In the latest episodes of Outlander, Black Jack Randall is back.
Before I begin, APOLOGIES for the late recaps. Okay, let’s go!
So I have missed so much the past two weeks! Not only did the Frasers have to recover from the dinner that turned into a throw down, now they have to deal with the return of Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall! What the deuce? Wasn’t he supposed to be dead? Well, the gods seem to love torturing Jamie and Claire because, well, the gods suck.
In Episode 205, “Untimely Resurrection,” the Frasers try to recover from their disastrous dinner. Claire was left to wait up for her husband, as Jamie and the other men he fought were taken to the Bastille thanks to that creep St. Germain. Claire (being guarded by a sleeping Fergus) finally saw her husband come home. Jamie wasn’t too bothered by the stay at the Bastille since it was a short one, but poor Alex Randall was still there, being falsely accused of rape and all. The two figured the brawl would end Prince Charles’ quest for the throne, but they were wrong, wrong, wrong. The Bonnie Prince was able to secure funds to his cause by making a deal with St. Germain. And Jamie had to work with them both. See, the gods do suck.
The next day, Claire went to visit Mary Hawkins, who was still recovering from her attack. Of course, her father thinks Mary is ruined and that her chances of being married are basically zilch. But young Mary doesn’t care about that because it frees her to marry Alex Randall. But that can’t happen if the man is rotting away in the Bastille. Mary asks Claire to take a letter to the Bastille exonerating Alex. But Claire, knowing Mary’s future with Black Jack, is hesitant and isn’t sure that would be a good idea. Thankfully, she lets common sense and compassion prevail and Alex is released. The two talk and Claire gets real with Alex. He’s poor, sickly and is unemployed, so what kind of life could he offer a girl such as Mary? Alex knows it all to be true, but he loves Mary very much. But Claire persists and Alex agrees that he would only offer Mary a life of uncertainty and possible destitution. He agrees to break off the relationship, but Claire doesn’t relish her victory.
At Maison Elise, Jamie and St. Germain meet up to discuss the terms of their forced collaboration. St. Germain, who never seems to sully himself enough to speak English, doesn’t waste any time with small talk. The plan is simple: the shipments will be stored at St. Germain’s warehouse and will remain until Jamie finds a buyer. Until then, he doesn’t want to hear from Jamie for any reason. Jamie, who knows St. Germain had something to do with the attack on Claire and Mary, agrees. St. Germain then gets up to leave, but not before dropping some coins on the table like Jamie is some cheap whore. I would have loved to see Jamie smash that punk in his prissy face.
Later that night, Jamie and Claire spend a tender moment when he gives his wife a beautiful baby gift. He hands her a box of Apostle’s spoons, which have been in his family for generations. Not really sure what they’re for, but they were beautiful (if anyone knows, please leave a comment and enlighten us). Claire is moved by Jamie’s gesture, which she should relish cuz things take a turn for the worst after that.
The next day, Jamie and Claire head to Versailles. The two go their separate ways and Claire runs into Jamie’s old girlfriend, Annalise. Cuz that’s what Claire needs is to visit with one of Jamie’s old flames. Annalise talks about how Jamie used to be when they were together which no woman wants to hear, ever. She says that Claire has turned Jamie into a man, which is both a compliment and an insult. Annalise says that when she knew him, he was impulsive and fun and blah blah blah. Alright girl, we get it. But Claire keeps her cool (barely) because guess what? Jamie is her husband now and she’s carrying his baby. Before she has to listen to anymore of Annalise’s reminiscing, her rival notices a man intently staring at Claire. When she turns, Claire is confronted with the flesh and blood Black Jack!
How Claire was able to restrain herself from poking that man’s eyes out in the middle of the gardens is beyond me. But restrain herself she did, even though Black Jack did everything he could to provoke her. Tobias Menzies brings such gleeful malice to Captain Randall! I loathe and love that character immensely because he represents everything horrible that we humans are truly capable of. Claire wants nothing but distance from Jamie’s tormenter, but she also does not want Jamie to see him. She tries to get away, but Randall blocks her path each time. She tells him to get out of her way but he mentions King Louis, to which Claire replies, “Fuck the King!” Exactly! Unfortunately, King Louis is strolling their way, as evidenced by Randall’s deep bow. Claire recovers herself and offers a curtsy to the King, who each time they meet seems to look at her like something he can’t wait to devour. The King is curious about Randall and Claire introduces him. Randall tries to speak French but screws up a few words. The King’s entourage laughs and the event I call “The Great Clowning of Black Jack Randall” begins.
The King starts by talking about Randall’s French, then his uniform. And if you’ve never been around the French, then you don’t know how unbelievably dismissive they can be (which is why I love them). As the clowning is going on, Jamie walks up and is face to face with Randall. How I wished for Jamie to draw his dirk and plunge it into every inch of Randall’s face, but since that would have ended in his being jailed, or worse, he was ever the gentleman. But the King ain’t stupid. He saw the tension between all three and gave the Frasers a bit of satisfaction. When Randall beseeched the King to help his brother Alex find another position, Louis told him to beg for his help. Like literally, get on your knees. Randall obliged, to the delight of the Frasers and everyone else in the gardens. With that glorious vision, the Frasers took their leave of the King. Before they got too far though, Jamie turned back and headed straight for Randall. The two spoke, and then Randall had the gall to touch Jamie! Good grief that man has a death wish! When Jamie returned to Claire, he told her that he challenged Randall to a duel, which was accepted.
On the way back, Claire is distraught over Jamie’s revelation while her husband was only thinking of how he planned to finally kill Randall. When they get home, Jamie practically bounces out of the carriage, but Claire tells the driver to take her to the Bastille at once. When she returns home, she finds Jamie and Murtagh strategizing on how to best Randall. But Claire has other plans for them. She tells the men that she has made an accusation against Randall and he’s being held at the Bastille as they speak. Jamie is livid and asks her what she was thinking. Claire doesn’t want Jamie jailed for dueling, which is outlawed in France. Murtagh says he won’t get caught and Claire screams at him to leave. When they’re alone, Claire tells Jamie the real reason why he can’t kill Randall: if he does, Frank will never exist. Jamie looks at his wife like she’s lost her mind.
Jamie can’t believe his wife would take the gift of revenge from him. He tells her he has thought of nothing else ever since she told him that Randall was alive. Now she asks him to forego his revenge for a man he’s never met? No! Hell no! Jamie grabs his dirk and he tells Claire that it’s either him or Randall and if she chooses the latter, she may has well kill him now. He grabs her hand, wraps it around his dirk and points it towards his heart. My heart broke at this scene because that, my friends, is the feeling you’re left with after being raped. All you want is Death to take you.
Claire tries to reason with Jamie before doing something so cruel, but very necessary: she tells her husband that she saved his life more than once and he owes her a life. She went there, people. Claire basically blackmailed her man knowing how honorable he is. So he agreed to wait a year before killing Randall so Mary’s child could be conceived. Jamie then kissed his sword to seal his pledge. Claire tries to touch her husband, but Jamie told her not to even dare. Then he gave her a look that would have turned me into a puddle of distraught goo.
Which takes us to Episode 206, “Best Laid Schemes.” Jamie is still reeling from his fight with Claire and subsequent pledge not to kill Randall. Murtagh comes into his office and tells Jamie that Randall has been released and the duel will be in two days. But Jamie tells his friend that the duel will not happen. He doesn’t explain but Murtagh demands to know why. Jamie says that Murtagh should trust that he has a good reason. Shortly after, the butler comes in and tells Jamie that Claire has asked he have a good breakfast. Because being on his shitlist, Claire left for the L’Hôpital before she would have to face her husband.
While there, Claire runs into one of the physicians, who also serves as the King’s Royal Executioner. He asks Claire to help him prepare a body for burial and then proceeds to warn her about the King’s disposal of anyone believed to be involved in the dark arts. That includes Claire’s friend Master Raymond. Claire visits the strange man and warns him to leave the city. But Master Raymond has been through this before and he ain’t leaving. However, Claire believes that the King is looking for a body count instead of Hail Mary’s and implores her friend to leave. He takes her advice to heart and says he will leave the city. I hope that isn’t the last of Master Raymond we see.
Back home, Jamie is rubbing his wife’s feet. While she’s enjoying the feel of manly hands on big-ass feet, Jamie ruins the mood by talking of his pledge. He says that he has saved her life as well and they are both even. She wants to know why he agreed to the promise and it was because he wanted someplace for her to go if he dies, which is looking more and more likely thanks to Prince Charles’ quest for the throne. Back through the stones and to Frank. He wants to make sure she is with someone who will love her and the baby, no matter what. Claire reluctantly agrees to it and the two kiss.
The next day, Claire is showing Jamie, Fergus and Murtagh how to create symptoms of smallpox so they can spread the concoction in St. Germain’s warehouse and destroy the shipment. Murtagh, already annoyed with Jamie for canceling the duel, thinks this whole thing is ridiculous. Claire gets everything together and puts the mixture on Jamie’s buff chest. Nothing happens at first and then the big men doubles over. Claire is proud of her success but Murtagh thinks they should just kill Prince Charles and be done with it. Pissed off, he walks outside. Jamie goes outside and confesses all to his friend in Gaelic. Surprisingly, Murtagh takes it all in stride, but punches his friend’s face (not the face!) for good measure.
The next day, Jamie and Fergus ride to St. Germain’s warehouse so he they can plant the smallpox. Fergus does his duty and they ride back in the night. Jamie arrives home and falls into his wife’s arms. Later that night, he is summoned to the Prince who talks of the infection that has spread in St. Germain’s warehouse. The Prince asks Jamie to transport the wine himself. Jamie tries to get out of it, but there’s no way around it. St. Germain tells him that he will go along with him to make sure the investment is not lost.
Jamie and Murtagh come up with a plan, which Claire finds too dangerous. But it must be done. Murtagh dresses up in all of France’s finery for the plan and he just wants someone to kill him now. Later that night, Claire and Jamie have some pillow talk, which results in some good loving. Like most men, Jamie worries if sex will harm the baby, but since we know our bodies better than anyone, Claire assures him it’s alright.
On the road, St. Germain and Jamie are transporting the wine while back in Paris, Claire is having drinks and gossip with Louise and the other ladies. The plan is put into place and it goes well, except for St. Germain. He aims his pistol at a masked Murtagh who was all too happy to return the favor. Jamie makes a snap decision and knocks St. Germain off of his wagon. Murtagh jumps on to his friend and knocks him out to make the robbery look real. Later, Prince Charles is utterly devastated about what happened, but St. Germain ain’t buyin it. It’s just too coincidental. He flat out accuses Jamie of setting up the whole thing and they almost come to blows. But Charles diffuses the situation so he can continue to whine about not being King.
While the robbery was going down, Claire had had enough of Louise and her gossipy friends. She interrupts their frivolous conversation to talk about the poor and disadvantaged in the area. She mentioned how upsetting it was to see a mother and child dead in the street and the women’s answer to this was to suggest moving the poor to another less desirable neighborhood (sounds familiar). Claire got up and basically said Au Revoir, Les Felicias and went to the L’Hôpital to do some real work. She worked until she could barely stand, and Mother Hildegarde demanded Claire rest there for the night, which she did.
Back home, Jamie settled himself for a nice quiet dinner with young Fergus, who relayed the message that Claire would be staying at the L’Hôpital for the night. Before he could even take a bite, Suzette came in and told Milord that Prince Charles was at Maison Elise causing trouble. Jamie and Fergus head there to save the bothersome Prince, yet again. While Jamie was there to discuss matters with Madame Elise, Fergus walked around the brothel in search of his own kind of trouble. He sees an open door and starts snooping around, pocketing things he likes. Unfortunately, he was in the room of one Captain Black Jack Randall, who catches the young (and very pretty) thief in the act. Black Jack closes the door and only the Almighty knows what happened after that. But whatever it was, it caused the next chain of events to unfold.
In the morning, Claire comes back from a restful night at the L’Hôpital. The servants look mournful, but she doesn’t notice cuz she is extremely well rested. When she asks Suzette about Milord’s whereabouts, the maid tries to ignore her, but since no one ignores Claire, Suzette confesses. Jamie was in the woods. With Black Jack. And his swords. Oh for fuck’s sake!
Claire tells Magnus to take her to the woods at once. The driver does not want to ignore Milord’s wishes, but since Milady would have killed him where he stood, he takes her. When they arrive, Jamie and Black Jack were already in the thick of it, both tired, dirty and injured. Claire tries to get to them but, in television fashion, she begins to have contractions. Bad ones. She can barely stand but needs to get to the men. Her contractions come faster and harder and Claire begins to bleed heavily. She looks at the men again and sees Jamie stab Randall in the penis! NO! Not there! Claire calls out to Jamie just as the gendarmes come to arrest everyone. Jamie sees Claire, realizes what’s happening to her and falls to his knees. Claire tries to call to her husband but she passes out. The last thing she sees is Randall losing consciousness and Jamie calling her name again and again.
Will Randall survive his injury or will Frank be erased from existence? Will Claire and her baby survive the stress of what’s happened? And will Jamie lose everything for exacting his revenge?
Outlander airs on Saturdays at 9pm on Starz.
Photos courtesy of Starz