Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019

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

Outlander Homepage originals 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 18, 2019

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

Outlander Homepage originals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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