It’s been a long frigid winter without Jamie Fraser warming our hearts—and loins. So how lovely for showrunner Ron Moore to end the Droughtlander with a premiere told from the point of view of the hot Scot! But there’s much more to this framing device than simply quenching fans’ thirst. For one, letting Jamie explain his actions—especially in that spanking scene—fosters understanding (and dare I say sympathy?) for the belt-wielder. (He didn’t want to do it but social mores and conventions dictated he must!) For another—and this is, admittedly, a half-baked theory of mine—I suspect producers are setting a precedence for later in the season when Jamie and Black Jack meet once again. I’ll spare non-book readers the spoiler-rod here, so to speak, but if Outlander really goes there, it will have to be from Jamie (or even Black Jack’s) perspective since Claire won’t be there.
One final note before this officially becomes the longest recap introduction ever. If you’ve recently watched (or re-watched) the first half of season 1, you might have noticed that Jamie’s opening speech here—”Strange, the things you remember…”—is something of a counterpoint to Claire’s opening speech—”You forget your life after a while…”—in “The Wedding” episode. I liked that call back.
So let’s not delay the gratification any longer and get to it! As you’ll recall, when last we saw newlywed Claire Fraser, she was being held prisoner at Ft. William, in the clutches of the nefarious Black Jack. Jamie—along with several MacKenzie men—had stormed the fortification to rescue her. When Black Jack gets his first glimpse of Jamie crouched in his window, well, the look of pure joy on his face is chilling. Jamie took a calculated risk in his siege, arming himself with an unloaded gun (Ned doesn’t want them killing anyone, after all). And it pays off. Black Jack takes the gun, and when he fires at Jamie sans bullet, he becomes distracted long enough for the Highlander to knock him out and cut Claire’s binds.
“Sometimes I wonder why I chose not to take his life,” Jamie ponders in the voiceover. “But at that moment I only thought to make certain he wasn’t about to raise the alarm. It never occurred to me to kill a helpless man—even one such as Randall.” Famous last words, amirite?
Free from the shadow of Ft. William, Jamie, Claire, and Co. stop to water the horses—and have it out. Jamie thinks Claire owes him an apology. She does not think the same.
“An apology? she asks incredulously. “I was taken hostage by Jack Randall. You’re trying to say that’s somehow my fault?”
“Well, it is your fault,” he retorts. “Had you stayed put where I ordered you to stay, none of this would have happened.”
To be fair, Jamie is right. (Also note that Claire never mentions her true intentions at Craigh na Dun. Guilty conscience?) This is the most heated (non-sexually speaking) we’ve seen Claire and Jamie get thus far—and the most at-odds over their differing cultures and time periods. The argument—a powerful scene, to be sure—is a gut-punch for Jamie, who’s not used to marital discord. Ultimately, all is forgiven. Or so Claire thinks.
NEXT: A love tap