Well, the moment we’ve been waiting for since we first learned of Captain Blackjack Randall’s survival arrived this week. Claire and Jamie were carrying on with their plans of sabotage, thinking prison stays and nefarious wine deals were their biggest concerns, when their fickle luck threw them yet another curve ball; Blackjack Randall has arrived in France.
Oddly enough, however, plopped into a country where he wields considerably less power, Randall didn’t have quite the same menace he did back in Scotland. When a constipated Frenchman can thoroughly erase your dignity in less than five minutes, you just can’t seem all that scary. But of course to the Frasers he will always be a bastion of evil in their lives. Jamie, true to his word, immediately challenged Randall to a duel so he could kill his attacker and perhaps find some much needed closure.
Claire had other ideas.
What Claire asked of Jamie could be perhaps the most selfish thing you could ask of a person, but, because it’s Claire, it barely rated in her top five most selfish acts. Having already realized that meddling in Randall’s life could prevent Frank from ever existing, Claire asked Jamie to let his rapist and torturer live (for at least another year) so that in a few hundred years she can have a husband… who she’ll eventually abandon for a time travelling with Jamie. It’s an absolutely absurd request. She has already chosen to spend the rest of her life with Jamie, what difference does it make to her if Frank, or his great-great-great whoever is never born? Of course, there could be the argument that if Frank never lives he can never marry Claire and then they’ll never take a second honeymoon to Scotland where she’ll fall through stones and meet Jamie and start this whole loop in the first place.
And, speaking of impossible to disentangle timelines, when is it going to occur to Claire that trying to change the future is a pretty terrible idea? Granted, it only just occurred to her that her meddling could effect Frank’s future existence, but her entire goal in staying in the 1700s (besides boning Jamie on the regular) is to change the fates of the Scottish clans. She is willfully attempting to change a huge chunk of history and yet she’s only concerned with how her actions might impact the futures of the people she knows and loves. And this why asking her husband to set aside his own mental well being for the sake of her future husband barely rates as a selfish act for Claire Randall Fraser.
And then there’s the fact that she doesn’t actually know how any of things played out in her original timeline. She has only a basic understanding of the Jacobite rebellion and literally no idea of the actual intrigues that lead to its failure. Furthermore, all she know of the Randall family tree is that Mary Hawkins name is listed next to Jonathan Randall’s. There is every reason to assume that the baby she bares is actually Alex’s. In driving those two apart Claire might have ensured, rather than prevented, Frank’s nonexistence.
But this is what makes this show so compelling. Claire is a traditional fantasy hero in a lot of ways, but in a lot of ways she has no idea what she’s doing. She’s signed on for a life of adventure and intrigue without ever really considering what that means or taking the time to go about her quests with any sort of finesse. Sometimes this can make you want to scream as you watch her bumble through time, but it also means you can’t take your eyes off her.
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