I feel like I’m repeating myself, but once again there is a lot to cover in this episode. We can’t leave out Claire saving Jamie, or Jenny’s long winded reasoning on why she encouraged Jamie to marry Laoghaire, or the financial arrangement which leads to the next misadventure in Claire and Jamie’s life story. So here it is from my point of view.
EPISODE 8 – The Wee Beasties Die
Jamie believes he is dying. He tells Claire that while he did not send for her, he is glad she is there, to be with him at the end. Even his heartbeat hurts. He tells her he is sorry. They both cannot deny their yearning for each other. It shows unwillingly on their faces. Jamie is not sure he can cope with the trials of recovering from his fever, he is prepared to die instead, especially as he believes Claire will leave again.
Claire, despite her distress and misery, will not allow Jamie to die. She has brought some 20th century magic with her, penicillin. She dissolves penicillin tablets on water, then fills a syringe and after dabbing his backside with best brandy, she jabs him and injects the thick white liquid. Claire admires the muscular curves of Jamie’s bottom as she works. Jamie does not understand how a pinprick in the arse can help his arm. Claire asks him if he remembers about germs, the wee beasties which cause infection. She says she must repeat the injection every four hours till the next day. Such is his discomfort Jamie replies ““Aye, I do. I should ha’ let them burn ye, twenty years ago.”
Over the course of two days and nights Claire treats Jamie, and Jamie tells Claire how he came to marry Laoghaire. While free, Jamie had not found any comfort in his life until Claire’s return. Claire’s broken heart softens and mends, she also, cannot continue to deny her feelings. Purely and simply – they love each other. There is a family reunion of sorts, all the Murray children and grandchildren are at Lallybroch, but Jenny is making herself scarce. Claire tracks her down in the confines of the root cellar and they have a gentle confrontation. Jenny has the good grace to acknowledge how Claire’s advice about the potatoes helped the stave off starvation after Culloden, then confesses she made Jamie marry Laoghaire. Jamie had returned in body, but his spirit was shattered, he needed someone to mend him in a way Jenny couldn’t.
Jenny provides imagery of Laoghaire and Jamie’s wedding – including that she had a vision of Claire standing between them which scared her so much she left in the middle of the vows. Jenny does not ken who (or what) Claire is, she never asked because Jamie had chosen her and that was enough. Jamie’s marriage to Laoghaire was not happy and Jamie spent most of his time in Edinburgh.
Unlike Jamie and Laoghaire, Claire does not have ties which bind her to Lallybroch. That is enough for Jenny to know that if Claire goes, Jamie will go with her and she will never see Jamie again. Now, however, Jenny accepts Claire is the only one for Jamie. Jenny elicits a promise from Claire that she will always look after Jamie. Young Ian interrupts them to say Laoghaire’s brother Hobart has arrived. Even worse than coming with a pistol he’s brought a lawyer, Ned Gowan, still alive after all these years. Deals are done, reparations made, to decide the dissolution of the now illegal marriage. But not without considerable cost to Jamie.
There is only one way to fulfil the legal agreement and pay off Laoghaire. The chest hidden on the isle of the coast. When the subject of who is the best swimmer is discussed Claire is confused. It turns out Jamie had secretly made the location and contents of the treasure chest known to Jenny and Ian. Over the years they had taken some of the treasure on four occasions, used both for exiled Jacobites in France and twice for their own desperate needs. Young Jamie and Michael both having successfully done the risky swim. Jamie says it’s now Young Ian’s turn to complete what has become a family rite of passage.
Knowing he and Claire cannot stay at Lallybroch because of Laoghaire, and Edinburgh is also out of the question at the moment, Jamie says he will go to France where he can work with cousin Jared. Jamie proposes he takes Young Ian there for schooling. Ian softly convinces Jenny, they both realise their hold on the rebellious Young Ian is tenuous at best, so they give their permission. Jenny directly stating Jamie must take good care of Young Ian.
As they near the coast Young Ian is excited, he says he can do the swim. Fog swirls, hiding the ocean and rugged coastline. They the hear cries of the seals. Ian descends the cliff by a secret route then strips off his clothing and enters the freezing water. Sight of Ian is mostly lost to them due to the fog. They must wait, helpless. Jamie is feeling the stress of it, Claire remarks that now he knows how she has felt being married to him. As they take cover from the wind while they wait Jamie hears screaming, and not from the seals. They go near the cliff edge and get fleeting views of the island through the curling waves of mist. A boat is pulled ashore and men are afoot. One can be seen carrying the treasure chest another an unconscious or dead Ian. The boat rounds the headland towards its sailing ship.
The ship is painted blue with a broad black band around its hull, they have seen Jamie and Claire on the cliff side. There is an open gunport, they take aim. The ship fires at them repeatedly and then sails away, lost to their sight. Ian is gone – kidnapped.