So,in case you didn’t get to hang out with us a few weeks back, here’s Colin, Duncan(occasionally, tech issues), Ed, John, Tim, and Richard. Fun had by all.
Kudos to Duncan for not correcting the host ;-).
So,in case you didn’t get to hang out with us a few weeks back, here’s Colin, Duncan(occasionally, tech issues), Ed, John, Tim, and Richard. Fun had by all.
Kudos to Duncan for not correcting the host ;-).
Warning. The season finale of Outlander Season 5 doesn’t hold back. As with past episodes dealing with extreme violence, you have been warned. You may want to have someone there to hold your hand. Yes, there will be some spoilers.
Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) has had a great deal of tragedy in her life. She was orphaned at 5, lived with her Uncle Lamb, explored the world, married first husband Frank, then war broke out. Seeing death and destruction as a WWII combat nurse, Claire has been banged around for years in two centuries. She has had to sacrifice herself, as in having sex with the King of France to secure Jamie Fraser’s release from prison, has been tortured by Black Jack Randall, forced to endure leaving Jamie behind to be raped. Her daughter followed her into the past and was raped. It’s inevitable that Claire would go through her own tragedy. Nearly losing Jamie to snakebite wasn’t enough. Leave it to the mind of author Diana Gabaldon and the writers of Outlander, in this particular episode Mathew B. Roberts and Toni Graphia, to hit us with one intense script and visceral imagery.
Claire’s abduction and Marsali’s (Lauren Lyle) beating at the end of “Journeycake” left us on edge for the finale, and some wondering if the abduction would carry on into season 6. But with great storytelling and a dream state sequence that invokes David Lynch in Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks, we open with Claire in the 1960s in an amazing modern house putting the record on the turntable with the song “Never My Love” from 1967. She is young again, in a very 1960’s very red dress. The door opens and in comes a younger Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) short curls and killed. The table is set for Thanksgiving and guests to arrive from the 18th-century. It becomes clear that she is trying to escape her terrible ordeal as we cut to the dark reality, filmed in dark and muted tones, the story of her abduction and torture by Lionel Brown and associates. This contrasts with the bright, autumnal tones in the dissociative sequences with golds, yellows, oranges, blues in that dark color echoed in seasons 1-5 in sets and costumes. Claire escapes to a world where her friends and extended family are, and she barely speaks and watches everything is going on around her.
Claire has met with some formidable foes in the series, but one that truly echos that fiendish manipulation of Father Bain (Tim McInnerny). Remember him from season 1 and the witch trial? Who she outwitted with solving the mystery of poisonous plants killing children, only to be used by the good Father in her witch trial, where he admits to his advantage that she had saved the children, but uses it to bolster his position in town. Worse than that and rolled in with qualities of just pure savagery, is Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy). Lionel gets even. With villains like Black Jack Randall and Stephen Bonnet in her past, who were both manipulative in their way, they do not compare with the outright crushing of women’s rights that Lionel Brown shows us. He makes it personal. Claire dared to stand up to him about the abuse of his wife, and to top it off, has been writing under the name of Doctor Rawlings suggesting that women abstain from sex to prevent childbirth. Lionel makes his crushing of Claire a personal delight.
After Claire’s abduction and travels are told in sequencing with the arrivals of Ian dressed in 1960’s military attire, Marsali, Fergus and children, Murtagh, and Jocasta turning up for Thanksgiving dinner. The reality is that Lionel confronts her, who informs her in his righteous declarations that he was put on the earth to make Claire pay for the shame she has caused on all men of their women reading her Dr. Rawlings Recommends writings. One way to stop her is to intimidate and silence her. And that won’t happen with just killing her.
Claire is always quick thinking, and one of the abductors, a reluctant former slave Tibby, shows caution. He has heard she is a conjure woman. Claire seizes the opportunity and begins cursing them all to hell. The men start to have a fear of her. Hodgepile shoves her around roughly and they make camp. Claire continues to go in and out of dream states, and we see her tied to a tree, bloodied, and a big gash on her breast. Wendigo Donner comes to check on her, seeks that she is choking on her gag. He demands to know where she has come from, and when.
The next day, Tibby is put in charge of her while they make to cross a creek. She tries to talk Tibby into helping her escape, talking about the water horses taking her away and she won’t harm him. He is close to consenting but Lionel gets wind of something and confronts them. He has plans for dealing with her.
In her dreamscape, Murtagh and Jocasta turn up, they all sit at the dinner table.
Claire keeps cursing at the men as they try to tie her up again and make camp. While Hodgepile and the other rough her up, she shouts out an infamous, ” Jesus H Roosevelt Christ!” Wendigo then knows she is like him as he suspected. Lionel and Chisholm tie her to a tree. While lying there she sees a small rabbit. She is choking on her dried, bloody nose, while gagged. Wendigo comes at night and loosens the gag.
“Does the name Ringo Starr mean anything to you?”. Claire is stunned, she realises he is a traveler like her. “He’s a drummer.” Wendigo tells her he knew that Dr, Rawlings had to be like him, someone from his time would know the medical things written down, not a local doctor in the 18th-century. He never thought he would meet another. He advises her that she should have behaved more like the women of this time, not been so forward. She has angered many men, made them feel threatened.
Wendigo tells her his story. He traveled back in time with a group of 4 other men and said it was evident it was too late for the Indians. Claire realizes he was a companion of Ottertooth and asks him. “Where is Bob?” he asks. She tells him the Mohawk killed him. “I need gemstones!” She asks him to help her get back to Fraser Ridge, she has stones and knows where the stone circle is. Wendigo says no, Lionel will kill him. It has become very evident by now that Lionel is one of the ones that has been going causing the crimes that the Committee of Safety claimed to be protecting people from. They are interrupted by Lionel, who has brought a young boy to rape her, to have his first go at dominating a woman.
Claire returns to her alternate dissociation and police officers arrive at the Thanksgiving dinner that everyone is at and have been waiting for Bree, Roger, and Jemmy. All the time everyone had been saying it must be the traffic keeping them. The police inform her that Mr. and Mrs. MacKenzie and their son were all killed in a car accident. Claire has been fearing what befell them. This is all going while a series of men take Claire.
Stones. Roger, Brianna wake near the stones, and young Jemmy is very excited…to find cousin Ian sitting on a mossy boulder asking where they went. The trip failed. Brianna and Roger realize they had been thinking of home, and that the Ridge had become their home. They go back with Ian to the Ridge, and just as they are planning to camp for the night, Brianna sees the Fiery Cross burning on Fraser’s Ridge at a distance. They rush home to find the men of the Ridge preparing to go after Claire.
Josiah and Roger pledge to find Claire and seek justice for Claire. Roger begs to come along with Jamie if he will allow it? Jamie is glad to have him and the men set out.
Claire slowly comes out of her fog and the reality becomes a dream sequence. Men shouting, musket fire, battle scenes in the camp. Jamie finds Claire tied to the tree, and he indicates that he knows what has happened to her.
“You are alive, you are whole Mo Nighan Donn.”
The men come to tell them they have killed all but one of the party. Ronnie Sinclaire asks if Claire would wish to take her vengeance.
“It is myself who kills for her,” says Jamie, with Ian and Fergus echoing, “And I!”. Jamie asks how many raped her, she says nothing. “Jamie gives the command to kill them all. The men of the ridge decimate the abductors, killing all but Lionel Brown. Claire listens in shock. Jamie takes her to view them all, to show her they cannot hurt her. Wendigo is nowhere to be found. Roger asks if they should question him now. They take the injured Lionel with them back to the Ridge.
Claire finally speaks and asks about Marsali. Jamie and Fergus tell her that Marsali is okay, the baby is fine and she is still pregnant. She asks about Wendigo, tells them that he was from the future like her. No one has seen him. How is it that Roger is there? Whats happened, why are they back? Roger remarks that there’s no place like home.
While the series has received a lot of criticizing and praise in how it deals with abuse (Jamie’s Rape in season 1, Brianna’s in season 4), this time it is very real for Claire as the one who had to heal both Jamie and Brianna. This time, it will need to be Claire that needs healing. The fact of the matter was that in these times, women were not in power, and often subjected to terror in any way to keep them from having control by men.
Brianna races out to greet them as they come back to the Ridge and it is a long healing process for Claire. Marsali comes out, with a blackened eye healing. She and Claire embrace with Brianna. Brianna takes care of Claire, bathing her, comforting her. Marsali is left to deal with Lionel Brown. Brianna (Sophie Skelton) tells her that she will take care of her, she is there to listen to her.
Claire keeps her resolve to heal herself, somehow. She keeps examining herself, feeling her bones to see if it’s really her. Her face and body are battered. Jamie comes in. She tells him she will survive this. She declared that she has been through so much war in her own time and other trials, she will not be shattered by this.
Everyone on the Ridge wants to kill Lionel. Jamie tells her that Lionel is still alive. He is only kept alive to get information out of him, and because Claire has her oath to do no harm. He asks her if her oath is so strong?
Roger (Richard Rankin) is shaken by what has happened in rescuing Claire. He did what he promised he would do, defended and avenged Claire. However, Roger’s life was also changed that night. Brianna and Roger are getting ready for bed, and Roger is deeply troubled and asks Brianna if Jamie told her about what had happened. He begs to confess what has happened and asks her to blow out the candle. In the dark, he declares that he has killed someone. Roger was the last hold out, the educated man who struggled with being violent, even in defense of those he loved. Coming from an era of law and the idea of a fair trial, it hasn’t been easy for Roger to cross that line. Now he has.
Claire finally goes down to the surgery and starts trying to check on Lionel, with Lionel begging for mercy, to loosen his bonds. Lionel tries to manipulate Claire into not harming him. He keeps begging and Marsali tells him to keep quiet. Claire instructs her to make the comfrey tea. Lionel will not stop, Marsali tells him to be quiet. Claire unrolls her surgical kit, picking up a scalpel. She considers it for a moment. She puts it down, then states she will do him no harm. She leaves the surgery then collapses upstairs in the hallway weeping.
Lionel is emboldened and snide. Because Claire has said she will do no harm to him, he thinks he’s been saved. He is abusive and bragging about how he has to be treated well, Marsali keeps telling him to mind his manners. He is bossy still. If he is not treated well, his brother will come along with his men. He will slaughter them all in their sleep. Marsali is getting the new syringe filled with something and we are all cheering her on. Oh, Marsali, you go, girl, you tell him.
Marsali, in a deep, matter of fact and a righteous voice says, “She took an oath to do no harm. But I have taken no such oath. You hurt my family, my man, I’ll burn in hell before I let you harm another soul in this house,” and injects Lionel with the liquid, that as we all hoped and suspected, was the Water Hemlock root. Good riddance.
Afterward, she is sitting on the floor, shaking and Jamie comes in and sees Lionel is dead. She asks if she will be haunted by him. Jamie assures her that no harm will come to her. He then wraps the body in a shroud and takes it to Brownsville, alone, and delivers it to Richard Brown, throwing it to the floor. He explained that a group of men including his brother attacked the Ridge and abducted and harmed his wife. He killed all of them. He is indicating that he is to blame, no other.
Richard thanks him for giving him back his brother, he reaped what he sewed. He understands that Jamie must do what he must to protect his family….as he will do when the time comes. The Frasers and Browns feud begins.
We have now officially entered Droughtlander 6, yes that’s counting the first one between the two-part first season. Pre-production has halted due to the pandemic, where work on episode 601 had started. And we will face a good 10 months of filming at the very least. So it will probably be Summer or Fall 2021 before we have season 6, which will be based on A Breath of Snow and Ashes, with possibly the 7th book, An Echo in the Bone being adapted in.
A Dragonfly Sculpture – Dragonfly in Amber, Season 2, and symbolic of Claire’s being trapped.
The Red Dress – In season 2 Paris Claire comes up with an extravagant and very revealing red dress for the Versailles court.
An orange – Reference to the orange picks up after having slept with the king to get Jamie out of the Bastille after his duel with BJR
Rabbit – Jamie sees a rabbit on the battlefield of Culloden in season 3 after the battle and he lies wounded before Claire shows up in a vision.
Claire wrapped in Fraser tartan – Season 1 Jamie comforting Claire after several bad things, well most of them.
Claire and Jamie Talking after the rescue, more reminders of season 1 with Claire stabbing soldier in shock.
Car Accident – Frank Randall dies in a car accident in Boston, freeing Claire up to search for Jamie.
Blue Vase – A blue vase finally in a home for Claire, from the series pilot.
If you haven’t seen “Never My Love”, the finale episode of Season 5, please turn back now.
Trish Biggar took the helm for Season 5 on costumes and has done a marvelous job of blending the colors of the landscape of New England for the colonial inhabitants and their abodes of Fraser’s Ridge and beyond. The colors have been rich and reflective of fall in New England. We have even been treated to some fabric dying and quite a lot of colonial homespun.
But truth be told, much of the fabrics used at the time may have been produced as raw goods, shipped to England, then made into cloth, and sold back to the colonists at much higher prices. Some did weave on small looms if available, and some fabric creation with wool knitting might be local, the forced resale of finished material products contributed to the colonial strife along with many other taxed goods, such as tea.
For the finale, we have a dream escape sequence where Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is in a part of her mind trying to survive her horrendous ordeal, she isolates and creates a world where she and Jamie are young again, and many of the people in her life from the 18th-century are brought into the 20th. In this sequence, we are treated to a menagerie of objects as Easter Eggs from all 5 seasons, and the pallet of the 1960s/early 70s colors with a fall theme as Claire is welcoming people from her past to a Thanksgiving feast in a 1960s house. And the feast is echoed in the costumes for the sequence. Reds, golds, that blue that Jon Gary Steel has had in many sets for the past 4 seasons. Colors of fall and accents from past episodes.
Oh, and I died over that gold and crazy plaid trousers Duncan Lacroix rocked as Murtagh! And Maria in those colors. Check out the dragonfly she holds, one of the many Easter Eggs. And yes, we know Duncan wanted to take that suit home! So here it is in all its glory.
Read the interview with Town & Country on dressing Season 5 finale
Photography by Aimee Spinks.
For the Town and Country Interview with Trisha Biggar Look Here.
Sadly, conventions have been canceled due to COVID19. However, Wizard World is getting them online! Join two Wizard World Outlander events live online. You can purchase personal videos and autographs. Some open sessions are free. Go to the Wizard World Website for details.
From Wizard World:
During each session, the celebrities will participate in a FREE live moderated video Q&A, followed by one-on-one video chats, recorded videos, and autographs. Sessions are accessible to virtual attendees on their computers and mobile devices via http://wizd.me/virtual.
Pricing begins at $65 for the individual chat, video, and autographs, and vary by item, available on the Website.
Virtual Experience Outlander April 30, 2020
Seasons 1 and 2 cast Stephan Cree, Lotte Verbeek, Grant O’Rourke, Nell Hudson, Stephan Walters, Annette Badland.
Virtual Experience Outlander May 5, 2020
Yes, @duncan.lacroix (Murtagh), @rikrankin (Roger MacKenzie), @johnhunterbell (Young Ian Murray) Ed Speleers(Stephan Bonnet), @colinmcfarlaneactor (Ulysses) and @timdownie1 (Gov. Tryon). Ahem, where are the ladies? Not that we mind, but fair is fair.
Check back on this link as updates are announced:
After a two week hiatus, we return to Outlander Season 5 with Famous Last Words. It is a reference with an opening scene were Roger Mac is back at Oxford, lecturing in his Socratic way, to a group of his students in the English University way of Tutor and students around a big table. Brianna slips in through the door, Roger tries to not be distracted, fails a bit, and goes on to juggle “heids” about the famous last words of historic figures, and what they really may have said, or meant.
“Will those really be your last words?”
So begins a very dark and brooding episode in the aftermath of the loss of Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser at Alamance. It is an episode with three brooding men ( Roger, Jamie and the return of a prodigal son) dealing with darkly, difficult emotions. To set the mood, for Rogers’s storyline, this episode references Roger’s and Brianna’s fondness of going to silent classic movie film festivals and uses that style of storytelling to reflect on the darkness and silence of Roger’s survival of hanging and rescue by Claire, Jamie, and Brianna.
Roger (Richard Rankin) sure has gotten the raw end of the character plotlines in season 4 and 5. Not that he fared any better in Diana Gabaldon’s books. The process of Roger’s hanging and rescue was much more drawn out. Roger’s ordeal of being beaten and sold to the Mowhawk by Young Ian and Jamie created a very long and angry introduction to the yes, you are a historian but had no clue as to how brutal it really was to live in those times lessons for Roger. Now, as if nothing could get worse, Roger has full-on PTSD about being hung and surviving.
“People live and die by words.”
Roger has been despondent for months about his ordeal, struggling daily with everyone on eggshells or overly encouraging him to come back to life. For as Brianna (Sofie Skelton) is constantly reminding him, that she feels like he is dead, not living as he does not speak. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) has assured all that he should be able to speak after her emergency surgery on his throat to deal with the crushed windpipe. About that. The cliff hanger last episode.
We come to a series of flashbacks told in silent movie sepia tint style, with cards and showing the silence and despair of Roger being hung and rescued, Claire’s field operation on him. He has a series of reoccurring sepia PTSD moments using the silent film inserts to emphasize his lack of speech and darkest moments.
The first in silent film mode scenes show the Frasers, Jamie, Claire, and Brianna, trying to rescue Roger from the tree hanging scene we left off with at the end of episode 507. Roger is hanging and Jamie and the others are trying to cut him down. Claire discovers he is barely alive and goes into emergency cricothyroidotomy mode, using the stem of a smoking pipe to keep an airway available to him. After he comes out of the PTSD flashback, Claire is examining him and talking about how it has healed nicely and he should have most of his voice back. Brianna is trying to coax Roger to say something, anything. Brianna is losing patience with him, he is traumatized and shutting her and Jemmy out. There is a great deal of stony tension. Roger’s silence is self-imposed.
Lord John Gray (David Berry) has traveled great distances again to visit, there is an invitation to dine at the big house. Roger declines, grimacing. Flashbacks intercede again with his many times Great Granddad Buckleigh MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) and friends handing Roger over to Tryon’s men as a traitor. It’s traumatizing to be hung at all, but by your many time great Grandad, it’s a bit much.
Brianna and Claire discuss Roger’s behavior. Brianna talks to Claire about her old college roommate and how her boyfriend came back from Vietnam. He had not been seriously injured, but he had a thousand-yard stare about him. She says she sees that look in Roger and feels she has lost him. Claire tells her about combat stress, and what it does to people. She reassures her that he will come back, it will take time.
After the dinner with Lord John Gray, they read through a letter he has brought giving Brianna five thousand acres in the backcountry. Claire remarks that it is in exchange for the loss of her husband and Brianna is angered. She doesn’t want land, she wants her husband back. Brianna leaves the table and rushes outside. Lord John follows carefully and tries to distract her. He gives her an astrolabe, used for gauging time and distance at sea. She marvels at it and calculates time, off by half an hour as Lord John corrects her. He tells her to have patience, that things generally have a way of working out.
Jamie (Sam Heughan) has been struggling with the loss of Murtagh, his Godfather. He tries to help Roger and Brianna with their troubles, however, he is struggling under his own weight. Aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Ulysses (Colin McFarlane) visit to pay respects to Murtagh’s cairn and burial place near the big house. Jocasta in her take-charge fashion, trying to not really show her own grief, states she could have paid for a headstone, even though she and Murtagh were not husband and wife. Jamie points out that the feelings are still valid. They agreed that Murtagh was loyal above all else.
Roger trying to keep busy, and playing guitar and singing is a painful reminder turns to stay busy and improve his woodworking skills. He tries to build the sleeping loft for the cabin. In the process of building, he is reminded by rope and canvas of the hanging, the sacking put over his head, everything said by Tryon and his officers.
Claire and Jamie bring dinner to the cabin. Little Jemmy reaches for a steaming hot kettle and Roger cries out in a very guttural “No!” and Jemmy starts crying. He is embarrassed after rescuing the child. Jamie and Claire take charge of Jemmy. Later, Brianna has been singing “Clementine” to Jemmy as Roger has not sung in months. She keeps hoping to get some interaction from Roger, who is trying to get woodcut and formed for building a loft in the cabin.
Later, Claire and Jamie are playing with young Jemmy as proud grandparents do. They play a game of hide-and-seek, then Jamie comes upon a wild boar, telling claire carefully to get Jemmy out of harm’s way. Just as the Boar charges Jamie, and we prepare ourselves for another set of Jamie scars, and arrow is shot with great precision into the boar. Jamie and Claire look up, and it is Ian Murray (John Hunter Bell), the younger, dressed in his Mohawk garb and hair adornment. He looks dark and broody. He comes back to the Ridge with Claire, Jamie, and Jemmy. When Roger and Brianna are at their cabin, there is a tense moment as Roger and Ian just stare at one another, they have a guy hug. When last we saw the two, Ian sacrificed himself for Roger with the Mohawk tribe to make up for selling him to them and get him back to Brianna. Brianna hugs her cousin, however, Roger retreats. Ian seems to pick up on the sentiment.
After Brianna and Claire seem to not be able to do anything with Roger, and now find they have both Jamie and Ian’s murky waters as well, Marsali (Lauren Lyle) decides to take a hand. Of course, she can’t do it easily, she pulls out a tarot deck and starts laying out Roger’s cards. Of course, we all know how bad this is going to be. Marsali kept pulling The Hanged Man each time she tries to read Roger, and he in disgust dumps all the cards on the floor. Brianna comes in when Marsali is running about picking up cards and asks what the matter is. After Marsali begs off, Brianna lays it in thick on Roger. She relates to her dealings with Bonnet, that she knows about how hard it is to come back from a dark place. She barks that she needs to know that he is not gone and lost forever.
And again that night, Marsali is determined to uproot everyone. She pushes poor Ian who is very quiet and not the fun-loving lad that left them. She and Fergus (César Domboy) want to know everything about living with the Mohawk. Ian is not adjusting to being inside, eating at a table, being around his family. Jamie tries to take control over all the grief going on with the men, being that fatherly laird type he is. He suggests that Ian go and survey the acreage that has been given to Brianna, to stake out the lines. Later Ian ends up sleeping on the porch as he had stared at a bed for some time and tells everyone he is more comfortable sleeping on the ground.
Roger and Ian make up a surveying team. In Brianna’s farewell, she folds Roger a paper airplane. It is their first wedding anniversary, the gift of paper. He takes the plane folded with him on the trip. Over time he and Ian form a bond, each of them struggling. Ian tries to get Roger to talk. He lashes out, how can Roger be this way, he has his whole family. We get more hints of what has happened to Ian with the Mohawk.
Claire later runs out of her surgery calling for Marsali. She has a jar of Water Hemlock, asking if Marsali has prescribed any. There is only one root left. She questions whether Roger may have taken it contemplating suicide.
Later, Ian asks Roger about his dreams. This is, of course, a very touchy subject, but Ian is deeply troubled. He shows Ian the paper airplane, of course, Ian not being from his time doesn’t know what it is. Roger shows him a bit of it flying. Ian makes a remark about birds. While surveying, Roger walks to a precipice and looks down. The mood changes, he has another flash, however, starts seeing color again when he thinks about the paper airplane. He throws it off the cliff and it flies well, and Roger is lifted with the flight. In time, he sees that he is alive.
Later we come upon Rollo, tied up with a rope. This is very unlike Ian to do this, and Rollo is very worried. Ian goes about ritualistically burying his Tomahawk in the leaves. He then recites some Mohawk words while boiling water. He brings out the Hemlock roots to brew a tea, he wants to end his sorrow. Roger comes and kicks the roots and the fire in one sweep. They start brawling. Ian demands it is his right to end the pain. Ian accuses Roger of buying his weapon, his voice. Roger tries to get Ian to come back, fight for family. Their whole family. After tense moments and the physical guy thing, they return, and Roger finally begins to use his voice. It is still not right, but it is something.
Jocasta seemingly let Murtagh go, and Jamie tried to shake her back into reality. Will we see that she really did love him and misses him?
We’ve had an episode where we barely heard of Bonnet. So, since he knows where Jemmy is, will he try to come to get what he thinks is his son? Will he be the monster? Check out the preview below.
Is it just me, or is Fergus not really saying much this season? He has very few lines.
And why is Jemmy not sprouting that flame-red hair he has in the books?
Only a few episodes left, what other events may get moved up from A Breath of Snow and Ashes, book 6?
Next, episode 509 Monsters and Heros. Catch it Saturday, April 18 at Midnight on the Starz® APP, Sunday at 8:05 pm EST and 5:05pm PST on Starz®, and Monday, April 20 on Amazon Prime in the UK and Ireland.
Asses and armpits, we miss Murtagh and Duncan so much. If you want more Lacroix to check out his showreel watch below from O’Sullivan The Actor’s Agent in Dublin, Ireland. Like pictures, here’s my collection on Pinterest Just Lacroix. Here’s hoping that some new roles will pop up soon after this shut-in. Stay tuned Saturday at Midnight for Murtagh’s memorial.
And one last tear jerk here
It is with deep sadness that I write this. If you haven’t guessed it, or seen episode 507 The Ballad of Roger Mac, please turn back. Now.
Like many of you, I started out watching that debut episode of Season 1, Sassenach and was captured off guard by the odd, filthy, curmudgeon of a character Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. Over the course of that split first season, he entranced me more. I love a good supporting character, especially one with a sad past, difficulty in showing true feelings, however loyal to a fault. Duncan Lacroix got me hook, line, and sinker. Oh, and those madcap scenes and his scheming with bombs and cattle herd rescues endeared him even more. Who couldn’t love the old gruff cynic, the man who distrusted everyone other than Jamie Fraser and never seemed to know how to smile, unless there was revenge involved? The one who was so unlucky in love. Honestly, all the man wanted was a bit of respect.
Sadly, this character in the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon, was fated to die on Culloden Moor. Everyone it seemed had fallen for this crusty Scotsman. I was not alone in my love for this fabulous character, as thousands of fans began writing to the show, “Save Murtagh!” and turning up at Outlander themed conventions with signs begging the writers not to kill him off. Luckily, the writers room had developed a bit of a crush on Murtagh too. In the second season, as we saw his character flesh out and develop, even more, he became that third wheel in Jamie and Claire’s relationship. Accompanying them to France, being their conscience when they thought to change history the first time with the upcoming battle of Culloden. Wearing fancy attire and having to comb his beard. Getting a bit of it on the side. Assisting in the intrigue as Jamie and Claire set out to sabotage Bonnie Prince Charlie’s dream of uniting Scotland. If they had only listened to him more.
This waking up after watching episode 507, still in shock, I really did not sleep well. So this condition, this loss of a favorite character, it’s very real. You think you are used to it. After all, if you survived to be a fan of a show like Game of Thrones, you should be used to it. Characters are after all fiction. However, for many of us, they are living, sentient beings. Friends we don’t see often enough. For years we have had favorites in series, and somehow we have to live through the grief when they are gone. It’s very real, there have even been academic papers written about it. Yes, you really are grieving. You have that right.
We are all parasocial to some degree. I think since we as humans grew with oral traditions of stories in our cultures, heroes, then moved on to the written characters in the books that replaced them, there will always be a fondness or obsession for a character that you root for. We need to feel that we have a kinship with our most beloved character. With media being so realistic to us, and our being so demanding of a television series to fulfill our every emotional need while we escape, we look for heroes at many levels. With me, It may not be the lead character. It’s the always the underdogs, the murky strange ones you like for being different but true to their beliefs, and they are heroes just the same. Damn you Lacroix, you got me again. I swear the man has it in for me.
I have been in a weird state. I have spent the last 6 years waiting for a chance to see Murtagh again and following Duncan’s antics during Droughtlander. I am not alone in mourning the death of a fictional character that touched me deeply, I know this. It’s become a habit. NOT one I want to break. He sucker-punched us all with that final scene. Love hurts. Of course, we all have been trying to prepare ourselves for it. It was inevitable that it would come. Better it was in battle, and that he and Jamie saw each other at the end.
Keeping back that salty moisture from my eyes, I’ve reworded this several times. If you have seen all the media frenzy since Sunday morning, the #DuncanLacroix Twitter feed is awash with sorrows and epitaphs. This Murtagh Monday has become an unofficial holiday. Since the airing of this episode, Duncan’s Instagram account has been quiet. In interviews, he revealed it had been a really emotional scene that had to be shot over two days. He had not expected he would become so emotional between cuts. Even though he has had months to secretly mourn his own character, I suspect he is feeling a bit of it again now. Will it be 48 or 72 hours before we get an interesting picture on his feed, with his gruff off the cuff commentary. We’re waiting, mate.
The timing of Outlander Season 5 has been interesting, to say the least. We have a current health crisis that is affecting us globally and making us look deep inside. Luckily we have a great performance to make us feel the deep emotions, to distract us from the cares of the world. Perhaps getting some of that pent up emotion out of us. We were so lucky to have an actor portray the character of Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser for 6 years, one that he stepped into and wore with such conviction and emotional depth. One that the writers of the series realize they had a really good thing and allowed it to grow organically, allowing Duncan a chance to grow this very deep and murky character. Duncan Lacroix was a little known actor on this side of the pond, an English actor who took a different path from his fellow actors and took to studying theatre in Ireland. Who mostly had stage roles, but knew he had to find that character to break out and throw his soul into. He had almost given up acting when he got that fateful phone call. He found that character that all actors dream of, the one he could mold and capture hearts with. It’s a part of him now as he works on new roles. Hopefully, the production of Graham McTavish’s This Guest of Summer film will not be bumped back too much further due to productions being shut down. It will be a wonderful experience for Duncan Lacroix to create another intense, engaging character for us to love.
Duncan, thank you for wrenching my heart in this, your last portrayal of Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. We are crossing our fingers for a surprise time travel back, perhaps Murtagh’s ghost will be at Jamie’s side when he battles the American Revolution in seasons to come. I mean, after all, the spark of the American Revolution was his fault. And please, when we get to have a Wondercon again on the West Coast, I hope you will come! I, of course, wouldn’t know what to say to you, other than thank you infinitely for your intrepid performances.
Search for that perfect Luckenbooth Brooch pin to remind you or your favorite murky man, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Frazer. I am. Support artisans in these trying times.
For a look at Duncan Lacroix’s portrayal of Murtagh over the past 6 seasons and interviews, look here: