It is with great anticipation, dread, sadness, joy and all other emotions that come along with it, that the end of Season 4 has reached us. Quite a journey the first few years in the American Colonies Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) have had. With all of this seasons new characters, and a few that are still along for the ride, we have enjoyed the roller coaster and now have to survive the drought.
If you haven’t watched tonights episode, go no further. Series and book spoilers ahead.
Rescuing Roger and the Mystery of Otter Tooth
Fair trade with the Mohawk is a no go for the Frasers. After months of searching for Roger, they meet another band of Mohawk who tell them where they can find the tribe that bears the symbol of Ian’s traded medallion. Upon entering the camp, Jamie showing his language acquisition skills and Ian ask the Mohawk if Roger is with them, and can they trade for his return. Kaherton (Braedon Clarke) asks them to find “Dog Face” and tell the chief that they want to trade for his return. After a few exchanges, all seems to be going well. Then as luck would have it, Claire’s huge opal necklace reveals itself and the tribe is repulsed. They refuse to trade for Roger. Claire asks what is the meaning of the stone to them. She will trade it for Roger. The chief shuts her and Jamie down, and tells them to leave.
Later, when they have gone some distance from the Mohawk and are camping for the night, a small group of Mohawk come and ask them for the opal stone. Claire seeks to trade the stone for Roger, however she wants to know what it means to them. A Mohawk woman tells Claire that the stone belonged to Otter Tooth, a man who claimed to be from their future, who came to them in her grandfather’s time. He spoke of the end of the Mohawk and that they must make war on the white man before they are gone, for the Iroquois Nation will be no more. The man was ostracized from the tribe and eventually killed. Claire tells of finding the skull with the opal and later being visited in the storm by a ghost, Otter Tooth, who guided her.
Murcasta: That Relationship Thing Everyone Was Waiting For
Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) arrives back at River Run after dodging the Redcoats for weeks after his jail breakout. Jocasta feeds him and they have a somewhat tension filled meal at River Run. Jocasta brags a bit about Brianna making a fine match with Lord John, and Murtagh counters in disbelief, that Brianna will wed a Redcoat? Jocasta (Maria Kennedy Doyle) is concerned and a bit dismayed that Murtagh has returned to his old ways, getting himself in trouble with the law. He remarks it’s not the first time he’s been on a broadsheet and has managed to survive. She has heard about the jail break from Brianna, and while she will feed him, strongly suggests that he not stay long, for they will come looking for him. Bristling back he mentions that he has only come to check on the lass, and asks about her health. The conversation goes back and forth from talking to bristle. Two very stubborn personalities, and old friends from the days gone by.
Later Murtagh is spoiled by a glass of good whiskey from Jocasta as an appeasement that doesn’t last long. The conversation turns to accusations by Jocasta of Murtagh being given a gift of living in a new land, where he could have made something of himself, not inciting discord. Murtagh counters with the fact that others came to the colonies by choice, he was forced there in servitude, the mission of the Regulators as being just, protecting the poor who do not live as grand as Jocasta has been so lucky to, with 3 husbands, etc.. Jocasta jabs back with how Murtagh was always bad when he turned up at Castle Leoch, scowling and slinking about, causing trouble. We really know that was Dougal. Finally after the man defends himself, she throws whiskey in his face. He’s dealing with a MacKenzie of Castle Leoch, they will always find a way to twist and suit conversation to their needs. How does one fight back?
The only way to stop two old friends arguing so, and stop the tension, is somehow by ending up in bed together, or so it goes here. In a storyline twist perhaps telling us that Jocasta had been envious of her sister’s suitor ignoring her from years before, that secretly over the years she had liked Murtagh, something finally had to give? Sadly, he’s a wanted man. The next morning she has of course changed her tune, she wants him to stay, even though she had wanted him gone. It is risky keeping him there, with Jocasta’s connections and him being on broadsheets everywhere. All Murtagh wants is for her to come back to bed.
It was a Outlander Fandom obsession for months, that did not go unnoticed by the writers. Many had speculated about Murtagh having the relationship with Jocasta, since he seemed to have taken the place of the book character Duncan Innes, one of the prisoners from Ardsmuir that Jamie had found. That Character marries Jocasta. Perhaps with Season 5 and if the Gathering is used there, we may see a secret wedding. What hasn’t been revealed, and this storyline from the books tells later, is that Jocasta for many years had a relationship with her manservant, Ulysses. Wether this is going to throw a cog in the works later, we don’t know. I for one had hoped that Murtagh would find someone who could fight alongside him or at least be more aligned with the rather complicated man. But as he pointed out, maybe she could use her influence to help in other ways. Yes, I’m a huge Murtagh fan. But really I was hoping for another direction on this one. Remember that bit about MacKenzies being schemers? Would Jocasta be willing to risk River Run for affiliation with such a man?
Here’s your gratuitous Murtagh shot. Enjoy it, it will be a long year. I think Murtagh would enjoy the Clash, at least their, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” song.
Brianna Meets Her Child
Time goes by waiting on Jamie and Claire. Murtagh stays on, managing to dodge Redcoats, and asks Brianna the difficult questions, are you going to tell me what the devil you were doing seeing Bonnet and are you really going to marry Lord John? Brianna explains that she wanted to bring peace to herself through forgiveness. She also explains that the betrothal to Lord John was just to get Jocasta off her back about marrying eligible wealthy men in the county, she is still holding out hope that Roger will eventually be found.
In a birthing sequence I have to applaud, we hear music and see the birthing process and not another agonizing screaming scene. We’ve all seen them, through many series and films. This scene was done in a classy way, the emotion was there, raw, all of the actresses, Sophie Skelton, Maria Kennedy Doyle, Caitlyn O’Ryan and the amazing Natalie Simpson were superb. Murtagh pacing outside was a treat, Great Godfather that he is.
Man of Worth
The Mohawk faction that believed in taking the Opal Necklace of Otter Tooth as it will help them to foretell the future of their tribe, offer to help the Frasers to retrieve Roger in exchange for the necklace. Things of course do not go according to plan, and when Claire and Jamie enter the hut, the astonished Roger is distrustful. Claire hurriedly explains what has happened, Jamie somewhat apologizes for beating him and selling him to the Mohawk. There isn’t time, they must get him out. A lengthly escape battle is joined. Of course they are caught, and then Young Ian is also caught after fighting so bravely to get them out of the village. Claire begs for Roger, and Jamie offers to sacrifice himself and stay in Roger’s place.
Ian decides to not translate Jamie’s offer, instead he offers himself to the Mohawk. He has decided to do what Uncle Jamie had requested of him months before, to become a man of worth. This scene is poignant, and probably would make more sense if they had shown more of Ian’s fascination of life among the tribes. However, Ian has shown his true worth and takes to his trial on the gauntlet with all out gusto and feats of street fighting we didn’t know he had in him. He makes it to the chief’s toe, and places a hand there. He rises, he is worthy.
The Frasers and Roger leave Ian to the Mohawk. Claire decides it’s time to tell Roger of Brianna, what happened to her that night after he left. She goes into details about Bonnet attacking Brianna. Jamie is infuriated that Roger left her defenseless. He is also smarting at losing his nephew to the Mohawk, and what is he going to tell his sister? Roger counters with Brianna told him to leave, that he tried to come back but was forced onto the Gloriana by Bonnet. The sick realization that Bonnet has caused so much grief for the family incites anger between the two men, while at the same time it should be uniting them. Claire looks on with that “Men!” stance, when really they should be getting back to Brianna. But it’s better to let them fight it out now, then have it drag on for two months on the way back, if Roger is going back with them. Jamie continues to throw blame at Roger, even though Jamie has done terrible things to Roger.
Claire gives Roger a choice after the confrontation continues. She tells him he can make the choice to come back or not, the child may not be his. Can he stand by their daughter? Jamie is outraged that he will not stand up for Brianna, and he and Claire stand firm. Can anyone really blame Roger, after what he has been through, to be told at the last that Brianna has been raped, and that the child may or may not be his?
Two months pass. Murtagh has managed to stay at River Run without being found by the Redcoats. Brianna’s child is now two months old and quite sturdy, but she is pining for Roger and her parents. The Frasers arrive back, however Roger is not with them. Claire and Jamie thank Jocasta for looking after their daughter, and Claire seems to mend fences with a fairly receptive Jocasta. Funny what a little love will do. While they were gone they gained a grandchild, however they have lost Ian. The Frasers measure what they have and have lost.
Later, in a conversation between Jamie and Murtagh, he updates Jamie on Bonnet blowing up with the jail. He is sorry Jamie did not get to exact his revenge the way he wanted. However we know that there is a set of keys. And Murtagh has been wrong before, remember a herd of Red Coos and Black Jack Randall?
Brianna starts packing and notices a lone rider coming up to River Run while she is preparing to go back to the ridge with her parents. She hesitates then runs through the house, flying down the path. It is Roger, and he has made his decision that he wants to see “his son”. Roger has now shown that he is a man of worth. Right on their tail a group of Redcoats on horseback come. There’s no time to get to warn Murtagh. Luckily Phaedra spots them from the house and warns the others, and Murtagh is secreted away. The riders enter the house and deliver a declaration to Jamie Fraser from Governor Tryon. It is a Call to Muster, to create a militia to fight the Regulators. In the Call to Muster, there is a statement demanding the death of Jamie’s beloved Godfather, Murtagh as a leader of the rebellion. The deal made with a devil for land has indeed come back to haunt Jamie. This will create the tension and split of Godfather and Godson going into season 5, they will be fighting on opposite sides.
Much of this season worked and didn’t work for me as a fan of both the books and the series. There were some things I felt were rushed, however when dealing with action and adventure, things needed to be quick paced. I feel better about the season than I did much of season 3, and really I see where the writers were trying to please as wide of an audience as possible. However, if you look at the ratings for the season, viewership has dropped drastically this season. Let’s hope as they get through season 5 and 6 and it can pick back up, or we may not see the books through to the end.
I have been delighted in the storylines with Ian, Marsali and Fergus, and of course ultimately Murtagh that have developed so well. I feel much of the flavor of Jamie and Claire were lost, while I am not a big fan of the “Shipper” thing, I am more of a character quality person, I have tried to like the Brianna and Roger storyline. I found myself fan-girling on some of Roger’s better realization moments, and yes he was indeed odious in others. Brianna was very much a head strong princess in the first part of the season. I loved the costume, and the care that went into the Cherokee and Mohawk tribal clothing, as well as their depiction and storylines. I think that the production crews and film editors topped themselves this season. I look forward with dread to the Droughtlander we now face, it looks like it may be Spring 2020 before we have season 5, although IMdb says it will be Fall 2019. Filming hasn’t started yet, they are still in preproduction.
Start (re)reading The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon now.
Rewatch the season on the Starz App until the series comes out on DVD.
Travel to Scotland, and if you’re lucky catch them filming. Check out the filming locations for season 3. The production designer, Jon Gary Steel hinted at work starting on The Big House. If you read the books, you know what that means.
There’s a placeholder at IMdb for Season 5.1 already.
What were your favorite and not so favorite moments in season 4?