Once again, OUTLANDER hits it out of the park.
Even though seeing Jamie and Claire apart by two hundred years, suffering and in pain, is downright killing me, I have to admit that I am quite enjoying this new dynamic.
In the second episode of season 3, six years have passed for Jamie, and we meet the famous Dun Bonnet, a name that the highlanders took to calling our beloved redhaired warrior. The years since Culloden have not been kind to Jamie, and he is being hunted by the English Redcoats, accused of treason. He can’t stay at Lallybroch, but he doesn’t really have anywhere to go, so he lives in a cave nearby. He hunts, he occasionally drops by to see his sister and brings dinner, but he is but a mere shadow of the vibrant Jamie we all know and love.
The scene where he is cleaning the deer he killed — just a few hours after the Redcoats came and took Ian away to prison for not giving up Jamie’s whereabouts — and Fergus is furious about the situation, saying that they should go after the English soldiers and slit their throats; that scene right there broke my heart. Because Jamie barely reacts — to anything. Jenny tries to get him talking, but he doesn’t utter a single word. He just looks hollow and just an empty shell.
Sam Heughan is a fantastic actor, but he really shines in “Surrender”. His expressions are so moving and he looks half terrified, half completely heartbroken, and his performance just hits you like a punch to the gut. When he shows up a few days later and meets Mary in the yard, he looks like a skittish, scared little animal, like anything could set him running. Again, Heughan’s performance in that moment was breathtaking, because it is the look in his eyes that really sets the bar high in this scene. He is completely lost without Claire and his entire body shows it.
One day, when the Redcoats finally bring Ian back to Lallybroch, Fergus decides to taunt the British and — knowing that they are following him through the woods — starts leading them in circles. But they eventually catch up to him, and one of the Captains (a Scot, who is serving the Crown), has the soldiers holding him down and chops off his hand. The scene is graphic and awful, because Fergus is just a kid. At this point, he is no older than sixteen, and all he wants is for the English to leave them alone.
Jamie finds him and takes him back to Lallybroch, saving his life. And that’s what finally breaks Jamie. When Jenny tells him Fergus will be fine, and he says he should have tried to prevent all this — and then completely breaks down in her arms — was by far one of my favorite moments of the season so far. The scene is so quiet and sad, and both Heughan and Laura Donnelly hit it out of the park, and Jamie’s quiet desperation broke my heart in tiny little pieces.
The moment he shares with Fergus later, finally prompts him to snap out of the grief-induced haze he had been in for years. When the boy says “There you are, Milord”, it brought tears to my eyes, because Jamie’s grief was not only affecting himself, but everyone around him. Fergus considers him a father, and he had been watching Jamie just fade away day by day.
Romann Berrux, who plays Fergus, is such an expressive young actor and I will miss him so much. He was most definitely one of the highlights of season 2 for me, and I really, really wish we could see more of him in season 3. César Domboy has some big shoes to fill as grown up Fergus, but I am absolutely sure he is more than up to the task.
Jamie tells his sister to send word to the English, saying that he was going to come home. Jenny is completely against the idea, but he’s thought it all through. If she’s the one who turns him in, she’ll get the reward for his capture and the Redcoats will finally leave them alone.
The last time we see Jamie in this episode, he is being taken away by the English. Even though I know things will not be easy for him, I am so excited. Because that means we are about to meet Lord John Grey and I absolutely can’t wait to see their friendship come to life on my screen.
Now, let’s talk about Claire.
Flashforward to 1948. Bree is a few months old and it seems like Claire and Frank have taken to their new life together quite well. But it’s all on the surface, as she keeps seeing Jamie everywhere and things with Frank are still a little strained and awkward.
However, she tries to make amends. One night, she comes to him in bed — and it was only upon my second watch that I actually understood this — and Frank is obviously surprised. It’s been over a year and she wouldn’t even let him touch her. Why would she be the one initiating things now? When he looks up at her questioningly, she just says that she missed her husband.
But here’s the thing, she can’t even look at him. She missed her husband, but that’s not Frank. And the way Caitriona Balfe delivered this line was so on point, because the moment is so poignant, and she can’t take this anymore, this everlasting grief that is sucking the life out of her. So she tries to make things work with Frank, but they just don’t.
Later in the episode, when they’re in the middle of sex and Franks asks her to open her eyes, she can’t. He confronts her about it, they fight, and that was the moment that their marriage ended. Right there, Frank understood that he would never have her back, and that her heart would forever belong to the Scottish Highlander she had met in the past.
Claire seems to finally realize that things will not work out with Frank. Despite her best intentions, she can’t forget Jamie, and she can’t bring herself to love another man, so she throws herself into her work. She is accepted to Harvard Medical School, and is the only woman in her class. We get our first glance at Joe Abernathy, her classmate, and the only black man in the room. The two outsiders of the group become fast friends.
But the problem is, she can’t overcome this crippling grief she feels. She has Brianna, her studies, but both she and Frank are about to start leading half lives, just for appearance’s sake. The shot where we see their separate beds was so terribly sad, because you can’t help but feel bad for Frank too. He lost his wife, and got her back; but it’s not really her anymore, so he is grieving too.
OUTLANDER airs an all new episode next Sunday, September 24 at 8/7c on Starz (U.S.) or 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on W Network (Canada).