I find myself watching Outlander and wondering what it must have smelled liked. My daughter got her first stick of deodorant this week; she was getting “oniony.” Ardsmuir Prison must smell like onion-pits, taint, piss, farts, rat gyro, and barf, i.e. the men’s room at Johnny’s in the West Village.
*Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak is the best dry shampoo. Don’t come at me with that Batiste crap.
TOP TEN MOMENTS OF OUTLANDER EPISODE 303 “All Debts Paid”
1 Franks Dips His Pen in Another Well
Frank and Claire are living the sexless marriage dream. He cooks while she looks pretty as a med school student. English breakfast. Banter, eggs, banter, toast. She suggests a movie since they both have some free time later. The Searchers (my Dad’s favorite!) or Carousel (this is where I break into my version of If I loved You). Frank is like coolcoolcoolcoolI’veseenboth.
Cough. Don’t choke on your tea, dear. Frank has taken you up on your open marriage offer with the promise to be discreet. Claire hides her shock well, with Bree at the kitchen table. It sucks knowing he ain’t pining away for you, jerking it in the clawfoot tub, doesn’t it, Claire?
We noticed that, too: Claire’s blouse game is giving Elizabeth from The Americans a run for her money. Forget chunky knit wear. I want to buy Claire’s billowy silks.
2 There’s a New Sheriff In Town
Lord John Grey arrives at Ardsmuir Prison as the new governor, overseeing all those bloody Scots. The old warden tells him Ardsmuir is a shithole with zero nightlife. Not a single tapas spot for miles. When he’s not enjoying the paperwork, LJG can go off searching for the missing Stuart gold. There is an international man of mystery who can also make good conversation: Jamie Fraser, called Mac Dubh by his fellow Jacobite prisoners.
I’ve pretty much accepted I have said every Scottish phrase or name wrong in my head. I was going Mac Dubh, as in tub. But it’s MacDOOB as in MacDoobie Brothers.
3 And Where The Hell Have You Been?
“So you’ve seen the new governor then?” Hey, wait a minute! I know that voice. Murtagh is alive! Grizzled and gray, with a lingering cough, holding onto a scrap of tartan, stuck in the cell next to Jamie. I hope most of you weren’t spoiled because it was a delightful surprise.
We noticed that, too: Jamie says Lord John has a ramrod up his ass. Murtagh says that’s standard issue in the British army. Must. Not. Make. Butt. Seks. Jokes.
3.5 I Can’t See Shit
I get wanting to use natural light to set a mood, but I cannot see half the shit that is going on. Outlander does it. Game of Thrones does it. The aforementioned The Americans does it. I shouldn’t have to squint to follow a show. Go sell crow’s feet somewhere else; we’re all stocked up here.
We noticed that, too: Oh wait, I didn’t notice. Because I can’t freaking see it!
4 Can We Be Friends?
Lord John and Jamie meet (again) to talk rat eradication. Lord John thinks every cell needs some pussy. But Jamie says that’s a bad idea because sometimes the men are fond of rats especially when it comes to eating.
The thought of eating rats horrifies Lord John. Eating rats should horrify me, but I just saw mother! and all it’s baby eating glory, so I’m hard to horrify.
Jamie says to Lord John that he doesn’t know what he did to deserve being sent to Ardsmuir, but for John’s sake, Jamie hopes he deserved it. Jamie needs to work on his Welcome Wagon pitch.
5 Guess Who’s Coming to/at Dinner
Cue the Kool and the Gang! Celebrate good times, come on! Claire is having her med school graduation party. In Cambridge, Mass, and in Cambridge, England, it’s pronounced the same way: pahhhhhty. Champagne flows.
The gaggle has a dinner reservation at 7. Frank isn’t going because he has “work,” i.e. humping and pumping. The doorbell rings, and Claire finds a dumbstruck lady at the door. She is the one who will be helping with the humping and pumping. Claire is stuttering mad that he brought the harlot into the house.
Later that night, Claire is pissed with anger and Frank is pissed with liquor. Frank committed the big sin of an open marriage: don’t shit where you eat. Claire is mad he brought this woman—this Sandy—to the place where their daughter lives. Frank said he didn’t have a car. Guess this version of “Boston” doesn’t have cabs or the T. When Claire asks if Frank has fucked the lady in their bedroom, Franks says, “Naw, we need more than a twin bed when we make sweet love.”
No one believes Claire and Frank are happily married. I don’t care that Frank cheated. It’s not even cheating. No one is innocent in this relationship. I’m not sure why Claire ever agreed to it in the first place, but agree she did. The whole sham marriage doesn’t make sense, but it sure is a plot point.
Claire can’t be mad that Frank used the agreed upon rules to get him some Sandy. Claire asks for a divorce, but Frank loves Bree and refuses to lose her because of a divorce court ruling. Claire says she would never keep Bree from Frank, and he rightfully says, “Forgive me, Claire, if I don’t risk everything on one of your promises.” That’s a good burn. So they do what WASPs do, and agree to endure with hard liquor at the ready.
We noticed that, too: I need Frank saying in a drawl, “Green ain’t your color, Claire” for my ringtone.
6 There’s Gold In Them There Hills!
The Red Coats find a crazed skinny Santa walking across the moor, raving about gold and curses and the White Witch, in a mix of Gallic, English and French. GaFrenglish. They bring him to the prison, and since Jamie speaks GaFrenglish, Lord John is hoping he can translate. Jamie will do so after John agrees to strike off his irons, and if John will give his prisoners blankets and Obamacare. John says both are in short supply, so Jamie settles for blankets and medicine just for his boo, Murtagh.
The old man knows of Jamie’s Mackenzie family, but says nothing of value. Right before he dies, the old man utters, “The White Witch.” She seeks a brave Mackenzie. Jamie thinks the White Witch is Claire and has to go and see for himself.
I think this is why Murtagh is still alive. So Jamie can talk out his thoughts and we don’t have to listen to a voiceover. Murtagh encourages him and Jamie is off. While on work detail, the chain gang create a distraction so Jamie can escape to see if the White Witch is indeed off on some island with the gold.
But Claire is not there, and the manhunt for Jamie is on. Jamie sneaks up on Lord John while he is taking a piss. Jamie explains why he had to go and see if Claire—the White Witch—was gone. Jamie tells him there is no gold.
Jamie knows who John is and vice versa. Lord John had promised to slit Jamie’s throat, and Jamie begs him to make his promise true. Jamie is desperate because he knows Claire is truly gone. Hope is lost. Kill me, he begs. It’s gut wrenching. Jamie is ripping my guts out. But John refuses to be a murderer of unarmed prisoners.
7 Hold on There, Cowboy
At a chess match, lubricated with some wine, Lord John and Jamie bond. Lord John talks about a lost friend, whose death still haunts him. It’s obvious from John’s telling and Hal’s reaction, it was a love affair, not a friendship. They speak of Claire, and it brings Jamie such obvious joy to speak of her. To say her name aloud. Nothing is sexier than grief, so John reaches over to touch Jamie’s hand. Jamie says, “Take your hand off me. Or I will kill you.” Jamie has been a prisoner and raped by his captor before, and his trembling reaction—the vein under his eye bulging with rage—shows Lord John there is something else going on besides “no homo.” Lord John isn’t a monster; he’s broken, too, having done something to end up in Ardsmuir. A tear falls from his cheek.
8 Bree Grows Up
Briana Randall is a high school graduate! Class of 1966. Frank wants to take Bree to England with him, so she can go to school across the pond where he has been offered a job at Cambridge. He makes it clear he will be leaving without Claire. He finally asks for the divorce, so he can go on with Sandy.
Frank throws it in Claire’s face she is never around. Frank is done, happy to have waited to get his final revenge. He’s a Randall to the core. Claire reminds him that Bree is hers, not his, and she is ready to go to battle. Frank wants to live the rest of his life with a woman that truly loves him. Every time Claire looked at Bree, she saw Jamie, which again I ask, Why did you agree to this garbage arrangement to begin with, Frank? You so dumb.
We noticed that, too: Hipster Frank looks like a douche. Men in turtlenecks are a no.
9 Say Goodbye to Ardsmuir
The prison is closing and the prisoner are headed to the Colonies, where they will become indentured servants. Including Murtagh. Bye, buddy!
That option isn’t available to Jamie, since he is a convicted traitor who can only have his sentence commuted by the King. The King is currently a hard pass. After a three day jaunt, he and Lord John arrive at Hellwater, an estate that loom large in the green, foggy valley.
“Why do you keep me here, Grey?” The implication in the question is accusatory. But Lord John is doing this not because Jamie wouldn’t fuck him but because Jamie gave him his life so many years ago. It’s the final payment on his debt.
10 Wear Your Seatbelts, Kids
Claire heads off to the hospital for someone’s emergency surgery.
Joe Abernathy finds her and gives her the news. It’s Frank. Gulp. He was killed in a car accident. Claire is finally free. Bring on the time travel reunion!
Crying over his dead body, Claire tells Frank she did truly love him, that he was the first, as a tear slides from her eyes onto his face.
We noticed that, too: The music in the final scene was something out of an E.R. episode, one of those that just ruined you and your Thursday night. This is not a criticism. I still haven’t gotten over the final scenes of “Love’s Labor Lost.”