We gave it an A-
Considering Voyager — Diana Gabaldon’s third novel, upon which this season of Outlander is based — comes in at a doorstop-worthy 1,059 pages, a considerable number of plot points often have to be crammed into a single episode. Such was the case with tonight’s “First Wife,” which boasts a reunion, a shooting, and a kidnapping.
Narrowly surviving last week’s print shop fire, Young Ian is returned home safely to Lallybroch by Jamie and Claire. But neither he nor his auntie get a warm reception upon arrival.
“I never thought I’d see you grace my front step again,” Jenny tells Claire, clearly distrusting of Jamie’s long-lost bride. And it doesn’t help Claire’s cause that Young Ian tells his mom that Claire shot a man dead just days after reuniting with Jamie. (Claire helpfully assures that she didn’t do it, like, in front of Young Ian.)
Meanwhile, Ian informs Jamie that he must be the one to whip Young Ian as punishment for running away. After all, if Jamie considers Young Ian something of a son, he must also help with the less savory tasks. But, in a clever subversion of the book, Jamie tells Ian that “a thrashing isn’t the only way to teach a lesson” and suggests Young Ian work in the muck instead. (Which he does.) Jenny, on the other hand, doesn’t take too kindly to Jamie’s parenting advice: “Listen to you telling me what I should do. You must ken it’s a mortal sin to take another wife while the first still walks the Earth!” (If only Jenny had been born in the 20th century, she could have been the Scottish Diane Lockhart.)
Of course, Jamie says that he wouldn’t have taken a second wife had he known Claire was still alive. Jenny asks what happened to Claire and is given the practiced half-truths about Claire fleeing to the colonies when she thought Jamie had died. No-BS Jenny smells a lie — she knows Claire would have never stopped looking for Jamie.
In their room later that night, Claire and Jamie contemplate their future. Jamie suggests building a cottage on the outskirts of the Lallybroch estate; Claire hesitates seeing as Jenny can’t stand the sight of her. Jamie then recalls the one time he went searching for Claire during their two decades apart — when he escaped Ardsmuir Prison after the dying man told him of a lost treasure guarded by a White Witch. He, of course, did not find Claire on the island, but he did find a sort of treasure: a box of ancient coins and gems. He took a single sapphire and left the rest.
His melancholy story complete, Jamie begins to tell Claire something of great import. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you, Sassenach…” But before he can finish his thought, two girls barge in yelling, “Daddy!” They are quickly followed by none other than Laoghaire! Who, I might add, is none too pleased to see Claire. (Her insults are not EW approved and shall not be reprinted…) Claire’s jaw drops at the sight of her old rival, and Laoghaire gets the pleasure of revealing her hand: “He didn’t tell you?” Laoghaire asks. “He’s my husband now.” Laoghaire runs out of the room with Jamie on her heels. (Recap continues on next page)