Friday, December 21, 2018

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

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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! 


  1. I really liked this episode, despite its changes - and yes I’m a long time book reader, but also like seeing parts of it come to life. Really missed the introduction to the family & history at Lallybrock (which totally could have been done by Ian, he’s great)& seeing the cave ( which was mentioned extensively in earlier episodes so it was odd to exclude it) . BTW if you read the script online, the comments about ‘you have her eyes’ refers to ELLEN’s eyes - not Claire, whose eyes are clearly nothing like Bree’s. Oopsie. (They had clearly just seen the Portrait, & guess that got cut for time, so the line doesn’t make sense.) & yes I too noticed the wandering around by herself, which is wrong for 18th century women... look at the script, another cut scene would have made Bree seem less dumb, as she was robbed. Ah well... hoping they are on the cd. BUT I loved the flashbacks & the parallels- and yes overall it worked. And yes, I’ll watch. (But please I hope major plot lines stay sort of intact! ). Looking forward to Bree meeting Roger & her Da. Less so her meeting that slimebag Bonnet (God he is so bad he’s wonderful).

  2. I found that a very difficult episode to sit through, and for the first time actually started to consider just not watching anymore. I'm a devoted fan of the audio books, but have understood that some license was necessary for the writers in the shows. But there are things that are just so SIMPLE to make as the book, such as eye and hair color. Also I feel it was just wrong for the time period for Ian to have left Brianna alone on the docks. And of course Lizzie and her father were a huge disappointment. I'll keep watching to see where it goes, but I'm sure they're losing viewers and that's a shame.