“James Fraser hasn’t been here for a long, long time,” Jenny Murray mourns to her brother while he skins a stag of Lallybroch. And she is right. Jamie may be physically alive but he is emotionally dead. Hunted as an outlaw by the British ever since he survived his life-threatening wounds at Culloden, he now lives in a cave hidden deep in the woods at Lallybroch. There, he has withdrawn into himself, has grown long hair and beard, wears a beret and has gained a new nickname — the Dunbonnet. The Highlanders whisper about the legendary “Dunbonnet,” who represents rebellion against the British, not knowing that it is actually Jamie who actually only spends his time hunting to help feed his sister’s family.
Jenny isn’t the only one unhappy with Jamie. Fergus doesn’t understand why Jamie has lost his will to fight the British, who are tyrannical masters to the Highlanders, and he calls Jamie a “coward.” Jenny also fears for Jamie’s emotional state — “I just want you to have some happiness,” she tells her brother, while urging him to marry again. “How long has it been since you’ve lain with a woman?” she asks. After an unexpected visit from the local British commander and his vicious, red coat sidekick, she fears even more that the British leader will not stop his pursuit of Jamie until “he’s hanging from the end of a rope.”
Fortunately for Claire in the 20th century, baby Brianna has re-awakened her interest in living. After her daughter’s birth, she and Frank had promised each other that they would be a family again — have a “fresh start,” and that’s what they have committed to do. Claire is even ready to start having sex with Frank. But back in 18th century Scotland, life goes from bad to worse, especially for rebellious Fergus, who makes a nearly deathly mistake taunting the malicious red coat officer who’s actually a turncoat Scott.
He’s caught by the British and Mr. Malicious chops off his hand and leaves him to die. If not for Jamie’s quick action with a tourniquet, it would have curtains for the French teen. It’s Fergus’s reckless act of courage and devotion to Jamie that re-awakens Jamie’s will to live. “You remind me that I have something to fight for,” he tells the injured boy. Jamie finally and clearly sees that Fergus is his surrogate son. “You can trust me” to support you for the rest of your life, Jamie reassures the boy. “I have always trust you, my Lord,” Fergus tells him, love in his eyes. Jamie is the only father he has ever known.
It’s a jolt to be then transported back to the chauvinist world of late ’40s America, where Claire and Frank entertain friends who have a ridiculously traditional marriage. The wife’s talents are not in the kitchen, but elsewhere… Too bad when Clare tries to share her “talents,” Frank gets all up and bothered that her eyes are closed during a “sexy session in front of the fire.” “Claire, when I’m with you, I’m with you, but you’re with HIM,” he complains.
Sadly, Jamie’s troubles are more serious than disconnected sex. He’s desperate to stop putting Jenny, her husband, children and Fergus at risk. He’s ready to give himself up to the British — who are no longer hanging Jacobites — so that his sister can get the reward money for turning him in. “You’ll not risk your lives for me anymore,” he tells her.”Christ man, have you not seen the inside of enough prisons for a lifetime?” she fires back. “Little difference to the prison I live in now,” Jamie responds. His mind is set. He wants his family to be free of the threat that his life represents to them. But, before he turns himself in, he accepts help from Jenny’s servant woman, Mary McNab, who shaves his beard, cuts his hair and then offers him her body and her heart for a night of comfort. Jamie is all set to send her away and stay celibate, but Mary is persistent. “It’s not on my mind to betray Claire,” she tells him. “I want to share something different…something we both need…to keep us whole as we move forward in this life.”
It’s an offer of emotional intimacy and Jamie finally gives in. So rare, he cries. He is not whole in so many ways and neither is Claire even though she has thrown herself in being little red-haired Brianna’s mom. “Once I had thought I was whole” — loving a man, bearing a child, she admits to herself. Healing the sick and fighting to change the course of history had given her purpose. “For a time, I had been a part of something greater than myself — trying to prevent the tragedy of Culloden — and I wanted that again.” “I knew eventually I’d have to do something more.” Go Claire!
And there she is next: a student at medical school. The only woman in her class to the disdain of her anatomy professor and a group of snickering male students. “A woman and a Negro in this year’s incoming class. How very modern of us,” the sexist prof tells her. That’s where Claire meets the other outcast of the class, Joe Abernathy — the “Negro.” Watch out med school! It’s clear that medical school agrees with Claire, but her marriage to Frank — not so much. It’s turned into separate beds.
In 18th century Scotland, it’s surrender day for Jamie. Jenny has fulfilled the mission, Jamie has asked her to perform and the British are waiting. “You brought this on yourself,” Jenny cries. “You gave me no choice brother (he didn’t) and I’ll never forgive you. Never.” It’s a test of Fraser wills. Jenny’s fury at her brother for forcing her to turn him in versus his determination to protect her and her brood. Now, Jamie is off to prison, where his physical incarceration will match his emotional state.
Stay tuned! HollywoodLifers, are you as desperate to find out what’s next, as I am? Let me know.