Episode 304: "Of Lost Things" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 304 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Of Lost Things".


There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.









The opening shot, with Jamie carving the little wooden snake, is even more poignant once you've seen the episode.

I love the amount of detail on that corkboard! I'd love to get a closer look at it.

Nice to see Fiona again. I like that she's not used for comic relief as much here as in the books. And I laughed at the way Bree and Roger exchanged looks after Fiona said, "You're much too thin."

The scene with the servants lined up outside the house is reminiscent of DOWNTON ABBEY, but it also reminded me of the way the servants lined up to greet Claire when she returned to Jared's house in Paris in Episode 207 ("Faith"), after the miscarriage.

Interesting that Lord Dunsany doesn't hold Jamie's Jacobite past against him. "You were defeated. Our quarrels are bygone."

"The pain of losing a child never leaves you. I've lost two children myself, my lord." Awwwww, that's sad!

The fact that Jamie receives a small stipend for his work at Helwater is a change from the book, but I can see why they did it: to give Jamie a plausible reason for staying at Helwater after Geneva's death.

Meanwhile back in 1968... When Roger said, "I don't have a girlfriend," Bree's grin said plainly, "You're looking at her!" <g>  Bree fixing the car reminded me of the time she fixed the TV at Joe Abernathy's house during the moon-landing party in DRUMS OF AUTUMN. It's a subtle way to introduce the fact that she has engineering skills.

"What do I owe ye?"
"I'll think of something."

That made me smile. I like the way their relationship is developing.

The bit about the grooms drawing straws comes straight from the book:
Pretty, spoilt, and autocratic, the Lady Geneva was accustomed to get what she wanted  when she wanted it, and damn the convenience of anyone standing in her way. She was a good horsewoman--Jamie would give her that--but so sharp-tongued and whim-ridden that the grooms were given to drawing straws to determine who would have the misfortune of accompanying her on her daily ride.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 14, "Geneva". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Geneva refers to her riding horse as a "palfrey".  According to Wikipedia,
A palfrey is a type of horse that was highly valued as a riding horse in the Middle Ages. It was a lighter-weight horse, usually a smooth gaited one that could amble, suitable for riding over long distances. Palfreys were not a specific breed as horse breeds are understood today.
I liked the scene between Jamie and Isobel. "A cage is still a cage" - good line!  She's right, of course, even if the bars are invisible.

Back in 1968, it was great to hear from Joe Abernathy again. He's aged visibly since the last episode, of course, but he's still a very likeable character, and it was good to see Claire relax as soon as she heard his voice. In case you're wondering, Murphy's sign is a test for gallbladder disease.

So Lord Ellesmere finds Geneva's disposition "appealing"?  Well, maybe.  Or perhaps it's actually the size of her dowry that he finds appealing?

"My God, if a child of mine had hair that color, I'd drown him before he drew his second breath!"

Grrrrr!! When I heard that, I said, "Hey, cut that out!" (Speaking as a redhead myself, of course. <g>)  That comment presumably reflects attitudes that were common among the British aristocracy at the time, but it is, of course, calculated to make all the Jamie-fans in the audience indignant on his behalf.

It's impossible to miss the way Geneva stares at Jamie afterward, obviously Getting Ideas.

The next scene, with Jamie and Geneva riding through the woods, is really well done. Geneva is terrific in this scene.

"What do you find attractive?" Ouch. I wanted Jamie to say, "None of your business, my lady," but of course he's more tactful than that.

When Jamie came upon Lady Geneva sprawled in the road, I thought of the scene in Episode 114 ("The Search") where Jenny pretends to swoon so that she and Claire can capture the Redcoat courier.

"I knew you'd do as I told you," she says, with that insufferable, self-satisfied expression, and THUD! down she goes, in the mud.  I laughed out loud at that. This bit isn't in the book, but I thought it was a very entertaining addition.

Wonderful to see David Berry again as Lord John. I liked the chess game, and their easy manner of talking with one another.

I was surprised when Hal showed up. He's clearly taken aback when he recognizes Jamie, but to his credit, he recovers quickly, playing along with the deception and giving no hint that he knows Jamie's true identity.  Lady Geneva obviously sees that something odd is going on, though, and takes Hal away to speak in private.

(Just an aside: in these Helwater scenes, I'm watching the female servants in the background, wondering which one might be Keren-happuch, the character in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER that Diana Gabaldon named after me. <g>)

The scene between Jamie and Geneva is very good. I really liked Jamie's reaction to Geneva ordering him to her bed. Geneva's use of blackmail here is not quite as dire as in the book -- she certainly doesn't threaten to have him flogged! -- but she is still talking about harm coming to his family at Lallybroch if he doesn't do what she wants.

Jamie's rendezvous with Geneva doesn't carry the overtones of enormous risk and danger to Jamie that we see in the book. I was a little disappointed by that. He just walks into her bedroom in the middle of the night as though it's the most casual thing in the world.

"Having brought me to your bed by means of threats against my family, I'll not have ye call me by the name they give me."  This is a direct quote from the book, and I was glad to see it here.

"You may disrobe." Wow. I wasn't expecting her to order him to do that, but it does seem in character for Geneva. (He's only a servant, after all.)

It's impossible to watch Jamie in this scene without thinking of the wedding night, and Claire's first sight of his naked body. Just heartbreaking to remember that now.

"The first time can often be...vexing." Of course Jamie can't help but be thinking of it, too. <sigh>

I wasn't surprised that they left out Geneva's "No! It's too big! Take it out!" There's just no way they could have explained that to a modern TV audience, and anyway the important part is the fact that they had sex, not that Geneva briefly had second thoughts. Very wise of them to sidestep the whole controversy!

Their post-coital conversation about love is taken almost word for word from the book -- except for this bit: "Love is...when you give your heart and soul to another, and they give theirs in return." Awwwww, that's so sad!

The next time we see Geneva, she's very obviously pregnant.

Meanwhile, back in 1968.... The scene with Fiona and Claire is well done, but I have a very hard time believing that Claire would have given the pearls away to Mrs. Graham as a gift. Aside from her wedding ring, and Brianna <g>, the pearls are her only tangible link to Jamie. Why would she have willingly parted with them for twenty years? I'm glad she got them back, though.

So Bree isn't accustomed to calling Claire "Mama"? Interesting.

I liked the scene with Bree and Roger. Bree is more introspective in this episode, showing more vulnerability, and I liked seeing that.

"Part of me doesn't want to find him either, because, well, once you do, you'll go back to Boston."  And Bree pulls him impulsively into a kiss. I loved that! <g> Rik and Sophie have good chemistry together, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Bree and Roger's relationship develops. The writers are laying a good foundation here, I think.

Ellesmere's estate is enormous, even by comparison to the Dunsanys' mansion.

I liked Jamie's reaction to the news that the baby is "a fine, healthy boy." He stops dead, as though he can't quite believe it.

The scene where Jamie finds Isobel weeping in the hallway is really well done. I think having Isobel tell Jamie the news, rather than a servant as in the book, works really well here. We can see how devastated Isobel is by her sister's death. I was taken by surprise when Isobel slapped him, but I can't blame her for being furious with him, under the circumstances.

I really liked the confrontation between Ellesmere and Dunsany. It's a lot of fun to see this very dramatic scene from the book brought to life on TV.  I like the way Jamie tries to defuse the situation, managing to get the pistol away from Lord Dunsany.

Having Ellesmere threaten the baby's life by holding a knife to his throat, rather than threatening to drop him out the window, makes sense to me. The threat is just as deadly this way, and if they're using a real baby in this scene, there's no risk of injury to him if something should go wrong in the filming. So I think it was a good decision.

I just loved the way the baby opened his eyes and looked at Jamie. So glad he got to hold him, even if only for a short time!

The next scene, with Isobel, Jamie, and baby William, is very well done.  I'm really glad they included Jamie talking to the baby ("You're a braw laddie"), just as he did in the book. I had tears in my eyes, watching this.

When Lady Dunsany offers Jamie his freedom, the presence of baby William in the pram beside them makes the choice blindingly clear, just as it is in the book:
Scotland. To go away from this damp, spongy atmosphere, set foot on that forbidden road and walk it with a free, long stride, up into the crags and along the deer trails, to feel the air clearing and sharpening with the scent of gorse and heather. To go home!

To be a stranger no longer. To go away from hostility and loneliness, come down into Lallybroch, and see his sister’s face light with joy at the sight of him, feel her arms around his waist, Ian’s hug about his shoulders and the pummeling, grasping clutch of the children’s hands, tugging at his clothes.

To go away, and never to see or hear of his own child again.

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 15, "By Misadventure". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

But somehow it's even more heartbreaking for Jamie to have to make that decision while looking down at his newborn son.

I love the scenes with Willie, age six, played by Clark Butler. The casting people did a terrific job finding him.

Clever idea to use the excuse of wiping down the carriage windows to let Jamie take a really good look at Willie's features, compare them to his own (reflected in the glass), and see the resemblance for himself.

Back in 1968, I'm not sure I see the point of that futile visit to the National Archives. Just to show Claire's frustration at how difficult and time-consuming it's proving to find Jamie in the past?

The scene at the bar seems pretty contrived, designed by the writers specifically, IMHO, to put the idea of Burns' "Freedom and whisky gang thegither" in Roger's head, so he'll search later with that thought in mind.

Claire's complaint about the sexist attitudes of men in 1968 doesn't fit well here. Claire is seriously contemplating going back to the 18th century for good, assuming they find Jamie.  If she's that irritated by the sexist behavior of mid-20th-century men, has she forgotten what it was like to be surrounded by 18th-century men (Angus, for example) who thought even less of women, or to live in a society in which women had few legal rights?

Interesting that Claire seems to be having second thoughts about "chasing a ghost".

The scene with Willie and Jamie is terrific! "You have to do what I tell you," Willie says, echoing Geneva earlier in the episode.

"I suspect no's a word ye've not heard much of, but you'll hear it in the world and you'd best get used to it."  That made me think immediately of the wonderful scene in THE SCOTTISH PRISONER where Jamie teaches two-year-old Willie how to say "No." <g>  (One of my favorite scenes in that book!)

Willie's reaction to the word "bastard", and Jamie's response, hugging him at long last, is very much as I've always imagined from the book. I like the way Jamie murmurs to him in Gaelic.

"We all have our secrets," Lord John says to Jamie. Good line -- and John has more secrets than most.

I like the scene with John and Jamie in the woods very much. David Berry's facial expressions in this scene are absolutely spot on, especially his utter astonishment at Jamie's offer.

They don't state specifically that Lord John has resigned his army commission, but I think it's obvious from the fact that John is not in uniform on this visit.

I'm glad they included John's line, "I made trial of my capacity in London." Some day I hope we'll see that scene in a published book!

"I'm grateful to ye," Jamie says, and they shake hands as gentlemen, as friends, as equals.  And then Jamie puts his free hand over their clasped hands, in echo of that disastrous incident at Ardsmuir that nearly shattered their friendship permanently. I loved that, as a sign that all is forgiven between them.

Jamie and Willie's farewell scene is just wonderful!  I think the inclusion of the little statue of St. Anthony, "the patron saint of lost things", is really fitting -- and now we see where the title of this episode comes from.

I was really glad to see they kept so much of this scene almost word-for-word from the book. <g>  But the gift of the wooden snake is really an inspired idea, and I love it!  It's a gift with deep meaning for both Jamie and Willie, and it will be easier than a rosary for Willie to hide from the adults around him.

As the scene ended, I was a bit startled to hear the Bob Dylan song. At first I thought, this is an odd choice for a show that takes place mostly in the 18th century. But the lyrics ("Oh where have you been, my blue-eyed son") are very appropriate (heartbreakingly so), and I love the montage that follows.

I had tears in my eyes when Jamie said goodbye to Willie, John, and Isobel. "It's hard" seems like a vast understatement, but the music is somehow comforting.

When Brianna looked around one last time just before leaving the manse, I thought she must be thinking of how much her life has changed since she walked through its doors for the first time at the beginning of Episode 213 ("Dragonfly in Amber"). She's changed a lot in a short time already, and this is only the beginning.

Willie running toward "Mac" as he rides away, not looking back -- that's just gut-wrenching. Devastating. I can imagine Willie's cries echoing in Jamie's memory for a long, long time afterward.

Roger playing with the toy plane segues neatly into Claire and Bree, on the plane going home to Boston.

And at the very end, we're left with the image of Jamie riding away, leaving Helwater and Willie behind forever. I can't imagine what Jamie must be going through, emotionally, not knowing if he'll ever see his son again. And once again I think what an appropriate surname "Ransom" is for William: the "ransom" Jamie paid -- the price for regaining his freedom -- is to give up forever any chance of a relationship with his son. Just heartbreaking.

They did a fantastic job with this episode. Kudos to the entire cast and crew!
I hope you enjoyed this recap. Please come back next week to see my reactions to Episode 305.

Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes so far.


Anonymous said...


Quite a brilliant episode this....I loved the actor who played Willie but I do not think he looks a lot like Jamie. He was supposed to have blond hair from his mother and, later, a red beard from his father. David Berry with eyes like limpid pools and "berry" lips is a spot on Lord John. I'm still undecided about the switch from the Rosary to the snake...it's almost like they substituted something holy to something symbolically evil. I saw the BTS where the producers explained that Jamie would have had all his possessions taken away as a prisoner. So why could it not be a rosary he recently got during his time at Helwater? Willie would have hid it from his Gran. But maybe it's just me being influenced by that explosive scene where he rips it off his neck and flings it back to Jamie much later in the books. And that ending was so devastating. That hand on his son's head was like a benediction. The look from Lord John when they sang "it's hard" reminds us that it is not only Willie who is going to miss "Mac" but Lord John as well for Jamie was truly someone who he could speak freely with and who understood him. I agree with you on his name "Ransom" that is a brilliant interpretation. Do you who plays the adult William or has that part not been cast yet?

♥Susanlynn said...

Karen, I read all the comments on Compuserve , but I always look forward to your detailed analysis of each episode, and I almost always agree with your opinions. This episode was full of heart wrenching moments. Sam just gets better and better of portraying Jamie. He has been consistently amazing since season one , and this season he really shines . Bravo, Sam. The actresses portraying Isobel and Genva were very good. I have seen Hannah James(Geneva) in "Mercy Street" on PBS, about a Civil War hospital. She did a good job of portraying GEneva as a spoiled, entitled , impetuous girl . I thought the actor playing Willie was adorable, but I saw no resemblance to Sam. That was a little jarring since it was supposedly the reason Jamie had to leave Helwater because everyone would be able to tell that JAmie was his father. David Berry continues to do an excellent job portraying John and his love for Jamie.

I have noticed that Sam seems to have become the designated player for the nude scenes. I am starting to feel a little like a voyeur. Cait was shown fully clothed in one love scene and from the back in the dark and under a cover in the other. Sam , on the other hand, has already done two nude scenes in only 4 episodes. I also noticed that when Jamie sees visions of CLaire, she is in a long night gown and shawl ,and in another vision, she is fully clothed. However, in Claire's vision of Jamie, he is stark naked and coming toward her ready to pounce. The female gaze? For people who have not read the books, it might seem that Jamie pines for his spiritual, close connection to CLaire, while CLaire misses JAmie's body and sexual prowess. In the books, we know that Jamie and CLaire represent a timeless love if both body and spirit. Well, just something I noticed.

♥Susanlynn said...

I think that there was a nod to future episodes when Jamie tells Willie that Willie will someday find a wife or she will find him foreshadowing CLaire searching for and ultimately finding Jamie !!

Cara said...

Loved everything about the episode except the modern music at the end. It didn't work for me.

MeiLing_82 said...

Actually, Willie isn't supposed to be a blonde at all. I don't know where you got that idea. His hair is chestnut, like Geneva's. Chestnut is a shade of rich shade of brown with reddish undertones. But yes, his beard is as red as red as Jamie's hair and his pubic hair as well. As far as him not looking like Jamie, I guess you've never seen pics of elementary school age Sam. He does look quite a bit like Sam at that age.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the episode but I didn’t like Jamie’s offer to Lord John at the end. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t in the book and it just seemed a little inappropriate asking someone to take care of a child for sex. Any good person would do this favor for someone, I just think it was shocking to hear, especially from Jamie. Am I wrong, was it not in the book?

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering when Jamie's hair is going to grow longer . . .

Anonymous said...

No one has mentioned the lack of a scene where Claire explains to Brianna about Jamie. Episode 303, her "dad" dies. Episode 304, she in Scotland tracking down Jamie with her mom. There was a lot that was glossed over there. Would've been nice to see...

Anonymous said...

What happened to the scene where Claire explains Jamie to Brianna?

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen this episode begins with Scotland in 1968, with Claire , Roger and Bree going through records to find Jamie and hearing about the Dunbonnet from Fiona , they find his prison records , . then onto Jamie being a grooms man at Helwater , Jamie meets with LOrd Dunsany and he tells Jamie he's a groom but is still a prisoner, the grooms must draw staws to see who will go out riding with Lady Genevia , who is a spoiled miss who is also very cold , loved seeing Joe and the fact they are still friends he looks great older, Lady Genevia is being forces to marry a man old enough to be her father ia , and seeing Jamie hatches a plot , she shows her demanding while out riding with Jamie , and was glad when she fell off the horse and Jamie dropped her in the mud after picking her up . love the scene with Lord John and the chess game . Lord Milton knows the truth about Jamie bout doesn't tell the truth , Genvia theatens Jamie by using Lallybroch as blackmail , she demands he come to her room he does but its clear he does it out of fear for his family, loved the love -scenes I just wish it could have been someone less cold-hearted , love Jamie telling her what love really means . At the Manse Fiona gives Claire the pearls she had kept from Mrs. Graham , was a good scene. love the fact that Roger comforts Bree when she think she might loose CLaire if she goes back to the past . you can see their romance starting here. Lady Geniva is giving birth and is in trouble , she delivers the baby that Jamie knows is his , love Lady Isabel at her sisters death. and understand when she hits Jamie in reaction. the scene between Helwater and Jamie saving the baby 's life is right out of the book and very well done , also is Jamie 's decision to stay after being offered to be given the chance to go home , and he's decision to stay , loved the scenes with Young Willie , was right from the book . at the National Archives of Scotland Roger , Claire and Bree are stone walled in finding out more about Jamie 's past , at the bar Claire decides its time to stop chasing ghosts and the leave for Boston . after hearing and seeing comments at how much Young Willie looks like him Jamie too decides to leave , love the scenes with him was in tears , love the fact that Lord John was there for Jamie when he needed him the most and the friendship between them goes deeper. beautiful scene with Jamie and young Willie praying , like the use of the Bob Dylan song it tells so much about the scenes , I love this episode and will watch it again this week. felt Geniva got what she deserved am sorry to say .this season gets better and better will be watching more next Sunday . please post more soon. Sincerely.

Michelle said...

Karen, do you know which Jacobite banner hangs in the frame at the manse? They keep looking at it, so I imagine it was an importAnt one

Lainiejay said...

I think the show has a different idea of how Jamie shoud look, so don't hold your breath. If his hair was going to be long, it would be long by now. They've shortened it since the cave days.

Anonymous said...

It was in the book.

Unknown said...

It was in the book as was lord johns response :)

♥Susanlynn said...

How did Geneva know that his family called him Jamie? THere was no mention of Jenny's letter in the episode?

I have had enough of seeing Jamie in the arms of other women. I need Jamie and Claire together soon...now...and forever.

♥Susanlynn said...

Jamie tells Lord DUnsany, " I myself have lost two children" I loved this addition to the dialogue, and SAm delivered the that line with such true meaning and emotion. Sam needs some recognition and awards for his excellent acting in this show.

Susanlynn said...

Sometimes it is a tiny moment that makes this show so special and heartwarming. I loved seeing Jamie let Willie blow out the match ..such a tiny gesture but one that a loving, devoted father might do.

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen have seen the episode a few times and sometimes its good to see an episode more than once you see things that you didn't see in the beginning like in some of the scenes with Lord John and Jamie , it was a Fall Scene and full of Falling leaves also liked the Bob Dylan song better the second time around , will be watching it again and more next Sunday . please post more soon. Sincerely.

Inga said...

Not only was it in the books, he later reveals that he did this to test Lord John to make sure he could trust him with Willie. He states that if Lord John had taken him up on his offer, he would have killed him then and there.

Inga said...

In the book, Geneva intercepts letters to and from Jamie’s family. That’s how she knows his name as well as everyone in Jamie’s family.

Inga said...

I’m sorry you felt that way because I thought it was an excellent choice of music. So heartbreaking and tied together the two worlds in a subtle way.

Veronica and Edward said...

The conversation already happened, but back in Season 2 Episode 13. :)

Anonymous said...

Geneva found out he was "Red Jamie" from Lord Melton, so interpreted his real name as Jamie.

EMM said...

The casting for this series has been absolutely perfect, skilled but relatively unknown actors who look as if they were the actual characters, but who do not bring along with them the baggage of previous work. An example is Tommy Flanagan, the Glasgow actor who many felt should have been cast as Murtagh, but after seven seasons of playing an outlaw biker in Sons of Anarchy, would have carried that part along with him. Unfortunately I cannot say this for Willie. The child neither looks like Jamie, nor does he have blue eyes, despste the constant reference to him having his fathers's eyes. Brown eyed children do not grow up to have blue eyes! As the resemblance was the reason for Jamie leaving Helwater, and was a mjor plot point, I think a child could have been found who looks like Jamie.

Anonymous said...

I did not like the softening of Geneva! So wrong! And then they made it even worse, softened the situation even more, when deleted the scen (10 seconds) when Jamie explains to Claire that he was forced.

Anonymous said...

A very important contrast that u overlooked is the one between John and Geneva. She forced Jamie to sleep with her by threatening his family (no matter how much they tuk out, the bottom line is still the same) and John turned down sleeping with him (which, cum on, we all know he desperately longs for) becoz he knew it wudnt b ryt, given that Jamie wud only b doing it 4 his son's future.

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