Outlander’s third season premiere, The Battle Joined, gave viewers a sense of what to look forward to. A separated Claire and Jamie showed their battle readiness in different yet similar ways. Although Jamie’s story involved a literal battle and Claire’s involved her readjustment to 20th-century life, the limits of the time-crossed couple’s tenacity are tested in both cases. And although Surrender again showed Claire and Jamie in very different situations, the thematic similarities between their two stories are easy enough to spot. Both Claire and Jamie, hampered by existential ennui, find themselves detaching from society by retreating into their memories, but like any good TV show it doesn’t last long.
Outlander Season 3: Surrender – The Dunbonnet
After his reluctant return to Lallybroch, Jamie is in hiding. Frequent searches by the Redcoats make staying in his family home impossible. But, the Jacobite rebel isn’t far off. Sporting a huge beard and long matted locks, Jamie has taken up residence in a nearby cave and roams the countryside hunting, gathering, and righting wrongs as the notorious Dunbonnet.
Having made a name for himself even when trying to keep a low profile, Jamie attracts the suspicion of the lobsterbacks, and the soldiers come calling during one of his rare visits to Lallybroch. Although he manages to give them the slip, they show no evidence of leaving the Frasers and Murrays alone any time soon.
A determined and rather cocky Fergus attempts to lure the spying redcoats away from Jamie’s cave but his chosen route takes him right into the path of another company of soldiers, and Jamie is forced to look on from a distance as one of them chops Fergus’s hand clean off.
Outlander Season 3: Surrender – Look at Me
Back in the ‘40s, Claire tries to ease back into life with Frank, and after several frustrating nights imagining her Jacobite husband’s tender caresses she finally relents. Telling Frank that she misses her husband — one guess as to which husband she’s referring — the two reunite. This period of connubial cooperation is short lived though. One night after a few glasses, Claire and Frank are in the throes of passion when he demands that Claire look at him. Claire is unable to do so, and Frank describes the situation pretty accurately: when Frank’s with Claire he’s with Claire but when Claire’s with Frank she’s with Jamie. Seems that new beginning they discussed in The Battle Joined isn’t going very well.
Outlander Season 3: Surrender – The Dunbonnet’s Capture
Realizing that his family will be in danger as long as the Redcoats are snooping around, Jamie hatches a plan to make it seem as though his loyal sister Jenny is turning him in to the English. After a haircut and a shave, courtesy of Lallybroch’s faithful maid Mary MacNab, Jamie looks relatively presentable. And after a quick bathe in the river, Jamie returns to his cave to find Mary in her skivvies. Although reluctant at first, Jamie eventually gives in to Mary’s better judgement: their union isn’t meant to replace anything, it’s just something they both need. Telling Jamie he can look at her, Jamie lies and says that he always closes his eyes. A tear runs down his cheek, and the camera cuts away.
Jamie then returns to his family home and, pretending Jenny is betraying him, gets hauled away by the Redcoats cursing his sister all the way. Jenny weeps and tells him she’ll never forgive him, neither truly knowing whether she speaks the truth or it’s all part of the act.
Outlander Season 3: Surrender – Dr. Randall, I Presume
Hoping that the thing missing from her life is revolutionary action rather than regular sex with a Highlander, Claire enrolls at Harvard Medical. Probably imagining a different response from her professor, who sarcastically describes Harvard as “very modern” for enrolling a woman and a “negro” in this year’s class, Claire takes her seat in the operating gallery amidst upturned white male noses. But, because no one should befriend someone who’s openly sexist and/or racist anyway, Claire does pretty well by making friends with the only accepting person in the gallery. An African American man politely asks Claire if anyone is sitting next to her, and when Claire tells him there isn’t, he introduces himself as Joe Abernathy. This looks like the start of a respectful professional relationship.
Outlander Season 3: Surrender – Final Thoughts
Although not as pronounced as the parallels being drawn in The Battle Joined, Surrender’s focus on both Claire and Jamie coming out of hiding and being true to themselves is the common thread that binds them together across the centuries.
But, I can’t help but feel for Frank, relegated to sleeping in a separate bed from his wife who loves her other husband and looks on Frank as a very close friend.
For Jamie’s part, I fear that his imprisonment may very well lead to a revelation that Black Jack Randall lives. And if he does, and if history is any guide, Jamie had better start working on his escape plan now.