WTF Just Happened in Outlander? S7, E3, “Death Be Not Proud”

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Lizabeth Phoenix
| July 6, 2023
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Last week, Jamie and Claire said goodbye to Bree and Roger as the MacKenzies took their newborn daughter Amanda back to their original time for medical treatment. Donner then paid Claire a visit in search of gemstones, broke her ether bottles, and lit a match, exploding the Frasers’ home on the Ridge. This week, we expect the MacKenzies to go to Lallybroch, Jamie’s family estate. Let’s see how they get there . . . 

Spoiler Alert: We are recapping the episode, so there will be spoilers past this point. You’ve been warned! Turn back now if you wish to stay unspoiled. 

WHAT HAPPENED

Episode 3 opens in “modern time” with the delivery of an ornate box addressed to Roger and Bree’s son Jem on the doorstep of Fiona’s house. In case you forgot (like I did), Fiona is the housekeeper at Roger’s late adoptive parent Reverend Reginald Wakefield’s home. Roger and Bree are visiting Fiona, Amanda is recovering well, and Bree prepares to open the box, which has been in the bank for 200 years. Inside is a musket ball and a pile of letters from Claire and Jamie, the first one informing Bree they survived the fire. However, the fire burnt down their home; without fire hoses, putting out the blaze with buckets was impossible. But, as Claire observes, it’s not January, and the Frasers aren’t dead, so it can’t be their expected obituary.

Searching the ashes.

While reading the letters, Roger observes the fire from the obituary couldn’t have happened because Bree’s matches started a different fire. Thus, the Frasers’ presumed fate couldn’t happen, either, because there wasn’t anything left to burn. Bree changed history just enough to save her parents, completing her and Roger’s mission to return to the past and prevent their deaths. Nice!

Back in the past, Claire and Jamie go through the ashes of their home. Sitting on what’s left of the porch, Jamie asks Claire why she never says no when called to the aid of a dying man, even if the case is hopeless–a metaphor for their home, now reduced to charred rubble. Claire explains she can’t admit there’s anything to do but go on. Jamie agrees with her, and Ian recovers William’s picture, letting on that he knows William is Jamie’s son and promising not to tell anyone. They also haven’t found Claire’s cat Adso. Hopefully, the poor baby will turn up later. 

As a short recap, in episode 2 last week, Donner discovered Mr. and Mrs. Bug–residents of the Ridge–carrying some suspicious gold. Jamie now confronts Mr. Bug about the gold Donner found in his possession. Gold that had been meant for Charles Stuart, the head of the Jacobite Rising in Scotland. The lost Jacobite gold is, according to the episode, the stuff of legends in Scotland. Mr. Bug elaborates that Jamie’s aunt Jocasta, her husband Hector, and Jamie’s maternal uncle Dougal MacKenzie are responsible for the lost Jacobite gold. Who knows what Dougal did with his, but the remainder is presumably in America, and Hector and Jocasta likely stole the gold for their plantation on River Run. I really don’t want to spend any time with Jocasta this season; her participation in slavery is deplorable, so when it comes to places named similarly, I much prefer the seat of House Tully as my Riverrun instead, thank you very much. Back on topic, Mr. Bug hid a portion of the gold somewhere Jamie won’t find it. Upset, Jamie tells him to get off the Ridge. I lack the historical knowledge to understand the gravity of this, but it feels like a big moment. My spotty history brain aside, Mr. And Mrs. Bug seem to be planning something.

Claire sings “Ave Maria” at Mrs. Bug’s funeral.

Jamie and Ian follow a figure viewers presume to be Mr. Bug until the figure recovers the hidden gold. When Jamie announces himself, the figure shoots at Jamie, missing, and Ian shoots an arrow at the individual, which turns out to be Mrs. Bug instead. She dies of the arrow wound. This deeply affects Ian, who later shares his guilt with Claire. She comforts him, reminding him he was protecting Jamie, but Ian wants to do something to make it right. Claire then drops her episode teaser line, telling him all he has to do for now is keep breathing. During the funeral procession, she, Jamie, and Lizzie discuss Scottish burial beliefs, and Mr. Bug turns up to ask Claire to sing at the funeral procession. She sings “Ave Maria,” and, at the funeral itself, Jamie drops the title of the episode, “Death be not proud,” reciting a poem about the conquering of death by eternal life.

Claire comforts Ian.

In a haunting moment, Ian confronts Mr. Bug, owning up to what he’s done, and offers to give a life for a life. Mr. Bug says that’s too easy. When Ian has something worth taking, he’ll see him again. There’s a dark promise if I’ve ever seen one.

After Mrs. Bug’s funeral, Jamie and Claire talk about rebuilding their new house. Jamie informs her he wants to go back to Lallybroch; he made a promise to return Ian to his mother (Jamie’s sister Jenny), and he means to follow through. He notes that if Ian’s going back, it has to be before the war. Claire agrees, and they plan to leave once they get things in order.

Jamie dreams of Bree and their family.

Jamie then shares his second reason for going. He promised himself he’d never face his son across the barrel of a gun, and William is a redcoat, so maybe it’s time to get out of dodge. Later that night, he prays, asking God for wisdom. Claire overhears but keeps silent for now. They’ve moved into the original house they first built on the Ridge, and while lying in bed, Jamie tells Claire he dreamt of Bree and Roger at Fiona’s house. He then describes a telephone that Jem picked up, saying he wanted to speak with his grandad. Also, a lot of time has passed! Claire’s hair is long again? I almost missed that detail. 

Jamie tells Claire she’s his home.

Now in possession of the remaining gold, Jamie and Claire hide it in a cave he and Jem found, inside of which is the skeleton of a Spaniard. Jamie says he and Jem said a prayer over the guy when they found him, leading Claire to mention he always knows the prayer for the occasion. Jamie answers there’s always a prayer, even if it’s only, “Oh God, help me.” You know, sometimes that’s all there’s time for. 

Claire and Jamie write their letter to Bree, updating her on the happenings on the Ridge, and they prepare the members to look after the place while they’re gone to Scotland. Jamie closes the letter by asking Bree to pray for their voyage even though she’s in the future, figuring God takes no account of time. He also tells her where he left the gold in case she and Roger ever need to retrieve it, saying Jem will remember the place. But, to be safe, he suggests they have it blessed. You know the rules, people; don’t touch treasure that doesn’t belong to you! Especially if dead people are involved. How many movies have taught us this?

The MacKenzies at Lallybroch.

Back in modern times, Bree and Roger theorize about the lost Jacobite gold. Bree doesn’t want to read all the letters at once because once they’ve finished them, her parents will be really gone. They decide to wait and read each one when the time is right. Roger drives her to Lallybroch, and they take a look inside, imagining it in its heyday. Bree naturally misses her parents’ company, and as they prepare to leave, a realtor drives up and asks if they’re interested in the property. It turns out Lallybroch is up for sale! 

Skipping back in time again, Jamie gives Claire a new knife, saying she has to give money for a new blade so it knows you for its owner and won’t turn on you. Foreshadowing, anyone? I’m not sure. They then use the knife to prick their fingers, and Claire calls Jamie “blood of my blood.” Brace yourselves, people, because if they keep saying this, I’m going to keep making Daenerys references. Such is the price you pay when a Game of Thrones fan writes Outlander articles, okay? Okay.

Jamie and Claire head back to Scotland?

The Frasers get ready to go back to Scotland. On the way through the forest, they find Adso! The itty bitty kitty is safe, you guys. You may now issue a collective sigh of relief like I did. They also find the stake Jamie set in the ground when they arrived on what they now call Fraser’s Ridge, and Claire re-plants the stake, asking if they’ll make it back there one day. Jamie answers he never thought he’d see Scotland again, and since they’re going back there, they’ll make it back to the Ridge, too. 

Am I the only one getting the feeling they won’t leave America in time to avoid the rebellion? I’m just saying the season trailer seemed pretty clear . . . 

The Frasers lose their house.

WTF

There aren’t too many shocking moments, but there are a few that’ll stick with you:

– The Frasers’ big house on the Ridge is gone, you guys. It was a really nice place, not to mention filled with memories. The fandom shall mourn it, I’m certain.

– Mrs. Bug is dead, and Mr. Bug leaves his haunting promise that Ian will see him again when he has something worth losing. File this away in the brain cabinet. I’m sure it’ll come up again sooner or later. 

– Jamie and Claire are supposed to be on their way back to Scotland, but I’m not sure they’ll make it based on the season trailer, which distinctly shows Jamie involved in the war to some degree.

Taking Ian home.

WHAT STANDS OUT

This episode tied up some loose ends. Bree making matches, which were very out of place at that time, led to the explosion but helped the Frasers avoid a worse fate. The missing Jacobite gold is now accounted for and hidden. Lallybroch may soon be back in family hands, and Amanda is safe and sound. I was wrong about this episode being a kicker; instead, it feels like it puts a nice bow on things . . . for now. 

Claire sees a “ghost.”

WHAT’S NEXT

In the episode 4 preview, Claire runs into Christie again in Wilmington, and they both note that each other should be dead. What is happening!? There’s some revolutionary imagery before we switch back to modern times, where Roger emphasizes Claire told him to take care of Bree, but he feels like he’s failing. Mired in the beginnings of the revolution, a man who I assume to be Cornelius Harnett, head of the Sons of Liberty, tells Jamie that Jamie saved his life so he could fight another today, and today is that day. Dun dun dun. 

What are we in for next time? Considering episode 4 is titled “A Most Uncomfortable Woman,” your guess is as good as mine. 

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