Outlander Season 3, Episode 8 Recap: A Tale Of Two Wives

Photo: Courtesy of Starz.

Last week, we found out that Jamie (Sam Heughan) has been hiding the fact that he's remarried from Claire (Caitriona Balfe). I predicted that this was bound to bite him in the ass, but I was wrong. In fact, it's shot him in the arm. Wondering what that's all about? I suggest you watch the episode. If you have, then proceed for a recap of "First Wife."

Jamie, Claire and Young Ian (John Bell) make their grand return to Lallybroch, where Jenny (Laura Donnelly) is less than pleased to find out that her son has been selling illegal liquor and almost died in a fire.

She isn't very welcoming to Claire either for that matter. Looks like that "I was in Boston," line doesn't work on everyone. Jenny calls out Jamie for coming on home only when it suits him.

"So that's why your home, tail dragging and with a stray who's dropped back into our lives after 20 years as though nothing's changed." (Preach!)

As the day goes on, Claire gets living, breathing reminders of how long it's been since she was last in this place when she comes upon the children of Jamie and Margaret Murray, Jenny's kids who were babies themselves when she left.

Jamie and Jenny share a bittersweet heart to heart about parenting, which ends with Jenny reminding her brother that it's a mortal sin to take another wife while the other one's still breathing. How's that for advice?

He tries to feed her the same unlikely story he and Claire have been serving up to everyone, but doesn't count on one small detail: Jenny knows Claire. "The Claire I kenned would never have stopped looking for you," she says.

Claire is all for telling Jenny the truth — after all, it worked for Murtagh. But Jamie isn't so hot on the idea. Easy for him to say, he doesn't have to deal with her snide comments. The two share a nice moment while getting ready for bed, and Jamie is all set to break the news about his other wife when two children burst into the room looking for their "Daddy" — Jamie. To make things worse, said other wife is hot on their heels. It’s (drumroll) Laoghaire (Nell Hudson), as in the same Laoghaire who almost had Claire burned at the stake as a witch back in Season 1.

The good news is that Joan and Marsali (Lauren Lyle) are actually Jamie's stepdaughters, despite what their red hair might suggest. He hasn't actually lied to Claire about not having any children other than Willie and Brianna. The bad news is that Claire is not sticking around to hear about it. In her defense, this is more than a "something I've been meaning to tell you about" kind of secret. This is a monumental whopper.

Jamie tries to explain: Laoghaire was a widow when he met her, they've been married less than two years and have lived apart for most of that time. (Later in the episode, we get to see exactly how they met in a flashback. I have to say, it's astoundingly sweet. Jamie is peak stepdad! Could I be a Jaoghaire shipper?)

It's no use, though. Claire is in fight mode. She reminds Jamie that he promised never to lie to her. He broke that promise, and now she's leaving. Their respective high tempers provide the perfect opportunity for a huge blowout about all their unsaid disappointments.: Jamie feels like Claire abandoned him; Claire feels betrayed by him having moved on without her; Jamie resents the thought of Frank raising his child and fucking his wife; Claire is livid that he thinks he's the only one who has suffered for the past 20 years.

They start in on what could have been the best angry fight sex scene of all time if Jenny hadn't come in and sprayed them with a bucket of water. The two jump apart like frightened cats, and it would be highly amusing were I not so disappointed in the lack of sex.

As it turns out, Jenny is the one who summoned Laoghaire to Lallybroch. (Not cool.) Claire confronts her sister-in-law, and while on the surface Jenny is cold and dismissive, we can sense that it's only to mask the deep hurt at the thought that the woman she thought of as a sister hasn't bothered to even write her a letter in the 20 years since she disappeared. This is one of those rare complex and meaty moments between women on TV that Outlander is great at. Claire gives her a half-truth about having a husband in America, and needing to make a fresh start, but Jenny is no fool. She knows Claire is still hiding something, and she's not ready to have her heart broken all over again.

Photo: Courtesy of Starz.

Claire is on her way out the door. She has, in the words of George Oscar Bluth Jr., made a huge mistake by coming back to Scotland. Jamie tries to stop her, but unfortunately, Laoghaire is just as pissed off as Claire, and she's got a gun. While aiming for Claire, she accidentally shoots Jamie in the arm. This is sad news for his limb, but it gets Claire into Serious Doctor mode and for a second, she forgets his betrayal. When Jenny sees the consequences of her actions, she too flips the "let's save Jamie" switch and any enmity between the two women is dissolved. Ian (Steven Cree), for his part, is off to get some hot water, his resentment of his brother-in-law momentarily lapsed. So, all in all, good job Laoghaire!

Despite a brief bout of infection, Jamie lives — obviously — thanks for a lovely modern invention called penicillin, which Claire has presciently thought to bring along to the past. She and Jamie resolve their issues with a long, long conversation during which Jamie shares why he left Laoghaire: one of her husbands had clearly sexually assaulted her, and as a survivor of sexual assault himself, Jamie couldn't bear to cause her more distress. Jamie is a Nice Guy! (Jokes aside, I'm pleased to see Outlander is continuing to depict the aftermath of sexual trauma. Jamie may have moved past his assault, but he never forgets it, and same goes for Laoghaire.)

Claire and Jenny also make up — Jenny knows she doesn't have the whole story when it comes to Claire, but she accepts it. "You were a sister to me," she says. (Here's an idea: a Jenny/Claire spinoff where they roam the Highlands as lady outlaws!)

Ned Gowan (Bill Patterson), who is somehow still alive, shows up and puts a damper on all this lovey dovey reconciliation by informing Jamie that Laoghaire will agree to let him go if he pays her a huge sum of money. Since he doesn't have a huge sum of money handy at the moment, given that his print shop and black market liquor business just went up in smoke, Jamie has no choice but to return to Silkie Island, the island off the coast where he went looking for Claire after escaping from Ardsmuir Prison. Turns out Duncan Kerr wasn't lying — there was treasure there after all. The plan is to retrieve it, and head to France where Cousin Jared (Robert Cavanah) can help them exchange it for enough money to pay off Laoghaire. Young Ian volunteers to swim out since Jamie is injured, and they set off with Claire.

Of course, this is Outlander so nothing is as simple as that. As Jamie and Claire are busy discussing their future, namely whether or not they have one (they do!), Young Ian is kidnapped by a gang of sailors who seemed to know he would be there (sus). Before anything can be done, the ship sails off, leaving our heroes yelling into the wind.

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