When Lord John Grey and young William visit Fraser’s Ridge, it provides opportunities for Jamie/William bonding and Claire/LJG confrontations… Our recap/review of this week’s Outlander, “Blood of My Blood.”
“Blood of My Blood” dives right into things, with Lord John Grey arriving on horseback to Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie, who is outside sawing wood, is very surprised to see his old friend. LJG shares that he’s on his way to Virginia to oversee his wife’s holdings, but thought to stop by and say hello… especially after receiving a letter from Jamie about the splendor of the land… even though Virginia is a great deal further north. But LJG has another surprise: he’s brought William with him on his travels. At the moment, William is waiting by the stream while LJG prepares Jamie. LJG updates Jamie about Isobel’s recent death as both she and William were making the journey to join him in the Colonies. William is still heartbroken from the loss of a second mother. He also warns that William might now remember Jamie, or MacKenzie as he was known during those Helwater days. Jamie thinks that it’s been so long, it’s probably best that William doesn’t remember him.
Elsewhere, Claire is fetching water at the stream when Murtagh joins in to help. She inquires into his plans, maybe to stay awhile? But Murtagh is already planning to go back to Woolam’s Creek. He must get back to the forge, work to pay his taxes, right? Murtagh also gives Claire a little update about what the Regulators are up to. They’re written a letter of petition that is currently being presented to Governor Tryon to make the case for less burdensome taxes.
While walking back to the cabin, Claire and Murtagh hear a cry for help… a young boy sits by the stream with leeches attached to his legs. He begs Claire to remove them (even though she insists that letting the leeches have their fill and fall off will be a better idea). Claire does remove the leeches, but saves them because they help with healing bruises. She brings him back to the cabin in order to dress the wounds… and comes face-to-face with LJG. The young boy makes it known that Lord John is his father. Yes, that’s William, and there are several emotions in the room: surprise, awe, confusion, happiness, and a whole lot of awkward. LJG introduces William to Mister James Fraser, and the boy doesn’t seem to recognize him at all. However, Lord John recognizes Murtagh and greets him with a bow.
When Claire takes William outside to clean the wounds, Jamie can barely take his eyes off the boy. Lord John warns Murtagh that William doesn’t know the relationship between the three men via their time at Ardsmuir. Jamie speaks on LJG’s behalf as a trusted friend whose action preserved both Jamie’s and Murtagh’s lives. So, Murtagh promises to keep mum.
Jamie has invited LJG and William to stay with them. That night at dinner, the two share the details of their trip so far, including a stay at Governor Tryon’s new palace–a symbol of elegance and stability. Murtagh is incensed that taxpayer money would be used to build such a thing, especially while the colony is still in debt (according to Claire). But LJG claims that the bigger concern is the trouble from Regulators and their use of menace and violence against Tryon’s men. Besides, hasn’t Murtagh done well in North Carolina? Murtagh remarks that at least he has more than rats to eat now. William is intrigued by such a thing, but Claire attributes it to a peculiar sense of humor. Murtagh gets up from the table and leaves.
While Claire clears the table, Jamie and LJG prepare for a game of chess, using his traveling set, and William asks to be excused to relieve himself. William is scandalized by the idea of using the bathroom outside, can’t someone bring a chamber pot? But his father tells him that they must adjust to life in the backcountry while staying with the Frasers.
Jamie shows William to the privy. While making their way, Jamie speaks Gaelic to the horses… and this triggers a memory. William knows that he is Mac. Jamie confirms that he is MacKenzie and that he remembers William fondly. When William asks why Jamie didn’t remind him of their previous acquaintance, Jamie says he doesn’t know why.
“Do you still have the wooden snake I carved for ye?
“I’m too old for toys, sir.”
Jamie is a little hurt, but it’s clear that William is hurt and confused, too.
Inside, Claire and Lord John have their first of several one-on-one exchanges in this episode. Claire inquires into why LJG would stop in the backwoods of North Carolina, a good deal out of the way of Lynchburg, Virginia, his final destination. Claire wonders out loud that, since Lord John is close to Tryon, perhaps he’s at Fraser’s Ridge to spy on Jamie and report back about the extent of Jamie’s loyalty to the Crown. Lord John emphatically denies this. He’s just here to seek Jamie’s advice, a trusted friend who can discuss the particulars of life in the Colonies. Claire changes the subject to say that she only wishes she had more time to make better accommodations for Lord John and William.
Claire and Jamie prepare to camp outside and he tells her about William remembering him as Mac. This doesn’t surprise Claire and it triggers memories of William’s childhood for Jamie–like the first time William ever rode a horse. He was terrified at first, but Jamie was able to calm him down, introduce him to the horse, and William fell in love. Jamie doesn’t like being a stranger to William, but Claire assures him that they just need to get to know one another again.
As Jamie returns inside to meet Lord John for the chess game, Murtagh confronts him about his relationship with LJG. Lord John is a supporter of Tryon, which can only mean bad things. Murtagh suggests Jamie talk to LJG and find out what he knows. When Jamie says he won’t take advantage of his friendship, Murtagh is perplexed. Why is Jamie so devoted to this former warden? And why is Jamie so interested in making sure William has his father? Murtagh deduces that William is Jamie’s son. Jamie asks Murtagh to keep the secret, for the sake of William’s reputation and title. Murtagh agrees to do so.
Lord John wins their game of chess and Jamie offers him a drink of some un-aged, pretty strong whisky. Jamie watches William as he sleeps on the bed in the corner of the room. This leads LJG to ask whether Jamie is content with his life. Jamie replies that he is–he has a home, honorable work, a wife by his side, good friends, and the knowledge that his son is safe and well-cared for.
The next morning, Lord John and William are preparing to leave; however, it seems that LJG has caught the measles. He has a high fever, headache, and other symptoms. Since Jamie and Murtagh had the measles as children and Claire has been inoculated, they aren’t at risk. But William is. So, Jamie agrees to take William on a tour of Fraser’s Ridge while Claire stays behind to see Lord John through the illness.
William doesn’t want to leave his father behind. It isn’t until Jamie snatches William up and forcibly puts him on the horse that they’re able to leave. Jamie tells William about the area, the treaty line delineating the Crown’s land and Native American land, the importance to respecting Indian lands. William is taken away by the beauty of the land. While on their adventure, Jamie and William fish together (Jamie catches a fish with his bare hands and a “tickle”) and hunt deer (William kills a stag and Jamie shows him how to dress it). That night over dinner, William gets a little emotional thinking about his father. He’s scared that when he gets back his father could be dead. Jamie allows William his pride by attributing his reactions to an unwell stomach. But William is very angry. He blames Jamie for his father getting ill… if they would have never taken this detour to Fraser’s Ridge, all would be well. William doesn’t want his father to die. He rushes to sleep and Jamie covers him with a blanket. Jamie is clearly very emotional.
In the morning, Jamie wakes up to find William missing from the camp. He follows the tracks to find William spear fishing on Native American land. Before they can leave, a group of Cherokee arrive. Jamie addresses the group in Cherokee and presumably explains that William meant no harm. One warrior translates for the leader, saying that the cost of the transgression is the boy’s blood. Jamie and William struggle with the Cherokee warriors, with Jamie ultimately saying that since he is the boy’s father, they should take his blood instead. The group seems to agree and let William go. Jamie tells William to follow the river back to Fraser’s Ridge, but William won’t go. He confesses that Jamie is not his father and that he should pay the price of the transgressing the boundaries, himself. The leader of the group raises his ax and clips William’s hand. The Cherokee warriors leave and Jamie translates that it was William’s bravery who brought about their mercy. William and Jamie hug one another.
The two make their way back home and William asks Jamie about the day he left Helwater. William ran to Jamie as he rode away, but Jamie didn’t look back. Why?
“I wanted to. I didn’t look because I didn’t want to give ye false hope. I never expected to see you again.”
Back at Fraser’s Ridge, in a second one-on-one, Claire gives Lord John tea to help with his aches and offers condolences about Isobel’s death. When LJG remarks that Isobel was more like a sister to him, Claire responds that such a situation couldn’t have been satisfying for Isobel. Lord John argues that he was an adequate husband in *every* way… but Lord John is clearly peeved, and says that Claire’s brash honesty have to make her a difficult woman to live with. Lord John goes on to accuse Claire of being envious of the time that he and Jamie had together… that they share William, Jamie’s child. Claire lets Lord John have it, telling him about how she and Jamie do have a child together, a daughter who lives in Boston, and that Culloden robbed them of the chance to raise her together. So, how dare LJG try to claim to have something with Jamie that supposedly Claire doesn’t and then throw it in her face. But then Claire asks another pointed question: the risk of William recognizing Jamie as his father is so high. Why would Lord John still come to Fraser’s Ridge, even with that possibility looming?
“The obvious. To allow Jamie to see the boy.”
“Or the other obvious, to allow you to see Jamie.”
Lord John ends the conversation by telling Claire that she is remarkable for her straightforwardness. Claire says that it’s not by choice, she was born that way. And when Claire walks away, LJG whispers “So was I,” presumably referring to his sexuality.
Much later, Lord John’s pain is increasing. Claire tries some acupuncture to help with the pain. Now, I’m going to attribute LJG’s next statements to fever delirium and his belief that he needs to make a deathbed confession *SIGH* Lord John reveals that when he found out that Isobel has died, he felt nothing. Shouldn’t he have felt something for his wife? That’s why LJG has come to Fraser’s Ridge, to see if he’s still capable of feeling (AKA his feelings for Jamie). And… Lord John says he feels shame and also resentment because it’s so hard for him to see Claire and Jamie together. Claire continues to try and cool Lord John’s fever and she asks why he would torture himself knowing he could never have Jamie. But LJG tells Claire that he could have slept with Jamie, referring to Jamie’s request that Lord John be a father to William and offering his body in exchange. LJG tells Claire that he could never take Jamie under those circumstances. And clearly the damage is done. Claire tells Lord John to stop talking so he can rest.
In the morning, Lord John asks for forgiveness for his indiscretion. He further explains that what pains him about seeing Claire and Jamie together isn’t that he can never have Jamie, but the constant look of satisfaction on Claire’s face… something he couldn’t give Isobel. Claire commiserates with Lord John’s love of Isobel, yet never being able to make her happy, by sharing her experience with being married to Frank. Then Claire admits to being jealous of the time LJG and Jamie have spent together.
“Now that you’ve come here and seen him, do you still have feelings?”
“I do. Yes. God help me.”
Claire then takes Lord John’s hand and reminds him that he does have something of Jamie–William.
By the time Jamie and William arrive at Fraser’s Ridge, Lord John is recovering and no longer contagious. William is very happy to see his father and Jamie confirms that William was a brave travel companion:
“You’ve raised him well. You’re a good father. You’re fortunate to have each other.”
As Lord John and William are leaving to continue to Virginia, Claire tells LJG how best to continue his recovery. She also encourages him: “And don’t lose hope. You, too, deserve to have the look of satisfaction on your face.”
Lord John gives Jamie his chess set and Jamie helps William onto his horse. When they’re riding away, William makes sure to look back at Jamie–hope that the two will see each other again.
That night, Jamie helps Claire bathe, caressing her, telling her how he’s burned for her. Jamie takes Claire’s hand and reflects on how she doesn’t have a ring to demonstrate the he is her husband. He reaches under the towels and pulls out a new ring, one fashioned by Murtagh from Ellen’s candlestick holder. The ring is designed with Celtic thistles and an inscription on the inside “Give me a thousand kisses” in Latin.
“And I’ll give you a thousand more.”
Jamie takes Claire to bed where the proceed to (mis)count their kisses. 🙂
What did you think of “Blood of My Blood”? Share with us in the comments, and make sure to check out our WSN REVIEWS Outlander series on Youtube every Sunday after the new episode airs!