[The following contains spoilers for Sunday's Outlander episode, "Surrender"! Read at your own risk]
The second episode of Season 3 jumped forward in time for both of our estranged lovers. For Jamie, the episode captured his years hiding out at Lallybroch in the years following Culloden as British soldiers combed the country side, eradicating all signs of Highlander life. In the 20th century, Claire made the first steps to becoming a surgeon and tried once again to reconnect with Frank (Tobias Menzies), but inevitably put a nail in the coffin of their chances at ever having a loving marriage.
Jamie still had the harder half of the episode. At this point he was still one of the most wanted men in all of Scotland. It's pretty hard to hide a 6'3" red-haired Scotsman inside your house, so Jamie is forced to live most of his days in solitude in a cave near the Lallybroch estate. He makes monthly visits down to the house in the dead of night, especially after one hair-raising daytime trip almost causes everyone to get caught. However, it's when coming to visit Jamie in the cave causes Fergus (Roman Berrux) his hand that Jamie decides it's too dangerous for him to stay on the property and hatches a plan to turn himself into the police.
Before Jamie makes that huge sacrifice he gets a visit from Mary McNab (Emma Campbell) — the woman helping Jenny (Laura Donnelly) run Lallybroch, and the only reason Jamie survived his trip down to the house to see his new nephew born earlier in the episode. She convinces him to sleep with her as an act of kindness, something fond to remember before he sentences himself to prison. Jamie relents, giving in to the loneliness of living in the cave for the better part of a decade. This is the first time he's touched a woman in any kind of intimate sense since he sent Claire through the stones at Culloden and it's an important part of his journey in accepting that Claire may be gone forever.
Don't get too mad at Jamie though, because Claire was attempting to find ways to deal with the loss of Jamie in a more physical sense in her own timeline. Touching herself doesn't do the job, so she turns to Frank.
"I miss my husband," she tells him in the middle of the night as she climbs on top of him. He believes it at first, but days later Frank realizes he's not the husband she's talking about and he isn't willing to be her Jamie substitute. The man has standards, OK? When the two realize they are at an impasse, they agree to live separate lives — splitting their room into two separate beds like an I Love Lucy episode.
By the end of the episode, Jamie watches his home disappear over the horizon as he's carted off to prison, expecting to live out the rest of his days as a prisoner of the crown. Claire has sentenced herself to a loveless marriage with Frank with no hopes of sparking the intimacy that once made them fall in love or having any of the warmth to make missing Jamie hurt less.
We have to expect that Jamie and Claire are going to reunite at some point, or else why would we be watching this show? But at this moment, these two are farther apart than they have ever been and the task of finding their way back to each other grows more monumental by the year.
Outlander continues Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.