Though Jamie and Claire are forced to join the Jacobite cause, they’re determined to ensure Prince Charles victory and the survival of the Highlanders. In the process, we meet more of the Fraser clan. Full recap of “The Fox’s Lair”, including new images and clips (first aired Saturday, May 28 at 9:00pm ET|PT on STARZ).
From the beginning of “The Fox’s Lair” it was clear that we had transitioned back to Scotland. The opening credits were infused with the sound of bagpipes and a percussion beat (the drums of war?), new scenes from the next half of the season (including battles to come in the 18th century, plus 20th century moments), and there was a distinct lack of French lyrics. The episode opened with expansive scenes of the Scottish Highlands, in all its lush glory.
As Claire said in her own words, she and Jamie came back to Lallybroch to heal; being around family (Jamie’s sister Jenny and her husband Ian Murray) and getting back to the routine of farming the land helped soothe their hurts. At this point, Claire and Jamie hoped they’d done enough to prevent the Jacobite rising and, instead, turned to planning their future.
Claire, in particular, had advised that they start planting potatoes at Lallybroch to help survive any upcoming famines. She and Rabbie MacNab were working outside and Rabbie presented Claire with their first potato harvest. When they took the potatoes inside, Jamie and Jenny seemed impressed with how large they turned out. Mrs. Crook (the housekeeper) didn’t understand how the potatoes could be used for parritch. But Fergus commented that they could be boiled and eaten with salt and butter. Claire suggested that mashed potatoes and milk were a good meal too. Jamie remarked that he wasn’t aware that Claire could cook and she responded that, at minimum, she could boil a potato.
In the midst of the excitement, Ian and Murtagh arrived and they had the mail with them. In addition to a letter from Louise de Rohan (for Claire), some books, and a letter from their Aunt Jocasta (*EEEP*), Jamie had received a letter from his cousin Jared. Apparently, Prince Charles had arrived in Scotland and was gathering forces. Charles had also published a letter declaring the Stuart divine right to the throne of Britain and listing the names of Jacobite loyalists in the Highlands… and Jamie’s name was on that list, forged by Prince Charles himself! Jamie was now publicly known as a traitor to the British crown.
What could they do now? Claire came to see Jamie as he reflected and she was afraid that history was coming to pass, despite their attempts to alter it. She suggested going to Ireland or the American colonies. But Jamie wasn’t as deterministic… he still believed it was possible to change the future and help the Jacobites win. After all, wasn’t it Claire herself that saved Thomas Baxter (Mrs. Fitzgibbon’s nephew) when he was poisoned with Lily of the Valley (everyone else thought he was possessed by the devil. And because of Claire, Paris was spared a smallpox outbreak and Louise would have Prince Charles’ child. Yes, Jamie wanted to fight for their family and for Scotland.
Claire: “They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
Jamie: “Well, I do not ken who ‘they’ are, Sassenach, but I’ll wager ‘they’ have never travelled through time.”
Me: Fair point Jamie!
So, they began planning! 30 men from Lallybroch would join Jamie. Murtagh would gather them and lead them to Kingussie, before going to meet Prince Charles at Crieff. Meanwhile, Jamie and Claire would embark on another task… Prince Charles had asked Jamie to reach out to his grandfather, Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat for additional resources.
Jenny was incensed. They had only met their grandfather once and what they knew of Lord Lovat was not positive. He tried to have their mother (Ellen) kidnapped so Brian couldn’t marry her. Outside of that, he was untrustworthy and fickle, willing to support whoever maximized his profits. If Jamie wanted Lord Lovat’s support, he had to realize it would come with a steep price. But Jamie wouldn’t let pride prevent him from trying to save Scotland, even if it meant appealing to the Old Fox.
Later that night, Jamie spoke to Claire about his family. His father was actually Lord Lovat’s bastard, born from a dalliance with his kitchen maid. Jamie’s father (Brian) was acknowledged by Lovat and raised at Beaufort Castle. Jamie believed he was cowardly not to tell Claire the truth before they got married, but she wasn’t concerned at all. Knowing this didn’t change anything between them. Then Jamie took Claire to bed. (*FEELS*)
In the middle of the night, Claire woke up and noticed Jamie wasn’t in bed. When she stepped out of the room and looked over the bannister, she saw he was awake with Jenny and Ian’s baby (she had another child while Jamie and Claire were away in Paris). It was a very emotional moment for Claire… probably thinking about how Jamie would have been with Faith (Such a lovely moment! *WEEPING*).
Jenny: “Ye can talk to a wee one in a way to canna talk to anyone else. Ye can pour out yer heart to them without choosing your words or holding anything back at all. And that’s a comfort to the soul.”
The next morning, Jamie and Claire said their goodbyes to Lallybroch. Claire and Ian promised to take care of their Frasers. Jenny gave Jamie a rosary, the same token she had given to Ian when he and Jamie left for Paris. Fergus was prepared to join Milord and Milady, but Murtagh, Jenny, and Ian didn’t believe war was the place for a boy. Fergus would stay behind and help at Lallybroch. But Jamie intervened and agreed that Fergus belonged with them. Murtagh would bring Fergus when he came with the men. Jamie encouraged Fergus to be quick in obeying his commanding officer (Murtagh) and his general (Jamie). Then Jamie and Claire were off!
On the way to Beaufort Castle, Jamie told Claire about Lord Lovat’s terrible reputation. He had been alternately loyal to the British and the Stuarts. He was also a notorious womanizer, including several extramarital affairs, three wives, and rape.
When they arrived, Jamie and Claire were met by Colum MacKenzie. He had arrived to meet with Lord Lovat to coordinate a response to the Jacobite rebellion (interesting because Lovat was no friend to the MacKenzie clan). Claire was especially upset given Colum’s potential role in having her arrested and tried as a witch. However, Colum rejected having any involvement, and when he found out about Laoghaire’s sabotage, he had her beaten. Colum would have banned her from Leoch, but Mrs. Fitzgibbons had interceded and promised to keep her granddaughter in check.
Lovat arrived in the midst of the conversation and his first comment was to disparage Jamie’s marriage to Claire (“a Sassenach”).
Jamie: “At least I had no need to take a wife by means of rapeor trickery.” (BOOM!)
Lovat seemed impressed with the zinger and told Claire to leave so they could get to the business of politics.
While Claire was by herself, she explored Beaufort Castle… and eventually ran into Laoghaire. Claire was clearly distressed and tried to physically distance herself. But Laoghaire dropped to her knees and asked for forgiveness for what she had done in Cranesmuir: “I am changed and I am sorry beyond measure for the horrible wrong I did to ye. My grandmother has made me see that I cannot be right with God until I made amends for the pain my evil actions had caused.”
Claire wanted nothing to do with Laoghaire. She had thought about all the ways she would gain revenge against Laoghaire for the witch trial, but now she didn’t feel hate. She felt pity: “As for getting right with God, you’ll just have to find another way because I can’t help you.”
Later, Claire told Jamie about her conversation with Laoghaire and commented that she actually felt better, “lighter”. Jamie remarked that she wouldn’t have given Laoghaire the time of day. Then they joined Lovat at dinner.
Jamie spoke at dinner, trying to encourage his kinsman to rise up against the British and join the Jacobites to save the Highland way of life. But when Colum pressed him about how/if the French had pledged their support to Prince Charles, Jamie couldn’t speak in specifics. Ultimately, this supported Colum’s attempt to convince Lovat not to join the rebellion. If Lovat’s clan remained neutral with the MacKenzies, the smaller clans would follow their lead, and the Jacobite rebellion would fall apart before beginning.
Lovat’s son, Young Simon was moved and spoke up in support of Jamie. He had heard that the British had offered a 30,000 pound bounty for Prince Charles. Surely this was indicative of how dangerous they believed the Stuarts to be. However, Lovat took the chance to humiliate his son… the money was really just an attempt to capitalize on the discord between the clans and those who would willinging sell out Prince Charles. For 30,000 pounds the British could end the rebellion before it started, less than what a war cost. Lovat continued to embarrass Simon by calling him names and asking Laoghaire to bring him more wine, but bring his son milk (a pointed remark since Young Simon had spent the evening gazing at Laoghaire in admiration).
Jamie decided he need to talk to Lovat alone and figure out what his grandfather wanted in exchange for his support.
The next day, while walking through the castle, Claire overheard Lovat throwing a woman out of his study. She went to help the woman get up and found out her name was Maisri, Lord Lovat’s seer. Maisri took off before Claire could ask anything more.
Meanwhile, Jamie met with Lovat and found out that he wanted. Lovat couldn’t abide the fact that Brian had chosen Ellen over him. If Jamie wanted his support, Lovat wanted fealty and Lallybroch. Jamie responded by saying that there was no way to confirm that Lovat was his grandfather… couldn’t Lovat’s men have forced themselves on the kitchen maid (Brian’s mother) too? Lovat thought it was hilarious that Jamie would resort to calling his grandmother a whore to keep Lallybroch. This seemed to convince him that Jamie was his kin.
But still, Lovat wanted Lallybroch, and if Jamie wouldn’t give over the estate for men for Prince Charles, then maybe for Claire’s honor. Lovat wouldn’t rape Claire herself, but he could get other men to. However, Jamie just laughed. He told Lovat that Claire was a White Lady and if anyone forced themselves on her, they would have their “privates blasted” and their souls condemned to hell. Lovat seemed to be shaken at learning this.
Later, Jamie told Claire to be careful around the castle. He also thought seriously about signing over Lallybroch in exchange for Lovat’s support. How could Charles trust Jamie to lead men if he couldn’t even convince his grandfather to join the Jacobites. But Claire had another idea. If they could convince Young Simon to declare his support the rebellion, them Lovat would probably send soldiers, if only to protect his heir. Claire also believed that Laoghaire could help speed things along by speaking to Simon Jr. and bolstering his confidence.
Claire reached out to Laoghaire (oddly enough while L was doing laundry and sniffing Jamie’s shirt, UGH). If Laoghaire helped persuade Young Simon, Claire would speak to Jamie on her behalf.
While Claire and Simon were taking a walk to the chapel, Laoghaire was *coincidentally* picking mushrooms and asked him to join her. The conversation was awkward… mostly with Simon reciting random bits of poetry. Despite Laoghaire’s flattery (she even gave him a look down her dress!), Simon ran off.
Claire went off to the chapel by herself and met Maisri there. Maisri had already heard the rumors about Claire being a White Lady and perhaps felt more comfortable about sharing the information that she was keeping from Lovat.
Maisri: “He was standing there before the fire in his study, but it was daylight. A man stood behind him, still as a tree, his face covered in black, and across His Lordship’s face, there fell the shadow of an axe.”
(Maisri had seen Lovat’s death at the hand of an executioner!)
Claire asked if everything Maisri saw came to pass and Maisri confirmed that most things happened as her visions predicted. However, there was the possibility of an action changing some outcomes.
Elsewhere, Jamie spoke to Colum about joining the Jacobite cause. Jamie tried to tell his uncle that, unless Prince Charles had adequate support for all the Highland clans, he would lose, which would then trigger a violent backlash from the British. Colum wasn’t convinced and believed that those who remained neutral would be left alone, like the previous two risings. Colum pleaded for Jamie to promise not to trade Lallybroch for Lovat’s support… this was a war that the Highlanders couldn’t win.
Jamie: “I promise you Uncle. I promise you I will do what I muse to save those things you and I hold most dear.”
At dinner that night, Lovat presented two documents: a neutrality pact, to be signed by him and Colum, and a deed, which, Jamie could sign to turn Lallybroch over to his grandfather. It seemed that it was up to Jamie now… if he signed the deed, Lovat would provide men for Prince Charles. If not, Lovat would sign the neutrality pact. And Jamie was about to sign the deed… but then Claire had an “episode”. She pretended to have a vision, exactly the one of Lovat’s execution that Maisri had described. But when asked whether it was an executioner for King George or King James, Claire said she didn’t remember… but saw white roses on the ground, the symbol of the Jacobites!
Lovat was angry and came at Claire with a dagger, but Young Simon intervened to stop his father: “You and MacKenzie are fearful old men. And you’re wrong. My cousin is right. It’s our duty to stand up for our country and our kinsman. I will fight for King James. I’ll fight to change the White Lady’s vision, even if ye will not.”
Now, one would think that this would persuade Lovat to support his son and Jamie, but instead Lovat signed the neutrality pact and drank to the new alliance with the MacKenzies.
The next morning, Jamie and Claire prepared to leave Beaufort Castle to meet Murtagh at Kingussie. Young Simon would join them as well. Before leaving, Jamie spoke to Colum (who was also returning to Leoch). Colum tried again to get Jamie to stay out to the Jacobite rising, even asking if Claire could convince his nephew to listen to reason.
Colum: “I think it’s a blessing his mother didn’t live to see what a reckless fool she spawned.” (OUCH)
Jamie was firm, but respectful.
Claire also asked Jamie to say thank you to Laoghaire… he was hesitant, but did it:
Jamie: “I’m told to thank ye. For what I dinna ken, but (*bowing*) thank you Laoghaire.”
Laoghaire: “I hope one day I can also earn your forgiveness Jamie… (whispers) and yer love.”
Jamie, Claire, and Young Simon rode out, but before they could get far, Lord Lovat came to meet them with several men. It seems Jenny was right. By sending men (via Young Simon) to join Prince Charles, Lovat covered his bases. Lovat publicly declared he was neutral by signing the pact with the MacKenzies. So if the British won, they couldn’t condemn him. Afterall, Young Simon was his own man. Yet, if the Jacobites won, Lovat could take credit for supporting his heir. (WOW, Old Fox indeed!)
Jamie: “Please… tell me I’m nothing like him, Sassenach.”
Claire: “I’m afraid I have seem a similarly devious turn of mind.”
Jamie: “I might have to rethink our agreement not to lie to each other.”
As they rode off, Claire reflected that she was optimistic. Perhaps changing the future was possible (as Maisri said), maybe they already had.
If you missed tonight’s episode, you can watch “The Fox’s Lair” on STARZ Play online HERE or via the STARZ Play app.
I loved tonight’s episode, although I’m not too sure about this attempt to redeem Laoghaire. However, I enjoyed learning more about the Fraser family and seeing Jamie and Claire in love and working as a team. But is there reason to hope that they can help Prince Charles win his war? I don’t know…
Share your thoughts and feels in comments!
Make sure to read more thoughts/flails/feels about “The Fox’s Lair” HERE… and there are GIFs!