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Saying goodbye is never easy. But farewelling family members leaves a hole in the heart that can never be filled. How much would you sacrifice for those close to you? Could you bear to send them away, to say goodbye knowing full well that you might never see them again? Episode 2 of the 7th season is a balancing act between hope and despair, with no one spared some tough decision making. Toni Graphia has crafted a beautiful episode, that is expertly performed. As we have come to expect, everyone has brought their A game to the hour that follows.
Time has passed. As the episode begins, Claire is back at Fraser’s Ridge, tending to the garden. Her voiceover philosophises about what she has learned from Tom Christie and how important it is to count one’s life by thoughts, feelings, breaths and heartbeats, rather than the number of days, months or years. A figure is hunched in the distance and Claire walks towards it.
The figure is Allan Christie, kneeling at the graves of Malva and her child. As Claire begins to offer her condolences, she notices a pistol lying next to Allan. Something is not right.
Allan begins to talk about Malva and the life they had shared. No one had loved Malva more than he, Allan says, from the time that she was born. Allan tells Claire that it was he who took care of Malva in the dark days of their childhood, when, after they had been forced to watch their mother’s execution, they had been forced to stay with an aunt who had barely fed them. Claire is sympathetic at first, but then Allan’s reminiscences begin to take a sinister tone. He caresses the grave as he talks about Malva’s skin and we see a flashback of Allan violating his sister, Malva staring blankly into the distance. Tom Christie hadn’t known what they were to each other, Allan tells her. A look of revulsion crosses Claire’s face.
“You killed her,” she says.
Allan continues his bizarre confession, his voice hardening as he recalls beating Malva when he discovered that she had slept with other men, Ian among them. The reason, she had told him, was that she was pregnant with Allan’s child. She needed to marry, and her husband needed to think that the child was his.
But a jealous Allan had refused to allow that, so the plan had been formed to blame Jamie. Allan had thought that Jamie would simply give Malva money to stay silent, and then they could have left the Ridge to live their lives together.
“Why did you kill her then?” Claire asks.
“She said she couldn’t go through with it,” Allan replies. “She said she couldn’t bear to hurt you.”
Malva had planned to tell Claire the truth, so Allan had followed his sister to the house. They had argued, with Allan declaring his love for her. But Malva had said that she did not love him in return. Blind with jealousy and rage, he had lashed out, slitting her throat.
“You shouldn’t had loved anyone but me!” Allan yells down at the grave and picks up the pistol to shoot himself in the head.
Claire stops him. She won’t allow him to kill himself, she says, when Tom has sacrificed his own life for the both of them. She tells Allan to go away and never come back.
“I cannot live!” Allan cries.
Then suddenly, his face goes blank and he falls forward, an arrow piercing his chest. The camera pans back and we see Ian. He has heard Allan’s confession and has acted as executioner.
“He’s right, Auntie,” Ian says, striding forward. “He can’t.”
Claire and Ian set about burying Allan’s body. Claire feels like she has failed Malva and comments on the terrible waste of an entire family now gone. There is a noise behind them and they turn around to see Mrs Bug standing and watching. Claire and Ian look troubled - there is no way to hide what they are doing. But Mrs Bug tells them that she knew the devil was in Allan Christie from the first time she met him. While she doesn’t know what Allan did, she knows Claire and Ian well enough to decide that he must have deserved it. Commenting that they had better hurry before anyone else comes along. Mrs Bug comes over to help. And so, with the end of the Christie story, the credits begin.
As the Skye Boat song finishes, a 20th century home movie plays. The movie is of Disneyland and we wonder what the connection to this episode will be. It is only a brief glimpse though, as back in the 18th century, Brianna is giving birth, assisted by Claire, Jamie and Roger. All absent from Jemmy’s birth, this time it is a family affair. Claire places the baby girl into Brianna’s arms, before she and Jamie leave Brianna and Roger alone with their daughter. Brianna muses as to the baby’s name and Roger says that it should be Amanda, which is Latin for “She who is loved.”
A heavily pregnant Lizzie sits on the verandah, reading the birth notice that has appeared in the New Bern Onion, the paper that Fergus prints. Amanda Claire Hope McKenzie is already famous and the recipient of gifts like a beautiful new quilt. The youngest MacKenzie is not present at this gathering though, as she has been taken to the stables by her proud Grandda.
Jamie is nursing Mandy, talking to her as he walks over to a newly born foal that can already walk and gallop. It will take Mandy longer, Jamie says, but promises that one day he will teach her how to ride and that she will be an excellent equestrian.
Next it is Claire’s turn. She carries Mandy around the surgery, promising that one day, she will teach her all about the herbs and medicines. Perhaps one day, Claire muses, Mandy might be a surgeon just like she is. Claire grabs her granddaughter’s hand and kisses it, noticing a blue tinge on the young girl’s fingernails when she does so. Frowning, Claire puts Mandy down into her carry basket and reaches over to her medical table. Grabbing what she needs, she bends done and listens to Mandy’s heart.
“Oh bloody hell,” she whispers, just as Brianna walks in.
Brianna demands to know what is wrong. Claire has picked Mandy up and is nursing her. We see her wrestling with what to say. Claire hesitates, but Brianna insists. What is wrong?
“It’s her heart,” Claire finally responds.
As the next scene begins, Claire is explaining the condition to a concerned Brianna, Roger and Jamie. Quite common amongst newborns, especially slightly premature ones, the small blood vessel joining the aorta to the pulmonary artery hasn’t closed permanently. As a result, excess blood flows to the lungs, causing them to swell and become congested, so that not enough oxygenated blood is flowing around Mandy’s body.
Roger asks if Claire is sure of her diagnosis. Claire admits that she can’t be 100% certain. but that the blue tinge on Mandy’s fingernails is what had caught her attention. Brianna adds that she had known something was wrong. Mandy hasn’t been nursing properly, but she had put it down to fussiness. Roger too had heard Mandy wheezing once or twice, but hadn’t thought it anything to worry about. Claire comforts them: Brianna and Roger are parents, not doctors.
Jamie asks what will happen now. Claire admits reluctantly that things do not look good, given that Mandy is already experiencing symptoms. Brianna asks the question that she doesn’t want to ask - will Mandy die?
Claire is equally reticent in her reply. “Probably,” she says.
Everyone looks despairing, as Claire explains that without surgery, things will only get worse as time goes on.
“Can you fix it?” Brianna pleads.
Claire shakes her head. “No, I can’t,” she answers.
“Even with the ether?” Jamie asks.
Again, Claire shakes her head. “No,” she says, ‘But I know somebody who can.”
The implications of this resonate with them all. The key to Mandy’s health lies in the 20th century.
In their cabin, Roger is listing all the problems they are facing. They don’t know if Mandy can travel, or even if they can, given that the last time they tried, they were brought straight back. Brianna suggests that she and Mandy go alone, and that Roger should stay at the Ridge with Jemmy and finish his training to become a minister. But Roger will not accept this.
“No,” he says. “We’re a family. God will have to wait.”
The decision made, the conversation turns to the practicalities and which stone circle is closest. The enormity of what is ahead is not lost on either of them.
“I came here to save my parents,” Brianna tells Roger. “But I will do anything to save our daughter. I’ll have no regrets.”
The two embrace, the camera lingering on Brianna’s face. We see that this is not tru, as her face is full of regret.
In their room, Claire is lamenting the fact that she is not a heart surgeon and can’t fix Mandy’s condition herself. Even as she says this, she is desperately trying to make it possible. She has seen the operation done, she tells Jamie. She can feel her fingers working, listing the steps she would follow. But she has no operating theatre, and no nurses to assist. It is wishful thinking.
“There is one thing we can do,” Jamie says. He stands and walks over to her. It might not be Claire’s first inclination, he comments, but it eases the mind. Claire joins him at the edge of the bed. Jamie is praying in Latin, to the patron saint of horses. Claire is confused - how does that connect to a sick child? Jamie tells her that it is a matter between him and Mandy, but he believes that the saint will look after her, if they ask.
On the verandah the next day, Jamie is waving a gemstone on a chain in front of Mandy and she watches it intently. Jamie comments that Mandy likes the stone well enough, but Brianna points out that they don’t know for sure. Roger asks Jemmy if he can hear anything when he listens to the stone.
“Yes,” Jemmy says at once. “It sings.” Then he walks over to his sister. “She can hear it too,” he says.
“How do you know?” Claire asks.
“She said so,’ Jemmy replies.
Trusting this to be true, the group turn to the next problem. They need to procure enough gemstones, so plan to try the silversmith at Wilmington.
When they arrive in Wilmington, Jamie and Claire offer to mind the children while Brianna and Roger run their errands - Brianna to the baker and Roger to the silversmith. Already they are counting the moments and want to spend as much time with the children as possible.
Brianna comes out of the baker’s and sees a familiar face. It is Lord John Grey, accompanied by a now grown William Ransom, 9th Earl of Ellesmere. William is charming and Brianna plays along as Lord John tells him that Brianna is the daughter of the groom who worked at Helwater when William was a child. Brianna tells John that she and Roger are now bound for Boston, asking in return why John is here. Last time she heard, he was headed for England. William steps in, explaining that his regiment is in Wilmington to quell the trouble and John had insisted on accompanying him. Typical of a young man inexperienced in the art of war, William is eager to engage the enemy. Brianna shares a piece of advice - that the best way to defeat an enemy is to make him a friend. But William responds that sometimes the only way to settle things is with fire and blood. The young man takes his leave, telling Brianna that he hopes their paths will cross again in more peaceful times, but not before Jamie, having finished his own errand, sees the group from a distance. He makes eye contact with John before moving away again.
John thanks Brianna for her discretion. Brianna asks if John will ever tell William the truth about Jamie. John is incredulous, asking Brianna if she is mad. Only 5 people have ever known the truth as to William’s parentage and considerable effort has been expended to keep this information from William himself. John says that he is the only father that William has ever known and asks Brianna to consider the impact if the truth should come out.
Brianna understands, but shares her own perspective. As Frank’s theme music plays softly underneath the dialogue, Brianna tells John about the man who raised her and how she had felt when she initially found out about Jamie. She hadn’t wanted to know about Jamie at first, she explained. She already had a father, and didn’t need another. This had changed when the two had met. Even so, she would never stop loving Frank, or forget him.
Later, Jamie comes to visit John. The conversation is awkward at first. With Jamie having declared for the rebels and John for the British, they are now on opposing sides of what promises to be a lengthy conflict. John recalls a description of America as a son who has disobeyed his father and needs to be taught a lesson. Jamie replies that eventually every son has to leave his father and just like that, the conversation turns to William.
John explains that he had written to Jamie about William’s decision to join the army, but the message hadn’t reached Jamie before his journey to Wilmington. William is determined to fight, John says, adding that in different circumstances they would have been discussing suitable wives for William, not suitable regiments. When Jamie mentions the meeting between Bree and William, John is apologetic. He wishes that Jamie too could spend time with his biological son, but Jamie tells him not to worry. He is happy enough to have seen his two children together, even once. It is a picture he will hold in his mind always.
John asks how long Jamie will be in Wilmington and Jamie tells him he is only staying long enough to procure a jewel for Brianna. John tells Jamie of Brianna’s opinion that William should be told the truth about his parentage, adding that he is not of that mind. Jamie agrees with John, observing that Brianna has her opinions on many topics.
“Like her mother,” John replies and the two men chuckle. They are becoming more comfortable with each other again, and Jamie says that he might take a whisky after all.
As John pours, he asks whether Jamie has decided to renounce his association with the Sons of Liberty, doubling down by suggesting that if Jamie were to fight for the Crown, he would be standing alongside his son.
But Jamie will not be swayed.
“The day I carried my godfather from the battlefield at Alamance I swore I would never fight alongside the British army again,” he said.
John tries again. Surely Jamie doesn’t think anyone can oppose the Crown and win?
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” Jamie replies, the tension returning. Their continued association will be a danger to them both, he says, adding that he feels the two of them should sever all connections between them.
This is not what either man wants. The devastation on John’s face is plain, as is Jamie’s regret at suggesting it. Both become emotional. John damns the war, while Jamie swears that even in silence, he will remain John’s most humble friend.
John reaches into his waistcoat, pulling out a jewel attached to an ornamental ribbon. It is the sapphire that Jamie had handed to him after the attempted escape at Ardsmuir. John tells Jamie that he has kept it with him for the past 20 years. Walking over to Jamie, he places the stone into his friend’s palm, closing Jamie’s fist around the gem and covering it with his own.
“Take it,” he says, “for Brianna.”
It is an intimate gesture, not lost on Jamie. This is John’s farewell, symbolised by returning the jewel that has bound them to each other. In interviews, David Berry has said that he treated the scene much like a divorce, and indeed it feels like the end of a relationship, with all the sadness that such an event entails.
“John, are you sure?” Jamie asks.
“You said you took it from that island because you thought it might be of use to you one day,” John replies. “Perhaps this is that day.”
Jamie is overcome. “Thank you,” he whispers.
“It is my very great pleasure,” John replies, gently.
Jamie leaves and we see the tears shining in both men’s eyes as the scene ends.
This was beautiful work between David Berry and Sam Heughan. We are left in no doubt as to the strength of the feelings between John and Jamie, and the devastation that this parting causes them both.
Roger is listing the results of their gem search. They have a silver thimble with a garnet set in the crown and a hair comb from France with a small diamond in the filigree. Jamie adds the gift from Lord John, adding that John had wanted Brianna to have it. They now have what they need, and can set out for Ocracoke in the morning. Jamie asks Brianna to take a walk with him and she readily agrees.
The fireflies are glowing around them as Jamie and Brianna stroll together. They talk about Brianna’s meeting with William. Brianna remarks that she can’t believe that William is marching off to war.
“I worry for you both,” Jamie replies.
“I guess that’s what fathers do,” Brianna says.
Jamie catches and releases a firefly, as Brianna looks around. She comments that the place reminds her of Disneyland, and Jamie asks what that is. Brianna replies that it is a place where stories come alive, describing it as being somewhere for the child in everyone. She had gone there every Summer as a child, Brianna says, and remembers that the trees had little lights in them, like fireflies.
“What was it like there?” Jamie asks.
“Magical,” Brianna replies, telling him about shaking hands with Mickey Mouse, who she describes human sized mouse with big ears and gloves.
“A giant rat?” Jamie says. “And they let bairns play with it?”
“It’s not a rat, it’s a mouse,” Brianna laughs. “And really, it’s a person dressed up as a mouse.”
She continues to explain. “When you’re there, nothing bad can happen,” she says. “They call it the happiest place on Earth and for a little while, it really seems that way.”
But Jamie is concerned. He asks his daughter if she is disappointed to be in this place and time and Brianna assures him that this isn’t the case.
“You are magical to me,” she says, snuggling in to his embrace.
Jamie says that he has thought about what it would be like to be able to travel with them to the future.
Brianna smiles, trying to picture Jamie behind the wheel of a car, going to an office in a three piece suit, or sitting in a movie theatre watching Godzilla with Jem and Roger.
“I think you’d do fine,” she says. “You could publish newspapers. You know how to do that.”
Jamie joins in. “Or I could be a farmer as well,” he says. “Surely folks still eat.”
Serious again, Jamie asks Brianna about the America and freedom that she will be going to. Going there will exact a fearful price - will it be worth it?
“Almost nothing would be worth leaving you,” she replies, “but maybe that comes close.”
Gently, Jamie kisses his daughter on the forehead, as the fireflies swirl.
Later, Jamie is recounting the conversation to Claire, telling her how Brianna had been imagining him in the future.
“If only we could follow them, Sassenach,” he says.
Jamie goes on to tell Claire that he has seen her in the future, in his dreams. He knew that he was seeing Claire in her proper time because of the light. She had been sitting at a desk, writing, Jamie recalls. With a look unlike candlelight or firelight, Jamie had realised that he must be looking at electric light.
“How can you recognise something in a dream that you have never seen in real life?” Claire asks.
Jamie replies that he has often dreamed of the past, so why couldn’t he dream of the future? It is something that has only happened in the past few years, he tells her. Then he reaches over and places a small jewel into Claire’s palm.
“Where did you get this?” Claire asks him.
Jamie replies that he has been saving it. He had always thought that should he ever be killed, Claire could take it and go back to her own time. And now, should she wish it, she could travel with Brianna, Roger and the children.
It is an enormous gesture on Jamie’s part, and Claire responds by taking the gem and throwing it from the window. Moving to him, she cups his face with her hand and tells her that she loves him.
“I’m not as brave as I was before,” Jamie says. “Not brave enough to live without you anymore.”
They kiss, before Jamie muses that perhaps they should go and fetch the gem. Claire giggles, and the scene ends. Sam Heughan has said in interviews that he may have improvised that line, which explains the lighthearted reaction. It is certainly a relief to get a bit of humour into an episode that is full of emotion.
Indeed, the next scene begins with a small boat, carrying the family as they make their way Ocracoke. Rowing throughout the night, they arrive in the morning and walk up onto the beach, the stones standing up on the hill.
The time has come. Claire carries Mandy, with Bree walking next to them; while Jamie holds Jemmy’s hand, with Roger next to him. There are goodbyes to be said.
Claire goes first.
“I went through the stones to save my baby,” she tells Brianna. “Now you’re going back to save yours.”
“I love you so much, Mama,” Brianna says. “I can’t believe this is goodbye.”
Claire responds that they have said goodbye to each other before, thinking that it was forever. “
So who knows?” she says, stroking Brianna’s hair.
With an attempt at a smile, she puts Mandy into Brianna’s arms and moves over to Jem, telling him to look after his baby sister and to teach her how to play hide and seek.
Jem nods, solemnly. “I love you,” he says, moving forward to hug his grandmother.
“I love you,” Claire whispers back.
Jamie and Roger say the next farewell. Jamie reminds Roger that he had travelled 200 years to be with Brianna, and while it had not been the life he chose, he had become a husband, soldier, father, man of God and a man of honour.
“I’m proud of you, Roger Mac,” he says. “There is no other man I would trust with the lives of my daughter and the bairns.”
“I am so proud to call you family,” Roger replies, as Claire walks over to join them. Roger promises to remember them both to the children, commenting that he will have so many stories to tell them.
“Maybe leave out the one about the snake bite,” says Jamie ruefully and Roger chuckles.
Claire tells Roger that she has thought of him as family from the first moment they met.
“Look after our girl,” she pleads.
“I will,” Roger replies.
Jem is hugging Jamie. “I don’t want to leave you, Grandda,” the young boy says.
“You’re not leaving me,” Jamie replies, “I am always with you.” Remembering his conversation about Disneyland, Jamie has one last request of his grandson.
“If one day you should meet a very large mouse named Michael, tell him your grandsire sends his regards,” he says.
This has the desired effect on the young boy, who smiles and giggles at the thought.
The final farewell is the hardest. Jamie approaches Brianna, speaking first to young Mandy in her arms. “You’re a Fraser and MacKenzie, same as me,” he tells his granddaughter. “Your heart is strong and it won’t fail you.” He bends down, planting a kiss on the baby girl’s forehead.
His eyes full of tears, Jamie tells Brianna that he can’t say goodbye to her. He doesn’t have the words.
“Dinna fash,” Brianna responds. “When you said goodbye to Mama at the stones, when she was carrying me, you said that I was all that would be left of you, but you are so much more than that. I will carry you in my heart and soul always. You will always have me as well. Nothing is lost, only changed.”
Stroking her cheek, in the same way he had when they first met, Jamie smiles through his tears.
“You are my daughter,” he declares, kissing her forehead.
Brianna’s composure breaks and she starts to cry too. The moment has come.
Jamie and Claire stand, their arms around each other, as Roger tucks the silver hair comb into Jem’s coat pocket, and the silver thimble into Mandy’s shawl. With a last long look, the young family turns away and walks towards the stones. The stones roar - and they are gone.
“For your sake, I will continue,” Jamie says to Claire. “But for mine alone, I would not.”
Moments later, their journey complete, the Mackenzies begin to collect themselves. Jem stands first, as Roger and Brianna sit up, checking to see that Mandy is breathing normally. Jem runs around the stones making vroom noises, while Roger and Brianna wonder if they are in the correct time.
“Mama and Da are gone, so maybe?” Brianna says.
A noise above them makes them look up and they see a jet plane appear and disappear through the clouds. They have indeed returned to the 20th century.
Standing up, they begin to walk towards their new life, while back in the 18th century, Jamie and Claire ride back towards the Big House. They are home - but everything has changed.
There really aren’t enough words to praise the farewell scene - nor enough tissues to recover from it. Toni Graphia’s writing, so close to Diana Gabaldon’s original, is brilliant, but the acting from Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin and the young Adair twins, Matthew and Andrew, is perfection itself. Raw, honest, heartbreaking and full of love, we are carried on this journey with them all and feel the agony of having to say goodbye.
That night, Jamie and Claire are in bed, but neither can sleep. Claire turns to Jamie, trying to seek comfort by making love, but it is no use. She pushes herself away, distraught. She tells Jamie that they have lost their family: Fergus, Marsali, the children, Brianna and Roger.
“We tell everyone they’re in Boston, but they’re not,” she says.
Jamie reminds her that Brianna and Roger aren’t dead, but this is no comfort. They are 200 years away, Claire says, and they will never see them again.
Jamie tells her that sometimes he thinks of the people that he has lost: Murtagh, his parents and brother, Faith. He wonders if they will ever see Jenny and Ian again, and even William is lost to him.
“We’ve lost a great many between us,” he says, bringing his hand up to caress her cheek.
“Can you bear it if I touch you?”
Tearfully, Claire replies that she doesn’t know and she begins to sob. Jamie wraps his arms around her and draws her close, telling her to weep.
“You weep for them,” he says, gently, “and when you’re done, I’ll be here.”
This is another beautiful, heartbreaking moment. While we are used to Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe knocking every emotional scene out of the park, this one seems to take things to the next level. Our hearts break with both Claire and Jamie, as the loss of their loved ones begins to sink in.
Weeks pass. Claire is watching Jamie break in the foal that was to be Mandy’s. Her voiceover tells us that she has tried to take comfort in the fact that Brianna and Roger are not dead, only elsewhere. There is a new baby on the Ridge, Lizzie having delivered her son, Robbie, fathered by one of the Beardsley brothers.
“We made new memories every day,” Claire says, “and added them to the ghosts of older ones: Mandy’s foal, Jemmy’s face smeared with honey, Brianna’s laughter, Roger’s hands carving one of the little toy cars.”
They have counted their blessings, and despite the huge absence of their children and grandchildren, Fraser’s Ridge, like Disneyland, is truly the happiest place of Earth. Of course, Outlander being Outlander, it stands to reason that just as everything is starting to settle down, drama is only just around the corner.
It is dusk and Claire walks back towards the house, basket in hand. She seems to sense that something is not right and walks cautiously inside. After listening carefully, she walks into the kitchen to put down her basket and hears a sound behind her.
A match has been struck, one of Brianna’s matches. But it is not Brianna who lights it. Rather. it is Wendigo Donner.
“Where did you get these?” he asks.
“My daughter made them,” Claire replies.
Donner praises Brianna’s ingenuity, saying he wishes he had thought of the idea. Claire asks what he is doing there and Donner replies that he needs her help.
“How dare you come here and ask for my help,” Claire replies. “Where were you when I needed help?”
Donner tells her that although he had wanted to help her, he couldn’t, as Brown would have killed him in return. Claire tells him that Roger had spoken about their most recent meeting.
Donner is scathing. “Bastard wouldn’t help me escape,” he replies. He indicates the now broken chains on his wrists, telling Claire that he managed to get free on his own.
“What do you want?” Claire asks.
“Answers,” Donner replies. He wishes to return to his own time and wants Claire to tell him how to do it. He had taken a gem to the stones, he reminisces, but had been nervous because of his previous experience, so had drunk whisky. When he touched the stones, he had blacked out, waking to find himself in exactly the same position.
“You have to tell me what I did wrong,” he says. “Tell me how these things work.”
Claire replies that no-one knows exactly how it works.
“You have to think of someone of some place,” she says. “That’s how you steer.” She admonishes him for drinking, saying that concentration is vital. A clear head is needed to focus.
“That’s all?” Donner says.
“Yes,” Claire repeats. “And you’ll get where you’re supposed to be.”
Next, she demands that he get the hell out of the house, but Donner has no intention of leaving. When he had woken up on the ground, he tells her, his emerald had gone. He needs another gemstone, in fact more than one. Aiming a pistol at her, he tells Claire that he hadn’t expected her to give one up easily, so has brought some friends and calls for them.
The friends appear, roughly pushing Jamie into the room. Donner has made them a deal, he says. He gets gemstones, while his cronies get whatever they can take. Grabbing Claire, Donner aims the pistol at her head, telling Jamie that if he doesn’t give up the gems, he will shoot her. Jamie tries to stall, telling Donner that Claire is the one who knows where the gemstones are, having hid them when he was with the militia. It is a gamble, but doesn’t seem to have worked. Donner’s cronies reappear.
“Did you find anything?” Donner asks.
“Certainly did,” comes the reply.
Mr and Mrs Bug are pushed into the room next, and Donner’s friend displays large chunks of gold. While Mrs Bug demands that they return the gold to her, Jamie is questioning Mr Bug in Gaelic. This in the lost Frenchman’s gold that had been promised to Charles Stuart all those years before. Jamie asks how Mr Bug has it, and the older man replies that it is no concern of Jamie’s.
Donner is growing impatient and orders Jamie and Mr Bug to cut out the gibberish. It is gemstones he wants, he says, not gold. Ordered to search Claire’s surgery, Donner’s men begin smashing things, including a bottle of ether from the locked cupboard.
Immediately, Donner notices the smell. Claire warns not to breathe in the fumes and they all begin to cover their faces. Then one of the men complains that the room is too dark, so Donner strolls in, striking one of Brianna’s matches.
“No!” Claire yells. “Don’t do that!”
But it is too late. The flammable ether catches fire, and the camera suddenly switches to the outside view of the Big House. As the music builds, we watch the house explode. The notice that had been printed in the paper about the fire at Fraser’s Ridge seems to have come true.
This was a spectacular episode. Sacrifice and separation were the order of the day, with most of the main characters faced with unbearable decisions. Friendships have been ended out of a need for safety; and the Fraser/Mackenzie families have been separated in order to save the life of their youngest member. But as we watch the explosion, we wonder what other sacrifices have also been made. We need a visit to Disneyland, that magical place where nothing bad can happen. But in the absence of a very large mouse, we will just have to wait for episode 3!
This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, a teacher librarian and writer who lives in Australia. She has read the books, so knew what was coming, but she wasn’t prepared for her own feelings of heartbreak watching everybody say goodbye.