From Scotland, to Paris, and back again, season two covers a lot of ground, and out of all the characters that grace the screen in these 13 jam-packed episodes, I think it is safe to say that Jamie has the biggest arc. Join me as I run down the list of Jamie’s 5 most character defining moments!
5. Hiding Under A Blade of Grass — 204: “La Dame Blanche”
When we leave Jamie in Season 1, he is desperately trying to overcome the trauma he has experienced at the hands of Black Jack Randall. Jamie is struggling with massive PTSD; he is plagued by nightmares, and is unable to be intimate with his wife because of the visceral flashbacks that happen as a result. This is something that plays out over the course the first four episodes until a fight with Claire sends him flying over the edge. Jamie has been unable to talk about what that night at Wentworth did to him mentally. Obviously after the events at the abbey, Claire has a pretty good idea of what happened, but Jamie doesn’t like to talk about it. He wants to pretend everything is okay, but he is emotionally devastated.
He feels like less of a man because of it, and when he finally gets up the nerve to tell Claire what he’s been struggling with over the course of their time in Paris, it is an explosive moment that comes to define Jamie’s character arc. He feels as though his safe place inside himself has been blown to pieces, and his soul has been exposed out in the open — the most vulnerable parts of him left to bear the elements with no place to hide. It’s a heartbreaking scene that really showcases Jamie’s struggle to find himself again. And I also think the scene puts Jamie’s skill as a master wordsmith on display as well. It’s absolutely fantastic!
4. Supporting The Jacobites — 208: “The Fox’s Lair”
In the season premiere of Season 2, Jamie and Claire agree to use Claire’s knowledge of the future to keep the Jacobite Rising of 1745 from ever coming to fruition. It is the backbone of the entire Paris plot and the source of much stress for poor Jamie. So when the Frasers return to Scotland, and Jamie receives the letter he’s been dreading — Prince Charlie has landed in Scotland, and he has forged Jamie’s signature on the declaration of support — he knows he must come to a decision: fight or flee.
Jamie deciding to fight for the Jacobites always made sense to me. His beliefs align more strongly with the Jacobite cause, and I think he would rather be caught naked in a lightning storm than side with the British Now that he knows stopping the rebellion is a fools errand, why not throw all his weight behind Charlie and see if they can change the future that way? This scene between Jamie and Claire isn’t necessarily a headliner, but I feel that it is perhaps one of the MOST defining moments of the entire series for Jamie. It is a decision full of implications. And the impact of this choice leads Jamie and Claire through the next 20+ years of their lives as they follow Charlie’s regime through the rebellion and are eventually parted at Craigh na Dun in the hours before the Battle of Culloden.
3. Carrying It Together — 207: “Faith”
In my previous blog post, I made Claire’s decision to forgive Jamie one of her defining moments of Season 2, and I think the loss of Faith impacted Jamie equally as much, for similar and completely different reasons. Jamie and Claire are devastated by the loss of their daughter, but I think the most poignant part of the entire situation comes in how they respond to that loss and persevere in the face of adversity. Claire gave Jamie an out. They could have parted ways after the loss of the baby — and a lot of couples do have difficulty finding the spark in their relationship again after the death of a child, but Jamie wasn’t about to let his relationship end this way.
So, when Jamie makes the statement “What has happened here is too much for any one of us to bear alone. We have to carry it, together.” I really felt that this was one of Jamie’s greatest moments. He and Claire’s relationship is an epic romance by every standard, but what makes it so aspirational is their devotion to one another and their faith, love, and trust in one another. In this scene, Jamie makes the decision to fight for Claire, and fight for their future together. They have suffered tremendous loss, but they have also made the decision to move forward together, which, for me, was absolutely amazing to see.
2. Sparing Black Jack Randall — 205: “Untimely Resurrection”
Black Jack Randall was cementing his fate way before Claire Beauchamp Randall came on the scene, and his rap sheet just keeps getting longer as the series goes on. It’s little wonder after everything our heroes have endured at his hands that Jamie is hell bent on shedding blood of the BJR variety. And let’s face it, if anyone has the right to take Randall’s life it’s JAMMF. All of that being said, I couldn’t help but be on Jamie’s side when Claire called in her “you owe me a life” clause in the marriage contract. Hmmm…I, like Jamie, missed that part of the wedding vows…
Jamie is understandably hurt; Claire is the one person he always counts on to be in his corner, and when she stands in the way of him taking his vengeance, he views it as a betrayal of the worst order. Frank Randall is of no concern to Jamie — at least not in the moment, but if Claire views all the life saving efforts she has committed on Jamie’s behalf as something to be paid back, Jamie will honor that request, even if the payment of said debt means letting Jack walk free. Let me just say, it takes a special sort of person to set aside their own desires like that. I mean, Jamie doesn’t do it quietly. It’s a rift that festers between he and Claire for a long while afterward, but he gives his word that he won’t take the matter further, and that counts for something.
1. Sending Claire Back — 213: “Dragonfly in Amber”
In Paris, Claire promised Jamie she would return through the stones if they ever reached a point where all hope was lost and Culloden was imminent. They have reached that point in “Dragonfly in Amber”, and Jamie holds her to her word. I think what it all boils down to is the child Claire is carrying. Ron Moore stated in an interview that losing Faith nearly destroyed Jamie. So, when he discovers Claire is pregnant again, he makes her go back, more for the baby than anything else. After losing Faith, he refuses to lose another child, even if that means sending the woman he loves back in time to another man.
Jamie has resigned himself to death on the battle field, and as long as his wife and child are safe, nothing else matters. Sending Claire back to the twentieth century, is a mere “tying up of loose ends” in his book, and it rips my heart out every time I watch it. Not knowing Jamie is alive, Claire starts her life anew with Frank in Boston, and Jamie struggles through years and years of grief, trying to find himself again. It’s the moment that defines two decades, and really, the rest of Jamie and Claire’s lives–be it together, or apart. So, how could I place this moment anywhere else but the top slot for Jamie Fraser?
…and with that, it’s time to close the door on Season Two and move forward into Season Three. Make sure to tune into The Sassenach Files Podcast next week as we venture into uncharted territory. I can’t wait to discuss with you all. In the meantime, have a wonderful week, and Happy New Year!!