Written by: Sara Mordzynski
Jenny From the Broch Returns…Briefly
We flow into images of the Highlands, along with an uplifting musical cue, that similarly brought us to Lallybroch the first time in season one, episode 112 (also written by Anne Kenney and directed by Mike Barker). It is both soothing and healing, as it is meant to be, for Jamie and Claire. Emotionally exhausted from the deceptions and schemings in the French Court and tragically scarred from the loss of their “Faith”, the Frasers return home to heal and find peace in living the simple life with clan and family. Hoping that their efforts in Paris had put a halt to the machinations of the Jacobite rebellion (tsk, tsk Claire, the Comte is dead, not Prince Charlie) and yearning to map their future in Lallybroch, Claire in voice-over, quoting Robert Burns, knows better… the best laid plans of mice and men.
For more about this real historical figure, I refer you to check out my post: Meet the Frasers: Delving Into Jamie’s “Real” Ancestory
Surprise…it’s Uncle Colum…you remember, from Clan Mackenzie. What’s up with that? Apparently, the Old Fox will be exploring all his options. Is a warming of relations with the Mackenzies possible? Clive Russell makes a grand entrance as the Old Fox- sharp as a blade, callously clever and misogynistic -he immediately dismisses the sassenach “enough breath has been wasted on women..leave us”. However, he also appreciates that same shrewdness, wit and backbone which is so evident in the grandson when Jamie responds to Grandpa’s less then stellar opinion about his choice in a wife: “at least I had no need to take a wife by means of rape or trickery” Touche!
That evening in the great hall, Jamie’s diplomatic and political skills are tested against two masters in this game. Wishing to remain neutral and not to encourage any of the clans to engage in the endeavor, Colum undermines Jamie’s arguments in support of the cause. Meanwhile Lovat remains noncommittal and the Young Fox is in over his head, falling figuratively flat on his face as he tries to impress Laoghaire. Did I say Laoghaire? Say what??? Yes, she’s back as part of the Mackenzie entourage. Apparently, repentant for the part she played in trying to have Claire condemned as a witch back in season one. But has she given up on her infatuation with Jamie?
Diana Gabaldon had been using the phrase “jumping the shark” is connection to this particular episode and social media went wild speculating as to what she was referring to and what did she really mean. Sure, the insertion of Calum Mackenzie into the political machinations and a supposedly repentant Laoghaire into the plot were deviations from the book—but how is it any different from any of the other plot changes which were created for this TV adaptation? It certainly does not veer off track in any way that truly breaks from the overall essence of the story.
Wiley As A Fox