Outlander Episode 3.02: All Debts Paid
The third season of Outlander has been an interesting journey, so far. With our two main characters living 200 years and thousands of miles apart, the series has still crafted an engaging tale of Jamie and Claire. Despite not physically being together, no moment has passed in this series without the audience being reminded in the most subtle of ways that this is truly a story about their relationship. In the third episode of season three, “All Debts Paid,” Jamie and Claire move even closer toward each other in their own little ways.
In the past, Jamie is moving through another few years of his life in Ardsmuir prison. While his acquaintance is made with Major John William Grey, there is also the search for the Frenchman’s Gold. One of the greatest surprises in this episode is the survival of Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. With so many of the characters we met and loved in the first two seasons disappearing to the ashes of Culloden, it was nice to see an old familiar face.
The new face, that of John Grey, was also a pleasant sight. David Barry brought the character to life and introduced us to his delicate mix of emotions, presenting an officer that leads with maturity, an empathetic friend, as well as somebody who has loved and lost. Introducing Grey to the audience was just as delicate as him and Jamie revealing themselves to each other, which they accomplished. Within one hour of television, it feels as though Jamie has revealed more of himself to this British officer than he has anybody else, this season.
However, Jamie obviously hasn’t forgotten Claire. His prison escape, and return, proved that he holds a hope in his heart that she could return, one day. Two hundred years in the future, his wife appears to be moving closer to him, as well. We are starting to see the version of Claire that led to her distance from Brianna in the season two finale. She becomes a dedicated surgeon who doesn’t even notice how much time her husband is dedicating to another woman. Frank changes, as well. The blunt truths in their relationship are revealed, both in actions and in words.
While Frank and Claire appeared doomed from the start, the actual end came even more tragically. It was gut-wrenching to see Frank’s life end so suddenly after he had decided to live the life he truly wanted. It is particularly weird to think that this is the last we may see of Tobias Menzies in the series, because he has been such a prominent character up until this point. While two of his characters have died this season, it was two characters that he brought to screen amazingly well.
This episode also gave us the slightest glimpse of Brianna’s life, as the child holding together her parents’ relationship. From her anger in the season two finale (as an adult) we know that she wasn’t oblivious to the distance between her parents, yet it seemed that they did all that they could to encourage her to grow up “Normal.”
While all of these plot points feel so different, the episode never felt incongruous. This is the magic of season three, so far: the ability to jump between two completely different times, while keeping the viewer engaged. In hindsight, having one story about hunting for buried treasure in the 1700s and another about a marriage in the 20th century falling apart could easily be a train-wreck of massive proportions. But Outlander pulled it together beautifully, giving all of the stories the emotional value they deserved.