The Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou, among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
While I know the term Hail Mary is applied to any and all last-ditch efforts, I couldn’t help thinking about the prayer itself and how it applied in this episode. Who, exactly, is full of grace? Because grace can mean any number of things. It can mean an act of goodwill. It can mean forgiveness and mercy. It can mean the way someone moves, with elegance. It can mean an attractive quality or good manners. It can mean an act of charity or leniency. Almost every character, at some point in this episode, shows a measure of grace.
Mary. Her voice has changed. It’s deeper. Measured. Gone are the hysterics and the stutter. Finally, she’s grown up. And as she talks with Claire we see how she is full of grace. She shows forgiveness, charity, and leniency all in one exchange at the apothecary’s. And I got a sense that she’s not so much naive as she is in denial about her situation. And when Mary agrees to marry BJR, they both do an act of goodwill for Alex. It eases his mind. And unbeknownst to them, it is an act of goodwill for Clair as it assures Frank’s life. (And say what you want, but this is necessary for Jamie’s child. Get over yourselves). She’s also pregnant, so it benefits her unborn child. Blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
Jamie. He can see the hour of all their deaths. And it weighs on him so heavily. He looks so gaunt in the face. It echoes what Dougal says, that their strength is dwindling on one bannock a day. But the entire episode his mind is always turning, always thinking of how to get out of this mess. Jamie’s Hail Mary is 100% trying to think of his own last-ditch plan. When O’Sullivan accuses him of ‘coward’s talk’, Jamie’s about ready to take his head off a la Sandringham. I had to wonder, did Claire tell Jamie the gold doesn’t arrive? To stall might be one of his plans. Any information that he receives is turned into another plan. Cumberland’s birthday? Trap the British. Colum handing him the reins? Bring fresh men to the battle. Now, and at the hour of our death.
Prince Charles thinks that their cause is full of grace and cannot fail. That God is with them. The Lord is with thee.
Claire. She is so resigned to history repeating itself. I keep remembering a hopeful Claire on the boat and early in Paris, telling Jamie, “when were you never up for a challenge?” But now, she’s the one who’s essentially given up and Jamie has to rouse her to the challenge. They lift each other up when they need to. She, too, is full of grace, in certain circumstances. With Alex. And in realizing the Mary needs BJR in case history does go according to plan. She is very logical and kind in her explanation to Murtagh as to why he can’t help Mary. Claire’s grace comes in the form of goodwill and wanting to make reparation for her meddling in Mary’s business. And with Colum. You could tell she wrestled with that one, but in the end she decided to forgive anything between her and Colum. And give him what he wanted. Which was to be in control of his life to the very end. Claire is a rare woman in this time. Intelligent. Compassionate. Gifted. Strong. Blessed art thou, among women.
Murtagh. He shows grace by offering to marry Mary Hawkins. An act of goodwill and charity. Unselfish. Gallant. Chivalrous. No wonder Jamie turned out the way he did. Murtagh has always had an easier relationship with Claire than the other highlanders. Like Jamie, he treats Claire as an equal. I believe he recognized Jamie’s love for her right away, when he told her Jamie needed a woman, not a lassie. And he’s always believed Claire to be different. From the beginning he had a gut intuition that Claire was someone special. Right when he found her in the woods and said, “I’ll stake my best shirt she’s not a whore”. And he’s grown to love, respect and trust her. It’s so nice to see that come to fruition. He’s always allowed Jamie to make his decisions and backed him up. So be it. He’s also bothered by what he knows of history. Jamie’s and Claire’s burden is his burden. Pray for us sinners.
Brief moment….can I ask why they made Alex look like the Vampire Lestat after a feeding frenzy?? …moving on.
Colum. Still The Mackenzie, even if he is on “rickety sticks”. In his own way, he asks for forgiveness in the way he compliments Claire. And Jamie. And admits he was wrong about their marriage. And they extend that grace to him. Gary Lewis is a master. His scene in asking Claire for the mercy of a death of his own choosing is heartbreaking. And Claire, not wanting to hear an ill word about her friend. Still showing mercy to Geillis after all these years. Because without Geillis, Claire most likely would not be alive. Is it just me or did anyone else feel like Colum gives Jamie the idea of saving the Lallybroch men from Culloden? I got a sense that a light bulb went off over Jamie’s head in that scene. At the hour of our death.
I absolutely loved watching BJR and Claire square off. They hate each other. They really do. And the fact that they extend no mercy towards each other, EVER, makes all the other relationships in the show that much more tender. Her face at seeing Jack Randall again for the first time encapsulated all the feelings from her miscarriage. She was literally Claire in the hospital, all over again. Her grace most definitely does not extend to Jack Randall. There is no charity or goodwill for him. Only bargaining. Something for something. And the Claire now is so different from the Claire we first met. She’s harder. Bitter. Angry. And when he baits her talking about Jamie, she pulls herself together, musters her hate and hands him guilt. Not grace. Finally, did anyone else think Jamie found his wife hot af when she reminded him she’d help him kill BJR?
You get a sense from Alex that Jack, in a former life, a life before the war, was a different person. Hell, even his name is different. Johnny. A name that is softer, that makes you think of a childhood friend. At one time Johnny was probably full of grace, for his little brother. What changed? Why? And how did BJR come to feed only his darker self? Try as I might to understand why a man might pummel the body of his dead brother, I cannot. Perhaps in order NOT to feel, BJR has to stay in the darkest place he can. Anger. Always anger. There can be no other emotion for this man. Because maybe if he starts to cry he will never stop. Maybe it’s the opposite of Dougal, who was upset that Colum never healed. Perhaps BJR is upset that he couldn’t heal Alex. Whatever, it was the most disturbing of reactions. There is no prayer of comfort for an act like that.
Dougal. The most powerful scene for me was between Dougal and Colum. In his rough and ungraceful way, Dougal is essentially telling Colum that he’s mourned for his brother all these years. Everything he expected his big brother to be changed in an instant. And all of Dougal’s prayers, wishes, and hopes for a recovery were dashed. Forever. In Dougal’s mind, he did all that was asked of him. For Colum. I got a sense he felt like he had to live his life, AND a measure of Colum’s life. Because Colum couldn’t. And when he comes to make peace with his brother, Colum dies. And Dougal can’t have the conversation because he’ll never get the answers he so desperately wants. He loved his brother. He truly did. He never forgave his brother for not getting better. And he weeps for THEM. Not just Colum, but for them…and who and what they could have been. Together. And at the end he runs out of time to repair it. Amen.
Final thought: War. When Claire is at war the first time she leaves Frank for 5 years. When Claire is at war the second time with Jamie she rides beside him. And as we see in the trailer for next week, she doesn’t want to leave him. Even knowing the outcome. She was committed to the War as a nurse the first time, independent of Frank. She is committed to the Jacobite Rising as a wife the second time, in union with Jamie.
Also, Things the writers fixed for me this Season: Claire’s habit of laughing hysterically when she’s stressed.
Having Murtagh accompany Claire to Alex’s boarding house, instead of Jamie.
Fergus as both Claire and Jamie’s and not just Jamie’s.
All of Murtagh. And fleshing out his relationship with Claire, the wife of his godson.
Colum and Dougal’s absolutely true to form brother rivalry.
June 25, 2016