I honestly don’t even know where to start.
I watched this episode a couple of months ago, when we first got the season 3 screeners, and I admit I skipped right to episodes 5 and 6 like an impatient child, because I just needed to see this. Voyager is my absolute favorite book in the series, and that reunion is definitely a big factor in it.
I won’t even say I was worried they wouldn’t be able to do it justice, because I really wasn’t. Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan have proved time and time again that they are more than capable of bringing this story to life in such a beautiful way, that I knew they were more than up to the task when it came to this moment. That said, I admit I was a nervous wreck when I hit play on this.
Even though I knew they would do a good job, I also knew that it would probably never live up to my expectations because this was the moment in the series. But you know what, I stand corrected. Not only did it completely surpass my expectations, but Cait and Sam did such a wonderful job at playing this in such a beautiful, tender and touching way, that the whole thing just left me breathless. This episode was a testament to how unbelievably talented both of them are.
But let’s break this baby down, shall we?
The first time they saw each other again. That entire first sequence was so wonderful and brilliantly awkward and funny, and I was just smiling so big and crying happy tears that I don’t know how my face isn’t permanently stuck in that expression. From the moment that Jamie finally came to and realized she was real, to Claire telling him about Brianna, that entire sequence was played with perfection.
Special shout out to Sam Heughan, who really tugged at my heartstrings, reacting to Brianna’s photos. The subtleness and tenderness with which he played that moment, and the emotions showing so clearly on his face made that scene absolutely perfect. Even though the episode had many fantastic scenes, this one quiet moment was the one that really stood out for me and made me cry.
Claire and Fergus. Young Fergus was definitely one of the highlights of season 2 and the start of season 3, and I was so sad to see Romann Berrux go earlier this season. But by the time Claire finally returns to the 18th century, twenty years have passed, so César Domboy is taking over as adult Fergus; and let me tell you, he does not disappoint.
Their impromptu reunion when Jamie and Claire are on their way to a tavern was every bit as emotional as it was beautiful. After all, Claire thought of him as a son, and the shock of seeing him all grown up is almost too much. Same for poor Fergus, who thought he was seeing a ghost. But here is where Domboy shines, because the moment Fergus recognized Claire, he reverted back to that young boy she knew, and the tone of wonder and reverence in his voice was absolutely breathtaking. I loved everything about it, and I have to tell you, I’ve watched that scene over and over again.
The reunion. After Jamie dealt with everything at the tavern, including Mr. Willoughby, Jamie takes Claire back to where he usually spends the night. Turns out, though, that that first place we saw him earlier in the episode when he was getting ready, is actually a brothel. He rents a room there, just to sleep, but Claire’s first impression is not the greatest. The whole thing is so awkward and Jamie is so embarrassed when he finally realizes that bringing Claire to a brothel — despite his good intentions of offering her a warm place to sleep and a good meal — was not one of his brightest moments.
But once they get over the awkwardness and uncertainty of where they stand, their actual reunion is everything we could have ever wanted. It’s intense and beautiful and sensual, and this is Jamie and Claire at their very best. Afterwards, when they’re just talking in bed, it feels like those twenty years never even happened. They fall back in synch, as if Claire had never left, and we soon learn that Jamie not only owns a print shop, but he also uses it as a front to smuggle alcohol into the country.
Everything about their night together was absolutely perfect. I had a hard time coming up with something coherent to say, because an accurate expression of my opinion about this would be a million heart eyes emojis.
Young Ian. I was so looking forward to meeting Jamie’s nephew, but I had no idea we were already going to see him. I was just as surprised as Young Ian and Claire, but their first meeting was just so adorable, and I already love him. John Bell, who plays Young Ian, delivered the line “But you’re dead” flawlessly, and had me laughing out loud. I am definitely looking forward to seeing their relationship develop.
And even though the episode ended on a cliffhanger, with that creepy guy attacking Claire, I can absolutely consider this one of the very best episodes of the series so far — if not the best.
A new episode of OUTLANDER airs Sunday, October 29, at 8/7c on Starz.