Friday, January 18, 2019

“Hope Springs Eternal”: a recap of season 4 episode 11 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

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Vulnerability. That is the theme word that springs to mind for episode 11. Everyone is vulnerable during this hour: from Fergus’ inability to find work and Marsali’s plea to Murtagh; to Brianna’s desperate plea to Lord John to save her from being married off to a gentleman of Jocasta’s choice; Roger dreaming of safety and 20th century comfort amidst his 18th century hell; Claire wondering if her secret keeping has caused more harm; and lastly Jamie fearing that both his daughter and his wife have rejected him forever. By the time the end credits roll, most characters have been comforted, but it is certainly an episode where everyone’s insecurities come to the fore. 

Episode 10 ended with Roger agonising over whether or not to return through the stones. As this episode begins, it seems to indicate that the 20th century has won, with Roger enjoying a hot shower. But as he wraps a towel around himself and clears away the steam from the bathroom mirror, a Mohawk warrior is seen behind him. We realise that much as Claire and Brianna had been playing the “what we miss from the future” game, Roger has also been dreaming of his old life, with hot water and the complete absence of people wanting to hurt, capture or kill him. Sadly for him though, it is only a dream. Instead of a shower, he has washed in the river and somehow, he is back in the clutches of the Mohawk. The warrior throws him his shirt and tells him not to think of trying to escape again. 

At River Run, Brianna is drawing when Lizzie appears with food. She is horrified at the sketch before her, an artistic representation of Brianna’s current state of mind. Lizzie worries that her mistress has been possessed, but Brianna reassures her that she is just hurt and angry. Lizzie blames herself, but Brianna has already forgiven her for her honest mistake. Her feelings for Jamie however, are not so kind. Lizzie reminds Brianna that Jamie was only trying to protect his daughter and that he wouldn’t have done what he did had it not been for what she had told him. But Brianna responds in anger. Even if she could forgive what had happened to Roger, she says, she can’t forget what Jamie had said to her. Saddened, Lizzie leaves her alone, Brianna looking wistfully at her silver bracelet.

Meanwhile, Ian, Jamie and Claire are searching for Roger, Ian showing his talisman to a group of Cherokee. Jamie and Claire are discussing the Mohawk; Claire saying that she doesn’t know much about them, other than how they have been portrayed in 20th century movies. This portrayal hasn’t been overly favourable and Claire comments that it is sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction. The barb is not lost on Jamie, who agrees that it is hard, particularly when you don’t have both sides of the story. Continuing on the movie theme, Jamie muses that if a moving picture was made about them, then he would be seen as a fearsome brute. Claire doesn’t disagree, saying that that would be one side of the story. There is a definite distance between the two and it is heartbreaking to see. 

Ian returns with news. The Cherokee have indeed recognised his necklace, believing it to come from a Mohawk village called Shadow Lake. But the good news ends there. Although it is likely that Roger has been taken to Shadow Lake, it is a 2 month ride away and the Cherokee will not act as guides. The three conclude that they have no choice but to try and find the place themselves. Ian can speak some Mohawk, he says, and the men he sold Roger to could speak some English. Although dangerous, they have dealt with the unknown before. Jamie remembers when he and Claire had lived not knowing if the other was alive or dead and comments that Brianna is now going through the same thing. 

Jamie and Claire are not speaking or making eye contact and Ian has had enough. He approaches Claire, telling her that she should go to Jamie while they have stopped. Claire questions why, asking if Jamie needs help. Ian assumes that Claire is still angry, but she denies this.  Ian apologies to her again, saying that they hadn’t meant to be reckless. Claire knows this, but tells him that she can’t stop thinking about how Brianna and Roger must be feeling. One day, when he has children of his own, Claire tells him, Ian will understand: “You never stop worrying about them.” Ian replies that while he doesn’t know about that, he hates to see Claire and Jamie suffering.

In Wilmington, Fergus is enquiring about Bonnet and receives the news that Bonnet should be in town in a week. But he also sees something that makes him curse aloud: a wanted poster for Murtagh. Fergus rips it from the wall and leaves the tavern. Back at their home, Marsali and Fergus discuss his job searches. Fergus has had no luck at the butcher’s or anywhere else: no one wants to hire a one armed man. Fergus comments that while he may be whole in Jamie’s eyes, everyone else considers him less than a man.  

Marsali looks into the other room, where Murtagh and one of the regulators are deep in conversation. She comments that the men in that room should be working: at least Fergus is trying. Marsali is disquieted by the whole situation. The men have been talking for hours, she says and now Fergus has been enlisted to help capture Stephen Bonnet. Furthermore, with Murtagh’s poster now on display, they are harbouring a wanted man under their own roof. But Fergus replies that Murtagh would do the same for him, attempting to pacify Marsali with a kiss. Fergus walks into the back room, as Murtagh finishes his instructions to the regulator (Brian, from previous episodes). Murtagh asks if there has been any news of Bonnet, smiling when Fergus confirms that there has.

At River Run, Phaedra disturbs Brianna’s daydreaming. She enters the room with swatches of material. There is to be a dinner, she tells Brianna, with not much time to get ready. A new dress is to be made, one that will hide Brianna’s condition. Phaedra lists some of the invited guests, commenting that Jocasta wants to introduce Brianna to some of her friends.  

But Brianna doesn’t want to meet anyone. Undeterred, Phaedra presses on, telling Brianna that Jocasta’s dinners are amazing. Besides, she says, once Brianna has a new dress, she will feel differently. As she talks she moves into the light. The artist in Brianna takes over. She insists that Phaedra sit, so that she can draw her. Phaedra is uncomfortable. Why would Brianna want to do that, she asks. “You’re beautiful,” Brianna replies. Phaedra is taken aback. Hesitantly, she thanks Brianna for the compliment, but tries to stand. There is much to be done. But Brianna will not take no for an answer. “You let me worry about Mistress Cameron,” she says. Phaedra sits once more and Brianna continues the portrait. 

Later, Jocasta comes to join Brianna, giving her a pair of earrings to go with the dress. Brianna repeats that she has no need of a new dress, but Jocasta has taken a different approach. She has instructed Phaedra to alter one of her own dresses instead, she says, commenting that the earrings are the ones that she always wore with it. Jocasta urges Brianna to try on the dress, so that she will look her best for the dinner. Jocasta knows that Brianna is consumed with worry, but tells her that there is comfort to be had in the company of others. Brianna needs to enjoy some food and some conversation, but Brianna says she is happier alone, reading and drawing.

Jocasta reveals that she used to paint herself, although her talent was nothing compared to her siste,r Ellen. Brianna is much like Ellen, she says, with the same spirit. Briefly, Jocasta shares some family history. Ellen Mackenzie remained unmarried for far longer than society dictated, their father refusing to marry her off unless it was a marriage that she would accept. So Ellen followed her heart, marrying the man she truly loved once her father died, one Brian Fraser.  Brianna smiles, agreeing that conversation is good for a worried mind after all, and finally agreeing to go and try on the dress.

With a couple of loud bangs of tankards onto the kitchen table, Marsali wakes a snoring Murtagh. She has something on her mind. She asks Murtagh if the trouble over the taxes between the governor and the regulators will come to anything. Murtagh answers that he thinks it will. Taking a chair and sitting in front of him, Marsali asks if Murtagh will tell Fergus to fight alongside him. Murtagh tries to make a joke in response, suggesting that marriage hasn’t been all she was expecting and asking if she wants him to take Fergus out back. But Marsali replies impatiently that if she wanted Fergus shot she would do it herself. She repeats her request. Murtagh is reluctant, holding up his own hand in illustration. But Marsali responds that Murtagh will understand why she is asking. “I’ll have a whole man,” she tells him, “or none at all.”

The guests have gathered for Jocasta’s party. At a signal from Ulysses, Jocasta announces Brianna, who descends the staircase to murmurs of appreciation from everyone assembled below. Jocasta wastes no time in the introductions, first presenting Brianna to Gerald Forbes and his sister, Prudence. It is obvious that Forbes is smitten and Brianna is uncomfortable by the attention. Forbes asks Brianna if she has been enjoying her time at River Run and Brianna replies that Jocasta is a generous hostess. Prudence asks how Brianna spends her days and Brianna replies that she has been drawing. Jocasta praises Brianna’s accomplishments, as the questions turn towards the subjects of the drawings. When Brianna says that she has finished a portrait of Phaedra, the assumption is that she has drawn the Greek goddess. Jocasta tries to deflect this comment, but one of the other guests remembers that Phaedra is actually one of Jocasta’s slaves. Brianna is swiftly introduced to Judge Alderdyce and his mother, who is horrified to think that Brianna should draw negroes when a landscape would be more suitable. Brianna replies frostily that she draws what inspires her.

This exchange is problematic, because of the inconsistency in Brianna’s behaviour. On the one hand, she displays understandable 20th century abhorrence that Phaedra should be deemed an unworthy subject for a painting, yet in the next moment she suggests sending Ulysses to “fetch” the portrait. One moment she is calling out the treatment of the slaves and the next she is ordering Ulysses around, effectively negating the point she is trying to make. 

Again, Jocasta changes the subject, calling forth Lieutenant Wolff, who immediately fawns over Brianna’s beauty, commenting that he has newfound empathy for Jocasta’s blindness and offering to take Brianna on an excursion to New Bern to see the magnificent sights. Not to be outdone, Forbes says he also has something to show Brianna, offering his arm which she reluctantly accepts at Jocasta’s prompting. With Wolff fuming behind him, Forbes leads Brianna into the parlour, soon followed by the others. Forbes has an impressive collection of gemstones - sapphire, topaz, emerald and diamond. He asks Brianna to choose one for a piece of jewellery. She hesitates, saying that she couldn’t venture an opinion without first hearing Mistress Alderdyce’s choice. 

The final guest chooses this time to make his appearance, complete with his own theme music. It is none other than Lord John Grey, who greets one and all with a formal bow. Brianna is introduced, as the other guests look on with thinly disguised disapproval. It is clear that they think their chances with Brianna have suddenly diminished. Lord John tells Brianna that he is an acquaintance of her parents and the scene ends.

Back in Wilmington, Murtagh is trying to talk, while baby Germaine cries loudly. Murtagh needs rifles, he says, before commenting that perhaps he should teach the regulators to wail instead, as it is very effective. Fergus smiles, picking up his son and telling him that his contribution to the cause is not appreciated. With a brief look at Marsali, Murtagh asks Fergus to join the militia, telling the disbelieving younger man that he has courage and is trustworthy. “If I’m to fight Tryon’s army, I can think of no man I’d rather have by my side,” Murtagh says. Fergus is honoured by the invitation but declines it, telling Murtagh that his place is with Marsali and Germaine. Hiding in the shadows, Marsali is relieved. She comes into the room, telling both men that the Gloriana is in port. It is the news they have been waiting for and the two men depart, Marsali touching Murtagh’s chest and softly thanking him as he passes. 

The dinner is in full swing, with Lord John holding court, recounting the Jamaican dinner where Margaret Campbell had been telling fortunes and brandishing Jamaica a “very strange place indeed.” Declaring that he has embarrassed himself enough for one evening, John tells Brianna it is her turn. She replies that she has no witty anecdotes, but offers a game, based, she says, on psychology. Claiming that the game only works on strangers, Brianna explains that she will ask a few questions, and that they are to picture whatever comes to mind first. When she says that they should close their eyes, Forbes leans towards her. “Must I close my eyes when you are before me?” he simpers. Wolff rolls his eyes and Brianna fixes him with a stare before answering with a single word. “Yes.”  Brianna asks everyone to imagine that they are in a forest with someone, encounter an animal and then reach a clearing. Once everyone has done so, she instructs them to open their eyes, whereupon she will explain the symbolism of what they saw. 

Judge Alderdyce is selected to go first. He was walking with Christ, he tells Brianna and the animal he encountered was a squirrel, one that frequents his mother’s garden every morning. Brianna interprets: to walk with Christ is to seek forgiveness or reassurance, she says. The animal represents life’s problems and as a squirrel hoards things away, the Judge’s problems must be secrets. Prudence Forbes joins in eagerly - perhaps the secrets are ones that the Judge’s mother is unaware of, given that the squirrel was in her garden. But Mistress Alderdyce retorts that she knows everything there is to know about her son. The reading appears to have rattled the judge, however, who excuses himself from the table to take some air. 

Brianna asks John who was with him in the forest and he admits that it was Jamie. Brianna asks why and John admits that Jamie had asked him to look in on her and to ensure that all was well. Brianna quizzes him further: had Jamie given any reason as to why things might not be well? John replies that he hadn’t, but is now suspicious. “Your father would never divulge anything that you would not wish to tell me,” he says, adding that Jamie is an honourable man. 
“Don’t talk to me about my father’s honour,” Brianna replies, excusing herself from the table as John looks troubled. 

Forbes interrupts, asking Brianna if he can now take his turn and tell her who his forest companion was, suggesting a walk in the grounds together so that they can discuss it in more detail. Brianna responds by claiming to feel unwell and slumping against Lord John in a faint. John escorts Brianna to the parlour, offering to ride for a physician, while Phaedra applies a cold cloth to Brianna’s head. Lizzie rushes in. She is concerned that Brianna has fainted, given her condition, she says, realising too late that she has just announced Brianna’s pregnancy to Lord John. Brianna assures Lizzie that she is fine, and dismisses her to prepare her bed chamber. 

This allows John time to speak frankly. He asks Brianna to confirm that she is to be a mother, adding that Jamie hadn’t told him about this. He further asks if Brianna has lost her husband. Brianna replies that in a way she has, as Jamie had allowed her husband to to be traded to the Mohawk. It is a long story, she says, but her parents are now out searching. She had wanted to go with them but her condition wouldn’t allow for it. John asks if Jocasta is aware of the situation and Brianna confirms this, but adds that she now suspects that the dinner has been held in order to secure her a husband. John comments that she can’t be expected to take another husband when she already has one, but Brianna explains her predicament: she and Roger were handfast, without witnesses. John reaches into his pocket, retrieving a letter from Jamie, saying that Jamie had asked him to deliver it.

Ulysses and Jocasta arrive, relieved that Brianna is feeling better once more. John comments on the lateness of the hour, but says that with Brianna’s permission, they will speak again in the morning. Following his departure, Brianna asks for a word alone with Jocasta, so Ulysses and Phaedra go to prepare the bedchambers for the guests.  

When the door closes, Brianna asks if she can speak frankly and Jocasta comments that she has been doing so all evening. Brianna says that she can’t help but notice that the guests are largely unmarried men. Jocasta replies that the gentlemen are her friends and that any one of them would be a suitable suitor. Since they are speaking frankly, Jocasta says, it is time that Brianna finds a husband. Brianna replies that she doesn’t want a husband and Jocasta asks what “want” has to do with it. “You’ve a bairn coming,” she says. “Your time to be particular is long past.” Jocasta reminds Brianna that she doesn’t have a penny to her name and that in fact, her name is at risk of being tarnished. Brianna must think of her future security and marrying any of the men will be of benefit to her. Brianna observes that it would also be of benefit to Jocasta. The older woman doesn’t deny this, saying only that a union of two families is always a blessing. 

Brianna asks about love, saying that her grandmother had married for love. Jocasta agrees, adding that Ellen had also been with child, outwitting her brothers Dougal and Colum in order to elope with Brian Fraser. The difference however, was that the baby was born in wedlock. If Brianna’s is not, Jocasta warns, the baby will be branded a fatherless bastard, and its life will be ruined. It is time for hard truths. The man Brianna had loved has gone, Jocasta says, and is not coming back. He is with the savages, either dead or alive. Brianna needs to accept this, as she cannot live on hope.

Murtagh and Fergus are in the tavern, waiting for the signal of Bonnet’s arrival. When it comes, Fergus pays the informer with a coin. Murtagh comments that they need Bonnet on his own. After watching Bonnet with a pretty girl who he clearly intends to bed, Fergus comes up with a plan. 

Bonnet is in a back room, when the door opens. But instead of the young girl, it is Murtagh, armed with a pistol. Bonnet says that Murtagh has the wrong room and Murtagh agrees. He has been looking for a gentleman, he says and Bonnet is no gentleman. Bonnet moves swiftly towards Murtagh, aiming a punch, but Murtagh is too fast for him. He hits Bonnet with the butt of the pistol and knocks him out. 

Brianna is unable to sleep, the note from Jamie on her bedside table. She picks it up and turns it over, but cannot bring herself to open it. Getting out of bed, she goes into the kitchen. She is eating cheese when she overhears strange noises and goes to investigate. In the linen closet next door, she finds Lord John and Judge Alderdyce, in the middle of an act that the Judge’s mother is definitely *not* aware of. Shocked, Brianna retreats back to her room.

This is another problematic scene, as many viewers of the episode have stated. Lord John is a character of the highest discretion. To risk such a tryst in such a public location is entirely out of character and it is unclear why the writers would choose to do this. 

Murtagh and Fergus are dragging the unconscious Bonnet into an alley and have started to tie him up when they are disturbed by two men with rifles, who ask what they are doing. There is no way past the men: they are trapped. So Murtagh pulls Fergus close, telling him to return to his wife and child, before punching him in the stomach to deflect suspicion that the two are working together. The other men also tell Fergus to go, commenting that Murtagh looks familiar. Murtagh tries to shift the focus of their attention onto Bonnet, and the men quickly identify him as the murderer who had escaped from the gallows. But they also recognise Murtagh from his broadsheet and take him into custody as well. 

It is morning at River Run. Phaedra informs Brianna that Jocasta wants her to come downstairs for some tea. Mr Forbes has returned to propose; Jocasta has given her blessing and Phaedra has been instructed to dress Brianna in something becoming. Brianna needs time to think. She assures Phaedra that she is pleased, but that she needs time to prepare herself. She wants Phaedra to tell Jocasta that she has already gone on her morning walk, promising to return in an hour. She asks for Lizzie, promptly sending her in search of Lord John, asking that he meet her in the grounds by the large oak.

John and Brianna are walking, when she proposes. John initially thinks that she is joking, but quickly realises that she is quite serious. He comments that this was not what Jamie would have had in mind and adding that she is definitely her father’s daughter. But Brianna says that she must ask for the sake of her child. She doesn’t want any of John’s money and is prepared to sign a paper saying so. They won’t have to live together, although she should accompany him to Virginia for a while. John replies that Jamie is one of the people he cherishes most on Earth and though drawn to her, he cannot marry her. 

So Brianna moves swiftly onto her plan B of blackmail, telling John that if he refuses her, she will say what she saw him doing the previous evening and write letters to the governor. John can’t believe that she would do that, knowing the severity of the punishment which would result. Next, Brianna threatens to tell Jamie. 
“Assuming he doesn’t already know,” John replies, adding that Jamie is otherwise engaged. “In an actual forest somewhere,” Brianna says, the penny dropping. 

John is getting annoyed. He tells Brianna that he is almost tempted to submit to her proposal, in order to teach her to play with fire.  He is perfectly capable of carrying out his husbandly duties, he assures her. Defeated, Brianna walks away, but John asks her to sit for a moment.

Sitting side by side on a bench overlooking the river, Brianna and John have a heart to heart. John apologises for refusing her, and Brianna apologises for sounding insane, adding that she would never have told anyone what she saw. John replies that she is not entirely insane. He does see her father when he closes his eyes, he tells her, but he also sees her mother and their connection and love for each other. Brianna asks if Claire knows and he replies that Claire is as perceptive as she is. Ultimately, John agrees with Jocasta: Brianna should marry, but he cannot be her husband. He has faith, he tells her, in Jamie and Claire. They will find Roger and bring him back - she mustn’t give up hope.  But Brianna reveals the last part of the problem, that even if Roger does return, he may not wish to marry her. “I was violated,” she explains, haltingly telling John that the baby’s father is not known. She hadn’t known her attacker, she says, finding his name out later as Stephen Bonnet. Gazing into the distance, Brianna makes her decision. If she marries Forbes, she will be exchanging hope for a broken heart, but she will do what she must for the sake of her child. With a sad smile, she tells John that Jocasta is expecting her and heads inside, as John looks after her. 

This was a lovely scene, played to perfection by David Berry and Sophie Skelton. Berry, in particular, seems to add more levels of endearment to his character with every scene. The old hashtag from previous seasons, #everyoneneedsaMurtagh is surely changing to #everyoneneedsaLordJohn! 

Forbes is parading around with his engagement ring, assuring Jocasta that he will not forget her part in the proceedings. Jocasta responds that the union of their two families is a blessing, as Brianna comes into the room. Forbes approaches, but before he can say anything, Lord John strides in behind Brianna, calling her “My dear” and asking if she has told them the good news. “No I haven’t,” Brianna says. Looking into her eyes, John announces that he has proposed marriage and that she has accepted. Forbes is crestfallen, Jocasta surprised and Brianna grateful. She and John smile at each other, as Brianna tells Jocasta that had her great aunt not encouraged her to find a husband, she would never have opened her heart to Lord John. As a dejected Forbes leaves, Jocasta beckons Brianna over to her. Whispering that she doesn’t know how Brianna has managed it and declaring her to be a true Mackenzie, she proclaims the announcement to be wonderful news.

Things are not going well for Jamie, Claire and Ian. As Jamie hurts his hand and swears in frustration, Claire utters the first words of concern that she has uttered in a while, asking if he is all right. Jamie tells her that it is nothing and stalks off. Meanwhile, Rollo finds first a human bone and then a decomposing corpse, one that has been dead for at least a month, by Claire’s reckoning. Ian recognises the waistcoat and the fact that the body is missing two fingers. The dead man was with Roger, he says. The three begin to search the area, to no avail. But now they have a time frame of sorts, and the hope, expressed by Claire, that Roger is still alive. 

Brianna and Lord John are having another heart to heart on the porch. Brianna is musing about the world into which her child will be born, commenting that she has said and done things she never thought she would or could. John observes that sometimes people do the wrong thing for the right reason. He tries to use Jamie as an example, but Brianna stops him, saying that it doesn’t change what has happened. She’s not sure which is worse, she says: dwelling on the past or thinking about the future. 

John begins to tell her about William, Brianna commenting, ironically, that if Willie is anything like his father then he must be a perfect gentleman. John agrees with her, before adding that he isn’t William’s father. He loves the boy more than life itself, he tells her, adding that he is sure that Roger will too. “We’re all here in this New World,” John says, “not because it is new, but because there is hope. And hope is at the very heart of love.” Brianna smiles as John walks away, finally taking Jamie’s letter from her pocket and beginning to read.

Jamie, Claire and Ian bury the man. Ian commenting that someone must be missing him. “One thing is certain,” Jamie says. “He was somebody’s child.” He walks away, leaving Claire looking after him and Ian pointedly not making eye contact with anyone. 

That night, Claire undresses in the tent, Jamie facing away from her. At last Claire apologises, telling Jamie that she had been upset, but not with him. Jamie turns to face her, asking “who else?” Claire responds that she was angry at everybody - at the world, at Stephen Bonnet, but not him. 

Claire explains that Brianna had once confided in Frank, but after he died, it was just the two of them and any secrets were theirs alone. She apologises for not telling Jamie it was Bonnet who had attacked Brianna. She had never thought she would keep a secret like that from him, adding that perhaps if she hadn’t, she could have saved Roger.  When she made her promise to Jamie years earlier, there had been no one who could come before him, but things have changed. Claire is no longer sure if she could make the same promise.  

Jamie reaches for her hand. He understands, he says, but he can’t be a father to Brianna. “Of course you can,” Claire replies, telling him that Brianna is just hurt right now. But Jamie is convinced that Brianna doesn’t need him, adding that he never thought he would be jealous of a dead man. He reminds Claire what Brianna had said: Frank wouldn’t have said what he had said, or made the mistakes that he had made. Claire replies that Frank had made plenty of mistakes, as all parents do. 
“Bree thinks he’s the better man,” Jamie says. “I thought perhaps you were beginning to feel the same, Sassenach.” 

At last, Claire realises the depths of Jamie’s despair. She moves to him, turning his face towards her and stroking his cheek as he tries to reassure him. Brianna doesn’t really want Jamie to go to hell, she says. But Jamie knows he has hurt his daughter and hopes that he can bring Roger back, or Brianna will never forgive him. Claire reminds Jamie that she had heard them both during the fight and that Brianna is just like him. Both said things that they didn’t mean. The look on Jamie’s face is a mixture of vulnerability, regret and yearning for Claire’s touch. They reach for each other, each repeating their apologies, before finally making up. It is a relief to everyone - the fans too!

This was a lovely scene, beautifully acted as always by Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan.  But it is Sam Heughan’s facial expressions that really tug at the heart strings. The vulnerability he shows is perfect. Jamie has comforted and reassured Claire many times over the four seasons - it is nice to see him on the receiving end once more! 

The Mohawk ride into their village, calling in their native language. Roger looks around nervously, as he is led towards a crowd lining up on either side of him, also chanting and calling. “What’s going on?” he asks. Suddenly he is pushed into the centre of the crowd. They begin to hit him with fists and sticks, pushing him roughly from one side to the other. Reaching the end of the line, Roger stands slowly, only to be punched down again, as the episode ends. One has to wonder how much more he can take!

This was another emotional episode, but it also contained some inconsistencies in characterisation that created a frustrating edge to the drama. But with Jamie and Claire working as a team once more; and Brianna now in the calming presence of Lord John, surely things for Roger will start to improve! With only two episodes to go, we can only hope! 

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher librarian who lives in Australia. She may have cheered twice: once when Lord John strode into Jocasta’s dinner party and once when Jamie and Claire reconciled! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Our Outlander friend needs help paying for a kidney operation to remove cancer...

Our friend and Outlander compadre is in need of an emergency operation to remove cancer from one of her kidneys. As you may also know I am a hairdresser by trade, this is a colleague who does not have adequate insurance. In our industry, we are not co-paid for benefits, nor are we helped by a union! 

If you can, please help my friend Kim! She has helped with all of our charity endeavors for the Outlander cast charities!

Here is the link

Inside the episode 411, If not for Hope by Outlander community

For a full look

Our favorite hightlights of episode 411, If not for Hope.

The season 4 sets....
Episode 411, showed us the Mohawk village sets Jon Gary Steele created. Here explaining it perfectly, is Rik Rankin during his SyFy Wire interview series with Tara Bennett.. Rik goes on to say, once emerged into such a breathtaking environment, he is able to simply concentrate on his character because the environment is so believable, it feels like they have stumbled upon a village there in the woods, that has been there forever.. and not created by the Outlander design team!

Interview with Cesar Domboy and Lauren Lyle on their character's

The script

The art

Thursday, January 10, 2019

“The Heart of the Matter” - a recap of season 4 episode 10 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage originals 

Regrets. This is the theme word for this week, as the episode is full of them. Some regrets are easily comforted, others have long lasting consequences. This is another emotionally charged episode with many tears, but ones which are shed in anger and accusation, rather than joy. Sympathy and blame shifts from character to character and an overwhelming sense of helplessness pervades the action. 

It doesn’t start that way, however. After such a brutal ending to the previous episode, this one begins in a gentler fashion. Jamie has returned from his encounter with Roger and finds his daughter deep in thought. Ironically, Brianna’s first words are to ask what has happened to Jamie’s hand, the knuckles of which he has bandaged with a cloth. Rather than tell her the truth, Jamie replies that he has had an accident near the still. Claire has told him what has happened to her, he says, and asks if Brianna had known her attacker. When she replies that she did not, Jamie invites her to walk with him while he checks the snares.

Brianna asks Jamie if he hates her, since an unmarried, pregnant daughter can’t be what he was hoping for. Jamie responds by asking how he could possibly hate her for something that was done against her will. He reassures Brianna, telling her not to worry, as he will see her married. Brianna tells him that she doesn’t want to marry, but Jamie is insistent: with a baby coming, she must. But Brianna is equally insistent: she already loves someone from her own time. “The historian,” Jamie says. Brianna nods, but adds that he won’t want her now, after what has happened. In true paternal fashion, Jamie remarks that he will if he is an honourable and decent man and that if he doesn’t, then he isn’t deserving of her.  Trying to lighten the mood a little, Jamie says that he will travel through time himself to deliver the message.

But Brianna is busy blaming herself. “How could I be so stupid?” she mutters, as she walks away. She catalogues her poor decisions, beginning with following her attacker into a dark room, alone. Jamie has heard and tells her that she must never think it was her fault. Still, Brianna is angry that she wasn’t braver; that she hadn’t attempted to fight. 
“You couldn’t have stopped him,” Jamie says. 
“I could have tried harder,” she replies. 

At this, Jamie changes tack. He agrees with Brianna and begins to bait her. Perhaps she wanted it, he suggests, musing that Brianna is playing with the truth a little, merely making up the rape story after taking a dislike to the man. She wouldn’t be the first, he says, to make a mistake and then try to hide it. This approach is working: Brianna is indeed getting angry. “You think I’m lying?” she asks. Jamie delivers the final blow with a smirk: “Maybe you enjoyed it,” he says. 

This is too much for Brianna and she swings a punch at him, which he quickly blocks, grabbing her hands. “Is that all you’ve got for me, Lass?” he asks. When she lunges for him again, he grabs her in a headlock. “I could break your neck,” he tells her. “I could end your life here and now. Could you stop me? Answer me!” 
“No!” she replies, realisation sinking in. 
“You couldn’t have stopped him either,” Jamie tells his daughter, adding that it took courage not to fight. If she had, he says, she would have been dead. 

But now it is Bree’s turn to take Jamie off guard. She asks if he had fought back against Jack Randall and explains that Claire has told her about what happened at Wentworth. Jamie replies that he had given his word not to fight, in order to save Claire’s life, and would do the same again. Brianna asks if Jamie did finally kill Randall. She has been wondering, she explains, if it would help if she killed her attacker. 
“What would you get back?” he questions, but again she is ready with knowledge from the past. She knows about the duel in Paris and turns Jamie’s question back onto him: what had he tried to get back?
“My honour,” he says simply. 
Bree wonders if he doesn’t think her honour worth getting back, but Jamie tells her that she would get herself killed if she attempted it. 
“At least I’d take him with me,” she replies.

And so Jamie relates the aftermath of Culloden. He did kill Randall, he says, waking with Randall’s corpse on top of him. Brianna asks if it helped and Jamie replies that vengeance had not seemed so important then. Hundreds lay dead on the moor and although Jamie had thought he would be one of them, Randall was instead, so he left him to God. Brianna has been thinking that perhaps if her attacker was dead, she would be able to forget him. Gently, Jamie strokes Brianna’s hair. She will not forget, he tells her, but time will let her heal. He pulls her towards him, kissing the top of her head. 

These scene presents a unique type of “fatherly advice”. The fact remains that Jamie and Brianna share a horrific experience.  Book fans have lamented the loss of the cabin scene, where Jamie attempts to calm his daughter by singing tunelessly to her as she sits on his lap, but it appears as if this conversation serves as its replacement. The two characters do seem closer by the scene’s end, with Brianna leaning against her father for comfort, his arm around her shoulder. 

Meanwhile, two prisoners are being led through the woods, tied behind the horses of a group of Indians. The stronger of the two prisoners is Roger; the other man is in a bad way. Roger tries to get help for his companion, but is hit by the Mohawk warrior for his trouble. When it is clear that no help will be forthcoming, Roger drags the man to his feet, pushing him ahead of him as the journey continues. That night, one of the Mohawk is telling a story to his companions by the fireside. Roger and the other man are tied to a nearby tree. Roger is making knots in the rope, marking every passing day. It has been a week since he was sold. He also knows what day it is, the direction they are walking and has also been estimating how long they have been walking each day. He has been observing landmarks too, so that he can find them on his return. He refuses to die here and now, he says. He is determined to escape and to get back to his wife. The other man laughs, telling him that he will need a longer string. 

Back at the cabin, Claire and Brianna are discussing the possibility of an abortion. It would be painful and risky, but possible. It would have to be surgery, Claire says, and it would have to be soon, while the foetus was still small. Claire realises the decision is an impossible one, but she wants to give her daughter the option all the same. Brianna wants to know if Claire had ever considered aborting her. Claire is quick to reassure her that she never had, adding that hers had been a different situation. 

Brianna asks if there is a possibility that the baby could be Roger’s and Claire confirms that there is. Claire tells Brianna that if she wants to keep the baby and go back to her life in the 20th century, she would need to leave immediately. Going through the stones while pregnant is possible, as Claire has done so, but to go through with a young baby is an unknown risk. Both could be killed, or one could travel without the other, or end in a different time period. “So,” says Brianna, “no matter what I choose, I have to choose now.” The two women embrace, the tragedy of the situation overwhelming them both.

Later Brianna is carrying water, when Young Ian approaches, taking the buckets from her hands. Jamie walks over to join Brianna, telling his daughter that Ian is smitten with her. Brianna is incredulous.  “He’s my cousin”, she says. Jamie asks if cousins are not smitten with each other in her time and Brianna replies that it isn’t encouraged. The two of them watch as Claire tends the garden. Brianna comments that her mother seems at peace and Jamie replies that he thinks Claire would grow roots there, if she could. Brianna recognises this as an expression that Frank had also used, telling Jamie of a conversation where Frank had joked that Claire would leave them both and go and live in the woods. “And she kinda did,” Brianna says, “only she’s not alone.” Jamie worries that Brianna must blame him for the fact that Claire had left her. But Brianna assures him that this isn’t the case. She’s glad Claire returned to him, she says, adding that she herself had come to find him too. Jamie smiles as she walks over to join Claire. So begins a brief happy family montage, of everyone gardening, trading with the Indians, feeding the animals and sitting around the table, laughing and joking together.

In the next scene, Claire and Brianna play a game: what do they miss most about their 20th century lives? Hamburgers, messy cheeseburgers with all the fixings, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, aspirin, Led Zeppelin, putting on a record of good jazz and flushing toilets are all on the list. Claire kisses the top of her daughter’s head, telling her again how good it is to have her there.

That night, Brianna is dreaming. Roger is sitting at the edge of the bed and she embraces him. She knew he would return for her, she says. 
“Of course I did,” he replies, but asks what is wrong. 
Brianna admits that she is pregnant, but doesn’t know if the baby is his. Abruptly, the face before her changes. Bonnet is there instead, telling her that he has always wanted to be a father. “Perhaps it’ll have my eyes,” he murmurs as he advances on her. Brianna starts to fight him off, as Bonnet callously comments that this is the lively ride he’s been looking for.

Abruptly, Brianna wakes, to see not Bonnet, but Lizzie standing over her, telling her that it was another nightmare. She knows that Brianna has been dreaming of her attacker and reassures Brianna that he can’t hurt her again. She is adamant, promising Brianna that she is safe. Brianna is immediately suspicious. Lizzie knows something that she is not telling her, she says, and Lizzie starts to look guilty. 
“I swore I wouldn’t,” she begins,but finally decides that Brianna needs to know, if only to stop the nightmares. “He was here,” she says, explaining that she had seen the man on the road and had told Jamie, who had nearly beaten the man to death, before getting Ian to send him away. 

Brianna is confused, asking Lizzie how the young woman had known what her attacker looked like. Lizzie explains that she had seen him grab Brianna outside the tavern. The penny drops, as a horrified Brianna says, “Lizzie, who do you think did this to me?”

In the cabin, Murtagh and Jamie are discussing the next batch of mash from the still, while Ian sits at the table nearby and Claire prepares food behind them. The door opens and Brianna stalks in, demanding to know where Roger is. She explains that Lizzie has told her that Roger had been there and that Jamie had beaten him. “What did you do to him?” she asks Jamie tearfully, as Claire, Murtagh and Ian look on. Jamie’s bruised hand finally gives him away and he looks uncomfortable. Murtagh excuses himself and tries to take Ian with him, but Brianna insists that her cousin stay, as he was involved too. Ian sinks down into a chair, as Claire asks Jamie what he has done. 

Jamie confirms that he had given a man a beating, but that if the man was Roger, then he hadn’t known. Brianna explains that Lizzie had been wrong in her accusations. “He didn’t bed you?” Jamie asks. Brianna admits that yes, he had, but that they had been handfast and had later gotten into a fight, after which he had left. 

The misunderstandings continue.  “You bedded him from lust?” Jamie challenges. He has nearly killed a man believing him to have raped Brianna of her virtue - defending her honour, when in reality Brianna has merely claimed herself violated on discovering herself pregnant. Brianna responds to this accusation by slapping Jamie across the face. “I was violated, you self righteous bastard,” she replies as Claire comes to her side, “by someone else. You beat up the wrong man.”
“Is it true?” Jamie asks Claire, as the horror of the situation sinks in. Jamie apologises, promising to make it right. Brianna has his word, he vows, as her father. But Brianna is a long way from accepting his apology, saying that “her father” would never have said the things that he has just said. It is a direct comparison to Frank. Frank was a good man, Brianna says, whereas Jamie is nothing but a savage. 

This wounds Jamie far more than the slap has. He paces briefly around the room, as Brianna cries in Claire’s arms.  Ian asks who it was who had attacked Brianna. It is an answer that Jamie wants as well. After a brief nod of permission from Brianna, Claire steps forward, placing her old wedding ring on the table. “It was him,” she says. Jamie picks up the ring. “Bonnet?” he asks and Brianna confirms it, then asking where Roger is. 

Ian takes up the story. “With the Mohawk,” he says. Jamie’s reaction to this implies that he didn’t know this piece of news either. “I sold him to the Mohawk,” Ian continues, earning himself a slap from his enraged cousin, as he tries to explain that he thought that she had been violated. Lizzie also apologises. Brianna doesn’t slap her maid though, merely saying  curtly, “You should be,” when Lizzie tells her how sorry she is.

This is all too much for Jamie and he explodes in anger, yelling and knocking over a nearby chair. But Brianna stops him. “No!” she says through clenched teeth. “You do not get to be more angry than me.” They glare at each other in furious Fraser fashion, while Claire looks on, uncertain. Brianna then asks how they can get Roger back.  “Where do the Mohawk live?” she wants to know. Ian explains that the Mohawk had only been passing through, trading with the Cherokee. Brianna insists that they go after them, but Claire gives her the bad news. The Mohawk live 700 miles away, in upstate New York.

Since the episode aired, many book fans have expressed dissatisfaction at this fight. It has been suggested that Jamie’s character has been made to look weak compared to the books. Out of interest, this reviewer went to the relevant scenes in the book, in order to compare the events for herself. In both book and on screen, Lizzie mistakes Roger for Brianna’s attacker and tells Jamie about it. In both book and on screen, Brianna insists that Claire keep the secret that her attacker was Bonnet. In both book and on screen, Jamie accuses Brianna of crying rape because she’s discovered she was pregnant. In both book and screen, Claire puts her wedding ring on the table, thus revealing the attacker’s identity once and for all. In the book, Brianna slaps Ian and punches him in the stomach; on screen she slaps, but doesn’t punch. On screen, Brianna slaps Jamie; in the book she moves to hit him, but doesn’t. On screen, Brianna screams that Jamie doesn’t get to be angrier than her, in the book she calls him a bastard and says she is sorry she ever saw him. As a result of this comparison, this reviewer respectfully suggests that in both book and on screen, the results are similar. Everyone has acted with the best of intentions, but everyone has said and done things that have deeply hurt others, which will take considerable time to put right. 

Meanwhile, Roger is being led away once again. He is now the Mohawks’ only prisoner, his companion having died during the night. “Today we ride faster than yesterday,” one of the Mohawk says. The implication is obvious: Roger is healthy, whereas the other man had been slowing them down. Roger looks behind him, as the corpse of the other man is dragged away.

Outside by the fire at Fraser’s Ridge, Brianna is asking if the Mohawk will kill Roger. Ian replies that he doesn’t think so. The Cherokee have described them as fierce, but honourable. Roger won’t be killed if he is of use to them. Ian adds that the Mohawk will adopt people into their tribe to replace those who have died or been killed. He shows Brianna the necklace he was given when he sold Roger to them - his price, Brianna says bitterly - adding that it can help them find the Mohawk village. Jamie agrees, telling Brianna that he and Ian will go and trade everything they have in order to get Roger back. But Brianna is not letting them go alone, insisting instead that everyone go. But the Mohawk are more than a week ahead of them, Ian tells her. If they don’t stop, they won’t be caught for months. Brianna says that they will just have to move faster, but Jamie tells her that that is impossible, given that she is pregnant. If they do have to go all the way to New York and back, then the trip will take at least 4 months. Brianna sighs, defeated.

Claire motions Brianna over to her, reminding her daughter that she hasn’t even decided about the baby. But Brianna has decided. She is keeping the baby. It could be Roger’s, she says, and if there’s the slightest chance of that then she wants to keep it. If it isn’t, then she will love the baby anyway. Claire says that they will help her through everything, but Brianna disagrees. That won’t be possible, she says, because Claire won’t be there. Jamie is right, Brianna goes on to explain. She will slow the journey down, but Claire won’t. Brianna doesn’t trust either Jamie or Ian, adding that if Roger sees them, he won’t look on them as rescuers and will run. But Claire would be a face that he knows and trusts.

Claire refuses, despite Brianna’s insistence that Roger will also need a doctor. She won’t leave Brianna and Lizzie there alone, she says. 
“Then think of something else,” Brianna says desperately. 
Their conversation has been overheard and Jamie has the answer. “Aunt Jocasta,” he says. River Run is the safest place. 

It is also, Ian points out, in the wrong direction. But, as has always been the way, everybody needs a Murtagh. Murtagh volunteers to take Brianna to River Run. He remembers Jocasta from Leoch, he says and Brianna looks at him gratefully.

Relieved to have something to do, Jamie announces that he will write a letter to Jocasta explaining the situation. Lizzie can accompany her and he will arrange for someone to look after the crops and animals. “Then it’s settled,” Brianna says, cutting off Claire’s protest. “You’re going,” she says. “You all are - and you’re going to bring Roger back to me.”

As everyone moves apart, Jamie approaches Claire. “You told me he’d gone back,” he says. “How was I to know?” Claire had known it was Stephen Bonnet but had said nothing to him. 
Claire’s reply is cutting. “You told me you hit a tree,” she says, stalking off, as Jamie tries to explain. 
It is a miserable situation and Murtagh and Ian look just as upset as Jamie, who asks one last thing of his godfather. Once Brianna has been delivered safely to River Run, Jamie wants Murtagh to head to Wilmington, find Stephen Bonnet and bring him to Jamie in secret, so that Jamie can kill him. Jamie walks away, leaving Murtagh and Ian nodding determinedly at each other, as the scene ends. 

Roger sits tied up under another tree, tying another knot. As the English speaking Mohawk man approaches. he hides the string away.  “Let me guess,” Roger says sarcastically, “my carriage awaits.” 
The man responds by whipping the rope across Roger’s hands. With a grimace, Roger stands and his journey continues.

Claire and Brianna are saying farewell. Claire might not be back in time for the birth, but reassures her daughter that there will be midwives at River Run and that Jocasta will ensure that she is taken care of. Brianna gives Claire a sketch of Roger, in the hope that it will help in the search. Claire asks what she should say to Roger and Brianna replies that she wants him to know everything. He hadn’t left her as she had thought, but had returned for her. He deserves to know that the baby may not be his. 

The time has come for everyone to depart. “You have to bring him back to me,” Brianna says and Claire nods. The two women are walking, arms around each other, when Ian races up. Apologising for his part in the calamity, he says that if Roger can’t be found, it would be his honour to marry Brianna. It is all he can think of to do, but it is a solution that is not well received. Claire rolls her eyes, while Jamie tells Ian to get off his knee, calling him a idiot. Warily, Jamie approaches his daughter, who refuses to look at him. He promises that he will find Roger and will not rest until he does. “I’ll hold you to that vow,” Brianna replies, with a brief, but angry glare. Jamie is gutted as he walks away. It is a far cry from the closeness that they had recently shared.

Claire speaks to Lizzie, instructing her to take good care of Brianna, a promise that Lizzie readily makes. Lastly, Brianna apologises to Claire, for making Claire leave and the two embrace one final time. Brianna climbs up onto the wagon beside Murtagh and the two parties depart, heading in different directions. 

Roger is tiring now. The brisker pace is affecting him and he is beginning to stumble like his previous companion. As they walk along a high mountain track, Roger is shown a brief moment of pity, as the Mohawk warrior shares his water skin. He drinks hungrily, then tries to cup more water into his hands from the small waterfall before being led away again. The next time he stumbles he loses his footing completely, partly sliding down an embankment and yelling in agony as the rope cuts into his wrist. The Mohawk pull on the rope, but Roger manages to free his hand, He catapults down the hill and begins to make his escape, as the Mohawk first fire and then start to chase him. But it is enough of a head start. Roger manages to evade the men, finally hiding behind a mossy embankment and a clump of bushes as they run past. Once is is sure he is alone, he begins to make his way back.

Murtagh, Brianna and Lizzie arrive at River Run. Ulysses greets them, smiling briefly at Brianna and asking Murtagh if he can help. Murtagh says that they have come to see Mistress Cameron, presenting a letter written in Jamie’s hand. Murtagh asks them to follow him and leads them into the drawing room, where Jocasta is sitting. On hearing that there is a letter, she asks Ulysses to read it.

But Murtagh takes over and Jocasta smiles at the sound of his voice, asking him to come closer. Murtagh does so and she takes his hands, commenting that she would know them anywhere. She asks if Murtagh knows of her blindness and he confirms that he does, but adds that she must have taken careful note of his hands to know them after 30 years. Jocasta teases him, saying that he could hardly keep his hands off her sister. 
“Little good it did me in the end,” Murtagh says, but Jocasta reminds him that he did gain a godson. 
“That I did,” Murtagh replies and Brianna smiles briefly at their exchange, which is, incidentally, beautiful acted by Duncan Lacroix and Maria Doyle Kennedy. In the book, such a meeting would have been impossible, so it is lovely to see the two characters interact. Brianna shifts her feet and a floorboard creaks, which Jocasta hears. She asks who else is there and Murtagh promptly introduces Brianna as Jamie and Claire’s daughter. “Daughter?” Jocasta asks. Brianna steps forward and remarks that it is a long story.

Jocasta asks what the rest of the letter conveys, but again Ulysses doesn’t need to read it. Brianna takes up the story and tells her great Aunt that the letter says that she is with child and unmarried. The letter requests that Jocasta look after her, Brianna continues, despite the mark it might bring to Jocasta’s good name, while Claire and Jamie search for the man to whom she has been handfast, who may or may not already be dead. It is an accurate reading of the letter, which Ulysses confirms, Jocasta asks Brianna to come close to her. She cups Brianna’s face and smiles, calling the young woman her “dear sweet girl” and says that of course Brianna may stay. 

Roger continues to make his way through the woods. A buzzing noise sounds near him and he stops in disbelief. “Oh my God,” he says softly, as a ring of standing stones appear before him. He walks around the circle, stopping briefly to take out the two small rubies that he had been given by Bonnet in lieu of wages. He stands in front of the central stone and bursts into tears. It is his moment of decision: does he walk away and try to find his way back to Brianna, or does he return to his own time? He moves closer to the stone, reaching out his hand tantalisingly close, as the episode ends. 

Three to go.

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She felt overwhelmingly sad for everyone and hopes that there are some happier times ahead!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Inside the episode 410, The Deep Hearts Core by Outlander community

For a full look

Our favorite hightlights of episode 410, The Deep Hearts Core.

The script

The deceit that started the bad blood

My heart broke for him here

A missed explanation

A beautiful moment showing Brianna is a Fraser

Rogers make up

Ian's proposal