Outlander Episode 204 Recap: La Dame Blance

Tune in for our weekly Outlander hangout, in which we’ll discuss this week’s episode. Meanwhile, here’s a spoiler-filled recap:

Our opening scene for the title credits shows a hand with a purple birthmark “fixing” a carriage wheel.

Previously on Outlander:

  • Raymond confesses to Claire that he sells Bitter Cascara to anyone trying to buy poison from him.
  • Bonnie Prince Charlie made his case to the French finance minister.
  • Mary Hawkins doesn’t understand sex and thinks it’s only something French perverts do.  Also, she really hates the guy she’s engaged to, and she’s got an incredible stutter.
  • Claire volunteered at the hospital and slowly won over Mother Hildegard.
  • Jamie hired a young pickpocket named Fergus.
  • Claire found out Black Jack Randall was alive and kept the news from Jamie at Murtagh’s urging.
  • Claire’s lady’s maid told Murtagh that Jamie and Claire weren’t sleeping together. Meanwhile, Murtagh and the lady’s maid totally were.

The last episode really should have just been a two-parter with this one because we’re going to tie all those loose ends right now.

France is now tempted to support Bonnie Prince Charlie, so Jamie and Claire have to figure out some way to let everyone know just how odious Charles is when he’s not trying to put on a charm act.  Claire and Jamie discuss baby names while Jamie plays chess with Duverney, the French finance minister. This is the first time we’ve seen her hanging out with them during a chess match, so it’s a bit unusual… and convenient.

St. Germaine shows up mid-game and acts like his usual asshole self. You may remember him from such things as wanting to hide the fact that his ship was carrying a smallpox victim to avoid having to burn all his cargo and swearing to get revenge on Claire when that was no longer an option. Claire takes a sip of wine handed to her by a servant during this scene and then suddenly gets ill… From bitter cascara.  Dun! Dun! Dun!

The TV version of Outlander thankfully avoids showing us the details of exactly how ill she is. We already saw the king of France on the toilet for way too long several episodes back, so I think we’re just fine on poop scenes, thanks. We cut directly to her recovery.

Claire tells Jamie that Randall is alive, and Jamie is suddenly happy. So happy, in fact, that he resumes marital relations during this episode. And it only involves one weird fight over the bite marks on his legs that he confesses came from a prostitute he totally wasn’t sleeping with in spite of the whore’s insistence on a soixante-neuf.

When Claire asks Raymond about the bitter cascara, he says he sold some to a servant he didn’t recognize. He takes her into his secret lair, which is as awesome as we all knew  it would be. He confesses that he is “fascinated by things not of this time” while staring directly at Claire. He rolls fortune telling sheep knuckles for her to answer her concerns about an old friend named “Frank” who might have a troubled future. He tells her he can’t tell his fate, but she’ll see him again. He also gives her a very useful necklace that senses poison. “Some would call it natural, some would call it magic. I certainly charge more when I do, but for you today there is no charge.”

Louise de Rohan, who you may remember from such things as getting her pubes waxed a couple of episodes ago, confides to Claire that she’s now pregnant. Also that her pet monkey is an asshole that bites everyone but her. She asks Claire to help her with an abortion, and Claire does have herbal suggestions that sound a little dangerous. Claire convinces Louise that perhaps the best move would be for Louise to convince her husband that it’s his child. A little tricky seeing as they haven’t been sleeping together, but maybe he’s as clueless about sex as Mary is. And then, in a not at all foreshadowing move, Claire gives Louise advice on how you proceed to raise a child with a man who is not the biological father.

We also have multiple lessons in this episode on how shitty this time period is to women. Louise hasn’t slept with her husband, but she fears having her marriage annulled, being imprisoned for adultery, or being sent to a convent. She’s willing to risk her life aborting a baby she actually wants to keep in order to avoid those consequences. And remember, the guys are all hanging out at the whore house like it’s no big thing. Good times.

Now we get to our 69 fight. Jamie declares that he’s now cured of his sexual dysfunction because he’s no longer powerless. He can be the one to kill Black Jack. There’s a lot of yelling back and forth because this has been a craptastic few months for both of them, and Claire’s not buying that weird half-told story about not sleeping with an insistent and bitey prostitute. He should have told her it was Louise’s pet monkey. And after all the yelling, Jamie finally allows himself to be truly vulnerable and talks to Claire about his feelings and how terribly alone he’s felt in all this. The two reconcile with some sexual healing.

Their afterglow is disturbed by Bonnie Prince Charlie climbing in from the rooftop during a rainstorm. Prince Charles claims his lover’s husband returned unexpectedly during a lover’s quarrel in which she unexpectedly spurned his affections, and on top of it all, her ill-tempered pet monkey bit him on the hand. Ah ha!

Claire and Jamie conspire to use this information against him, publicly, at a large dinner party they’re hosting with all the major players. They wonder if this makes them bad people. Hint: if you have to ask, it probably does. They’re basically suggesting exposing Louise to possible imprisonment.

Plans set, Claire runs off to help with a hospital emergency with Murtagh, Fergus, and a much less timid and stuttery Mary Hawkins. They promise not to be too late. Fergus shows himself to be incredible at reading people. He decides Mary’s sad at her engagement but in love with another (Alex Randall, as she later confides to Claire). In other words, he’s spot on. This kid Fergus, I tell you.

The carriage wheel is broken, so they can’t return by dinner. Hmmm, remember that opening scene? Fergus runs off to tell Jamie that everyone is running late, and meanwhile everyone else decides to walk back. Because rich people in France couldn’t possibly find some  other way to hire a carriage on short notice, I guess. Or else nobody wanted to tell Claire she was crazy to suggest walking for hours in those shoes. Maybe this is a normal sort of thing. Those streets don’t seem safe at night, but they’ve got Murtagh for protection, so it should be fine.

Jamie makes awkward small talk with the dinner party, while St. Germaine unexpectedly shows up at the Duke of Sandringham’s initiation. What a bastard. Both of them. Mary Hawkins’ uncle also shows up, along with her fiancé, the Viscount.  Prince Charlie gives Louise an uncomfortably long and awkward hand kiss.

Meanwhile, Claire and her party are attacked by masked men. They knock out Murtagh and start raping Mary, thrilled that they’ve found a virgin. They run away when they see Claire’s face and declare her to be La Dame Blanche. We also see that Mary’s assailant has the same birthmark on his hand.

I’d also like to thank the producers of Outlander for not giving us any boob shots during the rape scene like they did during most of the near rape scenes last season. It would have felt wrong – like they were going for cheap titillation instead of horror. Mary’s at least spared that humiliation. It’s about the only humiliation she’s spared. This girl’s life is harsh.

Claire sneaks Mary upstairs to recover, and Alex volunteers to watch her. She cautions him not to give her too much poppy seed syrup or she’ll hallucinate. She opts not to let the men run off to find the assailants because the party was “too important.” And then she opts not to stay upstairs and tend to Mary herself because she’s got a revolution to foil over dinner. Meanwhile,  Alex gives her all the medicine. I’m sure that will be fine.

Jamie congratulates Louise on her as yet unannounced pregnancy. The plan to cause a fight over the scandal fails, but not for want of trying. We have a few awkward moments when Charlie finds out about his child, but nobody throws punches. However, that doesn’t mean our party doesn’t eventually break out into a fight.

Lesson on how shitty life for women is number two: Mary is now “ruined,” and they’ve got to keep her rape a secret from her family and fiancé or no man will want to marry her. On top of the shit sandwich that life has already given her, we already know she’s going to eventually end up married to sadistic rapist Jack Randall.

And to drive that lesson home, Mary wakes up, starts hallucinating, and runs off screaming into a nearby room, where Alex fumbles trying to hold her down and get her to stop screaming. The entire dinner party walks in and mistakes the scene as one of a rape taking place right now. Jamie’s suddenly in the middle of a fight. The Duke of Sandringham is a little quick to leave the scene, upset that he won’t get dessert. St. Germaine is also remarkably calm in this storm, as if he anticipated something like this happening. He uses it as an excuse to cozy up to Prince Charlie and has a servant summon the police before leaving.

Meanwhile, Fergus takes advantage of the confusion and has his fill of the fancy dinner everyone else has abandoned. This kid.

Unsolved questions for future episodes: Who was their attacker? St. Germaine’s servant? Sandringham’s? The two of them together? Someone else? Who is La Dame Blanche? How does Mary end up with James Randall when she’s in love with Alex Randall? Does she? When are we going to see that poison stone activate?  Because you know you can’t give someone a poison-detecting stone and not have it activate.

 

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Marziah Karch

Marziah is a learning experience designer and writer from Portland, Oregon. She's written five books and has also written for WIRED, About.com, TechRepublic, and MAKE.
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