You know how sometimes you have visits with people long enough that they move past the superficial and into the kind of depth that bonds you? Outlander puts Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) in such a situation when Lord John Grey (David Berry) appears at Fraser’s Ridge with his son, a.k.a. Jamie’s son, Lord William Ransom (Oliver Finnegan) in “Blood of My Blood.”
The visit overlaps with the end of Murtagh’s (Duncan Lacroix), which makes for a seriously awkward dinner as Lord John tells them about the palace the Governor is building. To John it is a symbol of elegance in the new world– a sign of stability in the Colonies. To Murtagh it is a vulgarity bought with the excessive taxes breaking the backs of the men he knows. The meal ends with Murtagh leaving in a huff, just shy of revealing that he is a Regulator.
Before he leaves the property, he challenges Jamie’s friendship with their former prison warden- a British Redcoat. Jamie confesses that young William is his son, and Murtagh is satisfied for the time being, especially when he knows that Claire knows.
When it’s time for the rest of the guests to depart a few days later, Claire notices that Lord John looks distinctly unwell. She shifts into diagnostician mode and establishes that he traveled through Cross Creek and contracted the measles there. She and Jamie are safe, but as William has never had them before, she urges Jamie to take him away for at least six days.
Jamie takes William on a tour of their property. They fish and hunt together, with William participating in the preparation of the meat from the animals he’s killed for the first time in his life. Although most of their time is spent amiably and practically, the intensity of being alone together for six days allows for moments of raw intimacy.
William recognizes Jamie as his old groom, Mac, the first night he’s on Fraser’s Ridge. While they’re on their journey, he asks Jamie why he didn’t look back when William chased after him as he left Helwater. Jamie says he didn’t want to give the boy false hope, because he didn’t think he’d ever see him again.
Their trip climaxes when William ignores the markings that identify the boundary between the King’s land and Cherokee land to catch a fish. A band of Cherokee men confront them, saying that because the boy stole their fish he must pay with his blood. Jamie shouts out that the boy is his son, therefore blood of his blood, and they should take him instead. He orders William to follow the creek back to the house and prepares to die. William jumps in front of Jamie and shouts that they are not related and that it was he who acted alone.
The Cherokee leader raises his axe… and slices the edge of William’s hand. He says something in Cherokee as they depart.
When they’re gone, Jamie tells the boy that although he didn’t catch every word, he believes that they showed mercy because they were impressed with William’s courage.
Back at the house, John is in mental and physical agony while Claire nurses him. They’re cloistered together long enough for their mutual distrust to surface. She is harboring jealousy of the years he had with Jamie at Ardsmuir when she was unaware he was even alive. John is jealous of Claire being the one Jamie loves.
As time passes, the hostile edge is softened and John shares that what really hurts is to see how satisfied Claire is and to know that he never made his late wife feel that way. His feelings for Jamie are unchanged, but it’s the guilt he feels about Isobel that weighs on him. He asks if Claire can imagine what it’s like to be married to someone you are unable to love properly because they just aren’t your perfect partner, and to leave them unfulfilled because of it.
She can, of course, relate. She’s told him about Brianna, and now she tells him a tiny bit about Frank. She also comforts him that he has something precious of Jamie in William.
When the six days are up, John is recovered enough to welcome William home. Not long after, they continue their journey to Isobel’s Virginia estate. When they leave, William looks back at Jamie, suggesting that he understands that Jamie really is his father, even though John will always be his papa.
As soon as they’re alone, Jamie gives Claire a fireside bath. He mixes soothing the tension of her six days of tending John with some serious foreplay talk. Then he produces a new wedding ring for her, which he had Murtagh make from one of his mother’s candlesticks. Inside is the inscription, “da mi basia mille,” “give me a thousand kisses…”
She likes the ring. A lot. Then they’re counting off the thousand kisses as he lifts her from the bath and carries her to bed. Dang!
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