Synopsis of 3×02: Jamie leads a lonely life hidden in a cave until Lallybroch is threatened by redcoats; Claire and Frank struggle to coexist in a marriage haunted by the ghost of Jamie.
It’s been a long time coming, but we finally get back with Jamie Fraser and his family at Lallybroch. After being freed and saved from execution, we last saw him being carted home to Jenny an inch from death. “Surrender” fills in the gaps of Claire and Frank’s story while showing the two lovers slowly adjust to living without the other.
In 1752 Scotland, we learn that it’s been six years since Culloden. Despite the shift in time, the tensions between the British and the Scots have not eased at all. They are still on the lookout for Red Jamie, who has earned another moniker under the title “Dunbonnet”. Jenny and Ian are harassed repeatedly by the redcoats, this time by the new Captain Lewis and his soldiers, among them a Scot traitor named Corporal Macgregor. Although they find no sign of Jamie, they take Ian away to be locked up for a few days regardless.
We find Jamie in a cave nearby, hiding out from the redcoats and sporting some luscious locks of hair and a thick beard. Our reintroduction to the man that Jenny proclaims is no longer James Fraser is a shot of him hunting deer and silently bringing the hunt back to his sister and wordlessly butchering the meat. While Claire has been forced to adjust to the normalcy of 1949 housewife life, Jamie has retreated into himself. He is still mourning the loss of Claire, much to Jenny’s concern.
Thankfully, along with his family, Jamie also has the company of Fergus, who is as loyal and dedicated as ever to Jamie. After finding a gun while playing with young Jamie and Rabbie MacNab, Fergus brings the gun to Jamie to ask him to teach him how to shoot so he can be ready for the next rebellion. Jamie denies him and tells him to hide the gun because weapons are forbidden. But, instead, while Jamie goes to the house to take a look at the ledgers, the boys spot a raven outside the house. Scot superstition coincides with logic and superstition wins out. Jenny is giving birth to her new son and a raven is an bad omen, seeing one during childbirth will kill the baby.
So, of course. We shoot the raven. Good news, the raven is dead and Jenny’s got a new baby son. Bad news, the redcoats hear the shot and come to Lallybroch right as Jamie is at the house. He greets his new nephew, Ian, but has to quickly hide with the baby as the redcoats storm the house looking for the weapon. Captain Lewis has a shrewd eye and, after bursting into Jenny’s room, realizes that she’s just given birth. Jenny and Mary have to do some quick thinking, making Lewis believe that she birthed a stillborn and that Mary shot the raven out of superstition. Lewis spares Mary and takes the weapon before leaving.
Days pass and Ian is back, while the redcoats are still suspicious of the Murrays. Traitor Macgregor and company follow Fergus one afternoon, thinking he’ll lead them to Jamie, but Fergus quickly catches on and leads them on a wild goose chase. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end well, as Fergus continuously taunts the soldiers, using a variety of colorful vulgar gestures. But, as Jaime Lannister once learned, it’s all fun and games until someone loses a hand.
The redcoats catch him, and infuriated after being tricked, Corporal Macgregor impulsively cuts off Fergus’ hand and leaves him to bleed out. Jamie, having heard the commotion, is forced to stand by and watch it happen. He brings Fergus back to the house and breaks down in tears over feeling helpless. But despite the tragedy of losing his hand, Fergus remains loyal to Jamie and refers to the promise Jamie made that he would support him for the rest of his life should he lose a hand in his service. It’s an emotional and tender moment, and if Jamie can’t be with Brianna and Claire, at least he’s got Fergus.
Still, after what happened to Fergus, Jamie’s mind is made up. He wants Jenny to turn him in for the prize money and essentially forces her hand to do so. On the night before he’s meant to be taken back to prison, Mary visits him in his cave. She gives him a haircut and a shave, and then the two have sex in search of comfort.
The episode highlights something that’s always been prevalent in Jamie’s character, his tender heart. His concern for his family, for Fergus, for Claire, it’s all fostered by his heart and his love for these people. Despite trying to build up walls after losing Claire, he inevitably knocks them down in order to protect the people he loves. This scene with Mary in the cave is emotional as we see a man who has been broken so many times feel totally helpless. Ian mentions that he feels his phantom leg sometimes and that Fergus will feel that for his hand as well, and then says he can’t imagine how Jamie feels having lost his heart, feeling the same phantom pains. The comparison of losing Claire to losing a body part might seem a little dramatic — especially given that we know Claire is not actually dead — but it fits the tragedy of our star-crossed lovers.
In 1949, we watch as Claire and Frank struggle to navigate their delicate situation. Brianna has grown since we last saw her, and despite the relationship between her parents, Frank clearly is a good father to her. We know how much Brianna adored her father from our glimpse into her future, and this just stands as an affirmation of that.
The two try rekindling their relationship, Claire making the effort, but ultimately fail as Frank realizes that she’s not there with him even when they’re making love. She’s remembering Jamie. By the end of the episode, we see the two in separate beds, it’s pretty clear that this isn’t going to work out well in the long run, with Frank clearly still in love with his wife, and Claire in love with Jamie.
On top of that, Claire makes the decision to go back to school, to eventually become a doctor. The path to glory isn’t paved with anything but douchebags. Her first time in anatomy class is met with condescension, arrogance, and toxic masculinity, as she is the only woman in the class. Thankfully, she seems to have one ally in the form of a black man named Joe Abernathy. Both outsiders, they become natural friends after being rejected by their classmates.
In Boston, Claire is surrounded by the memories of Jamie, whether through a simple memory or just passing a street performer playing the bagpipes. They’re both haunted by each other. As Jamie tells Jenny, he’s already living in a prison, would it be so different if he were to return to a physical one? Forcing her hand, Jamie returns to Lallybroch and the two put on a skit for the redcoats, leading them to believe that Jamie has been betrayed by his sister as he is carted away to jail and she receives the prize money.