One of the cutest bits of trivia I gleaned from my interview with Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan leading up to the midseason premiere of Outlander was that actress Laura Donnelly—who plays Jamie’s strong-willed sister, Jenny—also auditioned for the role of Claire. Which means that, yes, Sam has made out with his sister. (On-screen sister!) But it’s clear from “Lallybroch” that these two actors are much better suited to portray bickering yet adoring siblings. It’s nice to see Jamie in his element at home, and a major grounding force for him (in addition to his new bride) is his sister. Let’s retrace how we got here. (Hint: so many flashbacks!)
Given the most recent memories Jamie has of Lallybroch—being tied up and mercilessly flogged by Captain Black Jack Randall—the Laird is uneasy as he and Claire approach Broch Tuarach (meaning: the north-facing tower).
“It’s behind you now, Jamie,” Claire says trying to soothe him. “It’s in the past.”
But Jamie’s mind is troubled over current consequences, including the rumors that Randall had gotten Jenny pregnant with “a bastard child.” His dark and stormy demeanor only intensifies when he spies a young boy playing outside and an obviously pregnant Jenny jumps into his arms to welcome him home. And to top it all off, she’s named the “illegitimate” child after him!
“Do you not think I’d suffered enough for what I’d let happen that you must name Randall’s bastard after me to be a reproach as long as I live?” he asks his sister.
Of course, there’s an explanation but Jamie won’t let Jenny give it, so she threatens to do what she did as children to make him quiet: grab him by the “bollocks.” Jamie reproaches Jenny for saying such things in front of his wife, and her response is pure perfection: “If she’s your wife, I’m sure she’s more familiar with your balls than I am.”
His paternity query is quickly dispatched with, though, when up walks his friend Ian, otherwise known as Jenny’s husband.
Inside, slightly more rational and clear-headed, Jamie begs to know what punishment Black Jack exacted on Jenny. We see the events play out through sepia-toned flashbacks:
Black Jack drags Jenny back into the house, toward the bedroom. As she stands stricken, waiting for the violence to level against her, Randall begins sniffing her and sticking his blood-soaked finger in her mouth, causing her to nearly gag. “Look at me,” he commands. Jenny reaches behind her to grab a candlestick and wallops the Red Coat with it. But it’s not enough to subdue him. He starts undressing and pulls out his…Little Jack Randall.
(You guys! Do you think that was real or a prosthetic?! I mean, not to sound like a pervert, but I watched the scene twice and it looked as though Tobias Menzies was unfurling it like a rolled up Union Jack in his pants! I need some answers!)
Anyway, Randall tries to get himself, er, ready. But he can’t. It doesn’t help that Jenny, with uncanny intuition, is laughing at him. Big, hearty guffaws. Even though she’s a virgin and doesn’t really understand what he’s doing, she does know that her reaction is affecting him. To quote Margaret Atwood: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” Unable to get hard, he knocks her out. When she comes to, he’s gone.
NEXT: Indecent proposal