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Title:  Common Ground

Written by Joy Blake

Directed by Ben Bolt

The podcast for this episode was narrated by executive producers Maril Davis and Toni Graphia.

The title card for the episode was a Native Americans adding various ornaments and other elements to their dress.

These season 4 Recaps on Steroids incorporate an OLA writers’ opinion on the episode woven in with information from both the official Starz podcasts along with comments from the official episode script including things changed or edited for television.

The episode begins with a scene in Wilmington that is not in the book.  Jamie is meeting with Governor Tryon to sign the deed for his 10,000 acres.  The deed has several red ribbons at the bottom and to me they signify there’s plenty of strings attached to this transaction.   The writers had an interesting take on this scene in that Jamie is getting revenge on the British for taking Scottish lands after Culloden.   They review the map of what will become Fraser’s Ridge and Tryon offers Claire a place in Wilmington until the house is built.  Jamie assures him that his healer wife has seen it all and he couldn’t do it without her.  I’m sure Tryon was more than surprised.

The discussion between Jamie and Tryon is a bit of cat and mouse.  Tryon is making his point clear that those red ribbons on the deed were a metaphor for the strings attached to such an offer.  He compares the Indians to the Highlanders and warns of the Regulators (later to become American revolutionaries).  Jamie takes it all in stride even though he himself is playing a game of duplicity.  He comments that “savagery exists in many forms”.  After all he’s seen it himself in the British-one in particular.

Toni Graphia commented that both know it’s a loaded deal and Maril Davis added that this sets up the rest of the season.   They discussed Jamie’s frame of  mind with Sam Heughan before filming.

Claire is at the Wilmington store picking up some supplies and we meet up with Marsali who is now five months pregnant.  (In the books, she remains in Jamaica to give birth.)  They have a lovely discussion with several undertones as Marsali confesses she misses her mother right now.  Claire is generous in her understanding despite her history with Laoghaire as she missed her own mother.  Marsali says that she wants Claire as a healer but “there is delivering a bairn and then there’s raising one”.  As the script notes, Marsali does not know that Claire has had a baby.  The two women bond over their own mother/daughter bonds in the past and future and also share a tender moment with each other.

Jamie, Ian and Fergus enter and Jamie is giving Fergus instructions about looking for Highlanders and men from Ardsmuir who were sent as indentured servants.  He checks, as any father would, that they have enough cash and they tell them they will have a place for them after the baby is born.  Claire looks pensive and Jamie, because he’s JAMMF, can tell she’s thinking about Brianna and how she will miss the births of any of her children.  He tells Claire how he coped with missing her and assures her “our daughter will do the same”.

The writers emphasized again that they want to insert a bit of Bree into each episode as it is obvious that Jamie would want to know as much about the daughter he’ll never see and it helps Claire to remember her and connect the two.   It was a lovely scene, my only fault with is that they keep saying Marsali is almost as old as Bree when they were about 3 years apart in the show and much more in the book.

The Fraser-Murrays head out.  The script notes there is a white piglet in the wagon (who becomes the infamous White Sow).  A line is edited out about Fergus worrying that they will have enough room for them and Jamie assures him there is always room for family.

Jamie stops the wagon at their spot.  Ian hangs back by the horses (whispering something about fear of heights) while Jamie and Claire stop to enjoy their awesome view.  The landscape scenes were actually shot in North Carolina and green-screened into the episode.

The time comes now to stake out ten thousand acres.  I hope Clarence had a lot to eat as he’s lugging around the stakes.  Claire maps it out as Jamie pounds them in.   Claire quotes the first few lines of My Country tis of Thee (OK who had to sing that in elementary school after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance?  Just me?)  Jamie is quite tickled to learn that the Americans stole the melody from King George and the British.  It’s also interesting here that Claire identifies herself as an American.   But none of that really matters as apparently Jamie gets quite turned on when his wife sings and he has her up against a tree to describe all the things he wants to do to her but…Ian interrupts as he has found the witness tree.  (These were often used to mark property edge.)  Jamie carves F.R with an arrow so people will know that’s where they are.

Rollo warns of something coming and Claire rightly senses they have visitors behind her.  Jamie tells her to hand him the big knife and then step away.  He walks out toward the Cherokee and makes a deliberate point of dropping his knife to show he will not be armed. (Interesting that the knife drop is not in the script.)  The Cherokee ride away but all know they will return.

We move back to the 1970’s in Oxford.  Roger is in his office looking sad and distracted and that does not go unnoticed by his office-mate, Peter.  (Peter is not in the book but the writers wanted someone to comment on Roger’s change behavior and mood.)

A quick but seamless back to the Ridge and the Frasers are working hard to clear their land.  Jamie cuts down a large tree (note Sam made the last couple of hacks on the set, although a professional did the first ones to make sure it fell the right way).

Roger starts to read the book Bree gave him and we see she also left the drawing of the two of them.  He notices a reference to a hillside now called Grandfather Mountain that was settled by Fraser’s Ridge.  He reads this as the scene returns to that very place and Bree’s family is building their cabin.  (Nice choice.)  Roger, being a researcher, checks out the author on the back of the book and an idea sparks in his mind.

On the ridge, Claire notices Jamie has staked out what looks like a cabin.  He gives her the nickel tour, describing the house, a meat shed (as opposed to the hanging sack of meat strung up by Ian) and  a surgery where she can work and even see patients once they recruit settlers.  She’s touched that he thought of that for her (because hey, he’s JAMMF-haven’t we established that already).   They talk about how John Quincy Myers (JQM) will teach them how to make beef jerky and I know I’m not the only one who likes how Jamie says that.  Claire responds that it is damned delicious.  The script only said delicious-does Caitriona Balfe really, really like beef jerky?

But the Cherokee return and they are not happy.  They yell at the Frasers and slam the boundary stakes down in front of them like spears.  They will not take lightly to their land being invaded.

In Oxford, Roger gets a package and is stunned to see old copies of the deed Jamie signed with Tryon and evidence that Claire was with him.  He decides to call Brianna, despite the fact that they have broken up.   Bree answers at her apartment in the most expensive part of Boston and her roommate Gayle (holding the Carrot, the french bulldog of Maril Davis) who knows all about Roger.  Bree and Roger make small talk and he tells her what he’s found.   For Bree, this is great news on several fronts.  She didn’t know if her mother had even made it through the stones.  She didn’t know if she had found Jamie and if they stayed together.  Now she knows they not only did but they were in the very same place where she and Roger were at the festival.  Roger gave her a priceless gift with this phone call that she gratefully acknowledges.  But the conversation grows awkward again because Roger is a dumb guy and doesn’t apologize for his behavior in North Carolina.

Maril noted that actors had telephone scenes as they are usually being filmed by themselves.  Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton filmed theirs at separate times but Richard was there on set for Sophie’s (filmed on the last day of filming S4) and he fed her Roger’s lines behind the camera.

It’s evening in the Ridge and Ian sleeps while Jamie and Claire discuss what to do about the Cherokee.  Claire suggests moving away from the border but Jamie talks about how the mountain spoke to him.  In the script Jamie suggests a gift of good will but Claire does the suggesting in the book.  This was another one of those great scenes where they discuss together and Jamie is always thinking.   Jamie says he will discuss with JQM in the morning.  Rollo is alerted to something outside and they leave the lean-to armed for another Cherokee encounter.  But this is just Findlay the white horse, injured and bleeding. Claire realizes it is a bear attack and another danger is added to the mix.

JQM is making beef jerky and offers most to Jamie to make up for the fact that the bear stole their meat.  He gives him advice about the Cherokee and tells him not to build the cabin until they resolve this issue.  He offers to bring some of Aunt Jocasta’s tobacco to them on Jamie’s behalf.  JQM teaches Jamie to say Siyo Ginali if he encounters the Cherokee to show that he basically comes in peace.  Jamie inquiries about a bear and JQM says the Cherokee references a Tskili Yona which means bear but something more than just a regular bear.

Ian and Claire have caught some trout and Claire is gutting it while Ian repairs the net.  (Caitriona had to gut a real fish and it was one of the coldest days of the year in Scotland.  She shared with Maril how cold her hands were by the end of it.  The cast is really resilient in that weather-true pros. )  Ian is surprised to learn that Claire can’t knit as all Scots learn when they are young, even Jamie.  This news delights Claire in a way when you find out your husband does something cute and you never knew.

Claire is practicing shooting and has a good aim but didn’t pack her gun good enough.  Jamie tries and is just as good of an aim but also destroys his target.  In a bit of foreshadowing, Claire comments how good soldiers can load their guns under pressure.   Nice touch by Sam Heughan here who remembers that Jamie can’t close one eye and kept both eyes open when he shoots.

That night they hear the bear roar but they are ready.   Rollo doesn’t find the bear, he finds a man who is JQM. He’s been mauled, badly.  They bring him into the lean-to and Claire and Surgical Assistant Ian tend to him while Jamie heads out with a torch and a gun.

At the same time, we see several Cherokee with torches headed to the place where Adawehi, the medicine woman, is doing a cleansing of the Tskili Yona.   Maril commented in the podcast that Jamie was trying to kill the bear in the physical way while the Cherokee were trying to kill it in a spiritual way.   The translation of the chant is in the script

Tskili Yona is our responsibility

We pray to be rid of Tskili Yona

We pray for Tskili Yona to leave us and never return

Let us make it so

Jamie sees and hears the bear.  (At this point, I’m getting the sense this is either a bad prop or something is up with the bear.)  We move back and forth between Jamie and Claire when Claire realizes that JQM has been bitten by a human.  Jamie misfires and starts to reload when the bear, who is not a bear but a very large man dressed in a bear skin, with sharp teeth hanging over his head and bear claws strapped to his arm.  Jamie is caught off guard mentally and physically and loses his gun.  The Tskili Yona claws at him and tries to bite him.  Jamie gets free and runs, grabbing one of the boundary stakes and stabbing the man to death.   Sam Heughan noted that it was about 19 degrees Fahrenheit when they filmed this!

Maril noted that in a very early draft of the script, JQM dies.  But they like the actor, Kyle Rees, and decided to let him live.  I wonder if this is for the season or for another episode or two.

Maril also addressed the several reasons why they did not use a real bear.  First, there are no black bears in Scotland so they would have had to fly in a trained bear.  Second, the most famous bear attack scene is Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant.  That scene took several weeks to rehearse and film and also used very expensive CGI.  (Leo had to undergo four hours of prosthetics for his injuries every day by a team of four!)  That kind of time and expense is obviously not in the Outlander budget.  And finally, they did not want to do anything that might risk Sam’s safety.   Matt Roberts met with Cherokee leaders to discuss why a man might be banished from the tribe.   Maril felt that Sam excelled in this bear fight scene and it was very complicated to film.  Flint Eagle, the actor and stunt man who played Tskili Yona said he has done this type of work for 30 years and never fought with a man as fit as Sam.

Jamie drags the Tskili Yona to the Cherokee camp via a travois.  An English-speaking Cherokee asks him if he killed it.  (Maril noted that many Indians in pre-colonial North Carolina spoke English according to their research.)  Jamie hesitates (this could go either way for him) and said “I did”.  The Cherokee explain the man had raped his woman and so they had banished him.  They could not kill what was dead to them and the man lost his mind over it and terrorized the village.   Jamie asks if there will be peace for his family and that they have no intention of making trouble and as he often did in Scotland, he gave them his word.

Back at camp, JQM apparently has the healing powers of Wolverine because he’s already sitting up.  Jamie invites him to stay with them until he’s better and then the Cherokee return.   The chief (via translation) tells him they want no more blood to be spilled.  They give Jamie the name Bear Killer (and that just tickles one Ian Murray).  Jamie invites them to join their campfire.

Claire speaks with a young woman and her husband’s grandmother, the medicine woman.  She tells Claire that she has medicine now but she will have more when her hair is white.  She also tells her death is a gift from the gods and that it won’t be Claire’s fault. Naturally, Claire is a little confused and taken aback.  The White Raven prophesy will be interesting as it plays out.

At Wakefield house, Roger is taking the last of his boxes out while Fiona is hanging drapes.  Fiona reveals that she knows all about Jamie and Claire going back through the stones.  She shares a horrifying piece of information from a Wilmington newspaper in the 1770’s that Jamie and Claire died in a fire at their home.  Roger feels he cannot break Bree’s heart with this.    The book showed the date but the show smudged the date.  This was because the time between discovery and the fire was a very long time and they wanted to give a sense of urgency.

The cabin walls are slowly going up.  Jamie carries Claire over the threshold and takes her through the floor plan and says he’ll make sure their bed faces east to watch the sunrise.   In a creepy foreshadowing, the scene slowly changes back to Roger’s fireplace.  He decides to call her only to have Gayle tell him that Bree left two weeks ago for Scotland…to visit her mother.  Roger (and the audience) are quite alarmed.   In the book, Bree sent Roger her box of things but the writers wanted to show that they were truly broken up at this point.

All in all, this was a very good episode.  There was a lot of information, the story moved forward and there were lovely Jamie and Claire moments.  Next week, we may find out just what Bree is up to.


Many thanks to the following for images and gifs: farfaraway, laird broch-tuarach, whiskeynottea, Starz, ecampbellsoup, owlnguava

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Title:  The False Bride

Written by Jennifer Yale

Directed by Ben Holt

The podcast for this episode was narrated by executive producers Matt Roberts and Toni Graphia.

The title card for the episode was the wicker stag (also the symbol of Clan Fraser)

These season 4 Recaps on Steroids incorporate an OLA writers’ opinion on the episode woven in with information from both the official Starz podcasts along with comments from the official episode script including things changed or edited for television.


The script and the show have two different openings.  In the script, we begin with River Run and it is the next morning after the horrific scene with the lynch mob and Rufus.  In the show, they started with Roger selling Wakefield house.  This recap will follow the script and for the beginning and then the two sources converge.

On the porch at River Run, Jamie and Claire discuss how they cannot stay any longer.  (This discussion was edited out, one of several unfortunate edits in what was a stellar script.)  In the show, all we see is Claire looking at the slaves on the plantation.  The writers struggled with what to say about the night before and chose to say nothing more than the decision that they must leave. (Matt thinks Claire may even have told him about Joe Abernathy and how much he had to overcome to be a doctor.)  In the book, they took 3-4 months to make this decision but the TV show must continue to move the story along as they only have 13 episodes for 1000 pages.

Jamie goes inside to tell Aunt Jocasta that they can no longer stay.   Matt Roberts notes that Jocasta is a product of her time, this is not excusing being a slave owner but it does help understand why she thinks the way she does.  (Some may argue after seeing how the British oppressed the Highlanders but I believe she left for the US long before that.)  Jamie hates to disappoint her but as he notes “I will only be master of my own soul”.  She convinces him to keep the money he was given and gifts him with his mother’s candlesticks.   The candlestick scene was added later as they became important in another episode.  The scene was beautifully played by Sam Heughan and Maria Doyle Kennedy (who was wonderful as Jocasta).  Jamie is grateful for another memory of his mother.  Matt notes that Sam played this wonderfully as he continued to make eye contact with his aunt, even though she is blind.

Jamie and Ian argue up the stairs about Ian returning to Scotland.  (The script actually calls for them to argue down the stairs so the director must have shot it both ways.)  Ian convinces Jamie that he’s experienced enough in these past few weeks to make his own decisions and Jamie agrees.  John Bell does a great job showing Ian growing up and taking charge of his own life.  In the book, his parents write him to stay in America (I believe he misses his ship) but the writers felt it was important for Ian to make this mature move in support of his future story arc.

Claire goes to say goodbye to Jocasta. Toni Graphia loved this scene.  Both women love Jamie even though they disagree about what is right for him.  Jocasta challenges Claire about whether Jamie can be fulfilled being a printer when he’s a born leader.  Claire reminds her she barely knows the man.  Matt Roberts said this is when both women are right and that those are great scenes to write and watch play out.

As they pack up the wagon, we meet Clarence the mule.  The writers said they decide at the start of the season which animals they will need and felt they must include Clarence as a fan favorite.  John Quincy Myers (JQM) rides up and offers to escort them to the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Jocasta, in her way, was looking out for them by sending word to JQM that they were leaving.  Jamie tips his hat to the plantation.  The show edited out a voiceover by Claire that they were sad to leave as they really wanted to change things but the events of the previous night showed them that they really couldn’t stay.

The script then takes up to Inverness 1970 and Wakefield House.  The show begins here and then shifts to the River Run scenes just described.  Roger has sold his house to Fiona and her new husband, Ernie.  He is playing a guitar and tells them he’s been invited to a Scottish festival in the States.  They toast to their home and the show edited out Roger playing more while Fiona and Ernie dance a jig.  Fiona does some exposition here by saying Roger is courting Briana and Roger admits they only spent last summer in Oxford and Christmas in Boston again. (This mean Claire has been gone about 18 months.)  Since this is 1970 and they do not have the technology of today to communicate, they resorted to letters and expensive international calls. Not the best thing to move a relationship forward.

Sidenote:  I can see Bree getting into Harvard since her father taught there but it is hard to get into MIT, harder for women in the 1070’s and she likely had minimal courses in high school to fit Engineering.  I always thought it was a stretch for the books to just pop her into MIT as an engineering major.

We see Roger coming through the small concourse at Logan Airport in Boston where Bree greets him in a place that you can no longer do in today’s airports due to security.  Their greeting is one of happy to see you but not sure if we should kiss.  In the script, they kiss but in the show they do not.

In the book, the Scottish festival is in New England but they changed it to North Carolina so that Bree could walk the same paths as her parents-although she does not yet know in the story that they migrated there.  The writers also felt a multi-day drive would be good for them to get to know each other even better.  There was debate in the writer’s room whether to keep the Minister’s Cat scene, it seemed to be split. (I think it is too old fashioned, I remember seeing it in A Christmas Carol.)  The reason it was kept was that the writers knew that some tough talks were coming and they wanted a moment of levity.   Bree kisses Roger and he swerves off the road (that scene was done with a stunt driver).  Dairy Queen got some free product placement in that scene, albeit with old school cups.   The road they are driving by Grandfather Mountain morphs into an unpaved road by the same Mountain being traveled by her parents 200 years earlier.  (The best use of CGI in Season 4 so far.)

The Frasers, JQM and Ian are riding and talking.  Ian is fascinated with the Indians and the land.  JWM’s story telling reminded me of Rupert. It was important in this scene to show the beauty of the land so that Jamie could fall in love with it.  Many Scots settled here because it was far from the coast and reminded them of the Highlands.  In some ways, they could make their own rules.

They make camp where JQM tells them he will part with them to trade with the Cherokee.  The writers chose to change from Tuscarora to Cherokee as there was no information on the Tuscarora ways and Cherokee also settled in that area.  Ian wants to go and his aunt and uncle agree with some trepidation.  Jamie asks Claire where they should go and suggests perhaps Boston since she knows the area.  She wants to start somewhere new and reminds him that Boston is soon to be the epicenter of the American Revolution.

Jamie and Claire ride on the next day and chat about Bree and what her life is like in 1970.  The writers planned to have Jamie always ask about Bree so that he can continue to make a connection to her even though he will never see her.  Claire talks about how close Bree and Frank were and I watched Jamie’s face to see if this bothers him.  I personally thought Claire was too cavalier here, not caring that mentioning Frank raise his daughter may sting a bit for Jamie.   Matt Roberts comments that Sam and Caitriona do much of their own riding and are both accomplished at it.

Jamie must repair the shoe on his horse and Claire decides to “test the waters’ about what Jocasta had said to her earlier.  The editors slashed a lot of dialogue in this scene and that was extremely unfortunate.  It was well-written and I have no doubt, well-acted.  In the edited out parts, Claire admits she is still shook over the attack on the river boat.  Jamie admits he’s a violent man and in some ways may be no better than Stephen Bonnet.  Claire disagrees vehemently.  He explains to her that it’s one thing to live as an outlaw and he’d be just fine with it if he was alone.  But he has to provide for his family and especially Claire, who he wants to give the world to if he could.  The scene was still good but it was really disappointing to read the edited parts, perhaps they will include the full scene on the DVD.

There is a crack of thunder and Clarence bolts.  (Real life Clarence is too nice and liked hanging around Sam so they had to coax him to run.)  Claire, being Claire, takes off after him before waiting for Jamie.  He yells after her but assumes she’ll be right back with the mule.  Instead, she gets lost as it gets dark and windy.

We return to the Scottish festival which was recreated by the set and costume team.  They also bought 30-40 American vintage cars.  Toni Graphia attended a few Scottish festivals after Season 1 and they looked a lot like this one, just updated for clothing.   They shot the inside and outside scenes at different times.

The Scottish festival begins to remind Bree of her mother and whether she made it back and found Jamie.  They enter a tent and are asked if they want to dance the ceilidh dance and we see them arm in arm in a circle. (I thought the slo-mo-added in post-production- was a little bit of a cliché.)  Next stop is an artist and Bree wants a picture drawn.  She indicates that her “boyfriend” is a  Mackenzie and Roger is both encouraged by the term boyfriend and that she asked for two Mackenzie tartans.  The other pictures on the wall are the crew.  They edited out a scene where Roger and Bree bang heads in the dance.

Back in the 18th century, Claire is still missing.  Clarence returns so Jamie gets on his horse to look for her.  Claire realizes she’s lost and then a bolt of lightning hits a tree, startling her horse and throwing her to the ground where she hits her head to the point of losing consciousness.

An abrupt edit here back to the festival where Roger is singing on a stage and Bree sees a new side of him.  He sings a ballad called the False Bride (hence the episode title).  The writers had toyed with the idea of an American folk song from the period but realized he himself was Scottish and it made more sense to do a Scottish ballad.  Richard Ranking rehearsed for days and recorded it in advance.  The show is a blend of him singing the song and lip-syncing to his own studio performance.

Bree gives Roger a book of Scottish settlers in colonial America (totally created by their art department) and a bottle of moonshine as this was a dry county in 1970.  They go into her cabin to drink it.  Roger is looking at a mounted deer head when Brianna takes off her shirt and tosses it on the deer.  They begin to kiss and end up on the floor when Roger stops and says he wants it to be perfect.  (As an aside, the script called for much more nudity and “hands on”)  He covers her with her shirt and gets a silver bracelet.  He tells her he wants her and then really gets carried away talking about marriage, kids, etc.  Bree’s head is spinning and she rightfully says it’s too fast and she’s not ready.  (Research shows that in the UK in that time period, a ring was not always used for a proposal.)

The writers explained that they tried to show a balance of the positions of both Roger and Bree so you don’t end up hating either one.  I don’t think they succeeded.   Roger showed a bit of double-standard here by not liking that she wanted to have sex when he himself has had sex.  He was rude and chauvinistic in the scene.  Matt pointed out that the era of American free-love hadn’t reached a minister’s son in the highlands of Scotland and he was still old-fashioned.   He felt this was another scene where they were both right.  Matt and I will have to agree to disagree on that one.   They also edited out a scene where he forcefully kissed her and she bit him.  That explained why his mouth was beating from what looked like a simple slap.  I didn’t understand that when I watched the episode.  That’s a miss by the editing, IMO.  One of many in this episode.

Back in the forest, Claire wakes up and it is now raining.  The writers joked that this was one of the few times in Scotland where they had to create rain.  It’s usually a rule of thumb in the writer’s room that you don’t write weather.

Claire finds a large uprooted tree for shelter.  In the book, it was a cave but there are few inhabitable caves in Scotland to shoot.  (Jamie’s had to be somewhat created for the first part of S3.)  She takes her boots off and finds a skull with a crack in the top and an opal stone.  They had to film the stone a few times to get it to show up.  Claire sees a torch in the distance and thinks it is Jamie but instead sees an Indian who we will later know as Otter Tooth.  The writers discussed how to make this look like a spirit.  Should he flicker, should you see through him?  Claire knows something is up, his torch isn’t going out in the rain and he comes and goes.  It was Matt’s idea to have him turn so she could see he was scalped like her newly found skull.  I thought this was one of the best scenes in the episode.

It is evening at the Festival and time for the calling of the clans.  This was filmed in an over-night shoot, likely around 3 AM.  Brianna tries to talk to Roger but he digs in and wants all or nothing.  The clan caller (UK producer David Brown) starts by calling the Gordons.  When MacKenzies are called, Roger gets up to announce the clan but Bree has gone.  They filmed her leaving but decided to have an empty seat had more impact.  The wicker stag falls away as Roger realizes a beautiful weekend was also burning down as well.  (Fun fact-Sam’s uncle, a renowned wicker artist, created the stag.)

Claire wakes up the next day and her boots are gone.  She sees mud tracks and decides to follow them.  They actually cast the foot prints in cement to make them come out right on film.  She follows them to a stream where Jamie (and her boots) are there.  She sees him with such relief and he runs to her.  They are confused because both don’t realize that the boots got there on their own or with a little  mystical help.  The writers had a hard time explaining to Jamie what Claire saw and what probably happened but in the end, Matt says you have to believe in magic.  She’s a time-traveler and he is a superstitious Highlander so it isn’t a stretch.  She also notices that the skull has silver fillings indicating that her late-night visitor was a time traveler too.  Maril Davis and Toni Graphia debated whether this should be in the trailer but decided the spoiler provided a bit of excitement.  Matt noted that they added more than one filling so that it showed up well on camera.

Claire finds strawberries on a cliff and Jamie tells her the story of the first Fraser, a Mr Freseliere.   There was a lot of discussion about the view by the writers.  They wanted to make it epic and majestic.  Matt knows that even though the theme of the season is “what is home”, he knows Jamie’s home is Claire.  Yet, Jamie wants to give her four walls of her own.    Jamie already can see his entire vision for what to do with the land and Claire knows that look.  He needs to know if she trusts him because if they stay, they must make a dangerous deal with governor Tryon.  I get the sense it becomes a cross that Boston Tea Party bridge when we come to it scenario.  The first law of thermodynamics scene was originally meant to be here but they ended up editing it out and refilming it in episode 401 at the very end of the filming season when it was warmer.  I think it was a good decision but more book dialogue for this scene would have been a nice replacement.


The scene ends with some beautiful music by Bear McCreary so that they realize it’s home and it will be called Fraser’s Ridge.  The laird is back.


Image Sources with thanks to:  laid-brochtuarach, ecampbellsoup, nighean-donn, Starz

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Title: America the Beautiful

        Written by Matthew B. Roberts and Toni Graphia

      Directed by Julian Holmes

The podcast for this episode was narrated by executive producers Matt Roberts and Maril Davis.

The title card for the episode was an American bald eagle catching a fish in a lake.

These season 4 Recaps on Steroids incorporate an OLA writers’ opinion on the episode woven in with information from both the official Starz podcasts along with comments from the official episode script including things changed or edited for television.

When we last saw Jamie and Claire at the end of Season 3, they had washed ashore on the (not yet) United States in the colony of Georgia.  We also learned that the ship had run aground with survivors.  We learn in this episode that Young Ian, Fergus, Marsali, Lesley and Hayes all survived the shipwreck.

The episode starts in 2000 BC in North America.  No, Claire has not traveled in time that far back, although the creation of the stone circle in North America is a harbinger of things to come or as Matt noted “a payoff if you’re paying attention”.   This scene was planned well in advance of the season and was admittedly random and not connected to a specific episode.   The voice-over from Claire notes man’s fascination with circles of all kinds.  From this ancient stone circle, we shift to 18th century Georgia and a hangman’s noose.

Jamie is on a mission and pays off a guard to be able to see a friend who is scheduled to hang.  We see that it is Gavin Hayes who looks scared and sad and admits to sleeping with a married woman and then killing her husband in self-defense.  The writers wanted to make sure that the person to be hanged was someone we cared about.  In the book, the hanged Scot is charged with theft but show research showed that this was not a hanging offense during that time period so the writers changed it to something more serious.   Jamie has a plan to help Hayes escape but Hayes is reluctant to have Jamie risk his own safety and that of the others.  (They had to shoot this scene a few times due to the actor’s heavy brogue-the dailies showed that he was hard to understand.)  Hayes instead asks Jamie to grant him the final wish of seeing a smile from a friend.

Jamie has brought rum to help Hayes get drunk and maybe lesson the fear of his imminent death.  Another prisoner asks for the same and thus is the first encounter with the new antagonist for the Fraser family.   He is described in the script as one Stephen Bonnet, late 30’s handsome and Irish.    He is smooth in both charm and the way he moves his body, reminding one of Jack Sparrow or even a snake, but the producers say that was all the choice of new cast member, Ed Speleers (Downton Abbey).

The town of Wilmington was created by Jon Gary Steele and his set crew.  Everything in Scotland was old and stone while everything in the colonies was new and wood.  Much of the town is just a façade with interior scenes shot on set.  As most know by now, all of these scenes were actually shot in Scotland and they even brought in their own mud!

Claire, Lesley, Fergus and Marsali are there to witness the hanging and support Hayes, despite Jamie suggesting that they not watch.  The drums beat out the march of the condemned men and this was deliberate start to associate the episode with Drums of Autumn.  Hayes is first and Jamie pushes his way to the front with a forced smile on his face as Hayes requested.  The floor gives way and Hayes is hanged. (My 7th grade English teacher once told me that pictures are hung, people are hanged.)  The smile leaves Jamie’s face and is replaced with one of sadness and regret that in this new land, he does not have the credibility or knowledge of the laws to help him in a way he might have in Scotland.  A brilliant job of physical acting by Sam Heughan here and Matt was very complimentary about him in the podcast.   Lesley is distraught over the death of his longtime friend and in his grief, he creates the distraction that Jamie had originally planned for Hayes.  The handsome Irishman escapes.   (Producers note-this scene had 150 extras.)

We cut to the Sky Boat song opening credits with this season’s version including a very American southern sound with banjos.  It’s always great to watch the first episode credits, not only for the new song version (although I miss the original) but also to see if you can make out book scenes in the quick glimpses shown.

A deleted scene was next where Jamie and Claire are walking to the tavern and discussing how they should sell the gemstones they salvaged from the wreckage.   This is a famous book scene where Jamie is storing them in his crotch and Claire notes wryly that he’s a walking inducements to Harlots.  I hope they include this in the DVD.

In the tavern, Fergus, Ian and Lesley enter and tell Jamie that the local priest will not bury Gavin in the cemetery since he was a murderer.   They decide they will go there at night to bury him.  Lesley’s grief is still palpable and he is adamant that Hayes will have a proper send-off.  He begins to sing in Gaelic this song of mourning and tribute.  The English translation is below.  Matt noted that Keith Fleming sang this in the table read and had everyone in tears.  She said if they had known he had such a beautiful voice, they would have written more songs into Season 3.

Och na och. We are full of despondency that you left us, Gavin.  

And we are aggrieved, Son of Seamus, Son of Louisa. 

You left the place where your youth was nurtured.

Hear him, hear him, you left us all with sadness, Gavin.

Hear him, hear him, It’s a pity that you are not so very young.

You were raised in Cihl-Mhartainn in the area of Dun Domhull.

You were born in the town of 1727.

Hear him, hear him, you left us all with sadness, Gavin.

Hear him, hear him, It’s a pity that you are not so very young.

Hear him, hear him, you left us all with sadness, Gavin.

Hear him, hear him, It’s a pity that you are not so very young.

 As Lesley sings, Jamie joins in with a low (slightly out of tune) voice and the rest of the family does as well.  Scots in the tavern hear a song of home and also join in.  Music has bound them together as a people, despite being so far from home with so much uncertainty ahead.  But family and culture survive no matter where you are.      Matt commented that Jamie is known to be tone-deaf in the books so there will be no solo for him (although rumor has it that Sam has a nice voice).

In the book, the singing actually drives the British soldiers away but that was cut for time.  As it turns out, there was debate of making this episode into two parts but it was rejected as not a good idea for an opening episode.   I’m very glad because that would have been a waste of an episode when there are only 13 to cover 1000 pages.   And I think it forced them to make the story tighter.

Nightfall and Jamie is driving the wagon and family into the cemetery to bury Hayes.  They discuss what to do with the gemstones while they are in town.  Ian and Jamie begin to dig and Ian has PTSD flashbacks to his time with Geillis, both in his sexual abuse and fear of being killed.  He tells Jamie how Geillis only wanted virgin boys and he was not a virgin (a surprise to Jamie).  Matt noted that this was not necessary plot wise but it was very necessary for character development.  Jamie tells Ian that he’s been in that same situation.    He eases Ian’s guilt by telling him that “your cock does not have a conscience but you do”.  Toni said they fought for that line and I’m glad they did.  It was something that Ian could understand.

Matt loves writing Jamie and Ian together.  Jamie sees himself in Ian-the one son who wanted to see the world.  With Ian in this scene, Jamie shows both his tender side and his warrior side.  And he sees how his memories of own sexual abuse, both violently in the hands of Black Jack and emotionally at the hands of Geneva can be overcome with time and talk.  Claire helped teach him that and he pays that gift forward with Ian.

They return to the wagon and everybody is spooked as the tarp begins to rise in human form.  But it’s that slippery Irishman again.  Jamie does not trust him yet but after hearing his story, he tells him to be on his way.  Bonnet has other plans though because he knows the redcoats will be looking for him.  And here we see why Bonnet is even more dangerous than BJR.  While BJR had power, you never questioned whether he was evil.   He was just layers of evil.  Bonnet is charming, can appear vulnerable and has a distinctive and uncanny ability to find your weakness and use it against you. In this case, he knows they are all grieving and pretends to be a friend of Hayes to stay with them and aid his escape.

Toni Graphia said they discussed his conscience to determine whether he was a psychopath or a sociopath.  I looked up the difference and it seems that while both have a poor inner voice to define the difference between right and wrong, but a psychopath has no conscience about it.   The producers always have a character discussion with a new actor and in this case, they said he should be charming but mimic your emotions and feed on your weakness.  Ed delivered these notes perfectly.

Jamie and Claire agree to drive the wagon forward while the others go back to town.  They are stopped by a group of redcoats looking for the escaped man.  Jamie thinks quickly and admits they have a body but claim it is Hayes.  The British leader still has one of his men stab the “body”.  In the book, Bonnet doesn’t flinch but the writers (and I) thought this was impractical so they added the leg of venison into the story.   Claire attends to Bonnet’s wound (Caitriona Balfe is so natural in these medical scenes) and he uses his ability to bond with his future victims with her.   So, he fools them both but the writers deliberately want to make Jamie and Claire not always right or not always the hero to make them more human.  Matt says Jamie is the hardest character to write, given his few flaws.

The Foreshadow knows:  Bonnet describes his fear of drowning and also comments on Claire’s two rings.

Jamie and Claire camp for the night and in an evening of a mutual sponge-bath, the stress of the day gets to them and they talk about how none of it compares to what they suffered in losing each other for 20 years.  And their love sustained, despite time and centuries apart.  This is the famous First Law of Thermodynamics scene brought forth from later in the book.  Their lovemaking is more urgent, bonding and one ultimately of gratefulness that they are back together.  (And this is the first time they had been alone together in a long time, although I would have wondered if anybody was in the woods.)  And Jamie teachers Claire some physics of his own.  Lovely portrayal by both the leads in this scene.

Matt called writing this the elephant in the room as most book-readers might expect the also famous sex on the river rock scene but it was far too cold in Scotland.  The scene that was actually shot was re-shot at the end of filming because it was so cold the first time that the actors needed to stay dressed and the studio feedback was not sexy enough.  They managed to make it both sexy and tender, despite the fact that I bet it was still not warm when they reshot it.   Matt commented on how their chemistry really made the scene so beautiful.  They did delete the first part of the scripted scene where he walks up to her.

The next morning, Claire is looking out over the mountainside and telling Jamie how all of this will eventually become the United States of America.  (Just loved how they inserted Jamie’s sense of humor into this scene as well.)   At the same time, Jamie learns that life will not be so idyllic for the Native Americans who will suffer some of the same indignities as the Highlanders.  The CGI in this scene was a bit troublesome as you could tell they were staring at a green screen and in one shot from behind, Claire is talking yet you cannot see Caitriona’s mouth moving.

They return to Wilmington and a deleted scene indicates that they were invited to a dinner at the Livingston household.   As they dress, Claire worries her old dress will be appropriate and Jamie assures her it will especially with a beautiful necklace that he had created out of their ruby.  He hopes that it will show off the stone for an attending wealthy Englishman who may buy it and help finance their voyage home to Scotland.   Jamie hugs her from behind as she looks at the ruby (Toni loves this shot) and Jamie bows to her to “invite” her to dinner. (Maril loved that part.)

Dinner party scenes are not my favorite.  In this case, as fellow British citizens, they fit in and yet they don’t fit in.  They don’t wear powdered wigs and they are not pretentious.   Claire manages to catch the eye of the wealthy gentleman who may buy her ruby while Jamie is brought into the library to talk to Governor Tryon.    Several fun facts to include with this scene.

  1. Governor Tryon was a real person and the real governor of North Carolina
  2. Actor Tim Downie (Tryon) used to act in a series of very funny commercials with Sam Heughan for Tennents Ale. You can find several on YouTube
  3. Sam indicated this room was haunted and our Outlander America twitter admin tweeted at Tim about it. Tim replied that every time Jamie said the word Jacobite in filming it, a book fell from the shelf.   I wonder if the poltergeist was a Jacobite or a redcoat!

Tryon mentions land grants that are available for immigrant Scots.  It is a tempting offer and he advises Jamie that even the technically a large sum of money is required but indicates a loophole there.  He asks Jamie to consider it.

Back in their rented room, Claire and Jamie discuss their next steps.  Claire has sold the ruby for 100 pounds.  But there is also Tryon’s offer.  Jamie is smart enough to know that Tryon will want his loyalty in return against the regulators (the early American patriots).  But Claire warns him that this time the British will lose the war when the American Revolution actually happens in about eight years’ time.  The biggest factor here is that Jamie knows this will one day be Brianna’s country and since it is impossible for him to be able to guide her as his father, this is the only way he could have a direct hand in making this a good land for her.   His eyes begin to water at the joy that idea brings to him.  He also sees this as a way to have a fresh start in a new place.   (Later in a scripted but cut scene, we learn that Clare had applied for US citizenship in the 1960’s.)

Jamie and Claire make a decision and head to the Tavern to catch up with the family.  They come upon young Ian who has a rather large furry friend.  He explains he won the dig “dicing” but after receiving a stern warning about continuing to gamble from his aunt and uncle, he turns over some coin as well.  Rollo becomes a new and important member of the family.

Jamie tells the group that they have sold the ruby but have decided to try and make a life in the colonies.  They are not yet sure where they will settle but will decide after visiting Aunt Jocasta in River Run.  Ian is excited about this idea but Uncle Jamie squashes is dreams by telling him that he must return him to Scotland so he can be the man his mother wants him to be.  Fergus and Lesley are given a part of the ruby profits but Lesley asks if he can stay with them for a while.  Fergus and Marsali reveal that they too will stay as Marsali is pregnant.   (This is a change from the books as she finds out she is pregnant in Jamaica and stays there until after giving birth. I’m glad they made this change.)  Jamie is delighted and Claire is tentatively so given her previous talk with Marsali about not wanting a child right away.  Marsali assures her that she is happy and Claire gives her adopted son a hug.  Jamie also stands and hugs him.  I wonder if it occurred to both at that moment that they will soon be grandparents.   

They commission a river boat to take them to Jocasta’s plantation with promise of helping the work (thanks to young Ian and Lesley’s backs).  The boat scenes were filmed separately and unfortunately you can tell because the CGI in the boat scenes are not great.  In some scenes, Jamie’s head seems almost 3D and the CGI is too obvious.   Jamie tells Claire the story of Jocasta Cameron Cameron Cameron-drawing it out like the Scottish storyteller he is.

Claire expresses her concern over the assumed slave steering the boat but she learns that the man was freed after saving his owner’s life.  This will not be the first time I agree with Claire’s position but wishes she acted with a little more finesse.  The man has a beautiful baritone voice and I wonder what he would sound like singing with Lesley.

The next morning Jamie gives Claire a gift for their 24th anniversary. It is a beautiful medical box complete with medicine, tools and a microscope.  This was a lovely scene in the book and brought to life beautifully by Sam and Caitriona (and the antique shop commissioned to make the box).   Matt indicated that they had to make a few versions as the main one was too heavy for Caitriona to carry around.   They edited out the part where she finds the physician’s notes of Dr. Daniel Rawling.  Jamie seems happy that she loves it as he feels somewhat guilty for not being able to give her much.  She assures him that all she needs is the ring he gave her as she passed down his mother’s pearls to their daughter.

That night as they slept, the boat was boarded by Bonnet and his band of thieves.  They hold the crewman at gunpoint on shore and Bonnet entices Jamie to attack him where Jamie is then grabbed by several men who steal the gems.  Bonnet gives them instructions (per the script) not to kill Jamie

Ian is shoved to the ground as is Lesley.  One thief tries to get Claire’s rings but Lesley prevents him.  Bonnet comes into the boat cabin and with complete indifference slits Lesley’s throat.  He then forces Claire to give up both her rings and on instinct she tries to swallow them.   He forces one out and leaves.  As Claire gags and brings up one ring, she is distraught to find that it is Frank’s ring and that she has lost Jamie’s.  The one thing she said was all she needed.  Jamie staggers in to find the horrific scene.  I agree with the producers’ decision to deviate from the book and have her lose Jamie’s ring as it is the more recognizable of the two.   (Book readers will know why this is important.)

As those who have seen the episode know, this last scene was without dialogue (even though there is dialogue in the script) and we hear Ray Charles’ version of America the Beautiful.  Interesting here is that Bear McCreary had written an extremely beautiful version of the same song (per Toni) but they chose to go with the other version.  I understand what they were going for with the choice but I personally did not like it for several reasons.  I didn’t like the choice of the song and especially with the words, it took me out of the scene.  I didn’t like the symbolism.  And Caitriona noted during a promotional panel that she didn’t realize that they were going to do that.   Sometimes I think the writers and/or producers fall in love with one of their own ideas that they stick with it, even knowing that a decent portion of the fans won’t like it.  (You can’t please everybody but when you can safely predict that maybe 40-50% won’t like it, then it seems kind of selfish to hang on to your pet idea.)

The episode was a very good start to the new season and an effective pivot from both Scotland and the Caribbean.  The last scene, music notwithstanding, had me captivated.   The cast did an outstanding job and all the players have gelled nicely.  Welcome to America.


Official images from Starz.  Gifs made by OLA.


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And so another season finale is upon us. I must admit, I’m a little relieved because it’s been so much harder this season with the show dropping at midnight Saturday/Sunday instead of Friday/Saturday. I’m looking forward to sleeping again, haha. I also CANNOT wait to have a day when I can marathon through this incredible season all in one go (I think it’s a pretty solid rival for me in terms of Season 1 as a whole for favorite season; now if it was just up against 1A it would be a much tighter race).

I was a little nervous going into this finale because of the changes that have been made to various plot-lines through this half of the season as well as some of my least favorite scenes from the source material but overall I am THRILLED with how they adapted this episode and so many of the little touches it has.

His Excellency, Lord John Grey

This is probably my favorite scene in the whole damn episode. I certainly suspected that Lord John would save the day in terms of getting Jamie out of custody but the execution of this bit of plotting was beyond my wildest expectations. First, having Fergus and Marsali find Claire’s dress and note and having Marsali 1) call him Fergus Fraser and then 2) insist she’s not being left behind were adorable and kickass. Then having Fergus’ solution be to find and enlist Lord John’s help was subtle genius. Looks like Fergus was able to pay attention to a little more than just Marsali while they were at the Governor’s ball last episode—but then who could have missed the eyes Lord John was shooting Jamie’s way?

Watching Lord John pick Lieutenant Captain (as I will forever think of him from now on) apart was a complete delight. The sarcasm, the cat and mouse of it all, the sheer joy he got from getting to wield his power. It’s clear from last episode that Lord John was not looking forward to the posting so he’s certainly taking pleasure in it where and when he can. When Lieutenant Captain left I half expected Lord John to turn to Jamie and say, “Well, that was fun. Thank you.” I cannot wait for more of Lord John in Season 4, especially getting to see him visit the Ridge with Willie and then to see him interact with Brianna.

Yi Tien Cho and Margaret Campbell

The adaptation of Yi Tien Cho has probably been my favorite adaptive alteration of the entire season with the subtle changes to the Campbells’ storyline also ranking pretty high. Bringing them together the way they did in the last two episodes feels so much more satisfying than anything to do with these characters in the book. In the book, Yi Tien Cho struggles so much with his identity and the frustrations of how and why he left China, with the indignities of being an outsider. We’ve seen some elements of that in the show, most notably within his life story in 3×09 but also at the Governor’s ball and I’m sure there was some resentment at being kind of scapegoated over the Arabella situation (haha, that was totally unintentional!). It makes sense that with Margaret’s “gifts” that she of all people would see him properly and he, being from a different place as well, can see her beyond what her brother and society push her to be. The show still brought in some major plot elements related to these characters—like Yi Tien Cho killing Margaret’s brother—but by changing the motivation and circumstances they’ve added greater weight and reduced the strong underpinnings of coincidence that start to pile up at the end of the novel. (That said, I could have done with less of the chicken’s blood, crocodile, etc. going on in these scenes; I totally appreciate how much they dialed it down from the book but it still felt sensationalized and like it distracted from rather than added to the scene).

The scene with Brianna “talking” through Margaret is one I always have a tough time with in the book, though a lot of that is because of the more sensational trappings. As I mentioned before, it’s dialed down here in the show, which helps, but not as much as the joining together of the rabbit and the bird (though, the bird would have been a bit more powerful if there had been other allusions to it in 3×02 and 3×03 the way there were with rabbits).

Geillis, the Prophecy and Abandawe

The Fraser Prophecy in the books is a bit… complicated. It’s only vaguely touched upon in Voyager and it’s very unclear what Geillis would do if/when she got back to the 20th century and found Brianna—it’s certainly not implied that she would kill Brianna. So there really is little driving Claire and Jamie to stop Geillis from traveling back aside from the fact that she’s planning to kill Young Ian as a sacrifice to help her get where she wants to go. The way the show has handled Geillis’ storyline from Voyager is another wonderful bit of adaptation. It brings Geillis and the Campbells together in a much more cohesive way and the altered prophecy raises the stakes while simultaneously clarifying everything. I can’t get over just how much better the lines of conflict have been drawn for the show compared to the book; as much as I love the high seas shenanigans in the book, they are undeniably convoluted and confusing. I also loved the way that they were able to bring back Brianna’s encounter with Geillis from last season’s finale.

The odd yet compelling nature of Claire’s friendship with Geillis reaches its inevitable and devastating conclusion (I always find it incredibly fitting that Jamie is the one who killed Dougal and Claire is the one who kills Geillis; it speaks so much to what all involved are willing to die/kill for). This is the second time we’ve seen Claire kill since she returned to the 18th century and this time it was no accident. It was also no stranger and the shock she goes into is so palpable—though realizing she’d held Geillis’ skull in her hands 200 years in the future not knowing she was the one to deliver the fatal blow… if anyone ever needed a reason to go into shock, that’s certainly it.

Room Enough

This was a scene I had pretty much accepted we wouldn’t be getting because of where it falls in the book and where that fell in relation to turtle soup in the show. It seemed like we’d only be getting one of the two and of the two, I think turtle soup is a little more iconic. BUT moving it here worked PERFECTLY! In terms of the episode, this scene is the eye of the storm. Everything before it is action that ties up the loose plot ends for the season and everything that comes after it is intense action that eventually sets up for the show’s new setting. But in those captain’s quarters for that brief scene there is peace and playfulness. There are no looming threats and there’s no clock ticking in terms of they have to be somewhere or find someone before X can go wrong. I’m thrilled that there was room enough in the season and in the episode to include yet another iconic tryst with so much dialogue straight from the page.


Could this whole sequence have been any more beautiful and poignant? It’s such a visual and emotional feast. I don’t know how I feel about them opening with it the way they did but the use of Faith’s theme only adds to the tear-jerking beauty. There are bits that are a little over the top—okay, so I’m pretty much just talking about the huge pull-back to see that they’re in the eye of the storm (one step too far for me personally)—but I’m both fully aware that they’re playing my emotions like those piano keys and I’m only too happy to let them. There are so many brief images, small moments that catch the eye in these sequences—the way he lets go of his dirk as soon as he’s cut through the ropes that have Claire and the way the dirk just flutters on its way to the sea floor; the way he puts Claire’s arm over the wreckage and then tilts her head so she’ll be able to breath…

There is one thing I’m wondering in the wake of this ending: have the photographs actually been lost? Jamie is wearing his coat before he goes in after Claire and then it’s gone when they’re under water… but would he have had the photos in his coat pocket when he knew he was going to be out on deck in the storm? Wouldn’t he have packed them safely away before heading out so they wouldn’t be damaged? And in the show, the ship isn’t completely lost. It runs aground. So presumably, many/most of their possessions that were on the ship when they went overboard would have survived… Okay, now I want a scene at the beginning of next season where they’re combing through the wrecked ship and Jamie and Claire find the photos in their plastic baggie floating in the water in one of the ship’s compartments, that they’re not just lost at sea but we get to see their reactions to the visibly ruined photos (I feel like them seeing Brianna’s face distorted and everything will add to their reactions when she shows up in person).

One of the reasons I love Voyager so much is the ending. After being forced to use an alias of one sort or another through most of the book, Jamie finally gets to introduce himself as Jamie Fraser with his wife Claire and no threat of arrest or other burden. It’s such a powerful moment, especially thematically. I can’t help but feel that a little of that impact was lost because of how the Jamie Fraser/Alexander Malcolm stuff in Edinburgh and aboard the various ships was handled but the performance the lines was still perfect.

Final Random and Not-So-Random Thoughts:

— For a moment there when the camera pulled back to show the beach, just before it started to zoom into the interior, I thought it might pull back and travel along the beach far enough for us to see the Artemis run aground with Fergus, Marsali, and young Ian milling about and helping salvage cargo or the injured crewmen.

— Thank heaven they didn’t do the “zombies”

— Young Ian may be traumatized beyond belief but he has his priorities straight. Just look at the deft way he grabs each and every one of those gems while Jamie is watching Claire and pulling her back from the passage.

— My need for Yi Tien Cho and Margaret to visit the Ridge in Season 4 is only getting bigger.

— I kind of wonder what it would have been like for Jamie, Claire, and company to actually sail all the way back to Scotland. What would Jenny and Ian have made of their adventure and return? What would Laoghaire do when she found out about Fergus and Marsali (and where would the two of them settle)?

— I love how the mast that fell was the one we saw them fixing in 3×11. It’s one of those continuity things that makes the whole season more cohesive.


Thanks to Lenny9987 for her review (https://lenny9987.tumblr.com/post/168427811299/outlander-3×13-eye-of-the-storm).

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Thanks, Lenny, for allowing us to post your review! (www.lenny9987.tumblr.com)

Outlander 309, “The Duldrums”

I’m a huge fan of shipnanigans in the books (and in general) so I’ve been really looking forward to this part of the season and this first episode aboard ship did NOT disappoint! Every element of the episode from the visuals to the music to the story and performances worked, individually and with each other. It’s another stellar example of the deft adaptation we’ve been seeing throughout this season. I only have a few main thematic threads I’m going to pick at this week and then a lot of little things that delighted me but first, my take on the new opening credit sequence which is easily the element of the episode I liked least (aside from seeing and hearing way more vomiting and retching than I ever needed to see on television, thank you very much).

New Opening Credits

knew that we’d wind up getting new credits this episode so I was prepared for them… mostly. I LOVED the new visuals for the credits—so lush and vibrant in every aspect, lovely parallels to previous bits of credit sequences the other times they’ve changed. But I don’t care for the instrumentation. I was confident the music would change because, as with their time in France, the change in setting makes the instrumentation feel dissonant. Being a HUGE fan of Black Sails and the work Bear McCreary did on that show’s score, I expected something more along those lines for this half of the season, so a lot of my disappointment stems from expectations that weren’t just not met, but were so laughably different from what the reality proved to be. I was expecting/hoping for some flutes, pipes, and fiddles like what we see in the impromptu singalong (right before Claire finds Jamie receiving his acupuncture treatment), maybe some spoons or other instruments one would find or make aboard ship (and all of that couldn’t have been further from what we actually got). But even without going into this with a certain level of expectation, I don’t think I would like this instrumentation. All it makes me think of is commercials for cruises to the Caribbean. I feel like the aim was to pay homage to the islands’ native and enslaved peoples—which is a goal I can respect, even though I disagree with such a choice if that’s what they were aiming for at all—but it came off (to me at least) as being a sanitized and touristy version. With so much of these episodes taking place at sea or among the western-held colonial ports, it only heightens the gimmicky taste it leaves in my mouth.

But really, that’s the only thing in the episode that bothered me.

I’m Not Superstitious, but I Am a Little Stitious: Feeling Control When Powerless

We’ve heard tell many times before about how superstitious the people of the 18th century—and especially those in the highlands—are. It was fascinating to see that taken to a whole other level as we meet the seasoned sailors of the Artemis’ crew. It was a time when that means of travel was prominent and still incredibly dangerous and unpredictable—as we get several glimpses of in the episode. I LOVED the way they used superstition as a way to emphasize the difference between fault and blame—both of which have been very present in the last few episodes as Jamie and Claire confront the pain of their separation and its sources (among other aspects where it creeps up). It also ties both to control and people’s need to feel like they have some say in what’s happening to them, whether it’s logical or not. Jamie and Claire are among the most skeptical of the crew’s superstitions throughout the episode, and annoyed by the captain’s willingness to let the crew have their way in what they see as unjust and ridiculous situations. But they also wield more power and control than many on the ship who have to follow orders and just hope for the best. Jamie is in a position of command over his small group of Ardsmuir men and over the fate of Fergus and Marsali. And he wields that power by withholding his blessing and keeping the would-be newlyweds apart for propriety’s sake early in the episode and then later by talking Hayes down from the mast. With Yi Tien Cho’s help (and a few well-placed needles), Jamie is able to control his seasickness. And when the opportunity for moments alone with Claire present themselves, they both take them and enjoy them. Claire and her ginger tea may not have been responsible for conquering Jamie’s seasickness, but she wields more control over the crew as the ship’s surgeon than most women would expect to have. She goes toe to toe with the captain on several occasions and is able to hold her own, yielding when she chooses and humoring him more than anything.

Yet for these two who have been so dismissive of the superstitions and the control they allow the powerless to feel, at the end of the episode they’re the ones who have completely lost control, as the Porpoise gets underway without returning Claire to the Artemis and Jamie must stand and watch her go. I’ll be interested to see if and how the issue of control and powerlessness is addressed next week.

Jamie and Claire: Finding Calm

As mentioned earlier, one of the places Jamie exerts his control is in the matter of Fergus and Marsali. When Jamie says that it was different for him and Claire because they were forced to marry, Fergus laughs and throws the romantic story he’s heard many times back in Jamie’s face, which is really the sweetest way he could have called Jamie a hypocrite. But I digress. What I love about this scene is how it shows the way that Fergus at least sees Jamie and Claire and their relationship as an example to be admired and followed. He aligns himself with Jamie repeatedly in the scene, most prominently when he says that the reason he hadn’t told Jamie was that he was a coward. When Fergus claims that there are no secrets between him and Marsali, Jamie presses him on whether he’d told Marsali everything. Fergus isn’t lying to Marsali by not telling her about other women he’d been with, but it isn’t full honesty either—something on which Jamie has had a very recent and emphatic refresher. As Claire has been able to move past the Laoghaire incident, Marsali stands by Fergus as well.

They’ve both learned a lot from that incident though they still express a few doubts and fears in its wake. When Claire opens the trunk to find that Jamie kept her clothes from France she is surprised by the sentimentality of the gesture (especially when selling such fine clothes would have put money in the Lallybroch coffers when it was desperately needed). It is a thorough contrast to Frank who packed Claire’s things away in a suitcase and left them on the bed at Reverend Wakefield’s while he went back to Oxford. While for Frank those clothes are perhaps tainted by the search for Claire and the insistence of many that she must have left him for another man, Jamie’s associations with Claire’s clothes from France are similarly full of memories of a difficult time in their marriage as they struggled to recover from his Wentworth ordeal and ultimately lost their first child. In both cases we’ll get to see Claire re-don those clothes but to very different effect. When she again wears the clothes that Reverend Wakefield and Mrs. Graham had saved for her after Frank left them behind, it is with resignation as she watches Frank burn the clothes she’d been wearing the last time she was with Jamie. I look forward to seeing her emotional reaction as she dresses in her old clothes from France for the first time in twenty years.

Jamie fears what Claire will do if she feels a lack of purpose so when her tea fails to cure his seasickness and Yi Tien Cho’s acupuncture succeeds, he hides it from her. Where last time Claire reacted with hurt and betrayal to Jamie’s deception, here she is thoroughly amused and is able to reassure him that it’s not her feelings about him that have thrown her for a loop in her return. Even as the ship is becalmed and everyone else’s emotions and tensions are running high, Jamie and Claire are relatively calm in their relationship (if a bit sexually deprived). When Claire feels homesick for Bree, Jamie is there holding her. When they’re at dinner and the captain brings up the issue of the crew calling for a Jonah, they’re on the same page in terms of protecting their people and standing up for reason over emotion where people’s lives are at stake. As Jamie ascends the rigging to urge Hayes back down to safety, Claire calls for reasonableness on the deck and tries to push the captain to act on what’s right and will protect a life rather than what will placate the crew. Their bumbling in the hallway as they finally find time to be alone and intimate together. There’s another bump when the acting captain of the Porpoise seeks medical advice and assistance and Claire proposes to go aboard ship to examine the ill men. Jamie bristles, not wanting to let Claire out of his sight (even after weeks/months). But when Claire lays out her reasons for going, Jamie listens and doesn’t dismiss her or diminish her feelings on the matter; he understands and finds a way to connect her situation to his own personal experience while still ensuring she is aware of his concerns and fears.

Having reached a point of calm and understanding in their relationship, it’s time for external factors to start assailing them. Seeing how the show tracks their relationship after they’re reunited following the incident with the Porpoise will be interesting given how Jamie’s biggest fears for her leaving the Artemis have been realized.

Yi Tien Cho: Becoming the Jonah

For me, the most emotional moment of the episode was Yi Tien Cho finally telling his story and then releasing the pages into the finally rising wind. It built so beautifully through the episode and tied up the Jonah thread so perfectly. Watching Yi Tien Cho writing poetry on the deck with water is such a compelling image to start with. The water quickly dries and the words of the poem are lost—words only he can read and appreciate. Claire asks him about what he’s writing and what it is written on the scroll he keeps with him.

YTC: I’ve been scribing the story of my life in China so that it will not be forgotten. A story told is a life lived.
C: Will you tell it to me?
YTC: Not yet. Once I tell it, I have to let it go.

That written account of his life is all that’s left of who he was in those years.

This scene is before the wind dies and they spend weeks stranded on a calm sea. As the crew look for someone to blame and something to do to restore the balance of luck they feel has been upset, the first they look towards are those who are Other with Yi Tien Cho high on the list as he pulls the acupuncture needles out of Jamie’s face, though they move on to other targets and home in on Hayes. As the tensions rise following Hayes near suicide on the mast, Yi Tien Cho spots a sea bird (was anyone else half-expecting it to be a pelican and does anyone recognize what bird it actually was?) and quickly realizes that the weather will soon break restoring wind and bringing fresh water. When he draws new characters on the deck, they do not dry showing that the air is heavy with coming moisture. But he also realizes the crew won’t wait unless someone makes them and so Yi Tien Cho makes himself the sacrificial Jonah cast into the sea by sharing his story at last. As he told Claire earlier, a story told is a life lived. He mesmerizes the crew long enough and deftly enough to defuse the situation thanks in no small part to the wind rising as he finishes and casts those pages with his life written upon them into the air and off to sea. A life lived and let go.

This single aspect of the story made the episode for me and I couldn’t help getting incredibly choked up over it all, something I was not expecting given how it’s all handled in the book. It reminds me a lot of the honeypot scene in Dragonfly in Amber and how the show, in adapting it, brought so much weight to something that was quite different tonally in the books. The way they’ve brought Yi Tien Cho to life and the performance of Gary Young elevated an episode that already thrilled me beyond measure. Definitely WAY up there for this season (which I am so happy and relieved has been solid, well-developed and executed and just plain consistent in a way that Season 2 wasn’t).

Other Thoughts:

— I will think of Marsali as “the baggage from Lallybroch” for a LONG time.

— I had a very different reaction to the Goodnight Moon section. I mean, it is incredibly moving but my immediate response was, “I didn’t realize Goodnight Moon was that old” (and yes, I googled it’s publication date because that really threw me for a minute) and it also gave me Written in the Stones feels because it was so close to a scene I’d written in that (God Bless the Moon).

— A little part of me wondered if Jamie and Claire finally banging was going to be what got the ship moving again (especially if Claire bared her breast during their sexytimes, haha)

— OMG Pound is such an adorable baby of a Royal Navy sailor! I’m already emotional over his looming death (unless they change it? *she pondered hopefully*)

— I can’t wait to see LJG next week and I’m desperate to see more of Claire and Marsali’s relationship evolution.

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Another review by Lenny.  Thanks, Lenny, for allowing us to post your review.  https://lenny9987.tumblr.com/post/167194262109/outlander-03×08-first-wife

Outlander 03×08 First Wife

I think I might have been looking forward to this episode almost as much as print shop. As much as I love the initial joy of Jamie and Claire’s reunion, it’s the emotional baggage they have to deal with that I love most about Voyager and the show has done an even better job of making me FEEL the changes of twenty years (where the book, being in Claire’s perspective, feels more like it’s telling me that those changes are there).

Now, because I was looking forward to this episode so much, I tried really hard not to build up my expectations of it too much. Well, I don’t know how much that actually factored into things but I LOVED this episode (as I do pretty much everything that takes place at Lallybroch). Everything flowed beautifully and it was such a character-driven episode (which are generally speaking, my favorites). In this case, so much of the episode was reliant upon one-on-one discussions and examining personal relationships broken by time and distance so that’s how I’m going to break down my analysis this week –– the relationships.

Jamie and Ian

Despite Jamie lying to Ian’s face about Young Ian in last week’s episode, these two old friends are quickly able to get past their differences, in large part because Ian is someone who’s quick to forgive. He lectures Jamie and Young Ian when they arrive and moves to punish both by having Jamie administer Young Ian’s thrashing. However, he is willing to not only listen to Jamie’s alternative punishment, but go along with it and then admit to Jamie that his punishment is probably the better of the two for the situation. Because of his gentle and level-headed approach to everything, his son has learned a lesson and Jamie is willing to admit he was wrong about lying to Ian concerning the lad and apologizes sincerely (HUGE for a Fraser, especially in this episode).

Claire and Young Ian

This is more of a developing relationship than one that needs repairing but it’s so adorable and sweet. Young Ian is thrilled with his new Auntie Claire. Seeing him boast and brag about Claire killing the man who attacked her and then standing at her side and helping as she removes the pellets from Jamie’s wound, it’s clear that he can see what it is between her and Jamie and that he supports it whole-heartedly. Given everything Claire goes through in the episode emotionally, she desperately needed the kind of support and encouragement Young Ian was giving her. Jenny, whom Claire has missed tremendously, doesn’t trust her anymore and makes her feel anything but welcome. Young Jamie doesn’t remember/recognize her (which I find a little hard to believe; he’d have been old enough to at least know about Auntie Claire, even if he doesn’t really remember her and what she looked like). Jenny and Ian’s other children don’t know her. And then there’s the Laoghaire of it all frustrating her relationship with Jamie. She knows what he says about wanting her to stay and how he’s missed her and loves her, but with her anger and hurt at his hands running high, Claire is feeling more the outsider than she did the first time she came to Lallybroch. It’s reassuring and comforting to have Young Ian so clearly happy to have her there.

Jenny and Ian

The relationship between Jenny and Ian is still one of my all time favorites in the series. They balance each other so well with Jenny lending some of her fire to Ian and Ian being the voice of reason that Jenny will listen to when she’s being stubborn and passive aggressive. They’re on the same page for so much of the episode, it’s just amazing to watch them. Whether it’s the two of them standing there as relieved and pissed parents, scolding Jamie and Claire right along with Young Ian, or in the flashbacks as they dance and share their glass, Jenny and Ian are in sync. Claire’s return has shifted things beneath their feet but for the most part they’ve grabbed onto each other and they haven’t fallen over. Jenny feels especially betrayed and confused by Claire’s sudden return and Ian lets her be until he sees Jenny overstepping. As is his way, he gently steps in and calls her out on her role in Laoghaire’s disruptive appearance and how it throws Jamie and Claire’s relationship into turmoil. “If there’s a pot of shite on to boil ye stir like it’s God’s work,” he tells her (easily my favorite line of the episode). He points out how badly she says she wants Jamie to be happy after everything he’s been through but that she’s not letting him have it. I love the way Ian approaches this with Jenny because while she falls back on Jamie being a disgrace by having two living wives, he isn’t really the one she’s aiming to punish with her actions; it’s Claire. Jenny gets the last word in, “Does this look like happiness?” and Ian leaves the room but it’s clear Ian’s words have left their mark and Jenny’s going to be thinking on what he said for a while. There’s such guilt on Jenny’s face when she learns it was Laoghaire who shot Jamie, that her interference exacerbated a situation that was already going to be awkward and difficult; it’s akin to Jenny’s sudden wave of guilt when she sees Jamie’s back at the mill in 1×12. Being talked to about things by Ian will get her a lot of the way there, but she also (occasionally) needs a more visceral kick. Ian doesn’t gloat or rub things in her face when he’s right and when she’s come around, she supports and reinforces him when he has his own doubts, like when it comes to Young Ian helping with the cache and accompanying Jamie and Claire to France.

Jamie and Jenny

This is a far cry from where Jamie and Jenny were back in Season 1. Jenny is confused and angry but she isn’t lashing out at Jamie (except over his role in Young Ian’s malfeasance), she’s reaching out. She asks him why he couldn’t share his grief when he believed Claire was dead and when the explanation he gives isn’t satisfying, she tells him exactly where things fail to add up for her. From Jamie, as with Claire later, Jenny knows that he’s holding things back and is hurt by it. She understands more of why Jamie keeps things back, having witnessed first hand the devastation he felt in the wake of Claire’s loss, but it doesn’t mean she’s ready to let the matter drop. Sending Janet to tell Laoghaire is very much about Claire but it’s also a way for Jenny to push Jamie to do something. It’s as though on some level she thinks that once Claire knows, he’ll open up more to her too. It’s like she can see the row of dominoes and goes to push the first one over but when it falls it turns out it wasn’t close enough to hit the next one, so she goes ahead and pushes the next one until the chain reaction happens; she isn’t willing to wait for someone to finish setting the dominoes up so that the initial domino does it’s job when pushed over the first time. Jenny and Jamie don’t come to have a yelling match the way they have in the past. The closest is when Jenny throws water on Jamie and Claire and makes her snide comments about their behavior. For Jamie, dealing with Claire is more important so Jenny’s disapproval takes such a back seat, it’s in a different vehicle. Jenny comes around through other events (and Ian calling her out). While they don’t reconcile directly, Jamie knows that he and Jenny have reached a point of amends when she repeats the point he had made to her earlier about Young Ian.

On Jamie’s side, until the Laoghaire debacle takes over his attention completely, what he feels worst about is Young Ian’s having been endangered and his own undermining her and Ian’s wishes with regard to his nephew. He doesn’t like that he’s had to lie to Jenny about Claire and where she’s been but the pain of having lost Claire far outweighs any guilt. The shade she throws at him over his judgment from a parental angle is what hurts the most. He has lost all of his children (even Joanie and Marsali, to a large extent). We find out later just how much being a father means to him so to have that called into question and be ridiculed about by someone who has had far fewer issues in terms of just having children is like having salt rubbed into the wound. But he doesn’t snap at Jenny (because he knows he’s done wrong). He approaches her with a different perspective. Instead of coming at Young Ian’s punishment from a parental angle, he reminds her of his experience as a teenage boy and what would have been most mortifying to him then. His line to her about giving Young Ian a little freedom while he still thinks its hers to give seems to resonate with her in a way that makes me think it’s something they heard Brian say at some point. And when he makes his request to bring Young Ian to France with him and Claire, he does so respectfully and eloquently. He’s not going behind her back (anymore).

Jamie and Laoghaire Joanie

How they framed Jamie’s marrying Laoghaire is something I was… wary about after 2×08 but they set it up in pretty much the only way I could think of that made any sense –– by making it about Jamie and the girls. I never pictured Joanie to be so young when reading the books, but damn that little girl is adorable and I can TOTALLY buy Jamie falling for her like that at Hogmanay and putting up with marrying Laoghaire to have a chance to make that little girl happy. She’s appears to be very close in age to William and that Hogmanay would be only a few short months after Jamie had to leave his son behind at Helwater so his yearning for anyone to care for in that protective and guiding way would have been incredibly high. He’s off in that little corner at Hogmanay with everyone willing to leave him alone until Joanie comes barreling in looking to cheer him up, despite the fact she has no idea who he is; he’s just someone who’s alone and looks like he could use a fig. Marsali is very clearly there for her little sister, going along with what makes her happy. I also LOVE that we don’t see him dancing or whatever with Laoghaire, that she’s not the one who made him laugh again because one of my FAVORITE scenes from the series is BOOK SPOILERS from Echo when they’ve gone back to Scotland and he and Laoghaire have it out and Claire asks, “She never made you laugh, did she?” It makes SO much more sense that Jamie married her for the sake of the girls and that it falls apart because he and Laoghaire just don’t work, never have and never will.

When the shit hits the fan and everyone suddenly knows the whole truth, the first person Jamie goes to check on is Joanie. She’s the one who has the least chance of understanding what’s happening and perhaps the greatest chance of misunderstanding in such a way that she would wind up blaming herself. The level of affection, trust, and respect between Jamie and Joanie is heartbreaking. He’s so careful in how he talks about Laoghaire to her, knowing that her mother is all she’ll have left now that Claire’s back and understanding that Joanie would take the rejection of her mother as a rejection of her and her sister too. It’s such a contrast to how he talks about Laoghaire the rest of the time. Just as touching is listening to Jamie tell Joanie about Claire and what it is he feels for her. We’ve seen Jamie explain love to several characters so far this season, and he always falls back to his relationship with Claire when describing it, no matter how messy or painful it is. Whatever else is happening, Jamie is always sure of the love he feels for Claire and its permanence. This is one of those scenes where I can’t help but wish that Claire inadvertently saw like when she found and watched Jamie with Kitty back in 2×08; to have her overhear him talking about her when she’s not around, when he’s not trying to convince her of anything.

Jamie and Claire

It was a lovely touch to have Jamie talk about how they could build a little cottage for themselves on the western edge of the Lallybroch estate. It echoed Claire’s suggestions about how they could move out of the brothel and she could open her own little medical practice out of the print shop back in the last episode. They’re both trying to figure out what their new life together will look like, pulling in elements of what they had in the 20 years apart (Claire with her medical practice) or what they wanted all those years ago (Jamie with a life at Lallybroch). Yet even as they offer these suggestions, there’s a hesitation and push back from the other cause they’re still negotiating treacherous waters. They are slowly working through the pain and disappointment of that time apart, rebuilding their senses of each other through stories. Jamie shares the disappointment he felt when he discovered she wasn’t at the island and then Claire letting him know of one way she kept herself feeling connected to him. Just when he’s built himself up to tell her about Laoghaire, Joanie and Marsali burst in and everyone gets a shock, which of course makes everyone’s reactions worse than they otherwise might have been.

After Jamie has chased Laoghaire off and comforted Joanie, he returns and finds Claire packing her things. While the misunderstanding about Jamie’s relationship with Joanie and Marsali is quickly cleared up, the shock and fear have broken the emotional dam for both Jamie and Claire. Twenty years of pain, anger, frustration, and guilt flood both of them out as they struggle not to be swamped by their own emotions, let alone what the other person is feeling. Logic and reason have no place in that room at that moment. Jamie, as the nominally offending party, takes the lead in trying to justify himself only to be met with Claire’s rage that he’s overlooking the fact that she was in the exact same position having lost him. He wasn’t expecting to survive Culloden so he wasn’t expecting to have to live with the pain; the moment he told her to go and she relented and agreed, Claire knew she was going to have to live the rest of her life with the pain of Jamie’s loss but that doesn’t mean it was any easier for her. With how little Claire has talked about her marriage to Frank, it’s hardly surprising that Jamie has fears (and anger) about just how happy that marriage might have made Claire. Knowing that she might have that when he was dead is far more comforting than believing that’s what she has while he’s still alive and aching for her.

On Claire’s side, she likely doesn’t want to burden Jamie with just how miserable it was for her in her marriage to Frank. It was supposed to be a comfort to him and what was best for Brianna and she doesn’t want Jamie to feel guilty about pressuring her into a situation like that. Which is why when he accuses her of having left him in a way that sounds like he’s implying it was voluntary or even her idea, a switch is flipped and Claire stops being careful about choosing her words. They’ve both been so careful and aware of what the other might think or misconstrue that they’ve been giving incomplete (if not entirely dishonest) depictions of their current selves. Claire calls Jamie out on it (and deservedly so given the extent of his lies of omission) and harkens back to their vows of honesty after Cranesmuir. The links between honesty and trust run deep in their conversation (and the episode as a whole) and it’s only when they stop thinking too hard about what the other might think that they let themselves tell the whole truth and stake their own emotional ground. While they’re interrupted by Jenny and her bucket of water, they’re not done fighting.

I loved seeing Jamie fighting for Claire and their relationship as he stops her from slipping away in the morning. Jamie’s fought for so many things over the years but so few of them were solely for him and what would make him happy. Once again, Claire’s been the same for much of her life since losing Jamie. Both of them have had to settle for what would keep them going. Jamie’s always been sure of his feelings for Claire but Claire has had incredibly different experiences because of Frank. She thought she was sure about Frank when she married him and then everything changed when she met Jamie. She went back to Frank to find both of them too changed to be able to make that relationship work in a way that allowed either of them to be truly happy. Having taken a chance on Jamie, she’s seeing that once again, both of them are incredibly changed people. With how much she idealized Jamie in those twenty years, it’s natural for her to want to retreat and avoid the hurt and disappointment of a relationship too altered to work, again. But her feelings for Jamie are still so much stronger than anything she felt for Frank. The moment the gun goes off and it’s clear Jamie’s been hit, Claire acts on instinct and doesn’t just protect Jamie in a defensive manner, she goes on the offensive and attacks. The fear of losing Jamie to death –– having spent twenty years in that headspace –– is enough to push Claire to listen to what he has to say (even if she hasn’t stopped being angry). Even though Jamie has had a few people to open up to over the years, there hasn’t been anyone he was able to completely share his feelings with (even Murtagh at Ardmsuir; the pain and grief were too close to freely voice). Once again, we see Claire assuring him that she understands everything he was feeling having suffered from it too in his absence.

Despite both having aired so many grievances and voiced long suppressed emotions, there remains an uneasiness between Jamie and Claire as the episode draws to its conclusion. Jamie was the one who actively raised many of the emotional issues he’d been having while Claire was in the position of assuring him that she’d felt that way too. I think, because of this dynamic, Jamie feels more heard and understood than Claire does. Which is why I love the scene at the cliff and Claire’s continued hesitation. She FINALLY gets to be the one actively explaining herself while Jamie listens; her side of the conversation isn’t as reactionary as it has been so much of the time since she arrived in Edinburgh. Jamie’s been benefiting from home-field advantage almost. Jenny’s been distant with Claire for personal reasons but also because she sees Claire as someone who hurt her brother (intentionally or not doesn’t matter). Claire’s been in the dark about so much of what Jamie’s been up to and how everyone’s lives have changed in her absence that she’s constantly playing catch up. But on that cliffside she gets to remind and tell Jamie about all that she’s given up just to find him, let alone be with him. She voices her fears and disappointments. I specifically loved her line about how she never imagined it would be so hard, even knowing that he would have had a life without her. It’s something that I just don’t feel the same way in the books; Claire learning the truth and leaving in a huff only to start regretting and rethinking her decision on the road doesn’t carry quite the same weight that the television adaptation does.

Luckily, Jamie knows exactly what to say and how to say it. I do wish there was a little less ambiguity before Claire spots the ship that kidnaps Young Ian; just a little kiss or a hug or even a nod. But I think instead we’ll either revisit it one last time next episode with Jamie presenting her with the choice to come with him to find Ian or go back to the stones and Brianna, or it’ll be drawn out longer with Claire realizing she wants Jamie after her kidnapping at the hands of the British navy and then the final resolution being when she and Jamie find each other again. I mean, I can’t be too surprised because this is a drama after all.

Jenny and Claire

*I do still have plans to get a deep Claire/Jenny textual analysis written up one of these days. For now, this is a preview of sorts.

This relationship was the most painful to watch go through the wringer in this episode. The disbelief on Jenny’s face when Claire first arrives is incredible. She’s heard from Ian that Claire is alive but seeing her with her own eyes is a whole other thing. The relief and joy of learning a loved one is alive after all is quickly followed by the anger and betrayal of having been deceived, forgotten, or disregarded for all those years of absence. Whatever the reason for Claire’s silence, it feels to Jenny like the love of the relationship was unbalanced with Jenny feeling more than Claire did and it’s an imbalance that pushes Jenny to force a correction, to prevent herself from getting hurt again by refusing to let herself care that much a second time. As far as she’s concerned, Claire fooled her once but won’t fool her again. And what’s worse, Claire played Jamie for a fool too and if there’s one thing Jenny can’t abide it’s seeing those she loves hurt by the carelessness of others.

Claire understands Jenny’s disappointment and feels guilty about her role. If she had stayed away, Jenny and Ian would have continued under the belief that she was dead; it’s only in returning that Jenny’s love for Claire can turn to such disgust because it screws with Jenny’s understanding of Claire as a person. I LOVED the way Jenny pointed out to Jamie that the explanation they’re giving about what happened to Claire is inconsistent with Claire’s character as she experienced it. She knows that something isn’t right and she’s not going to stand for it. She feels she’s earned the right to the whole truth, whatever it may be, and is hurt all over again by the fact that they don’t seem to trust her with that truth. I think hearing that Claire killed a man underscores this question for Jenny. When she and Claire went out looking for Jamie, Jenny was bristling under what she felt was Claire judging her for things like torturing the Red Coat soldier they abducted. She had her doubts about what Claire would do when pressed and now Claire has either changed drastically and will kill without qualm or she’s every bit the fighter she was before and yet still didn’t bother to look for Jamie to be sure. While Murtagh was willing to bide his time and grumble back in Paris last season, Jenny is a bit more active in showing her displeasure.

It’s Claire’s turn to feel betrayed when she learns that it was Jenny who was pulling the strings that led to Laoghaire bursting in. The way they’ve reframed Jamie’s marriage to Laoghaire takes the burden of arranging the match off of Jenny though it’s clear she still supported it wholeheartedly. As Claire does her best to call out Jenny for going overboard in punishing her for the twenty years with no word thing, she is once again pushing for someone to see things from her perspective and give her the benefit of the doubt. And some of what she says gets through to Jenny. There’s still enough understanding between them for Jenny to feel the sincerity and truth of Claire’s feeling even if Jenny quickly shuts down again and lets her head and logic override her heart on the subject. From that point on though, Jenny’s shell begins to crack toward Claire and the truth of her hurt seeps out. She stops hiding behind Jamie as an excuse for her own pain and the passive aggressive retaliation begins to fade (more after Ian steps in and calls her on it). Seeing Claire taking care of Jamie following the shooting and seeing that familiar care and drive helps reassure Jenny that Claire wasn’t deceiving them all before but that only leaves Jenny more confused in terms of what to make of Claire’s absence and what it might be she’s keeping secret now.

Ultimately, Jenny and Claire’s relationship ends still strained but with an olive branch extended. Claire apologizes sincerely again and this time Jenny at least listens and acknowledges it. She is also more honest about her feelings and the betrayal she feels, no longer hiding behind snark, sarcasm, and passive aggression to communicate. I really wish that Claire had given in and told Jenny the whole truth right then and there on the steps of Lallybroch. That lost opportunity is probably my only real disappointment with the episode. At the same time, I can completely understand why they kept it in line with the book and it fits the episode thematically too. Jenny has trusted Claire before and she must trust her again regardless of whether she has the whole story. That’s what trust is; it’s not a lack of honesty at that point because she and Claire are both acknowledging that there is something Claire isn’t telling Jenny. But that doesn’t mean that Claire has to tell Jenny or that Jenny is entitled to the truth; it’s Claire’s choice and Jenny has to either trust her and respect it or truly put the horse down. Supporting Jamie’s wish to take Young Ian with them to France –– to me –– feels as much like it’s about her and Claire as it is about her and Jamie (especially given the way Young Ian already so clearly adores and admires Claire; it’s reminiscent of Ian’s comment early on about how his son follows Jamie’s lead like a puppy). She is giving Claire an opportunity to prove herself trustworthy again.

Ned and Bachelorhood

I did a literal fist pump when I saw Bill Patterson’s name in the opening credit sequence for this episode. NED GOWAN!!! His reunion with Claire was a thing of beauty. The way he teared up upon seeing her after so long was soooo moving. All I could think of was how many people Ned lost in the Rising. Colum died. Dougal died. Angus and Rupert died. And he thought Claire had died too. Not only that, but she’d been right about it all from the start. I wonder how often when thinking about her and the other Highlanders Ned recalled her warnings and his own reply of “history be damned.” To see her alive and well after believing her long lost must have been SUCH a relief.

And of course, given all the unrest in various relationships throughout the episode, I LOVED his line about how his secret to aging so well was that he had never married (my second favorite line of the episode, I think)

Other Thoughts and Musings:

– Seriously, what’s their deal with not having kid actors in 2×08 and then 3×02 to play Jenny and Ian’s children when in this episode WE SEE AT LEAST FIVE WEE BAIRNS RUNNING AROUND AS THEIR GRANDCHILDREN! And again, we only see Wee Jamie all grown, Young Ian cause he’s a prominent character, and then ONE of Jenny and Ian’s other children (Janet). We get a mention of Maggie and WE STILL HAVEN’T SEEN HER SINCE SHE WAS A NEWBORN BAIRN IN 1×14. This whole thing will never not bug me on some level, haha

– I would have loved if we got a little glimpse of Marsali and Fergus noticing each other at Hogmanay

– I desperately want Marsali to take Joanie with her when she and Fergus elope

– I think that part of why Ned seems delighted by the idea of turning Laoghaire over to the British for shooting Jamie is because of the role she played in Claire’s trial at Cranesmuir. More than just her being a horrible person for what she did, I think he took it as a personal affront that she was going out of her way to make his job harder

– In addition to Claire very carefully NOT telling Jenny about Brianna (which I can only think is because Jenny would never let Claire hear the end of it; she’s already mad Claire didn’t even so much as bother to write but to keep her from her only niece…), I’m wondering if there’s a reason we haven’t seen Jamie openly tell Claire that Murtagh’s alive. It seemed like he would have mentioned it when telling her about why he went back to Ardsmuir when he found the cache but not her. “The men needed me. I was their leader,” but no “well, Murtagh was sick and I couldn’t very well just abandon him.” Interesting…

– So many more but this is already way longer than I meant it to be.


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Outlander 03×07 Crème de Menthe – by Lenny9987

My immediate reaction to Crème de Menthe upon finishing it was that it was a solid, functional episode. Having rewatched it, it’s come to encapsulate everything I love and hate about watching this show having read the books first. I spend so much of my first watches waiting and anticipating certain moves from the books that it can keep me from really appreciating some of the changes that the show has and is making as it adapts the material. The changes I want to see are obvious and appreciated right away, but others take that second viewing to remind myself that while something might be different from the book, it is consistent with how the show has handled something (or someone) or to grasp the full extent of how something altered plays out; when it’s a change, I might be able to guess at how it will unfold but I don’t know the way I do with the books at this point so there’s still chances to surprise me. Upon rewatching, there’s so much more that I liked and appreciated than just the fact they got rid of plots I find tedious and ridiculous or reworked problematic depictions of characters so they make me cringe less.
Crème de Menthe does a phenomenal job of streamlining the plots from a section of the book where they get thrown at the reader thick and fast. It takes most of the rest of the book to truly untangle them and understand the varying levels of deception and red herrings. I genuinely appreciated the way that the show cut out some of the unnecessary drama and confusion to make elements clearer and less cluttered. Shuffling elements a bit like the fire at the print shop and changing the death of the excise man help give some of these events greater weight and less the feeling of being distractions meant to emphasize the chaos of Claire’s journey back. While I love Voyager and Jamie and Claire’s reunion, most of my interest in it as a reader tends to fall a bit later after the explosive events at Lallybroch because that’s where and when they actually deal with the emotional baggage they each carry. It’s only in my latest reread and in watching the show’s adaptation that I realize just how much the novel relies on Claire telling the reader that she and Jamie had been changed by their 20 years apart rather than actually showing it (until that explosive fight at Lallybroch, anyway). Reading through the Edinburgh chapters, there’s so much else going on, it’s hard to feel that either of them have truly changed that much. Some of that is probably because readers are stuck in Claire’s perspective but I love the way that the show is giving a broader view of the cracks 20 years apart have made in their relationship. Their doubts and fears are much closer to the surface for us to see, in part because the plot distractions have been cleared away and/or bent to serve that tension.

Sir Percival and Jamie’s Smuggling Ring

This is probably the plot from Edinburgh that has been streamlined the best from the book so far. In the book, Sir Percival is much more like the Duke of Sandringham playing games with Jamie and getting other people to do his dirty work. It makes understanding even the basic nature of Jamie’s enterprise difficult until much later. It’s sort of presented as a mystery that’s unfolding but having it played straight for the show (where there isn’t the time to get into so many twists and turns) works infinitely better for me. The threat is more immediate to everything and every one because the connections between events is more direct. The altered death of the excise man and Claire’s attempts to save him also bend that plot towards serving the story of Jamie and Claire’s relationship. They’ve disagreed before on many occasions but this is the first real test since Claire’s return and it shows them both how much harder the reality of being together again while holding on to the selves they’ve become in each other’s absence is going to be. Claire was always a healer but now she has her oath as a doctor weighing on her conscience and driving her actions. She also has a much greater depth of knowledge and experience in terms of how to carry out her healing. She doesn’t hesitate or question herself, she acts on instinct and muscle memory. It’s a level of confidence Jamie hasn’t seen in her to this extent before and there’s a greater weight to it as well. She doesn’t just want to help someone who’s injured because she can or wants to, she is compelled to help them because she feels a responsibility to do so. It’s a change in Claire that throws Jamie at first but he does a relatively good job of adjusting to and when the man dies despite her efforts, he tries to comfort her even though he can’t completely empathize with what she’s feeling in that moment.
On Claire’s side, the failure to save the man carries with it the true limitations she has in the 18th century, not just because of her sex but because of what she has at hand. She’s overcome so much sexism to gain that medical education and earn her place in the operating room and here, even when she doesn’t face as much opposition in terms of being allowed to practice on a patient, she is limited severely by the materials at hand. As she tells Jamie, for fourteen years she’s dedicated her life to medicine and healing; it’s been the dominant part of her sense of self and where she’s drawn most of her strength. But here she is having finally found Jamie and she’s lost the first “patient” she’s tried to treat and she knows it’s not because of a lack of skill or knowledge. Through her visit and assessment of Margaret Campbell and then her suggestion to Jamie that she could open her own establishment or treat patients out of the print shop, it becomes clear that Claire is struggling to reconcile the way her coming back through the stones is impacting that part of herself that has become so important in the 20 years of separation. She doesn’t want to sacrifice an ounce of that capability into which she’s invested so much of her time and energy.


In last week’s episode and this week’s, both Jamie and Claire have talked about how much they are willing to risk, have risked, or are willing to sacrifice in order to be together. Claire’s brush with the reality that some of her effectiveness as a doctor will have to be sacrificed if she’s to stay in the 18th century is one of several tests to those declarations both have made.
We only got brief glimpses of Jamie’s enterprises in Edinburgh during last week’s episode –– Madam Jeanne, Jamie paying off Sir Percival, his conversation with Fergus, the appearance of Young Ian –– but in this week’s episode we see just how tenuous that enterprise actually is, how close it all is to crumbling… and then we watch it slowly crumble as Jamie tries desperately to hold it all together. While Claire let’s her opinion on them continuing to live in a brothel (even if it would save them money on rent) be known, she doesn’t express too much surprise or dismay over the rest of Jamie’s illicit activities… until he lies to Ian about having seen Young Ian. Similarly, the allusions to Jamie’s other wife are heavily present in this episode and his conversation with Ian following his brother-in-law’s disbelief over Claire’s return show how far Jamie’s willing to go to try and hold things together. Lying to corrupt agents of the crown is one thing but lying to the people who mean the most to him is another. Of course with Sir Percival’s suspicions and pressure, Jamie’s smuggling is becoming more dangerous and then with the fire destroying the print shop, Jamie’s enterprises in Edinburgh are pretty thoroughly demolished by the end of the episode. But it doesn’t feel like the willing sacrifice he told Claire he would make to be with her; it feels like bitter disappointment and failure.
The sacrifice Jamie made in sending Claire through the stones –– the opportunity to help raise their child –– is another one that comes up during the fight that begins (but is interrupted) in this episode. That was another sacrifice that was both willing and unwilling. He would lay down his life to protect Claire and their child and that’s the sacrifice he thought he was making when he sent her through the stones. But what he instead sacrificed was the chance to know and raise his child. Claire’s scolding over lying to Ian and her bringing up his practical inexperience as a parent poke at a wound that will never heal. Though Jamie says he’d sacrifice everything to be with Claire again, he’s made sacrifices before that twisted into something he wasn’t prepared for.
They are both struggling to reconcile their expectations with reality. They’ve found ways to suppress the pain they felt during those 20 years and seem to hope that simply being together again will make it go away, but all it’s doing is releasing the hold they have on that pain and letting it reach the surface. It’s something they both long to lay at someone else’s feet and the only person who they can do that with is the other while at the same time, the last person they want to blame is the other, especially when they’ve spent so long clinging to the love they shared and building up their memories of each other. The tension between dismissing the pain of the past 20 years and remaining the people they are because of it is making them both act defensively when what they need is to work together to air and acknowledge their pain so they can move past it (and here’s hoping a healthy chunk of that gets properly dealt with next week and that the show doesn’t decide to really drag this out).

The Best Brother I Never Had: Fergus and Young Ian

While I enjoy the angst of Jamie and Claire being forced to face and navigate their new reality, what I enjoyed most in the episode on the lighter side of things was the relationship between Fergus and Young Ian. I was again completely bowled over by Domboy’s portrayal of adult Fergus and the way he and Young Ian interact with each other that put a dopey grin on my face. I’m not entirely sure what the show is going to do about Young Jamie and Michael Murray, but in book canon, both are a bit more straight-laced and proper while Young Ian is the troublesome Murray lad, always getting into trouble. In the show I get the feeling that Young Ian looked up to Fergus and related to him more than he did his older brothers. Fergus doesn’t have the same background or stake in doing things according to the letter and/or spirit of the law. And of course Fergus learned some of what he knows from Jamie. They’re simultaneously the Three Musketeers and the Three Stooges. I loved Young Ian turning to Fergus for an assessment of Auntie Claire –– and then refusing to believe the rumors Fergus tells him insisting (after only barely having met her) that Auntie Claire wouldn’t kill a man without good reason. It’s like Fergus is giving Young Ian lessons in how to ship Jamie and Claire. Fergus’ advice to Young Ian concerning lasses –– and Young Ian’s earnest and blunt execution of that advice –– was hilarious and soooo sweet. I want to see so much more of this relationship, especially how Fergus reacts to Ian being kidnapped (and then later, how Ian reacts to Fergus’ marriage).

Other Random Thoughts and Squees:

–– I love how they’re adapting Mr. Willoughby for the show. The level of respect between him and Claire already is downright heartwarming. He may not understand all of what she does as a healer or why, but he does understand the how and why of her personal investment in her patients, whomever they may be.
–– Ian meeting Claire again and talking about how he and Jenny grieved for her was the most moving scene in the episode. The disbelief on his face and Jamie’s nod to assure him it is real, then the way he closes his eyes and hugs her back. That single fucking tear! It brought me all the way back to Lallybroch and the way he and Claire commiserated over having to deal with the Fraser stubbornness. I want so much more of this relationship!
–– Seriously, Young Ian’s “tell me what you like/want and I’ll do it” attitude was just the sweetest and cutest thing ever. I also adored his attempts to stomp the fire out before realizing, oh shit this is way out of hand.
–– While I greatly appreciate that they got rid of the serial killer aspect of the Campbell storyline, I still think too much time has been spent on it for whatever the new payoff ends up being down the line. Does nothing for me in the book and was bored through those scenes in this episode.

–– I definitely want Claire to tell Jenny the whole truth in next week’s episode. There have been enough changes from the book so far that I’m not as convinced it won’t happen as I might have been before. I want both Jenny and Ian to know the truth about the stones and Claire (and probably Bree too).
–– Also you can’t name-drop Ned Gowan twice in two episodes if you don’t have Bill Patterson in 3×08. That would just be cruel.
–– I can see us maybe getting a parallel to Claire’s speech in 1×16 but from Jamie sometime soon. If/when Claire expresses doubt, Jamie coming out with something similar to “I’ll have you any way I can, always” or “it’s the only way I can explain how this is possible, why you’re here.” It’ll depend on how they handle the revelation, fight, and reconciliation.


Thanks to Lenny for allowing us to post her wonderful review.



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Episode 302, “Surrender,” shows us where Jamie and Claire are about six years after the Battle of Culloden (show time line). It is a heart-wrenching episode, so it is difficult to select “favorite” scenes.  Most scenes will be sad until we reach Jamie and Claire’s reunion, so let’s look at some of the most heart-wrenching scenes.

There are several changes from the book version, but they seem to work well.

Claire has given birth to Brianna and is trying to reconnect with Frank, but to no avail. In Episode 301, Frank complains that Claire uses her pregnancy to keep Frank physically distant. However, even after Brianna is born they continue to be estranged. Claire fantasizes about Jamie, and since Claire has, in the past, embraced her sexuality, she misses that part of herself. Frank becomes aware they she closes her eyes during sex and fantasizes sex with Jamie. By the end of the episode, Claire and Frank’s sexual relationship, as well as their marriage, is for all intents and purposes done. Our last shot of them is in twin beds. They agree to remain together and lead separate lives. In translation, Frank is given permission to have extramarital affairs as long as he maintains discretion.





Book readers were nervous about how the writers might handle Mary McNab, but I think it was presented very well. Jamie is a shell of the person he used to be, and after Fergus loses his hand at the hands of Corp. MacGregor, Jamie decides to turn himself in so he family can collect the reward and escape the harassment they have long endured. When Mary comes to the cave to visit him on the last night, she offers herself to him. Reluctantly, he eventually agrees. However, the scene is very sad rather than sexy. I felt sorry for Mary and Jamie. Jamie actually cried and kept his eyes closed (as does Claire with Frank). Mary tells him he can look at her. To avoid hurting Mary’s feelings, he assures her she is a bonnie lass, but closing his eyes is something he always does. We know that isn’t true. Closing his eyes allows him to fantasize about Claire.




The title is a good description for the episode. Both Jamie and Claire surrender to their circumstances. Claire finally accepts that her life and marriage to Frank will never be as fulfilling as her life with Jamie. She surrender’s herself to the idea that he is gone forever and that she must make the most she can out of her life in Boston. Finally she enrolls in medical school, where we finally get to meet Dr. Joe Abernathy, who becomes Claire’s closest friend and confidant.

Jamie surrenders himself to the same realization that Claire is gone and that he must find a way to live. Deciding that protecting his family gives him purpose and at least a reason to live, he surrenders himself to the British soldiers.  Jamie always puts others before himself.  Anther reason he is King of Men.



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Title: Freedom and Whisky

Written by: Toni Graphia

Directed by: Brendan Maher

 This recap includes information from both the official script and  Starz podcasts  by the executive producers and will include things changed or edited for television.

The podcast was hosted by Executive producers Toni Graphia (TG) and Maril Davis (MD).  The title card was 0f Claire painting a Christmas ornament for Brianna’s first Christmas.  This shows that the very busy medical student and then surgeon still had time for a mom’s personal touches.

Episode 304 was a Jamie-focused episode with arguably one of the most important times in his 20-year gap from Claire.  This episode serves the same purpose for Claire.  They had discussed making 304 and 305 one episode but it was far too long.

TG noted that she and Maril discussed this episode at length with a focus on the mother/daughter relationship.  They debated questions about what it would take for a mother to leave a daughter she loves and at what point in a child’s life does the mother have a right to her own life.  Is it selfish or do you have the right to pursue your own happiness?  All good questions that they explore in this episode.

We open with doctors performing surgery and when the lead surgeon speaks, it is clearly Claire’s voice.  The script notes say they originally wanted to make the patient be the Harry mentioned by Joe Abernathy when he called Claire in Scotland.  There was even a backstory created for him but this was dropped in favor of an unknown patient once the story timeline was shifted to late December.  This was already done when they were prepping sets and TG had to call fellow executive producer Matt Roberts to request (beg) them to shift the sets.  This added three days to the prep schedule.

Claire shows her usual combination of courage and recklessness in keeping the patient under sedation with a dropping blood pressure in order to make sure she completes the necrosis removal.  The show used their medical consultant (also named Claire!) to help with the authentic look of the surgery.  TG notes that Cait had to practice a lot but picked up the surgical technique very quickly.

The scene shifts to a Harvard history class where Professor David Brown is lecturing on Paul Revere.  TG commented that all the historical facts on the white board were researched by their assistant (a PhD candidate in history). The professor was named for a show producer!  TG’s inspiration was a story told to her by Matt Roberts about the truth behind Paul Revere’s ride.  It’s also a bit of foreshadowing in future books.

The professor has a private chat with Brianna about her failing grades in all her classes after a strong previous semester.  Bree is struggling with all that she has learned in the past two years between losing the man who raised her and finding out that not only is her real father another man but that time travel actually exists.  She was focused on the hunt for Jamie in Scotland but now, the enormity of this hits her and she is not into school at the moment.  Sketches of the University cloisters also hint at an interest in subject matters other than history.  She shrugs it off since she cannot tell the professor what is really bothering her.

Back at the hospital, we see that Joe and Claire share an office and are trusted friends.  Maril commented that the network was interested in whether there would be any indication of a romantic involvement between Joe and Claire but she pushed back. (Not only is this not in the book, I am glad Maril stood her ground since the Joe/Claire dynamic is excellent as it is.) This scene is one of three important scenes between Joe and Claire as she slowly reveals her love of another man.  In the book this is one big scene but Maril felt it was better to show this in line with Claire’s mental progression  and decision making process about whether she should go back through the stones.

A taxi pulls up outside the Boston apartment and it is Roger Wakefield wondering if he’s lost his mind.  In the book, Claire and Bree go back to Scotland but they decided not to do that for production reasons (including they lost their location in Scotland and then moved to South Africa).  This way, Roger gets to experience his first American Christmas and it is explained both by his discovery and the fact that he did not want to have this first Christmas without the Reverend all alone.

Roger is excited but realizes his timing is not good as he hears Claire and Bree shouting in the house.  While they are both happy to see him, it is clear they are fighting over her decision to both drop out and move out.  She leaves with a box (why not a suitcase?) and Claire invites him to stay.  Maril loves the Claire and Roger relationship and I wonder if seeing how good Roger is with Bree helped Claire to ultimately make her decision.

Fun Fact #1:  O Come All ye Faithful is rumored to be a coded Jacobite song for Bonnie Prince Charlie.  Mark Me, I’ll never listen to that the same way again.

The books mention Claire telling Jamie about reading A Christmas Carol so they decided to introduce that here.  I really didn’t get the implication that an American Christmas is lobster rolls and Boston Cream Pie until TG said that was her family Christmas.  Sorry, Toni.  I don’t know anybody who had that, it is usually turkey or ham and Apple pie.

TG also joked that if you notice a lot of whisky in this episode, it was deliberate.

Roger is excited to tell Claire that he thinks he found Jamie.  He shows her a printed piece from the 18th century quoting the Robert Burns poem they heard in the Scotland pub.  Claire had told Jamie that line of Freedom and whisky go together and since Burns was only six years old then, it had to be known by someone with knowledge of the future.  He points out that the piece was written and printed by an Alexander Malcolm.  He assumes this is Jamie and is very proud of his find.

Claire’s reaction stuns him.  She is not happy at all and fears that she had finally accepted Jamie was dead and does not want to risk her heartache again.  In the book she never gave up hope but the show writer’s wanted to make it more of an agonizing decision. She now feels she must close the door on that part of her life and protect Bree, who is obviously having a hard time.

She invites Roger to stay and later ponders what all of this means and if she really wants to even think about it any more.

The next day Claire and Joe are reviewing a set of bones sent by a friend looking for cause of death.  Claire holds the skull and immediately feels sadness.  She guesses right that this woman was from more than 100 years ago and that she was murdered.  Another Easter Egg for book readers.

Claire discusses her dilemma with Joe again and she confesses that her man from Scotland is Bree’s real father and Bree is struggling.  There was a longer conversation in the script about how Joe’s son Lenny changed his name and was also being difficult.  This was important for a later scene in Voyager so I wonder if they will leave that out as well. Joe tells Claire that everyone knew she and Frank had problems and that Bree will come around.  I love how Joe is always putting Claire first.

Bree returns to the house and finds Roger engrossed in an episode of Dark Shadows.  (My mother used to love this show.)  Fun Fact #2:  A very cool coincidence is that this episode of Dark Shadows actually aired on the exact date that it was supposed to be in the show (It’s Season 11, episode 651 if you’re interested) AND the plot is about a woman who goes back in time to the 18th century.   Bree invites Roger to a reception at Harvard in honor of Frank Randall.

Bree and Roger walk into Harvard under the famous cloisters (which don’t exist but the ones at University of Glasgow do).   They observe the structures differently, Roger from a historian’s perspective and Bree from an engineer’s perspective despite her history major and grooming up with a history professor.  This is another foreshadow of how Bree finds her true calling and not one she chose to please Frank.  They talk about being the daughter of a historian or a highlander.  Roger tells her a story about his own father which was actually pulled forward from Book 4.

The reception celebrates a fellowship in honor of Professor Randall.  In awkward moment 101, the Dean introduces Claire to Sandy.  Frank’s Sandy/Candy.  Sandy confronts Claire about how she loved him and Claire was selfish and wanted it all but threw away 20 years.  Roger and Bree are watching in the background, seeing that something isn’t quite right.

I had so many problems with this scene.  First, the Dean had to suspect that something was going on between Frank and Sandy for 20 years!  Second, TG thought it was interesting to show what it cost Frank to stay.  So, in the book Frank has many mistresses but somehow it is supposed to make it all better that he only cheated with one?  TG felt Frank was a hero for staying and raising Bree and that it was important to “call Claire on her shit”.  That sentence makes me very angry.  I’ll bet if Frank could have children, he would have been gone in a heartbeat.  And they left out racist Frank too.  Or the fact that Frank tended to date his students (Claire, Sandy and who knows how many more.  It’s all about power.)  TG and Ron D. Moore have slowly tried to change the Frank character to be a sympathetic one and not only am I not buying it, I’m kind of offended by it.  I got the sense that Maril wasn’t buying it either although she said that this scene actually showed a stronger Jamie and Claire bond.  Sorry, the more you have to explain it, the less water it holds for me.

A script aside is that Sandy’s real name was going to be Mandy but they had to change that for future book reasons.  TG does not read ahead in the books.

Claire and Bree walk through the fake Harvard cloisters (where did Roger go?).  Bree is dressed like the daughter of a Highlander (perhaps unconsciously).  Bree recognized Sandy and in keeping their promise of no more lies, Claire tells her exactly who Sandy was.  Bree feels divorced child guilt and wonders if one or both of her parents hated her because she looks like Jamie.  In the book, Claire tells her she hated her a bit until she held her but they softened that in the script.

Bree tells Claire she can go back but Claire resists.  Bree tells her she loves her but she doesn’t need her, even though she’s struggling right now.  She wants her to go back.

At the hospital, Claire, Joe and their colleagues are watching Astronaut Jim Lovell and Apollo 8 orbiting the moon.  (Fun fact #3, this is the same Jim Lovell who was portrayed in the Apollo 13 movie by Tom Hanks.)  Joe comments that it must be hard to make a trip like that and come back the same. He unknowingly gives Claire a parallel food for thought and she thinks about what she must do.

Later that evening she and Bree discuss the possibility of her going back to Jamie and never being able to see each other again.  Bree wants her to tell Jamie all about her, that he deserves to know.  Claire confesses her insecurities that Jamie will have forgotten her or fallen out of love with her but Bree reassures her.  Bree tells her that Claire gave up Jamie for Bree and now Bree is giving up Claire to give Jamie back to her.  (I kind of like the book version better where she says Jamie gave up Claire for Bree.)

Claire is now seriously considering returning but her insecurities (an unusual trait for Claire) are still there.  She confronts Joe and asks if she is sexually attractive.  He recognizes where this is coming from and ensures her that her man will be in heaven when he sees her.  That gives Claire the final boost she needs.  We all need a friend like Joe.

It’s Christmas morning in the Boston house.  It’s clear Claire has shared that she’s leaving for the stones as they have purchased 18th century UK money for her.  (This was more believable in the book when they actually were in the UK.)   Roger gives her a history of Scotland so she can anticipate any other challenges.  Bree notes that she wanted to give her a flashlight but was afraid of another witch trial.  (Her knowledge of this witch trial will be important in S4.)  In one final gesture, Bree gives her a necklace with a Topaz so that she can have the required gemstone to get through the stones.  (TG joked that the UK pronunciation of Topaz is actually ToPAZ which makes me think that’s how Cait pronounced it at first.)

Claire confides that he’s bringing some “borrowed” antibiotics and other surgical supplies with her.  The three discuss how she can do this and Claire notes that she has to make it with pockets.  Roger jokes it is like Batman’s utility belt.

The montage to follow shows Claire sewing her outfit.   I thought at first that the continued Batman reference was a tip to Sam Heughan who played Batman in a touring stage production but in the post-show interview, Ron Moore gave credit to his wife and costume designer Terry and said they took to calling it the bat suit because of the multi-purpose of the outfit.  I think they overdid the bat suit running joke in the show itself, especially the music.  It was funny when I heard the music start but to play it through the whole sewing montage was beneath the gravitas of the show, for me.

After super-seamstress Claire finishes, she takes stock of herself for wrinkles and more gray hair.  The next day Roger and Bree notice she dyed her hair overnight and Claire comments that it was thanks to Miss Clairol.

(Fun fact #4: Caitriona Balfe did an ad for Miss Clairol in her modeling years.)




Claire was clever with the use of raincoat material given the Scottish weather and she tucks the penicillin vials into one of the pockets. Roger steps out to get more whisky and Claire gives Bree a note for Joe Abernathy and the deed to the house.  She gives her the Scottish pearls that were her grandmother Ellen’s.  It seems to be the first time that Bree hears that was her grandmother’s name which seems odd but maybe that’s just the way Sophie Skelton played it.  Mother and daughter hug now since Claire does not want them to accompany her to the stones.  I loved how she explained the first time she was scared, the second time, heartbroken and that this time she wanted it to be peaceful.

That night, a taxi comes to take Claire on a risky journey back in time.  Bree and Roger wave at the window, with Bree wearing the pearls.  Bree nods in encouragement and then turns in tears as soon as Claire pulls away.  I don’t find Sophie’s acting skills to be on par with the rest of the cast when she’s delivering lines but she did a good job with the facial expressions and body language.  I believed her emotions.

Bree goes into the kitchen in tears and then steadies herself in a way that would make her parents proud.  She puts on a Santa hat and brings in a tray of lobster roll and Boston cream pie that had been on the counter.  She gives Roger his first American Christmas and probably ptomaine poisoning.  They kiss and while I’m not convinced that she feels yet the depth of puppy dog love he feels for her, it is a new leg of their personal journey together.  She tucks in with him on the couch and begins to read Dickens.

The taxi driver stops as voiceover Claire tells the story of how as a child she thought puddles were actually deep holes that could suck you in.  She looks down at a puddle as steps out of the taxi and the next thing we see are her boots in an 18th century puddle.  While this reminded me a bit of copying the episode 201 cross-century shift, it worked.  The writers decided that the stones scenes would be a “been there/done that” scene and also the location they use for Caigh Na Dun is difficult to get to.

I liked that Claire’s outfit was a bit more colorful than the rest of 18th century Edinburgh as she is still a woman out of time.  She stops and asks a young boy where she can find Mr. Malcom’s print shop  and he directs her to Carfax Close.  She walks with anticipation and uncertainty and comes upon the sign for the print shop.  Claire’s face here is everything-pure joy.  Ascending the stairs slowly, she stops at the top to check her reflection and with a big sigh, the infamous Cling of the bell is heard.

I’ll admit, I thought they would stop there or with the well known first line and was pleasantry surprised when they kept going. She notices a hat and lit candle at the desk indicating somebody is there.  Then, we hear the brogue calling out ” is that you, Geordie” and we realize it isn’t just somebody.  Cait did a great job with her heavy breathing as she recognizes the voice.  You can feel her heart beating out of her chest.

I was surprised that the Print Shop set was two levels but it really worked.  The voice keeps talking to Geordie as Claire walks over to the open balcony overlooking the press.  It’s Jamie and if it is possible to just act with your spine, Sam does it here.  When Claire says “It’s not Geordie”, he stiffens.  He knows that voice even after 20 years.  She continues “it’s me, Claire” With the eagerness of a hopeful child. He turns, almost afraid that it’s another hallucination that he hasn’t had in a while.  He looks up (which is why the two levels works so well) and the candles light up her face.  His body gives way before his mind does and he “falls gracefully to the floor for such a large man.”  She gives an oh crap look and we cut to credits.

It was a perfect way to end the two week build up to the Print Shop episode.  There were times I felt the episode was a bit jumpy but I’ve always felt Toni writes great scenes in isolation that sometimes suffer from a lack of seamless flow from one to another.  But kudos to the writers, Cait, Sam and set designer Jon Gary Steele for the last five minutes.  They were even better than I imagined them.

Congrats!  We’ve already made it halfway through the two week break before Print Shop (aka episode 306 A. Malcolm) airs on October 22nd.

Thanks to the time and talent of the following for the images and gifs. bookboyfriendharem, lulutan-79, anoutlandishidea, balfoddlyeager, jamieclaire, the nerd daily, Terry Dresbach and Starz.  If we’ve forgotten anyone, please contact us at any of our social media sites

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Title: Of Lost Things

Written by: Toni Graphia

Directed by: Brendan Maher

This recap includes information from both the official script and  Starz podcasts  by the executive producers and will include things changed or edited for television.

The podcast was hosted by executive producers Toni Graphia (TG) and Matthew B. Roberts (MBR).  The original title was going to be Helwater but Matt felt that this title applies to so many people and things in this episode that it fit.

This episode was highly anticipated (or dreaded depending on which scenes we are talking about).  I thought there were excellent changes including one important one, a few plot holes and once again, outstanding performances.  There should be a special award for Bear McCreary’s score, David Berry’s eyebrows should win best supporting actor and if Sam Heughan doesn’t get nominated for a major award this year, there will be some serious crockery throwing in this house.

The title card is of a man’s hands carving something out of a piece of wood.  We see it is a snake that resembles Sawny, a sentimental gift to a young Jamie from his brother Willie.

We begin in 1968 right after episode 213 ended.  Claire, Bree and Roger have a war room set up to try to find out what happened to Jamie after he survived Culloden.  Claire locates him on a prison roll from Ardsmuir and they find that he was still alive for three years until the prison closed.  (I was thinking she might have found Murtagh’s name too but perhaps they were just focused on Jamie and didn’t bother scanning for more familiar names.)    TG notes that Roger names all real prisons in Scotland at that time and they tossed in Blackness as an Easter Egg for the fans since that is where they filmed for Fort William.  Bree and Roger go find whisky to celebrate while Claire wonders what Jamie did next.

The answer awaits us in the next scene.  We are at Helwater, home of Lord and Lady Dunsany and their daughters as they return from Italy,  in a scene with the servants lined up in such a way that TG calls Downton Abbey.  The script says that Lord Dunsany is in his 50’s and his wife in her late 40’s which I find hard to believe but they must have aged faster in those days.  (Think about how beautiful Claire looks at 50.)  Geneva and Isobel are 21 and 20, respectively.  I hate that the smart daughter is always the plain one with cheaper gowns.  TG said she was going for the Lady Mary/Lady Edith vibe from Downton.  Dear Toni, Not even close to the same show.  Unless you care to resurrect Matthew through the stones.

Dunsany speaks to Jamie (using an alias of Alexander MacKenzie) and advises him that while Dunsany is aware of his Jacobite past, his wife is not.  She is grieving the loss of their son, who died at PrestonPans and may not be so forgiving.  Dunsany respects his commitment to his cause, and so will keep  his secret but not let him free.  Jamie notes that many lost children on both sides and then breaks my heart for the first of many times this episode with this line.

It’s 1968 and we’re back to Roger and Bree in his broken down car.  She teases him about Fiona’s interest in him and he acts like he’s 15 instead of 30 by getting all embarrassed.   The EP’s in the podcast keep talking about how cute they are.  Is there a reason they are pushing this couple?  Book readers know what happens and non-book readers should be able to watch it happen.  They flirt a little and Bree shows off her mechanical skills in what is foreshadowing of things to come.   There is another bit of dialogue in the script that I am so very happy did not make it for a variety of reasons. 

Apparently this was Ronald D. Moore’s idea but then an assistant told TG that JAMMF was kind of a fan thing.   Thank goodness for that assistant.  First, because that’s a great line by Roger that was originally said when he found Claire asleep with a book in her hand still searching for Jamie.  And he speaks that line to (virtual) Jamie.  It was more poignant in the book version.  Second, Bree’s lines are just so stupid and corny that it would make people dislike her character even more and it breaks the fourth wall in a bad way. That Easter Egg would be rotten.  Somebody give that assistant a raise.

Back in Helwater, “Jimbo” is comfortable with his life around horses.  The grooms draw straws to see who gets stuck taking  the entitled, rude Geneva on her ride.   Jamie draws the long straw  and makes a comment about what that spoiled girl really needs.  Her sister Isobel overhears but doesn’t disagree.  They discuss the beautiful horses and stables but she notes that a cage is still a cage and one can’t help but think that it applies to Jamie as well.  A friendly bond begins to form here.

We bounce to 1968 and Roger takes a  phone call from the hospital in Boston for Claire.  It’s Dr. Joe who is really calling to see when she’s coming home.  TG noted they wanted to put the squeeze on Claire in terms of both of her obligations needing her.  Always glad to see Dr. Joe but this scene seemed unnecessary especially when an important scene is cut for time later.

In Helwater, we meet the Earl of Ellsmere, an older, pompous man who has been promised to Geneva, because that’s what happens when you give women  no rights or opportunity to earn a living.  She’s disgusted at the idea and glancing at the new handsome groom, a plot forms in her mind.  The next time they draw straws, she orders Jamie to take her instead.  She teases him, takes off without him and pretends to be thrown from her horse.  He finds her, tries to help her and when she laughs at him, he drops her in the mud.  ‘I laughed out loud.

MBR and TG argued about whether she should be pissed as in the books or a good spirit about it.  TG won out, but I think Matt was right.   They had to make several of the gorgeous riding dresses to do these takes which I guess took up all the costume budget as poor Isobel is stuck in the same dress throughout the episode.

MBR noted that the book called for her to fall off in the river but the water was cold and doing multiple takes makes it hard and is unhealthy for the actors.  So, I guess it was OK to put poor Sam Heughan in the ice cold stream by the mill pond in Season 1, eh?   Remember his comment when he slid into the water?  Cack!

Lord John is visiting!  His family are friendly with the Dunsanys.  He and Jamie play chess and you see Jamie relax for the first time in awhile.  They are met in the field by Lord Melton (LJG’s brother Hal from Culloden) and the sisters.  Melton is shocked to see his brother playing chess with the very much alive Red Jamie but holds his composure.  LJG can tell Hal is displeased..again.  Geneva, ever the conniving one, smells there is a greater truth somewhere and decides she is going to find out.

Geneva finds Jamie near the stables “shoveling shit”.  In the book, he’s in the field with his shirt off but not only was that difficult to film, MBR liked the idea that others were around them and they had to whisper.  She tells him a drunk Lord Melton told his story and she knows he is Red Jamie.  She tells him he must come to her bed before her wedding in three days or she will tell her mother about him which will see him back to prison.  She does not want her first time to be with the old dude.  And she reveals her knowledge of Lallybroch and the obvious threats to his family if he is found near there.  He’s pretty mad but reluctantly he agrees to avoid risk to his own life and those of his family.  TG notes she is basically a female villain.  MBR said she is diabolical but underneath, it’s all an act.

The sex scene with Jamie and Geneva was hard to film.  MBR said it is always hard to show Jamie or Claire with somebody else because in the book, you can imagine it the way you want but in the show, it is right in front of you.

Jamie enters the room and does not look happy.  TG said it is clear he is angry and feels manipulated.  But she felt in some ways, Geneva deserved a break. She does not know Claire existed.  It was a challenge to show her as a girl, who for once, is not in control.   Even though Jamie is angry at the situation, it is his humanity that lets him see her vulnerability.

MBR said for Jamie, it is not personal and it is not intimate.  It is a physical act that he has to get through.  There will be a primal instinct for a bit as he’s a man who has had a woman only once in almost a decade.   MBR indicated that they even spoke with the director and specifically said it should not be romantic.  They even adjusted the lighting and the music so that it was not romantic.  The music had a rather ominous tone and in a great blog I read recently (apologies I cannot find it to credit properly),  the blogger notes it is actually very similar to a theme played when Black Jack was describing his flogging of Jamie.  Verra interesting choice, Bear.

The act goes on for too long, though.  Not only do I not want to see Jamie having sex with someone else for five minutes (especially after they went completely the other way in Season 2) but if the man has not had sex in years, he isn’t going to last that long even if he is JAMMF. But he doesn’t touch her much and  just finishes and rolls off her with a stern look on his face.  (It’s important to remember that he was twice her age here.)  In the end, the inexperienced Geneva thinks she is in love but Jamie pours cold water on that thought and explains to her that it was not special.  Then Claire returns to the room (in his mind) and he tells her what special really his.  MBR said it was a great example of one handed clapping.  Geneva is clapping, Jamie is not and there’s no sound.

I also want to give a two handed clap (I hope that’s not a euphemism) to TG for re-writing the squirrely consent/lack of consent in the book to make it quite clear that there was definitely consent and in fact, there was the offer to back out.  That was one of the worst choices Diana Gabaldon ever made in these books, no matter how man times she tries to double-down that it wasn’t rape.  We teach young men and women that No means No.

Thankfully, we leave Geneva’s bedroom back to 1968.   Fiona is giving Ellen Fraser’s pearls to Claire even though Claire had given them to Mrs. Graham (her grandmother) when she first came back through the stones.  I found this an odd choice to include when in the book Claire had just kept them to give to Bree.  She kept Brian Fraser’s ring, she could have easily hidden them from Frank.  We never saw Frank destroy them so nobody would question where they were.  It just seemed like an added plot that was not needed.   Either way, it is foreshadowing of at least two scenes to come.

The three historical detectives keep looking and coming up with dead ends and Claire is getting discouraged.  Bree confesses that she is torn between seeing her mother happy by finding her father and knowing that will mean she could lose her forever.  Roger is torn for similar reasons as he knows  they will leave for Boston if they come up short and he could lose Bree.  She kisses him on impulse.  TG said they wanted Bree to take the lead since we already know how Roger feels about her but it was unclear how she feels in return.  Once again, Roger looks 15.  I’m not finding it so cute any more.

Geneva is married but on one of her returns to Helwater, she gets out of the carriage to show Jamie a little surprise.  She’s pregnant and it ain’t an Ellsmere.  The wheels turn in Jamie’s head and he’s pretty sure his super-sperm have given him yet another child with unfortunate timing.  A couple of  months later, a frantic Isobel comes to the stables to find him as Geneva is giving birth and it isn’t going well.  The researchers had to correct the script here as she tells him to hurry! but in those times, they didn’t hurry, they made haste.

They make such haste to Ellsmere’s estate to find that a boy is born (see light-bulb of happiness over Jamie’s head for a minute) but there is a problem.  She’s in trouble and the Earl is quite pissed since he has never slept with his wife and this isn’t no miracle baby.  (Why didn’t Geneva just sleep with him once to cover her bases?)  Isobel is in tears as Geneva has died and Jamie’s brain is full of emotions including guilt.  Isobel reveals she knew about their one night stand and blames him with a stinging slap.  (MBR said she really slapped him.)  A maid comes to retrieve them as the Earl is threatening to kill the boy.  Jamie takes Lord Dunsany’s gun and fires it, killing the Earl. He rescues the child who winks on cue (sign this kid up for S4, he hits his marks) and the look of brief happiness that flits across Jamie’s face must be quickly concealed.

Later, Jamie is riding in the woods when Isobel comes up to him with the baby in a carriage.  Carriages were not period appropriate but that’s what TG wanted to do.  She tells him the baby is William after her father, which pleases Jamie because William was also his brother.  She leaves him for a moment as her mother approaches from the distance.  This gives Jamie a chance to look at his son and assure him that he shouldn’t worry, his father was here.  But Lady Dunsany reveals she is aware of his past and can arrange a pardon in exchange for saving her grandson.  Jamie makes up a story that he needs to keep sending money home and he will stay for awhile.  (PS.  Stop looking at the baby when you say that, you’ll blow your cover-and  his.)

Five years later, we see Jamie helping a young boy who looks of Mediterranean descent (Um, I mean Willie) on a horse.  This kid looks nothing like Sam Heughan and resemblance is a key part of the plot here.  I guess I can overlook it as he really did a great job.  It’s hard to believe he’s 11 in real life.   Think about it, that’s how old Fergus was supposed to be at PrestonPans.  Lady Dunsany comments on this resemblance in a joking way but Jamie hears her.  Later, he’s cleaning a carriage with Willie and notices the resemblance in the reflection.  He knows he has no choice but to leave.

But first we’re back in 1968 with Claire, Bree and Roger in a bar listening to a recitation of Robert Burns’ poem with the line of Freedom and Whisky go together.    Claire comments she used to say that to Jamie.  Don’t step on that Foreshadow, Roger.

Willie learns “Mac”is leaving and is  not happy.  He acts up in anger and when Jamie calls him a little bastard, he hates that line.  One wonders if he’s heard whispers.  Jamie is stung, realizing the double meaning and apologies.  We know this is important to him because he was a bit ashamed that his own father was a bastard.

Willie spontaneously gives him a hug and the this cuts right to Jamie’s heart (and mine) as he knows he has the love of this child that he can never claim.



LJG is visiting Helwater again.  He has heard Jamie is leaving which makes him sad as well but he knows that it is for the best as he too has guessed about Willie’s parentage.  They walk and Jamie asks him if he will look after Willie and offers his own body in return.  This shows how serious his request is and LJG doesn’t even know what he’s been through (unless you’ve read the novella).  David Berry gives a great performance of disbelief, joy and gallantry.  He refuses him and tells Jamie he is to be married to Isobel and that together they will raise Willie.   This scene was so great on many levels.  The bromance chemistry is very real and it makes me happy for Jamie to have such a friend.  As MBR said, if you think about their evolution, this man was once his prison warden and now he is asking him to raise his son.  

They shake and Jamie  puts his left hand over their clasped hands, which has great significance to LJG after their awkward moment in Ardsmuir.  Matt said handshakes weren’t period correct either but it seemed too little to just bow as a thank you. 

Jamie returns to his room with candles lit and prepares to take out his hidden statue of Saint Anthony, the patron saint Of Lost Things.  (Saint Anthony works overtime for me but always comes through!)  Willie enters and inquires about the candles and Jamie tells him that he prays for his family and his wife, whom he thinks about, always.  In the script, Jamie is praying before Willie enters including the famous line which mysteriously has been left out all season about praying that Claire is safe, she and the child.  There was a scene of Claire praying for him too that was going to be a nice pairing and for some reason, they were both edited out.  That makes me shake my head in so many ways.  Leave that in and take out the useless phone call from Joe or cut the Geneva loses her virginity scene down by 25 seconds.   Will somebody please give the editors a copy of this book?  Although RDM has read it.  “nuff said.

Willie wants to be a “stinking Papist’ like Jamie and he is baptized by his father.  Jamie gives him a carving of Sawny with his own name carved in the back.  I loved this change from the rosary, as the writers correctly point out that there is no way a British prison would let a Jacobite keep anything of value, especially a symbol of Catholicism.

It’s time to go home. Claire and Bree back to Boston and Jamie back to Lallybroch.  Claire looks as sad a she did hopeful at the end of 213.  Back at the Wakefield residence, Roger tears up over what might have been with Bree.  Bob Dylan’s song My Blue Eyed Son plays in the background (a rare choice of contemporary music and TG’s choice ever since she read the book).  Jamie says goodbye to Isobel, who whispers they will take care of his son and LJG has tears in his eyes for his friend and for him.  Jamie gets on his horse but Willie yells for him not to leave and takes off toward the horse.  (Hats off to David Berry who had to really run fast to catch this kid.)  Jamie doesn’t look around and for the first time, looks every bit of his 40ish years.  He rides with a straight back, but the lump in his throat (and mine) is large and he has to catch his breath as he rides away from another child. He’s lost three children now.  And Sam Heughan breaks my heart again.





Thanks to the following for their time and talent for the screencaps and gifs: emmakillian, jamieclaire, outlander-scenery, caitbalfes, Starz.   If we missed a credit, please notify us on any of our social media sites.

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