Warning: spoilers ahead for the seventh episode of Outlander Season 3, called "Creme De Menthe." If you haven't caught the episode just yet, you may want to check out some of our non-spoilery articles.
Ever since Claire traveled back to the 18th century to reunite with Jamie on Outlander, he has clearly been keeping some big secrets. The two were initially so caught up with reacquainting (in and out of the bedroom) that they weren't too concerned about some of the details of their time apart, but Jamie did eventually confess to printing seditious documents in his print shop and smuggling whiskey on the side. He even came clean about his secret son that he had to leave behind. To Claire, it may have seemed like Jamie had admitted all the big things he could have possibly kept from her. In "Creme De Menthe," we conclusively learned that was not the case as Jamie's last big secret was finally revealed: he has another wife.
Outlander dropped a clue beforehand that Claire's return did present a problem for Jamie from a legal standpoint. In last week's "A. Malcolm" episode, Fergus pulled Jamie aside to ask if Claire would be staying with him after she miraculously reappeared in Scotland after two decades. Jamie simply responded that he would need to consult with lawyer Ned Gowan, although he was unsure whether Claire's return would actually be an issue. Neither Jamie nor Fergus went into detail about why Jamie needed advice from a lawyer, but it couldn't have been anything good.
It was actually Fergus who dropped the bombshell to the audience in "Creme De Menthe." After Jamie's print shop burned down and he heard the news that the authorities had learned about the seditious materials, Jamie decided it was time to take Young Ian and Claire back to Lallybroch. Fergus and Jamie had a quick chat before parting, in which Fergus asked if "milady" knew about his other wife just yet. Jamie replied that she was still in the dark, but he intended to explain everything once Claire and Young Ian were safe.
On the one hand, it's easy to understand where Jamie is coming from. He had no idea that Claire would ever come back for him, and he had to move on with his life. As a man in 18th century Scotland, moving on evidently involved marrying again. It's not his fault that he couldn't have foreseen his time-traveling first wife returning to take her place by his side yet again, and it's hard to blame him for not wanting to tell her about his second wife and spoil their reunion.
On the other hand, Jamie probably didn't think this particular issue through before he decided not to tell Claire right away that he married again during their years apart. After all, it's hardly a secret that can be kept forever, and Claire continuing to reunite with people from her past increases the chance that somebody else will spill the beans. He's lucky neither Young Ian nor Ian Sr. mentioned the other Mrs. Fraser in their surprise at seeing Claire again. If Claire finds out from somebody other than Jamie, he's going to be in quite a lot of trouble with her.
When Claire inevitably finds out about Wife #2, she's going to know that Jamie deliberately withheld from her for however long they were together before the truth comes out. Every day that passes without Jamie telling the truth will make it all the worse when she does learn about his second marriage. It's also a bit rich of Jamie to interrogate Claire about the nature of her relationship with Frank when he moved on to another woman. At least Claire hasn't hidden that she went back to being Frank's wife. Jamie undoubtedly has the best intentions in keeping this secret; it's just probably going to backfire rather spectacularly on him.
Now, book readers won't have been surprised by the reveal of Jamie's second wife, and her identity next week won't come as a shocker to those who have perused Voyager either. For non-book readers... well, the reveal of the second Mrs. Fraser should be interesting. Be sure to tune in to Starz on Sunday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET to see what's next for Jamie and Claire on Outlander. Don't forget to swing by our fall TV guide as well.