The Battle of Culloden arrives, and in Jamie’s quest to save Claire, they must separate. Meanwhile, in 1968, Claire returns to Scotland for the first time in 20 years; yet, in retracing her steps, she may find her way back to Jamie.
Full recap of “Dragonfly in Amber”, including new images and clips (first aired Saturday, July 9 at 9:00pm ET|PT on STARZ).
Tonight’s Outlander finale actually shared a lot of similarities with the last episode of Season 1. In particular, both featured heavy use of flashbacks to portray two intertwined timelines.
In “To Ransom a Man’s Soul”, as we witnessed the aftermath of Jamie’s rescue from Wentworth Prison and Claire’s attempt to help him heal, so too did we flash several times to witness Jamie’s assault at the hands of Black Jack Randall.
“Dragonfly in Amber” was similar in that way… we shifted between Claire in 1968 Scotland (now with her adult daughter Brianna/Bree and friend Roger Wakefield MacKenzie) and the last day she spent in the past with Jamie (April 16, 1746). We learned what drove Jamie and Claire’s separation in the past and started to understand how Claire lived her life in the 20 years after her return to the future.
So unlike other recaps, this one closely follows the exact episode timeline, including the many flashbacks.
“Dragonfly in Amber” opened in 1968 with a grown-up Roger Wakefield at Reverend Wakefield’s home in Inverness. It was clear that Roger was dazed, as he hid out from guests in another room and watching television with younger children. Reverend Wakefield had died and Roger was on leave from Oxford to bury his adopted father. The housekeeper Fiona (Mrs. Graham’s granddaughter) came to get Roger to tell him it was time to visit with the guests.
As Roger gave the toast to Reverend Wakefield, he noticed an unfamiliar face in the crowd… Claire Randall! She joined in the toast, but was clearly upset as well.
Roger continued visiting with his guests, but also noticed a beautiful red-head young lady he’d never met before. He followed after her as she took in the room, but it was actually she who first approached him. She asked his name (Are you Roger Wakefield?”), and when Roger confirmed, Claire joined the conversation. She introduced herself (Claire Randall) and her daughter, Brianna Randall. Claire and Bree had been staying with relatives in London when they heard about Reverend Wakefield’s sudden passing from a heart attack.
When Claire mentioned that her late husband, Frank, was also fond of the Reverend, things clicked into place for Roger.
From the beginning, it was clear Bree and Roger were smitten with each other, and they had a lot in common too. She was a History major at Harvard, and Roger had a position at the History Department at Oxford.
We also learned that Claire was a surgeon now.
Claire asked for Mrs. Graham, but Roger shared that she died a few years ago.
Claire left to take a look around the house and reflect on her memories, while Bree and Roger continued their conversation.
This was Bree’s first time in Scotland and she mentioned that she and her mother were planning to return to London that evening. However, Bree was always curious about Scotland, believing it was a special place to both her parents.
Before long, Fiona came to call Roger again to say goodbye to come of the guests… she also made sure to give a side-eye to Bree!
Claire thought about how Mrs. Graham had warned her not to chase after her life in the past, and over the last 20 years, Claire had taken that advice: “But now that I was here, the ghosts were starting to chase me.”
As the remaining guests dispersed from the house, Claire and Bree got ready to leave as well. However, Roger invited them to stay with him in Inverness instead of driving back to Scotland. He assured them it was no imposition, and Bree agreed with the plan. Plus, she wanted to have a chance to explore more of Scotland, the “beautiful, wild country” (words Roger had spoken to her earlier).
That night Claire sat in Reverend Wakefield’s study, having a drink in front of the fire. Roger eventually came in and joined her. He talked about how his father had spent a lot of time collecting family and Scottish history. Roger had actually been asked to donate the Reverend’s library to the local college in Inverness, but Roger didn’t think he could part with everything. In particular, there were several books about Prince Charles and the Battle of Culloden that he wanted to keep. This caught Claire’s attention…
Roger continued, saying that his ancestors had fought and died at Culloden. His true name was Roger MacKenzie (he was adopted by Reverend Wakefield after his parents died in World War II). This also caught Claire’s attention: “MacKenzie. I used to know quite a few MacKenzies, once upon a time.”
Then Roger asked something more personal. He wanted to know how Claire managed to say goodbye to the one person you loved most in the world. How could he do it now? Claire admitted that she wasn’t good at saying goodbye, but they were gone and you had to continue living because that’s what your loved one would want.
Claire went back to the guest room, which she was sharing with Bree. She watched her daughter sleep and remarked to herself: “God, you are so like him.”
We flashed to April 16, 1746 at 7:23am. Jamie was walking with Prince Charles and trying one more time to convince him not to match the Jacobite troops to Culloden—the army wasn’t ready and disaster was coming. However, Charles was adamant. He called Jamie his “Thomas”, referring to Doubting Thomas in the Bible the apostle who refused to believe Jesus was resurrected until he touched the wounds from where Jesus’ hands had been nailed to the cross. “But today is the day James. And mark me, before this day is over, I will make a believer of you.”
Jamie went to Claire and confirmed that the Battle of Culloden would happen that day, just as history foretold. Murtagh also brought news that Cumberland had broken camp and the Redcoats were on the march too.
Yet, Claire believed there was one more thing they could do to prevent all of this. She and Jamie went into the big house to talk.
Back in 1968, Roger took Bree on a tour of the local sights. They visited Fort William (if you’ll recall, when Jamie was first arrested, Black Jack Randall whipped him so badly, he almost died).
During the day, they talked and laughed. Bree talked about her love of American history, gained from her father’s stories and growing up in Boston, where the Revolutionary War was embedded into the city.
Bree asked Roger what he remembered of her father, and he commented on Frank being a “snappy dresser” and very kind. When Roger also said that Claire seemed very kind too, Bree was hesitant: “My mother… lives in another world.”
Before they left, Bree walked towards the flogging post and remarked that this place gave her the chills. For Roger, this was understandable because a lot of blood had been spilled at Fort William (Jamie’s included).
Elsewhere, Claire went on her own tour. She visited Lallybroch, which was now in a dilapidated state and locked away from visitors. She remembered Jamie telling her about his father building the house, meeting Jenny and their children, harvesting potatoes. Claire sat down on the front steps and even imagine Jamie standing before her.
Returning to April 16, 1746 at 7:36am, Jamie and Claire had entered Culloden House to talk. She believed the battle was dependent on Prince Charles. But if Charlie died, the rebellion would die with him. She had yellow Jasmine left over from what Colum didn’t use (Jamie wasn’t at all happy to hear Colum had taken his own life).
Claire had been making a tea for Charles to help with his scurvy… she believed she could put the yellow jasmine in the tea, he would die in his sleep, and no one would ever know.
In 1968, Bree and Roger continued their outing. While having lunch at a loch, Bree asked if Roger knew about any incidents that might have occurred back when her parents visited with the Reverend in 1947/1948. He was just a boy, but did remember seeing Mrs. Graham standing in the tool shed, crying as she looked over broken things. Roger seemed to believe Frank Randall was the one who broke them. (Remember in “Through a Glass, Darkly”, when Frank found out Claire was pregnant with Jamie’s baby, he went on a angry rampage in that same shed.) Bree couldn’t believe it—her father had a temper, but he kept it under wraps.
Then Bree shared a story about when she was a kid, one day she found the key to her father’s lockbox and looked through it. Inside were letters from Reverend Wakefield to Frank. They were mostly academic, but there was one letter mentioning an incident involving Claire and Frank, something potentially terrible. It scared Bree so much that she never looked at the lockbox again.
Roger remembered that his father kept a journal that he wrote in every night after dinner. There could be some more details about what happened. Roger and Bree agreed to look for the Reverend’s journals to see if there was anything more they could find out.
After leaving Lallybroch, Claire went to the local archives/historical society to find out who owned the Broch Tuarach estate. She spoke to a librarian who found a deed of sasine transferring the title of the property from James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser to James Jacob Fraser Murray (Jenny and Ian’s oldest son). The two witnesses were Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser and Claire Beauchamp…the surname was smudged, but of course Claire knew it was her (Claire Fraser!).
Lallybroch remained in possession of various Murrays for many generations. Claire got a copy of the deed and made another request—a genealogical search on Roger MacKenzie.
In the evening, Bree told her mother about her day and the visit to Fort William. Claire replied that she had been to Fort William before, and didn’t care for the place (she was almost raped by Black Jack Randall at Fort William).
When Claire told Bree about her day hanging about in the village, Bree seemed to get annoyed. She wanted to know if her mother missed her father, or if she ever really loved him. Claire was taken aback, but replied that she did love and miss Frank.
On April 16, 1746 at 8:17am, Jamie and Claire continued their plotting for how to slip Prince Charles the yellow jasmine. This would be cold-blooded murder of a monarch… could they really do it? Claire believed they could because in this case, taking one life would save thousands.
Unfortunately, Dougal eavesdropped on the whole conversation from the door… before Jamie and Claire could leave the room, Dougal came in and expressed his disgust. He called claire a “whoring witch” and Jamie an ungrateful “son of a bastard”.
Back in 1968 (the day after their excursion), Bree went with Roger to the local college at Inverness. While he talked to the library curator about his father’s documents, she hung out.
As Bree walked around, she came across a rally where a speaker was encouraging her fellow Scots to pursue their independence from England. The speaker (a woman) spoke about their glorious Prince Charles Edward Stuart and how things would be so much different if the Jacobites had won the Battle of Culloden. Who was the agitator? She was a younger Geillis Duncan!
Afterwards, Bree spoke with Geillis (who was actually named Gillian Edgars) about the history behind the unification of Scotland and England. Roger interrupted their conversation, and Gillian invited them both to attend a bigger rally later that day.
Meanwhile, Claire was visiting Culloden. She was disgusted by the admiration of Prince Charlie: “They’ve taken a fool and turned him into a hero.” (PREACH!)
As Claire looked around, she overheard a couple commenting on one of the artifacts in a display, a dragonfly in amber. Claire looked at the display herself and recognized her wedding present from Hugh Munro.
Going back to April 16, 1746 at 8:18am, Jamie tried to talk Dougal down. His uncle was still dealing with the pain of losing Colum and was overreacting. However, Dougal disagreed; he couldn’t believe his own nephew, someone who he trusted, was really a traitor to Scotland.
Dougal was incensed at the betrayal. Unbelievably, Dougal had even worse words for Claire: “You’re nothing but a lying slut, who would lead a man by the cock to his doom, with your claws sunk deep into his balls.” (HAVE. MERCY.)
Jamie warned Dougal not to talk to his wife that way, but Dougal was already too far gone. He reached for his sword and struck out and Jamie and Claire. Jamie and Dougal engaged one another in a fierce fight. Just when Dougal knocked Jamie to the ground and went to stab him, Claire intervened and knocked Dougal over the head with a wooden crate. Jamie them climbed on top of his uncle and turned Dougal’s own dagger on him. Together, Jamie and Claire pushed down on the dagger until it pierced Dougal in the chest and killed him.
Jamie and Claire were in shock at the turn of events… and Jamie looked like he was going to weep over Dougal’s body: “I’m so sorry, Uncle.”
In 1968, Bree and Roger looked through the attic to find Reverend Wakefield’s journals. Roger may/may not (MAY) have broken out into song to perform a rat satire to drive away the rodents. Eventually Bree came across a box with all the documents from Frank’s time in Scotland–pictures of him and Claire on their wedding day, Black Jack Randall’s letter of commission from King George II, a letter from Frank to Reverend Wakefield asking him to stop researching BJR (“He’s not the man I thought.”).
On April 16, 1746 at 8:26am, things went from bad to worse for Jamie and Claire when Rupert walked in on them standing over Dougal’s dead body. Rupert was very distraught, but when Jamie asked for two hours before reporting him, Rupert agreed: “For the memory of the friendship that I once had for you, which you have now murdered, as certainly as you did my chieftain, I’ll give you two hours. And then I’ll damn your soul to the fiery pit.”
Rupert then left the room.
Back in 1968, Claire explored Culloden Moor, hearing Frank’s commentary about the Battle of Culloden… how the conditions of the bog left the Jacobites wide open to Redcoats. She came across a stone marked Clan Fraser and met a woman laying flowers by the stone. When the woman asked Claire if she was a Fraser, Claire responded that she was. She sat by the stone and spoke to Jamie, telling him everything that transpired over the last 20 years, including news about Brianna and how much she was like him: “Jamie I was angry at you for such a long time. You made me go and live a life that I didn’t want to live. But you were right. Damn you.”
Now Claire could do do something she hadn’t been able to do these 20 years—she said goodbye to Jamie. “Rest easy, soldier.”
And back in Inverness, Bree came across the articles about Claire’s disappearance, and reappearance three years later. When Claire got home, Bree confronted her. Given the timeline, she had figured out that another man was her biological father. Bree wanted the truth from her mother and was adamant that Roger join them.
Claire: “Yes, there was another man. And I loved him very much. And yes, he was your real father.”
Bree couldn’t believe her mother had lied for so long. However, when Claire tried to explain that Frank didn’t want her to know the truth, Bree refused to have this blamed on her Daddy.
Claire then mentioned how, unfortunately, Bree couldn’t meet her biological father because he was dead. However, she wanted to tell her daughter about Jamie Fraser.
When Bree replied that she didn’t want to know anything about the man, Roger reminded her that she had said she wanted the truth no matter what. So Bree and Roger listened as Claire told them about her journey through the stones: “Most important, Jamie loved you very much. Even though he never met you, he loved you with all his heart. And he would have raised you… if it wasn’t for the Battle of Culloden.”
Returning to April 16, 1746 at 8:34am, Jamie told Murtagh about killing Dougal and having only two hours to get his affairs in order. Jamie revealed a deed of sasine (THAT DEED) signing over Lallybroch to Wee Jamie. It was dated before Red Jamie was labeled a traitor, so the document would be valid. Jamie, Murtagh, and Claire signed it and Jamie made Fergus promise to get the deed to Jenny, without fail.
In 1968, Claire finished her story, and Bree and Roger were in disbelief. Truthfully, Bree was angry that her mother would make up a fairy tale like this. What was wrong with her mother?
Bree: “Just admit it! Admit that you are not a perfect person. Own up to the fact that you fucked someone else while you were married to Daddy, just like a million other bored housewives.”
Claire: “I want not bored, and what Jamie and I had was a hell of a lot more than fucking! He was the love of my life!” (OH MY!)
Bree still couldn’t believe her mother… “Only two people know what the truth is (Claire and Frank) and one of them is dead. Too bad it wasn’t you.”
On April 16, 1746 at 8:37am, Murtagh and Claire signed the deed of sasine. As Claire signed it, a tear dropped on the page, smudging her name (*WAILS*). After Jamie and Claire told Fergus that they loved him like their own son, he took the deed and began his trip to Lallybroch.
Back in 1968, Roger and Bree went out to the pub and talked more about what Claire had told them. Roger really seemed to believe her, especially given how authentic the deed of sasine to Lallybroch looked (Claire had shown them the copy with her signature as evidence). Bree just thought her mother was insane.
Claire remained at the house, looking through the documents Bree and Roger had found. In the process, she came across the invitation to Gillian Edgars’s rally. Claire immediately recognized Gillian as Geillis.
She went to Gillian’s home, but found her husband instead. Greg Edgars was resentful of his wife’s involvement in the White Roses of Scotland, the nationalist group. It had been weeks since he last saw Gillian. Greg drank his sorrows and even fell asleep on Claire.
She took the opportunity to look at Gillian’s journals, which outlined theories of traveling through stones at Craigh na Dun (human sacrifices and gemstones). Claire wanted to try and stop Gillian because she knew the journey would end with Geillis being burned as a witch.
Interestingly, Bree and Roger ran into Gillian after her rally. Gillian commented that she was leaving on a trip that night to “further the cause.”
Flashing back to April 16, 1746 at 8:43am, Jamie told Murtagh to gather the Frasers and get them away from the battle and back to Lallybroch. Since the camp was in the process of breaking down, no one would notice. Jamie refused to have his men die for nothing. However, after he got Claire to safety, Jamie planned to return to Culloden and fight. Murtagh planned to join Jamie on the battlefield.
In 1968, Bree and Roger returned home and Claire was waiting. Bree didn’t want to discuss time traveling, but she did want to hear more about Jamie. Claire told Bree that Jamie was tall, with red hair, just like hers; how Bree was named after Jamie’s father, Brian. Jamie spoke French, loved to play chess, and had a sister, Jenny.
Claire: “I didn’t intend to fall in love. In fact, I fought against it. But I couldn’t deny what I felt for him. And I tried… but I couldn’t. It was the most powerful thing that I’ve ever felt in my life.”
Later that evening, Claire spoke to Roger and Bree about Gillian, how she was really Geillis. But if Claire stopped Gillian from going through the stones, Roger wouldn’t be born… he was the descendant of Dougal and Geillis’ son!
Roger agreed that they had to at least warn Gillian; he wasn’t worried about not being born. He was here and couldn’t evaporate.
Bree couldn’t believe Roger would go along with this, but perhaps this was a way to make Claire face the truth. Or maybe Gillian could provide more evidence.
At 8:54am on April 16, 1746, Jamie and Claire slipped out of camp and rode for Craigh na Dun. He would die regardless and thought a death on the battlefield was better than being hanged as a traitor to the English and/or the MacKenzies. Claire argued that she would stay with Jamie, but… she was pregnant and he knew it.
Jamie: “This child… this one is all that will be left of me…ever.”
Jame would get Claire and the baby to a safe place, back to Frank, who would love and protect them.
In 1968, Roger, Bree, and Claire arrived at Craigh na Dun in time to see Gillian murder her husband (she burned him alive) and disappear through the stones. Interestingly, Roger and Bree could hear the buzzing too… and Bree finally believed her mother.
We returned to April 16, 1746 for the last time. Jamie and Claire were at the stones, but she was frozen in place. She didn’t know how to explain things to Frank.
Jamie: “That I leave to you. Tell him what you will about me…about us. It’s likely he’ll not want to hear, but if he does… Tell him I’m grateful. And tell him I trust him, and tell him I hate him to the very marrow of his bones.”
Claire could already hear the buzzing, but she wasn’t ready. She begged Jamie to come through the stones with her, but he knew he couldn’t go through the stones. Besides, his destiny was at Culloden Moor.
Jamie: “I’ll find you, I promise. If I have to endure 200 years of purgatory, 200 years without you, then that is my punishment that I have earned for my crimes, for i have lied, killed, stolen, betrayed, and broken trust. But when I stand before God, I’ll have one thing to say to weigh against all the rest. Lord, you gave me a rare woman. And God, I loved her well.” (*DIES*)
Claire and Jamie made love one last time, but then they heard the cannons off in the distance. It was time.
She gave him the dragonfly in amber, and he gave her his father’s ring, a gif for the baby. Claire promised to name their child after Jamie’s father.
Then Jamie walked Claire to the big stone, said good-bye, and placed her hand on it.
In 1968, Roger went to get help, while Claire and Bree stayed at the stones. The promised to tell each other the whole truth from now on… this included some of Reverend Wakefield’s research that Roger had discovered.
Jamie hadn’t died on Culloden Moor. In fact, he was the only Fraser officer to have been spared execution.
At that point Claire realized that if Jamie survived, she would go back to him.
If you missed tonight’s show, you can watch “Dragonfly in Amber” on STARZ Play online HERE or via the STARZ Play app.
So, how are we doing Sassenachs?
I have A LOT of thoughts; let’s chat some more! Click on the number 2 right below (under the related posts) to read my mini-review on the next page!