Outlander: The Search

"Love forces a person to choose."

Jamie wasn't in this episode, but it was still all about him. Claire, Jenny and Murtagh are the people who love Jamie most in this world, and they went to the extreme and beyond in an attempt to get him back.

Claire and Jenny

As competent as Claire is, she probably wouldn't have found the trail or taken the redcoat courier captive without Jenny. Jenny had to go with Claire, since Ian could not. Jenny knew it, too. All business. No complaining that she'd just given birth, a totally valid reason for not going. Her brother's life was hanging in the balance, and Jenny acted.

Claire and Jenny were a force to be reckoned with, with Claire the conflicted good cop and Jenny the really, really bad cop. Note how the courier completely discounted Jenny and Claire, even when they had him tied over a fallen tree. Maybe he realized his error when Jenny started burning his feet and threatening his balls. If Murtagh hadn't caught up with them (okay, that was a bit of a cop out), I'm sure Jenny and Claire would have killed him together and buried the body, no matter how reluctant Claire was at first.


This deadly sojourn in the woods gave Claire and Jenny a chance to take each other's measure, and it ended with them at the fire praising each other's skills with camping and tracking. Later, Claire told Jenny to plant potatoes and sell off unproductive land before the famine and war that were coming soon. So smart of Jamie to have already told his sister to listen if Claire gave her that sort of advice. When Jenny left, the two hugged and kissed. Finally on the same page.

I must mention how much I liked Claire's interest and curiosity as she watched Jenny milking herself. It was consistent with Claire as a character, since she's deeply interested in the human body and its functions, plus understandably, she's mostly treated men. If they hadn't added that scene, we would have all wondered why Jenny's milk wasn't even mentioned.

Claire and Murtagh

Just as with Jenny, it was nice to see Claire and Murtagh become friends and partners in their quest to find Jamie. Until now – for me, anyway – Murtagh pretty much blended in with the MacKenzies. Not any more.

Murtagh's plan was a good one: attracting attention so that Jamie would find them. Dancing a jig, fortune telling about tall redheaded men, a Sassenach woman in drag, it could have worked. At the very least, their little road show allowed Claire to uncover Murtagh's heart. He loves Jamie, and he loved Jamie's mother. The bracelets were a lovely reveal, although I thought they were hideously ugly. I do get the sentiment behind them, though. And Murtagh did kill the boar himself.

The only thing that ruined this episode for me was the ending. I kept thinking Claire and Murtagh would be successful in drawing Jamie to them and it would have been worth all that effort. Instead, Claire ended up drawing Dougal to them, along with a scandalous proposal.

Claire and Dougal

There have been hints all along, but Dougal finally revealed himself. He doesn't give a damn about Jamie; he just wants Lallybroch. He wants Claire, too, although I think it's secondary to the property. I knew he was hot for her, but jeez. Couldn't he wait until Jamie was dead?

It was smart of Claire to say yes to Dougal's marriage proposal, since it was the only way she could get his men to help her. And Dougal was right that Jamie would want Claire to protect herself if he died, but that leaves the stones out of the equation. Why would Claire stay in the eighteenth century any longer than she had to if Jamie were dead?

Let's bend those genders, folks. The episode began with Claire and Jenny galloping through the countryside looking for Jamie, followed by Claire in drag gallivanting about the countryside singing a suggestive song. Finally, Claire rallied the MacKenzie men and led them to Wentworth Prison to rescue Jamie. His role in this episode was essentially as a damsel in distress.

Of course, Jamie has already rescued Claire from prison. It's her turn.

Bits:

— Jenny chose a winner when she married Ian. After briefly struggling with the realization that he couldn't accompany Claire, Ian immediately thought of what he could do, and that was create a map to aid her search.

— The knife Jenny gave Claire was a reminder that Claire has killed with one before.

— When Claire is about to perform for the first time, she says with exasperation, "Fuck." I had to laugh.

— Mr. Ward didn't exactly keep his word throughout, but he did deliver the message. He does care about love.

— Willie stood out from the crowd of MacKenzie men, the first to agree to go with Claire to free Jamie. He inadvertently shamed the other men into going with her, too.

— Claire asked Dougal about Geillis and he didn't answer. Come on, I want to know what happened to Geillis!



— The song Claire sang was a take off of the Andrews Sisters' "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." Bette Midler did a wonderful remake in the seventies, singing all three parts herself.

Quotes:

Jenny: "So Ian sent you, I expect."
Murtagh: "Aye, he thought you could use the help. But from what I've seen so far, you two are natural outlaws."

Murtagh: "Very few fortune-telling healers roam the Highlands with a dancing Fraser clansman in tow."
Claire: "Is there no other way for us to get the word out?"
Murtagh: "Words cannot travel by air."
Claire: "Not yet, anyway."

Ward: "You do this for either politics or love."
Claire: "It's not politics."

A unique episode, and a strong character piece. But no more episodes without Jamie, please? Three out of four boar tusk bracelets with deep sentimental value,

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

1 comment:

Laure Mack said...

Ah, what a lovely review of one of my favorites from season one.

Claire and Jenny were so freaking cool. Badass, strong. Taking no prisoners. Well except for the prisoner they took but you know what I mean... And it just kept getting better for me. As much as I loved watching the women build a trusting relationship and working together it got a little eclipsed when Murtagh showed up and started irritating Claire. Then in the end they built a beautiful friendship too. It felt like an exercise in demonstrating the foothold Claire has in this century outside of her husband. But I do think if Jamie died, she'd have ran straight to the stones. And after all this, I think she'd have help from Murtagh and Jenny and Ian. No questions asked.

As much as I love this one, and I really really do, I second the motion to have no more episodes sans Jamie.

Thank you, Billie, for finishing this season. As much as I wanted it complete, I just couldn't do it.