Sigh. Remember last week, when Outlander was all sexy sexy and romance excitement? This week they were like, “What if instead we did graphic surgery, arguing and business?” AND THEN THEY DID.

We last saw Claire (Caitriona Balfe) being attacked by a strange man in Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) room at the brothel. (I’ve heard some very reasonable criticisms of the show since then about the frequency of sexual violence as a plot device- notably in Go Fug Yourself’s recap of the last episode.) When we rejoin her this week, we see her grab a knife and successfully fight the man off with it for a bit– until he stumbles and cracks his head on the hearth. 

Jamie walks in just in time to see her holding the knife over the man’s unmoving form, and instead of hastening to comfort his wife, he starts to spring into action over the apparently dead body in the room. Then the man does a noise or something and Claire is like, “I need to drill a hole in this man’s head and try to save him.”

Jamie gets mad about this, because he sees all the potential for problems if the man survives to tell the tale of what happened. But almost the entire cast arrives to see what the scuffle they heard was, so his tantrum gets paused. Everyone gets put to work either helping Claire get the surgical implements she’ll need (in addition to the ones she brought from 1968 in her pocket), or helping move all the illegal booze Jamie keeps in the brothel’s cellar. 

Claire runs out to the apothecary for some necessities, and while she’s there she cuts the line in front of Archibald Campbell (Mark Hadfield), offering to visit his ailing sister in exchange for his accommodating her. She rushes back to the brothel and finds that her patient has awoken and become loudly belligerent. Jamie is forcibly restraining him, and an annoyed Claire demands that he be gentle with her patient’s head. 

The one-night honeymoon seems to be over already. The only drilling going on in the bed in the brothel is Claire literally drilling a hole in a man’s head. 

Jamie succeeds in getting all of his booze out of the brothel before the intruder’s assumed employer, Sir Percival (Paul Brightwell), shows up looking for his man. Young Ian (John Bell) also negotiates a terrific price for the booze they need to unload quickly, earning Fergus’ (César Domboy) respect as a salesman. Young Ian clinches the deal by offering to throw in three casks of Crème de Menthe, a liquor that hasn’t been moving because it’s unpopular. 

Claire’s trepanation does not save her attacker’s life, and she’s in a nasty funk about losing a patient when Jamie comes home from evading the law. He comforts her by assuring her she’ll get plenty of chances to save lives in the 18th Century, and then she surprises him by bouncing to see Archibald’s sister, Margaret (Alison Pargeter). 

Margaret is basically a vegetable, although she becomes extremely agitated when Claire touches her hand, babbling things that are not Scottish slang, but bonafide nonsense. Her brother is basically her agent, and he offers to interpret his sister’s “vision” for Claire– for a price. Claire deduces pretty quickly that his sister is not a psychic, but that she does have mental issues that will be best treated with teas. The Campbells are off to the West Indies in service of a wealthy client, so Archibald needs potions to keep Margaret mellow. Good for them. 

When Claire gets home to the brothel, the dead man is gone. Jamie’s men have hidden him in a cask of  Crème de Menthe, which he expects will remain untouched for a long time. As soon as she’s done finding out where the body’s gone, Claire hits Jamie with a version of “where is this relationship going?” She’s like: “I want to start a business in the 18th Century. I like being a doctor. Where are we going to live instead of this brothel? I’ve been here SINCE YESTERDAY and would like some answers about the rest of our lives.”

Jamie is ready to respond with something like, “Slow your roll,” when he’s interrupted by the arrival of Ian Murray (Steven Cree). He tells Claire she’s not to mention that she’s seen Young Ian and that he’ll explain later. 

They go downstairs and give Ian the “Claire moved to America when she thought Jamie was dead” speech, then they lie about knowing where Young Ian is. Then Jamie is like, “Let me walk you out so you can keep looking.”

None of them knows that Fergus has helped Young Ian seduce a winning barmaid, and that while they’re all discussing his whereabouts, he’s actually losing his virginity in the back room of Jamie’s print shop. 

Once Jamie gets rid of Ian, he and Claire go back to their bedroom. Instead of knocking boots, she gives him a killer look and he’s like, “I know you’re nagging me with your eyes, woman,” or something.

She lays into him for lying about Young Ian and actually plays the “You don’t know what it’s like to be a worried parent” card. Jamie does NOT like that, so he rebuts with, “Yeah, because you raised our daughter with another man.” Touché, Jamie. 

He starts extolling his virtues as a role model for Young Ian, showing him the ways of the world. He explains that he keeps trying to send the lad home, but because he keeps sneaking back to Edinburgh Jamie keeps employing him as a smuggler. He assures Claire that the boy is safe with his loving uncle and that lying to Ian and Jenny is reasonable. 

Of course his speech is interrupted by someone telling them that the print shop is on fire. 

They run off to see what’s up, not yet aware that Young Ian’s lovemaking with barmaid Brighid (Zoe Barker) has been interrupted by another of Sir Percival’s lackeys breaking into the print shop to look for the alcohol they’re sure Jamie is hiding. Young Ian sends Brighid away and confronts the man. They scuffle, which leads to both the print shop catching fire and the lackey finding Jamie’s stash of seditious pamphlets. The lackey makes off with the pamphlets while Young Ian holes up in the back room and gets trapped by flames. 

When Jamie and Claire arrive at the fire, the whole print shop is engulfed. Jamie realizes that Young Ian may be inside, sleeping, and he runs into the fire and saves his nephew. He realizes that there will be a target on his back now, and Claire insists that he take her and his nephew to Lallybroch. He agrees, believing that the pseudonym he’s been using with Sir Percival will protect them from being followed. 

He pulls Mr. Willoughby and Fergus aside to give them some instructions, including that Fergus should have Ned Gowan send the information he’s requested to Lallybroch. Fergus is concerned, because Lallybroch is pretty close to where Jamie’s other wife lives, but Jamie is sure it will be OK. 


Read my Outlander Season Three recaps HERE!

Leona Laurie