Ugly crying and icy roads…….. by Crystal Fann

I’m going to start this week’s blog with a warning.   Those of you who know me might want to sit down, in fact, some of you might want to lie down with some smelling salts or whiskey nearby.

I cried when Frank Randall died.

Now I’m not talking about the one single tear that I have seen described as “Outlander Napalm”. I’m talking full-blown ugly cry with copious tears, snot and the use of five or more Kleenex.

It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of Frank Randall.  In the book, I always saw him as intentionally cruel and selfish.    Then Tobias Menzies got ahold of Frank and while I’m not one of those people who root for Frank to be the winner in the Frank/Jamie/Claire triangle, I at least understand him better.

Here is a man who put ego aside to care for a woman whose love was stolen from him, and the child of that thief.  By all accounts despite living in a fractured marriage, Frank was an excellent father.  I keep thinking of how Frank must feel about Jamie.  On the one hand, Jamie had given him the gift of a precious child but at the cost of the woman Frank loved.  Did Frank thank Jamie every time he looked at Bree’s red hair and her Viking features?  Or did he curse him every time he looked at Claire sleeping in that twin bed three feet away when he so wanted her to lust for his embrace?

frank happy

I do think he resented her independence, portrayed so splendidly by Frank’s refusal to celebrate Claire’s graduation and the appearance of his mistress, effectively dampening the festivities.  I also think he resented Claire’s ability to let go and move on, something which he – despite everything – could not easily do.  Frank didn’t want to go to England to punish Claire – he wanted to go in search of release, something he could never have in her presence.  Even in that last moment so fraught with anger Frank still searched for an inkling of affection from the woman he still loved – only to find that time was no barrier to her love for Jamie.   In was only in those last moments, when Claire pressed her lips to Frank’s cold flesh, did he get what he had longed for, an admission of Claire’s love.

Claire accused Frank of biding his time, sentenced to a loveless marriage for devotion to a daughter. (Seriously, who didn’t chuckle to find out Millie and Jerry had divorced?) Pardon came for both due to an icy road and we are left to ponder which is greater – a prison of emotion or one of stone.

frank claire

While Claire’s story illustrated the emotional price of their separation, Jamie’s showed us the physical cost.   Yet even dirty, dressed in rags and chained, Jamie exerts such a presence that the prisoners dub him “Mac Dubh” and the guards cower, unable to meet his gaze.  In a situation where a fricasseed rat is a delicacy, Jamie holds to his dignity and it makes him a caring leader.   My heart broke as he recounted the details of a meal, tasted only in memory by the men who surround him.

jamie prison

The touch of Claire on Jamie’s life is evident in the way he cares for his men although he cannot bring himself to speak her name.  He tries to forget, yet when the hope of her existence is raised, even in delirium,  Jamie cannot stop himself from searching, even though the unbearable reminder that Claire is truly gone has him begging for death at the hand of an old foe who becomes a friend.

jamie and john

Lord John’s view of Jamie is colored by the past, yet it takes only a few conversations for camaraderie to blossom.  Both are soldiers.  Both have suffered a devastating loss.   Jamie finds such comfort in this friendship that he is finally able to utter the name so precious it was held under lock and key in the safety of his heart.  Claire.  The touch of comfort changes however with the rub of a finger and the friendship is fractured, seemingly beyond repair.  Jamie walks away as a single tear borne of desire and regret rolls down Lord John’s cheek.  There is no greater example of the chasm between the two men as Lord John leads Jamie away, tied to his horse.  Yet at the arrival at Helwater friendship is rekindled, fragile but sure as Jamie looks down on his future, his freedom tenuous but unquestionably felt with the thud of shackles hitting the ground.

Finally, let’s talk about the elephant in the room – that elephant being Murtagh Fitzgibbons Frazer.  I was truly surprised that Ron reprieved him from Culloden but, definitely delighted.   From the moment we hear that distinctive voice, broken with sickness we know that Jamie has not been alone, even in his grief.  My Outlander napalm moment came as Murtaugh spoke of tartan and heritage, Claire and the bairn, even though Jamie could not bring himself to utter her name.   When they are separated by the closing of Ardsmuir, a proper goodbye cannot be had.  There is only a longing look between the two that spoke of blessing and goodbye.  I’m not worried.  I feel sure we’ll see Murtaugh again.

murtaugh

Matthew Roberts call this episode “All Debts Paid”.  Personally, I would have called it “Freedom for Prisons” since that is what he showed us, masterfully juxtaposed between Claire’s and Frank’s prison of a dysfunctional marriage and Jamie, captive by wood and stone.  At the end all were pardoned, one by death the other by friendship and we await the steps each must take as they move forward in creating a life without each other.

Our last glimpse of Jamie sees him overlooking the estate of Helwater and book readers know of his adventures yet to come.  I expect most of us will be crying during the next episode too – but for a completely different reason.

7 thoughts on “Ugly crying and icy roads…….. by Crystal Fann

  1. No whisky nearby but a strong cup of coffee which I almost spilled as I read you cried when Frank died! It’s no secret to those who know me that I have been a Frank sympathizer. I never wanted Frank to win in the Frank/Jamie/Claire triangle either but I am glad that you “finally at least understand him!”
    I think your comments about the difference in Claire and Jamie’s time separated is spot on. I thought it was funny that all the guards were so afraid of Jamie that they wouldn’t even look him in the eye.
    About that elephant named Murtaugh, I was not a fan of this change in the story line..not that I didn’t love the guy or his expressive eyebrows. In a recent interview, Ron Moore explained the change. He said that the character of Murtaugh had been changed from the original character in the books so their version of Murtaugh has always been written differently. I get it but I still need to see how their version plays out. I feel like you do that we will see him again.
    I also agree we will be doing a lot more “ugly” crying before this season is done! Thanks for your weekly blogs..enjoy reading your take on the episodes.

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    1. I didn’t notice that the guards wouldn’t look directly into Jamie’s eyes. I’m definitely going to watch for that when I watch ep again!!

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  2. Now that you bring it up, I think Frank feels about Jamie the same way that Jamie feels about Frank: “Tell him that I thank him…and that I hate him to the marrow of his bones”. It is definitely a dichotomy as he is grateful to have Brianna in his life – he truly loves her as if she were his own flesh and blood – yet there is that constant reminder that Claire will never be able to let go of the past. She cannot forget Jamie and “move on”. So, that last effort by Frank to reach out to Claire is very sad – he really does appear to be trying. I use the word “appear” very deliberately here as although I do think he did love Claire, by this time, that love has pretty much died and he is living for appearances. He says that they were never good at charades – that his colleagues were not convinced that they had a happy marriage – and it seems that he cares about what they think.

    Claire is painted in an unsympathetic light in this episode, in my opinion, as they have her seemingly agree early on that Frank could have indiscretions as long as they were discreet. She does blow up when the indiscretion shows up at their front door, but then they have another 8 years of companionable marriage before that fateful icy night. Then she blows up again – granted this is more to due with Brianna than with the other woman, but she is visibly angry that Frank would want to marry another woman. If they ha had the agreement as alluded to in this episode for almost 20 years, Claire would have no right to be angry about Frank’s re-marriage desires. And as Frank said, Brianna was a grown-up at this time and able to make her own decisions about whether or not she wanted to go with him. I don’t want to be a book Nazi here, but book Claire never had any agreement with Frank that he could “play” outside of their marriage. That’s why she gets so angry that night when everything is confirmed – she was suspicious but never had proof. (And as an aside, I think that Brianna had not graduated high school in the book, so that made it even worse.)

    After all this, I am a bit sad to see Frank go, but it’s not really Frank, but Tobias’ portrayal of Frank (and BJR). Tobias did bring some much needed warmth and humor to Frank that was not in the books. It had to be there – why else would Claire have ever fallen for him in the first place? So, I will miss that. But Frank can RIP.

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    1. Michelle, spot on about the way Frank feels about Jame! “Tell him that I thank him…and that I hate him to the marrow of his bones”. ❤

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  3. Crystal, such a fabulous review! I can’t wait to read these reviews now b/c they put my emotions and observations into words that fail to form for me… but I continually say “yes!” “me too!” “exactly!” when I read them. The scene that got to me the most and made me cry was this one and you put it down in words wonderfully —> “Jamie cannot stop himself from searching, even though the unbearable reminder that Claire is truly gone has him begging for death at the hand of an old foe who becomes a friend.” Yes! And the other scene that got me —> “Jamie walks away as a single tear borne of desire and regret rolls down Lord John’s cheek.” Beautiful!

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