Friday, July 14, 2023

“Alive with Feeling” - a recap of season 7 episode 4 by your Aussie Blogging Lass

Outlander Homepage Originals 

What do you do when things don’t go according to plan? How do you adapt to the situation in which you find yourself? Is everything predestined? Or will you need to lean into the experience, accepting help from friends and strangers alike? These are some of the questions posed in the fourth installment of the season. 

The episode opens in the 20th century. As a red car drives up towards Lallybroch, with “I only want to be with you” blasting from the speakers, Brianna is on the doorstep watering pots of colourful flowers. A caravan is out the front of the house. 

Roger walks towards Brianna, brandishing a cast iron pot that he has found at Oxfam. The sound of arguing breaks the domestic conversation and the caravan door soon flies open. An older Jem pokes his head out, complaining that Mandy has hit him with a stick and is refusing to say sorry. 

Brianna immediately orders her daughter to apologise. 

“Won’t!” comes the defiant reply. 

“Aye you will,” Roger says, sternly.

“Sorry!” Mandy calls and shuts the curtains once more, not sounding or looking a bit sorry!

With a sigh, Brianna walks towards another man who has emerged from the house and apologises for the altercation. The man is understanding - he has small children himself and sympathises. We learn that the Mackenzie family have been living in the caravan in front of Lallybroch for two years now and from the conversation, it doesn’t seem as if they will be moving inside any time soon. When they ask about the upstairs bedrooms, the man replies that this is what he wants to talk to them about. 

Inside, we can see the progress that has been made since Roger and Brianna first peered through the boarded up windows in the previous episode. The builder compliments them on their willingness to preserve many of the murals, but wants them to plaster over the slash on the upstairs wall. 

“It’s been there since just after the ’45,” Brianna says. “We’re keeping it.” 

The builder informs them that work on the bedrooms can begin the following week, but adds that although previous roof restorations have been okay, there is still a lot of work to do. He has drawn up a new estimate, which he hands to the dismayed couple. After reading it, Roger comments that they only want something simple, not Buckingham Palace. Brianna adds that the quote, rather than merely being higher than what they had been expecting, is astronomical. Awkwardly, the man tells them to “have a think” and leaves.

The two discuss the possibilities. They simply can’t afford the cost, having burned through virtually all their savings to get to this point. Bree attempts to see the positives. They are half in, she tells Roger, with a kitchen and flushing toilets.

“We’re living the 20th century dream,” she says, but as she hugs Roger and we see her face over his shoulder, we know that she is worried. 

Back in the 18th century, Jamie, Claire and Ian are making camp. Jamie is hungry and announces, to Claire’s astonishment, that he wants an apple, because he doesn’t want to catch the scurvy she has told him about. 

“No, you don’t,” she agrees, tossing him a piece of fruit. 

Jamie begins to eat, feigning enthusiasm when Claire asks him how it tastes. But Claire is not convinced. She knows that highlanders have an innate suspicion of fresh fruit, she says and hands him some cheese to accompany the apple. It is still important to eat the fruit, she instructs him, particularly if they are going to be on a ship for the next three months. Besides, she asks him, how many other women her age still have all their teeth?

“You are very well preserved for such an old crone,” Jamie teases, kissing her.

Ian has been gathering firewood, but he is on edge, flinching at every noise. Convinced that the latest noise is actually Arch Bug stalking him, Ian calls out, challenging the older man to confront him. 

“I ken you made a promise and I ken you intend to keep it, so let’s settle it here and now,” Ian says. “I’m not afraid of you, do you hear?”

Of course, the opposite is true. Jamie approaches his nephew, telling Ian to calm himself. It is all in Ian’s head, Jamie says, adding that this is precisely what Arch wants, for his threat to play on Ian’s mind and eat him up inside. 

But it is not for himself that Ian is worried. Arch had promised to kill someone he loved, and Ian is concerned that Jamie and Claire are the ones in real danger. But Jamie tells that Arch Bug will not be killing anyone. The three of them are sticking together he says, telling Ian to get the fire going. 

The next scene begins in the town, with two redcoats standing outside an inn. One of them has already been indulging and is the worse for wear, using a pasted copy of a declaration for independence to wipe his mouth after he has been ill. He comments that it is all the paper is good for, which earns a chuckle from his companion. 

“Uncle Hal would be proud of you,” the man says and we realise that it is William speaking. His friend responds with a groan that his father would be horrified to see him in his current state. William reminds his cousin not to be so dour, given that they are celebrating his recent posting, while William himself is still awaiting his orders. 

“We did not leave England to languish here in North Carolina,” William says. “We left to put down this rebellion once and for all. It will be glorious.” 

“Or bloody carnage,” adds his cousin.

William has not been posted to New York yet, although he hopes to be before too long. 

“But tonight, we’re drinking to you,” he says, pulling a hip flask from his pocket. The two men are taking turns sharing it, when an altercation breaks out nearby. One of the other soldiers throws a woman out into the street, accusing her of having the pox, because of the rash on her neck. The woman pleads with him, saying that she didn’t know, but the man is furious. He accuses her of trying to kill him while he pays for the privilege. Egged on by the other men standing around and chanting, he proceeds to pour alcohol over her head, before pushing her into the nearby fire brazier.  She screams as she catches alight, desperately trying to put out the flames. 

Horrified by what is happening, William races forward, throwing his coat over the woman. But it is too late. William yells at the laughing, drunken men, cursing them for their actions, before his cousin tells them they should go, and drags him away.

Back in the twentieth century, Roger is attempting to write a set of instructions for time travellers. It is complex and he mutters that it will take him 200 years to write it all down. He has been rolling the musket ball around in his fingers, but realises that the coating is rubbing off. Looking closer, he sees that he is holding a ball of gold. 

Brianna calls out to the children. It is time to get ready for school. But as she walks into the room, she trips over something on the floor. It is her clock radio, now in pieces. Brianna asks Jem for an explanation. 

Moments later, Brianna is parading the children before Roger.

“According to Jemmy, we have an infestation of fairy folk,” she says. 

Roger quizzes his son. Does he want to tell them the real story of what happened to the radio?

“The pixies came and took it apart,” Jem replies, defiant. 

“Right,” says Roger. “No pocket money this week. Go get ready for school.” 

Deflated, Jem and Mandy leave the room.

Roger asks Brianna if she can fix the radio and Brianna says that she can, as long as none of the pieces have been lost by the supposed pixies. Roger analyses Jem’s story. Pixies are not part of the usual Scottish folklore, he observes, nor is it like the boy to lie. 

Teasingly, Brianna asks if Roger believes that they have been visited by fairy folk. 

“Well, they do have a fondness for precious metals,” Roger replies, holding up the gold musket ball. 

Brianna theorises that Claire and Jamie must have put it into the box as a clue about the Jacobite gold. They discuss whether they should actually speak to Jem to find out what he knows, but Brianna is not keen. While she is glad that the children will have Roger’s book one day, she just wants them to be kids. 

“Me too,” Roger agrees. 

Brianna asks how everything is going. She tells Roger that he looks good sitting behind the desk and wants to know if he feels like a laird. 

“Do I look like a laird?” Roger asks. 

Brianna looks at her watch. She is running late and asks for a kiss for luck. This Roger readily gives, but as she turns away, we see the look on his face. Something is wrong. 

William has been brought before his commanding officer, who has heard about the events of the previous night and of William’s attempts to intervene.

“I could not prevent it, Captain Richardson,” William replies.

“But you tried,” the Captain replies, adding that few men would have the courage to confront his fellow soldiers. 

Captain Richardson has a proposition to put to William. He is in charge of gathering intelligence in the Southern colonies, he says and wishes to recruit William as a messenger to a place which is known to the younger man, known as the Great Dismal Swamp. Taking out three letters, Richardson tells William that he is not to open them, as they are for the eyes of Samuel Cartwright, Henry Carver and Joshua Harrington only. The men are to be found in Dismal Town and William is to say that he is a friend of Cartwright’s cousin looking for work, before discretely delivering the letters. Once he has, Richardson says, William is to travel north and join General Burgoyne’s forces in New York. 

“I will not disappoint you, Sir,” William says. 

Richardson tells him to depart the same day, as soon as he is able. William bows low, replaces his hat and goes to leave. But as he walks through the door, Richardson has a troubling few words of farewell.

“See you don’t die,” he says. 

Brianna is at her interview, but it doesn’t begin well. The man sitting opposite her is eating a sandwich, and suggests that Brianna go and fetch them both a quick cuppa before continuing. 

“Milk, just a splash,” he adds. 

Brianna hesitates, but decides to acquiesce. As she walks towards the tea, the man calls out for two sugars, adding, “If you can remember that, you’ll do well here.”

Brianna makes eye contact with the woman serving the tea and they share a brief rueful smile. 

Brianna returns to the interview and takes charge, showing her qualifications and outlining her experience. The man interrupts her, saying that there must be some mistake, as they are only needing a secretary. Undeterred, Brianna tells him that she has come to apply for the Plant Inspector Position.

“But you’re a woman!” the man replies, incredulously. 

In a put down reminiscent of her mother, Brianna calmly asks her interviewer what elements of plant inspection require a penis. Spluttering, he replies that the environment is unsuitable for a woman. The conditions are rough, he tells her, as are the men she would encounter. Brianna asks if he hires the type of men who would assault a woman, to which the result is an emphatic, “Of course not!” 

Brianna continues: are the plants physically dangerous, because if so, they definitely need a plant inspector. She begins to point out the things that she has noticed that are not up to par, promising her now speechless interviewer that once she takes a closer look, she will be able to diagnose the problems and tell him how to fix them promptly and economically. 

William has begun his mission. Swapping his uniform for civilian clothes, he is riding through the countryside. Stopping briefly for a rest he pulls out the letters and looks at them, reciting the recipients’ names softly to himself. Once on his way again, he picks up speed, until a snake slithers into his path. The horse spooks and rears up, throwing William off his back. William rolls down the embankment, landing onto a sharp stick that embeds itself in his forearm. Taking a deep breath, he removes the stick and binds his arm with his neck stock. Suddenly he realises that he is alone and yells for his horse, Jupiter, who has long since trotted away. 

As Jamie walks through the township, he is spotted by Cornelius Harnett from the Sons of Liberty. Harnett assumes that Jamie is on his way north to join the revolutionary army and Jamie’s revelation that he is actually on his way to Scotland is not accepted. Harnett tells Jamie that more forces are needed at Fort Ticonderoga and indicates where Jamie should sign to pledge his support, adding that the next ship leaves in the morning. 

Jamie is not concerned at first. He assures Harnett that he will join the fight, but at a later date. But Harnett tells him that Rowan County is yet to meet its quota of men, meaning that he has the authority to conscript citizens to join the cause at once. Jamie is a born leader, Harnett points out, adding that he would a fool not to trade on this reputation. There is one out for Jamie: he can nominate someone to be sent in his place and Harnett asks who this will be. 

Jamie is furious: he saved Harnett’s life, yet is still being left with an impossible choice. Harnett responds that his life had been saved to fight another day - and that the day has arrived for the both of them. 

Jamie tells Claire and Ian what has happened. Claire asks if he wants to fight and Jamie says that he does. Not for freedom, or for being on the winning side, but for their family. He can’t in all conscience ask anyone else to fight in his place and while nothing is guaranteed, Claire’s knowledge of the future means that they know that the war will be won. Jamie tells them that the ship for New Haven sails the following day, after which he will travel by foot to Fort Ticonderoga as a colonel of militia. 

But Claire and Ian do not intend on being left behind. Claire will accompany Jamie, she tells him, as doctors will be needed. Ian too, refuses Jamie’s plea to continue home to Scotland. He will wait, he says, until they can all return together. He plans to offer his services to Harnett, to advise the Indians like the Shawnee, who have not yet decided which side of the war to support. Ian loves the land, he tells them, and wants to fight for it. He will ride all the way through Virginia, if it will help.

Roger has been painting the house, when the background noise of Jem and Mandy’s arguing ceases abruptly. Immediately suspicious, he goes to check. Jem has hidden Mandy in the priest hole, and doesn’t seem particularly contrite when Roger admonishes him. Brianna arrives home and announces she has been given the job, but Roger’s reaction is luke warm at best. He admits that he feels like he is failing. He had wanted to be the breadwinner, but hasn’t been able to support his wife and children.  Roger is having a crisis of faith. While he is relieved that their ability to change history meant that Jamie and Claire survived, it also means that things aren’t predestined and his previous belief that everything was under God’s control has been challenged. 

Brianna argues that maybe everything that has happened is, in fact, part of God’s plan. Roger replies that he just wishes he knew what the plan was. The last thing that Jamie had said to him was that there was no other man that Jamie would trust with his daughter, while Claire had said to “take care of our girl.” As far as Roger is concerned, he has broken his promise to do that. He apologises to Brianna for his response earlier. He is proud of her, he says, before adding that it is Brianna’s future colleagues who will be unprepared for what is coming. 

This is a lovely scene between Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton, who seem to be growing in strength with each episode. It is almost as if, when separated from their family in the 18th century, Roger and Brianna have been forced into independence. They are also back in their own time, where things are familiar and natural. Whatever the combination of factors, we are left in no doubt that the 20th century Mackenzies will be a force to be reckoned with. 

William, meanwhile, is in trouble. Staggering through the forest, he is becoming ill. The wound in his arm is getting worse and he is getting weaker.  After splashing his face with water, he hears a sound behind him and turns to see Ian. The two men are wary of each other, but Ian sees the most pressing concern: William’s wound must be seen to. He asks William for his name, and recognises it at once. Over a fire, the two become better acquainted. Keeping Jamie’s secret, Ian merely says that he knows that William’s father is a friend of his uncle; adding that they too have met, years ago, when William visited the Ridge. William admits he doesn’t remember the encounter.

Ian tells William that he needs to remove the wood splinters still in William’s arm. This he does, and William attempts to be strong throughout the painful procedure. Finally, Ian pours hot water over the arm and covers it with a dry cloth, commenting that it will be a long journey to find a physician. William is determined that he will not need a doctor and asks Ian how he came to live among the Mohawk. Ian shares a bit of his history, saying that he was adopted by the Mohawk and married to a woman of the wolf clan.  

William has heard something of the Mohawk and asks if it is true that they believe it dishonourable to show fear and will show no outward sign of distress if captured or tortured. Ian replies that it is preferable not to put themselves in such a position, but if they are, they sing their death song and hope to die well. Ian has only heard one death song, which was about the man who was dying and focused on his victories and conquests. William asks if songs are composed in advance, or whether the muse of inspiration strikes at the appropriate time. 

“You’re not dying,” says Ian.

“No,” William replies. “Only wondering.”

Ian answers that it is a mixture of both preparation and inspiration and so William begins practising. He can only recite his name though, and Ian comments that a death song is more than just a name. William asks him what happens if he has no deeds worthy of commemorating.

“Well then,” Ian replies, “best not die.” 

Rollo sits down next to William and allows William to stroke his fur. Ian comments that Rollo already thinks of him as family. 

 Claire comes out of a store, basket over her arm. As she walks into the main street, she bumps straight into a man. 

“Jesus H Roosevelt…” she begins. 

But her shock at the collision gives way to amazement as she recognises Tom Christie, who immediately pulls her into an unexpected -and lengthy- kiss. Claire is stunned and is for once, rendered speechless. 

“Oh,” Tom says, releasing her. “I beg your pardon.” 

Each comments that the other should be dead. Tom asks about the fire at the Ridge and whether Jamie has also survived. When Claire confirms this, Tom tells her that he is glad to hear it, although given his most recent action, we can doubt this! He asks if they are staying in town, and then offers to escort Claire to the Red Falcon Inn.

Inside, the two of them begin an awkward conversation. Tom asks if Jamie is aware of his feelings for Claire, given that he had never provided a reason for his confession. Claire informs Tom that Jamie is indeed aware, and in fact has sympathy for him, as someone who also loves her. 

Changing the subject, she asks how Tom managed to escape an execution. He tells her that once Governor Martin had discovered that he was literate and could write a fair hand, he was taken from the brig and installed as Martin’s secretary. Claire muses what would have happened if she had never mended Tom’s hand, and he replies that they have taken turns saving each other’s lives. He continues his story: it had taken months for an official secretary to arrive, by which time the Governor’s influence had dwindled and there was no one to surrender Tom to. Claire wonders why he never returned to the Ridge and Tom remarks that once he heard that his son had left never to return, he decided it best not to return either. Claire nods, but does not enlighten him as to Allan Christie’s true fate.

“Is it true that your house burned down?” Tom asks. 

“Yes,” Claire replies. “We lost everything.”

Tom comments that a man called McCreery from William’s Creek had brought news of the incident, so Tom had placed an obituary. This piece of news solves part of the mystery of the newspaper’s announcement. Tom could not bear the thought of them vanishing from the Earth without a formal marking of the event, he tells her. 

“I thought I would at least make a record,” he says, his voice faltering, “as I could not lay flowers on your grave.”  Next, Tom comments that the Lord answers prayer, so Claire asks what he had prayed for.

“Oh, you are a most uncomfortable woman,” Tom responds. 

“You wouldn’t be the first person to think that,” Claire chuckles. She assures him that she hadn’t meant to pry, but was merely curious. 

Here begins an emotional monologue, beautifully performed once again by Mark Lewin-Jones.

“I have loved two women in my life,” Tom says. “One was a witch and a whore. Some say that you are a witch yourself. Makes not a whit of difference. Love of you has led me to my salvation and to what I thought was my peace, once I thought you dead. And yet, here you are. I shall have no peace while you live, woman.” He stands, and looks down at her, with a smile. “Mind, I don’t say I regret it.” 

He walks away, leaving Claire sitting at the table. It is obvious that the whole encounter has shaken her.  

Later, Clare tells Jamie what had happened. Jamie teases her about her indignation over the kiss, and she replies that it isn’t funny.  Jamie asks if he needs to go and kill Tom Christie. It is a lighthearted comment, but one with serious undertones. Tom has touched Claire against her will and she didn’t enjoy it. Still, Tom has Jamie’s sympathy, even though he knows that Tom wouldn’t appreciate that fact, for which he is glad. 

“Glad of what?” Claire asks. “That he’s still alive? Or surely not that he thinks he’s in love with me?”

Jamie tells Claire not to belittle Tom’s feelings. Tom had laid down his life for Claire once and Jamie trusts him to do it again. Claire responds that she hadn’t wanted Tom to do it the first time.

“The thing about Tom is, he wants you, badly.” Jamie says and pulls Claire to him. It is an original line as far as foreplay goes, to hint at another man’s desire, but it leads nonetheless into an amorous conversation. As they begin to undress each other, Jamie runs his fingers through Claire’s hair, commenting that it has not turned white yet and reminding her of Adawhei’s prophecy that she wouldn’t come into her full power until her hair turned white. 

Claire wonders what has made him think of that. Moving her down onto the bed, Jamie replies that it means he still has some time left before it becomes too dangerous to bed her. Claire asks what he thinks she will do to him in bed and Jamie replies that she has clawed, bitten and stabbed him, both with needles and a rattlesnake’s fang. 

“I was saving your bloody life,” Claire replies and Jamie agrees, but adds that Claire can’t deny that she enjoyed it all the same.  

Claire asks how Jamie would feel if she had been jealous. 

“You were,” Jamie said, pulling down her shift. “Of Laoghaire. And I liked it fine. Maybe you still are.”

The conversation stops as the music takes over and the lovemaking begins. It is interesting to see the difference in this love scene to scenes from past seasons. This version shows the obvious influence of the intimacy coordinator that Outlander now employs. The scene is still highly charged and amorous, but much less skin is shown. Instead, the sensuousness comes from the teased out conversation and the slow removal of layers of fabric. It is cleverly done.  

William is now seriously ill. Ian has strapped him to his horse and calls out for help as he approaches a house. A man comes out and Ian asks if the man is Denzell Hunter, adding that a neighbour had identified him as a physician. The man is indeed Denzell Hunter and Ian quickly makes the introductions. 

“Rachel!” Denzell calls out and a woman appears from inside the house. 

“These men need our urgent assistance,” Denzel says. 

As Ian’s eyes meet Rachel’s, we see an immediate connection.

But there is no time for anything other than trying to save William’s life. The wound is festering and Denzell asks for the saw. Poisonous bile is spreading through William’s body, Denzell says, and the arm must be removed. 

“I will not submit to this,” William calls out. 

Rachel tries the tough love approach, telling William to remove himself from their table. William replies that he would rather die than lose an arm, but Ian has his own words of conviction, reminding William that he still needs a proper death song. Ian hands William a set of rosary beads, saying that Jamie had given them to him once and they would give him strength. 

William nods, attempting to resign himself to what is ahead. Rachel puts a piece of leather between his teeth for him to bite down on and Ian and Rachel prepare to hold him down. But as Denzell begins to cut across the wound and William passes out, the pressure of the blade releases a large amount of built up pus. 


“Praise be to God,” Denzell says, explaining to Ian that the poisonous bile has collected in an abscess. Once released, the poison should leave the body altogether and William will be fine.

The next morning, Rachel brings out a pot of tea to Ian, who has spent the night at William’s bedside. William has overcome the worst of his fever, Rachel says. 

“Good,” Ian replies, before telling her that he should take his leave.

Rachel seems disappointed, saying she thought Ian would stay until William was well enough to travel. Ian explains that he can’t afford to lose another day’s ride, as there is somewhere that he needs to be. 

“Thank you for helping my friend see reason,” he adds.

Rachel smiles, commenting that she has been told that her manner can be too forward. Ian replies that perhaps he is used to it, his aunt also being a physician who has healed plenty of stubborn men. 

“Sometimes too forward is exactly what they need,” he says. 

Thanking her for the tea, Ian says that he must be on his way, asking Rachel to say goodbye to William for him. She hands back the rosary beads, saying that William had asked her to return them. But Ian pushes the beads back into her hands, saying that he wants William to keep them. He also gives her some coins, for William to purchase a horse. 

Rachel comments on Ian’s generosity and assures him she will pass the money on. Ian tells her that it was a pleasure to make her acquaintance.

“And that of your brother,” he adds, as an afterthought. 

“It was a pleasure for me as well,” Rachel replies, looking back at him. The attraction between the two is undeniable and Rachel looks genuinely sorry as Ian rides away. 

Brianna is looking in the pantry. The biscuits and crisps have disappeared, as has the lemonade. 

“Maybe it was the pixies again,” Roger replies, and the two of them go to find the children. Jem denies knowing what has happened at first, but quickly changes his mind. Covering his younger sister’s ears, he says that it was a nuckelavee.

Roger tells Brianna that a nuckelavee is a folk tale from the Northern Isles, and is a kind of a horse like demon. He asks Jem who has told him about the creature.

“It wasn’t Grandda, was it?” 

Jem shakes his head, telling Roger that he has met one when he was outside earlier and that the creature had threatened to take Mandy if Jem didn’t bring him food.  Brianna assumes that Jem is lying again, but the young boy speaks earnestly. He apologises for lying about the pixies, admitting to breaking the alarm clock after wanting to see how it worked. But he is telling the truth this time, he insists. The nuckelavee is real. 

A little while later, while Jem and Mandy colour in the other room, Brianna and Roger discuss Jem’s lies. Roger comments that he thinks that Jem believes what he is saying, adding that it is hardly surprising. 

“He’s travelled through time. He told us that Mandy could travel too, before she could even talk. He knows there’s magic in the world.”

Brianna agrees, adding that Jem has also been really good about not telling people what he is able to do.

“But those biscuits didn’t eat themselves,” she says. “So unless you think the nuckelavee is real..”

Roger smiles, saying that he will talk to Jem. Roger is worried, he says, that if Jem’s imagination is stifled, he’ll forget where and who he comes from and he will stop believing his own story. 

“Fine,” Brianna concedes. “But if he ends up with imaginary cavities, you’re dealing with it.”

Roger laughs. “Deal,” he says.

Rachel is shaving William’s beard. He is much recovered and they chat easily.  Rachel comments that she regrets the fact that he cannot keep his beard, given that it is a striking colour. William replies that he is surprised by her attitude, given his understanding of the Quaker religion. Not only do they stay cleanshaven, but also reject vivid colours as being too worldly. 

But Rachel argues with him. Immodest ornament is not the same as acceptance of God’s gifts, she says, adding that roses do not fling away their petals. William replies that he doubts that roses find their petals as itchy as a beard. 

Rachel comments that William has not said what brought him to the Great Dismal, since it is rare to see a gentleman of his character in this part of the world. Ironically, William then immediately lies, telling Rachel that he had heard that hunting in that part of the world was unparalleled. Rachel doesn’t believe him though, questioning whether he often goes hunting unarmed. William responds that his horse had bolted, and his rifle with it. 

“Careful Miss Hunter,” he says, “or I shall begin to think you take me for a liar.”

“I do,” she replies. “Or at least, I think thee is not telling me the whole tale.” 

William doesn’t bother to deny it. Rachel asks to see his wound. It is much improved, with a scar that Rachel compares to the star that led the Wise Men.   

“Tis good that thee has recovered so quickly,” she tells him, adding that she and Denzell will be leaving in a few days. William asks why and she shares her own story. 

At a recent meeting of the Quakers they had been advised that peace lay in reconciliation with England, but Denzell had spoken in favour of independence.

“You mean a rebellion,” William says.

“I do not,” Rachel clarifies. “Liberty is a gift from God. Denny said we must endeavour to preserve it.” 

But some of the Quakers had seen that as inciting violence and Denny was put of meeting, which is, Rachel explains, akin to being rejected from one’s family. Undeterred, Denny intends to join the Continental Army as a surgeon. One of the soldiers, Samuel Cartwright, has told them there is a call for men at Fort Ticonderoga and that is where they are going.

The soldier’s name is familiar, given that he is meant to receive one of the letters William was entrusted with. William asks if Cartwright lives near them, explaining that they have a mutual friend. Rachel tells him that Cartwright is a neighbour. 

“My path also takes me north,” William says, asking if he can accompany the Hunters on their journey. “I would very much appreciate having some company on my journey.” 

Rachel thanks him and says she will let her brother know. 

Left alone, William takes a deep breath. Perhaps his campaign is back on track. 

This scene served two purposes. As well as establishing a relationship between William and the Hunters, the beard conversation was a subtle nod to viewers as to William’s true parentage. A “vivid” beard can only mean a red beard, which has not come from Lord John Grey. Removing it is also removing another physical clue as to his true parentage. 

The final scene of the hour begins with an image disturbingly familiar from past seasons, with Claire and Jamie marching with a group of men heading towards another battle. Claire’s voiceover comments on the level of telepathy that exists on a battlefield. Something passes unseen from man to man, she says. The air itself is live with feeling, a mixture of eagerness and dread. It dances over the skin, knowing with every step that death walks beside them. Each man hopes to live or die well.  The group rounds a corner and the fort swings into view. 

“There it is,” Jamie says to Claire. “Ticonderoga.” 

Another battle is at hand.

This episode centred around the ability of characters to adapt to the unexpected. Jamie has to put personal desires on hold once again, to fight in yet another battle, while Claire has dealt with the unexpected reappearance of Tom Christie and the depth of feeling he possesses for her. Ian, in an attempt to shake off the curse of Arch Bug, has resolved to fight for independence rather than return to Scotland. Yet, his path to battle has been interrupted by a meeting with a woman who has obviously had an unsettling effect of him. William, having expected to earn accolades from his officers for completing a successful mission, has instead narrowly managed to “not die” and is now indebted to Ian and the Hunters, even as he hopes to return to his original course of action. And back in the twentieth century, Brianna and Roger are dealing with either the active imagination of their eldest child, or the appearance of a potentially sinister folkloric creature. Only time will tell what is in store for everyone. 

This recap was written by Susie Brown, a teacher-librarian and writer who lives in Australia. She was impressed by the make-up artistry in this episode, in the form of the grossness of William’s arm wound! 

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