Sunday, May 15, 2016

Outlander 2x06 Review: “Best Laid Schemes” (Broken Promises) [Contributor: Rae Nudson]

“Best Laid Schemes”
Original Airdate: May 14, 2016

I am as glad as anyone to see Jamie and Claire reconciled and sleeping together again, but Jamie’s 180 seemed awfully fast after their argument last week when Claire asked him to spare the life of Black Jack Randall. As it turns out, their reconciliation was too good to be true, and Jamie breaks his promise to not touch BJR at the first opportunity he gets.


The first promise broken in the episode comes when Jamie tells Murtagh he won’t duel BJR. I have never seen Murtagh so disappointed as when the duel was canceled. Jamie tells Murtagh the duel is off, but he doesn’t yet tell him why, creating a bit of tension between the longtime friends. Murtagh would follow Jamie to the ends of the earth, but he is getting tired of being left in the dark while Claire and Jamie’s schemes keep getting more outlandish. They also get him to help them fake smallpox, and Murtagh doesn’t even know why.

With Claire’s healing knowledge — and surely some help from Master Raymond — Team Claire makes up a mixture that will make people sick with what looks like the symptoms of smallpox without actually giving them the disease. Jamie is to then take this mixture and sneak it onto the ship that is carrying the wine that Prince Charles is trying to sell to get money for his war. Jamie is the unfortunate test subject of this concoction, and Claire looks very pleased with herself when it starts to work and he doubles over in pain. During what is surely a rough night for Jamie, he and Claire decide that they can’t keep Murtagh in the dark any longer, and Jamie tells him the truth. All of it.

The Fraser clan appears to be a very trusting bunch. Jamie believed Claire when she told him she was a time traveler, and now Murtagh believes Jamie. With a solid punch to the jaw for waiting this long to tell him, Murtagh forgives Jamie and is glad to be in on the whole plan.

Which, of course, doesn’t work. The crew gets sick from Claire’s potion, but they hide it from the harbormaster and no one claims it is smallpox, so the ship and cargo aren’t affected at all. To top it all off, Prince Charles then asks for Jamie’s help in transporting the wine — the very thing that Jamie was trying to prevent. Jamie has no choice but to say yes, or it looks like he isn’t willing to help Prince Charles at all.

Meanwhile, Claire is working hard at the hospital. While cleaning up a patient, she gets word from the other healer there — who happens to work as an executioner for the king — that the Crown is going hard after practitioners of the black arts. Claire immediately thinks of her new friend Master Raymond and goes to warn him. I don’t know if Master Raymond is trustworthy — Claire has a knack for choosing friends with something to hide — but he assures her that he will leave at once to keep himself safe. For as much secrecy as Master Raymond promises, it seems like an awful lot of people know that Claire frequents his services, which could put her in danger as well.


Claire and Jamie are back on the same side, and it looks like their fight last week is in the past. That is, until Jamie brings it up again while he’s rubbing Claire’s feet. In his eyes, he said, he has saved Claire’s life as many times as she’s saved him, so they are even. He owes her nothing — and therefore doesn’t owe her saving Frank’s life. Claire pulled back from him and asked why he promised her he’d leave BJR alone then. Jamie responds in typical Jamie fashion and says that it’s because he realized if something happened to him, he wanted Claire to go back to be with someone who loved her and would take care of her and their child. He asks Claire to promise that she would go back to Frank and live her life, and she agrees.

We know Claire keeps this promise — it’s what opened up the season, after all. I’m a little disappointed the show hasn’t incorporated anything from the present. I know that Claire has tried to move on with Frank, but I don’t know how she’s doing in that time. One thing that is definitely a puzzle with the timeline is Claire’s pregnancy. She is very far along now and looks like she could give birth at any minute, but in the present time, she isn’t even showing yet. Is she pregnant with another child, maybe?

Claire’s pregnancy is the cause of several scares this episode. When she is working with at the hospital, Mother Hildegarde notices she is bleeding and tells her she must rest. Mother Hildegarde doesn’t seem worried and tells her this is quite common for women this far along in their pregnancy, but it seems worrisome to me.

On top of this, Claire gets quite a shock when she gets home from the hospital and finds out that Jamie ran into BJR at the brothel and broke his promise to her by challenging BJR to a duel once again. Claire demands she be taken to the dueling site at once and it is clear that this distress is not good for her or the baby.

When she arrives at the dueling site, the duel is already underway. Claire is afraid to yell for Jamie because it could be a deadly distraction for him while he is in the middle of a sword fight. As she looks on in anguish — because of worry for Jamie and physical pain due to something going wrong with her pregnancy — Jamie fights to save his life or end BJR’s, and in doing so end Frank’s life. As Claire sinks to the ground in pain, Jamie stabs BJR in... well, in the penis. Presumably, this would make it so that BJR could not have any children in the future, dooming Frank anyway, even if BJR lives. As the fight is ending and Claire passes out from pain, and the royal guard comes in to arrest Jamie and BJR for dueling.

It’s not looking good, y’all.

Un petit mot:
  • “If you believe your wife to be a witch, then who am I to contradict you.” Well, Murtagh, you’d be a perfectly reasonable person, actually. 
  • Rolling my eyes at Claire trying to end poverty in her gossip session with the society ladies. I know it’s important, Claire, but read the room!
  • After the plan to destroy the ship and the wine doesn’t work, Jamie comes up with a new plan to have Murtagh pose as a thief and steal the wine. It works, but it means that Murtagh will be away for a bit while he sells the wine in Portugal.
  • “I will miss his happy face.” Fergus, going in for blood.


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