We’re back to family again – not that we ever truly stopped focusing on this theme – as Jamie and Claire try to make a home together and find that the past is always up for a visit. And, though Brianna isn’t in this hour, we already know so is the future. But we’ll get to that later.
This is a double-edged sword, of course, the glimpses at the past. What these two want most of us is to look towards the future, together, to start a new life, create new things – things that belong to both of them. And yet, that doesn’t mean they can forget what brought them here, to this moment, what made them who they are.
And, of course, the experiences, and the people that contributed to making them the couple they are.
Brianna is one of those things, Murtagh another, and we’d focused on them before, but this episode we turn our eyes to Lord John Grey and his “son” William, as Jamie’s past comes calling in a way that manages to – not disturb his happiness with Claire, nothing can truly do that – but remind him of the decisions he’s had to made to get where he is.
To get to Claire. To get to Fraser’s Ridge. To be in a place where his daughter can one day find them.
Yes, I’m getting ahead of myself again. I can’t help it.
Because there’s a lot of Brianna in Willie, as there is a lot of Jamie in Brianna. That’s the thing about families. Sometimes, even when you try to run away from them, they end up catching up with you, one way or another.
So let’s go into what it means to be father and son, Lord John Grey’s jealousy (and Claire’s and what it truly means to be a family, as we discuss “Blood of my blood.”
FATHERS AND SONS (DAUGHTERS)
Jamie has never truly gotten to be a father, and yet he’s an amazing father in so many ways. He’s sacrificed the thing he wants more, a family, for both his son and his daughter, and he’s always, always put their happiness and their well-being above of even his own.
That’s why he isn’t truly Willie’s father, because the best thing for Willie was to be Lord John Grey’s son, to be raised like such. That’s why he isn’t truly Brianna’s father, because the best thing for Brianna was to be Frank’s daughter, to be raised as such. And don’t for a second believe this doesn’t break his heart.
We see it in every second he spends with Willie. Jamie might not truly regret his choices, because his choices have protected the people he loves, but does he wish circumstances would have been different? Of course he does. He wishes he could have raised Willie as his own. He wishes he hadn’t had to send Claire through the stones so he could have gotten not just to meet Brianna, but to raise her.
Life, however, always has a way to give you a second chance. He can’t be with Willie as his father, not truly, as the boy doesn’t know the truth, but he can spend some time with him, get to know him. He can’t raise Brianna, she’s already a grown woman, but when she comes, he can get to know who she is.
That’s not everything, it’s not perfect, but it’s something.
GREEN EYED MONSTER
The funny thing about Lord John’s jealousy – and Claire’s, for that matter, because they both felt it, is that, deep down, these two are so much more similar than they themselves could ever believe at this point in time.
For one, they both love Jamie, but they also both know what it’s like to be with someone, to love someone and never be able to truly love that person the way they deserved, because, well, because they love Jamie.
Talk about a weird thing to have in common.
Lord John married Isobel, and he loved her, in his own way, but he never could truly care for her the way he sees Jamie and Claire care for each other. Claire married Frank, and she thought she knew love with him, but after meeting Jamie, and then having to go back to Frank, it was obvious that she could never feel for Frank the way she felt for Jamie.
This is, of course, not on Isobel, or Frank, and it’s not on Jamie either, it’s on Lord John and Claire, and that’s why at the end of this episode the two of them reach a level of understanding that had been absent before they’d been able to put all cards on the table and really get to the core of what unites them.
Yes, as mentioned before, they both love Jamie, and each of them is envious, in many ways, of what the other has, but Lord John harbors no true desire to take Jamie away from Claire. He knows Jamie, he sees him as he is – a happy man – and he wants that for him. What Lord John wants, instead, is hope. Hope that he might, someday, find for himself what Jamie and Claire have with each other.
It’s hard to hate him for that, as we all want that, deep down. We want that level of care, and dedication. We want to know that, whatever comes, we will never have to face life without someone by our sides. We want that love, the one that will not change with time, but grow.
Which leads us to …
What level of perfection are these two? Even in an episode that’s just sprinkled with little convos till that glorious ending, Outlander makes it impossible for us to ever feel like we’re being deprived of the one reason we all tune in every week, because this show is, unequivocally, Claire and Jamie’s show, no matter who else shows up.
And, just in case we feel deprived, we got the last five minutes – yes, I counted, exactly five minutes, and one of the most erotic scenes television has given us in quite a while. The level of exquisite care and tenderness Jamie displays, the level of trusts in Claire’s, the way they tease each other, and the commitment, once again reinforced by a ring that neither of them really needed to prove their love, but that is, nonetheless, really and truly appreciated, is a thing of beauty.
Because with it, Jamie seals his union with Claire in a way that ties her, irrevocably, to his roots, the family he came from. Using his beloved mother’s chandelier to make Claire’s ring is like metaphorically transferring her blessing, and her love, onto Claire. Because everything Jamie has, everything he is, he share with his wife. That’s just the way it is.
Claire, in the meantime, knows what it means for Jamie to have done what he did, and she not only reassures him that she didn’t need the gesture, she accepts it as what it is, not a symbol of possession, not a way to show that she belongs to him, but one of love, a love she returns wholeheartedly.
These two might be living way in the past, but they’re a modern couple, one of equals, and that’s why it’s so easy for us to not just root for them, but to relate.
There’s a tendency to think – well, Jamie and Claire’s happiness cannot truly be complete, they never got to raise a family together. And there’s some truth in that, they’ve spent so much time apart, and even now that they’re finally together, there’s still a piece of their heart missing because Brianna isn’t with them.
And putting aside the fact that Brianna is coming, I just want to say – Jamie and Claire’s life isn’t truly empty. They have each other, of course, and love is a very good balm on most wounds, but they also have a family they’ve chosen, one that might not mean blood bonds, but that doesn’t mean any less love.
Young Ian is, in many ways, their kid. So is Fergus. And Murtagh is truly, for both of them, a father-figure of sorts, and they’ve gotten him back. So no, their life isn’t what they always dreamed, and yes, some things are missing, but Jamie and Claire are decidedly not alone.
This is, and will remain, for as many seasons as we’re lucky to get, a story about family. A family made out of love. Isn’t that what families are, after all?
Things I think I think:
- Yes, I did not change the title this week – I thought the actual title of the episode was more than fitting. No need to get more poetic here.
- Wow, the snake, FORESHADOWING MUCH.
- Lord John Grey looks at Jamie Fraser like I do.
- He’s a good man, though, he always kinda stops short of taking advantage, even if I’m sure he wants to.
- Claire and Murtagh doing things together, and talking, MY HEART CANNOT TAKE THIS.
- “You’ve barely got to complain at all.” HA. It’s like she knows Murtagh.
- I wanted this conversation, the serious part of it, to go on for longer. There could be a plan here.
- Jamie, don’t invite people over without asking your wife!
- Jamie’s face when he sees William.
- Give Sam Heughan an award, for crying out loud. Or at least nominate him.
- Jamie’s all like past is past, while Murtagh is all like past is NOW.
- But where are they staying? The place isn’t big enough.
- Ian! I miss you!
- Claire and Murtagh have whole conversations without even speaking, tell me that doesn’t give you feels, come on, tell me.
- Lord John, we all like you, and we know Jamie does, but if you’re going to play the who’ll Jamie be ultimately loyal to game, don’t play against Murtagh.
- Claire almost ran after Murtagh, and I can’t even blame her.
- Every second Jamie and William spend together is like a new beginning, and a goodbye at the same time, aka IT’S REALLY EMOTIONAL, OKAY?
- I adore that Claire just says what she thinks, but I don’t know if this is her mind speaking or her rather jealous heart.
- One of the best things about this season is that the show has never forgotten that, despite the fact that some of the obstacles they’ve thrown at Jamie and Claire are personal obstacles, not couples one, they are a unit, they face everything together, and to see them discussing even the little things does my heart good.
- Not that William is a little thing.
- Hand holding can be so intimate.
- Supportive Claire is my aesthetic, it really is.
- You always have his attention, Claire, I promise.
- Even if, for us, he truly isn’t, because we know more about him and the kind of man he is, it’s not surprising that, for Murtagh in particular, Lord John Grey is THE enemy.
- One of my favorite things about Murtagh being around this time is that he really, really isn’t afraid to tell Jamie what he thinks – about anything.
- Also, he can see right through Jamie.
- “Don’t worry about me keeping your secrets. I’ve kept them, each and every one.”
- But he still manages to care about Claire too, and ask if she knows, because he understands that this isn’t a secret he should keep from Claire, and he wants to be sure Jamie has shared with her.
- Claire is, first and foremost, a healer. Of course she was going to take care of Lord John Grey. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t mixed emotions there.
- I love Jamie and Claire’s little talks, okay? TEAM.
- “Savages,” again. It’s never going to stop bothering me, even if it’s historically accurate.
- It is a damn fine view, and I don’t mean it like Jamie does.
- You could cut the tension between Claire and Lord John with a knife, that’s how charged the atmosphere is.
- They’ll never be friends, not truly, but they can, however, come to respect each other.
- “I was born this way.”/”So was I.”
- There’s a certain bittersweet flavor to every second of Jamie and Willie bonding, because we all know he’s got to leave.
- Every time Jamie refers to Claire as Mrs. Fraser, I beam.
- I know, it’s so patriarchal and old-fashioned, and I myself wouldn’t take a man’s name, but STILL, some of the conditioning is coming through, I can’t help it.
- All Jamie ever wanted – since he and Claire got married, before that, even, was a family, somewhere to call his own. And he’s gotten that possibility ripped away from him, again and again.
- It’s almost amazing that he’s still is, in so many ways, the same man. That he hasn’t lost all hope.
- But then again, he’s got Claire.
- “I could have had him” – and yet, not really.
- Claire will always have his soul. And that’s the thing.
- SMH at William. SMH.
- Don’t you just love how they didn’t translate? And even Jamie didn’t truly know what they said?
- We gotta give Lord John one thing, he IS honest.
- He didn’t look back because, if he had, he might not have been able to leave. And he needed to.
- “You’re a good father.” He is. And so is Jamie, even if he’s never truly gotten to be one.
- BRIANNA, WHERE ARE YOU?
- “Don’t lose hope” is almost like a truce, isn’t it?
- I never really got it, I’ll be honest. The Lord John Grey love. I never truly got it. I do now.
- HE LOOKED BACK!
- The Jamie who teases Claire is my favorite kind of Jamie.
- This scene with Jamie helping Claire bathe is as erotic as it gets.
- “You’ll have no need of clothes tonight, Sassenach.”
- “I don’t need a ring to know how much you love me.”
- But a ring helps.
- And this new one comes, in a way, with his mother’s blessing.
- Give me a thousand kisses …
- I don’t really blame Claire for forgetting how to count considering the circumstances.
Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!
Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.