Leaving the Past Behind

Written by: Anne K. Hawkinson


How can you leave the past behind when it’s become part of your present self? Claire’s gut-wrenching grief brought me to tears 15 seconds into Through a Glass, Darkly. Her loss was palpable, the kind that makes your heart literally ache with the reality that someone you loved so deeply and completely is gone forever.

There’s a deep, sad pain when you search for something you don’t want to find. You know your fractured heart is going to completely shatter, but you can’t stop yourself. And it seems no one in the 20th century is going to help Claire find the one name that might convince her she has to find a way forward without Jamie. She sits alone, searching for a list of the Culloden Moor casualties. Reverend Wakefield’s provided her with reference materials, but her quest is a lonely, solitary one. Frank and the Reverend were fever-pitched in their research in Season One, but now they speculate from a safe distance as Claire struggles to find closure on her own. Perhaps she wanted it that way. I would have, too.


I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard Mrs. Graham was still in the Reverend’s employ. Surely, she would be an ally to Claire. I wanted Mrs. Graham to turn to Reverend Wakefield and Frank and say, “I told you so!” At least she believes what happened to Claire, and encourages her to keep a place in her heart for Jamie and her extraordinary time-traveling experience. But she’s a practical woman, reminding Claire that she has a living, breathing husband here, in this century, behind those windows. I understood Mrs. Graham’s practicality, but was saddened by her “time to move on” stance. Perhaps she could help Claire go back, but if Jamie’s dead, there would be no reason. And, there’s Jamie’s child she’s carrying, along with the promise she made to him.




I feel genuinely sorry for Frank. He can’t compete, and he can’t win. Even against a dead man. He doesn’t have the capacity to love as Jamie did. At least not in the way Claire has come to know, need, and deserve. Frank seems to sense this, and his desperation turns to anger. I was truly scared for Claire when Frank leaned over her in the chair, fist clenched. At that pivotal moment, Claire realizes the love she felt for him in the past is gone, along with any thought of their going back to their life as it once was.



Frank seals his fate (in my opinion) when he imposes conditions upon Claire. The baby she’s carrying will be brought up as theirs, no more searching for answers about Jamie, and they’re moving to Boston. Claire agrees to his conditions because of the promise she made to Jamie and the fact that the child is his. It’s a part of him that no one can take away from her – not even Frank. But conditions do not a marriage make.



I sobbed “No!” to my empty living room as Claire struggled to remove the wedding ring from her marriage to Jamie. Frank tried to appear compassionate in “letting” her keep it for now. Will removing it be a future condition? I hope she hides it away so that Frank can’t take it away from her and destroy it. 



I was angry at Frank for burning Claire’s clothes (destroying any power they may have to transport Claire back to the 18th century?). He could have been more discreet, perhaps asking Reverend Wakefield to donate them to the organization that verified their probable authenticity, or even a museum. But he burned them in full view of Claire. The message was loud and clear:  that part of your life is over, and I am in charge. What will become of Claire? Claire Fraser has slipped from our view (except for the defiant stare at Frank’s reaction to news of her pregnancy). Is she to be replaced by Claire Randall and become a shadow of her former self?

Even as she embarks on her new life, the reflection still holds the echoes of the stone circle at Craig Na Dun.


So what were your thoughts on Claire's new emotional journey and does she vanish into the 20th Century? Where do you stand on the Frank issue?

16 comments

  1. Your review was spot on as to how I felt.

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  2. Oh, wow! That reflection in the plane window -- while NYC in reality -- really does look like Craig na Dun. SPOOKY!

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    1. LOVE that pick up of the reflection in the plane window that really looks like Craig na Dun!!! I've got to go see that part again.

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  3. Anne, you touched beautifully on Claire's sadness and grief. Outlander fans everywhere also gasped when Claire began to remove Jamie's ring, and sighed with gripping relief when she left it on. Thanks for a great read.

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  4. This episode was so heart wrenching. A great start to the season. Thanks for the recap! Great read!

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    1. Thanks, Denise! Yes, an emotional start!

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  5. Sensitive read! Perhaps Frank destroyed the clothing to protect Claire...as a MI6 alum, he knows the danger to Claire and the child if the gov't knew she could time travel. And he let the cat out of the bag when he mailed the outfit to a fellow academic. He had to stop the kidnapped by fairies narrative. Add this to all the other reasons the writers added this poignant scene.

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    1. Thanks, Joyce! Wow... I could have written for hours on just this topic - so many theories, reasons, justifications!

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  6. Beautifully written and insightful piece. I so enjoy reading your blogs and have started posting them in a private facebook group...Peakers Outlander, Scotland, and its Clans. We are a closed group comprised of members from Sam Heughans "My Peak Challenge* (MPC).

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    2. Thank you, Claudia! The first half of this episode grabbed me and wouldn't let go!

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  7. Beautiflly written Anne K.H brilliantly acted by,Cait,Sam&Tobias!

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