Watching Outlander Season 3 Episode 2 is like taking your television vitamins. The good, fruity, gummy kind, but still: vitamins.
Claire and Jamie being separated for 20 years is painful in so many ways, and while I don't exactly enjoy it, Ron Moore and his crew are following Diana Gabaldon's path and forcing us to live through the couple's time apart.
And it's the right decision. Obviously, it heightens the payoff of when they are reunited, but it's important to show that life does continue after you lose your true love. That's a concept that many shows, books, and movies don't acknowledge.
So yeah, watching Jamie and Claire go on with life in two different centuries sucks. It sucks that they're not together, and it sucks that the other aspects of their lives are hard. I mean, if you can't be with your heart's own soul, it seems like the least fate could do is give you a break dealing with misogynistic assholes or keep you from living in a cave.
But all of these hardships they face will alter them, will force them to continue being their best selves. And even if they're not with each other physically, the lasting mark they made on one another is what gives them strength through their travails.
Frank: Claire? What is it?
Claire: I miss my husband.
And while we'd all just love to have Claire and Jamie back together sending each other smoldering looks, there are the other characters to consider.
With Jamie off to Ardsmuir, this is young Fergus' last appearance. I wish we could see more of him, but at least we got this. Honestly, Roman Berrux killed it. In addition to having that aunty type of "look how big he's gotten" reaction, the kid managed to add a layer of Scots accent to his English.
Seriously, even being a huge fan of the books, I'd always just heard him with a French accent in my mind. When I heard Berrus, it was a revelation. Of course, this is how a young French boy living in Scotland would sound!
Just because you're a coward now doesn't mean I am!Fergus
I wasn't completely comfortable with Fergus' eagerness to fight the British again. It seemed at odds with his initial reaction to having killed a soldier at Prestonpans.
Fergus has been through a whole hell of a lot for a young man, and while a craving for adventure is in line with a young adolescent, it made the character a bit more shallow.
Still, it was helpful in explaining his behavior with the Scottish turncoat, setting up the horrifying incident where he lost his hand. A pivotal moment not just for Fergus, but for Jamie. Seeing the boy he thinks of as a son suffer like that was no small weight for our Laird.
You gave me no choice, brother, and I'll never forgive ye. Never!Jenny
I wish the story hadn't been changed quite so much because one of the scenes I loved from the books is Bree finding the Leap O' the Cask story amongst the Dunbonnet tales. The parallelism of the timelines is certainly giving us a better look into Claire's life, but it makes the separation feel disjointed.
There's an argument to be made that that disjointedness is on purpose, to further enhance the feeling of isolation of the characters. It certainly does that. I just worry that it does so at the cost of emotional development between certain characters down the road.
If time is running parallel, so are other events in Claire and Jamie's lives. Both managed to get it on with someone new(ish). Not that either was exactly successful with their new partner, but it was an important step for them.
I am glad that Claire ended up with her own bed, because masturbating next to your husband (in name if not in spirit) while thinking about another man has to be awkward. At least Jamie's sexy-times friend was on the same page as him about what their assignation meant.
It's so hard to feel sorry for Frank, not only because he wear's Black Jack's face, but because TV Frank isn't a cad. In the book, he'd been having affairs all through the pregnancy and his growing conservatism and narrow views about what Claire's role should be were rage inducing.
But this Frank just wants to repair his relationship with his wife and for them to move forward together, which isn't unreasonable. I mean, from his perspective, she had an affair, and he's taking her back, and he's not even unduly rushing her to resume relations.
Asking that your partner not constantly think about another person in bed really isn't unreasonable.
Frank: Why can't you look at me?
Claire: Christ, Frank, if you're not in the mood, you just have to say.
Frank: Claire, when I'm with you, I'm with *you*....but you're with him.
In fact, as much as I love Claire and the way she takes charge and doesn't take any ish, it's hard to like her during some of these scenes.
What's weird is that I kind of enjoy not liking her. It makes her more real. There's plenty of people in my life who I love with all my heart but that I don't always like, or whose behavior if which I disapprove. The fact that she's struggling and not always getting it right makes her more human.
Jamie isn't showing the same kind of weaknesses, but he also has somebody who has no qualms calling him out on those he does have.
Jenny may not have a lot of tact as she attempts to arrange her brother's life, but it's clear that it comes from a place of love (even as it lacks a grasp on reality -- who would want to marry and have children with an outlaw living in a cave?). It's easy to see why she's worried when Jamie looks like some hermit who only eats raw meat and only communicates in grunts.
Thank god both of them are on their way back to (relative) sanity as they start new adventures. Claire has started down the path to becoming a surgeon, so she'll have two things in her life in which to find fulfillment, and Jamie may be headed to jail, but he does so as a choice, as an act of honor to protect his family.
Ian: The British are no hanging Jacobites anymore. It's likely he'll only be imprisoned.
Jenny: Only?! Jamie, have you not seen the inside of enough prisons for one lifetime?
We'll see the consequences (and the rewards) of their decisions on Outlander Season 3 Episode 3 ("All Debts Paid") as Jamie is reunited with a familiar face at the prison and Claire's marriage to Frank continues to disintegrate.
Frank is due to finally do something so that I won't feel sorry for him, which sucks for Claire, but at least we'll all be on her side again. And there's more Joe Abernathy to look forward to!
At the prison, Jamie gets involved in a plot that has some far-reaching consequences. You'll want to pay close attention to all his conversations.
Brother.... [Jamie continues his work in silence] Brother! You ken why I can lie to the British and feel at peace? It's because I'm no lying. James Fraser has no been here for a long, long time.Jenny
We want to know what you thought about "Surrender," so sound off in the comments section! What did you miss from the books? Did Jenny push Jamie too hard? I anybody else feeling sorry for Frank or just me?
And my most important question for you: Was bearded, dirty, hermit Jamie hot? Or not?
Elizabeth Harlow is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.