Outlander Season 2 Episode 3 Recap: Charles In Charge

Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Pictured: Rosie Day (Mary Hawkins) and Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall Fraser).
Living with Jamie Fraser isn't all it's cracked up to be. As Claire finds out in the beginning of this episode, sometimes the Scottie hottie loudly stomps in after a night at the brothel, reeking of smoke and cheap perfume. For a split second, we're almost turned off.

The man's hardly been home thanks to his wine merchant duties and the scheming that sees him putting in long hours with the prince, who now wants to meet Duverney, at Maison de Madame Elise. Claire's only big plan, meanwhile, is to find Jamie's beloved wooden toy snake and hope a juicy piece of intel falls in her lap during tea.

That's just what happens. Over tea Mary Hawkins bursts out with the revelation that French men intend to have sexual intercourse with their wives. Clearly, Ma and Pa Hawkins glossed over the whole birds-and-the-bees chat and she's horrified that men "force [their wives] to injure something like that." Louise is delirious with laughter, and it comes up that innocent Mary hails from Seaford in Sussex.

Cue a flashback to Frank showing 1945 Claire his family bible. Captain Jack Randall, it's revealed, was married to Mary Hawkins and they had a child. Long story short: Poor Mary is doomed to marry Jamie's rapist, and if Claire interferes it will put Frank's existence in jeopardy.

Distraught, she rushes home, only to find Murtagh in bed with her maid, Suzette. She lets Murtagh have it, and the truth about Captain Jack's still-breathing status spills out. "Randall really is the devil's spawn," the bewildered Highlander responds. He tells Claire to keep the secret from Jamie, lest he storm back to Scotland and be arrested and hanged. Lying is for the greater good.

Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Pictured: Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) and Romann Berrux (Fergus).
The rest of the day proves to be fruitful for both Jamie and Claire. Over chess he's able to recruit Duverney to his cause, asking him to tell Bonnie Prince Charlie that the king has no intention of financing his rebellion. Another meeting at Maison de Madame Elise is arranged, whee!

Claire heads to the apothecary to find a contraceptive potion that will keep Suzette from having little Murtaghs. Comte St. Germain is just leaving the shop, and he and Claire exchange frosty glares. She manages to lose the I-just-smelled-poo expression when Master Raymond suggests she volunteer at the local charity hospital. It sounds like just the thing to shake her out of her "conventional" existence in Paris (because time-traveling to the 18th century and hanging out with royalty is so ho-hum, apparently).

The hospital, overseen by Mother Hildegarde and her dog Bouton, is a dreary set-up. Claire is soon dismissed to empty chamberpots, but proves her value when she happens to taste a patient's urine and diagnoses "sugar sickness" (diabetes). Way to lean in.

Jamie's meeting at the brothel doesn't go as planned. Charles is unfazed by Duverney's intel on the king's unwillingness to splash out on wars; much of the money is already raised, he tells a frustrated Jamie. He also claims to be in secret negotiations with British aristocrats loyal to his cause, and dangles an alliance between France and England under Duvernet's nose. Duverney is so impressed he offers to have a word with the king to raise the remaining funds, provided Charles can show evidence of his support.

On top of all that, Claire has the gall to be out lancing boils at the hospital when Jamie comes home from the brothel. She's elated, but he says it's too risky for her pregnancy to be that close to disease. She protests that she needs to have something meaningful in her life, causing him to pout about her not being at home to listen to his problems. It works: Claire apologizes but he shuts her down. "You were indulging yourself with poultices and potions," he fires back. Ugh, Jamie. Stop this whining or we'll have to replace you as our screensaver.

Jamie, whom Suzette tells Murtagh is just angry because he's not getting any, rides off on his high horse back to the brothel. There he encounters a young pickpocket he christens Fergus. It seems Fergus is so skilled at stealing (he's the one who nicked Jamie's wooden snake) that Jamie decides to hire him to help his cause. The little charmer is tasked with stealing letters to Prince Charles, which Jamie and Murtagh copy and try to decipher before returning them. Cracking codes to see if Charles is truly being supported by his fellow countrymen proves hard work. Ultimately, they seek the advice of Mother Hildegarde, who is somehow pals with Bach and can shed some light on a letter containing musical notes.

The letter reveals that Charles does have some support, and Jamie and Claire figure out that it's the Duke of Sandringham who is his secret benefactor. It's a huge breakthrough, but a complicated one. As Murtagh reminds Claire, Sandringham's secretary is Black Jack Randall's brother, and any meeting with them is bound to expose the truth about Randall's survival. What could possibly go wrong?


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