Outlander Season 2 Episode 8 Recap: Return Of The Mack

Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Pictured: Caitriona Balfe (Claire) and Sam Helghan (Jamie) return to Scotland.
Warning: This article contains spoilers from tonight's episode of Outlander. Read at your own risk.

After last week's heady mix of a stillbirth, royal sexual favors, and a child's brutal rape, we all needed a palate cleanser. Roll on, Scotland.

Jamie, Claire, Murtagh, and Fergus have swapped satin gowns and nights at Madame Elise for tartan prints and growing tatties back in Lallybroch. Jamie's sister Jenny has wasted no time in having another baby, on whom Jamie can't resist doting. We'd hire him to babysit. Do you need kids for that?

Anyway, the farm life seems to be treating a loved-up Jamie and Claire well. They're healing their "battered souls," which means things can only go downhill. On cue, a letter arrives informing Jamie that his signature has been forged and he's publicly outed himself as a loyal supporter of Charles Stuart. He'll now be seen as a traitor to the crown, and with Charles gathering his army in Scotland, joining the cause is really the only option. Claire suggests they high-tail it to Ireland, but Jamie's convinced he can still change history by helping the Jacobites win the war. Ultimately, though, it's about keeping his family and beloved homeland intact, not putting Charles in charge (heh).

Jamie rounds up local men to serve, but is annoyed when he's sent to recruit a certain Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, to the cause. According to Jenny, Simon is an "old buzzard with loyalty only to those who line his pockets." He's also she and Jamie's grandfather, having sired a child, their father, with a kitchen maid. He sounds like a pill, but Jamie agrees to meet with him at Beaufort Castle.

And so the Frasers say goodbye to Jenny and her family, leaving Fergus in Murtagh's care for the time-being. It's not long before they bump into another familiar face, however. Colum MacKenzie has also arrived, eager to discuss a response to Charles' rebellion with Lord Lovat. He doesn't seem fazed by Claire's anger over that whole almost-having-her-burned-as-a-witch brouhaha.

Things are about to get even more uncomfortable for Claire. Jamie's grandsire Lord Lovat arrives with his shirt unbuttoned to his navel and a handful of crude Sassenach jokes at his own disposal. He wastes no time in kicking her out so the menfolk can scratch their balls and talk politics. That's when she bumps into Becky with the good hair — Laoghaire. Her old romantic rival is there as Colum's maid. She apologizes for her role in the witch trial drama, and Claire shuts her down. “I don’t hate you, Laoghaire," she snaps. "I pity you." Cue tears.

The two women are treated as little more than eye candy at that night's heated dinner date. Nobody cares what the Sassenach has to say, and both Lord Lovat and his son, Young Simon, can't resist devouring Laoghaire with their eyes. This results in the father humiliating his son, while Jamie tries to rally everyone together in support of Charles' cause.

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Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Pictured: Clive Russell as Lord Lovat.
The Frasers' takeaway: Colum is trying to undermine the Jacobite rebellion. Lord Lovat is playing both sides, which probably means he wants something in return. Sure enough, Lord Lovat admits that he wants Jamie to pledge the fealty he refused to grant Colum. What he really wants is control of Lallybroch, and makes some creepy comments about Claire's honor to get his point across. Jamie responds by outing Claire as a witch who'll pretty much strap sticks of dynamite to his genitals if he tries anything. Grandpappy, who has a superstitious side and his own seer, is suitably scared.

A plan is hatched. Jamie and Claire plan to use Laoghaire to boost Young Simon's confidence and convince him to stand up to his father about the rebellion. Claire manipulates the girl into chatting up Young Simon on a long walk. She leaves them to flirt while she speaks with Lord Lovat's seer. She's on his shit list because she had an ominous vision of him dying a traitor's death Ned Stark-style. Claire files this information away for later, then discovers that Young Simon has run off, no doubt flustered by the female attention.

Colum, meanwhile, is begging Jamie not to join Charles' cause, as he thinks the rebellion will just "melt away." In the end, Lord Lovat gathers everyone together and announces that he has two documents prepared. One assigns him ownership of Lallybroch in exchange for troops; the other is a pact of neutrality with Colum and the MacKenzie clan.

Jamie is just about to sign the Lallybroch contract when Claire drops her mug and has (fakes) a vision. She repeats his seer's execution vision to Lord Lovat, throwing in some Jacobite-symbolizing white roses for good measure. He reacts by grabbing a knife to slice her throat, but is stopped by Young Simon. Pepped up by a loving glance from Laoghaire, the son announces that he'll join Jamie's fight. His father, however, decides to stand with Colum and remain neutral.

As Jamie and Claire prepare to set off with Young Simon, Lord Lovat's true intentions become clear. The neutrality agreement with Colum keeps him safe with the British, but he's happy to keep the Stuarts sweet by letting his son take off with dozens of his kilt-clad men. In another life, he'd be Frank Underwood.

The troops set off, with Claire feeling optimistic for once. It's time to make some lemonade.
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