Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser, played so emphatically and with bravado by Duncan Lacroix, is a man torn between his past love of his Godson, a long life he had before the tragedy and strife that was prison after The Battle of Culloden, and an Indentured Servitude of 12 years in the Colonies. After a life’s strife of hard situations that would drive anyone mad, he survived. He had made a place for himself at a forge, and was the head of a resistance movement agains overtaxation by corrupt sheriffs near the town of Willem. We see Murtagh staying with the Frasers on the Ridge and the family’s attachment to him. But he feels the pull of previous commitments, and his forge, a place of work and solitude that seems to give this superhero his strength. The man is a walking ……
Paradox- a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.
Murtagh is an embodied example of this word right down to his bones. He has lost his beloved country with the soil that smelled so sweet. He has fought alongside his Godson Jamie (Sam Heughan) and many other Clans with the few 2000 Highlander and sympathizers against a massive Government Army at The Battle of Culloden. Survived to be thrown in prison for years, and become a shell of himself while there, only to be separated from Jamie and sent to the American Colonies, thus having lost everything. He finally creates a space at a forge for himself, a livelyhood, and a purpose. We know that the waters always run deep with the man.
When we meet up with Murtagh again at the end of episode 405 Savages he decides to visit Frasers Ridge, he slips into a life briefly of belonging with a family again, one he cannot hold onto for long. Jamie confides in him about his illegitimate son Willie. Another family tie Murtagh must consider, another secret to be kept. If you remember from Season 2 and Paris, all the secrecy didn’t set well with Murtagh. For yet again, when the three of them meet, Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Jamie and Murtagh, there must always be secrets and something that must be hidden, safe, away from prying eyes. However, this time, Murtagh must keep secrets of his own from those he loves, for his purpose.
To this purpose, his new life with it’s responsibilities beckons him. He has taken it upon himself to become a leader of a movement to regulate the over taxation of business people and landowners. Sheriffs, like the Government excise tax men Jamie encountered in Edinburgh, will twist laws to suit their needs and make their hefty little profit on the side. This is at the expense of the everyday man and woman, thus driving men, women and children into destitution. So Murtagh steps in, a 18th c Robin of the Hood, or this case a Tam, to set the world straight and seek justice for those who have no hope.
When it is time to go, Claire and Murtagh have a conversation at the stream while Claire gathers water. We then see that distant look in his eyes, the one that says he must be leaving. If only for now. However, he does not leave until a highly charged political debate happens at the Frasers dinner table with Lord John Grey and William as guest. After the pitched dinner battle, Murtagh leaves the Ridge. What other battles will he face in the next episode, and will he come to the aide of the unfortunate? So far we like Murtagh as leader.
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