Here’s my imagined version of Outlander, Season 3 – Episode 12 We have secrets, betrayal, murder, love and redemption – I hope the Outlander producers can fit it all in…
EPISODE 12 – Life is A Masquerade
Claire and Jamie prepare for the new Governor’s reception. Jamie does not want to reveal his identity and comes up with a plan. Disguise. I don’t know about you but the thought of seeing Jamie wearing a wig and powdered face just makes me scream with laughter, not forgetting the faux beauty mark. Now think about the silk stockings, satin breeches complete with silver knee buckles, Brussels lace cuffs and red heeled shoes… I can’t imagine the sight! But, I suppose it was the complete disguise. Claire says he looks like a gargoyle. Fergus disagrees, he says Jamie looks like a Frenchman. He will be introduced as “Monsieur Etienne Marcel de Provac Alexandre.” Jamie’s red hair may be hidden but his height cannot be.
Jamie says no one will be looking at him anyway, asking Claire to show her dress. She swirls showing the lovely flared violet silk skirt, the low cut front filled with a froth of lace, matched by lace cascading from the elbow length sleeves. Apart from Claire, Jamie has another secret weapon, Mr Willoughby, as a distraction. Fergus is dressed in dark blue velvet and Marsali glows in a soft pink dress with a deep rose colored sash. Claire thinks Marsali is glowing a wee bit too much, could she be pregnant?
Claire notices that upon arriving at the reception Jamie’s outer calm is belied by the twitching of his fingers. It is a sure sign of his stress as they approach the reception line where the Mayor of Kingston and other dignitaries, including the new Governor of Jamaica await. Lord John Grey recognises Claire instantly as, Mrs Malcolm, the doctor he met aboard the Porpoise. He is surprised but happy to see her, however his demeanour alters when he sees Jamie who is introduced to him by Claire as her husband. Jamie speaks, “John,” he says softly. “It’s good to see ye, man.” Lord John Grey looks like he has seen twin ghosts, he pales and shakes, staring wildly at Claire when Jamie, speaking flawless French, introduces her as Claire, his wife.
Claire does not understand why the revelation of her Christian name should cause such a reaction. Claire and Jamie move along pressed by the flow of the introduction line, leaving a white faced John in their wake.
Jamie and Claire use the novelty of Mr Willoughby’s appearance to foster an introduction to the sister of a plantation owner, in a flow on effect Claire meets many more people. Jamie separately seeks contacts with the prosperous plantation owners, looking very much the aristocrat. Claire dances, as do Fergus and Marsali, who only have eyes for each other. Mr Willoughby is somewhat of a hit, attracting the attention of many ladies.
Claire politely begins to enquire of Mrs Abernathy of Rose Hall, and hears much the same scandalous gossip Mrs McIver had relayed earlier. When the gossip turns to other things, like Mrs Alcott’s behaviour, Claire makes her escape from the group. Claire runs into Reverend Campbell, offering her condolences regarding his missing sister. The Reverend is pious saying he has only come to the Governor’s reception to get assistance to find his sister. He calls Claire “Mrs Malcolm”, she is keen he is not to be overheard calling her by that name. The Reverend lays blame for his sisters condition and loss squarely on one James Fraser, much to Claire’s surprise.
Claire sees Jamie exiting towards what she assumes is the Governor’s private rooms, and she follows. Claire is shocked beyond measure to find Jamie and John in an embrace. Jamie exclaiming in a voice vivid with breaking emotion “Oh God, John!”, as they press together. Upon their parting, Claire sees John looking at Jamie with what can only be described as naked hunger. In distress and sick to her stomach at what she has witnessed and what it might mean, Claire runs down the hallway seeking refuge, dropping her fan in her panic. She hides, now understanding the look of shock on Lord John Grey’s face when he realised her identity. Lord John’s feelings for Jamie are clear, but what of the reverse? Given Jamie’s assault at the hands of Black Jack Randall, Claire cannot comprehend how Jamie could be involved with him in any physical way. Claire sees Lord John going back to his guests, his face flushed and bright. Minutes later Jamie emerges his face a mask of conflicting emotions, barely concealed, as he begins searching for Claire.
Claire after sustaining shock after shock and not wishing to face Jamie she seeks the refuge of the retiring room. Upon arriving there Claire is struck by a familiar smell, one certainly not expected to be found among the lingering aromas of women’s fragrance and powder. She see the dead body of the widow Alcott sprawled on the chaise lounge, skirts in disarray around her cut throat. Her head hanging backwards, blood dripping down the ringlets of her hair and pooling on the floor.
Claire is frozen in shock, she sees small bloody footprints heading to the window. Footprints which could only fit one person, Mr Willoughby.
Due to his connection with Mr Willoughby, Jamie is questioned. While a shaking, almost incoherent Claire and Marsali are secreted away, ironically, in the Governor’s private office. Claire is deeply troubled. Is Jamie the man she knew? Or were his words, “Will ye take me, and risk the man that I am, for the sake of the man ye knew?”, upon her reappearance, reflecting something deeper? Something she had chosen to ignore? After all he did conceal his marriage to Laoghaire… Claire is shaken but fiercely refuses to believe she is wrong.
It is after 2am when Fergus comes, he say Jamie is still being questioned, but he must take Marsali home. They go, but not before Fergus plays a trick on a militia man.
Lord John enters his office finding Claire alone, he mentions to Claire his surprise at Jamie’s fluency in French. Claire seizes this opportunity to say Lord John does not know Jamie as well as he thought. Claire decides to go to the parlour where Jamie is being interrogated. As she opens the door and looks down the hallway she sees the Admiral and a group of other officers coming. One man she recognises instantly, it it Captain Leonard of HMS Porpoise. She retreats, dramatically saying to Lord John “Don’t give me away, if you value Jamie’s life!” and flings herself on a lounge, placing a towel over her face, faking unconsciousness.
The Admiral announces to Lord John that he has sent for additional troops to help search for the murderer, who they believe to be Mr Willoughby. Claire continues to feign sleep, Lord John says she’s had enough brandy to fell a horse (but only as an aid to recovering from shock mind you). After they leave Lord John speaks to Claire of her single-handedly dealing with the typhoid epidemic on the Porpoise, meaning that a mere murder would not shock her. Claire declares “There are shocks, and then there are shocks. If you know what I mean.” Lord John does know, pulling out from a drawer the fan she had dropped earlier in the evening, he says how her existence also shocked him.
Two people who both love and desire Jamie talk. Claire asks if he knew Jamie was married. Lord John say’s he understood her to be dead. Grey is slightly heartened to know Jamie had mentioned him to Claire, “He said you were his friend.” Claire goes on to explain her separation from Jamie encompassed twenty years, she has been back for four (very tumultuous) months. Grey asks her “… Has he not told you about Willie?” Claire looks back blankly, asking “Who’s Wille?” In answer Grey reaches into a drawer, brings out a small object and places it on the desk, motioning for Claire to come closer. The object is a miniature painting of a child, aged nine or ten, a boy with striking similarities to Brianna, despite a difference in hair color. Claire’s knees fail her as she realises this boy IS Bree’s brother. Shaking, she asks who is his mother. Grey says “Was. She’s dead.” This not being very helpful prompts Claire to ask again “Who was she?” Further shocks are to come when Grey says, “She was Geneva Dunsany, my wife’s sister.”
Claire loses her ability to be tactful, says “Your wife?” Her tone implies she knows exactly what his nature is. Reeling from all these revelations Claire insists “I think you had better bloody well explain to me just what you have to do with Jamie, and this Geneva, and this boy,”
Grey’s composure has, at least partly, returned to him and he says he does not feel any obligation to explain. Claire looks like she is ready to attack him, but she relents understanding the obligation is not his, but asking why did he show her the portrait if he did not want her to know. She knows so much now she can find out the rest from Jamie. Claire encourages John her to tell his side of the story. It’s still dark outside, there is time.
They drink brandy as Grey explains about Ardsmuir, taking Jamie to Helwater as he could not bear the thought of never seeing him again. Then he explains brief details of Willie’s birth and Geneva’s death. Claire asks if Jamie loved Geneva, Grey says Jamie has never spoken to him regarding her, but, having known Geneva he doubts if Jamie loved her. Also, Jamie never directly told him about Willie, but the boys likeness to Jamie had become obvious to him “and anyone who cared to look”. Grey also thinks his mother-in-law knows as well, not that she would say anything and risk the inheritance of the Ellesmere estate. Jamie wisely arranged to leave Helwater before it was obvious to everyone. Grey says that “Jamie gave the boy to me.”
Now I think we are in for a revealing flashback.
Grey comes to see Jamie in the stables at Helwater. He says that Lady Isobel is not happy with Jamie. Young Willie has been howling in despair over Jamie leaving. Grey let’s Jamie know he knows that Willie is his son, such is the likeness. Grey says Jamie is right to leave. Jamie’s eyes reveal his misery. Jamie walks away from the stables asking Grey to walk with him.
They stop in a sunny clearing, Jamie needs something, a favor, from Grey. Grey answers yes even before Jamie asks the question. Jamie wants Grey to look after Willie. Grey has news, he is to be married to Lady Isobel no less. Jamie is shocked. Grey assures Jamie he has “tested” his ability to be an adequate husband, whilst in London, being able to perform the physical act, if not enjoy it. The marriage means he will be at Helwater permanently, when he resigns his Army commission. Jamie is grateful that Grey will be able to be step-father to “his son” – the only time Jamie has ever spoken those words. Jamie feels obliged to Grey, and actually offers him his body in return. Grey has the good grace to laugh, and declines Jamie’s offer, despite saying he will probably want Jamie until the day he dies. Grey as an man of honor, feels he should be insulted except he understands the deep feelings which prompted the offer. Jamie says he didn’t intend an insult, Grey acknowledges Jamie cannot give him what he does not have as he reaches out and gently touches Jamie’s cheek. Jamie offers his friendship, as they ready to leave Jamie goes to Grey, lightly cups Grey’s face in his hands and kisses him on the lips. Grey exclaims “Oh..” And then Jamie is gone…
Back in Jamaica Grey tells Claire that was the only time Jamie touched him willingly, until earlier that evening when Grey had given Jamie another copy of the miniature. Claire is beset with a range of emotions. She is even more disconcerted when Grey says he should have recognised her on the ship. He reveals he was the young man whose broken arm she set twenty years ago back in the dark wood of the Scottish Highlands, near Carryarrick. After a time of silence he speaks wistfully of not being able to make the person he loves happy. Claire recalls Frank, not being able to give him love, after… Word comes that the carriage has returned and Jamie is free to go, as Claire goes to depart she says to Grey she was happy not to know who he was that dark night on the Porpoise, for she liked him. Then. He agrees, he liked her too. Then.
Claire and Jamie ride back to Blue Mountain House in the carriage, she feels like Jamie is a stranger. Jamie removes the grotesque wig and begins to revert back into the Scotsman he is. They discuss whether Mr Willoughby could possibly be guilty of the murder. Jamie invented a lie about how long he had known Mr Willoughby. There is now a time limit to their finding Young Ian, six days before the packet boat from Martinique returns and the captain will reveal the truth.
They arrive at Blue Mountain House. Claire undresses, wearing only her silk chemise she goes to their bedroom. Jamie stands by the door looking out over the lagoon as the sun rises. The water glows green in the early morning light. He quietly calls Claire over to see the herd of manatees swimming in the lagoon, making good whooshing sounds as they exhale.
Claire is highly aware of Jamie’s physical closeness but they do not touch. Her earlier fears are somewhat assuaged by Lord John’s explanation, but she is still stung by Jamie’s silence about Willie. Jamie says perhaps Mr Willoughby needed a woman to help him survive his loneliness. Jamie confesses the Claire that he did not marry Laoghaire out of Jenny’s nagging or to seek sex, but so he would not be alone. Claire does not know how to bring the conversation around to Willie. In the end she does not need to, Jamie, after hesitating says there is something he must tell her. His tiredness turns to determination as he presses something into Claire’s hands. Without looking at it she knows it is a duplicate of the miniature painting Grey has shown her. He tells Claire he has a son. It is such a secret that not even Jenny knows. He says he hasn’t seen the boy in years and does not expect to see him ever again. He does not want Claire to think he sired children all over the countryside or that his love of Brianna is diminished. Jamie cradles the painting affectionately as he asks for Claire’s forgiveness. Claire wants to know if he loved Geneva. Jamie says he did not, but feels only more guilty for that fact. Claire says that John told her everything. Claire says he should have trusted her. Jamie says he was afraid of losing her especially after the truth about Laoghaire. People wanted different things from him, Geneva his body, Laoghaire his name and labour, and then there was John, who wanted things Jamie could not give, and was friend enough not to ask.
He did not know how to tell Claire of these things and still explain to her she is his only love. Claire tells him “If you say it, I’ll believe you.” Amazed, Jamie asks why. Claire tells him he is an honest man. Jamie tells Claire that he worships her with his body, he gives her his name, his heart and soul, only her. She will not allow him to lie, yet she loves him anyway.
Claire reaches for him, declaring he’s not alone anymore. Claire repeats her wedding vow, “Blood of my blood…” Jamie says “Bone of my bone…” in response as he kneels before her as if pledging his fealty to his chieftain, saying “I give ye my spirit.” Claire bends her head over their hands saying “Til our life shall be done.”
But their lives are not over yet, Jamie rises and lifts Claire’s shift from her body, naked, she pulls him down to her, taking him home, back home, once more and again…