Guess who’s back… Claire receives a rude awakening at Lallybroch when all of Jamie’s secrets come tumbling out. Full recap of “First Wife,” including new clips (first aired Sunday, November 5 at 8pm ET|PT on STARZ).
“First Wife” begins with Jamie, Claire, and Wee Ian riding to Lallybroch. Claire narrates their arrival and speaks of how it doesn’t appear that Lallybroch has changed, that this place is still imprinted in her heart. Yet, nothing feels the same for Claire.
This feeling continues, because Jenny doesn’t seem particularly happy to see Claire. Ian had told her that Claire was arrive and Jenny says that she was shocked. She didn’t ever think that Claire would return to Lallybroch. Claire asks about the children, and Jenny shares that they’re grown now, some with children of their own. Jenny shifts the conversation to Wee Ian and hugs her son…before then smacking him on the head. Jenny tells Wee Ian that she’s been very worried; however, before he can explain himself Elder Ian tells him to stop talking before he gets in more trouble.
The conversation continues inside and things are tense! Jenny and Ian aren’t at all happy with Jamie for not saying that Wee Ian was with him. Ian tries to defend his Uncle–he was in Edinburgh making a wage and Fergus even told him how good of a salesman he is. Wee Ian is pretty chatty, because he tells his parents about selling 20 casks of brandy… and then the fire at the print shop. YIKES. Jamie tries to explain that he was looking out for Wee Ian and teaching him his business. Jamie also tries to minimize the fire at the print shop, but Jenny and Ian aren’t convinced. If everything was really OK, Jamie, Claire, and Wee Ian wouldn’t be at Lallybroch. Jenny takes the chance to get a dig at Claire, calling her a stray who just dropped back into their lives after 20 years. This makes Jamie angry–he tells them about how the customs officer was extorting him for more money and even sent a ruffian after Claire. Wee Ian takes the time to interject that Claire killed the man (John Barton), but that really doesn’t help the situation. Jenny tells Wee Ian to go outside and Ian promises his son a “thrashin’.”
So now Jamie and Claire have been exposing their youngest to criminals and liquor and murder?! Jamie pushes back on this. Certainly Jenny knows how he makes his money isn’t always legal. Yet, she’s never complained, especially when he sends money to help out at Lallybroch. Jenny admits to knowing about the smuggling, but why couldn’t Jamie teach Wee Ian about the printing trade? Why involve him in the illegal business? If Jamie is so adamant that he’s treating Wee Ian like his own son, then he can punish the boy. Ian takes off his belt and hands it to Jamie to deliver the punishment. Jamie balks at the suggestion and makes one of his own.
Jamie and Ian stand outside and watch as Wee Ian working on chores as a punishment. He complains the whole time, even lashing out at his sister, Janet. When Janet comments that Wee Ian has muck around his mouth, he replies that it’s his whiskers. (Wee Ian is very proud of this!) Janet laughs and Wee Ian flings muck at his sister (LOL!). Jamie and Ian set aside their differences, acknowledging that both have good points. This punishment is better than the thrashing and Jamie apologizes for not telling Jenny and Ian that their son was with him. Ian seems to accept the apology and acknowledges the depth of the love between Jamie and Wee Ian.
Inside, Claire isn’t having much luck with Jenny. The Murray grandchildren are running about, and Jenny introduces Claire to Angus and Anthony (Maggie’s sons). Wee Jamie (who is not at all wee) comes downstairs carrying his own newborn son. He introduces himself as James Murray and of course Claire recognizes him, through it isn’t reciprocated. Jenny takes the baby (Benjamin) and explains that Wee Jamie is now a father of four. As for Claire, Jenny just says she used to live at Lallybroch when James was younger. James then goes outside to see his Uncle. When Claire offers to help Jenny change Benjamin, Jenny declines the offer: “Dinna want to bewilder the bairn wi’ a strange face, now.”
Later, Jenny is outside washing clothes and Jamie comes to talk to her. He shares that Ian made enough money in Edinburgh to by a month’s supply of fuel. Surely, Ian has paid for his wrongdoing. However, Jenny comments that when they were kids, if Jamie would have run off, their father would have really thrashed him. Jamie maintains that corporeal punishment isn’t the only way to teach a lesson, but Jenny isn’t having it. When did Jamie start thinking he’s the authority on raising children? No, Jamie isn’t an authority on raising children, but he does know something about being a 16-year old boy on a farm. He encourages Jenny to give Wee Ian more freedom while the boy still thinks it’s within his parents’ purview to give. Jenny changes the subject to Jamie’s situation and his mortal sin of having two wives. Jamie says that he wouldn’t have taken another wife if he knew Claire was still alive. The issue is deeper for Jenny though. Why wouldn’t Jamie share his grief, especially when he thought Claire was dead? Jamie talks about the pain of even trying to breathe, but gives his sister a story about his separation from Claire. Jamie says that he was prepared to died on the battlefield, so Claire had to leave. He arranged for Claire to hide at an inn and gave her money for safe passage to the Colonies. Unfortunately, Jamie got word that the village was sacked by the British, and he believed everyone was killed, including Claire. But Claire was able to escape and make her ship. Jenny is still highly suspicious. Would Claire really just run off to the Americas without confirming Jamie’s death and at least returning to Lallybroch?
That night, Jamie and Claire are in their room. He says that they could build their own cottage at Lallybroch and make a life for themselves. But Claire isn’t so convinced. Jenny can’t stand her… perhaps they should tell the truth. Jamie dismisses that idea. Jenny isn’t worldly enough to understand Claire’s time-traveling. She’ll have too many questions that they couldn’t answer. Claire is still upset about the wall between her and Jenny: “Jenny casts a very warm light on those that she trusts and a very cold shadow on those that she doesn’t.”
Jamie agrees with this and it seems to trigger something in him. He still can’t believe that Claire is here. Jamie tells her about a time he went searching for Claire. We flashback to the time at Ardsmuir when Jamie escapes. He believes that from Duncan Kerr’s message (about a White Witch), Claire might have returned for him. Jamie swims to the Silkie Island and searches for Claire, crying out her name. She isn’t there, but he does see something… the MacKenzie crest carved into a piece of stone. When Jamie pulls that rock away, he finds a box full of coins and precious stones. (This is where he gets the sapphire he gives to Lord John Grey.) Jamie tells Claire that he put the box back and returned to Ardsmuir. But why would he go back? Jamie says that the other prisoners were counting on him as a leader.
Claire says that while she was away, she also wished that Jamie would come and find her. She tells him that whenever she would hear birds singing, she would pretend it was Jamie talking to him. And this makes Jamie think of the greylag, a bird that mates for life. So when a hunter kills one, they must wait for the mate to arrive and kill it too, or else the surviving greylag will grieve itself to death. *SWOONY SIGH* Jamie and Claire!!!
Jamie and Claire share a kiss and he seems to want to take this opportunity to tell her something. Jamie talks about wanting to wait to speak to Ned Gowan (Claire is just as surprised as we are that Ned is still alive). What could possibly be so important to warrant this secrecy and a lawyer consult? But before Jamie can say more, someone bursts through the door… a young, red-headed girl and an older blonde. They both call Jamie “Daddy” and demand to know who that woman he’s in bed with. Claire is flummoxed, and it only increases when Laoghaire arrives–Jamie’s other wife. Laoghaire is enraged and calls Claire a witch, a whore, a bitch, and a cunt. Jamie tries to manage the situation, but it’s all a mess. He chases after Laoghaire and the two girls chase after him. Claire sits on the bed in shock and tears. Daddy???!!!
Downstairs, Jamie explains to the younger girl, Joan, that Claire is his first wife. He thought she was dead, but, by the grace of God, she’s come back. Joan asks about what will happen to her mother and their family. Jamie says that he has tried hard to be a husband to Laoghaire, but things haven’t worked out. They don’t have a bond that keeps people together forever. But Joan understands that Jamie has that bond with Claire. Jamie promises to always look after Joan and her older sister, Marsali.
When Jamie returns to his room, Claire is packing up her things. He tries to explain that he no longer lives with Laoghaire, that she and the girls live at Balriggan. Laoghaire was widowed twice when she and Jamie met again, and they’ve only been married for two years and have spent most of that time apart. But for him, he says the marriage was a mistake. Claire is skeptical, especially since the marriage produced two children. She saw the little girl with red hair! Jamie replies that the children aren’t his (and surely he isn’t the only red-headed man in Scotland). Claire doesn’t have any sympathy. Laoghaire tried to have her killed! Jamie replies that it’s Claire who told him to be kind to Laoghaire (“The Fox’s Lair”), but thanks doesn’t mean marriage! Why would Jamie tell Claire about his son, but not about Laoghaire? Jamie refuses to let her leave the room. He admits to being a coward, but he would do anything to keep Claire now that she’s back, “even though you left me!” Ugh, I hate that Jamie keeps saying this, and Claire must too, but she tells him that she would have died by his side at Culloden. It was Jamie who forced her to go back. Jamie takes it back; he knows that Claire had to go through the Stones for Brianna’s sake.
“But you blame me for coming back.”
“No. Yes. No…”
Jamie says he’s spent the last 20 years without a heart, living as half a man. But guess what? Claire knows how that feels too. There was no happily ever after with Frank!
“Sometimes, I hoped ye did. And sometimes, I could see it–him with you, day and night, lying with ye, taking your body, holding my bairn! And God I could kill ye for it!”
Well, Claire doesn’t have to imagine Laoghaire, does she? Jamie becomes even more angry, and swipes a vase off the table. He yells that he’s never cared about Laoghaire!
“Oh so you would marry a woman you don’t even want and then just discard her the second you’re done?”
“No, I’m damned one way or the other. If I felt anything for her, I’m a faithless lecher, and if I didn’t, I’m a heartless beast!”
Claire tries to leave again, but Jamie grabs her, saying he would do far worse than lie to keep her. And then Jamie kisses Claire. Claire slaps him and then… hate rolling around turns super heated, frantic hate sex. Jamie does manage to say that he has only ever loved Claire. But before the sexy times can escalate, Jenny walks in and throws a literal pitcher of water on the two. Jenny is scandalized that Jamie and Claire would be “fighting and rutting like wild beasts” for the whole house to hear. Claire grabs her clothes and leaves the room.
Claire sits downstairs by the fire and Janet comes to meet her, offering a whisky. Claire apologizes for disturbing the house, but then Janet apologizes–she’s the one who told Laoghaire that Jamie and Claire were at Lallybroch. Why? Because her mother told her to. (LAWD!) Jenny comes into the room then and Claire confronts her. Why would Jenny do this?
“She’s his wife.”
“I am his wife.”
“Then why’d ye no try to find him after the war?”
AHA! It comes back to Jenny about her perception of Claire abandoning Jamie. And now that Claire is back, Jamie’s life is upside-down again with a man’s death on their hands, on the run from the law, and the print shop burned down. Claire says that this isn’t all her fault. She wanted to be part of this family again:
“Well, family writes letters. Telling one another they’re alive. What, d’ye think we were all just frozen in time waiting for you to return?”
No, Claire didn’t. But she tells Jenny that she had another husband in America and as a matter of survival, she had to put her past behind her. Claire says that Jamie does know about the other husband and that they didn’t have any children together. And when her other husband died, Claire came back to Scotland to pay her respects to Jamie’s grave. Instead she found Jamie to be alive. (Note that this is true. Also note that Claire doesn’t tell Jenny about Bree!) Jenny acknowledges the truth of what Claire has said, but Jenny knows there are still more secrets. She isn’t sure that her relationship with Claire can ever be healed.
Upstairs, Jenny is cleaning the broken pieces of the vase Jamie knocked over when Ian joins her in the room. He actually seems upset with Jenny and accuses her of being foolish and an obstacle to Jamie’s happiness. Jenny knows that Jamie and Laoghaire aren’t living as man and wife. Why can’t he be with Claire?
The next morning, Claire has dressed, packed her bag, and prepares to leave. Jamie intercepts her on the way to the stables. He calls Claire’s name, and at first she doesn’t respond. Claire says she should never have come back, and Jamie responds with a promise to make things right, even if he can’t take back their 20 years apart.
“I knew coming back was a risk. That you could be a different person, that we both could be different people, but–”
“I’m still the same person you fell in love with.”
But didn’t they pledge to each other that they wouldn’t lie, even if there were secrets? Jamie apologizes again:
“I’ve only known one love in my life. And that was with you.”
Laoghaire breaks the whole thing up and she’s got a pistol. Jamie tries to protect Claire by pushing her behind him. Laoghaire refuses to put the pistol down; she won’t sit at home and just let Claire have Jamie. Laoghaire means to make Claire leave them alone. Jamie emphasizes that they haven’t been living together. But for Laoghaire, at least she could call Jamie hers. Then (perhaps by accident), Laoghaire shoots and it hits Jamie right in the left shoulder/arm.
Laoghaire tries to run to Jamie, but Claire knocks her away and the pistol drops to the ground. Jamie calls for Claire, then James and Wee Ian help Jamie into the house. Jenny and Ian meet them inside and Claire tells them it was Laoghaire with the pistol. Jamie is confident that Claire can fix him up, it’s only birdshot. But what about germs?
Jamie drinks enough liquor to pass out and Claire digs each of the pellets out of his arm. Wee Ian watches the whole thing and the procedure is a success. Wee Ian offers praise to his Auntie, saying that Uncle Jamie is lucky that she’s there. As Jamie recuperates, Claire watches over him and checks his arm. When Jamie wakes up, it’s it dawns on him that Claire is still upset. He makes a couple jokes about swiss cheese and whisky, but she isn’t in the mood for laughs. So, instead, Jamie tells Claire about the first time he saw Laoghaire again after all those years. We flashback to Lallybroch soon after Jamie returns from Helwater. It’s Hogmanay, and even though the celebration is joyful, Jamie feels isolated and lonely. He stands in a corner watching the others dance, when Joan and Marsali approach him. They offer Jamie figs and dance with him. He smiles and laughs, something that Jenny notices, too. When the fiddler stops, Joan and Marsali tell Jamie that their mother is Mistress MacKimmie… Laoghaire. What draws Jamie to them is the opportunity to be a father and a family man, especially after losing the hope of having that with Claire/Bree and Willie.
Claire asks about the marriage, and yes, Jamie’s relationship with Marsail and Joan grew. However, it becomes clear to Jamie that Laoghaire was hurt very deeply in the past, so much so that she feared the sex with Jamie and would ignore him for weeks on end. So Jamie leaves for Edinburgh.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of someone being afraid of my touch.”
Then Claire reaches for his hand… and notices that Jamie has a fever. It’s time to pull out the big guns. Claire has brought penicillin with her and these 18th Century germs won’t stand a chance! She injects Jamie in his bum, which she might enjoy a little bit. *giggles*
Claire then meets Jenny, who’s sitting outside on the stoop. Apparently, Jenny had a vision of Claire. The day Jamie and Claire got married, Jenny saw Claire standing right between them at the altar. Jenny reflects on her initial relationship with Claire. She didn’t know anything about Jamie’s new wife, but didn’t question it. When Claire said to plant potatoes, Jenny did and didn’t second-guess the advice. But that blind faith isn’t enough now. Claire realizes this. She doesn’t tell Jenny the whole truth, but she swears to loving Jamie very much and never, ever forgetting him or the Murrays.
“You were a sister to me.”
“I loved you too, Jenny. Still do. I’m only asking for a second chance.”
Later, an old friend arrives at Lallybroch–Ned Gowan! He has come to speak Jamie about the situation. When Claire asks Ned his secret to staying so spry, he says it’s because he never got married *snort*
According to Ned, Jamie’s marriage to Laoghaire is invalid. However, he’ll make to make reconciliations to the Church. Also, Laoghaire has complained to the Justice of the Peace and made demands for support and recompense for distress. Claire is incensed. Distress?! Laoghaire shot Jamie! Jamie could report Laoghaire for owning a firearm, and if she’s indicted/convicted, she would be sent to the Colonies. Jamie doesn’t want to do that because he won’t have Marsali and Joan be punished by losing their mother. Ned says that Laoghaire wants alimony–20 pounds and 10 pounds a year to maintain house for her and the girls.
Jenny and Ian are scandalized by Laoghaire’s demands, but Jamie is willing to pay the price. He tells them about Silkie Island and he treasure. Jamie can’t swim, but Wee Ian (walking past) suggests that he could do it. Then Jamie will take the stones to Cousin Jared in France to trade for money. He also suggests taking Wee Ian to France so he can see a place outside of Scotland. Jenny agrees, using Jamie’s words about giving Ian some freedom while he still thinks it’s his parents’ right to give. Jamie promises that he and Claire will take care of Wee Ian.
Jamie and Claire watch from the shore as Wee Ian swims to Silkie Island. Ian makes it to the island and goes looking for the treasure. Meanwhile, Claire is still being taciturn, refusing to look Jamie in the eye:
“I’m afraid this is all a mistake. I’m just not sure if we belong together anymore.”
Claire says that they’ve both had lives. She liked her life in Boston and Jamie enjoyed being a printer in Edinburgh. But actually, Jamie corrects Claire:
“Being a printer was naught compared to being your husband.”
“For 20 years I was haunted by the memory of you. The moment I found out you were alive, I… But ever since I’ve arrived back, it’s been… so much harder than I could ever have imagined.”
“When has it ever been easy?”
Now THAT is the real question, Jamie!
“But I’ve apologized for it. I’ve done all I can to make it right. Ye belong wi’ me. We’re mated for life, Sassenach. Will you risk the man I am for the sake of the one ye once knew?”
Such a lovely moment–but they’re interrupted because as Ian is descending the side of the island with the treasure, a ship arrives and a contingent of men make their way to Silkie Island, too. Claire and Jamie yell for Ian to hide, but he can’t hear them. They watch as the men grab Ian and then take him away on their ship.
For more of our thoughts on “First Wife”, watch our video recap (below) where we discuss Laoghaire’s return, Jamie’s and Claire’s conflict/reconciliation, where in the world Wee Ian has gone, plus more!
If you missed tonight’s episode, you can watch (or rewatch) “First Wife” on STARZ Play online HERE or via the STARZ Play app.
Sassenachs, you remember when Jenny said that trouble follows Jamie? She was so right, and now Wee Ian is totally caught up! Also, what did you think of the big reveal of Jamie’s second wife as Laoghaire? Share your thoughts and feels with us in comments!