This week is all about those overarching themes. This far into the story and with the print shop looming, Jamie and Claire’s lives are connecting in deeper ways, in best-case scenario decisions, fleeting joys and banked regrets that will turn them into the more damaged, deeper versions of the characters that book readers have been awaiting for some time, and which series watchers will come to appreciate even more as the series expands. Spoilers ahead for episode 304.
Here are four takeaways:
- Closure. Ten years after the Battle of Culloden, we are seeing some signs that the hatred between the Scots and the English, at least as far as Jamie is concerned, is starting to ebb. Not only is there the cementing of his friendship with John, but his empathy with Lord Dunsany’s grief about losing a child. Bree and Roger confess their mutual fears to each other, and forge a delicate new connection. In each century, some negative things must first be purged before they can be replaced.
- The laws of attraction. Isobel wants John, despite Jamie’s warning that soldiers don’t make great husbands, and John will take her, despite wanting Jamie. Roger’s torch for Bree couldn’t burn brighter if he were standing on Ellis Island, and Bree… appears to like him pretty well. Ellesmere wants Geneva because of her appealing pettishness, not thinking it will in any way impact him. Geneva wants whatever part of Jamie she can get, and calls that part love. Aside from Claire, the world is full of romantic compromise that makes the best out of affection and attraction, but not love.
- Many kinds of parents. Geneva’s desire to have a say in who deflowers her results in Jamie’s first opportunity, however indirectly, to parent a child. That child makes John a father in much the same way that Brianna made Frank one, or Roger the Reverend. All these children are tied together by the love of two people, which will cause a ripple effect in their lives that will alter their very identities.
- Hard rain, harsh truths. Geneva’s plan for Jamie resulted in a child neither expected, the death of a man, and a shadow over the child that ultimately results in Jamie having to give him up or risk his legitimacy. Claire is putting the professional life she worked so hard for on pause while she searches for Jamie in the past, and that state of suspended animation finally shatters when she decides to throw in the towel and go back to Boston. Roger confesses his feelings to Bree and gets a kiss, but she leaves,, just as he feared. The further the story progresses, the less love is about open hearts, and the more it is about seeing the possibility for pain, and persevering despite it.