While in Outlander season 3 episode 1 last week, you could still feel the ghost of Jamie and Claire in each others’ respective scenes. Through season 3 episode 2 on Starz, we would argue that the outline was perhaps a little more faint. These are characters living their lives in stages; the love that they have is still prominent for each other, but they are facing the cold and terrible reality that they are set to live without each other for the remainder of their days. Claire presumes Jamie to be dead; meanwhile, Jamie presumes it impossible to ever get her back.
Through “Surrender,” these two characters did surrender somewhat to the idea that they had to move on — or at least put on a presentation of it. This is why Claire did her part at one point to try and be intimate with her husband Frank. Even though she cannot move forward, she wanted to feel as though it was possible. Yet, in being with him all she thought of was her long-lost love, and to go along with that more, she would not even look at Frank during their intimate time together. Frank could obviously sense this, and ironically her surrendering this part of herself led to an even greater sense of separation between the two. They slept in separate beds at the end of the night, with Frank realizing that while he may have her, he would never fully have her in the way that he once did.
Meanwhile, Claire had to find a way to recapture some of the magic that she had at one point in her life with Jamie, and that was being a part of something greater. That is why she combated sexism and went into medical school, where she met up with someone else feeling the pain that comes with being different: Joe Abernathy. This role may be small now in the greater context of the show, but it will swell in prominence in the episodes to come.
In going back to Jamie, he chose to make some surrenders of his own. For one, he realized that there were limits to how long he could handle the burden of Jenny and everyone at Lallybroch being held effectively hostage by his decision to go into hiding. After Fergus ended up losing his hand in a plot gone awry, and after Jenny was barely able to escape a trying confrontation while Jamie hid in an armoire with her child, he concocted a plan in which to ensure that there was no more hostage crisis. He would set himself up to be turned into the British so that Jenny would collect the reward and be free of the policing once and for all. he realized that there was no escaping this fate, and he could not continue to hide somewhere as Red Jamie / Dun Bonnet while those he loved were arrested or threatened. (It wasn’t the best episode for poor Ian in that regard.)
Prior to his arrest, Jamie was intimate for the first time since saying farewell to Claire — he resisted this at first, but eventually submitted that one way or another, his life would need to progress. Time is ticking away and these are characters who in so many ways were stuck in one place. For Jamie in the premiere, he allowed other characters to dictate much of his fate, including the decision to not execute him following the Battle of Culloden. Over the course of tonight’s episode, he took a more proactive stance, submitting himself to “moving forward” while Claire tried to do the same.
There is no blame to pass around for either one of these characters from a romantic point of view — they do still love each other, but are being realistic in regards to their future. The only way to move forward is for them to put one foot slowly in front of the other. They still have their touchstones late at night when much of the world fades away; with that, we don’t foresee their hearts or minds every being that far from each other. It’s during the day they will try to do a better job of putting on masks.
The CarterMatt Verdict
While Outlander season 3 episode 2 lacked the magnificent battle sequence with Jamie and Black Jack Randall from the premiere, this was effective both in terms of a tragic love story and a stepping stone to something more. This was an episode about making decisions, and without some of these the reunion between the two at the Print Shop would be nonexistent. Jamie may have ended up still in the cave were it not for his choice, or Claire far away from Scotland at the time of “Dragonfly in Amber” — small decisions often tend to snowball, and fate has a way of bringing people together. While Jamie and Claire’s actions may be seen as providing distance, in the end they offered up a chance to pull the two closer down the road.
Also, the scene between Jamie and Fergus may have been one of the most powerful and unexpected tearjerkers of the night. Well done to both Sam Heughan and Romann Berrux.
What did you think about Outlander season 3 episode 2? Sound off in the comments below! (Photo: Starz.)