SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the Oct. 29 episode of “Outlander,” entitled “Creme De Menthe.”
In the aftermath of a violent confrontation with a man named John Barton (Ian Conningham), Claire (Caitriona Balfe) follows her conscience as a surgeon and tends to the man’s wounds after he attacks her while searching for Jamie’s ledgers. At the same time, Jamie (Sam Heughan) attempts to evade the reach of the Crown as its representative closes in on his illegal dealings. Jamie’s smuggling business becomes the centerpiece of this episode as his supply of spirits is endangered and he’s being extorted to give more of his profits to greedy Sir Percival (Paul Brightwell). Young Ian Murray’s life (John Bell) is also endangered and Jamie realizes he has to get Ian back home to his family in Lallybroch.
Claire fights off John Barton, the man who attacked her at the end of the previous episode, and Jamie returns right after Claire has severely wounded Barton in the head. Jamie tells her to let him die, but Claire feels it’s her medical duty to try to save him. Fergus (César Domboy) arrives to help, and he and Jamie discuss that Sir Percival sent Barton to find Jamie’s hidden casks of wine and whisky. Against Jamie’s wishes, Claire goes to the apothecary to get laudanum so she can operate on Barton and relieve the pressure on his brain. While she does that, Jamie, Fergus and Ian hide Jamie’s casks of liquor, moving it out of the brothel basement. Jamie tells Ian to sell the casks as quickly as possible, even if they take a loss.
At the apothecary, Claire asks a man named Archibald Campbell if she can go ahead of him to get what she needs and in exchange, she says she’ll care for his sister Margaret. He agrees, and Claire tells him she’ll come see him later.
As directed by Jamie, Ian sells brandy and crème de menthe for a cheap price to get rid of the casks. Ian and Fergus chat about Claire, and Fergus says he remembers Claire as fearless and unflinching as she healed men torn apart by cannon fire. Fergus also says there were rumors she also took a few lives and that “she’s not a woman you want to cross.” Loyal to his aunt, Ian says, “If she took lives, likely they deserve it.”
Back at Jamie and Claire’s room, Barton struggles to stay alive as Jamie tries to keep him quiet while they wait for Claire to return. When she does, she doses Barton with laudanum, then drills into his brain to try to relieve the pressure from the head wound she inflicted. Mr. Willoughby (Gary Young), now called by his real name, Yi Tien Cho, has also arrived to help Claire and Jamie.
Sir Percival arrives at the brothel to see Jamie. He says he wants to search the premises because Jamie is withholding from him. Jamie tells him he’s welcome to do that, and Percival’s men do so but find nothing as the basement is cleared of the goods.
When Jamie goes back upstairs, Claire tells him, “You’ve got your wish: Barton is dead.” Jamie says he won’t grieve and that God took him and now Jamie has to find help to move the body. Claire feels bad and remarks that if she were in the Boston hospital, she’d care for anyone without judgment about their character. Jamie reminds her, yet again, that she’s not in Boston anymore. He also reminds her she’ll help many other people, like she did when she was with him decades ago. When she apologizes for causing Jamie so much trouble, he tenderly tells her, “I’m grateful you’re here, no matter the cost. I was living in the shadows. You walked into the print shop and it was as if the sun returned.” Comforted by these words, Claire tells Jamie she has to go tend to Margaret Campbell, and Jamie suggests Fergus walk with her. Claire says she can walk across town by herself. Jamie says to her, “You will return afterward?” Claire reassures him, “Of course.”
Ian and Fergus are at the pub drinking and talking. Ian eyes barmaid Bridget, and Gergus tells him that tonight’s the night Ian will do more than talk to her. Fergus tells Ian he lost his virginity at age 15 in a ménage a trois. He tells Ian to compliment Bridget and buy her drinks, then repeat both steps. Ian tells Bridget she’s “the most bonnie lass I’ve ever seen,” and Bridget sits down to drink with him. Things are definitely looking up for Ian!
Claire sits with Margaret and Archibald Campbell, and he says his sister is a seer and he translates her visions for money. He says she’s plagued by nightmares and often stares at the walls. He says she also goes up to random people and tells them upsetting things. Claire tells him that Margaret has a mental disorder and prescribes mistletoe tea and valerian to calm her. She tells him to stop giving her laudanum because it’s too strong. Archibald says he needs the medicines right away, as he and Margaret are sailing to the West Indies the next day. Claire tells him to make sure Margaret eats lots of fresh fruit once they get to the West Indies and tells him again to stop giving his sister laudanum.
A happily drunken Ian and Bridget make their way to Jamie’s print shop so they can be alone. They start to make out and Ian asks her to tell him what she likes. Bridget takes the lead, saying, “Lie down, and I’ll show you.”
After Claire’s errand to the Campbells, she asks Jamie what he did with Barton’s body, and he tells her he snuck it out in a barrel of crème de menthe. She asks Jamie if they can find a place of their own, and he points out the room at the brothel is rent-free. Claire says she can contribute by making money as a healer. Then, Ian’s father (Steven Cree) arrives and is surprised to see Claire after all these years, especially after he and Jenny grieved for her, thinking her dead. Claire explains she went to Boston when she mistakenly thought Jamie was dead. When she found out he was alive, she returned. Ian explains he’s looking for his son, as he and Jenny are very worried about him. Jamie promises to send young Ian home when he sees him. Ian asks Jamie “how Claire took the news,” and Jamie says “I haven’t told her yet. All will be well.” Color us puzzled.
Things are heating up at the print shop as young Ian and Bridget are having sex, and they hear an intruder enter the shop and start ransacking the place! It’s Sir Percival’s henchman, searching for the hidden casks. He randomly finds the seditious pamphlets Jamie printed! Ian and a henchman struggle, and the man shoots at Ian and a fire ignites. The henchman stumbles out of the shop as the fire grows bigger and flames engulf the shop. Ian hides in the back room.
After Ian Sr. leaves, Claire and Jamie talk about why Jamie didn’t tell Ian that his son was working for Jamie. Jamie says he couldn’t tell Ian that his son was helping him with a smuggling operation. Claire says it wouldn’ve lessened Ian and Jenny’s worry. Jamie tells her she shouldn’t judge him for lying and reminds her they lied their way through Paris. Claire says, “But you’re not Ian’s father,” and Jamie says, “No, I’m Brianna’s father and I didn’t get to raise her.” Claire asks if he’d approve of her and Frank raising Bri to be a smuggler, and she reminds Jamie that Frank was a wonderful father. Jamie asks Claire if she fell in love with Frank when she returned to America. Claire says, “No, but I cared for him.” Then there’s a knock at the door and someone tells Jamie there’s a fire at the print shop.
Jamie and Claire find the fire getting bigger. Jamie rushes into the shop to save Ian. He finds Ian in the back of the shop, weakened but still alive. The fire brigade arrives and tries to put out the fire. Jamie carries Ian out of the raging fire and they narrowly escape before flames engulf the entire shop.
Outside the burning shop, Ian tells Jamie about Percival’s henchman breaking in and that he saw the pamphlets. Knowing this puts him in serious danger, Jamie says, “If Percival arrests me, he’ll be awarded a high ransom. Sedition is a far bigger crime [than smuggling].” Claire tells Jamie he needs to take young Ian home to Lallybroch for his safety. Jamie pays Mr. Cho for his help and advises him to stay out of sight.
Jamie asks Fergus to get to Percival’s henchman before he gets to Percival. Fergus asks if Claire knows about Jamie’s “other wife” (twist!), and Jamie says no.
As the episode ends, Jamie and Claire watch the print shop burn.
“Outlander” is on Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.
This story has been corrected. A previous version of this story mistakenly called out the character of Angus, as played by Stephen Walters, as being in the episode.