'Outlander' recap: 'The Watch'
Jamie's caught between a Horrocks and a hard place.
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.
NEXT PAGE: Hit me baby one more time
As if The Watch’s various needs weren’t enough to manage, Jenny’s pregnancy pains have been steadily increasing. Her water finally breaks as she and Claire hang laundry in the yard. Claire ushers her inside and begins examining her. It appears Little Fraser (Jenny’s sure it’s a boy) is breach. Claire tries palpating the baby—urging it to turn around by massaging the belly—to no avail. “Stubborn one,” she declares, “Definitely has Fraser in him.”
To complicate already harrowing matters, the midwife is off tending to her own sick relative. Hearing this news, Jenny and Claire exchange a look as if to say, “It’s just you and me.” Claire explains that she’ll have to “reach inside and guide it out.” Ouch.
“You’ll be fetching me a good stiff dram before we start,” Jenny declares.
“In that case, the baby will likely be drunk too,” Claire says.
“He’ll come into the world a true Scot,” Jenny cheekily replies.
Because men obviously have no place in the delivery chamber, Jamie’s wandering around the house and finds Horrocks poking through books and knick-knacks all by his lonesome. And here, finally, Horrocks makes plain his demands. He wants to sail to the colonies but needs the money to do it—and his highway robbery of the Chisholm clan isn’t going to cover it. Blackmail might, though. We learn, thanks to Ian, that Jamie and Jenny’s father put some funds away for them, so Jamie can afford to pay him off. Ian gives Jamie his blessing to use the funds.
But when Jamie explains the money situation—what he considers a shortcoming as a husband and as a provider for his future children—it’s Claire who feels as though she has wronged him.
“It’s me that’s let you down,” she admits tearfully. “The truth is, I may never give you a son as beautiful as little Jamie. I don’t think I can have children. I tried before I met you. I should have told you before we were married, but I never counted on loving you, much less having children with you. I’m so sorry.”
It’s a testament to how much Jamie loves Claire that he takes the prospect of not having an heir with such grace and compassion. “Perhaps it’s for the best,” he reassures her. “So many things can go wrong. I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you or for you to suffer.”
Ultimately, Jamie decides to give Horrocks the money. Which the traitor then claims is not enough. As his threats escalate, Jamie looks more and more prepared to shoot Horrocks where he stands. But someone beats him to the punch stabbing. Ian has run his sword clean through Horrocks, protecting his lifelong friend, ally, and brother-in-law. But at what price?
“If you’re going to hell, I might as well go too,” he tells Jamie, visibly shaking. “God knows you’ll never manage alone.”
Horrocks’ absence at Lallybroch doesn’t go unnoticed by Taran, though. He’s a smart man and asks the pointed question: Why did Jamie and Ian kill him? Jamie takes the blame, admitting that he’s a wanted man and that Horrocks was using that information against him. Taran’s response: “Good!” Horrocks was some nasty business, after all, and deserved to die. But, of course, Jamie now owes Taran a favor in exchange for his silence. And that favor is riding alongside him during the raid. Cue: another good-bye for Claire and Jamie. But they’re getting pretty good at it at this point. Ian insists he must go too, even though his wife is in labor. He’ll just pass out the cigars (whiskey shots?) when he gets back.
And apparently Ian is right in trusting his wife’s abilities: Jenny delivers a healthy baby girl named Margaret—so much for the boy theory!—without further complications. As a token of her appreciation (and hard-won acceptance) Jenny gifts Claire with a set of bracelets that had belonged to her mother. “You’re tall and queenly like she was,” Jenny explains. “The lady of Lallybroch should have them.”
Yet, little does Claire know her responsibilities as the lady of Lallybroch are about to become much more profound. The Laird, you see, is in danger. The Watch’s raid was really a ruse! As the group arrives at the point predetermined by Horrocks—with its high walls and dense cover—Jamie realizes too late that there’s no way out. They’ve been set up for capture by the Red Coats. Not-so-dearly-departed Horrocks is a traitor twice over. It takes some three days for Ian (one of the only survivors) to return to Lallybroch with the news: Jamie has been captured by the English.