Mini Droughtlander is over (yes, a week off counts as a Droughtlander!) and while book fans got to see our beloved print shop scene, we didn’t know we’d have to wait a whole two weeks to get the rest! AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! But here it is folks, the reunion we’ve been waiting for!
Recap – Episode #306 “A. Malcom”
Jamie bids adieu to a lovely woman as she helps him get dressed in the morning.
Jamie strolls down the street, enters his A. Malcolm print shop and suddenly gets the feeling he’s not alone. He finds two rather unkempt hooligans hiding out. They are Jamie’s hooligans who pass out treasonous political pamphlets and ducked into the shop for cover. Jamie’s prissy co-worker Geordie enters and tosses the guys outs. Ah, so that’s the infamous Geordie that Jamie called out to right before Claire announced her return and JAMMF hit the deck. We don’t think he’ll be mistaking Geordie for Claire again.
Geordie heads out on an errand and we get our first good look at Jamie, 20 years older. He’s focused on printing and whips out his wee little glasses. Hee hee. And then….and then…we hear the bell, he calls to Geordie and Claire answers. We get to see all those lovely emotions cross Jamie’s face, and then he faints.
Jamie wakes up with Claire hovering over him and it’s not a big orchestra moment since he’s wondering if he wet his pants. Fortunately, he just fell on his drink so it isn’t quite as awkward as it could have been.
He’s about to take off his wet pants, and, for the first time ever, hesitates to strip in front of Claire. (Maybe it is as awkward as it could be.) He asks Claire if it’s alright and she points out they are technically still married. No, this is not a sexy de-pantsing moment. He takes them off which seems to be a great ice breaker since he finally grabs her hand and they get close, lean in and… in walks stick-up-his-arse Geordie the ultimate mood-killer.
So your boss is embracing a woman in his shop, in broad daylight sans trousers? No biggie right? Well, Geordie is a prude, so he quits and stomps out. Jamie’s not worried since he can explain it all to him later. But he does think better of continuing sans trousers, so he invites Claire to his tiny room in the shop and asks about their child.
Claire tells him about Brianna and shows him photos (which don’t exist yet, ye ken). Jamie’s awed at both the tiny square wonders and at the sight of his daughter. After taking time to look through the small bundle he confesses to Claire that he has a son and tells her about Willie. She’s rather understanding about it, not ecstatic, but remarkably understanding.
Soon Jamie realizes he’s late for a meeting and asks Claire to come with him. They head out and they run into….FERGUS!!! He’s not wee Fergus any longer, but tall Fergus. Of course he is ecstatic and quite startled to see Milady back from the grave. She tells him that she thought they were all dead and went to the colonies which is true enough. After enthusiastic hugs, Fergus and Jamie have a little tete-a-tete where Fergus alludes to a possible complication with Claire’s return, but Jamie waives it away for now. Hmmmm….
Jamie takes Claire to a pub and she meets another associate of Jamie’s, Mr. Willoughby who is Chinese – and drunk. Jamie leaves Claire with Willoughby and heads to his meeting in the basement. This seems like a legit business transaction. Not. He’s negotiating the running of barrels of rum with the local magistrate. Hm, illegal pamphlet writer and rum runner. Jamie’s been busy.
Upstairs, Claire is getting to know Mr. Willoughby and how he became associated with Jamie. Jamie saved his life and now they ‘work’ together. Jamie comes to get Claire and take her back to his room where they can continue their re-acquaintance. She’s thinking his print shop, but no. He takes them to a brothel.
Having a son and living in a brothel paints quite a picture for Claire. We’re back to super awkward again. Jamie states he’s not a customer and it’s a convenient place to stay. Sure.
The awkwardness cranks up again when he asks why Claire is back. Is it to tell him about Bree or is she back for him as well? They both admit they want to get back together, but 20 years is a big gap. They grab a bite and start to talk and then, well, they don’t run out of conversation, but they both figure it’s time to reconnect in other ways.
It’s eager and clumsy and there are accidental head butts, but the connection is still there.
During a break in their activities Claire asks Jamie what he really does – seems she’s caught on that he’s not just a humble printer. Jamie tells her about the treasonous pamphlets and his rum running business which leads to why they’re staying in a brothel. The madam helps by storing some of the rum and buys some for the customers. In return, Jamie gets a free room and, he swears, none of the other specialties of the house.
And that’s enough talk for now, so they carry one with their activities.
The next morning, Jamie has to go out for a while and Claire sleeps in. Well, until Young Ian (Jamie’s nephew) shows up, looking for his uncle. Claire introduces herself as his Aunt and he looks a little shocked. She repeats her cover story which he buys, but he still thinks she’s a bit scary since he’s been told she’s a dead white lady or a fairy. He scampers off.
Claire heads downstairs for some breakfast and chats with the ladies of the night who mistake her for a new employee. They invite her to grab some grub and give her lots of helpful advice. Claire isn’t lacking in skills, ladies. The madame shows up and is quite upset at Claire being downstairs and sends her back to her room.
Claire goes back only to find a mysterious man ransacking the room, mistaking Claire as one of the prostitutes, and demands to know where Jamie keeps his ledgers. She asks him to leave and he grabs her by the throat and…
Reflection – what did we think?
Alicia: Oooo…Jamie’s become a bit of a bad boy rebel in the past 20 years. Sure he helped a treasonous rebellion before, but he was still a playful bonnie lad with a bit of optimism thrown in, now he’s got more of a dark edgy man vibe going. Me likey lots.
Erica: Seasoning is good. Claire was such a big driving force for their relationship, he needs to mature a bit to match her. It’s 20 years later so it’s good to see a bit more mystery about him.
Alicia: I think they did a great job with this one. All the shy, awkward moments. Those pauses when they’re both trying to come to grips with the new version of themselves. The chemistry is there but you can tell they’re going to have to get to know each other again. And we’ll have to get to know them as a couple again, which is weird b/c it’s really only been five episodes they’ve been apart but it feels like FOREVER. But this is a new and more mature couple. They’ve both been through a lot in the past 20 years, so it’ll be interesting to see how they start to gel again.
Erica: I might be alone on this, but I thought it was good, not great. Then again, expectations are sky high for this episode so perhaps I’m setting the bar too high. I did love how they worked in the “Don’t be afraid, there’s two of us now” and “soldier” references to connect them across the years. But Jamie breaking the news of Willie right when Claire is talking about Bree truncated the happy news. Also, the sex scenes went on a bit long for me. I know they are super important and they needed to show the build up of their connection, but there was a lot.
Alicia: I didn’t mind the sex scenes, mostly because that is a lot of how Claire and Jamie communicate when they have trouble with words. They’re passionate people but there are times when they have a hard time expressing themselves verbally, but they do not have any issues expressing themselves with their bodies. Plus, you’ve dreamt, fantasized, pined for, traveled through time for, wanted to die for, this person for 20 years and now they are really in front of you. I’m surprised it took them that long and they weren’t ripping each other’s clothes off the moment he came out of the faint. And I LOVE the fact they kept the head butt in, it’s little moments like that which keep this book/show more grounded when it could get very Soap Opera on us.
—–BOOK READERS DISCUSSION – (Spoiler Alert!!)———————————
Alicia: I like that they have him wearing glasses, at least they’ve let him keep some little ‘flaw’. Also, I still wish they’d kept in that Bree gave Claire the pics to show Jamie b/c it made them even more special since she picked them out.
Erica: I guess he no longer has the eyes of a hawk. Claire wore glasses last season and now Jamie. There are only so many quick short cuts to represent aging without going into tons of hair and make up, I guess. It’s our first look at grown-up Fergus and Young Ian. I expected Ian to be more gangly, but it’s hard to tell from one scene!
Alicia: Interesting that they change the course of events in how she meets Fergus again, meets Mr. Willoughby and Young Ian the first time, etc. but after re-reading that section this oddly seems less over the top dramatic than the book version. LOL. It was a bit of a dark comedy of errors in the book. It felt more natural here, like we’re just following a day in the life of Jamie with Claire trucking along.
Erica: We also got our first look at Willoughby which is a character who makes my skin crawl. I’ve been dreading this. As many times as I’ve read the books, I’ve only read the Willoughby parts once and have skipped it ever since.
Alicia: I know how you feel about Mr. Willoughby in the books, but the show seems to have tamed him down some and he’s not such a caricature. And they didn’t give him the weird foot fetish (at least not yet).
Erica: Hopefully the show can give him more dignity so we don’t have to suffer seeing racist stereotypes used as buffoonish comic relief/token exotic meant to shock people. Ugh. I really hope they get it right.
—–END OF BOOK READER DISCUSSION ——————————————————
Here’s what’s up for next week’s episode titled “Créme De Menthe”:
In the aftermath of a violent confrontation, Claire follows her conscience as a surgeon, even though it could put her and Jamie’s lives at risk. At the same time, Jamie attempts to evade the reach of the Crown as its representative closes in on his illegal dealings.
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