Episode 302: "Surrender" (SPOILERS!)
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
The "wanted" poster in the opening shot is very reminiscent of the one Claire sees in Episode 211 ("Vengeance is Mine"), except of course this one mentions the Dunbonnet, not Red Jamie.
Interesting way to start this episode, with the boys in the dovecote. It's good to see Romann Berrux again, although I have to say that he doesn't appear to have aged six years since we saw him in Episode 213, just before Culloden. <g> (That's not a complaint, just an observation. FWIW, Romann recently turned sixteen, so he's certainly the right age to play sixteen-year-old Fergus.)
Ian's arrest is shocking in its suddenness, but it's consistent with the book. I thought the older boys should have made themselves scarce the moment the Redcoats appeared, but that's a minor quibble.
I like the silver gorget that the Redcoat captain wears around his neck. (We get a good look at it when he says, "I'm here for the Dunbonnet.") Those of you who have read WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD will remember William's gorget, which I think would have been similar.
It's really hard to believe that Ian would have aged so much in only about seven years since we last saw him in Season 2. My (half-joking) explanation is that the stress of looking after Lallybroch and his family and tenants (not to mention his worry over Jamie hiding in the cave), with Redcoats roaming the countryside nearby, has caused his hair to go prematurely gray. I don't like the look, but it's not as bad as I expected from the previews.
When you see Ian being taken away, keep in mind that in the books, he contracted consumption (tuberculosis) during one prison stay, and it could very well have been during this period.
Finally we have our first glimpse of the Dunbonnet. I don't think it's realistic that Jamie would be out hunting in the open in daylight, but I can accept that it's more dramatic for TV this way. I liked Jamie's archery skills. That must have been fun for Sam to learn!
If the purpose of the dun bonnet is to hide his very recognizable red hair, why does Jamie make no attempt to cover his hair with the bonnet while he's out and about? That makes no sense to me.
Jamie imagining that he sees Claire at Lallybroch made me gasp, and my instant reaction was, "My heart hurts for him." So sad!
Jamie's silence is unnerving, as is the way he barely reacts to anything that Fergus or Jenny are saying.
"James Fraser hasna been here for a long, long time." Good line from Jenny, and she's right. His body still functions, but he's not really living, merely existing, much as Abel MacLennan did in FIERY CROSS:
The sight of MacLennan’s grief reminded me too much of the days after Culloden, when I had gone back to my own time, knowing Jamie dead. I knew too well that deadness of heart; the sense of sleepwalking through days and lying open-eyed at night, finding no rest, knowing only emptiness that was not peace.I think Sam does a great job of portraying Jamie in this state of numbness, grief, and despair.
(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 39, "In Cupid's Grove". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Meanwhile, back in 1949, Claire's dream of Jamie is really well done. It reminds me vividly of the Prologue to DRAGONFLY IN AMBER:
I woke three times in the dark predawn. First in sorrow, then in joy, and at the last, in solitude. The tears of a bone-deep loss woke me slowly, bathing my face like the comforting touch of a damp cloth in soothing hands. I turned my face to the wet pillow and sailed a salty river into the caverns of grief remembered, into the subterranean depths of sleep.The way Jamie turns, naked, and smiles at her, is calculated to make viewers' hearts melt, as well as Claire's. (At least it worked that way for me! <g>) But at the same time, it's heartbreaking to watch, knowing it's only a dream.
I came awake then in fierce joy, body arched bowlike in the throes of physical joining, the touch of him fresh on my skin, dying along the paths of my nerves as the ripples of consummation spread from my center. I repelled consciousness, turning again, seeking the sharp, warm smell of a man’s satisfied desire, in the reassuring arms of my lover, sleep.
The third time I woke alone, beyond the touch of love or grief.
(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, "Prologue". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The next scene, with Claire and baby Bree, is mostly taken from the book. I like the way Frank talks to the baby, making it clear that he loves her.
The cave is bigger than I imagined, but it's still a cold, dank, and depressing place to live, and I can't imagine being cooped up there for seven years (!)
"Where'd you get this?" More than 15 minutes into the episode, and these are the first words Jamie speaks out loud.
When Fergus called Jamie a coward, I really thought Jamie would strike him, but I suppose Fergus is old enough now not to be treated like a child.
I like the fact that they've given Mary McNab a somewhat larger role in this episode than she had in the book.
Glad to see they included the raven as an omen of death. Notice that Fergus says he learned how to load a pistol by "watch[ing] Murtagh instructing the soldiers", presumably in Episode 209 ("Je Suis Prest"), before Prestonpans. I can understand that the TV writers thought it would be more dramatic to have Fergus be the one to shoot the raven, rather than Jamie, as in the book, but I don't find it believable that Fergus would have such pinpoint accuracy in his aim, especially if this is the very first time he's ever fired a pistol. (Beginner's luck, perhaps?)
I like the way Mary tells Rabbie, "Dinna be causin' any mair trouble."
Seeing Jamie holding baby Ian just breaks my heart, knowing that he never got to hold Faith, he will never get to hold Brianna as a child, and at this point he has no reason to think he'll ever know if Claire's baby even survived. So sad!
I was disappointed in Jamie's subdued reaction to Jenny's talk of marriage: "I won't marry. Ever again," is all he says. In the book, he reacts with fury, and I missed that.
The scene where the Redcoats burst in to search the house is riveting and suspenseful, just as in the book. I can understand that filming Jamie and the baby in a cramped little closet or wardrobe would have been impossible, but it seems unlikely that he could have escaped detection just by hiding in an adjacent room. Jamie and baby Ian are awfully lucky that the corporal was interrupted before he could do a thorough search!
Jenny is very good in this scene. I love the way she manages to think very quickly, and answer all their questions, but notice the sweat on her forehead. She's clearly terrified, knowing this is a matter of life and death.
Mary McNab taking the blame for the pistol is very strong foreshadowing of Jamie, at Ardsmuir, claiming the scrap of tartan as his own. Interesting.
Meanwhile, in 1949, Claire finally decides she wants to have sex with Frank, possibly for the first time since her return. But when she says, "I miss my husband," the double meaning behind those words is all too clear. And she's keeping her eyes shut.
Fergus out in the woods alone, when there are Redcoats in the area? I have a really bad feeling about this!
Fergus taunting the Redcoats is totally in character, but awfully reckless!
"Hold him down!" I gasped at this, with the very strong echo of BJR ordering Marley to hold Jamie's hand flat while he smashed it with the mallet. <shudder>
The scene where Fergus loses his hand is riveting and very emotionally intense, just like the book, and I thought it was really well done. Romann and Sam are both terrific in this scene.
I loved the way Jamie collapses, from guilt and grief, and weeps in Jenny's arms. I had tears in my eyes, too.
Very glad to see they kept the scene with Jamie at Fergus's bedside almost word for word from the book. I liked Jamie's, "You remind me I have something to fight for."
Back in 1949, the dinner scene seems mostly designed to have Frank noticing the affectionate way Millie and her husband behave toward one another. But in the sex scene that follows, Claire still has her eyes shut, and Frank, understandably, doesn't like that a bit!
"Claire, when I'm with you, I'm with you, but you're with him." Terrific line, one of the best new lines so far this season, IMHO. And of course he's right.
In the next scene, Ian's description of phantom limb pain is a vivid reminder of my reaction when Diana first announced the title of AN ECHO IN THE BONE, back in 2007. I thought essentially the same thing that Ian says here, "Feeling a pain in a part of ye that's lost. And that's just a hand. Claire was your heart." What a powerful metaphor that is for loss and grief! (Look here for some of my thoughts on this from 2009.) Jamie is lucky to have someone in his life who understands a little of what he's been going through.
I liked the scene where Jamie announces his intention to allow himself to be captured for the reward money.
"Jamie, have ye not seen the insides of enough prisons for one lifetime?"
"Little difference to the prison I live in now."
The scene between Jamie and Mary McNab is well done. I'm very glad to see him lose that "Wild Man of Borneo" hair and beard -- he looks 10 or 15 years younger without it! -- but I don't buy the (implied) idea that this is the first time Jamie's shaved in more than six years. I was really glad they included Mary's speech beginning, "I ken well enough what you're thinking", almost word for word from the book.
Nice parallel there, as Jamie, too, keeps his eyes closed while he kisses Mary.
Meanwhile, back in 1949.... The sight of redheaded baby Bree made me smile. Speaking as a fellow redhead, I don't think I've seen a redheaded baby of that age on TV or in the movies before.
I love Claire's voiceover, which comes almost verbatim from the book (VOYAGER chapter 7, "A Faith in Documents"):
"Once, I had thought I was whole. I'd been able to love a man, to bear a child, to heal the sick, and all these things were natural parts of me. But the man I had loved was Jamie, and for a time, I had been part of something greater than myself."
One bit of historical trivia: The newspaper headline about the first woman treasurer of the US is referring to Georgia Neese Clark, who was appointed by President Truman. Look here for more information.
It's good to see Claire taking the first step in her medical career, even if this anatomy professor can't stand the thought of "a woman and a Negro" in his classroom. I liked the way all the men turned to stare at Claire as she came in. Good to see Joe Abernathy, too!
(Idle speculation: who do you suppose is looking after Bree while Claire is attending med school?)
And Frank and Claire are now sleeping in separate twin beds (!) That doesn't bode well, at all.
The scene where Jamie is captured by the Redcoats is very good. I love the way Jenny says, "You gave me no choice, brother, and I'll never forgive ye. Never!" The rest of her reactions might be just acting, for the Redcoats' benefit, but I think she clearly meant that.
The final scene in the 20th c. with Claire and the piper is bittersweet, a not-very-subtle reminder that even though she's started medical school, she's still only "half a person", and her heart remains in Scotland, with Jamie.
Overall I really enjoyed this episode. The season is off to a good start!
I hope you enjoyed this recap. Please come back next week to see my reactions to Episode 303.
Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes so far.