Outlander S02 E03: Useful Occupations and Deceptions


On last week’s episode of Outlander, Claire is stunned to learn that Black Jack Randall is still alive. Did she tell Jamie about this new development?


Episode three begins with Jamie returning home after a long night of discussion with Prince Charles. Two letters arrive from Jared, but Jamie is too busy to deal with them. He tells Claire that the prince is pushing for a meeting with the minister of finance, Duverney. While rushing out for still more errands, Jamie discovers that the wooden snake he had as a boy is missing from the pouch on his belt. He asks Claire to search the house for his sentimental serpent.

Claire visits Louise for tea. While discussing her reservations about marrying a Frenchman, Mary tells the ladies that she hails from Seaford, Sussex. Claire immediately has a vision of her with Frank. They are looking through his grandmother’s Bible, found in her home in Sussex. In the front is a family tree. Frank is listed at the bottom of the tree, which was started by Jonathan Black Jack Randall and Mary Hawkins. Claire is dumbstruck that Mary’s future will involve the dreaded captain, and not the rich widower.


On the carriage ride back to Jared’s home, Claire reflects on the knowledge that Jonathan Randall must survive at least another year so that he can marry Mary. Her husband Frank’s existence depended on it.

Back at the house, Claire is annoyed that her maid Suzette failed to complete a mending project. She searches for the girl, and finds her preoccupied with Murtagh.

Murtagh apologizes to Claire for his romp with Suzette. She confides in the surly Scot the fact that Captain Randall is alive. Claire tells Murtagh that she spoke with Randall’s brother who confirmed it. Murtagh agrees that telling Jamie isn’t a good idea, and although Claire feels guilty about keeping the secret, it is in Jamie’s best interest.

Jamie and the finance minister have their game of chess. Jamie bests Duverney and he asks his opponent for a favor. He wants him to tell Prince Charles that King Louis will not help fund the rebellion. When Duverney asks Jamie why he wants to discourage the prince’s cause, Jamie responds that he only wants the rebellion when everything is secured to guarantee a victory. He persuades the finance minister to meet with the prince at their usual seedy establishment.

Claire ventures to the market when she sees Master Raymond with Le Comte St. Germain. She turns to hurry away, but not before her friend sees her and calls out to her. It’s an uncomfortable introduction to say the least.

St. Germain leaves, and Claire enters the apothecary. She tells Raymond she wants something for birth control for her maid. While browsing his wares, Claire questions her friend on why he sells aconitum napellus, known as monkshood, in his shop. It is a poison but Raymond tells her he sells bitter cascara to people wishing to harm their enemies. It causes distress to the victims but doesn’t kill them.

Claire tells Raymond that she longs for her life to have purpose and to feel needed. Her friend suggests that she put her medical skills to use by volunteering for a charity hospital.

Murtagh again accompanies Claire, this time to the hospital. He is less than thrilled with what he sees. Murtagh is a witty character, who is fast becoming my favorite.


Once inside, Claire is given a tour of the facility. She sees the makeshift “physicians,” one who is a butcher by trade. She is introduced to Mother Hildegarde, who appears to be in charge. She assumes the young woman is there only because she must have a servant in the hospital. Claire tells the old woman that she wants to help, and next she is seen emptying bedpans.

A woman nearby is in distress, and Claire tends to her. By tasting a bit of the woman’s urine, she is able to determine that the patient has diabetes. Impressed with her knowledge, Hildegarde takes Claire more seriously.

Jamie, Duverney, and Prince Charles have another meeting. The prince reveals that he already has the bulk of the funds needed to fund the rebellion, as he had been dealing with some wealthy British who believe the prince’s father should be the English king. Duverney and Jamie are left speechless. Charles tells the finance minister that should King Louis wish to help with the rebellion, he offers France an alliance with Britain after their certain victory. Duverney says he will convey his message to King Louis, but he wants proof that benefactors and their funds exist.

Jamie returns to the house, eager to discuss the meeting with Claire. He is annoyed that hours elapse before she returns with Murtagh. She tells Jamie about her day volunteering at the charity hospital, but her husband is not at all supportive. He chastises her for putting herself and their unborn child at risk for disease. She tells him that she only treats injured patients or those with diseases she cannot catch. Jamie still isn’t satisfied, but Claire tells him that she needs to feel useful, and her time spent at the hospital fulfills that need. He reminds her that her purpose in staying in Paris is to thwart the rebellion. What’s bugging Jamie is that his wife wasn’t available when he wanted to discuss his meeting with her.

Back at the house of ill repute, Jamie notices a young boy stealing from patrons. He chases him down and discovers the youth possesses his treasured missing wooden snake. He offers the surprised boy a job, this time stealing at Jamie’s direction.


That same night Claire hears a noise and leaps from her bed to locate the source. She finds the young boy accosted by Jamie sitting at her dining room table. Her husband tells her that Fergus is a pickpocket that he intends to use to intercept letters to and from Prince Charles.

Murtagh and Jamie work to decipher the codes contained in the letters procured by their hired boy. One piece of correspondence contains a sheet of music. It is in German, and Jamie goes to the hospital to see if Mother Hildegarde can make sense of it. She determines that the key is very unusual, and Jamie guesses that the code is in the key. The music reveals that Charles has managed to secure 40,000 pounds from the English aristocrats as he claimed, but it is not enough to fund the entire rebellion. They determine that Sandringham sent the letter, and Jamie wants to meet with the duke.


Murtagh cautions Claire that if the meeting happens, the duke will most likely have his secretary, Alexander Randall, with him. If that happens, Jamie will learn that Black Jack Randall is still alive. He thinks Claire should tell Jamie the truth, but she fails to do so at the end of this episode.

What happens next week? Will Claire tell Jamie that the captain is still alive before he finds out from someone else? I’m already looking forward to next Saturday night.

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