Outlander the TV show has deviated from Outlander the book just enough that I wasn’t sure what to make of the concluding moments of last week’s “Lallybroch,” as Jamie stood surrounded by a band of dirty ruffians. Had disgruntled Mr. MacNab turned Jamie in after the Laird punished him for beating his son? (A plot twist that would have made Jenny’s line, “Our tenants are like family. Not a man, woman, or child would think of betraying Jamie to the Red Coats at any price,” a nice bit of foreshadowing.) Or had the estate fallen prey to a group of ruthless scoundrels intent on robbing and pillaging? Or was it all just a surprise party gone horribly wrong?
In actuality, it turns out the one supposedly committing larceny is Jamie! The Watch (imagine half a dozen kilt-wearing Paul Blarts) assumed our favorite ginger was a thieving trespasser since they’ve never seen him before. And they know the residents of Lallybroch well, owning to their frequent stays. Quick-witted Jenny smoothly clears up the misunderstanding. Sort of. “That’s no scoundrel, you fool,” she tells the leader, Taran MacQuarrie. “That’s my cousin, Jamie.” (Jenny obviously does not have a future in espionage. She couldn’t even give her brother/cousin a fake name!?)
Satisfied with this explanation—for now, at least—Taran and the rest of The Watch make themselves at home at Lallybroch. With a few more members expected to join in the coming days.
Jamie, as you’d imagine, is none too pleased with these turn of events. “Are you daft, sister?” he chides Jenny. “Welcoming The Watch into your home.” But with band offering protection from the Red Coats (and at a lesser fee than for other estates), she and Ian really didn’t have much of a choice.
Over dinner that evening—with Jamie barely containing his rage over the unexpected house guests—he, Ian, and Taran swap war stories. But the lively conversation raises Taran’s suspicions. Why, in all the time that he and Ian have been musing over their soldiering days, had Jamie never come up?
Tensions continue to mount the next day as Jamie just can’t resist making an off-hand comment to one of The Watch members about how Ian’s tobacco (which they’d greedily helped themselves to) is too good for them. Creepy MacGuy (as this character shall be known going forward), sets fire to a wagon full of hay just to be petulant. Once the blaze is out, Jamie confronts the assembled Watch members and fights them off single-handedly… until Taran breaks up the fight.
“I could use a man like you,” Taran says to Jamie. “Not just a bonny fighter but a warrior.” Somewhat surprisingly, Jamie seems to consider the implied offer. But now that he has Claire, his war days are behind him. Or are they? Because who should appear in the next wave of The Watch but Horrocks, who you’ll remember as the Red Coat-deserter, who sold to Jamie the incriminating information about Black Jack Randall. Once again, Jamie is at his mercy: Horrocks could totally blow his cover to Taran and The Watch.
But Horrocks plays dumb regarding Jamie’s true identity, and his reason for being at Lallybroch are soon made known: He and The Watch are planning to intercept and rob the Chisholm rent party as they pass right outside the Fraser clan’s land.
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