Synopsis of 1×13: Jamie is placed in a tough situation when a Redcoat deserter from his past returns; Jenny goes into labor; Jamie and Ian join The Watch.
Outlander, thus far, has done a brilliant job with the pacing of their episodes and plot arcs. From Claire’s trip back in time, to collecting the rent, to escaping Randall, each arc manages to have a solid beginning, middle, and end, keeping us on the edge of our seats. In the scope of this, this wasn’t a bad episode, but compared to it’s previous episodes, it was a step in the wrong direction.
In what felt more like an episode between action scenes, we find out who the group is holding a gun to Jamie’s head. The Watch. Lead by an enigmatic Taran MacQuarrie, who seems both threat and ally to the Frasers. While Taran and his group pose as an interesting group to play off of the Frasers, the whole episode feels tiring to keep up with. Not enough time is spent on who the Watch even are, and the significance they play.
Instead, it’s acknowledged between the family that they will divulge to the Redcoats that Jamie is still a fugitive and so they mock up the pretense of Jamie as their cousin, and a wartime comrade of Ian’s. Between Jamie’s cover, Jenny’s childbirth, Horrock’s arrival, and the ambush, the episode has too much keeping it going and yet is painfully slow at times.
What was a driving force in the previous episodes, Claire and Jamie’s interactions and magnetism towards each other, has been pushed aside in favor of the plot with Horrocks and the Watch. While it serves its purpose in the end, it leaves the episode feeling a little empty.
Jenny goes into labor and gives the most vivid description of childbirth to date while also suffering through the trials of giving birth to a child in breech position. It opens the door to the fact that Claire can’t have children, as she confesses to Jamie tearfully that she tried with Frank, but she won’t be able to bear him heirs. Jamie, for his part, seems more comforting than troubled by Claire’s confession, though granted he does have a lot on his mind.
Ian took a darker turn in this episode when we saw him kill Horrocks in order to protect Jamie. However, it seems for him killing is not so easy as he struggles to regain his footing after saving Jamie. In exchange for confessing his identity and Horrocks’ murder (at his hands, as he takes the fall for Ian), Jamie goes with Taran and the Watch as a trade off. Ian accompanies and while on the road they are ambushed by Redcoats who have been alerted by Horrocks of Jamie’s presence.
The ambush leaves Taran and Ian, who manage to make it back to Lallybroch to tell Claire and Jenny that Jamie has been taken prisoner by the Redcoats. It bodes ill for Jamie, given that Black Jack Randall has no doubt been hunting him down since he invaded the fortress and took Claire back.