Category Archives: Claire Fraser

Bursting the Murcasta Bubble

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Yes, spoilers. Enter at your own risk.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a good romance. It’s just you see Murtagh’s a favorite of mine, a very special character that’s had a lot of grief in his life, a survivor. One we know would not be content to just live after all the hardships, well the easy life won’t do for him. He’s feisty to the end. Many were so quick to jump to the pairing of two unlikely characters, the fandom’s big fantasy of many fans on Murtagh taking the place of Duncan Innes came to life. He was a Drums of Autumn and Fiery Cross book character, who eventually weds Jocasta to secure River Run against marauding neighboring landowning and non-landowning suitors . You see, Jocasta in the series has been pretty tame so far. She’s smoldering under the surface. However her machinations and control aspect, as a MacKenzie, have barely begun to surface. It’s a tale of survival by wits and how else can a woman retain power in the man’s world of the 18th Century?

So why am I taking the angle here, it’s certainly  not the popular one? I just don’t see that they have a future, really. Can Outlander handle another power couple? I mean I am rooting for a change up on Jocasta, maybe Murtagh can change her so, get her to see the truth. When you are in a healthy relationship, growing together is one thing, having to make someone change, or trying to make them change, doesn’t always bode well. Murky waters ahead for sure.

Believe it or not, there were those of us cringing when this coupling happened. Many of us book readers know a different Jocasta. Granted, very few things from the books have been in this season, or at least not the way they went in the book Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon. To be fair, you have to give screen Jocasta a chance. But I believe we really haven’t seen her true self. It’s true that Ron Moore warned at New York Comic Con 2018 that the books will be there in essence, some books may be split, some mixed in timelines, and characters changed. So here’s my take on why I see Murcasta heading for sweet disaster:

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River Run

Jocasta Cameron, played by Maria Kennedy Doyle to perfection, has been mistress of River Run for many years, and relies heavily on Ulysses, her slave, to run the plantation. Indeed, you come to find that really it is he who runs the plantation, and quite a bit more. She has been fending off many influential men herself since her forth husband died. She may be almost totally blind, however her other senses are very, very sharp, and she runs things like a fist of iron through Ulysses. She has avoided several offers of marriage herself, as she knows that the suitors are after River Run. When Jaimie and Claire turn up, she finally has a solution: her nephew can help her run the place, thus she makes him her heir. She tries to control another pawn piece. It’s a game to keep control, especially when she has lost her sight and her youth. Claire picks up on her manipulations to control Jamie, and when Jamie and Claire make the decision to take up Governor Tryon’s sign-in-blood offer for land, Jocasta tells her she is doing her nephew a disservice by persuading him to leave River Run. Because, she has to blame someone, Jamie cannot make a decision for himself. Claire, in her usually stand up fashion, tells it like it is. Really, Jamie is his own man, and wants his own land and opportunities on his terms. Unfortunately he makes a deal with a devil to do it. However, he can chose his devil. Really, we don’t like that Jocasta tried to come in between Jamie and Claire.

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The Heir

In the book storyline, and in the series, we see Jocasta latch on to the next best thing for some control over River Run’s future, the saving of Brianna’s reputation, and perhaps naming a new heir. She spends a great deal of effort to try and secure a wealthy influential neighbor for Brianna’s and child’s security, which really is about the family saving face. And well, having a familial ally to help her just is another card in her game. Brianna’s resistance and quick thinking finds a temporary ally in Lord John Grey. By keeping up appearances and having a beneficial betrothal, and well, having a Lord in the family with property does just as well, Jocasta has made quite a coup. Jocasta, being a busy body and manipulating others in such a way, really doesn’t score high on the redeemable qualities. In the book. Ever a MacKenzie. Is Jocasta redeemable?

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Which Brings Us To Murtagh

So, many of you will be rewatching Season 4, probably already have, and certainly rewatch the finale Episode 413 Man of Worth, again, if anything just to watch and hear the Murtagh and Jocasta dialog. Some funny things have niggled at me, as I like to look at storylines from all angles. Murtagh, played intrepidly by Duncan Lacroix, was an indentured man for 14 years, then stayed on as smithy in a small town a few days up river from River Run. Now, Jocasta, who has her pulse on everything going on from the coastal waters to the mountains and beyond, did not know that a “Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser” was in the vicinity? Someone she knew from the old days, someone she had a little crush from the side on because he was in actually in love with her sister? Or did she know full well, and didn’t want to tarnish her reputation and estate with such acknowledgement? Indeed in the Murtagh and Jo tête-à-tête, where many short heated accusations occurred from their past, I was waiting for her to slip up that she knew where he was and had not contacted him because he was the trouble maker he was. This could still turn up in an outtake. Of course, when the sparks flew with two old adversaries, the reality set in that Jo did like him, and was just too proud to do anything about it, or knew that her families’ many machinations to get her married and allied for their gain, would stand in the way. Remember, the man we all love has never had more than two sticks to rub together, except when he ran the smithy. Sadly we know that what little he had gained with his smithy, he has had to forfeit because he is fighting in a just cause.

When Murtagh shows up after his jail escape, Jo is tells him to fill up and be on his way. She does give him a whiskey and the conversation turns. Of course, not one to back down from a fight or pointing out injustice, Murtagh sets right in with tearing apart her perfect River Run life. He tries to reason with her, point out that others have lost all they had, she of course goes on about how others had made something out of themselves. He brings up he did not come there by choice, but he did make something, and the over taxation was strangling him and others. He had been and seen the same cruelty play out in the past. It happened to many a Highlander up to Culloden, and the subsequent crushing of the Scottish people after that forced many of them out of Scotland. It would continue as long as The Government exploited the king’s subjects. Of course, when the two pair up, and somehow she conceals him at River Run, while there have been search parties for weeks, we are wondering how she managed that. Jamie and Claire notice the relationship it in the mad dash to get Murtagh out to the slave quarters to hide. They are not sure about this new development either.

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Future Twists

More spoilers ahead. Turn back now. If you think Jocasta hasn’t lead her own interesting life, there’s a few mysteries about her that end up coming to light in subsequent books. You then start seeing her more robust self, the woman she was before she lost most of her sight. She has survived several husbands. She has her own uprising story to tell, and subsequent fleeing to the colonies.

Her right hand man has been Ulysses. He has run everything for her for years and has been closer to her than you think. Is he willing to just step aside for another man? Or will Jocasta have to wed again for convenience sake, since she can’t openly do so with Murtagh, a wanted man? Or, will the wily pair contrive an existence of Jo hiding and running guns through her plantation to help Murtagh’s cause, while keeping up appearances? Would Ulysses ultimately manipulate this himself?

Then there is the conflict with Jamie and Murtagh having to be on opposing sides now that Governor Tryon has declared war on the Regulator Uprising. Murtagh will be conflicted, Jamie will be conflicted. Jamie will have to make it look like he is keeping the Regulators in check, and hunt his Godfather. This means separation for the couple. Will there be coded letters and messages? Will Jocasta decide to stick to her old ways and not endanger her lifestyle? Or will she by the end of season 5, break from it all and follow Murtagh and live in hiding. Will Murtagh allow that sacrifice?

img_2102Ultimately, I hope that Jocasta can change, she can come around a little to the reasoning of Murtagh, that she can actually see ahead despite her physical limitations, that owning slaves is wrong, and that over taxation is cruel. That she should meet the man she loves at least half way. That the rebelliousness that had her flee Scotland to seek a better life, could include a full, real life. However that would be too easy, and perhaps will be a long hard lesson for her. It will certainly add some spice and make sparks fly in the coming season.

Then there’s that other Duncan Innes plot twist book readers know about. Hmmm, that could twist things up a bit.

I’m digging out my Season 1 part one DVD set. I have been a fan of Murtagh from the beginning, and Jocasta better live up to that man’s love. Let’s hope she proves it in Season 5.

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Episode 411 If Not For Hope

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.dw1w9rxwoaagbje


Murtagh’s on a Mission

96395bdd0d5177fc0c2dcc95f1964d7bf60e9008_murtaghwantedFergus 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.

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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 411fergusmurtaghfact 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 impo411murtaghfergrtance 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.

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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 raisedimg_2112 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.

img_2107Murtagh 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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

dw1omfvxgaaovjdThe 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.jpeg image-54b392ae1ded-1

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.


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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.

Tune in on Saturdays at Midnight on the Starz® App, or watch Sunday December 30th at 8 PM EST on Starz® network USA,  10 PM Sundays on Canadian W Network, 6:30 PM Mondays on Foxtel Australia, and Mondays on Amazon Prime in the UK.

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411 Previews If Not for Hope

Outlander Season 4 2018With the first of the three last episodes of Season 4 Outlander 411 If Not For Hope, we have three storylines arcing, tangling, and about to snap. This week we see the scenarios begin their play.

Jamie (Sam Heughan), Claire (Caitriona Balfe), and Ian (John Bell) continue their search for Roger MacKenzie (Richard Rankin) after he had been sold to the Mohawks. There is a long pursuit as the Indians are weeks ahead of them and know the terrain. They will have to meet with every tribe between North Carolina and New York to find him, it could take months. They also have no idea that Roger has escaped. And as we left off last episode, no one knows if he went through the stones.

Then there is Brianna (Sophie Skelton), beginning to show her bump, at River Run, now firmly in Aunt Jocasta’s grip. Jocasta (Maria Kennedy Doyle) knows the shame of an unwed mother in the family, and finding her a suitable match becomes her next scheme to control River Run. She did not get what she wanted with controlling Jamie, but can she use and manipulate as MacKenzies do, her great niece as a prize to deflect suitors away from herself? There are many men that are after River Run. If she were to make Brianna her heir, and have her married in the bargain, she is still in charge, but would have a man about to act as agent. What a coup that would be, if Brianna wasn’t trying to maneuver the situation herself, which may come in the shape of an old friend of the family who turns up at River Run.

Truly, madly, deeply hunting Bonnet is Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (Duncan Lacroix), not one to lose sight of his quarry, not for long anyway. He will enlist the help of Fergus to track this man down, if he himself isn’t being tracked by Bonnet or Tryon’s agents, or a combination of the two. Sticky business for Murtagh and Fergus (Cesar Domboy) ahead.

Previews from Starz ®

This weeks episode, If Not For Hope, Claire, Jamie and Ian are on the trail of Roger. Using the amulet that Ian took in trade for Roger, they start asking tribes where it comes from. Brianna suffers Jocasta’s matchmaking parade of gentlemen, whom we all know are after River Run. Murtagh begins the hunt for Stephen Bonnet. Lord John Grey turns up at River Run, perhaps Brianna will find and ally in him. Murtagh seeks Fergus’ help in a dangerous game.

Tune in on Saturdays at Midnight on the Starz® App, or watch Sunday December 30th at 8 PM EST on Starz® network USA,  10 PM Sundays on Canadian W Network, 6:30 PM Mondays on Foxtel Australia, and Mondays on Amazon Prime in the UK.

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Episode 409 The Birds and The Bees

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What a way to bring in the New Year! This weeks Outlander Season 3’s highly anticipated episode, The Birds and the Bees, holds the one meeting that Outlander fans have been dying to see. Just as joyous as the Print Shop scene in Season 3, and culmination of eight episodes waiting, Brianna and her father will finally meet. However, much is afoot and mistaken miscommunications abound in this episode. Hang on to your seats, as you see how much love and misguided attempts to shield those you love from pain, can have disastrous consequences.

Revelations in Wilmington

We open with Brianna (Sophie Skelton) coming up to the room, beaten from her encounter with Stephen Bonnet. Lizzie, her maid, keeps asking all the wrong questions, or rather at the wrong time. Brianna doesn’t want to talk about any of it. Lizzie believes that Brianna spent the whole night in Roger MacKenzie’s (Richard Rankin) company, with no idea of what happened in the tavern below.

Roger returns to the Willow Tree Tavern in the inn the next morning looking for Brianna. Unfortunately, Bonnet (Ed Speleers) is still there, the cat that’s had the cream and is very smug about it. Sitting at the table, Bonnet assails Roger for being good about turning up, he was about to send men looking for him. Roger tells Bonnet he intends to stay in Wilmington, Bonnet knows it’s about his lass, not knowing it’s Brianna, and reminds him of his obligations to the Gloriana, there are more ports to be had. Making a point of not wanting to have to maim him, Bonnet gets forceful about the duties and so do his men, manhandling Roger out of the tavern. Roger barely gets in a word to the tavern keep, “Tell the lass I came looking for her”.

Brianna wakes very late in the day, and Lizzie has been washing her mistresses things, and now knows about much of what has happened to Brianna, the clothing tells a tale. Lizzie has been left to wonder what has happened to her mistress, and her in fever weakened mind, believes that Roger is the one who attacked Brianna. Brianna tells her not to bother with the petticoats, she won’t be keeping the blood stained clothing while rummaging through her mother’s trunk. Lizzie becomes more stressed about the situation, while Brianna continues to compartmentalize everything that has happened. She tells Lizzie she is more determined than ever to find her mother. Without explanation, Lizzie assumes the worst.

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Brianna leaves their rooms at the inn and downstairs hears from the tavern keep that Roger had come looking for her, but had left on the Gloriana. Racing to the docks, she finds that it had set sail on the morning tides. Distraught she is stunned and Lizzie finds her with good news, and in Lizzie fashion takes ages to tell her. For Lizzie had been making inquiries. There had been a emergency surgery performed at the Theatre the night before, by a woman. This woman was also married to a Scot. Brianna concludes it must be Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan). Lizzie tells her where to find Jamie, and off she runs, to meet her father for the first time. She finds Jamie Fraser relieving himself in a yard, and when Jamie asks what she wants, responds with, “I want you.”

JPEG image-7BD0238CCD36-1More misunderstandings begin, but these with a happy ending. Jamie assumes it’s yet another colonial lass without a man, desperate for protection. He is handsome, he gets this a lot. He begins with he is already married. Slowly Brianna lets out she’s his daughter. In a scene very well played by both actors, we see a man realizing he has seen his child for the first time, and a daughter ends her desperate search to finally find her father and her mother. It’s one you have to just view, hopefully with a friend, and a box of tissues nearby. Sam Heughan and Sophie Skelton will melt you on the spot. Heughan has been working the rolling emotions all season, and this time he really pulls you in new directions. The brilliance and beauty in this scene are a credit to the writers, actors, and crew. Really, they just nailed it.

download-2Together Brianna and Jamie sit at a bench and wait for Claire to exit the apothecary, the only place she would be in town, and when Jamie calls out ” Sassenach”, her joyful, shocked embrace with Brianna releases the torment of separation from them both. Brianna’s tearful reunion with her mother is brought to an end, and the obituary for James and Mrs. Fraser is shown to them. Jamie points out the careless date smudge in the corner, for no one knows the exact years date. Young Ian (John Bell) meets his new cousin for the first time, and the Frasers leave Wilmington behind and head up the river to Fraser’s Ridge.

The River’s Edge

On the passage to Fraser’s Ridge on the barge, mother and daughter have a chance to finally talk. Claire knows Brianna is deeply disturbed and has heard a little of Roger and that it didn’t end well. Brianna admits she is in love with him. That they had been hand-fasted. Brianna gives more details of the fight, albeit edited, to Claire. Claire asks how the relationship could be over, after just one fight.

Lizzie, on the deck side, shows she’s just a little bit taken with Ian. On the river the young cousins have a good long talk, and Ian confesses that a part of the river greatly disturbs him. Brianna learns the terrible news of the first time they travelled up the river. Ian tells her of how they were attacked by pirates and the man slit Lesley’s throat in front of Claire, a brigand with an Irish accent, a way about him. The same scoundrel Uncle Jamie had helped escape the noose. We hear Ian as he feels that he can talk with his cousin about difficult things, a relationship that will continue to build. Brianna begins to realize who her attacker may really be, and tries to hide her agitation, as she has continued to keep her mother’s wedding ring hidden from Claire. It is Brianna’s compartmentalizing and denying what has happened to her, that will continue to haunt her in the weeks to come.

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On the road back from the river, the cousins and Lizzie continue in the wagon, and Jamie and Claire discuss Brianna and Roger. They discuss that she is hand fasted and that Brianna is heartsick. This leads to the discussion of the news of their imminent death. Claire slightly jokes about not being in the cabin on the “Sunday before January 21st” every year. Jamie reminds Claire about their previous bad luck at altering history in Scotland and France.

download-3When the Frasers arrive at the Ridge, they are greeted by a somewhat harried but thankful Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix), who had narrowly escaped Governor Tryon’s men. Jamie tells Murtagh there’s prime land set aside for him, and to say the word and a cabin would be started. He has come to the Ridge to lie low for a time, and is introduced to Brianna. Murtagh shows us his slow joy we know and love with a, “What took you so long, lass?” and welcomes her to the Ridge. Later, after super, Murtagh at the encouragement of Young Ian, tells a tale of a 14 year old Jamie and Dougal MacKenzie. When the others leave, he tells his Godson that he is lucky to have his child there with him.

Daddy Knew That You Came Back

Brianna is still having difficulties adjusting. She is anxious for news of Roger, hoping he may find his way to the ridge. She and Claire are talking while Claire prepares herbs, Claire knowing brianna wishes to talk. Bree discusses with her mother the dreams of Frank she has been having. Particularly one that she realizes was a clue of things to come. At the time when she was talking with Frank, she had glanced at the same obituary article, not knowing what it meant. Frank had done research on Claire and James Fraser. It is why he had been drinking so heavily, he knew that Claire had gone back to Jamie. Claire continues to try to get Bree to open up about what else is deeply troubling her.

Bree- Scottish: Disturbance, commotion, confusion.

Family scenes of working the still, and life on the ridge ensue. Jamie and Claire patiently watching Brianna as they know that she must adjust to life in a time that is not hers, in a place unfamiliar. At the Fraser’s Ridge Distillery, the family unites for a pleasant afternoon and discussion on the art of brewing a whiskey that tastes better than the previous batch, and the discussion of the joke around the nickname Bree comes up, because a bree in Scotland means a disturbance.JPEG image-DF948D5406B4-1

“You can call me Da, if you like.” “Is that Gaelic?” “No, it’s only simple.”

imagesJamie spends weeks trying to get to know his daughter, and takes her on another book favorite, The Bee Hunt. The writers did a wonderful thing in keeping this treasured book moment, where father and daughter can have some bonding time and learn to be more at ease with each other. Brianna must learn about her true father, while dealing with and sharing her experiences with Frank Randall. Jamie must further accept and be grateful that another man has taken his child in and reared her so well. After the hunt, Jamie and Claire are deep in discussion. Claire wants Brianna to stay, but really she must go back. It is too dangerous in this time for her. Jamie is upset, for Bree has just begun to accept him as father and he doesn’t want to lose her.

Morning comes and Lizzie is finally well enough to be up, and cause the real mischief. She keeps trying to help Brianna and is rebuffed again. Brianna has another secret. Later while she is with her mother, the very belated discussion occurs. In a conversation that makes you want to thump Claire, Claire has picked up that Brianna is pregnant, and of course says the wrong thing. Why didn’t they use protection? Brianna rounds that she hadn’t planned on Roger coming at all, and really when trying to go through the stones it was the last thing on her mind.  She also brings up her greatest fear, that it may not be Roger’s at all. She then tells of her abuse at the hands of Stephen Bonnet, and blaming herself for not fighting back hard enough. Later, Claire tells Jamie about the rape, not knowing that it was Bonnet.

Some Secrets Just Won’t Keep

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After Roger finally gets paid off by Bonnet, bartering for a small gemstone, a way to get back to the future. He procures a horse and kits himself out to try to find Brianna, heading to Fraser’s Ridge to look for her. After weeks of separation, he is finally getting close. But fate would have it that a confused Lizzie would be there to ruin his plans. Lizzie who has become quite besotted with Ian, is sitting with him and sees Roger, or The Mackenzie, coming up the Ridge. She hurriedly tells Ian that this terrible man has attacked Brianna, and is coming to claim her again. Foolishly Ian runs to Jamie and they inform him. Jamie finds Mackenzie and addresses him, in a brutal pommeling. While this is going on, Claire finds the wedding ring, and pieces together that Bonnet is the man who attacked her daughter. Brianna then tells her that yes, the man that attacked her was Bonnet. She did not wish to upset her mother, making her feel the blame because Brianna tried to get the ring back. Back to Jamie, not waiting to hear what he has to say, only an angry, blood raged father protecting his daughter, begins a pommeling and brutal attack on Roger.  After poor Roger is beaten beyond recognition, Jamie orders Ian to pack him off to the Indians and make him disappear, he does not care to know.

Again, praise well deserved to Sam Heughan and Sophie Skelton for playing a father and daughter’s first meeting with true emotional finesse. I have to say that young Sophie Skelton has really begun to grow in this season of Outlander. In another gutting performance, we see the aftermath of tragedy and its effect on the character’s soul, and her play with Caitriona Balfe is magic. If any book fans were doubting of the actress being able to finally portray Brianna the way many have envisioned her over the years, it’s time to let that go and allow for Series Brianna to become the strong character we know she is. 

Episode 409 The Birds and The Bees, aired on the anniversary date of the publishing of Drums of Autumn, first published December 30, 1996.

Tune in on Saturdays at Midnight on the Starz® App, or watch Sunday December 30th at 8 PM EST on Starz® network USA,  10 PM Sundays on Canadian W Network, 6:30 PM Mondays on Foxtel Australia, and Mondays on Amazon Prime in the UK.

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Episode 409 The Birds and The Bees Preview

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After this last weeks episode, 408 Wilmington, Outlander left us with a very depressed, chaotic feeling as reunions and tragedy struck again. Roger left Brianna after a lover’s quarrel. We saw Brianna, fall prey to Stephen Bonnet, the most recent scourge, villain, and outright sociopath in the Outlander Universe.  That night was the night where Brianna lost her innocence, once by choice with someone she loved, and again as a victim. Of course never having life on the dull side, were machinations by Jamie and Claire to help Murtagh escape the noose by warning him and the Regulators about Governor Tryon’s trap.

With the title The Birds and the Bees, you can guess it’s about the creation of life, and that uncomfortable talk that parents have with children about procreation. Brianna has just learned a big, painful lesson on innocence lost. She isn’t in the 20th century anymore,  and the morals and fair treatment of women were just becoming part of the sexual revolution when she left. She is determined more than ever to find her mother, the one person anyone would want consolation from in such a case. However it is so difficult to tell the truth of it to someone you love. In one of the scenes greatly anticipated by fans almost as much as the Print Shop Scene in season 3, how hard will it be for Brianna and Claire to reconnect, and Jamie to get to know the daughter he has never met?

Roger is trying to stay in Wilmington, to try to settle things with Brianna, even if he sees no hope, but Bonnet is having none of that. Bonnet insists he stay on as crew, there was an obligation he sees as not being met yet. How will Roger get out of Bonnet’s grasp, if he can?

We see a scene where Jamie turn’s around and says “Is there a message you wish to give me, lass?”. Book readers know what may be happening next.

Tune in on Saturday December 29 at Midnight on the Starz® App, or watch Sunday December 30th at 8 PM EST on Starz® network,  10 PM Sundays on Canadian W Network, 6:30 PM Mondays on Foxtel Australia, and Mondays on Amazon Prime in the UK.

Images and video ©2018 Starz® LLC

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