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After four years of dreaming about returning home to Lallybroch, Jamie steps through the gate only to be immediately reminded of the mess that he left behind when he was hauled away by the redcoats four years earlier.
On the road Jamie tells Claire that there were rumors that Jenny had Black Jack’s bastard child, immediately entering the yard he’s assaulted by the image of a young child who’s his namesake. Jenny is thrilled to see her brother, until he starts fuming about her child being named after him. Jenny’s happy reunion turns to ashes by her brother’s strange, accusatory, and rude behavior.
Jenny who’s been running the estate for four years suddenly finds her whole life turned upside down with Jamie’s return. His English wife knows nothing about running an estate and she and her husband Ian are being pushed aside and disregarded for their time spent keeping Lallybroch afloat. Being hormonal and pregnant to boot – it’s not surprising that she’s less than welcoming to Claire and Jamie’s unannounced arrival and disruption into her daily life.
In flashbacks we learn that Jenny did go into the house with Jack Randall but when he couldn’t get himself aroused she laughed in his face. Black Jack’s perversion feeds off of his victim’s fear, Jenny’s laughing would never get him aroused so instead he knocked her out.
Jamie never quite actually apologizes to Jenny for accusing her of giving over her virtue in order to try to save his life, a fact that Claire points out to him in front of her in-laws. Jamie pulls her aside and reminds her that Lady Laird’s don’t publicly insult their husbands but wait until they’re behind closed doors in order to help their husbands to save face.
Jamie tells Claire that his father, Brian Fraser, went to Jack Randall and asked for leniency for his son. Jack made a rather indecent proposal to Jamie, accept being buggered and he’s let Jamie go or face another painful flogging. Jamie being a man of honor, not gay, decides to take another flogging, even though he did consider Jack’s offer. “I had no real idear of course, but I thought being buggared would be less painful. It would be over quicker most likely, and he said that I’d be set free the same day, so…I considered it.” In the end he decided that his father would’ve been prouder of his son for maintaining his honor and not giving into Black and allowing him to break him instead of allowing himself to be sexually abused. His decision ultimately cost his father his life. Upon seeing his son flogged to the point of not moving, Brian Fraser had a heart attack at Fort William and died.
There’s one thing to note with this scene, Jamie is fully 100% uncomfortable telling all of this to Claire and from what you can tell, he’s told absolutely no one about this. This scene is important because it’s truly the first real step towards Claire and Jamie fully bonding as a couple. Jamie and Claire tell each other everything, they don’t keep secrets. Jamie allows Claire to see the darkest parts of himself that he wouldn’t even share with Murtaugh. His guilt over his father’s death is palpable and is the driving force behind his strange behavior in the days that follow the couple’s arrival at Lallybroch. Jamie tries to take on the mantle of Laird by even donning his father’s coat, trying to be the man his father would want him to be. In doing so he slowly begins to alienate everyone around him.
Claire doesn’t quite know how to deal w/ the growing rift between Jenny and Jamie and gets advice from an unlikely source, Ian. Ian is Jamie’s long time childhood best friend – something that is rather breezed over in the episode. The two men grew up together and got into trouble together – thick as thieves. Ian’s advice to Claire is to let the Frasers blow up, then finally when the dust settles if they haven’t come to terms yet, knock some sense into them – literally. Claire does this by flinging Jamie out of bed and gives him a good tongue lashing for acting like a royal arse.
Jenny’s eyes to fully opened when she laid eyes on Jamie’s scars. Brother and sister finally came to amends over their father’s grave, both have been living under a lot of guilt. Jenny had blamed Jamie for their father’s death thinking his arrest was just because he did something stupid. Seeing the scars brought it home to her the hell that was unleashed on him which was shocking enough to end their father. Jamie agreed to stop trying to make all of the estates decisions by himself.
The episode ended with Jamie and Claire finally, fully declaring their love for each other. All book readers already knew Jamie’s words, that he wanted Claire from the moment he first laid eyes on her, but fell in love with her when she cried in his arms at Castle Leoch when she was tending to his wounds. Claire simply just told him that she loved him – her actions in the last few days were more than enough proof that her words were true. If there’s one thing that I love about this scene – it reminds me of the scenes with Claire and Frank from the pilot. At that time, Claire was very carefree, happy, and in love. This week’s episode is a stark contrast to last where even then she was still confused over her place in the world, having now decided to stay in the past, Claire is now at peace; not only with her situation but with her feelings for Jamie and their life together. There’s real joy back in her heart which is a spark that’s been missing from her since she fell through time. If there’s one thing that I love with Jamie and Claire, the characters are again rather reversed from what you normally see with couples. Claire is the analytical, detached part of the couple who expresses her deep emotional feelings through her actions rather than words, whereas Jamie is eloquent and puts his heart squarely out on his sleeve, yet still he always manages to remain very manly.
“Lallybroch” ended on a cliffhanger with Claire waking up to find Jamie gone and downstairs being held up by armed men inside their home. If you don’t have any idea who they are – rewatch episode five “The Gathering” and remember that next week’s episode is called “The Watch.”
I suppose people will remember seeing Black Jack flogging his own flaccid member from this episode but for me this really is the episode where Jamie and Claire become the couple who anchor this wonderful journey. For both of them at this point there’s no turning back, they’re both fully committed to each other, and that is the most glorious part of this episode because from this point forward both will be tested physically and emotionally in horrific ways. Only the strength of their love and commitment to each other will get them through the last part of the season.