Before we dive into our weekly “Swords vs Skins” recap, it needs to be mentioned that this week’s “5 Things” episode preview post was the most accurate one we’ve ever written. We mentioned five outstanding debts that we suspected were going to come due immediately, and all but one of those was paid in this episode. It feels good to be right, readers. But as it feels even better to be caught up, let’s move onto the episode recap! Here’s a look at how all those debts were paid this week.
*Spoiler Warning! The following recap contains spoilers from Episode 303, “All Debts Paid.” Do not read further if you have not seen the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.*
Sword Score: 7/10. There is very little physical action in this episode. Jamie is in prison and/or in chains for most of it and Claire isn’t hurling ashtrays as often as she used to. Most of the episode deals with mental battles instead. It’s 1755 in Scotland, which means Jamie has been in prison for about three years. He is known as Mac Dubh among the prisoners and he serves as their spokesman to the prison’s Governor. It’s not a bad way to pay one’s debt to society and the Crown, at least by post-Rebellion standards. That all changes when a new Governor is appointed however. It’s none other than Major John William Grey, all grown up and in charge of Jamie’s fate.
Governor Grey and Jamie take a long time to find their footing around each other. The Governor knows that he needs Jamie’s cooperation to keep the prison running smoothly, especially when he realizes just how in over his head he really is, but Jamie is closely guarded with his help. The biggest shift comes when a man named Duncan Kerr is found wandering the moor and babbling in Gaelic and French about gold. The British think it may be the long-hunted gold King Louis gave to Charles Stuart and Jamie is called in to serve as a translator. He uses the opportunity to bargain for his shackles to be removed and for better blankets and medicine for the prisoners. The Governor and Jamie come to an agreement, and Jamie meets with Kerr. During the conversation, Kerr drops the bomb that the gold is cursed by a woman known as the White Witch.
Needing to know if it is indeed Claire returned to him, Jamie escapes during work detail in the peat fields. His search is unsuccessful and Jamie turns himself back over to Governor Grey and captivity. This proves to be a turning point in their relationship. When the prison is closed shortly afterwards, Governor Grey saves Jamie from being shipped to the colonies with the others. He is instead sent to Helwater to work as a servant in relative freedom under an assumed name. Governor Grey refers to his decision as his way of clearing his name once and for all of any debt of honor to Jamie. Jamie still has another 11 years ahead of him before Claire attempts to go back through the stones, but at least he won’t be spending them in a jail cell.
Skin Score: 10/10. The Boston parts of this episode were heavy this week. They span 10 years for Claire, Frank, and Brianna, and there’s more that happens in that decade than we have room to write about. The most prominent theme is how Claire and Frank are never able to truly reconnect. By the time Brianna is 8, they’ve already come to an agreement to see other people. Frank is doing so discreetly as requested, but it’s clear that Claire is struggling with it. 2 years later, Claire suggests they end the pretense and file for divorce. Frank is unwilling to agree, as he fears that Claire will take Brianna away from him. They continue living separate lives under the same roof for another 8 years, until Brianna turns 18 and graduates from high school. It’s then that Frank truly takes his stand.
Frank tells Claire that he wants a divorce. He wants to move to England, marry his girlfriend Sandy, and live the rest of his life with a wife who loves him. He wants Brianna to come with him and there’s nothing Claire can do to stop her if she agrees to go. It’s a devastating blow to Claire. She’s called into an emergency surgery before she can speak to Frank about it again. The next time she sees him, it is to say a final tearful goodbye after he is killed in a car accident. It is only then that Claire realizes just how much Frank meant to her all those years.
And there you have it. There’s so much healing left to happen among all the characters after this week’s events, and everyone is now separated more than ever. The good news is that Claire is now just shy of her return to Scotland, which means the reunion everyone has been waiting for is close at hand. If we’re lucky (and the show writers take pity on us) it may be as soon as next episode. Be sure to check out our episode preview later this week to find out more. We likely won’t be as accurate as we were this time, but it’ll be entertaining anyway.
Outlander airs Sunday nights at 9 pm Eastern/8 pm Central on Starz. Viewers can catch up anytime on Starz.com and the Starz mobile app. Check back here to FanFest.com each week for episode previews and full episode recaps.