Outlander S03 E01: The Battle Joined
It seems like an eternity since we last saw a new episode of Outlander. Was the start of the third season worth the wait? The following contains spoilers, if you haven’t watched the episode yet.
The show opens with a gruesome landscape, the bodies of soldiers who didn’t survive the Battle of Culloden, strewn about the battlefield. Jamie Fraser lies seriously wounded atop a pile of fallen brothers. In his haze, he witnesses redcoats relieve bodies of any weapons that they find. Soldiers found still alive are killed, and Jamie lies still to avoid detection. He has flashbacks to the battle. We see Murtaugh (how I’ve missed his wit)! We also see Jamie wage a personal battle with Jack Randall, and it appears that Jamie cuts him down, as the body on top of Jamie seems to be Randall’s. Jamie thinks he sees Claire walking toward him as the snow falls, but it’s a fellow Scot who removes him from the pile of the dead to safety. We see a dragonfly in amber on the ground.
Claire and Frank seem to be faring better than Jamie. The year is 1948 and they are in Boston because Frank has taken a job at Harvard. They are checking out a home that they will buy to accommodate their growing family. (Claire is pregnant with Jamie’s child). It appears they are trying to resume their lives, but when a busybody tells Claire that she won’t find a man like Frank again, we can see in Claire’s face that she is thinking of Jamie.
Frank takes Claire to meet his boss, Dean Jackson. She seems to makes waves with the dean, as she has her own opinions on politics and is more educated than what he seems to expect from a woman. The boss believes that the “girls,” as he calls them, that are allowed into Harvard Medical are barely adequate. Sensing his wife’s tension, Frank interjects to tell his boss that Claire was a combat nurse during the war, but Jackson glosses over her contribution and continues with his sexist attitude. Claire reaches for Frank’s hand and says she is very happy, but I think it’s an attempt to keep her hand from wrapping around the dean’s throat, rather than an endearment to Frank.
Jamie lies prone with some of his fellow soldiers away from the battlefield. However, their safety is not assured, as the British enter, under orders to execute anyone who committed treason by taking part in the rebellion. The men are told that they will be shot, but will be given an hour for any last minute letters to family before they meet their fate. Jamie declines an offer to send a letter to Claire, as he tells the man that she is gone.
Back in Boston, Claire seems to try to settle into domestic life. However, an argument ensues when she tells Frank that she wants to apply for U.S. citizenship. He seems to take offense to her assertion that she is not all that attached to her native England. It’s something she wants to do for herself, but he doesn’t agree. Their fight escalates into objects being directed at Frank’s head from his very pregnant wife when Claire’s infidelity with Jamie is thrown in her face. Frank tells Claire to go if that’s what she wants to do.
Having retreated to his study, Frank is composing a letter to a reverend asking him to research James Fraser. His writing is interrupted when Claire appears in the doorway to announce that she is in labor. Argument aside, Frank takes his wife to the hospital.
The Brits return to kill the soldiers, including two of the youngest, shown no mercy for their ages. The injured will be propped up to be shot, and Jamie volunteers to be the first of the wounded to be executed. However, his life is begrudgingly spared by the executioner. Why? It turns out that Jamie helped John Gray, who is the brother of the executioner. As his family owes him gratitude, the plan is to have Jamie carried out by a wagon at night. Jamie Fraser is returned to Lallybroch.
Claire is in hospital, answering the questions presented by the physician. She reveals that she had a miscarriage a year ago, unknown to Frank until that moment. Claire awakens after her delivery to see Frank carrying the daughter they would raise together. Claire admits that she hasn’t treated Frank well, and she suggests a fresh start for the family. The trio look like a happy family. Unfortunately, the nurse points out that the child has red hair, a cutting reminder to Frank that the baby his wife just brought into the world is not his.
I noticed a couple times where Frank told Claire that he loved her, but she didn’t return the sentiment. Jamie survived Culloden, but what will happen now that he’s arrived in Lallybroch? It seemed like a long time coming, but the new episode was well worth the wait. Who is already looking forward to next week?