Outlander: Lallybroch

“I need you to trust me here. This is my family, my land, my time.”

They say that home is where the heart is. Jamie’s heart has been at Lallybroch since we met him. It was nice to see him finally go home.

Lallybroch is not even close to Castle Leoch in terms of scale. The house is significantly smaller; the tenants all live close enough that they can come to the laird to pay their rents. No road trip necessary. Yet, there is something lovely and intimate about it. From the dogs lying on the hearth to the family portraits, Lallybroch feels more like a home than Leoch ever did. It may be because Jamie and Claire were never much more than Colum’s guests; here, they are members of a family.

Like all families, this is one filled with conflict and love. Jamie is not at his best when he first comes home. Trying too hard to fill his father’s shoes, he fails miserably at the task. I understand that seeing the house brought back horrific memories for him, but greeting his sister by calling her child a bastard (in front of the boy, no less) and her a whore is, perhaps, not the best way to come home.

Dear God, but Jamie has been carrying around some world-class baggage. The thought that he is responsible for his sister’s rape and his father’s death would wear on anyone. It is interesting to watch Jamie tell Claire the story. He can barely get the words out at first and he can’t look at her. But, as he continues and as he realizes that she is not judging him, the words begin to pour out and he wraps his arms around her when she approaches him.

Jamie’s story is an interesting insight into both his psyche and Jack Randall’s. Randall wants to have sex with Jamie, but would prefer not to rape him. He wants Jamie to submit, to willingly allow Randall to do what he wishes. Jamie considers it, but decides against it. Not because he would have sex with a man, but because his father would see it as his being broken by Randall. A distinction that is quite remarkable for 18th century Scotland.

The good news in all this is that we learn that Randall didn’t rape Jenny. Because he couldn’t. Even beating her and throwing her across the room wasn’t enough. What Randall craves, more than sex or violence, is power. Those Frasers are a tough lot; neither will give it to him, even at the expense of themselves.

Jenny is a wonderful character and a great addition to this world. She is tough, smart, capable, and mouthy. Sound like anyone else we know? Jenny is not going to trust easily. She made it clear that she is not going to open her arms to Claire, accepting her simply because they are now sisters-in-law. Ian, on other hand, is more relaxed. His scene with Claire was fun to watch. Here is a guy who knows this family well, and accepts them faults and all. The true definition of family.

The scene between Jenny and Jamie at their father’s grave was simply lovely. Here are two people who have been apart for years and have been sniping at each other since they came back together. As they talk, the reason for it becomes clear. Each feels guilty about the past and responsible for the other’s misfortune. They may be Frasers and “stubborn as old mules,” but they are able to talk to each other in a completely honest way that significantly cleared the air.

After the events of last week, Jamie and Claire’s relationship has reached a new level of intimacy and trust. Last week, Claire told Jamie the truth. It has altered their relationship. Jamie has always known that Claire is an outsider, the Sassenach. But now, he realizes just how much of an outsider she it. He uses that knowledge when he chastises her for interfering between Jenny and him.

As I mentioned last week, things are different now because Claire has chosen to stay; she has chosen to be the Lady of Lallybroch. Yet. being Claire, she is still going to step in too soon, going to involve herself in things that she doesn’t completely understand. Now that she’s chosen to stay, she needs to choose to work within the culture and the mores of the time in which she finds herself. At least to some degree.

It’s no coincidence, I don’t think, that it is at Lallybroch that Jamie and Claire finally tell each other how they feel. They have shown each other, many times. But, the words have never been spoken. Until now, when they are home.

Another good episode. As I said, quieter and more intimate than many of the ones in the past, but filled with lovely moments that propelled the story forward in some interesting ways.

Bits and Pieces:

-- I want to avoid spoilers for those who have not read the book. To discuss differences between the book and the show, foreshadowing, or anything else that might spoil the story, head over to my review of the novel.

-- Last week, I talked about Claire and Jamie’s ages. As I expected, Claire is 27. I’m not entirely sure how old Jamie is, but it sounds as though he is five years younger than she. If so, that boy’s had a rough 22 years.

-- This was the first episode without any kind of voiceover. I don’t mind them, but I didn’t miss them, either.

-- The scene where Jamie confided in Claire about how odd being in his parents’ bedroom was made me smile. It was a brilliant way of showing us just how uncomfortable he is in his new role.

-- Jamie listening to Claire describe an airplane was wonderful. It must all feel like magic to him.

-- Ian is fabulous. I love his reactions to everything that goes on around him. He doesn’t interfere, but he lets us know by a grin or a nod exactly what it is he is thinking.


Jenny: “Well, if she’s your wife, I imagine she’s more familiar with your balls than I am.”
I do love Jenny so.

Claire: “I’m not the meek and obedient type.”
Jamie: “Don’t think anyone would ever make that mistake, Sassenach.”

Ian: “She’s a Fraser. Their hearts are as big and soft as their heads are thick and strong.”

Claire: “I did not marry the laird of Lallybroch. I married Jamie, but I haven’t seen much of him since we walked through the gates of this place.”


Moore is joined by Anne Kenney, the writer of this episode. I found this podcast to be among the best. Filled with the behind the scenes tidbits that I love. There is also an incredibly interesting section where Moore talks about his early days as a writer for Star Trek. This one is worth the listen.

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.

1 comment:

milostanfield said...

Jenny is a great hopefully regular addition to the cast, and may even make up for the loss(?) of my favorite scheming, murdering, radical, ginger witch. Now that Jenny and Jamie have patched up it will be interesting how she and Claire get along. I can see Ian playing a part in that.

It was good to see Jamie really messing up again. Such a great political tactician when dealing with the conflicts of Castle Leoch and such a screwup in his own home. When he's been really noble, like when he took Claire back to the stones, it has been almost saintly unbelievable. This rounds him out more. And he's the only person of that time, besides maybe Ned, if indeed Ned is of that time, who can handle knowledge of Claire's true origins. He's young, part saint, part Hell's Angel, and able to grow into a true nobleman. He'll be a fun character to follow.

Nice catch re the difference between the look of Leoch and Lallybroch. I was so caught up in "what's gonna happen next" I didn't really notice first time watching, but yeah, it helped with the telling of the story, rather than just being background. The interior set design of this show is rivaled only by that of Penny Dreadful's. If there's an Emmy category for Best Use Of Dogs In Production Design then Outlander should win paws down.

Speaking of looks, if you're watching on a computer full screen, wait for one of those vista landscapes, then just hit pause, do screen capture, and pow, instant wallpaper. The Highlands are just stunning everywhere you look.