Outlander: Walk and Talk and Pump and Dump 


Well, I can’t say that I expected half an episode dedicated to Claire and Murtagh hitting the road as a pair of traveling entertainers, but hey—Outlander keeps me guessing.

As much as I enjoyed watching this unlikely pair attempt to enter the song-and-dance business, easily my favorite moment of the night was a quick scene, early in the episode, between Jenny and Claire. The two Fraser women took off in pursuit of Jamie and the British soldiers who’re holding him captive. Very into the idea of these two as a buddy-cop team-up, generally, and of course Jenny is an experienced tracker, because this woman is supremely competent and would be a valuable addition to any zombie apocalypse survival squad.

But the best part comes when Jenny declares that she’s about to bust if they don’t stop. Claire assumes it’s a pee break. Nope! Jenny whips out a boob and starts squeezing her excess milk into a cup. Nor is it implied—that breast is out and we see milk squirting away. The pair have an entire conversation about how they’re planning to free Jamie while Jenny essentially pumps and dumps. In an Aaron Sorkin project, this information would be delivered as a walk-and-talk. Instead, Outlander provides us with yet another instance of the female body bared for practicality, rather than titillation.

Can you imagine this scene ever happening in Game of Thrones? (Well, I guess hardly anybody lives long enough to have babies on Game of Thrones, except for Gilly.) It was downright thrilling to see a pair of female characters hold a confab about how they’re gonna go rescue a male character, while one of them engages in an act that’s generally treated as something that ladies ought to do in their houses, cloistered away from the public eye.

Also this little exchange about Jamie’s maddening stubbornness was pretty great:

Husbands/brothers, right?

Then Jenny proceeds to try torturing the information they need out of a redcoat except whoops, he’s a courier so they didn’t even need to sear his heels. They’re discussing whether to kill him in cold blood when Murtagh shows up and does it for them. Poor Claire—she made it all the way through World War II, stitching men up to send them right back into battle, and no sooner is it VE Day than she’s dumped into this guerilla-war moral shitshow. Can’t the poor woman just set up shop setting bones and stitching cuts already?

I’ll cruise right past the Sassenach and Dancing Scotsman Show, except to say thank Heaven that Murtagh finally pointed out that Claire’s being ridiculous, acting like she’s the only one who’s ever lost someone she loves. Besides the fact that Murtagh obviously (if quietly) adores Jamie, did she really think that in a place this violent Murtagh hasn’t lost multiple somebodies? It’s called emotional intelligence, Claire.

Their plan, of course, goes sideways. They turn up a whole lot of nothing until they get a message calling them to meet who they expect’ll be Jamie, but instead it’s Dougal, who tells them Jamie’s been captured and is set to hang any day. And then he proposes marriage to Claire, like a really shitbag.

This scene was infuriating, a real reminder of what a unlikely good situation Claire stumbled into when she married Jamie. Even if she’d never attracted Black Jack’s notice, she’d have trouble making her own way in this world without a man’s help. And rare is the man who’d accept her ways as readily as Jamie. Dougal’s not rescuing her—he’s trying to capitalize on her impossible situation. She does need protection from Black Jack Randall, and only a man can provide that. But who protects her from Dougal if she marries him? I wanted Mary Wollstonecraft to time-travel, burst into the frame and then wallop Dougal over the head with A Vindication of the Rights of Women, grab Claire, pick up Jenny and the whole lot of them run off to the Americas.

Instead, Claire rounds up all the MacKenzies with familiar faces and heads for Wentworth prison.

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