‘Outlander’ 3×02 Review: “Surrender”

Sam Heughan. Photo Credit: Starz

Outlander knows how to pull at our heartstrings at all the right moments. With Jamie and Claire struggling to cope without each other, Outlander continues to deliver a season that thrives on the quiet and subtle performances from its remarkable cast. While we love the series for the giant battle scenes and the steamy sex scenes, Outlander is learning how to utilize heartbreak to its advantage. In the latest episode “Surrender,”  the cast takes center in a truly remarkable second episode of season three.

After learning what happened to Jamie at the Battle of Culloden, we find him six years later. Our favorite Scott is on the run as the red coats are hunting down Red Jamie. Heughan transforms into yet another version of Jamie in this episode. It’s a version of Jamie, as Ian puts it, that has lost his heart. Heughan’s subtlety to playing Jamie’s pain is breathtaking and adds to the unbelievable performances to come out of this episode.

Since the beginning of the series we’ve seen Heughan flourish alongside Caitriona Balfe, so it’s been amazing seeing each of them flourish without each other. Heughan is a force to be reckoned with. His performance as the heartbroken “Red Jamie” just shows the depth of his performance. Jamie’s heart is gone and it shows.

Heughan has two remarkable moments this episode. First comes after Fergus is hurt by the redcoats. As he sits at the foot of Fergus’ bed, Fergus reminds him of a promise he made in France. That whatever happens to Fergus, Jamie will protect him. Romann Berrux and Heughan have created a special bond and it’s on full display in this episode. This scene is pivotal because it sets Jamie on a course to help his family.

This leads to Heughan’s second emotional scene. When Jamie decides it’s time he surrenders himself in order to save Jenny and her family, we see Jamie get taken by the redcoats. The tears in his eyes as he’s hauled away and lays eyes on Lallybroch and Jenny, for what he thinks could be the last time, is gut-wrenching. Laura Donnelly and Heughan bring this heartbreaking scene to life in the most perfect way.

Caitriona Balfe. Photo Credit: Starz

Caitriona Balfe also makes a splash, once again, as Claire surrenders to her new life as a Mom and wife in Boston. Of course, we know Claire, and being a housewife wasn’t going to last forever. By episodes end, Claire decides to go to medical school, despite the misogynistic environment she’s thrust into. We may have seen Claire battling a real war in Scotland, but the war she’s battling in Boston is Claire’s toughest challenge. Like Heughan, Balfe shows a different side to her character this season. She trapped in her own version of a cave, like Jamie.

Once again, Balfe and Tobias Menzies triumph as they continue to glue back together Claire and Frank’s marriage. We see both Claire and Frank at their most vulnerable. As they struggle to find a new normal, we see each other their struggles. Claire still loves Jamie, while Frank wants Claire to return from the past. Balfe and Menzies are exceptional as they continue to dive deeper into these roles.

Romann Berrux. Photo Credit: Starz

While Balfe, Heughan and Menzies continue to astound in Outlander, the real winners of this episode are Romann Berrux and Laura Donnelly. Both actors completely overtake this episode in some of the best performances to date. Let’s start with the adorable Berrux. His work as Fergus is so amazing we’re already sad that we’ll have to see him go once Fergus ages. This is a big episode for Fergus as he tries to stop the redcoats from finding Jamie, while simultaneously trying to become the man of the house. 

The entire episode is a shinning moment for Berrux, but it’s his work deep in the forest that earns him the highest marks. While taunting redcoats and leading them away from Lallybroch and Jamie, Fergus pays one of the ultimate sacrifices. Pushed to the ground, he loses a hand. It’s a brutal sequence, perfectly executed by Berrux. His work alongside Heughan in this episode is astound. We can’t wait to see more of Fergus as this is a major turning point for his character.

Also standing guard at Lallybroch we have Jenny Murray. One of the fiercest women on TV right now. Laura Donnelly has brought Jenny to life better than we could’ve ever imagined. She’s fierce in this episode. Not only does she give birth to our favorite little lad Ian, she also manages to help Jamie evade redcoats and essentially find his groove again. Donnelly is a force to be reckoned with and we bow down to her. Her starring moment in the episode is the juxtaposition from the beginning and the end of this Outlander episode.

In the beginning, we see a stoic Jenny face the redcoats as the take Ian away for yet another time. Then, at the end, we see a broken Jenny cry as Jamie is taken away. It shows the bond of Jamie and Jenny and how that will never be broken. It’s a gut wrenching moment that Heughan and Donnelly execute perfectly. We need more women like Jenny Murray on TV and we give a huge debt of gratitude to Donnelly for embodying this woman so perfectly.

Outlander comes out the gate swinging with another amazing episode. Once again, the giant fight sequences aren’t the shows source of strength, but rather the subtly and brilliant performances from the actors.

Laura Donnelly. Photo Credit: Starz

Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz

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