With only three episodes remaining in the season, it seems the world of Outlander is determined to deny Claire and Jamie marital bliss. Last week Outlander ended with Jamie at gunpoint and Claire unable to save him. “The Watch” follows immediately after that moment and thankfully, Jenny has the sound mind to diffuse the situation. The new men are members of the Watch, a group of mercenaries who are paid to protect Scottish lands from the Redcoats, so that horrors like what happened to the Frasers may never occur again. But don’t let that noble intention fool you, the Watch isn’t above raiding merchants, burning belongings, and turning in wanted fugitives to the Redcoats for a reward.
It is the latter of those traits that has Claire and Jamie most worried. Not many Lallybroch outsiders seem to recognize Jamie’s face, which works in his favor, but his sudden appearance has the Watch, especially its leader, Taran MacQuarrie, suspicious. The feeling is mutual for Jamie, and he disapproves of Jenny and Ian paying such a group for protection, but the pair remind him that they cannot fend off the Redcoats alone, and no matter how much Jamie wishes he could, neither can he.
After a few war stories and a kerfuffle outside over the hay (in the hay, whatever), Taran and Jamie come to a bitter understanding of one another. And then the Redcoat deserter from Jamie’s past and a new member of the Watch, Horrocks, makes an appearance, putting a damper on their budding bromance . Horrocks knows who Jamie is, what he’s wanted for, and that Jamie is noble enough to hand over gold to keep the deserter’s mouth shut. It causes tension between everyone in Lallybroch, each trying to keep Jamie’s identity a secret without raising any suspension, or without angering the unpredictable Horrocks.
Eventually, Jamie confronts the ex-Redcoat, gives him the coin he wants, and asks him to leave. Sensing an opportunity for greed, Horrocks makes snide remarks about Jenny and Claire, and then demands more gold. Just when things between the two men are about to come to blows, Ian rams Horrocks through with a shaking sword. Taran, being a shrewd man, puts two and two together, realizing Jamie and Ian must be responsible for Horrocks “disappearance.” Jamie smirks and fesses up, earning him more of Taran’s respect, but also earning him and Ian a place in the Watch for their next raid.
All the while, a very pregnant Jenny goes into labor, and with the midwife out of the village, Claire is the only one who can help deliver. The baby is breech and it’s not hard to understand why the two women are fearful of that fact, you know, given the century and Jenny’s family history. An underlying emotion throughout is Claire’s curiosity about becoming a mother. She asks Jenny how she feels when pregnant, how she knows when she’s with child, and in Claire’s silence you can see her real reason for the questions–she fears she may not be able to have children. Only when Jamie discusses filling up Lallybroch with their little ones does Claire finally voice her fear. There’s a distance between the pair when the realization hits and it’s in these moments when the couple shines. Sure, who doesn’t love the smut–I certainly do–but these darker moments that plague any couple are what makes the pair stronger. Jamie closes the gap between them, making a joke about having her all to himself, but once Claire leaves the room, he slides down on to the wooden chest and sits there, staring. It’s something I really enjoy about these two; individually they’re strong-willed but together they so badly want to give the other what they think is expected. Jamie wants to give Claire a safe home, a comfortable life; Claire wants to give Jamie children. Neither seem able to do so.
At the end of the episode, Jenny has her baby girl, Maggie, and the boys ride off on the Watch’s raid, only to find out that Horrocks betrayed them all to the Redcoats, and only Ian and one other Watch member make it back to Lallybroch. Jamie and the other surviving members are taken by the Redcoats.
Back to Black Jack Randall.
Outlander airs Saturdays on Starz at 9pm EST.
Photos courtesy of Starz.