Outlander Season 3 Episode 5: Freedom and Whiskey
Wow. What can I say about this week’s episode of Outlander, “Freedom and Whiskey”? The writers returned to their agonizingly slow pace, but for the first time this season I’m ok with it. Why? Because this was also the most emotionally charged episode. I thought I went through some tissues during last week’s episode, but that was nothing, nothing compared to this week. I was a blubbering mess.
So without further ado, let’s recap!
Freedom and Whiskey Recap: Bree
In Freedom and Whiskey, several months have passed since the ladies left Scotland and it is now Christmas in Boston. Bree has returned to her academic career at Harvard, she is living in her childhood home, but she is not the same person. Gone is the bubbly, confident, forthright Bree. She has been replaced by someone who is disenchanted, cynical, and utterly unsure about her place in the world.
Bree is failing her courses, so she decides to drop out and take some time for herself. Claire hits the roof when she finds out, and they are in the middle of a huge row when SURPRISE! Roger drops by for an unexpected yuletide visit. Poor Roger, the definition of a third wheel, stands there while Bree and Claire resume their fight. Bree screams that she can’t pretend the summer didn’t happen and storms out. Claire is left to ponder just how deeply her revelations have impacted Bree, while Roger meekly mumbles about visiting at a bad time.
All is not lost though. After blowing off some steam, Bree returns to the house the following day and plays tour guide to Roger. It’s nice to see their characters return to some light, teasing banter after all the heaviness they’ve been through.
The scene where Bree takes Roger to Harvard was particularly meaningful. Their differing viewpoints on the architecture speaks to the differences in their personalities. Roger, a dreamer and creator, thinks of the people who may have walked the halls and what conversations they may have shared. Bree, an analytical thinker, muses about how the architecture fundamentally works. These small insights into their perspectives showcase how well they balance each other. I’m really looking forward to watching this relationship deepen.
Fire and Whiskey Recap: Roger
Roger is a smitten kitten and it is ADORABLE. Richard Rankin portrays it so well too. He is subtle, charming, and slightly uneasy, as if he isn’t quite sure yet if his affections are returned. It makes me want to giggle like a schoolgirl with a first crush.
Roger’s visit to America isn’t just about pursuing Bree though, he has a mission. After Bree storms out on Claire and Roger, Roger reveals to Claire that he has found Jamie. Or at least, he’s found a document that he believes was printed by Jamie. The document, printed by Alexander Mackenzie – two of Jamie’s middle names and ANOTHER alias to add to his list – contains lines from a Robert Burns poem that Claire had frequently quoted to Jamie. Since the booklet was printed many years before the poem was written, Roger and Claire surmise that the booklet must’ve been printed by someone who’d had knowledge of the future poem. This of course completely ignores the more logical conclusion that Burns had simply read the booklet and chose to incorporate the lines he liked into the poem when he wrote it….but I digress.
For the purpose of the story, Claire, Bree, and Roger now have a good idea of where Jamie was and what he was doing less than a year from the parallel time they are currently in. This leaves one impossible question for Claire. Does she stay with her daughter now that they are finally starting to build a relationship? Or does she follow her heart and go back to Jamie?
Freedom and Whiskey Recap: Claire
Claire has also returned to Boston a changed woman. Unlike Bree, sharing the secrets she has held for twenty years has unburdened Claire. She is still preoccupied by thoughts of Jamie, but at least she can talk about him now. Her new-found honesty extends beyond Jamie too. She tells Bree about Frank’s affair (or affairs in the books) she tells Joe about Bree’s true parentage (minus the time travel) and she even starts confiding her doubts and emotions. It’s truly a turning point for Claire.
Then we come to the impossible decision. I know it’s fiction, but I cannot imagine being in a situation where you would have to choose between your child and the love of your life. From the moment that choice became a reality for Claire, I spent the rest of the episode in tears. I mean Jesus. The decision is made easier when Bree tells Claire that she is all grown up and doesn’t need Claire the way she used to. A heartbreaking sentence for a mother to hear, but a necessary one in this case. With Bree and Roger supporting her, Claire decides to return to Jamie and spends the rest of the episode preparing. She hoards medical supplies, makes period-appropriate clothes, signs the house over to Bree and ties up every other loose end that you can imagine.
Claire and Bree’s farewell was difficult for me to watch. The fact that I know this is not a final farewell is the only thing that kept me from dissolving into a puddle of tears. It was also nice to see Bree turn to Roger for comfort after Claire’s parting. It gives you the sense that everyone is moving on to happier times.
Freedom and Whiskey Recap: The Reunion
I have never been so happy to be wrong. Last week I complained about waiting another week to see the reunion, and then they give it to us this week. Well, a portion of it anyway.
People have been talking about the print shop scene since season 3 was announced. Let’s face it, everything leading up to the reunion is basically the world’s most annoying literary version of “just the tip”. The pay off HAS to be epic. I’m happy to say that this episode sets it up perfectly.
Freedom and Whiskey gave us the first blush of the reunion. Claire successfully passed through the stones and made it to 18th century Edinburgh. The trepidation she shows on her way to the print shop is palpable. I worried the writers were going to pull a cliff-hanger and leave us when she found the shop, or when she opened the door. They didn’t though. We got to see the golden moment when Claire and Jamie lay eyes on each other for the first time in over 20 years. It was glorious.
Jamie does the only logical thing a person in his position can do. He faints and the episode wraps. It was nice to end on a comic note after such an emotionally-heavy episode. The next show airs October 22nd, and fans are rejoicing from the news that it is an extended one. That means there’s going to be a lot of make up sex. I don’t think that will need much recap, but we’ll see if they squeeze any plot between the nekkedness.