Outlander: Surrender

My name is not Oliver Queen.
"You remind me I have something to fight for."

Jamie has let himself go just a bit. Six years in a cave can make personal grooming a challenge.

Filthy and unshaven, Jamie was so withdrawn that he barely spoke, almost as if he had forgotten how. His unkempt state said all we needed to know about what he was feeling. A wanted man since the beginning of the series, the situation had worsened – an ambitious redcoat named Lewis added "Red Jamie" and "The Dunbonnet" together and came up with you know who. Stepping up harassment of Jamie's family at Lallybroch to an unbearable level, Captain Lewis dragged Ian off for interrogation for the umpteenth time, and tromped through the house searching for contraband as Jenny had just given birth... okay, I have to say it, for the umpteenth time.

While Ian and Jenny are terrific liars and willing to live with this situation for Jamie's sake, Fergus inadvertently brought matters to a head. Now an angry teen who wanted to fight the soldiers harassing his adopted family, Fergus taunted and made rude hand gestures at the redcoats while leading them away from Jamie's cave hideout. A redcoat named MacGregor, a native Scot that the locals treated as a traitor, lost his temper and chopped off Fergus' hand, leaving him in the woods to bleed to death. This scene was devastating to watch.



Fortunately, Jamie knew what to do for Fergus because he had watched Claire treat war wounds. It's impossible not to love Fergus, and the way he reacted to his injury made me love him more. Instead of crying or complaining, instead of feeling sorry for himself, Fergus apologized to Jamie for getting caught, and then reminded him that according to their pickpocketing agreement in Paris, Jamie was now obligated to support Fergus for the rest of his life.

With calm on his face that he wasn't feeling, Jamie readily acknowledged that debt, but was so overwhelmed that he sobbed in Jenny's arms. And then he came up with the perfect solution to this problem, a way to save his family. He forced Jenny to turn him in for the reward, giving Lallybroch both safety from being suspected traitors to the Crown, and financial security as well. It made sense. To Jamie, anyway.

The scene where Jenny turned in her brother might have been Laura Donnelly's best in the series, and that's saying a lot. After some well-done and only mildly awkward play-acting in the courtyard, Jenny's face crumpled in agony as they dragged Jamie away. She cried, "You gave me no choice, brother. And I'll never forgive you. Never!" That line was perfect. It meant one thing to the redcoats, but something completely different to Jamie.

1752 in Scotland, 1949 in Boston. Just as in the previous episode, time passed but not in sync: years for Jamie, but only months for Claire. But what was happening to each of them was emotionally similar.

In bed at night, Claire fantasized about Jamie naked by the fire, while Jamie imagined that he saw Claire in the courtyard at Lallybroch. Claire held Jamie's baby daughter in her arms, as Jamie held Jenny's new son. As Jamie was taken away by the redcoats, Claire heard bagpipes: "Scotland the Brave." I was particularly taken with the Jamie-and-Claire subtext when Ian was talking about the pain of phantom limbs.

Claire tried unsuccessfully to resurrect her previous physical closeness with Frank. In their marriage bed at night, she initiated sex as she told Frank, "I miss my husband," although we knew which husband she was actually missing. After the dinner party, Claire again initiated sex in front of the fireplace, but Frank called a halt and called her out when he noticed that she was keeping her eyes closed. In this episode's other perfect line, Frank told Claire, "When I'm with you, I'm with you. But you're with him."

And Claire didn't deny it. She didn't say anything. At the start of the episode, Claire and Frank had a double bed; at the end, it had been replaced by twin beds. They are still together, but their marriage is all over but the shouting.

I understood why she did it, but what Claire did with Frank felt like she was cheating on Jamie. What Mary McNab gave Jamie felt different, like a gift, even though Jamie kept his eyes closed just as Claire did with Frank. In fact, Mary McNab had quite a nice throughline in this episode, as she courageously risked prison by confessing to ownership of the illegal pistol Fergus had discharged.

And she gave Jamie more than sex. She shaved him and cut his hair, essentially transforming him back into the man he used be. As Fergus said at one point, "There you are, milord." As if Jamie had finally returned from Culloden.



As Jamie put himself in prison to save his family, Claire tried to fill the hole in her life by starting medical school. In her first class, as the white males glared at her, she befriended another outcast, Joe Abernathy. She may no longer have a good marriage, but at least she has a purpose again. As does Jamie.

Bits:

— The title card vignette was a redcoat posting yet another wanted poster for Jamie Fraser, this time as the "Dunbonnet."

— The infant Jamie was holding as he hid in the closet was named Ian after his father. Just a nonspoilery little aside: we'll see young Ian again.

— Baby Brianna has a stuffed bunny, a reminder of the rabbit at Culloden, the symbol of rebirth. Later, when Fergus lost his hand, there was a shot of a dead rabbit in a snare.

— If he was born in 1721 as he was in Diana Gabaldon's novels, Jamie would have been 31 years old in this episode. Interestingly, since she was born in 1918, Claire would have been 31 in this episode, too.

Quotes:

Jenny: "You ken why I can lie to the British and feel at peace? It's because I'm not lying. James Fraser hasna been here for a long, long time."

Jamie: "You remind me I have something to fight for."
Fergus: "There you are, milord."

Fergus: "In one stroke, I have become a man of leisure, hmm?"

Frank: "Claire, when I'm with you, I'm with you. But you're with him."

Jenny: "Jamie, have you not seen the inside of enough prisons for one lifetime?"
Jamie: "Little difference to the prison I live in now."

Dr. Simms: "The dean informed me there was a woman in this year's incoming class. A woman and a Negro. How very modern of us."

Jenny: "You gave me no choice, brother. And I'll never forgive you. Never!"

Such a sad, moving episode. Four out of four ugly brown hats,

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

No comments: