How does one live inside a prison? And how does one survive his or her own prison? That is the question posed in this new episode. It still continues with a split-narrative time frame, switching off between Jamie and Claire (in their own respective time periods) as each one continues to live life without each other. There was a lot of ground to cover in this episode, especially Claire’s story, so let’s begin.
Synopsis: In prison, Jamie discovers that an old foe has become the warden – and now has the power to make his life a living hell. Over the years, Claire and Frank both put their best foot forward to share a harmonious marriage, but an uninvited guest shatters this illusion, bringing their differences to light. (IMDB)
Writer: Matthew B. Roberts
Director: Brendan Maher
Running Time: 64mins
Jamie’s story takes place several years after being taken prisoner by the British in the last episode as we catch up with him at the Ardsmuir Prison where a new governor warden has taken command of the prison. Jamie, the outspoken leader of the prisoners, finds out that this new commander is none other than Lord John Grey, the same Lord Grey who he encountered back in season 2 and whose older brother (Lord Harold Grey, Earl of Melton) saved him from being executed in the aftermath of Culloden. Their friendship is a bit rocky at the beginning as Lord Grey instructs Jamie to question a half-weary crazy old man that he found wandering on the nearby roads who speaks a muttering language of both French and Gaelic. Jamie does his best, but in amongst the man’s babbling talk, Jamie learns of an island off the coast of a “cursed gold” (believed to be the gold that wasn’t sent to Charles Stuart) and something about a “White Witch” (a nickname that many called Claire for her strange healing knowledge). Jamie then, after convincing Lord Grey for the prisoners to hunt for their food, flees the prison and ventures to the island, hoping that the rumor of the White Witch be that of his wife, Claire. Unfortunately, the rumors proved to be false and he returns to prison, with a sudden Lord Grey.
At the prison, we also see that Jamie’s old kinsmen Murtagh is there, having survived the battle of Culloden and all these years after the fateful battle, but is now weary and sick from being confined in the terrible condition. Lord Grey soon becomes intrigued by Jamie as the pair share mutual respect relationship as each one tells of stories from their past (Jamie talking about Claire and Grey talking about someone special in his life that he too has lost). Surprisingly, Grey tries to make a “pass” at Jamie, which Jamie quickly dismisses harshly. That was kind of an interesting scene due to its unexpectedness. Jamie’s story ends in this episode with the prison closing and all the prisoners, including a now healthier Murtagh (thanks to Lord Grey keeping his promise to treat him) being transferred to a new prison in the colonies (overseas). However, Jamie is singled out and is escorted elsewhere with Lord Grey, who has made arrangements for Jamie to be an indenture slave to Helwater in the Lake District, the stud farm of Lord Dunsany. When asked why was this arrangement made, Grey states his debt to Jamie’s life is paid.
Claire’s story in this episode covered a very large time period, spanning from 1956 to roughly 1966. Her tale opens up in a somewhat pleasant tone with her and Frank having breakfast, but goes a bit grim as it’s revealed that their relationship has worsened, with the pair “agreeing” to see other people and Frank being “discreet” with the women he is courting. It appeared that this arrangement between them was made in some off-screen scene.
This downward trend in their marriage continues to descend further in the years that follow as Frank’s mistress Sandy arrives on the doorstep of Claire and Frank’s house as Claire is celebrating her graduating from medical school with her family, friends, and colleagues. She confronts Frank about this and the two argue, with Frank stating that he would want a divorce from Claire (with the ability to gain his own personal freedom), but he feels that he would left out of Bree’s life. So, Claire keeps the arrangement of their fake marriage to keep up appearances but it does not last and continues to worsen even more. In 1966, after Bree has graduated high school and is now 18, Frank confronts Claire and finally says that he, having been offered a job position in England, wants a divorce and wants Bree to come with him, leaving Claire in Boston with her life. In a great scene that followed with Tobias Menzies and Caitriona Balfe, Claire reacts to this and their marriage now appears to be truly over, with Frank storming out of their house.
The episode ends with Claire receiving terrible news that Frank was killed in a car accident (after their recent spat). We see Claire standing over Frank’s body, which is now at the hospital and she confesses that (being her first love) that she did love him. Now, Claire is freed from her downward spiral sham marriage with Frank, but it’s a bittersweet notion as some part of her (no matter her love for Jamie) she grieves for the loss of Frank. What will become of her?
All in all, this was a very trying episode for Claire and Jamie as they both continue to be trapped inside their own personal prisons. It was a good episode that covered a lot and definitely continues to move the story (in both timelines) forward. The episode also saw the end of Tobias Menzies time on Outlander with season three killing off his two characters (Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall in the first episode and now Frank Randall in this episode). Menzies is a brilliant actor and definitely shows that between the two very distinct Outlander characters he played. He will surely be missed.
8.5 Out of 10
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