Episode 302 is called “Surrender,” and is that ever a fitting name. This episode continues tracking how Jamie and Claire are surviving apart from one another, including the emotional and physical surrenders each must make in order to continue on. They’re not the only ones suffering however. Fergus, Ian, Jenny, and Frank are all struggling to make sense of the change in their loved ones and to find a new normal. Let’s break it down further with our weekly Swords vs Skins recap.
SPOILER WARNING! Episode spoilers are contained below. Do not read further if you have not seen the episode.
Sword Score: 8/10. Action seems to follow Jamie, and this time it’s followed him six years into the future. It’s now 1752 in Scotland and Jamie is an outlaw known as the Dunbonnet. He is living in a cave near Lallybroch, a mere shadow of the man he used to be. His physical injuries have healed, but his emotional wounds clearly have not. He stubbornly refuses to let anyone close to him, even his family. He shows up periodically at the house, bringing meat or other items, but then vanishes back into the woods. Life would likely have continued this way for a while, had Rabbie, Fergus, and Young Jamie not discovered a forbidden pistol hidden in the dovecote.
Like all teenage boys, they don’t listen when Jamie tells them to leave it alone. They use it to kill a raven near the house in an effort to protect Jenny and her new baby from bad luck. Naturally, the Redcoats hear the shot and turn up to investigate the illegal use of a weapon. Jenny’s maid, Mary, saves the day by claiming the gun as her own and turning it over to the British. The British leave the house, never noticing Jamie and the baby hiding in a closet upstairs. Despite all this, Jamie still refuses to connect with his family. And again, it’s Fergus who takes matters into his own hands.
Fergus runs off into the woods, knowing that the Redcoats are still around and will follow him. He leads them in circles until they catch up to him. He may have been living in Scotland for 8 years now, but his French roots run deep. He taunts the British soldiers about honor. One grabs him and slices off his left hand. Jamie watches all of this from nearby and rushes in to save Fergus after the soldiers leave. He uses his medical knowledge from Claire to stop the bleeding and get Fergus back to Lallybroch in time. He breaks down in front of Jenny- finally surrendering to his grief. This is where the true Jamie begins to reemerge. He is reminded of what he still has left to fight for- the boy that he and Claire loved like a son.
Skin Score: 10/10. Jamie and Claire may be separated by centuries, but they’re living the same life. In Boston in 1949, Claire is living in a mental prison. She has Frank still by her side, but they cannot reach each other. The few times that they are able to connect physically, Claire does so with her eyes closed. Frank finally has enough of it and tells her, “when I’m with you, I’m with you. But you’re with him.” In order to find a meaningful connection to her new life, and perhaps an anchor to hold her there, Claire enrolls in Harvard medical school.
Back in Scotland, Jenny is desperately trying to provide the same for Jamie. Jamie asks her and Ian to turn him over to the Redcoats in exchange for the reward money and their freedom back. He tells Jenny that a physical prison would be little different than the mental prison he’s already living in. Just like Claire, he’s awash in a sea of grief and unable to fully engage with the world around him.
It’s Mary who comes up with a solution again. She shows up at Jamie’s cave with a basket of food and an offer of company. She helps Jamie cut his hair and shave his beard. He leaves to go wash up. When he returns, Mary has removed her dress. Jamie refuses her at first, but she promises him that she’s not looking to replace either Claire for him or her late husband for her. She just wants them to have something to hold onto together- an anchor in a sea of loss. Jamie surrenders to her, but does so with his eyes closed.
Overall score: 9/10. Outlander is the master at showing how life can be the same even when it is vastly different. Both Claire and Jamie are struggling to find their new normal. It’s only when they surrender to a life without each other that they are finally able to begin to do so. For Claire, that means accepting a life with Frank and pursuing a medical degree. For Jamie, that means remembering what is worth fighting for and being willing to come out of the shadows. Will they be able to hold onto their new-found anchors? Or will the undercurrent of their love be too strong to escape? Only the rest of the season will tell.
Outlander airs on Starz on Sunday nights at 9 pm Eastern/ 8 pm Central. Catch up anytime on Starz.com or the mobile app. Check back here to FanFest.com for episode previews and full episode recaps.
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