU.) The messaging is a little too much, and it plays very heavy-handed.
Back in Lallybroch, Jenny has had a change of heart. She’s decided to take Jamie’s suggestion, and as the redcoats haul him away, she stands there grimly clutching her 40 pieces of silver while shrieking fake insults. Was it a good idea? Probably!