We gave it a B+
For those of you hoping to see breeches drop within the first 30 seconds of “A. Malcolm,” you were in for a torrential cold shower of delayed gratification. Because despite Claire and Jamie finally reuniting at the Scot’s print shop — after two decades apart! — in the closing moments of last week’s episode, the star-crossed lovers felt the need to run errands before throwing themselves at each other.
In fact, the episode took us back in time (just a bit) to the beginning of the day, in order to retell the events from Jamie’s perspective. We watch as a French woman helps Jamie tie on his cravat and then make his way to his shop, where he finds a couple of Highlanders taking refuge for the night and puts them to work delivering treasonous papers to a papist. Geordie comes and goes on his own errands, and we get a nice little scene of Jamie working the press (a real one, mind you) and using his middle-aged spectacles to check the type. It’s then that Claire enters and the reunion scene from last week unfolds once again.
“You’re real,” Jamie marvels, recovering from his fainting spell.
“So are you,” Claire replies.
Jamie starts, worried he’s had a wee accident, but it turns out to only be some spilled printing fluid. But it does necessitate him taking off his pants. (Just not for the purpose we may have wanted.)
“Do you mind?” he says to Claire.
“It’s all right,” she answers. “We are married. At least, I suppose we are.”
“Aye, we are,” he says, eyeing her ring. The ring he gave her on their wedding day that she never took off. “I would very much like to kiss you,” he says. “May I?”
She acquiesces and the two share their first kiss in 20 years.
Geordie picks that very moment, with Jamie sans pants, to return.
“Orgies in the shop! And before noon!” he exclaims, proffering his resignation and storming out.
Jamie will sort things with Geordie later, but first he needs to know about the couple’s child. Claire has not returned to the 18th century empty-handed, it seems, slipping a bit of anachronistic contraband into her belongings. They’re photos of Brianna. Jamie is moved by the images (except for the bikini one, of course), but not so much the choice of name. “What an awful name for a wee lass,” he tells Claire, who reminds him that she was sworn to name their child after Jamie’s father, Brian. So there.
Thoughts of their child provoke Jamie to tell Claire about his own son, William, whom he conceived with the now-deceased Geneva Dunsany.
Claire is understanding: “I knew when I decided to come back you would have had a life,” she assures him.
Their heart-to-heart is cut short when Jamie realizes he forgot something at the tavern. He asks Claire to accompany him, and along the way they run into a familiar face. Well, not so much a familiar face since it’s aged some 20 years, but nonetheless, it’s Fergus. And he’s incredulous at the sight of Claire. She explains that, after Culloden, she set sail for the colonies as she thought everyone she knew and loved was dead. He accepts that explanation and pulls Jamie aside to talk about their acquaintance Mr. Willoughby, and of course to inquire after Claire.
“Is milady staying with you?” Fergus asks.
“I don’t ken yet,” says Jamie. “I hope so.”
“What about …?”
Jamie replies that he needs to consult with Ned Gowan regarding “the law.” Had a life, indeed. (Recap continues on next page)