Previously on Outlander, “Of Lost Things”
It’s been a few months since Claire closed the books on her search for Jamie and she and Brianna returned to Boston, and it’s been business as usual. Claire, who doesn’t have any hobbies outside of looking forlorn and being passive aggressive, throws herself back into her work. Brianna, unfortunately, does the exact opposite, and in no time finds out she’s failing out of Harvard. She’ll show you, Harvard, and just quit before she’s thrown out!
Happy Christmas: there’s a Roger at the door! Roger flies all the way to Boston to see Brianna, who promptly ditches him the minute he shows up in order to escape another fight she’s having with Claire. Roger is happy to spend a little time with Claire….I guess. It’s his first Christmas without his father, so Claire is better than nothing, and the real reason he came to Boston was to escape the ghosts of his Christmas’ past. He also has news. Other than to see Brianna, and start new Christmas traditions, the real real real reason he came to Boston is because he’s found Jamie. Next time lead with that, Roger!
Jamie is working under a pseudonym in 1765 Edinburgh, running a printing press. Roger explains how he figured it all out and is as suprised as the rest of us when Claire loses her shit at him. She… never asked for this?! Come again?? Those months in Scotland when she literally asked Roger to help her locate Jamie must be a blur in her mind, and Roger politely (and coldly) excuses himself after he “stirred the pot”.
It’s obvious how scared Claire is at the idea of leaving Brianna, and going through the stones again, and finding Jamie. And the scariest part: has Jamie been loving her the way she still loves him? She forces poor Joe Abernathy to convince her she’s still got a great ass, but then goes out and (finally!) takes care of her roots anyway. Better safe than sorry.
Roger finally gets to spend some time with Brianna when she shows him all around the school she’s no longer going to be attending and then takes him to an event honoring her dead father. Weirdest first date ever. At the event she sees Claire and Sandy (Frank’s mistress) having some intense words, and even though she can’t hear the conversation, Sandy has some pretty spot-on observations about the way Claire treated Frank. Claire comes clean with Brianna about who Sandy was to Frank, and in the spirit of honesty also tells her that Jamie has been found. Brianna very nobly insists Claire go back through the stones at once, but has maybe not thought all the way through the ramifications of losing her mom forever. Even once they do get a chance to talk it out, and all the fears and concerns are on the table, it boils down to just one thing: can Claire really live the rest of her life without Jamie now that she knows he’s alive?
Either Brianna and Roger are torturing Claire with sadistic Christmas gifts, or she’s made up her mind and they’re preparing her to go back to 18th century Scotland. She whips up a period costume, lines her pockets with penicillin and ancient money, and is ready to walk out the door as soon as she says her goodbyes. It’s heartbreaking to watch Claire walk out of the door alone, going towards and leaving behind the two things she loves the most, and Brianna finally shows a real display of emotion as it hits her that she’ll never see her mom again. Then it’s back to business as usual as she and Roger make some new (and sexy) Christmas traditions together.
Claire steps into an airport taxi in 1968 and steps out of a carriage in 1765. She made it through the stones unscathed (although it looks like she might have lost her eyebrows this time around), and now it’s time to find Jamie. Knowing his pseudonym makes it a pretty easy task, but each step towards him brings trepidation, mixed with some joy, some fear, and excitement. So many emotions all at once! She finally steps through the door and walks towards his voice; as he turns around at the sound of her name, he looks up at her… and faints dead away. Good thing he married a doctor!
In an episode where there was almost no action, so much happened! I never would have requested a Claire-centric episode, and certainly not one that featured Brianna heavily, but this felt totally worth it. Instead of just watching Claire get sad or mad or bitchy or lash out at Frank, we got to actually watch her emotions happen organically. Ever since Frank died, it’s felt like everything has been bubbling right under the surface, and I appreciate Claire a little more now that she’s getting to follow the “what if” paths that are wandering through her brain.
You know who I don’t appreciate more? Brianna. I don’t know if it’s the actress or the delivery or if it’s completely intentional, but that child is stone-faced at best, heartless at worst. She rarely registers any emotion, unless you count smirking, at what should be a really emotionally unstable time in a girl’s life.
Confrontation between Sandy and Claire: totally worth it. I’m all for Claire, even when she’s terrible, but she needed to realize that her actions had consequences beyond just her immediate unhappiness, and Sandy has every right to be broken over the way her last fifteen or so years went down. Maybe her taking Claire down a peg will make Claire a better (or at least more considerate) person in the future. A little self-realization never hurt anyone..
That raincoat dress. It wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t the best. Synthetic waxed fabrics still seem like the path to another witch trial. Who other than a witch can stay completely dry when everyone else is rain-soaked?
Outlander S3E5 Review Score
"Freedom and Whisky"
Outlander – S3E5 – “Freedom and Whisky” | Caitrona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies