With the coveted Outlander reunion episode having come and gone last week, I suppose it’s safe to say that it’s difficult for any episode to compare. The tension that fans felt as Jamie turned to see Claire standing there in his print shop and the excitement and relief we felt as they were reunited as husband and wife was the highlight of the season. And it feels as if episode seven, Creme de Menthe, just fizzled out and fell majorly flat when it comes to living up to its predecessor.
The episode picks up exactly where episode six left us, with a man in Claire’s room, threatening her. And that’s about the beginning and end of the excitement in this episode. Instead we get Jamie adjusting to having Claire back and Claire adjusting to life back in 18th century Scotland. Both of them are slightly frustrating in this episode, to be perfectly honest.
Jamie continues to be protective and overly cryptic with Claire. The protectiveness, I can understand, completely. When Claire runs off to visit a patient, he pleads for her to make sure she comes back. It’s understandable: aside from Claire disappearing on him for 20 years, she has also had issues in the past of being attacked on her way home from visiting patients so it’s only expected that Jamie is a bit anxious to let Claire go on her own. Like I said, his protectiveness I can understand, the cryptic nature, however, is completely unnecessary. We know that he is involved in some risky business with some sketchy gentlemen: not only is he printing treasonous pamphlets in his print shop but he is also smuggling whiskey and other liquors into Edinburgh. As if we needed anymore proof: a man just broke into his room and attacked Claire. If Jamie wants to make sure that Claire is safe, he might want to start telling her the truth… the truth about everything… But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Claire, always one to prove that she is a strong, independent woman has been a difficult character for me to love since almost the first episode. Yes, she is an awesome female lead that doesn’t take any crap from anyone and knows how to help people and stand up for herself… but sometimes that is to her detriment. It’s as if she forgets (many times) that she is a stranger in a strange land: a 20th century English woman in 18th century Scotland. She refuses to listen to what others around her have to say–their advice and warnings, to be precise–and it’s gotten her into a lot of trouble in the past. If she wants to have any chance at actually enjoying herself with Jamie, she might want to start listening to him.
After Claire fails to save the man who attacked her, the story does take a sudden mysterious turn. One of the charms of season one, was the presence of Geillis Duncan and her witchcraft and the superstitions of the Highlanders. Even in season two while in Paris, Claire was seen as a White Lady or a good witch. This season has been lacking that mysterious, otherworldly feel (other than, you know, the whole time travel thing) until we got to meet Margaret Campbell, a young woman who (according to her bother) is a Seer. She mutters some gibberish to Claire that her brother, Archibald Campbell, offers to translate for a fee. Claire refuses, having a hard time believing in old fashioned superstitions (says the lady that has successfully time traveled 200 years… twice). But with the touch of magic this story has at times, there’s no doubt that Margaret had something very important to say to Claire and it’s only a matter of time before it catches up with her.
I think the most disappointing aspect of this episode was the almost complete lack of story. Yes, we built up to a climactic ending with a twist that everyone suspected, but the 49 minutes that led up to that was kind of a drag.
Claire goes to the apothecary to get herbs to help the man who attacked her (against Jamie’s warnings, of course), she tries to save his life but fails, she then goes to see another patient, Jamie has to hide some of the creme de menthe (title drop!) from Sir Percival, Fergus and young Ian Murray sell those spirits before getting Ian a lass for the night, only to have him be interrupted by someone breaking into Jamie’s print shop.
The climax of the episode shows Jamie’s shop (and seemingly his life in Edinburgh) go up in flames. As Claire attends to Ian, Fergus mutters to Jamie, asking him if he’s told Claire about his other wife. REALLY?! Of course it was a suspicion that I, myself, and other viewers had upon seeing the shock and confusion on Jamie’s face when first seeing Claire. It was a suspicion, but one I found myself hoping wouldn’t come true.
Of course, it’s fair for Jamie to be able to marry again–Claire lived with Frank for 20 years so why can’t Jamie do the same? However, if it’s Laoghaire, I’m going to lose my mind.
It looks like Jamie’s little secret is going to come out in the open when he and Claire journey to Lallybroch in episode eight, First Wife (nope, that title doesn’t hurt at all). Check out the preview here:
Unlike the last episode that also lacked a strong story, it seemed like nothing was accomplished in this episode other than a bit of foreshadowing. The acting wasn’t anything special, the story wasn’t there, and for the first time in awhile, I found myself not caring about Jamie and Claire. However, the foreshadowing of Margaret Campbell’s vision and the knowledge we now have that Jamie remarried (and is currently married to said mystery lady) are the two redeeming qualities of this episode.
+Margaret Campbell and her vision added a bit of spice to the story.
+It was fun seeing Fergus and young Ian bond.
+Reunion between Ian Murray and Claire.
+Finding out Jamie’s juicy secret.
-Finding out Jamie’s juicy secret.
-Complete lack of story.
-Average/sub-par acting by everyone in the show.
-Felt like a filler episode.
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Amanda Woomer-Limpert is one of the Geekiverse’s writers and an Outlander fanatic. Now that Claire and Jamie are together, she’s counting down to their reunion with Murtagh.
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