After a few weeks of personal turmoil, this episode jumps strongly back to the political intrigue element of the story. As shown in the preview, we do return to Scotland in this episode. That means we get the chance to see some past favorite characters, as well as a few old foes. We also meet a handful of new characters. Another past character pops up in a twist that surprised book readers everywhere. You know I have thoughts on that, so get your hounds ready as we venture into The Fox’s Lair.
- Instead of delving into all the details and logistics of the Fraser’s return to Scotland we jump ahead to their return to Lallybroch through Claire’s opening voiceover. In this speech she also mentions the healing effects that Scotland has had on their souls as they continue to recover from the events of Paris. While I am not normally a big fan of voiceovers, I thought this was a very efficient one. After the things that were said and the wounds that were at least stitched up by the end of the previous episode, the only thing left in the healing process for the Frasers was time. Had they made the audience go through all that time with them, it would have been sluggish and probably a challenge to stick with. It was an excellent choice to meet them a little ways down the road of life.
- Just because we have moved ahead does not mean everything is perfect. I found the fallout from Paris on those around them to be interesting. The only thing I missed in the fast forward is that Murtagh is back with no explanation and acts like everything is normal. I might have expected a little more implied grief and concern on his part. Jenny is clearly very connected to the grief they must be feeling. In the scene where she and Claire are watching Jamie with the baby I absolutely adored that Jenny spoke to her mother to mother. The look on Claire’s face when Jenny acknowledged, “You know,” was simultaneously heartbreaking and restorative. Maybe our favorite Sassenach will be all right after all. Side note- Jamie talking to the baby in that scene is probably the most swoon worthy moment in ages, wouldn’t you agree?
- The lair of the title refers to Jenny and Jamie’s grandfather, Lord Lovat, who is known as the Old Fox. Since the rebellion seems to have followed them right back to Scotland, Jamie and Claire decide they can no longer work to prevent war. They must put their efforts into changing the outcome. Most of the episode centers around whether or not the Frasers are officially going to pledge men to the rebellion or not. We are left feeling that the entire thing was a game to pass time while Lord Lovat figured out a way to play both sides.
- Remember back when Claire found out Jamie started the La Dame Blanche rumors? She was so mad about it. After the scene with the Comte St. Germaine last week though, she seems to have decided to double down on it. Both she and Jamie seem perfectly willing to trot that story out publicly and often, even going so far as to have Claire pretend to suffer a premonition in order to sway the Old Fox to their side. I feel like they need to be careful how often they spread this story. It seems to me like another witch trial will catch up to them quicker than you can say Laoghaire Mackenzie!
- Speaking of our favorite lovesick teenager, when the Frasers arrive at the castle they immediately run into Colum and soon after that discover that he has brought Laoghaire along on the journey! It comes out in the very first meeting with Colum that It was Laoghaire that set Claire up to be arrested all those months ago. Jamie is there for this entire conversation. This matters for one major reason. This reason puts me reasonably close to spoiler territory. I am going to refer slightly to the books, but I will keep most of my information to things that have been said on Starz, either in the context of the episode or in the behind the scenes segments that air afterwards. If you hate all things spoilery I suggest you stop reading now and I will see you next week!
In this week’s behind the scenes the writer says that due to events further down the line they felt the need to redeem Laoghaire in Jamie’s eyes. Here’s the thing though, in the books she doesn’t need redeemed because he just doesn’t find out what an evil, conniving brat she is. I had somewhat wondered about this in season one, and now they are having to put all the cards on the table because they are thinking ahead. I would be more sympathetic if the writers hadn’t painted themselves into this corner. The biggest part of the problem for me is that more screen time for her actually makes me dislike her more. I do not feel or believe the redemption at all. I also don’t think it is nearly enough to pave the way for the events down the line they speak of. I think the handling of Laoghaire is easily one of my least favorite elements of the transition from book to screen.
This week we were left watching the Fraser men marching off to war. I am eager to see how quickly things progress from here!