Need to catch up? Check out the previous Outlander recap here.
Wee Fergus becomes a self-described man of leisure in this week’s Outlander, but oof, it’s a painful transition to the lap of luxury.
As if Jamie’s post-Claire life isn’t hard enough to bear, the Starz drama’s latest installment finds Fraser’s surrogate son at the wrong end of an angry Redcoat’s sword — and when the terrible moment is over, Fergus is sans one hand.
Living in a cave, sporting some seriously gnarly hair, shunning most of humanity and now realizing that he played a part, however small, in the former pickpocket’s grievous injury? Is it any wonder that James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser winds up in the fetal position before the episode is over?
Meanwhile, in Boston, Claire and Frank go from bow-chicka-wow-wow to separate beds in the space of an hour. Read on for the highlights of “Surrender.”
JAMIE: THE CAVE YEARS | Six years after Culloden, Fergus, Rabbie McNab (who’s nearly a teen) and Jenny and Ian’s son Jamie (Young Jamie to book readers) sneak around in the Lallybroch dovecoat looking for something, then they find it: Rabbie’s dead father’s gun, which is contraband in British-controlled Scotland. And speaking of Redcoats, some are riding onto the property now! “I’m here for the Dunbonnet,” one of them tells Ian, expositioning that he’s heard rumors about a reclusive man who lives in the wilderness and wears a brown hat in order to hide his red hair: “I surmise that the Dunbonnet and Red Jamie are one and the same.”
Jenny, hugely pregnant, comes out to say that the family hasn’t heard from Jamie since the Rising, and reminds the Brits that she’s told the exact same thing to every group of soldiers that have visited the house during that time. The soldiers remind the family that there’s a reward for information leading to Red Jamie’s capture and that harboring him is an act of treason. Then they haul Ian off to jail.
THE DUNBONNET ARRIVES | But Jenny was lying, as we learn when Jamie approaches the house at nightfall. He’s looking rather rough — long, straggly hair; lots of beard; dirty — but even more sad, and when he sees his sister from behind, for a moment he has a vision of Claire gathering herbs in the front yard. He makes little eye contact and says next to nothing as he, Jenny and Fergus butcher a deer he’s killed; Jenny tries to get him to talk, but it doesn’t work, and she laments that she’s not really stretching the truth with the soldiers, because “James Fraser hasna been here for a long, long time.”
Later, in the nearby cave where Jamie has been hiding/living, Fergus asks to learn how to shoot so he can defend the house. Jamie uses Batman voice to shut him down, which angers the mini Frenchman. “Just because you’re a coward now doesn’t mean I am!” the boy yells. But Jamie merely tells Fergus to put the gun back where he found it.
Fergus, unsurprisingly, does not. And when a raven lands near the house as Jenny is in labor, he decides to shoot the bird — which superstition says is a harbinger of death — in order to protect the child. Problem is, Jamie and the Redcoats patrolling the nearby area all hear the blast. Jamie angrily confronts Fergus but is interrupted by Rabbie’s mother, Mary, who serves as Lallybroch’s housekeeper: Jenny has had another boy.
WELCOME, YOUNG IAN! | Inside, Jamie holds the baby, who is named Ian. And Jenny takes all of a minute’s rest between pushing the kid into the world and needling her brother about not having gotten laid in quite some time. (I’ll say it again: I heart her.) Jamie gruffly informs her that he won’t marry “ever again,” but their discussion is interrupted when Redcoats storm into the house and clomp upstairs, demanding to know where the discharged weapon is. Jamie, still holding his minutes-old nephew, hides with the kid in one hand and his blade in the other.
Jenny’s spinning a long tale about how the baby died and there’s no gun and this and that when Mary steps in with the pistol and hands it to the soldiers, explaining that it was her dead husband’s. One of the soldiers, a turncoat Scot who fought against the Jacobites, wants to take the woman into custody, but his supervisor overrides him and the men leave the women with a warning. When it’s clear, Jamie finally comes out of hiding and hands the (very hungry) baby to his mother, and everyone quietly freaks out about how close a call that was.
GOTTA HAND IT TO YOU | Not long after, Jamie is checking his snares in the woods when he overhears Fergus taunting Corporal McTurncoat, who starts chasing the boy. It seems like Fergus will get away… but then more soldiers arrive on horseback, and very quickly, they’ve got the kid pinned down to a log on the ground. Then the corporal takes out his sword and — while Jamie watches from afar — lobs off Fergus’ hand, then runs away with his shocked comrades and leaves the boy to bleed out.
The moment the soldiers are out of sight, Jamie near-somersaults down the hill to get to Fergus. It’s the first time we’ve seen Himself act like… well, himself since the start of the episode. He quickly ties a tourniquet around Fergus’ arm, softly reassuring him, “Dinna be afeared. I’ve watched milady do this many times.” (Side note: Was anyone else kinda touched by Jamie’s invocation of Claire’s name?) Then Jamie carries Fergus to the house, leaving the hand behind.
A while later, Jenny finds her brother in front of the fire and tells him that Fergus will be OK, but Jamie protests that he should have done something to stop the men. “Then you’d be dead, and so would he. We’d all be dead,” she points out, and her pragmatism is enough to break him: Jamie wraps his arms around his middle and falls to his knees, sobbing. Jenny holds him while he cries.
ACTING! | When he’s pulled himself together, Jamie sits by Fergus’ bedside, where he tells the boy that he reminds him there’s something to fight for. “There you are, milord,” Fergus says. Aww. Then the kid reminds his benefactor that they had a deal: If Ferg lost an appendage while in Jamie’s service, he’d support him for the rest of his life. Jamie says he can trust the bargain. “I have always trusted you, milord,” Fergus replies. Aww again!
Then Jamie hatches a plan that will help his family and the Lallybroch residents, yet hurt himself: He urges Jenny to turn him over to the British, in order for the Murrays to receive the reward money. Jenny fears her brother will be hanged, but Ian points out that traitors are now jailed but no longer killed. So it’s decided, and Mary McNab brings Jamie some food in his cave, where she also shaves him and cuts his hair.
When he comes back from bathing in the creek, she’s got something else to offer up as a going-away gift: herself. Jamie wants no part of it, sure that Jenny has put her servant up to sleeping with him, but Mary gently reassures Fraser that she has no agenda — she just wants to make him feel better. “I saw your lady, and how it was between the two of you,” she says, adding that she doesn’t want to make him feel like he’s betraying Claire.
“I have not done this in a very long time,” he whispers as she draws near, and he’s crying, and my heart is breaking. Kudos to Sam Heughan and Emma Campbell-Jones, because this is a verra tender scene, indeed. And the next morning, even though Jamie and Jenny ham it up a little bit too much, the Brits totally buy that he’s come back after a long absence. They’re lying in wait, and as Jamie enters the Lallybroch courtyard, the soldiers snatch him up. But Jenny cries tears of real sorrow as her brother is loaded into the back of the Redcoats’ carriage, and his brown hat falls in the mud as they pull away. That bonnet? It’s done.
LET’S GET IT YAWN | The first time we check in with Claire in the 1940s, meanwhile, she’s lying next to a sleeping Frank while she… takes a self-guided trip through the moors? Checks out a cave of her own? Eh, choose whatever vaguely Scottish euphemism for self-love you like, and go with it. And because of her actions, we’re treated to a few shots from Mistress Frasers’ Ye Olde Spank Bank, which includes sunlit glimpses of a very naked Jamie as he walks from the bed to the fireplace and crouches down to… honestly, I’m sure he’s adding some kindling or banking some coals or something, suddenly I seem to lose the ability to focus on anything… Then we get a memory of him reclining on the pillow next to her, all sparse man-fur and total devotion, and if it sounds like the scene plays out like naughty fan fiction, then I have done my job as a recapper. (Also: Not complaining.)
Claire’s lady garden is open for visitors throughout the entire episode, which is why she wakes up Frank for sex in another scene — “I miss my husband,” she whispers, which is TECHNICALLY NOT A LIE — and then gets all frisky with him in the living room after they’ve had the neighbors over for dinner. But when he insists that she open her eyes while they make love, and she can’t, he calls her out for fantasizing about Jamie while she’s having sex with him. She angrily crawls out from underneath Frank, but he’s kind of resigned to the whole thing as he tiredly points out, “Claire, when I’m with you, I’m with you. But you’re with him.”
CLAIRE: THE MED SCHOOL YEARS | Now that boning her hot-but-not-Scot husband is no longer a viable pastime, Claire voiceovers that she needed a new purpose apart from being a wife and mother. Then we see her start her education at medical school, where she is the only woman in a class full of (rather hostile) men. But then a black man walks into the class and introduces himself to Claire as Joe Abernathy, and they are instant besties, so suck it, stupid white boys!
At home, we witness a perfectly lovely bedtime scene between Mr. and Mrs. Randall… and then we realize that they’re not even trying to pretend anymore: They’ve gone all Lucy and Desi and gotten separate beds. Though you may still be thinking about Fergus’ lost hand, I’m of the opinion that two people this gorgeous with zero ability/inclination to roll over and get their swerve on is the episode’s true tragedy.
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!