Outlander S03E03 Recap

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SOME SPOILERS AHEAD.

This was quite the bitter sweet episode. For much of it, I was somewhat up and down with my emotions thanks to Claire and Frank. Jamie’s story line ended on a decidedly happier note than theirs.

The episode skips forward in time twice in Claire’s story line. The firs time we saw Claire, Brianna was around eight years old, this part of her story line taking place eight years after last week’s episode. And guess what? She and Frank still aren’t happy together. They got along well enough…up to a point. This show loves ripping moments when Claire and Frank look like they found some semblance of joy away from us.

Frank has a mistress. So good for him? He and Claire don’t love each other, nor do they have sex. The man has to find love, affection and sexual gratification somewhere. It’d be a little unfair of Claire to hold him to celibacy when she wants nothing to do with him in that way. And she didn’t. It was her idea that he have a mistress and the two of them live separate lives.

Which is why I found it so strange that she was hurt when Frank said that he had seen the two films she suggested they see together with his mistress already. I suppose that Claire wanted companionship as well, but she never seemed to want even that from Frank. The two weren’t even really friends. She looked to be very disappointed. I just don’t understand why.

I do understand why she was angry and upset that Frank’s mistress showed up on their doorstep. During Claire’s graduation party no less. Am I the only one who thought she was there to confess that she was pregnant? For a split second I forgot that he was impotent. I didn’t think anything of it at first, but when Claire opened the door and there she was, Frank’s asking about her reservation and almost rushing her along to leave made sense. I knew immediately that he wasn’t attending in order to see his mistress.

I honestly thought that the mistress would be staying at the house while Claire, Brianna and the rest of the party were gone. Which would have been highly inappropriate. She didn’t though. Still, her showing up at their house was less then discreet. Even if it was accidental and especially with guest there and, more importantly, their daughter. Hopefully he never did entertain her at their home. They have neighbours. Someone would have noticed a woman frequently turning up at their home when Claire was gone. Claire seemed angry about the indiscretion and humiliation and not much else.

I loved that despite everything that happened between him and Claire, Frank loved Brianna so unconditionally. Wasn’t it adorable how he made them all an English breakfast? He loved Brianna so much that he refused a divorce just because he didn’t want to risk losing custody of her. So I was surprised when he asked for one ten years later. But by then Brianna was eighteen and he wouldn’t have lost custody of her

He did go too far in suggesting that he take her to England with him and the two of them leave Claire in Boston. She’s Claire’s child and he’s not her biological father. He did say that Claire couldn’t look at Brianna without seeing Jamie so perhaps he was trying to hurt her in doing so. However, he said that as a medical student and doctor she didn’t have much of a presence in Bree’s life anyway so it would have hardly made a difference. That had to hurt Claire, as a mother. I do think though, that he just didn’t want to be without his little girl.

When Wil was walking toward Claire as she finished speaking to her patient’s next of kin, I knew immediately what he was going to tell her. I knew that he was going to say that Frank died in a car accident. I’d seen it coming when Frank left after their fight. When Claire answered the call from the hospital, the sound of the car tires screeching as he drove off was audible in the background and I just knew we wouldn’t see him alive again.

He never got to have the happy, loving marriage he wanted and would have gotten if  he’d divorced Claire. He was treated so badly this season. I haven’t read the third book – yet – so I don’t know if he gets it this badly there, but it’s really unfair and sad that a character who is such a good man ended up this way.

It’s like every time Jamie goes to prison he gets the shortest end of the shortest stick of all of the prisoners. At Wentworth he was flogged almost to death and later raped by Black Jack Randall, the same man who inflicted the flogging and at Ardsmuir he’s the only prisoner to be manacled 24/7. Which, given his past prison experiences, is a marked improvement.

I was so happy to see Murtagh alive. I was so worried that he was dead (which he is in the books apparently, having died in the Battle of Culloden). He wasn’t all together well though. He had a bit of a cough and I was worried that he wouldn’t make it to the end of the episode alive. But he did! All of my worries were for nothing.

As much of an improvement as there was pertaining to Jamie’s life in prison, the conditions were certainly still poor. Not only were the prisoners living with rats that tended to bite them, they were the rats eating too (has the plague happened already?). They had to have been seriously underfed.

The obvious solution, of course, would be to feed them better. But I didn’t think that Grey was there for any kind of reform. Stick in the mud that he was, he did want to run the prison as it should be. Although feeding the prisoners properly would have been part of that, he did express a certain disdain for them and I don’t think  he cared about them that much.

I was glad to see that Jamie still had his pride and dignity. His spirit had not been broken. I cheered when he refused to interpret for Grey and even more so when he used his utility to the man to bargain for better resources for the prisoners. In fact, he did that twice in the episode. He only got resources for Murtagh, but it was still a very noble thing to do.

Although the whole reason that Jamie was interpreting for Grey was so that the latter could learn the whereabouts of the gold that Louis allegedly gave to Charles, the rambling old man gave Jamie something far more precious; the possibility that Claire had returned and was looking for him. As the audience, we knew that that couldn’t have been the case. Claire was still seventeen years away from going back through the stones.

So when he escaped from Ardsmuir I thought that he’d done so to go and find Claire. I was very much taken aback by Jamie asking Grey to kill him and that being why he escaped. At least, it looked like that was why he escaped. Although the request didn’t necessitate that he escape. It was weird and didn’t make sense to me but, whatever.

I liked that Jamie and Grey were starting to get along and become friends. It was charming. But my gaydar went off when Grey talked about losing a male companion in the war and even more so when he said that his brother was ashamed because of it. There would be no reason for this brother to be ashamed if Grey wasn’t in some kind of open-but-not-quite-openly gay relationship with the man he was mourning. I did not expect him to make a move on Jamie though.

I suppose, in the moment, he wanted to heal the same way that Mary did. Grey totally misread the situation when Jamie said that he thought of their first time meeting, every now and then. I really can’t imagine what it felt like for Jamie to once again be on the receiving end of affections from a man that was holding him prisoner. I don’t think that it was a mistake that that scene cut to a shot of Frank.

About that more hopeful note that Jamie’s story line ended on, no one died. Thankfully. He got separated from Murtagh (*tears*) but at least he’s free. Kind of. It was good of Grey to secure Jamie said freedom. That family really is honourable and noble almost to a fault. And it was good that their budding, but cut short, friendship wasn’t ruined by Grey’s advance. But now that Jamie is a servant to a man who hates Jacobites…well…we’ll see how that goes.

Random thoughts:

  1. Role reversal! Frank’s cooking.
  2. Jamie learned a few things from Claire. Aww.
  3. Jerry and Millie divorced?! No!
  4. If Murtagh dies in this episode…
  5. Aww, Murtagh thinks of Claire too.
  6. Lol at Jamie describing the dinner to Murtagh and the other prisoners.
  7. Yay! Murtagh’s not dying!
  8. That debt he was owed by Grey was repaid twice over.

Outlander airs Sundays at 10 PM on Starz.

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An avid reader who accidentally discovered her love and talent for writing and has loved movies for as long as she has been watching them. Stumbled into film-making and found her second love because she decided to read for a degree in it on a whim - kind of.