In which Jamie heads to prison (again), Claire pursues a career, anti-Frank fans rejoice and we meet two major characters (again)…
Recap – Episode #303 “All Debts Paid”
It’s a lovely morning in Boston, and Frank is making a blissfully normal English breakfast. Frank thinks blood sausage will be a new favorite of 6 year-old Bree. Poor deluded soul. Claire, enjoying this moment of camaraderie, proposes a night out at the movies. Unfortunately, Frank’s already seen the latest flicks….with his girlfriend. Apparently their marriage is really more about being roommates than lovers. The awkward meter just got dialed up to 10.
Claire graduates from med school and hosts a get-together at the house which is interrupted when Frank’s girlfriend unintentionally crashes the party.
Ouch! Yeah, there’s a reckoning that’s straight out of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Frank admits that he may have done it to hurt her, give her a little taste of her own medicine, and Claire says it’s time for a divorce. Frank has clearly thought about it before and says nope – he doesn’t want to lose Bree. Claire promises she wouldn’t do that to him, but he says he doesn’t trust her promises. Touché! So roommates/strangers it is! The awkward meter just shot up to 11.
Bree is now eighteen (and a great way of understanding how the years have passed) and its now her high school graduation day. Frank isn’t ruining it by bringing his girlfriend to the party, but he ends the day by asking Claire for a divorce so he can marry his chippie and move to England with Bree. He figures Bree is old enough to make her own decisions and that she will choose him over Claire who’s had a busy career as a surgeon. Claire is not letting Bree go without a fight. Frank storms off and Claire gets called to an emergency at the hospital.
After she’s finished with her procedure, Joe comes to find her and it’s not good news. Frank’s been in a car accident. Claire walks runs to the morgue to see him. Frank may have been a dick as of late, but Claire tells his corpse that she did love him once. He was her first love. Tears.
Meanwhile (around 200 years ago)…
Ardsmuir Prison is getting a new governor named Lord John Grey. Yes, THAT John Grey who Jamie encountered as a young English solider 9 years ago. He’s getting a quick tour and the outgoing governor points out Jamie (in chains) as the leader among the Jacobite prisoners. They call him Mac Dubh (Gaelic for “Son of the Black One” as his daddy was called Black Brian) and he has dinner with the current governor once a week to keep up relations. Lord John believes Jamie is rather a savage so he’s not inclined to take a meal with him.
After three years in prison, Jamie’s hair has lost its cave-dwelling body as all the prisoners are sick and cold…including one Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser! Murtagh is alive! Just barely as he has a cough that won’t quit even as Jamie grabs some herbs to help ease his pain. He learned about the herbs from a lass he can’t stop mourning, but can’t bear to say her name. (No, you’re crying!)
Eventually, Lord John begins to deal with Jamie about the little things in the prison, like not putting cats in the cells to kill the rats since prisoners catch the rats and eat them (blech!) or asking Jamie for help when a crazy dude starts babbling in Gaelic and French about cursed gold. Color Lord John intrigued.
See the English crown is keen to find “the Frenchman’s gold” which is supposed to be gold the French king sent to aid Bonnie Prince Charlie. Finding it would make Lord John a hero and possibly be a ticket out of this remote prison (makes you wonder what he did to be sent there). He offers to remove Jamie’s chains if Jamie will translate the old man’s ramblings. Jamie insists that all the prisoners get blankets and medicine. Lord John says they just don’t have it, but agrees to have a surgeon look after Murtagh.
Jamie talks to the dude who keeps raving the gold is cursed and talks of a white witch. (White witch?!?!?) He also talks about the dead MacKenzie, Dougal, Ellen and how they are all dead. The witch is looking for a MacKenzie. Can this be Claire? Is she back and looking for him?!?!?! The dude dies so Jamie can’t get any more info. He tells Lord John that crazy dude talked about a White Witch which, of course, means nothing to John. However, John knows something is up, so he invites Jamie to a meal and tires to woo the truth our of Jamie with pheasant in fancy red wine sauces and carrots. Jamie is not fooled, but he is well fed.
If there’s any chance that it’s Claire, Jamie is going to try to find her so he escapes and heads to a location decoded from the other random words the dying dude muttered.
John is a tad peeved and heads the search to find Red Jamie. While he’s taking a biology break, Jamie grabs him from behind and holds him at sword-point. They both confess they recognized each other the first day John arrived at the prison. Jamie reminds John that he promised to kill him once the debt of honor was met, which Lord Melton took care of. So Jamie hands John back the sword and kneels before him, ready to die – SERIOUSLY?!?! We thought he was done with this death thing. John’s too noble to stab an unarmed prisoner so, once again, Jamie gets denied. Thwarted by that damn (selective) English honor thing once again!
Sigh! Jamie confesses he left to see if the story was about Claire. He only found a box with a single jewel and not a pile of gold. Jamie hands over the large and perfect sapphire as proof of what he found and his honesty. John sends doctors to help Murtagh.
Three months later, John and Jamie are settled into a routine of chess after dinner. The two are now rather chummy and John confesses that he, too, wanted to die at Culloden. Jamie lost Claire and John lost a, um, particular friend on the battlefield. (The kind of friend who could get them both killed back then.) Jamie passes no judgement on John but then John feels there’s a mood and makes a move on Jamie. Doh! Jamie emphatically says no thank you (aka “take your hand off me or I will kill you.”) and storms out. Awkward meter at a 12!!
Time has passed and now the crown is closing down the prison. The prisoners are being transferred to the colonies, except Jamie. Murtagh is leaving Jamie?!?!?!?! Nooo!!!!!
Since Jamie’s crimes were more serious, John has found another solution for him. He’s going to be an indentured servant at a fancy-schmancy estate called Helwater. Sounds charming. This favor is how John, not his brother, will pay back Jamie for not killing him all those years ago. John will look in on Jamie once a quarter to see how he fares and not because he still has a big crush on Jamie. Not because of that at all…
Reflection – what did we think?
Erica: Goodbye Frank! I always loved how the show made Frank so noble, so it’s a great pivot to see him turn after being roommates with Claire for 18 years. Also, it was great to see Caitriona and Tobias really sink their teeth into this episode. RIP Frank!
Alicia: I mean, I’ve always felt sorry for Frank. Personally I think he should’ve agreed to the divorce, but you can’t blame the man. Seriously, how would you take living with someone you once loved, who’d very obviously cheated on you, will only touch you when they’re horny (and won’t look at you during your sexy time) and continues to keep you at arms (literal) length more often than not? I’d probably be pissed and a dick as well. Also, why did I bawl at the end of this one and not episode 1? RIP Frank! Which sadly means, goodbye Tobias. Except maybe for some flashbacks here and there.
Erica: Hello Murtagh! Goodbye Murtagh! We hardly saw ye this season!
Alicia: I’m not going there. Grrrrrr…. (ranting on the inside).
Erica: At long last Lord John Grey! He wasn’t the focus of this episode so I hope we see more sides of John in the next one.
Alicia: JOHN GREY, JOHN GREY, JOHN GREY! I like how they’re aging everyone. It doesn’t look weird or silly – like when I played 60 year old woman in college.
Erica: It’s actually pretty good. The choices now basically will stay with the characters for quite some time so subtle is good. I don’t know if they will keep Claire with the glasses she had in the 1960’s last season.
Alicia: I have to say, I’m kind of enjoying Jamie w/out Claire. *ducks and runs for cover* Seriously, she’s a bit overwhelming at times. I feel the same about her in the books. It’s not a bad thing but since it’s mostly her POV, your perception is colored by hers. I like seeing Jamie through his own lens for a change.
Erica: It is nice to see his own story. It gives Sam a chance to stretch Jamie a bit, even though he had about 10 words so far. I suspect we’ll get a lot more out of him in the coming episodes.
—–BOOK READERS DISCUSSION – (Spoiler Alert!!)———————————
Erica: So….your thoughts on Lord John?
Alicia: So…he’s physically not anything like the books but I’m not hating it. I do wish they just go either brown or blonde with his hair, felt like they were experimenting in a lot of shots. Gonna wait it out and see. So far I’m liking David Berry’s portrayal. I think he captured haughty English soldier, vulnerable man and true comrade to Jamie very well.
Erica: It’s not a bad start. He’s such a vivid character in the books it’s a tough task for someone to bring him to life in this episode. I hope to see more of him, but he’s pretty good so far.
Alicia: WTF Murtagh?!?! Seriously. I stopped watching True Blood because they kept a character alive who dies in the first book (and because I didn’t like their choice of Sookie or Eric but that’s another matter). I love Murtagh, but why keep him alive? He serves no purpose in the books and now we’re setting up for him possibly to be in America?!?!?! WTAF?!?! Who’s he replacing then? What character are they sacrificing to keep Murtagh? Just no.
Erica: I’m glad we got to see him again. It feels weird if we didn’t get closure with him since we didn’t see him to Culloden. It’s not a guarantee that we’ll see him in the colonies, but, yeah, let’s see what they do. They don’t really need him since Jamie is his own man now, but he does have his fans. Meanwhile, we’re off to Helwater next week!
—–END OF BOOK READER DISCUSSION ——————————————————
Here’s what’s up for next week’s episode titled “Of Lost Things”:
While serving as groomsman at the aristocratic estate of Helwater, Jamie is reluctantly pulled into the intrigue of a noble British family. In 1968 Scotland, Claire, Brianna and Roger struggle to trace Jamie’s whereabouts in history, leaving Claire to wonder if they will ever find him again.
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