Episode 407: Down The Rabbit Hole

Brianna headshotRoger and Brianna fans will have a delight in this weeks episode Outlander 407: Down the Rabbit Hole. With a perfect reference to Alice in Wonderland, what is it like for an inexperienced Brianna to travel through the stones, and come through the other side, over 200 years in the past? And Roger (Richard Rankin) to go chasing after her? What do you bring with you on such a journey? How would you find your way back? Answer: Compass, Map, a watch perhaps, matches, and period coin. Someone you love.

Spoilers Warning!

In an episode dedicated to Brianna and Roger, Brianna (Sophie Skelton) thinks she has found the solution to the distressing news she has discovered, to travel back and warn her parents of a fire that will happen in ten years time, to prevent the tragedy of their death. Roger receives her letter, telling him to forget her. Despite Roger trying to not inform her of the death of her parents that he found in documents in his father’s study, she has found out on her own. When last they were together, things ended badly. Roger’s reasoning is what can he do, he doesn’t wish to distress her, so he keeps the knowledge to himself. Her parents are are in the past and really, already dead. But time is a relative thing for travelers. Brianna determines to go back in time and warn them, despite what her mother Claire (Caitriona Balfe) has told her of trying to change history, how she and Jamie failed changing the outcome of the Battle of Culloden, and failed. However, headstrong Brianna cannot be told she can’t fix something.

Brave New World

Brianna is brave and fearless at times, however her inexperience will get he into trouble. In a call back to season 3’s Uncharted, it is Brianna this time building a fire, alone at night. BriannafireShe comes across time in the 1970’s ideal of country clothing, in a Gunne Sax style dress, with a cloak. She did not have the experience and time that Claire had to prepare to go back, therefore threw together what she could find for clothing. Not very practical or warm. What does she bring with her? A watch, something from the future, a map, period coinage. Bringing anything that is too foreign or strange will get you noticed by the wrong people. Practicality with the period map, Brianna can find her way to Ayr to take ship for the colonies. With her hair and attire she’ll attract attention, along with her manner of speech and accent. Wandering the highlands, she heads for Ayr, what she finds after a tumble is an ankle injury and that travel by foot is extremely difficult at the best of times. And she has had no contacts in the area, or so she thinks.

Finding Brianna

download-1Roger has been handed a letter telling him that Brianna has traveled to the future and that he is to forget about her. That’s not going to happen, as a historian Roger knows only too well how women are treated in the 18th century. Plus he’s still madly in love with her despite their clash and his anger over the marriage refusal. He begins preparing to follow Brianna through the stones and get’s help from Fiona Graham (Iona Claire), who is now the caller of the Druid group, in order to travel through the stones. He dresses as period close as he can, has a gemstone, and a map, compass and coin. He can hear the stones calling him, that eternal buzzing sound.

Unwanted Savior

The family Nemesis Laoghaire (LeeRee) played by Nell Hudson, turns up to rescue Brianna who by now has been really having trouble with her ankle and no aspirin to download-7help, only icy streams. She has collapsed on the road and is taken in by Laoghaire and her daughter Joan. Brianna, none the wiser that this is her mothers enemy, is cared for and meets Ian Murray when he comes to bring money. Arguing ensues between Laoghaire and Ian, with Brianna in the bedroom starting a series of flashbacks to Frank Randall, her mother, and her side of the many issues that came up in the marriage. In one episode,Frank had the obituary notice copy of the burning on Fraser’s Ridge, and the death of Jamie Fraser. At this point Brianna has no idea about her real father, who he is.

Laoghaire, a conversation begins with Brianna about love and people who did not love her, who loved her at one time, and what we know to be her twisted misconception of Claire and Jamie’s marriage and love. Eventually Laoghaire works out that Brianna is their daughter, and the two lock into a battle of words with Bree offering to leave at once. Laoghaire locks her in the room, threatening to have her turned over for witchcraft, so she can die like her mother should have. Eventually Joanie sets her download-3free and takes her to Lallybroch to Ian Murray, who acknowledges her as Jamie’s daughter rather quickly, provides her with yet another trunk of her mother’s clothes. He helps her to get to Ayr to find passage to the colonies to find Aunt Jocasta, and a maidservant for her journey.

Roger and Captain Bonnet

download-6Of course who turns up to beleaguer Roger, but that villain and brigand, Captain Bonnet (Ed Speleers). Bonnet, who stole Claire’s wedding ring in an attack on the Frasers, has done quite well for himself. He is captain of a ship, The Gloriana, and rules her with an iron fist. Roger is forced to work his way on board as they are full on passengers. During the voyage, he meets his Great Grandmother Morag MacKenzie, and tries to protect them from the captain, who has discovered a plague of pox on the ship and begins throwing those that look affected, overboard. The passengers are for his profit, to become indentured. The children make him no money. A confrontation between him and Roger over murdering children begins and Bonnet goes back to flipping a coin game after telling him of his fate with near death some years before.download-4

I watched this episode and found that it was lacking clarity in some aspects, and not really giving as much of an in depth view on Brianna and Rogers situations and the harsh realities of adapting to the past. It felt a very hurried and rushed in the two journeys, we know that a journey took so much longer back then. While the television audience may not have the patience for journeys drawn out lengths, it should feel that there is a passage of time,  it was a long and arduous journey for many crossing the seas in the 18th century, if you survived the voyage at all.

Things Considered

Lallybroch: This sequence all happens rather quickly and we do no get to see Brianna stay with the Murray’s and get the real sense of extended family she has not had before. Her own mother being far away and the father that raised her is dead. Neither Jenny nor any of the other family members are around during the sequence and is sadly a missing piece.

In the book Drums of Autumn, Laoghaire, who shows up at Lallybroch after Brianna has travelled there and met the Murray cousins, creates a big scene over the money owed her. The clash with her and Brianna was much more heavy and real I think than what was going on in the episode Down The Rabbit Hole. Then again, book Brianna is much more fiery than the series Brianna. Hopefully we will see the spitfire Brianna in episodes to come.

Previews for next weeks episode 408: Willmington show a confrontation starting with Murtagh in the middle of it and Jamie trying to keep the peace. We can’t wait! You can watch these episodes at midnight on Saturdays with the Starz ®App and at 8PM EST on Starz®. Amazon Prime in the UK on Mondays.

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This episode’s pictures

3 thoughts on “Episode 407: Down The Rabbit Hole

  1. Mairi

    I am a Scot, so I have never understood why the continuity error regarding the map and destination of Brianna was never picked up before filming “Down the Rabbit Hole”. Brianna’s map showed her heading for Ayr, but the Stones are in the central Highlands and Lallybroch is due north west from there, so why was she heading south west to Ayr ? It’s about 200 miles from the central Highlands to Ayr and there were plenty of ports closer to Lallybroch.


    1. Janet Canning Post author

      Good point. It’s also possible the map was a prop, and the best version of the shot was with it folded the wrong way. I mean, it is a time travel fantasy. I have been to some of the areas you mention and yes, by foot would be a terrible distance. I suppose that considering how befuddled she was by that point, the fact she kept falling and got twisted around a bit. Don’t know.



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