Whew, Outlander fans. I know that’s not the most eloquent of words, but it still feels accurate to describe the feeling I had post-watch of “First Wife”. It was the episode I’d been dreading as a book fan, because I knew that no matter how it was done here on the show (fantastically, as per usual) it was still going to hurt when Claire learned this particular truth about Jamie.
In hindsight, it was not the best decision Jamie has made — though I really can’t blame him for being scared to tell the ONLY (his words, hallelujah) woman he has and still loves that he married the bitch who tried to get her burned at the stake twenty years ago.
Before I babble on too much, why don’t we get into this week’s top five moments?
5. Laoghaire revealing herself as Jamie’s second “wife.” Believe me, as much as I was dreading this moment, the writers did not hold back on how the reveal played out to make this unveiling as devastating as it really is for Claire. Nell Hudson played that moment to perfection, so as little love as I have for her character, her ability to match Caitriona Balfe in this scene was impressive as hell. I was also internally cringing for Jamie, because I can one hundred percent guarantee this was not how he wanted Claire to find out.
4. Claire asking Jenny for a second chance. Claire and Jenny’s relationship was one of my favorite things about Outlander’s first two seasons, and watching Claire try to reach back out to someone she considered family was simultaneously heart warming and heart breaking. Jenny’s anger was palpable, and smart as she is, she catches on to Claire holding back the full truth about her twenty-year absence. Trusting her with time travel realities is a wise decision for the time being, but I’m crossing my fingers over the rest of season three we get to see these two reconciling.
3. Jamie’s explanation to why he married Laoghaire (after getting shot by her. Lord.) To say that Outlander does things halfway would be a lie, because Claire was set to walk away, only to abandon that after Laoghaire shoots Jamie in the arm. After an expert patching up, Claire decides to ask for the truth behind his decision to marry Laoghaire. It was a quiet and frankly understandable reason — after losing the chance to raise Brianna and William, to be given another with Laoghaire’s children, that he had genuinely grown to care for was incredible.
Her past two husbands’ treatment of her left Laoghaire afraid of Jamie intimately, which as much as I dislike her, I wouldn’t wish that kind of fear on anyone. Understanding, as I believe, is the first step to letting that kind of anger go on Claire’s part, which Caitriona portrayed as only she can. Which brings me to my next top moment.
2. Claire & Jamie’s conversation on the beach. Waiting for young Ian to bring back buried treasure, Claire’s inability to look Jamie in the eye does not escape his notice. Her confession broke my heart, because as hard as she fought to get there, and all the risks they’ve faced, the hardest one is overcoming a lie like Laoghaire. Jamie’s faith in them, though — God bless Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in this moment — is as firm as the ground they’re standing on.
Twenty years didn’t dim their love, so as long as they don’t give up, they can truly weather any storm that goes their way. To say it brought tears to my eyes is an understatement, because there isn’t anyone else in the world who could bring Jamie and Claire to life in literally every moment they are on screen.
1. THE ENTIRE EPISODE. I realize I’m cheating once again, but frankly as much as I was hoping this episode wouldn’t break my heart, I didn’t realize how quickly it would bring it back together after the Laoghaire reveal. Every actor shined their unique light whenever they were on screen, but I have to give the MVP of this hour to Caitriona Balfe. She was phenomenal — from learning the truth about Laoghaire right up to the cliffhanger where Ian was abducted (!) in “First Wife”. I cannot wait to see what else this season has in store for these characters.
How about you, Outlander fans? What were your favorite moments in “First Wife?”
Outlander airs on Sundays at 8pm on Starz.