The Reckoning opens with Jamie by a stream contemplating his life and what it means to be a man. A woman approaches from behind…
Jamie is with the lads meeting Horrocks for information as to who really killed the Red Coat officer. Dougal offends Horrocks who goes to leave only to have Jamie, Rupert and Angus tell him they commend him for deserting the English. Douglas gives Horrocks the gold and Horrocks tells them it is Jonathan Randall who killed his own soldier. Jamie knows this is no help to him as he can’t clear his name by blaming Randall. Horrocks leaves and Dougal starts after the man though Jamie stops him. Their attention is drawn to Willie riding up and calling out to Jamie. Willie tells them that Claire must have wandered off when he went to take a piss. When he found her she was being dragged off but Red Coats though she was thrashing and trying to fight back.
Jamie and Murtagh are at Fort William where they capture a Red Coat and make him say where Claire is being held before knocking him out. Jamie then signals the other men. The men proceed through the Fort taking out Red Coats as quietly as possible.
We get to see Jamie repel down the side of the Fort to the of Randall’s office where he finds Randall is delighted to see Jamie and wants to know how his handy work (Jamie’s scars) are looking. Randal asks if Jamie will show him is back but Jamie tells him it is the last thing he’ll see. Randall tells Claire Jamie can watch while he rapes her and makes Jamie put his pistol down upon threat of slitting Claire’s throat. Randall then asks Claire if she’d like Jamie to join them. Randall bends Claire over the table again and then shoots Jamie with the pistol only to be surprised when it doesn’t fire. Jamie rushes Randall and knocks him out.
We hear Jamie ponder why he didn’t take Randall’s life then but he couldn’t imagine taking a helpless man’s life.
Jamie and Claire rush from the room only to be seen by some Red Coats who raise the alarm. Just as they are about to be shot an explosion rocks the Fort sending the English into chaos. Jamie and Claire flee up to the wall and jump to the water below.
The men stop on the road to water the horse while Jamie takes Claire aside to make sure she’s uninjured and to confront her about not staying where he left her. Jamie asks for an apology or something that approaches one. Claire is flabbergasted that Jamie blames her. He tells her it is her fault that she didn’t stay where he told her to which resulted in her being taken up by the English. Jamie is angry that the result of her disregard was her ending up about to be raped by Randall.
Claire rebuffs his orders and tells him he thinks women are only fit to do what they are told and obey orders. Jamie tells Claire if she’d obeyed they wouldn’t have one hundred Red Coats on their tail. Claire slaps Jamie and he tells her if she tries to slap him again he’ll slap her until her ears ring.
Claire thinks him a fool and asks if he thinks she went and got captured on purpose. Jamie tells her he thinks she got captured to punish him for not saving her in the glade when the Red Coat deserters tried to rape her. She tells him that she just went for a walk to which he tells her again that he ordered her to stay put. Claire reiterates that she does have to follow his orders. Jamie tells her that she is his wife and she does have to follow his orders. She tells him that he thinks of her as his property and can’t stand anyone else having what he thinks of as his.
Jamie tells her she is his whether she likes it or not and she tells him she doesn’t like it. She tells him he doesn’t care what she thinks or how she feels as long as she’s there to warm his bed and stick it cock in. Jamie grabs her and she calls him a fucking bastard. He yells back that she’s a foul mouthed bitch and he’ll not speak to him like that.
Jamie then realizes their fight has gotten way out of hand and this isn’t at all what he wanted out of their marriage. He tells her he ran into Fort William with an empty pistol and his bare hands. He says, “When you screamed… you’re tearing my guts out, Claire.” Claire apologizes and asks for forgiveness and he forgives her. Jamie then apologizes and asks for her forgiveness and she forgives him as well. They then cling to each other.
Jamie tells us he would have forgiven her for anything because he was falling in love with her.
The mean arrive at an inn with a tavern where Dougal awaits. The men are retelling their fight at the Fort and when Claire tries to say something they ignore her and talk over her. Claire tries to thank the men but they ignore her again. She gives up and heads to bed upstairs. As she leaves Murtagh turns to Jamie and tells him she doesn’t understand what she nearly cost them all and Jamie knows she needs to learn.
Jamie comes into their room and Claire asks if the men will talk to her again. Jamie tells her they will and she asks him to come to bed. Jamie informs her there is still a matter for them to settle before bed and Claire asks what it is. Jamie tells Claire that if one of the men put everyone in danger the way she did, he’d be flogged or killed outright. Claire tells him she didn’t know and Jamie understands this. He tells her that the Red Coats will be after then and now Randall knows he’s around there and it is personal between them. Claire apologizes again and Jamie tells her if it was just him that would be fine. The problem is it isn’t just him and he needs to punish her.
Jamie takes off his belt and Claire clearly gets it. She tries to talk her way out of it (much like a child) and tries to dodge Jamie at every turn. Jamie tells her that she doesn’t understand what she’s down and a thrashing will make her understand. Claire puts up a fight throwing stuff at Jamie.
Down in the tavern the men comment Jamie’s getting on with it, them knowing full well what the punishment is and that it is to be carried out.
Claire tosses something else at Jamie and tells him she’ll scream and he tells her he expects her to during the act. He wrestles her across his knees and swats her several times with his belt. Claire hits him and then rolls away. Jamie grabs for her and she kicks him in the face. She tells him he’s taking pleasure in her punishment.
The men think it sounds like holy hell up in the room and Rupert wonders who’s punishing who.
Back in the room, Claire calls Jamie a sadist. He doesn’t know what that means but tells her he said he was going to punish her but not that he wouldn’t enjoy it.
The next morning Claire comes down and then men tell her a swatted ass hasn’t permanently hurt anyone. Ned offers her a place to sit and she tells him she’ll stand which gets a laugh out of everyone. Jamie looks worried.
Jamie tells us he thought things would go back to normal but he was naïve.
As they come into Leoch the Clan is waiting to congratulate them and throw them a wedding party. Letitia comments that it has been a long time since they’ve had a wedding. Colum gives his best wishes to Claire but says nothing to Jamie.
Laoghaire stops Jamie in the hall asking why he married Claire. She tells him that she’s been waiting for him to come back and he starts telling her but says he’s been summoned by Colum and has to go. He promises to speak to her later.
Jamie comes into Colum’s office where Dougal and Ned also await Colum’s wrath. Jamie tells Colum the consequences of the raid on the Fort will fall on Jamie’s head not the Clan. Colum asks about the rents and as Ned proceeds to tell him times have been tough; Colum asks about the money for the Jacobites.
Colum says that at least Jamie looks guilty and Jamie says he’s not guilty but concerned. Jamie tells Colum he holds no loyalty to James or Charlie. Dougal defends Jamie and says they just used his back to garner sympathy and money. Dougal then tells Colum that they raised the money honorably to restore the rightful king. Colum tells Dougal that the Clan is still under his control and what they support. Dougal tells Colum he’s proven his loyalty by collecting his rents, fighting his battles and protecting his person. Then he says he even ensured his bloodline. Jamie is stunned because he knows that means Hamish is Dougal’s son. Dougal thinks his fealty is worth a mere bag of gold which surprises Jamie. Dougal leaves and Ned soon follows.
Colum tells Jamie to stay. Colum tells Jamie he has given him sanctuary and protection from the English. He is angry that Jamie married a Sassenach knowing no one in the Clan would support Jamie as Colum’s successor.
Jamie has clearly told Claire about the conversation because Claire proclaims knew Dougal was Hamish’s father. Jamie watches her get ready for bed and then starts to undress. Claire tells him to think again about sleeping with her. Jamie picks up his things and leaves.
Out in the snow Jamie and Murtagh find Angus and Rupert roughing up Willie because he was the one who told Colum about the money for the Jacobite’s. Rupert and Angus ask Jamie where he stands and Jamie tells them there is only one Laird. Dougal comes up wondering what is happening because he thought they were hunting stag. Dougal then looks around and asks who is with him to which Murtagh spits on the ground and Jamie and Willie stay put but Angus and Rupert follow Dougal.
Murtagh tells Jamie they should leave even if it means living on the run and as an outlaw. Jamie points out that he can’t sleep under a bush with a wife. Murtagh tells him if they stay they’ll have to pick a side because Colum isn’t going to give Dougal back the gold not that it matters because the Bonnie Prince isn’t going to be sailing form Italy anytime soon.
Jamie goes to Colum and tells him about the tensions telling him he should give the gold to Dougal as a gift. Colum doesn’t think it a good idea to commit treason. Jamie tells him that the Prince is in Italy with the Pope and likely to stay there but he can remove the source of the conflict and give Dougal the money while waiting to see how things pan out before choosing a side in the Jacobite cause. Jamie brings his pitch home by telling him that Dougal may be the war chief but even Dougal knows only Colum could cry for war. Colum asks Jamie to bring Ned and Dougal to him.
Dougal and Ned stand in Colum’s office and Colum pulls Dougal’s dirk and asks Dougal if he remembers the oath he made at the Gathering. Dougal says he does and that he hasn’t broken it and he never will. Colum gives the gold back to Dougal and tells him to continue to play the rebel. He then has Ned send a missive to the Duke of Sandringham and invite him to a banquet in his honor. Dougal makes a comment about the Duke and men’s asses while Ned tells Colum it is a good idea to get a feel for the Jacobite cause from an Englishmen’s perspective. Colum informs Ned it will take more than agreeing with him to get back in his good graces. He tells all three mean (Dougal, Ned and Jamie) to get out of his sight.
We see Jamie at the stream again telling us that he should have been happy the MacKenzie’s weren’t going to tear themselves apart but he was preoccupied with the rift between Claire and him. Laoghaire comes up behind him and we learn this stream has been Jamie’s secret place since he was a lad.
Laoghaire proceeds to tell Jamie she’s cared for him since he first came to Leoch as a lad. She remembered him all the years he’d been away and she feels he was gallant to save Claire from the English. She assumes he’s not happy with his marriage. She believes the reason he took her punishment in Hall and kissed her in the alcove is because he wants her. Laoghaire removes her cloak and we see she’s wearing her bodice without anything beneath it. She tells Jamie she wishes him to be her first and only but Jamie tells her he’s made a vow and he won’t’ break it, “even with a lass as bonnie as you.” Laoghaire is clearly upset and runs off.
Back at Leoch, Jamie goes to Claire. He tells her about Dougal and Colum’s reconciliation and then tells her about some of their customs how Colum bent to come to an agreement with Dougal. He then tells her wives obeying and husbands punishing when they don’t is something that goes back generations but maybe they can have something different.
Jamie pledges to Claire that he will not raise his hand to her in rebellion again and should it his dirk pierce his heart. When Claire doesn’t say anything he asks her if she doesn’t want him and wishes to be separated. Claire thinks that is what she should want but she doesn’t.
Jamie tells Claire that her ring is the key to Lallybroch. He tells her he wanted to tell her when they returned to Lallybroch so she’d know it was her home as much as his. He doesn’t think he’ll make it back there but it doesn’t pain him as much as it once did because Claire is his home now.
Jamie and Claire make love fiercely and while riding Jamie Claire takes his dirk and holds it to his throat. She tells him if he ever raises his hand to her she’ll cut his heart out and eat it for breakfast. He gives his word and she tosses the dirk away so they can go out it. Jamie gets Claire beneath him and tells her she is his and he means to make her call him Master.
As Jamie and Claire lay together on the floor before the fire, Jamie tells Claire, “I am you Master and ye are mine. Seems I can’t possess your soul without losing my own.”
Later, Jamie asks Claire what Fucking means and she tells him it means what they just did. He then asks what a sadist means. She tells him and he tells her she doesn’t flatter him but he can’t fault her observations. Jamie is kissing his way down Claire when she says she’s ravenous and he says he is too meaning for her. She chuckles but then he rolls off of her and offers to go get something for them to eat.
Claire sees something under the bed, they aren’t using, and asks Jamie about it. He tells her it is an ill wish that is meant to bring pain, harm or even death. Claire asks who would put it under their bed and he guesses it is Laoghaire.