What does it mean to be free? On Outlander season 3 episode 3, this concept was explored across multiple timelines, and in multiple forms.
In the present, the freedom came about as a result of tragedy, as the broken marriage between Claire and Frank Randall ended in tragedy. Joe came forward after a surgery and told her the news of her husband’s car accident. Her final words to him were clear and powerful: She loved him. She always did. The nature of that love may have changed, but he was her first great love and the recognition of that never left. That’s why it still hurt when Frank took on a secret mistress after they agreed to live separate lives, or when he told her about his intentions to move back to the United Kingdom for a new opportunity and divorce. He wanted to give himself a freedom that he never allotted himself during Brianna’s childhood. Frank and Claire deserve credit for trying to make things work when Brianna was a child, but their relationship was fraught from the moment Claire returned. She didn’t love him, and with that, it didn’t matter all that much what his feelings for her were. They would never be reciprocated, and their relationship would never be something more than what it was.
The final scene between these two in flashbacks was perfectly pitched and performed — it made you understand exactly why Claire stay married to him over all of the years, and also why Frank fell in love with her in the first place. When they were in love, that love was a fireball. Unfortunately, over time the fire extinguished and was barely a flicker even at the start of the episode, when they became inundated with feuds and various problems. Their illusion of being a happy couple was an obvious facade; yet, they continued to keep it going for the sake of their child.
With Frank gone, Claire also does now have the freedom of her own to live under her own terms; little does she realize that this will be the stepping stone that eventually does bring her past to the past and to Jamie.
Before we move on with the rest of this CarterMatt review, one final toast to Tobias Menzies for playing this role like a man possessed … and the same goes for Black Jack. If this is the end of him on the show, he will be incredibly missed.
Jamie finds his own freedom
Yet, at the same time this storyline was just as much about Lord John Grey finding his, and realizing more the gray areas that exist within this world. The two built a relationship over the years of Jamie’s imprisonment, one where the two started to understand where the other was coming from. Even though Jamie would not give John everything he asked for, he did find in him an intellectual equal, someone who understood that the world was not so brutal and binary, and someone who really did value things such as trust and duty. Lord John (played with wonderful complexity by David Berry) owed Jamie a debt stemming from the events of season 2, one that was paid off in this episode and then some. He ended up being the one to release Jamie from his shackles — with advice to lay low in order to avoid detection — and we feel as though Jamie gave him so much more than he bargained for.
The scenes between Jamie and Lord John were exactly what we hoped for in this episode — men with competing viewpoints finding themselves in unusual situations where they found themselves agreeing. Developing two male characters in this sort of intimate way is never easy, but through these scenes you saw what mattered to each of them, and also how the two perceived the world and where they stood in it. While not always the flashiest part of the episode, you understood of Jamie’s torment wearing the shackles, but also that there were developments and things to learn about his time separate from the rest of the world.
Our overall view of Outlander season 3 episode 3
This was probably the most challenging episode for the team to write of the entire series. Consider it in this sense: The writers were effectively covering well over a decade’s worth of story in a single hour, and they went through everything from the story of Jamie and Lord John to also the downfall of Claire and Frank’s relationship before his death. They handled this material with as deft a touch as possible; while we do think there is a case to be made to doing two separate episodes for each of them instead of consolidating them into one, this is only a thirteen-episode season and there is more story to get to.
For now, the primary thing to know is that everyone has now found a form of freedom, whether it be in terms of shackles, from heartbreak, or in the afterlife. Everyone is ready for that next step;
What did you think about Outlander season 3 episode 3?
Let us know your thoughts in the attached comments! Also, take a look at a preview now for Outlander season 3 episode 4, or be sure to check out our piece saying farewell to Menzies as a regular part of this show.
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