Outlander: All Debts Paid

"Some people you grieve over forever."

Rats. Yum.

Three years have passed for Jamie while he was imprisoned at Ardsmuir, the very dictionary definition of the word 'dank.' Once again a leader of men, Jamie was their chosen representative with the governor of the prison. Because of his notoriety, he was also the only prisoner permanently in chains.

This episode introduced, or actually reintroduced, Major John William Grey as the new governor of Ardsmuir Prison. At first reluctant to deal with Jamie amicably over dinner as the previous governor had, Grey did show that he was a human being by at least trying to deal with the rats. During his initial meeting with Grey, Jamie was intimidating even in chains, not at all reluctant to suggest that Grey must have screwed up mightily to receive such an assignment. In turn, Grey showed that he might be young, he might have compassion for the prisoners, but he was not a pushover.

Much of this episode was about the delightful progression of Jamie's relationship with Grey as it moved from confrontation to friendship. Step one, Grey had Jamie's irons struck off (making me wince at the condition of Jamie's wrists) in return for a bit of Gaelic translation. I found it difficult to invest in the French treasure subplot because it just didn't seem Outlander-ish to me, but whatever. What to say about Duncan Kerr and his blithering deathbed confidences about the cursed gold? Yes, it gave me a twinge when he mentioned the deaths of Colum, Dougal and Ellen MacKenzie, and another twinge when he mentioned the white witch, but that was about it. Of course, Jamie thought there was a chance Kerr was talking about Claire, so he escaped and went to Silkie Island to look for her.

Although they didn't show us what happened on the island, Jamie came back with an extremely large sapphire and a return of his active death wish. Surrendering the sword, Jamie tried very hard to get Grey to kill him, taunting him with the details of their first meeting when Grey was sixteen. Again, Grey showed that he was a human being; he refused to kill an unarmed prisoner, even under circumstances like these.

Step two. Deciding that the way to get information out of Jamie was to treat him well, Grey plied him with food, drink, good conversation and games of chess. In the process, Grey fell for Jamie, because of course he did. Even filthy and in rags, Jamie is beautiful, intelligent, educated and defiant, still proud despite his captivity.

Good casting of David Berry as John Grey; he and Sam Heughan had some wonderful acting chemistry. I so enjoyed the scenes in Grey's quarters as he and Jamie became genuine friends, especially when Grey came out to Jamie, confiding that he had lost a "particular friend" at Culloden. Jamie's face lit up as he responded to Grey's confidence by talking about Claire, finally saying her name out loud and smiling. Sigh. In a perfectly lovely exchange, Jamie thanked Grey for his gallantry toward Claire back in "Je Suis Prest."

At this point, it made sense that Grey would feel comfortable enough to make a gentle pass at Jamie. It also made sense that Jamie would respond with a death threat. It didn't feel like homophobia; Jamie had responded to Grey's confession of love for a male friend by talking about his own love for Claire. Instead, it felt like Jamie had flashbacked to the other redcoat that had expressed desire for him.

It would have been too predictable if John Grey had been another Black Jack Randall. Instead, Grey turned out to be the anti-Jack, the opposite side of the coin. When Ardsmuir Prison closed and the other prisoners were sent off to the Colonies for fourteen years of indenture, Grey dragged Jamie away behind his horse to the next installment of his life without Claire as a servant at the Helwater estate.

And Grey once again showed that he was a good guy. He will visit Helwater regularly to ensure Jamie's welfare, and he advised Jamie to change his name to avoid the shadow of "Red Jamie," infamous traitor. (Good advice, but I immediately thought, that means Roger Wakefield will have a terrible time tracking him.) Why? Jamie asked Grey. After all, I refused to have sex with you. And Grey gave him the episode title. Jamie had once given Grey his life, and now Grey gave it back to him. And maybe Grey did it because he still loves Jamie. I'm okay with that.

One more thing about the 1755 section. Thank you, show, for giving Murtagh back to us. He was the perfect confidant for Jamie, and a very good reason for Jamie to bargain with Grey for medical treatment and blankets. Murtagh also knew who the white witch was, and confessed that he often prayed for Claire and the baby. It was so sad that Jamie couldn't say goodbye to Murtagh; they exchanged desperate last looks as Jamie was dragged away behind Grey's horse. And yes, book lovers, I know Murtagh was supposed to die at Culloden, but I'm so glad that he didn't because I was so happy to have Duncan Lacroix back.



Meanwhile in Boston, ten years passed as Brianna went from eight to eighteen. Again, the passage of time didn't sync, but the emotional journey certainly did.

In 1956, the awkwardness and lack of passion in the Randall marriage resulted in the two of them agreeing to see other people – except that Claire didn't because her heart was still in the eighteenth century. In 1958, at Claire's party to celebrate her graduation from medical school, Frank's latest honey actually came to the front door at the worst possible time. Angry and hurt, Claire let Frank have it. Nasty fighting and name-calling wasn't a good look for Claire, and it really wasn't in character, either.

Since we as the audience are totally invested in Claire's marriage to Jamie Fraser, it would be difficult to root for Frank. And I didn't. But I respected Frank's choice to stay with Claire for Brianna's sake. In 1966, Frank finally asked Claire for a divorce, but only because Brianna had graduated from high school and he wanted to take her to England with him. Frank's not-a-blonde-harlot girlfriend had waited for years until Frank could marry her. Sadly, he waited too long.

Ghosts exist in the Outlanderverse. As she stood over Frank's body, Claire said, "If you're still close enough to hear me, I did love you. Very much. You were my first love." She kissed him goodbye, her tears falling onto his face.

What might have been. If Claire had never gone back through the stones, she and Frank might have had a long and happy marriage. Her grief for Frank was more of what I would expect from Claire than the anger and arguing. Gold acting stars for Caitriona Balfe in that final scene. She made me cry.

Bits:

— The title card featured another dog, this time Brianna's. And sixteen candles.

— In season two's "Faith," Brianna was six years old and played by a different young actress than Brianna at eight, here.

— Fun scene where Jamie knew what the French sauce for the pheasant was called, while Grey did not. Even better was the scene afterward, when Jamie described the meal in detail to the prisoners as they enjoyed every vicarious mouthful. (Hey, I bet John Grey never met the King of France and gave him tips about fiber, either.)

— In "Je Suis Prest," Grey tried to kill Jamie while Jamie was taking a piss. Here, Jamie captured Grey as Grey was taking a piss.

— Murtagh was hiding a tiny piece of tartan in the wall. I'm glad he wasn't caught.

— While Jamie had Murtagh to speak truth with, Claire had Joe Abernathy. Joe was the one to tell Claire that Frank had died.

— As Claire entered the morgue, she was seen through a corrugated glass door with her face divided into pieces, reflecting her emotions. I love that sort of thing.

— There was yet another dead rabbit as the prisoners were checking their snares. Is there a rabbit in every episode now?

— There was a possibly unintentional use of color. As Jamie's "white witch," Claire wore white in nearly every scene, while the prisoners called Jamie "Mac Dubh," son of the black one. (Jamie's father Brian had black hair.) And of course, there was John Grey.

— Both of the major characters that Tobias Menzies played are now dead. Will we see him again?

— Duncan Kerr's last words to Jamie were, "She will come for you." She'd better. We're waiting, show. We're waiting.

Quotes:

Murtagh: "So you took no measure of the man?"
Jamie: "He's gey young. Looks scarce more than a bairn. Carries himself well. Shoulders square, and a ramrod up his arse."
Murtagh: "The ramrod is standard issue in the British army."

Frank: "Green ain't your color, Claire."
Claire: "Oh, go to hell."

Claire: "Have you fucked her in our bedroom? Have you?"
Frank: "I think our bedroom is far too crowded already. Wouldn't you agree?"
Good one, Frank.

Grey: "I suspect there is more to this story. I can force you to talk."
Jamie: "There's nothing you can do that hasn't already been done to me, so try if you must."

Jamie: "Eating green plants will stop ye getting scurvy."
Grey: "Wherever did you get that notion?"
Jamie: "From my wife."
Grey: "You're married?"
Jamie: "She's gone."
I loved how Jamie was still doing what Claire taught him. If he hadn't, he probably would have lost half his teeth by now.

Jamie: "I'm a prisoner, not an interpreter." There was a standing joke in original Star Trek where Doctor McCoy would say things like "I'm a doctor, not an engineer," or "I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer." Outlander executive producer Ron Moore once wrote for Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Frank: "I would like to live the rest of my life with a wife who truly loves me. You couldn't look at Brianna without seeing him. Could you? Without that constant reminder of him, might you have forgotten him with time?"
Claire: "That amount of time doesn't exist."

Jamie: "I didna let you have your way."
Grey: "I regret that particular moment of weakness. It was foolish of me. But I told you about someone I cared for, and you did the same. You gave me my life all those years ago; now I give you yours. I hope you use it well."

Without spoilage, I feel I must mention that Diana Gabaldon has written several books and novellas starring John Grey. I'm fond of the character, and this was a lovely (re)introduction to him.

Four out of four milk thistles,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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