‘Outlander’ 3×05 Review: “Freedom and Whisky”

Photo Credit: Starz

We are one step closer to the infamous “Print Shop” scene and I literally have zero chill. Outlander dives deep into the idea of impossible choices for Claire and Brianna. While Jamie isn’t present until the very end of the episode, his memory drives a major of the plot. Outlander’s latest episode entitled “Freedom and Whisky,” puts Brianna and Claire’s mother/daughter relationship at the center.

For the past two seasons, Outlander has been about a sweeping, all consuming love story. Jamie and Claire’s love has defined the series and this episode works with the memory of that all encompassing love. This episode takes place during Christmas as Roger shows up with some news for Claire. He’s tracked down Jamie to a print shop in Edinburgh. Now, Claire must make the ultimate decision: stay with Brianna or go to Jamie. Meanwhile, Brianna is struggling to return to her life at Harvard after learning who her real father is.

Caitriona Balfe commands this episode and it’s a sight to behold. She’s an unstoppable force as Claire makes the impossible choice to leave Brianna. Alongside the episode “Faith” in season 2, this might be one of Balfe’s best episodes to date. The subtlety of her performance is what elevates it to new heights.

Claire’s role as a mother to Brianna is what drives the episode and it’s incredible. Previously we’ve seen Claire as a wife, but now we see her as a mother and it’s extremely powerful. Balfe has played all different facets of Claire in the three seasons of Outlander. She’s been a combat nurse, a doctor, a wife, a fighter and now a mother. Balfe proves that she knows this character inside and out. It shows in every knew obstacle Claire must face. We bow down to our leading lady every step of the way.

Jumping off Claire being a mother, this episode thrives on the relationship between Claire and Brianna. Sophie Skelton and Caitriona Balfe have built an incredible dynamic and it’s put on full display in this episode. Each actress gives it their all to make this goodbye one of the hardest in the series.

Photo Credit: Starz

Sophie Skelton proves why she’s the perfect actress to take on Brianna in this episode. So, if you had any doubts they should be silenced by now. Skelton brilliantly combines mannerisms of both Balfe and Sam Heughan to create the perfect portrayal of Brianna.

“I have been trying to figure out if I was more Randall or Fraser, and what I realised is that I’m more you than I am either of my Father’s, and if I can turn out to be half the woman you are, then I’ll be fine.” – Brianna

There are several moments in this Outlander episode that have us reaching for a box of tissues. Let’s start with the one we’ll never be over. Brianna and Claire’s goodbye. The entire episode climbs to the moment when Brianna finally tells Claire that she should go be with Jamie. Jamie gave up Claire for Brianna and now it’s time for Brianna to give up Claire for Jamie. It’s a hauntingly beautiful parallel that I will never be over.

Skelton and Balfe bring their A-game as Brianna bids farewell to her mother. Brianna tells Claire that she will be okay because she’s more her mother than any of her fathers. Cue the ugly sobbing because this is when I hit the floor and a river seemingly flowed from my eyes. Skelton and Balfe rip my heart out in this episode as our leading ladies shine!

If this verbal goodbye isn’t enough to make me ugly cry for days, it’s a small, wordless moment that continues the tears. When Claire steps into the taxi to leave she gives a small look back to Brianna and Roger looking at her through the window. A single tear rolls down Claire’s cheek as she leaves. Then Brianna turns around, bursts into tears and Roger holds her. It’s a wordless moment, but it hits you right when you’re down.

Alright, now onto the moment that actually killed me. Claire finally makes it back to Scotland and finds A. Malcolm’s print shop. The door slowly creeks open and we hear Jamie. Now, that’s where I thought the episode was going to end, but oh no, it kept going.


Claire looks over the balcony and announces herself to Jamie. They lock eyes for what feels like forever. Claire smiles and Jamie… well… Jamie faints. This leads us into the infamous “print shop” episode and my heart already can’t take it. While this latest episode of Outlander doesn’t feature Jamie, his presence drives the episode and it’s incredible. Caitriona Balfe and Sophie Skelton create a beautiful mother/daughter dynamic and we’re already upset these two are apart. We’ve done it Outlander clan, we’ve made it to the print shop and I can assure you, we are not prepared.

Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz. Catch up now with the Starz App. 

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