I’ll say this as calmly as I can: I need the reunion, and I need it now. I can’t get by on Brianna and Roger. Why are we going back to Boston? NEEDLESS DELAYS.
We first see Claire elbow-deep in someone’s body, surgery-ing away with her buddy Joe. It’s like Grey’s Anatomy, but with crummier tools. It’s definitely Seattle Grace next to the amputation she did in the 1800s, of course.
Brianna is at Harvard, not listening to her history professor as he drops some #realtalk about Paul Revere. Sometimes, he says, names are lost to history! Get it? Brianna, unfortunately, is failing out of college and she doesn’t want to tell her extremely nice professor why.
Joe and Claire are sharing a drink in her office, and he knows that more went down in Scotland than she’s saying. She gives him the bare-bones, no-time-travel version — a Scotsman! From her past! They went their separate ways! — but he’s not really buying it.
It’s their first Christmas without Frank, and Brianna is taking it hard. Me too, B! Luckily for her, Roger is pulling up in a yellow cab. (He can’t quit her!) This is a long and expensive trip to make if no one knows you’re coming, Roger, which Brianna DEFINITELY doesn’t. She and Claire were in the middle of a fight about her dropping out of Harvard and moving out. Brianna isn’t able to forget THE WHOLE UNBELIEVABLE THING, which I respect! If I learned my mom was a time-traveller, I wouldn’t be doing problem sets and writing essays about Paul Revere, that’s for sure.
Roger does come bearing good news: He’s found a 1765 article in which the author quotes something Claire said to him, as well as a poem by Robert Burns, who would have been six at the time. It HAS to be Jamie, under (ding ding ding) the name Alexander Malcolm. Claire’s face is going a million miles a minute. COME ON CLAIRE, RIP THAT DOOR TO THE PAST BACK OPEN. I totally get her hesitation to get her hopes up again, and Claire also doesn’t want to leave Brianna. “Take her with you, dumbass,” I say. She’s failing anyway, and maybe she wants to meet her bio dad?
The next day, Claire’s desk is covered with human remains (bones, not gushy stuff) that an anthropologist sent over to determine a cause of death. Claire correctly deduces that the bones are that of a murder victim, which Joe finds puzzling. A white lady murder victim in the Caribbean. She decides to tell Joe that the anonymous Scot is Brianna’s real father, and that’s the reason why she’s struggling so much at the moment. Joe asks if she still loves him. (Duh.) Joe says he’s watched Claire live a half-life for 16 years, and if there’s a second chance, she should take it.
YES! JOE! SO SMART! DO IT! LISTEN TO YOUR BUDDY, HE’S A COOL DUDE!
Meanwhile, Brianna shows Roger around campus and there’s a long boring interlude where they discuss architecture, which eventually gets around to being about whether or not history is a story, etc. etc. Frank’s lover Sandy is at the memorial ceremony, and it’s awkward. Sandy says Claire should have let him go, that he stayed for Brianna, and he should have been with Sandy because he was her true love. You should always be with the love of your life! (Sandy is being exceptionally rude, but she’s right.) Claire comes clean to Brianna about who Sandy is, which is good. Brianna says Frank must have hated her for looking like Jamie, which we all know is horseshit because he was a great dad. They have a nice moment of mutual love and appreciation and communication.
Yes, Claire is digging out the article! TELL HER YOU CAN GO BACK, TELL HER TO COME WITH. Brianna immediately says, “So you can go back!’ because she’s not an IDIOT. She makes it clear she doesn’t need Claire to stay for her sake. You can all go! Bring Roger! Bring Joe! Okay, probably not Joe. The past is even more racist than Harvard Medical School in the 1960s.
Claire says, “What if he’s forgotten me?” and it’s very sweet and heartbreaking, but also nonsense because Jamie would NEVER. She decides to ask Joe if she’s sexually attractive, which is … uncomfortable. Obviously, Claire is still gorgeous (“a skinny white broad with too much hair and a great ass”) and he’s happy to tell her so. If I weren’t desperate for her to get back to Jamie, I would very much want her and Joe to hook up.
Brilliantly, Roger and Brianna gather up as many old coins as possible for Claire to take with her, as well as a history book, some scalpels, and assorted medical doo-dads. Brianna also gives her a beautiful necklace with her birthstone in it.
There’s a DEE-lightful sewing montage set to the Batman theme where Claire gets her Scotland apparel ready, at which point I upgraded my episode score to a full five stars. She’s patting at her non-existent wrinkles, and I’m like, “Claire. Stop.” She also covers her greys!
Claire gives Brianna a resignation letter to give to Joe, and for Brianna herself, the deed to the house and all the bank account information, as well as the necklace of Scottish pearls that Jamie gave her on their wedding night. The scene where she says good-bye is WRENCHING. I can’t believe I ever thought Brianna was a brat. This is all so romantic I could die.
(Note: At this point, there were only 14 minutes left in the episode. I was VERY concerned it would end with Claire stepping through the stones and NOT seeing Jamie. A week is a long time!)
As per my fears, we see Roger and Brianna reading A Christmas Carol together, but they are quickly allayed by the sight of Claire in Edinburgh, where a child IMMEDIATELY tells her how to find Jamie. My heart is pounding! POUNDING!
She’s going up the steps! She’s entering the shop! THE LITTLE DOORBELL CHIMES! WE HEAR HIS VOICE, I AM DYING, TAKE ME NOW JESUS!
SHE SAYS HIS NAME AND HE KNOWS IT’S HER AND HE TURNS AROUND AT LIKE TWO MILES AN HOUR BECAUSE HE CAN’T BELIEVE IT AND THEN HE FLAT-OUT FAINTS.
Cue the credits. See you next week when I start breathing again.