Fergus has hinted at the secret that Jamie is keeping from Claire before, but he officially spilled the beans in "Crème De Menthe." Spoilers for Episode 7 of Season 3 follow. Jamie is to married to another woman on Outlander when Claire returns. That news in itself is bad enough, but what's making it worse is that Jamie is intentionally putting off telling Claire the truth. As they just reunited after 20 years apart, Claire would have been upset at this information, but she would have accepted it. But as he continues to lie, Claire will have every right to be furious and doubt their entire relationship once she finds out. And if you're mad at Jamie now, just wait until you see who Jamie's second wife is.
Based on the preview for the next episode, appropriately entitled "First Wife," Claire will find out that Jamie is married to another woman sooner rather than later. She threatens in the preview, "I'm just not sure if we belong together anymore." Outlander fans spent the first half of the season waiting for Claire and Jamie to reunite and just like that, could it all be over? While Jamie and Claire's marriage has survived unthinkable obstacles, this betrayal is particularly damaging, especially when you consider how honest their reunion seemed in "A. Malcolm." And it's difficult not to resent Jamie for continuing to lie when everyone from Fergus to Ian advises him to tell Claire the truth.
The reason that Jamie will no longer be able to keep his second wife a secret is because Claire and Jamie are returning to Lallybroch to return Young Ian home. While speaking to Fergus, Jamie implies his other wife lives at Balriggan, which he says is miles away from his family's home. Yet, no amount of miles will be able to keep a secret this big under wraps for long. And it's only going to hurt Claire more when she learns his second wife's identity. Spoilers from the Outlander book series ahead.
In the book Voyager, it is revealed that Jamie's second wife is Laoghaire (pronounced like leery), whose unhealthy obsession with Jamie has been well-established on the TV series. In Season 1, Laoghaire was rabidly jealous that Claire married Jamie since she was convinced he belonged to her. She tried to seduce Jamie (she came a little too close to succeeding for comfort) and when that didn't work, Laoghaire placed a curse under Jamie and Claire's bed and then accused Claire of witchcraft. Interestingly enough, Ned Gowan attempted to save Claire from her witchcraft trial by representing her in court and it's Ned whom Jamie has reached out to about his polygamy problem. Since Claire has returned to the 1700s and is Jamie's first wife, his marriage to Claire should be the more legally binding one. But that's not going to help when Claire initially finds out that Jamie not only lied about having a second wife, but that his second wife is the woman who was responsible for almost getting her burned to death.
Laoghaire last appeared in Season 2's "The Fox's Lair" at the home of Jamie's grandfather, Lord Lovat. Laoghaire apologized to Claire for reporting her as a witch and Claire responded, "I don't hate you, Laoghaire. I pity you. The dark places you must've inhabited in the hopes of getting something that you'll never have." Those words will come back to haunt Claire when she finds out that Laoghaire's persistence paid off and she has married Jamie.
Even without knowing Laoghaire's personality, which is pretty awful, it's obvious that her marriage to Jamie isn't a happy one as Jamie is living apart from her in Edinburgh. So you should trust Jamie's statement that he has never loved anyone but Claire. But the fact that Laoghaire is about to be rejected by Jamie for Claire again is undoubtedly going to cause massive amounts of trouble. Another complication is that, at least in the books, Laoghaire has two daughters from a previous marriage and so Jamie feels an obligation to provide for his stepdaughters, as well as his second wife.
Jamie and Claire's relationship is already strained as they fight in "Crème De Menthe," but Jamie's betrayal casts a greater shadow across their reunion. Even if you love Jamie (which, of course, you do), he does appear to be more morally corrupt now than he was 20 years ago. While he is right that Claire and he have lied together many times before, his current lies are hurting the ones he loves. Claire triggers him when she says he doesn't know what it's like to be a parent, but his guilt could have also been subconsciously coming into play during their fight in the Oct. 29 episode. "I didn't realize lies had shades," he says, haughtily. However, Claire is right about the complicated nature of untruths, and his marriage to Laoghaire is certainly a lie that falls toward the darker side of the spectrum.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that TV viewers find out about Jamie's other wife much sooner than book readers did. Executive producer Matthew B. Roberts told THR, "That's us saying in a visual way that Jamie knows that he's holding something but before he tells Claire about it, he wants to get all the information so he can unload with all the information and legal ramifications of the secret ... We felt it necessary to protect the character that way, and show that he knows and he's trying to do something about it." Yet, "trying to do something" is not going to make up for his transgressions. Not for Claire or for Outlander fans.
While "First Wife" is going to have Jamie and Claire at odds again, you should still expect the pair to stay together. After all, their relationship is kind of the whole point of Outlander as it stands now. Even though Jamie has betrayed her, she's inevitably going to have to accept this part of Jamie's life and move on for their story to continue. But Jamie's deception shows that these two need to do much more than make love and catch up to be a functioning partnership again. So prepare for another episode where you're upset with Jami,e and get ready to feel the righteous anger of his "First Wife."