As always please do not read further if you have not seen Season 4 episode 411: If Not For Hope, contains spoilers.
This episode should really be titled If Not For Sacrifice. It’s the last 3 episodes of season 4, and it’s a one-two-three punch for each of them. Three storylines, three cliff hangers, endless drops. Hold on to your seats.
The Search for Roger
In the opening of the episode, we see a beaten Roger in a shower washing off. We question if he has indeed made it back, stepped through the stones and abandoned Brianna. Then we see it’s a dream sequence, he has been recaptured by the Mohawk, who are very angry with him. Roger’s luck continues to be cursed. Will he even be recognizable to Claire, Jamie, and Ian if he is found?
Ian has grown so much in this season. He begins to show more of that growth as he corners Auntie, and tries to get her to mend fences with Uncle Jamie. He again explains the mistake, and how it has a great deal to do with what he did. Can she not forgive Jamie? Claire insists she is not angry with Jamie, she is angry with everyone. How could everyone have gotten in all so wrong to the detriment of poor Roger? However, going back to past lessons with Claire and secrets from Season 2, she mostly feels the blame herself.
Rollo turns up with a mummified leg, as Rollo would do. Claire and Ian follow him to the half buried corpse and Claire remarks that is has been dead at least a month. Ian recognizes the tunics and the two missing fingers as having belonged to one of the Indians he sold Roger to. The three of them bury the body, Jamie remarks that he had a family somewhere who will miss him. Clearly Jamie and Claire are not effectively communicating as they should.
Later in the tent, Claire begins apologizing to Jamie. She explains she is not angry with him, everyone has made her angry. None of what happened should have happened. For a few years after Frank’s death, it had just been her caring for Brianna. All the decisions came to her, protecting her. Brianna was closer to Frank at times. Jamie, who fears the loss of the daughter he has just come to know, the daughter he said terrible things to. Claire remarks that he did not mean what he said, and neither did Brianna, Brianna did not mean for him to go to Hell. Claire blames herself, for she had known it was Bonnet before Roger came, and had not told Jamie for Brianna’s sake. She had kept a terrible secret, it it had been wrong to do so. Jamie admits that he has never felt he could be jealous of a dead man, Frank. Claire discusses the promise they made long ago, about not keeping secrets. Claire doesn’t know if she can keep the promise where Bree is concerned.
Murtagh’s on a Mission
Fergus is at the Tavern, asking a Captain about Bonnet. He is told that he will arrive in a week, and in leaving he notices a broadsheet with Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser on it. “Merde!”, he tears it down. Walks home to Marsali and Murtagh is in the parlor recruiting Regulators actively under their roof. Marsali is worried about their safety with the meetings and the guest being a wanted man. Fergus counters that Murtagh would do the same for him. Fergus is melancholy as he has not been able to find work with his wooden hand, no one will take him on.
Later at night, while Murtagh sleeps on a pallet on the floor, Marsali noisily wakes him up. She is very conscious of the dangers of Murtagh’s enterprise, but asks Murtagh to take Fergus on to fight with his men. It would be good for Fergus to feel that he is a full man, and she wants a whole man as husband. Murtagh agrees to ask, reluctantly. The next day baby Germaine is wailing so, and Murtagh is lamenting about the fact that the militia needs weapons, that maybe they should use the child’s wail as one, since it is certainly defeating him. Fergus calms his child down, and Murtagh makes the offer to take Fergus on with the Regulators. Fergus declines, is place is with the baby and Marsali. Marsali is thrilled, as Fergus has made a statement of the importance of his family to him. Fergus does help however in the hunt for Stephen Bonnet, and Marsali has come with news, The Gloriana has arrived in port.
Murtagh and Fergus wait with another captain in the tavern, and when Bonnet comes waltzing in, he is identified. Fergus makes a plan to catch him alone. In a room above the tavern, Murtagh and Fergus corner him, and the over confident sociopath thinks he’s got the upper hand, but Murtagh deals a swift blow with the butt of his pistol as only he can, and Fergus and he set to transport Bonnet back to Fraser’s Ridge. Unfortunately, as it was far too lucky to take care of the matter swiftly, Fergus and Murtagh are caught in the act as a patrol questions what the are doing. Murtagh acts like Fergus was an assailant, punches him, with his arms raised giving Fergus chance at escape. He tells the men that the man tied up is none other than Stephen Bonnet, murderer and gallows escapee. Unfortunately one of them recognizes him from the broadsheets and takes him in, they’ve bagged two wanted fugitives.
Murtagh knew it was a risk, however he had to get into Wilmington to connect with his men and do business. He chose to juggle both his own business and the hunt for Bonnet. Enlisting Fergus put him at risk, but he was the only one he could trust with capturing the man. It was a risky business and he should have probably been staying outside the city, not being out in broad daylight trying to get Bonnet out of town. Why did he risk so much all at once? A question Jamie will be asking of him if they meet again. Now, how is Fergus to get him out of this mess?
Brianna Survives MacKenzie Machinations
Brianna is waiting for her parents to bring Roger back to her, and as the month peel by, she is beginning to show her situation. She passes her time drawing to relieve the stress, to process all that has happened to her. She then takes to drawing young Phaedra. Jocasta has not been idle, and she is planning Brianna’s future. She lost her chance with Jamie, but now she has his young, unwed and pregnant daughter to work in her fashion. In true MacKenzie style, she starts arranging for Brianna to meet eligible, well to do men of the county.
Brianna’s arrival has created an opportunity for Jocasta to solve a problem. Time and again Jocasta has had male suitors wanting to wed her and have control at River Run. Jamie left with Claire and Ian, taking away her chance to have an heir and a male that could take the duties of River Run, one she could trust. Brianna has presented another angle for her to work. If she connects herself with another prominent family in the parts, she could have the support of a man to help her run things, but she would still have final say.
Brianna will not be ruled so easily. Phaedra tried to create a new gown for her for the dinner, Brianna refused it. Jocasta meets with her and decides to nail down the situation, she’ll no take no for an answer. She tries to persuade Brianna with tales of her Grandmother Ellen and her fair hand at painting and drawing. Jocasta professes she has done some herself, but never at Ellen’s level. She chides Brianna and tells her she must think of her future, that being a mother with a bastard child will make the child’s future difficult. Yes, there is a possibility that the father may be brought back, but that is no guarantee, the Mohawk may have done him ill. She tells Brianna more of Ellen, that she was with child before she wed, and that even though Dougal and Colum were seeking husband’s for her, she eloped with Brian, the man she loved. But they had wed, and the child was born in wedlock.
Brianna concedes to go to the dinner, in a remade gown of Jocasta’s. She arrives at the dinner and the eligible men flock about her like cockerels. Her suitors are Gerald Forbes, who is most ardent, Judge Alderdice, and Lt. Wolff. All of them wish to spend time with Brianna, bumble about, posturing, and ask her to go places with them. Brianna manages to keep her grace and fortitude and steer clear of the ever eager men.
Lord John Grey arrives to check in on Brianna as requested by Jamie in a letter. The dinner begins, and during that dinner, Lord John tells of his adventures in Jamaica. Afterwards, Brianna takes the lead, and as she has been opinionated all night, continues with a game she creates called Psychology. We learn of Judge Alderdyce’s vision in a forest, and later she queries Lord John of his envisioning and finds out he had thought of her father Jamie. She begins to pick up on clues as to Lord John’s preferences in partners, and later that evening espies Lord John with Alderdyce.
The next morning, Phaedra hurries to dress Brianna. She announces that Forbes has come to make a proposal to her, that Jocasta is waiting with him downstairs. She quickly talks Lizzie into finding Lord John, and asks Phaedra to tell them she has gone for a walk, and will be gone an hour. She meets with Lord John and proceeds to ask him to marry her. A plan she has formulated on the run. She has it all worked out, he doesn’t have to interact with her much, he flat out refuses her impertinence. The rands on her that he should just to show her her place. When he refuses, she proceeds to tell him she will write to the Governor and others of what she saw, him with Judge Alderdyce. Lord John blasts back at her blackmail asking her does she have any idea how the punishment for such things are, reputation being the least of it, and how could she think of such things. After a bit, Brianna backs down, and in cooling down they talk further. She tells him of her troubles, that she had been violated. She informs him of Bonnet, and how her aunt is trying to make her choose a husband for the child’s sake. She admits that she must concede and go to Forbes, she must think of her child. Later she enters the hall and Lord John, in his usual grace, runs in after her, and begins a conversation about making arrangements for their wedding. Brianna falls into step, and the impromptu foil to Forbes is thrust with the man beating a hasty exit.
Whether Lord John Grey will actually marry Brianna is another matter, but for the moment it gives her protection and breathing space from her aunt’s machinations. She can rely on her father’s friend to protect her and keep others from prying into her affairs. What will happen when Jamie finds out is another matter entirely. Lord John had given Brianna a letter from her father, and after they talk on the porch some, she begins to look at it. The are fences to be mended, and in the next episode, we will come closer to seeing how tall those fences are.
Roger finally arrives at the Mohawk village. All of the people and warriors come out and Roger is dragged through a punching and kicking gauntlet for a greeting with a beating.
Episode 411 If Not For Hope, is really all about sacrifices being made, how people will give up their own needs to save the ones they love. Each character was making a sacrifice for someone they care about, and in some cases putting their own lives on the line. Two more episodes to go.
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