In Outlander‘s “The Watch,” our glimpse of life at Lallybroch continued. But despite the advent of the Scottish equivalent of the mob and the birth of Jenny’s baby, it was a remarkably unremarkable hour. No time spent with Outlander is ever wasted, though, and above all, we got to see more of Jamie’s development in balancing his position as laird with that of his outlaw self.
Still, the beats of “The Watch” felt pretty easy to read, and despite the ambush and Jenny’s breached baby, there was a surprising lack of dramatic tension. Mainly, the hour focused on the interesting dynamic between Jamie and the head of the gang, Taran MacQuarrie (Douglas Henshall), who wanted Jamie “McTavish” to ride along with him. And, after Ian killed the treacherous deserter (which Jamie took credit for, which suited Ian), Jamie was essentially forced to join the raiding party, with Ian following along.
“The Watch” switched the couples up a little, and also played with the power hierarchy of Lallybroch. Jamie was forced to kowtow to the mobsters, and pretend he was only a cousin, while Claire spent the entire episode in support of Jamie and Jenny. Jenny was subdued by her pregnancy (and bonded with Claire), while Ian actually got a chance to step up and be a hero — even though it left him shaking. It also showed the strong bonds of loyalty between Ian and Jamie.
MacQuarrie’s “gentleman thief,” though, was the real star of the episode. Ian admits to Jamie how he admires him in a strange way, and Jamie ends up shooting straight with him about both the bounty on his head, and the death of the Irishman. On their way to the raid, the two find common ground over life on the road, and the notes made in a skull watch. Ian tells Claire later that Jamie even put himself in peril — and was taken again by the redcoats — because he wouldn’t leave MacQuarrie.
Back at Lallybroch, we learned more about the Fraser family, and those who died over the years. Still, the stories felt half-told, and the ghosts of the past never really fully formed. There was a particularly affecting moment, though, when Claire admits to Jamie that she doesn’t think she can have children (because she and Frank never could). While it’s not convenient for Jamie and Claire to be toting a bairn around, I have a suspicion that Outlander will settle that issue for the couple eventually, because the show never likes to see those two too sad (even though Jamie handled the news in stride).
The show does, however, like to separate Jamie and Claire, and Jamie being taken — again — is terrible news for the couple. But, it may be good news for viewers, because it surely means that Claire will do what she can to ensure that Jamie is released, and it also essentially guarantees another meeting with Black Jack. Though the time at Lallybroch was nice, and even occasionally idyllic, sleepy reveries are not really Outlander‘s trademark. It’s time to get back to adventuring.
Episode Rating: ★★★ Good
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it before or not, but I love those establishing shots at the start of every episode, when the title is revealed. It basically sets the stage for a key moment in the episode, and they’re always so gorgeously crafted (like just about everything else on the show.
— “If you’re going to hell, I might as well go too. God knows you’ll never manage alone” – Ian.
— Jenny’s scenes made me feel like I had accidentally switched over to Call the Midwife.
— Claire: “[If you drink then] then baby will be drunk.” Jenny: “Then he’ll come into the world like a true Scot.”
— I really loved those bone bracelets or whatever they were that Jenny gave to Claire. Also, that skull watch was awesome. Momento mori ….