Doing battle with the series premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, the third episode of Outlander’s third season, All Debts Paid, aired on Sunday. Viewers watched as 20th-century events unfolded and brought the narrative ever closer to the events shown in last season’s finale.
We saw Claire graduate from medical school and adjust to her new career. We also saw Brianna graduate and we looked on as Claire and Frank’s marriage fell apart. An expected but serious loss for Team Frank came in this episode: after trying to make a fresh start in England with a new bride, Frank died in a car crash.
The only major event left to happen that will catch viewers up to the season 2 finale is Reverend Wakefield’s death, which happens in 1968 just two years after Frank’s.
In the 18th century, we saw Jamie secure an important ally … for good this time.
Outlander Season 3: All Debts Paid – Shackling Up
Three years have passed since Jamie gave himself up to the English, and he’s been shackled in Ardsmuir Prison the whole while. Changing pseudonyms more often than undergarments, James Fraser AKA Jamie MacTavish AKA Red Jamie AKA the Dunbonnet now goes by Mac Dubh, Gaelic for “son of the black.” In meetings with Ardsmuir’s warden, Jamie acts as an ambassador for the prisoners.
A new warden, though, is being shown the ropes. His name is Lord John Grey, and Outlander fans know that he and Jamie have a history together. Convinced he can work with Jamie to keep Ardsmuir running smoothly, Lord Grey requests Jamie’s help in translating for him.
A man raving about gold was recently found wandering the moors. And since the previous warden mentioned hidden treasure nearby — a wayward shipment of gold meant for Charles Stuart’s coffers — Lord Grey takes an interest in the man’s ravings.
Jamie agrees to translate provided the guards remove his shackles and give a gravely ill Murtagh — his trusted ally is also a prisoner in Ardsmuir — medicine and a blanket. When Jamie meets the raving man, the man says little about gold. Instead, he raves about a white witch and tells Jamie that she seeks a brave MacKenzie. He tells Jamie she will come for him. Jamie honestly reports what he has learned to Lord Grey, confusing as it is.
Outlander Season 3: All Debts Paid – “Piss off!”
Having convinced Lord Grey that the prisoners should get time to hunt and forage around the prison, Jamie makes a clever escape, and gives his captors the slip for three days. Paying Grey back for similarly interrupting him years ago, Jamie, finding the warden alone one day, sneaks up on Grey while he’s taking a whiz. Jamie tells Grey that he has known of his warden’s identity for a while now. And with Grey’s debt of honour discharged after his brother spared Jamie from execution by firing line, Lord Grey is now free to keep the remainder of the vow he made at 16 and take Jamie’s life. Jamie drops his sword and kneels to receive the fatal blow.
Luckily for Jamie, Lord Grey tells him he’s not in the practice of killing unarmed prisoners. A recaptured Jamie continues his post as the prisoners’ ambassador to the warden. Feeling nostalgic, they discuss Claire over dinner. Jamie reveals that the woman whose honour Grey so gallantly defended all those years ago was actually his own wife. Grey congratulates Jamie on a good bit of subterfuge but Jamie praises the younger man’s courage, unafraid to die but unwilling to let his enemy besmirch a young woman’s honour.
Outlander Season 3: All Debts Paid – “Take Your Stinking Paws off Me, You Damn Dirty Lord!”
Everything seems like it’s going well. Jamie even reveals to Grey that the white witch the raving man mentioned is Claire. Grey says that it’s hard to lose someone, and that we grieve some people forever. He tells the Highlander that he is sorry for his loss and lets his hand linger a bit too long on Jamie’s while giving it a more than affectionate pat. Jamie tells Grey he will kill him if he doesn’t remove his hand. The lonely Lord tears up as Jamie makes his abrupt exit.
Shortly after, news comes in that Ardsmuir will be closed. The prisoners, including Murtagh, are to be shipped off to the colonies to live as indentured servants, but Grey takes Jamie somewhere else. Helwater, the estate of Lord Dunsany, will be Jamie’s new home, at least for the time being. Grey vows to check in on Jamie every quarter.
Jamie asks Lord Grey why he would do this for him given that he wouldn’t let Grey have his way with him in the prison. Grey tells the Jacobite that although his debt of honour was repaid by his brother, he needed to clear his own name for himself.
Outlander Season 3: All Debts Paid – Final Thoughts
Jamie seems to be more or less out of the woods, and Black Jack’s having not shown up since his and Jamie’s epic battle at Culloden makes me believe Jamie’s tormentor really is dead this time. That would be too bad since, now that Frank is dead, it’ll mean that viewers won’t get to see the talented Tobias Menzies anymore.
Based on the fact that All Debts Paid is only the third episode of the season and Claire and Brianna have basically caught up to where we left off at the end of season 2, I imagine we’ve got some time traveling to look forward to in the next couple of episodes. The raving man telling Jamie that the white witch is coming for him is also a pretty good indicator of what we have to look forward to. But, when, where, and how will the Frasers reunite? Time will tell.