There are a countless amount of moments in each season of Outlander that shape and mold our beloved characters into the people we know and love. And if you ask ten fans to pick their Top 5 defining moments for each character in any given season, you would get an infinite amount of answers. Narrowing the field down to five key moments for Jamie Fraser was a struggle, but I wanted to choose instances I felt showcased five unique aspects of Jamie’s character. Check them out below, and let me know what your Top 5 season one moments for Jamie would be in the comments!
5. Walking A Fine Line
The first half of 104, Jamie is shrouded in mystery. He has disappeared, and despite Claire’s constant inquiries, nobody’s talking. What the audience doesn’t realize is Jamie’s act of evasion is for his own safety. Unfortunately through Claire’s sheer determination to escape and get back to the stones, she ends up backing Jamie into a corner. He’s left with two choices: swear fealty to Colum and put himself in the running as a potential clan chieftain, or refuse to swear fealty and appease his uncle Dougal, but make an enemy of the entire MacKenzie clan. This moment, is where we start to see the inner workings of Jamie Fraser. He is incredibly intelligent and able to walk the very fine line between his two uncles–ultimately coming out unscathed. Throughout the series we will see many more of these moments where Jamie’s ability to think under pressure gets him through incredibly tough situations.
4. Compromising for The Greater Good
“The Reckoning” is the only episode of the series so far to be exclusively from Jamie’s point of view, and is vital to our understanding of him as a character. However, I think the most telling part of the entire episode is the compromise between Jamie and Claire at the end. Jamie has only ever known relationships where when a wife disobeys, or causes trouble, the husband is well within his rights to punish her, and is even expected to do so. In the 18th century women were chattel for the amusement of their husbands in the eyes of the law, and most of the time, in the eyes of the men themselves.
The difference here is that Jamie cares deeply for his wife, and wants her to love and respect him as he loves and respects her. Therefore, he brings forward the idea of a compromise. He agrees to understand his wife is different, and her expectations of marriage differ as well. He is willing to throw the idea of a normal 18th century marriage out the window, in order to build something new and different with Claire which will ultimately strengthen their relationship in a million different ways.
3. Unwavering Trust in Claire
“The Devil’s Mark” is a massive episode that sends the plot of season one hurtling forward. It is within its confines that all is finally revealed between Claire and Jamie–ultimately leading to one of Jamie’s greatest moments. After Claire comes completely clean and admits to Jamie that she is a time traveller from the 1940s, Jamie has a choice. He can claim Claire is insane and have her committed, or he can go with the unpopular choice, and believe her. While many would claim the former, Jamie says, “I trust you. I trust your word. I trust your heart. I trust there is a truth between us. So, whatever you tell me, I will believe you.” His unwavering belief in Claire is 100% unadulterated Jamie, and I absolutely love this moment between them!
2. Admitting He Was Wrong
Jamie and Jenny haven’t seen each other for four years at the time of “Lallybroch”, and those four years have taken their toll in innumerable ways. We see the tension between the siblings in spades. Jamie’s level of judginess reaches an all-time high when he assumes Jenny has born not one, but two children out of wedlock and dishonored herself and her family in the process. On the flip side, Jenny blames her brother for their father’s death, and allows her anger to bleed into her impression of his new wife.
“Lallybroch” is an episode where Jamie begins to discover himself and his new role as “laird”, but in doing so he makes A LOT of mistakes. What struck me most is the scene in the graveyard at the end of the episode where Jamie admits his wrong doings and commits to doing better next time. He apologizes to Jenny for how he has treated her, and even comforts her as she cries, assuring her that none of what happened was her fault. It’s all water under the bridge from that moment on, and with all the family drama sorted out, Jamie is one step closer to becoming the man he wants to be.
1. Protecting Claire at All Costs
“Wentworth Prison” sees circumstances go from bad to worse for Jamie—and he starts out the episode as a convict condemned to hang, so you wouldn’t think things could GET worse. All season we have seen the tension between Black Jack and Jamie building, and by the end of 115 it has reached boiling point. What gives this the #1 Defining Moment for Jamie in Season 1 is the sacrifice he is willing to make to ensure Claire’s safety and well-being–up to and including giving his body to Randall. Jamie told Claire on their wedding night, “You have my name, my clan, my family. And if necessary, the protection of my body as well,” and we see the fulfillment of that promise at the end of 115 into 116. Jamie plays his last card in his wife’s defense, and if that’s not the essence of Jamie Fraser as a character, I don’t know what is.
Stay tuned for my next entry–5 Defining Moments for Claire: Season One