‘Outlander’ season 2, episode 4 review: Jamie and Claire’s dinner-party panic

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How quickly things can turn on a dime within the world of “Outlander.” What started on Saturday night’s new episode as a dinner party designed to get the secret out regarding the Duke of Sandringham’s donations to the Jabobite Rebellion ended up instead being a brutal brawl, one that caused Jamie and Claire to lose much of their power while other forces, including the Comte St. Germain, started to gain more.

The difficulty for our heroes Jamie and Claire Fraser going into this episode was that their plan was really dependent on few forces getting into their way. Take, for example, their plan to disarm Prince Charles by having the news out there regarding Louise de Rohan’s pregnancy. They hoped to send him into such a jealous rage that he would be vulnerable, but instead external forces got in the way. For one, they were not anticipating the presence of the Comte at the dinner; also, there was a certain issue known as Mary Hawkins and Alex Randall, who earlier in the episode looked like they were on the path to being star-crossed lovers.

Mary and Claire were the victims of an attack on the street earlier in the episode, but were spared by the mysterious force known as La Dame Blanche (also, hence, the title of the episode). However, the torment that Mary was subjected to was still paramount enough to cause trauma in its aftermath, and it was seeing Alex presented over her in what appeared to be a menacing way that really caused matters to accelerate with the brawl.

To think, the irony here is that the one thing that looked as though it would be Jamie and Claire’s undoing was, at least briefly, not that at all. Jamie’s reaction to Jack Randall’s survival was stunning, largely in that he wanted to be the person to kill him and see his life drain from his eyes. It’s certainly a morbid desire, but from Jamie’s vantage point we do get where that thirst for revenge comes from. Yet, he also has some other priorities that he should attend to, such as continuing to rebuild his relationship with Claire and keeping other women from giving him bite marks.

This episode, in the end, really provided much of what you could want as an “Outlander” fan: There was violence, there was romance, and there was some humor courtesy of the Duke, who really just wanted to have a nice dinner. The brawl at the end may be one of the more iconic moments of the season to date. Grade: A.

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