Outlander: Useful Occupations and Deceptions   Books Included 
April 24, 2016 4:19 AM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

While Jamie spends all of his time wading through politics, Claire finds solace in healing; the past threatens to derail the couple's plans.

Life has settled into a routine in Paris: Claire goes to tea a lot, Jamie goes to the brothel a lot, Murtagh shags the lady's maid a lot, the Prince brags about his war chest a lot.

Charles insists that Jamie put him in the same room as the Minister of Finance, so Jamie reluctantly does so at Maison Elise. Here the Prince announces that he has already raised a substantial amount towards his Scottish invasion, and asks only for France to pledge the remainder in return for a Franco-British alliance once his father is on the throne. Jamie is shocked and relieved -- so says the Prince -- at this news.

Claire has found herself a useful occupation: volunteering at L'Hopital des Anges. On her first visit, Mother Hildegarde (child musical prodigy and buddies with Johann Sebastian Bach) assigns her chamberpot-emptying duty, but Claire proves herself by diagnosing diabetes in a patient. She does this by first smelling, then tasting, the patient's urine. After that she gets to check out some rockin' scrofula, so she's happy.

Jamie is not at all happy about her new job, though, and they fight. Well, Jamie yells at Claire and she makes sad faces. Jamie isn't feeling useful and is accomplishing nothing, so he is angry that she gets to feel like she is helping, and all he wants is his wifey to be at home when he comes home to vent.

Jamie, still angry, pouts his way to Maison Elise to drink and sulk, and spies a boy picking pockets among the customers while clearing tables. He chases the kid and grabs him, shaking him down (literally) and finding Sawny's snake which had gone missing. When he realises that The Kid is a really good pickpocket, he hires him and names him Fergus, brings him home and introduces him to Claire. Fergus compliments her breasts and asks for coin.

Fergus will steal letters from Charles and bring them to Jamie to decode. He brings home a sheet of music, which looks odd because it's sent from Britain but has German words. Jamie takes it to Mother Hildegarde who realises quickly that there's something off about the key changes: the key is the key!

Back home they manage to decode it: the writer has gathered 40,000 pounds for Charles' campaign. Not as much as Jamie had expected and not enough for war. The letter was written by 'S' and Jamie and Claire work it out simultaneously: Sandringham.

Other nuggets: Claire works out who Mary Hawkins is... BJR's future wife and Frank's great-great-x5 grandmother. She suddenly realises (duh) that Jack's death or Mary's failure to conceive might mean Frank ceases to exist. Claire also pops in to visit Master Raymond and they discuss poisons and fake poisons, which he sells often to locals trying to kill their enemies. The Comte St. Germain happens to be leaving as she arrives. Suzette the lady's maid is a slacker, and Claire doesn't want her to reproduce.

Claire's dresses continue to be AMAZING. Fergus is going to be awesome. Jamie is not very likeable when things aren't going his way. Bouton has his cameo in a scene as graphic as a book-reader would expect.

A/V Club review: rated A
IGN review: "The show isn't taking as much time getting through the plot as it did in Season 1, but it's easy to get the sensation that it's dancing around the juicy material while not diving right into it."
posted by tracicle (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I really liked this one, it feels like they are cutting a lot of the long book parts that kind of dragged me down in reading this book (looooooong scenes of Claire at the hospital and hanging with Master Raymond without much actually happening), but I do wonder how non-book readers' attention is being held, because this show is moving remarkably slowly on the actual plot. The AV Club review that delves into the slowness is really interesting. I love seeing all these characters come to life, and the casting remains total perfection. Wee Fergus is awesome! I kind of liked Jamie's sulking, it's nice to have a reminder that he's not always the King of Men. Like the AV Club reviewer, I want more Louise, too. I am loving her sassiness.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:45 AM on April 24, 2016

posted by oh yeah! at 7:30 AM on April 24, 2016

Poor poor Mary Hawkins. I hope Claire did have that sex talk with her.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:04 PM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am only halfway through the episode but SURELY, if you are staying in the house of a staunch Jacobite, it is imprudent to speak in detail before his loyal servants, in a language they understand, about your SECRET PLOT TO HALT THE REBELLION?
posted by stuck on an island at 1:52 PM on April 25, 2016 [9 favorites]

Yeah they did that and they just kept doing it and I dunno. Commentary on how even the protagonists forget that servants are actually people, up until it later bites them in the ass?

That or the writers forgot there were extras in that scene.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 4:30 PM on April 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

There was a brief mention in voiceover in the previous episode about how trustworthy Jared's servants are, but I feel like that was an attempt to hang a lampshade on their self-created problem.
posted by tracicle at 11:05 AM on April 26, 2016

Yeah, but being loyal and trustworthy for Jared doesn't mean they'll keep the secrets of their temporary masters where those secrets work against Jared's interests. The whole thing is a bit sloppy.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:57 PM on April 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm caught up! At last! That took forever.

What is striking me in this second season - bearing in mind I am quite close to my first season consumption, being one of those folks who binged it when it was made free three weeks ago - is how Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan are so convincingly portraying Claire and Jamie with a shiny veneer. Like we know it's our Claire and Jamie and yet somehow they look plastic and ill at ease with the glittering, shining false selves they have to put forward. You can see the real Claire and Jamie straining just under the surface.

I wrapped up watching 2x03 and went back to some episode back in season one and was really struck by the difference, from Jamie and Claire's authenticity as people, their dusty-soft palettes and gentler edges to this season's harsher colors and brittle shiny hardness. It's partly production but also greatly down to the actors. I'm impressed by them while also going, "Can we go back to Scotland now?"
posted by angeline at 6:51 PM on April 26, 2016

Bouton looks a little bit like phunnimee's Truman.
posted by brujita at 7:38 PM on April 30, 2016

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