Claire’s faced a number of near-death moments in her brief, 18th-century life (witch trial, anyone?), but never has her life been in such peril in the span of one episode as “La Dame Blanche,” in which she is both nearly poisoned and attacked in the streets of Paris. And it’s a safe bet to assume one — if not both — were masterminded by her powerful enemy, the Comte St. Germain.
The first incident takes place at court. As Jamie and Duverney play a game of chess and begin discussing the King’s interest over Bonnie Prince Charlie’s wealthy English patrons, Claire senses she is no longer welcome in this particular conversation and glides off to find other pursuits. She grabs a wine glass from a servant and takes a swig — a bout of violent coughing and choking ensue. Jamie whisks her upstairs as the Comte watches.
Hours later Claire is resting in bed — she and baby safe and sound. Claire theorizes, given the liquid’s sharp aftertaste, that someone spiked the drink with bitter cascara, which is Master Raymond’s go-to stand-in for when a client requests poison. Still smarting, Claire asks Jamie to distract her, and he relates the day’s earlier dealings with Duverney. What’s needed is to disrepute Charles, and the two hatch a scheme to do just that: They’ll invite him and the Duke over for dinner in the hopes they can somehow make Bonnie Prince Charlie look foolish and unworthy of funding. (Which, honestly, shouldn’t be that difficult, right?) The plan gives Claire pause, however: Inviting the Duke means inviting Alex Randall as well. Claire decides to finally confess her secret. She tells Jamie that Black Jack Randall is very much alive.
“This is wonderful news!” Jamie exclaims, rather unexpectedly. “Why did you wait so long to tell me?”
Claire is baffled by the response, but Jamie has good reason to be chuffed. Now he gets to watch Black Jack die. Now he has something to look forward to. (Other than the impending birth of his child, I guess.)
The next day, Claire pays a visit to Master Raymond to try to get to the bottom of the botched poisoning. The apothecary swears he had no idea that Claire was the intended recipient of the potion. (A servant he didn’t recognize made the purchase.) Alerted by his shoppe assistant that someone is watching, Raymond ushers Claire into a back room filled with his weird and wild treasures and artifacts, which enthrall Claire.
“You’re fascinated by things not of this time,” Raymond keenly observes. He can also tell that something is on her mind, and after a bit of coaxing, Claire confesses that she’s worried about a friend of hers (i.e. Frank).
“The bones will give us answers,” Raymond explains, throwing a handful of bones onto what appears to be a zebra hide. Master Raymond cannot see Frank’s future, but does tell Claire not to worry because she’ll see him again. Claire is, of course, caught off guard by this information (though we viewers, obviously, are not). Before she departs, Claire is bestowed a gift — Master Raymond offers her a necklace that will supposedly change color in the presence of poison. Magic? Science? Who knows!
NEXT PAGE: Monkey see, monkey bite