Outlander Season Three Episode Four: “Of Lost Things”

Welcome to our recap of Season 3 of Outlander!  This season is based on the novel Voyager, a beefy book that follows the storylines of both Claire and Jamie, separated by two centuries.  It’s early days in the season, and we’re still going through the process of finding out exactly what Claire and Jamie have been up to over the course of twenty years.  So far, we’ve seen Claire decide to follow her dream of attending medical school, and we’ve seen Jamie sacrificing his freedom for his family after hiding in a cave for six years.  Tonight, Claire’s story catches up to her present-day timeline, and Jamie serves out his indenture at the estate of Helwater.  Another beloved character makes his first appearance as well, prompting both smiles and tears in anybody with a heart.

Let’s start with Claire’s storyline, since she’s not in the episode all that much.  She, Brianna, and Roger are searching for evidence of Jamie’s survival during the twenty years since Culloden.  Claire stumbles upon his name in the rolls of prisoners at Ardsmuir, and the trio are excited until they find that the prison closed and the prisoners were transported to America.  Subsequent searches of ships’ manifests and passenger logs turn up nothing further.  Roger is willing to travel to all the actual ports and see if more records exist, but Claire decides to call it quits and returns to Boston.

Oh, and Roger and Brianna finally kiss.  Seriously, how did she resist those sweaters for so long?

Back in the 1700s, Jamie is looking smart in a groom’s uniform and stylish ponytail.  He works for the Dunsany family, consisting of the lord and lady and their two daughters, Geneva and Isobel.  (As a side note, I squinted at the actor playing Lord Dunsany for the entire hour before realizing that he’s the actor who played Mr. Hurst in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice.  Small world.)  The grooms all have a habit of drawing straws to see who has the, ahem, good fortune to accompany Geneva on her daily ride.  Not very popular, that one.  Her sister even realizes it, as she is fairly nonplussed at overhearing Jamie express the desire to give Geneva a kick in the butt.

But Geneva has some reason to be grumpy, since she’s headed for an arranged marriage with a guy old enough to be her grandfather, Lord Ellesmere.  And one thing she doesn’t want is to lose her virginity to an ancient lecher.  Luckily for her (unluckily for our hero), she cooks up a scheme to fix that.

Lord John has been keeping his promise to visit Jamie, and the pair are enjoying a quiet game of chess when the girls show up with John’s brother Hal–the same one who saved Jamie’s life at Culloden.  Geneva notices Hal’s reaction, although the older brother follows John’s lead and pretends (not very convincingly) to be meeting “Alex Mackenzie” for the first time.  But Geneva plies Hal with wine that night and gets the truth out of him.  This truth allows her to blackmail Jamie: if he wants her to keep his identity a secret, and possibly avoid complications for his family, Jamie will come to her room and take her virginity.  Jamie is understandably pissed off, but bows to the inevitable.  (This is different from the book, in which Geneva intercepts a letter from Jenny that is enough to give away who he is.)

Jamie grits his teeth and does what he has to do.  It turns out that Geneva isn’t nearly as confident as she makes out to be.  She’s scared and completely in the dark as to what is supposed to happen in bed.  You can sympathize with her, to a degree, because she’s basically been bartered off to a stranger.  As uncomfortable as it is to see a sex scene with Jamie that doesn’t include Claire, you have to give it to him–he tries to make it not-too-terrible for Geneva.  Later, after the wedding, Geneva and her husband visit Helwater and we see that she’s hugely pregnant.  Oh dear…

One night, Jamie is summoned by Isobel to ready the carriage.  Geneva is giving birth and is in distress.  The family hurries to the Ellesmere estate to find that Geneva has given birth to a baby boy.  And Jamie finds out that Isobel knows who the real father is when he comes upon her crying in the hall: Geneva has bled to death after the birth.  And the chaos doesn’t end there, as Lord Ellesmere also knows that the baby isn’t his, since he says he never shared her bed.  (He’s freaking out now after the birth?  Did this not occur to him in the previous nine months?)  Jamie and Isobel round the corner to see Ellesmere holding a knife to the infant, and Lord Dunsany holding a pistol aimed at Ellesmere.  Jamie tries to calm everyone down and manages to get the pistol, but when Ellesmere threatens to stab the infant, Jamie fires one perfect shot that takes Ellesmere down without harming the baby.  (Damn, I’m proud of that screencap.)

Days later, Jamie is confronted by Lady Dunsany, who reveals that she knows Jamie is a Jacobite prisoner, but in her gratitude for saving her grandson, she not only tells him that he won’t be held responsible for Ellesmere’s death, she will help Jamie get paroled so that he can go home.  But Jamie won’t go yet–he needs to watch over his son.  But as the boy grows, the resemblance between the pair gets too obvious.  And so, Jamie decides to leave his son and go home.

But he wants his son to have a guardian, and so he asks Lord John to watch over little William.  He offers John his body in exchange, to which John reacts with horror.  He says that he will never stop wanting Jamie, but that he won’t force himself on his friend.  And hey, he’s marrying Isobel, who has custody of William, so… instant stepfather.  He may not be a Murtagh, but John ain’t half bad.

Before Jamie leaves, William sneaks into Jamie’s room to see him.  He finds Jamie praying to the patron saint of lost things, and Williams declares that he wants to be “a stinking Papist” like his beloved “Mac”.  Jamie baptizes him “William James”, and gives him a carved snake just like the one his older brother (also named William) made for him.  The next day, he takes his leave of John, Isobel, and his son, and rides away without looking back.

Next week brings us to the moment when Claire returns to the past to finally be reunited with Jamie!  I wonder if that will end the episode, or if the showrunners will tease us by ending the episode with the print shop door opening…

Outlander Season Three Episode Three: “All Debts Paid”

Welcome to our recap of Season 3 of Outlander!  This season is based on the novel Voyager, a beefy book that follows the storylines of both Claire and Jamie, separated by two centuries.  It’s early days in the season, and we’re still going through the process of finding out exactly what Claire and Jamie have been up to over the course of twenty years.  So far, we’ve seen Claire decide to follow her dream of attending medical school, and we’ve seen Jamie sacrificing his freedom for his family after hiding in a cave for six years.  Tonight, we can both rejoice and grieve—rejoice at two characters that we’ve all wanted to see, and grieve for the final exit of someone we’ve come to know and love.

The past two weeks we’ve started with Claire’s storyline, but I think this week we’ll reverse that, as there are some massive events in Claire’s life that deserve a little drama in their telling.

Somewhere in Scotland is Ardsmuir Prison, a bleak posting that is thought of as a punishment post for the officers unlucky enough to be stationed there.  Arriving at this inauspicious place is one of the series’ most anticipated characters: Lord John Grey, who has come to take up the post of Governor of the prison.  Colonel Quarrie, whom Lord John will replace, is all too happy to flee to parts more civilized, and he warns John that his only society will be his officers… and one prisoner.  Red Jamie Fraser is at Ardsmuir, kept in irons, and the other Jacobite prisoners treat him as their chief, calling him Mac Dubh.  John doesn’t like that suggestion, and if you paid attention to the “Previously on” segment of the show, you remember that Jamie spared John’s life at Carryarrick, for which John, perversely, hasn’t forgiven him.

Still, John seems to realize the value of cultivating Jamie’s acquaintance and asks to speak to him.  Jamie is obviously wary of him, and doesn’t seem to recognize John.  Their first conversation is brief, although John does get a bit of an earful about the rats in the cells and how the prisoners will eat them if they catch them.  In the aforementioned cells is the most welcome sight imaginable: Murtagh!!!  CRANKY OTTER LIVES!!!  Okay, he’s a bit the worse for wear, with a nasty cough and a festering rat bite on his wrist (anybody else think he’s going to replace Duncan Innes later down the line?) but still, he’s alive!  And I am a happy recapper.

Later, a British patrol comes across a man walking alone across the moor, muttering about cursed gold.  Immediately thinking of the Frenchman’s gold—the fortune that King Louis of France was supposed to have sent to Charles Stuart—they swoop down on the poor guy and spirit him off to the prison.  Lord John, realizing that he needs help to translate the man’s hodgepodge of English, French, and Gaelic, asks for Jamie’s help.  Jamie initially refuses, but John promises to strike off his irons if he helps.  All he wants is a true and accurate telling of what the man (Duncan Kerr) says, and Jamie’s silence on the matter.  Jamie wants John’s help in treating the prisoners who are sick, but when John protests that he hasn’t the resources to do so, Jamie asks him to help one in specific: Murtagh.  Duncan Kerr is near death, babbling about selkies and Jamie’s mother Ellen, but it’s his mention of a white witch that gets Jamie’s attention.  Duncan dies without giving Jamie any real information, but Jamie becomes determined to find out if the “white witch” is Claire, and the next day, he escapes while the prisoners are being marched out to cut peat.

John is, as you can imagine, less than pleased with this development, but searches diligently for the rogue Highlander.  As John is leading the search, Jamie pops up behind him (how can a guy that big move so quietly?) and reveals that he knows who John is.  And he wants John to honor his promise to kill him.  John won’t kill an unarmed prisoner, though, leaving Jamie reluctantly in possession of his life.  Jamie does explain to John why he ran, and John begins to see how lost Jamie feels without his wife.  The two men begin to bond over dinners and games of chess, and eventually, Jamie talks about Claire with John.  In return, John tells Jamie about the loss of his dear friend on the battlefield at Culloden, with the clear intimation that they were more than friends.  John tries to console Jamie by putting a hand over his, but almost unconsciously strokes Jamie’s hand with his thumb, causing Jamie to shut down and threaten to kill John.

The pair still haven’t reconciled their friendship when Ardsmuir is closed and the prisoners set to be transported to America and into fourteen years of indentured servitude.  Jamie, however, seems bound for a different fate, as John ropes him to his saddle and sets off across the countryside with him.  He’s gotten Jamie’s indenture transferred to a landowner at a place called Helwater—the best he could do to give Jamie his freedom.  When Jamie questions him, saying “I didn’t give you what you wanted”, John expresses his regret for that moment, and says he wanted to discharge his debt to Jamie.  The pair proceed to Helwater.

Off to the 1950s we go!  Claire and Frank are having breakfast together—a proper English breakfast, prompted by Brianna having asked for Eggo toaster waffles.  Over the meal, Claire suggests that she and Frank see a movie that night, which he’s willing to do, but he admits to having seen the two that she’s suggesting.  Claire is taken aback, but a comment from Frank explains things to the viewers: Frank and Claire have agreed to lead separate lives, which includes seeing other people.  He has promised to be discreet, for the sake of her and Brianna, but he is obviously seeking companionship elsewhere.  This is actually a fairly neat and tidy way to resolve the contradiction of the book version of Frank, whom the author says can’t be proved to have cheated but whom we are told (by Claire, who may not be the most reliable narrator in this regard) that he had definitely had affairs.  It also keeps the essence of the book version of Frank while making him more likeable to those who have only seen the show.  After all, if Claire cooked up the idea of letting him see other women, he’s not quite the cad he might otherwise have seemed.  Okay, book nerdishness off now.

A few years later, Claire and Joe have gotten their medical degrees and they’re having a graduation party at Claire and Frank’s house.  Frank is a bit concerned about their dinner reservations, having misremembered them as being at six, when in fact they’re at seven.  His nerves are explained when a young woman rings their doorbell and is visibly shocked to see Claire, who answers the door.  Claire covers her anger by suggesting that the party go to the restaurant early.  But you know this is a fight that won’t be put off forever.  In fact, as soon as Frank gets home, Claire confronts him.  How dare he bring a woman to the house where their daughter lives?  Even if she was just picking him up, Claire feels that Frank is throwing his affair in her face, and on the night of her graduation.  Frank admits that he might just have wanted to hurt her, to make her feel what he’s felt for so long.  But when Claire tells him to file for divorce, he refuses, afraid that he’ll lose his connection with Brianna.

1966 rolls around, and Brianna graduates from high school.  That night, Frank confronts Claire with his request for a divorce.  Brianna is eighteen now, and Frank has been offered a job in Cambridge—and he hopes Bree will go to England with him.  For good.  Claire accuses him of waiting for the clock to run out to make his escape, but he pleads with her to understand that he wants to live what life he can while he can.  He asks her if she could have forgotten Jamie with time, if Brianna hadn’t been a living reminder.  She replies “That amount of time doesn’t exist.”  Frank grabs his car keys and leaves the house, leaving Claire briefly alone before being called to the hospital for a surgery.

Later that evening, as Claire comforts the husband of the woman she just operated on, Joe approaches her with a shocked look.  It’s Frank, he says.  He’s been in a car accident.  Claire runs out to the ER, only to find Frank lying dead on a gurney.  Now that it’s too late, Claire is finally able to admit that she did love Frank, and that he was her first love.  She kisses him goodbye, visibly pulls herself together, and walks out.

And thus exits a great character and a wonderful actor.  Tobias, we’ll miss you and we hope that you return in a flashback or two.  Next week, we return to 1968 as Claire, Brianna, and Roger search for evidence of Jamie’s continued survival through history.

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Outlander Season Three Episode Two: “Surrender”

Welcome to our recap of Season 3 of Outlander!  This season is based on the novel Voyager, a beefy book that follows the storylines of both Claire and Jamie, separated by two centuries.  When last we saw our intrepid hero and heroine, it was April 16, 1746, and the Battle of Culloden was beginning–the battle that would mark the destruction of the Highland way of life.  Jamie had sent a pregnant Claire back to her own time through the stones at Craig na Dun and then returned to the Highland army with the expectation of dying on the battlefield.  Twenty years later, Claire discovers that Jamie did not actually die that day and vows to return to the eighteenth century to find him again.  The first few episodes are going to be covering what happened in Jamie and Claire’s lives after their separation.

Claire’s storyline isn’t too hard to recap this week, as it all runs along the lines of her trying to insert Frank into Jamie’s place.  Yes, I know what i just said… it was deliberate.  That’s because there’s a lot of focus on Claire and Frank’s sexual relationship in this episode.  It reminds me strongly of the very first episode of this series, when the two were reunited and on their second honeymoon.  Claire says straight out that she and Frank used sex to find their way back to each other after being separated for several years in the war.  Back then, they were torn apart before they could really complete the process of reconnecting, and I see the writers showing that they’re on a similar path again.  They seem to find some measure of comfort in each other physically, but not much else.

Or do they?  Claire appears to be a bit, um, distracted in realms fleshly.  Dreams of Jamie haunt her (and my God, does Jamie have some smolder–even my husband Scott said that Jamie’s look over his shoulder at Claire in her dream was sexy).  So much so that she awakens from a dream and decides to take matters into her own hands.  Yes, Claire, we see where your hands are.

But you can’t say that Claire isn’t trying to make it work.  She and Frank do seem to be bonding over Brianna, with whom Frank is clearly completely smitten.  When Bree turns over by herself for the first time, Frank has just jumped out of the shower and is walking through with nothing on but a towel when he detours to cuddle the baby.  And is anybody going to deny that he looked adorable holding little Bree?  Claire and Frank share a moment as she realizes that he’s wet and almost naked and… ahem.  Off goes Frank to fix the hot water heater, and I’m pretty sure all he’ll have to do is smile at the thing to get some steam a-goin’.  That night, Claire reaches out to him and whispers “I miss my husband” before jumping his bones.  WE SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING THERE, LADY.

Next up is a dinner party, with Neighbor Millie and her husband.  The two are flirting heavily with each other (how much wine was involved in this dinner, anyway?) and it really underlines what Claire and Frank are missing in their relationship.  After the lovebirds leave, Claire and Frank share a nightcap in front of the fireplace, and then Claire offers to share more than that.  They end up having sex on the floor by the fire, but Frank can’t help but notice that Claire’s eyes are closed… and he knows what that probably means.  He pulls away from her, saying “When I’m with you, I’m with you… but you’re with him.”

Claire realizes that her new life is a prison of a different kind than the one that Jamie will soon be enduring, but it’s a prison nonetheless.  Reaching for a purpose in her life, she enrolls in medical school, the only woman in her class.  This is something that the professor (and what IS it with white men in Boston???) can’t resist pointing out, also noting that the class contains their first black student.  And thus does Claire meet Joe Abernathy, one of her closest friends in years to come.  Readers didn’t get to see this meeting in the book, but the showrunners included it here to give viewers the beginning of their friendship.

Our last glimpse of our strained pair is at bedtime one night, in which the camera pulls out to reveal that Frank and Claire now sleep in separate twin beds.  Ouch.

Back in the early 1750s, the family at Lallybroch has been living with regular invasions of British soldiers, hunting for the elusive outlaw Red Jamie, whom they believe is the same person as a figure who’s cropped up called the Dunbonnet.  Jenny and Ian deny harboring a Jacobite traitor, and they’re not lying–Jamie isn’t at the estate.  He’s lurking around in the hills above Lallybroch, feral and hollow-eyed and sporting a truly awe-inspiring beard.  He watches from the shadows as Fergus taunts the British soldiers (especially a Scot who sided with the Crown and is now viewed as a traitor himself among the Highlanders) and as the soldiers drag Ian away to prison (mostly just because they can).  Jenny, hugely pregnant, is confident Ian will be back soon, just like all the other times.

Later, Jamie takes down a deer and hauls it back to Lallybroch.  It’s not made really clear in the show, but in the book readers are made well aware of the fact that Jamie’s hunting is helping keep his family from starvation.  Tromping into the courtyard with his load of fast food (heh), his imagination shows him Claire waiting for him and smiling at him.  Alas for our hearts, it’s actually Jenny standing there.  Gotta wait longer for that reunion scene.  In the kitchen, Jamie silently butchers the deer and seems content to communicate in expressive glares.  Joking aside, Sam is doing a great job at portraying how lost Jamie is without Claire.  The blank looks, the silence, the hoarse voice when he does eventually talk–they all hint at a man who never really came back from that battlefield, as Jenny succinctly notes later in the episdoe.

Fergus has distinctly mixed feelings about his beloved Milord by this point.  After finding a pistol hidden in the dovecote, Jamie growls at him to put it back, because weapons are now forbidden in the Highlands.  Fergus wants to learn to shoot and fight, so that he’s ready for the next time it comes to war, but Jamie refuses to give in to his demands.  Fergus lashes out at Jamie calling him a coward.  Jamie barely reacts.

The next time Jamie shows up (scaring Mary McNab this time), he finds out that Jenny is giving birth!  While he paces upstairs, Fergus, Rabbie McNab and young Jamie see a raven on the roof and, fetching the pistol, shoot the bird.  Ravens are bad luck, and they don’t want any harm to come to the baby.  (The showrunners said that this is a callback to Fergus’s reaction to the death of baby Faith.)  And it’s bad luck, all right–a Redcoat patrol is nearby and hears the shot.

Upstairs, Jamie cradles his new nephew, who is to be named after his father (HELLO WEE IAN!), while Jenny quizzes Jamie on when he last had sex.  Um, nosy much, Jenny?  Yes, she’s worried about Jamie’s state of mind, but wow.  This tender scene of sibling companionship is interrupted by the arrival of the British patrol, who demand to know who has the gun.  Jenny dissembles like a pro, playing on her condition as having recently given birth and lying through her teeth that the infant died, hoping the soldiers will leave.  Instead, they demand to see the body.  WHAT THE HELL, SOLDIER BOYS.  Meanwhile, Jamie is hiding in an antechamber with the baby, trying desperately to keep it from crying.  Just when all seems lost, Mary McNab comes in with the pistol, saying she shot it to kill the raven in an effort to save the baby.  The soldiers are disgusted with the superstition, but do no more than confiscate the gun and leave.

But our wily limeys haven’t actually gone anywhere–the Scottish corporal has stuck around hoping that someone will lead him to Jamie, and he think he’s hit the jackpot when he sees Fergus head into the woods.  But the boy is leading them in circles, and soon starts taunting the Redcoats with both language and gestures.  Fergus, where did you hear such things?… oh yeah, you were raised in a brothel.  Carry on, then.  Jamie watches the goings-on with grumpy disbelief, and no small measure of fear.  Well-founded fear, as more soldiers show up and Fergus is cornered and grabbed.  In a fit of rage, the Scottish soldier draws his sword, and with one stroke, he severs Fergus’s left hand.  The soldiers quickly decamp after this, leaving Fergus to bleed out.  Lucky that Jamie was nearby, because he’s able to carry Fergus to Lallybroch in time to staunch the bleeding.

It finally sinks in to Jamie’s stubborn Scottish skull that others are suffering on his behalf and that he does still have things to fight for.  With that in mind, he hatches a plan: Jenny will turn Jamie in to the soldiers, thus earning the reward (which will feed the family) and proving the Frasers to be loyal to the Crown.  To say that Jenny isn’t happy with this idea is an understatement, but Jamie out-stubborns her.  That night, in his cave, Jamie gets a visit from Mary McNab, who not only cuts his hair and shaves his beard off, but offers the complete spa treatment in the form of, well… her.  Jamie initially demurs, but Mary says she knows what he had with Claire and is only offering comfort before he goes to somewhere that will have nothing of the kind.  Crying, eyes closed, he kisses her.

The next day, a clean-shaven Jamie shows up at the front gate of Lallybroch only to be grabbed by British soldiers.  Jenny, playing her part, screams at him “You forced me to do this, and I’ll never forgive you!”  Methinks this is more than just playing the part here…

Our episode ends with Claire walking through the streets of Boston and hearing a bagpiper playing “Scotland the Brave”.  She puts some money in his hat and continues on her way.

Next time, one of the characters we’ve all been waiting to see makes his appearance: Lord John Gray, a man who will eventually become one of Jamie’s best friends, but for now, their relationship can best be described as “fraught’.  Fraught with what?  We’ll see next week!

Outlander Season 3 Episode One: “The Battle Joined”

Welcome to our recap of Season 3 of Outlander!  This season is based on the novel Voyager, a beefy book that follows the storylines of both Claire and Jamie, separated by two centuries.  When last we saw our intrepid hero and heroine, it was April 16, 1746, and the Battle of Culloden was beginning–the battle that would mark the destruction of the Highland way of life.  Jamie had sent a pregnant Claire back to her own time through the stones at Craig na Dun and then returned to the Highland army with the expectation of dying on the battlefield.  Twenty years later, Claire discovers that Jamie did not actually die that day and vows to return to the eighteenth century to find him again.  The first few episodes are going to be covering what happened in Jamie and Claire’s lives after their separation.

Let’s start by following Claire’s storyline–yes, I’m going to make you wait for news of the hot Highlander.

Cast your mind waaaaaaay back to the first episode of season one and you’ll remember that Claire and Frank had moved to Boston to get a fresh start after Claire’s disappearance and reappearance.  We catch up with them checking out their new digs in America.  Frank has gone all-out finding a place for them to live and raise their child, so much so that Claire asks if they can afford it.  Frank admits it will make things a little tight, but that he knows that she wants a real home.  Frank, you are too sweet for words.  (Speaking of words, Tobias Menzies as Frank gets to bust out an American drawl that makes me want to see him star in the new Kingsmen movie, but I digress.)  It is so obvious that he still adores Claire and wants to make things work–I want to hug him and pretend that everything is going to be okay.

Flash forward a few months and Claire is most definitely sporting a baby bump… well, more like a baby beach ball.  The woman who patched up wounded men and traveled with an eighteenth century army camp is now reduced to trying to get a gas stove to light.  Oh, how far we have fallen.  But wait!… Claire has a bright idea to cook dinner in the fireplace, and to heck with the stove!  She goes out for firewood, and upon returning meets her neighbor, Millie.  This lady seems a little empty-headed, but basically decent–throwback to the ladies she hung out with in Paris?  Perhaps.

Claire also goes with Frank to a faculty party and meets his boss, who is stunned to discover that Claire has a brain and expresses political opinions!  How gauche!  He suggests that Frank police his wife’s reading, lest she start thinking that women can go to school, and, you know, not be dependent on men.  Give Frank some credit, he stands up for Claire by pointing out that she was a combat nurse, but all this gets is the smug assertion that Claire must be glad to get back to cleaning house and making babies.  We actually see her swallow down about fifteen different responses before she finally answers “Yes” with a big, bright, I’m-humoring-you-for-my-husband’s-sake smile.

Forward a bit more and Claire and Frank are having breakfast and actually talking like normal human beings.  Yay, some progress!  Except that when Frank goes to touch her belly, she shies away from him.  A vicious argument ensues, one which includes thrown ashtrays, and it ends with Frank telling Claire that she can stay or go, but to make sure she’s doing what she wants to do.  The shot of the two of them separated by a wall as he hesitates at the front door is heartbreaking.  But you have to wonder: how much has Claire told him about his ancestor Jack Randall?  She obviously told him some of the terrible things Jack did, as last season Roger and Brianna found a letter from Frank saying that Jack “wasn’t the man he thought he was”.  Does he really understand what it would be like for Claire to see love in the face of a sadist?  Granted, she’s also grieving for Jamie, but I bet Frank’s resemblance to Jack is just eating her up as well.

Later that night, Frank’s exile to the couch leads to nothing but noting every little noise in his house, so he gets up to write a letter.  It’s to the Reverend back in Inverness, and he asks him to find info on Jamie.  Starting to believe a bit, are we, Frank?  However, he is interrupted by the imminent appearance of a baby.  Claire’s in labor!  At the hospital, the doctor on call is a real jackass, talking over Claire and telling her not to worry her “pretty little head” and knocking her out over her objections.  Sheesh, those women, thinking they can dictate what happens to their bodies.  When she wakes up, she is sans beach ball and starts panic, but a besotted Frank walks in with little Brianna.  The two actually kiss and promise to make a new start together… and then the nurse, with the world’s worst sense of timing, asks where the baby got her red hair.  You can literally see the walls slam closed behind Frank’s eyes.

And now, back to Scotland, April 16, 1746.  The Battle of Culloden is over and the Highland army has been almost entirely wiped out.  Bodies litter the field, and British soldiers wander around looting the bodies and delivering a death blow to anyone still living.  In the middle of one of those piles lies Jamie, pinned under the body of a British soldier.  He’s gravely wounded, and as he drifts in and out of consciousness, bits and pieces of the battle come back to him.  He remembers the moments at Craig na Dun after Claire vanishes through the stones.  He returns to the army and urges Prince Charles to order a charge immediately “while there’s still a chance”.  The Highlanders charge as cannon blasts land in their ranks, red-coated British infantrymen fire indiscriminately, and bayonets are leveled at them.  At one point, Jamie smothers a British soldier with a clump of turf–the Highlands themselves are fighting back!  At another point, Jamie encounters Murtagh, still up and fighting with a crazed grin on his face, assuring Jamie that the Lallybroch men are safe before returning to the fighting.  And can I just say how brutal this whole sequence was?  This battle wasn’t noble or heroic.  It was slaughter, butchery, desperate hand to hand struggle, plain and simple.  Of all the battle scenes in this show, I think this one caught the terrible savagery of bladed combat the best.

And then, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Jamie and Black Jack Randall lock eyes across a crowded battlefield… okay, I’ll be serious now.  The pair launch themselves at each other with all the power of their mutual history behind them.  Jack slashes Jamie’s leg (so THAT’S how  he got that scar!), and in return, Jamie stabs him in the gut.  The two continue to struggle until, at last, they’re the only ones left on their feet and they’re blindly swiping at each other with the last of their strength.  In the end, Jack reaches out to Jamie, a look almost of grief on his face, before the two collapse together… and we realize that it’s Jack’s body that’s on top of Jamie.  Kudos to Tobias Menzies for his final portrayal as Black Jack.  The showrunners said that Menzies ad-libbed the gesture towards Jamie at the very end of their fight, and they left it in because it summed up their relationship so very well.  Hard on the heels of this memory is a vision of Claire walking to Jamie across the battlefield.  She asks if he’s alive, but he rouses enough to realize that it’s actually Rupert who has found him and who then drags him into a nearby farmhouse with a group of wounded Jacobites hoping to escape the notice of the British.  Jamie asks what happened to Murtagh, but no one knows if he survived.  In the books, Jamie remembers holding Murtagh as he died, so the fact that we didn’t see his fate gives me hope that he’ll be back.  GIVE ME BACK MY CRANKY OTTER.  Ahem.  I am somewhat fond of Murtagh.  #AlwaysTakeAMurtagh.

The next day, the small group is found by a group of British soldiers under the command of Lord Melton.  He informs the Highlanders that they are all to be executed, although he will give them an hour to prepare themselves and write letters to their families.  It’s a weird way of giving the Highlanders honor as soldiers, but he says they will be shot instead of hanged.  You take what you can get, I guess.  Rupert tries to argue for the lives of two teenage boys but is told no exceptions can be made.  As each man goes to his doom, his name is taken down for the official records.  Rupert takes his final leave of Jamie, telling him that he may not forgive him for killing Dougal, but he won’t go to his grave hating him for it.  He marches off, secure in the knowledge that he is about to see Angus again.  And we all weep uncontrollably at the thought.

When Jamie’s turn comes and he says his full name, Lord Melton does the proper British equivalent of a tea-less spit take.  Remember the kid whose life Jamie spared back in season two?  John Gray?  Turns out Lord Melton is his older brother!  Since John Gray told his brother that he owes Jamie his life, Lord Melton can’t allow Jamie to be executed without completely destroying his family’s honor.  He decides to send Jamie home to Lallybroch on a cart, reasoning that if he doesn’t survive, at least Jamie’s death won’t be on his hands (or his honor).  Jamie jounces along in the cart for a few days before opening his eyes to see Jenny and Ian looking down at him.  The war is over, and Jamie has come home.  But to what?  Tune in next time to find out!

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