I am VERY pleased to announce that we are now in Scotland circa 1968, because that means we’re with Claire as well as Brianna and Roger, both of whom finally believe her whole deal. I hate it when people experience magic and then people don’t believe them, and am grateful that Outlander rarely falls into that narrative trap. They are companionably researching! Bless them.
The Dunbonnet has come across their radar, as has the name of James Fraser as a prisoner post-Culloden. HE’S ALIIIIIVE! Well, not now, obviously, but he’s more recently dead than Claire feared.
Speaking of Jamie, he’s at Helwater in 1756, the stately home of one Lord Dunsany. He’s also the hottest groomsman in all the land (going by Mackenzie instead of Fraser, obviously). Dunsany lost his only son at Culloden, but seems quite chill about Jamie being a Jacobite. Lady Dunsany, however, would not feel that way, so as far as she’s concerned, he’s just a groom. The Dunsanys have two daughters, one of whom is a bitch and the other of whom is sweet, just like in fairy tales.
Meanwhile, Roger and Brianna are flirting up a storm, because they are both cute and they both believe in time travel and prior to the internet that kind of shared interest was really all you needed to have a functional relationship. Claire gets a call from her buddy Joe at the hospital in Boston, wondering when she’ll be back. Joe, I wouldn’t hold your breath. I don’t think she’s coming back to Boston in this century, if you know what I mean.
In Scotland, Lady Geneva (the bitchy daughter) is about to be married off to a gross and grumpy old dude, Lord Ellesmere, which seems like an excessive punishment for being bitchy, if you ask me. She takes this opportunity to clock Jamie’s rugged good looks, and you can tell IT IS ON. He’s the one dragged along on her daily ride — the grooms usually draw straws to avoid this task — and she hits on him like a bongo drum, including faking falling off a horse. He drops her in the mud once he discovers the ruse, which only drives her more mad with desire.
Lord Grey has shown up to hang out and see how Jamie’s doing. Colonel Melton has ALSO come for a visit, and restrains himself from blowing up Jamie’s spot, noting his brother’s obvious fear that Jamie will be unmasked to the female members of the family.
Geneva continues to eye-hump Jamie like it’s going out of style. She hints that she is not super stoked to marry Ellesmere, and then, like a HUSSY, like a COMMON WASTREL, she tells Jamie to come to her bedroom to take her virginity. He demurs, but she reveals she extracted his secret from Colonel Melton and threatens the safety of his family. Listen, you little witch, coercing sexual intercourse from a totally dependent underling is deeply uncool.
Jamie arrives in Geneva’s bedroom to discover her all heated up and ready to go. He tells her she can watch him strip, something many of us have imagined Jamie Fraser offering to do. In case you were wondering, his body is still in great shape, despite the malnutrition caused by several years in prison. He has an amazing ability to maintain muscle mass, our Jamie!
(I do not condone any of this, but I also do not blame Geneva for WANTING to have a ride on a magnificent stallion before settling down with an old nag.)
Geneva, unsurprisingly, is also smuggling a pretty bangin’ bod under her voluminous nightie, and Jamie manages to steel himself to his task.
(My husband watched them do it for what the montage suggests was an extended amount of time, and then said, “After all that time in prison, he probably would have come by now.”)
Geneva is all “I love you!” and Jamie is like, “That is … not what this is,” and then says beautiful romantic things about the nature of love.
As per agreement, Geneva dutifully marries Lord Ellesmere and returns to visit several months later with a fairly grim face and A BIG OL’ PREGNANT BELLY. Jamie gets the job done! (I assume.)
Back in 1968, Brianna is worried what will await her mother if she goes back to Jamie’s time, and Roger is worried that Brianna will go back to Boston once that happens. They finally kiss!
In the middle of the night, Jamie is awakened by Lady Isabel (the sweet sister), as the family departs with great haste to Ellesmere’s estate, where Geneva is dying of a postpartum hemorrhage, leaving behind a healthy baby boy. Lord Ellesmere COMPLETELY loses his shit, as he and Geneva never had sex and the Dunsanys married him off to a whore, etc. etc. I don’t know why he did not say anything about this during her pregnancy, but here we are. After a hell of a fight, Jamie winds up cleanly shooting Ellesmere through the head to prevent him from stabbing the baby (!) to death. The Dunsanys take the baby home and name him William.
Lady Dunsany tells Jamie that she is grateful for his swift action, and that she’s no dummy and knows he’s a Jacobite. She bears no ill will, however, and tells him her husband would be happy to arrange for his release and return to Scotland. Jamie, because he’s a freaking saint, doesn’t want to leave his infant son behind without a father figure, and says he wants to stay so he can send money back to his family.
Cut to a rapid fast-forward several years, where we find Willie big enough to ride a pony and ask questions, yet Jamie looks exactly the same age. You cannot mar his beauty, Father Time!
Back in “modern” times, Claire discovers that the 18th-century ship manifests are not at the National Archives. And with that, she decides it’s time to move forward with her life and return home, just as Jamie is finally ready to make the same decision.
Lord Grey promises to raise Willie as his own — he is marrying Lady Isabel, there not being a thriving gay singles scene in 18th-century England — and politely turns down Jamie’s rather touching request to barter his body in exchange for said promise to raise Willie. Lord Grey is in love with Jamie, but he’s not a MONSTER who would take advantage of someone in a terrible spot, like some dead women we could mention but won’t.
In an almost too-touching scene, Willie comes to Jamie’s room late at night and finds him lighting a candle to Saint Anthony for all those he’s lost. He is, after all, “a stinking Papist,” and so, at Willie’s request, Jamie baptizes him with a drop of water. His baptismal name? William James. It’s a lot to take in.
Cue a sweet acoustic cover of “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” as we see both Claire and Jamie starting their respective journeys toward what we hope will ultimately be each other.