If you are a book reader, you know that the Print Shop scene (Voyager, Chapter 24, A. Malcolm) is considered the Holy Grail of the Outlander Series. It ranks right up there with Claire & Jamie’s wedding and wedding night, if not higher. And as a book reader, there are a few things I am hoping to see in this coming week’s episode since I just happen to think of them as MUST SEE TV! Here are they are – my seven Must See Moments for Episode 306, A. Malcolm.
Number 1: The First Kiss.
“I want—” He stopped and swallowed, still holding, my hand. His fingers found and touched the silver ring once more. “I want verra much to kiss you,” he said softly. “May I do that?”
Jamie, dear, please just get on with it! Kiss the girl for Pete’s sake! We’ve been waiting for 15 months for this. Now, is not the time to be hesitant!
Number 2: The Photographs.
“He splayed a hand out over the photographs, trembling fingers not quite touching the shiny surfaces, and then he turned and leaned toward me, slowly, with the improbable grace of a tall tree falling. He buried his face in my shoulder and went very quietly and thoroughly to pieces.”
I cry reading this, I cannot imagine the snubs I’m gonna have watching it! Pass the tissue please and a glass of wine.
Number 3: The Dust Up At The Whorehouse.
“The question is, Sassenach, why have ye come back?” he said softly.
“That’s a hell of a question to ask me!” My palms pressed flat against the rough wood of the door. “Why do you think I came back, damn you?”
Jamie, I must agree with Claire. You ask the silliest questions. Why do you think she came back? Because she liked the absence of toilet paper? Puh-lease!!!
Number 4: The Two Questions Of All Questions Which Make Absolutely No Sense.
“Do ye want me?” he whispered.
I gotta stop right here to allow my racing heart time to slow down. Breathe, breathe, swallow, breathe. I am now somewhat recovered so I’ll move on to Stupid Question #2!
“ Sassenach, will ye take me—and risk the man that I am, for the sake of the man ye knew?”
Heavens to Mergatroyd! Does she want you? Will she take you? Do I want another tissue? Will I take another glass of wine? Hello!!!! Earth to Jamie!!!
Number 5: The Zipper.
“There was a puzzled silence. Then I felt a finger sliding slowly down the groove of my backbone.
“What’s that?” he said, sounding startled.
It’s called a zipper,” I said, smiling though he couldn’t see me. “See the little tab at the top? Just take hold of that, and pull it straight down.”
Jamie, here’s some advice. Do NOT pass go, do NOT collect $200, but please DO stop asking questions and pull the dang thing down!
Number 6: The Reunion.
“Then very slowly, he bent his head forward and opened his eyes. He looked down at me with unutterable tenderness, and the candlelight gleamed briefly on the wetness on his cheek, maybe sweat or maybe tears. “Oh Claire,” he whispered, “Oh, God, Claire.”
Can Diana write a perfect love scene or what? And for once Jamie is not asking any questions!!!
Number 7: The Pledge.
“Ye gave me a child, mo nighean donn,” he said softly, into the cloud of my hair. “We are together for always. She is safe; and we will live forever now, you and I.” He kissed me, very lightly, and laid his head upon the pillow next to me. “Brianna,” he whispered, in that odd Highland way that made her name his own. He sighed deeply, and in an instant, was asleep. In another, I fell asleep myself, my last sight his wide, sweet mouth, relaxed in sleep, half-smiling.”
I love it when Jamie calls Claire mo nighean donn. Seriously, the man, for all his silly questions, knows just what to say at just the right time. Together for always. The way we fans have wanted it to be ever since Claire met Jamie that first night 200 and some odd years ago. Mercy! I cannot wait!!!!!
There you have my seven moments of Outlander Must See TV for Episode 306. If you are book reader, what are the moments you most want to see? If you’re not a book reader, I hope I haven’t spoiled too much for you plus I’d love to know what you expect from Episode 306? And regardless of how you have come to love Outlander, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
The title of episode 305 is from a Robert Burns poem, which Claire quotes to Jamie, then Jamie re-quotes in print, and the paper travels down the years back to Claire in that anachronistic circle of life which is Outlander. True to the title and the poem, in this episode freedom and whisky often do “gang thegither.” The metaphor of Claire being a trapped in the cage of her current life is a recurring one this season, pointed out very obviously in episode 301 when she stares longingly out of her kitchen window at a sparrow living freely outside. In “Freedom & Whisky” Claire ponders freedom and the consequences of it, while many parallel themes move the story along.
The episode opens with Claire elbow deep in surgery, completely in her element and illustrating how much her skills have grown. She successfully performs a risky maneuver as Joe nervously watches; his incredulous look, and the improbability of what she has done, suggests her skills have gone beyond the normal scope. Maybe even into the realm of the supernatural, perhaps? After all, there is also the scene with Claire, Joe, and “dem bones.” (As a book reader, I won’t comment here on who “dem bones” might belong to.) There is certainly a hint of the supernatural there, as Claire suddenly knows the deceased was a 150 year old murder victim merely by touching the skull. But whatever the nature of Claire’s skills, and whether she is operating on a patient or engaged in forensics, practicing medicine is part of Claire’s freedom within whatever circumstances she finds herself. The expansion of her medical talents is one way she breaks out of limitations.
Claire and Joe have the first glasses of whisky we see in the episode. He asks what happened in Scotland, and she explains vaguely about wanting to reconnect with the man from her past, “…but fate had other ideas.” Joe replies, “F*** fate.” Freedom and whisky gang thegither here for sure; Joe is one of the few people – and maybe the only person at this point – Claire feels she can freely talk to, especially about something so important and so deeply personal. His reply is an affirmation that she should not give up and not let go, but should pursue what she wants against all odds. He encourages her to allow herself that freedom.
We see Claire having the second glass of whisky after Roger shows up like an adorable puppy on the doorstep. Roger has news, but before he breaks it, he asks, “Can I pour you a whisky?” Sure, says Claire. (Like she would ever refuse!) Roger drops the bomb – he has found Jamie, and only a year ago in the parallel timeline. He expects Claire to be overjoyed, but she has reached a limit of hope and disappointment and she just can’t take it. Roger has offered, along with the whisky, the hope of being free to return to Jamie – but such freedom comes with a high price.
A major theme for Claire is that of guilt. To both book readers and show watchers, many of Claire’s actions and decisions sometimes seem hard to understand; but they are clearer if one understands her motivation, and nine times out of ten, her motivator is guilt. At this point in the story, Claire’s main guilt is maternal in nature. How can I leave Brianna? she asks. (And book readers know there is a backstory to her maternal guilt where Brianna is concerned.) She may be guilt-ridden no matter what choice she makes; while it is clearer in the book than the show, she probably has some inkling that Jamie, since he did not die at Culloden, has suffered through the years without her, just as she has suffered without him. To not return to him means his suffering continues; to return to him means abandoning their daughter. Freedom from the guilt of letting someone down seems out of reach for Claire, no matter how much whisky is involved.
The guilt theme is also brought up in a fairly obvious way by the “other woman,” Sandy, at the Harvard reception honoring Frank. “You should have let him go…You never wanted him, but you wouldn’t give him up,” Sandy accuses, “A part of him was still in love with you and always would be, no matter how much you broke his heart…you were selfish. You wanted it all. So you lived a lie and made Frank and Brianna live it too.” Some viewers have wondered why Claire stood there and listened. I propose that she did because Sandy is merely a symbol of Claire’s own conscience, and she might as well have been talking to herself. How many of the accusations are true or not is very debatable; but the fact that Claire has always carried guilt over Frank and Brianna is clear, and this scene is a manifestation of it. The accusation of “living a lie” reaffirms Claire and Brianna’s agreement to only have the truth between them now and spurs Claire on to share Roger’s news, which she had previously hidden.
Meanwhile, Brianna’s journey – which seems sadly abbreviated, due to lack of time – is a parallel of Claire’s journey through the stones. Claire had a former life in her own time, then a new one in the past, and then the former life was thrust back on her again, a pattern referenced often in this episode. “How can you take a trip like that, and come back to life as you knew it?” asks Joe, as they watch the space flight of Apollo 8 on t.v. Claire’s voice-over affirms, yes, you can come back to your life after an impossible journey, but it is never the same.
Similarly, Brianna had a former life, one in which she believed Frank was her father and time travel was a fantasy; after she knows the truth, she comes back to her life in Boston, but it cannot be the same. Brianna thus wrestles with an identity crisis – who is she? Is she a Randall, is she a Fraser? Is she both? Is she neither? Even without any dialogue or voice-overs, Brianna’s struggle is clear as she looks at the smoking pipes, photos, and other artifacts of Frank’s life.
Brianna’s talk with Roger under the arches at Harvard is an illustration of her identity problem, as well as being a nice bit of foreshadowing for the future choices of her character. “What is history?” she questions bitterly. “It’s just a story. It changes depending on who’s telling it….like Bonnie Prince Charlie…like my parents.” Likewise, Brianna had a story; but now that her parent’s story is different than what she thought, as a consequence her narrative is also changed irrevocably. After questioning her mother about herself (under the same arches, another nice parallel) Claire affirms that she loves Brianna for herself, not for the man who fathered her. Brianna ultimately decides she is more like Claire than either of her fathers, a realization that promises to help her begin to forge a new identity.
Brianna’s resolution of her identity problem enables her to more fully accept the idea of Jamie. She is able to think about the sacrifice Jamie made for her, and how he must have wondered about and missed his wife and child over the years. Her eventual response is to be willing to send her mother back to him, so Jamie can know that they are both alive and well and Claire can experience again the happiness she once had. This selfless act is the absolution Claire needs to free her from her guilt and enable her to return to the past. Brianna also begins to be more open to forging new bonds of family and tradition, illustrated by her grateful expression when Claire gives her Ellen’s pearls and suggests she wear them on her own wedding day. The ornament appearing in the episode’s title card, “Brianna’s 1st Christmas, 1948,” symbolizes her life as the child of Frank Randall; the Christmas of 1968 is her first Christmas as the child of Jamie Fraser.
The Christmas ornament illustrates perhaps another way Claire pursues freedom in this episode: through creativity. Here is an interesting side of Claire we have not seen much of before; “artsy-crafty Claire” makes hand-painted ornaments and sews homemade clothing, customized with hidden pockets. And to the Batman theme, no less.
Freedom and whisky gang thegither the last time, appropriately enough, as Claire prepares to leave for Scotland. Roger brings out a celebratory bottle and he, Claire, and Brianna toast simply, “To freedom and whisky.” Claire is now as free as she will ever be to return to the past and to the freedom of the kind of love she had with Jamie.
Brianna, after maintaining a brave face for her mother, collapses into Roger’s arms in tears after Claire leaves. She is now on her own, free to make her own choices; but like Roger, she is now an orphan, another new identity for Brianna and a new bond to bring them even closer together.
At the end of the episode, the Voyager monologue is used. Claire expresses a childhood distrust of puddles, fearing they are really portals to a fathomless space, but even so she pushes onward past them. Likewise she manages to push past her empty life with Frank, her guilt and fears, and move onward. However, in the book monologue, she says if she saw a star reflected in the puddle, she could splash through unafraid, because “I could grab hold of the star, and be safe.”
In her journey through the portal of the stones, Jamie is her star, and she is guided towards him and towards a most anticipated and satisfying conclusion to this episode. We can look forward to Claire “grabbing hold of him and being safe” next week – if she can get him off the floor!
Traci Thompson is a married mother of two who lives in eastern North Carolina, and is, of course, an avid Outlander fan. Traci is a Certified Genealogist and Local History & Genealogy Librarian. She is a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina.
I have to say Episode 304, Of Lost Things, is my favorite so far! It had everything I love about the story–moments of joy, some suspense, a bit of humor, a little disgust, and heart-tugging scenes. Voyager is my number two favorite of the books series so far, so I am thoroughly enjoying this season. Of course, there is so much that happens, it’s hard to get my favorite scenes from the books compressed into a one-hour show, but I think the writer and producers did a fine job of making it all fit in this episode.
I loved the show scenes about Jamie so much that I wanted to hurry through the Claire’s scenes. Having said that, I enjoyed the searching of the paper trail which Roger is helping Claire with–I have combed over old papers, myself, looking for information on my ancestry, so I can relate. When Claire finally finds out where Jamie was in the years after Culloden, that’s a huge moment for her! Oh, and the pearls–probably her most prized material possession which she thought was lost. Caitriona Balfe is flawless as Claire–her mind so deep in finding Jamie, she even brushes off Joe Abernathy when he calls from Boston about one of her patients. Cait conveys as much of Claire’s dilemma without words as she does with them. I love Claire’s expression as it sinks in that she’s found Jamie’s name on the prison records, and her hands wrapped around the pearls, as if she’s holding on for her life.
As much as these moments are big ones for Claire, and enjoying watching Bree and Roger’s relationship develop, this episode for me, was all about Jamie. His stay at Helwater is a long and miserable one–he misses Claire desperately, and the child she bore him, in spite of his having never seen her. He misses Scotland and his family, and on top of it all, he has to “shovel shit” and is looked down upon with suspicion by Lord Melton, John Grey’s brother. He is harassed by that uppity aristocrat, Geneva, getting blackmailed into having (really, really sexy) sex with her, and is drawn into the family drama. Helwater? More like Hell-on-Earth-water.
Choosing a favorite scene wasn’t hard for me. Having watched the episode three times, (yeah, I know only three times?!), my heartstrings are pulled the most during one: Geneva’s (and Jamie’s!) infant son is left motherless with her death, and is in the care of his Aunt Isobel. Isobel and her mother are taking Willie out for a walk in his pram, and they come across Jamie and another stable hand on their way back to the estate. Apparently, it’s about time for his OSHA-mandated break from the stables, so Jamie hops off his horse to speak to Isobel. She apologizes for her harshness towards him the morning of Geneva’s death, and he accepts her apology. But his heart and mind are on that sweet baby. Jamie hears his nickname, Willie, and knows without a doubt it’s the right name for him, having had an older brother named Willie. The lonesome, tough Highlander cannot keep his eyes off wee Willie, and his eyes are filled with emotion as he looks down on him and says, “You’re a braw laddie, Willie. You’re so wee. Dinna fash yourself. I am here.” Have mercy, the tears flowed!
Why is this my favorite scene? I relate to Jamie’s longing for family–his need to be a parent. Like Jamie’s mother Ellen, my mother died unexpectedly when I was eight years old. She was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer and lymphoma in early December 1975, and was dead by December 20th. It was the defining moment of my life.
As many motherless daughters know, the missing, the heartache, the longing for Mama never goes away. As I grew older, I was a great babysitter, because my heart couldn’t wait to be a mother. I practiced on my poor charges, but learned invaluable lessons about the basics, and tucked all of those memories away for when the time came. That day arrived on June 13, 1993, when my precious daughter was born. I looked at her beautiful brown hair, her pouty lipstick-red lips, and fell head over heels in love. She was perfect to me, and I finally felt all was right with the world. I would’ve given my right arm to have Mama there with me, telling me I was doing things right, to help me when I came home as I was nursing a baby without a lot of outside support, and to make sure I took care of myself so I could get comfortable in my role as a new mother. But I did it. I made it through those seemingly endless days and nights of nursing, burping, pooping, crying (I ate some sausage once which resulted in giving my baby terrible gas!), crying (my own!), rocking and napping. I felt Mama watching over me, even at times when I felt completely alone, as well as in the years to come when I added three more children to our little brood.
Through these twenty-four years, however, I’ve had a gnawing fear something was going to happen to me. The fear of death is real–not the actual dying, but the fear of not being able to be there for my children. I know it wasn’t my mother’s choice to leave my brother and me, and I can only imagine how she felt when the realization hit her that she didn’t have long to live. As I passed the age of 40 which Mama was when she died, my anxiety eased somewhat. Even when I was faced with traditional treatment-resistant thyroid cancer at the age of 47, those feelings weren’t as strong as they were when my children were younger, when I had so much to tell them, teach them, and songs to sing to them. When I first laid my eyes on my babies, I wanted them to be safe in knowing I was there. “Hush your fussin’. Mama’s got you,” is my Southern way of saying, “Dinna fash yourself. I am here.” I want to be here on this Earth for my children as long as I’m able, to care for them, and share life lessons with them.
After so much heartache, Jamie was finally blessed with a child to pour his love and knowledge into, even though Willie didn’t know who “Mac” truly was. In spite of the conditions at Helwater, Jamie chose to just to be with Willie. Jamie was a laird. He had an estate to help run, and people who depended on him. But his “Da” heart knew that Willie needed him and Jamie needed Willie. Willie grew to love him, and Jamie’s departure from the estate and Willie was a tough one to watch. I can only imagine Jamie’s heartbreak as he rode away from Helwater estate and his precious Willie. I’m thankful I don’t have to make a choice like that, nor do I ever want to. When my time comes, though, I want my children to hear me in their memory, saying, “Hush your fussin’. Mama’s got you.”
What was your favorite scene of Episode 304, Of Lost Things? Is it possible to name just one? Please share your thoughts in the comments and once again, thanks for reading Outlander North Carolina!
Susan Jackson is a mother of four who lives in coastal North Carolina, and is an avid Outlander fan. Besides reading, she loves cooking and baking, and music. She is a thyroid cancer survivor and has worked in education most of her life. She hopes to one day blog about her thyroid cancer journey. She is a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina and has previously written about the infamous Stede Bonnet in Will The Real Stephen Bonnet Please Stand Up?