All roads lead to Wilmington in this episode, as a large crossroads town and serving capitol for the Governor of the colony, it is a great meeting place for many of our characters as their storylines cross paths. In episode 408 Wilmington, we see many dangers arise, and reunions met, and emotions that run the gamut. Now, remember back in Outlander Season 2 in Paris, the insane intrigue and plotting to stop the Battle of Culloden? It looks like the Frasers are going down a similar path, only this time they are eventually going to meet a revolution. Hang on to your seats, there’s a lot going on here.
In an episode filled with reunion, connections and intrigue, we start off with the across time reunion of Roger (Rik Rankin) and Brianna( Sophie Skelton). Roger makes it to Wilmington, North Carolina, and is fervently asking anyone in town that we meets if they have seen Brianna. He carries the nearly worn out portrait of himself and Bree that was done at the Scottish games two hundred years in the future. It reflects his beleaguered self, the worn out man seeking a woman he loves who didn’t just go away, passed back in time to do so. The life of a traveler is one fraught with danger and many trials. He turns to ask Fergus Fraser (Cesar Domboy), after leaving his place of employment at the printers, if he has seen the woman in the picture, and Fergus says no.
As Fergus continues on, he heads home to Marsali and their young wriggling son, Germaine. A surprise is in store, Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are in town at the request of Governor Tryon. Claire is spending time with grandchild and discussing the Governor’s real agenda, to check up on the Fraser’s and test Jamie’s loyalties. For 10 thousand Acres is at stake.
Marsali (Lauren Lyle), in a rare moment, confides in Claire how much motherhood has changed her. She feels she would do anything to protect her child, take a knife to her belly even. We see the tension that was once between Claire and Marsali has melted into a kinship of understanding, that Claire is not the evil witch Marsali was led to believe, and that the two women are family and have to support one another. We also see that Claire feels the loss of Brianna while handling baby Germaine.
Surgery as Subterfuge
That evening Jamie and Claire attend the play at the Governor’s firm request and meet Mr. Fanning, who among other things, is the magistrate of the lands that encompass Fraser’s Ridge and surrounding areas. They are told the story of the man trying to placate some of the insurgents the previous spring, by bringing them a cask of rum drink after a recent outcry of taxation woes. He indicates to them that he had injured himself in the process. Other characters pop up and we are introduced to the first historical figure, Colonel George Washington and his wife Martha. Claire of course makes a historical faux pas about cherry trees. She later tells Jamie who he really is, and will be in the future.
Governor Tryon (Tim Downey), takes Jamie, Mr. Fanning and Col. Washington further into confidence while gauging his support against the insurgents, who he states should have no right to call themselves Regulators. Jamie finds out that the Governor knows that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) is one of the leaders and must find a way to escape the play to warn him after the Governor let’s slip that his men have gone to surprise the raid on the tax collector’s carriage. Tryon has a planted man in the insurgent’s camp, and knows of their movements.
In true Outlander fashion, a diversion must be made to allow Jamie to escape unnoticed, and one conveniently arises when Mr. Fanning goes into convulsions of pain from his injury, after Jamie conveniently aggravates the area, which Claire had suspected was a hernia. A table is laid clear and Claire performs surgery, cleverly diverting Governor Tryon in the process of performing the surgery by demanding his help. Jamie exits and finds that Col. Washington is leaving early and receives a ride in his coach to get into town under the guise of getting his wife’s medical bag, and sets off to warn Murtagh. He comes back before he is noticed missing, thanks due to some superb surgery by Claire, all done with efficient purpose, and not a drop of blood on the immaculate ivory dress.
The play’s the thing, and the intrigue involved was classic Outlander and hails back to season 2 in Paris with Kings, Princes, and an evil Compte. This time Claire and Jamie are battling a greedy Governor and people in power, like Fanning the magistrate with his hands in both pots. The colonies have become infused with backwater politicking. In order to survive, Jamie and Claire must appear to be in the Governor’s favor, yet let Murtagh know he’s in danger. The scene was played out with great finesse and aplomb by Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, as their characters performed a ballet around Tryon and the other guests. How long they will be able to keep up this game, is not known. In Paris it nearly cost them their marriage, and they lost a child in all the strain their plots caused Claire during pregnancy. The stakes are very high again, with a large land grant, getting settlers, and appearing to help keep the peace will prove to be very difficult, and make for at least another season’s storytelling.
Murtagh Fitzgibbons has done a great many things in his life. He’s been a cattle rustler, soldier, prisoner, indentured man, and blacksmith. And yes, when in Paris twenty years before, he acted as highwayman at Jamie’s direction, to steal the Comte’s and Prince Charlie’s wine shipment to foil the gaining of money to further the cause of fighting in Scotland. Now, as a leader of the Regulators movement, Murtagh is making his own plots and intrigue. His men are at the ready. His purpose to take back the tax monies taken from them. After surveying the road and thinking, Murtagh joins his men and they lie in wait, when the action is about to happen, Fergus comes crashing in and identifies himself as Fergus, and that M’Lord has asked him to worn them. Murtagh recognizes him and they call the raid off just in time. Fergus waits until the others leave, warning Murtagh that there is a traitor in his camp. Murtagh is glad to be reunited with Fergus, however asks why his Godson could not deliver the message himself? Murtagh is incensed that Jamie did not come, growing impatient with Jamie’s neutrality declaration.
Laying the Blame
Later with Governor Tryon and Jamie in the carriage, Tryon bemoans his plans being thwarted and states someone must have warned them. The only people he told were with him in the carriage, except for Fanning who of course was being operated on. Another gentleman points out that Col. Washington had left, and Jamie helps going along with it most have been him. Tryon makes the annoyed statement to, “Never trust a Virginian!’ and that “Washington’s day will come!”. A very prophetic statement. And how will Jamie keep his involvement in going along with this pointing a finger, not bite back later?
The Fasted Hand
Roger is disappointed and well beat with searching for Brianna over two hundred years time and the dangers of sea crossing. There is nothing like finally getting to where she should be located, and not finding her. While sitting in the tavern of Brianna’s Inn, he has a frustration moment and gets up to leave, and then he hears her voice, booking passage up the river to River Run. They reunite and a slight tustle begins again, for their courtship will ever be a rocky one. Lizzie, Brianna’s maid, witnesses as Roger drags Brianna outside and they have another lover’s quarrel. In the street they agree to move to a shed that happens to have a bit of a fireplace and storage room. They declare their love and Roger brings up the old Scottish tradition of Handfasting, to become promised as husband and wife for a year and a day. They perform the ritual in front of the fire and have their wedding night.
In conversation after coupling, Roger let’s slip the fact that he had read the same obituary that Brianna had regarding her parent’s death. In true Brianna fashion, she takes exception when she discovers that Roger knew of the fire that would kill her parents, had read the same article, and did not warn her.
Roger again fails in becoming the parental figure, argues that it would have been dangerous and careless, he had wanted to protect her from the pain. The conversation goes from bad to worse, accusations of Roger controlling what Brianna thinks and does, and Roger rounding with he should perhaps treat her more like a wife and control her more, things would work out better. They come to a head with Brianna telling Roger he should just go. Roger with after traveling 200 years to find her and the dangers of her being on her own. Brianna states that she and Lizzie were doing just fine.
Sadly, Brianna has just set herself up. The 18th century is a very dangerous place for a woman to be alone in. After going from complete happiness, to utter betrayal with her lover, she is devastated, in shock. After Roger leaves, she stumbles back to the inn, where things become much worse. Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) is drinking and gambling in the tavern downstairs and is flashing about her mother’s wedding ring. Brianna recognizes the ring and tries to buy it off him, and get any information she can about her mother. Bad judgement, and filled with anxiety and desperation about Claire, she follows him to another room, right into his trap. What follows is a terrible blow, a day that started with finding her love, the loss of him, and then becoming a victim to a sociopathic man. The rape scene is off camera with the effect being that you hear everything, but the camera stays on the tavern room with everyone in Bonnet’s crew continuing on as they acknowledge, and yet ignore the scene going on next door. A very beaten Brianna is allowed to take her mother’s ring, as payment for services, and she slowly, painfully goes back upstairs to her rooms with Lizzie.
Remember, Lizzie saw her mistress leave with the man, Roger, and come back hurt. Will Lizzie report the incident? And to whom.
Season 4 has a great deal in common with season 2, with the plots and intrigues very close to the previous spying and intelligence gathering that Claire, Jamie, Murtagh and Fergus did to sabotage Prince Charles’ battle plans in Scotland. You would think they had learned the first time. The Frasers are falling into the troubles that are prelude to a war, the over taxation of the colonists is just one. As Claire has already brought up, there’s a revolution in 6 years time. War may seem far off, however, it will come to the backcountry and slowly begin to boil. How can they place themselves out of harm’s way, how to keep Fraser’s Ridge a sanctuary from war.
After the foiled carriage raid, Murtagh is annoyed that Jamie himself could not come and warn him, but is glad of the warning and reuniting with Fergus. We see another seed of the growing conflict between Godfather and Godson, as Murtagh questions Jamie’s loyalties. Perhaps he is becoming old and jaded, and who can blame him? He doesn’t trust the situation with the Governor, even though having Jamie appear close will help him to get information, which is what he had asked Jamie to do, and was refused. Jamie declared he would not help or hinder, that there was too much at stake. Murtagh feels betrayed, and if you remember back to a scene in a courtyard in Paris, when Jamie finally told Murtagh what they were trying to do in Paris, Jamie got quite the punch from his Godfather. Murtagh takes exception to not being trusted or included. Losing Murtagh again would devastate Jamie, he is the last of his clansmen. Do we think that Fergus will become involved with the Regulators, we know he wanted to fight so badly at Culloden. Murtagh will not like how Fergus lost his hand.
Brianna and Roger
Sophie Skelton has another fine performance in a truly brutal scene. After telling the man she loves to leave, again, Brianna lands in the worst possible situation, becoming the victim of a sociopath. Skelton’s performance in the aftermath of the rape by Bonnet shows her growth as a performer over the last 2 seasons. The Hand Fasting and perceived betrayal, and consequential rape of Brianna at Bonnet’s Hands was on par with a Game of Thrones story line in it’s brutality. Rik Rankin is taking to heart playing a very stubborn man and his much outdated sense of love, but in some ways you cannot blame him. He is right about the dangers in the colonies, he is a historian, he knew what could happen. And Twitter was on fire with how Roger should have stayed! However, he will need to find some way to have more modern concepts of love while being in the 18th century, or he loses Brianna forever. We’ll see what happens next time on Episode 409 The Birds and The Bees, only 5 more episodes to go.
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