This week Readheadedgirl is off in the UK enjoying cream teas, so I’m on my own for the recap.
Also, A Note from Sarah:
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The title card is a shot of Claire painting Brianna’s First Christmas 1948 on a wooden ornament.
The episode opens with Claire performing surgery alongside Joe, fixing a bleed just in the nick of time.
We cut to Brianna in class at Harvard, not really paying attention and doing some amazing architecture sketches her notebook. She looks up when her professor tells the class about William Dawes, a man who rode with Paul Revere, but was “lost to history.” Her professor asks to speak with her privately and tells her that she’s failing his class and, according to her other professors, other classes as well. He asks her what’s changed and she tells him that everything is fine and storms off.
Brianna goes home where the house is dark but the Christmas tree is lit. She looks at the ornament from the title card, then starts to sort through some of Frank’s things. She smells his pipe and sorts through old photos, struggling not to cry.
Back at Claire’s office, Joe pours them a drink and asks her what really happened in Scotland. He thinks Claire met a man.
“Well, there was someone. From my past,” she confesses.
“I had hoped that we would be able to find each other again,” Claire tells Joe. “But fate had other ideas.”
“Fuck fate,” Joe says.
I like Joe.
Out of the blue, Roger shows up in Boston. He rings the Randall’s doorbell (Claire and Brianna are clearly fighting inside). Brianna throws the door open and demands, “What!?”
“Happy Christmas,” he says sheepishly.
After some awkward introductions, Claire tells Roger that Brianna is withdrawing from Harvard and moving out. Brianna leaves, and Claire and Roger have some wine and cheese and visit.
“You didn’t just come here for an American Christmas, did you?”
“Is it that obvious?” Roger asks.
Claire tells him that she’s glad he’s there as Brianna needs someone to talk to, and Roger is the only one who knows the whole story about Jamie. They move from wine to whisky (Brandy, she’s a fine girl…). Roger tells Claire that he found a journal article from 1765 that contains the line “for as has been known for ages past, freedom and whisky gang thegither.”
Claire told Roger and Brianna in the last episode that she quoted that line to Jamie, leading Roger to believe that Jamie wrote the article. Claire points out that the line came from a poem by Robert Burns, but Roger tells her that Burns was 6 when the article was written.
The article was printed by Alexander Malcolm, a name Roger believes was a pseudonym Jamie was using. All of this means Jamie was alive and living in Edinburgh about 19 years after Claire left him.
Claire is upset, telling Roger that he should have left well enough alone. “I could have lived the rest of my life not knowing. Twenty years ago, I shut the door on the past. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. When you told me he survived Culloden, I began to hope,” she says. “I can’t go through that again.”
“But this isn’t just hope!” Roger says. “This is real! You can go to Jamie!”
Claire points out that Brianna needs her and that going to Jamie would be abandoning her daughter. She asks Roger not to tell Brianna what he found out about Jamie.
The next day Claire is back at the hospital where Joe has laid a bunch of 150 year old bones out on her desk. His friend, an anthropologist, sent them looking for a cause of death. Joe and Claire determine that the woman was murdered, nearly beheaded.
Claire confides in Joe that the man she thought to meet in Scotland was Brianna’s real father and that she told Brianna.
Joe tells her that he watched her live a half-life for years, and that if she has a chance with this man she should take it. He assures her Brianna will come around.
Cut to Roger hanging out at Chez Randall, watching Dark Shadows. Brianna comes home. She teases him for his taste in television then invites him to join her at a ceremony at Harvard where a fellowship will be named after Frank.
As they tour Harvard, Brianna tells him that history can’t be trusted, that it’s a story that changes depends on who is telling it.
Claire, Brianna and Roger attend the ceremony for Frank’s fellowship. Claire runs into one of Frank’s former mistresses, Sandy, now a professor, and much awkwardness abounds.
Sandy chastises Claire for living a lie with Frank and making Frank and Brianna live that lie too. She tells Claire that Frank was the love of her life and that she’d give anything to have one more day with him.
When Brianna asks Claire about Sandy, Claire tells her the truth. Brianna asks if Frank hated her, looking at her every day and knowing she was Jamie’s child, not his. She also asks if Claire resented her, as her pregnancy was the reason she left Jamie. Claire says no on both counts and tears are shed.
Claire admits that Roger found Jamie in 1765.
Brianna tells her that she has to go back to Jamie. She assures Claire that she can get by on her own, and that while she loves her mom, she doesn’t need her the way she once did.
Cut to the hospital. A bunch of doctors and nurses are in a lounge, watching the Apollo 8 mission on TV.
“How do you take a trip like that, and come back to life as you knew it?” Joe ponders.
Claire looks pensively at the moon from her window.
Later Claire and Brianna discuss the possibility of Claire traveling back in time to Jamie, specifically that they may never see each other again. Claire tells her that she doesn’t know if she can live with that.
Brianna tells Claire that she’s more of her mother than either of her fathers, and that if she’s half the woman Claire is she’ll be fine. She also wants Claire to tell Jamie about his daughter. Claire worries that Jamie might have forgotten her or moved on.
“You gave Jamie up for me,” Brianna says. “Now I have to give him back to you.”
The next day at the hospital, Claire asks Joe if she’s still sexually attractive. “Is this about your man?” Joe asks her.
Claire, again, reiterates her fear that Jamie won’t want her.
Joe tells her, “You’re a skinny white broad with too much hair, but a great ass. He’ll be in heaven when he sees you.”
Then it’s Christmas at the Randall household. Roger and Brianna give Claire some old coins she can use in Edinburgh as well as a history of Scotland book. Brianna says she wanted to give Claire a flashlight, but Roger warned her that it would lead to another witch trial. Claire confesses that she stole some penicillin from the hospital to take to the past with her.
Brianna gives her mother a topaz necklace, Brianna’s birthstone.
Roger jokingly suggests Claire make herself a utility belt like Batman to carry all her items in to the past. We get a montage of Claire sewing while the Batman theme plays in the background. After inspecting her gray hairs in the mirror, Claire dyes her hair to hide them.
Claire packs her suitcase and gives Brianna a letter for Joe, as well as the deed to the house and paperwork turning the bank accounts over to her. She also gives Brianna the pearls that belonged to Jamie’s mother.
The three of them toast whisky, “to freedom and whisky.”
Claire leaves, and Brianna cries in Roger’s arms. Roger gives Brianna a copy of a A Christmas Carole which Frank and Claire used to read to her. Brianna kisses him.
We get a shot of Claire stepping out of a cab and into a puddle, as the camera pans up the taxi is replaced by a carriage and she is in her historical garb. She is in Edinburgh in 1766.
She walks down the street to the printer’s shop. She opens the door and hears Jamie’s voice. She looks down at Jamie from the door and says, “It’s me. Claire.”
Jamie turns around slowly, then faints.
Elyse: Like I said, I’m on my own here as RHG is traipsing about the UK, probably having a really good scone right now.
So this whole episode felt weird to me. I’m not crazy about Brianna’s character, partially I think because there hasn’t been enough screen time to develop her. Regardless, it feels super weird having her help Claire pack so Claire can go back in time and they never see each other again. I get that Brianna is an adult, but…. the acting felt off, like these two women barely know each other. I didn’t sense any super deep affection.
I also want to know WTF the random bones thing was about. I’m sure it will come up later, but if Claire was somehow examining her own bones, I’ll be pissed. And kinda grossed out.
And finally, FINALLY we get a reunion. I am so stoked for the next episode which is 75 minutes long…but doesn’t air for two weeks. UGH.
So, what did you think of this episode? How are you liking this season so far?
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