Pardon my language, Outlander fans, but holy hell, what an emotionally twisting rollercoaster!
“All Debts Paid” exceeded any expectations I had, and shot them through the roof. If I ever thought the third season would lack a gut punch per episode, I regret even doubting this show for a second. Catching different parts of a life, through different centuries, is not an easy story to tell. Outlander, however, succeeds at finding the little moments, even as years pass, without making you feel like you’re missing anything important.
So why don’t we dive into it together?
Compared to Jamie, we see a lot more time pass through the subsequent decades of Boston life, and as unsurprised as I was to see our two main characters living separate lives, it was heartbreaking to see the toll it took on both of them. Claire’s ambition led her to become a doctor, and to reach her professional peak, but outside of that, she was all bitterness.
Unless, of course, when it came to Brianna.
As much as I believe Frank tried his best to open his heart to Claire again — and so did she — the divide that settled between them after her time with Jamie, was too wide to ever close again.
Over the years, the barbs only grew worse until their bitter (and unbeknown to Claire) final conversation. To throw Brianna in her face like that, when she chose all these years to make the best of it, really pissed me off. Frank loved Brianna, and as much as I admire him for staying after all the bitterness and biting words, he should have known better than to throw Jamie into it.
I was prepared for things to get ugly over time, but I wasn’t ready to hear Claire tearfully declare “that amount of time doesn’t exist” in regards to ever forgetting Jamie. Talk about leaving my heart in pieces on the floor. Frank may never have wanted to think about it, but Claire lived with it every single day. I will say — and if this makes me a horrible person, so be it — I was relieved when they skipped ahead with Frank and Claire.
Claire’s story has always drawn me in, but a part of me wished we’d gotten to see how being apart from Jamie affected her outside of her situation with Frank.
Frank, despite everything, deserved a full life, and I wished he’d gotten it, as Claire poured her heart out for the last time in the hospital morgue. As much as I didn’t want Frank to die like that, I’m even sadder at the thought of saying goodbye to Tobias Menzies. He’s been fantastic on Outlander, and I sincerely hope to see him in more productions in the future.
Claire, darling, you made it, and now we are about to see (spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen next week’s trailer) your journey to find Jamie again in the past.
If there’s one thing you can count on James Fraser for, it’s finding a way to keep going forward in the most unimaginable of circumstances. He’s locked up, quite literally the only prisoner to stay shackled daily in heavy chains. And yet, that doesn’t stop him for championing for the prisoners he’s with, and being especially protective of Murtaugh — WHO IS NOT DEAD THANK THE LORD AND I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH THIS CHANGE FROM THE BOOK!
Ahem, moving on, Jamie using what Claire taught him about healing brought me to tears, because even after six years, he’s not forgotten the medical advice she’d passed on to him before going back. His compassion and internal conflict rang true upon his reintroduction to Lord John Grey, whom he’d met and spared many years earlier. John Grey surprised me, but given everything Jamie has gone through, it was a welcome surprise. Jamie has found a measure of peace in giving himself up to save his family, and working to help others live.
To be perfectly straight, I’m so proud of Jamie for finding the will to wake up, and keep finding a reason to get out of bed. Claire — as much as she’s equally struggled — had Brianna in her life, along with her career. Jamie has neither, and honors Claire by passing on what he learned.
I’m not going to lie, that moment when the old man described the white witch, his eyes lit up and I knew he was fighting back the hope that Claire had come back. Even though I knew it couldn’t be her, and her return won’t happen for another decade, I found myself hoping with him. That’ll have to wait until another hour, as the more immediate issue is the closing of Ardsmuir prison. John Grey leads him off from everyone else, and I was trying not to scream at my screen “TAKE HIM OUT OF THE CHAINS.” In the end though, it turned out better than Jamie ever believed it would, personally.
In spite of figuring out how he knew this Englishman, the honor they both share as men was enough to save Jamie’s life once again. He’s on another new path, and I’m waiting each Sunday with bated breath to see what happens next.
Outlander returns with an all new episode next Sunday, October 1, at 8pm on Starz.