The great tragedy of Jamie Fraser is that he is never able to raise his own children. He is a man who values family above all else, and yet circumstances have dictated that he be forced to send his children to be raised by other men. It’s on that note that we jump into “Of Lost Things,” episode four of Outlander.
To say the time is flying this season is an understatement. It’s one of the harder things to navigate when you’re adapting an almost 900 pg book. The majority of the focus thus far has been on Jamie this season, and last week’s episode is no different. Are you ready? Because we have a lot of ground to cover.
While Claire, Bree, and Roger are playing time detectives, Jamie’s life continues at Helwater, the estate Lord John sent Jamie to at the end of last season. We’re introduced to Lord and Lady Dunsany, as well as their two daughters, Ladies Isobel and Geneva. Lord Dunsany tells Jamie (who is going by the name “Alex MacKenzie”) that, while Lord John has given him a glowing recommendation, and Lord Dunsany himself holds no ill-will towards him, others will not feel the same.
He and Lady Dunsany lost their only son at Prestonpans, so needless to say, Lady Dunsany has no love for any Jacobite. Jamie sympathises with their loss, having lost two children himself, and Lord Dunsany tells him they’ll just keep that whole “treason” thing to themselves. No need to piss off the wife. Isobel seems kind and practical. She and Jamie seem to have a good relationship, in which the unspoken knowledge of Jamie’s position isn’t held against him. Geneva, on the other hand, is what one might call a handful. I would call her a conniving bitch, but hey that’s just me. She doesn’t know that Jamie is a prisoner, but that doesn’t stop her for throwing her weight around at every chance. The groomsmen all draw straws to see who has to go riding with her, which I think says about enough in itself.
I can’t say I blame her for lashing out a bit, though. Her father is making her marry Old Asshole Ellesmere, who is old enough to be her grandfather, but sadly not old enough to shuffle off the mortal coil in the next two months. The unhappy occasion is in two weeks, which is just long enough for Geneva to realize just how hot her Scotch groomsman actually is. She forces him to ride with her, and flirts like a woman about to marry an old asshole. When Jamie is having none of it, she rides ahead and fakes a fall off her horse, giggling when Jamie picks her up (and even when he promptly drops her back in the mud). Some time later, we see Jamie and John playing chess alongside a river on the Dunsany’s estate.
Their conversation is easy and it’s clear their friendship has grown over the past months. Hal (Lord Melton, John’s older brother and Jamie’s not-quite executioner) and the Dunsany sisters pop by the riverbed to say hello, and shit gets awkward as fuck when Hal recognizes Red Jamie himself standing with his little bro, going by the name Alex MacKenzie. Some super casual double meaning conversations and eye-yelling goes on between the brothers, and Geneva, picking up on some juicy shit she can maybe squeeze outta Hal (who looks damn near apoplectic), suggests that the three of them go play cribbage.
The next day, Geneva finds Jamie while he’s shoveling shit and decides to tell him how lucky he is for her merciful heart in not telling dear old Dad about how her dress got muddy. She shows him just how super duper merciful and kind she is, too, by letting him know that she knows ALL about his past. She went and got Hal liquored up and he told the whole story (good thing Hal wasn’t in espionage). She knows his true name and where his family lives, and tells Jamie that she will tell her parents about the notorious Jacobite they have living on their estate unless Jamie comes to her room and bones her. She (understandably) doesn’t want to lose her virginity to Grandpa Douchebag, and Jamie is hot, and has no choice. After trying to talk her out of it, and Geneva telling him she knows where his family is and could make their lives Hell, too, Jamie agrees. He goes to her room that night, and the brash, conniving vixen is gone, in her place a nervous girl, grasping at any control she can get over her own fate. I’d feel a lot more for her at this point, but considering she’s coerced Jamie (nay, Alex, as he won’t let her call him by his real name) to fuck her, I’m having trouble mustering up sympathy. The two have sex, and she tells “Alex” afterwards that she loves him. You can see the hearta
che on Jamie’s face when he explains to her why this isn’t love. It’s powerful, but not particular. I have to say, I really like how the show handled a really controversial scene in the books (the book goes a bit differently, with Geneva saying “Stop! Take it out, it’s too big!” to which Jamie replies “No” and just keeps going). Kudos to Starz for not forcing us to try and rationalize our hero and some non-consensual shit. Geneva goes on to get married and we see her a few months later on a visit to her family… pregnant. Yikes!
Quick jump back to 1968! Joe calls Claire to let her know that an old friend is having surgery and to ask when she is coming back to Boston. Claire is unable to give Joe a month, let alone a day. Their conversation is brief, but the depth of their friendship is easy to see and feel. She knows what food he eats on which day, and I really hope we can see more of their camaraderie in later episodes. We haven’t seen much of Claire’s time in med school, but with her being the first woman and Joe the first African American in their graduating class clearly formed a support system and bond between the two doctors. Later, Fiona gives Claire back the pearls she gave Mrs. Graham way back when and I am baffled. I guess I could see Claire giving them to Mrs. Graham for safe keeping when she decided not to dwell on the past, but wouldn’t she have wanted to give them to her and Jamie’s child? Why on Earth would Mrs. Graham then leave them to Fiona rather than Claire?? I don’t know, of all the things in this episode, this stood out to me. Anyway, Bree tells Claire that they’re heading to Edinburgh tomorrow to look at some ship manifests and the two have a nice moment that isn’t quite ruined by Sophie Skelton’s somewhat forced acting. In general, I am warming to Bree a bit, but sometimes it seems that Skelton gets lost in the accent and forgets to act, as well. Later that night, Bree confesses to Roger that she is conflicted about her mom finding Jamie, since this search has brought them closer together. She doesn’t want to lose her mom, which Roger can understand, because he doesn’t want to lose Bree, and the two smooch and it’s just so cute. I love Roger. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it, but I do. He’s awkward and scholarly and UGH. I love him.
Back in the 18th century, Geneva is having her baby, and shit is not going well. She gives birth to a healthy baby boy, but later dies. I feel a little bad for her, since I can’t imagine her life was a happy or an easy one. Isobel tells Jamie she knows he’s the baby daddy since Ellesmere and Geneva never did the dirty, and blames him for her sister dying. I think that is a little harsh, but it’s quickly forgotten by all when Ellesmere straight up holds the baby at knife point, calling it a bastard and Poor Dead Geneva a whore. After some failed negotiating on Lord Dunsany and Jamie’s part, Jamie shoots Old Asshole in the head, saving his son. A little while later, back at Helwater, Isobel apologizes to Jamie for what she said, and tells him they named the baby Willie. Jamie has a few moments alone with the baby and tells him he’s not going anywhere, and it’s so sad and sweet. Lady Dunsany then comes to tell Jamie that she knows he’s a Jacobite, but she is so grateful to him for saving Willie that, should he want to go home, she and her husband will have him released. Jamie kindly declines, saying times are hard at home and the money he sends is more helpful to them than another mouth, but really it’s to be near his son.
Five years go by and it’s obvious that Jamie (Mac) and Willie are close, Lady Dunsany even jokes that they’re starting to look alike (eek). The growing resemblance sadly convinces Jamie that it’s best for Willie if he leaves, lest his true parentage be found out. Better an Earl than the bastard son of a stable hand, I guess.
Lord John is back, and assures Jamie that he’s doing the right thing. It won’t be long until it’s obvious enough for Willie to see it, too. Jamie asks John to take care of his son, and offers his body in payment. It’s so sad to see how Jamie has come to view his body not as his own, but as a commodity to be traded and sold, and John is aghast. He’s tempted, of course. John will want Jamie til the day he dies, but they’re friends, and John would never betray that. He actually came to tell Jamie that he’s marrying Isobel. Jamie protests at first, knowing that John is gay, but John assures him that he can rise to the occasion, should he need to. He’s been practicing in London! He’s also quite fond of his future bride, and marrying her has the added benefit of being able to watch over Willie. I love John, too. The two part warmly as friends.
The search for Jamie comes to an end for Claire & Co after there are no manifests to be found. The three go to Edinburgh and search for ship manifests to see whether Jamie was sent to America, but for some reason, all of the 18th century records are missing. Claire is completely discouraged, despite both Bree and Roger trying to convince her that they can go to every port on the west coast, searching for him. It’s clear that the search for Jamie is becoming the rabbit hole Claire was warned about when she first returned to the 20th century. While sitting at a bar (to the chagrin off all the men in the place), Claire tells Bree it’s time to go home and stop chasing ghosts. Bree reluctantly agrees and Roger is upset, but also concurs that it’s for the best. They’re all sad as they put away their research, pack, and the two women get on a plane.
The night before Jamie leaves, Willie sneaks in to see him. The two talk, and Willie asks if he can be a “stinkin’ Papist” like Jamie, and so Jamie baptizes him with a special “Papist” name, William James. He gives Willie a snake he carved for him, exactly like his own brother gave him, and we all cry when Jamie assures Willie that he’d remember him. The next morning, Jamie says goodbye to his friend and his son, with only the assurances of John and Isobel that they’ll take care of him. Kudos to Sam Heughan again this episode, because Jamie’s face as he rides away from his crying child is straight up heartbreaking.
Whew! Okay so a LOT happened last week!
So, what did you think of “Of Lost Things?” Did you feel badly for Geneva at all? I really loved the cover of Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall by Walk Off the Earth at the end, what do you think? Are you shipping Roger and Bree? Do you like the heavy focus we’ve had on Jamie this season?