Outlander Season 2, Episode 13
“Dragonfly in Amber”
Posted by Kim
I’m not always a fan of starting at the end and doing the whole “how did we get here?” thing for an entire television season. Unless you are Harry Burns, reading the last page first usually takes all the fun out of the journey. We’ve known this whole season that the events leading up to the Battle of Culloden culminate in Claire going back through the stones to the present day and yet Outlander has managed to keep the season tense and surprising. We may know the ending but Jamie and Claire didn’t and it made watching their attempts to change history all the more frustrating. In the same vein, we’ve known the whole time that they were going to be separated but we didn’t KNOW what would drive them to that point. We knew it had to have been the absolute last resort for them but we didn’t KNOW just how desperate they were. Well, now we do. And DAMN. That last page was still a gut punch even though we knew it was coming. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: season two of Outlander has been a masterclass in storytelling. A pox on the Emmy Voters who ignored it. (Don’t worry…the Feelies are coming up and the show will get its due.)
“Dragonfly in Amber” did a LOT of jumping between the past and the present as Claire’s memories and secrets are forced out into the open when she takes her daughter Brianna to Scotland for the funeral of Reverend Wakefield. For the purposes of keeping my sanity, let’s go through this chronologically, shall we?
We are literally hours away from the start of the Battle of Culloden, using a countdown clock like it’s an episode of 24 or something. (Don’t get me wrong, I dug it.) Jamie makes a final plea to the Prince, trying to make him see reason. The men are exhausted and beaten down and the British have the advantage on the ground. They need to retreat. Charles is having none of it, being all “Naw, son. God’s got this.” He even goes as far as to compare Jamie to Doubting Thomas. “Before this day is over, I will make a believer out of you.” This is why Zealots should never be in charge. Jamie and Claire huddle up in the house. They DO have one final option. They can kill the Prince. Yep, they are that desperate that they are FINALLY willing to consider the option that Murtagh tossed about in Paris all those months ago. (Always listen to Murtagh, people.) Claire pulls out a vial of her seemingly endless supply of yellow jasmine and says that they can poison him RIGHT NOW and all this would end. She also casually drops the knowledge that she helped Colum kill himself the night before. Jamie is shocked and is like “Yo, suicide is a mortal sin” and Claire basically says “Yeah, yeah, but he asked. FOCUS.” She knows Charles’ health is poor, she’s been treating him for scurvy for weeks. No one would be surprised if he died and no one would KNOW that they killed him. Bless the 1700’s and their lack of a CSI department, amirite?
Jamie stresses to Claire that what they would be doing is cold-blooded murder. There’s no way to get around that. Claire counters that it’s one murder that will save thousands. They have to look at the big picture here. Jamie agrees and then tells Claire they need to act quickly. Here’s where shit gets real. Unbeknownst to them, Dougal has been listening outside the door the whole time. He bursts into the room and betrayal and agony and rage are written all over his face. You have to look back and recall what Dougal said to Claire back when he joined them in “Je Suis Prest” to understand his reaction. Dougal cares about the Jacobite cause and getting the Stuarts on the throne more than anything else in this world. He doesn’t KNOW that Jamie and Claire are trying to save ALL of them by killing the Prince. All he hears is that they are planning on killing Charles Stuart, son of the man he wants nothing more than to see restored to the throne. YIKES.
You also have to factor in that Dougal’s pride is still smarting from Colum naming Jamie guardian of his son rather than his own brother. It’s a perfect storm of emotion and Dougal is blinded by his rage and betrayal. Jamie tries to tell his uncle that it’s not what he thinks but it’s too late for that. Dougal, already emotionally and physically spent, is too far gone to hear Jamie out. His unwillingness to listen also makes it seem like he’s been WAITING for this to happen, especially when he turns on Claire. (Let’s take a moment to appreciate that even in the direst of circumstances, Jamie gets all “Don’t say bad things about my wife, I will end you.” Prince among men he is.) “What you’ve done to me,” Dougal snarls. “We’re past anger.” Dougal draws his sword and takes a swing at Jamie and it’s CLEAR that he’s not fucking around. Dougal is fighting to KILL. Jamie still tries to reason with him as he dodges the blows but it’s grossly ineffective. This is kill or be killed time. Dougal takes no prisoners, going for Jamie’s bad hand. (Me: WHY IS IT ALWAYS HIS HAND?) Finally, Jamie pins Dougal down and you can SEE the hesitation in his face because he knows what he has to do. He just doesn’t want to do it. Claire senses this and she rushes to his side and they grip the sword together and they push down slowly as Jamie whispers his apologies. Well…that escalated quickly.
As if things couldn’t get worse, Rupert decides to burst into the room and finds Jamie and Claire hunched over Dougal’s bloodied body. Ohhhhhh fuuuuuuck. Jamie begs Rupert to give him two hours to sort some things out and then he’ll return to face up to what he’s done. (Me: IN MERCY’S NAME, THREE DAYS ARE ALL I NEEEEEEEEED. THEN I’LL RETURN, I PLEDGE MY WORD.) Rupert agrees, both to the time and to the fact that Jamie’s going to pay for this. Jamie kicks into overdrive. He quickly finds Murtagh and tells him what’s he’s done. Murtagh’s response? “Canna say I’m that surprised, only that it took ye so long. What’s to do, then?” BLESS HIM. Seriously. Murtagh doesn’t even bat an eye at the fact that Jamie’s murdered his uncle, he just immediately goes to “How can I help?”
Jamie busts out the deed to Lallybroch and signs it over to Jenny’s son. It turns out that Jamie’s always been prepared for things to come to this point and he was always thinking ahead. The legal date on the deed is a year prior, before the rebellion, before Jamie was named a traitor. He’s done everything he can to protect his family in the event of his death. Murtagh and Claire sign the deed as his witnesses and Murtagh asks if Jamie wants him to deliver it to Jenny. Nope. Jamie has other plans. He turns to Fergus and entrusts him with the task of getting it to Jenny because that gets his adopted son out of the direct line of fire. Fergus doesn’t want to leave, of course, but Jamie stresses that he must. “Not just for the deed, but no matter what happens here today, it’s important someone remembers.” (WHO LIVES WHO DIES WHO TELLS YOUR STORRRRRRYYYYYYYY?) “You’re a soldier now, mon fils. I love you like a son” “Like our own son,” Claire adds. Fergus promises his parents that he will not fail them and steals away as Claire and Jamie watch proudly. I AM EMOTIONAL.
Jamie turns to Murtagh and tells him to gather the Frasers of Lallybroch. He’s getting them the fuck out of there. “The battle is already lost. I’ll not have my kin die for nothing.” Murtagh asks Jamie what HE plans to do and he replies that he’s going to get Claire to safety and then return to the battlefield and fight until it’s done. He knows at this point that he’s doomed…whether it be at the hands of the British or the hands of the MacKenzies. All he cares about now is saving as many as he can. Murtagh agrees to getting the Frasers on the road to Lallybroch but then adds that he’ll be there waiting for Jamie when he gets back. Jamie will not be alone in this. When Jamie insists that he won’t have Murtagh die for nothing, Murtagh stands firm. “I won’t be. I’ll be dying with you.” And now I am having Legolas and Gimli at the end of Return of the King feels and I am too fragile for this. Murtagh is SO GOOD and I can’t bear the thought of him not being with us next season. Tell me he escapes. Except don’t tell me.
Finally, Jamie goes to get Claire. She KNOWS where he wants to take her and she fights against it. She argues that they could both run away together, that it doesn’t have to be this way, but Jamie KNOWS. His fate is sealed. Claire’s is not. She tries to argue her way out of it but Jamie plays the ultimate trump card. He knows that Claire is pregnant. Apparently Jamie is really good at period math, even in the midst of a war. “This child…this one is all that will be left of me ever.” WELL PLAYED SIR. There’s nothing Claire can say to counteract that statement. Besides, she promised that if it came down to it, she’d go back. “YOU are my home,” Claire insists. “And you are mine,” Jamie replies. “But this home is lost. And now you and the bairn…you must go to a safe place. To a man… a man that could care for you both.” LISTEN. I CAN’T with Jamie and all his noble self-sacrificing. You KNOW this is killing him but he is being insistent because Claire’s life and his unborn child’s life are more important to him than anything in this world and he would rather die knowing Claire is in the arms of another man as long as it means she’s out there breathing. LEAVE ME HERE.
Claire: How will I explain all this? How can I go back? To Frank?
Jamie: All that I leave to you. Tell him what you will about me…about us. It’s likely he’ll no want to hear, but if he does…tell him I’m grateful. And tell him I trust him, and tell him I hate him to the very marrow of his bones.
At the stones, Claire says the thing that’s on ALL of our minds: can’t Jamie just come with her? IF ONLY it were that easy! Whatever sort of cosmic thing is going on at Craigh Na Dun, it doesn’t affect him. He doesn’t hear the buzzing coming from the stones that Claire does. He touches them and feels only stone beneath his hands. (OKAY THEN BUT WHO WAS THE PERSON ON THE STREET IN THE PILOT. TELL ME BUT DON’T TELL ME.) Even if he COULD go through them, Jamie gently tells Claire that it’s not his place. His destiny lies on Culloden Moor and if they have learned ANYTHING from their schemes it’s that you can’t fight destiny. AND THEN Jamie decides to murder us with this speech:
Jamie: But I’ll find you. I promise. If I have to endure 200 years of purgatory…200 years without you, then that is my punishment that I have earned for my crimes, for I have lied, killed, stolen, betrayed and broken trust. But when I stand before God, I’ll have one thing to say to weigh against all the rest. Lord…you gave me a rare woman. And God, I loved her well.
AND THEN THEY DO IT RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THE STONES BECAUSE OF COURSE THEY HAD TO BECAUSE THEY ARE CLAIRE AND JAMIE AND THIS IS THE GREATEST SHOW EVER. (Text from Sage: Aw, he fucked her one last time. BLESS.) LISTEN what kind of cosmic soulmate romantic GOD I WANT TO DIE shit is this that when Jamie looks back on his life the one thing that he would tell God at the Pearly Gates is that he loved Claire well? SERIOUSLY. Thanks for ruining me for life, show. These are the kind of standards we should DEMAND, ladies.
Cannons start firing in the distance. The battle has begun. That last quickie out-of-the-way, Claire and Jamie go about their final bits of business. Claire hands him their wedding gift from Hugh Munro, a literal dragonfly in amber (is it MAGIC? Why did he give them that? Am I forgetting something or is this the show doing another nod to the title?), telling him to keep it with him. Jamie gives Claire his father’s ring, telling her to give it to the baby. Claire promises to name the baby Brian, after his father. ALL OF THIS HAPPENS WHILE JAMIE GENTLY WALKS CLAIRE BACKWARDS TOWARDS THE STONES. This whole time I had in my head that Claire went back alone and I can’t decide whether or not I think it’s WORSE that Jamie was there the whole time. Their eyes never stray from each other as they ease their way to the stones, trying to soak in as much of each other as possible while they still can. They are memorizing the lines on each other’s faces, the way their skin feels underneath the other’s fingers, the way they smell, everything. It’s intense and loving and sad and JAMIE IS SO DETERMINED AND STRONG AS CLAIRE CRIES and this is DEFINITELY WORSE than the thought of Claire doing this alone. They say “I love you” one last time. The only moment they break eye contact is the moment they reach the stone and Jamie turns her around and takes her hand and they fucking touch the stone together. One second Claire is wrapped up in Jamie’s warm embrace and the next she’s alone in 1948.
And that brings us to the opening moments of “Through a Glass, Darkly.” NO WONDER CLAIRE LET OUT THAT PRIMAL SCREAM.
Flash forward twenty years to 1968…
First things first. Roger Wakefield grew up to be QUITE a dish, didn’t he? He’s all bearded and academic and tweedy and he can most definitely stay. Reverend Wakefield has passed and the community has gathered at the house for his wake. Roger, in the midst of accepting sympathies from the attendees, finds himself taken by a girl long red hair. She introduces herself as Brianna. Let the love story begin! “Well, I can’t believe it,” a voice says. “After all these years.” LOOK AT CLAIRE YOU GUYS. She’s all chic, sporting a perfect streak of gray hair and a pitch perfect 60’s cat eye. GOALS. Roger doesn’t remember her, so Claire simply says she was an old friend of his father’s. Claire formally introduces Roger to her daughter Brianna, who pointedly brings up that the Reverend was a good friend of her father’s as well. And where’s Frank? Dead. Welp. Poor Frank. Reduced to a mere footnote here. It’s a bit cold that we didn’t get to see any of Frank and Claire’s life together but at the same time, what was the point? After loving Jamie, Claire’s marriage to Frank was never going to be the same. I’m sure they lived a very peaceful life together but it was never going to be what it once was. Still, the quick dismissal of him stings, doesn’t it?
It’s Frank’s name that jogs Roger’s memory though. NOW he remembers the Randalls and he even remembers that Claire had been a nurse. Well guess what? She’s a freaking surgeon now. A lady surgeon in the sixties. I AM SO PROUD. JAMIE would be so proud. I am having so many Rose Dewitt-Bukater and all her pictures doing all the things Jack told her to do feels. Claire made the most of the life that Jamie asked her to live, even if her heart stayed with him in the 1700’s. Ugh. “So many things are the same,” Claire muses. “And yet things are so different.” It’s clear that Claire honored both Mrs. Graham’s wishes and Frank’s
demand request that she not spend her time chasing Jamie’s ghost. But as she looks around the house, she allows the memories to wash over her and you can tell that it HURTS but is a relief all at the same time. Naturally, Roger invites them to stay for a few days.
Later that night, Roger finds Claire in the Reverend’s cluttered study, clutching a (much-needed) glass of whiskey, soaking in the memories. He joins her and fondly talks about how he always pestered his father to get rid of all the clutter but now that he’s gone, he can’t bear the thought of parting with any of it. He also reveals that his birth name was MacKenzie, that the Reverend had adopted him after they were killed in the war. “I used to know quite a few MacKenzies,” Claire says sadly. “Once upon a time.” UGH UGH UGH I CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE HOW SHE’S EVEN IN THAT HOUSE. The sense of deep loss is something that completely encompasses Claire’s being and Roger finds a kinship in that. “How did you do it?” He asks, his earnestness almost reducing him to that little boy with the plane. “Finally say goodbye to that one person you loved most in all the world?” OUCH. He’s thinking Claire’s sadness has all to do with losing Frank and he has no idea that he’s just asked her the hardest question in all the universe because this has everything to do with Jamie. “Truth is, I’ve never been very good at saying good-bye, but that’s the hell of it, isn’t it? Whether you want to say good-bye or not, they’re gone, and…you have to go on living without them. Because that’s what they would want.” I’ll never let go Jamie, I promise. I’ll never let go. (HAAAAAAA DID YOU THINK I WAS DONE WITH THE TITANIC REFERENCES? I’M NOT.)
The next day Roger and Brianna go site-seeing and they banter and flirt over the fact that they are both history nerds. It’s very cute at times but honestly I don’t care that much. The biggest takeaway from their outing to Fort William is that Brianna was CLEARLY a Daddy’s Girl, given the way she always talks about Frank. (GOD THAT MUST HAVE KILLED CLAIRE.) She clearly worshipped her father, calling him the “kindest man in the world”. Roger gently points out that Claire seems very kind too and Brianna rolls her eyes in the way that only a daughter can when it comes to her mother. “My mother lives in another world,” she scoffs. IF SHE ONLY KNEW. My heart hurts. Later as they sit at the bluffs, Brianna asks Roger if he has any memory of an “incident” between her parents. Roger only has vague memories of the Randalls. He remembers Mrs. Graham crying a lot and a time where Frank smashed up a bunch of shit (Brianna’s reaction to Frank having a temper though. AGAIN GURL IF YOU ONLY KNEW.) but he doesn’t have anything more specific than that, other than the time frame. Roger then says that his father kept journals and they could go through them and search for clues. It’s all very Mamma Mia and now I know why I keep wanting to call Brianna Sophie. (Other than the fact that it’s the actress’ name.)
Meanwhile, Claire decides that since she is here, she may as well wallow in the emotional pain and surround herself with everything Jamie. She’s denied herself this for so long, so she just dives straight into the deep end. (I feel you gurl. Also, I love your glasses.) She drives to Lallybroch and finds the estate abandoned and crumbling. She sits on the steps because she can’t even go inside because the door is padlocked and just lets the memories wash over her. She remembers how ALIVE Lallybroch was and she hears the voices of all the people she loved most. She looks to the archway and sees Jamie standing there, young and vital as she remembers him. It’s almost as if she could close her eyes and she’d be back. UGH.
Now that Frank’s request that she stop looking for Jamie no longer matters, Claire throws herself into finding out as much as she can. She goes to the historical society and they unearth the very deed that Jamie gave to Fergus on that fateful day, proving that their son made it Lallybroch alive. (JENNY TOOK HIM IN RIGHT?) The property stayed in the Murray family for generations and you can see that Claire’s heart is SO FULL knowing that. The historian gives Claire a copy of the deed and then Claire asks her if she could look into Roger’s genealogy. HMMMMM. That night, Claire teases Brianna about going out on a date with Roger and like…she’s TRYING? She’s trying to connect with her daughter and all Brianna does is turn things back to Frank, asking if Claire visited places that she went with him. Claire’s “Some” is very clipped prompting Brianna to ask if she misses Frank at all. “Sometimes it doesn’t seem like you do or you ever loved him.” RUDE. Also WOW. Now I kinda DO want to see snippets of their life together given that Brianna had all these feelings. I’m kinda seeing a gender reverse Jerry Maguire situation here. I have no doubt at all that Brianna was very very loved. And that her parents sure did like each other a lot.
The next day, Brianna and Roger make a stop at the local college so he can meet with the curator before they can start going through his dad’s journals. While she waits for him, Brianna stumbles upon a political rally being led by none other than GELLIS DUNCAN. I SCREAMED, y’all. Looking back, I should not have been surprised to see her, since she was JUST brought up in the last episode. Nothing is unintentional in this show after all. So Gellis goes by the name of Gillian Edgers and she is a Scottish Nationalist NUT. She rants on and on about what a hero Bonny Prince Charlie was and how different things would be in Scotland if they had won at Culloden. She asks where their Bonny Prince Charlie is today before declaring that SHE is Bonny Prince Charlie. And that Guy in the audience is. And that girl over there is. *OPRAH VOICE* WE ARE ALL BONNY PRINCE CHARLIE. After the speech, Brianna tries to talk to Gillian regarding the fallacies in her arguments because you should never try to out history a history major. Gillian invites Brianna to a rally later and my head has exploded from all the brilliant crossings of timelines.
Speaking of the Bonny Prince, Claire has made her way to the memorial museum at Culloden moor to pay her respects. There’s a whole mannequin of the Prince in the mueseum and while other guests ooh and ahh over it, Claire is basically like “Ya dumb fuck” or “They’ve taken a fool and made him a hero”. I like my version better. Next to Claire, a couple comments on the odd stone in the display case. “Looks like a dragonfly, maybe?” Claire/Rose: “This was mine!” UGH. Claire wanders out on to the moor, where small gravestones marked with Clan names serve as a burial ground for all the souls lost that day. They don’t even have individual gravestones…there were too many of them and not enough records of who was even there. “Are you a Fraser?” a woman asks Claire as they stand at Clan Fraser’s stone. “Yes,” Claire breathes, the weight of the world lifting off her shoulders. “I am.” Can you imagine what that moment was LIKE for her? For her to be able to say that she’s a Fraser for the first time in 20 years? GOD. And then Claire has to go and sit at the tombstone and carry on a damn conversation with Jamie, filling him in on her life and telling him all about his daughter. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH SHOW WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO MEEEEEEEE?
Claire: Jamie, I was angry at you…for such a long time. You made me go and live a life that I didn’t want to live. But you were right, damn you. Brianna was safe…and loved…and raised well. But sometimes, oh, when she turns and the light catches her red hair or I see her smile in her sleep…it takes my breath away…because I see you.
I swear to God this episode was like being punched in the face repeatedly for 90 minutes and LIKING IT.
Back at the house, Brianna finds the “Kidnapped by the Fairies” article. FINALLY. LET’S GET TO IT. Roger urges Brianna that she should think twice before digging any deeper into this because she might not like what she finds. “I want the truth. No matter what.” She IS like her father though. Brianna confronts her mother, demanding what Claire has ACTUALLY been up to for the past few days. “Did you see my father?” (It’s funny because Claire HAS…just not in the sense that Brianna has assumed.) Obviously, Brianna goes with the most logical explanation for Claire’s absence: she had an affair and her lover knocked her up, prompting a return to Frank. (It seems Brianna inherited her pregnancy math skills from her father.) “It’s complicated,” Claire says in the understatement of the century. Roger chooses that moment to burst in with other things he found in the journals and while he offers to give the women privacy, Brianna demands that he stays because he’s her friend. Claire takes a deep breath and admits that there was another man, one she loved very much, and that he is her actual father. To say that Brianna doesn’t take this well is putting it lightly. She accuses Claire of lying to her for her whole life and then lashes out at her when Claire says that Frank was in on it and he didn’t want Brianna to know. (“Don’t you DARE put this on him!”) She goes on to assume that this whole trip to Scotland was planned as a means for Claire to surprise her with an introduction to her real father, who clearly never wanted anything to do with her in the first place. Claire recoils as if Brianna slapped her when she said that because it couldn’t be further from the truth. She ALSO just looks relieved because FINALLY she can talk about this. “I promised Frank I wouldn’t tell you about him, so for 20 years, I…I haven’t uttered his name out loud. But now you know, and I need to tell you about him. About your real father…Jamie Fraser.” God, that must have been liberating for her to FINALLY FINALLY say his name to her daughter. She’s been holding that in for 20 years and you literally see the cool facade that she has maintained that whole time melt away. (“A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets. But now you know there was a man named Jamie Fraser and that he saved me…in every way that a person can be saved. I don’t even have a picture of him. He exists now…only in my memory.” CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP.) Brianna snaps that she doesn’t want to know a single thing about him but Roger stops her. (Bless.) “You told me you just wanted the truth, no matter what. This is it.” HE CAN DEFINITELY STAY.
So how exactly do you tell your daughter who was born in 1948 that her real father was a Scottish Lord from the 1700’s? Claire stresses to Brianna that Jamie loved her very much, even if he never met her. (HE FUCKING SACRIFICED KNOWING HER SO THAT SHE COULD BE SAFE I CANNOT. JAMIE LOVED THEM BOTH SO MUCH.) “He would have raised you…if it wasn’t for the Battle of Culloden.” I guess that’s one way to just jump into it? Bree accuses her of concocting a fairy tale to cover up for her sins (“My real father is some 6’3″ redheaded guy in a kilt from the 18th century? What is wrong with you?”). To try to prove her point, Claire pulls out the copy of the deed to Lallybroch, showing her the signature. “It’s my maiden name!” (Pretty sure that’s where she started to get Roger to believe her, his behavior clearly shows that he’s on board.) But even with a piece of paper in her face, the whole thing is too fantastic for Brianna to believe. “Just admit it,” she spits. “Own up to the fact that you fucked someone else while you were married to Daddy, just like a million other bored housewives.” Honestly, I don’t know how Claire didn’t slap her across the face and say “I’m a SURGEON, bitch.” That’s some serious self-restraint to stand in the face of your daughter reducing the love of your life to a mere fuck. Brianna angrily asks why Claire is doing this and Claire just says because it’s the TRUTH. “Only two people know what the truth really is and one of them is dead. Too bad it wasn’t you.” REAL MATURE.
Roger wisely gets Brianna the fuck out of the house and takes her for drinks. Once he gets some whiskey in her, he’s tentatively like “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey I know you don’t want to hear this but that deed looked legit to me so maybe you should entertain the idea that your mother is telling the truth.” Brianna stubbornly asserts that the signature could be a coincidence and that Claire is probably just projecting onto this woman from “17-whatever” because she’s so bored with her life and needs to live in a fantasy. AGAIN I SAY BITCH YOUR MOTHER IS A SURGEON SHE HASN’T HAD TIME TO BE BORED. Roger shows his true #TeamClaire colors when he reminds Brianna that she herself said that Claire always seemed like she lived in another world. “Well maybe she’s trying to show you that world.” Brianna looks at him like he’s off his rocker too, asking him if he ACTUALLY believes Claire traveled through a stone 200 years into the past. “It’s not important if I believe it. She believes it.” Reverend Wakefield brought him up so well, you guys. They encounter Gellis/Gillian at the pub and she tells Brianna that she missed another great rally earlier. Brianna replies that hopefully see her at the next one to which Gellis/Gillian cagily replies “Afraid I’m leaving tonight to… further the cause. But don’t stop asking the hard questions. That’s the way the world changes.” GOTTA GET BACK IN TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME.
At the house, Claire finds the pamphlet from the rally with Gellis/Gillian’s picture on it and it’s like everything comes into focus. Remember when Gellis whispered 1968 to Claire and then revealed her small-pox scar to be a “Devil’s Mark” in season one? Yep. Welcome to Gellis’ origin story. She’s a radical Scottish nationalist from the 1960’s who uses time travel to try to go back and change the future for the Jacobite cause. Claire tries to track Gellis down by going to her house where she meets Gellis’ lump of a husband. He reveals that Gellis has spent all his money on courses, saying she should have just gotten a job if she was bored. (WHY IS EVERYONE SAYING THESE DYNAMIC WOMEN ARE BORED A POX ON YOU ALL.) He also says that she hasn’t been home in weeks before he passes out in a drunken stupor. Claire pockets one of Gellis’ journals hoping it will have all the proof she’ll ever need. Gellis’ Journal rivals that of River Song. It’s filled with diagrams and formulas all about the nature of time travel (she believed you needed a HUMAN SACRIFICE) and the things that she needs to prepare herself for when it happens. Unlike Claire, who went through the stones by total chance, Gellis’ trip to the 1700’s was planned and deliberate. Claire knows how that whole trip ends though and she knows that she has to try and stop her.
Roger and Brianna return home and Brianna is buzzed JUST enough to be willing to talk to Claire about Jamie. She starts to tell Brianna all sorts of little tidbits: he spoke French, he loved Chess, all the little details that made up Jamie Fraser. “It would take too long to tell you everything about him…but I promise I will.” She starts to tell Brianna about visiting his grave at Culloden but Brianna still clings to her disbelief, telling her mother that she just lost her. Claire’s basically like “THAT’S FINE I’M STILL GONNA TALK THOUGH.” “I didn’t intend to fall in love,” she says. “In fact, I fought against it. But I couldn’t deny what I felt for him. And I tried…but I couldn’t. It was the most powerful thing that I’ve ever felt in my life.” THAT’S RIGHT.
There will be more time to talk about Jamie later because Claire finds out that Roger and Brianna encountered Gellis/Gillian and she told them that she was leaving town. This is it. She’s going through the stones that night and Claire HAS to get to her. AGAIN Brianna is all “SHUT UP ABOUT THE STONES” but Claire stands firm. Gellis saved her life once upon a time…maybe she can repay the favor by stopping her. Except…she can’t. She turns to Roger and drops a bombshell. The genealogical search that she ordered on Roger revealed something that ONLY Claire would know because she was fucking THERE. His grandparents seven-times over were the couple that Colum gave Dougal and Gellis’ bastard to raise as their own because they were barren. If they stop Gellis from going back, She’ll never get pregnant with Dougal’s baby and William and Sara MacKenzie will never raise their child and Roger would be wiped from existence. (Roger in the 60’s: How can I not be born? I’m here. I can’t just evaporate. Roger in 1985, watching Back to the Future: OHHHHHHHHHHHH.) Roger takes all this news in stride (“My ancestors are actually the war chief and the witch?!” He may as well have said “THAT’S SO COOL.”) So while Claire says that she can’t STOP her from going through the stones, she can at least warn her to not draw attention to herself. It’s SOMETHING at least. Brianna’s all “Roger, you can’t be buying this.” and I LOVE HIM FOR BEING LIKE “MAYBE I AM.” He also points out that going to the stones will bring them answers, one way or another. Maybe they will watch Gellis/Gillian slam head first into the rocks. Maybe she will vanish. They won’t know unless they GO.
The three of them arrive at the stones and find Gellis’ Husband’s car. “It smells like a fucking barbeque,” Roger quips in a DELIGHTFUL callback to Gellis at the witch trial. (He really IS descended from her.) THAT’S RIGHT. Gellis, that crazy bitch, used her deadbeat husband as her human sacrifice so she could travel through time. From a distance, they see Gellis dressed in period clothing, running towards the stones. Claire screams, trying to stop her, but it’s too late. Gellis disappears right before their eyes. WHAT’S GOOD, BRIANNA? It’s INCREDIBLY important that ALL THREE of them hear the buzzing surrounding the stones. Does that mean that Roger and Brianna will eventually travel too. DON’T TELL ME. Roger goes to get help while mother and daughter wait at the scene. “It’s true then,” she says. “Everything you said is true.” DUH-DOY. Honestly, I gotta hand it to Claire for not doing an I TOLD YOU SO dance. It’s neither the time or place for gloating anyway. Brianna asks if this was the last place she saw her father and Claire tells her it was. “I believe you. I don’t understand it but I believe you. No more lies. From now on, I only want the truth between you and me. All right?” Claire laughs because that’s exactly what Jamie would say and she tells Brianna as much. “Only the truth from now on.”
As dawn breaks, Roger arrives, saying that he’s anonymously called the police. “Tell her what you found,” Brianna says. So it turns out that FRANK asked the Reverend to do some digging of his own and the findings were never sent to Boston. (I like to think it was Frank TRYING to extend some sort of Olive branch at the end of his life.) After the battle of Culloden, a few wounded soldiers took refuge in a house before the Red Coats found them. They were all executed, save for one Fraser officer. “There were a LOT of Frasers on the field that day,” Claire whispers, her heart not daring to hope. There may have been a lot of Frasers, but there were only five officers, and four of them are memorialized on a church plaque. The one name missing? James Fraser. JAMIE DIDN’T DIE. JAMIE LIVED. OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD I MEAN OF COURSE I KNEW HE LIVED THE SHOW GOT PICKED UP FOR TWO MORE SEASONS AND THERE ARE LOADS MORE BOOKS BUT STILL. JAMIE LIVED. Claire looks at Brianna and Roger like they just handed her a second lease on life. Jamie is ALIVE in the past. Claire looks back at the stones as the sun breaks over them and she doesn’t even hesitate. “I have to go back.” The camera speeds towards the stones as if Claire is running. BOOM. End of season.
Swoon Worthy Jamie Fraser Moment of the Week.
Did Ye Ken That?
- Anyone who truly knows me KNOWS how hard it was for me to type “Brianna” over and over again. I deserve a medal.
- I hate to say it, but I did NOT enjoy Sophie Skelton’s performance as Brianna. Look, I get it’s a hard part and you’re saddled with a lot of exposition but a LOT of the performance felt off to me? Thoughts?
- I LIVE for all the cozy sweaters in the 60’s. The fashion was so on point.
- Roger’s Mouse Song while they were in the attic was so endearing.
- Pointing out AGAIN that Sam and Cait were ROBBED of Emmy nominations.
- I wonder how I would have felt about the budding Roger/Brianna romance if they had sprinkled it throughout the season as opposed to saving it all for the finale. Their banter was cute but I was so focused on Jamie and Claire that my reactions was “WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS.” BUT LOOK HOW CUTE HIS FACE IS.
And now the Droughtlander begins. Thank you SO SO SO SO MUCH for joining me this season. I hope I made you all proud as a complete ignoramus regarding the books. Leave your thoughts in the comments!