{TB Talks TV} Outlander Review: “Lallybroch”

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Tweetable Takeaway: Jamie returns home on #Outlander, but ghosts of the past haunt him. 

Airtime: Saturdays at 9pm on Starz

By: Jeff Iblings, Contributor

This episode of  focuses on the ghosts of the past for the Frazier family. Jamie’s return to Lallybroch is supposed to be a triumphant homecoming, but instead ends up being an exorcism of past demons.

Jamie and Claire’s arrival seems to be a bit premature for my taste, since a price is still on Jamie’s head. News of the return of the Laird would eventually reach the ears of someone who would want the reward for his capture. Why not wait and bide your time somewhere else?

The thing to keep in mind is that Jamie hasn’t returned home to Lallybroch for over 4 years. The last time he was there, Blackjack had him strung up in an archway beating him as his sister Jenny watched on. He assumes Blackjack raped her as he threatened to do before Jamie blacked out. His last recollections mixed with gossip about Blackjack leaving his sister pregnant, have him expecting some really bad things upon his return. But you know the old saying about making assumptions? No, neither has Jamie.

He makes a complete ass of himself immediately when he’s reunited with his sister Jenny. Her child, who she’s also named Jamie, becomes a point of contention for Jamie since he thinks his namesake is the product of rape. Like nearly everything Jamie does in this episode, he’s completely wrong in the way he approaches this, and in his assumption. The child is her husband Ian’s, one of Jamie’s oldest friends.

Claire takes a bit of a back seat in this episode, as it’s all about the Frazier’s this time. It’s not like she has nothing to do in the episode. She’s the lady of her and Jamie’s house for the first time, which means she’s finally found a home.   She gets a cold welcome from Jenny, but her and Ian have a connection as outsiders to the Frazier temperament and family squabbles.

Jenny blames Jamie for their father’s death, and also herself for Jamie’s flogging. Jamie blames himself for his father’s death as well, but also feels ashamed he wasn’t able to stop Blackjack from desecrating his sister’s virginity. These mixed up feelings are displayed by Jamie and Jenny at each other’s throats most of the time.

There’s a lot of guilt to go around in the Frazier family, and we learn through flashbacks how both Jenny and Jamie feel responsible for the burdens they carry. It’s during these glimpses of the past that we become acquainted with what really happened between Jenny and Blackjack after Jamie blacked out. Jenny fights off Blackjack, but he throws her on the bed and is about to rape her, only he can’t get an erection. She can’t think of anything else to do but laugh hysterically at his flaccid tool until he beats her senseless, and it may have saved her life. When she comes to Jamie is gone.

Jamie on the other hand last saw his father in prison between his two floggings when he had come to beg Blackjack to let his son go. We find out Blackjack offers Jamie to forgo his second flogging if he allows Blackjack to bugger him. It’s through his denial of Blackjack that the second flogging occurs. It’s while seeing his son being beaten that Jamie’s father collapses and dies. Jamie blames his decision to not allow Blackjack to have his way with him for his father’s death.

The weight of Jamie’s burden, coupled with the power of being the Laird of his own manor, leads Jamie to act like a completely different person. This isn’t the Jamie we’re used to seeing. This is Jamie trying to be someone he is not. It causes tension between Claire and himself, and she takes some advice from Ian and gives Jamie a swift kick in the ass to set him straight.

It isn’t until Jenny sees how scarred and disfigured Jamie’s back is that she begins to feel culpability in the absolute hell and pain he must have gone through to receive such permanent injury. She connects her perceived responsibility for his flogging to how she mocked Blackjack when he tried to rape her, which leads right to her father’s death.

The best scene in the entire episode takes place in the graveyard in front of their father’s plot. Both Jamie and Jenny apologize to each other and blurt out their guilt. They forgive each other and then themselves, and both come to terms with the fact the only person responsible for all of these things is Blackjack himself.

More thoughts:

  • The episode ends on a cliffhanger. Claire discovers Jamie downstairs with three Scottish men who have a gun at Jamie’s head. Who are they? Did someone talk about his return and another clan came to take him to the English and receive the bounty on his head? Is it the McDonald clan seeking revenge for what Jamie did to their members at the Duke of Sandringham’s?
  • There are still English patrols going about and Jamie almost gets caught, so things are not as safe as he plays them up to be. I think it’s only a matter of time before Jamie and Claire cross paths with Blackjack again. The only question is will it be on Jamie’s terms or Blackjacks?
  • Have we seen the end of Dougal and Colum for the season?
  • The Quarter Day shows Jamie at his worst playing the Laird in a way he thinks he should without regard to the financial stability of his holdings. He doesn’t present a true representation of who he is to his tenants and family.

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For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates. Twitter: @OfSoundnVision

Keep up with all of Jeff’s Outlander reviews here.
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