Outlander Episode 204, “La Dame Blanche”

“Mark me,” this week, Whisky, Rhenish & Tea talk reconnections and Woman Power

Whisky: Episodes 201 and 202 had dude fingerprints all over them. They were all well and good but a little mansplain-y, IMHO. 203 was written by Anne Kenney and Outlander Nation rejoiced. If you want the feels, get Anne Kenney on it, stat. Last year, she wrote The Way Out, Lallybroch, and, um, The Wedding… hello? This week, we get Toni Graphia. If you want a script where people get sh*t done, Toni’s the woman for the job. She wrote Rent, The Devil’s Mark, and The Watch last season — all huge plot-movers.

Rhenish: Wow, that’s an excellent observation! Thanks for keeping track of what’s happening behind the scenes.

W: Between these two writers who deeply understand what this story’s about, can we maybe just not with any of the others? Now, if we could get Anna Foerster back behind the camera, too, we’d be cooking with gas.

Tea: I agree! Whisky, we can always count on you to have the facts.

R: I have to say though, if that’s your main takeaway from this episode… we need to talk, girl! Finally, our Jamie and Claire are back together in the bedroom… or was it the sitting room? You get my drift. After three sexless episodes, all is right in the world of Outlander. Mark me, (hah!) it’s quite twisted that Jamie is happy because he learns that he can kill BJR himself.

W: I know he has every right, but Jamie comes off as so vindictive during the scene in the bedchamber. First with relishing the idea of making the Compte suffer in retribution for the attempted poisoning, then with his reaction to the BJR news? France is getting under his skin.

R: It’s an unexpected way for him to find healing — and feelings — again. Speaking of which, I did not like that Jamie’s passion re-ignites in a brothel. Claire has been so patient and loving. What a disappointment for her! As their argument ensues, we are able to get to the heart of the matter that lies between them.

T: There were several scenes that brought me to tears. Claire divulging the BJR news and Jamie’s reaction was one of them, and the infamous blade of grass confession. Both Claire and Jamie were vulnerable and hurting, but the eventual healing was so beautiful.

R: This was such a passionate argument with both of them really opening up and baring their souls (without so much as a blade of grass for shelter). There were several departures from the books in this reunion but I thought the writers did a great job boiling a lot of separate incidents down into this massive explosion and make-up sex scene.

T: I just wish it could have lasted longer. I wanted to dwell in that moment, so you know what I did? I paused it. I just needed a little longer to take it all in.

W: Seeing that scene, in near-black and white, was like going back in time. Since we know that the writers have made Wizard of Oz references more than a few times, it’s like they went back to Kansas.

R: When Claire entered that daybed room, or whatever it was, it was reminiscent of her visit to Jamie at the Abbey — which was designed to help him choose to live. I loved that her visit this time seemed to fully bring him back to be able to physically love his wife (along with that pesky desire for revenge against BJR…)

T: Just as the coming together set up reminded me of the Abbey, could the bluish tint be reminiscent of the grotto scene we book readers loved?

W: Could be… I guess what struck me the most, other than the joy at seeing them finally come together (coughs) was that this is the first scene this season that’s devoid of the vibrant color of France. Anyhow, just as soon as Jamie talks about the lean-to that can keep him out the rain, who scampers over that roof but Prince Charles!

R: Soaking wet and scorned, he’s still got that prince thing going on — bossing Jamie and Claire around left and right. I guess it’s his divine right to drop in (literally) in the middle of the night and expect folks to fetch you whisky and dry clothes and to attend to your injuries. Dude, you killed the MOMENT!

T: My favorite line of that scene was Claire’s side eye at Jamie as she tended to Charlie’s wound and commented on bite marks being something of an epidemic around there.

W: This is the second time that Jamie’s dagger has been this close to killing someone he maybe should have killed — just cut off the snake’s head and been done with it already! And (stifles rising bile) “Mark me” makes me cringe every damned time he says it.

R: Mark me, Whisky, it won’t be the last!

W: Onward to this episode’s trip to Master Raymond’s, where we finally get to see the back room! Now that’s the kind of place I pictured it to be.

T: So happy to finally see the back room — it was as if we won the lottery! Master Raymond does not disappoint and Claire always wears the most gorgeous outfits when she visits him.

R: I really think Master Raymond knows that Claire is a time traveler.

T: I agree, Rhenish!

W: Moving right along, we visit with Louise. After sending off Little Bo Peep Mary (seriously with her outfits), we learn that, while her monkey bites everyone but her, Louise may have a bite mark or two on her own thighs, placed by someone other than her spouse. The line, “How will I raise a child with a man who is not his father?” was a little heavy-handed in the foreshadowing-even-though-we-are-in-a-flashback department.

T: Especially considering it was not at all an unusual event in those times. Definitely works for our heroine to hear it though she doesn’t yet know she’ll be having that discussion with Frank at a later date.

W: And because Toni’s script cooks plot faster than Madame Vionnet (the head cook of the Fraser household — yes, I had to look that up), we’re off to L’Hôpital des Anges. Mary’s stutter is gone, to be sure, but I didn’t notice any evidence of crying, either. Fergus is a canny lad!

R: Fergus will have no problems with the ladies someday. Spending his youth in a brothel has not been wasted if he’s that in tune with the emotions of women. Good lad!

T: Fergus’s bonnie face, adorable accent and sensitivity to women? He is near perfect and has achieved Murtagh-level adoration from me.

W: I love that “You are a great deal better than nothing” is what passes for a compliment from Mother H.

T: And did you sense that Claire, who grew up without a mother, was very touched by Mother H’s compliment? Yes, she was dearly loved by Uncle Lamb, but she must crave maternal approval.

W: And speaking of maternal approval, how about the relationship that’s developing between Mary and Claire? Even before they’re attacked on their walk home from the hospital, the reactions Claire has to Mary’s confession of her love for Randall are like those of a wary, protective mother.

T: The attack and rape scene was brutal, and the way Claire holds her afterward is so delicate. Poor Mary! Did anyone notice that the attacker with the birthmark is evidently the same person seen in the opening credits who appeared to be fixing the carriage wheel, but as we find out later, was evidently vandalizing it?

R: Jamie, Claire, Suzette, Murtagh, and Alex do care for Mary, and they did have the dinner going on, but really — you leave a man to care for a drugged woman just hours after being raped?

T: I know it’s a plot device and that it tracks with the book, but yes, I completely agree. Not the smartest move.

W: The contrast of all that seriousness upstairs with the deliciously, hilariously awkward dinner party downstairs — that was great television. Man, Sandringham was in fine form! What a repugnant fop, but you can’t help but laugh along with his audacity. “I was so looking forward to dessert. Oh, well. I guess it is getting a bit late.”

R: He was the scene-stealer with his one-liners! The drama at the dinner party was so well orchestrated, and I am glad they infused some humor into this very political scene.

T: I could watch the dinner scene over and over (and maybe I have… no judging). The Duke and Prince said one ridiculous, funny thing after the other. Sandringham’s comment about the Pope and the Prince’s comeback were the best! And mere feet away from that craziness, we have Claire seated next to the evil Comte. As if she didn’t have a bad enough day already!

W: The fighting at the end was a little cornball. Candlesticks and clotheslining? The looks on the guest’s faces are like those of the snobby neighbors, invited to a cookout hosted by new and unwelcome redneck family on the block. Like, “Sure, dinner was nice, but it devolved into exactly what you’d expect from those crude, classless Scots.”

T: I agree. I would say it was a lot cornball. Jamie and Murtagh were itching to go after the brigands earlier, so at least they got to fight someone!

W: Maybe, for all of the intensity of what we’ve seen and what’s to come, having this be almost silly in comparison is for the best. It’s smart writing to put in those light moments because it makes the dark stuff that much darker in contrast.

R: And it is about to get intense. I’m dreading the “You owe me a life” fight we’ve seen in the previews.

T: Well, until then, ladies! (clinks glasses)

All images courtesy of Starz, via Outlander-Online