“The ties that bind”…Claire and Jenny…Outlander in Episode 12

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There is a lot of talk on the web about Outlander episode 12. I’ve addressed the issue of Jamie and his “Laird-ness”, but didn’t really discuss the other hot button issue and that is the portrayal of  Jenny and Claire’s relationship. There seems to be two bones of contention in the Outlander fan world: “Why is Jenny such a bi**ch ?” and “Why on Earth would Claire feel like she might belong at Lallybroch?” From what I can gather, there is concern about how Jenny welcomes (or doesn’t) welcome Claire into the fold.  I think I saw the answer to these questions in the episode. Let’s start with Claire’s first look at Lallybroch.

Thank God for good acting because the subtle performances in this episode were stellar and oh so revealing of what the characters were thinking without the benefit of a voice-over.  At first sight, both Jamie and Claire are awed at the vision of Lallybroch on the horizon (I was too!).  For the first time in years, Jamie sees his estate and you could read the “there’s no place like home” look on his face.  It was a mixture of longing and pride. Claire, who had just made the monumental choice to stay with Jamie and all that means, is seeing what she believes is her new home.  In fact, she is looking at the first real home she has known since childhood.  It must have seemed like a fairy tale castle to her. “It’s just as you described it.”  she breathes with wonder.

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Quickly, however, we see and feel the mood change.  As wonderful as it is to be home, the place currently holds some painful unfinished business for Jamie.  He puts on his “battle face” as he grabs the horse’s reins and his courage and heads down hill to face his fears.

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Claire gives a moment’s look of concern for the change she senses in Jamie, but then gets lost in her own fears.  For the merest of seconds, the camera lets us see her mixed emotions race across her face.  Claire has her own issues to face at Lallybroch.

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They arrive and the first person Claire meets is wee Jamie. Claire’s response is to get down on the child’s level and introduce herself.  I couldn’t help but think what this small gesture reveals about Claire’s character.  She doesn’t look around at the estate she has just inherited instead she gravitates toward what is important to her…the people she inherited.  Claire is a healer and there are people here who need her…Jamies’s people.  She may have to deal with what it means to be “Herself”, but the potential to fulfill her life’s purpose is here.  She has a flock and family to care for.

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And then…Jenny…

Claire being who she is tries to intervene and help make peace between brother and sister.  What she gets for her efforts is her first real taste of what happens when you get between two Frasers when their dander is up.  She got “bit for her efforts”!  I laughed out loud at the “Trollop” comment.

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It wasn’t really meant to hurt Claire (ok, maybe a little), but more to hurt Jamie.  In my opinion, Jenny still grabbed her brother by the balls.  Siblings know what buttons to push and right where to “grab” to get our attention.

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If you watch Claire’s face in the background you can see her concern and then resignation.  When she introduces herself to Ian as the “Trollop”  you can see Jenny stiffen.

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Claire wasn’t crushed…she was amused!  I bet that surprised Jenny, who I think was a little ashamed of her behavior, but it was too late, it was already out there.  Jenny’s stubborn pride is being fueled by anger and guilt.  She might know she’s being unreasonable, but she just can’t seem to stop herself.  God, how true to life! Haven’t we all said things we really didn’t mean or acted a bit passive-aggressive a least once in our lives when we feel hurt?

I think Claire likes Jenny.  If you watch there is constantly either a look of concern, respect , (even though Jenny is being a “pain in the arse stubborn mule”) , or a small smirk of amusement on Claire’s face.  She even sticks up for her sister in law which just irks Jenny. She tries to needle Claire with thinly veiled insults, but Claire will have none of it.

“Well, I guess you have a lot to learn about running a place like this.”

“Yes, but I’m a quick study”

They are testing each other! It might not be the exact words from the book, but the character development is there.

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Need further proof of the mutual respect that is slowly building in this episode?  Rabbie Mc Nabb.  Resentment seems to have taken a backseat to their mutual concern for this young boy. They get each other.

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I believe in the next episode, we are going to see this relationship blossom.  Will Jenny continue to be a pain in the arse stubborn mule? Probably.  But, Claire will tolerate it when she can for several reasons, but the main reason, the tie that truly binds these two women together is their mutual love of one James Alexander Malcolm McKenzie Fraser.

When Claire is standing in the window looking at the “North facing tower”, chuckling about Frasers, the viewer and Jamie recognize something has changed. Claire tells him she is starting to believe she could belong at Lallybroch.  Besides the reasons I’ve stated about having a place and a purpose, I think one of the reasons she feels she belongs here is BECAUSE of Jenny.

What other woman has Claire met that so reflects her own values?  What other woman has she met that is strong despite her surroundings? (I guess you could say Gellis, but her values didn’t really match Claire’s)  What other woman has she met that she could see as an equal? Jenny is smart, quick-witted, caring, loyal, and respected. And…she loves Jamie as much or maybe more than Claire.

Yeah….I think we will see the respect…friendship …and… love grow between Claire and Jenny in Episode 13!

Note: Did you notice Claire finally got her vase?  Gave me the feels!