Episode three of the third season of Starz’ Outlander is titled “All Debts Paid.” And, in my estimation, all but one is completed by the end of the episode: Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) duty to the Crown. There are also deviations from the book’s account of the many paths our beloved characters take. The end results remain the same…don’t worry, book lovers. As the incredible showrunner Ron D. Moore said, he baked in some surprises so there would be fresh excitement. I will point out a few of these divergent storylines, but if I detail all the book’s differences with the show we will be here for a month!
We open in 1956 Boston, at breakfast with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Frank (Tobias Menzies). Frank is making what he calls a proper English breakfast because wee Brianna (Gemma Fray) had asked for Eggo waffles. (I have those in my freezer right now because my son likes them.) Claire and Frank are doing a bit of husband and wife back and forth. Claire suggests a trip to the movies that night since she doesn’t have class. Frank likes the idea but informs Claire he has seen the current movies already; the suggestive look he gives is that it was on dates with other women. Here is a key difference from the book. In the previous episode, “Surrender,” they had twin beds and now they talk about the open marriage arrangement they agreed upon. That is not the way they conduct the marriage in the book. Frank does have affairs but Claire acts as if she knows nothing about it until Brianna is grown and almost out of high school.
Now to check in on Jamie. When we last saw him, the Redcoats were taking Jamie away from Lallybroch to prison. Ardsmuir Prison in 1755 is a perfectly revolting place. There is a changing of the leadership of the prison and Major John Grey (David Berry) is taking up his new post when he realizes he’s acquainted with one of the prisoners, Red Jamie. Jamie is the only prisoner with irons around his wrists and ankles, showing how scared the Redcoat guards are of our beloved Highland warrior.
Jamie heads down into the cells with the rest of the men who were in the yard. The prisoners call Jamie Mac Dubh, pronounced MacDoo, and it means the Son of the Black after his father who was called Black Brian because of the darkness of his hair. Jamie takes up a seat in the cells next to a stone pillar, and who is sitting on the other side but Murtagh Frazer (Duncan Lacroix). This is another surprise to the book readers. In the books, Murtagh was killed on Culloden Moor. They’re talking about the new governor of the prison, and Jamie mentions that he looks familiar but canna yet place him. Jamie has managed to gather some milk thistles that might help the very sick Murtagh. Jamie says he learned the trick with the thistles from Claire.
Jamie is taken to meet the new governor, Major Grey. Major Grey knows who he is, but does not reveal this to Jamie. The meeting is brief, mainly about rats, and Grey is taken aback by the fact the prisoners try to catch them and eat them. Jamie does exert his dominance in the situation with a piercing stare before he’s taken back to the lower cells.
It’s graduation day for Doctor Claire and her dear friend, Joe Abernathy (Wil Johnson). They’re celebrating with a group of friends when a woman rings the doorbell looking for Frank. The celebration party leaves for the restaurant, but clearly all pretense is broken.
An older, rambling Scottish man is found wandering and spouting Gaelic and French. The soldiers pick him up and place him in a nearby cell with a bed. The soldiers did make out one clear word of English, gold, so Major Grey wants to know what he’s saying. The Crown thinks the French sent a cache of gold to help the Jacobite cause, but the gold was never found. Grey is forced to seek Jamie’s help because he’s the only prisoner who can speak both French and Gaelic. Grey makes a bargain with Jamie to remove his irons if he will translate what the old man is saying.
When Frank returns home from his date, Claire is waiting for him and the inevitable battle begins. The discussion consists of who has caused who what pain. Claire gets around to telling Frank to file for divorce, which is another element not in the book. The show does explain the impact of divorce in that era. Frank is not willing to leave and be forced into the visitation situation to see Brianna. So, the pretense and external masquerade will continue.
During the discussion with the rambling old man, he mentions to Jamie something about a White Witch. Jamie’s trying to determine if there is anything truly about the gold, but the old man says the White Witch is seeking a strong man and then he goes into all the MacKenzie clan are dead. The man rambles on a little more about the White Witch before he dies, and it makes Jamie think it could be Claire. When Grey tries to get from Jamie what the man said, he can tell Jamie is holding something back – though it’s not what Grey thinks it is. Grey threatens to force Jamie to talk, but Jamie informs him there’s nothing that he could possibly do that has not already been done. How true that statement is, thanks to Black Jack Randall.
We have a quick look at Brianna (Sophie Skelton) blowing out her candles on her 16th birthday cake before we go back to the prison with Jamie attempting to doctor Murtagh. Jamie tells Murtagh what the old man rambled on about and reveals he mentioned the White Witch. They talk about Claire and wonder if she has come back through the stones. Murtagh wishes he could know what happened to Claire and the baby. Jamie tries to warn Murtagh about lingering on those wishes; it would only bring pain from not knowing.
A guard arrives and takes Jamie to see Major Grey, and Grey has Jamie join him for a meal of pheasant in wine sauce. Jamie takes the opportunity to ask if the Major would let the men set snares and keep what they catch since the Crown canna provide adequate food for the prisoners. He also asks they be allowed to collect watercress to help with the Scurvy. Major Grey has never heard about watercress being used for such a reason, and Jamie mentions his wife taught him about the use of watercress because she was a healer. They sit down to eat and Jamie takes one bite and smiles. For one thing, it is probably the first time he has had pheasant in a long while. Jamie mentions the wine in the sauce and the Major smiles and says he isn’t sure what it is.
Mac Dubh tells the men in the cells about what they ate in detail. The men like hearing that the Major is treating their chieftain so well.
A few days later, the prisoners are taking a typical excursion outside the walls to do the usual hard labor they’ve been doing for years. But this time they are permitted to check their snares for any catches. As several of the men take off in a couple of directions, the guards must follow each group. It is enough of a distraction to allow Jamie to go hide in a place where other prisoners can cover him up so he can escape. Major John is incensed and the hunt is on to bring Jamie back. The soldiers make their way to the cliffs but there’s no sign of Jamie for three days.
The Major returns to the prison and is outside relieving himself when Jamie grabs him from behind. This is Jamie’s way of telling him he knows who the man is. Grey was the 16-year-old boy who tried to slit his throat while Jamie was relieving himself before the battle of Prestonpans. Jamie grabs Major Grey’s sword and asks him to complete his vow to kill him when they next saw each other. Major Grey refuses to kill an unarmed man, so Jamie is left alive again. Jamie just cannot get someone to kill him!
They walk out a distance from the prison and Jamie tells him of the additional meaning that the old rambling man’s words had. He tells Grey about the meaning of the White Witch, and admits he had to go to see if his wife was at the cliffs. Jamie said he only found one jewel and presented the jewel to Major Grey as proof of his story.
We get to see Brianna graduate from high school with the proud parents looking on together. The look Frank gives a smiling Claire should reveal that he’s contemplating something.
Bounce back to the cells. The guards bring a doctor to care for Murtagh which surprises Jamie, to say the least. Jamie later enjoys a game of chess with Major Grey and they are comfortable enough with each other now to deliver a very personal story. The Major tells of a male friend he loved and lost at Culloden. Jamie surprises the Major with the knowledge that the woman he protected in their first encounter was none other than Jamie’s wife. In the book, Jamie reveals that at the time which is why Grey is ashamed of the way he gave up information that day.
The men share a tender enough moment that Grey feels brave enough to put his hand on Jamie’s in a show of affection. In the book, you can get inside Grey’s head. He begins to have affection for Jamie that he has not felt for another person since he lost his friend at Culloden. Jamie tells Grey to take his hand away or he will kill him. Jamie rises and leaves the Major’s office without the Major’s permission to go. The tear that falls from Major Grey’s cheek is enough to split your heart in two. He, quite naturally, does not know all the meaning behind Jamie’s reaction to the touch. Jamie is not a lover of men in that way, but it is even more a reaction because of the things Black Jack Randall did to him in a similar prison those many years ago.
Claire is sitting contemplating a surgery she had performed earlier that day when Frank comes into the room. Claire can tell that Frank wants to discuss something. Frank announces he’s going to take his mistress with him and Bree to England. He’s going to leave Claire; he wants a divorce. Frank wants to live his life with someone who would truly love him instead of a ghost. He asks Claire if Brianna hadn’t looked so much like Jamie could she have forgotten Jamie in time? Claire says that amount of time does not exist. Frank grabs his keys and leaves in his car. The phone rings to call Claire to a surgery at the hospital.
The soldiers have all the prisoners lined up and are walking them in one direction, but Jamie is grabbed and taken in another direction. Jamie is tied by the hands and given to Major Grey. The rest of the prisoners are being taken to ships to eventually be delivered to servitude in the colonies for a period of 14 years. Murtagh is sent with them. As I mentioned, Murtagh’s story is an unknown to the book readers, so I hope we get to keep him in future seasons. Some book lovers might disagree with me since this is a change from the book, but I like Murtagh so much I hope he stays a while.
Jamie is marched behind Major Grey’s horse for three days until they reach Helwater Estate in England. Jamie is a convicted Jacobite traitor to the Crown and it’s at the Crown’s discretion as to what happens to him. Grey did what he could for Jamie since the Crown would not eventually commute his sentence with the rest of the men. Grey was able to get him an indentured sentence to a Lord as a groom in his stables.
Claire has completed her surgery and informed the husband of her patience’s status when Joe comes to tell Claire that Frank was in a car accident. Claire runs down the hall to see Frank laid under a sheet, already dead. Claire’s upset and tells him that she did love him, confirming he was her first love.
Frank paid his debt to Claire to help raise Brianna. Claire paid her debt to go back to Frank and be safe to raise their child; remember that promise she made Jamie in France when he wanted to kill Black Jack. Major Grey has paid his debt by giving Jamie back his life. Jamie has paid most of his debt to the Crown but as you saw at the end, he was delivered to Helwater. It’s a much better prison to be sentenced to, given he’ll be with horses and not confined within stone walls. Not full freedom, but a level of freedom Jamie has not had in a very long time. Claire is also now freed to take her future into whatever direction she wishes.
Frank, you will be missed… RIP! Bravo Tobias Menzies!!
More on Outlander:
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 1 “The Battle Joined” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 2 “Surrender” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 4 “Of Lost Things” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 5 “Freedom & Whisky” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 6 “A. Malcolm” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 7 “Crème De Menthe” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 8 “First Wife” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 9 “The Doldrums” Recap
– Outlander Season 3 Episode 10 “Heaven and Earth” Recap
– Exclusive Interview on Season 3 with Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore
– One-on-One with Sophie Skelton
– Richard Rankin Interview on Outlander Season 3 and Playing Roger
– Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies Q&A
- ‘Outlander’ Season 4 Episode 13 Recap: “Man of Worth” - January 27, 2019
- ‘Outlander’ Season 4 Episode 12 Recap: “Providence” - January 20, 2019
- ‘Outlander’ Season 4 Episode 11 Recap: “If Not For Hope” - January 13, 2019