Synopsis of 2×02: Jamie struggles to overcome his past; opportunities arise following a fortunate meeting with Prince Charles; the Duke of Sandringham’s presence causes complications.
In the sharp change from the Highlands to the populated streets of Paris, Claire and Jamie seem to be slowly sinking into their roles within France with some measure of ease. Despite her rough meeting with the Comte de St. Germain, Claire quickly gains allies while in Paris. While visiting an apothecary named Master Raymond to find something to help Jamie sleep through his nightmares, Raymond names himself as an enemy of St. Germain and therefore her ally.
She also finds friends with a courtier named Louise de al Tour, who helps her gain entrance to Versailles. She’s a flirtatious, charming, and incredibly French character, we first meet her when she’s getting her entire body waxed in front of Claire and her young English ward Mary Hawkins. Despite any short comings she might have, Claire describes her as a true friend, and Louise does invite Claire and Jamie to a party at Versailles.
“Not in Scotland Anymore” does a good job of illustrating just how different a story we’ll be witnessing this season with Outlander. They are no longer fighting a war, but playing the political game, and it requires a lot of finesse. Although Claire has proven herself able to adapt to any new situation, Jamie shows himself equally capable in this episode.
He and Murtagh approach Prince Charles, the Catholic self-declared prince who is one of the leaders of the Jacobite rebellion, in an attempt to talk him down from going to Scotland and beginning the revolution. They meet in a brothel, and while the men are occupied with prostitutes and sex toys, Jamie talks business with Charles to no avail. Charles is set on being the rightful king, claiming it is his god given right. He rejects Jamie’s notion that the clans are not ready for a fight, instead he asks Jamie to approach the French Minister of Finance, a Monsieur Duverney, to ask for money for the rebellion on his behalf.
Duverney just happens to be at the Versailles party that Jamie, Claire, and Murtagh attend with Louise and Mary. There he is invited to watch the king get dressed by an old flame, Annalise de Marillac. Annalise makes quite the entrance, leaping into Jamie’s arms abruptly as they enter the party, calling him her savage. Jamie awkwardly introduces her to Claire, while trying to talk down his daring young past that Annalise touts.
Being invited to the King’s dressing turns into a mildly torturous affair as Jamie and Murtagh come upon Louis in a painful state of constipation. Again, Jamie manages to leave an impression with the king when he offers that the king eat porridge in the morning to help with digestion. The king, despite his lofty airs, takes the advice in stride.
Despite the pain that he has with his hand, and the slow road until his hand is fully healed, it’s the PTSD that he truly struggles with. Even though they believe they have escaped the grasp of Black Jack Randall, his ghost still haunts Jamie’s nightmares and remains an obstacle that Jamie has to work to surpass. With the revelation that Randall is actually alive, Claire’s reaction is practically palpable. Sandringham’s reappearance at Versailles spells dread for the group, and when Claire meets Jack’s younger brother Alex, she receives the news that Jack was injured but still alive.
The second episode of the season picks up the plot of intrigue within the French court, bringing in new characters for our cast while introducing us to Paris as a whole. The most entertaining part has to be any moment Murtagh is faced with French culture, with his expressions ranging from angry to dumbfounded to intrigued. The show lathers on French culture thickly to contrast what we know of Scotland, with scenes like Louise’s waxing and her attitude towards English prudence echoing throughout the episode.
It’s a good introduction to the world of French politics and culture for the season. With the introduction of young Mary Hawkins, doomed to a rich arranged marriage to an older man she barely knows, comes intrigue with her potential relationship with Alex Randall. The younger Randall is far less menacing than his brother, and actually could be a good human being.
Similarly, despite Duverney’s incredibly disastrous introduction, where he misinterprets Claire’s desire to meet him as an attempt at an affair only to be pushed into a lake by Jamie, he seems to be a good natured man who seems to warm to the idea of working with Claire and Jamie. There seems to be more than a few allies for the Frasers, though St. Germain no longer seems to be the only snake in the grass. Black Jack is alive, and I don’t think there’s a doubt in anyone’s mind that he’ll be showing up to rain on everyone’s parade.