Outlander Season 2 Episode 4 Recap: Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Pictured: Sam Hueghan as Jamie Fraser.
Just a few minutes into this episode and two things become crystal-clear. One: Jamie and Claire should not be allowed to name children (Lambert?). Two: Comte St. Germain is one shady mofo. He clearly has it in for Claire, which makes him the premier suspect when she suddenly doubles over and has a coughing fit after sipping wine. He's also the only person in the room to not offer help or express shock as Jamie carries his wife to safety. J'accuse! Recovering in bed later, a weak Claire tells Jamie she suspects someone slipped some bitter cascara — the same poison-like substance Master Raymond just warned her about — into her wine. They both suspect the Comte, but don't have proof. Picking a fight with him could also cause a scandal that could jeopardize their plans in Paris. Speaking of baddies, Claire takes the opportunity to confess the truth about Captain Jack Randall. Jamie's plan to host a dinner party uniting (and hopefully causing a rift between) the Duke of Sandringham and Prince Charles will inevitably involve a cameo by Randall's brother Alex, the duke's secretary. She tells Jamie that Randall survived the attack in Wentworth Prison, but is stunned when her husband reacts happily. "This is wonderful news," he says, explaining that he'd felt robbed of the chance to "see the blood flow from [Randall's] body." Every cloud... A recovered Claire makes her way to Master Raymond's shop and confronts him about selling bitter cascara to the Comte. He says he's only sold it to a servant he didn't recognize, but leads her to the shop's back room to give her a necklace that he claims will change color when poison is present (we need this). He also uses chicken knuckles to tell her future, and assures her that she will see Frank again. That news clearly unsettles her. Her next stop is to Louise's. Her French friend confides that she is pregnant out of wedlock. She initially asks Claire to help her terminate the pregnancy, but ultimately decides to convince her husband that the child is his. She says her lover is "too much of a dreamer," but she's eager to have his child, whether he is involved or not. Claire and Jamie are about to do some baby-making of their own when Claire notices that her bare-bootied husband's things are covered in bite marks courtesy of the brothel's beauties. We learn the French term for 69 (handy!), and Claire learns that hearing of Randall's non-death has given Jamie a sling in his step, so to speak. After not touching Claire for months, he's ready to get it on. They fight about how they haven't really discussed his rape. "I've felt naked and alone, trying to hide under a blade of grass," he says of his traumatic experience. He storms off to sleep in another room. Claire finds him, sheds her clothes, and straddles him, cooing, "Come find me. Come find us." At last the two make sweet, sweet love, and Jamie says she and the baby have given him a roof under which to seek refuge. Aw. Their post-coital slumber is interrupted, however. Someone is trying to break in, and it turns out to be Charles. He's on the run from a jealous husband, and sporting a nasty bite wound. As she tends to his injury, Claire deduces that the bite is courtesy of Louise's monkey. Charles is Louise's secret lover, so Jamie and Claire plot to use this information to their advantage when the dinner party comes around.
Photo: Courtesy of Starz.
Pictured; Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser) and Rosie Day (Mary Hawkins).
One week later and the night of the dinner party arrives. Since she has servants, Claire has no need to furiously flip through the Barefoot Contessa while slugging wine and spilling egg yolk everywhere. There's been an explosion at the armory, so she takes off to the hospital with Mary, Murtagh, and Fergus. To spare you the gory details, we'll just say they're really putting the 'ER' in Outlander this season. Claire's running late, the carriage is broken, and they're forced to walk home in the dark. Jamie is already greeting guests, including the Mary's uncle and husband-to-be and the Duke of Sandringham, who has taken the liberty of inviting the evil Comte St. Germain and his wife. Mary is confirming Fergus' suspicions admitting that she is secretly in love with Alex Randall when she is struck down. Masked men speaking French pounce on the two ladies, with one brutally raping the virgin Mary as Claire protests. Something about Claire makes the group back off, shouting "La Dame Blanche," but the damage has been done. Mary has been raped by a man with a prominent birthmark on his left hand. Jamie is watching Prince Charles practically swallow Louise's hand in full view of her husband when Claire and Mary return. He's notified of the attack, but Claire insists on dressing for dinner and keeping her cool. Alex proves his love by standing watch at Mary's bedside. Dinner begins once Claire arrives, with everyone but the Comte bowing to her. The Duke and Charles seem to rub each other the wrong way over religion, and things get tenser when Jamie congratulates Louise's husband on their pregnancy. Charles is drunk and belligerent, while the Comte is simply menacing as he points out Claire's poison necklace. That's when Mary awakes. The distraught young woman panics at the sight of Alex, and screams for the whole house to hear. Everyone rushes to investigate, prompting Mary's uncle and fiancé to attack Alex. Jamie and Murtagh leap into action, and soon it's a full-on brawl. The duke slips out, as do Charles and the Comte, who decides to have the police called. Dinner party FAIL. And thus concludes another episode, and yet another rape. Anyone else feeling fatigued?

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