SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched “Surrender,” the Sept. 17 second episode of “Outlander’s” third season.
Separated lovers Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are still pining for each other, especially at night when their sexual longing is strongest in the second episode of “Outlander’s” third season. Therefore, a better title for this episode would be “Lie Back and Think of Scotland.”
The episode opens in Scotland, 1752. Hiding in an isolated cave, Jamie leads a lonely life until Lallybroch is threatened by redcoats pursuing the elusive Jacobite traitor known as “Red Jamie.” Captain Samuel Lewis asks Jamie’s brother-in-law Ian about Red Jamie’s whereabouts and he tells the redcoats they haven’t seen Jamie for six years since he left to fight for the rebellion. There’s a considerable reward being offered for Jamie’s whereabouts, so the disbelieving redcoats take Ian to jail in an effort to get him to talk. It doesn’t work and they return Ian after a brief stay in the clink.
A bedraggled Jamie with overgrown dirty hair and beard is living in the woods near Jenny and Ian’s house. He imagines seeing Claire, but it’s only a mirage. When he’s at Jenny’s house, he’s silent and sullen. Jenny (Laura Donnelly) tells her brother, “James Fraser hasn’t been here for a long time.” Back in the woods, Jamie hears a whistle and sees that it’s Fergus (Romann Berux), with the gun he found in the barn. He wants to learn to shoot. Jamie refuses and tells Fergus he’s done fighting and that there won’t be another rebellion. Fergus refuses to believe that and a short time later, Fergus and his buddies spot a raven and in an ill-advised move, Fergus loads the gun and shoots the raven, which gets the attention of nearby redcoat soldiers. They hear the gunshot and ride toward it to investigate.
Jamie tells Fergus he told him not to use the gun. Jamie then learns that Jenny had her baby and he goes to the house to see her. She asks him how long it’s been since he’s been with a woman. Jamie hushes her and says he’ll never marry again. The redcoats show up again while Jamie is there. He hides in another room with the baby. The midwife turns over the pistol Fergus found to the redcoats and says she was the one who shot the raven. When the redcoats ask about Jenny’s baby, the midwife says the baby was stillborn. The officers give them a warning and then leave. Jenny warns Jamie the new captain won’t rest until Red Jamie hangs.
Fergus walks into the woods. Some redcoats follow him and Fergus cusses them out as Scots betraying their own people. The officers chase Fergus and when they catch him, they cut off his left hand. Jamie is hidden but witnesses this atrocity. As soon as the soldiers ride off, he runs to Fergus and using what he learned from Claire, tends to Fergus’s wound and carries him to safety. Jenny tells Jamie his quick action saved Fergus’s life. Jamie breaks down crying and says, “I should’ve stopped them.” Jamie tells Fergus, “You remind me I have something to fight for.” Fergus reminds Jamie of when Jamie first hired him in Paris and how Jamie promised to always take care of him. Jamie reaffirms his promise.
Jamie and Ian (John Bell) talk about phantom pains in Ian’s wooden leg and Fergus’s now-missing hand, and Ian comments, “But Claire was your heart.” Jamie is silent but stricken by this truth. Jamie talks to Jenny and Ian about turning himself in, saying the redcoats won’t stop bothering them until they find Red Jamie. Cut to Jamie back in the woods. Mary (the midwife) shows up with food and grooming tools. She cuts his hair and shaves him and we finally see the Jamie we know and love. He returns from a bath in the river and finds Mary in her nightgown. She says she wants them “to have something we both need, to feel whole, and moving forward in this life.” She moves to kiss him and he starts to protest, saying he hasn’t done this in a very long time. As they kiss, Jamie is tearing up and he closes his eyes.
Later, after the sex, Jamie returns to Jenny and Ian’s house and the redcoats are there. Jenny tells Jamie he brought it on himself and gave her no choice, but she cries as they take him away.
Meanwhile in 1940s Boston, Claire is trying to be happy with her life as a housewife and mother to baby Brianna, but dreams of Jamie haunt her even as she tries to recommit herself to Frank. She wakes him one night, saying, “I miss my husband” and they make love.
Claire and Frank invite their friends Millie and Jerry for dinner and the two couples bond over Eton mess. Later that evening, Claire initiates sex by the fireplace but when Frank asks her to open her eyes during sex and asks why she can’t look at him, he angrily tells her, “When I’m with you, I’m with you, but you’re with him.” Claire says nothing.
Claire’s voiceover talks about wanting to be part of something greater than herself. She talks to Dr. Simms, an anatomy professor, and enrolls in a university. She’s the sole woman in the class and the sole black man in the class, Joe Abernathy (Wil Johnson), sits next to her as the rest of the class stares at them, but a new friendship is born. That night at home, Frank reads in bed, and when Claire says “good night,” it is revealed that they’re now sleeping in separate beds.
As the episode closes, Claire walks through a park and sees a bagpiper. She drops some money into his case and tears up as she walks on. Absence truly makes the heart grow fonder.