Felt like a lot of male nudity this week, no? Not that I will ever, in one million years, complain about seeing Jamie Fraser naked. But we got more than beefcake this episode.
Much of “Lallybroch” was about learning to make nice with the in-laws, who (even when perfectly delightful) are just as much an alien world as eighteenth century Scotland. Blessedly, Claire is finally learning when to keep her mouth shut—and when to yank a sheet out front under Jamie and blister his ears.
After a long journey and presumably some more romantic hillside copulation, Jamie and Claire finally arrive home at Lallybroch. (Jamie’s awestruck curiosity about airplanes: so, so lovable.) Unfortunately, our dear redheaded hero quickly bungles the homecoming when he sees a suspiciously aged child and accuses his sister Jenny of shacking up with Black Jack Randall. First of all, Jamie, is there something about the concept of force that you’re struggling with in that handsome head of yours?
They all troop inside, Jenny and Jamie already furious at one another. And so we get the best exchange of the show so far:
Jenny: “You see, you were wrong, and I’m expecting an apology.”
Jamie: “Have I not said as much?”
Claire: “No, you haven’t.”
Jenny: “This is between my brother and me.”
Claire: “I was just suggesting—”
Jamie, to Claire: “Can I see you in private for a moment?”
Ian, Jenny’s husband: Dead silent because he’s no novice.
But finally, Claire is beginning to catch onto the fact that she’s got to operate a little differently as long as she’s careening around a time period that’s not her own, with a different set of rules.
This week, it was Jamie who had to get his mind right. You see, he quickly realizes he was wrong to Jenny, but doesn’t quite repair the breech. And then, he proceeds to act damned cavalier about her expertise when she and Ian have been running the whole estate for four years now. He wants to play Lord Bountiful and say the rents don’t matter and get drunk with his vassals and threaten to beat the dog shit out of the local abusive father. Never mind that they need that money and Jenny was working on a plan to help the abused kid and hey dummy, don’t go running off to an exposed hilltop near a redcoat patrol when there’s already somebody coming to fix the damn mill.
Luckily, he has Claire, who has Ian to tell her that if you want to live with a Fraser, sometimes you’ve just to grab ‘em by the ears and speak your piece real loud, using small words for clarity. And she’s also learned that the best place to tell your spouse what’s up is within the sanctity of your marital bedroom. So Claire marches upstairs and informs Jamie that his lord-of-the-manor shtick isn’t impressing anybody and, more importantly, it isn’t getting the job done and oh by the way, if he isn’t careful his sister is going to pack up, move out, and never speak to him again.
Which knocks Jamie back down to Earth so he and Jenny can finally have a heart-to-heart about the fact that Black Jack’s villainy is nobody’s fault but Black Jack’s. Jamie’s back isn’t Jenny’s fault for refusing to give Randall what he wanted; their father’s death isn’t Jamie’s fault for refusing Randall’s offer to suspend the flogging if he’ll “make free of your body.”
Back to the nudity, though: I almost swallowed my tongue when I realized that we were actually seeing Black Jack Randall’s lackadaisical dick in that flashback. I’m not really sure why Black Jack’s villainy has to be psychosexual in nature; can’t he just be a good, old-fashioned, power-abusing occupier? But Jenny laughing straight in his face—desperately, stubbornly—was something, all right. I think Claire’s finally found somebody in this time period she can bond with.
Heaven help me, though:
Though hungover Jamie deserves some love, too: