Thursday, August 10, 2023

“Don’t Panic” - the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Time Travel A recap of season 7 episode 7 by your Aussie Blogging Lass


Outlander Homepage Originals 

There are limits to the effectiveness of a guide book. The author can provide detailed explanations, give suggestions and warnings, and share relevant expertise, but there are no guarantees of success. Despite careful preparations, the success or failure of the endeavour often depends largely on circumstances and luck. And when the guide book in question concerns time travel, the outcome is even less certain. So begins the penultimate episode of the first half of season 7.

It is September 1777 and the Continental Army is in New York. Claire’s voiceover begins a letter to Brianna, explaining their position camped near Bemis Heights outside of Saratoga. Jamie has accepted a position with Morgan’s riflemen, and Claire describes her feelings of fragile optimism. While she knows the outcome of the Battle of Saratoga, she doesn’t know what will happen to them in particular. Claire tells Brianna of her meeting with William whilst she had been held captive at Ticonderoga, adding that while her heart had leapt at being able to see him, it had made her miss Brianna all the more. 

Brianna is sitting reading this letter when she hears Roger yelling for her. Hurriedly replacing the letter in the box, she runs in the direction of his voice and finds Roger leading “the Nucklavee” into the house. He promptly introduces the man as William Buccleigh Mackenzie.

“Your servant, Madam,” Buck replies, with a formal bow of his head.  

As the opening credits end, Buck is telling his story to Roger and Brianna. After Alamance, he was ruined financially, he tells them. Heading to Inverness to become a clerk for one of his wife’s relatives, Buck had heard the sound of the stones, which he describes as sounding like a hive of bees. It wasn’t a pleasant sensation, and he feared he would lose his mind from it. 

“Twas at Craig na Dun,” Buck says, as Brianna and Roger reminisce about their own journeys. 

Leaving his wife, Morag, with the children, Buck had gone to investigate.

“And here I am,” he says, his face still full of disbelief. 

Buck continues his story. He had travelled along the road to the town, he tells them, avoiding the “great roaring carriages” that had passed him on the way. 

“But how did you come to be at Lallybroch?” Roger asks.

Buck explains that he had seen Roger entering a shop.

“You’re the only ones who knows what’s happened to me,” Buck says. 

But Brianna is not convinced.

“If you were looking for answers, what were you doing lurking about, scaring our children?” she asks. 

Buck points out that he could hardly walk up to their door and expect to escape their wrath. Roger did, after all, survive a hanging that Buck himself had instigated. He didn’t know who or what he might have been dealing with. It’s a fair point, and one that leaves Roger and Brianna momentarily speechless.

Previously, the role of Buck MacKenzie was played by Graham McTavish, but this season, Irish actor Diarmaid Murtagh has taken over. Murtagh wastes no time in making the role his own and succeeds beautifully in marrying Buck’s natural fierceness with his vulnerability. 

The British Army are camped near Stillwater in New York. William and his friend Sandy Hammond are listening as General Fraser, champagne in hand, is holding court.

“With every gain comes a loss,” Fraser says, as one of the other generals points out that what they win on the battlefield they lose in desertion. 

All the men, including William, are in agreement about the deserters, with words like “cowards” and “lily livered” being thrown about. It is not only Hessian soldiers who have deserted, but British too. But overall, no-one seems too concerned, as reinforcements will join them in Albany,  courtesy of General Hough’s men. 

Others in the party are more cautious. They still have to reach Albany and the Continental Army is in the way. Fraser says that they will meet them on open ground, and use the artillery at their disposal. It is a prospect that excites William and Sandy, who share barely contained grins. 

“This is the last push, gentlemen,” Fraser says. “And we will prevail!”

They toast the King, but the celebrations are interrupted with a message for General Burgoyne from the aforementioned General Hough. 

Dramatic music builds, as Burgoyne unfolds the small scroll and reads the message. But the news is not for everyone. 

“If you do not have a seat at this table, make your exit swift,” Burgoyne says. 

William and Sandy fall into this category, so they take their leave, skilfully helping themselves to alcohol and fruit from the table as they go. 

Outside, Sandy stores the purloined bottle in his saddlebag. William meanwhile, is showing off his skills at swordsmanship, by throwing the fruit up in the air and slicing it in half with a dramatic flourish. As William feeds one of the halves to his horse, Captain Clark hurries past, in search of a Mrs Lynde, the woman widely reputed to be the General’s mistress. Sandy comments that if a mistress is being sent for, the news must not be good. This is an accurate assessment, and William finds himself walking with Captain Richardson, who explains the situation. 

Hough is no longer meeting them in Albany, Richardson tells William. Instead, he plans to take Philadelphia. William comments that the American forces are already poised for battle, a fact that Richardson agrees with. General Fraser has charged him with urgent dispatches, in the form of an appeal to General Clinton to create diversions for their army as they approach Albany. The requests need to be sent out in duplicate, Richardson says, so William is to act as Richardson’s second. 

“Our victory cannot come too soon,” says Richardson, adding that General Burgoyne intends an attack in 3 days time. “You will miss it,” he tells William as he walks away. From his reaction, we see that this is the last thing that William wants.

Meanwhile, Buck is devouring peanut butter sandwiches as fast as Brianna can make them. He asks whether the children eat them too, adding that Jeremiah is also the name of his son, a coincidence that he finds strange. Since Jem and Mandy will soon be home, Roger tells Buck to hurry up with his story. 

Buck recalls Alamance, when his employer had joined the Regulators. Buck, Morag and the children had been in a small camp. 

“And the next fellow she meets is you,” Buck says to Roger. 

“Did she not tell you who I was?” Roger asks. “That I helped her on the ship?” 

But Buck is unrepentant. He had interpreted Roger’s presence as inappropriate, he explains, particularly when he was so close by.  Brianna explains that Roger had only been trying to help, but it is an explanation that Buck doesn’t accept. 

“Why would a militia man do that?” he says.

It is time to reveal the truth. 

“Morag is my 5 or maybe 6 times great grandmother,” Roger says. “That makes you my grand da. My son was named Jeremiah after my Da, who was named for his Grand da, who was named for your son. There may be one or two Jeremiahs missing along the way. We’re family.” 

Buck is stunned. 

“You wouldn’t have anything stronger than coffee, would you?” he asks. 


They do. In the next scene, Buck and Brianna are drinking whisky, and Buck asks Bree about her own heritage, observing that she isn’t Scottish.
“I am on my father’s side,” Brianna corrects him. “My father is… was… James Fraser of Broch Turoch.”

Meanwhile, Roger has found the printed copy of the MacKenzie family tree, with Buck and Morag’s names clearly visible. But amongst the details is the year of Buck’s death: 1778. We see Roger wrestling with what to do: should he tell Buck?

Brianna and Buck are still talking. Buck asks Brianna if she is able to travel like himself and Roger and she confirms that she can. Roger reappears, claiming not to be able to find the family tree,  and asks Buck what year he had come through the stones. Buck’s answer is not surprising, given the date we have just seen written on the family tree. The year is the same: 1778. 

The conversation is interrupted by the sound of a car outside. Brianna expects it to be Fiona and the children, but instead it is Rob Cameron. With a groan, Roger remembers that he had agreed to Rob coming for dinner sometime. 

“I didn’t think he’d just show up!” he says in his own defence. 

Hastily, Buck is hidden in the priest’s hole, with another peanut butter sandwich. 

Roger strikes up an awkward conversation outside with Rob Cameron. He tells Rob that he and Brianna have been taking advantage of the children not being home to do some tidying up. He explains that they are renovating and that it is a madhouse inside. But Rob is not to be deterred. He has brought a nice bottle of red and happily enters the house.

Brianna has quickly stepped into the role of hostess and is clearing the table, but not before Rob comments on the bottle of whisky. Roger explains it by saying that renovating requires some of the “water of life”, adding that Brianna is the cook for the evening. 

“Just pretend you like it, that’s what I do,” he jokes, nervously. 

“Oh really?” Brianna banters back. 

They toast and clink glasses. It is an uncomfortable exchange. 

Rob asks if he can look at the Reverend’s old hymnals, commenting that he didn’t get the opportunity during Roger’s class. So Roger shows him towards the study, where the two look at one of the books. Rob is fascinated, asking if he can copy some of the hymns down. 

“Be my guest,” Roger replies. Leaving Rob engrossed in the hymnal, he goes back to Brianna. 

But just as they are preparing to take advantage of Rob’s temporary absence to remove Buck from the priest’s hole, the children return from school. Jem proudly shows a badge on his scarf that says “the Tufty Club.” 

“I was a member of the Tufty Club when I was your age,” Roger says. 

This is a small detail, but one that links cleverly with previous seasons and episodes.

Dinner has been going for quite some time. Roger keeps stealing glances at the priest’s hole, as Rob, Brianna and Jem continue to talk. Jem is fascinated with talk of turbines, cranes and the tunnels, which he asks Brianna to show him. 

“Tunnels are not best suited to children,” Brianna tells her son.

“Some people might say the same thing about women,” Rob comments, “and they’d be wrong.” 

Brianna smiles briefly, before telling the children it is time for bed. 

“Can we watch some tele first?” Jem asks.

“Just for a wee while,” Roger answers. “Take your sister out to the caravan.” 

Brianna and Rob begin to talk shop as Roger clears the table, all the while glancing at the priest’s hole door. He reenters the room in time to hear Rob elect himself and two of the other men as Brianna’s three musketeers. With a look to Brianna, the two of them try to bring the evening to a close, but Rob is the epitome of the guest who overstays his welcome. Just as they think he is finally about to leave, he asks for another dram of whisky. 

Chris Fulton is doing a great job portraying Rob Cameron. Although seemingly charming and earnest, there is something about Rob that doesn’t sit comfortably. The exchanges between Roger and Rob in particular have an underlying tension that has been brilliantly crafted by Richard Rankin and Chris Fulton. 

The Continental Army’s camp is full of hustle and bustle. Jamie, now wearing the fringed shirt of one of Morgan’s riflemen, comes towards Claire, who is sitting at a writing desk. He announces that he has brought her a present, revealing a book, which he has found on the edge of a creek. Claire is pleased and starts looking at the pages. But she is squinting, and Jamie comments that he hadn’t noticed before, but she needs spectacles. 

“Nonsense,” Claire replies. “I see perfectly well.” 

“Hmm,”Jamie says. He opens the book to a random page and asks her to read.

“How am I supposed to read that?” Claire retorts. “It’s terribly small type.”

Jamie counters that it is 12 point Caslon. Other parts of the binding are not up to his exacting standard, but it is perfectly legible.

“You need spectacles,” he says again, and this time she doesn’t disagree.

“We’ll be blind as bats before this war is over,” she says, asking Jamie to reassure her that he can see enough to shoot straight. 

“Dinna fash, Sassenach,” he replies, taking her hand and kissing it. “I can shoot straight with my eyes closed.” 

This is a good thing, he continues, telling Claire that they are being mustered for a battle in 3 days time. But before the conversation can turn too serious, Jamie promises that when they get back to Scotland, he will buy her a tortoise shell pair of glasses for every day and a pair with gold rims for Sundays. 

Claire moves to sit on his lap, asking if he will expect her to start reading the bible with them. 

“No,” he answers, but adds that a prayer for him that night couldn’t hurt. 

“You’ll come back to me,” Claire says, tenderly. “You always do. And if you don’t, I’ll come looking for you.”

“I ken you will, Sassenach,” Jamie replies, and they kiss. 

This was a lovely scene, with the comic byplay over the spectacles a welcome light relief to the building tensions in both centuries. We are used to Jamie and Claire dominating the storylines, but there is little of Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in this episode. As a result, they make the most of every moment, delivering the dialogue with the ease that comes with having inhabited their characters for close to a decade now. 

William and Sandy are lamenting the meal in front of them, Sandy commenting that he would love a meal at the Beef Steak Club. General Fraser approaches and the two men stand to attention. But Fraser has not come for any particular reason and he invites them to sit and eat. Sandy comments that their meal doesn’t resemble what General Burgoyne is eating, adding that they are missing a good claret and some music. 

Fraser tells them that they need to find a way to keep spirits up.

“I find that my spirits are lifted here around the fire with my men,” Fraser says. “And so it shall be on the battlefield, standing side by side with my fellow soldiers. Spirits up! Glory is afoot!”

Sandy tells William that this is his opportunity, so William follows the General, seeking a private word. William wants to be standing side by side with the men too, he says. He will be of more use on the battlefield than carrying dispatches.

“You told General Burgoyne that we were at a crucial point in this war,” William says. “I am no errand boy. I am a true soldier. With your permission, General, I would like to remain here with the army.”  

Fraser tells William that he can’t fault the younger man’s courage, foolhardy as it may be. In fact, it will be needed if he wishes to stay and fight. If it is what William really wants, Fraser says, he will instruct Captain Richardson to find another messenger.

Finally, Rob is leaving. He comments that it has been so nice to sit at a table with a proper family.

“Don’t you have suppers with your sister and wee Bobby?” Roger asks.

“Oh, aye,” Rob replies, “they’re great.” 

With that, Rob launches into yet another story. He was married once, he tells them, to a French woman, who had divorced him a couple of years earlier and taken their son with her back to France. Her family has money and he doesn’t. 

“It turns out the more expensive lawyer wins in these things,” he says. 

Brianna is sympathetic, commenting that it is tough to be separated from family. 

Thanking them for everything, Rob walks to the door, but turns one final time with an invitation. He is taking Bobby to the pictures the following evening and wonders if Jem would like to come along and spend the night at Bobby’s afterwards.  

“Yeah,” Brianna agrees. “He’d love that.” 

Having farewelled Rob at last, Brianna and Roger go straight to the priest’s hole to let Buck out. But the room is empty. 

“Didn’t you lock it?” Brianna asks.

“I didn’t think I’d have to,” Roger replies.

It turns out that Buck hasn’t gone far. He is sitting in the caravan with Jem and Mandy, watching tv. As Jem explains the show and Mandy plays with Buck’s beard, the older man is translating words. Astronaut, he muses, must mean star traveller.

“Is that what we’re called?” he asks, and Jem nods.

Roger and Brianna come in and stare at the three of them, not quite knowing what to do. 

“We found the Nucklavee, Da!” Jem says. “And you’re related!”

“Aye, cousins,” Buck says quickly. “And I apologised.” 

“He’s not really that scary, Mummy,” Mandy says. 

At a loss as to what to do next, Roger and Brianna go outside to talk. Brianna wonders how it is that Buck has already gotten the children to be on his side. 

“He must be missing his own children,” Roger says, commenting that Buck has had a rough go of it and suggesting that they allow him to sleep in the house. This Buck is not the enemy he met at Alamance, but “cousin Buck.” The difference of course, is that Buck is now aware of their connection.

A little reluctantly, Brianna agrees, saying that they can make up the couch in the dining room. But she has one stipulation: she doesn’t want Buck hanging around the house when they are not home.  So they come up with a plan: Brianna will take Buck to work with her, and on Saturday Roger will take him back to the stones.

“So you’ve already forgiven him?” Brianna asks.

“Yes,” Roger confirms. “Right after I beat him into the ground.”

“I thought that was because he scared the kids?” Brianna says. 

“A few of those punches were for me too,” Roger replies. “Either way, it felt good.”

The scene ends with their arms around each other, looking back at the caravan, which is bathed in soft light. It is a peaceful image.

Buck accompanies Brianna to work and the two of them discuss how unsettling it must be for Buck to see things so changed. Buck comments that while some things have changed, others have stayed the same. The hardest thing is realising that his wife, who was pregnant at the time he travelled, is now dead, along with all of his children. Brianna asks Buck why he didn’t immediately go back through the stones once he had realised what had happened. Buck replies that he hadn’t really known what had happened at first, only that it was something terrible and connected to the stones. Brianna wonders why he didn’t try to go back for the sake of his family and asks what he had been thinking of when he had come through.

Buck begins to get agitated by the questions, asking Brianna why she has brought him with her. He understands that she wants to keep an eye on him when she is away from home, but wants to know if something is still bothering her. 

“Yeah, I want to know why you’re here,” Brianna replies. She assumes that he wants to go back to Morag and Jeremiah and he asks whether she can help him with that. 

Buck has been fiddling with a gold ring on his finger, one with a missing gemstone. Brianna explains that the gem has gone because of his journey through the stones. If they can find him another gem, she says, then he can go back again, and that if he thinks of his family, that will help to steer him towards them. 

Rob Cameron appears and Brianna dutifully introduces Buck as Roger’s cousin. Rob puts out his hand to shake, but Buck refuses it, looking on disapprovingly as Rob touches Bree’s arm while making arrangements to collect Jem that evening. After Rob has gone, Buck comments that Rob smiles too much in Brianna’s direction. She dismisses his concerns, saying that smiling is nothing more than kindness, but Buck is not convinced. 

Roger is preparing for his next class at the school. He adjusts Jeremiah’s box on the table, not noticing what we do: that a piece of paper is now protruding from it that wasn’t there before. Roger is looking for Buck and eventually finds him in the caravan, holding a model of a plane. Buck asks Roger whether he has actually flown in one and Roger confirms that he has, adding that they flew home from America in one after their journey through the stones. Buck says that his Jeremiah would love the model, and Roger suggests that he could take it back with him, assuming that Jem is prepared to part with it. 

After a moment’s pause, Buck tells Roger that Rob Cameron is trouble. 

‘He’s got a hot eye for your wife,” he says.

Roger retorts that Buck thinks everyone has a hot eye. It is the reason he himself ended up with a noose around his neck, he says. 

Buck defends himself, saying that any man in his time would have thought the same. 

“A man is born knowing when someone is preying on their woman,” he says.

“Well, you were wrong,” Roger answers. “And this isn’t your time.” 

“I only thought I should tell you,” Buck replies.

Roger has something of his own to tell Buck. Admitting that he had in fact found the MacKenzie family tree, Roger reveals that he has seen the year of Buck’s death. He asks the older man if he wants to know. 

“No,” Buck replies, “but I’d like you to tell me anyway.”

Roger reveals that according to the family tree, Buck died in 1778, the same year that he travelled through the stones. This offers two possibilities: firstly, that Buck does not return to his own time and his family presumes him dead; or that he does make it back and dies shortly afterwards. Either is a sobering prospect.

Brianna and Roger discuss the situation as they make the bed. Brianna mentions that she wasn’t sure at the dam whether Buck had actually wanted to return. Roger says that he didn’t advise Buck either way, but had felt that the man had the right to know. He shares Buck’s opinion of Rob Cameron and his supposed attraction to Brianna. 

“Well that’s ridiculous,” Brianna replies. “We’ve had dinner with him. You know what he’s like.”

“Aye,” Roger replies. “A wee bit flirty.”

The atmosphere has changed and Brianna begins to unbutton her blouse, her eyes locked with Roger’s. 

“He’s just a lonely divorcee,” she continues, as Phil Collins’ song “In the Air Tonight” plays in the background, and things heat up further. 

“All the more reason to be pining after you,” Roger comments.

“I’m his boss,” Brianna replies. 

“I think he takes too much pleasure in calling you Guv,” Roger says, moving closer and sliding his hands under her shirt. 

Brianna asks him if he is feeling a bit territorial.

“What if I am?” he asks. “I know the modern man isn’t supposed to be possessive, but what if tonight I’m feeling a little more primal?”

The music swells and the two make love, in another scene artfully choreographed by the show’s intimacy coordinator. There has been a real change in the lovemaking scenes since the coordinator has been employed. We see less flesh, with hands and bedding carefully positioned to allow for more privacy. The focus is on faces and lighting and if anything, the scenes are more intimate than they were before.

Back in the 1700s, a British deserter is wandering through the woods, when he is discovered by Ian - now in full war paint - and his friends. Ian stops the man in his tracks, by firing an arrow into the nearby tree.

“Who are you, then?” he asks, his voice quiet and menacing.

Claire discovers Jamie sharpening a knife and asks what is going on. Jamie tells her of the British deserter. 1500 men are being mustered to test the strength of their left wing, he says, and Morgan is leading the charge. They know what this means: Jamie will be joining the fight.

“Will you kiss me, Claire?” Jamie asks her.

“Always,” she replies, tenderly, and does so. 

Stepping back from her, Jamie turns and walks away. Worryingly for viewers who have been watching Outlander since the beginning, the slow motion effect is deployed. We know from past experience that this rarely means anything good! Claire’s face certainly supports this suspicion - she is obviously emotional and worried. 

It is September 19th 1777, the date of the First Battle of Saratoga. William gives the instruction for the company of soldiers to fix bayonets, an order which they dutifully follow. Sandy is standing next to William and together they watch their enemy approach. 

Sandy attempts to lighten the mood, asking William who has the better bosom: Mrs Lynde or the Baroness. William gives a nervous chuckle, saying that he prefers not to comment on such a vulgar topic. 

“Oh I see,” Sandy replies. “Evading the question.” 

Sandy asks if William has an eye for someone and William replies that it is unlikely he will ever see her again.

“Then it won’t matter if you tell me her name,” Sandy retorts and William does so: Rachel. 

But suddenly there comes the sound of a bullet whistling and to William’s horror, he watches it embed itself into Sandy’s forehead. Sandy falls, lifeless, as the battle begins. William keeps trying to rouse his friend, entreating the dead man to get up. Finally, he realises it is pointless. Men are dying around him and General Fraser is on horseback barking orders. One of these orders breaks through his shock: “Lieutenant Ellesmere! To your men!” 


Drawing his sword, and with a battle cry worthy of any Highlander, William charges into the fight. As he runs, we catch glimpses of the shirts of Morgan’s riflemen and we wonder: will Jamie actually meet his son over the field of battle after all? 

The fighting is fierce and bloody and William is caught up in it, slashing wildly with his sword as blood splatters across his face. Again, we see a parallel with previous seasons and episodes: Culloden comes to mind here. 

Something has woken Roger. Unable to sleep, he goes to his study and switches on the lamp. As he looks at the box, he finally sees what we saw earlier: a piece of paper is poking out. But before he can investigate further, a piercing scream breaks the silence. 

Roger returns to the caravan and finds Brianna comforting a distraught Mandy. 

“Jemmy! He’s gone, he’s gone!” Mandy cries. 

Roger tries to reassure his daughter, telling Mandy that Jem has only gone to stay with his friend, Bobby.

“No,” she repeats. “He’s not here.”

When Roger asks what she means, Mandy’s answer is chilling. 

“He’s not here with me,” she says, putting her hand to her head. The connection that they have always had has been broken.

Roger asks again what had woken her. Has she had a bad dream?

“There were stones and they screamed at me,” Mandy replies. 

“Did you go close to the stones?” Roger asks, as he and Brianna exchange a worried look.

“Not me, Jemmy,” Mandy replies. “That bad man took him.”

This galvanises Roger and Brianna into action. Brianna goes to phone Bobby’s mother, while Roger goes back into the house. Buck has woken and asks what all the racket is about. Roger asks if he has seen Jem.

“He’s with Cameron, is he no?” Buck replies.

Brianna soon appears with the bad news. She has spoken to Bobby’s mother, she says, and there was no movie or sleepover that evening. Rob Cameron lives across the road, so Brianna had asked Bobby’s mother to go and check. Rob is not at home: his car has gone. With a groan, Roger puts the pieces together. The box had been disturbed because Cameron has read the letters inside it.  

Roger and Buck are driving to the stones. Roger tells Buck about his guide to time travel and how Rob had read it by accident. 

“He pretended to think that it was something I’d made up for fun, but he knew,” Roger says. 

Buck asks if Cameron is like them: can he time travel? Roger answers that he doesn’t know, but confirms to Buck that there are other time travellers out there, including Claire, Otter Tooth and Geillis Duncan. 

The mention of Geillis’ name makes Roger realise something: he had recorded Geillis’ theory that a blood sacrifice was needed for travel - what if Rob is planning on using Jem in this way? 

The two men have arrived at the stones and Roger hands Buck a torch. They yell into the darkness, screaming both for Rob and for Jem, the buzzing of the stones surrounding them. Suddenly Buck notices something at the foot of one of the stones: it is Jem’s scarf with the Tufty Club brooch still attached. 

Post battle, William is still looking at Sandy’s face, while soldiers around him dig a trench for graves. The soldiers are complaining that they have dug deep enough, but William isn’t satisfied. Behind them are a number of bodies all wrapped in shrouds and William won’t risk them being dug up again by hungry animals.

“These men died bravely,” he says. “and we did not retrieve their bodies from the battlefield only to see them pulled out of shallow graves and devoured in the night.” Removing his coat and dropping his sword, William picks up a shovel. “We dig deeper,” he says. 

Meanwhile, other soldiers are celebrating a victory. William doesn’t understand this: They had merely held ground. General Fraser explains: if Burgoyne can convince the masses that they have been victorious, then they have prevailed. 

William tells Fraser of Sandy’s death and the older man raises a glass. 

“An honourable death,” he says. 

“Yet I live to tell the tale,” William adds. 

“They send forth men to battle,” Fraser quotes, “but no such men return. So says Aeschylus.” He leans towards William and observes, “You’re a different man now.” 

He walks away, as a sombre William completes Aeschylus’ words: “They send forth men to battle, but no such men return. And home, to claim their welcome, come ashes in an urn.” Fraser is right: the battle eager William has gone and a different man stands in his place. 

The camera pans across the now quiet battlefield, littered with bodies. Proving once more the ominous power of the slow motion walk, we recognise one of them. The camera zooms closer. A man lies, eyes closed, blood caked around a wound on his head. It is Jamie.

The stage is set for the mid season finale - but can we say Je Suis Prest? 

A lot was packed into this episode, but each revelation was skilfully written and expertly performed. The many parallels and nods to past seasons and episodes was effortlessly done and really highlights the many connections between past, present and future. Book readers know what is ahead, but really there is nothing to be done but to follow the instructions from the Hitchhiker’s Guide: don’t panic!

This recap was written by Susie Brown, a teacher librarian and writer who lives in Australia. She loves every episode, but always enjoys the ones that stay close to Diana Gabaldon’s writing and setting a little bit more! 

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