Hi again, dear readers! So sorry for my absence last week. I think we can all agree things were a little overwhelming. :/
But anyway I’m back now, and we have TWO reviews for the price of ONE! Damn I love a good deal.
Episode 3×4, “Of Lost Things”
Last week’s episode picked up where 3×3 left off, with Jamie employed as a groom at Helwater. The Lord of the Manor calls Jamie in and tells him he knows who he is, but they’ll keep it between them, because his wife wouldn’t be happy that a man who fought in the battle that killed their only son worked for them. Jamie agrees, and he goes by the name Alex MacKenzie while he’s there, which of course complicates Claire, Roger, and Bree’s search for him in 1968.
Jamie’s keepin’ his head down, doin’ his thing, when the elder daughter, Lady Geneva, notices that he is one hot piece of Scottish tail. She learns that his real name is Jamie Fraser, the infamous Red Jamie, and threatens to tell her mom and get him fired…unless he goes to bed with her. She’s betrothed to this nasty (rich) old fart, and she doesn’t want her first time to be with a man like that. Jamie doesn’t have any choice but to agree, so I mean he’s basically raped…again…and the scene itself left me with a lot of conflicting emotions?
When someone is put into a situation where they absolutely can’t say no, it’s rape. I mean, that’s the definition of rape! But the scene was played like while Jamie wasn’t all that happy to be there, he still felt sympathy for the situation Geneva was in. Which you can sorta see, because she was also in a position where she couldn’t say no: she’s being forced to marry a man old enough to be her grandpa, and of course she’ll have to sleep with him.
So, yeah, I mean I guess I can sympathize with Geneva, but…I don’t like Jamie being sexually assaulted again and I would like that trend to end now, please. Thanks.
By the way, the actress herself says she never considered it rape, but HONESTLY her comments on it leave a bad taste in my mouth because if the situation were reversed, I feel like she’d definitely be saying Jamie raped Geneva.
Anyway, Geneva gets pregnant. Apparently she doesn’t sleep with her husband, which seems like a poor move on such a shrewd woman’s part, but whatever. She dies shortly after the baby’s born, and her husband flips out and holds a knife on the baby. He says he’s going to kill it, but Jamie shoots him before he has a chance.
A bit later Jamie is walking in the woods when Geneva’s sister stops and apologizes to being so rude to him when Geneva died. She gives him a chance to hold the baby and tells him they named him William, to be called Willie. That was Jamie’s brother’s name, so he’s thrilled with it. Geneva’s mom then tells Jamie she knows who he is, but she thanks him for saving Willie’s life, and basically offers to let him go home. He tells her no (because he wants to stay for his son), and explains that he’s saving money for his family and would like to stay a bit longer.
Jump to Willie age six or so. People say he looks like Jamie, because they spend so much time together, but luckily the ginger gene passed over him. Jamie finally decides he has to go home, and he offers John Grey, uh. HIMSELF! If he’ll watch over Willie once Jamie’s gone.
John is deeply offended and tells him it’s okay anyway, because he’s marrying Geneva’s sister. Jamie is nonplussed, because John isn’t really into ladies, but John tells him he cares deeply for her, and he’ll do his best to be a good husband.
Willie is upset at Jamie’s leaving, but they share a sweet and touching scene together in Jamie’s room, and Jamie presents him with a snake similar to the one his brother carved for him when they were boys.
Meanwhile in 1968, Roger, Claire, and Brianna are desperately seeking Jamie. They find his name in the Ardsmuir Prison rolls, but then lose track of him after that. Don’t change your name, people!! It confuses your future wife and child!
Roger and Bree get closer, and later they all travel to Edinburgh to look through shipping manifests…but they’re all from the 17th century. Claire sees it as a sign that they should give up. She can’t keep chasing a dream, after all, and her work back in Boston is calling her. Literally: Joe Abernathy calls and tells her one of her patients needs surgery.
She tells Bree they’re done and going home, and though she’s disappointed, Bree agrees.
Episode 3×5, “Freedom & Whisky”
PRINT SHOP PRINT SHOP PRINT SHOP
Okay, sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
This episode is entirely Claire. It’s Christmas 1968. Brianna is flunking out of Harvard. Claire is restless and thinking about Jamie. Roger is lovesick and shows up on Claire and Bree’s doorstep like a lost, bearded puppy.
Bree and Claire are fighting because Bree wants to drop out of school and move out of the house. Claire isn’t happy, but Bree points out that she’s 20 years old and it’s her life. Poor lil Roger is just like “maybe I shoulda called first…?”
After Bree leaves, Roger shows Claire what he’s been working on since the women left Scotland. He’s found an article written in 1765 that quotes the Robert Burns poem “The Author’s Earnest Cry and Prayer.” Okay, great, big deal. Except last episode, Claire told Bree and Roger she used to quote that poem to Jamie all the time…and the poem wasn’t written until 1786. Twenty-one years AFTER the article penned by one Alexander Malcolm.
Well good job, Claire, you just turned Robert Burns into a plagiarist of HIMSELF.
Anyway. Now Claire knows Jamie is alive (I mean…you know what I mean) and where to find him. But she tells Roger she can’t go back. She has Bree now, and she can’t just leave her. It wouldn’t be right.
Meanwhile at the hospital, she tells her friend and colleague Joe Abernathy that the man she’s pining after from Scotland is Bree’s real father. He tells her she should give it another shot, but still she hesitates. Meanwhile, an anthropologist friend of his sends over a skeleton in search of a second opinion: she’s a white woman who was murdered in a cave in the Caribbean 200 years ago. Claire seems to have some sort of connection to the bones, because she knows right away that the woman was murdered, before Joe shows her the severed neck bones.
Later, Claire, Bree, and Roger attend a ceremony at Harvard to honor Frank. Frank’s girlfriend Sandy is there, and she lets Claire have it. She calls her selfish, saying she should’ve let Frank go years ago…which, uh, Claire tried to do? And Frank always said no? It doesn’t really matter now that he’s dead, but still. Way to misrepresent the situation, Frankie.
As they’re leaving Bree asks Claire who the woman was, and at first Claire sort of lies. Then Bree reminds her that they promised to always tell each other the truth, so she does. Then she shows Bree the article, and Bree realizes that Jamie’s alive (you know what I mean), and Claire can go back to him.
When Claire shows reluctance, Bree insists. She points out that she’s an adult, and while she’ll miss Claire, she’ll be okay on her own. She says that Claire gave Jamie up for Brianna, and now Brianna has to give Claire up too.
Claire makes herself a dress so she can smuggle all her penicillin and, I hope, tampons back to 1765. She and Bree have a tearful goodbye in which Claire gives Bree the pearls Jamie gave her on their wedding night and they hug and uggghhh I got all choked up.
As Claire leaves, Roger and Bree curl up on the couch together. Roger eats a lobster roll (something he told Bree he came to Boston to try) and Bree reads A Christmas Carol (a gift from Roger) and it’s all very domestic.
Then we cut to Claire walking down the street in Edinburgh, 1765. She asks a boy for directions to the print shop, and when she finds it she pauses to study the sign. She climbs the stairs. I REALLY thought the episode was gonna end as she opened the door, but it didn’t. Jamie has his back to her, and when he turns around she says, “It’s me, Claire.”
Jamie stares at her, like he’s seeing a ghost, and then he straight up falls out.
Since I have to combine these two reviews, and since I already talked about it above, I’m not going to dwell too long on the Lady Geneva/Jamie thing. Consent can change, I guess? I mean, at one point I think if he’d said “No I’m leaving!” she would’ve let him go, but probably he didn’t know that. The whole thing is sticky and icky and honestly I’m just glad it wasn’t violent because Jamie’s had enough sexual violence visited on him to last a lifetime.
Which brings us to John Grey. Jamie must respect him a great deal if he’s willing to offer himself to him, even for something as important as protecting his son. The fact that John not only refuses, but is offended that Jamie would think he’s that kind of person, reverses a great deal of the show’s “predatory homosexual” trend created by Jack Randall. Thanks for bein’ a swell dude, John Grey! You still look like Louis the vampire!
I wish there had been more Lady Geneva, to be honest. It was all so quick! And then she was dead! All so she could have Jamie’s son and provide Jamie with some manpain! And also rape Jamie in a very confusing and murky way that was sort-of not rape but in fact was rape by its very definition!
I struggled with 3×4, y’all. So let’s move on.
Episode 5 steered us into much safer and more comforting territory. I loved seeing Bree and Claire’s relationship, especially because they were so estranged when we first met them last season. To hear Bree tell Claire that she’s more like Claire than she is either of her fathers was amazing, and to see how hard Claire fought to stay with her daughter was touching. At one point Bree said that Frank must’ve hated her because she looks like Jamie, but Claire reassured her that no, he loved Bree more than anything in the world. Which is true, and it makes me wonder why it was so impossible for him to reconnect to Claire.
I also liked Claire’s mini-breakdown over whether Jamie would still want her after 20 years. How #relatable was that??
I was not at all let down by the long-awaited print shop scene. Obviously there wasn’t much of it, but it didn’t end with the door opening (thank jesus), and Jamie’s faint was honestly spectacular. Like how would you react if your wife suddenly popped up after 20 years and you thought she was off in the 20th century driving a flying car and…I don’t know. Whatever people in the 18th century thought would be happening in 200 years.
It was a good balance, the waiting and the payoff. We’re about halfway through the season now: much longer and it would’ve started to drag. Any shorter and it would’ve rushed Jamie’s storyline even more. I’m glad Outlander recognizes that a ~big cliffhanger~ isn’t something that you should force in exchange for properly-paced storytelling. The Walking Dead, are you paying attention? Never mind. I know the answer to that.
I can’t waaaaaiiiit till next week when they have an actual SCENE together and ALSO I’m excited about the groundwork being laid by Joe and the dead lady’s bones. Because y’all know that’s important.
Oh man I’m looking forward to the back half of this season. How about y’all??
3×4: B- or even C because damn.