In “Lallybroch,” we met Jamie’s sister, Jenny, and returned to his childhood home. Jenny is amazing. Jamie is less great.
While Claire didn’t return home last week, Jamie did this week. And I don’t think it went exactly as he dreamed it would.
Plotwise, it was a relatively light week: Jamie takes Claire to Lallybroch, and Jamie and Jenny recount the past. I am coming to the rapid, and unfortunate, conclusion that Jamie is the least interesting member of his family. Even with this week’s particular set of reveals. Which we will get to, I promise.
Jenny and Jamie are the two threads weaving throughout this episode, and Jenny makes the absolute most of her introduction episode. Jamie and Claire arrive at Lallybroch where it takes, oh, seconds for Jamie to accuse his sister of being a whore. She has a son and is pregnant, and Jamie won’t even stand still for an explanation. Even though Jenny threatens to grab him by the balls like she did when they were kids. And when introduced to Claire, says that she bets that Claire knows more about his balls than she does.
Jenny’s married Ian Murray, a good friend of Jamie’s and who lost his leg fighting with Jamie in France.
Jenny recounts her interactions with Black Jack, and they’re typically horrible. As is also the norm when we spend any extended time with Black Jack, he’s violent and tries to rape Jenny. Jenny first tries knocking him out with a hunk of wood, and then, explaining that she can’t think of anything else to do, starts to laugh. And, when she sees how angry it made him, she keeps laughing. And Black Jack can’t get it up, throws Jenny down and knocks her out. She wakes up and never sees him again.
Given everything we’ve see of Black Jack, laughing at him was probably the best move. He gets off on power and asserting it. And he likes to put down the physically struggling and psychological games are also a joy. I fully believe that he has no defense against being laughed at. It was a desperation play, but Jenny went for it.
While Jamie’s been in hiding, Jenny and Ian have been running Lallybroch. Pretty well, it looks like. Jamie turns them out of the master bedroom fast — which makes sense, since he is technically the laird, but Jamie’s got a lack of sensitivity and tact which is truly astonishing.
Jamie decides against collecting the rent, as times have been hard. Jenny reminds him that if the whole estate goes under, times will be worse. Claire tells Jamie that a boy’s being mistreated by his father, Jamie yells at the father — possibly gets in a fight — and the boy is turned out and left with the Frasers. Jenny says she and the boy’s grandmother had been working on getting him home with an aunt. Jamie decides to go fix the broken mill himself, Jenny hides evidence of his presence from passing redcoats. It is more than likely that Jenny got all the brains in this family.
Claire spends some time with Ian, who tells her that Jenny stitched him up and was the one who informed him that they were getting married. He adorably says that he was still telling her why that was a bad idea when they were in front of a priest. He describes the Frasers as “Hearts are as big and soft as their heads are thick and strong.” That should be their family motto.
Jamie, like Jenny, tells a story bringing us back in time to the whipping and Jack Randall. I’m betting that Tobias Menzies is a delight, because he’d have to be to mitigate the sheer horror of the character he plays. Jamie says that, after his first whipping, his father showed up to try to sort everything out. His father says he’ll stand by Jamie, “no matter what happens,” and kisses him on the cheek.
And then Black Jack offers to forgo the second whipping if Jamie will have sex with him.
It’d be more surprising if Black Jack hadn’t been presented so far as a sadist with a never-ending need for domination and humiliation. There is almost nothing that he could propose that would be shocking at this point. And especially after coming off of Jenny laughing at him, it makes total, total sense for this to be his next play. In fact, the shades of this horrible man trying to find the most degrading way to go after a family that has successfully embarrassed him is the only thing keeping Black Jack from becoming a full-on cartoon. Although, I think we’re getting to a point where the show has given layers to so many other characters, it doesn’t particularly care if Black Jack is anything more.
In addition to that bit of trauma, we also learn that Jamie’s father collapsed and died watching the second beating.
As indicated above, Jamie’s also got some growing to do with regards to being the laird. He gets drunk and Claire gets snippy, and he’s hungover when Jenny yells about the boy they’ve had to take in and the rent they haven’t got.
Jamie’s trying very hard to be as good as his memory of his father, and not exactly measuring up. A point Jenny also makes to him.
In the laird’s bedroom, early in the episode, Jamie reminisces and finds his father’s Viking sword, right where he always left it. In recounting his childhood, Jamie and Claire have this exchange:
“I dreamed of a day when it would be mine”
“It is yours now, Jamie.”
Jamie dreamed of being his father, and spends the episode not quite understanding what that actually means. He also says “ours” to Claire, which is well enough, but “ours” might well apply to him and Jenny, since it appears that two need each other to run Lallybroch competently.
It shouldn’t be a surprise at all that the two Fraser children end their little arc proving that the two are more similar than apart. Ian’s advice to Claire is that Frasers need kicking in the right direction, which Claire is more than able to give Jamie. I’ll bet anything that Ian had a similar confrontation with Jenny.
Jamie and Jenny meet at their father’s grave and, of course, they’ve both been blaming themselves for everything. Jamie thinks that if he’d just done what Black Jack had demanded, his father wouldn’t have collapsed and died watching him be whipped. (Claire rightfully points out that Black Jack probably would have beaten him anyway.) Jenny also blames herself, thinking that if she hadn’t laughed at him he wouldn’t have gone after Jamie. The Fraser Siblings, everyone.
Also, this from Jenny:
And if your life is a suitable exchange for your honor, tell me why my honor is not a suitable exchange for your life. Are you telling me I may not love you as much as you love me? Because if you are, Jamie Fraser, I’ll tell you right now, it’s not true.
Jenny’s my favorite.
We end with four men threatening Jamie in his own house. Of course we do.
- Everyone congratulate Menzies for being the one to show his dick on screen. As it was as Black Jack, it was suitably unsexy and uncomfortable.
- On the other end of the spectrum, there was this:
- Jenny and Claire sitting on Jamie’s clothes so that the redcoats wouldn’t see them was great, as was Jenny telling Claire not to talk so they wouldn’t know she was English.
- “How’d a perfectly good shirt get caught in a mill?” “It’s Scotland, sir.” Stupid English and their stupid assumptions.
- The flashback scenes were muted of color, save over-saturated reds, golds, and blues. The other colors were vital, because when it was just the redcoats, there were some powerful Schindler’s List vibes.
Contact the author at email@example.com.