Day and night, light and dark, to look or not. In “Surrender” Outlander juxtaposed the future and the past, masculine tenderness and strong women, what is, and what is lost, beautifully. This episode is one of the reasons that I have been so excited about Outlander finally reaching the third season. For fans of the books, these episodes are building into the world in which the Frasers have lived for decades, in our minds. While the foundation of Jamie and Claire’s relationship was set in the first two seasons, this is building what will be their life, should they ever get around to reuniting.
In fact, there are so many pivotal moments in this episode, it feels like a complete change from the previous episode, which was beautiful but didn’t really feel like it went anywhere. Aside from Jamie and Claire’s journey to accept their new lives, there was Fergus’ journey to becoming a Frasier, Little Ian’s introduction to the world, and the introduction of Joe Abernathy in Claire’s life. In addition, Brianna rolled over (It does seem like she should have grown more, by this point, but Baby Bree is too adorable to complain).
We see how dedicated Jamie’s family is, despite how little time he has spent at Lallybroch over the years. Jennie endures the British troops, even in the moments immediately following the birth of Ian, with amazing stoicism. Fergus pays the greatest price for his loyalty (and young foolishness). Something about the clear light of day in the scene where Fergus lost his hand made the moment even more shocking. This isn’t an action that the British need to hide or obscure. They can attack a boy, seemingly leaving him to die, without any sense of shame.
Claire’s small family is slightly less supportive. While the distance between Frank and Claire is closing, Frank could still feel the distance at which Claire is keeping him. However, it’s important to note that Claire is only two years, at best, away from her time with Jamie, while Jamie was six years into his solitary future before Mary came to his cave. Just as we felt that Claire and Frank were going to be able to live happily ever after, Frank stood his ground, demanding that Claire be with him, rather than a memory. For a character put in such a complex situation, they are doing a fabulous job of bringing Frank, and his emotions, to life.
However, Jamie doesn’t have to pretend that he’s living in the moment when he succumbs to what Mary is offering. Essentially, we are treated to the 18th-century version of the mature, no strings attached, one-night-stand.
I enjoyed seeing Jamie with his long hair, if not with the beard, as the Dunbonnet. While I’m sure it’s more practical for San Heughan to have the shorter hair, it didn’t seem as though Jamie should have been anxious to cut it so short. However, wanting to be rid of the beard was completely in-character.
This episode felt as though it truly moved the series forward, and started to introduce characters and circumstances that I’ve been waiting to see since the series first premiered. Baby Ian is finally in existence, Fergus is finally family, Joe Abernathy has met Claire, and moving into the next episode, Jamie is heading to Ardsmuir Prison. Hopefully, we don’t have to wait too long for these characters to grow up on our screens and get our two heroes in the same century.