Outlander, Season 1, Episode 12: “Lallybroch”
The official synopsis, courtesy of Starz:
Reunited, Claire and Jamie make their way to Lallybroch – Jamie’s family home. Reality quickly sets in, and old wounds are reopened between Jamie and his sister, Jenny.
A glorious opening: Claire and Jamie, riding a single black horse, gallop across the most breathtaking Scottish countryside. It’s sunny and bright, and so are Claire and Jamie. They indulge in some truly cute and silly conversation in which, among other things, Jamie learns about flying in airplanes, and the fact that he’s married an older woman.
“When I’m 40, you’ll be 245!”
As they arrive at Lallybroch and catch sight of Jamie’s family home, a darkness descends as Jamie remembers the last time he was at Lallybroch. Once again, we flash back to the day that Jack Randall showed up, whipped Jamie and assaulted Jenny, and then dragged Jamie off to Ft. William.
Visually, the flashbacks are stunning — in greys and sepias, with the flashes of red on the British soldiers the only color.
As they walk into the yard at Lallybroch, Claire greets the small child at play, and a very pregnant Jenny runs to greet Jamie and embrace him. It’s been four years without a word. Jenny introduces her child, wee Jamie, and big Jamie immediately gets upset. He’s heard rumors, you see, that Jenny was left pregnant by BJR, and so he jumps to the conclusion that Jenny’s given her bastard child Jamie’s name “to be a reproach” to him for leaving her in harm’s way. And he wants to know whose bastard Jenny is carrying now. “Mine,” says Ian Murray, Jamie’s childhood friend, as he limps forward on his wooden stump to greet the new arrivals.
It’s a tense homecoming, and to be honest, Jamie acts kind of like a jerk here. Jenny’s not so great either, referring to Claire as a trollop and giving her the stink-eye. As the two couples sit together, Jamie asks Jenny to tell him the truth about what happened with BJR. More flashbacks: Jenny went into the house with Randall and went with him upstairs. He was gross, sticking his bloody fingers in her mouth, and she took a chance to bop him over the head with a candlestick, but was unable to escape. BJR threw her on the bed and unbuttoned his trousers, but was unable to… umm… stand at attention. Jenny started to laugh, somehow realizing that this would further make him unable to perform. She laughed in his face until he knocked her out, and when she awoke, he was gone, and had taken Jamie off to prison.
Further tension: Claire tells Jamie he should apologize to Jenny for how he behaved when they arrived, which pisses off both Jenny and Jamie. Jenny wants Claire to stay out of her business with her brother, and Jamie pulls Claire aside and tells her not to shame him in front of his family and servants. He’s Laird here, and she needs to be respectful. They reach a tenuous understanding — Claire can be bossy and argumentative as much as she wants when they’re in private, but in public, they need to be seen as Laird and Lady.
Speaking of which, Jenny insists that Jamie and Claire moved into the Laird’s bedroom (which had been hers and Ian’s), but there’s clearly still tension between Jenny, who’s been running the estate all these years, and Jamie, who just waltzed in and expects to be right back in charge.
Jamie is overcome by memories once again as he and Claire settle in, and he tells Claire about the last time he saw his father, who lies buried in the Lallybroch graveyard. Flashback: When Jamie was being held at Ft. William, after his first flogging, Jamie’s father came to bargain for his release. As Jamie is being led to a meeting with Randall, he encounters Brian in the hallway. Brian, clearly devastated, kisses Jamie and tells him “Remember to pray. I’ll stand by you no matter what happens.” Jamie is brought to BJR, who tells him how worried his father is about him, but informs Jamie that sadly, there’s no chance that Brian will be able to arrange to get Jamie released in time to save him from a 2nd flogging.
Jamie is still in agony from his first flogging. BJR tells him that it’s a shame that they two have gotten off to such a poor start. Jamie doesn’t understand at first where BJR is going with all this, although he eventually figures out that Randall “likes to play with his toys.” Finally, BJR makes it plain what he wants from Jamie:
“Give over to me. Make free of your body. And there will be no second flogging.”
Jamie admits to Claire that he considered it. He was in horrible pain, and knew there was much more on the way, perhaps enough to kill him. And he figures that an episode of “buggery” would probably be less painful and over more quickly than a flogging, and then he’d be set free. But he could still feel his father’s kiss on his cheek, and knew that his father wouldn’t want him to let Randall break him, and so he couldn’t do it.
On the day of the flogging, Dougal was there, and so was Brian. As Jamie fell unconscious, they thought he was dead, and Brian collapsed (apparently a stroke). Jamie never saw his father fall, and didn’t see him buried. He’s blamed himself for his father’s death ever since.
Back to the present — there’s a tense dinner, and the next day is Quarter Day, when the tenants come to pay their rents. It’s a festive occasion, as the Laird has returned, and Jamie and Claire are fussed over and given gifts. Claire interferes when she sees a small boy being abused by his father, and later Jamie acts like a big man by giving back the rents to the tenants because they had a hard year.
Jamie stays up drinking with the local men until the wee hours and comes to bed very drunk, which is, quite honestly, adorable. Claire gives him some major side-eye, but secretly smiles over how gosh darn cute he is.
The next day, he’s not quite as cute due to being extremely hungover. Jenny is disgusted with both of them — Claire, for disrupting plans she’d been making to take care of the boy Rabbie, and Jamie for giving back the rent, which is what keeps the estate running and ultimately provides land for the tenants to live on.
“Do ye think life just started when the two of you walked through that door?”
Jamie’s head hurts and he growls at everyone, including poor Mrs. Crook, the housekeeper. The bread is awful because the mill isn’t working, so Jamie storms out to go try to fix it. Something is jammed in the waterwheel and Jamie strips down to just a shirt to dive underwater and try to get it moving again. Claire and Jenny are waiting for Jamie by the millpond when a group of British soldiers ride up. The officer offers to help and is about to dive in as well when the wheel starts turning, so they ride off. Once they’ve gone, Jamie resurfaces — very, very cold and naked. Jenny yells at him at first, until she catches a glimpse of his scarred back, at which point she runs off
That night, Claire has a middle-of-the-night hallway conversation with Ian, and they commiserate on how hard it is to be married to these hard-headed Frasers. Claire goes back to her room and dumps Jamie out of bed, telling him he’s been acting like a jerk and he needs to shape up.
The next day, Jamie is visiting Brian’s grave, and Jenny comes to join him. Jamie hands Jenny the rent money, which he has recollected from the tenants, and offers to smooth things over with wee Rabbie’s family. Jenny tells Jamie that he did the right thing with the boy, and they begin to make up.
Jenny apologizes to Jamie: “I was wrong, and I’m so ashamed.” She’s blamed Jamie all these years for Brian’s death. She thought Jamie must have shot off his mouth or done something to deserve the punishment he got… but when she saw his back, she realized that he was tortured by an animal, and that he was not to blame. Jenny feels that it’s her fault that BJR sought to hurt Jamie, in retaliation for her laughing at him when he tried to rape her. If she hadn’t laughed at him, would he still have had so much fury? Would things have been different for Jamie?
As it turns out, Jamie has blamed himself for Jenny’s rape and Brian’s death all these years. As they talk, they realize and accept that neither of them is to blame, and that Black Jack Randall is the one who’s responsible for their family’s pain and suffering. Jamie and Jenny embrace and truly forgive one another, and can finally enjoy their reunion with love and happiness.
At night, Jamie and Claire share a private moment in their room. Claire is beginning to feel at home at Lallybroch. Jamie tells Claire that he knew he wanted her from the moment he first saw her, and loved her from the moment she first wept in his arms. He’s loved her ever since, and loves her more every day.
For the very first time, Claire tells Jamie:
“I love you.”
Claire wakes up the next morning with a smile, and goes downstairs to find Jamie… standing in the main room as a strange man holds a pistol to his head.
Cliffhanger! Jamie is in danger, and that’s the end of the episode.
Nothing explicit, but the romantic moment between Claire and Jamie is very swoonworthy, especially their declarations of love. And okay, the naked-Jamie-in-the-water moment is hot, but I’m not giving into the urge to objectify Jamie Fraser any further, so you’ll have to look somewhere else for that visual treat. (Hint: Google “outlander jamie naked”. You’re welcome.)
There’s a wonderful moment in the episode when Jamie and Claire are in their glory as Laird and Lady greeting the tenants — and it’s a great visual touch to have Jamie wearing his father’s coat:
For some reason, I’m just really in love with the fasteners on Jenny’s cloak in this scene:
Major facts that the episode gets on the table:
- Jenny married Jamie’s friend Ian and has a child with him (and another on the way).
- Jenny and Ian have been keeping Lallybroch going all this time.
- Jamie has some major daddy issues and lots of guilt.
As Jamie and Jenny forgive one another, Jamie tells Jenny that he would gladly have been killed if it that could have kept Jenny safe from Randall. Jenny’s response:
“And if your life is a suitable exchange for my honor, tell me why my honor is not a suitable exchange for your life.”
Jenny to Jamie, as the two make peace:
“Welcome home, Laird Broch Tuarach.”
Jamie and Jenny love each other deeply, but they’re both so hard-headed and quick to anger that they almost miss the chance to reconcile. It’s wonderful to see how their two more sensible spouses pave the way for them to admit their hurt and fear and find a way back to one another.
We get yet more insights into BJR’s desires and how he functions. He’s a danger to anyone who winds up in a situation where he holds the power. As Jamie rightly observed, BJR likes to toy with his victims, and causing fear and pain is obviously what turns him on.
Claire and Jamie!! Hearing Claire finally say that she loves Jamie is amazing!
It’s a nice, warm scene finally at Lallybroch, so of course danger and trouble must be looming! Jamie and Claire get almost no time to enjoy normal life together. Claire reminds us early on that Jamie has a price on his head still, and Jenny asserts that he’s safe at Lallybroch, because there’s not a single tenant who would betray him. Uh oh… foreshadowing?