This Outlander review contains spoilers.
Outlander Season 3 Episode 4
“Of Lost Things” was easily the best episode since the Season 3 premiere. Much of this has to do with balance. For the first time since the season premiere, Jamie’s storyline is as strong as Claire’s…
Jamie just can’t catch a break.
“Of Lost Things” caught up with Jamie not too long from where we left him (also a first for the post-premiere eps), with Jamie — or should I say “Alex” — working as a servant at Helwater, the estate of Dunsanys. It says a lot about how much Jamie has gone through that he is relatively OK with this situation. After years in jail, freedom has become more nuanced. At Helwater may not have the freedom of his name or the freedom to live life as he chooses, but he has some freedom of movement — and, compared to last week’s episode, that’s something?
Jamie’s lack of freedom isn’t just in name or in lifestyle, but also in body. When Geneva, the eldest daughter of the Dunsany’s is set to be married off to a man who could be her grandfather, she forces Jamie into “taking her maidenhead.”
Though the situation is eventually played as Jamie accepting his fate as best he can, that doesn’t negate the fact that Geneva forces him into sex by threatening to expose Jamie’s real identity. In other words, she rapes him. It’s tough to watch Jamie, a character who has been raped before, have to go through another form of sexual assault, to have his body used in this way, with no acknowledgement of the pattern for the previously traumatized Jamie.
It doesn’t help that, for the second episode in a row, Jamie is propositioned by someone who has power over him. Unlike John Grey, Geneva actively uses her position of power to make Jamie have sex with her.
The night results in a baby, one that Ellesmere knows is not his, as he and Geneva apparently never consummated their marriage. When Geneva dies in childbirth, Ellesmere threatens to kill the child, rather than let the Dunsanys have him. Jamie shoots him dead before he can, saving the life of his tiny son. He’s already lost two children; he refuses to leave another.
Jamie stays with Willie for as long as he can, until the boy is old enough to know him and love him, but he knows he cannot stay any longer. People are beginning to piece together the boy’s parentage from how much young Willie looks like Mackenzie, the groom. Jamie leaves, and it is obviously one of the hardest things he has ever had to do (up there with seeing Claire back through the stones).
Jamie leaves young Willie in able hands: the now married John Grey and Lady Dunsany (Geneva’s sister). John, who still loves Jamie, and Lady Dunsany, who knows Willie’s true parentage and respects Jamie, promise to raise Willie well.
Claire is lost in her own storyline.
Meanwhile, in Claire’s storyline, we have jumped back to the events of 1968, following Brianna
and Roger’s realization that Claire is telling the truth about her time travel. Bree has matured since the realization of all her mother has gone through. Now, she worries about not finding Jamie, her father, and also about finding Jamie, and what that might mean for her. Will her mother leave Bree parent-less to return to Jamie? It’s a valid concern.
Bree confides all of this in the ever-stalwart Roger, who continues to look at Bree like she hangs the moon. (Hold on to that one, Bree.) He will help her do anything, including look for Jamie. He takes Claire and Bree to every archive he can think of to find evidence of Jamie after Ardsmuir. However, they find nothing and, Claire, starting to wonder if she is living in the past at the cost of her present, decides to return to Boston, taking Bree with her.
It’s an understated storyline for Claire compared to the ones we’ve seen from her thus far, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that so little of it is about Claire herself. Sure, we get some of her story and emotional state, but, because Claire has to share her storyline with Bree and Roger’s burgeoning romance, and the entire narrative is split between Claire and Jamie, it leaves me missing the central protagonist.
While this was the most emotionally-even episode when it came to balancing the Claire and Jamie storylines, it was also the one in which we got the least of Claire.