Thursday, July 6, 2023

“Nothing to do but go on” - A recap of season 7 episode 3 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

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What can you do when half of your family is unreachable, separated by 200 years? What can you do when  virtually everything you own is destroyed by fire? What can you do when a case of mistaken identity results in irreversible tragedy? What can you do when honouring a promise also means leaving everything behind? These are just some of the questions posed in the third episode of season 7, with just about every character needing to find the inner strength to keep going towards a new future. Although this episode moves at a slower pace action wise, it packs every bit the same emotional punch as its predecessors. Tissues are definitely still required to get through the hour!

As the episode begins, cheerful highland music is playing and a delivery van winds its way along the road. We recognise the Scottish landscape, before the van finally pulls up in front of a house. The driver pulls out an ornate looking box that he places on the doorstep. The name on the box is stamped with gold lettering: Jeremiah Alexander Ian Fraser Mackenzie.

The opening credits end and we see a 20th century living room, with a rotary dial telephone sitting on a desk. A blonde haired boy runs over and lifts the receiver. It is possible that more time has passed and that this is an older Jem.

A group of children are playing in the backyard, while a man watches them, bouncing a baby in a pram. Inside, Fiona Graham is carrying the wooden box over to Roger and Brianna, who are now dressed in 20th century clothing. Fiona tells them that they have kept the box safe since its arrival, but have been dying to know what is inside. 

“The bank says it’s been in their vault for two hundred years,” Fiona tells the couple. Roger takes the box from her, but he and Bree are unsure what to do next. Brianna says that she should check on the children, but Fiona replies that they are outside with her husband, Ernie and her girls. She will check on the children for them, she says. 

“I’m glad that Mandy’s doing so well,” Fiona adds, “and I’m so glad you’ve come back.” 

Left alone, Roger and Brianna set about opening the box. It takes some manoeuvring with Roger’s pocket knife, but eventually the lock gives and the box opens. Inside is what appears to be a small musket ball, along with bundles of letters addressed to Brianna. The one on the top is dated April 1776.

Brianna is overcome. Roger strokes her back gently as she breaks the seal and starts to read. 

“My dear daughter,” Jamie’s voiceover begins. “As you will see if you ever receive this, we are alive…”

The next scene begins back at the Ridge, moments before the explosion. Claire is pleading with Wendigo Donner to put out the match, but he is being affected by the ether and swaying on his feet, close to losing consciousness. Jamie has ushered Mr and Mrs Bug outside and races back for Claire. They turn and run, just as Donner drops to the ground. The match hits the ether and ignites.  The shock of the blast sends Jamie and Claire flying. 

“Both your mother and I are safe and well, and we will always have a home as long as we have each other,” Jamie’s voiceover continues, as Brianna and Roger breathe tearful sighs of relief. 

Jamie and Claire pick themselves up off the ground, as the house catches fire behind them. Glass windows shatter and Ian, Lizzie and one of the Beardsley twins appear, asking what has happened. 

“Run for help!” Jamie yells. “We need water!”

A production line of Ridge folk is soon formed, with everyone working desperately to try and put out the fire. But as each bucket of water is tossed towards the flames, it becomes more and more obvious that it is a lost cause. The fire is only growing in intensity. We watch with Jamie as walls of flame engulf the rooms inside. Mirrors crack, the bathtub burns and the nameplate bearing the name Dr Rawlings melts. Jamie and Claire stand still, looking at each other, while the rest of the crowd continue their frenzied rescue efforts. 

“Enough,” says Jamie, quietly at first to Claire and then loud enough for everyone to hear. The house cannot be saved, he says. He thanks them for their help but there is nothing more they can do. As a group they stand and watch the Big House burn.

“Well, it’s not January,” says Claire.

“And we’re not dead,” agrees Jamie. “So much for our obituary.”

“Bloody newspapers,” Claire adds, as the Fraser’s Ridge music plays in the background, “never get anything right.” 

Everyone backs away from the searing heat as the foundations begin to collapse. The final silhouette of the house alight is equal parts terrifying and emotional. It is the end of a chapter - in real life too, as the set of the Big House was actually set alight for filming. It is an impressive sight.

Roger kisses Brianna. “You and your bloody matches,” he teases.  “You burned the house down!”

Brianna is incredulous. It was Claire’s ether, she argues, adding that any kind of spark could have caused the explosion.  But Roger reminds her that it wasn’t any kind of spark. Wendigo had lit one of Brianna’s matches.

 “The 18th century is lucky to have survived you,” he chuckles. 

Brianna asks why he is saying that, so Roger explains. Brianna’s matches had caused a different fire, one that her parents had survived, he says. Pointing out the date, Roger reasons that it couldn’t have been the fire from the obituary, as by that timeline, there would have been nothing left to burn. 

Brianna is excited by this thought. “We actually did it,” she said. “We saved them. We changed history.” 

Of course, there is no way for the couple to know that the error had been the newspaper’s in the first place, and the scene ends on their smiling faces. 

Back at the Ridge, a salvage operation is underway. Forcing open a burnt cupboard from her surgery, Claire finds her medical notes and drawings, the paper of her notebook singed around the edges and covered in soot. Meanwhile, Jamie opens a chest to find his kilt, miraculously unharmed. Other trinkets are found, most covered in ash and soot. It is a sombre process.

Jamie and Claire sit on the front steps, all that remains of their home. 

“Your hair smells of smoke,” Jamie says.

“Everything smells of smoke,” Claire replies. 

Jamie asks Claire why she never says no when she is called to the aid of a dying man, even when she knows the case is hopeless. 

“Because I can’t,” she answers tearfully. “Because I cannot admit there is anything to do but go on.”

Jamie nods, before taking Claire’s hand, interlacing his fingers with hers. “Nor will I,” he says, bringing her hand to his lips and kissing it. 

Claire indicates the blouse she is holding. It resembles the blouse that she borrowed from Brianna when she returned to Jamie - and it may well be one and the same. 

“I’m going to wash the soot out of this,” she says, touching his shoulder before walking away. 

Left alone, Jamie is soon joined by Ian. The younger man has found something he says, and thinks that Jamie will want it back. He holds out a small portrait. It is William as a young boy, the miniature that Lord John had previously given to Jamie. 

Ian tells Jamie that he recognises the face from when William had been at the Ridge and comments that it is a shame that the boy hadn’t returned. Jamie agrees, but adds that he has actually seen William recently, in Wilmington. 

“He’s grown,” Jamie tells Ian. “A soldier. He goes by William now.” 

“You must be proud,” Ian says.

The two men share a long look and Jamie realises that Ian has learned the truth.  Ian had seen Jamie looking at William in the same way he now looks at the portrait, the younger man explains. He also remembers William as being stubborn and not afraid to speak his mind. 

‘Reminded me of my mother,’ Ian says. “And you. He’s a Fraser, sure enough.”

Jamie smiles, before telling Ian that William can never know that he is his father. 

“Dinna fash, Uncle,” Ian reassures him. “You need Fraser blood to see it in him. I will never speak of it to a soul.” 

Fans have pointed out the continuity error of this scene. While in the book, Ian was indeed present at the Ridge when William visited, in the show Ian was already away with John Quincy Myers. This takes nothing away from the beautiful acting of John Bell in this scene, who brings the perfect mix of understanding and strength to the conversation. 

Lizzie and Josiah approach Claire as she washes the shirt. They have brought parsnip soup , along with blankets courtesy of the Fisher Folk.  Lizzie holds out a gift of her own: a spare blouse and a shawl, along with the offer to help Claire change and wash the soot from the clothes she is wearing. Claire is overcome by Lizzie’s kindness, when Josiah adds his own offer. He and Kezzie can take what belongings that have been salvaged up to Roger and Brianna’s cabin. 

Lizzie and Josiah hesitate before telling Claire their last bit of news. Although they have looked everywhere, they haven’t been able to find Adso, the cat. 

“I’m sure he’ll turn up somewhere,” Claire says.

“Of course he will,” Lizzie nods, but it is clear that none of them truly believe this will happen. 

Arch Bug is walking through the wreckage when Jamie approaches him, holding up a piece of gold and asking the older man to explain it.  Arch brazens it out, telling Jamie that he doesn’t owe him an explanation. 

As Ian watches from a distance, Jamie tells Arch that the gold is marked with a fleur- de-lis, and had therefore been meant for Charles Stuart. Arch does not deny the fact, staying silent when Jamie demands to know why he and Mrs Bug had it in their possession. 

“Thieves burned down my house,” Jamie says, advancing on Arch. “I will not have any more on the Ridge.”

Arch is adamant that he is no thief and neither is his wife. Rather, it is one of Jamie’s family that has done the taking, the older man says, and Arch lays the blame squarely at the feet of Jocasta and Hector Cameron.

Originally, the gold had been divided in three, Arch tells Jamie. Dougal McKenzie had taken one share, Hector Cameron another. Arch had been the third man, a representative of Malcolm Grant, who had sent him along in his place. 

“The French gold,” says Jamie disbelieving. “The lost Jacobite gold is here in America?”

Arch confirms this, adding the gold had come too late to make any difference to the Jacobite cause. Grant had used his third for the good of the clan, but Arch is unaware what Dougal had done with his share. Hector Cameron, on the other hand, had fled to America with his share, Arch says, his voice rising as he brands the man a traitor. 

“I only had to set my eyes on River Run to know where the gold had been spent,” he continues.

Jamie wants to know how Arch had found and removed what was left of the gold. Arch replies that every time he had been to River Run he had searched for it, until he finally realised where it would be. Since Hector had never been a man to part with anything, the gold had been stored in his crypt. So, piece by piece, Arch had taken back what had been stolen from Scotland.

Jamie comments that any man who steals from a thief is made a thief himself.

“I only wished to take it back from the Camerons,” Arch replies. “I am a man of my word. I swore an oath to my Chief and I kept it until he died.  I swore an oath to the King Across the Water and I kept that too. I swore loyalty to George of England when I came upon this shore, so tell me now: where does my duty lie?” 

Jamie retorts that Bug had also sworn an oath to him, but Arch replies that the oath that matters most is the one he has made to his wife, and refuses to tell Jamie where the rest of the gold is, other than to say that it is somewhere where Jamie will never find it.

Jamie strides forward, putting the gold ingot into Arch’s hand. He releases the older man from his oath and orders both him and Mrs Bug from the Ridge.  Arch seems to be about to say something else, before thinking better of it and walking away. As he does so, Ian moves from his vantage point and shares a long look with Jamie. 

Mrs Bug is waiting for her husband. Arch informs Murdina that it has all been for nothing and that Jamie is sending them away. She replies that he has always been a man of worth in her eyes and that there is no shame in what they have done. Both are in agreement that they will not beg to be allowed to stay. Murdina points out that they have spent years in service at Fraser’s Ridge, loyally looking the other way when they have seen things that have troubled them. 

“We’ve earned this, Arch,” she says, touching her husband’s cheek. “This is our time.”

That night, Jamie and Ian are watching from a distance as Arch digs under the house. Jamie comments that Arch had said the gold had been hidden somewhere they would never find it, and it had been right under their noses the whole time. Together, the two men make a plan. Arch is to be left to find what he is looking for, while Ian takes up a position behind him. Should Arch try to run, Ian will stop him. After waiting a moment for Ian to get into place, Jamie starts to walk towards Arch, calling out that he wishes to speak with him. 

Everything happens at once. Arch turns and fires, the pistol discharging close to Jamie, who flinches and moves out of the way. Ian has drawn his bow and fired an arrow at point blank range. Ian and Jamie approach the fallen man, only to discover that it is not Arch at all, but Murdina, dressed in her husband’s clothing. 

“I need Arch,” she whispers, blood dribbling from the side of her mouth. “Archie.” 

They are her last words. Murdina Bug is dead. 

Ian is horrified. “I didn’t know it was you!” he says to Murdina’s body, then gazes back at his uncle, distressed. 

Jamie has stepped backwards and bumped into the box Murdina had dug up moments before. The lid dislodges, revealing the remainder of the lost gold. 

It is daylight again, and Claire approaches a still distraught Ian. Mrs Bug had always been kind to him, he tells her. 

“She took care of me,” he says. “Of all of us.”

Claire nods, before reminding Ian that he had been protecting Jamie. 

But this is little comfort to the younger man and he laments his actions all over again. The shot Murdina fired had only grazed Jamie, and hadn’t been serious enough for require Ian to release the arrow that had ended her life. 

“She’s lying in there,” Ian says, “and I can’t take it back or undo it. And yet I keep looking for some way that I can.” He fingers rosary beads as he talks. “Something I can do to make it right.” 

Claire takes Ian’s hand. “Are you breathing, Ian?” she asks. 

The younger man nods. “Aye,” he says. “I think so.”

“Then that’s all you need to do for now.” 

This is a beautiful maternal performance from Caitriona Balfe. We are left in no doubt as to Claire’s love for Ian and her wish to help him. 

Claire’s voiceover takes over in the next scene. As the camera pans up to reveal the formation of a flock of birds, Claire says that she has needed to take her own advice: put on a brave face, be strong and keep breathing. 

When the next scene begins, Claire is preparing Murdina Bug’s body. Jamie comes to join her. He has been calling for Arch, he says, but there has been no response. They talk about the gold and Claire wonders why it had been hidden under the house. Surely the Bugs must have worried that they would find it? Jamie points out that they never had, posing his own question: why hadn’t he just let the Bugs take the gold?

The two look down at the older woman’s body.

“Murdina,” Jamie begins formally, “wife of Archibald. You’ll be missed.”

“Amen,” Claire says, before adding that she hates the fact that Murdina had died while things were not right between them.

The funeral possession is beginning and Lizzie comments that Mrs Bug will now be guardian of the Ridge. 

“The guardian?” asks Claire, confused.

Jamie explains that the last person to lie in a graveyard becomes its guardian. It is that person’s responsibility to stand guard until another person dies and comes to take their place, at which point they are allowed to rest. 

Claire continues her questions. What is the guardian guarding and from whom?

“Vandals, desecraters, charmers,” Jamie answers. “Even the dead may need defending. Who better to do that than a ghost?”

Lizzie wonders who the last guardian would have been and Claire confirms that it would have been Malva Christie.

“Well Mrs Bug’s in charge now,” says Lizzie, “and Malva can go home to Heaven.”  

An approaching figure catches Jamie’s eye. It is Arch Bug, who comments that he trusts he will not be turned away from his wife’s funeral. Arch is cold and overly formal, saying that he wishes his wife’s body to be put to rest with the proper observances and asks Claire if she will sing. Claire agrees and begins an acapella version of Ave Maria, as Arch joins them and the group continues to the burial spot. 

At the gravesite, the lid is removed from the coffin so that Arch can say goodbye to his wife. He tucks a gold brooch onto Murdina’s dress and begins to sob. Drawing the cloth over her face, he stands back as the lid is replaced. Jamie recites “Death, be not proud” and the coffin is lowered into the ground. 

Later, Arch is still standing by the gravesite, now covered over with earth. Ian approaches, warily and tells Arch that it was by his hand that Murdina had lost her life. Ian explains that he didn’t take Murdina’s life by malice, and that it is a great sorrow to him. He unsheathes his dagger and holds it out to Arch, offering the older man a life for a life. 

But Arch tells Ian that it is too easy. He asks if Ian would give him Rollo to kill instead. Horrified, Ian refuses. 

‘it was my crime, not his,’ he says.

“And he’s naught but a flea ridden beast,” Arch observes, “not a wife.” Fixing Ian with a piercing stare, the older man makes a chilling vow. When Ian has something worth taking, Arch says, the two men will meet again. 

“That I promise ye,” he hisses, before stalking off.

This was a highly charged scene. Although he has been in many scenes over the past few seasons, it is in this episode that Hugh Ross as Arch Bug has really been given a chance to shine. His Arch in this scene is a perfect mixture of a grieving husband and a man bent on revenge. The looks of malevolence that he gives to Ian are enough to send goosebumps down anyone’s spine. John Bell too, shines as the regretful Ian, who is horrified at the thought of anyone hurting Rollo and greatly disturbed by Arch’s parting words. Kudos to both actors on this scene.  

Time passes, but Arch does not return. Claire and Jamie begin to plan for the future, looking across the water to a new spot for a new house. Jamie admits that he has been planning this for a while. Should anything happen, he tells Claire, he would feel better knowing that he had considered what might become of them.


“It’s good to plan ahead, I suppose.” Claire replies. “This is our home, no matter what.”

Claire comments that while she hopes she doesn’t have to do it, she wonders what Jamie would want done with his body when the time came. Would he want to be buried on the Ridge, or taken back to Scotland? Jamie answers that he would be lucky to be buried at all. His fate would more likely be drowning, burning or rotting on a battlefield. He tells Claire that should she be required to dispose of his carcass, she should leave him out for the crows. 

Claire says that she will bear it in mind, commenting that Jamie hasn’t asked what she wants done with her body. Jamie replies that he never will, as he can’t bear to think of her dead.

“Anything else,” he says, “but not that.” He pulls her closer for a kiss.

For a moment, they look out over the landscape, and Claire asks when they should start building. Jamie replies that there is something that he wants to speak to her about. He keeps thinking, he says, about Lallybroch. He had made a promise to his sister long ago that he would bring Ian back to her and he means to honour that promise. Jamie wonders aloud what Jenny and Ian will make of each other now, as the man who will return is not the same as the lad who had left all those years before. 

“With the war,” Jamie adds, “if he is to go back, it must be now.” 

Claire nods, telling Jamie that it is a great idea and so they resolve to leave in a few months’ time, once their affairs are in order. Jamie says that there is another good reason to go. He had made a promise to himself, he tells Claire, never to face his son across the barrel of a gun.

Claire is sleeping, but wakes to hear Jamie praying. After asking God to guide him with wisdom, chastise him with justice, help him with mercy and protect him with strength, Jamie makes one final plea.

“And God, please,” he says, “let me be enough.” 

Crossing himself, he gets into bed beside Claire, who gives no indication that she has overheard. 

The next morning, when they wake, Jamie tells Claire that he had another dream of the 20th century. This time it was Brianna and the children he had dreamt of, and Claire asks Jamie to tell her what had happened. Together with Roger, they had all walked up to the door of a house, Jamie tells her and knocked. A small brown haired woman had answered and was overjoyed to see them. Jamie comments that Mandy was a bit older and looked well. 

Claire asks if the woman had been called by name and Jamie replies that Roger had called her Fiona. Claire recognises Fiona Graham at once and tears fill her eyes. Jamie really has been dreaming of the future. 

“Were they happy?” she asks. 

Jamie confirms this, before describing a strange object that he had never seen before. It was like a box, he tells Claire, only humped. It had a thing on top like a small club with a knob on each end, which was tied to the box with a cord that curled like a piglet’s tail. Jamie says that Jem had reached out to pick up the object, saying, “I want to speak to Grandda.”

Claire explains that what Jamie has described is a telephone and that in the future, people can talk to one another across long distances. “I wish we could call them,” she says, becoming emotional once more. “But our letters will have to do for now.” 

Jamie, Claire and Ian are working together to melt down some of the gold. They are disguising them as lead musket balls and we realise that one of these balls was inside the chest that Roger and Brianna opened at the beginning of the episode. Jamie says that this is the last of the gold that he intends to melt and that they will then hide the rest. 

The talk turns to Lallybroch and Jamie asks Ian if he has thought of what he will say to Jenny when he sees her again. Ian is apprehensive about his impending return, telling them that he gets a queer feeling whenever he thinks about it. He says that Brianna had shared a saying with him from a book she had read, which said that once you had left home, you can’t go back again. Ian thinks this saying might be true, but Jamie tells him not to worry, as Jenny and Ian will be much the same as when he left. Ian might be a bigger shock to them, however. Ian is confused.

“I’m not that much taller, am I?” he asks.   

Returning to the idea of home, Claire says that she prefers the words of Robert Frost, who had described home as a place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. They all smile.

“No wonder you’re fond of her, Uncle,” Ian says. “She must be a rare comfort to you.”

“Well, she keeps taking me in, so I suppose she must be home,” Jamie responds, winning the prize for what must be one of the nicest compliments ever given. 

Later, Jamie and Claire are on their way to hide the gold. Jamie tells Claire that since no-one on the Ridge knows of its existence, they can’t let them find out, as even a rumour getting out would result in everyone being put in danger. He has chosen a secret hiding place that he and Jem had discovered while out hunting.

“A wee lad and his grandma need at least one secret,” he comments. 

The two go inside the cave, dubbed the Spaniard’s Cave, due to its current occupant. This turns out to be a human skeleton, that Jamie and Jem had found with nothing except for his armour and a Spanish coin.  

“Was Jem scared?” Claire asks.

“No,” Jamie replies. “I was.” 

The two had entered the cave without a lantern and Jamie had almost stepped on the man, initially thinking he was alive.

“The shock of it was like to stop my heart,” Jamie reminisces, adding that Jem had laughed about it. 

Claire wonders how the Spaniard came to be there in the first place, and Jamie suggests murder as the most likely reason. He indicates another small connecting cave, which Claire dubs the perfect place for hiding treasure. Sure enough, this is where Jamie puts the rest of the Jacobite gold. 

Claire asks whether Jamie and Jem had been concerned that they would be haunted, but Jamie replies that the proper prayer for the repose of the man’s soul had been recited when he sealed the cave. 

“You really do know the proper prayer for every occasion, don’t you?” Claire says. 

Jamie replies that there is always a prayer, even if it is only “God help me.” 

Later, Claire writes another letter to Brianna, telling her of their decision to return to Scotland and take Ian back to Lallybroch before the forces of history deprive Jamie of another opportunity.  The Ardsmuir men will look after the property while they are gone, Claire says, while the Beardsleys will look after the site of the new house. Claire is also teaching Lizzie about herbs and medicines, so that she can treat people while Claire is away. 

Jamie’s voice continues the letter. After commenting that it is strange to ask Brianna to pray for the safety of a voyage that will have been long completed by the time she learns of it, he decides to ask anyway, reasoning that God takes no account of time.  Next Jamie begins to speak of the Jacobite gold, which he describes as ‘property that was once held in trust by the Camerons for an Italian gentleman'. As his voiceover continues, we see Jamie striding around the property in his kilt. It is an impressive site, and an indication that Jamie is ready to return to Scotland. 

We jump to the 20th century and Roger is finished reading the letter aloud. The gold has been left in a place of safety. 

“Jem knows the place,” Roger reads and Brianna turns around, confused. 

“If you should at some time have need of this property, tell him the Spaniard guards it,” Jamie’s letter continues. “He will know what it means. If you retrieve it, be sure to have it blessed by a priest. There is blood upon it.” 

Brianna and Roger begin trying to decipher what Jamie’s message means. Brianna decides that the mention of the Camerons refers to her Aunt Jocasta, while Roger adds that the Italian gentleman could be Charles Stuart, who was born and raised in Italy, before dying in Rome. If it is the bonnie prince, Roger says, then the property could be the lost Jacobite gold. He tells Brianna of the story. Some people said the gold was divided between the clans; others believe it was buried.  Brianna reasons that if Hector Cameron took some of the gold to America, it would explain how they managed to build River Run. 

Jem’s involvement in the story remains a mystery, however. Both Roger and Brianna agree that Jamie would never burden anyone with dangerous information, let alone his grandson. It is unlikely that Jem knows anything about the gold, only about the mysterious Spaniard. 

“He’s never mentioned anything about this to you?” Roger asks.

“No,” Brianna replies, then hesitates. “We won’t ask him, will we?” 

“No,” Roger says, pointing out that the letter stipulates ‘if they have need’ and that currently there is no need. Both are curious though, given that the story of the Jacobite gold is the stuff of legend in Scotland. Despite that, they resolve to do nothing. Their family is safe. Roger declares that the Spaniard can keep the gold, adding that that it is meant to be cursed, anyway. 

“Well, he can keep the curse too,” Brianna replies.

Roger goes to pick up the next letter, but Brianna stops him. She doesn’t want to read them all at once she says. Once they have finished reading, it will be like Claire and Jamie are really gone. Roger understands, suggesting that they ration out the letters once they get back to Boston, reading each letter when Brianna feels the time is right. Brianna nods.

“Before we leave,” she says, “there’s a place I’d like you to see.” 

It is later that same night. Jamie asks Claire for a coin, as he explains to her that it is customary to give a coin for a new blade, so that the knife will know its owner. Once Claire upholds this tradition, Jamie presents her with a new knife, commenting that the last one he had given her had been lost in the fire. 

“You’ll need one for the journey,” he says, “and you’ll feel safer if you have one by you.” 

Jamie has had the knife made especially for Claire, with the blade forged and honed by the River Folk’s silversmith. The handle he has fashioned himself. 

“It’s beautiful,” Claire tells him, adding that the blade fits her hand. 

“One more thing,” Jamie says, taking the knife and deliberately cutting his thumb. “You must always blood a blade so it knows its purpose.” 

Claire copies him and presses her bloodied thumb against hers.

“Blood of my blood,” she says softly and the two kiss. 

This was a very clever reenactment of an iconic scene, one which caused a lot of angst when it was left out of an earlier season. It works perfectly here, highlighting the strength of Jamie and Claire’s relationship and their devotion to one another. 

Brianna and Roger’s car winds its way through the countryside, finally driving up to a very familiar building. But Lallybroch in the 20th century is in a bit of a sorry state. It is boarded up, with many vines growing wild. Roger prises off one of the wooden boards, to be startled by a couple of birds that immediately make their escape. They peer through the gap, but see nothing but draped sheets inside. Brianna smiles sadly.

“I wish I could have seen it in its heyday,” Roger says.

“You would have loved it,” Brianna replies.

 Back at the Ridge, Lizzie, Josiah and Kezzie are preparing to say farewell to Claire and Jamie. Their son has begun to walk and Lizzie is pregnant again. Claire comments that a new playmate will be welcomed, and Lizzie begins to cry. She apologises, but says she can’t bear to say goodbye to so many people: first Roger and Brianna; now Claire and Jamie. 

Jamie promises that they will return, although he can’t say exactly when it will be. Claire tells them all to look after each other and Kezzie promises that Lizzie and the children will want for nothing. Josiah promises that there will be skins and meat for anyone on the Ridge who finds themselves in need. Jamie thanks the trio, but says that it is time to go, as Ian is waiting with the horses. 

Lizzie and Claire share a tearful goodbye, the younger woman saying that if her baby is a girl she will name it Claire, to keep Lizzie from missing her too much. Jamie and Claire walk away, their slow paced departure fading into the brick entranceway to Lallybroch, where another young woman is gazing wistfully into the distance.

“Looking for someone?” Roger gently asks his wife.

Brianna admits that she knows it’s silly, but she was hoping to see her parents.

“It’s not silly to long for the company of ghosts,” Roger replies, taking her hand. 

“I’m really happy we’re here and that Mandy’s healthy, but I can’t help missing them,” Brianna says. 

“I want to see them too,” Roger says.

It is time to go and relieve Fiona, who has been looking after the children. Reluctantly, they stand, as another car drives up towards theirs. Worried that they are about to get into trouble for trespassing, Roger begins some hasty apologies, promising that they are just leaving. 

But the woman’s response is unexpected. “Are you interested?” she asks. 

Roger and Brianna look confused. The woman turns around, realising that something is missing. Blaming the wind, she picks up a sign that has fallen to the ground. 

“To be Sold,” the sign reads, with the selling agents listed as Dick Cameron and Company. Brianna and Roger stare in disbelief, first at the sign, and then at each other.

Claire, Jamie and Ian are at the outer boundary of the Ridge now, passing the tree with the F.R marks carved into it. Suddenly, Claire hears a noise and asks her two companions to stop. Dismounting, she walks towards the noise. It is Adso.

Claire picks up the cat and cradles it in her arms. “You’re all right,” she says, relieved. As Adso purrs, Claire tells him that there are plenty of birds and squirrels in the woods and that Lizzie will provide milk and a warm spot by the fire. Tearfully, Claire puts Adso back down onto the ground. “Go now,” she says. “Go home.” 

Claire watches as Adso runs off. Then she turns back to Jamie. He can see that she is upset and dismounts too, so that he can comfort her.

“I’m sorry, Claire,” he says. 

Claire tries to reassure him that she is all right, but this farewell has been the final straw. “It’s just a cat,” she cries. 

“I know,” Jamie replies embracing her.

As she steps back from Jamie’s embrace, Claire notices something over his shoulder. It is the initial stake that they had used to mark the property, and we see a brief clip of their younger selves as they had hammered it into the ground. (The age gap actually seems quite marked - kudos to the make up department is warranted, although younger Jamie’s wig is rather diabolical!) We watch younger Jamie carve the F.R initials in the trunk of one of the trees.

“This will be a sign to all who pass that they’re entering Fraser’s Ridge,” he says. 

Tearing up again, Claire forces the stake into the ground once more. 

“We will make it back here one day, won’t we?” she asks, pleadingly. 

Jamie reasons that he never thought he would see Scotland gain and yet it’s where they are now bound, so he is sure that they will, in time, return to the Ridge as well. Claire takes comfort in his words and they kiss. As they pull apart, she looks up at him. “Jamie,” she says, “You will always be enough.”  They smile at each other and kiss again, before remounting their horses and continuing on their way. 

Scotland, je suis prest … 

This was an episode that dealt with many aftermaths - after the fire, after the return to the 20th century, after a death - and each event set other events into play, all of which will have repercussions for a long time to come. It was an episode of rebuilding, not just the physical property of the Ridge, but also of mental rebuilding after times of tragedy. Claire, Jamie, Brianna, Roger, Ian, the Beardsleys, even Arch Bug - all that any of them can do now is to go on. And all that we can do is wait for the episodes to come, to see how it all plays out!

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, a teacher-librarian and writer who lives in Australia. She is looking forward to the return to Scotland, but also felt sad to say goodbye to the Ridge! 

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