Outlander S2 Ep8 "The Fox's Lair" Review / Recap
I am speechless. I haven't almost hated an episode 100% until now. However, I will refrain from my reasons until after the quick (not going to be one of my long ones for sure) recap.
The episode started off okay. Jamie and Claire are back home in Scotland at the family estate of Lallybroch. The potatoes are done and ready for harvest and there is a nice little discussion with Jamie, Claire, Jenny, Mrs. Crook, Fergus and Rabbie McNab of what do you do with a potato once you have one. Well, Claire and Fergus have to explain all the culinary possibilities of the wondrous potato. It looks like mashed with some milk is the way to go that night for dinner, but Ian and Murtagh arrive home with the mail. Jamie receives an official looking letter and goes to the window to read it. While Jenny is remarking about which French poetry book to read first and Claire saying hers is from Louise, they hear Jamie curse in Gaelic.
Turns out that the letter is a proclamation of King James the rightful ruler and lists supporters of his Jacobite cause. Of course this is all done by his son, Prince Charles Stewart. The wee bastard has decided to fight after all and has named some people supporting the cause......a one James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser is one. Jamie is pissed to say the least. The S.O.B. has forged his signature to this document that the English will receive most likely too! This marks Jamie as a traitor to the English Crown and if caught, he will be executed. Now, a Traitor's Death has usually meant drawn and quartered (remember the conversation with Mon. Forez?). This isn't good.
Jamie and Claire know what the future holds. Do they fight for the cause knowing it is going to fail? Do they run away? It is decided that they have to fight. They can't run away and take Jenny, Ian and all their kids with them. Even if they could, there is still the tenants of Lallybroch. What about them? Jamie really has no choice. He is Scottish and he needs to protect his home and family. Besides, Bonnie Prince Moron helped that decision along too.
We get a sweet and sexy scene in the bedroom with Jamie and Claire, but once they hit the bed, scene change. I could hear tons of fans, groan. This season has been lacking in intimacy with our couple. Trust me, I was never one to complain that there was too much. They have done an awesome job when they do have the sex scenes.
Later that night, Claire wakes to an empty bed. She comes to the balcony and looks down to find her husband sitting with his new niece on his lap. He is talking quietly to the baby in Gaelic. Jenny joins Claire and talks to her. She says that this is how we talk to them before they are born and that women are able to do that, but men have to wait until after the child is born. You can tell a baby anything. It is a bittersweet moment and the only time the entire episode that we remember anything of the loss of last episode. It is also the best scene of the episode. Jamie talking sweetly to a baby is the Awww factor!
It is decided to go visit Jamie and Jenny's grand sire, Lord Lovat at Castle Beauly. Lord Lovat is an arrogant, mean, conniving sexist pig. It is probably a good idea to not work as a maid for this man, as he has the reputation for raping them. Brian, Jamie's father, was an illegitimate child who is said to have been born after Lord Lovat raped a kitchen maid. He is also known to rape and force marriage on whomever he likes. He tried to kidnap Jamie's mother so that Brian could not marry her. Obviously, that failed. He is mean and loses his temper easily. However, Prince Charles has asked Jamie to go to his grandfather to ask for his support in the Jacobite cause in the form of men for the army.
Colum MacKenzie is there as well. Claire is not happy to see him and tells him why. It is because of him and his helper, Laoghaire that she got arrested and put on trial at Cransmuir. He claims no responsibility to her being there. It was only supposed to be Gellis Duncan. Later, he discusses his feelings of the rebellion to Jamie. He is probably the smart one in this and wishes to stay neutral. He knows that all previous rebellions have failed because of lack of money (and lack of the clans getting along too). He is looking the worse for wear. So, Jamie is there to try to convince Lord Lovat to join the rebellion and Colum is there to convince him not to join. Oh, this is going to be interesting. What is it Diana says.....Frasers are stubborn as hell and MacKenzies will stab you in the back first chance they get?
Lord Lovat tries to get something from Jamie. He wants Lallybroch. Seems like everyone is after that place. Remember, it is sitting on a plot of land right between Fraser and McKenzie territory. Prime real estate it seems. Lord Lovat threatens Jamie in various ways, but the best one is when he threatens to rape Claire and to give her to Simon his son. The best line of the night was Jamie's with "Go ahead try to ravage my wife. When she's done with ye, I will send in the maid to sweep up your remains." I had to laugh out loud at that one. Jamie knows the ferociousness of his wife! However, Jamie doesn't stop there. He pulls out the La Dame Blanche card. His grand sire is familiar with the being since he is a superstitious man and believes in the supernatural.
Speaking of witches....Laoghaire is back. Claire runs into her in a hallway and the little wench tells Claire she is sorry and that she has changed and mended her ways. Yeah....right. Claire says she can't help her. The synopsis here is that Claire uses Laoghaire to try to woo Simon to their side. Of course, we end up seeing the wee wench has not changed, really. She is caught by Claire sniffing one of Jamie's shirts she is hanging out on the line. Ewwww! She tries to woo Simon as she picks mushrooms. This was set up with Claire. However, Claire walks to a chapel nearby and while inside, Laoghaire talks to him seductively and gives him a small peep show down her blouse. On top of this, towards the end, Claire asks Jamie to thank Laoghaire for her assistance. REALLY?????
Claire finds out of Lord Lovat's superstitious leanings by hiding behind a wall one day when she hears Lord Lovat angrily throwing a woman from a room. He threatens to beat her within an inch of her life. When he leaves, Claire comes over to the woman and asks if she is okay. Not much conversation happens there, but when Claire is working with Laoghaire and goes into the chapel, she finds the woman there. Her name is Maisri and she is Lord Lovat's Seer. She had a vision of him by a fire, but it was daytime. A shadow of an ax comes across his face. A man stands behind him, face black from a mask. She saw his execution. However, she did not tell him this, as she feared to be beaten again.
Claire uses this information to help when Lord Lovat, in a meeting, tries to make Jamie sign over Lallybroch. Jamie is about to sign, when Claire, standing in the doorway, drops her cup and gets a look of horror and points at Lord Lovat. She tells him what she saw, and he comes after her with a knife. Simon "grows a pair" as they say and stands up to his father. He says he will fight for the cause even if his father doesn't want to. Lord Lovat goes back to the table and he makes the announcement that the Frasers of Lovat will side with the MacKenzies and stay NEUTRAL in the coming war. He and Colum sign the agreement. Simon, Jamie and Claire are stunned and disappointed.
The three pack up their horses the next day and leave the castle. They ride for a bit and Claire asks who "they" are and points to the top of a hill. There are dozens of men. Simon looks and says they are his father's men. Lord Lovat comes down and it is discovered that he is covered if the war wins or loses. I have a feeling that won't be the case. It is time to gather the men and prepare them for war.
(1) The beginning seemed rushed and short. We viewers want to see Jamie and Claire happy for more than 2 minutes! They were suddenly home in Scotland and it seems they had been there for awhile. We really don't get to see them come home, and the relief and joy it brings.
(2) What is the rush? I am starting to get the feeling that they want to see fast they can get through the books! Not a good idea! If they try that with Voyager in one season, I guarantee they will lose viewers and I will most likely be one of them.
(3) They screwed up majorly by changing Laoghaire. This started in Season 1. Even Diana didn't like the idea of changing her character to have more influence and especially didn't like adding her to this season like they did. She was a gnat on the wall in the book (Outlander). A nuisance. She didn't actually plot to have Claire killed at Cransmuir. In the books, the most she could have done and hoped for is that Claire would have just got into some trouble and Jamie would be done with her. Most importantly, Jamie had no idea about Laoghaire's involvement with Cransmuir! Now that he knows, this affects what is supposed to happen in Season 3! Spoiler here for Voyager! Jamie marries Laoghaire. Jenny sets it up because her brother is very depressed and lonely. She sees it is a mistake when she sees Claire's "fetch" (ghost) standing next to Jamie at the ceremony, but it is too late. He never loves the woman and does his duty. Claire shows back up and all hell breaks loose. Laoghaire is screaming and carrying on and shoots Jamie. An agreement for the annulment of the marriage is made up and now Jamie has to pay alimony / child support to Laoghaire, so that makes them have to go get the Silkie's treasure (a whole other story) that Jamie has kept buried off the coast, but since he is injured, he can't swim. Young Ian does it instead and gets captured in the process, thus why they get on a boat and head to the Caribbean. However, now Jamie knows about Cransmuir and Laoghaire. There is nothing you can convince me that would work for Jamie to marry the bitch now! They wrote themselves into a corner, and I am not looking forward to how this is going to play out. I have lost some faith in the show. Thanks guys!
(3) Although I did not mind Colum being there, I believe the whole conversation he had with Jamie didn't exist until later in Edinburgh. Colum was not at Beauly as I recall.
(4) The hodge-podge of an episode and some parts of others, along with some of these changes that are allowed to go through, makes me think there are "too many cooks in the kitchen" or "too many hands in the pot". Maybe they need to pay attention to what the fans are saying and remember majority of their fan base from the get go are fans who have read the books.
The episode wasn't all bad. There were small moments here and there that worked just fine. However, some of the editing was off and someone noticed that Jamie's scars were not on his back because there was a reflection in the mirror. Sloppy and a hodge-podge of an episode. Especially after last weeks, powerful and beautifully done episode of "Faith". It is like night and day.
Any thoughts out there?