Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) Fraser have only been in Paris for a short time, and they’re already moving and shaking in some elite circles. In this episode, they go to the French court at Versailles, and Jamie meets with Bonnie Prince Charlie (Andrew Gower) in a brothel. These meetings involve a lot more watching the king try to have a bowel movement and soliciting of dildos than one might expect of French high society in the eighteenth century, but that’s Outlander for you. It's full of teachable moments. Additional hot tip from Jamie to the King Louis XV (Lionel Lingelser, doing some fine constipated acting when we first meet him): “Porridge." This is not to be confused with that hot tip from The Graduate — “Plastics" — of course. Jamie knows from porridge, specifically that it’ll help you “shite,” as Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) so elegantly puts what they’re watching the king overexert himself trying to do. I guess fiber was a concept not yet discovered in 1745 France. Porridge will get those drains unclogged right quick, Louis my dear. The king does know about porridge though. He just won’t lower himself to eat what he calls “such peasant food.” Please remember that these words are being spoken by some trying to poop in front of a room full of onlookers. I’d say they ascribe too much power to monarchs, but given what happens in France in 1789, that much is astoundingly clear. Anyway, it's through his porridge recommendation that Jamie hopes to ingratiate himself with the king. A bold, total Jamie Fraser move if I ever saw one. Jamie isn’t just full of digestive tract knowledge in this episode, though. We learn that he used to be very into dueling — although I’m not sure if the conversation with his past fling, who he and Claire bump into at Versailles, is entirely about dueling. There are many euphemisms, like “I barely scratched my wood," and given that he was a virgin when he married Claire, that may very well be a reference to his wood. We find out Jamie is good at chess, which he’s going to brood over with the Monsieur Joseph Duverney (Marc Duret), King Louis XV's Minister of Finance. Jamie is also super chill when the madam at the brothel busts out the dildos. He declines to purchase one, though.
Jamie still isn’t chill in the bedroom, however. The ghost of Black Jack Randall looms large over Jamie and Claire’s sex life. The episode opens with Jamie having a dream in which he and Claire are making love, when suddenly, it’s not Claire, but Black Jack, with whom he’s having sex. Jamie takes out a knife and stabs Black Jack to death. He wakes up from his nightmare in sweaty panic and can’t fall back asleep, despite Claire’s assurances that Black Jack is dead. Except, as we learn at the end of this episode, he’s not. That's not going to play well when Jamie finds out in the next episode (or whenever Claire decides it's best to tell him). Claire visits an apothecary to fetch a sleeping aid for Jamie, but she also tries another tactic. While she’s visiting her new friend Louise de la Tour de Rohan (Claire Sermonne), who is a gosh darn hoot, Louise is having her legs and vulva waxed. She informs Claire it’s “de riguer” in Paris these days. Claire is surprised, but clearly intrigued, because that night, she introduces Jamie to her bare “honeypot” (as he keeps calling it). Jamie is also surprised but intrigued, and the situation starts to turn amorous between them. Unfortunately, it’s again ruined when Jamie has a flashback to his assault.
So, Jamie and Claire's mission to thwart the Jacobite rebellion is moving along by day, but is terrorized at night by the now very real presence of Black Jack Randall. Back to the more positive daytime activities, though. Claire has a fun new friend in Louise, and she also finds a kindred spirit in the apothecary, Master Raymond (Dominique Piñon). He considers her new enemy, the Comte St. Germain's (Stanley Weber), his enemy as well. I presume they'll cook up some potions together in the near future.
Also, this episode proves that French court in the 1740s is basically just a bunch of people standing around talking about each other and trying to out-scandalize one another with their outfits. Picture the Grammys, but with dresses a lot more revealing than J. Lo’s 2001 Versace number. The woman who wins tonight’s round on Outlander is wearing a dress cut below her breasts. They’re on full display with snake rings wrapped around her nipples. Murtagh has a cheeky little moment of flirtation with her, which Jamie quickly puts the kibosh on with a loud throat clearing. Why can’t Murtagh have a little fun while he’s forced to stay in France (where he repeatedly says he’s very unhappy about being)? Who thought Jamie would stand in the way of his friend getting his wood scratched, ye ken?