Outlander Season 2 Episode 8 Recap

Outlander Recap: No Fox Given

Need to catch up? Check out last week’s Outlander post mortem here.

Cram in one last croissant and pack up your petit fours, because the Frasers are putting Paris in their rearview in this week’s Outlander. Claire and Jamie return to Scotland hoping for a respite from the tiresome-yet-terrifying politics that have plagued them in the City of Lights… and instead run directly into new tiresome-yet-terrifying politics — only this time, in plaid!

Jamie and Claire’s efforts to stop the Jacobite Uprising haven’t worked so far, and when everyone’s favorite royal pulls a really lame move early in the hour, the Frasers are basically forced to join in the fight they’d worked so hard to prevent. And if that weren’t bad enough, they then have to contend with Jamie’s old codger of a grandfather and the resurgence of Laoghaire?

Read on for the highlights of “The Fox’s Lair.”

HOME AGAIN | The episode opens at Lallybroch, where Jamie and Claire look rested, happy and very relieved to be gone from a country where they might be called upon to watch a king take a poo. Claire, in particular, seems very content to be back in her homespun and arm warmers, jostling among Jenny and Ian’s brood — which has grown by one more baby girl since they’ve been gone. And the potatoes Claire told Jenny to plant have grown nicely, meaning that the family and Jamie’s tenants won’t starve anytime soon.

The Frasers seem to have healed any lingering rift between them, if the way they’re holding each other close while surveying the harvest is any indication. Geez, these two can make even a discussion about boiled potatoes sound like Red Shoe Diaries-level erotica. Get ye a room!

8/ 06 Ext Lallybroch Jamie & Claire prepare to leave: Fergus can't travel with them. Claire takes a look back as she leaves

When the mail arrives, it’s cause for celebration — books! A letter from Aunt Jocasta! (aww, hi Jocasta!) — and cursing on Jamie’s part: Prince Charles forged Big Red’s name on a document of Highlanders pledging support to the Jacobite cause, and that document has since been widely circulated. Jenny sums it up succinctly, though with great alarm: “The names on this are traitors to the Crown,” meaning Jamie will be hanged if he’s caught.

Claire floats the idea of escaping to Ireland or the colonies, but Jamie says he couldn’t leave his sister, her family and the other tenants behind. So he rather quickly changes tack, arguing that if he and Claire work to help the Jacobites rather than hinder them, perhaps they can change history on that end. And just like that, the Frasers have a new plan.

WHAT DOES THE FOX SAY? | So Jamie begins tallying up his men, figuring out who can join him and Claire in the battles to come. He assigns Murtagh some prepatory duties and plans to rendezvous with him and Fergus in two weeks’ time. Meanwhile, Claire and Jamie will try to drum up support from the highland clans, starting with Jamie’s ornery grandfather: Lord Lovat, who’s a big jerk, has a yen for getting control of Lallybroch, goes by the nickname “the Old Fox” and has used nefarious means to secure himself brides in the past. Lovely.

Just before bed that night, Jamie sadly admits to Claire that his father was one of Lord Lovat’s acknowledged bastards, and that Jamie was too much of a “coward” to tell her before they wed. Claire doesn’t care, but it’s clear that Jamie does. So she’s like, “Shh, let me sex you into not caring about this so much.” And she later wakes up to find him downstairs by the fire, speaking soft Gaelic to his new niece. Claire tears up — and so do I, because my god, Faith! — as Jenny quietly approaches and explains that Jamie couldn’t sleep, so he took the baby so she could rest and he could unburden his worried heart. The way he’s talking to the bairn is “the way we talk to them before they’re born,” Jenny says, looking at her sister-in-law with a knowing, loving eye. “Ye’ll know.”

GRANDFATHERED! | The next morning, Claire and Jamie leave for Lovat’s Beaufort Castle (I loved Ian and Claire’s “Take care of your Fraser” exchange), where they encounter two surprises: Colum is there (!), and so is Laoghaire(!!).

Spoilers from the books ahead, so if you want to stay oblivious, skip to the next paragraph. In Diana Gabaldon’s books, Laoghaire doesn’t show up again until Voyager — the third novel in the series — and when she does, it’s years after the events that take place in this week’s episode and she’s known as Mrs. James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. (Just in case you haven’t read the books but kept plugging through this paragraph anyway: YEAH. I KNOW.) Anyway, to get more on Nell Hudson’s return to the series — and to find out whether she’ll be back this season — make sure to read our post mortem after you’re done with this recap.

OK, Newlanders, it’s safe to return! While Jamie, Colum and Lord Lovat talk war, Laoghaire seeks out Claire. “I need to tell ye: I am changed, and I am sorry, beyond measure, for the horrible wrong I’ve done to you,” the girl says, all pious-like. Stone Cold Claire Austin makes Laoghaire cry as she says she pities her: “The dark places you must have inhabited in hopes of getting something that you’ll never have.” I hope Mistress Fraser has some aloe in her bag, Laoghaire, because that was a harsh burn.

WHO WANTS WHAT? | There’s a lot of diplomatic talk that goes on while the Frasers are at Beaufort Castle, so let’s distill it like a fine single malt, aye? Colum wants Lovat to remain neutral — like Clan MacKenzie — and thinks that the rebellion will fizzle out before it even starts. But Lovat refuses, mainly because he wants Lallybroch and is still really mad that Jamie’s dad, Brian, chose to renounce the old man even after Jamie’s mom’s death.

And so Lovat first tries to trade his support for Jamie’s family home, then threatens to rape Claire if Jamie doesn’t offer his loyalty. “Go ahead,” Jamie says with a smirk, playing the La Dame Blanche card pretty hard. I get the “My Chick Bad” swagger, JAMMF, but seeing as Claire has been nearly “ravaged” twice in the short time she’s known you, maybe we lay off a little?

Meanwhile, Claire grudingly enlists Laoghaire’s help in bucking up Lord Lovat’s weakling son, Simon, whose support for the Jacobites may just help his dad decide to come to the same conclusion. One problem: Mistress MacKenzie isn’t that bright, and her subtle wooing — which is supposed to help young Simon feel like more of a man or something — goes sideways when he’s spooked by her offer of a “keek” down her dress. Oh Laoghaire, once again: Put those things away!

INFAMOUS LAST WORDS | Long story slightly shorter: Nothing works, and Jamie is about to sign over Lallybroch to his pill of a grandsire when Claire fakes a vision in front of everyone in the castle’s great hall. Repeating what she heard from Lovat’s own “seer,” she claims to have seen the old man standing before an executioner’s blade, surrounded by white roses — the symbol of the Jacobite movement. And when the freaked-out Lord Lovat comes at her with a knife, his son steps up to save Claire and to state that he’s joining Jamie in the fight to come. But his dad doesn’t take the bait, and instead signs a neutrality agreement with Colum.

Again, non-book-readers, skip to the next paragraph. Book readers: Can we discuss Colum not being [spoiler] by this point in the narrative? I’d really like to talk about this. To the situation room! (And by that, I mean let’s tweet about it this week.)

The next morning, Simon rides away from Beaufort Castle with Jamie and Claire… only to run into his father’s men, all suited up for battle. Guess what? The Old Fox is having it both ways! Officially, he’s neutral. But in practice, he’s serving the Jacobite cause. Sneaky!

Oh, and right before Claire and Jamie take off, the Sassenach prods her man into thanking Laoghaire — though he makes it very clear that he doesn’t know why and doesn’t care to. She says she hopes someday she can earn his forgiveness… and then as Jamie is walking his red-headed fineness away from her, she adds, “and your love.” Claire, now might be a good time to look under your horse for an ill wish, mmmkay?

Now it’s your turn. Did you notice that the theme song reverted to English? If you have any, what are your thoughts on the Colum matter? 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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17 Comments
  1. lori says:

    Ok, not okay with Laoghaire appearing. Really puts Jamie’s character into question in later seasons. Not a good decision. The story is great as it stands and doesn’t need changing.

    • rowan77 says:

      This is an adaptation of a book – not the book. All adaptations have to change things. Telling a story on a TV series is very different than writing a book. Very different animal. Bringing Laoghaire back now adds conflict – which is what you need lots of on a TV show.

      • lori says:

        But the adaptation just totally changed Jamie’s moral code for later seasons. I can see changing different things here and there. I understand it’s not a strict page for page rendering of the book. But now you have changed the essence of the character in a bad way. It’s an important change that shouldn’t have been made imo.

        • rowan77 says:

          Who says he’s fundamentally changed? Who says it’s ruined anything? Unlike in a book where characters can be intransigent, in a dramatic series, they have to develop, grow and change over time to create an overall character arc. I get that people panic and fret when a movie or series veers away from the exact text of a book, but instead of thinking you know how Jamie’s going to pan out seasons from now, why don’t you just enjoy the ride today and see where they go?

        • Nolamama says:

          I think the idea was actually to make her more sympathetic for future events to unfold. Otherwise, it would be even *more* mind boggling when Jamie makes the decisions he does regarding her in the future. I don’t see any of these changes as stuff that will change Jamie’s moral code…quite the opposite, actually. Her role as doing everything she can in season 1 to see Claire burn so that she can have Jamie for herself was amped up from the book so the show runners had to do something to redeem her a tiny bit.

    • Donna Bond says:

      They brought Laoghaire back BECAUSE of what happens in later seasons. In the books he never learns what Laoghaire did to Claire, but in the show, he does know exactly what she did. They needed to redeem her somewhat in Jamie’s eyes so that what happens in later seasons is at least plausible.

      • Alichat says:

        Yes, but obviously she isn’t redeemed in his eyes, and he could still give two shits about her. Honestly, I NEVER believed it plausible in the books that he didn’t know about her involvement in Crainsmuir. But I went with it because it was in the books…it’s what Diana wrote. And that was the only reason I didn’t completely dismiss Voyager outright, because Jamie knowing and still doing what he did was completely against his character. Now, I’m not sure how they will turn this one around.

        • Zoe says:

          I believed it plausible in the books, because Book!Laoghaire’s involvement in Crainsmuir was almost a zilch when compared to her action on the show. She passed a fake note to Claire and here it ends for book!Laoghaire, while show!Laoghaire was all smug and lurking around when Claire and Geillis were arrested, testified against Claire on the trial, was positively gleeful when Claire got sentenced to death (I will dance on your ashes) and was marching arm to arm with Father Bain when Geillis was carried to the pyre. Given what Calire must have dealt with after Crainsmuir (revealing the truth to Jamie, decision at the stones, Lallybroch, meeting Jamie’s family, then his abduction, BJR, fight for his life and so on), I believe she wouldnt mention Laoghaire’s little letter to him.
          SPOILERS————————————————————————- the way they portrayed Laoghaire on the show and Jamie’s knowledge of her evil deeds, I cannot fathom how they will make their marriage work.

          • wgsecretary says:

            Discussion about the previous SPOILER…

            Oh my God! He marries her!!!! Yes, I read that it was a spoiler, but I was looking for one when people kept talking about their later relationship. I read the first book, but couldn’t really stomach what happened with Jamie and Randall. So, I stopped. But, the story was interesting enough to me that I gave the series a try. I do like the series. But, how on Earth does that marriage happen?

          • Alichat says:

            Exactly. I just don’t see how they can rationalize him making that decision. The woman tried to have Claire killed! Jamie would never do that with the woman that tried to kill Claire. The reason I’ve never believed it plausible in the books was because I didn’t buy that she would never tell Jamie that it was Laoghaire that passed her the fake note and arranged for her to be there with Geillis was arrested. She knew it was Laoghaire that got her there, and as awful as it was, she still wrote off what she did as her being young and naive. Considering how close she and Jamie were, how they talked about everything, I never believed that it didn’t come up in their conversations at some point. Maybe a point where Leoch came up in the conversation, or her telling Jamie that Geillis had survived, all those months they were living at Lallybroch….it could have come up at some time. And with her rationalizing that it was just the mistake of a naive girl, I could see her flippantly mentioning it.

      • Alichat says:

        Yes, but obviously she isn’t redeemed in his eyes, and he could still give two s***s about her. Honestly, I NEVER believed it plausible in the books that he didn’t know about her involvement in Crainsmuir. But I went with it because it was in the books…it’s what Diana wrote. And that was the only reason I didn’t completely dismiss Voyager outright, because Jamie knowing and still doing what he did was completely against his character. Now, I’m not sure how they will turn this one around.

  2. Alichat says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about this episode. On one hand…..loved the new opening….I believe we saw Bri and Roger, and Claire driving up to Lallybroch. I was ecstatic to see the scene of Jamie talking to wee Maggie. It was such a beautiful moment in the book. I loved seeing Jenny, Ian, Mrs Crook, wee Jamie and the potatoes. On the other hand…..I wasn’t a fan of a lot. This episode just didn’t feel right. And while I enjoyed seeing Colum again, it was too soon. I kept expecting the (book) conversation with Claire to happen here, but no dice. I thought the receipt of the letter from Jared with Jamie’s forged signature would elicit a more dramatic response from Jamie. What was up with Sam’s hair when Jamie and Claire are having the ‘but we can’t change the future…….maybe we can’ conversation? Sam’s hair was inches above his shoulder, but in the next scene, it was past his shoulders again. Completely distracting. Why did Simon keep calling Jamie “cousin” when Jamie is really his nephew? Laoghaire…..christ, don’t even get me started on how much I disliked seeing her again, and how I don’t think including her did anything to aid in the plausibility of what happens in season 3. Why wasn’t Jamie more conflicted about taking so many men to their deaths? Was his mother really kidnapped or the victim of an attempted kidnapping? Why am I not remembering that? And the ‘vision’ scene was just…..it was just bad.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      i was completely distracted by the inconsistency with Jamie’s hair too. In fact, I had to rewind to catch the dialogue because the hair thing drove me bonkers.

  3. Terri says:

    I think the writers really wrote themselves into a corner. They made Leghair more evil in S1 than was depicted in the book, and thus Jamie now knows she was complicit in Claire’s witch trial. There’s NO WAY you can redeem her character in Jamie’s eyes. This episode just made it worse…she was not repentant at all and her scenes only made us hate her even more. So, things I wish to have seen: Clair slapping Leghair again (no that is not in the book) and Jamie ripping out the Old Fox’s false teeth and throwing it into the fire (sorta like the book).

    I do love the new opening credits, and I think it’s Bree who is driving the car? All the scenes at Lallybroch were great, especially the potato scene and Jamie with the baby. At least next week we’ll see Dougal, Rupert and Angus again.

  4. fiberlicious says:

    I don’t watch the show – just drove by to say A++++++ on the title of this article!

  5. Another enjoyable recap….Thanks, Kim.

  6. Jeanne says:

    I think Dan Stevens has the look and charm as long as he has the grit to play Lord John. There is an overall persona of a gentleman no matter what his flavors of desires might be. He is ruled by his honor. Sooooo Dan innately has that character.