I was having a hard time with this week’s blog – I mean let’s face it, the only thing that really mattered were those precious minutes at the end. But then I realized it wasn’t just this episode that set the stage for the reunion we have all been waiting for, every episode along the way – from watching Jamie struggle to survive after Culloden to Claire saving a life on the operating table, hands soaked in blood – has set the stage for those precious last minutes. Last nights show was just the final step that needed to be taken.
I’ve heard a lot of people rag on Sophie Skelton’s portrayal of Brianna, but in this episode she owned it. Six months after returning from Scotland Brianna is still wrestling with the revelations of summer past. She’s struggling. Her hands, tentative and unsure as she touches the memorabilia of the father she knew, the failure of not being able to continue the course she had previously set forth to honor him all tell the tale of the conflict raging inside her. Slowly she lets go of the ideals set forth by the father she knew and takes a brave step toward being herself – a reflection of the man whose blood runs in her veins. Brianna is a natural at figuring out how things work. Fixing the car last week and her amazement at architecture is Jamie Fraser to a T. Brianna still loves Frank, but she is beginning to love the Jamie she finds through her mother’s memory and like her red-haired, Scottish father, she is strong enough to sacrifice for love.
Can we just talk for a minute about how stinkin cute Roger Rankin is? From the moment Brianna opens the door to him, we see the future shining in his eyes and wonder how long it will take Brianna to see it too. I’m sure Roger kept up the search for Jamie partly due to being a historian, but it was more for the chance of seeing Brianna again. It’s his first Christmas without the man he knew as father and he chooses to spend the holiday, like we all do, with the people he loves. He’s a good one, Claire tells her daughter, I know responds Brianna and we all know too. The Christmas traditions Roger and Bree begin together will be for life.
The theme song from Batman was an inside joke based on what they called Claire’s costume behind the scenes, but it was appropriate. Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser is absolutely a freakin superhero. She is a woman with courage enough to leave behind everything she knows and loves to follow a ghost. I don’t know many of us that could do that – I don’t think I could. Claire comes to decision slowly in talks with her good friend Joe, likening her jaunt to the past in terms of space and time, but ironically it is Sandy – Franks mistress – that reminds Claire how precious time is when it comes to love. The relationship with her daughter is no longer estranged, but sure enough that Claire can say goodbye, knowing the love between them is enduring enough to sustain a lifetime apart.
Yet despite all the tears between mother and daughter, the most poignant moments – at least to me – were with a friend. I wished they could have spent more time on the relationship between Claire and Joe, yet the moments we got bespoke the fondness and respect that had grown between the two in 15 years of friendship. “You’re a skinny white broad with too much hair and a good ass”, who but a best friend would say that – and who would we take that from other than a best pal? In that sweet moment, although Joe didn’t know it was goodbye, Claire said what we all should say to an enduring, supportive friendship – thank you.
I was pleasantly surprised with the foreshadowing in the episode not only for later in the season but next year as well. For all you non-book readers – seriously you need to READ THE BOOKS – let’s just say that there is reason Claire knows how that skull met its demise. The conversation where Claire laments all the things she will miss in Brianna life was not sad for me – and if you haven’t read the books, you’ll just have to wait to find out why.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for didn’t disappoint. Claire’s tentative touch of the sign is in equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful. The sound of Jamie’s voice startles her and her breath becomes that of a long-distance runner finally reaching the goal. Claire’s joy is palpable shown in tears and smiles. Her voice is light again, finally freed of the weight of the heartbreak she has carried for twenty years.
Jamie’s reaction is everything. The tightening of the shoulders and the slow turn are movements of a man stunned and almost too terrified to let himself hope. His eyes widen – his face alights with joy – he stumbles, steadying himself with a grasp on the press, but it’s not enough and down he goes. Here is a man that in 20 years has seen isolation, heartbreak, confinement, beatings and utter hopelessness – yet the thing that finally breaks him is the sight of Claire in the flesh. Did Jamie faint because the influx of happiness was so overwhelming he couldn’t withstand it? I like to think so.
This is an epic love story… a story where just a look and a smile can wipe away the memory of a blackmail induced romp, dysfunctional marriage and twenty years of separation. This is a love so strong it can withstand the sacrifice required to exist. We must wait for two-weeks to see the fruits of this reunion. Personally, I think they should have put off the World Series until after A. Malcolm airs, but if Jamie & Claire can withstand twenty years apart – I think I can hold out for 14 more days. But after that…somebody get Jamie some smelling salts and let’s get on with it!!