Jamie’s time in prison reunites him with old friends and adversaries. And in the 1950s/1960s, Claire experiences professional success while Frank decides to make the best of his situation. Full recap of “All Debts Paid”, including new clips (first aired Sunday, September 24 at 8pm ET|PT on STARZ).
After Jamie is arrested at the end of “Surrender,” he’s sent to Ardsmuir Prison. We catch up with him in “All Debts Paid” in 1755, just as a new governor is about to take over the prison. The new warden is a young man, and mostly unenthusiastic about his new position and being so far outside of society. He does seems shocked to see that Red Jamie Fraser is one of the prisoners at Ardsmuir. In fact, Jamie, known as Mac Dubh among the other prisoners, has taken a leadership role, acting as a spokesman to bring their concerns to notice of the prison administration.
As far as Jamie, himself, you can tell the circumstances in which he lives are pretty dire. As the only Jacobite officer in the prison, he’s the only person who is kept in chains 24/7 (for THREE YEARS). The prisoners live in tight, damp, rodent-infested quarters, with barely enough blankets to go around. But there is one positive about this situation: MURTAGH LIVES! Not only does Murtagh survive Culloden, but he’s also imprisoned at Ardsmuir! Murtagh isn’t doing too well either; he’s sick with a chronic cough. But Murtagh hold on his Scottish heritage, clinging to a small piece of his tartan (even though its very illegal). Jamie and Murtagh talk about the new governor, a young officer named Grey. Jamie seems to recognize the man, but can’t place him. Jamie takes care to make sure he and Murtagh are eating greens (milk thistle), something he learned from Claire, though Jamie doesn’t say her name.
Jamie is eventually taken to see the new warden, Major John William Grey. This meeting is brief. Lord Grey says he wants Jamie to continue as he spokesperson for the prisoners and Jamie agrees. When they’re interrupted by rats crawling around, Lord Grey demands that a cats be placed around the prison to take care of the rodent problem. However, Jamie speaks us, saying that the prisoners won’t like the cats competing with them for food. (Yep, the prisoners eat the rats “only when they’re lucky to catch one.”)
Sometime later, a group of Red Coats come across a Scotsman walking through the fields, muttering about cursed gold. They immediately take him to Lord Grey. Before the previous governor, Colonel Quarry leaves, he mentions rumors that, during the uprising, King Louis sent gold to Prince Charlie to help his efforts. The gold never made it to it’s destinatio; however, many say that a group of Highlanders hid it in the moor around Ardsmuir. Could this be what this random man (Duncan Kerr) is referencing? Duncan speaks in a combination of English, Gaelic, and French… so Lord Grey asks for assistance from Jamie, who speaks all three languages. At first Jamie declines: he’s a prisoner, not an interpreter. But Lord Grey makes a bargain. In exchange for translating, he will have Jamie’s chains permanently removed. Jamie promises to convey the truth of Duncan’s words and not tell another person (besides Lord Grey). And Lord Grey agrees to provide medical help to Murtagh.
Jamie speaks to Duncan, who mentions how “the gold is cursed.” Then Duncan start to mention the MacKenzies, Colum, Dougal, and even Jamie’s mother Ellen. But what really flusters Jamie, is when Duncan mentions a white witch, “she will come for you.” Jamie knows that they used to call Claire a white witch… could she be back?! Duncan dies without giving any tangible information about the gold, at least this is what Jamie tells Lord Grey. But Grey is very suspicious that Jamie is holding something back.
Jamie shares his speculations about the white witch with Murtagh, who seems to believe it’s possible that Claire has returned. “I wish we could know what became of her… But I think of her evey now and then. And the wee bairn that she was carrying.” Murtagh, FOREVER the captain of the Claire/Jamie ship!
They’re interrupted by a summons for Jamie to see Lord Grey. He’s asked Jamie to join him for dinner as Colonel Quarry used to do. Jamie takes the opportunity to request that the prisoners have the ability to hunt for themselves and gather watercresses since the Crown cannot provide enough food. Lord Grey is shocked when Jamie asserts that eating greens will prevent scurvy.
“Wherever did you get that notion?”
“From my wife.”
The next morning, while the guards take the prisoners to check their snares, Jamie executes his plan. The prisoners stage a distraction and Jamie escapes by hiding in the grass. Jamie is gone for three days and Lord Grey is adamant about continuing the search. In the most brilliant full circle moment, while Lord Grey is relieving himself, Jamie attacks. He knows that John Grey is the boy who attacked him ahead of Prestonpans (“Je Suis Prest“). But in a twist, Jamie drops to his knees and demands that Lord John fulfill his promise to kill him. Lord John puts his sword to Jamie’s throat, but then asserts that he is not a murderer of unarmed prisoners. Jamie then takes Lord John to the moor and confesses that some of what Duncan said had meaning to him, that he’d escaped from the guards to go see if Claire had returned. According to Jamie, Claire wasn’t there, but he did find an empty box with one jewel, a sapphire, which he gives to Lord John.
Lord John fulfills his promise to Jamie by having a doctor come see Murtagh. And this is the beginning of their friendship… over the next three months, they bond over good food, good wine, and chess. (And afterwards, Jamie also shares descriptions of the meal with other prisoners, so they may live vicariously through him). Lord John shares how he recently lost a good “friend” who died in battle… “some people, you grieve over forever.” Jamie definitely knows this and talks about Claire. Jamie finally says her name! “Claire, her name was Claire.”
He even confesses that Lord John met Claire at Corrieyairack, the Englishwoman John thought he was saving. Jamie and Lord John share a laugh over this. Jamie even says that he admires John for risking himself to save a woman’s virtue. Butttttttttt then Lord John places his hand on Jamie’s, in a sexual overture, and Jamie completely shuts down.
“Take your hand off me, or I will kill you.”
This man has had enough of Red Coats and their sexual attraction to him.
But unexpectedly, when Jamie leaves to return to his cell, Lord John sheds a tear. (Embarrassment? Shame? Fear? Sadness because unrequited love?)
Some time later, Ardsmuir Prison is closed and the prisoners, including Murtagh, are sent away to the colonies to be indentured servants (a term of 14 years) and then be granted freedom… all except Jamie. As a convicted traitor, Jamie must remained imprisoned until the King gives approval. Instead, Lord John has arranged for Jamie to serve the rest of his sentence as an indentured servant at Helwater Estate in Northern England. Lord John promises to check on Jamie periodically and encourages Jamie to pick a new name that would distance him from the Red Jamie persona. Jamie is suspicious that Lord John would make this arrangement for him. Lord John says he regrets making that move on Jamie, but they did did build a friendship of sorts and talk about their lost loves.
“You gave me my life all those years ago. Now I give you yours. I hope you use it well.”
“Your brother discharged that debt”
“For the sake of the family name. I discharge it for the sake of my own.”
In Boston in 1956, Claire is still in medical school, which takes up a lot of her time. Frank has stepped in to take on some of the duties at home. That morning Frank is making full English breakfast, particularly because he’s decided that Bree needs more Englishness in her life. Claire and Frank share a moment of laughter over their daughter, which Claire tries to expand up. Maybe she can take the night off and they can go see a movie? However, Frank has already seen all the recent films… this is when it becomes clear to us that they two of them have agreed on an open marriage and Frank is actively seeking companionship elsewhere. Claire brushes it off, but you can tell that she’s taken aback to be confronted with Frank’s extra-marital affairs like this.
In 1958, Claire graduates from medical school and the Randalls host a pre-party for her and Joe Abernathy before going out to dinner. They have drinks and Bree takes photographs. Bree is such a daddy’s girl! Frank seems in a hurry for them to leave for the dinner reservation, but Claire isn’t too bothered… that is until there’s a knock at the door and she comes face to face with Frank’s mistress, Sandy. Claire is flustered, but rallies the group to leave for the restaurant, while Frank stays behind.
That night, Claire is very upset with Frank. Why would he bring his mistress to their home when Bree is there? Since Claire was taking the car, apparently Frank needed Sandy to pick him up. How dare Frank humiliate Claire in front of her new colleagues on her graduation day! But apparently humiliation is a mutual feeling, one that Frank has experienced all these years. According to Frank, no one believes their facade of a marriage. He gets very defensive when Claire calls Sandy a harlot… he claims that she has a PhD fellowship at Harvard in linguistics (*shrugs*) Claire’s and Frank’s exchange is heated and maybe he does want to hurt Claire by flaunting Sandy… give her a taste of her own medicine. Because as far as Frank is concerned, Claire is the person who was unfaithful first and continues to love another man. Plus, it was Claire’s idea to live separate lives in the first place. Claire suggests that Frank file for a divorce. But while Frank wants his freedom, he’s afraid he’d lose custody of Bree. A court wouldn’t take a child from their mother, and he can’t trust Claire’s word to share custody. (Incidentally, we learn that the neighbors Millie and Jerry got divorced last year, and she kept the kids.)
And there they remain, side by side, both prisoners in a toxic relationship.
Over time, we witness Bree’s 16th birthday, then two years later in 1966, Bree graduates from high school . Claire and Frank are there through it all, celebrating their daughter. It seems that, in all these years, they’ve been able to establish a detente.
That is until the evening of Bree’s graduation when Frank announces that he’s filing for divorce so he can marry Sandy, moving back to England, and plans to take Bree with him. In fact, Frank is certain, that if forced to make the choice, Bree will choose him. In Claire’s attempt to build her career, Frank says that she has ignored their daughter. Claire promises that if Frank tries to take Brianna, she will expose his adultery. Frank begs Claire to be reasonable. He wants to spend the rest of his life with a wife who actually loves him.
“You couldn’t look at Brianna without seeing him. Could you? Without that constant reminder. Him. Might you have forgotten him, with time?”
“That amount of time doesn’t exist.”
Frank grabs the car keys and leaves, then Claire is called to the hospital for an emergency surgery. When Claire emerges from a successful surgery, Joe meets her with some catastrophic news. Frank has died in a car accident. Claire rushes to the room where Frank’s body is being kept. It’s a devastating and emotional moment.
“If you’re still close enough to hear me, I did love you. Very much.You were my first love.”
Claire kisses Frank and then leaves, presumably to tell Bree.
What awaits Jamie in Helwater? How are Claire, Bree, and Roger doing in their search from Jamie through history? We’ll learn this and more in next week’s Outlander, “Of Lost Things.”
And for more of our thoughts about “All Debts Paid” definitely watch the latest edition of our weekly Outlander video review on our YouTube channel:
If you missed tonight’s episode, you can watch (or rewatch) “All Debts Paid” on STARZ Play online HERE or via the STARZ Play app.
*SIGH* It’s not getting easier, Sassenachs, but we’ll get through together. Share your thoughts and feels with us below!