Outlander Moments of Impact: Rescue From the Depths of the Sea
(Spoiler: this moment of perfection is taken from the season 3 finale, so if you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it darling, and then come back to read this 😘)
Sometimes a television show or film creates a moment that is truly a masterpiece. A moment that is so beautiful, it transcends language to describe it and transcends the screen while viewing it. A moment that stirs something deep inside your very nature and reminds you what life is all about: LOVE.
The moment that encapsulates this mastery of story-telling is Jamie’s rescue of Claire in 3x13 “Eye of the Storm”
Oh precious people. This moment. I truly for once am at a loss for words.
This scene was pure poetry on screen.
I am going to be honest at the risk of sounding dramatic: this scene might be my favorite Outlander moment of all time. It is dripping in metaphorical brilliance. I have never wept during an Outlander episode before, but I crumbled at the beauty that I saw unfold before me.
All of the elements in this scene collided together in a moment of sheer resplendence: the music, the cinematography, the acting, the editing, the directing, the writing: EVERY single part was executed flawlessly.
Let’s break down this incandescence, shall we?
- After boarding a ship to return home, Jamie and Claire are violently hit by a storm of unbelievable proportion. Despite doing everything in their power, the ship is quickly overtaken by the monstrous tempest.
- They keep near one another as the ship’s fate of doom rapidly approaches. Suddenly a huge swell picks up. Just before it hits, Jamie and Claire lock eyes and then vanish beneath the waves.
- As Jamie reappears, he frantically looks around the ship for his wife. She is gone. Panicked and devastated, he looks over the edge knowing that the love of his life has been tossed into the fathomless ocean.
- Then, we cut to Claire. Entangled in sails and unconscious, she is drifting slowly deeper and deeper into the depths of the sea to be lost forever.
- As she sinks, we hear a poignant monologue:
“I was dead. Everything around me was a blinding white. And there was a soft rushing sound like the wings of angels. I felt peaceful. And bodiless. Free of terror. Free of rage. Filled with a quiet happiness.”
- Just like her daughter Faith was wrapped in a white cloth, so is her mother shrouded by a “blinding white”. Just like Claire saw wings as she lost her child, so the wings of Faith return on brink of death to comfort her. In this moment, Claire and her daughter Faith meet once again: their souls mingling in “quiet happiness”.
- As we begin to think Claire is truly gone, out of the corner of our eye, we see something. Someone is swimming towards her.
As a light piercing through the darkness, so does this man come after his wife.
- With all his power and might, Jamie swims to rescue his beloved calman geal. When he finally reaches her, with a look of ferocity, he quickly cuts away anything that entangles her.
- He pulls his lost treasure into his arms and gives her a kiss of complete enchantment. As death seeks to overtake her, Jamie bestows on her the breath of life.
- Securing her tightly in his embrace, he makes way towards the surface as all the wreckage falls away.
When I saw this scene, I was so overcome by the powerful depth of emotion that it evokes: I forgot for a mere moment that what I was watching was fantasy because the effect it had on me was very real.
I have watched this scene over and over and over and over and over and over again. Despite wanting to review the entire episode again, because it is a spectacular one, I keep returning to this moment.
Is this scene dramatic? Yes.
Is this scene over-the-top? Oh yes.
But narratively, have we not earned the right for “dramatic and over the top” at this point with how many times we have seen this couple be separated? I THINK WE HAVE. Despite its drama, it never lacks sincerity.
The metaphor that this scene reveals is unrivaled:
Claire has been slowly drowning for 20 years. She has been suffocating under the weight of being utterly alone in the world. She has been unknown and unseen. She has been unappreciated and unloved for her true self. No one dove into her ocean of brokenness to rescue her.
But just before she is overcome by the waters of dejection: the love of her entire lifetime comes after her. He does not leave her to drown in despair; he does not leave her alone to die.
He dives into the sea of darkness to fetch back his lost bride. He does not just call through the skies for the lost one: he goes and gets her.
HE GOES AFTER HER. NO MATTER WHAT HE WILL ALWAYS GO AFTER HER. No matter the storm. No matter the ocean. No matter the danger. No matter the cost. He will run, swim, do whatever it takes to save and keep the love of his life.
Even if that means he will lose his own life in the process, he will gladly sacrifice it all for the one who is his life.
He does not give up. He will never give up.
Jamie’s unspoken words in this moment are shattering: I am coming for you, Claire. Death itself will not stop my pursuit of you.
Long ago, Jamie told his beloved that they will always find a way back to each other. Do you want to know why? Because they FIGHT for it. Because they are willing to give it all. Because they do not passively wait for their beloved to come to them, no: they sacrifice it ALL for the one they love.
A lovely Shakespeare sonnet came to my mind for the reckless, extravagant love of Jamie and Claire in this moment:
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alternation finds or bends with the remover to remover. Oh no. It is an ever fixed mark, that looks on tempests and is never shaken”
Even from the depths of the sea, I will find you.
Artistic sidenote: I believe in giving credit where credit is due and Bear McCreary: YOU, my talented friend, MADE THIS SCENE. This piece of music is truly one of the loveliest musical scores I have ever heard. It starts peaceful, poignant. Then as Jamie swims towards his beloved, it picks up and grows with a firey intensity to match this man’s resolve to save his bride. Bear intertwined Faith’s theme with Jamie & Claire’s which added a breathtaking nuance to the scene; he also created a new theme that indicates new beginnings.