Outlander: La Dame Blanche

"Does this make us bad people?"

I wasn't sure what message this busy episode was trying to convey. That deception and intrigue cause chaos, even when your intentions are good?

While Claire has been dealing with her advancing pregnancy and the changes in her body, she hasn't had her previous closeness to Jamie to help her through it. In turn, Jamie has been trying to work through his emotional state without talking to Claire about it. This frustrating situation has finally begun to change.

The way Jamie explained to Claire how Jack Randall had destroyed him was devastatingly effective. Jamie felt as if his inner self was naked and exposed, "trying to hide under a blade of grass." What a poignant, well-expressed way to describe the soul-destroying experience of rape, and what an excellent performance by Sam Heughan.

But while it was lovely to see Jamie and Claire reconnect sexually in that sweet, erotic scene in their darkened house, I found the reason to be downright disturbing. Jamie is glad Black Jack is alive because he longs to kill the man himself. He was smiling with pleasure, so overjoyed at the thought of revenge that he was "filled with lust." That's a bit too bloodthirsty for a man like Jamie Fraser. At least he's too smart to run off to Scotland after Jack Randall and get himself hanged. Of course he is. This is the man that regularly beats the Minister of Finance at chess.

(As far as I'm concerned, Jamie never adequately explained the bite marks on his thighs. What was he doing, and with whom? Although I will readily admit it's believable that one of the prostitutes would throw herself at a man that looks like Jamie, even if he didn't encourage it.)

St. Germain is now a more immediate threat than Jack Randall. In the opener at the Versailles chess game, he poisoned Claire and wasn't terribly stealthy about it, standing right behind her as he watched it happen. (Maître Raymond's no-kill policy just saved Claire's life.) And St. Germain was almost certainly behind the carefully arranged attack, as well. The little vignette after the credits showed the man with the birthmark on his hand removing the pin from the carriage wheel. Later, Birthmark Guy was the masked man that raped Mary Hawkins as his partners in crime were freaking about Claire being "La Dame Blanche" who would take their souls.

Where did this "white lady" witch stuff come from? And why was Mary Hawkins raped? Perhaps because story-wise, the loss of her virginity immediately destroyed her chance at a "respectable" society marriage to what's-his-face with the warts, and may have cleared the way for Alex Randall, who genuinely loves her and not her father's money. How could Mary possibly end up married to Alex's sadistic bastard of an older brother, instead?



Speaking (obliquely) of Frank, the beginning of this season was foreshadowed more than once. During Claire's visit to the apothecary shop, she told Maître Raymond that she was worried about Frank. After an interesting bit of fortune telling with sheep knuckle bones on a zebra hide (I didn't know sheep had knuckles), Maître Raymond told Claire that she was going to see Frank again, which we know is true. And during their abortion discussion, Louise asked Claire how she could raise a child with a man who is not the father, echoing that Frank would be raising Jamie's child.

Maître Raymond gave Claire a magic crystal that will change color in the presence of poison. All poisons? That doesn't seem logical. But later, at the absolutely insane dinner party, St. Germain knew what Claire's necklace was for.

Jamie and Claire came up with such a clever plan for their dinner party, but deception at this level wasn't easy for them; I loved their discussion about whether or not it made them bad people. Prince Charlie was indeed easily manipulated, offended by the Duke's jokes about the Pope and upset about Louise's pregnancy. The Duke found the Prince unfashionable and boring, because of course he did.

And it all might have worked out politically if Mary hadn't awakened too quickly from her opiate haze and run through the house screaming. Alex compounded the mess by trying to subdue her in a way that looked like he was assaulting her. The resulting fist fight will undoubtedly be the talk of Paris for weeks to come.

I loved that last bit where Fergus took advantage of the chaos and sat down alone at the table to eat the leftovers. A lovely little character moment. He's adorable.

Bits:

— Baby names. Hilarious. Lambert? Dalhousie? Seriously, you two?

— Outside l'Hôpital des Anges, Murtagh and Fergus had a talk about women. Murtagh pretends to ignores them because it's the manly thing to do, but the perceptive young Fergus noticed that Mary Hawkins was in love, and had been crying. And Murtagh did take that opportunity to ask about Suzette, who is not the faithful type.



— I also liked the little moment at the hospital where Mary Hawkins realized that she had rendered human fat on her fingers and said quietly that she had to wash her hands. I so don't want to see Mary marry Jack Randall. He would eat her soul for breakfast.

— Prince Charlie breaking into the Fraser house with a monkey bite on his hand was a clever way for the Frasers to figure out who Louise's lover was.

— Jamie shrugged his shoulders when he met Alex Randall for the first time, a nice actor-like bit by Sam Heughan that told us Jamie's first thought was of Black Jack.

— All those men in their ruffled, frilly costumes don't look that masculine. Jamie still looks masculine in those gorgeous clothes. Of course, he avoids the ruffles.



Quotes:

Jamie: "We need to stage the occasion to undercut Charles, lead him to make a mistake in front of the Duke and expose himself for the delusional popinjay that he is."
Delusional popinjay. Perfect description.

Murtagh: "Jamie's in a cheery mood."
Claire: "Yes. I told him Black Jack Randall was still alive. Don't know what you were so worried about."

Maître Raymond: "I'm fascinated by things not of this time."
Too bad she can't tell him. Maybe he senses something.

Louise: "You mean sleep with my husband? But my lover would be furious!"

Jamie: "I don't suppose a gently reared young lady such as yourself would be familiar with the term 'soixante-neuf'?"
Claire: "I know what sixty-nine is!"
Jamie: "Well, she was rather insistent about it, although I think she would have settled for the six. The nine could go hang."

Jamie: "Remember I told you I was lost?"
Claire: "You were trying to hide under a blade of grass."
Jamie: "Well, I think perhaps you've built me a lean-to, at least. And a roof to keep out the rain."

Jamie: "We use his broken heart to break his bank."
Claire: "Oh, God. Does this make us bad people?"
Jamie: "Way I see it, we're doing a bad thing but for a good reason."
Claire: "Isn't that what all bad people say?"

Mother Hildegarde: (to Claire) "We take what God sends us. Still, the bulk of our physicians are better than nothing. You madame, are a great deal better than nothing."

Claire: "Deep breath. Okay."
Such a long, crazy, disturbing day for Claire.

Charles: (re: wives) "They are fickle creatures indeed."
Sandringham: "Well, Jamie managed to find himself a worthy one. I must say, I think the combination of their respective beauties will result in a child of unfathomable pulchritude."
Jamie: "Merci."

Sandringham: "I was so looking forward to dessert. But I suppose it is getting rather late."
Simon Callow is really wonderful as the Duke. Such a complicated character.

While I enjoyed this episode, I have to admit it was all over the place and too much happened. Three out of four monkey bites,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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