Outlander Recap: Watch, Out!


Many of you who watch Starz’s Outlander every week have read Diana Gabaldon’s novels. Then again, many of you haven’t. So consider this a public service for all of the newlanders out there: This week’s episode signals the beginning of the end, and the end is a rough place to be. Find a puppy to hug and a pillow to hide behind, because — given the way this week’s episode wraps up and what happens in the weeks to come — you’ll certainly need them.

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Don’t get me wrong: This week’s hour is no skip through the moors, either. The very tense hour starts with Jamie staring down a gun and ends with our hero re-captured by the Redcoats who’ve been hunting him for years. In between are lies, false identities, a mild man moved to murder and an agonizing, complicated birth.

Remember when the most stressful part of an episode was wondering how many times Claire would punch Jamie’s v-card in a 60-minute span? Wasn’t that fun?

Och, well. Hunker down, everyone, and let’s review what happens in “The Watch.”

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UNDER THE GUN | That guy holding the firepower on Jamie’s pretty red head? He’s Taran MacQuarrie, the leader of the local watch. MacQuarrie and his men provide “protection” from British troops and raiding clans, which sounds like a good thing until you realize that a) they intimidate families like the Murrays into accepting their services, b) their visits last for days and take a significant chunk out of the household’s food and booze stores, and c) they’re shady, boorish and look like they smell bad.

Jenny defuses the situation taking place in her foyer by telling MacQuarrie and his men that Jamie is her visiting cousin, and Jamie reluctantly goes along with the ruse — saying is last name is MacTavish — in the hopes that no one will find out he’s a wanted man with a price on his head. In private, though, he takes his sister and brother-in-law to task for entering into an agreement with such bullying bandits. He angrily adds he never would have done such a thing. “But you weren’t here, now, were you, Jamie MacTavish?” Jenny responds, biting off her words. Given that she is 300 months pregnant and suffering zero fools, her brother wisely shuts his gob.

YOU AGAIN? | That’s not to say, though, that the atmosphere gets any less uncomfortable while the watch resides at Lallybroch. MacQuarrie’s men basically are thuggish 5-year-olds who put their boots on the dinner table and their hands in every coin purse they can find in the place. Jamie gets into a dustup with one of the men after he lights a wagon full of hay on fire and chortles with glee as everyone scrambles to put it out. I’m fairly certain Jamie uses nothing but a horseshoe to beat the snot out of his multiple attackers, and that is rather cool. MacQuarrie seems to think so, too; he asks Jamie to join his merry band of dumb donkeys, but Jamie says his fighting days are over. (Side note from the future: How I wish that were so, honey.)

Big problems arise when MacQuarrie’s last man arrives at the house: It’s Horrocks, the British Army deserter Jamie paid for information a few episodes back. And because he has not changed his scumbaggy ways since last we saw him, Horrocks decides he’s going to blackmail Jamie into paying for his passage to the colonies — or else, he’ll tell the watch everything, and they’ll turn Jamie over to the British for the bounty.

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BABY’S ON ITS WAY | Where’s Claire during all of this, you ask? Oh, upstairs helping Jenny, whose water broke in the dooryard and who’s likely going to deliver her second child breech (aka feet first). Nowadays, “breech baby” pretty much automatically equals “caesarian section.” But all Claire can do is try to turn the kiddo from the outside, which doesn’t work, and pray that the midwife will get there in time, which we later find out she won’t. Jenny declares she’s going to need a “wee dram” of whiskey to deal with the whole thing; Claire replies that it’ll make her drunk, and the baby, as well. “Then he’ll come into the world a true Scot,” the mom-to-be shoots back. Have I mentioned how I adore her?

To calm them both, Claire gets Jenny to talk as she paces an upstairs bedroom in her nightgown, asking her what it feels like to be pregnant. Two things: 1) Only Outlander could make the process of pregnancy and childbirth sound sexy. 2) After seeing preggo Geillis’ midnight skinnydancing and Jenny’s rounded silhouette through her shift, the Emmys should add a category specifically for make-up/prosthetics related to faux baby bellies; this show would win in a heartbeat.

Outlander Jamie Captured SOME BAD NEWS | Downstairs, Jamie confesses his terrible situation to Ian, who suggests that his brother-in-law take half of the money his father left him and use it to pay off Horrocks. During a break in the baby action, Jamie apologizes to Claire: That money was supposed to be for their family, which he makes clear he thinks will consist of multiple bairns.

Poor Claire has been in an enclosed space with a testy Scot who’s been leaking amniotic fluid for hours, so you can forgive her for being a little emotional. “It’s me who’s let you down,” she says, starting to cry. “I don’t think I can have children.” She adds that she tried — “with Frrrrrrrank,” Jamie says, packing an impressive amount of disgust into two tiny syllables — and the look on his face makes it clear that this news is a big blow. Still, he eventually pulls her close and says maybe it’s for the better: “I could bear pain myself, but I couldna bear yours. It would take more strength than I have,” he says.

He leaves her, puts a gun in his waistband and meets Horrocks, who happily relieves Jamie of his bag o’ cash. But of course the scalawag wants more coin to secure his silence. While Jamie is trying to figure out what to do, a blade pierces Horrocks from behind and comes out through his chest. Ian! You’re stealthy on that peg leg! I love Ian for killing that greasy-haired jerk, and I love him even more for the way his hand shakes uncontrollably afterward. Jamie eases his friend back to reality, then smiles and says, “Go get the shovel.” Good talk, guys!

All is well until the next morning, when MacQuarrie lets on that he knows that Jamie is hiding something and Horrocks is dead. Oops. When everything is out in the open, the watch leader has a surprising reaction: “Good. I never liked the Irish bastard.” And all seems well until Jamie realizes now he’s being bullied into taking Horrocks’ place with the gang, which is planning to raid a neighboring clan’s rent party later that day. Young Fraser grudgingly agrees to accompany them — “this once” — and Ian says he’s going, too.

Claire is like, “AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS IT’S A BIG DEAL THAT I MAY HAVE TO TOUCH PLACENTA ANY MINUTE NOW?” And the answer to that, per Jamie, Ian and Jenny herself, is “yes.” Jenny all but pushes her husband out the door in between contractions, so all Claire can do is give Jamie a tiny wooden snake his brother made years ago (and that Jenny found earlier) and warn him to “Haste ye back, or else.” Their kiss before he takes off is so hot, Claire should toss it in a bedwarmer and slide it between her sheets that night to toast her toes.

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WELCOME TO THE WORLD, BABY GIRL | You have to commend Outlander for its parity: If it’s gonna show you a bunch of real-life detail in the sex scenes, you’re gonna get that same level of real-life detail in the inevitable-outcomes-of-those-sex-scenes. So we watch Jenny grunt, sweat, squirm, swear and scream her way through the final throes of labor, eventually delivering on all fours in a pile of straw (yeah, straw) on the floor with Claire up in her business. Luck is with them: The baby — a girl — is delivered safely, and Jenny names her Margaret Ellen.

But while the blessed event is going down at Lallybroch, Jamie and the men come under a British ambush. (Thanks, Horrocks.) We find that out three days later, when Ian — minus his fake leg and his horse — limps home with one of MacQuarrie’s thugs. MacQuarrie also got hurt, Jamie wouldn’t leave him, and “They took ‘im. The Redcoats have ’em,” Ian wheezes. With one last look at Claire’s “I gave up indoor plumbing for this?” face, we fade out.

The hour is a set-up for what’s to come, that’s for sure. And it diverges from the book — MacQuarrie and his men aren’t the instrument of Jamie’s undoing in the novel — but I’m OK with it. But enough about what I thought, now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. CourtTV says:

    I think Claire’s apprehension about being left alone with Jenny giving birth is that she’s afraid Jenny will die, given the time and circumstance, while Ian is off with Jamie. Also, I completely forgot much of the circumstances that led to Jamie’s arrest in the book so this episode felt so new.

    • Alichat says:

      I think Claire is also apprehensive because she’s a combat nurse, and she’s never delivered a baby. In the book, MacQuarrie never existed. Rabbie MacNab’s father turned Jamie into The Watch, and they turned him into the Redcoats. Jamie and Ian were out working the land and were ambushed. Also, if I remember correctly, in the book, Jamie already had an idea that Claire was barren, and had accepted it before she confessed to him.

      I found this episode entertaining, and they crammed alot of backstory items (the carved snake, the bracelets, Willie and his death, Ellen’s death) into it, but I have the same issue with this episode as I did with ep 10. There’s not enough time passage. I know it’s hard to put it in there in a way that is natural to the story flow and not just in narration, but I feel like both of these episodes needed that time movement, and the overall season-long story is a bit weaker for it. They were at Leoch for months before Claire was arrested (she’s been in the past 6 months by that point), and they were at Lallybroch for a few months as well. The length of time Claire is in the 18th century feeds into why she chooses to stay with Jamie, and why she feels Lallybroch is her home. Right now, I imagine non-book readers believe she’s been in the 1700s for maybe three months? Plus, on a selfish note, I was really hoping to see the scene where Jamie got up to take care of Maggie, and was sitting in the window talking to her in Gaelic.

      • Maiugirl says:

        Totally agree about the time passage! Not having read the books, it just feels…unsettling, that Jamie and Claire are always in jeopardy. Thank you for the background info from the books!

      • That was in DIA, and Kitty was the niece. Might see it next season.

        • Alichat says:

          Ooo…really? Did I get the births mixed up? Sweet! Maybe we’ll get to see that scene next season then.

      • Mary says:

        Alichat–the scene where Jamie feeds wee Maggie is in Dragonfly in Amber after (SPOILER!!) his hand his forced into fighting in the Jacobite Rebellion.

      • tsevca says:

        I missed McNab´s involvement. The revenge Jamie´s people did, all on their own, that showed something deep, nature of those relationships that tell us a lot about the world Jamie lives in.
        Yes, the time is important. Like the monk says to her. About Frank, that he possibly started a whole new life there without her after so long. Would it be fair to come back, sacrifice her love with Jamie, ruin Frank´s new life for something that might not be again?
        Remember, there is hinted he tells her about his trauma.

  2. LABete says:

    Thanks for the recap. It was a good episode. Everyone seemed to be back in character after the infantile hijinks of last week’s episode. Jamie, Claire, Jenny, and Ian all showed bravery and compassion. It is sad to think of what a great family unit they might’ve made. That scene between Jamie and Ian after Ian killed Horrocks is probably one of the best of the entire series!

  3. Mauigirl says:

    Yikes! This was a tense episode. I haven’t read the books, but from previews and interviews, I can infer what will happen next. I think I will just read Kimberly’s recaps and the comments from the awesome fans on this site. I wish there were more scenes with Jamie and Claire in this ep.

  4. lori says:

    Now that was a great episode! Love that we got the real Jenny here. Jamie was phenomenal in this one.

  5. Ian says:

    Loved Jenny and Claire bonding throughout. And Ian and Jamie really are like brothers. This show does manage to be so consistently great, and what perfect casting. They havent gotten it wrong yet.
    Now all I need is Geillis to show up at Lallybroch and move in and become one of the family, and they all live happily ever after. (I still miss Frank though)

  6. Mauigirl says:

    May I ask something for the book fans? I don’t mind spoilers so I appreciate all the tidbits from the readers, but everyone else please don’t read the responses below if you don’t want to know. SPOILER ALERT! How was Jamie captured according to the book? And, in an unrelated episode, in the first episode, before Claire time traveled into the past, Frank saw a Highlander staring at Claire through the window. Who was that?

    • Alichat says:

      I commented about how Jamie was captured above about the same time you were posting I think. ;-) Rabbie MacNab’s father (the drunk who was beating his son) turned Jamie into The Watch. And Diana Gabaldon has confirmed that it was Jamie’s ghost whom Frank saw looking up at Claire. He was about 25 at the time.

      • Maiugirl says:

        Thanks! I caught up on past episodes out of order so that scene with the ghost was fresh in my mind. Do you know if there is any significance with ghost Jamie being there? Does he appear again?

        • Alichat says:

          I haven’t read all the books yet, so another viewer who has read the books could probably give you a better answer. But I don’t believe he reappears in the story again.

          • theschnauzers says:

            Diana hasn’t explained the how and why of the ghost and has said in interviews that that’ll be in the last book, whenever she gets to that one (It won’t be book 9 now being written.)
            Some of the material of this episode came from a novella Diana wrote about Jamie and Ian’s time fighting in France, Virgins. It’s only in a collection edited by The Games of Throne author, so it’s a hard one to find.
            As to how he was taken by the British in the book, Jamie was captured after he went into hiding (again) in a cave on the grounds of Lallybroch, after the incidents with MacNab, and that went on for some time before he was captured by the British.
            I’m not sure how they’ll get the timeline caught up but that may be done through the break between seasons one and two.

          • Alichat says:

            The hiding in a cave bit is from book 3 I believe. In this situation, it was just MacNab reporting him to The Watch, and them ambushing him and Ian. Although I do recall now that he did escape The Watch, falling into a river, and was on the run for awhile until he accidentally ran into the Redcoats. So The Watch didn’t literally hand him over to the Redcoats, but they’d planned to do that.

      • tsevca says:

        Well, she confirmed it was him, I think. It´s something people guess. But let´s not confuse non-readers. It´s nothing people as readers know if they didn´t hear this. Diana also said, I heard, that it will be explained in the last book.

    • SueB says:

      Mauigirl- here is your requested SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

      In the book, Rabbie McNabb’s father (the skinny little kid from last week that Claire took pity on), turned Jamie over to the Watch, who then hand him over to his good buddy Jack Randall. As retaliation, the Fraser clansmen kill Mr. McNabb by burning him alive in his home. Rabbie and his abused mother go to live at Broch Turach with Ian and Jenny.

      Another spoiler….bad, bad things are gonna happen. Real bad. You may want to peek through your fingers. Eek. You’ve been warned.

      • Maiugirl says:

        Thanks, Sue! Good to know McNabb got his own! I will hide for the next 2? episodes. Let me know when it’s safe to watch again.

      • Mary says:

        Oh absolutely bad things are going to happen! I am not really looking forward to this particular bad thing though.

    • Julie Nipperess says:

      From someone who has read the books at least 50 times, Jamie was betrayed by Willie McNab, the child abusing father we met in ep 12. He was pissed off at being taken to task by Jamie and told the watch of his presence at Lallybroch. The tenants have their own revenge when they lock Willie into his croft and torch it later on, but the damage is done. Jamie is arrested while in the fields with Ian. Horrocks never comes back into the books after telling Jamie that BJR had shot the soldier. Regarding the “ghost”, Diana Gabaldon has confirmed that itis Jamie, but he still hasn’t made a reappearance in any of the books. Read them! You are in for a treat! !!

  7. sls says:

    I feel like we really got to see a bit more of the Jamie we know in the books even if this episode differed in many ways from the story we know. Jamie was extra super sexy in this episode and it’s great to see him turn into the kick-a** warrior we know and love!!!

  8. I’ve read the book, but seem to have forgotten quite a bit. I’m glad to read in a comment about Rabbie MacNab, that is what I remember. I thought the scenes with Jamie and Ian and the killing of Horrocks, and the scene between Jamie and Claire when she confessed her supposed barren state were some of the best to date. Especially Jamie’s facial expressions after Claire’s confession. He conveyed SO much and said almost nothing. So powerful!

  9. Ananda says:

    I thought it was a great episode, I didn’t mind that it differed from the book a little bit here. That good bye kiss was awesome almost rivaling the last one when he was sent away by his uncle..and btw looking at the scenes from the next episode, I’m happy to see the old gang back again, they were so instrumental in the first half of the season. From since they put Jamie leaving in slow motion you knew it was a bad omen…fellow book readers we know what’s coming. .and I must say my interest is piqued to see how they will deal with that

    • Karen says:

      They did the same thing with Frank and his kiss with Claire. It was in slow motion and it was the last time she saw Frank. It was a good way to bridge these two goodbyes.

  10. Christine M says:

    I have to comment on the excellent casting once again. Jenny couldn’t be better cast, what a little spitfire! At first, Ian differed from how I always imagined him to look, but he is another wonderful actor. The subtle looks on his face that say so much, just great. It gives me comfort to know they will also do an outstanding job casting the other major characters we will meet in the next book. I can’t wait!

  11. bonniew88 says:

    I love these recaps. Very clever and entertainingly!

  12. ninergrl6 says:

    I loved all of the Claire & Jenny scenes, but I’m still disappointed that the show runners filled the Lallybroch episodes with so much angst that wasn’t in this part of the book. The last few eps will be traumatic enough; Lallybroch didn’t need to be. To add all of the scenes with the watch but cut so many family moments is a serious misstep IMO. I love the scene where Jamie tells Claire that maybe it’s better that they don’t have kids because he couldn’t bear to see her in pain, but I was trying to figure out why they moved it to before the baby was born. Then Jamie & Ian left while Jenny was still in labor! WHAT?! That seems so cold and out of character for both of them. I don’t understand why the writers thought that was a good idea. Even if they insisted on having Jamie & Ian leave with the watch, that could have just as easily happened after the birth without altering the story they wanted to tell. Also, admittedly this is a little nit-picky, but in the book Jamie had been carrying that carved snake with him. He takes it out & tells Claire about it & his brother. Why make that a Jenny/Claire conversation instead? I just don’t understand some of these changes. They seem arbitrary, like they’re just changing things for the sake of changing them, not because they further the plot or the character development. I completely understand that they can’t do the book word for word, but the portrayal of the Lallybroch part got more wrong than it got right.

    • Lizzie says:

      I agree. There were happy times at Lallybroch and we didn’t get to see them. I also don’t think we saw enough of Jenny and Claire’s friendship.

      • tsevca says:

        Claire considers Jenny the closest thing to a sister in the books. But here? After what? They had one or two friendly moments?

    • tsevca says:

      I totally agree. I didn´t believe Jamie, when he said that about kids. Hearing Jenny and seeing Ian´s face through it is what convinces him about it. Now it seems he only said to comfort her, without actually be ok with not having children. There is no pardon coming, so it also comes hand in hand with the fact they live mostly on the run and they couldn´t have children with them anyway.
      The snake is the same thing. For Jamie, that´s very important thing. He constantly carries it with him to always have something to remember Willie. He wouldn´t just leave it at Lallybroch and forgot about it for years.
      They cut out great scenes, because they were happy, showed a normal life in 1700s, because they rather have drama. On one hand, they constantly change Jamie, to give him more flaws, to make him more human, realistic, but they make the story less realistic by not giving them any normal days.

  13. Pat Cork says:

    The departing kiss was a major turn on. But what she said to him after the ‘or else’. ‘Or else, she said, I will follow you and drag you back by your bright red curls and straight to my bed.’ He should have just stayed home.

  14. Laurel says:

    Great Episode! This is probably the only place on the internet where people swap ideas and comments without being nasty or making snide remarks. Clearly, Outlander fans are far and above the rest.

  15. Larry says:

    Does anyone remember the toast that was given at the dinner table? I memorized it at the time but have since forgotten it.It was about life, your wife, your death and whiskey

  16. Kris says:

    I get very sad thinking about what’s to come for our heroes. I’ve read the books and now that these characters have “come alive” for me it’s very depressing to know the future.

  17. tsevca says:

    Another episode that dissapointed me. Instead of moments we know, love and waited for, storyline I did not like at all.
    The watch thing was… Why? Didn´t they say they do the show for book fans? Broch Tuarach has strategic position, that´s why both clans, McKenzies and Frasers, want it. It´s difficult to attack. So why protection from other clans? And Redcoats collect taxes for the crown, you might say. Watch wouldn´t save them from it. And don´t let me start on Jamie in that situation. They change him more and more every episode. They try not to make him so perfect, but they wouldn´t manage all that happens to them in 8 books if he wasn´t good at so many things, book Jamie wouldn´t be in such situation, but would handle it way better.
    And Horrocks? He is deserter. He would be hanged if caught, People around might know him from his soldier days, but he can travel all around with the Watch?
    Then there is the thing with Claire admitting being probably barren. It´s beautiful and sad in books. In the show it was more akward. Originally, Jamie comes to Claire with it himself, he knew it all along and never showed Claire some bad feelings about it. When he tells her, that he couldn´t bare the pain, it´s after watching Ian listening to Jenny´s screams, what it did to him. So you believe him, when he says he couldn´t bare Claire´s pain. In this episode, they changed it and I didn´t believe one bit Jamie meant it. He doesn´t sound very convincing. More like “We are already married and she stayed here with me. There is nothing I can do to change that, so what can I do? I must say something to make her feel better.” But it doesn´t feel honest.

    As Czech, I do appreciate the mention of Silesia and Prague (even though Jamie fought in France in books), but saying they fought against Francis Stephen is such a historical nonsence that they should immediately fire anyone who came with that. Not to mention, Prague was taken in 1741, not 1742.

  18. Dianne says:

    Well I turned it off when the hand nailing was going to happen..My husband asked what the hell have I been reading, and why would I read something like this. I can’t believe how true to the book this is, and how “wonderfully” they are doing it. It does get a little toooo graphic and naked. Butttt, if you haven’t read the books, the detail is important to establish the true characteristics of the characters. Honestly not really sure if I’m going to keep watching. Have read all of the books twice!!