Outlander Season 3, Episode 2
Posted by Kim
“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand…there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold.” – Frodo Baggins
When I was sitting down to write my intro for this recap, this quote from The Return of the King was the first thing that popped into my head. “The Battle Joined” was all about the moments where Jamie and Claire were still dealing with the immediate pain of their separation. And that pain really fucking hurt…but for them, I don’t think that at all compares to the pain of knowing that they have to go on with their own lives after losing what they had together. It’s a pain that may not be as intense but in some ways that phantom pain can be worse that the fresh wounds left on their hearts. Because it’s always there, smarting when you least expect it. You may think you’re doing okay and then BOOM. So how do you deal with that? That’s what “Surrender” explores.
It’s been six years since a physically and emotionally broken Jamie returned to Lallybroch.
The good things: Fergus is alive and well, if a little bit blood thirsty, cocky, and a bit of a show-off with his adopted cousins when it comes to the pistol hidden in the chicken coop. Jenny is as salty and 100% done with everyone’s shit as ever. The bad thing: Jamie is a shell of what he once was, still haunted by the memory of Claire. He lives in a cave on the estate, his hair is long and unkempt and he’s given new meaning to the term “hiatus beard.” (But could still 100% get it.) He even has a new name: Dunbonnet, for the hat he wears to hide his red hair. Though, let’s be real, there’s not much hiding being done with that mane.
The other bad thing: the Red Coats are still on the hunt for Red Jamie, and they pay regular visits to Lallybroch, convinced that his family is hiding him. They regular cart Ian off to jail in hopes that they will finally turn him in. (Ian and Jenny’s faces when this happens though. “Kids, Dad’s off to jail again!) Of course, Jenny has zero intention of turning in her brother. Besides, according to her, it’s easy lying to them because “James Fraser hasn’t been here for a long, long time.” Jenny does everything she can to try to snap Jamie out of his funk, from begging him to help her with Lallybroch’s ledgers to trying to pawn off their maid/companion/friend Mary on him because she’s still of childbearing age and could be a good wife to him. But the thing is, if someone doesn’t WANT to be saved, you can’t save them. That’s exactly where Jamie is right now. He may be alive, but he’s not truly living because he doesn’t have the will to. Not without Claire. He’s perfectly content to live in his cave and hide away from the world, providing for his family in the only way he can: by hunting game for them Katniss Everdeen style.
Fergus also does his best to try to bring his adopted father back to him, though he approaches it differently than Jenny. He’s now trapped in that weird place between boy and man and he’s very much looking to Jamie to guide him, especially when it comes to protecting their family. He brings Jamie the pistol and essentially begs him to teach him how to shoot just so he’ll be able to defend his family from the Red Coats. Jamie is having none of it and Fergus calls him a coward, partly out of disappointment, but I also think part of it comes from him trying to do ANYTHING to jolt Jamie out of it.
But yet, I think they do get through to him on some level because after what I am guessing is years of Jamie refusing to help with the books, he shows up one day and mumbles to Mary (who is just giving him the DOE EYES) that he’s here to help with the books. He chooses a wonderful day to do that because Jenny is in labor. Fergus and the boys spot a raven outside of the house, and being that it’s an omen of death and all, Fergus goes for the pistol and shoots it in order to protect the coming baby. VERY BAD MOVE MY BOY. First because it enrages Jamie, who comes very close to striking his son, and second because the Red Coats who are patrolling the area hear it.
Outlander has always been good at escalating tension to where you literally can’t BREATHE while watching certain scenes, and the aftermath of the Raven shooting is no exception. The soldiers storm into the house WHILE JAMIE IS THERE, forcing him to hide just outside of Jenny’s room, clutching his new nephew in his arms. I have to give all the props to Laura Donnelly for this scene because she perfectly showcases Jenny snapping into her salty no-nonsense self in her confrontation with Captain Lewis but you can ALSO see the fear in her eyes and the way she is desperately trying to stay one step ahead of him. She lies and says her baby was stillborn (as Jamie stands just outside of the room trying to shush Baby Ian), and then Mary ups the ante, assessing the situation brilliantly by bringing the Captain the pistol and actually telling the TRUTH about the raven. The soldiers are seemingly satisfied by the story and leave…but not before Corporal McGregor (A TRAITOR TO HIS PEOPLE) hears a creak in the floorboards.
Later, Fergus is on his way to visit Jamie’s cave, and McGregor and his crew follow him, hoping that Fergus will lead them right there. Fergus is too smart for that though, and leads them on a wild goose chase, finally taunting them about how they are traitors. Jamie observes this from a distance and he isn’t able to do anything without revealing himself. He desperately urges Fergus to just SHUT UP under his breath (ME TOO) but Fergus just keeps talking. Finally, McGregor overpowers Fergus and then ACTUALLY cuts hand off and leaves him there to bleed out. Jamie springs into action, using medical knowledge he had learned from Claire to save his son’s life. (“Dinna be feart, Fergus, laddie. I watched Milady do this many times.” MY HEART.)
It’s almost losing Fergus that FINALLY makes Jamie see what hiding away from the world is costing him and his family. He breaks down with Jenny and then essentially goes to beg Fergus’ forgiveness, even though Fergus tells him there is nothing to forgive. “You remind me I have something to fight for,” Jamie confesses. “Oh there you are, Milord,” Fergus replies. OH THERE JAMIE IS INDEED. It’s a baby step, but you have to start somewhere. As Ian tells him later, phantom pain never really goes away. He still feels his lost leg. Fergus will always probably feel his hand. But they are the lucky ones in a way because those are just limbs. “Claire was your heart,” Ian says wisely. (HE GETS IT.) Jamie will always long for Claire and carry that pain for her in his chest, but you have to keep on living. (“Get busy living or get busy dying,” a very wise movie once said.) Jamie knows what he has to do now. Lallybroch will never be safe until he turns himself in and the LEAST Jamie can do is make sure his sister and his family is taken care of. He concocts a plan to make it look like Jenny is turning him in. She’s against it at first, not wanting to see her brother in another prison. “Little difference to the prison I live in now,” Jamie says. BABY.
Thus we reach the scene that for ME was probably the hardest one to watch. Mary comes to Jamie in his cave; she helps him transform back into the Jamie we all know and love by cutting his hair and shaving his beard. And THEN she offers herself to him for some good old comfort sex. Jamie is SUPER resistant at first because he feels like it’s a betrayal. Claire is the ONLY woman he’s ever slept with. I totally forgot that until I sat down to watch this for a second time and then I got even sadder. And then I started wondering why I am holding Jamie to a higher standard than Claire, who’s been having sex with Frank. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of watching those scenes but watching Jamie get ready to have sex with another woman was so much worse for me? I was literally begging him not to do it through my TV screen. Is it because I know that Claire is out there trying to get back to him? Jamie doesn’t know that. Jamie has the right to move on; he shouldn’t have to sit around and be a monk for the rest of his life. I should probably find a therapist to discuss this with.
Because as hard as it was to watch, the whole seduction (if you can even call it that) was actually very sweet and quite tender. Mary is very open that she isn’t trying to replace his wife (which is often where Frank goes wrong when it comes to Claire). She’s not looking for love or earth-shaking passion. This is about finding comfort in the arms of another human being, nothing more. This is about trying to heal both of their broken hearts and it’s about some form of companionship. It’s something they both deserve, and even if I don’t like it, I have to give them that. But she’s TOTALLY going to get pregnant right. Jenny wasn’t talking about her still being at a good childbearing age for the show to just leave that tidbit dangling out there.
Jamie’s plan goes off without a hitch. They stage the whole thing perfectly. Jenny gets the reward money; everyone at Lallybroch comes out looking like loyalists and the Red Coats will never bother them again. I think the reason they don’t even question Jenny about this is because I actually don’t think she’s lying when she says that she’ll never forgive Jamie for this. Look at her face! You can’t fake that kind of pain. She knows it’s their only choice if they truly want to be free, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it or fully support it. How does Jamie get OUT of prison is the question. Tune in next week! (Or read the books. Psych. That’s not going to happen. I’m not reading the books on purpose, I’m in too deep with this vision of the story and I don’t want anything clouding it.)
Meanwhile, in 1949, Frank and Claire give their marriage the good old college try. They really do.
When we last left Frank and Claire, they were vowing that Brianna’s birth would be a new beginning for them, even as the nurse cooed over the baby girl’s red hair. (STILL SO AWKWARD.) We’re now in 1949, and while it may seem on the surface that they are making a go at it, not much has truly changed between them. They may share a bed, but Jamie is still very much there between them, as Claire lies next to her sleeping husband, masturbating while she fantasizes about her other husband. First of all, I would like to heap all the praise on Outlander for how it constantly portrays female sexuality, desire, and gaze in a positive light. Claire has always been unabashed when it comes to her desire for sex and it’s just so fucking refreshing to see. It’s not just that they show Claire pleasuring herself or openly asking for/initiating sex; it’s the fact that she never shows shame or timidness when it comes to her desires. WOMEN MASTURBATE. WOMEN CRAVE SEX. It’s a damn fact. And it’s something that should be portrayed more often. So thanks, Outlander. You’re doing amazing, sweetie. Second of all, if you had Jamie Fraser in your wank bank, wouldn’t you cash in on that all the time too?
The next morning (I’m guessing anyway) Claire settles down with her morning paper (I can just imagine steam coming out of the ears of that dean from last week’s episode because of this) and reads Brianna the news, showing that she will be the kind of mother that ALWAYS encourages her daughter to educate herself. (I mean we all knew she would be. I also loved how she didn’t talk down to her baby, she talked to her like an adult.) Brianna turns over all by herself and Claire immediately celebrates her, calling her girl clever over and over again (proving she will ALSO be the kind of mum who always celebrates her child’s brain over her child’s looks. Listen, Brianna is going to grow up knowing she’s smart and I love that so much.) Frank comes in, dressed only in a towel, because their water heater has gone out, and he joins the celebration. The whole scene is so freaking domestic, and Claire and Frank share a moment where she presses her hand to his bare chest and it’s…charged. (My notes: “Oh THIS just got interesting.”) Say what you want about Frank Randall (and believe me, I have) but I think this moment is so important because while he expressed his desire to be intimate with Claire again in the last episode, it’s clear from this moment that Frank has put the ball in her court. He’s waiting for HER and the moment she touches him, his face lights up and gets all hopeful. Of course, then it gets all awkward, but in Frank’s eyes, it’s a step in the right direction.
More than a step, really. Claire puts the moves on Frank that night and Frank is…a little shocked by the whole thing, waffling between “Let’s do this” and “What the fuck is going on?” Luckily for Claire, Frank chooses “Let’s do this.” “I miss my husband,” Claire says as she climbs on top of him and takes off her nightgown. Holy Hell, what a LOADED statement that is. Because on the surface, this can seem like it’s about Frank, about missing the closeness they once had, and about the desire to reconnect. But then Claire keeps her eyes closed the entire time they have sex and you just KNOW it’s not Frank she’s talking about missing. It’s Jamie. (I mean we knew already, but still now we KNOW.) Frank notices that she won’t look at him, of course he does. BUt he’s also half asleep and sex-starved so he lets it slide. This time. For this time, just the act of being with her is enough for him.
But that’s not enough forever. The whole “Imma have sex with you but pretend it’s someone else” situation isn’t sustainable. Frank’s not dumb and he’s not a masochist. They can both play the part of the doting and in love couple very easily; we see that in their dinner party with Millie and Jerry. (Even if Claire does look like she’s about two seconds away from breaking that bottle of wine over his head after they tap it.) I think even THEY believe in the parts they are playing as they have a nightcap, shit talk their guests, and then start to get frisky in front of the fireplace. Again, I have to say GOD BLESS CLAIRE for how she just is like “Okay, I’mma take my panties off and you’re going to do me right here and now.” May we ALL have her gumption. Things seem to be all hot and steamy and good until Frank starts begging her to look at him and she refuses. (Side note, they don’t even really kiss, which should have also been a major red flag for him.) Okay buddy, this is a valid concern and conversation you SHOULD have with your wife, but maybe you shouldn’t do it while you are literally inside of her? Claire tries to play it off, saying it doesn’t mean anything and she’s enjoying herself, but finally Frank just stops, which sets her off even more. I think, for Claire, the eyes closed sex with him is all she is capable of giving. Definitely now, maybe always. “If you’re not in the mood, you just had to say,” Claire snaps. Then Frank finally voices the truth they both know. “When I’m with you, I’m with YOU,” Frank says honestly. “But you’re with him.”
That’s pretty much it for Frank and Claire, isn’t it? You really can’t come back from that as a couple. Or at least Frank and Claire can’t. Everything changes for them after that night. I think Claire keeps trying to be the happy mum for a little while, but as cute and wonderful her daughter is, she just isn’t fulfilled. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. So often, motherhood and marriage is treated as an end all be all for women. For some, it is, and that’s totally fine. But you know what else is fine? Wanting more than that and not being afraid to go after it. Thus, Claire enrolls in medical school. At Harvard. In 1949. (Fun fact, only 5.5% of medical students were women in 1949, and most of them went to women’s colleges, not co-ed ones. So imagine how much smaller the percentage of those women went on to be SURGEONS. Claire is a BAD ASS.) Claire is the first one in the anatomy class on her first day, beating even the professor. He arrives basically being all “Hey, pretty lady, are you lost or looking for someone?” and Claire essentially says “I’m looking for you, SIR, because you’re my teacher.” The professor scoffs at not only a woman but a NEGRO being in his class. HOW DARE people other than white men want to learn, amirite? All the other upper class white men in the class stare at her like she’s an animal escaped from the zoo. They block her way into the gallery like this is Forrest Gump (“SEAT’S TAKEN.”) Claire, BLESS HER, just shrugs and takes her seat. As she does, the new arrival, a black man, gets the same treatment from the others. He spots Claire and you can basically SEE both of their shoulders slump in relief. The two outsiders sit next to each other and smile. I can’t wait until they Ellis Grey and Richard Webber the SHIT out of all of these losers.
Swoon Worthy Jamie Fraser Moment
BECAUSE LOOK AT HIM. The smirk, the hair, the body. GOD BLESS US EVERYONE.
Also dat ass.
Dragonflies in Amber
- Anyone who knows the musical The Secret Garden knows how much this post PAINED ME.
- “This is history in the making, you’ll want to hear it.”
- Jenny’s dry delivery of “You’ll have ballads sung in your honor” was everything.
- All I could think of while Jamie was gutting that fish was Gollum doing the same thing in The Two Towers.
- I understand Jamie’s reasoning in NOT telling Jenny about Claire being pregnant, but it still hurts me that she has no idea and that her constant pushing for Jamie to have kids is really just causing him more pain.
- “Her talents lie elsewhere.” GROSS JERRY IS GROSS.
- “I prefer the taste of French wine.” Never change, Fergus.
- “So which of Millie’s talents do you think Jerry was referring to?” “Well, it’s obviously her encyclopedic knowledge of the complete works of Shakespeare.” SEE THIS IS SO SAD BECAUSE THEY DO BANTER REALLY WELL.
- I hope there is a moment in EVERY EPISODE where some older white man spews some sort of bullshit at Claire and she just murders them with her eyes.
- Fashion goals:
- Claire standing and listening to the bagpiper and then tipping him was SO SAD.
- YOU AND YOUR SINGLE TEARS, SAM.
What did you think of “Surrender”? Let us know in the comments!