Outlander Recap: “Freedom & Whisky”

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The fifth episode of season three of Outlander heavily focused on Claire and Brianna being back in Boston after their failed attempt to locate Jamie while a surprise visit from Roger Wakefield brings unexpected news. While most of the episode centered on the Randall women, it was the final scene that has been much anticipated by the fans.

Here is the official description for the episode:

“Brianna grapples with life-changing revelations and Claire must help her come to terms with the fact that she is her father’s daughter; Roger brings news that forces Claire and Brianna to face an impossible choice.”

Struggling with Reality

Obviously the episode spent much of its time centered on Brianna as she dealt with her dual identity: the daughter of a history professor versus the daughter of an 18th century Highlander. Who is she really? What is her history? Is it just a story, does it change depending on who is telling it? As she said, “history can’t be trusted” – just how much of her history does she trust, or more to the point, believe in?

An Unexpected Visit

The episode also featured an unexpected visit from Roger Wakefield, who claimed he came to experience an American Christmas, but we all know that he had two very important reasons to be there: Brianna and providing news to Claire about what he – as a historian – found out about Jamie. An article written by Alexander Malcolm in 1765 that included words from a Robert Burns poem that wouldn’t be written for another 21 years in his time; a poem that Claire shared with Jamie during their short time together.

Frank W. Randall Fellowship

Harvard University created a fellowship in memory of Frank; a ceremony for which Roger joined Claire and Brianna in attending. But it was the extremely unexpected encounter with Frank’s long-time lover Sandy Travers – now a Professor herself – who was also in attendance. That encounter prompted Brianna and Claire to be truthful with each other about not only who Sandy was but also about Brianna’s past – whether Frank hated Brianna for looking like Jamie and whether Claire resented Brianna for being the reason she had to leave Jamie.

It was also after this ceremony that Claire revealed to Brianna the article for which Roger discovered, leading Brianna to telling Claire she needed to go back to Jamie.

1960’s Pop Culture

Since most of this episode was based in 1968, there were several 60’s pop culture references like an episode of Dark Shadows being watched by Roger (who obviously really did watch a lot of TV as joked by Brianna), Claire creating her own “bat suit” during the sewing montage that featured the theme song to that pop culture phenom and a Charlie Brown Christmas (for which Brianna was going to treat Roger to viewing with her as part of his first American Christmas experience).

NOTE: As that theme music played during the first airing for which I watched, I couldn’t help but remember that Sam Heughan played Batman/Bruce Wayne on stage a number of years ago in “Batman Live.”

Going Back in Time

The decision seemingly being made, Claire required supplies to make the journey back in time. Included in those supplies were:

• Antique coins for which Roger and Brianna found at an antique store;
• Some scalpels and penicillin from the hospital;
• A topaz necklace (Brianna’s birthstone) which she’d need to make the trip back [according to Gillian Jacobs nee Geillis Duncan a person traveling through the stones had to have a gemstone to make the journey];
• Her aforementioned “bat suit” – made out of raincoats – with secrets pockets for all of her supplies – [I guess her 15 years of making costumes and pageant outfits for Brianna came in handy]; and,
• A guide book of Scotland from Roger [that would have been handy to have during her first trip through the stones].

NOTE: Claire also covered over the grey in her hair – to make herself a little more like the Claire from 20 years earlier – thanks to Miss Clairol.

Claire also gave several things to Brianna before she departed their home in Boston for Scotland: the deed to their home (as well as the family’s bank accounts information), the string of Scottish pearls for which Jamie had given her on their wedding night and a resignation letter for Joe. The last thing they did was have a wee dram of whisky together… “to Freedom & Whisky” they toasted.

It was also moving to hear Claire tell Brianna that her first time through the stones she was “terrified” while the second time she was “heartbroken.” The next time she wanted it to “be peaceful” – that is why she didn’t want Brianna to accompany her to Scotland because it would be too difficult to part with her there.

Parting Is Such Sweet…Happiness

Even though Claire and Brianna were both very teary-eyed over their parting, Brianna had Roger with her. After Claire left in the taxi, Brianna and Roger shared a tender kiss while Roger finally got to have a lobster roll and Boston cream pie – for which he joked with Brianna at the beginning of the episode he wanted to experience as part of his first American Christmas.

Reunited and It Feels So…Faint

Finally the big moment arrived, Claire opened the door of the taxi in 1968 Boston but stepped out into a puddle in 1766 Scotland. She had returned to his time. Finding her way to his print shop with the A. Malcolm sign at the base of the steps, you could see the joy and apprehension on her face. She had finally made it back to the man she had been parted with 20 years (and 2 centuries) earlier. Watching that door open, hearing the doorbell chime and the echo of his voice in that room was overwhelming. The moment Jamie heard her voice and turned…it was everything! And just like in the book on which the third season is based Jamie fell over in a dead faint as Claire gasped in concern and the scene faded to black.

Memorable Lines

“He’s Scottish.” – Joe to Claire
“As Scottish as they come.” – Claire
“Sounds serious.” – Joe
“As serious as it comes.” – Claire

“This is either the most daft thing I’ve ever done or the most brilliant.” – Roger somewhat to himself as he stood outside the Randall home in Boston

“You still love him.” – Joe to Claire
“I never stopped.” – Claire

“I love you for you, Brianna.” – Claire

“It’s possible we may never see each other again.” – Claire to Brianna

“You owe it to him to go back and I want you to go. Tell him everything.” – Brianna to Claire

“You gave Jamie up for me, now I have to give him back to you.” – Brianna

“You’re a skinny white girl with too much hair, but a great ass.” – Joe to Claire

“He’s a good one.” – Claire to Brianna (about Roger)
“I know.” – Brianna

Is that you Geordie? Took you long enough. Where did you go to get the ash? All the way to Glasgow?” – Jamie to who he thought was Geordie
“It isn’t Geordie. It’s me. Claire.” – to Jamie at the print shop [right before he falls on the floor in a dead faint after seeing her]

What did you think of the episode? Please share your thoughts in our comments section below. The next new episode of Outlander, which will be an “unforgettable extended episode” [according to the network] will air in two weeks,  on Sunday, October 22 at 8/7c, on Starz.

Photo Credits: Spoiler TV and Starz

Using her favorite online handle, Rueben is an East Coast-bred gal who is now a permanent Californian and a lifelong tv-oholic. She watches at least 25 TV shows a week, goes to the movies as often as possible, listens to music every waking moment, reads every day and “plays” on the internet every chance she can. Some of her current favorite TV shows are Outlander, Blindspot, The Blacklist, Killjoys, The Brave, The Shannara Chronicles, Good Witch, When Calls the Heart, The 100, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Fosters. Follow her at @ruebenrambling or contact her at