Summary from Starz.com
Claire and Jamie throw a dinner party to derail investors in Prince Charles’ war effort. Meanwhile, Claire’s revelation that Jack Randall is alive sparks Jamie in an unexpected way as he and Claire struggle.
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Episode 4, we are about a third of the way through the season. Where has the time gone!?!?!
The episode starts with Jamie playing chess with Lord Duverney with Claire watching. Lord Duverney asks if they have selected names for the baby. In the book, Jamie and Claire discuss baby names in bed one night, and Claire says that she refuses to name her child after her father or her uncle. In the Episode, Claire suggests her uncle’s name.
We also have another deviation from the book in this scene. Claire is poisoned, actually given Bitter Cascara (which in high doses causes severe intestinal cramping and diarrhea), while attending a meal with the King. She is whisked away by Jamie to the suit of rooms that they occasionally stay in at Versailles and the King’s Physician is called to attend her, while many of the ladies of the court stand in corridor to witness what is going on. Later Claire remembers her conversation with Master Raymond about how he sells Bitter Cascara under the guise of poison to people looking to do away with a rival, usually married women give it to other women. In the episode, Claire gets a beverage from a servant after Comte Saint Germaine tells Lord Duverney that Jamie has essentially thrown the game, to allow the Lord to win. From when she gets the beverage until Jamie takes her out of the chess hall, Comte Saint Germaine watches Claire closely. Unrealistically, Jamie takes Claire home (see my previous post about this issue), instead of staying at Versailles and having her cared for there. Later, after the cramps have ceased, Jamie has made tea for Claire (I’m assuming it is an herbal infusion to help ease the pains of the cramps). Claire tells Jamie of Comte Saint Germaine watched her and says that she doesn’t think it was poison but actually Bitter Cascara.
I have nit picky thing about the Bitter Cascara. Bitter Cascara’s natural habitat is the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. This isn’t a plant that is found in Europe. Spanish conquerors were give some by native tribes in the 1600s. My issue is that Master Raymond wouldn’t have a steady supplier (if one at all) in 1744. Plants that are readily available in Europe with similar effects is the juice of Aloe Vera and the roots of rhubarb. Overall, the show and the books are very accurate about the herbs used and the preparations. Unless there is something about Master Raymond we don’t know, this isn’t an herb he would have in his Apothecary.
That evening, Jamie makes the suggestion that they host a dinner at their townhouse for the Duke of Sandringham in order for the Duke to meet Prince Charles, and expose Charles “as the delusional popinjay that he is”. Claire is uncertain about hosting the dinner, but she has other things on her mind. She finally breaks down and tells Jamie that Jack Randell was still alive, and tells him she found out from the Duke’s secretary, who happens to be Jack Randell’s younger brother. Jamie’s reaction baffles me. I understand that he is happy because he didn’t miss getting to kill Randell. All of a sudden he is cheerful and happy. I agree with Claire, “I certainly wasn’t expecting this reaction.”
The next morning, Claire goes to Master Raymond’s Apothecary to confront him about selling Bitter Cascara to Comte Sainte Germaine. Master Raymond tells her that he only sold Bitter Cascara to one person in the previous few months and it was a servant he didn’t recognize. In the book, there were actually two people who purchased the Bitter Cascara. A Lady of the Aristocracy who regularly bought it for the women her husband enjoyed, and an unknown servant. Since the TV Series Writers removed a minor character and had Lord Duverney be the one to “attack” Claire’s feet, so the jealous wife was not needed. I absolutely love the coat that Claire wears to Master Raymond’s in this episode. It is this beautiful deep purplish blue with stunning red embroidery along the edge of the hood to the front edges and on the sleeves. I truly hope that Terry Dresbach will do a blog post about this coat. I would love to see up close pictures of it. Maybe I should tweet her about it….
Anyway, we finally get to see Master Raymond’s secret room. While they don’t crawl through the fireplace, it’s still an impressive room. The skulls and other decorations are amazing. The set crew really captured the essence of the secret room from the book. In the book, there is no scrying of the sheep’s bones. But Raymond does give Claire a white crystal that will change color in the presence of various compounds. Also, in the book, Jamie was waiting in the carriage for Claire and gets annoyed about having to wait. He comes in to the Apothecary and meets Raymond for the first time.
The first time I saw the scene where Jamie comes home horny, I was extremely angry at Jamie (not about being horny, about how it happened). Compared to the book, I think this scene was handled a little more awkwardly. Jamie has a bite mark on his inner thigh. The first time through, I didn’t know if he had slept with the whore who gave him the bite on his thigh or not. It was the second time through that I caught him saying “nothing happened”. In the book, Claire was more willing to listen to Jamie’s explanation about the bite marks. Book Claire has more faith in Jamie’s loyalty than the Show Claire. In the show, he says that having the weight of Randall’s death off his shoulders made him feel like a man again. He discovered at Maison Elise that he was still a man and lusted. I have to agree with Claire’s anger that instead of trying with her first, he went to a brothel. Even though he never slept with the women, it was a type of betrayal. The betrayal wasn’t that Jamie went to a brothel. The betrayal was using the women at the brothel to see if he was a whole man. He should have turned to Claire, not another woman. In the book he was at Maison Elise’s with Prince Charles and a few other Jacobite aristocracy, and he got the marks while trying to convince the ladies he wasn’t interested, because he refused to cheat on Claire. Book Claire knows that the Prince and the aristocracy was giving Jamie a bad time about not enjoying the women, and she never once worried that Jamie would sleep with one of them. Jamie has a very strong moral compass when it comes to marriage and faithfulness, I feel that this scene was a bit out of character for him.
During this scene, Jamie explains how his inner-self (soul?) was unprotected due to what Randall did to him. This particular exchange happens in Outlander, after she pretended to be Randall to Jamie’s fevered mind to force him to fight. I find it interesting that they use it now to explain why he has been pushing Claire away, when she needs intimacy and connection, even if it is just being held.
After the argument, Jamie decides to go sleep else where in the house. Turns out to be alcove in the study. Claire goes to find him and make love with him. But I don’t understand what he said that dissipated Claire’s anger. I guess we could blame it on pregnancy hormones.
We have another out of order compared to the book sequence. Prince Charles starts knocking on the master bedroom window after crawling over the roof. The Prince was escaping from his paramour’s house. He couldn’t go through the front door because her husband had arrived home early. It seems to be a night of men getting bit (as Claire says, “Seems to be an epidemic around here”. Prince Charles has a bite on his hand. Charles says that it came from his paramour’s pet monkey who bites everyone but her. We discover that Prince Charles is the father of Louise’s child. However, Charles doesn’t know that Louise is pregnant, only that she wants to break up their affair.
While the household is preparing for their dinner, Claire decides to go to L’Hospital des Anges to help after there was a fire at the Royal Armory. She promises Jamie that she will be home in time to greet their guests. (Foreshadowing, anyone??) So Claire, Mary Hawkins, Murtagh, and Fergus leave the Hospital later than planned, and discover that one of the wheels on the wagon is broken. So Claire decides that they are going to walk to a street over to catch a carriage. While on the way, they are attacked and Mary is raped. All of this does take place in the book and almost in this sequence. In the book, Claire and Mary are already at the Hospital when the fire happened.
The set design for the dinner was amazing. You can feel the richness of the furnishings. The costumes were beautiful. I can’t imagine how long it took to put together this beautiful masterpiece and then film it.
The episode ends with Jamie trying to protect Alexander Randall from Mary’s Uncle and Fiancee. Mary panics and runs out of the room Claire left her with Alex watching over her. Mary ends up in the parlor. Alex followed her and was leaning over her to help her when people rushed from the dining room at her screams. Mary’s Uncle and Fiancee accuse Alex of raping her.
In the show this is the only dinner party Claire and Jamie host. In the book, they did them regularly because that was how Jared allowed people to taste wines and other spirits prior to purchasing. I wish that they kept that obligation in the story line. They didn’t need to show the dinners, but mentioning the frequency and who attended wouldn’t be bad. In the show, it seems that Jamie oversees the warehouse, plays chess with Duverney every day during the day, and spends the nights drinking with the Prince. While in the book, Jamie was responsible for keeping records, selling the product, finding new leads, etc, as well as doing the other things. Except that the chess matches were once a week after dinner, not during the day.
On to next week…..