SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched “A. Malcolm,” the sixth episode of the third season of “Outlander.”
This week’s supersize episode is all about the slow burn as Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) long-awaited reunion takes place and the couple realizes how time has changed them both physically, but their love remains intact and ardent as ever.
As seen previously, Jamie is now working in Edinburgh as a printer using the name Alexander Malcolm. This episode begins with Jamie’s point of view of Claire’s surprise entrance at his print shop. He’s preparing to start his workday, but first, two of his associates (who call him Mac Dubh) are picking up Papist flyers to deliver in secret to one of Jamie’s customers. As Jamie preps the press, he hears the bell ring and assumes it’s his assistant returning from errands. Then he hears a voice say, “It’s not Geordie. It’s me, Claire.” Jamie turns, looks up and seeing his beloved Claire in the flesh, gets woozy and faints.
When Jamie comes to, Claire is kneeling at his side and he realizes his pants are wet because he knocked over some ale and fell in it. He looks at her hand and sees the wedding ring on it, and she tells him she never took it off. They’re both in tears as they talk, and Jamie asks to kiss her, and she says yes. Geordie returns and, seeing the make out session, tells Jamie he’s quitting. Jamie and Claire laugh and Jamie says there’s nothing to worry about because Geordie will come back. Jamie asks Claire to come to the back of the shop with him so he can change his pants. He asks her to turn around while he changes and she says, “We are married.” He asks about “our child” and Claire shows him photographs of Brianna. Jamie puts on his glasses and tears up again looking at the daughter he’s never met. He talks about getting older, and Claire shares that she dyed her hair before returning through the stones. She tells him he’s as dashing as ever. He tells her, “Time doesn’t matter, Sassenach. You’ll always be beautiful to me.”
Jamie looks at the photos and asks what Claire named their daughter and she tells him “Brianna” because she promised to name their child after Jamie’s father Brian. Jamie tells Claire about his son Willie and explains that he hasn’t told anyone about him, not even his sister Jenny. Jamie tells Claire about his time working at Helwater for the Dunsanys and says Willie is a bastard. He explains he didn’t love the boy’s mother, who died in childbirth. Jamie says he only sees Willie in portrait, and we see he has a portrait of Willie in a locket. Claire asks what Willie is like and Jamie says he’s strong, stubborn, and willful. Claire tells Jamie she knew he would’ve lived a life when she came back. Jamie asks if she left Frank to return to him and she tells him Frank died a few years ago. When Jamie asks what Frank knew, Claire tells him she was honest with Frank and told him everything about Jamie and their love. Claire also says she was happy raising Brianna with Frank.
Jamie realizes he’s late for a meeting at a nearby tavern. He asks Claire to come with him. On the way to there, they run into Fergus (Cesar Domboy), who’s grown into a handsome young man. Claire sees his fake hand. Fergus asks where Claire’s been and she says she left for America, leaving out the part about time traveling to the future. Fergus takes Jamie aside to speak to Jamie about Mr. Willoughby.
At the tavern, Jamie pulls Mr. Willoughby (Gary Young) off a young girl who says he owes her money and Jamie pays her. After Jamie introduces Claire as “Claire Malcolm,” she learns that Mr. Willoughby came to Edinburgh from China, and he tells her Jamie saved his life. Meanwhile, in the cellar of the tavern, Jamie meets with a man who tells him there will be a 25% increase in tax. Jamie returns to Claire and they leave the tavern and go to a nearby brothel. Jamie introduces Claire as his wife to the madam and tells her they’ll be spending the night.
Claire is disconcerted and asks if Jamie lives at the brothel. He explains the madam is one of his customers and she keeps a room for him there and it’s more comfortable than his cot at the print shop. Jamie makes clear that he’s not a good customer of the brothel. He asks if Claire has come back to be his wife and how she found him. Claire explains she thought he was dead, then a historian (Roger) found “A. Malcolm” and she thought it was Jamie given that his full name is James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Jamie says he’s not the man she first knew and asks if she still wants him. Claire says, “Yes, whoever you are, I want you.” She moves closer to him and they start to kiss but are interrupted by dinner being delivered to the room. The foreplay continues as they sit and talk, reminiscing over dinner and wine. Claire’s voiceover intones, “We began to know each other again.” Jamie asks Claire to come to bed with him and she says yes. They slowly undress each other. He tells her, “Christ, Claire, you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.” She asks if he’s as scared as she is and if he remembers their wedding night when he held her hand to calm her. They hold hands, kiss and, as things get hotter, their heads bonk. Jamie lays Claire on the bed and she tells him, “Do it now and don’t be gentle.” And finally, they have sex!
Afterwards, they lie in bed touching each other and Jamie tells her he can’t keep his hands from her, saying “It’s always been forever for me, Sassenach.” Talk turns to what Jamie does for a living besides running the print shop, and he tries to get Claire to guess. He says he’s still a traitor, he just hasn’t been convicted lately. He tells her he spent time in prison in the past and that he’s been arrested for sedition but they couldn’t prove anything. He asks if she wants to leave, but Claire is resolute, “I came back to be with you” and he won’t lose her unless he does something immoral. He tells Claire he’s been smuggling whisky and French wine and that he stores the goods in the brothel’s cellar. The madam is one of his customers for spirits.
After another round of sex, Claire tells Jamie she’ll never leave him again. Jamie says, “You left for Brianna and you’re a wonderful mother. Brianna is alive and safe and because of her, we’ll live forever, you and I.” They fall asleep together.
The next morning, Jamie wakes and watches Claire sleep. When she wakes, Claire asks if Jamie ever fell in love with anyone else and he tells her, “No Sassenach, I never loved anyone but you,” and then, to prove it to her, he performs oral sex on her.
Claire wakes up a little later and sees Jamie is dressed. He tells her he has business to tend to and she should go back to sleep. He kisses her and asks her to wait for him there. He reminds her she’s Mrs. Malcolm, not Fraser. After Jamie leaves, there’s a knock at the door, and Claire opens it to find Ian Murray (John Bell), now 16, and she tells him she knew his parents and that she’s his Aunt Claire. Ian says he was told she was a faerie or a White Lady. She explains she went to the colonies when she thought Jamie died at Culloden. Ian leaves.
Claire goes downstairs and joins the working girls at breakfast. They think she’s a new prostitute and remark that she’s much older than the girls the madam usually recruits. They give her tips on how not to get pregnant and tell her to take a warm bath because she looks sore between the legs. Claire smiles knowingly because that’s true. They see a man in the doorway of the brothel talking to the madam, then the madam comes over and asks Claire what she’s doing and tells Claire to go upstairs and she’ll have breakfast brought to her there. Claire goes back to the room and is surprised to find a strange man there. He tells her to wait on the bed and asks for Jamie’s ledgers. He threatens to rape her and the episode ends on a shocked and scared Claire.
New episodes of “Outlander” are on Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.