Monday, March 4, 2019

Let's Be Frank

Outlander Homepage originals by Nancy McGehee Fontenot

I’m sure, especially those who’ve followed Outlander Homepage from the get go, you have seen us use the phrase, “all things Outlander” to promote our blog page. We all love the show, and can’t wait for each episode, but we shouldn’t forget that our favorite television program is based on a series of eight, soon to be nine, epic novels.

Considering the first of Diana Gabaldon’s magnificent works (Outlander) was originally published twenty eight years ago, and has been successfully adapted for television going on five years, Outlander Homepage decided it well was past time to devote a section of the blog page to the books that have given millions of people so much pleasure.

While this section is dedicated to the novels, and their individual story lines, it is not for book fans only, nor a critique, or dissected comparison, between what’s in the book, and what the show writers do with it .  

We strictly want to share the beauty of Diana’s written creation with other fans of her work, by discussing, opining about, and yes, even griping about, the characters we love so dearly.

Here, the plan is to be honest about our feelings, because, let’s face it, our favorite Frasers, and quite a few other characters, aren’t always the most likable folks. Just stop for a moment and recall your thoughts, and emotions, while traversing the chapters of any one of these amazing novels. How many times have you thought, while turning dog eared pages bursting with kilted clansmen in their prime, battle ready, and pulsing with testosterone… Good Lord, I need to find me a Highlander!? (Diana Gabaldon has most likely caused more hot flashes, than menopause!)

Have you ever muttered under your breath, “you stubborn fool!” or even thought, “that’s one wee laddie/lassie that needs a strap on their arse”, and I am sure I am not the only reader who has wanted to just shake Claire "until her teeth rattle", particularly for dragging Jamie into another seemingly impossible situation.  I’m talking the good, the bad, and even the ugliness of Diana’s novels, and nothing but the novels… novel isn’t it?  So, let’s get this party started, shall we?

Based on what I’ve read of season four related social media posts, it seems a large portion of the Outlander fandom is by and largely, so over Frank Randall. He’s dead, he’s done, fuggedabout him! Not so fast, my fair weather Frankophobes! While he might be a character of the past, he cannot be forgotten, but before I get to that, I just want to make a few valid points and observations about the man. Was he a maligned martyr for raising another man’s child in a loveless union, or a boorish bastard for supposedly never actually believing Claire's story about falling through a stone circle into 18th century Scotland? Actually, he was both, but can anyone really blame him for it?

Frank Randall, was a man of honor, he just wasn't Jamie Fraser, and that is what makes him unlikable, and tragically pathetic, to quite a number of readers.  I personally feel sorry for Frank, because he truly got the raw end of the deal. Never once did he hesitate to stand by his mysteriously reappeared, missing wife, pregnant with not just any other man's child, but a man whose love she could not forget. So for going on twenty years, Frank adored, and raised, a daughter he claimed as his own blood, while Claire fulfilled her career dreams, living together like wary roommates, in a pseudo marriage.

I too thought Frank to be one arrogant bastard, with the potential to become a control freak over Claire's life, in order to keep up social appearances, and in different parts of the first three books, he is. Then again, he and Claire were living in a post war era, where women stayed home and tended the children, while the men were the breadwinners, and married ladies did not go to medical school. Yet, Frank grudgingly supported her. Why? Because his love for Brianna, was stronger than his resentment of Claire, and he had an ulterior motive that I will get to later.

 In the early chapters of "Voyager", Claire was well aware that her 20th century husband had not been celibate during the years she was presumed dead, nor during her pregnancy.  They did have their moments of intimacy rekindled by shared tenderness for Brianna when she was an infant, as described in chapter three. Again, Frank confirms he is both asshole, and honorable, when after criticizing Claire for her appearance, after she had a terrible day at home with a fussy baby, broken furnace, and Frank's faculty fogies coming for dinner, the man tracked her down and insured her safe return home, in spite of knowing she had left terribly infuriated at him. It is in those moments that I feel nothing but sincere sympathy for Frank. Here is a man who obviously wants to forgive, forget, and find a place in their hearts, and minds, where he and the woman he still loves can reconnect. In spite of a weary wave of dismissal from Claire, Frank takes on her burden, as he lays aside the breast pump, and gives her much needed release with his mouth, making love to her on the nursery rug. Yet, he is never able to get beyond Claire's past, nor is she able to meet him halfway.  Is Frank wrong to expect her to just forget the father of her child, and is Claire selfish to expect Frank to live with her in name only as basically friends, with no benefits? Yes, and no, and Diana's writing makes readers both pity, and dislike her characters, in these moments.

Claire never appreciated Frank's sacrifices for her and her child, until it was too late. Nor did she appreciate the fact that, in spite of their dead marriage, Frank was a better friend to Claire, in spite of their bitterness and resentment, than she ever gave him credit for, Naturally, everything he did for Brianna's benefit, also benefit Claire, but Claire just seemed to take it as her due.. I can understand her resenting Frank for never believing her story of time travel through a ring of rocks, or so she thought. It becomes rather obvious throughout the books timelines, that Frank had done plenty of historical research, and discovered that all the names, events, and places Claire told him about during her time in the past, were very real. Claire doesn't put two and two together until years later, when she recalls the past while researching what happened to Jamie with Bree, and Roger.

"Voyager" chapter seven subtly reveals Frank's mixed feelings towards Claire, when the two of them are discussing the absent babysitter incident that results in Brianna getting hit by a car when she strikes out on her own, after waiting too long at home alone for her mother.  Bree isn't badly injured, but Claire's guilt is overwhelming, and she tells Frank she is going to quit the hospital, to stay home with Brianna.  This is where Frank realizes his opportunity to accomplish several things that have been on his agenda for some time, but he shares some honest, and intimate insight with her first.
I love the part where he tells Claire how lucky she is to know just who, and what she is meant to be.

"Ah, Claire. He spoke impatiently, but with a tinge of affection nonetheless,  "You've known forever who you are. Do you realize how unusual it is to know that?" 
Of course, Claire hasn't a clue, which is not surprising considering the events of the day, but I love this scene, because Frank is being earnest, and honest, and revealing his acceptance of never measuring up to Claire's expectations.
"I haven't got that, " he said quietly at last.  "I'm good, all right.  At what I do-- the teaching, the writing. Bloody splendid sometimes, in fact. And I like it a good bit, enjoy what I do. But the thing  is..." He hesitated, then looked at me straight on, hazel eyed and earnest.  " I could do something else, and be as good. Care as much, or as little. I haven't got that absolute conviction that there's something in life I'm meant to do--and you have."
"Is that good?"  The edges of my nostrils were sore, and my eyes puffed from crying.
He laughed shortly.  "It's damned inconvenient, Claire. To you, me, and Bree, all three. But my God, I do envy you sometimes."

At this point, Frank reaches for Claire's hand, which she hesitantly gives him. It's this poignant gesture that maintains my respect for this character, as he knows this is likely their last opportunity to have an intimate conversation, knowing what he is about to offer Claire. As Frank continues, I feel that he is hinting at something, secretly hoping Claire will catch on so he can tell all that he knows of the history she has lived, and will go back to live again.

"To have that passion for anything"--- a small twitch tugged the corner of his mouth---"or anyone. That's quite splendid, Claire, and quite terribly rare."  He squeezed my hand gently and let it go, turning to reach behind him for one of the books on the shelf beside the table.  It was one of his references, Woodhill's Patriots, a series of profiles of the American Founding Fathers.  He laid his hand on the cover of the book, gently, as though reluctant to disturb the rest of the sleeping lives interred there. 
"These were people like that. The ones who cared so terribly much--enough to risk everything, enough to change and do things. Most people aren't like that, you know. It isn't that they don't care, but they don't care so greatly."  He took my hand again, this time turning it over. One finger traced the lines that webbed my palm, tickling as it went. 
"Is it there, I wonder?" he said, smiling a little.  "Are some people destined for a great fate, or to do great things? Or is it only that they're born somehow with that great passion--and if they find themselves in the right circumstances, then  things happen? It's the  sort of thing you wonder, studying history... but there's no way of telling, really. All we know is what  they accomplished. But Claire---" His eyes held a definite note of warning as he tapped the cover of his book.  "They paid for it," he said. 

Now, this makes me wonder, considering the letter Frank left for Brianna, that she finds in Written In My Own Heart's Blood, was Frank subtly revealing that he had done his research, and discovered Claire's time travel story actually checked out? Was this his way of letting Claire know that he no longer completely disbelieved her tale of falling through a stone circle into the 18th century, without admitting that he found proof of her marriage to Jamie Fraser, who was still alive in the 1700's?  Surely, this is his reasoning behind stepping up to take care of Brianna after school, so he could teach her the necessary survival skills, in case she too was capable of time travel. No matter his inspiration, Frank proves in this moment, just how dedicated a father, he is, in spite of the situation.

Sadly, he would later reveal to Claire, and readers, just what a bigoted control freak he was, as he explained how he planned to file for a divorce, and take Bree with him back to England, to ensure a properly finished upbringing, and education. The letter for Brianna had obviously been written at this point, and perhaps that was why he wanted to take her with him to England. Would his revenge for Claire's betrayal be telling Brianna the truth of how she came to be? Whatever his motives, I can't help but feel pity for Frank, as his plans for a fresh start, his daddy duties mostly fulfilled, come to an abrupt end in a car crash. I realize his death was a required convenience for Jamie and Claire's saga to continue, but overall, I think Frank Randall is one of Diana's most tragic characters.

On that note, let's not be too quick to dismiss the deceased Frank Randall, because his previously mentioned letter to his daughter offers some very interesting and possibly terrifyingly tragic possibilities for the future of Brianna's family, should the Fraser Legacy hold any merit. Who knows if there are more letters from him in his daughter's future, or if he somehow managed to leave her a legacy of his own, but it seems to me that Frank Randall went to his grave knowing way more than we do.  Hopefully, upcoming book number nine will shed some light on this subject. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

E News showcases the Outlander Baby boom!

Kristin Dos Santos of E News online, featured babies who were made during the Outlander season's of love... here Sam and Caitriona endure a feature video of all the babies conceived during the Outlander love effect!

What is so great about this, my nephew Jack Winslow, is about 4 babies in on this video! He's the one dressed as a Highlander with a red Jamie wig, playing the Bodham drum!

Monday, February 11, 2019

“Life at Shadow Lake” Actress Sera-Lys McArthur discusses her time on the Outlander set with your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage originals written by Susie Brown

The power of love is often symbolised by a flame, a fire that burns bright within one’s soul. In literature, many characters have sacrificed themselves for love, with Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet perhaps the most famous. In the penultimate episode of Outlander’s season 4, viewers saw another pair of star-crossed lovers make the ultimate sacrifice, when Father Alexandre Ferigault chose death over spiritual dishonour and his lover, Mohawk healer Johiehon, calmly walked to join him in the flames. It was certainly an affecting scene to watch, but what was it like to film? Fortunately for Outlander Homepage, actress Sera-Lys McArthur agreed to discuss her days on set as Johiehon, as well as sharing a bit about her acting life.

The acting life came naturally and early to Sera-Lys, who found success without any formal training. 

“I was 13 years old and I was cast in a Canadian miniseries on CBC called Revenge of the Land,”  Sera-Lys told us.  “It was only my second audition ever and I had yet to officially take an acting class. I got the audition because they were looking for a young Metis (mixed Indigenous & White) girl to play the daughter of a character played by Carmen Moore. It was an amazing experience and I wanted to keep doing it.”

As it turns out, Sera-Lys would work with Carmen on screen again, as both were cast in Outlander. (Carmen portrayed Wahkatiiosta, the Mohawk woman who attempted to aid Jamie and Claire in the rescue of Roger, getting herself banished in the process.) Although they didn’t share much screen time together, Sera-Lys was thrilled to have a familiar face on set. 

“It's wonderful that I was able to share my Outlander experience with a friend and colleague like Carmen, whom I've known for so long and remained close to,”  she said.

The Shadow Lake scenes were often quite volatile, but Sera-Lys’ character, Johiehon, exuded a gentler presence. We wondered how Sera-Lys would describe her character.

“Nurturing. Loving. Loyal,” she replied.

When discussing her time on the Outlander set, Sera-Lys was full of enthusiasm. 

“I had a wonderful time on Outlander. It was truly a marvellous experience!” she said.  
“One of the most special things was spending time with the other First Nations actors and supporting artists from Canada. I was able to connect with an elder from my own linguistic heritage (Nakota), make some great new friends, and reconnect with old friends and former colleagues. We were all very excited for one another and you could feel a real sense of community during our Mohawk village scenes.”

With all the drama, we wondered whether there was also time for humour on the set. 

“First Nations people are known for their unique humour, not unlike the Scots!” Sera-Lys observed. “That was something that really worked on set, the crew seemed to actually appreciate all of us, and we them! You should definitely look at some of the hilarious videos that actor Gregory Odjig has posted! They did some hilarious behind-the-scenes videos that include some set pieces like "fake" rocks and some pro wrestling moves.
Richard Rankin was right in there with them!”

As it turned out, even the saddest scenes ended up having some unintentional humour.

“One of the cutest moments was when I would put down my baby (played by Scottish twins named Sadie and Neve) in the final scene,” Sera-Lys explained. “The problem was that she learned how to roll out of the basket. So we had to cut a couple of times, because she kept doing it. She knew everything would stop and someone would pick her up if she did it - a real upstager, that one!”

But it was the final moments of episode 12 that will remain the most memorable for viewers, as Johiehon walked to her fiery death. We asked Sera-Lys to talk us through that scene. 

“The final fire scene took two full days of filming,” Sera-Lys began. “And for me that meant a LOT of crying. There are many specific angles with effects that need to be captured to pull off an epic last scene like this. We filmed with no fire and actors in, low fire with Yan's stunt double, medium fire with both of our stunt doubles in flame retardant suits, and full blaze with mannequins for the end. It was amazing to witness and partake in. At one point I walked up to the blazing stunt man before diving out of frame; I had never seen anything like it in my life! It was surreal and unforgettable. There was added pressure in that the stunt people can only be on fire for 15 seconds and each take is very expensive, so there was definitely a sense of needing to get it right. I'm so glad we got it!” 

After such a dramatic ending to her time on set, we asked Sera-Lys what she enjoys in her down time and wondered what her perfect day would be like. 

“I love to go horseback riding, practice Kung Fu, sing, watch plays and musicals, walk in the park and go to museums,” Sera-Lys said. “A perfect day for me would start with an early morning horse ride out in the woods, followed by a lengthy visit to a Turkish spa with a massage, then a delicious meal at a restaurant with a paleo-inspired menu, followed by a nightcap at a mezcal bar... you know, nothing fancy!” 

In reality though, Sera-Lys will have little time to spoil herself, as she will be very busy, with many acting projects on the go. 

Coming up there will be some releases of independent feature films I was in,” Sera-Lys told us. “I have a lead role in Robbery, by first-time director Corey Stanton, starring Art Hindle. It will be screening in February at the Victoria Film Festival on Vancouver Island, BC and also won Best Canadian Feature at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Other films include We by Mani Nasry, which opened in Toronto for a limited run in late January; Corruption of Divine Providence and Shaidan with Title Card Pictures (supporting roles, post production); and I also had a supporting role on Monkey Beach by Cree director Loretta Sarah Todd. Off camera I can be heard narrating a couple of audiobooks on Audible: Call of the Rift: Flight by Jae Waller, and Land Mammals & Sea Creatures by Jen Neale. Currently, you can also catch me in Friends From College on Netflix episode 203 opposite Cobie Smulders and I will appear in the second season of a dark comedy web series called Running with Violet. In April, I will be in a world premiere of a play by Cherokee playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle at Portland Center Stage in Oregon called Crossing Mnisose.”

Finally, we asked Sera-Lys where she would choose to go if she was able to travel through the stones.

“Ooh, that one is tough!” Sera-Lys answered.  “But I must admit, because of Outlander, I've fantasised about going back and attempting to thwart initial colonial European contact with the Americas. I would encourage the Taino not to trust Columbus and his men and to make sure those ships never returned across the Atlantic. I would warn them about disease. The messed up part is, that if I did that, I would be erasing my own existence from the planet! ... It sounds like an excellent limited series, don't you think? #OutlanderSpinOff!”

We’d like to thank Sera-Lys for taking the time to answer our questions and look forward to seeing and hearing her again soon.

This interview was conducted by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She would watch Sera-Lys’ spin off series in a heartbeat! 

Friday, February 1, 2019

“The Greatest of These is Love” - a recap of season 4 episode 13 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage originals

Circles. Intention. Decisions. Reactions. Divisions. Connections. Parallels. Power. Yearning. Regrets. Vulnerability. Consequences. And finally, Love. This is the enduring theme word for the final episode of season 4. Much is done for love in this hour, from Ian’s sacrifice at Shadow Lake, to Murtagh and Jocasta’s union, to the birth of Brianna’s son, the determination of Jamie and Claire to protect their daughter and Roger’s final choice. As to whether love will conquer all, only time will tell... 

As the episode begins, we see a brief game of cowboys and Indians being played in a park in the 20th century. A long haired Native American man glowers from behind a newspaper, and we notice the stone that he is wearing. It is Otter Tooth, from a time before he travelled through the stones and the title sequence is a precursor of his importance in the action to come. 

Back in 1770, life at Shadow Lake continues. Roger sits quietly by a fire, eyes closed, as Jamie moves stealthily through the trees, rifle and spyglass in hand. He peers through the glass, looking for any sign of Roger, but sees only the Mohawk. 

Jamie returns to the campsite, telling Claire that they should go into the village, as the Mohawk already know that they are there. Leading a horse laden with pots and pans, they walk slowly into Shadow Lake, observed on all sides as they do. Ian leads the procession, the Mohawk gradually coming out from the cover of the trees and surrounding them. Everyone looks around warily. Jamie greets the villagers in their language, using the word “peace” to open the conversation. Switching to English, he tells them they have come to trade. As the people move towards the horse, Jamie signals to Young Ian. Ian speaks in fluent Mohawk, telling them they are looking for the man they had sold. He shows the medallion he was given, along with Brianna’s sketch and asks if Roger is there. The men recognise both, murmuring “Dogface” to each other.  Encouraged, Ian tells them that they will trade for the man in the picture. 

Kaheroton appears and Ian recognises him. Switching into English, he asks if Kaheroton in turn remembers him, offering again to return the medallion. Kaheroton asks why they have come all this way and Ian replies that Roger is important to their family. In Mohawk, Kaheroton suggests they go to the chief, his female companion indicating to Ian that they should follow. Warily, Ian, Claire and Jamie do so. 

The chief comes out of the main hut and Kaheroton explains the situation. Jamie lays the bundle of pots and pans at the chief’s feet and all three bow formally. The chief speaks in English and with gentle sarcasm. He indicates the bundle, saying that the man must be very important to them as they have brought him whisky to drink and metal trinkets, and adding that he hopes they haven’t travelled far. Claire asks if Roger is there and the chief merely smiles. “You want him very badly,” he says. Jamie confirms this, saying that they want to trade. The chief smiles and turns away. He does not forbid the trade, however, so Ian and Jamie begin in earnest. Jamie holds up the wares, as Ian calls out. They have blankets, pots, good whisky. Meanwhile, Claire takes off a scarf and shows it to the women, but as she does so, Otter Tooth’s stone is clearly seen hanging around her neck.

The effect is immediate. The Mohawk shrink away, horrified. When Ian explains that they have reacted to the stone, Claire approaches the chief directly, asking if they will trade Roger for it. But he refuses. The chief says that they will not trade and that the group must leave immediately. Claire says that they can’t leave without Roger, but the chief is insistent and the mood is now hostile. Reluctantly, they have no choice but to leave.

Back at River Run, a carriage draws up outside and Murtagh gets out, smiling. Moments later, we see him devouring a roast with relish, while Jocasta sits nearby. Murtagh thanks her for the food. He has had a long journey, he tells her, and it’s a long time since he has enjoyed so fine a meal. Jocasta comments that she imagines it would be better than whatever they were serving in the jail before it was blown to pieces. Murtagh is surprised. He can’t argue with her, he says, adding that news travels fast. Jocasta says that Brianna had mentioned seeing him, although the reason for his imprisonment remains a mystery. There are rumours, she says, that he is aligned with the regulators, or perhaps it was due to the errand that Jamie had entrusted him with. Murtagh doesn’t lie: it was a little of both, he tells her. Jocasta chides him, saying that he could always find trouble, but Murtagh replies that some things are worth the trouble, dismissing Jocasta’s concern at the risk of the noose. “Dinna fash,” he says, “I’m not an easy man to kill.” (This is an ironic line, given that in the books, Murtagh perished some 24 years earlier on the Culloden battlefield!) Jocasta warns that the Crown will now be looking for him, and pleased as she is for his company, it’s probably best that he doesn’t stay in one place for too long. 

Murtagh assures her that he is only there long enough to check in on Brianna. Jocasta assures him that he needn’t worry. They are taking good care of Brianna, she says, but admits that her niece doesn’t say much. Brianna has been keeping to her chamber much of the time, coming out briefly to read, draw, or sit on the porch to watch and wait. Jocasta comments that Brianna had been in much better spirits while Lord John was there. He has been called back to Virginia but will return soon, in order to plan their wedding.

Murtagh is incredulous. Brianna can’t marry a redcoat, he declares. Jocasta disagrees: she can and she will, as there is no time to waste. Brianna needs a husband. Murtagh comments that he knows Jocasta is fond of marriage, given that she’s had three herself, but that is no excuse. Jocasta is not impressed by this, cutting him off sharply, saying she doesn’t remember asking his opinion and rising to his feet. Coldly, she tells him he is welcome to finish his dinner and that Ulysses will prepare his bed chamber. Equally coldly, Ulysses asks Murtagh to let him know if he needs anything else during his stay, and the two of them leave the room. Murtagh returns to his meal, but has lost his appetite, throwing the cutlery down in disgust.

Brianna is lying on her bed, a discarded drawing next to her. Phaedra is feeling her belly, telling her that everything feels fine. It is obvious that as time has passed, the two have grown closer. The more formal, “Miss Fraser” has been replaced with “Miss Bree”. The baby is in a good position she says, confirming that she has done this before. She has brought several babies into the world, she tells Brianna, and that there is no need to worry. She looks at the drawing, about which Brianna had been so scathing. It is a beautiful drawing, Phaedra says, but it is the baby who will be perfect. Brianna looks at her gratefully.

Claire and Jamie are walking in the woods. There is a story about the stone, Claire says, but she doesn’t know what it is. Jamie declares his intention to return for Roger that night, but Claire disagrees. It is not like Fort William when he had rescued her, she tells him. He had known that place, but here is different. Jamie can’t go in alone, and Claire is worried. She’s not sure whether it is even safe to stay where they currently are. But Jamie is determined. Indicating the stone around her neck, he says that while he doesn’t know its significance, he won’t return to Brianna with a lump of rock while Roger is still nearby. 

Jamie walks off a little way, but his warrior intuition tells him all is not right. He tells Claire not to move, as, sure enough, warriors descend from the trees. Jamie wrestles with one, overpowering him. The woman who had been with Kaheroton earlier walks towards them. She is here for the stone, she says and if they give it to her, they will not be harmed. In Mohawk, she orders the others to stand down. Claire tells the woman that they will consider giving the stone to them, in exchange for their help in rescuing Roger. The woman replies that this is a bold move, given that they could take the stone by force if they wanted to. But Jamie hauls the subdued warrior to his feet, remarking that were that to happen, not all of the Mohawk would be walking away whole. 

Claire approaches the woman, asking her name, echoing its pronunciation and asking why the stone is so important. Sitting around a fire, the story is finally told. Before she was born, the woman says, a man had come to the village. He didn’t say where he had come from, but when. He told of their future, warning that they needed to kill the white man before they were killed themselves. Painting himself and dancing a war dance, he convinced many to follow him, and they returned to the village with white scalps. The village worried that soldiers would come seeking retribution, so the chief at the time ordered Otter Tooth to leave for he would bring destruction. Otter Tooth went to the woods where he ranted and raved. Believing him to be possessed, they painted his face black for death and chased him. When they caught him, they beat him, even as he warned them. His death did not stop the men thinking of his words, even after they cut off his head. Otter Tooth had told them that they would be forgotten and that the nations of the Iriquois would be no more. their stories would not be told and everything about them would be lost. The current chief of the Mohawk, a young man back then, had taken the head and buried it far away.

Claire interrupts, saying that the skull was with the stone. The woman explains that the one who has the stone also has the power to see how the people’s story will end and that Otter Tooth’s ghost walks with them. Claire admits that she did see the ghost when she was lost in the storm. She explains her belief that ghosts only appear when there is something to be remembered, a message worth relaying or a story worth telling. Jamie asks if the woman believes that Otter Tooth was right and she agrees. She believes that he has come to warn her people and that the stone will help them see what is coming. Again Claire makes an offer: if the woman will help in the rescue of Roger, they will help preserve Otter Tooth’s memory and give her the stone.

Murtagh and Brianna sit in the parlour. Brianna reassures him that neither she nor John has any intention of going through with the wedding: it was merely a convenient way to escape Jocasta’s determination to marry her off to one of the other men at the dinner party. An engagement to John allowed her to delay marriage until Roger returned. Murtagh is relieved, but asks why she had decided to visit Stephen Bonnet. Jamie had told her to forgive the man and it had brought her some peace to see him, Brianna replies. Murtagh hesitates for a moment before asking Brianna if she can forgive Jamie for both of their sakes. Brianna replies that she already has. 

Three canoes paddle up the stream towards the settlement. A ceremony is taking place around the fire and the Mohawk are unaware of the group’s approach. Silently, they enter the “idiot hut”, where Roger is relieved to see Claire and shocked to see Jamie. Claire hastily explains Jamie’s identity, who in turn says that he has come to put his mistake right. 
On hearing the number in the rescue party, Roger is worried that they do not have enough people to take on the Mohawk. It is a concern that proves to be correct, when they are surprised by one of the party, who ignores the Mohawk woman’s impassioned request to let them go and fires a warning shot in the air.

The little party do their best. Claire and Roger continue to run as the others fight anyone who stands in their way. But Roger is weak and their progress is slow. Jamie grabs a flaming torch and swings it at the increasing crowd, but he is overpowered and forced to his knees. Kaheroton takes a pistol and prepares to shoot, as Claire screams out for peace. 

The chief exacts his punishment, disowning the woman and her friends and banishing them. They will never again be called Mohawk. Then he turns his attention to Claire, Jamie and Ian. He does not blame them for what has happened, he says, as the pain and disharmony caused by Otter Tooth has always been with them.  There will be no more trouble, telling the group to take the stone and leave the village. Jamie expresses his gratitude, and asks if Roger may go with them. But the chief refuses. There has been no fair trade, he says. Roger must stay.  

So Jamie makes a desperate deal. He offers himself as trade instead, even as Claire tries to prevent him, saying that there must be another way. He replies that there isn’t, and that he must do it for their daughter. He sends Ian to convince the Mohawk as he tells Claire that they must take Roger back to  Brianna. He promises that he will escape and return to her, and they clutch each other in anguish. They are a couple used to the pain of separation and the uncertainty as to when, if ever, they will reunite, but one wonders how many more times they will be forced to endure it. The longing on their faces is palpable and this is beautiful acting once again from Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe. Jamie and Claire embrace in farewell as the chief announces that he has accepted the deal and Roger is released. 

But Ian has made a deal of his own. He explains to a disbelieving Jamie that he is staying. Believing at first that Ian plans to make his own escape at a later date, he praises the deal as a canny move. But Ian is serious: he is staying for good and will live his life with the Mohawk. He has given his word, just as Jamie had given his word to Brianna and has no intention of breaking it. Both men’s eyes fill with tears as Jamie asks Ian how he is going to part with him. Ian replies that it will be hard from them both, but he has chosen this. Claire steps forward, crying “Oh, Ian”, as she embraces him, the tears falling as she strokes his face. Ian looks at Jamie and reminds him that Jamie had wanted him to be a man of worth. Jamie’s reply is simple, his voice breaking as he says, “You don’t know how worthy you are.” They embrace as Jamie entreats him in Gaelic to “remember”. Ian assures him that he will never forget.  He steps back towards the Mohawk as a heartbroken Jamie bows to him, before leading Claire and Roger away. This is spectacular acting from both men, but especially Ian Bell, who has grown beautifully into the role of Young Ian. His monologue is the perfect mix of both vulnerability and strength; sorrow and determination. The look on his face as Jamie bows is achingly sad.

Murtagh is enjoying a whisky by the fire with Jocasta, commenting that it tastes like home. Jocasta asks where Murtagh will go, quickly beginning a lecture when he reveals that he plans to return to the regulators. She asks if he has learned nothing. He has fought the fight before, she says and he knows how it ends. Murtagh replies that it is a new world and a new ending, but Jocasta says that if he believes that, he is a bigger fool than she thought. Murtagh comments that it is better to fight than to stand by and do nothing, which Jocasta takes as a direct criticism of her. Murtagh suggests that Jocasta’s lifestyle prevents her from knowing what is happening in the towns and back country. The Crown is bringing hard working men to their knees. But Jocasta is older now, she tells him, with her wars behind her. She cautions Murtagh to do the same. But unlike Jocasta, Murtagh did not choose to come to the New World. He reminds her that she also has a choice: to stay and enjoy a fine life, or to remember where she comes from and fight back. There are ways that she can use her influence, he says. 

This comment is misinterpreted by Jocasta. It is the possibility of her influence that has brought Murtagh to River Run, she suggests. Murtagh is quick to deny it, but Jocasta’s blood is up, He is a schemer of old, with a sleekit way, using his wiles to get what he wants.  Murtagh tells her that she sounds like a lunatic, a comment that does not go down well. Jocasta decides to tell a few home truths, saying that she never liked Murtagh’s visits to Leoch years before, where he descended on the place like a dark cloud, making folks uneasy. She can’t believe she has allowed him to darken her door, she says, and makes to leave, but Murtagh grabs her arm. She retaliates by flinging the glass of whisky in his face.  

In the next scene, we see that the passionate exchange has continued into the bedroom. Jocasta is pulling on a robe, a smile on her face, while Murtagh, shirtless and hair flowing, entreats her to come back to bed. Jocasta asks if he must leave. Murtagh replies that he doesn’t want to bring trouble to River Run, but she tells him that they will face it if it does. Reluctantly, she announces that breakfast is waiting - but needs little convincing when Murtagh replies with “Let it wait.” She returns to the bed and to Murtagh’s embrace. 

These scenes were brilliantly acted by Maria Doyle Kennedy and Duncan Lacroix - so much so that they now have their own Twitter hashtag and a slew of fans on team #Murcasta!

Somewhere between Shadow Lake and River Run, Claire and Jamie discuss Jenny’s reaction to Ian’s decision. Jamie replies that although she won’t be happy, Jenny knows her son and will understand. Their relaxed conversation is broken suddenly by Roger, who can suppress his anger no longer. He punches Jamie, shouting abuse. Claire tries to stop it, but Jamie tells her that it is between the two men. He gives Roger permission to exact his revenge, saying, “Go on then. I suppose I owe you.” 

Roger’s next punch morphs into Ian’s first trip down the line of warriors - the same gauntlet that Roger had had to face. But when Ian is pushed down the line, he is determined: leaping and dodging blows. 

Jamie is equally determined not to fight: enduring Roger’s anger with small grunts of pain, as Claire watches uneasily. 

Ian is beaten with sticks but crawls on, finally standing and starting to land blows of his own, until he touches the foot of the chief. He is hauled to his feet and the chief tells him that he has proven himself worthy. The Mohawk begin to chant and whoop, and Ian joins in, a grin of triumph on his face. It is lovely to see his joy and we are filled with optimism that he will be happy with the life he has chosen.

Roger has finally had enough. A battered and bruised Jamie stands, as Roger asks where Brianna is. “She’s safe,” Claire replies. She tells him that Brianna is safe in North Carolina. Roger wants clarification: had Brianna sent them to find him? He  cries with relief when Claire confirms that this is true and admits to Jamie that he had wondered if Jamie had beaten him because Brianna had said terrible things that turned Jamie against him. When Jamie says it was his own notion, Roger wants to know why he was beaten, refusing to accept that its severity could be dismissed as a simple misunderstanding. 

So Claire begins the story. She tells Roger that Brianna was raped and Jamie explains that he had mistaken Roger for the rapist. This news is shocking enough to Roger, but he is not expecting to also know the man who attacked Brianna. At the mention of Bonnet’s name, his eyes widen and he stands and paces around the clearing. He tells Claire and Jamie that Bonnet was the captain of the ship he had travelled on. Jamie grabs him by the shirt, demanding to know where Roger was when his daughter was attacked, accusing the younger man of running away and leaving Brianna alone. This earns him another punch, but this time Jamie warns Roger it will be the last unanswered blow. Roger tells Jamie that he left only because Brianna told him to go, but even then he had returned for her. But Bonnet had forced him back onto the ship. He shows Jamie and Claire the rubies he had procured to ensure that Brianna could go safely through the stones, but given that Bonnet had made him sail all the way up the coast first, it had taken him a long time to get to Fraser’s Ridge. Roger calls Bonnet a madman and Jamie responds with “I ken what he is.”  This is another knife in Jamie’s heart. We can see in his expression the unspoken guilt he continually feels for helping Bonnet escape the noose on their first meeting. 

But now, Roger says, he can take Brianna home to the 20th century. He tells them of another stone circle nearby. But Claire replies that Brianna can’t go back now, as she is pregnant and will have given birth by the time they return to North Carolina. Claire is unsure whether time travel with a child is possible. Brianna has to stay. 
“But he doesn’t,” Jamie adds. 

“Do you think I’d leave her?” Roger replies, telling Jamie that the two are handfast. Brianna is his wife and carrying his child. Claire delivers the final blow: the child may not be his. We watch the realisation wash over Roger’s face and his composure is shattered again when Jamie adds that it happened on the same night that Roger left.

Claire tells Roger that Brianna had wanted him to know the truth, so that he had a choice. With full father fury, Jamie asks: can Roger go back and live with Brianna knowing it may be Bonnet’s child? Will he stand by her? Claire entreats Jamie to allow Roger a moment to think, but when Roger says that it is all too much, Jamie cannot stay silent. Roger has cost him a lad that he loves, he says, and Brianna doesn’t need a coward. He would rather his daughter hate him for the rest of his life than for Roger to break her heart again. When Roger says that he needs time, Claire finds his own Mother Lion genes. Although she has always been on Team Roger, Claire stands next to Jamie and also issues an ultimatum: if Roger needs time, he should take it, because this is their daughter they are talking about and he had better be sure. The look on both Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe’s faces is perfect: we are left in no doubt that they are united in the protection of Brianna. Once again we see the truth of Claire’s words from an earlier episode: they will do anything to protect their child from being hurt. 

Meanwhile, surrounded by other women who love her, Brianna gives birth, while Murtagh subs for the male relative waiting nervously outside. Much has been made of the fact that in the books Jamie and Claire are present for the birth and many fans have lamented the loss of this scene. Interviews made post episode highlighted the fact that the timeline didn’t work, in that the trip to and from Shadow Lake simply couldn’t have been made in time. But it can also be argued that this version of the scene is now a celebration of female strength, contrasting with the helplessness and vulnerability that Jamie and Claire had been describing. Now, Brianna shows courage and tenacity as she faces her labour, while Jocasta, Phaedra and Lizzie work together to ensure all goes smoothly. If Roger truly decides not to follow Claire and Jamie to River Run, we are left with the impression that Brianna will survive - and she will not be alone.

The ordeal over, Jocasta tells Brianna that she has a son. Jocasta has counted his fingers and toes herself and comments that they will choose a birthday that makes sure that as far as society knows, the baby was born in wedlock. When Brianna asks where her baby is, her aunt tells her that Phaedra has cleaned him up and will bring him to her, if she is ready to see him. Brianna indicates that she is, but it is obvious that she is nervous: will she be able to bond with her child?

When Phaedra enters, handing the boy over to Brianna, we see her face light up with joy. She strokes her son’s face, tearfully smiling as once again, the River Run women surround her with love.

In the next scene, Brianna is sitting with a visibly bigger baby on her lap. Murtagh comments on how much the child has grown. In fact, two months have passed and Murtagh insists that he will be a tall and sturdy lad who will tower over Brianna in a few more years.  Phaedra rushes in, dropping a hasty curtsy and announcing that riders have been seen in the fields. One of them is Claire and they are coming up the front road. This is the moment that Brianna has waited for, but she hesitates. “Go on lass,” Murtagh gently urges.

Carrying her son, Brianna moves onto the porch. Claire and Jamie hurry towards her, but there is no sign of Roger. Brianna looks to Jamie, who says simply, “He’s alive.” Claire adds that they had told him everything. With her parents now there to support her, Brianna starts to cry. Taking his cue from his mother, the baby joins in. 

Inside, there is no sign of Brianna. Claire is holding her grandson and asks Jocasta what his name is. Jocasta explains that Brianna has not given him a name, as she had been waiting for Roger’s return. Claire expresses her gratitude to Jocasta for her care of their daughter. Jocasta replies that it has been her pleasure, asking Jamie what he thinks of his grandson. “He’s a fighter,” Jamie replies, “like his mother and his granny.” Claire comments that she should look in on Brianna, asking Jocasta if she would like to hold the baby. 

Meanwhile, Jamie moves over to Murtagh and asks about Bonnet. Murtagh explains that they had caught him, but had then been imprisoned by the militia. He tells Jamie of the explosion at the jail, saying simply: “I got out. He didn’t.” Murtagh adds that he is only sorry that Jamie wasn’t able to kill him with his own hands. “So am I,” Jamie replies. Again, though, with the absence of a body, Bonnet could yet prove to have executed a Jack Randall-esque escape...

Brianna is sitting in her room, when Claire knocks. She sits on the bed, asking if Brianna needs anything. She tells her daughter that she wants to take her home to Fraser’s Ridge, where she will be surrounded by family and taken care of. Brianna nods and allows herself to be gathered into Claire’s arms and rocked like a baby, as her mother murmurs, “It’s all right.”

Dinner is a sombre affair, with Claire, Jamie, Jocasta and Murtagh eating in silence. Suddenly Brianna enters and sits between her parents with a small smile. Jamie passes her a roll, Claire smiles back. The healing has begun.

The group is ready to leave. Jamie thanks Jocasta again and Claire extends an open invitation for the older woman to visit anytime. Jocasta replies that perhaps she will make the journey one day. In her room, Brianna is packing, when she looks out the window and sees a lone rider. It can only be Roger. She races down the stairs, out the door, across the field and into his arms. The two cling to each other. “You’re here,” Brianna says. “I didn’t know if you’d come.” Roger replies that he may be stubborn but he isn’t a fool. He tells her that he loves her and always will. They kiss, Brianna murmuring her own words of love. We can see the relief and joy on their faces to be able to touch one another again. Roger asks about the child and Brianna replies that it is a boy. Without a moment’s hesitation, Roger replies, “Take me to see my son.” He has made his choice.

The reunion is interrupted by riders. A group of redcoats ride up to the house past the couple. Assuming that they are there for Murtagh, Brianna tries to run towards the house, but Roger takes her hand, moving her out of the path of the horses. He is not letting her out of his sight.

Inside, Phaedra announces the soldiers’ arrival. Jamie tells Murtagh that he must hide himself, but Murtagh has headed towards Jocasta, shortening her name to the endearing “Jo.” She rests her forehead against his, telling him he must get to the slaves’ quarters quickly and instructs Ulysses to hide him. Jamie and Claire share a brief look: this is a development they had not foreseen.

There is a knock and Jamie slips into Laird mode. “Let them in,” he says and strides out to meet the redcoats in the hall. But rather than ask about Murtagh, the soldier in charge says that they are looking for James Fraser. “I am James Fraser,” Jamie replies, puzzled. The soldier promptly hands over a letter from Governor Tryon and the group departs. 

Jamie unrolls the letter and reads. Tryon has ordered him to assemble a militia to fight the regulators. More than that, Jamie has been given his first mission: to hunt down and kill the fugitive: Murtagh Fitzgibbons. The dramatic music swells - heralding the arrival of yet another Droughtlander! 

The final episode ends with the introduction of a storyline that promises another departure from the book in season 5. While the Jamie and Murtagh conflict will no doubt make for gripping viewing, it remains to be seen what the fans will make of more deviations from Diana Gabaldon’s work. There have been many disgruntled fans throughout this season, fans who have been extremely vocal on social media about changes from the source material. Like Roger, they have a choice ahead: will they stick by their beloved story? Or will they go back through the stones, to their previous “book only” lives? 

This recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher librarian who lives in Australia. Although she loves the books with a passion, she has been equally impressed with the storylines this season and has enjoyed analysing the differences between the two formats. She thinks that the acting is going from strength to strength and is already looking forward to the adaptation of “The Fiery Cross.” A big thanks to Outlander Homepage for the opportunity to recap season 4!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019

“Life in the Idiot Hut” : a recap of season 4 episode 12 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage originals 

Consequences. That is the theme word for episode 12. Many decisions are made in this, the penultimate hour of series 4. Some are decisions made for love; others for survival. Some characters decide to show mercy, while others decide to defy the law. But no decision is without consequence and it remains to be seen how far reaching these consequences will be. The stakes will certainly be high (no pun intended) for every moment from now on.

The episode’s action continues on directly from the end episode 11, with Roger being savagely beaten by the Mohawk. When a halt is finally called to the attack, one of the warriors announces to Roger that he is still captive. A young woman comes forward and touches his beard, making a comment that causes all the others to laugh. Roger is hauled to his feet and dragged away. 

Back in Wilmington, Fergus tells two of the regulators that Murtagh has been imprisoned. The capture of Stephen Bonnet has not ended as expected, with Murtagh being recognised from the broadsheet and arrested himself. The men know that their friend is in danger. There is no chance of a fair trial and Governor Tryon will want to hang him, in order to send a message to the regulators. Fergus tells the others that he was with Murtagh when it happened and that the older man had taken responsibility in order to save him. He will not let Murtagh hang. Brian agrees: “What’s taken from one of us is taken from all of us,” he says. All are determined to rescue their friend.

Back at River Run, a now heavily pregnant Brianna is told by Lord John that Bonnet has been captured and imprisoned for smuggling, piracy and murder. Brianna muses whether it is too late to add rape to the list, but John comments that it would only bring shame upon her and given that Bonnet has already been sentenced for his previous crimes, to add another would be of no consequence. Brianna bristles at this, but Grey continues. Bonnet will hang the following week, he says, and he had thought she would want to know. Brianna thanks him for the news, but as he leaves the room, she turns back with a reaction that John hasn’t expected. She wants to see Bonnet. Gone is the petulant young woman from season 2, or even the hotheaded woman of more recent episodes. Brianna has been forced to grow up quickly and Sophie Skelton does an amazing job of portraying this change. The Brianna in this scene has a brittle, but determined edge.

John follows Brianna outside, refusing to allow her to go to Wilmington. Even if her condition allowed for travel, he says, there is no way of knowing what effect the attendance at an execution could have. He begins to say that he completely sympathetic to her feelings, but Brianna interrupts him. He doesn’t know what her feelings are, she tells him. She doesn’t want to watch the execution, but she does want to talk to Bonnet. John reminds Brianna that he had been entrusted by Jamie to look after her, quipping that he doubts this protection would include afternoon tea with a murderer. Brianna responds by producing Jamie’s note, which she hands to John to read.

Jamie’s voiceover, accompanied by the only vision of Jamie and Claire that we get this episode, begins by expressing his fervent hope that they will meet again and that all will be made right between them. He has been thinking, he says, about whether revenge would heal the wrong that has been done to Brianna and advises her not to seek it. For the sake of her soul and for her own life, she must find the strength to forgive. Bonnet will not escape vengeance, Jamie says, as such a man contains within himself the seeds of his own destruction. If Bonnet doesn’t die at Jamie’s hand, it will be by another, but it must not be Brianna’s. “Hear me,” the letter concludes, “for the sake of the love I bear you.” 

As John finishes reading, Brianna expresses regret that she had not said goodbye to Jamie when he left. She agrees though: forgiveness will not change what has already happened, but can change what is yet to come. If she is able to say her piece, she tells John, then perhaps she can find a way to be free of Bonnet. She has to try, she adds, for her baby’s sake. 

“Very well,” says John, handing back the letter. He promises to help, adding, “God knows how,” with the ghost of a smile.  Again we are reminded what a good man John Grey is. The lives of the Frasers would certainly have been vastly different without his help and care. Baby Fraser chooses this moment to kick and John asks if he can feel Brianna’s belly. “My God,” he says softly, “he’s real.” 
“Yes,” Brianna replies, “I know.” Her expression is a mixture of wonder, fear, love and resignation. 

At Shadow Lake, Roger, his arm in a sling, is tying another knot in a much longer string. It is a visual representation of just how many days have passed since his capture. One of the Mohawk women gives him an order - he is to carry wood to the longhouse - and speaks sharply when Roger starts to walk in the wrong direction. There is no doubt that Roger is the servant here. As he walks, he is joined by another Mohawk woman, with a baby in her arms. She speaks in French, asking if he understands, before giving him some herbs for the pain, instructing him to chew them. Roger takes them, telling the woman her daughter is beautiful. She comments that the baby has her father’s eyes. Taking a chance on this woman’s kindness, Roger asks if she can help him leave. She refuses, telling him only that he must heal.

The Mohawk who has brought Roger to Shadow Lake, a man now identified as Kaheroton, calls out, telling her to be careful. The woman, whose name is Johiehon, remarks that Roger doesn’t look dangerous. But Kaheroton replies that Roger must be no good, as he was sold by his own people. As Roger is directed to the Long House and walks off, Kaheroton’s expression softens. He gives Johiehon a necklace, commenting that he hopes it brings her peace. It is clear that he has feelings for her, smiling as she thanks him. But she also has some sage advice. “We must remember,” she says, touching his head, “that peace begins here, as war does, in the minds of men.” She walks off, leaving Kaheroton looking after her. 

John and Brianna’s carriage arrives in Wilmington. Despite her determination, Brianna is apprehensive. John asks if she is all right and she replies that she is just uncomfortable and hasn’t gotten used to being the size that she now is. “Being here is harder than I thought it would be,” she admits. Again, John understands. “A baby is expected,” he tells her. “Memories are not. They simply come.” Brianna admits that she misses Claire, and John says that he has also found himself missing her, particularly when he is unwell. Though Claire is direct, she is a remarkable woman. Brianna voices the hope that Claire will have returned before the baby arrives. John reassures her that, knowing her parents, they will be doing everything in their power to return Roger to her. He smiles gently at her and offers his arm for her to take. As she does so, Brianna voices what every Outlander fan is already thinking: “You are impossible not to like,” she says. 

Roger approaches the chief’s campfire, offering more wood. The man does not speak, watching as Roger painfully drops a log into the flames. Roger walks past Johiehon and smiles. This is noticed by Kaheroton, who tells Roger to put the logs nearby. There is more to the instruction, but Roger interrupts, commenting and pointing at the location mentioned. This angers Kaheroton, who grabs Roger by his injured arm. Immediately, Johiehon comes to Roger’s defence, telling her companion that Roger does not know their ways and is unaware that to point or speak while someone else is speaking is an offence. Still, Kaheroton pushes Roger roughly to the ground.

This exchange has captured the attention of the chief, who walks over to them. Kaheroton remarks that Roger is no good and the man responds by crouching down and observing Roger closely. 
“Please,” Roger pleads, “I’m hurt.” 
The chief responds by telling Kaheroton to put Roger “in the hut.”  

As Kaheroton leads Roger away, he asks where Roger’s loyalties lie and how he had come to be an outcast. It is the first time that Roger has been given an opportunity to explain his situation. He tells Kaheroton that it was a mistake, prompting the other man to question him further. Had Roger broken his word of honour? When Roger says that his loyalties lie with a woman, Kaheroton replies that in that case he should not smile at Johiehon. He pulls aside a doorway, and pushes Roger into a hut. He lands on his wounded arm and cries out in pain, before reaching into the sling and pulling out some of the herbs to chew.

A greeting from behind him causes Roger to turn around. A man is sitting there, introducing himself in French as Father Alexandre Ferigault. Switching to English, Alexandre asks if Roger is British, which he confirms, making his own introductions as Roger Mackenzie.  Alexandre begins by explaining Roger’s nickname: the Mohawk have been referring to him as “dog face”, because their people do not keep their whiskers and are rather fond of dogs. Roger comments that if that is true, he wouldn’t have known it, adding that he doesn’t even know where he is. Alexandre tells him that he is in the village known as Shadow Lake, in the province of New York. He asks how Roger comes to be there and Roger chuckles bitterly before answering, “I suppose you could say I walked here.” Roger repeats the question, asking Alexandre what he is doing at Shadow Lake. “I fell in love,” the man replies, simply. 

Fergus is planning at the kitchen table, thimbles and jars standing in for the people in his rescue plan. Marsali joins him and he initially tries to explain away the collection of objects as playthings for Germaine. But she is not fooled, pointing to their son in his crib, soon realising on her own that her husband is hatching a plot to release Murtagh. “Good,” she says. Fergus is surprised, having expected her to be angry. But Marsali tells him that Murtagh shouldn’t be in prison in the first place and he certainly shouldn’t be hanged.  She starts to decipher the model, encouraging him, as Fergus begins to doubt whether it will work. Brian and Malachy have found other men to help, but the plan is still dangerous. They both lament the absence of Jamie and Claire. Marsali remembers how Claire had risked her life to save Jamie from Wentworth and Fergus asks, in an 18th century WWJD moment, what his adoptive parents would do if they were here. “They’d find a way,” Marsali answers, “and we will too.” Proving she is every bit as determined as Claire, Marsali refuses to be left out. They are in this for better or worse, she reminds Fergus and tells him to have faith in his plan. Fergus muses that perhaps it is time to take up Jamie’s offer and move to Fraser’s Ridge. Marsali responds by saying she will find a wagon and pack their belongings. Fergus grabs her and kisses her, branding her an exceptional woman. “I’d join you to face the Devil himself,” she replies. This partnership is a lovely parallel to Jamie and Claire - Fergus and Marsali are just as much of a team. 

Father Alexandre is telling Roger his story. He had arrived in the area some years before preaching the word of God, he says, succeeding in converting the Mohawk chief, who had invited him back to the village. He had then converted some of the tribe and for a time had lived peacefully with them. But a year later, he had been struck with fever and cared for by a woman whose soft, cooling hands had reminded him of an angel. After he had recovered however, “there was sin.” Alexandre had thought himself immune to temptation, but his resolve had crumbled. 

Roger comments that the tale where a man’s heart is stolen by a woman is a very old story. But Alexandre explains that their union had resulted in a child. Roger guesses that this has offended the Mohawk but Alexandre denies this. The problem, he explains, is that the Mohawk wanted him to baptise the child and save its soul, which he says he could not do, as he wasn’t in a state of grace. He has broken his vows, he says, and thus cannot perform the sacrament of baptism. He is damned and will not damn his child with a false blessing from a fallen priest. 

Roger guesses the identity of the woman: Johiehon, the healer, and asks Alexandre if he still loves her. Alexandre replies that he had been praying that his love would abate and that he would cease to see her in his dreams, or to feel the touch of her hand, or hear her laugh, but his prayers have gone unanswered. He can’t expect Roger to understand, he says, but Roger replies that he knows exactly what Alexandre means. 

Their conversation is interrupted when the door to the hut is pushed aside and two of the Mohawk enter, telling Alexandre he is there because of his dishonour and that he will go naked before the Lord. As he is stripped, Alexandre asks Roger to pray for him. The door is replaced and Roger is left alone. He begins looking around for a way out. Picking up his water bowl, he begins to dig at the ground. Time passes and Roger hears cries of pain. He has made a bit of progress though: the hole beneath him is getting larger. 

Suddenly Father Alexandre is thrown back into the hut, as Roger scrambles to hide his work. The priest has been tortured, with part of his ear cut off and Roger tries to clean the wound with water. He prays over the man with a prayer for the sick, which rouses the priest enough to sit up and drink some water. Roger asks what happened and Alexandre explains that he was offered another chance to baptise the child, but he has refused. If he doesn’t change his mind by the morning, he will face a slow agonising death by fire. He has seen such a punishment inflicted before and tells Roger that in that case, it took the man three days to die. 

Roger can’t believe Alexandre’s seeming act of matyrdom. The Mohawk don’t know the rituals of the church, he says, and as long as the priest pours some water on the baby’s head and says some words - any words - they will be satisfied. But Alexandre replies that he will know, deciding that this is the Lord’s punishment for his sins. Roger is becoming impatient now, but Alexandre is resolute. He will not mock the sacrament to save his life. 

Roger calls him an idiot, before starting to tell his own story. He talks of Brianna and how he had pursued her across an ocean and through time and space when she refused his proposal. When his pursuit was finally successful and they were handfast, they fought, saying words to regret but ones that sent him on his way back home. When he changed his mind and went back, he did not find the woman he loved, but a man he believed to be her father, who had beaten him and sold him to the Mohawk. Even then, Roger says, he had another chance to go home when he broke free from his captors. But he hesitated, because after everything he had suffered, he still loved her.

Alexandre starts to say that Roger understands, but Roger has not finished his story. The difference between the two men, Roger says, is that he has changed from all the pain. From now on, he will look out for number 1 and turn his back on love, telling Alexandre to do the same and save himself, because no one else will.  Changing tack, Roger tells his companion that he has been digging and that there is now a spot where they can escape without being noticed. It is not too late: there are choices in front of them and Roger wants Alexandre to go with him, suggesting that he find a priest to absolve him so he can continue his work, or take Johiehon and the baby and start a new life as a husband. Both choices, Roger reasons, are better than staying and dying a horrible death. 

This is spectacular acting by Rik Rankin, who puts everything into this monologue. We are left in no doubt as to the pain and hurt Roger is experiencing, pain that is far beyond the physical, but a hurt that has scarred him mentally as well. It is easy to believe that Roger could indeed have reached the last straw and that his earlier resolve to return to his wife has evaporated. 

Turning away, Roger begins to dig with the cup once more, and after a moment’s hesitation, Alexandre joins him. The hours pass, as a Mohawk warrior sits outside the hut unaware of what is going on inside. When morning comes, the hole is not big enough. Alexandre tells Roger that Roger will have time to complete the work after he has gone. Roger cannot believe that the priest is still determined to stay and be tortured to death. Alexandre understands what Roger has told him, but he doesn’t share Roger’s conclusions that love and idiocy are linked. His last act is to help Roger hide their night’s work. 

Kaheroton enters and asks Alexandre for his decision. The priest stands and says he cannot baptise the child and will put himself in the hands of the Lord. Turning to Roger he bids him farewell, saying, “God be with you, my friend.” Left alone, Roger murmurs, “bloody fool” before recommencing his digging.

In Wilmington, gunpowder is being poured around the prison as John and Brianna approach. John can see that Brianna’s mind is made up, but comments that the rest of her seems apprehensive. Brianna tells him that she is nervous, now that the moment is finally here. John suggests she take a moment to prepare herself, which she does, with a few deep and determined breaths. 

They walk towards the militia, John making the formal introductions, telling the men that he has arranged with the Governor for them to have an audience with the prisoner, Stephen Bonnet. The men are aware of this and unlock the door for them. As they go inside, Fergus finishes sprinkling the gunpowder.

The guard tells Brianna and John that Bonnet has been moved to the far cell and is chained to the wall. Brianna tells John that she will see him alone, dismissing his objections by saying that Bonnet is in chains and cannot hurt her. John grabs her arm and tells her that he will be waiting “right here”, should she need him. With a grateful smile, she walks towards the cell.

Marsali and Fergus are sitting in their wagon, waiting for a signal from the other Regulators. In a movement reminiscent of a Western movie, one by one the Regulators appear, marching determinedly down the dirt street. As they reach the wagon, Fergus jumps down and takes the central position as their leader. Marsali tells the horses to walk on, ready to fulfil her part of the plan.

Brianna enters the cell. Bonnet is sitting against the wall observing her. “Do you know who I am?” she begins. Bonnet replies with a sarcastic “Queen of Sheba”, before addressing her as “Sweetheart” and saying that she had never given him her name. Brianna forbids him using that endearment, flinching as Bonnet gets to his feet to look at her more closely. Leering, he says that he remembers her face and a few other things, but not her name. 

Brianna wastes no time in telling him, adding the details that she is Jamie and Claire’s daughter and that he had robbed them. Bonnet doesn’t deny it, telling her that if she had come wanting to retrieve the jewels then she is too late, as he has already sold them to buy a ship. But he remembers the ring, and taunts her about the attack by saying, “Oh, but you got that back”.

Fergus and the others approach the militia outside the cells. Fergus begins to talk, saying that they have come to visit a prisoner. When the guard says that there are no visitors without prior permission, the men draw their pistols, Fergus saying that he doesn’t think that permission will be necessary. 

Brianna is holding her nerve, telling Bonnet that she has been told he will hang. Bonnet agrees, commenting that she hasn’t come out of pity and laughing when she replies that she will rest easier once he is dead. He asks what she wants of him and she surprises him with her answer. She has come to give him something, she says. She pulls aside her cloak and puts her hand on her belly, as she tells Bonnet that she has come to forgive him.  Bonnet is unimpressed, saying that whores have tried to foist their spawn on him before.

But Brianna has no reason to lie, she replies. He is going to hang and if it makes dying easier to know that there is something left of him on the Earth, then he is welcome to the knowledge. She turns to leave, but Bonnet’s response stops her. “So I’ll be gone,” he replies, “but not forgotten.” Brianna turns and unleashes her fiery Fraser temper. She has no choice but to live with what he did, she says, but he will be forgotten. Her child will be loved and raised to be a good person, without any knowledge that he had ever existed. Her passion seems to have an effect. Bonnet asks her to wait, before extracting a jewel from inside his mouth and holding it towards her, for maintenance. Brianna says that she doesn’t want it, but changes her mind on his insistence that it is a dying man’s last wish. She looks at the jewel and at Bonnet, who says, “Take care of him.”

Fergus and the others are also inside the prison, where they encounter Lord John. He overpowers one of the men, before Fergus aims his pistol and insists that John unhand his friend. After a moment, they recognise each other, John asking the purpose for their attack. Brian has found the keys and Fergus gives his orders to the other men. Lord John is not to be harmed, but neither is he to be allowed to leave, as his allegiance is to Governor Tryon. Apologising to John, Fergus heads down the corridor.

Murtagh is in another cell and hears his name being called. He stands, calling to the men so that they can free him. As they are unlocking the cell, Brianna appears, shocked to see him imprisoned. Murtagh asks what she is doing there and she replies, with an indication towards Bonnet, who is once more sitting against the wall. Fergus tells them to hurry and they leave, as we notice Bonnet staring at the keys that have been dropped onto the floor. 

Lord John and Murtagh face off. John is angry, saying that he isn’t surprised to see Murtagh there. Murtagh looks at Brianna, describing John as the devil who brought her to see the villain. But Brianna absolves John of any blame, saying that she had insisted. Murtagh tells Brianna to go with him, so that he can escort her to River Run. But Lord John refuses, commenting that every militia man will be hunting him down and that he, not Murtagh, will escort Brianna.

Fergus and the others make Murtagh see sense. If Tryon sees Brianna with him, they say, then her neck would also be in ropes. Murtagh cannot argue with this and reluctantly entrusts her to John, as one of the other men urges them to hurry: the gunpowder has been lit. John is horrified that they mean to blow up the jail, but Fergus explains that it is a diversion so that they can make their escape. Taking the unconscious regulator with them, the group leave the jail, Fergus telling Murtagh that Marsali is waiting. 

In his cell, Bonnet tries to reach the keys, his chains stretching just far enough for his foot to touch them. Everyone else is outside now, running away as the gunpowder ignites. Fergus and Murtagh dive under the cover of Marsali’s wagon, as she calls to the horse to walk on.

The ending of this scene suggests that the jail has exploded with Bonnet inside. But, given that a stampede of Highland cattle didn’t succeed in killing the last villain in Outlander history, without vision of Bonnet’s dead body, it is to be wondered whether Stephen Bonnet will be just as lucky as Black Jack Randall and that he will yet return to cause more trouble for the Frasers...

Back at Shadow Lake, Roger emerges on the other side of the hut. His digging has been successful. Painfully, he drags himself clear. No one has seen him and he takes shelter behind a tree. The torture of Father Alexandre has begun and Roger takes his chance to escape.

Brianna and John are stopped by a redcoat who asks if they are unharmed. John says they are uncertain how many have perished in the blast and asks if any of the insurgents have been caught. The redcoat answers that the men were more prepared than they had realised and had been intent on rescuing their leader, Murtagh Fitzgibbons. He asks if John and Brianna knew where the men were taking him. As Brianna holds her breath, John replies that the event had transpired with stunning rapidity and he heard nothing that would aid their search. He adds that he trusts they will find the men and the redcoat solemnly confirms that Governor Tryon will not allow the event to go unpunished. As the soldiers leave, John and Brianna share an understanding smile before continuing on their way.

Roger is berating himself as he runs, telling himself not to go soft, that Alexandre chose his fate. “There’s nothing you can do, don’t be an idiot,” he says aloud. But the priest’s screams are having an effect. Again, Roger tells himself to be smart for once in his idiotic life, but his run has slowed to a walk. Starting to sob, Roger damns himself as a stupid fool and starts back towards the camp.

Much has been said of the power of this final scene, played out as it is under Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” The choice of music heightens the tragedy and it is compelling, yet distressing viewing. Roger returns to see the Mohawk standing mute as Father Alexandre writhes in agony in the flames. Johiehon is watching with tears falling, murmuring to her love. Suddenly Roger runs towards the pyre, picking up a cask of whisky as he does so. Keheroton has seen him and runs to intercept, but Roger hurls the cask into the flames before he does so. The two men fall back as the fire explodes, thus giving Alexandre a quick death. Keheroton hauls Roger to his feet in anger. Johiehon, her eyes on the flames, kisses her child and puts it in its crib. As Keheroton screams after her and Roger watches in horror, Johiehon walks forward into the fire, joining her lover in death. 

Keheroton looks around him in despair, before picking up the baby. He falls to his knees in front of the burning bodies, crying along with the child. At the same time, a shocked Roger is led away by two of the Mohawk, saying softly, “That’s it, lads. Take me back to the idiot hut.” He is under no illusion that the consequences of his action will be huge. Viewers can only hope that Jamie, Claire and Ian are not too far away, and will arrive in time to save Roger from Alexandre’s fate. It certainly promises to be heartstopping end to season 4.

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia.She was blown away by Rik Rankin’s emotion in this episode, as well as by the talents of Braeden Clarke, Yan Tual and Sera-Lys McArthur.