27 April 2015
The past few weeks of Outlander have been very intense. Dangerous rescue missions, witch trials, duels, and Claire confessing to Jamie that she’s from the future. It would be hard to keep that up, and with “Lallybroch”, the show loses some momentum. While it had some good scenes and a lot of strong emotional points, “Lallybroch” ultimately did little to move the plot forward.
Lallybroch is Jamie’s familial home, which he hasn’t been able to return to for four years because of that pesky price on his head. But since he is confident the price will soon be lifted, he takes Claire to meet his family. Consequently, the drama of the episode is focused on the Fraser family, and unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to sustain the episode. Jamie and his sister Jenny are both stubborn. Their issues with each other were valid and serious. But they were also solved within two minutes once they actually bothered to communicate. Watching two adults behave like petulant children isn’t gripping drama. It would have been a fine side-plot, but it didn’t work as the focus of the episode. The Fraser drama was told in the current time, and through flashbacks. But since half the flashbacks had already been shown in other episodes, they weren’t enough to liven things up. One thing that was slightly ridiculous in the flashbacks was the reveal that Black Jack Randall offered to reprieve Jamie of his flogging sentence, if Jamie agreed to have sex with him. Seriously? Is there anyone on this show who doesn’t have the hots for Jamie? Between Black Jack being grossly fixated on Jamie and subsequently causing the Fraser family grief, the jealous Laoghaire who tried to get Claire burned at the stake as a witch just last week, and the Duke of Sandringham’s deal with Jamie that eventually lead to Jamie being banished by his uncle, it seems Jamie is too beautiful for his own good. Outlander’s source material is a romance novel, but this is just absurd. If his looks are causing him so much trouble, maybe Jamie should consider sticking a bag over his head.
“Lallybroch” was also a lot of showing Jamie in his new duties as laird of Lallybroch. Again, this would be a fine subplot, but not a particularly compelling main plot. Other episodes have had emotional side plots, or scenes that contributed to the world building. But those other episodes also had a more action driven plot that moved the overall story forward. “Lallybroch” was too stuck on the past, and for that reason fell flat.
There were some sweet moments between Jamie and Claire, but not enough to save the episode. Still, Jamie quizzing Claire about what the future is like was cute, and their scene when Jamie described to Claire how much he loved her was pretty romantic. Mind you, Jamie should tell Claire how he loves her more and more every day. She could have gone back to the 1940s. She gave up running water for him. She gave up electricity. She gave up voting. She gave up sliced bread and all the good things that have happened since sliced bread. Jamie had better be his best self or Claire might go to her own time. (She won’t. But she could).
Hopefully, “Lallybroch” was a brief lull before the show dives back into the action. Because not even Jamie is hot enough to make collecting rent a very interesting storyline.