Outlander Episode 205: UNTIMELY RESURRECTION throws down the gauntlet. Just when Claire thinks the only thing she has to worry about is an old lover, a dark figure from the Frasers’ past returns with a wicked smirk and a matching ego. Claire and Jamie’s newfound harmony is placed into jeopardy when Frank’s imperiled past collides with Claire’s dubious future and Jamie’s destructive present.
With the episode written by Richarch Kahan and under the direction of Douglas Mackinnon, Caitriona Balfe takes on Randall, the King of France, two lovesick puppies and an enraged Jamie in her boldest and most intense performance yet. It doesn’t get much better than this.
As we open, UNTIMELY RESURRECTION feels a heckuva lot like Downton Abbey (if I may go there again so soon). I’ve never seen so many servants outside the Crawford’s country estate, rushing about and cleaning up after the dinner and brouhaha that followed. The Frasers are in the money now. Good thing it doesn’t last. I like them best in a cozy setting, like a tent made out of branches and snow for instance . . .
Jamie (Sam Heughan) returns home after spending the night in a French prison, having been interrogated over the Mary affair. He finds Claire and a sleeping Fergus (Romann Berrux) waiting for him. In the tenderest moment of the show, Jamie swings Fergus up into his arms and carries the lad off to bed. I dare you not to aww.
Murtagh is safe and already being given a bubble bath by Suzette, but poor Alex is still in lock up on account of Mary’s uncle thinking he saw the youngster attacking his niece. Well, he was but not really. It seems the only way to get the poor, now out-of-work secretary – thanks to the Duke who wants to distance himself from the scandal so fired the down and out Alex via *sshole Express – can only get out of jail with a get-out-of-jail-free card from Mary’s signed affidavit. Did they have affidavits in the 18th century? Until then, Alex is stuck in France’s finest *1/2 accommodations, so Jamie tells Claire once alone in their bedroom.
And just when things were going so well. The Frasers’ plan to separate the Prince from the Duke’s money looked to be working. The Prince’s yapping wore Sandringham out and showed what a poor investment the Jacobite uprising would be for the Duke’s interests. The only bad thing to come of the evening – besides Mary and Alex’s future being dashed, of course – was the Prince leaving with St. Germain.
That damn St. Germain. Jamie questions Claire, trying to tie the attack to the Comte. They were ordinary thugs, Claire says, except for their fine clothing. Oh, yeah. And they called her La Dame Blanche.
Oops. Jamie gulps and confesses he may have given that little nickname to his wife which has apparently spread throughout Paris. He only meant to scare the trollops off his lap. Great! That narrows the list of suspects down to those hanging out in whore houses. Hmm. That doesn’t help much.
Somehow . . . some way . . . Jamie intends to prove St. Germain is behind the attacks – plural.
Finally, Jamie has time to do some work at Jared’s warehouse. While Jamie sees to business (gotta pay for all those servants), Murtagh P.I. (Duncan Lacroix) reports his findings on St. Germain. Nothing suspicious. He must not be looking close enough. The Comte looks nothing but suspicious. He must have spotted Murtagh on his tail – conspicuous in a kilt.
However, there seems to be a following of aristocrats, bored with whoring, who can only join an exclusive wannabe gang known ominously as “Les Disciples.” Maybe not so ominous. Was Devil’s Disciples already taken? The initiation requires the jerks steal the maidenheads from unwilling maidens. I suppose it’s no fun if the maiden is willing.
Dramatic pause . . . Murtagh is guilt-ridden over not protecting Mary and Claire. He failed Jamie.
“I canna forgive myself for what happened in that alley,” he laments.
Well, hate to say it, but probably shouldn’t go walking through dark alleys. At least, not in a big city. Other than that, not your fault, big guy.
All is forgiven. Just get me St. Germain, Jamie says.
With a vengeance, Murtagh replies.
Claire pops in to visit the recovering Mary (Rosie Day) who’s just finished the letter declaring Alex’s innocence. We’re going to be married, she tells Claire, once he’s out of the Bastille. Mary’s warty fiancé dumped her the same time the Duke dumped Alex. This is not good news to Claire’s ears. Franks’s existence is being batted around like a ball of yarn by a litter of kittens. He exists. He doesn’t exist. He exists. He doesn’t exist. Chomp. Swat. Pounce. What’s a woman from the future now living in the past to do? Burn the letter and ensure her past/future husband’s survival, at the same time condemning a really sweet guy to life in prison and a “soiled” young woman to spinsterhood, or let history run its course? She’ll decide later.
Back at the warehouse, Prince Charles (Andrew Gower) pops in to visit Jamie. He’s over Louise and ready to focus on the rebellion. Well, crap. Jamie’s well-laid plan keeps backfiring on him. I’m sure St. Germain has something to do with this as well. Probably introduced the Prince to a new trollop.
The Prince has struck a deal with the Comte to secure £10,000 for the holy cause. It involves a shipment of wine and a new business partner – Jamie himself. Gulp. This just gets better and better. Jamie tries to get out of it, but the Prince won’t hear of it. He wants his ships and all the glory – without doing any of the work. He’s tired and has to go be a Prince now.
Claire has made her decision regarding Mary and Alex (Laurence Dobiesz). Strolling through a lovely garden with the free and hopeful young man, she drives a wedge between them by pointing out to Alex he’s an ex-con with no money, no prospects and poor health – not the best husband material for sweet Mary. Let her go, she tells him. She’s concerned for Mary’s well-being. Liar. Liar. Pantaloons on fire.
Apparently, Alex doesn’t think any of those traits are bad enough not to marry but quickly agrees to break Mary’s heart anyway. Guess he’s feeling too sickly to put up any kind of a fight. Claire feels bad putting Frank before the young lovers’ desires, but not that bad . . .
On the other side of Paris, Jamie meets with St. Germain (Stanley Weber) . . . in a brothel. Is there really no other place to get a drink? Jamie’s not even part owner of the place though he spends enough money at Maison Elise’s to be one.
The two men sit across from each other, trying to kill each other with their deadly good looks.
Jamie says, “You hate me but I hate you more. Let’s get on with it.” (Real mature.)
“Your wife tried to ruin me,” the Comte says with a handsome sneer. “I don’t forget things like that.”
“Yeah, well. You poisoned her and had her attacked. I can’t prove it yet, but I’m almost 100% sure it was you. I don’t forget things like that either.” (I should hope not.)
Bored now. The Comte is bored with Jamie’s threats and the minutia of his personal life. Snap! He lays down their business plan and tosses coins onto the table as if Jamie were a beggar. I thought the Comte was broke? A cheap shot in any case. All I can think about is one of the best bar scenes ever written – Marian Ravenwood kicking Indiana Jones out of her bar and tossing, “Huh! See you tomorrow, Indiana Jones,” over her shoulder as he leaves. Classic.
Back at Fraser McMansion, Jamie tells Claire what went down, leaving out the juicy bits. Time for a new plan, ’cause the last one worked out so well . . .
“Let’s make everyone think the Comte’s crew is infected with small pox again,” Claire suggests, ’cause the last time worked out so well . . . Maybe call that a back up plan.
Jamie changes the subject. He promised to help the Duke pick out a new horse at the royal stables. Claire’s not thrilled but Jamie is trying to stay on the Duke’s good side. I didn’t know the Duke had a good side.
Time for presents! Jamie hands Claire an early Baptismal gift – a set of Apostle Spoons, a treasured Fraser heirloom. The time for baby is getting closer which has Claire worrying about her own maternal instincts and parenting skills. She’ll be a fine mother, Jamie insists. They’ll figure out how to raise children together. Well, he’s half right.
The next blue-sky day . . .
the rich and beautifully-dressed stroll through the gardens of Versailles. Jamie is happy to be near the smell of horses again. He’s been hanging out in velvet-lined parlors too long.
It’s a glorious day, ruined by the arrival of Sandringham. Claire ducks out, feigning illness or maybe not, leaving Jamie with the Duke to inspect the horsies. They make small talk about the business of the other night – such a shame – then work their way up to what an “utter ass” the Duke thinks the Prince is. It takes one to know one. Sandringham practically calls Jamie a fool for pledging himself to Charles. No one knows the Prince better, but Jamie must keep up the pretense and defends the future King of Britain.
Off to nibble on fruit from a surprisingly small buffet table – I thought this place was a palace? – Claire runs into Jamie’s ex-flame, Annalise de Marillac (Margaux Chatelier) – pretty in pink and an adorable hat, but Claire’s dress is way cooler.
Annalise invites Claire to take a walk through the garden. Claire accepts, perhaps curious as to what attracted Jamie back in the day.
Annalise and Claire make small talk, discussing Scotland and the clans, then work their way up to what a man Jamie has become. Annalise likes young Jamie better – impulsive and headstrong, not involved in politics, not holding down a steady job, not being all noble . . . not being married basically. Reer!
But he’s all those things now, Claire tells her, and he’s taken. Annalise had her chance. (Don’t we all wish that?)
“Speaking of men . . .”
Annalise points out a rather dashing gentleman is checking Claire out. Who me? Claire is flattered and turns around to find Frank, er, Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) striding toward her in slo-o-o-o-0w motion for effect. Talk about kittens batting a ball of yarn around, Jack has eaten the canary and couldn’t be more pleased to see Claire. Where Claire is, Jamie can’t be far.
This is where Claire takes the penny out of her pocket (don’t tell me you don’t get that reference) and looks ready to pass out. Jack introduces himself to the unaware Annalise, using rather horrendous French. But hey, he tried, so points . . .
Annalise sees Claire is ready to throw up (and probably does a little in her mouth) and dashes off to get Jamie. Just hearing Jack Randall say Jamie’s name makes me want to throw up. He can’t wait to be reunited with his prison pal. Yuck.
Claire attempts to diffuse the situation by warning Jack to make himself scarce, but it doesn’t work. They’re in the King’s territory. No killing in front of the King – unless the King orders it so, of course. Claire then attempts to walk away, but Jack’s not letting this new canary out of the cage just yet. What a horrible situation, not wanting to draw attention yet dying to peck Jack’s eyes out of their sockets.
Wouldn’t you know it, King Louis (Lionel Lingelser) and his palace entourage appear to save the day. Claire is forced to present Randall to the King who is greatly amused by Jack’s dreadful French. I’ve been laughed at for my French, so I know how it feels. Gotta side with the dark man on this one.
Randall gets picked on a bit more, the King making fun of Jack’s uniform and the English penchant for warmongering. And what of Madame Fraser’s friendship with this man? Does it not cause a problem for her Scottish warrior husband?
Speak of the devil . . .
Lord Broch Tuarach arrives to make the situation even more uncomfortable for Claire (but fun for us). Jamie puts on a brave face, greeting Jack without looking him in the eye – otherwise, he’d have to kill him. Randall returns the pleasantries then turns to the King in the hopes of straightening out the matter between Alex and Sandringham. I suppose because Sandringham is a Duke, the highest rank just below a monarch, Randall thinks Louis will intervene. But why would the King of France care about such a matter, really? Especially a matter between foreigners. Of course, if Randall were a woman . . .
Perhaps the King would be more inclined to assist if Randall were to drop down to his knees and beg. Randall drop down to his knees? Randall beg? Are pigs flying? Guess so. Randall slowly takes a knee while Claire and Jamie gleefully watch TV’s greatest villain grovel with humiliation in front of the French court. Ha. Ha. Ha. The King didn’t mean right now.
Claire’s had enough tension for the day and claims illness again. She’s getting lots of mileage out of the baby. Jamie is excused from the King’s presence as well, but before they get too far away, Jamie goes back to confront Randall – out of Claire’s earshot and ours. What is he saying? What is he saying? They look to be having a friendly chat. Randall even places a hand on Jamie’s chest. Egad! thinks Claire. What the heck, she asks Jamie when he returns to her side with a bounce in his step.
“I challenged him to a duel, and he accepted.”
On the carriage ride home, Jamie’s head is filled with images of a bloody Randall while Claire’s head is just spinning. Jamie bounds from the carriage, eager to make preparations. Claire orders the coachman to take her to the Bastille, post haste!
In the bedroom, Murtagh and Jamie hold a war council. Murtagh questions if Randall, the challenged, will select pistols as the weapon of choice.
Nah. He’ll select swords, Jamie predicts. They both want to fight up close and personal to look each other in the eye. Sounds bromantic. Murtagh is worried about Randall’s skills with a blade, being Captain of the Dragoons and all. Jamie’s not concerned. He’s too excited about the duel.
“They’ll be no duel.”
Claire interrupts the boys’ party plans for a blood bath. She’s had Randall arrested for Mary’s attack. It won’t stick, but she’s hoping it’ll be long enough to talk Jamie out of the foolish duel. He’ll be a father soon and has a responsibility to her and little Dalhousie or Lambert.
“He won’t get caught. I’ll see to it,” Murtagh vows. He’s let Jamie down once and intends to make up for it.
In a rare moment of fury, Claire orders Murtagh from the room. This is between her and Jamie. Ouch. He leaves them alone. (You know he’s heading straight to Suzette’s. Gotta keep his eye on her.)
Randall’s return from the grave is a gift, Jamie points out as Claire closes the door, a gift he wants to open with his sword – right down the middle or across the throat or through the heart or maybe limb from limb. There’s no reason not to –
Frank. Claire brings up poor innocent Frank. Jamie’s second least favorite person in the world. She’s gone to a lot of trouble to break up Mary and Alex to ensure Frank’s birth and protect him from Jamie’s wrath. Thus, if Jamie acts on his blood vengeance, Frank will never be born . . . Claire will never marry him . . . will never go to Scotland (except on an Outlander vacation with girlfriends) . . . will never walk through the stones at just the moment Clan MacKenzie is near Craigh na Dun . . . will never meet Jamie and make him fall in love with her by fixing his arm . . . and so on and so on.
Jamie gets it but he doesna like it. Claire is asking too much. She must make a choice. It’s Jack or him. He will not . . . cannot live while that man still breathes. Claire begs for a one year reprieve, just until Frank’s next ancestor is conceived by Mary.
Talk about tension. Claire uses every life Jamie owes her and then some. He looks ready to call the marriage off, but kisses his sword and gives her the year. Most likely a year without much snuggling or feeding the monkey.
Will Jamie be able to keep his promise? Will he ever forgive Claire? Will the Prince ever see his £10,000? Will Sandringham stop pressing his luck? Will St. Germain ever call me?
For the answers to all but the last question, tune in next week for what I predict may be a real tear-jerker episode of Outlander.
UNTIMELY RESURRECTION is a very powerful episode. Having Claire, Jamie and Randall on screen together is a treat for the eyes and the senses. I once called Caitriona, Sam and Tobias a triumvirate of talent. They certainly exhibit their talent in this episode. Their chemistry crackles and makes us cringe in our seats, especially when Claire attempts to get away in the garden. The return of Captain Jonathan Wolverton Randall is as deliciously wicked as I hoped it would be.
Regarding the King’s scene, I’m never comfortable watching scenes of humiliation, even at the expense of Jack Randall. Would Jamie really crack a smile during this tense encounter, even during said humiliation? I don’t think so. Perhaps he is simply being polite for the King’s benefit, laughing with the peanut gallery to keep up appearances. I dunno.
The best scene in the show is, of course, the ending between Claire, Jamie and Murtagh. All that our heroes have built comes crashing down because of what might be. Jamie is from the here and now and hates having his present dictated by Claire’s future past. If there was ever a time to damn it all to hell, now would be it.
But this is James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser – the man with the strongest resolve and fiercest loyalty of any man. It takes a lot to break his word.
And what of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp Randall Fraser? She not only faces down Randall without losing her cool or her lunch, but stands her ground with Jamie in a fiery stance.
Bravo to Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies for their tortured performances. Tobias manages to make Randall creepier and darker every time we see him, yet still human and starved for Jamie’s attention, any way he can get it. Sam exposes Jamie’s vulnerability with “You’d stop me taking vengeance on the man that made me play his whore . . .” and breaks my heart. It’s the line I’ve been waiting for, and it was worth the wait.
Duncan Lacroix has his own moments with Jamie in the warehouse and the bedroom (that sounds weird, but you know what I mean). I always think of him as the gentle giant because of his big heart and the protective shield he wraps around the Frasers.
Three cheers for Caitriona Balfe in this episode. As I’ve already said, it doesn’t get any better than this . . . but we know she’ll continue to wow us as Claire, especially with what’s to come. We’ve seen Claire take charge, but never like this.
Outlander Episode 206: BEST LAID SCHEMES premieres on Starz on Saturday, 14 May 2016 in the U.S.
For more goodness on this episode, check out Jamie’s Top 30 Looks from Outlander Ep. 205: UNTIMELY RESURRECTION