Previously on Outlander, “Surrender”
After forcing Jenny to turn him in, Jamie is spending his days at Ardsmuir Prison, acting as the Mac Dubh to the prisoners and the official mouthpiece to the British guards. He’s the only prisoner in chains, but he’s also the only one who gets to dine weekly with the Prison Officer, so at least he’s got that going for him. But when Major Handsomepants Grey takes over as the new governor in charge of the prison, it looks like his one hot meal a week might be in jeopardy.
Ardsmuir isn’t treating anyone well—it’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s making Murtaugh sick. Murtaugh Watch is over! We found him, though he’s probably slowly dying of pneumonia. He’s still Jamie’s chief advisor and closest friend, and one of the few people left alive that even remembers Claire.
Major Handsomepants seems to have changed his mind overnight about how best to deal with Jamie, but their first interaction starts off a little rocky. In what is supposed to be a gesture of goodwill, he offers to kill all of the rats in the cells, not realizing that the rats are what’s keeping the prisoners alive. That’s okay, I’m sure his good intentions will also keep them well fed.
A soaking wet man is found wandering the land around the prison, ranting in a mixture of Gaelic and French and clearly out of his head. But he is ranting about French gold, which catches Handsomepants’ attention, and the Major smugly strikes a bargain with Jamie. In exchange for removing the shackles and getting some medical attention for Murtaugh, Jamie will translate the man’s ravings to English. When he does get to interview the dying man, all he gets is a stream of crazy: the gold is cursed, the MacKenzie is dead (that part is technically true), the ban-druidh is coming. Jamie perks up when he mentions the white witch—could that possibly be Claire? Did she come back through the stones for him?
Nope. Jamie pulls an elaborate AWOL from the prison to search for Claire, but his one spark of hope is quickly extinguished. That explains why he returns to the prison and pulls a knife on Grey, taunting him about when they caught the poor 16-year-old in the woods the night before battle. Believe it or not, Major Handsomepants Grey is the same kid all those years back who tried to kill Jamie and “save” Claire, and Grey’s brother is the Red Coat that snuck Jamie back home after Culloden. Even knowing all of that and reliving the humiliation, Grey won’t let Jamie commit suicide by British Officer, and eventually Jamie comes clean about why he escaped and why he returned. He tells Grey about Claire, about the white witch, and how he’d been hoping to find her, and somehow the two men form the most tentative of friendships.
Over the next three months the two bond over wine, chess, war stories, and ambiguous tales of lost love, though when Grey lingers just a little too long on Jamie’s hand that ambiguousness clears right up. Jamie’s PTSD from season 1 kicks in and it looks like their bran- new friendship might be short-lived. But all of a sudden the prison is being shut down, the prisoners are being commuted to The Colonies to finish their sentences, and instead of being put on a boat, Jamie is being pulled across the moors behind Grey’s horse. They finally stop at Helwater, a huge estate house where Jamie will serve, and Grey explains everything. The Crown won’t send Jamie overseas, and Grey doesn’t have the power to liberate him, but in the name of their new friendship found him as much freedom as he could.
Ah, the picture of marital bliss: Frank cooks Claire a proper English breakfast while they smile at each other and chat about how American their 8-year-old daughter is, but things get awkward with a quickness when she asks him out on a date and he turns her down. Turns out he’s already dating, thankyouverymuch, which seems to surprise Claire even though they clearly made an agreement to be “discreet”. She at least has the good manners to look a little bit embarrassed that she has no idea what her husband is up to ever.
Claire has been in medical school for ten years. That’s a normal amount of time, right? She and her best buddy Joe celebrate their diplomas at their graduation party, but the celebration comes to a screeching, crashing, undignified halt when Frank’s girlfriend shows up at the front door. Did Frank really get his times mixed up, or is he starting to self-sabotage?
Frank gets home from his date to find his wife waiting to pounce on him. They have the most bizarre argument, where even though Claire wouldn’t let Jamie go and Frank agreed to live with his ghost, Claire comes off as a self-righteous, jealous shrew and Frank can barely contain his scorn for her. Their fight is full of the kind of awful things you could never take back, made even worse because everything they’re yelling at each other is true. The pretense of their marriage may be finally wearing thin.
Another eight years pass by, and Frank and Claire are still alternating between awkward glances and bared teeth. Those two must be exhausted after doing this every day for 18 years. They still know each other inside and out, so it’s weird that Claire is surprised that Frank finally wants a divorce. Yet another horrible argument ensues, ending with Claire in tears again and Frank out the door… again. That’s curtains for Frank, because as Claire finishes up an emergency surgery later that day, she learns that there has been a car accident and Frank is dead.
Lord John Grey is strong out of the gate as Mr. Congeniality, and his dynamic with Jamie is so interesting because every time they are with each other they alternate being in command of the relationship. I hope for Jamie’s sake that this becomes an actual friendship, seeing as just about everyone he know is dead or in America. That poor man could use a friend.
Defending Claire this week is a little harder than it’s been so far. For someone who has had her one great love, she’s awfully opposed to anyone else finding just a sliver of happiness. Not that Frank makes it easy to defend, either, since he knew being Bree’s father was in exchange for a roommate-style marriage and then was surprised that he got exactly what he bargained for. It’s tough to side with either of them when they’re both right but they’re both going about it all the wrong ways.
RIP, Jerry and Millie. You kids had a good run.
Outlander S3E3 Review Score
"All Debts Paid"
Outlander – S3E3 – “All Debts Paid” | Caitrona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies