Oct 9 2017 10:00am

Jamie Swoons, and So Do We: Outlander Season 3, Episode 5 Heart-to-Heart

Outlander, Season 3, Episode 5Show/EpisodeOutlander, Season 3, Episode 5, “Freedom & Whisky”
Couple(s): Jamie and Claire

Outlander 3x05 Captain's Log

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as Outlander prepares to deliver a Christmas episode that brings all the feels. We open with a closeup of Claire’s hands, lovingly painting an ornament in honor of Brianna’s first Christmas. A quick visit to 1968 Claire, performing surgery, then cut to Brianna, sketching gothic arches instead of paying attention in history class. Could that have something to do with why she’s failing? Brianna heads home, her mind definitely not on her studies. She fingers the ornament on the family Christmas tree, sniffs the bowl of Frank’s pipe, and sorts through some old family photos. Brooding, it would seem, is a trait passed admirably from father(s) to daughter.

Back at the hospital, Joe asks Claire if she met a man in Scotland. Not exactly, she says, but there was someone from her past. They went their separate ways, and Claire always hoped they would find each other again, but fate had other ideas. Joe’s good-natured, “Fuck fate,” gets Claire thinking.

No Christmas special can be complete without a special visitor, so cue Suprise Roger, here for an American Christmas, complete with lobster rolls and Boston creme pie, but his timing could be a little better. Claire and Brianna were just yelling, as Brianna puts it. Brianna’s dropping out of Harvard and moving out of Claire’s house. Right now, as a matter of fact, but Roger is welcome to stay.  Just as well, because Roger has something for Claire. He’s found Jamie.

This is relevant to Claire’s interest. Roger shows her a pamphlet on whisky, printed in Edinburgh, in 1765, including the phrase Claire had quoted to Jamie, freedom and whisky gang thegither. Pfft. That’s Robert Burns. Anybody would know that. Sure, but Burns was only six years old that year. Here, look at the printer's name. Alexander Malcolm. Those are two of Jamie’s names. Claire doesn’t take this as well as Roger expected; she’s afraid to hope, but Roger insists this is more than hope. It’s Jamie, and he’s real. Claire can go to him, but she won’t. She can’t abandon Brianna, and Roger can’t tell Brianna anything about finding Jamie.

The next day, Claire helps Joe look over the hundred and fifty-year-old bones a friend sent him, and immediately pegs the cause of death as murder, but Joe would rather ask Claire about her Scottish man. Claire answeres in the present tense, that he is Brianna’s natural father, not was, and she’s never stopped loving him. Joe likes what he hears. If Claire has a second chance at love, she should take it.  

Roger wastes no time in gaining some geek cred, as he’s absorbed in Dark Shadows when Brianna invites him to a reception in Frank’s honor. Standing beneath the very same arches Brianna sketched in class, the two share impressions of their biological fathers. While Roger is glad to have stories of his bio-dad, Brianna is skeptical, as history is colored by who tells the tale. Prophetic words, because the reception brings Claire face to face with Sandy. Uh oh.

While the two women maintain a veneer of icy civility, the tension remains high. Sandy doesn’t mince words. Frank was the love of her life, and Claire should have let him go. Sandy knew Frank would always be in love with Claire, but Claire wasted twenty years with Frank when Sandy would have given anything for that time. Brianna has some questions, and Claire has some answers, their conversation as much woman to woman as mother to daughter. Brianna frets about the burden her DNA put on her parents’ marriage, but Claire assures Brianna that her birth brought only love, and hands over the pamphlet. Brianna lights up like a Christmas tree.  Claire can go back to Jamie, and tell him everything.

What works best about Claire’s decision is that it’s both simple and complicated. Claire can return to Jamie, but at the cost of the life she has now, and possibly the life she could have with her daughter, future geeky son-in-law, and potential grandkids—but, still, Jamie. No surprise that it’s Christmas (Samhain, in the book, but Christmas works oh-so-well for TV) which is all love and peace and family. She watches the Apollo 8 broadcast for Christmas wishes from the moon, and Joe ponders how astronauts can come back to earth and live after going that far. Claire can relate; she’s been farther than that and came back once. What if she can’t come back again? What if Jamie doesn’t love her anymore? Brianna shoots that down because she is Claire and Jamie’s daughter. Everything Claire feels, she has to believe Jamie feels the same way.

Cue montage of Claire sewing her eighteenth-century garb from raincoats, set to the theme from Batman. With a box full of coins, some “borrowed” medical gear, a topaz necklace from Brianna, and a little help from Miss Clairol, Claire is ready to roll. It’s an emotional sendoff, as it might be forever, but Brianna is grown and ready to begin her own adventure with Roger. Claire gives Brianna important paperwork and heads straight to Jamie.


This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, and it doesn’t disappoint. From Claire’s tentative climb up the stairs to Jamie’s good-natured chiding of the colleague he thinks is standing above him, this draws the tension out to a palpable ache. Then Claire speaks, Jamie turns, he faints, and so do we. Finally, Claire and Jamie, together again.

The last couple of episodes are like a giant love letter to the very best historical romances. The period atmosphere, a love greater than time itself, and always, always the hope, that no matter how hard the journey might be, coming home to one’s true love is more than worth it all.

Memorable Lines:

“You told me that what you felt for Jamie was the most powerful thing you ever felt in your life. Has that changed? Then you have to trust it’s the same for him.”

“The first time I went through the stones, I was terrified. The second time, heartbroken. This time, I want it to be peaceful.”

Charting the Course: 

Brianna drops out, Roger drops in, and Jamie and Claire are back together! Get a sneak peek of what's to come in Episode 6.

Next Stop:    

Season Three, Episode Six: A Malcolm 

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Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her on Twitter.

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Susan White
1. whiskeywhite
I don't think I find believable the calmness with which Brianna sends her mother off to the past, very possibly never to return. "Bye, Mom. I'll be OK." Is the problem in the story or in the acting?

I have to admit that I spent much of the episode thinking, "Let's get on with this."

What's the significance of the bones? Foreshadowing an encounter in the future? (I know, I know. That's a spoiler.)
Anna Bowling
2. AnnaBowling
@whiskeywhite, Brianna does seem rather well-adjusted to sending her only surviving parent away, possibly forever. Wanting Mom to be happy, that's a good thing, and Roger seems pretty great himself, but the fact that Brianna might never see her mother again is kind of big. Maybe we'll see more of a reaction once the Christmas effect has worn off?

I suspect we're going to learn more about the bones, back in century eighteen.
Susan White
3. whiskeywhite
Good point, Anna, about Brianna's "only surviving parent." She only recently lost her father. Great time to send off your mother!

Even though I'm not a big fan of full beards on men (too scratchy), Roger is certainly a cutie, in more ways than that.
Heather Waters
4. HeatherWaters
@whiskeywhite -- Roger's very cute! I don't remember finding him that interesting by this point in the books, so props to the show.
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