Welcome back to Lallybroch, Sassenachs! It’s time for another Scottish summer with a look at Outlander‘s second season. But this year, we won’t be in the Highlands: we’re crossing the Channel to the Continent, where Claire and Jamie will find a new temporary home in the City of Light.
Jamie and Claire settle into their new life in Paris, but of course it is not without its complications, including one of a royal nature.
It should also be noted that Outlander is very much an 18+ series, with graphic violence and sexuality throughout. As well, there may be spoilers within for both the tv show and the novel series.
1. Prisoner Of His Past
There may be a channel between Black Jack Randall and the Frasers, but that’s no comfort to Jamie’s psyche. Even when he’s making love to Claire, he sees Randall’s face, and he cannot control his anger. Fortunately, that was just a dream, but it keeps Jamie up for another sleepless night. Claire’s furrowed brow of concern suggests this is not the first time this has happened, even as she insists Randall is dead.
How much will Jamie’s personal demons distract from the mission at hand? And if Claire, his rock, can’t help steer him to shore, perhaps no one can.
2. High Couture And The High Life
Jamie’s not the only one adjusting to the Parisian life. Claire is finding running a house quite a task, even with servants to help. (It doesn’t help that the Lady Fraser still insists on making her own bed and folding her own clothes. Claire, loosen up a little.)
If there’s one thing that Claire is adjusting to rather nicely, it’s the fashions of Paris. Her ensembles – – from her pewter and grey day dress for a shopping trip in the city center to a stunning red party dress at Versailles – – look even more so on the gorgeous Catriona Baife. (Who, quite frankly, would look gorgeous in a potato sack.) And let’s also not forget that Claire is pregnant and even in early stages of pregnancy, the structured waists and full skirts of her clothes must be uncomfortable.
But for all the fun and frivolity of the city, Claire still finds her reputation precedes her. Her visit with Master Raymond at his apothecary reveals that word of the Frasers’s encounter with the Comte has spread fast. Thankfully, Raymond proves ally to Claire, which will no doubt come in handy in the future – – and not just for his herbs.
3. Business Meetings
The playing of wine merchant done, Jamie finally secures a meeting with Prince Charles Stuart (aka Bonny Prince Charlie) but it’s in a place that one would least expect: a brothel. After some amusing (and very NSFW) distractions, Jamie and the Prince get down to business discussing the political situation of Scotland, which itself is not pretty. (Think plenty of infighting amongst the clans.)
This also reveals a damning truth about the Prince: he has never been to Scotland, spending his early years in Italy before relocating to his present home of France. A prince that has never seen the land of his birthright is not one that is going to easily rally his people to his cause, no matter how much he insists it is his divine right. Jamie (and Murtaugh) know they have their work cut out for them.
It’s not a total loss of a night out, though. Stuart provides Jamie with a very important truth: wars cost money. Who has the money? It’s not Count De Money, that’s for sure, but one Monsieur Duverney, the French minister of finance.
4. The Bare Honeypot
It falls to Claire to navigate the structure of Parisian society to secure the meeting with the French minister of finance, which does provide us introduction to the delightfully brash Louise de Rohan (while getting her legs waxed, of course), and the timid Mary Hawkins, unhappily betrothed to a French count with plenty of money (and plenty of warts). In no short time the ladies have plans to head to Versailles and Louise has plans to go what we call today a full Brazilian. Claire and Mary may have been shocked to see Louise’s full self on display, but Claire was also intrigued enough to go “bare honeypot” (to quote Jamie) herself! The French life is starting to agree with the Lady Broch Tuarach. (And we’re not hearing any complaints from the Lord Broch Tuarach either, let’s be clear.)Continued below
I love Louise. Her passion and openness is just what Claire needs, particularly in consideration of her past betrayal from Geilis. But above that, there’s a heart behind all of it. She doesn’t hesitate a bit when Claire asks the favor of the introductions, even when Claire asks if Jamie can come too (it would be more fun without the husbands there, you know!) and showers maternal love on young Mary. There’s a joke that French people are New Yorkers with just a couple hundred extra years of experience, and Louise fits that to a tee. She’s the fun friend who always knows where to find a good time, but will be the friend that will hold your hair back when you find yourself making love to the porcelain god after a night of too much wine.
And Mary, sweet Mary Hawkins. The poor girl reminds Claire so much of the stranger in a strange land Claire was when she was dropped in Scotland, her heart immediately goes out to her. But the name also sounds familiar to Claire, which could spell trouble later.
5. Party Time!
With all properly attired (even Murtagh), it’s time to head to Versailles. Old friends and new friends collide to provide Jamie an introduction to King Louis, in the most vulnerable of states: the toilet, and not in a good state either, the king being rather . . . backed up, to put it delicately. Meanwhile, Claire’s finding herself a bit out of her element at the party, dealing with some insults towards the French language and a very lustful Monsieur Duverney . . . who ends up underwater thanks to Jamie. Fortunately Duverney is a good sport about the whole affair (King Louis, less so), which gives them the entre they need to his good graces. And Jamie’s suggestion of porridge as the cure to the king’s constipation has everything coming up roses for the Frasers. Even a reunion with the Duke of Sandringham (who you’ll recall betrayed the Frasers) doesn’t put a damper on the festivities.
But it’s sweet Mary Hawkins that inadvertently dumps the cold water on the evening. The young man that Mary was so taken with is the Duke’s new secretary, a young man (with a bit of a cough) named Alexander Randall.
The younger brother of Captain Jonathan Randall. And Alexander is very eager to pass on news of his new acquaintance to his brother in his next letter back to England.
Yes, Black Jack Randall is very much alive. Let the fireworks begin, and I’m not talking about the ones taking place outside of Versailles.
The Lost Papers of Black Jack Randall (Our Afterthoughts Section)
- The plot of this episode comes from parts of chapters 7-9 of the novel Dragonfly in Amber.
- Dueling is outlawed in France, which might be a fact we need to remember later.
- One wonders if the dildos that are for sale at the brothel are modeled after previous (or even current) clients. Oh the vulgarity!
- Claire’s red party dress is one of my favorite Outlander outfits, but I cannot even begin to fathom the amount of double sided tape it took to secure that bosom in that dress. There’s one scene where we get close to a nip slip, and if it wasn’t for a strategically placed fan . . .
- If you’re a Eurovision Song Contest fan, you’ll hear a very familiar melody when we start the scenes at Versailles.
We’ll see you next week for Useful Occupations and Deceptions” and let us know what you thought of the episode in the comments.
As of this writing, the first five seasons of Outlander is available for viewing on Netflix in the US and Amazon Prime Video in the UK. All six seasons of the show are also available with a subscription to the Starz network in the United States. The seventh season of Outlander is currently in production.