Jamie’s and Claire’s life together has always been crazy and this week’s Outlander brings the chaos: from bootlegging and dead excisemen, to prophetic seers and family drama. Full recap of “Crème de Menthe,” including new clips (first aired Sunday, October 29 at 8pm ET|PT on STARZ).
“Creme de Menthe” begins right where “A. Malcolm” ends, with Claire being assaulted by the man she catches rifling through Jamie’s room. Claire is able to fight him off and even stabs him with a small knife. The next time the man lunges after her, he loses his footing and hits his head on the stone fireplace. Moments later, this is how Jamie finds the scene, with Claire holding a bloody knife, and a man, seemingly dead on the floor. Jamie asks what happened and Claire is still shaken up. After a little while, Jamie is able to get through to her and she explains that the man was searching through the room after she came back upstairs from breakfast. However, Claire becomes distracted when the man takes a breath. She’s gone into doctor’s mode and is determined to save this man’s life. But Jamie is baffled. Why should Claire save the man that tried to assault her? “Because I’m a doctor.”
Claire realizes that she’s going to have to perform surgery in order to relieve the swelling in the man’s brain. Claire and Jamie are soon joined by Fergus and Madame Jeanne. Apparently some of the other ladies heard a struggle in Jamie’s room. Jamie let’s them inside and explains that Claire was defending himself. As for Claire, she asks for help from Fergus to move the man to the bed, but Jamie implores again for her to just let him die. Claire pleads with Jamie to help her save this man–it’s her oath as a physician. Jamie and Fergus move him to the bed, and after searching through his pockets, find out that the man is John Barton, an exciseman. Fergus is very concerned. If this is one of Sir Percival’s (the custom officer Jamie was bribing last week) men, then he will get suspicious when Barton doesn’t return. This would be very bad because the casks Sir Percival is looking for (as evidence that Jamie has expanded his smuggling) are located in the basement of the brothel. Jamie promises to take care of things so that no trouble comes to Madame Jeanne.
All the while, Claire is preparing to operate. She’s going to need warm water, a basin, and surgical implements do drill a hole in Barton’s skull. Claire dresses to go to the apothecary and get laudanum and other things. Jamie appeals to Claire again to let Barton die, he doesn’t deserve her help. When she suggests that they just turn Barton over to the authorities, Jamie reminds Claire that their situation is precarious. She was found in a brothel with a man who isn’t her husband. Claire will end up being arrested for assault. Regardless, Claire continues to dress to leave. Jamie calls her stubborn, but he has work to do himself to get rid of the casks. In any event, Jamie agrees to send a man to watch Barton.
In Madame Jeanne’s basement, Jamie, Yi Tien Cho, Fergus, Wee Ian, and others are working on moving the casks to get them sold. Yi Tien Cho remarks that he admires a woman who values the sanctity of life… so Jamie volunteers him to go watch Barton. As their working, Ian suggests that maybe Sir Percival will send someone to the print shop. Jamie isn’t worried because he doesn’t keep casks there. Plus the seditious pamphlets are well hidden. Jamie gives Ian and Fergus the task of selling off the liquor, even if they have to take a loss. It turns out Wee Ian is a pretty good salesman. He’s able to sell the brandy and creme de menthe and still get a good price. The conversation shifts when Ian asks if Fergus remembers his Aunt Claire from all those years ago. Fergus says he remembers and that Milady was fearless and a talented healer. They speculate that Claire has probably killed some men too (even if they likely deserved it). That may be the case, but Fergus still points out that Claire’s actions have put them all in a bind.
Claire makes her way to the apothecary, but the attendant is seeing to someone else. Since she is in a hurry, Claire promises that if the other patron will let her go first, she will come to treat his sister for free. Claire gathers her items and promises to come see Archibald and Margaret Campbell later on. When she returns to the brothel, Claire finds Yi Tien Cho and Jamie trying to hold down a flailing Barton. She pours some laudanum down his throat, which does calm him.
As Claire is about to begin the surgery, Sir Percival arrives to search the premises. However, Jamie has already gotten rid of all the casks so Percival and his associates find nothing.
Yi Tien Cho is by Claire’s side as she operates on Barton. She literally drills a hole in his brain. Claire is able to release the blood clot. By the time Jamie returns to the room, Barton has died. Claire is cleaning the instruments, but she’s upset. Yi Tien Cho tells Jamie that Claire fought hard for Barton’s life. Jamie asks for other men to come up and take care of the body. He tries to reassure Claire that it was best that good took Barton, but she’s skeptical. “God has nothing to do with this. I failed him. If I’d been in a proper hospital or in Boston…”
Claire has dedicated the last 14 years to healing people without judgment. She works hard and it’s not often that she loses a patient. Jamie tries to comfort Claire by saying she’ll have other opportunities to use her knowledge to save lives.
Claire eventually agrees with Jamie, but still, she’s caused so much trouble and put his livelihood in jeopardy. But Jamie isn’t phased, he’s grateful Claire is here with him, no matter the cost: “I would give up everything I have for us to be together again. Don’t you see… since you left, I’ve been living in the shadows. And then you walked into the print shop, and it was as if the sun returned and cast out the darkness.” A very sweet moment!
But Claire is off again to see another patient, Margaret Campbell. Jamie is a little scandalized, after all, she doesn’t know who these people are. He suggests that Fergus go with Claire, but she shuts that down. She’s travelled thousands of miles and 200 years. Claire can handle a trip across town. When Jamie asks, she promises to return after she’s done with the Campbells.
Later that evening, Fergus and Ian are having a celebratory drink after selling the casks and making a profit. Ian is distracted from the discussions of business by a barmaid, Brighid. Fergus offers some advice with wooing women. Fergus would know since, apparently, he was 15 when he lost his virginity in a menage a trois. Goodness. He tells Ian to make eye contact, tell Brighid how beautiful she is, offer her as many drinks as she’d like, and repeat! When Brighid arrives, Fergus leaves the table. Ian is flustered, but spits out that she’s the bonniest lass he’s ever seen and offer to buy her a drink. Brighid accepts and sits with Ian… but in the background, a creepy man with a blind eye watches Ian.
When Claire arrives at the Campbell home, Archibald takes her to see his sister. At first Margaret thinks Claire is a client, but she’s tired. Apparently Archie has dosed her with laudanum. When Claire takes Margaret’s hand, she gasps and asks Claire if she can hear the tree toads’ “lullaby”. Margaret warns Claire to be careful, “Abandawe will devour ye!” Margaret calms down and Archie offers to translate Margaret’s premonition for a fee. It turns out that the Campbells are fortune tellers and they’re on their way to the West Indies to meet a new client. Archie wants something to keep Margaret calm as they make the voyage. Claire is concerned though. From what she can tell, Margaret is suffering from a mental disorder. Claire suggests mistletoe tea, tansy oil, among other natural remedies. She also suggests Margaret have fresh fruit once she arrives in the Caribbean. Archie promises not to give her any more laudanum… but I don’t know that Claire believes him. She wishes them safe travels and takes her leave.
Claire returns to the brothel and meets Jamie counting the profits from the cask sales. She asks what he’s done with Barton’s body and he tells her the lads hid him in a cask of creme de menthe stored in the warehouse. Jamie isn’t so worried. Scots don’t drink creme de menthe, so it’ll be awhile before the body is discovered. Jamie pours Claire a drink and tells her not to worry of “no more than a wee bit of chaos.” Claire shifts the conversation to ask whether they could find a place of their own, away from the brothel. But Jamie is resistant. He doesn’t have to pay rent at the brothel. He has everything he needs and can seen what he earns back to Lallybroch. But Claire insists that they should make a happy home for themselves and she could even open up her own medical practice. They’re interrupted when Madame Jeanne announces that Older Ian Murray has arrived. Jamie knows that he’s probably looking for Wee Ian and quickly tells Claire not to mention seeing the boy.
Ian is pretty shocked to see Claire, but they embrace one another. Ian mentions how he and Jenny have mourned her all these years. Jamie and Claire explain that it was a terrible misunderstanding that kept them apart. When Claire believed Jamie to be dead, she went to Boston. She’s only recently discovered he’s alive. Jamie changes the conversation to ask what brings Ian to Edinburgh. He reports that Wee Ian has run off again, and ask if Jamie has seen him. Apparently Wee Ian has been gone for weeks. However, Jamie maintains that he hasn’t seen Wee Ian, not since sending him home with Fergus months ago. Older Ian (Jenny too) is very distressed. What if his son has been kidnapped by a press gang (i.e. force Wee Ian into conscripting with a military or naval force)? Jamie promises to keep an eye out and send Wee Ian straight home. Claire observes the conversation and she’s not at all happy.
Jamie walks Ian out of the brothel and Ian asks whether Claire has taken the news well. (WHAT NEWS?!) Jamie says that he hasn’t told Claire, and Ian gives some pretty solid advice:
“That’s no’ something’ ye want to hold on to for very long.”
Jamie says he’s waiting for the right moment, but Ian warns him that he’ll be waiting forever. Jamie promises that all will be well.
(This is making me more and more nervous, y’all!)
When Jamie returns to his room, he can tell that Claire in unhappy. She asks why Jamie would lie about Wee Ian’s whereabouts. Jamie isn’t so worried, because Ian is safe. It’s better than Ian runs off to be with his Uncle, rather than hanging out on the streets with strangers. Claire pushes back on that. Taking part in a liquor smuggling ring is not safe. However, Jamie doesn’t think Jenny/Ian know what’s best for Wee Ian. He’s the one teaching the boy the ways of the world. Claire still doesn’t like the lying, but Jamie isn’t phased. After all, didn’t he and Claire lie their way through Paris? Didn’t they just tell Ian a lie about where she’s been for 20 years? Claire insists that those lies are different. Doesn’t he know that agony of parent not knowing where their child is? Jamie isn’t Ian’s father and he takes that point personally. Jamie is Brianna’s father, but didn’t get the chance to raise her. He didn’t have a say in how Claire and Frank raised her. Jamie even brings up the bikini again (*SIGH*). This frustrates Claire, the rigidity of constraints placed upon women, the Madonna/whore complex. Would Jamie have been happy if Claire and Frank taught Brianna to be a criminal? Well, for Jamie, at least Bree’s virtue wouldn’t have been in danger. “Says the man living in a brothel!”
Claire defends Frank as a wonderful father to Bree, and the conversation shifts to Jamie asking whether Frank was also a wonderful husband. He’s definitely insinuating a sexual relationship.
“You asked me, did I fall in love with anyone else. Did you fall in love with him when you went back?”
“No. I cared for Frank very much and I loved him, but that was before you.”
Madame Jeanne interrupts again… there’s a fire in Carfax Close.
Wee Ian has some luck with Brighid and they’ve made their way back to A. Malcolm print shop to have some privacy. He serenades her, they kiss, and stumble to the bed in the back room. At first Ian wants to have sex with her from behind (the way he’s seen other men have sex with prostitutes), but Brighid speaks up. She isn’t a whore, so Brighid takes the lead to show him how it’s done. Ian and Brighid are having sex and hear some noise coming from another part of the shop. They see a man (the man that was watching Ian at the pub) rummaging through the cupboards. Ian tells Brighid to leave, promising that he’ll be fine.
Once she leaves out the alley, Ian confronts the intruder and demands to know what he’s doing. The man says he’s looking for casks that A. Malcolm is smuggling. Things become physical and Ian tries to get the man to leave. The man pushes Ian against a closet and reveals the seditious pamphlets Jamie has been printing. The man takes some of those pamphlets and plans to report Jamie to Sir Percival. He tries to subdue Ian by firing a gunshot (why would this be a good idea?!) and accidentally hits a lantern, which starts a fire. Ian is able to throw some hot liquid at the man’s face, which gets him to run off (still alive, and still with the seditious pamphlets, I might add). However, Ian is stuck in the print shop that’s now going up in flames.
Jamie and Claire arrive at the print shop to see the entire building engulfed in flames. A crowd has gathered and the fire brigade has been called. Jamie realizes that sometimes Ian stays in the back room, so he grabs Claire’s cloak and runs into the print shop to see if Ian is inside. Jamie sees Ian passed out downstairs and leaps over the bannister to get to him. Jamie wakes Ian up and carries him out of the room. Jamie is able to quickly grab the miniature of Willie. Jamie then shifts part of the press and climbs it to an open window at the top of the building.
Outside, Fergus and Yi Tien Cho arrive and stand with Claire as they watch the fire brigade try to contain the flames with water hoses. They watch as Jamie finally runs outside, down the stairs, carrying Ian with him. Claire sees to Ian, who is coughing a lot. He’s manages to tell Jamie about the man with the blind eye who works for Sir Percival was searching through the print shop. The man got hold of the seditious pamphlets, so what if Sir Percival comes back to arrest Jamie for treason? Jamie tells Ian not to worry. He has a plan, which he shares with Fergus. At first Jamie wants to take Ian and Claire to Berwick, but Claire puts her foot down. She insists that they take Ian to his parents at Lallybroch. Jamie agrees… besides, Sir Percival won’t be able to trace him there because he only knows Jamie and Alexander Malcolm.
Jamie asks Yi Tien Cho to distribute the earnings from the sale of the casks to the other men, then stay out of sight. Jamie asks Fergus to try and stop the man with the blind eye before he gets to Sir Percival. Fergus should also have Ned Gowan come to Lallybroch immediately. Why?
“Milady does not yet know about your other wife?”
“No. Not yet. I’ll explain everything once Claire and Young Ian are safe.”
WELPS. WELPS. WELPS.
Claire tries to get Ian to drink some water, and Jamie watches the remainder of his shop burn.
For more of our thoughts on “Crème de Menthe” (e.g. our concerns about Jamie’s and Claire’s new dynamic, Fergus/Wee Ian bonding, the big reveal of Jamie’s secret) watch our video review below:
If you missed tonight’s episode, you can watch (or rewatch) “Crème de Menthe” on STARZ Play online HERE or via the STARZ Play app.
Sassenachs, tonight’s Outlander was pretty insane, with Jamie, Claire, and co. dealing with the fallout from the excisemen on their case. At the same time, there was a lot of family drama, triggering some resentment between Jamie and Claire. And finally, Jamie’s big secret is revealed. Oi! Share your thoughts and feels with us in comments!