Jamie’s time with the Dunsanys at Helwater has life-altering consequences. And in 1968, Claire considers stopping her search. Full recap of “Of Lost Things”, including new clips (first aired Sunday, October 1 at 8pm ET|PT on STARZ).
“Of Lost Things” explores the duration of time Jamie spends as an indentured servant at Helwater Estate in Northern England (1756). At the beginning of the episode, Lord Dunsany, his wife, and two daughters (Geneva and Isobel) return from a trip to Italy. Lord Dunsany requests to have a special word with the new groomsman, Alexander MacKenzie (Jamie takes Lord John Grey’s advice at the end of “All Debts Paid” and chooses a less conspicuous name). Lord Dunsany seems to be the only person who knows that MacKenzie is a prisoner from Culloden; yet, LJG has spoken very highly of MacKenzie, characterizing him as an honorable man. Lord Dunsany lost his son at Culloden, but does not hold any ill will against MacKenzie as a Scotsman. Unfortunately, Dunsany doesn’t think his wife will feel the same, since she’s still very sensitive about Gordon’s death band hateful of Jacobites.
MacKenzie understands this… “The pain of losing a child never leaves you. I’ve lost… two children myself, My Lord.” *CRIES* because he means Faith and Bree!
So Dunsany and MacKenzie agree between themselves to keep his status as a prisoner between them. MacKenzie will receive a small stipend for his work at Helwater. But Dunsany makes sure to remind MacKenzie not to forget his true place.
Later, as MacKenzie is caring for the horses, a fellow groomsman calls him outside to draw straws… for what purpose? Well, the person with the short straw has to accompany Lady Geneva on her afternoon ride, and when we meet Geneva, we know instantly why no one is fighting for that “honor.” Geneva is rude, entitled, impatient, and really mean. When she “asks” MacKenzie for her horse, she calls him a “useless Scotchman.” As Geneva and her chaperone leave, MacKenzie remarks that what she needs is a “boot in the hindquarters.” They laugh, until Lady Isobel makes herself known. But Isobel isn’t offended by MacKenzie, she knows Geneva is difficult. MacKenzie and Isobel share a love of horses, though she seems to regret that such fine creatures are locked away. MacKenzie assures her that Helwater’s stables are among the best he’s seen. And Isobel replies, “a cage is still a cage.” MacKenzie (and we) feel that deeply… because he might not be in chains at Helwater, but he’s still a prisoner.
Isobel changes the coversation to ask about Lord John Grey. The two of them have known each other since childhood and she clearly has a crush. MacKenzie (who knows LJG to be a gay man) tries to caution Isobel, saying that a man in the military might not make a good husband. However, John’s dedication to being a soldier is one of the things Isobel says she likes most about him. (Welps Jamie, you tried.)
In 1757, Geneva is engaged to Lord Ellesmere, a pompous man who is at least her father’s age. She is not at all happy about the arrangement. (And if we don’t despise Ellesmere before, we certainly do when he makes the following remark about MacKenzie’s red hair: “If a child of mine had hair that color I’d drown him before he drew a second breath.” UGH.)
The wedding is two weeks away and Geneva decides to make the most of her time as an unmarried woman. It seems she intends to make MacKenzie a part of her “adventure”. She insists that he accompany her on her ride (despite the fact that he doesn’t draw the short straw). As they ride, Geneva asks for MacKenzie’s opinion about Lord Ellesemere. She then inquires about what ManKenzie finds attractive. He realizes that something is really wrong and tries to get them to go back home, but Geneva continues her ride… “besides, you haver to do my bidding.”
Geneva rides ahead and appears to fall off her horse. When MacKenzie comes upon her, she’s in the dirt and seems unconcious. When MacKenzie lifts her, he realizes it’s all a trick to manipulate him into touching her. MacKenzie is so incensed that he drops Geneva right back into the mud and steps over her. She laughs the entire time.
Sometime later, Lord John Grey visits Jamie at Helwater. Over a game of chess, John remarks that the Dunsanys are pleased with Jamie’s work. Jamie teases his friend about being so desperate for a chess partner that John would come all the way to Helwater. Lord Melton (Hal) is also visiting and, while taking a walk with Geneva and Isobel, comes upon John and Jamie playing chess. Hal is shocked to see Jamie again and very surprised that his brother would recommend Jamie for employment at Helwater. Geneva notices the tension and you can tell she wants to know more. For now, she diverts Hal with an offer to play cribbage. Before they leave, Isobel and John share a look…
While MacKenzie is working at the stables, shoveling shit, Geneva comes to see him. It’s three days before her wedding and she wants MacKenzie to have sex with her. He is visibly shaken and says that Geneva has lost her mind to make such an indecent proposal to a groom. However, she refuses to be forced into giving her virginity away to a “depraved, old goat, likes Ellesmere.” At least MacKenzie would be her choice. (Plus, let’s be real, Jamie is FINE AF.) MacKenzie tries to leave, but then Geneva reveals she knows everything: his identity as Red Jamie, his home in Lallybroch. She got Lord Melton drunk and he revealed everything he knew about Jamie. Geneva threatens to tell her mother, who would have Jamie thrown back in prison again. And if Jamie tries to run, she threatens to have soldiers posted at Lallybroch. And so a reluctant agreement is made.
That night, Jamie sneaks into Geneva’s room. She’s waiting for him in her white, frilly nightgown. Geneva says she’s glad he’s come and tries to call him by his real name, but Jamie rejects that: “Having brought me to yer bed by means of threats against my family, I’ll not have ye call me by the name they gave me.” She can call him Alex. Geneva asks Alex to take off his clothes and he does. When she turns away, Alex says she can watch him if she’d like. (Of course she would like!) He takes off his shirt and Geneva sees his back. She audibly gasps, but Alex assures her it doesn’t hurt. Alex then walks over to Geneva and takes off her nightgown “May I touch ye, my Lady.” Geneva is visibly nervous because she doesn’t know what to do. Alex tries to say that it’s OK that she change her mind, but Geneva is insistent: “I’m doing this for myself. I want my first time to be with someone like you.”
Alex promises to show her how it’s done and take his time… and so they begin. Unlike with Mary McNab, this scene is explicit. Kisses, touches, thrusting, sex. *SIGH*
Afterwards, Geneva declares her love for Alex.
“It’s not love, my Lady. It’s just the feelings I’ve roused in yer body. It’s strong. But it’s not the same thing as love.”
“What is the difference between them.”
“This…What ye feeel for me now, ye could have with any other man. It’s not particular. Well, love is…when you give yer heart and soul to another. And they give theirs in return.”
Jamie is clearly thinking of Claire.
Geneva eventually gets married and leaves.
[*SIDENOTE* Here’s the thing, I despise Geneva. To me, she is a spoiled, selfish, manipulative, brat. However, I can’t begrudge her wanting to claim some agency for herself and decide who she shares her first sexual experience with. At the same time, isn’t this rape? Yes, Jamie might be physically stronger, but she’s used her social standing over him and threats against his family to force him to sleep with her. I hated this in the book, and even though the scene is objectiveley HOT, I hate this in the TV show too.]
Months later, when Geneva returns to Helwater to visit her family, she is heavily pregnant. And the pointed look she gives MacKenzie lets us know who the father is. YIKES.
One evening, while MacKenzie is in the stables, Isobel comes to him frantic. Geneva is in labor, but it’s very difficult. They must quickly leave for Ellsemere and MacKenzie will accompany the family. When the Dunsanys arrive they rush to Geneva’s side. MaKenzie lingers behind, but asks other servants about how Lady Geneva is doing. A maid tells MaKenzie that Geneva is bleeding a lot, but that she’s given birth to a healthy boy. HE HAS A SON. MacKenzie meanders through the halls of Ellesmere and comes across Isobel crying. Geneva has died. MacKenzie approaches Isobel, who lashes out an slaps him. Apparently Geneva told Isobel all about the evening she spent with Alex and that she was in love with him. And even more shocking, Lord Ellesmere doesn’t believe the child is his either because he and Geneva never sleep together. (WELPS!)
Isobel and MacKenzie are interrupted when a maid runs to fetch MacKenzie for Lord Dunsany. MacKenzie arrives to an unbelieveable scene. Ellesmere has the baby boy and is threatening to stab him with a dagger. He calls Geneva a whore and the boy a bastard. Dunsany reacts by pulling out a pistol, threatening to shoot Ellesmere. MacKenzie tries to take control of the situation. He convinces Lord Dunsany to give him the pistol. Then MacKenzie tries to get Ellesmere to hand over the baby boy (HIS SON!). When it looks like Ellesmere is about to kill the baby, MacKenzie doesn’t hesitate to shoot the man in the head. MacKenzie rushes to grab his son, who has dropped to the floor. The boy opens his eyes… Jamie’s eyes… and Jamie smiles.
Time passes and the Dunsanys are able to bring the baby, William, back to Helwater with them. One morning when Isobel and her mother are taking a stroll with little William, MacKenzie is also out. Isobel tells him that they’ve named Willie after Lord Dunsany (Of course, Jamie’s brother is also named William!). She also apologizes for slapping MacKenzie and blaming him for Geneva. Isobel recognizes that Geneva was a difficult woman and Alex was kind to her. When Isobel leaves for a bit, Jamie is able to have a private moment with Willie. He promises to be there for his son.
Lady Dunsany soon approaches and gives an update about Lord Ellesmere. According to official record, he died as a result of “misadventure” and Willie is the sole heir. Lady Dunsany then thanks MacKenzie for his quick action. She then admits to knowing that MacKenzie is a Jacobite, but offers to to go to her husband to have him speak on MacKenzie’s behalf to have him set free. MacKenzie thanks Lady Dunsany; he would love to go home to Scotland. But then he looks down at Willie and knows he can’t leave his son. MacKenzie declines the offer, saying he needs the money to send back to his family. Lady Dunsany accepts this, but says that when MacKenzie is ready to leave, he need only ask.
In 1764, Willie is about 8 years old and MacKenzie is teaching him to ride a horse. He’s a beautiful boy, but looks so much like his father… 🙁 In fact, Lady Dunsany and her friend laugh about how Willie spends so much time with MacKenzie that they’re starting to look alike. This is reinforced when Willie is helping MacKenzie to clean the carriage mirrors and looks into his son’s face, so much like his own. His time at Helwater must come to an end.
Mac tells Willie that he plans to go home to Scotland, and Willie becomes angry when he can’t come along. Willie says that he’s Mac’s master so Mac must do what he says. Willie then kicks over the buckets in the alleyway. MacKenzie responds out of frsutration, spanking Willie and calling him a “wee bastard.” Willie screams that he isn’t a bastard and that Mac must take it back. Of course MacKenzie takes it back and apologizies. They share a hug. Still, Mac must leave Helwater.
Lord John Grey is visiting Helwater and takes a moment to speak with Jamie. John says he’s sorry to lose his chess partner, but that Jamie is right to go. Anyone can see that Willie looks like Jamie and as he grows up, there will only be more questions. And what happens when Willie sees it himself? Jamie asks John for a favor, to look out for Willie and treat him as a son. In exchange, Jamie offers to have sex with John. John is shocked by the offer. Of course he wants Jamie, but cannot sleep with him under those circumstances. As a man of honor, John will gladly look after Willie. In fact, John and Isobel are engaged. Jamie tries to talk John out of it, out of consideration for Isobel, because John is gay. However, John says that he does care deeply for Isobel and believes he can be a good husband for her. Plus, this means, he can be in Willie’s life. Jamie and John shakes hands and promise their friendship.
That night, when Jamie is saying his Catholic prayers, Willie comes to him. Willie shares how his grandmother says that only “stinking Papists” burn candles in front of heathen images. Mac explains that he is a stinking Papist (LOL) and praying to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. He prays for his brother (also Willie), sister, godfather, wife. Willie asks about Mac’s wife, and explains how he doesn’t want one for himself. Mac assures Willie that there’s a woman out there for him. Willie then says he wants to be like Mac, a stinking papist too. So Mac baptizes Willie and William James. But Willie’s name is William Clarence Henry George Ranson. Mac says that James will be is special Papist name. In fact, that’s Mac’s special name too. (*SOBS*) Then Mac gives Willie a carving, a snake (like the SAWNY carving Willie did for Jamie when they were boys). Mac promises to remember Willie.
The next morning, John, Isobel, and Willie send Mac off on his way. Isobel hugs him and promises to “take good care of your son.” Jamie gets on his horse and rides away from Helwater. Willie tries to run after Mac, begging him to come back. John restrains Willie, who continues to watch Mac leave. And Jamie rides away, back straight, with tears in his eyes.
The episode also brings us back to where Season 2 “Dragonfly in Amber” left us, with Claire, Bree, and Roger in 1968 Scotland. Roger has done a lot of work to establish the timeline of Claire’s travel to the past and the three years she spent with Jamie. He believes that time in present and past move at the same rate; therefore, the first priority is to find evidence that Jamie is still alive in 1766. Of course this is easier said that done. The three of them pore over documents and books listing the prisoners from Culloden, but don’t find Jamie’s name.
They’re briefly interrupted by Fiona (Mrs. Graham’s granddaughter, Roger’s housekeeper) who brings tea and an interesting piece of information. According to Mrs. Graham, Red Jamie and the Dubonnet are one in the same… 😉 It’s also clear that Fiona has a special interest in Roger, one that Bree takes notice of. Not long after, Claire comes across a document from Ardsmuir Prison listing James Fraser as one of the inmates from 1753 to when the prison closed in 1756. While they aren’t sure what happened to the prisoners after Ardsmuir closed, Bree and Roger view the progress as an opportunity to celebrate. Claire has a positive reaction, but it seems more restrained.
Later, Roger and Bree leave the house and have some car trouble. While Roger is trying to figure out what’s wrong, Bree teases him about Fiona’s crush… something Roger denies. Bree shares that when she first arrived, she thought Fiona was Roger’s girlfriend. Again, Roger heartily denies it. He doesn’t have a girlfriend… smiles all around! In the end, it’s actully Bree who gets the car started again and they’re on their way.
That evening Claire receive a phone call from Joe Abernathy. They catch up, sharing laughs over Joe’s predictable eating habits. When he asks about when Claire might be back in Boston, she says she isn’t sure. Joe also shares information about one of Claire’s patients, who must go into surgery in the next week. He’s a little surprised that she wouldn’t insist on coming back to Boston to do the surgery herself, but we know that Claire has other priorities in this moment.
Sometime later, Fiona approaches Claire to return the pearls that Jamie gave her on their wedding night. His mother’s pearls. Apparently years ago, Claire gave them to Mrs. Graham, who passed them down to her granddaughter. Claire thanks her and is quite overwhelmed. She never thought she’d see those pearls again.
Claire meets Bree and Roger in the study where Bree reveals that they just found a library that has an extensive collection of ship manifests. If Jamie left Scotland for the Americas when Ardsmuir closed, this will be their best chance of finding out. Again, Claire is reserved in her reaction to the news, though she does hug her daughter close (it seems it’s been awhile since Bree refered to her mom as “Mama”).
That evening, Bree and Roger are sitting together in front of the fireplace and Bree shares a secret. Ever since her mother tells her about Jamie their relationship has changed and deepened. Just when they’re able to reclaim that closeness, she might lose her mom when she travels back to 1766. Does this make Bree a terrible person? Roger assures her that there’s nothing wrong with being concerned about her mother. And maybe he’s a terrible person too, because when they find Jamie, Bree will go back to Boston and that’s not something he wants. Then Bree kisses him… unexpected, but good!
Claire, Bree, and Roger travel to the national archives, but don’t have any luck finding Jamie’s name in the ship manifests because the dates as from the 1600s. The three go to a pub to commiserate, and at first it’s tense because Claire and Bree are sitting at the bar, which women aren’t supposed to do. However, when Roger suggest they move, Claire refuses. It’s 1968, for goodness sakes! Roger tries to encourage them, saying there are still opportunities to find more information. As they talk, the woman performing a poem references “freedom and whisky,” which triggers a memory for Claire. She says she used to quote that to Jamie. Bree is optimistic that they can reunite her mother with Jamie, but Claire has had enough. She doesn’t want to spend her life chasing a ghost, just like Mrs. Graham warned. So she says a toast for all the people they have lost and decides it’s time to go back to Boston.
The next afternoon, Claire clears the board that they used for their research, Bree brings down their suitcases, and they fly back to Boston.
For alllllll our thoughts on “Of Lost Things,” watch the latest edition of our weekly Outlander video review below:
If you missed tonight’s episode, you can watch (or rewatch) “Of Lost Things” on STARZ Play online HERE or via the STARZ Play app.
Sassenachs, this was an incredibly difficult and emotional episode. How are you doing? Share your thoughts and feels with us below!