This Outlander review contains spoilers.
Outlander Season 2, Episode 2
After the period-split season 2 premiere, Outlanderstays firmly ensconced in the coziness of the past in “Not in Scotland Anymore,” which looks at Claire, Jamie, and Murtagh’s efforts to settle in amongst French aristocracy. It goes better for some of their number than it does for others…
Claire is the most at home in 18th-century French court. She makes friends with the local, insightful apothecary. She wears that dress. She hangs with the coolest lady in town: the scandalous, clever Louise de La Tour, who offers Claire access to the other influential people of Paris. This is the way Claire hopes to stop the Jacobite rebellion: by tightening the purse strings of the French Minister of Finance.
As far as ruses go, Claire only seems to be half-pretending here. She seems to enjoy her new friend’s company, particularly appreciating the new, “modern” perspective Louise represents (much like Geillis Duncan in season 1). A friend’s access to an expert Brazilian waxer might seem a like a random, superficial “perk,” but — more importantly — Louise is a woman whose understanding of gender, female autonomy, pleasure, and self-care are much closer to Claire’s 20th century thoughts on the subject than to most of the other citizens of the 18th century’s.
We also meet Mary Hawkins, an extremely shy young Englishwoman who Louise has taken under her wing. Mary represents a very different example of a noble woman living within this system. While Louise seems to do whatever she wants, using the privilege that comes with her extreme wealth to have fun, Mary is very much a powerless victim of her context — at least for now. If Claire were just in France as a sightseer, perhaps she would take Mary under her own wing. But, at least in this episode, she cannot be distracted from her larger mission. That is until that damn Duke of Sandringham (who you’ll remember as the jerk in season 1 who chose not to pass Claire’s charges against Jack Randall onto the British authorities) gives her some disturbing news…
Black Jack Randall is alive — and has a brother!
OK, so that second piece of information is less scary than the first, but it sure is a small, European world, isn’t it? I think we all pretty much knew that Jack Randall wasn’t really dead. (Even those of us who haven’t read the books.) This character is too much of an evil arch nemesis to fade into death after only one season. Claire’s decision not to tell Jamie what she knows is a tough one. Presumably, this info will come up sooner rather later, but, for now, she chooses (relative) peace of mind over warning Jamie.
Even if this decision may prove to be unwise, it is very understandable within the context of this episode. Jamie has some serious PTSD from Jack Randall’s sexual assault. Earlier in the episode, Jamie has flashbacks to his rape when trying to be intimate withe Claire. It’s sad and understanding and Claire continues to be very supportive and patient in helping Jamie heal. It’s hard to say how the eventual reveal that Jamie’s rapist (and Claire’s almost-rapist) is still alive will affect Jamie’s recovery. It’s already shaken Claire to the core.
“There’s too many people.”
“Don’t you miss it, lad? The smell of fresh, Scottish mud.”
“The man is a blockhead, and he’s a dangerous one at that.”
“First your honeypot, now this?!”
“I see time has done nothing to dull the sharpness of your tongue.”