How do you pick a favorite scene from so many wonderful moments? Episode 302, Surrender, was filled with them. What an emotional ride we Outlander fans took! Claire’s visions of Jamie, Jamie’s vision of Claire, Claire and Frank coming together then breaking apart, Claire meeting Joe Abernathy, Fergus losing his hand, Mary McNabb lying to cover up for Jamie and Jenny, Jamie and Mary’s tender scene in the cave, and Jamie being arrested in a carefully hatched scheme. And, that’s just to name a few. So, what’s my favorite? It’s one I didn’t mention.
My favorite scene was the heartbreaking moment when Jenny comes downstairs to the sitting room to find Jamie after Fergus loses his hand.
Jenny says, “Your quick action saved him, brother.”
“I should have stopped them,” Jamie answers.
To which Jenny replies, “Then ye’d be dead and so would he. We’d all be dead.”
At that moment, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, the king of men, crumbles to the floor, sobbing in his sister’s arms. The weight of the events of his life driving him to his knees.
Our beloved warrior who has been through so much, suffered so much, lost so much finally “surrenders” to the burden and clutches desperately onto the only person remaining who might possibly understand.
There, cradled in Jenny’s arms, did Jamie see flashbacks of his life and all the could have beens? I can imagine that he did. Life had not turned out the way he had expected.
Jamie was not born to be a laird but when his older brother Willie died, he had been groomed for the position by his father. As a young boy, I’m sure he dreamed of becoming laird of Lallybroch one day. There was hope and excitement for all that the future might bring. But the future as he saw it would be cruelly snatched from him as he, a Scottish lad at the time, was arrested and taken off to Fort William where he was brutally flogged by Black Jack Randall. As if things couldn’t be worse, his father died as a result of watching the flogging. Those events were the beginning of Jamie’s life turning from one of hope and excitement to one of danger and fear.
In the years that followed, Jamie’s life was anything but easy. On the run with no safe home, burden was built upon burden, struggle upon struggle, pain and heartbreak one upon another like the stones of a cairn. But then he met Claire. We know that he loved her from the first night he saw her and even though he had no reason to believe that she would ever return his feelings, in those moments in the darkness on the night they first met, a small light of hope had to have gleamed in his heart. Could there be love and happiness after all? When he married Claire, he must have felt that spark of hope fully realized. His words from The Wedding episode,
“I remember every moment, every second. I’ll never forget when I came out of the church and saw you for the first time. It was as if I stepped outside on a cloudy day and suddenly the sun came out.”
That cloudy day had been Jamie’s life for the past three years and Claire suddenly became his sun.
After his marriage to Claire, Jamie would likely have thought his life was changing for the better and perhaps things were going to work out after all. It wasn’t long before he understood there would be no happily ever after. Savagely imprisoned, tortured and raped by Black Jack Randall, Jamie’s life turns to despair. It is Claire’s love that heals him but he must flee his beloved Scotland for France and there again, tragedy strikes. Fergus is raped by Black Jack resulting in the breaking of Jamie’s promise to Claire and the duel with Randall ending with the miscarriage of Baby Faith. Returning to Scotland, there is once again renewed hope for Jamie & Claire but it is quickly dashed by The Bonnie Prince. Jamie must now go to war in an attempt to once more change the tide of the future but again, the light of hope is stamped out beneath the boots of the Redcoats on the battlefield of Culloden Moor. Claire is gone forever and he is alive despite his wish to be dead. But, for Jamie, his life really did end on that battlefield. Jenny put it well,
“Brother! You ken why I can lie to the British and feel at peace? It’s because I’m not lyin’. James Fraser hasna been here for a long, long time.”
The one person he had loved more than anything or anyone else in the world, the one person who had helped him move on and survive all the scars, all the wounds, all the heartbreak and hopelessness of his past, the one who had healed him on so many different levels was gone. Claire was gone. As Ian told Jamie,
“My leg, it’s not there, as anyone can plainly see, and yet, it pains me terrible sometimes. Even wakes me up at night. Fergus, the lad, he’ll likely feel the same wi’ his hand. Feeling a pain in a part of ye that’s lost…and that’s just a hand. Claire was yer heart.”
Hiding in a cave for seven years, Jamie had become only a glimmer of the man he once was. He wasn’t supposed to be there after all and living as a coward, as Fergus had described him, was not who Jamie was. As it turns out, it was the tragedy of Fergus losing his hand which becomes the one weight Jamie cannot withstand. Added to all the other things that had come before, the mighty, teetering stone cairn of his life crumbles and falls.
In this scene, I see a man reliving the moments of his life wondering how it all came to naught, all the hopes and dreams of his childhood and those of his marriage to Claire. I grieve with him as he remembers the horrific events of his life which have brought him to this place. And it is there, at Lallybroch, where hope had begun for him as a boy, that it ends for him as a broken man. In this scene, I understand his tears and the whys he must have spoken inwardly and the complete despair he shows outwardly.
Jamie had lost everything, most of all his heart, and there was nothing left of the hopes and dreams he had once had. Like Claire, they were gone. On that floor at Lallybroch, he surrenders his strength at last and mourns the loss of all that he held so dear.
So there you have it. My favorite scene. Tell me, what was yours? And why? I’d love to hear from you.
(Photo & Script Credits: STARZ)