Jamie's days and nights are dominated by political machinations, while Claire finds solace in her healing skills. As their plan to stop Culloden progresses, including engaging the aid of a young pickpocket, the past threatens to derail their forward momentum.
Feeling bored by her idle existence Claire decides to help at a charity hospital run by the formidable Mother Hildegarde, whose respect she begins to win. Jamie persuades Duverney to arrange a meeting with Charles Stuart in order to prevent the invasion but Stuart will not listen, instead claiming to have most of his funding. Aware that Stuart is keeping him in the dark Jamie employs Fergus, a young pickpocket, to steal information for him and learns that the prince will soon be receiving a large donation from the Duke of Sandringham. Claire realizes that a meeting with Sandringham will reveal that Randall is still alive and she has a further shock when she recalls, how in the 1940s she made a discovery about her ancestry.
- "Useful Occupations" is the title of Chapter 11 of Dragonfly in Amber, while "Deceptions" is the title of Chapter 13. The episode also covers events from Chapter 15, "In Which Music Plays a Part".
- In the episode, Mother Hildegarde mentions Monsieur Forez, though he does not appear until the fourth episode of the season.