Synopsis of 2×03: Jamie’s days and nights are dominated by political machinations, while Claire finds solace in her healing skills. As their plan to stop Culloden progresses, including engaging the aid of a young pickpocket, the past threatens to derail their forward momentum.
As Claire and Jamie’s time in Paris passes by, it becomes clear that the task of stopping the rebellion and saving the highlands is easier said than done. Jamie must spend his nights sucking up to nobles, visiting brothels, tolerating the prince’s verbose self-aggrandizing language. Even without the pressures of being a wanted man on his back, he now faces a new obstacle in the way of diplomacy.
With the news being dropped that Jack is, in fact, alive. Claire struggles with the knowledge and what it will do to Jamie when he finds out. Meeting with Mary and Louise, she realizes that Mary Hawkins is Frank’s ancestor, meaning that she will marry Black Jack and if they kill Jack before Mary marries him and bears him an heir, Frank could cease to exist. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, she confides in Murtagh who tells her not to tell Jamie the truth.
I foresee this ending badly, and not just because Murtagh apparently doesn’t know what birth control is. (Although, romance novel history tells me that condoms aka french envelopes did exist at the time, maybe they just weren’t present in the highlands?)
Since Murtagh is now doing the horizontal rhumba with Claire’s maid, Suzette, Claire sets out to find her some contraceptives. He returns to the apothecary where Claire encounters Comte St. Germain again, very briefly. The apothecary points her in the direction of L’Hôpital des Anges run by a convent of nuns. The mother superior there is Mother Hildegard. Claire, stuck in a state of idle, without the opportunity to help Jamie with his courtly intrigue, turns to her craft.
Although Mother Hildegard initially is cautious of Claire, undoubtedly give her social status, Claire’s hardiness as a healer and knowledge in treatments allows her to earn respect. Despite the good she is doing, it causes a rift between her and Jamie. After talking to Duverney and the prince, Jamie realizes that the prince already has money for his campaign and can promise an alliance with France when he takes the throne.
This throws everything off kilter, their plans could all be for nought. Coming home with this news, he waits all night for Claire to return only to find out she has not been rubbing elbows with Louise and the like for information, but instead she’s been at the hospital.
Even if this upsets Jamie, Claire’s connection with Mother Hildegard actually pays off. While investigating the notes and letters sent from the prince back home to England, they come across a coded message in music. Mother Hildegard, an accomplished musician, helps them translate it. She reveals that she’s not only confidants with Johann Sebastian Bach, but that the piece of music that the prince has sent changes key every measure.
In translating the music by the key, they discover that Sandringham is one of the people funding the rebellion. This all comes around to Claire’s fear of what will happen when Jamie discovers that Jack is still alive. She and Murtagh are now faced with this dilemma head on.
This week’s episode continued in the vein of French court intrigue, though not as entertaining as last week’s ball. It’s no fun watching Jamie and Claire at odds. You can almost sense the tension brewing between the two of them. With Jamie’s PTSD, the mission, the new setting, and Claire’s secret, the couple is being driven apart.
It is entertaining to watch Jamie out on his own against Duverney and the prince. He’s clearly their intellectual superior, and watching him decode messages just adds to his own complexity of character. There’s also a great scene of him plucking a pickpocket out of the brothel and renaming him Fergus, paying him to work for him. The kid hilariously introduces himself to Claire by complementing her chest, I mean give the kid a break he was literally raised in a whore house.
I’d also like to add that it’s official, Murtagh definitely needs his own spin off series of just him exploring the wonders of Paris as a highlander.