Saturday, December 29, 2018

“All roads lead to Wilmington” - a recap of season 4 episode 8 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage originals 

Much of episode 8 revolves around the concept of power - who has it and who can exert it. In a moment, the strong can become vulnerable and the powerless can find a way to survive, but it is never without cost. This is an hour that runs the gamut of emotions from reunion to rebellion and from joy to desolation, but the struggle for power continues regardless. 

The episode opens with Roger, who is using the pastel sketch of Brianna and himself as an 18th century version of a wanted photograph. He is asking Wilmington citizens if they have seen Brianna, without success. He also stumbles upon the printer who will eventually print the obituary about the fire and peers through the window, somewhat disdainfully. The printer, John Gillette, notices this, and asks Roger if his establishment has offended him in some way. Instead of trying to explain future events, or making a comment about guarding against smudged type, Roger shows the printer the sketch as well, adding the details that Brianna has recently arrived on the Philip Alonzo and that his enquiries have, so far, come to naught. One of the printer’s employees appears at this point, his inventory complete. It is Fergus, but of course, Roger has no reason to know who he is. He shows Fergus the drawing as well, but still there has been no sign of Brianna. 

Fergus arrives home and Marsali is preparing food. “Where’s the bairn?” he asks. Marsali tells him to go and see for himself. In the next room, Fergus finds not only his son, but also Claire and Jamie, who have come for a visit.  Claire explains that they have been invited by the Governor and his wife to join them at the theatre. Jamie comments that Tryon is keen to introduce him to a Mr Fanning, one of his right hand men, and Claire adds that according to Murtagh, this particular right hand man has his hands firmly dipped in the treasury. 

Claire and Marsali go to prepare the rest of the lunch and Claire takes the opportunity for a heart to heart, asking the young mother how she is coping. Marsali is a glowing mother, her heart full of love.She tells Claire that she now knows that she would take a knife to the stomach before seeing Germaine hurt or in sorrow. Claire agrees that it is the hardest thing about being a parent - even though you would die trying, you can’t protect your child from anyone or anything. It is a poignant moment for Claire, missed by Marsali, who doesn’t know of Brianna. It is also a rather chilling moment of prophecy, for the events that book readers know are to come. 

Back in the inn, Roger spills his ale over the sketch, swearing in frustration as he tries to clean it. But suddenly he hears a familiar voice: it is Brianna, looking for passage to Cross Creek. Roger stares, hearing the man tell Brianna that the Sally Ann is in port. 
“Brianna,” he says, as she turns around and they stare disbelieving at each other for a moment, before embracing. 
“Thank God,” Roger says, his voice cracking with emotion. “Thank God I found you.” 
“Hi,” she responds, before asking what he is doing there. As the reality of his arrival sinks in, Brianna tells Roger that he wasn’t supposed to come, as it wasn’t part of the plan. Roger asks how running off to “bloody nowhere” was part of the plan. Brianna replies that she would have told him, but wasn’t sure how they stood after their last conversation. 
“You don’t know how I feel about you?” Roger asks, before noticing that other patrons are listening in. He grabs her hand and leads her outside, while Lizzie watches through the window. 

Lizzie is worried to see Roger grabbing Brianna’s arm, not knowing what conversation is going on around the action. To Lizzie, it looks potentially violent, but in reality Brianna is expressing her frustration too. She pushes Roger away, telling him that she would have called rather than written, but she didn’t know how to tell him that she loved him and that if she had called, he would have tried to stop her. For Roger, the only important part of this speech is that Brianna has just declared her love for him. He pulls her further away, again watched by Lizzie. 

They move to a nearby barn and begin to kiss and undress. Brianna asks Roger if he is sure, given that the two of them are not engaged. It is a reference to their previous 20th century fight, where Roger had said that he would have her “all or none at all” and Roger admits that he hasn’t changed his mind. Brianna has, however, telling Roger that he does have all of her. 
“You’ll marry me?” he says, smiling when Brianna says that she can hardly say no to a man who has pursued her over 200 years. Roger doesn’t have a ring, but Brianna shows him the bracelet she is wearing. It is the one he had given her at the festival and is also the gemstone that she has used to come through the stones. 

Roger has an idea, asking if Brianna knows what handfasting is. When she shakes her head, he explains that it is a form of temporary marriage, coming from the Highlands, where the availability of ministers can be scarce. The couple can be promised to each other for a year and a day and Brianna interrupts his explanation with the words, “Let’s do it.” Roger is overjoyed and the couple embrace again.

Meanwhile, Jamie and Claire have arrived at the theatre. Governor Tryon greets them, commenting that the play is said to be exceptional, written as it has been by a native son of Wilmington. Wasting no more time with pleasantries, Tryon motions to a man by the name of Edmund Fanning, and introductions are made. Fanning, Tryon says, sits on the assembly and is Tryon’s public register of deeds and is also the leader of the Orange County militia and judge of the superior court in Salisbury. Jamie comments that Fanning is a man with many strings to his bow and Fanning responds in kind, saying that Tryon also speaks highly of Jamie, especially in light of the current grievances in the western counties.  Jamie asks if Fanning means the regulators, but Tryon uses a different term, referring to the men as insurgents.

Fanning is holding himself awkwardly, his hand over his abdomen and groans suddenly. Claire asks if he is in pain and Fanning replies that he had injured himself while carrying rum to the river for the insurgents in an attempt to appease them and persuade them against their lawlessness. He had turned awkwardly, his boot sticking in the mud and he now has a strange protuberance that causes him pain when he moves. Fanning tells them that his physician has said it will go away in time, but Claire disagrees and offers to examine him. Fanning is taken aback by this, until Jamie explains that she is a healer. Unconvinced, Tryon suggests that they should defer to the physician, but Claire cautions Fanning: if the pain gets worse, he may need to see a surgeon. Tryon ends the conversation by telling Jamie that he wants to introduce him to a number of acquaintances, while his wife introduces Claire to the other women. Claire knows when she has been dismissed and she and Jamie share a look. 

“The society of the wives,” Claire remarks to Mrs Tryon, who promptly assures her that she will help Claire to navigate the waters. She points out various members of society, including a man known as Colonel Washington. It is none other than George Washington, but of course, no one has Claire’s knowledge of the future. At this point in time, he is only a former soldier with the Virginia regiment. Intrigued, Claire asks to meet both the Colonel and his wife. 

Moments later, the Washingtons, the Frasers and Governor Tryon are discussing Fraser’s Ridge, land that the Colonel had surveyed the previous year. Jamie agrees with Washington’s assessment as to the land being a magnificent stretch of wilderness, adding that it had been generous of the Governor to grant it to him. Mrs Washington adds that to receive 10 thousand acres is unprecedented, adding that Tryon must indeed be fond of them. Tryon confirms this statement, describing Jamie as a loyal man and a former soldier. This gets the Washingtons’ attention and they ask if Jamie had fought with them against the French. Jamie tells them that he heard tales of Washington’s deeds in those battles, but that he had fought at Culloden in ’46. The name is unfamiliar to Washington, who remarks that he spent his childhood in Virginia.  

“Chopping down cherry trees” quips Claire, making an allusion to the 20th century anecdote about George Washington’s childhood. Realising her mistake at once, Claire covers her faux pas quickly, telling the confused company that it is something a child would do and that it is merely a “figure of speech.” Interviews given after the episode have explained that this oft told tale about the young Washington was not in fact true, so there is no danger of Claire appearing clairvoyant. A nevertheless conveniently timed bell rings at this point and the party is asked to take their seats for the start of the play. Before they do, Claire tells Jamie that Washington will be the man who eventually wins the war against the British and will become the first leader of America. He won’t be a King, Claire says, but will be called a President and will be elected by the people. “If Brianna were here,” she adds, “she’d have a hundred questions to ask him.” 

Brianna is, of course, here - but not focused on the future President. She and Roger are preparing for the handfasting, spreading out a rug and kneeling before a fire. Taking his stock from around his neck, Roger binds their hands together and speaks traditional wedding vows, which she promptly echoes. Together, by the “power of the unusual Scottish tradition”, they pronounce themselves husband and wife. It is a touching scene, beautifully performed by Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton. 

The audience take their seats, as Tryon complains to Jamie that the regulators mean to deprive him of his home, by refusing to allow their taxes to be put toward the building of his palace. He then comments that he hopes his men put on a good show that evening, and quotes Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage” speech, before adding that they are in a glorious theatre that has been made possible by taxes, something that insurgents could never comprehend. Jamie asks what Shakespeare’s speech has to do with Tryon’s men. The governor explains that he has a spy in the regulator camp and so knows of their plan to rob a carriage carrying tax money as it leaves Wilmington that evening, bound for New Bern. The regulators are camped along the road,Tryon tells Jamie, and his redcoats are going to arrest them. Jamie asks if Tryon knows the identities of the men, his face freezing as the Governor tells him that he does, naming the leader as Murtagh Fitzgibbons. Thinking on his feet and wanting to warn Murtagh, Jamie offers to ride out and join Tryon’s men. The Governor thanks Jamie for the offer but assures him that he has the matter in hand and telling him to enjoy the performance. The action begins, but Jamie is not concentrating, as we are given a brief glimpse of Murtagh and the others, who are indeed encamped along the road.

 Brianna and Roger have begun to make love, and in moments reminiscent of Claire and Jamie’s first night together, they are both nervous. They move slowly, Roger telling Brianna that  her skin is so soft and that she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. He carries her over to the rug in front of the fire, Brianna murmuring that she has wanted this moment for so long. Roger replies that if he takes her now it is for always and she agrees. Roger grabs her hand. “Feel my heart,” he murmurs. “Tell me if it stops.” The music swells and the lovemaking continues.

Back at the theatre, Jamie is still paying no attention to the action on stage. Other patrons are calling out as the actors recite their lines, but Jamie is deep in thought.  Meanwhile, in the dark on the road, Murtagh urges patience amongst the men.

Brianna and Roger lie by the fire. Again, in comments reminiscent of Claire and Jamie’s early post coital conversations, Brianna asks if she “did it right”, concerned because Roger had just laid there as if someone had hit him over the head. Roger chuckles, assuring her that behaving as if his spinal cord had been removed is a fair indication of male satisfaction. In turn, he asks if it had been painful for her. “Yes,” she says, “but I liked it.” Roger tells her that his dreams of their wedding night had always included champagne, clean sheets and a bed, but Brianna tells him that she has had those things, but has never been as happy as she is now.

The audience is getting increasingly restless as the play continues. Jamie notices that Fanning, seated next to him, is moaning softly, his hand pressed against his abdomen. Taking his chance, Jamie causes a disturbance, by “accidentally” elbowing Fanning, rising to his feet and calling for a surgeon when Fanning collapses in agony. Apologising to the actors, Fanning is carried from the theatre, Claire taking over as surgeon, against the protests of Tryon.  As her initial orders are carried out, she and Jamie share a hasty conversation. Claire reassures him when Jamie asks if has killed the man, saying that in all probability he has actually saved his life, as she can now operate. Jamie tells her that Tryon’s men are about to arrest Murtagh and the others for robbery, which is a hanging offence. He needs to warn Murtagh he says, but Tryon cannot know he has gone. Claire promises to buy him as much time as she can. 

Amidst Fanning’s cries of pain, Claire and Tryon argue, while Jamie slips out of the building. Tryon wants to send for a surgeon, while Claire tells him that she is one. He wants to carry Fanning to somewhere more private, but Claire says this is too dangerous. Sending people to collect needle, thread, a knife, liquor and linen, Claire prepares to operate. Holding the decanter to his lips, she instructs Fanning to take a long drink, in the hope that it will render him unconscious.

Outside, Jamie is met by the Washingtons, who have taken advantage of the drama to leave the theatre. Washington asks how the patient is and Jamie responds that his wife will do her best. He is, he says, on his way to get her surgical tools from their residence. The Washingtons promptly offer him transportation, which he accepts. An idea has occurred to him.

Claire is beginning the operation, with an audience of intrigued bystanders. The supplies arrive, along with an apron, which she puts on. Tryon is questioning Claire’s every move. She tells him that she needs men to hold Fanning down and keep him still, as the rum will only do so much in the way of dulling the pain. Fanning is likely to come in and out of consciousness, Claire says, emphasising that she can’t do the operation without his help. Telling Tryon that if he wakes, it will do Fanning good to see a friendly face, Claire further instructs the Governor to allow his colleague to bite down on his handkerchief if necessary. The men take their positions and the operation begins.

Jamie arrives back at the residence and tells the Washingtons that he will borrow a horse from here. He thanks them for aiding a fellow soldier. “Is there a war I’m not aware of?” Washington asks and Jamie answers honestly. “Aye,” he says. “Aye, there is, sir.”  The carriage drives off and Jamie hurries inside. 

Claire makes the necessary incision, to murmurs of horror from her audience and cries of pain from Fanning, who regains consciousness almost immediately. Claire urges him to keep calm and tells Tryon to distract Fanning from the pain. Tryon dutifully promises Fanning that if he lies still, Tryon will dip his hands into the treasury and build Fanning a house. Claire wrestles with the hernia and Fanning writhes in agony, his screams muffled as Tryon stuffs his handkerchief into his colleague’s mouth. Claire works quickly and the hernia is repaired. Tryon declares the operation exciting, asking Claire to confirm that Fanning won’t remember what he had just promised. At this point, the official surgeon arrives, demanding to know why Claire has butchered the man, saying that all he had needed was tobacco smoke up through the rear. But Claire has found an ally in Tryon, who promptly dismisses the surgeon with the comment that they have no need of him, as the lady has everything in hand. 

A brief cutaway scene to the forest shows a carriage approaching. Redcoats are inside, pistols at the ready. One of the party asks the carriage to stop and Murtagh and the others draw their own weapons, ready to attack.  “Let’s take our money back,” Murtagh says.

Everyone, including the surgeon watches in silence (apart from suitably dramatic music!) as Claire finishes stitching. Governor Tryon asks if she has finished. Claire confirms this and says that she will see Fanning home. Tryon comments that in his opinion, she may well have saved Fanning’s life, at which spontaneous applause erupts. Tryon adds that he can now see why Jamie claims that he can’t live without her in the wilderness. 

Right on cue, Jamie arrives. Claire moves to him, commenting that he had left his arrival to the last moment. Tryon hasn’t noticed his absence though, which is a relief. Claire asks if he managed to reach Murtagh in time. “I hope so,” Jamie replies.

In the next scene, we realise that it is not Jamie who has gone to warn the regulators. Just as Murtagh is about to attack the carriage, there is a hand on his back. He whirls around, and the figure whispers, “It’s me, Fergus. The Governor knows of your plan and intends to have you arrested.” 
Amidst the drama, Murtagh smiles at the man in front of him. “Fergus,” he asks, “is that you?” 
Fergus confirms that Jamie has sent him to warn the men and implores them not to rob the coach. Murtagh calls off the attack with a series of whistles, as the men on the road embark on a story about having had too much to drink, asking the coach driver if they are on the road to Wilmington. After the driver advises the men it isn’t wise to linger on the roads, the carriage drives on. Crisis averted, Murtagh tells the men they’ve been found out. Fergus tells Murtagh that there is a spy in the camp. When Murtagh comments that Jamie couldn’t be bothered to come and tell him himself, Fergus tells him that Jamie is at the theatre. Murtagh is dismissive of this, but claps a hand on Fergus’ shoulder, saying that there is no man that he would rather see. 

Roger and Brianna are lying side by side. Roger says that they should start looking for gemstones, so that they will be able to return to the 20th century after they help Jamie and Claire. Brianna agrees, adding that it’s frustrating not knowing the date of the fire and that she could kill the printer. Roger chuckles, saying that he had been tempted to tell the printer off when he met him, for smudging the date. Brianna immediately asks how Roger knows this, given that she has only just told him about the obituary. It is a big mistake, which Roger hastily tries to correct. He asks her not to be angry and admits knowing about the obituary before Brianna had left, but tells her that he hadn’t wanted to make her sad, particularly when she had been so happy to learn that Claire had found Jamie. But Brianna is moving away from him. “You knew my mother died,” she says, “and you didn’t think that I should know that?” Roger says that he had decided that there was no point in breaking her heart, and that Fiona had agreed.

If the comment about the date was a big mistake, then this is a bigger one. Brianna is incensed that Roger has discussed Claire and time travel with Fiona, although Roger tries to explain that Fiona already knew and this is how he had found the obituary in the first place. But Brianna is not accepting this, furious that Roger and Fiona had decided that she shouldn’t know about her mother’s death. Roger tries to say that regardless of the circumstances, Claire had already been dead by the simple passing of years by the time that the obituary was discovered. He wants to know what she could have done, even if she had known. 

For Brianna, the answer is obvious. “This,” she says. “I could do this.” Roger cautions her, saying that even though they both have the gift of travelling through time, they cannot be the arbiters of who lives and dies. But Brianna replies that it was her decision to make, asking how he dared to take the choice away from her. Roger tells her that he didn’t want to break her heart, but Brianna doesn’t believe him. She counters that he only wanted her to be happy so that she would marry him. Roger doesn’t disagree, but becomes sarcastic, asking her to pardon him for wanting her to be his wife and that since she now is, perhaps she should start listening to him.

This is the final straw. Brianna can’t believe that Roger would expect her to meekly accept his every decision and not worry her pretty little head about anything. Roger says that she is twisting his words and that he nearly died coming after her and Brianna retorts that she didn’t ask him to follow her. 

Roger is angry now. No, he tells her, she just left without a word, except for a letter that he was meant to receive a year later, after it was too late and she could have already died. The irony that he had done exactly the same thing, by keeping details from Brianna, is lost on him. Perhaps he should just go back, he says and she agrees. Perhaps he should. 
“Is that what  you want?” he challenges. “For me to leave and return through the stones?” Brianna replies that Lizzie and her are doing all right on their own. 

Desperate to convince her, Roger reminds her of her last words to Frank and how she had never forgiven herself for the way things had been left between them. This is the fatal blow and Brianna hisses through clenched teeth. How dare he bring her father into the situation, she says. It’s the same thing, Roger tells her. Right when it matters, she is pushing him away. He tells her that she is acting like a child and that perhaps his coming has been a mistake.

Brianna tells him that if he really believes that, then he should go.  Roger makes one final challenge, demanding that she look him in the eye. If she really wants that, he will go. Looking him in the face, Brianna replies, “No one is stopping you.” 
Of course neither of them wants this, but these two minister’s cats are stubborn, proud and wounded. Without another word, Roger gathers his belongings and leaves. Brianna’s temper dissolves and she cries. 

In the carriage, Tryon is musing as to who has warned the regulators of the plan. He lists the people he has told, adding that everyone had been in his company. At the mention of Colonel Washington, Tryon’s companion disagrees. He had seen the Colonel and his wife putting on their coats when he had gone to fetch the surgeon, he tells the Governor. “Never trust a Virginian,” Tryon seethes, adding that Washington’s day will come. Jamie realises he is now free of suspicion, but his expression is solemn. He is playing a potentially dangerous game.

Brianna finishes dressing, her face still streaked with tears. She wipes them away and returns slowly to the inn, where men are playing cards. One of them is none other than Stephen Bonnet. He is losing, but offers his fellow players something of more earthly value, and holds up a silver ring. Brianna walks past the table and Bonnet grabs her by the arm. He asks her to blow on the ring, saying that perhaps she will change his luck.

Brianna recognises the ring at once. It is Claire’s. She demands to know where Bonnet has gotten it from and whether her mother is still alive, cautioning that it is bad luck to wear the jewellery of the dead. Bonnet comments that he hasn’t noticed that effect himself, but adds that when he last saw Claire, she was both alive and well. Brianna asks where Claire is, but Bonnet replies that he doesn’t know as it has been some time since he saw her. But, he says, if Brianna would like to return the ring to her mother, perhaps an agreement can be reached. He folds his hand of cards, as Brianna asks if he will sell the ring to her. Bonnet stands, saying that he never haggles in public, so Brianna follows him into the adjoining room and asks how much money he wants. Bonnet replies that he has enough money, but that perhaps Brianna can earn it. 

Brianna realises too late what he means. “I think you’ve mistaken me,” she says and turns to go. But Bonnet grabs her. “I think you’ve mistaken me,” he replies. He forces her to her knees and slaps her hard across the face. She tries to crawl away, but he pulls her back, asking her if she wants to play games. He wrenches her boots from her feet and throws them outside the room, as she begs to be let go. The camera pans across to the fire and then back into the main room of the tavern, as Bonnet slams the doors shut.

Book readers knew that this was coming, but the scene is perhaps more horrific by the way the rape is not shown, only heard. As a terrified Brianna screams, everyone in the tavern knows exactly what is going on and no-one tries to help. Indeed, some of the men chuckle and smirk as ale is poured and the card game goes on. More chilling still, someone picks up Brianna’s boots, places them neatly outside the door, and walks away.

When it is over, Brianna is slowly coming back to reality. Bonnet’s voice is muffled, his figure blurred, as we hear him say that he had thought Brianna might have been a virgin, but that he knows he was not her first. She sits up, her nose bloodied, stands uncertainly and goes to leave, but Bonnet calls her back. He holds out Claire’s ring, saying that he pays for his pleasures and that he is an honest man for a pirate.  She takes the ring, Bonnet making one last comment as she walks out. “If you find your mother,” he says, “give her my regards.” 
The inn is deserted now. Brianna picks up her boots and slowly makes her way upstairs, as the poignant closing music begins.

This was an emotionally charged episode and while everyone performed strongly, all the praise must go to Sophie Skelton for the range of emotions she showed throughout the hour, from vulnerability to determination; happiness to fury; ecstasy to fear; strength to fragility. Surely the last of the Brianna/Sophie critics must have been silenced for good. This was a first class performance and this reviewer can’t wait for all the scenes to come, as Brianna becomes integral to the rest of the season’s storyline.

This recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She, like many, found the assault scene extremely confronting, but applauds the decision to portray it in the manner that it was. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Inside episode 408, Wilmington by Outlander community

For a full look

Our favorite hightlights of episode 408, Wilmington 

Script, we loved some of the dialogue that didnt make the episode

This includes dreams Brianna was having about her parents.. remember the seer who spoke to Claire as Brianna in Jamaica? Important in book!

The actual rape production didnt include!


Murtagh seeing Fergus..

Washington with Claire..



Set decoration

Home of Fergus and Marsali

Friday, December 21, 2018

A “Hole” lot of controversy - a recap of season 4 episode 7 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage originals

In the 1990s, there was a movie called “Sliding Doors”, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Scottish actor, John Hannah. The movie revolved around the premise that there are always alternate possibilities to every situation. What would happen to the main character, for example, if she caught the train that she was racing to board? What would happen if she missed it? Both possibilities were played out during the film, and the viewers examined the differences in the young woman’s life as a result. Ultimately, in either reality, she ended up in the same place with the same man - but one ending was far more tragic than the other. The choices made by the writers in this week’s episode of Outlander reminded this reviewer of Sliding Doors. What if, when she arrived in the 1700s,  Brianna ended up spending time at Broch Morda with Laoghaire instead of at Lallybroch with Jenny and Ian? What if, instead of telling Bree about the family history of the Frasers, the focus was, via flashback scenes, on her family history with Frank Randall? It was a bold move by the writers to head in this direction, risking the ire of many fans in the process. For every positive comment on social media since the episode’s airing, there have been many more decrying the choices that were made. But, paralleling Sliding Doors once again, will Brianna ultimately end up with the people she is meant to, even if the path is different? Will the information that she discovered on the page eventually be discovered on the screen as well? Will the angry fans forgive the writers for the liberties that they are now taking with Diana Gabaldon’s creation, or will the ending be far more tragic? Only time will tell. At any rate, this reviewer’s chosen theme word for episode 7 is parallels. There were certainly plenty of them throughout the hour. 

The episode opens on a chilly Scottish landscape. Brianna, who seems woefully underdressed for the snowy conditions, is traipsing purposefully across the mountains, checking the map that she has brought with her, marked with the route she must follow. Somehow, she seems to know the correct direction and sets off. The weather improves and she is pleased to see what looks like a road below her. But, paralleling Claire’s tumble down the hillside when she first arrived in 18th century Scotland in season 1, Brianna too loses her footing. She doesn’t fare as well as her mother however, badly spraining her ankle. But, being a stubborn Fraser, she continues on her way, stopping briefly to soak her foot painfully in the stream. 

Roger meanwhile, arrives at a snow covered Craigh Na Dun, accompanied by Fiona Graham. He too is dressed in 18th century garb and is freshly shaven. He quotes the Greek philosopher Antiphon, as he muses that time is a concept, not a reality. He has made up his mind to follow Brianna, but is obviously nervous about the journey ahead. Taking the car keys, Fiona tries to lighten the mood, commenting that she hopes time travel is a reality, or Roger has shaved his beard for nothing. She asks if he has everything and he runs through the list: money, map, compass and gemstone. 

They approach the stones. Roger hears the buzzing, but Fiona cannot. The stones do not call to her, she says. They hug in farewell and taking a deep breath, Roger closes his eyes and touches the centre stone.

It is night. Brianna has come prepared with some 20th century matches and lights a fire. Her ankle is still painful. She unwraps the peanut butter and jelly sandwich seen in the title sequence, a parallel to the one that Claire packs in the books for her return. A further parallel to Claire occurs in Brianna’s subsequent painful journey. In the Caribbean, Claire had staggered through the jungle, gradually becoming weaker until she passed out just as she discovered Father Fogden. Here, Brianna loses consciousness just as she sees a house in the distance. 

But suddenly, time has shifted. A sleeping Brianna is a girl once more, as Frank Randall lifts her from the car, murmuring that they are home now. Time shifts back just as suddenly and Brianna smiles in her sleep, and turns over in bed. She is roused by a woman calling, “Lass” and she sits up with a start. 
“Where am I?” she asks. 
“You’re in my home,” the woman explains, telling Brianna that they had found her lying in the moss, cold as ice, and had brought her home. “They” are none other than Laoghaire and young Joanie, the older woman promptly putting a plate of food in front of the ravenous Brianna. It is roasted pigeon, which, apparently, tastes like chicken. Brianna is briefly disconcerted when she discovers what she is eating, but her hunger wins and she continues to wolf it down, commenting only that it isn’t prepared that way in England. At the mention of England Laoghaire questions her accent, which is “unusual”. Brianna tells her that she is trying to reach Ayr Harbour. Her parents are in the Americas she says, and she is on her way to visit them.

Joanie joins the conversation, saying that her sister Marsali is in North Carolina. Laoghaire explains that her eldest daughter is married. “Tae a frog,” Joanie interjects. Laoghaire agrees, but adds that he is also the father of her grandchild. Talk returns to Brianna’s journey. Laoghaire questions the wisdom of Brianna trying to walk all the way to Ayr Harbour by herself and Brianna responds that she was hoping to catch a ride with someone along the road. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Laoghaire introduces herself formally and they all exchange names. Laoghaire says that Brianna can stay as long as she needs and suggests that she has some rest. 

But rest is hard to come by that night, as Brianna overhears an argument in the main room. Laoghaire is admonishing Ian Murray, who has brought less than half of the alimony money that Jamie owes. Ian tells her that Jamie will send the rest when he can, as he is an honourable man. This is a description that Laoghaire takes exception with, asking if it is honourable for a man to commit bigamy and to desert his wife and daughter. This argument morphs in Brianna’s mind, to one that she had overheard between Claire and Frank after Claire’s graduation party, when Frank’s affair with Sandy had been discovered in quite a public manner. But while the child Brianna had covered her ears with a pillow and tried to blot out the fight, the adult Brianna is more curious. Getting out of bed, she heads to the room and interrupts the harsh words. Laoghaire is tired of excuses, she is saying, as excuses can’t be eaten. Catching sight of Brianna, the argument stops. Laoghaire introduces Brianna as a traveller who had been found on the road and Ian apologises for disturbing her. Brianna apologises in turn for interrupting. Ian, upon hearing her accent, brands her an “outlander”, much as the season 1 highlanders did to “Sassenach” Claire. But Laoghaire is not in the mood for pleasant chit chat, politely but firmly telling Brianna that she needs rest and should have another lie down. Brianna doesn’t argue the point and returns to her room. Left alone again, the argument resumes. Ian offers money of his own to Laoghaire, stating that they won’t see her go without. But Laoghaire refuses to accept a penny. She has her pride and wants “his” money. With a long look, Ian returns the pouch of coins to his pocket and leaves.

The following morning, Laoghaire and Joanie are in the garden when Brianna joins them. Laoghaire apologises for the previous day’s argument. Brianna asks if the man was her husband, but Laoghaire explains that he is kin to her former husband, acting as messenger to tell her that the money she owes will not be paid. Times are hard, Laoghaire tells Brianna, before commenting on the outfit she has given her. It is one of Marsali’s, and far better suited than the one she arrived in. Brianna expresses her thanks, which Laoghaire dismisses, saying that she hopes that someone would do the same for her girls.  Joanie asks Brianna to help her with the garden and Laoghaire goes inside to start the stew.

Joan and Brianna garden in silence at first. Then Brianna asks if the man who owes the money is Joan’s father. Joanie tells Brianna that she calls the man her Da, not having known her biological father, who had left when she was small. Here is another parallel: Brianna doesn’t know what Jamie looks like and Joanie can’t remember her real father. Both are also missing the two men who did serve as loving father figures: Frank to Brianna and Jamie to Joan. As Brianna begins to do Joanie’s hair, the two discuss men. Joan suggests that all men are louts and goes on to describe the marriage between her Da and Laoghaire. While he had been good and kind, he didn’t love her as she loved him. Brianna comments that the same could be said in her life as well. Claire had not loved the man she had married.

The next flashback scene show Frank drinking alone in his office when Brianna knocks on the door. She demands to know what is going on with Frank and why he hasn’t been answering the phone. Looking first at the whisky decanter and then at a paper on his desk, she asks what the paper is. Frank replies that it is research from a colleague in Scotland and invites her to take a look. Brianna picks it up, and notices it is an obituary. It is the same obituary that Fiona showed Roger in earlier episodes, indicating to the viewer that Frank knew that Claire would ultimately return to Jamie. Having no reason to recognise the names on the notice, Brianna asks who died and Frank replies that it complicated. Brianna asks if he wants to talk about the situation. Remarking that complicated is a relative term which is dependent upon perspective, she begins a mock therapy session in a British accent. Jokingly she tells Frank that his research, despite his hard work, has been going nowhere, but the joke is over abruptly when Frank agrees with her. “That doesn’t sound like you,” Brianna remarks. “What is it?” 

Frank struggles with his emotions and it is clear that he is considering unburdening himself. Brianna looks increasingly worried, as this is obviously important to him. Frank replies that it is the most important thing apart from her. “And Mama,” Brianna adds. But Frank cannot agree to this addition, merely telling Bree that she should go home, as Claire would be worried about her. He speaks a little sharply when she hesitates and with typical teenage petulance, Brianna stalks towards the door. He promises her that someday she will understand, and she replies that maybe someday she won’t care. 

Back in the 18th century, Brianna is getting ready for bed when Laoghaire knocks on the door. She pulls the heating pan from underneath the covers, commenting that the bed should be warm by now. They begin a conversation, Laoghaire saying that her nest will be empty before too long. She expresses her wish that Joan will marry and find a good man, if one exists. When Brianna assures her that they do, Laoghaire begins to tell her a story about her younger days, when her previous husband would have done anything for her. Jamie’s name is not mentioned, but it is obvious to viewers who is being spoken about. Laoghaire tells Brianna of the beating that Jamie had taken for her, adding that he used to steal kisses at every opportunity, until he was bewitched by another woman. When Laoghaire adds that she still misses him, Brianna tells her that she also knows the pain of missing someone. Laoghaire then paints a lovely family picture, of Joanie sitting on Jamie’s knee, Marsali by his side, while she and Jamie would tell stories around the fire, stories that she hasn’t had the heart to tell since his departure. Brianna asks for Joanie’s favourite story and requests that Laoghaire tell it. As she begins to do so, Joanie comes and joins them, snuggling up next to Brianna.

In the next scene, Roger, looking none the worse for his journey through the stones, is looking for the captain of the Gloriana. Unfortunately, when he finds him, the captain’s voice is immediately familiar. It is none other than Stephen Bonnet, who is wearing Claire’s ring on his pinky finger. Roger says he is seeking passage to the Carolinas, as he needs to find his lass, who has gone there. Bonnet comments that Roger should find himself a woman closer by, as although he is sailing to Wilmington on his way to Philadelphia, he is taking no-one else on board. He stands to leave, his companions following.  

But Roger will not give up easily. He follows Bonnet and asks if he could be taken on as crew. This Bonnet considers, until he inspects Roger’s hands, deeming them better suited to writing letters than sailing. Determined to prove him wrong, Roger hoists a barrel onto his shoulders. “Where do you want this?” he calls. Bonnet asks Roger if he believes in luck and pulls out a coin. “Heads you come, tails you stay,” he says. When the coin lands, he asks Roger his name. Roger replies using the surname MacKenzie, an important change that is familiar to book readers. Bonnet promptly offers Roger 20 shillings a month, which will be paid when the cargo is unloaded, along with permission to leave the ship when it is in port. With four ports before Wilmington, Bonnet says that he hopes Roger’s lass is worth it.

Laoghaire is making stew, while Brianna fixes a cupboard that Laoghaire comments has been broken since her husband left. Joanie enters, her braid still containing the flowers Brianna had put into it the previous day. Brianna starts to sing a 20th century folk song: “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure and wear some flowers in your hair.” Joanie says she doesn’t know the song and Brianna says it is her mother’s favourite.  Laoghaire reminisces that the girls at Lallybroch would put flowers in their hair in the summer and Brianna immediately recognises the name, saying that her mother’s relatives live there. Laoghaire asks who Brianna’s mother is, wondering if she knew her, given that she spent time at Lallybroch herself. 

The mention of Claire’s name is a shock. “You never said your name was Fraser,” she says. Brianna explains that her name is Randall, after the man who raised her. Laoghaire refers to Frank as “the husband your mother didn’t care for,” adding that she had overheard Brianna and Joanie talking in the garden. Brianna tries to explain, saying that Claire had loved Frank, but agrees with Laoghaire’s interjection that it had not been as much as the love for her real father. Laoghaire comments that Frank must have been a good man, to raise Brianna and Brianna agrees, adding the news that Frank had died some years previously. Laoghaire is sorry to hear this, she says, sure that Frank would not have left by choice, but by God’s hand.

In another brief flashback scene, Brianna is serving a hungover Frank tea and scones, apologising for pushing him to talk to her the night before and smiling in pleasure when he proclaims the scone to be perfect. Frank asks if Brianna has ever thought of studying abroad, mentioning excellent universities. Brianna dismisses the idea, adding that both Harvard and Frank are there in Boston.  

Laoghaire asks if Brianna believes what her mother has told her about why her true father couldn’t raise her. Brianna says that she has no reason to doubt her mother and wants to know why Laoghaire would ask. The Laoghaire of old reappears now, telling Brianna of supposed Lallybroch gossip. She preys on Brianna’s vulnerability, and lies about Jamie, saying that he had no room in his heart for a child and had sent Claire away when he found out she was pregnant. 

While Brianna refuses to believe this, it has affected her nonetheless. “Why wouldn’t he want me?” she asks. Laoghaire maintains that she wouldn’t have said anything, but wanted to save her the pain of hearing people’s gossip, even after all this time. She tells Brianna not to think any more about it, but adds another sting to the tail, commenting that she only hopes Jamie doesn’t reject her for a second time. When Brianna says that she has to find him, regardless of what she says, Laoghaire wants to know what is so pressing. Brianna replies that what she is about to say will sound strange. She tells Laoghaire that her parents need her help and that she can prevent their deaths if she goes to them now. There will be a fire, she says, adding that she can’t explain how she knows. 

This is too much for Laoghaire and her tone turns threatening. She tells Brianna that if she knows something that will prevent her from receiving her alimony, she had better speak of it. With increasing hysteria, Laoghaire asks how Brianna dares to be in her home, wanting to know if Claire and Jamie have sent her, or whether she has bewitched Laoghaire herself. “You’re a witch just like your ma,” Laoghaire says. Joanie enters the room in time to hear her mother call Claire the thieving whore who stole her husband and left her destitute. Laoghaire is in full swing now, saying that Claire had gone home to another man, only returning when he died to claim Jamie from her, by bewitching him with a love spell. Brianna defends Claire, saying that her mother had never meant to hurt anyone. “I’m sorry,” she says, looking between Laoghaire and Joanie, “I can see I’m no longer welcome.” 

As she frantically starts to pack her things, again a parallel to Claire's frantic packing after her own post return confrontation with Laoghaire, Laoghaire comes back to deliver a final blow. Claire should have burned at the stake at Cranesmuir she hisses, and the penny drops. “You’re the one who tried to have my mother killed,” Brianna says. Laoghaire replies that Claire would have been dead if she hadn’t been a witch. But Brianna is having none of her hysteria. She tells Laoghaire that it must be easier to believe that than the truth, which is that Jamie Fraser had never loved her. This does not go down well with Laoghaire who calls her a “spawn of a witch” and threatens to have her arrested for witchcraft, promptly locking her inside the room. Brianna starts to panic as she realises she is trapped. 

In the final flashback scene, Brianna and a group of friends are walking down the street at night, when Brianna sees Frank in the car waiting for her. Hopping in, she is hit with a bombshell - Frank has been offered a position in England and he wants her to go with him. Brianna asks if Claire minds and Frank responds with news of their impending divorce. Brianna is disbelieving and then angry. “You love each other,” she says, “You don’t just throw that away. We’re a family.” 

But Frank corrects her. She is his family, he says, adding that the news of a divorce can’t be a complete surprise. Frank tells her that she is at the centre of their lives, but that Claire and he have decided that a divorce is the best way forward for them both. Brianna is stunned at the speed of the decision and Frank tells her that it wasn’t for want of trying. He is sorry and tries once more to convince her. “Hey,” he says softly, pleading, “Come with me. Won’t you?” Brianna is stricken. They had a plan, she reminds him, to study history together and share his office. Frank replies that Claire and he had once had a plan too, but that life sometimes takes unexpected turns and that when it does, they soldier on. He strokes Brianna’s face, but she pulls away. “I have to go,” she says and gets out of the car, Frank’s unanswered “I love you”, hanging in the air. 

The scene merges into one of Brianna standing by Frank’s grave, where she expresses regret for not staying in the car with him that night, or agreeing to go to England. Perhaps, she says, if she had, they would have gone out to celebrate instead and he wouldn’t have had the accident. She is blaming herself for his death and we realise the weight that she has carried throughout all the confusion and revelations of the past years. Despite her grief, she promises to soldier on, like Frank had said. This is a parallel scene to Claire’s graveside chat to Jamie on her return to Scotland, right down to the soldier motif - Claire said, “Rest easy, soldier”, Bree promises to “Soldier on.” 
“You’re my hero, Daddy,” Bree says through her tears. 

On the Gloriana, Roger is listening to a child’s rhyme and converses with both the child and her mother as he goes about his work. Next he meets a mother and her baby, who is starting to fuss. On laying his hand on the baby’s head, the child smiles and the mother comments that this is the first smile she has seen in ages and that the child must like him. The baby begins crying again and this time draws the attention of Captain Bonnet, who is walking the deck. He picks up the child, branding it a fussy thing and though his tone seems benign enough, both mother and Roger are wary. He puts some alcohol on his finger and the baby sucks it, quietening down. Bonnet returns the baby to his mother, who thanks him. 

A sudden rocking of the ship unnerves them. Bonnet says it is only whales who rub themselves against the ship to rid themselves of barnacles. When asked if they are in danger, Bonnet replies that it depends on whether the whales have a mind for mischief, adding that a wise man leaves such things to the Gods, before praying that Danu (an ancient Celtic goddess from Ireland) will be with him. 

Later, Roger is sleeping in his hammock when he hears a woman’s screams. He goes towards the noise, in time to see Bonnet confronting a different mother and her young girl. The girl has smallpox, Bonnet says and that given how quickly it spreads, no one will make landfall unless they take out the sick. He orders Roger to throw the child overboard. Roger refuses - the child will drown. But Bonnet reminds him of the promise he made to do whatever Bonnet needed, ordering him again to do as he commands. Still, Roger doesn’t move. So with a face devoid of feeling, Bonnet wrenches the child from her mother’s grasp and with a shove that parallels Jaime Lannister’s push of Brandon Stark from the tower in Game of Thrones, condemns the child to her death, while a horrified Roger is restrained by the other sailors. The girl’s mother jumps into the water after her daughter. Roger breaks free and goes to look after them, but there is no sign of life in the churning waters below. He confronts Bonnet: “How could you?” he says. “She was a child, for God’s sake!” Bonnet agrees, adding that she was of no value. He reminds Roger that he is the captain and tells the rest of the crew to keep examining the passengers. Anyone showing signs of a rash is to be brought to him and there is no mistake about what will happen to anyone who is deemed to be ill. Roger stalks away, refusing to be any part of it, looking for the mother and her young son from earlier. When he finds them, the baby is crying once again. He does have a rash, but it is from teething, not smallpox. Roger promises to hide them, and to bring them food and drink. They introduce each other: both are MacKenzies - Morag and Jemmy being the names of the mother and child, with book readers already knowing the significance of these two characters. Morag asks what Roger will swear on, and he swears on his woman’s life. She nods and he tells her to follow him. 

Meanwhile, Brianna is attempting to escape from her prison, when she hears the door being unlocked. She grabs a pitcher, ready to drop it onto Laoghaire's head, but the door is instead opened by Joanie, who has come to rescue her. Joanie drives the buggy to Lallybroch and Brianna thanks her. “You’re a kind soul,” Joanie replies, adding that it’s not Brianna’s fault her mother is a witch. Her calm demeanour is somewhat amusing, as she seems used to her mother's outbursts! Joan has a request too: when Brianna finds their Da, perhaps she could ask him to come home. Just then Ian Murray appears, greeting Joanie and asking what the traveller is doing with her. Joanie introduces Brianna as Jamie Fraser’s daughter and Brianna smiles tentatively.

Here is the part of the story that book fans longed for: where Jenny, as well as Ian, come to know Brianna and to tell her stories of the Fraser family history, complete with viewings of the cave in which Jamie hid after Culloden and the portrait of Ellen Mackenzie, whom Brianna is said to resemble. But none of this happens on screen, largely due, it is assumed, to the unavailability of actress Laura Donnelly, who portrays Jenny. Many fans have argued that the scenes could have been played out with Ian, (who quickly explains Jenny’s absence by saying she is away helping to birth a grandchild) but it was not to be. The scene, while poignant, is very short and it remains to be seen how many fans will ultimately forgive the writers and producers for this version...

Ian tells Brianna that he believes she is who she says, adding that she has Claire’s eyes. He says he had given up on ever seeing a child of Jamie’s, yet here she is in front of him.  He knows that Jenny will have his hide for not keeping Brianna at Lallybroch so that the two women could meet, but also knows that Jenny would want Brianna on a ship as soon as possible to be reunited with her parents. Ian moves to the cupboard, takes a pouch of money (perhaps the same pouch that Laoghaire refused) and gives it to Brianna, telling her that it will be enough to get her passage to North Carolina, as well as room and board once she arrives. 

“I can’t take your money,” Brianna says. 
“Aye, you can,” Ian replies, pressing it into her hand. “You’re family.”
 Ian tells Brianna to ask for Jocasta Cameron when she arrives in Wilmington, as she will know how to find Jamie and Claire. A chest is brought into the room, filled with Claire’s clothes. 
“I know she would want you to have them,” Ian tells her.

Back on the Gloriana, Roger has food for Morag. He hands it over, commenting that the child is now looking well. But there are ominous footsteps behind him - it is Bonnet. “Imagine my surprise,” Bonnet says, menacingly, “when a galley hand went looking for salt pork and found a lassie and a babe instead.” Everything on this ship is in his power, he states, including the distribution of rations. It isn’t fair, he continues, for Morag to be hiding downstairs, while others suffer above. 

Bonnet takes a coin out of his pocket, and in the same menacing tone, begins to tell a story. When he was a lad of 17, he had been hired as the youngest member of the crew to help build a house. He was unpopular with the rest of the men, perhaps because of the way the women smiled at him. So when they needed a sacrifice for the foundations of the house, to guard against the walls collapsing, he was one of two people suggested. It came down to the toss of a coin - heads or tails. By Geordie’s head, Bonnet would live, by tails, he would die. The shilling was tossed, and Bonnet was thrown to the ground and hit. When he came to, the shilling was in his pocket and he muses that the men were at least honest, as he was alive. With a sinister smile, he moves suddenly in front of Roger, asking if Roger is a gambling man. Roger pleads: surely Bonnet doesn’t mean to toss the coin for Morag and Jemmy’s lives? Whispering, Bonnet agrees. It is not Morag and Jemmy who will pay if the coin falls the wrong way, but Roger himself, as he had supplied the rations to them.  “Heads you live, tails you die,” Bonnet says and tosses the coin, while Roger closes his eyes. The coin lands and Bonnet inspects it. “It seems Danu was with you tonight, Sir,” he says simply and walks away. It has been a narrow escape. Ed Speleers does a wonderful job in this episode in showing just how malevolent and dangerous a man Stephen Bonnet is.

Ian and Brianna have arrived at the harbour and Ian has a request for Brianna. His son is with Jamie and Claire, he tells her, and he knows that Ian’s mother would be pleased if he wrote more often. Brianna, wearing Claire’s fur-trimmed coat, promises to pass on the message. Ian offers to accompany Brianna inside to buy passage, but she says that he has already done enough. Instructing the lads to take the trunk aboard, Brianna and Ian say their farewells. Ian tells her that she has Jamie’s fire, not only his red hair, but that she is a Fraser through and through. “Your father is going to be so happy to meet you,” he says, thereby banishing Laoghaire’s cruel words from Brianna’s thoughts. 
“Thank you, Uncle Ian,” she says.

Inside, Brianna is approached by a man who introduces himself as Joseph Wemyss and asks if she is travelling alone. Fearing his motives, Brianna tells the man that her uncle is outside. But Joseph has a different request. He wonders if Brianna would consider taking his daughter as her servant. Brianna says she has no need of a servant, even one who is a good cook and a fair hand with a needle. But Wemyss is desperate. There is a man, he tells Brianna, who desires his daughter as a concubine. Brianna is incredulous. “Then don’t let him have her,” she says firmly. Wemyss explains that he has no choice. Their contracts have been bought by a broker who intends to sell his daughter unless he can find someone else willing to take her. As the girl watches from the shadows, Brianna tells Wemyss that she is going to North Carolina. The implication is clear: he would never see his daughter again. But Wemyss replies that he would prefer that she was gone from him to some wild place than to be dishonoured and begs Brianna to meet her.  He introduces Elizabeth, known as Lizzie, who immediately curtseys to Brianna saying, “Your servant, Mistress.” 

Although she has only said three words on screen to this point, the actress playing Lizzie has already been condemned by many fans. Book Lizzie was younger, smaller and frailer looking. With parallels to previous debates over Claire’s eyes and Jamie’s hair, it appears that here is another bridge that will need to be crossed... 

Brianna approaches the ticket master, and buys passage on the Philip Alonzo for two people. The two women move towards the ship, when Joseph calls after his daughter. “Lizzie,” he says, “be sure to say your prayers.” He crosses himself tearfully and she smiles tentatively in farewell.

Brianna meanwhile, is making her own farewell. For there, on the dock, she sees a vision of Frank: standing in 20th century clothing, nodding and smiling at her. Permission has been given: Brianna can soldier on and find her father in this century, secure in the knowledge that the man who raised her will love her forever. It is a lovely moment, beautifully acted by Tobias Menzies and Sophie Skelton. The vision clears and Brianna turns towards the ship, with Lizzie following behind. Frank’s theme plays for one final time as they head towards North Carolina - and a new future. 

This was a controversial episode due to the changes and omissions from the original source material and it remains to be seen whether it will be a rabbit hole too deep for some fans. At the same time, it can’t be denied that Tobias Menzies and Nell Rose Hudson played their parts to perfection, despite their scenes’ non-existence in Diana Gabaldon’s novel. Now at the halfway point of the season a choice must be made: who, like Brianna, is going to soldier on, despite the parallel paths ahead? 

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. While she would have loved to have seen Jenny and all the Lallybroch moments, she still enjoyed the episode and is choosing to be optimistic about what is to come!