Tuesday, March 10, 2020

"Make Your Choice": A recap of season 5 episode 4 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage Originals by Susie Brown 

What choices would you make for love? Would you ever abandon those you hold in your heart? Would you protect those closest to you with a ferocity of will that is stronger than your own fear? And what choices would you make for approval? Would you stay true to your own ideals, or would you try to live up to the ideals of others? 

Every character in episode 4 makes a choice somewhere along the way. Some choices are good, others foolish, but no choice is taken lightly. It is a carefully crafted and beautifully written episode: with drama, humour, anger, fear and tenderness all taking a turn centre stage.

At the end of the opening credits, the title slide shows us a man performing a coin trick. We don’t see his face, just the cut of his sleeve, as the coin is expertly flipped between fingers, disappearing and reappearing, before being flipped onto the back of his other hand. A choice to be made? Heads or tails? It doesn’t take long to remember which character it was who made decisions based on the flip of a coin - and this one has come up heads. It is certainly an ominous way to begin an episode and a clever way of hinting at possible trouble to come.

Meanwhile, back with the militia…

Captain Roger Mackenzie and his deputy, Fergus Claudel Fraser, are leading the militia into Brownsville. The town seems deserted and in, a parallel to Jamie’s approach to the Beardsley house in the previous episode, Roger dismounts and calls out the standard “Hello, the house!” greeting. But rather than the face of Fanny Beardsley appearing suddenly to shock him, it is an aimed rifle that immediately raises the tension. Fergus notices this first and cautions Roger not to move. Roger introduces himself and explains his purpose. But the man holding the rifle is not interested in Roger’s greeting, calling out to Isaiah Morton within the company, telling him that he has been seen up the road and that he will pay for what he has done. 

With that, the rifle is fired and chaos quickly ensues. Roger and Fergus dive for cover, as do the rest of the militia. Roger yells out to the man, wanting to know what he wants with Morton, but the man refuses to answer.  Roger, Myers and Fergus try to work out what might be wrong, but they don’t have long to wait. The door opens and a girl runs out, calling to Isaiah. She is crying, begging his forgiveness for telling others of their relationship, and explaining that she couldn’t marry another man called Elijah Ford. 

With the best of soap opera overtones, the young woman, Alicia, begs Morton to do right by her, whilst simultaneously begging that Morton not be harmed. She is soon joined by her mother, who first slaps, then shakes her, asking her to have a shred of dignity and dragging her back towards the house.

Behind their shelter, Roger and Fergus try to figure out what to do in order to stop the gunfire. Roger is by no means confident in his decision, but once made, he isn’t going to swerve from it. Telling Fergus that they will need a barrel of the whisky, he says that they will have to do as has been requested and turn Morton over to the man with the rifle. Fergus isn’t sure if this is the right course of action either, but obeys his captain without question. 

Roger calls out to the men to stand down and he slowly comes out of hiding, his rifle raised above his head in a gesture of truce. It works. The shooting stops and Captain Mackenzie looks around him. So far so good.

At the Ridge, there is another arrival. Brianna is back from town and Lizzie is thrilled to see her. Brianna has brought many supplies: books, paper, linen, and a present for Lizzie of some orange blossom perfume. Mr and Mrs Bug pick up Jem and go to carry him inside, discussing what food to make, while Brianna bends over Jem’s basket. Puzzled, she picks up a coin and asks Mrs Bug where it has come from. Mrs Bug answers that while Brianna had been collecting the post, a man had ruffled Jem’s hair and given him a coin. The man had declared Jem to be a handsome lad, Mrs Bug tells Brianna, and asked which parent he resembled most. 
Brianna asks if the man had said anything else and we see the effect that Mrs Bug’s answer has on her. Mrs Bug comments that the man was Irish, and fond of talking. 

Brianna wants more information: what did the man look like, did he have a scar? Mrs Bug describes him as a gentleman but can’t remember a scar. Anxiously, she tries to reassure Brianna: she would never have let Jem be put in harm’s way. Brianna brushes the older woman’s concerns aside, saying that it was merely that she knew of an Irishman’s traditional gift of the gab and didn’t want Jem’s head filled with superstitious nonsense about luck. This answer satisfies Mrs Bug, who promises to call Brianna when the stew is ready. 

Lizzie comes and picks up the basket and Brianna tells her that while everyone is away, they will all move into the big house. Lizzie comments that it will be nice to have company and the music builds with discordant angst, as we watch Brianna look around her. She is worried, but trying to hide it from everyone. 

In Brownsville, a tearful Alicia is calling to Isaiah, who is restrained nearby. Roger persists with the whisky plan, doling out large tumblers, trying to lighten the mood. The man who had shot at Morton asks Roger how much a cask will cost, wondering aloud whether the company are in fact whisky merchants. Roger restates the fact that they are militia men, tasked by Governor Tryon to march against the Regulators. The man drinks again and brands the whisky tolerable, at which point Roger proposes a toast: to the men of Brownsville and to the men of Fraser’s company. Roger continues with his mission, somewhat nervously telling the group that he is reminding them of their obligation to provide men, quickly replacing the word ‘obligation’ with “opportunity” when the older man objects. Roger presses on: the men will receive 40 shillings plus 2 shillings for each day of service. But the man, who identifies himself as Alicia’s father, says that his only obligation is to his daughter, commenting that his men will break Isaiah’s neck if he gives the word. 

Roger wants to know what Isaiah could possibly have done that couldn’t be resolved with a drink, so Mr Brown tells him: Morton has cost him a fortune. Brown explains that he had made a match for his daughter to one Elijah Ford, a match that came complete with land and tobacco. But when Alicia was informed of the news, she wept and refused to be wed, because Morton had “gotten to her first.” Ford will not marry a harlot, her father says. So Roger asks if Morton, despite not being the Browns’ first choice, could still be considered as a suitor. Brown rejects this, saying that Morton has dishonoured his daughter. He intends to do as he said he would and have Morton dead at his daughter’s feet. Brown informs Roger that he and the men are welcome to stay the night, but that Morton will not be leaving with them the next day. 

Jamie and Claire are by the stream and Jamie watches Claire with the baby. It is the first time that Jamie has seem Claire in the role of “mother with child” and comments that he could watch her all day. Claire smiles at him, adding that she hopes that they aren’t too far from Brownsville, as the baby won’t do well on goat’s milk alone for much longer. Jamie replies that they will reach the township before dusk and that they will find someone to nurse the baby, who he has dubbed “Wee Bonnie.” Claire asks what will happen then. Will they take the baby all the way to Hillsborough, adding that unless the Regulators are afraid of a few dirty diapers, the appearance of a baby is unlikely to put the fear of God into them. Jamie jokes that diapers would be enough to make any man scurry for cover. They prepare to continue on their journey, but Jamie is unable to stop watching Claire and Bonnie together. 

Things are not going so well in Brownsville. Fergus informs Roger that a number of the men were not impressed with Roger’s decision to turn Morton over to the Browns and have left the militia in protest. Roger replies that he had to do something and Fergus agrees. He had tried to stop the men, he says, but to no avail. 

When Jamie and Claire arrive, they come across Roger leading a sing-a-long. The whisky has been flowing and Jamie comments that Roger seems to have won the town over. Josiah and Kezzie notice their arrival before the others do and Josiah goes over to greet them. Jamie tells Josiah that he has secured their indenture papers and that they won’t see Beardsley again. Josiah asks about Mistress Beardsley and Claire tells him that she has gone and has left the baby with them. Josiah comments that he didn’t know that she was with child, but that there had been a former slave who had come looking for work once or twice. 
“Then we’re all free?” he says, disbelieving. On learning that this is true, Josiah asks if that means they can now ride on to Hillsborough with the group. But Jamie informs Josiah that he is too young: he can’t be more than 14 and too young to fight. He won’t see Josiah’s hard won freedom end on the battlefield and orders Josiah to return to the ridge, to hunt and provide for the people there. 

The agreement made, Jamie and Claire go in search of Fergus and find him dispensing the whisky. Fergus explains that there has been a “small difficulty”, prompting Claire to say that she has a small difficulty of her own, indicating baby Bonnie. Joking that Jamie works fast, Fergus congratulates her, but Claire is not really in a mood for jokes, asking if there are any nursing mothers around. Fergus has not seen any mothers, but suggests that the lady of the house will be able to help. 

Mrs Brown does just that, introducing Claire to her daughter-in-law, Lucinda, who has recently given birth. Relieved, Claire hands Bonnie over to her, explaining that she had fed the little girl goat’s milk on the way but that she needed to be fed properly. Lucinda immediately sets about doing this, while Alicia watches in the background. Lucinda comments on what a strong and healthy baby she is, asking if she has a name. Claire explains that the little girl had lost both parents before they had christened her. 
“Is she a slave’s babe?” Lucinda asks.
When Claire answers, “Not quite,” Alicia joins in the conversation, asking how Claire had come by her. 

Jamie has caught up with Roger, demanding to know what the “small difficulty” was. Roger explains that there was a misunderstanding upon their arrival. It is a misunderstanding, Jamie notes, that has been fixed with whisky. Roger explains what had led him to do what he did, giving Jamie an academic lesson in the process. He tells Jamie, the meaning of the phrases “dutch courage” and “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But Jamie is not really listening. He asks where two of the men, Morrison and Scott are. Roger is forced to admit that the two men have left, along with 3 others. 
“Left?” Jamie asks. “Why?”

The next scene opens with the reason: Morton has been imprisoned and Roger had allowed it. Roger defends his decision: the men had wanted to shoot Morton and he had gotten them to agree to some temporary confinement instead. Jamie asks what Roger had intended to do when the whisky ran out. Roger answers honestly, saying that he had hoped that Jamie would have arrived before that had happened, as indeed he has. Jamie leaves Morton and goes outside, with Roger following, arguing that he had avoided confrontation and kept the peace.

But Jamie is not impressed. Addressing his son-in-law as “Professor McKenzie” Jamie asks Roger if he can explain the meaning of the word Captain. “Your men left,” Jamie says, “because you betrayed their trust.” The men have sworn to risk their lives, Jamie says, and that as Captain, Roger had needed to honour their loyalty above all else. 
But Roger is not accepting this. He asks what good that loyalty is if the men are hurt or worse. “I was responsible for that  too,” he says. 

Jamie goes back inside, asking Morton what disarray he has brought on the company. He gives Morton an ultimatum: if he has dishonoured Lionel Brown’s daughter, then he must marry her. Morton says that he can’t do that, as he is already married. As Jamie cuts the ropes that have Morton tied, the young man explains that his marriage had been an arranged one between his wife’s parents and his. On travelling through Brownsville, Alicia Brown had taken a liking to him and he to her, as if his heart had no say in the matter. 

But Jamie reminds Morton that he has broken an oath he made to his wife. How can he trust that Morton will not break the oath he has made to him as well? Morton replies that he gave the oath of his own free will, the same free will, Jamie reminds him, that caused him to be unfaithful to his wife. Roger argues for clemency, quoting another phrase: “Love makes fools of us all.” Jamie doesn’t acknowledge Roger at all, telling Morton that he must leave and not show his face in Brownsville again.  When Morton comments that he will never see Alicia again, Jamie tells him that it will be better in the long run for the both of them. 

Claire is coming to the end of baby Bonnie’s story, but has changed a few details, inventing the discovery of Mr Beardsley’s grave outside the house. The women know the Beardsleys from when they had passed through the town and brand them as having been strange. Gossip turns to Aaron Beardsley and about what may have happened to him, Lucinda’s mother suggesting that Fanny had killed her husband herself. Noting the colour of the baby’s skin, they assume that Beardsley was not the little girl’s father, a fact Claire confirms. 

With a sideways look at Alicia, Meg comments that Fanny Beardsley wasn’t the first person to get herself into an unsuitable situation and she won’t be the last. Claire watches the exchange with interest, before knocking over her cup of cider over the paper that is sitting on the table. 

This begins a conversation about the paper itself and the physicians who write to broadsheets with their wisdom. As Alicia begins to read one of the pieces of wisdom about how to prevent getting with child, we see a look cross Claire’s face. She recognises these words. Alicia is stopped from reading aloud any further, and Claire asks to see the broadsheet. The conversation continues around her. Mrs Brown asks Alicia to show compassion, while Lucinda offers to take the baby for the evening. It doesn’t make sense, she says to Claire, for Claire to be woken up when she can feed the baby easily. Claire wonders if Lucinda’s husband will mind her having to feed two hungry children and Lucinda replies that her husband is a fair man. Alicia takes exception at this: it was Lucinda's husband who had fired at her Isaiah. But Meg insists that firing on Isaiah had been a fair action, commenting that Alicia’s mother would have been worried if she had seen how far her daughter had fallen. 

Changing the subject, Claire asks if she can take the broadsheet, quickly dispelling suspicion by saying that she needs it to start a fire. 
“That’s all it’s good for,” Meg replies.

Roger is singing again, a rousing song about enlistment, while Jamie and Claire talk about the loss of the men. Jamie is highly critical of Roger’s actions, Claire less so. Everyone can make a mistake, she says, pulling out the broadsheet and showing him her “Dr Rawlings” column, admitting to Jamie that it is her pseudonym, but that she had never intended for the advice she had written for the people of the Ridge to be printed. She asks who would have taken the paper and printed it. 

Fergus is discussing the virtues of champagne with an increasingly drunk Lionel Brown when Jamie and Claire come to talk to him. Jamie asks if the paper Fergus had written the advertisement down on had had writing on the other side and Fergus confirms that it did. Mystery solved. Jamie deduces that the printer must have decided to use Claire’s advice as well. Claire asks whether Jamie thinks this will cause trouble and he tells her that he doubts it. 

Meanwhile, Morton’s escape has been noticed. The men are swiftly organising a search, which Jamie stops, reminding them that Morton is still a militia man underneath Jamie’s protection. As Richard Brown rides in and is apprised of the situation, plans to find Morton intensify, particularly after the news that Elijah Ford can not be persuaded to marry Alicia. 

Jamie has to assert his rank as Colonel to insist that Morton not be harmed and that any arrack would be seen as an attack upon the militia formed by Governor Tryon. He would have no choice, Jamie says, but to consider them traitors to the crown, no better than the regulators themselves. This is a comment that sees the drawing of many weapons, until Richard Brown serves as the voice of reason, saying he will talk with Jamie and come to an understanding. 

Inside, Brown says that Jamie keeps strange company, adding that Morton is not the Isaiah of the God fearing kind, and Jamie responds that there is little that he can do about a man’s character. Brown observes that there is enough sin and lawlessness without counting the Regulators' troubles as well. He doesn’t want any trouble with the governor, he says and confirms that the men will ride to Hillsborough as members of the militia, but that these men will answer to him and not to Jamie. “As long as we are in agreement that you will answer to me, “Jamie replies. The bargain is struck and a formal invitation for Jamie and Claire to stay the night is made.  

At the Ridge, Jemmy and Germain are sitting on the cabin floor playing. Brianna goes outside to get more wood, a little jumpy at the night noises. When she returns inside, Jem is no longer on the floor and Brianna begins to panic. Repeatedly calling Jem’s name, she asks Germain whether he had seen a man. But Germain only replies by saying “ball”.  (This seemed strange, given that the Germain of the opening episode was conversing in fluent English and would have been more than capable of answering Brianna’s query. This Germain was speaking in single words. It is however, behaviour that is closer to the age that Germain would be in the books, where he is only around 18 months older than Jem. Up until this point, Germain has been played as much older. It is an inconsistency that will be interesting to watch going forward.) 

Brianna is rapidly losing control, saying “he took him”, and admonishing herself for going outside when she shouldn’t have. This confuses both Marsali and Lizzie, who reassure Brianna that Jem can’t have gone far. Marsali goes over to Germain, and asks where Jemmy is, again getting the one word answer. And indeed, Jem is soon found, having gone in search of, in Marsali’s words, “his precious trinket.” The crisis averted, Marsali sends everyone off to bed, but suggests Brianna join her in the kitchen, telling her that she has an honest cure for waking nightmares. 

The Brown family is registering with the militia en masse, while the women show Claire to the guest bedroom. It is a beautiful room and Meg is anxious for Claire to think well of the family. Perhaps, she says, God had decided to bring the baby to them for a reason. She offers to take baby Bonnie, promising Claire that they will care for the little girl as if she were their own. Mrs Brown explains that Lucinda’s baby had been born too small and had passed away. She accepts Claire’s condolences and leaves Alicia behind to help with the bedding. 

Left alone, Alicia asks for news of Isaiah, wondering if it is true that he has gone. Claire comments that it probably better for all concerned if he stays gone, considering Alicia’s father’s feelings. Alicia says that while Isaiah had never spoken of marriage, she wouldn’t have lain with him had she not thought that he would do so. She will follow Isaiah, she says, and do whatever she must. 

Claire tells the younger woman that Morton is not worth her tears, revealing the news that Morton is already married. This is devastating news for Alicia and she begins to cry. “What will I do?” she asks, placing a hand on her stomach. Claire asks if she is pregnant and Alicia replies that she thinks so. Drawing her into a maternal hug, Claire assures Alicia that her family will take care of her. But Alicia is not so sure. She has disappointed them, she says and wishes herself dead. 

Brianna and Marsali are drinking whisky, when Marsali asks what devil Brianna had conjured, adding that unless Brianna shares her thoughts with her then she can’t help. Brianna is reluctant to talk though, saying that she hopes it is nothing. Brianna blames herself, but Marsali reminds her that nothing had happened. 

In a show of solidarity, Marsali shares a secret of her own: she believes she killed her father. A violent man, he had beat them regularly, even breaking Marsali’s lip once to the point where she couldn’t speak for a month. Marsali tells Brianna that she would pray every night that her father would stop and had wished him dead. When he was arrested as a Jacobite and sent to prison, Marsali let her mind be consumed with thoughts of what could happen to him, so that when he died in the prison, she believed herself to be responsible. 

Brianna tells Marsali that it was not her fault, allowing Marsali to make her point: thinking something does not make it true. Brianna had thought Jem in danger, but he wasn’t. (Of course, Marsali does not know what the viewers know about Stephen Bonnet…) Attempting to lighten the mood, Marsali adds that if that were the case, she would be the Queen of a castle filled with jewels and fine wines. The two women clink glasses and Brianna thanks Marsali. The stressful situation has brought the two closer together.

This was a lovely scene, beautifully acted by Sophie Skelton and Lauren Lyle. We witness a strengthening of a friendship and can’t help but feel that if Bonnet were to appear on their doorstep, Marsali would be a formidable adversary. 

Back in Brownsville, Claire comes across Josiah and Kezzie, who are going to pitch tents for the night with the other men. But Claire notices that Kezzie doesn’t look well. She examines his throat and finds that he is in the same situation as Josiah, with badly abscessed tonsils. Knowing that nothing can be done immediately, she dispenses advice and laments the fact that they seem to be identical twins right down to their infections! 

Seeking Jamie out, she shares the news. While Josiah is strong enough to wait for surgery, Claire doesn’t believe that Kezzie is, due to the strength of his fever.  Jamie asks if Claire can do the surgery there, but it is one that requires penicillin, which she doesn’t yet have, despite being close to getting the right strain before they had left. This means that Claire must return with the boys to the Ridge. Josiah is needed as a hunter and Kezzie, as Jamie says, is no use to anyone dead. 

Claire is hesitant. If Jamie and the others encounter the regulators, she says, won’t Jamie need her? But their knowledge of the future makes them confident enough to take a risk: neither Claire nor Brianna have any knowledge of any battles with the regulators. Even so, Claire is reluctant to leave Jamie so soon. He reminds her of their “day in hell” at the Beardsley place, saying that they gone to great lengths to secure their freedom and they shouldn’t suffer now. “Heal them both,” he says “and return to me.”

Jamie then turns to Roger and instructs him to escort Claire home the following dawn. Roger asks why and Claire explains that she needs to take Josiah and Kezzie back to the Ridge. When Roger asks about the militia, Jamie answers that he had made Roger a captain without preparing him adequately, or teaching him what the word meant.  Roger starts to give the Latin  and French definitions of the word, but Jamie has no time for Professor McKenzie, cutting him off with a curt “Lead my wife home.” 

Left alone, Claire tries to reassure Roger, promising that they will all be back together again quickly, but that is not what concerns Roger. Rather, it is that Jamie has no faith in him. Again, Claire reassures him, reminding him that Jamie has just entrusted Roger with what he loves most: her. They are heartfelt words and it is clear that Roger appreciates them, but the fact that Jamie has dismissed him still hurts. 

Brianna has obviously been thinking about what Marsali has said. Going through her sketchbooks, she removes all of the drawings of Bonnet and throws them onto the fire. As the face of Bonnet begins to burn, she draws a breath. 

There is dancing amongst the people of Brownsville and Claire has been enjoying the frivolity. Out of breath, she moves towards Lucinda and her husband, urging them to go and dance. The young couple have been nursing baby Bonnie and they offer again to keep her. Lucinda says that it isn’t the baby’s fault how she came into the world and they have plenty of room. Claire tells them that she will speak to Jamie about it and with a hesitant smile, they go to dance. 

Traditional dancing begins and Jamie is coerced into performing the sword dance, to the entertainment of all, especially Claire. Jamie removes his coat and bows formally, before beginning a credible routine. Sam Heughan does a good job here - although one wonders if the close-up shot of the feet were his or someone else’s! His routine over, Jamie bows once more to the crowd, who cheer appreciatively. 

A while later, a slightly tipsy Claire and Jamie walk alone in the darkness. Jamie tells her that he is taking her away from prying eyes, which leads them into some drunken flirting that culminates in Claire asking whether Jamie can recite the alphabet backwards and he boasting that he can do so in either English or Greek. 

But Jamie has a serious question for Claire. He asks if she wants to keep Bonnie. Jamie has watched Claire with the baby and has superimposed Brianna onto Bonnie’s face. This is what Claire would have looked like raising their daughter and he wonders whether this might be their last chance to raise a child together. 

But Claire tells him of Lucinda’s offer, asking how Jamie would feel about Bonnie remaining in Brownsville instead. Bonnie would be in good hands, Claire says, recognising that Lucinda needs a child as much as Bonnie needs a family. Jamie replies that the deed to the Beardsley property also lies with the little girl, so in purely practical terms, the Brown estate would benefit too. 

Then, gazing at Claire, Jamie tells her that he has no life but her, but that if she had wanted another child, perhaps he could give her one that she wouldn’t have to suffer in carrying. 

Claire is moved deeply by his words, telling him that if it is possible, she loves him even more for wanting to take the chance. She regrets that they weren’t parents together, but regret isn’t reason enough to keep the little girl. Claire loves both their life and home together and wonders whether they would be the best family for Bonnie. After all, she reminds Jamie, there is the small matter of their own obituary. 

Jamie picks up her hand and kisses it. Claire whispers that she is grateful for every day they have together. 
“As am I,” Jamie replies and they embrace. 
Then, lightening the mood somewhat, Claire muses that Marsali and Fergus will populate the Ridge on their own. Jamie chuckles that Marsali is pregnant every time Fergus looks at her. 

This was a beautiful scene and all kudos goes to Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe for its execution. The tender looks, the playful affection and the understanding on display is first class. In the specific sense, it is a perfect portrayal of a couple that has grown together in mutual love and affection. In a broader sense, we see the working relationship of the two actors. Here are two people with a genuine closeness between them, and a deep understanding of the characters they portray.

The conversation is interrupted by a distant gunshot and the two run back towards the sound. It is Alicia, who has a gun aimed at herself. She had intended the bullet for her heart, but has shot herself in the arm instead. She begs to be left alone to try again, but Jamie takes the gun from her hands and Claire rushes to her side. The girl is desperate and sobbing and they lead her back home.

By the time they reach Brownsville, a wounded Alicia is a little calmer, but is still desperately unhappy. She can’t live without Isaiah, she says, and is all alone. Claire kneels in front of her, insisting that she is not alone and that the baby is worth living for. Claire sends Jamie for whisky to settle Alicia’s nerves, which he goes outside to retrieve. 

Who should be waiting outside but Isaiah Morton, who couldn’t leave, he tells Jamie, without seeing Alicia first. Jamie tells Morton that Alicia knows that he has a wife and that she may stab him for being a bigamist. If she doesn’t, Jamie continues, he might be tempted to do it himself, admonishing Morton for getting Alicia with child when he can’t name the baby as his own.  The pregnancy is news to Morton and when Jamie tells him to leave, he draws a pistol. He doesn’t want to hurt Jamie, he says, but he must see Alicia. 

Both men know that Morton will not shoot Jamie. He quickly lowers his gun, but begins to tell his own story. He and his wife were never happy, had not shared a bed in two years and had no children together. It is perhaps a parallel to Jamie’s own marriage to Laoghaire. Alicia is Morton’s heart and soul, as Claire is his. Regardless, it is an argument that persuades Jamie, who leads Morton inside, just as Claire is telling Alicia that nothing in the world is worth taking her life for.  On seeing him, Alicia flies into Morton’s arms. The two declare their love for each other, while Claire and Jamie wait nearby, looking on. A knock at the door startles everyone, but it is only Roger, with the muster roll for Jamie.

Roger asks Morton why he has returned and Isaiah now has the perfect answer. He is a fool, he tells Roger, but claims that both Roger and Jamie are equally foolish. Would either Roger or Jamie ever leave Brianna or Claire without a fight, he asks? If either man will say that they would, then Morton promises to leave without another word. It is a clever piece of reasoning and one that neither Roger or Jamie can argue with. Claire smiles: she is impressed.

Turning back to Alicia, Isaiah says that he had to bide his time and wait for nightfall, but asks Alicia if she will have him. Like the Frasers and the Mackenzies before them, neither Isaiah or Alicia can live without the other. Claire, Roger and Jamie group together. 
“Well, they can’t stay here,” Claire points out and Jamie agrees. 

And so, as dawn breaks, a plan is enacted. Claire watches from the window as Jamie leads Isaiah and Alicia on horseback quietly down the main road. Some casks are knocked over as they go and Roger races to right them before the town wakes and discovers what is going on. Jamie urges Isaiah and Alicia to go and then unlatches the gate to the pen that holds all the Brownsville horses. The horses escape, and this time, everyone does wake. The sight of all their horses racing down the main street is the perfect distraction for Isaiah and Alicia to make their escape. The men give chase, while Jamie leads one of the Beardsley goats towards Lionel and Richard Brown. He suggests that the creature must have startled the horses and while the Brown men look dubious, they cannot dispute it as a possibility.

The final moments of the episode shows the horses running free in one direction, while Isaiah and Alicia ride free in the opposite one. Claire’s voiceover speaks of choices and how everyone makes them. Some choices are foolish, she says, others can save yourself or others. All that can be hoped is that the good will outweigh any harm that may come out of the decision that is made. 

Claire’s speech is a wise one and no doubt prophetic for the events ahead. Choices will need to be made in the looming conflict with the regulators at Hillsborough, while other choices will be made back at the Ridge, with Claire’s penicillin strain, Stephen Bonnet’s possible appearance and Roger and Brianna’s potential return to the future. Will these choices be for good or for harm? Only time will tell. 

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, an author and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She is so enjoying the “older Claire and Jamie” and loves the strength of the Fraser relationship! She would also love to hang out with Marsali!

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