This Outlander Recap contains spoilers for S03E4 “Of Lost Things”
You know this episode is going to give you feels because it starts with the craving of Sawny #2. (Recap for last week’s episode can be found here). Also, before you begin to read: this recap will discuss rape and coercion, so please turn away if you do not want to read about those topics.
The episode begins in the Jamie Fraser Research Centre (aka Roger Wakefield’s home) where Claire, Bree, and Roger are trying to find Jamie. While Bree and Roger are busy being adorkable and looking at each other, Claire finds a document that locates Jamie in Ardsmuir prison. They find that he is in all the records of the prison, up until the year it closed (1756). Now, all they need to do is find out what happened to him after.
But, as the audience, we have the distinct pleasure of seeing what happens to him. As John had told him at the end of the last episode, Jamie (under the name of Alexander MacKenzie) was sent to the home of Lord Dunsany (Helwater), where he would serve as a groomsman. However, this isn’t exactly an ideal home for a Jacobite. Lord and Lady Dunsany had lost their son in the battle of Prestonpans, and while Lord Dunsany is not going to be holding that against Jamie, his wife is probably not going to be as forgiving.As Lord Dunsany tells Jamie, she has still not recovered from her loss. Jamie tries to bond with his boss (?) by telling him how he understands his wife’s pain:
Jamie and Lord Dunsany, therefore, agree to keep the fact that he’s a Jacobite a secret.
Back in ‘68, Bree and Roger are stuck in the middle of the road with a broken down car. Bree has also taken a page off her mother’s book, by teasing the guy she likes about another girl he’s clearly not that into.
Bree’s results were slightly more successful than her mother’s , since she got a confirmation that although Roger has girls who are friends he doesn’t have a girlfriend.
Bree is then a badass that manages to fix in one second whatever it was that had apparently been taking Roger a million years. ( Can we get a shoutout for Bree for smashing a gazillion stereotypes by that one action #whoruntheworld?girls)
Back in Helwater, Jamie formally meets one of Lord Dunsany, the beautiful Geneva Dunsany. For those of you who haven’t read the book: I know what you’re thinking. Her name is Geneva? Really? Personally, I can’t hear her name out loud without thinking of this video, so I feel you. And for those of you who have read the books, I also know what you’re thinking: Oh God, not this shit. Trust me, I also feel you.
We can see from her very first scene that Geneva is a bratty young girl: the cliche wealthy girl who has always had anything she has ever wanted in the palm of her hand and expects the rest of her life to follow accordingly. This has led to the other groomsmen to despise her so much that they draw sticks whenever they have to help her with her horse.
Now, as I’m sure you all may have noticed, Geneva looks a LOT like Claire. Not identical to the point it’s creepy but close enough that it might catch both Jamie’s and the audience’s attention.
Also, kudos to this show’s casting director for not only managing to find amazing actors for pretty much every character, but for finding people that are not related that look extremely alike. After meeting Geneva, Jamie tells one of the other groomsmen how Geneva needs a bit of physical discipline, something that Isobel, Geneva’s sister overhears.
Isobel teases Jamie for his comment, but besides that seems to agree with everyone else with the fact that her sister is not very nice. Isobel and Jamie seem to get along pretty well though, and she inquires for how long Jamie had served John’s family. We learn here that the ‘official’ story is that Jamie had been a groomsman for the Greys and that John merely recommended him as an employee. Isobel wants to know more about it all since she seems to have a bit of a crush on John. Jamie, bless his heart, tries to tell her that John is probably not ever going to be into her without outright outing him.
We then go back to Claire, who gets a call from bestie Joe. And shoutout to Joe for being the best bestie ever. Like he calls all the way from Boston to Scotland (in 1968 mind you) to chat with her and see how she’s doing. Joe wants to know when Claire is coming back to work, partially because he misses her and partially because he’s probably got no idea why Claire left, or when she is coming back. He even tries to bait her with a patient, and she still does not give in.
Back in Helwater, we learn that Geneva has been engaged to a very English aristocrat. And yes, granted, the girl is a little brat. It’s still kinda shitty that she has to marry someone she doesn’t love and who’s probably 40 or 50 years her senior. Geneva is very much not about this, and it is at this point that she sets her eye on Jamie. She demands that Jamie accompany her while she rides. While they’re alone, she begins asking him a series of inappropriate questions regarding her betrothed and what Jamie finds attractive
And to be quite honest, with some editing, these clips could very easily be material for an infomercial about inappropriate relationships in the workspace. Geneva then tries the oldest trick in the book and pretends to faint so Jamie has to carry her in his arms. Eventually, she cuts the act, and Jamie is so pissed he freakin’ dumps her in the mud.
However, Geneva is quickly able to change things around for her when the Grey brothers pay a visit to Helwater. John and Jamie are playing chess, while John simultaneously fights with Joe for the title of best bestie ever. They are later interrupted by Hal and the Dunsany sisters.Geneva is all like “Oh, Colonel Grey I’m sure you remember MacKenzie from when he worked at your house.”
Hal quickly catches on and plays along, but Geneva is still suspicious. After some time has passed, she re-approaches Jamie. She first asks him if he had ever been married, to which he says yes. Geneva responds by saying: “great awesome, you’ll know what do when you come to my bed”.
Jamie’s reaction is sort of priceless.
It is easy to understand why Geneva’s doing this. Most people like to chose who they lose their virginity to, more so when they’re also getting married to that person. However, my sympathies for her slightly decrease when she tells Jamie that she not only knows his real name and identity (thanks to a drunken Hal), but that she has both the ability to revoke his parole. For this, she uses her mother’s grief over her brother’s death as a tool, which is just gross. She commands him to go to her room that night, with the implication being clear: you either fuck me or I tell.
Now, this is an issue that a lot of book fans had been debating for some time. In Voyager Geneva does indeed blackmail Jamie into having sex with her. While they’re going at it, Geneva is in pain and asks Jamie to stop, something he ignores. Through this scene, Diana Gabaldon started a delightful conversation about double-rape (Geneva coerced Jamie, Jamie ignored her when she asked him to stop).
At this point, it’s safe to say that the show is creating a story of its own. And thankfully, in the love scene between Geneva and Jamie, the double-rape element is removed from the story: Jamie is very gentle with Geneva, reminds her that she doesn’t have to do this, and we never hear her say no. And taken out of context, their scene is quite steamy and gentle. This creates a far more digestible scene that the one in the book: both of them are into it, and both of them make sure that the other is okay with what is going on.
However, I’m not entirely satisfied with it. In the end, as much as Jamie seems to be willing and active during their encounter, he is still being blackmailed. And leaving the actual blackmail part aside, we never do see him actually consenting to this encounter, we never see him imply that this is something that he wants to do. Hell, in the scene BEFORE they have sex he is outright offended by her suggestions. And taking into consideration that this is a character with a history of having been sexually abused, and someone who we know still struggles with that trauma, not getting Jamie’s absolute consent bothers me.
It also annoys me because there are several ways in which this could have been presented as consensual without it being a betrayal of Claire. None of the sex scenes in Surrender felt, to me, a betrayal on either Claire or Jamie’s side, and they were all consensual. I personally would have liked to see something along the following lines: Geneva seduces Jamie and because she reminds him of Claire, he gives in in his missing of her. I personally feel like not doing that was a bit of a waste, considering how similar Hannah James looks to Caitriona Balfe (and how Hannah James seemed to play Geneva with some Claire-like mannerisms). I do understand why the showrunners didn’t go for that, but I would still have like to get an explicit ‘yes’ from Jamie. I also wouldn’t have minded if the price to pay for that had been ‘Jamie wants to have sex with a woman that isn’t Claire’.
After it’s all said and done, Geneva is making love declarations to Jamie. Jamie is all like: “No, honey, that’s an orgasm”, and continues to explain what love is to him.
Of course, the only purpose of this relationship is that, in a few months, Geneva becomes pregnant with Jamie’s child. (The timing of her cycle had to have been impeccable for this to be pulled off after only one night.)
We briefly return to 1968, where Fiona returns to Claire a present she had given her grandmother many years ago: Ellen Fraser’s pearls, aka Jamie’s wedding night gift to her. She then goes back to the Research Centre, where Bree is super excited because the Scottish National Archive has A LOT OF RECORDS.
TBH, I know Bree changes her major to Engineering in the books, which is awesome because I know from some awesome Engineers that it’s still a very male-dominated field. But the History major in me is a little bit too happy seeing Bree do research, and I selfishly don’t want her to change her major.
After this moment, Bree tells Roger how she doesn’t want to find Jamie because she’s now beginning to heal her relationship with her mother. Now, I know we have one more episode in the XXth century, so I don’t want to jump ahead, but so far the show has done a poor job of giving us insight into Claire’s life outside her marriage to Frank.
This particular scene felt genuine; I would just rather see Claire and Bree bonding rather than hearing about it.
Roger is being super supportive and reassuring Bree of everything. But, he also confesses that he also doesn’t want to find Jamie because it would mean that Bree would come back.
AND THEN SHE KISSES HIM AND IT’S SO AWKWARD AND ADORABLE.
(PSA: Bree and Roger have a very special place in my heart, in all their awkwardness and Bree’s poor New England accent. )
Jumping back to Jamie’s time, we learn that Geneva has given birth to a healthy boy. However, Geneva herself dies shortly after giving birth. And, to add coal to the fire, we find out through Isobel that Geneva never had sex with her husband. Isobel also knows that the baby is Jamie’s.
This fact causes quite a turmoil. Lord Ellesmere, Geneva’s husband, has the baby in his arms and is threatening to kill him, as he is accusing the Dunsanys of giving her a whore.
First of all, don’t say that about someone’s daughter that has just died. That’s just not gonna get you far in life. Particularly when the father of the deceased is holding a gun.
Also, why the fuck did you wait until NOW to speak about this. It’s been 9 months!
With his baby’s life at risk, Jamie intervenes and attempts to negotiate with Lord Ellesmere. This doesn’t work out well, and Lord Ellesmere only becomes angrier and aims at the baby with a knife. He had of course forgotten that Jamie had a loaded pistol in his hand. Jamie shoots the man down and runs towards the baby, and for the first time in his life, JAMMF is able to hold one of his biological babies in his arms.
In the next scene, after presumably, some time has passed, we see Isobel approaching Jamie with the baby. Everything that happens after in this scene can be reviewed/recapped exclusively by answering one question: “How much did you cry?”.
First, Jamie finds out that, by pure coincidence, the child shares his brother’s name and nickname.
Verdict: Teary eyes.
Lady Dunsany calls Isobel away from the baby for a minute, giving Jamie the chance to be alone with Willie for the first time. He is able to take in his baby, finally having the chance he never got with Bree or Faith.
Verdict: I AM NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING
When we see Lady Dunsany, who has now lost her second child, let go of her prejudices and tell Jamie that she knows the truth and that she’s willing to help him because she’s grateful he’s saved her grandson.
Verdict: The kind of tears that accompany a slow clap.
Jamie looking at Willie and simultaneously realizing that he will never be a true father to him but that he might never have a chance to see a child of his grow again, and making up a BS excuse to stay.
Verdict: Time to go buy ice cream so I can re-enact that Emma Stone crying gif.
We do a little time-jump and we see that Willie is his true father’s son. Now they tell us he’s supposed to look like Jamie, but I don’t really see it. I’m guessing they cast this child more for his ability to ride a horse than his similarity to Sam. However, we see that father and son are indeed very close, and Jamie is literally doing all the cliche dad things with him, with a bit of a 18th-century turn: He’s teaching him how to drive ride a horse and making him help washing the car…riage.
We return to the ’60s, where Bree, Roger, and Claire are going through ship manifests, trying to find if Jamie was transported.
However, the documents they were given were off by about 100 years. The Scottish Archives had no records that belong to that time period.
First and foremost:
Why would three visitors be handed archival materials from the XVII century (that seem to be original, mind you) in a regular reading room, and without being provided gloves or a facial mask to protect them and the documents? Or at least being sent to a special reading room? I mean I don’t know how archives flowed in the 60’s, but that seems strange to me, even with an Oxford professor with them.
Hi, Claire, welcome to historical research. The kind of stuff you’re looking for is bound to take a while and require quite a lot of thorough research. I’m sure you could even write a dissertation with the material you collect. Like, you could get a Ph.D. in Jamie Fraser. So just be a little patient.
But Claire has reached that overwhelming point of research when you’re searching for things that simply do not exist. In times like these, the only solution is alcohol, and the three of them go to a pub and get a whiskey. While they’re there, all the men are staring at Bree and Claire because they’re sitting at a bar.
Claire is all like: IT’S 1968, I HAVE AS MUCH RIGHT TO SIT AT THE BAR AND DRINK MY SORROWS AWAY AS ANY OTHER MAN.
It’s obvious though that the patriarchy is not the only thing that’s upsetting Claire. Roger and Bree try to reassure her they’re still hoping they can find him, but Claire is worried about being stuck chasing after a ghost, as Mrs. Graham had told her. She declares that it’s time for her and Bree to go home.
Jamie makes a similar declaration to his son, only he does not mean to take Willie with him. Willie is clearly not happy with this and tells Jamie that he has to obey him since he is Jamie’s master.Jamie then tries to teach him a lesson that he knows for sure Geneva’s parents never taught her.
And while I commend Jamie for his actions, Willie’s tantrum breaks my heart because he doesn’t want Jamie to go. Willie then tells him he hates him, to which Jamie replies with “I’m not very fond of you either just now, you wee bastard”. This clearly upsets the child, who has probably heard other people calling him that before. Jamie apologizes for this, which seems to calm Willie down. He asks again if Jamie has to go and when Jamie nods, Willie throws himself into his arms.
VERDICT: THIS IS TOO SAD WHY.
Before he leaves, John and Jamie go out for a walk together. Jamie asks John to take over as Willie’s father since Jamie would not be around to do so. In return for this favor, Jamie would allow John to have his way with him. Because John is a precious cinnamon roll that is too good for this world, he is extremely offended by this suggestion.
He was also there to share Jamie a special news: He was going to marry Isobel. Jamie is a bit confused, but John reassures him that he’s not just after a beard and that he’s actually fond of Isobel. The good news is that through that, John would become Willie’s uncle, and thus have a better chance of being Willie’s putative father.
After this, we see Willie go into Jamie’s room late at night. Willie sees that Jamie has a shrine to St. Anthony, and repeats that his grandmother always says that only ‘Stinking Papists’ do that. Jamie explains that he is, in fact, a ‘Stinking Papist’and that he is lighting a candle to St. Anthony — the patron saint of lost things. He tells Willie lights a candle for his brother, for his godfather, for his sister, and for his wife. Willie’s like “um, you don’t have a wife”.
Jamie tells him that he did once and that, one day, Willie will have one too. He tries to give him advice about love and women for the future, but Willie’s far more interested in becoming a ‘Stinkin’ Papist’. Finally, what convinces Jamie is when Willie tells him that he wants to be like him.
Jamie fake-baptizes him under the Christian name of William James. Before he leaves, he gives him a pet snake just like Sawny, but with Willie carved under it. The snake is so that Willie has something to remember him by. Willie then tells Jamie that he doesn’t have anything to remember Willie by:
VERDICT: I HAD TO PAUSE TO LET THE TEARS FALL
The episode ends with a cover of Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall playing in the background as both Claire and Jamie say goodbye: Claire to trying to find Jamie, and Jamie to Willie.
I think it’s usually pretty hit or miss when shows and movies try to use modern music as the soundtrack to historical scenes. Of course, this only applies to half of the scene, since the song had come out a few years before Claire’s scenes, but centuries after Jamie’s (God I love time travel). However, I think it works incredibly well for Jamie’s scene because the lyrics make so much sense.
AND THEN THE SONG IS PLAYING AS JAMIE LEAVES HELWATER AND WHEN WILLIE RUNS AFTER HIM AND BEGS HIM NOT TO GO.
Verdict: I AM NOT OK.
Second Verdict: Sam Heughan better get a couple of nominations from this episode or so help me God.