‘Outlander’: Time doesn’t matter

“A. Malcolm”
October 22, 2017

“Creme de Menthe”
October 29, 2017

A fancy French lady adjusts Jamie’s tie, drapes him in a cozy woolen cloak, and sends him off to his day.

At the print shop he gives the sign outside a bit of spit and polish and has a cranky encounter with two of his “business” associates – the kind who can’t be seen coming through the front door. Jamie opens a hidden panel in the wall and pulls out two sheafs of seditious pamphlets. He warns Frick and Frack that they’ll hang if they’re caught with them.

Geordie comes to work and Jamie immediately sends him out again to get more soda ash for the press. Geordie is like NO NO THAT’S FINE I JUST GOT HERE AND COULD HAVE DONE IT ON THE WAY IN IF YOU’D MENTIONED IT LAST NIGHT BUT NO THAT’S FINE.

Geordie seems like a lot.

Jamie turns his attention to the press. I know moveable type was a revolutionary invention, but this brief scene highlights that printing was still a time consuming and laborious process. It’s kind of astonishing to me how quickly ideas could spread when putting them down on paper still took so much effort.

Anyhoo, some time later Jamie is proofing what is probably only his third page of the day when the shop’s bell jingles. He thinks it’s Geordie finally back with the ash, but a soft trembling voice says no, it’s Claire. Jamie turns and we get their reunion from his point of view. Claire is looking down on him, framed in the window like a ghost.

Claire smiles, Jamie’s face goes slack, and he faints dead away again some more.

He still thinks she’s a ghost when he comes to. So many times Claire has come to Jamie as a vision; she assures him that this time, she’s very real. Jamie realizes he spilled ale all over himself when he went down, so he does what anyone would do after being reunited with a long-lost love – he takes off his pants.

So that’s how Geordie finds him when he does return to the shop – pant-less, kissing some strange woman in the middle of the print room floor – and Geordie IS. NOT. HAVING IT! Orgies in the shop is simply a field too far!

“God’s tooth! It’s not even noon!”


Jamie leads Claire into a private living area in the back of the shop. The awkwardness of twenty years hangs over them, so they just sit together on the small bed instead of falling into it together in a sweaty heap.

Claire tells him about Brianna and also that photography is a thing that has been invented. Jamie pulls a pair of Ben Franklin spectacles from his pocket. He’s embarrassed by them, but I don’t hate a man in glasses.

SPN Dean glasses.gif

Claire admits that she dyed her hair to hide the gray. She says she wanted to look as she did when Jamie last saw her. He strokes her cheek and tells her time doesn’t matter.

After flipping through the photos, Jamie takes a small bundle down from the shelf. He unwraps a portrait of Wee Willie and tells Claire that the boy is his son. She asks if Jamie loved Willie’s mother. He says no, but doesn’t tell her that Princess Buttercup coerced him into sex by threatening harm to Jenny and a one-way trip back to prison for him. I feel like that’s information that Claire should have.

He does tell her that Buttercup died in childbirth and that he’s guilty before God for causing her death because he didn’t love her. In turn, Claire tells Jamie that Frank took her back and was a good father to Brianna. She hedges when Jamie asks if she was happy. She doesn’t mention the open marriage or Frank’s fancy woman.

The chiming of the hour reminds Jamie that he’s late for a meeting. On the way to the tavern, they run into Fergus, who is as astonished as Jamie was to see Claire again. They embrace – Yay! Hugging! – and have a warm, happy reunion. Fergus agrees with Claire’s assessment that he’s grown into a handsome young man.

Claire notices the wooden prosthetic that Fergus wears. He tells her he lost his hand being a dumbass bravely fighting the Redcoats.

Shut Up Fergus

He asks Claire where she’s been all these years. She spins a lie on the fly that she fled Scotland for America. She says she thought they all died at Culloden, and didn’t want to bring harm to Lallybroch, so. Fergus accepts her story without question.

At the tavern Jamie introduces Claire to another of his associates, Mr. Willoughby – Chinese immigrant, stowaway, and furtive elbow licker (according to the irate bar girl). Afterwards Jamie takes Claire home, but doesn’t tell her that he rents a room in a brothel. He lets her put that one together herself after seeing all the naked fancy women lounging about.

Jamie assures Claire that he’s not a customer of Madame Jeanne’s – she’s a customer of his, and a good one. Claire is like, how many pamphlets does a whorehouse need?

They eat dinner together, fill in the details of their years apart, and eye-fuck across the table get to know each other again. Finally, the meal is finished and conversation exhausted.

Having all the sexy times.

stephen colbert sex fingers angry

Having all the sexy times.

blanche golden girls hot and bothered sexy spray flirting interested

Having all the sexy times.

Jamie leaves early the next morning to see to business. While Jamie is gone, a young man comes to the room looking for him. He introduces himself as Ian Murray. Claire is like, oh hey! Jenny and Ian’s son. I’m your Auntie Claire. The boy goggles. And, scene.

Claire wanders downstairs after Young Ian leaves. The fancy ladies mistake her for one of their own and invite her to have breakfast with them. Madame Jeanne is appalled – APPALLED – and shoos Claire back upstairs … where she’s promptly assaulted by the man tossing Jamie’s room, because hi! We’ve been in the 18th century for 36 hours and haven’t had a rape scene yet, so.

Claire grabs a knife and slashes at the air in front of her attacker. He thinks her attempts at defense are adorable – until he stumbles over his own pistol laying on the floor and cracks his nugget on the hearth. And that’s the tableau that Jamie walks in on – Claire in her shift, knife in hand, dead guy on the floor by the fire – when he comes through the door seconds later.

The man wheezes – he’s still alive. Jamie tells Claire to let God take him and good riddance, but dammit Jim, she’s a doctor! She took an oath! She has to try and save him. Jamie rifles the man’s pockets and discovers he’s an excise man – a tax collector.

This is very bad.

Because there’s not much of a living to be made printing seditious pamphlets. So Jamie got into the smuggling business. He brings in whisky, cognac, and brandy with the occasional rum and wee bit of French wine. He stores the liquor in Madame Jeanne’s cellar. Jamie has recently expanded his business beyond Edinburgh, and the Superintending Customs Officer, Sir Percival Turner, wants his cut adjusted accordingly.

Claire asks Madame Jeanne to send one of the fancy ladies to the barber-surgeon to fetch a trephine. Madame Jeanne is like, bitch why? Claire says because she’s going to burr a hole in rapey excise man’s skull. Madame Jeanne is like,


Jamie assembles his crew to move the casks out of the basement. He tasks Young Ian with selling off the liquor. The boy drives a hard bargain and manages to get top coin for the brandy and cognac while unloading three unwanted casks of creme de menthe.

The excise man dies despite Claire’s best efforts. She’s the only one who’s upset by it – with the possible exception of Young Ian’s buyer after he discovers that Jamie has shoved the excise man’s corpse into one of the creme de menthe casks.

While Jamie is doing that, Claire calls on a patient. Margaret Campbell is possibly schizophrenic. Her slickie boy brother Archibald uses her “visions” to run a scam psychic service. They will possibly be important to the story next season, but for now they’re off to the West Indies and a wealthy client who requires their services. Bye Campbells! Bye!

Ian Murray comes to the brothel that evening looking for Young Ian. He’s the first person who seems a little balky at Claire’s story. He says that he and Jenny grieved for Claire for years. He says it in a way that suggests that Jenny is going to be piiiiiiiiissed when she and Claire finally meet again. Anyhoo, Jamie is like NOPE, HAVEN’T SEEN YOUR KID I’M SURE HE’LL TURN UP BYE NOW, BYE.

Jamie and Claire argue over his lie. Jamie says he’s tried to send Young Ian home – twice – but the boy keeps coming back. He reasons that his nephew is better off with him than running off with strangers. He’s blasé about what Jenny and Ian might think. Claire huffs that he has no idea what it’s like to be a worried parent! He’s not Young Ian’s father!


No, Jamie is Faith and Brianna and Willie’s father – but he didn’t get to raise them. He reminds Claire that he didn’t get any say in how she and Frank brought up his daughter. The fact of her wearing a bikini in public – GASP! – seems to be something of a sticking point for him.

Claire defends Frank as a wonderful father and Jamie throws it back at her. Was he a wonderful husband as well? Claire asked Jamie the night before if he ever fell in love with anyone else and he asks her the same question now. Did she fall back in love with Frank when she went back? Claire tells him she didn’t. She says she cared for Frank, but any love she felt for him was before Jamie.

The discussion is interrupted by an urgent knock at the door. Come quickly! There’s trouble in Carfax Close!

Young Ian celebrated his wheeling dealing at the tavern with Fergus, who encouraged him to talk to Bridgid the bar girl. Young Ian is a smitten kitten. He took her back to the print shop for some sweet, sweet loving, but they were interrupted by another of Sir Percival’s men skulking about.

Ian confronted the man and they struggled. Skulky McSkulkerson shoved the boy up against the wall, revealing the hidden pamphlets. And then a fire broke out. Skulky ran off and, after trying to stamp out the flames, Young Ian fled to the back room (instead of following Bridgid out the back door), trapping his fool self in the print shop.

Every window in the building is glowing orange when Claire and Jamie reach the print shop. Jamie runs inside, grabs Willie’s portrait and Young Ian, and carries the boy to safety as the stairs collapse behind him.

With proof of his treason on its way to Sir Percival, Jamie says he’ll leave Edinburgh with Young Ian and Claire. Claire insists that they go home to Lallybroch. Jamie is in no mood to argue and admits that Sir Percival won’t be able to trace him there.

Jamie pulls Fergus and Mr. Willoughby aside to give final instructions before he departs. Fergus is like HEY, SO HAVE YOU TOLD M’LADY ABOUT YOUR OTHER WIFE YET?

No. No Jamie has not.

He watches the life he built in Edinburgh burn to the ground and contemplates running back into the print shop. It has to seem a better option than the world of pain he’s going to enter into when he finally tells Claire the truth.

Big Lebowski world of pain


The knitwear gets the week off as Claire and Jamie spend the better part of “A. Malcolm” naked.

Outlander airs Sunday at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Starz. Whitney also watches Supernatural and Timeless. Follow her on Twitter @Watcher_Whitney.

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