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  • Nicole Hill 4:00 pm on 2017/11/06 Permalink
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    Outlander Season 3 Episode 8 Recap: First Wife 

    There’s no reason to beat around the bush: “First Wife” is a frustrating hour of television. It’s frustrating for a number of reasons, not least of which is the Rock of Gibraltar that is Jenny Fraser’s heart.

    Part of Jenny’s charm has always been her toughness, and she’s a real tough act to please in this episode. Not only has Jamie returned her runaway son (after harboring him behind her back), but he’s brought with him a “stray” in Claire.

    Jenny’s got little patience for this stranger she used to know, keeping Claire at a distance. It’s a reasonable reaction to a woman who’s dropped in and out of her life, nearly at random and often with a prophecy about potatoes. When Claire tries to explain herself, she’s dismissed.

    “Oh, well, maybe we should all gather round the fire if there’s a tall tale to tell,” Jenny says with a bite so harsh Claire might as well be a haggis platter.

    Jenny’s equally dismissive of Jamie’s explanation for Claire’s absence after Culloden—which he’s apparently making up on the spot. “The Claire I ken never would have stopped looking for you,” she tells him.

    The only positive outcome of this initial family reunion is that Jamie manages to save young Ian from a thrashing. Instead, he has the boy’s parents assign to him a more unpleasant task: muck-kneading, by the looks of it. (I don’t know, man. I guess it’s a thing.)

    Home Sweet Hell
    Has there ever been a time in Claire’s recent history where she hasn’t felt like a fish out of water? Now’s surely not it. She confides in Jamie later that night about her fraught encounters with his sister, once her bosom buddy.

    The two then spend an intimate evening reminiscing about the last miserable 20 years, which is all well and good and heart-warming until it leads to a long-overdue admission—and an unexpected guest. Gird your loins, dear viewer: it’s the return of Laoghaire.

    Jamie’s mysterious other wife, the one that he was just working up the nerve to tell Claire about, is Laoghaire, the ghost you least wanted to see from Season 1. The only thing that could make this worse is Dougal MacKenzie lurking behind that door.

    As we find out after the fireworks are over, Jenny dispatched her daughter to bring Laoghaire and her daughters to Lallybroch. Hell hath no fury like a sister kept in the dark. Claire, of course, has a meltdown upon 1) seeing the woman who framed her as a witch and 2) learning of Jamie’s dirty little secret. Her wrath is lessened by less than a percentile when Jamie explains the little red-haired girls are purely Laoghaire productions.

    “Well, there are other red-headed men in Scotland, Claire,” he explains, before digging himself further into the hole. “You’re the one who told me to be kind to the lass.”

    Claire reminds her husband that being kind to a young woman is a long way from marrying her. The arguing continues, though, eventually, it leads to a hate-fueled makeout session, doused only by a bucket of water from Jenny, annoyed at their “fighting and rutting like wild beasts.”

    Everyone’s angry with everyone, and, as usual, Ian is the only pillar of level-headedness around. He chides his wife for denying her own brother a modicum of happiness. To her credit, when has anyone ever allowed Jamie a modicum of happiness?

    Shots Fired
    Speaking of misery, Laoghaire comes ‘round again the next morning, presumably to kill Claire. Instead, she accidentally shoots Jamie. With her brother bleeding on her dining room table, Jenny seems genuinely shaken for the first time this episode—perhaps regretting her own efforts to stir the pot of passions last night.

    Meanwhile, Claire’s forced to play surgeon, which distracts her from her own anger for just a bit. Really, Claire sewing up an incapacitated Jamie is these two at their best.

    Once he rouses, Jamie tells the story of how Laoghaire became yet another Mrs. Fraser. This involves an extended Christmas Carol-esque flashback with dancing, figs, and joyous Scots. It seems Laoghaire’s two darling girls sweetened the pot; Jamie longed for a chance finally to be the father he’d never been.

    But it was not to be. In a brief moment of sympathy, we learn that one of Laoghaire’s first two husbands abused her. As Jamie says, she was afraid of his touch. So, he struck off to Edinburgh to live apart and all was quiet—until, of course, the Sassenach came back through those stones.

    Ned Gowan, a much more charming callback to Season 1, pops by Lallybroch to go over the legal matters of Jamie’s matrimonial dilemma. Laoghaire can only be satisfied with a substantial amount of alimony—or Jamie’s castration, whichever’s easier.

    A Plan to Forget
    Forgoing Option No. 2, Jamie concocts a preposterous plan to raise the sum she demands, and it reads more like a road trip of Claire and Jamie’s greatest hits than an actual scheme. They’ll go to Selkie Island, where Jamie found the box of jewels after his escape from Ardsmuir. (Young Ian will do the swimming, though, no one explains why he can’t just take a rowboat.) From there, they’ll take the jewels to France, to Cousin Jared to trade for usable currency. Flawlessly imagined as usual. Somehow, though, Jenny and Ian acquiesce to this plan, having finally forged a peace with Claire, the ghost of their past, and Jamie, the maker of many bad decisions.

    As we watch young Ian start his swim to the island—again, not sure how he’s going to swim back with the jewels—Claire and Jamie have one of their trademarked relationship talks.

    “I’m just not sure if we belong together anymore,” Claire admits. She has some fine points: both she and Jamie had functional lives in their respective timelines, though Claire seems to forget the substantial amount of prison time it took for Jamie to find that life. (Also, marriage to Laoghaire stretches the definition of “functional.”)

    “When has it ever been easy?” Jamie quietly tells her. Also, a valid point.

    Claire doesn’t have much time for a rebuttal because, to the surprise of literally no one, Jamie’s expertly improvised plan falls apart. A rogue ship pulls up beside the island. Jewels in hand, young Ian is nabbed by unknown ruffians, dragged to their rowboat (!), and taken aboard their ship.

    Yes, on his first parentally approved field trip with his nephew, Jamie’s lost his charge to pirates. Really puts Brianna’s bikini pics into perspective, doesn’t it?

    The post Outlander Season 3 Episode 8 Recap: First Wife appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 2:00 pm on 2017/10/30 Permalink
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    Outlander Season 3 Episode 7 Recap: Creme de Menthe 

    After last week’s homage to love-making, it would be easy to forget the ugly final moments of the episode, with Claire left at the hands of an unknown intruder. Unfortunately, we pick up this week at that moment, in which Claire is struggling with her assailant.

    To her credit, she gets a good jab in with her knife and, ultimately, she forces the guy off-balance. He stumbles and slams his head on the bottom of the fireplace. If things were that simple—if he died that easily—this episode would be far less complicated and frustrating.

    A Life to Save
    Things are not that easy, and the intruder clings to life with a brain injury that Claire is bound and determined to treat. This is to the befuddlement of Jamie, who returns home to find his wife (wielding a knife) and the prone body of a man on his floor. He gets more confused when Claire starts barking orders to people for the supplies she’ll need to operate on him.

    “Because I’m a doctor,” she offers as an explanation. Jamie responds gently, “Sassenach, let God take him.”

    I’m on Jamie’s side here, because this is not a complication any of us need. The man on the floor is identified as an excise man, “a crooked agent of the crown.” His presence indicates Jamie’s arrangement with the local authorities—namely, the fussy Sir Percival we met last week—is faltering.

    Fergus and young Ian are dispatched to sell the telltale whisky currently stored in the brothel cellar. Claire dispatches herself to the apothecary to pick up a few items for impending brain surgery. There, she makes a promise to another customer in exchange for cutting the line. (We’ll get there.)

    As she sets up her brothel-side O.R., Mr. Willoughby scrubs in as a most skeptical assistant. Jamie misses all the skull-drilling and bleeding because he’s downstairs diffusing a situation with Percival, here to search the premises for the illegal whisky. Mercifully, the whisky has been moved and Percival does not go upstairs.

    What Claire means to do with the man on her operating table once he’s on the path to recovery is unclear. Ask him to pinky promise not to rat them out? Retrain him as a physician’s assistant? Speculate as you will because we’ll never find out. The patient does not survive the operation.

    The tension here, however, is about more than a goon with a head wound. Claire’s spent the past 14 years training and serving as a doctor. Now, she’s returned to a place where she can’t practice those skills in any reasonable way. She’s essentially lost her livelihood, and she’s thrown a wrench into Jamie’s as well.

    “Sassenach, you came thousands of miles and two hundred years to find me,” Jamie reassures her. “I’m grateful you’re here, regardless of cost.”

    Secrets, Secrets
    Fergus and Ian are having a better go of it. Ian turns out to be a master salesman, and they celebrate a profitable day with a couple of pints, lessons in seduction, and the revelation that Fergus once had a threesome. When Ian manages to woo the “bonnie” pub waitress, it’s clear this will not end well. No one can remain happy on Outlander—particularly when one of Percival’s men is watching from a nearby table.

    Claire makes good on the promise she made at the apothecary, popping in to treat one poor Ms. Campbell. Margaret and her brother Archie are “fortunetellers,” which primarily means Archie uses his sister’s mental illness to line his pockets. It’s a depressing reminder both of the state of women and the perception of mental illness at this point in history. Claire prescribes some calming teas and departs, as we all are, slightly disappointed in the human condition.

    All roads in this show lead to the brothel, and the latest weary traveler is old Ian, looking for his runaway son. Apparently, he and Jenny are unaware their son has been conscripted in the family business of smuggling. Jamie lies flatly, claiming he hasn’t seen the boy. Ian’s bewilderment at the sight of Claire helps conceal the lie.

    The deception, however, sparks another spat between Claire and Jamie, with Claire upset at Jamie’s rogue decision-making and Jamie defensive about accusations against his parenting wisdom.

    Burn Notice
    This fight is interrupted, though it surely will continue, by a firefight—at the print shop. Remember when I said young Ian’s tryst would not end well? It did na. While it’s nice to see his spritely partner inform the boy that there is more than one sexual position, the two inevitably are interrupted.

    One of Percival’s men is rifling through the shop, still looking for contraband. His dispute with Ian turns disastrous when a bullet hits one of the many flammable liquids lining the shelves. The fiend runs off and Ian’s trapped in the blaze. Fortunately, the Edinburgh social network gets word to Jamie quickly enough that he’s able to rush in for an heroic search and rescue. He’s able to retrieve Ian, but the shop itself is done for.

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like a good thing that Jamie’s warehouse of sedition has been disposed of. Though, Percival’s man did make off with a handful of treasonous papers, which Fergus is sent to intercept. Claire also wins. The only sensible thing to do at this juncture is to leave the city, and that means there’s no reason not to return Ian home to his worried parents at Lallybroch.

    Lest you think this episode is wrapping up too neatly, Fergus drops a bomb during the hushed whispers of planning outside the burning shop. “The lady does not yet know about your other wife?” he casually asks Jamie. Oh, the trip to Lallybroch is going to be a doozy.

    The post Outlander Season 3 Episode 7 Recap: Creme de Menthe appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 2:22 pm on 2017/10/09 Permalink
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    Outlander Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: Freedom & Whisky 

    Friends, countrymen, Sassenachs, the moment is finally here. Our long international nightmare (well, one of them) is finally at an end. The Outlander reunion is at hand, but first, we must look at how we got there.

    After last week’s disheartening episode, Claire and Brianna returned to Boston. And that is where we find Claire in action, her hands buried in someone’s chest. And despite the organs and blood and what not, it’s nice. So often, Claire’s been sidelined by circumstance—or the many, many men around her—and it’s refreshing to see her entirely in her element, owning the surgery.

    Everybody Hurts
    Brianna, on the other hand, is not excelling so much. Her Harvard history professor pulls her aside after class to inform she’s failing. In fact, she’s failing all of her classes, in stark contrast to her stellar grades last year. “What’s changed?” he asks. My dude, what hasn’t changed? Last year, the girl had one father. Then she had no father. Now she has a new father who is also technically dead as of December 1968 but alive in all our hearts.

    Needless to say, for Brianna, it’s complicated. And so we see something else we don’t give a glimpse of often: Brianna’s true feelings. She wanders through her childhood home, pulling out trinkets and photos and remnants of the father she knew, Frank. For once, it’s her pain, instead of her parents’, that’s front and center.

    This is why I audibly cheered when out of a taxi steps Roger Motherlovin’ Wakefield MacKenzie. He’s the gawky Scottish hero we deserve, and the one best suited to break up whatever argument Brianna and Claire are in the middle of when he arrives. As he bumbles into the house, we learn Brianna has decided to drop out of Harvard.

    “You expect me to just come back to Boston and be who I was?” she hurls at Claire. “I tried and it’s not working.”

    She soon leaves in a huff, promising to “hang out” with Roger tomorrow. Christmas, it seems, is canceled.

    Historian, Hero
    Left alone with Claire, Roger mentions, rather nonchalantly, that he has some news. “I’m a historian,” he declares, like the mild-mannered, broguish Indiana Jones he is. “That’s what I do: I pursue, like a dog with a bone.”

    The bone in this instance? Jamie Fraser. “I found him,” Roger tells Claire, pulling out a newspaper article from 1765. The article quotes a Robert Burns poem that hadn’t yet been written at the time, something Claire quoted to Jamie on another occasion. Beyond that, the printer’s name is Alexander Malcolm, one of Jamie’s several hundred middle names.

    Roger, you beautiful, sexy bookworm.

    Claire reacts … badly. “Twenty years ago, I shut the door on the past,” she spits out. (Frank would argue this point.) Now, with Roger’s digging, hope is toying with Claire once more. She’s also finally confronting the reality that running back to Jamie would mean running away from her daughter. So she does as Claire is want to do: shut down and suppress. She commands Roger not to tell Brianna.

    Over a nice set of 200-year-old human remains, Claire has a heart-to-heart with her colleague, Joe, in which he encourages her to pursue any kind of second chance of happiness. I bring this scene up solely because of Claire’s strange reaction to the skeleton laid out on the table. She’s able to identify within 50 years the age of the remains, as well as that the woman was murdered. More to come on that, I’d say.

    In other uncomfortable moments, Frank’s being honored by a posthumous Harvard fellowship. At the celebration, Claire runs into Frank’s former side piece, who is amazingly brazen in her contempt for Claire. The interaction, however, spurs some truth-telling between Claire and Brianna, first about Frank’s infidelity and then about Brianna’s concerns that both her father and mother had cause to resent her.

    There’s crying. There’s reconciliation. There’s a hug. And there’s a confession. Claire reveals to her daughter Roger’s discovery. And if she was looking for permission, she’s got it from the one person who matters.

    “I’m all grown up, mama. I can live on my own,” Brianna tells her mother. “I love you, but I don’t need you.”

    Homeward Bound
    With that, preparations begin and Claire’s anxiety continues to build. First, about the time travel itself. If she goes through the stones, there’s no guarantee she’ll come back. “It’s not like an elevator,” she says, in one of the few times the show acknowledges how little it knows about the mechanics of its central magical device.

    Claire’s also nervous about Jamie, of course, and about whether he still loves her. In the kind of conversation you can’t have with your co-workers anymore, she asks Joe to confirm something: her relative sexual attractiveness. “You’re a skinny white broad with too much hair but a great ass,” he tells her, objectively. “He’ll be in heaven when he sees you.”

    With that matter settled, we move toward Christmas. Roger and Brianna have gotten Claire an assortment of antiques and historical guidebooks. Claire, meanwhile, gives her daughter the family pearls and the deed to the house. They share an emotional and moving farewell, as Claire sets off for destiny in a yellow cab. For her part, Brianna turns for comfort in Roger’s arms, and we leave them, adorably, curled up on the couch, reading A Christmas Carol.

    That leaves us with Claire, who steps out of her cab and, in a deft bit of editing, into the past. My god, she finally did it. She went back through the stones in her handmade outfit and found her way to Edinburgh, where a plucky street urchin shows her the way to the print shop of Alexander Malcolm. Heart firmly in throat, Claire climbs the stairs and steps inside.

    And there he is, with those chiseled cheekbones and that MacKenzie smirk. And there he goes, passing out on the floor.

    As far as endings go, it’s a tease. But overall, I think Jamie took the shock well. Next week promises some extraordinary reunion love-making—once Claire’s able to revive her husband.

    The post Outlander Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: Freedom & Whisky appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 2:00 pm on 2017/10/02 Permalink
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    Outlander Season 3 Episode 4 Recap: Of Lost Things 

    Quite a lot happened in last week’s episode of Outlander, and some of it, even, was not related to Murtaugh. This week, in “Of Lost Things,” we take our foot ever so slightly off the gas, though nothing is ever truly quiet in the love and lives of Claire and Jamie.

    Let’s start in 1968 Scotland, where we have finally caught up to the future Claire seen in last season’s finale. Bouncing back from Frank’s death, Claire has marshaled her investigative team to try to prove whether Jamie survived these past 20 years. (Roger has constructed a thumbtacked timeline so thorough you’d think he was tracking a serial killer.) Claire, however, is the one who makes the critical discovery: she finds Jamie’s name on the Ardsmuir Prison records. But where did Jamie go when the prison closed?

    They may not yet know the answer, but we do. Off to Helwater, England, we go. It’s 1756, and Jamie has taken up the role of groomsmen for the noble Dunsany family.

    The youngest (and brattiest) Dunsany, Lady Geneva, is about to be auctioned off married to an old codger who could be her father. If that were not concerning enough, the Earl of Ellesmere is rude to Jamie, a disqualifying trait for a potential suitor if ever I’ve seen one. Perhaps because she’s backed into a corner by pre-marital desperation, Geneva sets her sights on our favorite hunky servant.

    That this predator-prey relationship is spliced between glimpses of Brianna and Roger’s romance (with its standard teasing, flirting, stuttering, and roadside car maintenance) makes it all the more uncomfortable.

    Surely the arrival of John Grey can right the ship! He’s stopped by for a quick chess match, which is cheerful until it’s upended by his brother, Lord Melton, strolling into view with Geneva and her sister Isobel. Melton’s face upon seeing Jamie drains with Black Jack Randall speed. He, John, and Jamie then engage in a series of euphemisms as they try to avoid revealing the true nature of their acquaintance.

    Geneva may be annoying, but she’s not slow. She worms the secret out of a drunken Melton. And then she strikes.

    With the knowledge that Jamie is vulnerable and full of secrets, and with her own increasing desperation to have a decent, age-appropriate first time, she does what anyone looking to start a fling might do: she threatens to reveal Jamie’s true identity to her staunchly anti-Jacobite mother. And that is how she blackmails Jamie into her bed—all while they stand next to a pile of dung.

    “I’m damned if my maidenhead will be given to a depraved old goat.” I may not agree with her methods, but I can’t fault her for the sentiment.

    Their night together doesn’t come close to the levels of discomfort of Claire’s encounter with King Louis XV, but it tries. Jamie acts as lover, sex-ed instructor, and tour guide all at once, while Geneva’s typical bluster is tempered by her own inexperience and anxiety. Her post-coital evaluation escalates quickly: “It was painful at first, but then I liked it. I love you.”

    Jamie’s response to that is tender and a reminder of why Claire needs to get her modern tush back here. “What you have with me now, you could have with any other man,” Jamie tells a euphoric Geneva. “Love is when you give your heart and soul to another, and they give theirs in return.”

    While we sob, Claire has stalled in her efforts, though the interpersonal dynamics at play have not. Late one night, Brianna confesses to Roger that there’s a part of her that fears finding Jamie, because it means losing her mother.

    “Part of me doesn’t want to find him either because once we do, you’ll go back to Boston,” Roger replies, like the introverted heartthrob he is. And with that, Brianna finally seizes the moment and gives him a good snog. Well done, kiddos.

    Speaking of snogging: Jamie seems to have fathered yet another child with somebody else’s wife. This time, a fine healthy boy. Unfortunately, the boy’s mother, Geneva, dies shortly after childbirth—without ever having slept with her husband. The esteemed Earl is steaming, and Jamie steps in to resolve a standoff hurtling toward violence between him and Lord Dunsany.

    Well, he reaches a resolution of sorts. When Ellesmere moves to stab the baby in his arms, Jamie shoots him down. At least, Jamie will get to watch this child, William, grow up, even if he can’t reveal their true relationship.

    His actions also earn him goodwill among the last Dunsany left to win over: the anti-Jacobite lady of the house. Lady Dunsany has uncovered Jamie’s past, but she no longer cares. She comes to Jamie to offer her family’s help in securing his release.

    After looking into the wee face of his newborn son, however, Jamie turns her down, bluffing some excuse about wanting to earn some money to send home first. “When you are ready to leave, you have only to ask,” she tells him.

    That moment doesn’t come until 1764. By this time, Willie is a growing boy, and he’s growing more and more into a resemblance of his true father. Because nothing can ever go right in Jamie’s life.

    After a heartwarming scene saying his goodbyes to his son, and baptizing him as a “stinking Papist,” Jamie does, uh, something. He asks John Grey to look out for Willie, “to spend time with him, to serve as his father.” He proceeds to offer his body to John in exchange for this favor. Understandably, John spends a few minutes spluttering, before refusing this offer.

    Only then does he mention information that would have been prudent to disclose earlier: he is to be married—to a woman, to Lady Isobel, in fact. This, in effect, means he’ll be able to care for Willie without any more uncomfortable bargains with sex as the currency.

    Having missed this entire scene, Claire is getting dispirited by her inability to track down Jamie post-Ardsmuir. She complains of “spending my life chasing a ghost” before telling Brianna that it’s time to go home. Now, if you’ll excuse me for one moment.

    CLAIRE BEAUCHAMP RANDALL FRASIER, don’t you dare just give up.

    Ahem. The only positive at the end of this episode is the teaser for the next, which indicates Claire and Brianna wasted all that airfare home (but, man, those spacious plane seats!). The preview finds Claire walking in her 18th-century garb and knocking on a door, behind which is, hopefully, a disrobed Jamie Fraser.

    The post Outlander Season 3 Episode 4 Recap: Of Lost Things appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Nicole Hill 11:00 am on 2017/09/11 Permalink
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    Outlander Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: The Battle Joined 

    Welcome back, all ye Sassenachs and Scotsmen! After all those lonely months polishing your standing stone circles, Outlander has returned for Season 3. As you’ll recall, last season ended in an uncertain—but hopeful—place, with 1968 Claire’s newfound knowledge that Jamie survived the Battle of Culloden.

    In this season’s first episode, we spend our time looking backward to the events after Culloden and to Claire’s return to the 20th century and to a life with Frank.

    Let’s start with the battlefield, heaped with the bodies of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s erstwhile army. (To be honest, I spent most of this scene anxiously searching for Murtaugh through the scores of corpses that look just like him—to no avail.) In the panning shot, we see Jamie just starting to open his eyes, feebly. He’s pinned under something, a body—the body of a British soldier. Why, is that the body of Black Jack Randall?

    Through Jamie’s frenzied flashbacks we see the mixed-up events between Claire’s exit through the stones at Craigh na Dun and the strewn corpses Jamie finds himself in now. As you might expect, these peeks into the past are littered with examples of Prince Charles’s poor leadership skills and military prowess. More importantly, they also provide a glimpse into the final moments of Black Jack at the hands of Jamie’s dagger, apparently after everyone else had already died.

    I think we can safely say Culloden wasn’t a total loss. Though if we learned anything from the events of Wentworth Prison, always check for Black Jack’s pulse.

    As snow falls, Jamie has a vision of a (real?) bunny rabbit and a (fake) Claire, who saunters toward him in a flowing white gown but turns out to be Rupert—just as in everyone’s erotic dreams.

    As his comrades roll Black Jack’s corpse off him and escort him to safety, Jamie drops Claire’s parting gift, the dragonfly in amber, which signifies to you, dear reader, that we are entering new book territory. We have left the second book in the Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber, and sailed swiftly into Voyager. Seatbelts, everyone.

    But enough symbolism. Let’s check in with the purely straightforward 1940s, where Claire and Frank are house-shopping in the good ol’ USA. Everything is uncomfortable, like, more uncomfortable than the body farm we just left. Frank is laying it on thick with the doting husband routine, hoping Claire’s pregnancy can harbor a fresh start for the two of them in Boston. Claire is trying (and failing) to play the role of domestic housewife.

    “You’re lucky,” one of Claire’s neighbors tells her, as they gab about husbands. “You won’t find another man like Frank again.” If you think this one’s a charmer, lady, you should’ve seen the other guy.

    Claire’s having even more trouble trying to fit in with Frank’s new university social circle, who are all the worst. Frank’s peers manage to be nearly as misogynistic as the gangs of unwashed men we have been treated to in 18th–century Scotland. But at least we all got to listen in on some hot gossip about the Truman vs. Dewey electoral matchup.

    Jamie, meanwhile, isn’t in much better shape. Rupert’s taken him to shelter with other Culloden survivors in a nearby barn. He’s bleeding buckets, but he does still have the wherewithal to ask the question we’re all wondering: Where is Murtaugh? No one really knows, and Rupert has the gall to say he doesn’t really care. (The bad blood between Frasers and MacKenzies is still going strong. Curse you, Dougal MacKenzie, you door-lurking psychopath.)

    Shortly thereafter, the British discover the hideout. They give the “traitors” an hour, at which point they’ll be shot. Rupert and Jamie share a goodbye, which is short on forgiveness for Dougal’s murder, but long on fondness. Farewell, dear Rupert.

    Hold on one second though: Remember John Grey? That name is Jamie’s ticket to salvation because it’s the name of the young British spy Jamie spared last season. John Grey is also the younger brother of Lord Melton, the officer in charge of this execution bonanza. Melton, begrudgingly, feels duty-bound to keep his brother’s “debt of honor” when it comes to Jamie, even though he’d make a pretty prize for the king.

    Crankily, Melton secrets Jamie (who just wants to die already) off in a wagon in the dark of the night. He thinks Jamie won’t survive the trip, but at least such a death won’t be at his hands. Well, the joke’s on your stiff upper lip, Melton, because Jamie survives. And he’s greeted by Jenny and Ian. Our boy’s made it back to Lallybroch.

    With that happy news, we head once more to Boston. After a blow-out fight in which he just barely dodged an ash tray hurled at his head, Frank is doing some late-night research. He’s penning a letter to Rev. Wakefield back in Scotland for information on some highlander, a James Fraser, when he’s interrupted. Claire’s water has broken.

    The hospital is another frustrating situation where none of the men in charge deign to listen to Claire. (Though Frank is all ears when Claire informs the doctor, and her husband, that she’s had a miscarriage before.) When Claire wakes from the C-section she didn’t want, she’s concerned she’s lost another baby.

    But Frank enters with baby Brianna. The family’s full of love and joy and canoodling until a nosy nurse swings by to ask about the elephant in the room: “Where’d she get the red hair?”

    Of course, we all know the answer to that question, unlike several others: How will Jamie readjust to a Claire-less life? Will Claire ever be able to light her stove effectively? Where is Murtaugh? Let’s hope we find out next week.

     

    The post Outlander Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: The Battle Joined appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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