First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my lateness of this posting. It is never my intention to procrastinate on such things, but a family emergency trip caused me to be away from home. Thank God that my Starz App worked and I was able to sit in the motel room and watch and Tweet with all of you for this episode. However, due to the high stress level and lack of sleep, I was not cognitively able to write until now. This is going to be a long one, so hold on.
I loved how the episode started, with the servants picking up the pieces of the dinner party from hell. The house is darkened and quiet, except for the servants working. Claire's voice over explains that the gendarmes (french police) came and took everyone away. So, Jamie, Murtagh and Alex were at the Bastille being questioned and held. Jamie comes home to find Claire still up, sitting on a couch with a sleeping Fergus. Jamie, exhausted, comes to his wife and kisses her hand. Thanks to Durvenay, Jamie and Murtagh were released, but Alex, who was promptly fired by Sandringham, is still being held and can only be released upon Mary's word. Jamie picks up Fergus, telling him that he had done a good job protecting his Mistress. Fergus takes his job very seriously!
After putting Fergus to bed, Jamie finds out from Claire that our #BonniePrinceMoron Charlie left with Comte Saint Germain, but he feels optimistic, and perhaps hopeful, that Sandringham is very disappointed in the Prince, so those finances should fall through. That should put a dent in the cause....right? We should only hope.
Jamie then asks Claire about the attack. She says they were well dressed and spoke aristocratic French. Well, why was she left untouched, Jamie wonders. Claire says that her attacker took one look at her and mistook her for a mythical being called La Dame Blanche. She looks over at Jamie who is looking at the ground. Had he heard of her before? Jamie shyly admits that while at Maison Elise, the fellow men kept harrassing him as to why he would not take a whore and cheat on his wife. He said he may have let it slip that he was married to La Dame Blanche and that if he was caught cheating, she may shrivel up his parts. LOL!! Claire looks shocked and says that calling her a witch was the best option? He admits that some alcohol may have played a part there. Well, I would not want to be on the receiving end of Claire's wrath either way!
FYI time: La Dame Blanche is literally translated as The White Woman. In some places she is that spirit in white, but for the most part, she is either a witch, healer, sorceress who sometimes appears to people and makes them do things to pass by, or in this case they are thinking of the one where she is a sacred figure who can help or hinder you when you encounter her. This has proven useful this time and it WILL prove helpful again, before the Frasers depart France.
The next day, Jamie who had asked Murtagh to follow the Comte Saint Germain, comes to find Murtagh has nothing to report. Murtagh has, however, discovered from asking around at the brothel, that there is a group....a gang....of young aristocratic men that mask up and prowl the streets and attack women. The cost of entry into this exclusive gang? A maidenhead, which explains why the one attacker was so happy to find a virgin with Mary. Well, I guess in a cruel way, some things don't change much over the years.
Murtagh with his more than usual dourness, tells Jamie he feels that he has failed Jamie. He should have done better when it came to protecting the ladies. He can't forgive himself for what happened to the "wee lassie" or what may have happened to Claire and the unborn child. Jamie reassures him that he was outnumbered, but to "keep at it" and help him seek revenge. Murtagh swears to Jamie to "lay vengence at [his] feet, or be damned." I do believe a head will roll for this! (no hints implied...heheheehe). I do think Jamie and Murtagh are looking at the Comte, but they really should be looking to another "favorite" too as the culprit! They will find out soon enough.
Meanwhile, Claire sneaks into Mary's house to check up on her. Mary is not to have any visitors and her uncle will be sending her away, because now she is worthless because she is no longer a virgin. Oh the mentality! Mary has finished her letter explaining Alex's innocence so that he will be released from the Bastille. She asks Claire if she could please deliver it to the Bastille. Claire accepts and inquires to Mary's well being. Timid little Mary responds profoundly with "Ashamed. Like I am a different person now and I'll never be the same." Claire assures her friend that there is no reason to be ashamed and it was not her fault she was raped. Claire gives Mary an herbal mixture to be used as an infusion, mixed with hot water and applied with a cloth compress. Mary suddenly asks if she is going to have a baby. Claire pauses, but assures her that most likely not as her attacker was not able to finish. Claire says Mary is too pretty and sweet to marry such a warty old man anyway, as the vicomte will no longer have her deflowered. This makes Mary smile and she tells Claire that at least there is that which makes her available to marry Alex upon his release. Claire's face tells us she does not like that idea either as it affects Frank's future. That whole paradox thing again. If Claire only knew that the family tree is actually a little wrong it would save a whole hell of a lot of grief coming up!
Jamie is still at the wine business when Prince Charlie arrives with a flourish (as if that ever changes!). Mark me! The drama diva queen has arrived folks! He announces to Jamie (because Jamie needs to know this useless crap) that he has kicked the Louise habit train by simply telling her that "the female haze that once clouded [his] mind has been lifted." It may not have been seen, but I am sure Jamie rolled his eyes at that one. Okay, he's done now, right? I mean there is work to be done. No! Wait! There is more! Charlie wishes to celebrate because he has "excellent news". Jamie is to bring out his best Burgandy wine for the occasion. So nice of your to ask first! Well, it turns out that the English backers to the cause have turned tail and ran (do you blame them?). However, a new backer has come about and has pledged 10,000 pound sterling! Who is this backer, Jamie asks? The Comte Saint Germain, of course! Can we say S.O.B.!? The Prince has taken a loan and half of it is to procure a shipment of wine and then to turn and sell it and use the profits to impress Durvenay and King Louis. Jamie expresses great concern in dealing with Saint Germain. However, Charlie doesn't want to listen (this will be a BIG on going problem with the man!) and he says that he knows of the Comte's damnable reputation, but he has chosen to overlook all the hearsay as he does with Claire being La Dame Blanche. Too bad Claire couldn't use that to scare the crap out of Charlie. The Prince then informs Jamie that he wants him to be the one to arrange the sale of his half of the shipment and that he has already set up a meeting at Maison Elise between Jamie and Saint Germain. Oh yea.
Back with Claire, she is home deciding whether or not to throw Mary's letter in the fire. Do you have any idea how long it took her to write that, Claire? Dip and write. Dip and write. She then decides to actually take it to the Bastille and free Alex Randall. However, she is going to have a talk with the man. She politely and quite logically attempts to derail any plans he may have of marrying one Mary Hawkins. Her strategy is simple. Use the essence of the truth against him. She informs him he is no longer employed, so therefore has no position. He is ill (he had quite a coughing fit earlier) and Mary would not do will being more nurse than wife living hand to mouth. She is trying to be kind, but all she is really thinking about is Frank and trying to save him from being non-existent.
This may sound very selfish to many. I know it does some to me. However, if you were in her shoes, would you do the same to save someone from vanishing from existence? What if Frank does not exist anymore? What happens to Claire? She won't marry Frank and won't go to that spot in the Highlands and touch the stones. She won't travel through time and meet Jamie and marry him and fall in love. Time travel can be such a conundrum! Claire is a very logical person at times. She looks at life as very valuable and if she comes to a hard unsavory decision, we see the nurse / future surgeon come out in how she handles it. She stabs at the heart of the matter with surgical precision in the fastest and least painful way possible and it usually pays off. This is one of those times. Alex agrees with Claire, that Mary deserves much more than what he can offer and he thanks her for her candor and tells her Mary is very fortunate to have a friend like her. Not sure Mary would agree right now.
Jamie is meeting with Saint Germain at Maison Elise. Not sure who hates who more, but it is evident there is great tension as usual. The Comte sits all regal like and is quick to remind Jamie that he has not forgotten Claire's "deliberate attempt" at ruining him. Really dude? Can you smell how full of it you are? Claire had NEVER heard of you before that! Yeah...sure. Her goal in life is to go around ruining people's lives and business she has never heard of before (insert sarcasm here). Geesh! This is where I fell in love with Jamie again. His demeanor, facial expression and comments are 100% book Jamie! Strong, unreadable and quick!
Jamie counters by telling the Comte, that since he brought up his wife, someone tried to poison her and attacked her and her friend was raped. Jamie says that his memory is as long as the Comte's and that when he finds the bastard who did it, he will "die a very slow and very painful death." He says this with a twinkle in his eye and a smirk. Basically telling the Comte, I am coming for you asshole. Saint Germain stays calm though and reacts by simply telling Jamie that "Your personal life is of no interest to me. Absolutely none at all." Jamie is informed he is not to sell the wine until Saint Germain decides it is time to sell. This was a great scene!
Later that night, Jamie tells Claire that he knows the moment the Prince gets the profits he will be sailing for Scotland. Claire says they need to dispose of the shipment before that happens. Jamie jokes that it is too bad the ship wouldn't be struck with smallpox. Claire says he may be joking, but she may have an idea. There may be herbs to simulate smallpox symptoms and she will look into it the next day. If the crew thinks it is smallpox, then the shipment will be destroyed. Jamie thinks this may be a viable plan, then changes the subject that they are expected at Versailles tomorrow as he promised Sandringham he would help him buy horses. Claire sighs and says he does not owe that man anything, but Jamie, though he agrees, does not wish to alienate the man just yet. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer seems to be the strategy.
Jamie remembers that he was waiting to surprise Claire with something and gets up to retrieve it. It is a wooden box that contains 12 silver spoons. One for each apostle. It was sent from Lallybroch by Jenny as a Christening gift for the baby. Claire is very touched, but it draws up the worry that she never really knew her mother, and was raised by her uncle and therefore never had a role model. She questions being able to raise a baby, though she knows, as a nurse, how to deliver one. Jamie tenderly assures her as he touches her belly, that whatever she does not know, she will learn. THEY will learn together. She smiles at him and tells him she loves him and they kiss. Ahhhh....a tender moment. Few and far between these days.
At Versailles, the next day, Jamie is enjoying being in a stable once more and around horses. He is wearing his kilt again! HOORAY! Nothing like a sexy man in a kilt with horses! Of course, Claire is not liking the smell so much and is just about to say something when Sandringham (or as I like to call him on Twitter #Sandringass) comes to call. Claire has great timing as she greets him then says she needs to excuse herself as she may very well be sick. LOL! Jamie and Sandringham walk and Jamie recommends a horse he is looking at. The Duke tells Jamie that the dinner party was not a total loss, as it gave him a chance to see Prince Charlie for the "utter ass" he is. Understatement of the year there sir! The Duke then asks Jamie why for a man that has such great taste in horses, has terrible taste in men. Jamie continues to look at a horse. He knows the Duke is just trying to get him to reveal his true allegiance and of course use it against him in some way. Jamie coyly plays both sides by agreeing what an ass Charlie is and other faults, but at the same time admitting he is the true heir to the throne. Sandringham doesn't like to be cornered, so he counters with that they should just keep looking at horses, since Jamie seems to be a man that "values options."
Meanwhile in the garden, Claire has been asked to walk by Annalise. Annalise seems like a little bitch to me at times. She seems to be trying to get Claire to admit to Jamie's faults or that she likes rubbing the fact that she was with Jamie first (though we know there was no sex) in Claire's face. She says she misses his directness and simplicity. Claire says that he is still those things and he will never really lose sight of who he is as a man in his heart. Annalise responds with what sounds like a compliment. When she knew him, he was a boy, but Claire made him a man. Well, duh! Claire is taken aback by the compliment, but does not have time to respond when Annalise tells Claire that a "rather dashing" man seemed quite interested in her. Claire turns around and freezes. Walking towards her is none other than Captain Jonathan Randall! He approaches and greets Claire warmly, though I still got a slight feeling he was surprised to see her alive as well.
FYI: There are a few scenes just in this episode that are very different from the books. Look for my FYI post for more information, but this scene is one of them. Claire not only found out about BJR differently, but she was at Sandringham's house when she "bumps" into him.
Claire is frozen with fear and horror at seeing this man again. We can see this look when Frank back in the first episode gets mad at Claire. She doesn't back down, but you can see the horror. She is barely listening, but when she hears Randall explain to Annalise that he is recovering from an injury, she snaps to. Claire attempts to take her leave as she is suddenly not feeling well. Annalise takes off to find Jamie, even though Claire protests. This leaves Jack and Claire alone for the first time since Wentworth Prison. Randall says to Claire (in his tender weird serial killer way) if Jamie was there as well. Claire's venom comes to the surface as she tells Jack that he had better leave, lest Jamie kill him where he stands. Randall just smirks and reminds Claire of the punishment of death if someone pulls a weapon in the presence of the King. He begins to happily ponder the circumstances and fate that brought them all to this place at this time. In Paris of all places. Claire tries to push past him as she can not stand to be in his presence any longer. He grabs her arms and mentions the King again. Claire looks at him and loudly whispers "F**k the King!"
Randall lets go of her arm and suddenly swoops into a deep curtsy. Claire is confused for a moment and then with a slow dread turns around to see King Louis and guards standing there. She is forced to introduce Randall who then stands and addresses King Louis. Louis makes fun of Randall's French and then says hello to Claire and points out her French is impeccable as usual. He then asks Claire if she and Randall are friends. She pauses and dryly says they are merely acquaintances. Louis asks Claire how Jamie fairs with that as he is a very proud Scot. Just then Jamie approaches from behind Claire and Randall. He does not look at Randall, but Jack looks at him with that weird desire, but is still worried and puts his hand on the hilt of his sword. Jamie addresses the King and admits to having met Randall several times. He then turns to Randall and inquires about his health.
JAMIE: "I hear you had an unfortunate accident with......sheep was it?"
RANDALL: "Cattle actually."
JAMIE: "Now you are quite recovered."
RANDALL: "Mostly, I still have a little difficulty getting out of bed on cold mornings."
JAMIE: "I understand the weather here in Paris is to be quite warm all week."
RANDALL: "You need have no concern for my health."
JAMIE: "Delighted to hear it."
Basically.....you got trampled and lived, so now you are well again to fight. So, now I will kill you. This is the polite way of threatening someone. I can not imagine the strength it took Jamie to stand there all poised and calm. I suffer from PTSD and I cannot imagine staying calm and cool in front of my attacker!
King Louis...oh....I never did like the man, even in history. Most royalty are asses anyway. However, he earned a few points here, because I hate BJR even more! When asked what brought him to Paris, Randall says it is a "mission of mercy." His brother Alex was under the employ of Sandringham and has since mistakenly been fired. He is here to discuss with Sandringham the possibility of taking Alex back. King Louis fires another one in saying that maybe he should beg. Randall is confused and King Louis explains that Sandringham is not the type of man you ask, but instead responds better to begging. Yup.....that seems like the Sandringham we know. Randall still looks confused as the King is making it seems like he wants him to beg right now. When the King says "on your knees" Randall slowly gets down on one knee. The King, his crew, Claire and Jamie have a good little laugh at that one and the King shrugs it off like he was joking. I swear that man is a Dom in the bedroom....he loves to control people!
Claire takes this opportunity to excuse herself as she is not feeling well. The King says of course and she starts to walk away. Louis releases Jamie shortly after and Jamie catches up with Claire. He makes sure she is okay and that she is not really ill and he tells her to wait there. He turns around and goes back to Randall, who is now alone. Claire watches in horror as they converse. Randall tenderly touches Jamie where the brand had been and Jamie just looks down with contempt at Randall's hand. They bow to each other and Jamie returns to Claire. What the hell just happened? Jamie says he challenged Randall to a duel and that he accepted. "He says he owes me a debt." Jamie says with a smile.
They return home and a very happy Jamie gets out of the carriage and goes inside with Fergus who is asking questions. Claire pauses and then tells the driver to hurry and take her to the Bastille. Jamie and Murtagh are discussing the duel. Randall was challenged, so he will pick the weapon. What if it's pistols, Murtagh asks. Jamie pauses and says, No...it is too fast.
Claire walks in as they are discussing the duel and informs them that there will be no duel. They are confused and ask why not? She says she was at the Bastille and filed an official charge that says Randall was one of the attackers on her and Mary. Murtagh and Jamie are furious that she would file such false charges. This could get her in trouble, but she assures them that if needed, she could claim she was mistaken. Jamie asks why and Claire says she needed to buy some time to make him see reason. He needed to think of her and the baby. Dueling is illegal in France and if caught he could spend the rest of his life in jail. Jamie says there are places that the police are not around. Murtagh makes the mistake of opening his mouth and tells Claire that he will make sure they are not caught. Claire loses all patience and orders Murtagh from the room, that this is between her and Jamie.
Once alone, Jamie brings up the fact that ending Randall's life was a gift she had given him and he intends to claim that gift now. He is insistent and Claire blurts out the real reason she doesn't want him to kill Randall - because of Frank. Tears start to flow and she tries to make Jamie see her point of view. By killing Jack Randall, Mary Hawkins will not marry him, there will be no baby, therefore, no Frank in the future. Jamie counters with that is the in the future and he thought they were there to change the future. Claire argues that Frank is innocent in all of this. That he has never done them any harm.
By this time, Jamie is becoming furious and says "For that Jack Randall should live?!" he yells at her. "I can stand a lot, more than most. I've proven as much. But must I bear everyone's weaknesses? May I not have my own?" Oooofff....good one Jamie! He reminds Claire that she saw what Randall did to him and how could she of all people ask this of him. Claire asks for a delay....just one year. Jamie, thoroughly frustrated by now, grabs his dirk and comes at Claire. He turns it and makes her hold the hilt and he holds the point to his chest. If she will not allow him to kill Randall, then she must kill him. Claire, sobbing, again asks Jamie for the one year delay. Just enough time for the child to be born and then she swears to help Jamie "bleed him" herself. Jamie releases his grip on the dirk and Claire throws it to the side. "You owe me that, James Fraser!" she tells him....that he owes her a life. Wait....what? Yeah, she saved his life from Wentworth, and brought him back from the horror, but how many times did Jamie save HER LIFE? I don't think that was a fair statement. Jamie seems to calm down, but we know he is far from calm on the inside. He feels betrayed by his wife....again. It seems that this Frank's life is more important to her than his own. He simply says "I see." and asks if she will be claiming that debt now. Claire sobbing and shaking, pauses and nods and says yes , because that is the only way she can make him see sense. Jamie replies with "Jesus. God, Claire! You'd stop me taking vengeance on the man that played me his whore?! The man who lived in my nightmares and in our bed? Who almost drove me to take my own life?" She quietly answers "Yes."
Jamie holds the sword he would have used on Randall and kisses it and swears to Claire "One year. Not one day more." as he crosses over to her. She tries to touch him then, but he growls at her "Don't touch me!" and walks away. Before the scene fades away, Jamie is on the other side of the room with his back to Claire and Claire remains where she stood. Yet another gap between them.
Unfortunately folks, things are only going to get worse before they get better. There is something major happening next episode and maybe carrying over into the next. I can't say....I am one of many book readers that know what is to come and so wish to blurt it out. But remember this.....Claire returns back to Frank as we saw in the first episode. She is barely pregnant there, so where is the current baby? Do you think Jamie (as we have seen from stills of the show) will NOT get caught dueling? The crap fan is on folks, so hold on and get those tissues ready!