Wednesday, September 27, 2017

“A Promise made is a debt unpaid” - a recap of season 3 episode 3 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage Originals by Susie Brown

Everyone incurs debts throughout their lives. Whether it’s a financial debt in order to buy property, a car or that really big holiday; or the emotional debt we feel while owing someone something, these debts make an impact. Sometimes we consciously realise it, other times we don’t. But it’s the way that we deal with these ever present debts that can have an effect on what we do and how we live. Episode 3, brilliantly written by Matt B Roberts, explores this concept: what happens when debts span years, even centuries, and what happens once these debts are finally discharged? 

Time has passed in Boston, with the episode beginning in 1956. Immediately we see the result of Claire and Frank focusing on parenting, rather than each other. Frank is cooking up a full English breakfast, in the hopes of quashing any further requests from Brianna for “eggo toaster waffles”. The two are friendly, seemingly at ease in each other’s company, as Claire praises his cooking and smiles at his musing about replacing Brianna’s Dr Seuss collection with Dickens. In a spur-of-the-moment show of friendly affection, Claire announces she has no class that evening and since she doesn’t think she can study any more, suggests that the two of them go to a movie. Frank is friendly enough in his response, saying that it sounds lovely, but adding that he has already seen both of the movies that Claire mentions. It takes a moment for this to sink in. Frank has not been making solo trips to the cinema and Claire realises that here is the consequence of their single beds and their focus on being parents rather than a romantic couple. Discretion not withstanding, Frank is no longer being faithful to her and it is news that rocks her. Any further conversation is halted however, by the arrival of Brianna at the breakfast table. The scene ends with all vestiges of companionship gone; Frank and Claire are uncomfortable in each other’s presence once more. 

Time has passed in the 18th century too, although not as much. It is now 1755, three years since Jamie was taken from Lallybroch. He is now at Ardsmuir Prison, where the incoming Governor, Major John William Grey, is being given a tour by the outgoing one, Colonel Harry Quarry. 

Quarry looks as relieved to be leaving as Grey looks discomforted to be arriving. Quarry outlines Grey’s duties and mentions the famous Frenchman’s Gold, adding that while he had given up on finding it after a few years, the fact remains that its discovery would be very well received by the Crown. The prisoners are not expected to give Grey any trouble, Quarry says, given that the Jacobite Highlanders have lost all their heart after Culloden. He draws Grey’s attention to Jamie, who, as the only Jacobite officer, is the only one still kept in chains. Guards are wary of him and he is seen by the other prisoners as their leader. They have dubbed him MacDubh, which Quarry assumes is a mark of respect. He suggests that Grey keep the tradition of dining with Jamie once a week, stating that Grey will need Jamie’s cooperation in order to deal with the rest of the prisoners. But Grey refuses this suggestion outright, saying that he has now intention of dining with the prisoner. Quarry doesn’t press the matter - indeed, he doesn’t care. Wishing Grey good luck, he is gone. Throughout the exchange, Jamie has watched the two Englishmen talking and makes eye contact with Grey one last time as the scene changes. 

In the cells, one of the prisoners questions Jamie about the new Governor. It is interesting to watch Jamie in this scene. Although chained and in obvious discomfort, Jamie is more alive in the cells than we have seen so far this season. A natural leader of men, he is returning to this way of life, albeit as a prisoner rather than a free man. In his mind, these men are as much his responsibility as the highland army was. Similarly, the other prisoners defer to him; one handing him a cup as he passes and another seeking his approval, asking “Am I wrong, MacDubh?” and smiling when Jamie agrees with him. As Jamie sits, a familiar voice asks about the new Governor. The voice is husky and punctuated by coughing, but belongs unmistakably to Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. 

Jamie mentions that the Governor seems familiar somehow but he can’t yet place him, and the camera moves to confirm that it is indeed Murtagh sitting on the ground next to him. He is obviously unwell, coughing almost constantly and too weak to go into the yards with the others. Murtagh clutches a piece of tartan, which he puts away at Jamie’s reminder as to the punishment for being found with it. This action highlights the role reversal for the two characters: it is now Jamie looking out for Murtagh, trying to ensure his safety by advising him against an impetuous action that could bring him harm. The two discuss John Grey - a young man scarcely more than a child, who carries himself well - before Jamie notices that Murtagh has been bitten by rats. He begins to tell Murtagh of a herbal concoction that will help with the festering, saying that he learned the trick from “a lass who knew a fair deal about healing”. Murtagh knows exactly who “the lass” is and fixes his godson with a knowing look, but Jamie is still unable to say Claire’s name.

The appearance of Murtagh is a huge change from the books, as in Diana Gabaldon’s version, Jamie found his godfather moments from death on the battlefield. In the novels, it is Murtagh’s death that Jamie remembers the most vividly and it is a loss that weighs heavily on his mind as he tries to move ahead with his life. But the Murtagh of the tv series has been a much expanded character more integral to Jamie and Claire’s story, so it is not altogether surprising to see his resurrection. Book fans have already begun musing as to which character Murtagh will end up replacing as the plot moves forward, but only time will tell what the production team have in store. In the meantime, the #SaveMurtagh campaigners are no doubt doing a jubilant Highland Fling! 

Grey wastes no time in organising a meeting with Jamie, who is brought to the Governor’s quarters. Putting on his best show of authority and showing a change of heart, Grey announces his wish to continue the understanding that Jamie had had with the former Governor. This show of command is somewhat undermined by the arrival of a rat that scurries across the floor, much to Grey’s disgust. He demands that a cat be brought up from the storerooms, before asking if there are rats in the cells too. When Jamie confirms that there are a great many, Grey extends his command to include the provision of cats to all the cells. Jamie and the other prisoner, McKay, exchange a look at this, with Jamie adding that he doubts the prisoners would thank Grey for the addition of a cat that would take all their rats. Naively, Grey says, “Surely the prisoners don’t eat them” and is horrified at Jamie’s response, “Only when they’re luckily enough to catch one.” Any show of authority is gone at this point. Grey looks unnerved as Jamie shuffles towards him. “God knows what you did to be sent here,” Jamie says, “but for your own sake, I hope you deserved it.”  It is a hint towards a possible debt of his own that Grey is being forced to pay and could also be seen as Jamie’s recognition of Grey as the foolish young boy at Corrieyairack. At any rate, Jamie is roughly removed by the redcoat guards and Grey slumps back into his chair with a sigh. The first meeting is over.

Back in Boston, another two years have gone by. It is now 1958 and a graduation celebration is in full swing at the Randall’s. Dr Joe Abernathy and Dr Claire Randall are smiling for the camera, which is being operated by Brianna, who then requests a photo of Frank and Claire together - “Just you and Mommy now”. With stiff smiles and awkward stance, the photo is taken, before Frank starts reminding Claire of her dinner reservations. Claire is unconcerned, as there is more than an hour before they are expected at the restaurant. 

Brianna asks Frank if he is going too, pouting when he tells her that he has to work and stating that if he isn’t going, neither is she. Frank reassures his “angel”, telling her that she will have a lovely time. It is obvious that there is a close bond between Frank and Bree, just as he had alway wanted. Again, he queries the restaurant time with Claire, saying that he thought the reservation was for 6pm.  But Claire is being the perfect hostess and handing around drinks - obviously the hostility shown towards her by her male colleagues at the start of her studies has abated somewhat, or perhaps it is just that she is now performing a more “traditional” role - and cheerily says that Frank is not to worry, as they will all be out of his hair soon enough. Joe and Claire are sharing a joke and a martini when the doorbell rings and Claire goes to answer it. The young woman on the doorstep is horrified to see her, and amidst her stammers of apology and gazes towards Frank, who, has come into the hallway with Brianna, Claire realises what is going on. She sweeps back down the hall, with a biting “Your work, I presume?” grabs Brianna’s hand and quickly mobilises the guests, suggesting that they all go to the restaurant early. Meanwhile, Frank’s guest has entered the house and endures a somewhat reversed “walk of shame”, as everyone files past her with curious looks. The discretion of 1956 has come unstuck.

In the next meeting between John Grey and Jamie Fraser, Grey attempts to make a bargain. A man named Duncan Kerr has been found wandering the moors, babbling in a mixture of Gaelic and French about the Frenchman’s Gold - which Grey describes only as “a matter of great interest to the crown.” 

He wishes Jamie to translate what the man says, a request that Jamie initially refuses, stating that he is a prisoner, not an interpreter. But Grey is not a fool, despite his inexperience, and makes Jamie an offer that is impossible to refuse: if Jamie will help, his irons will be removed. As Jamie rubs his chafed wrists, the two men swap conditions: Grey wants Jamie to relay Kerr’s words to him exactly and exclusively, while Jamie wants Grey to organise medicine and blankets for the ill men. Grey deems this request to be ambitious, stating that they don’t have enough supplies to bring this about and Jamie immediately declares the conversation over, prepared to have the irons reapplied if necessary. When Grey says in exasperation that he would honour the request if he could, Jamie tries again: he will act as translator if Grey will arrange for the treatment of one man - Murtagh - who, Jamie says, has been struggling to survive at the prison since Culloden. (It remains to be seen whether we will ever be told how Murtagh ended up at Ardsmuir.) Grey promises to see what they have in store and Jamie tells him that they have a bargain. The two men share the ghost of a smile. It is a start.

Yet as one relationship is beginning in the 18th century, another is breaking in the 20th. Claire is waiting up for a drunken Frank, and wastes no time in attacking him when he arrives, expressing disgust that he should invite his girlfriend to the house. Frank tries to explain that since Claire was taking the car, he had no choice - he was only being collected. Claire is not appeased, saying that Frank has humiliated her on her graduation night, in front of her new colleagues. But Frank has had enough. He tells Claire that she is not the actress she thinks: no one at Harvard believes them to be happily married. Angrily, he defends his girlfriend, Sandy, from Claire’s definition of her as a “blonde harlot”. Perhaps he had wanted to hurt Claire, he admits, to give her a taste of her own medicine. But when Claire asks if he has slept with Sandy in their bedroom, the desolation on Frank’s face is clear. “I think our bedroom is far too crowded already,” he says. “Wouldn’t you agree?” 

Claire’s eyes fill with tears. She can’t deny the truth of his words, but still stares angrily back at him for a moment, before suggesting that Frank take his freedom by filing for divorce. Fear crosses Frank’s face for a moment and we see his vulnerability again, but for a different reason. He is no longer worried about the loss of Claire. Instead, he speaks with increasing emotion of the divorce of their neighbours, Jerry and Millie and how Jerry has since been denied access to his children. Frank is terrified of losing Brianna and has not sought his freedom for that reason only. Claire assures him that she wouldn’t keep Brianna from him, but Frank states he will not risk everything on Claire’s promises, as she hasn’t been very good at keeping them. Both are exhausted and the scene ends with them sitting unhappily next to one another on the couch. There is a reason, Frank muses, with an ironic “my darling”, that the two of them are bad at games of charades. Regardless of their acting skills, they simply do not connect with each other any more. This entire scene is beautifully portrayed by Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies, who run the emotional gamut of anger, pain, guilt, fear, regret and sorrow in just a few moments. It is powerful, compelling stuff and desperately sad. 

A delirious Duncan Kerr is talking to Jamie, as John Grey waits impatiently outside. After telling Duncan that everything he says will be relayed to the English, Jamie tries to make sense of the man’s words. The gold is cursed, Duncan tells him, but unnerves Jamie with rambling thoughts that include the names of members of his family. But it is the mention of the Ban Druidh, the White Witch, that has Jamie desperately asking for more information. Duncan says only that “she will come for you” before he dies, and it is obvious that Jamie’s mind is racing with thoughts of Claire. Has she come back? Grey interrogates Jamie: what did Kerr say? He quickly becomes irritated with Jamie’s reply that the man had raved of white witches and selkies, saying that he believes Jamie to be holding back information. Jamie replies that he keeps his bargains, refusing to be intimidated when Grey threatens to force him to talk. “There’s nothing you can do that hasn’t already been done to me,” Jamie replies. “So try if you must.” This is an interesting dance between the two men. Grey stalks away, saying that they will speak again. Alone, Jamie looks back at the body of Duncan Kerr, deep in thought.

It is Brianna’s 16th birthday and Claire and Frank are singing to her. As Brianna blows out the candles on her cake and states she knows what she is wishing for, Claire advises not to waste her wish on a car, as she won’t get that. Underscoring the fact that the two no longer present a united parental front, Frank says, “Oh wish away, you never know”. Claire looks at him in irritation, as Brianna grins at him adoringly.

The scene shifts from birthday cake to thistle tea, which Murtagh is drinking under protest, stating that it is even worse than Jamie’s last concoction. He asks what had happened with Duncan Kerr and Jamie relays the confusing encounter. When he mentions the White Witch, Murtagh grips Jamie’s arm in realisation. He is the only other one who knows of the symbolism of this name and starts to ask Jamie if he thinks it is possible that if it is linked to Claire’s reappearance. He laments the fact that they don’t know what happened after Jamie sent Claire back through the stones and Jamie replies that wishing won’t bring her back. When Murtagh says that he still thinks of Claire and the child, Jamie tells his godfather not to do so, as it will only bring pain and suffering. Murtagh asks, “Can I at least pray them sound?” Interestingly, this is the closest expression to the prayer that Jamie utters repeatedly in the books, “Lord, that she may be safe. She and the child.” Jamie agrees that Murtagh can indeed do that, as he is once again called to the Governor’s quarters.

John Grey has changed his approach. This time, Jamie is met with a table set for two, and an invitation from Grey to join him for dinner. Jamie is immediately suspicious, telling the Governor to return him to the cells if he has plans of loosening Jamie’s tongue. But Grey reassures him that he only wishes to forge a connection that will be suited to them both. The arrival of the delicious smelling food soon wins out and Jamie agrees to dine. He doesn’t do so without a condition though: asking Grey to give the men permission to hunt for themselves. Grey is incredulous - why should the men be given weapons and be allowed to wander the moor? But Jamie explains that the men only wish to set traps whilst doing their usual work and to be allowed to keep the meat that they catch. Jamie adds that they can also collect watercress to eat, in order to prevent scurvy. When Grey asks where Jamie got that notion from, a shadow crosses Jamie’s face as he answers “my wife”, before adding “she’s gone.” Grey nods, promises to take Jamie’s request under advisement and then asks if they can begin their meal, announcing it to be pheasant in a wine sauce. It only takes one mouthful before we see the first unguarded smile for the season appear on Jamie’s face - he is relishing the meal. He mentions the name of the French wine sauce, catching Grey off guard. The Governor admits that he is not sure and his uncertainty is as endearing as it is indicative of the beginnings of a friendship. Grey is no longer determined to maintain the upper hand of the “man in charge”. The two men are beginning to interact with a measure of trust between them. 

Afterwards, Jamie is telling the other prisoners everything about the meal. He describes what was on the menu, while one of the men asks him to slow down, so that he can savour every morsel. Murtagh is leaning against Jamie, his eyes closed, coughing often. It is clear that he is becoming weaker. 

The next time the men are at work on the moors, we discover that Grey did indeed agree to allow the men to hunt. While two of his companions race off to check the snares accompanied by an officer, Jamie uses the distraction to break from the group. He dives out of sight and is hidden by clumps of heather that the other men place on top of him. This has obviously been planned amongst them and goes like clockwork. 

Jamie’s destination is revealed at the start of the next scene, when Grey and one of the other officers are looking at a small island. Patrols had seen Jamie swimming towards it, Grey is told, and he orders the search to continue. The other officer is sceptical - 3 days have passed and there has been no sign. But Grey is insistent - and annoyed! The men are to remain at their current post until nightfall, before returning to the moor. 

The following scene is a clever reversal of season 2, when a young William Grey attempted to capture Jamie whilst Jamie was relieving himself. This time it is Grey who is set upon by Jamie, who is much more successful than the teenage Grey had been. In one move, Grey is both silenced and disarmed, as Jamie tells him that is how it is done, giving Grey his full title of 2nd son of Viscount Melton and recounting the events at Corrieyairack several years earlier. 

Each man asks the other why he hasn’t spoken of it earlier. Jamie answers that he had been waiting for the proper time; Grey because of his shame at his own foolishness. Grey adds that this foolishness had resulted in the sparing of Jamie’s life at Culloden. Jamie agrees, confirming that Grey’s brother had been an honourable gentleman. When Grey says that the family debt incurred by him had been discharged, Jamie replies, “But not your promise.” The young Grey had vowed to kill Jamie once the debt was paid and to Grey’s great surprise, Jamie throws down the sword, kneels before Grey and bares his throat. But Grey is as honourable a man as his elder brother was before him. After a brief moment where he holds the sword to Jamie’s throat, he hisses, “I am not a murderer of unarmed prisoners.”  He sheaths the sword and stalks off, leaving an emotional Jamie to gather himself.

Moments later, Jamie explains why he had escaped from the group. Kerr’s revelations about the gold, which Jamie had relayed faithfully as requested, had also had personal meaning. He tells Grey about the connection between the Gaelic name of the white witch and his wife, correcting the Englishman when he says that Jamie’s wife is dead. “I said she was gone,” he replies. Jamie explains that he had needed to see if Claire had returned, but had found nothing on the island to do with her. “She is truly gone,” he says and a sympathetic look crosses Grey’s face. 

He asks Jamie about the gold and Jamie replies that King Louis had not sent gold to the Stuart cause, saying that he found only a box and one stone, which he hands to Grey, as proof, along with his word, that the story is true. He had taken the sapphire, he says, because he though it might be useful should he ever be freed. 

It is now 1966 in Boston and Brianna is graduating in front of a proud Frank and Claire. Frank calls out, “That’s my girl!” while Claire mouths, “I’m so proud of you!” when Brianna turns around. It is telling that each use “I” rather than “We.” The smiles are all for Brianna. Claire doesn’t look at Frank at all and he only glances briefly at her. Although still maintaining a semblance of unity for their daughter, it is purely for show.

The prison door is unlocked and a doctor is brought in. When Jamie queries what is happening, he is told that the Governor has ordered the doctor be brought to treat Jamie’s kinsman. The doctor moves over to Murtagh, who lies nearby, eyes closed. 

The treatment is obviously successful. In the next scene, Grey and Jamie are playing chess and Grey remarks at the improvement in Murtagh’s health over the past three months. The two men are relaxed in each other’s company now, Jamie even calling Grey a “cunning wee bastard” when he is beaten in the chess game. Grey is pleased to win; telling Jamie that his elder brother had taught him the move. At the mention of Lord Melton, Jamie opens up a little more, telling Grey of how he had wished to be shot after Culloden and how he wasn’t grateful at the time to have his life spared instead. Grey asks why Jamie felt he had reason to want to be shot, hastening to add that he asks not out of impertinence, but curiosity, as he had once felt similarly. The conversation that follows shows the extent to which the two men now trust each other. Grey speaks of a “particular friend” who had died at Culloden, one who had inspired him and who he had discovered dying on the battlefield, only to have Hal drag him away out of embarrassment at his younger brother’s depth of feeling. 

The implication is clear: Grey had been in love with his fellow soldier and the grief on his face is obvious.  He remarks that Hal had told him that he would come to terms with it in time, adding that while his brother is often right, he had not been on this occasion. “Some people,” says Grey, with a look over at Jamie, “you grieve over forever.” He asks Jamie if he finds life to be burdensome. Jamie answers that the greatest burden lies in caring for those he cannot help, not in having no one for whom to care. Grey smiles in understanding.  There is emptiness, Jamie continues, but no great burden. 

The conversation then turns to Claire, with Grey saying, “Your wife. She was a healer, you said?” Jamie smiles and agrees, before finally saying her name. “Claire. Her name was Claire.” This is a huge moment. It is the first time he has uttered her name since sending her back through the stones before Culloden and we see the relief and emotion on his face. 

Jamie then reveals to Grey the final piece of the puzzle that the Englishman had not deciphered: that the woman he had defended as a teenager at Carrieyairack was none other than Claire herself. Grey chuckles at his own immaturity, having been duped by Jamie all those years before. But Jamie praises Grey’s earlier courage, saying that he had been impressed by the young man’s willingness to risk his own life for a woman’s honour and that it was an action he had thought of in the time since he had lost Claire. They share a look of mutual admiration.

But then, the mood changes. After telling Jamie he is sorry for his loss, Grey puts his hand over Jamie’s and strokes it gently. The look he gives him now is no longer sympathetic, but charged with something more. Jamie freezes. In one moment, he has been catapulted back to his assault at Wentworth by Black Jack Randall and the look that he gives Grey as a result is chilling.  “Take your hand off me,” his whispers, “or I will kill you.” Shocked, Grey does just that and Jamie returns to the cells, leaving a shaken, tearful and remorseful Grey alone. This move seems to have undone the friendship that had been developing between the two men. The endgame has moved from the chess board to real life.

In Boston, Frank finally plays his own endgame. Brianna is now 18 and Frank announces his wish to take her with him to England. At first, Claire thinks this is for a holiday, but is shocked to discover that Frank means to move back to England for good. Again, she misunderstands, thinking that the invitation includes her and saying that she can’t leave the hospital or her patients. But Frank delivers the final blow: he wants a divorce and he wants Brianna, adding that although Brianna doesn’t yet know about the plan he thinks she’ll come. With a thinly veiled accusation that Claire has been a bad mother, he remarks that between med school and the hospital, she has barely been around, adding that there are wonderful universities in England, where he could probably influence Brianna’s acceptance for study. He tells Claire that he plans to marry his girlfriend, Sandy, as soon as he is free. Suddenly, Claire realises. He hadn’t wanted a divorce when Brianna was younger, as he would likely have not been given custody or access to her. Now that Brianna is 18 and can make her own decisions, he wants to start a new life. Claire is incensed. “You’ve been waiting for the clock to run out” she accuses. We see the utter exhaustion in Frank’s face as he tells her that he is done with it. But Claire responds with fury. She will give him a divorce on any grounds he wishes, except for adultery, which doesn’t exist, adding that if he tries to take Brianna away from her she will have a thing or two to say about his own adultery.  It is worth mentioning that Frank could argue that while Claire has not been physically unfaithful since her return, the same could not be said for her emotional fidelity.  But he doesn’t, saying only that the situation is not about the two of them anymore. Brianna is a grown woman with her own life, who can make her own decisions. Frank wants the chance to live the rest of his life with a wife who truly loves him, adding that Claire could never look at Brianna without seeing Jamie. 

It is then that he asks the final question: without that constant reminder, could she have ever forgotten Jamie? Her eyes full of tears, Claire whispers, “That amount of time doesn’t exist.” It is the last nail in the coffin of their marriage. Defeated, Frank collects his keys and leaves the house, as the phone starts to ring. Composing herself, Claire answers. It is the hospital and Dr Randall prepares to return for surgery.  

The men of Ardmuir Prison are lined up in rows, like somewhat bedraggled soldiers. Amidst scraps of shouted conversation like “Set sail at night fall”, Jamie is suddenly pulled out of line and away from Murtagh who is standing behind him. 

When he asks what is happening, Jamie is told that the prison is closing and that the prisoners are being removed to the colonies. But a manacle is being attached to Jamie’s wrist, which in turn is attached to a rope linked to Major Grey’s horse. Jamie demands to know where he is being taken, but no answer is given. As the snow falls, Jamie can only look back in despair as he is led away from Murtagh and the others. 

It is three more days before Jamie learns the reason for the separation. The other prisoners will serve out terms of 14 years before being given their freedom. But as a convicted traitor, Jamie has been imprisoned at the pleasure of the King, whose approval is required before his sentence can be commuted. That approval has not been forthcoming and since Grey cannot give Jamie his freedom, he intends to do the next best thing. Jamie is to go to an estate called Helwater, to be in the service of Lord Dunsany, with Grey to visit every quarter to check on his welfare. 

Grey also suggests that Jamie change his name, as his new employer was not remotely sympathetic to the Jacobite cause. Free of the manacles once more, Jamie asks why Grey is doing this for him, particularly when he didn’t allow Grey to act on his earlier affections. Grey expresses regret at his actions, commenting that both men had shared the loss of someone close. Jamie had given him his life years ago and now he is returning the favour, not in order to discharge the debt on his family’s name, but on his own. With a deep sigh, he says, “Now Mr Fraser. Let’s be on our way.” Jamie turns, looks down on what is to become his next prison and follows behind.

Claire is out of surgery and has just finished consoling a worried husband, when she sees Joe coming towards her. 

She knows that something is wrong by the look on her friend’s face, news that is confirmed when Joe utters the words, “It’s Frank. There’s been a car accident.” After the implication sinks in, she runs down the corridor until she reaches the room where Frank’s body lies. With genuine sorrow, she kisses Frank’s chest and strokes his cheek, before whispering, “If you’re still close enough to hear me, I did love you very much. You were my first love.” A single tear falls onto Frank’s face as she kisses him one last time and it is the final tragedy that this was not something she had told him in life. Yet with his death, the final debt has been repaid. Claire had promised Frank that as long as he drew breath on the Earth, she would not speak of Jamie, or search for information of what had happened to him. She is now free to do both. 

This was a powerful episode, cleverly written to highlight the effect and consequences of real or perceived debts upon people’s lives. Debts of honour saved the lives of both Jamie and Major John Grey and allowed them to form a relationship that, while not yet one of friendship, is certainly one of respect. How different would things have been had either they, nor Lord Melton, not been honourable men. The debt of a promise made on her return to the 20th century led to years of unhappiness for both Claire and Frank, even though the emptiness of this life led Claire to the medical career that would prove so important and also allowed Frank to forge a strong relationship with Brianna. As the episode ends, both Claire and Jamie are about to embark on new challenges - and whether these bring more debts to be paid remains to be seen.

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She is very proud to claim David Berry as a fellow countryman, as she thinks he is already doing a fabulous job as Lord John! 

1 comment:

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