After months of wondering about the fate of one of the best television series to come out, we have our answers. Season 7 will premiere in the summer of 2023, and feature 16 episodes. Wondering if this will be like the long two-part series 1? It may be. Filming is still ongoing.
Starz® delivered a few announcements this week. And sadly our story will end in its eighth season. Book fans are wondering how much will be smashed up in Diana Gabaldon’s An Echo in the Bone and In My Own Heart’s Blood in Series 7, and then will the remainder of IMHOB and Go Tell The Bees That I am Gone will be in the final season? Only the writers’ room knows. Gabaldon is writing the 10th book in some interviews she has said is the final book, and others discussed the prequel book that involves Jamie’s mother Helen, and father Brian’s love story will be released soon.
It is through this book that the new prequel series Outlander: Blood of my Blood has been given the green light at Sony pictures for the team of Maril Davis and Ron D Moore and their Tall Ships production company, along with current series showrunner Matt Roberts to develop the new series. Given the history of Outland series 1 production, and the fact they will have to go back to some old haunts, which fans will love, hopefully, the new series won’t take as long to produce. It could even be in co-production during season 8.
So what does this mean? All good stories must come to an end. They go on to prequels that show you the young versions of old favorite characters. This means they will need to recast some characters if they can not have the actors who portrayed our favorites, Colum MacKenzie (Gary Lewis), Dugal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish), and Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) their sister, convince us they are younger. We met Brian Fraser in season 1, also much older. And we have been assured a young Murtagh, who is one of many of Helen’s Suitors, will be recast? Helen is the only character we have not met yet. Although it is said she is like Brianna, hmmm.
Who do you think will reappear in the Outlander: Blood of my Blood series?
Mark me, dear Flora, your kindness will not go unremembered
As always, this contains spoilers.
In Episode 605 “Give Me Liberty”, we step back in time to just after Culloden and a defeated Bonnie Prince Charlie (Andrew Gower Cameo), being rescued by Flora MacDonald (Shauna MacDonald), dressed as an elderly and simple woman. Flora uses her guile and is able to convince the army officers that the prince is an elderly woman of no consequence.
Is He Loyal?
Lord John Grey finds himself a guest of Governor Josiah Martin, who reads out the letter of resignation as Indian Agent from Jamie Fraser and asks Lord John bluntly, is it a letter of resignation or a declaration of a rebel. Lord John assures Martin that his good friend Jamie Fraser is loyal, and finds himself asked to attend the Flora MacDonald event to ascertain the loyalties of Jamie and other former Jacobites. This puts Lord john in a rather tight spot, as good friends they may be, but he is always loyal to The Crown.
This true recount, otherwise known as, where that Skye Boat Song came from, is what makes the celebrated Flora MacDonald of the Jacobites a big draw at Willmington, where Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) have come to meet up with Aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and her 4th husband, Duncan Innes (Alistair Findley). The Crown, Governor Martin (Eugene O’Hare), and Major MacDonald (Robin Laing) have produced this gathering to use Flora to rally the Scots who were once rebels, to side with The Crown and keep their loyalty, lands, and business by not joining the rebels in the colonies.
Jamie and Claire must keep up appearances, however, they will find ways to keep their new allegiance to the new rebellion by walking a fine line. Here history repeats itself as Claire and Jamie begin another subterfuge of appearing to be on the side of The Crown while seeking out information about the rebellion. Claire, Brianna, and Roger have all told Jamie that the American Colonies will unite and win the war, but that is still in the future for Jamie. Jamie doesn’t wish to be on the losing side again.
To do right by my conscience, and right by my brothers.
While at the inn in Wilmington, Jamie tells Claire of an appointment in the Inn’s pub, where Cornelius Harnett ( James Weber Brown), a member of one of the Committees of Correspondence, wants to meet with him. Jamie meets with Cornelius and recognizes his Masonic ring. He gives him the Masonic handshake under the table and begins a discussion of brotherhood when asked why he is seeking to join The Sons of Liberty. Cornelius is suspicious, as it is all treasonous to meet. Can he trust Jamie? Jamie seeks to convince him that he is a brother of like mind, seeking a path that avoids conflict and uses reason. Jamie is invited to a Sons of Liberty meeting.
A Toast To Us
After Flora MacDonald’s speech, Aunt Jocasta takes a turn with her health and has a severe headache. Claire, who has long suspected that Jocasta is suffering from Glaucoma, asks if Jocasta would like some help with the pain, and takes Flora with them to the pergola. She produces a pipe and when asked, tells the ladies it is hemp flower. It is remarked that they are like a gentlemen’s society and as everyone gets a bit more philosophical, Claire points out that they should be toasting Flora, for she is brave to have rescued Prince Charlie, who she informs with her “powers of the future” is drinking himself to death in Italy. Mark me, was it 4:20?
Here’s that scene again
Truth Be Told
While dining after the Flora MacDonald speech, Mary (Mercy Ojelade), Aunt Jocasta’s slave, comes to beg the assistance of the men, a printer down the street is being threatened by rebels for printing the Flora MacDonald broadsheets publicizing the Loyalist speech. Lord John and Jamie rush to aid the printer.
Jamie always has an affinity for printers and Lord John Grey for justice, quickly runs to the aid of the printer, with a mop of tar as a defense weapon. Lord John is a crafty one. While Jamie may or may not agree with the printer’s political views, he views mob violence as wrong. Lord John is conveniently somewhat convinced of Jamie’s loyalty until he sees that glint in Jamie’s eyes after reading the publication. Jamie mentions his conscience and how he cannot support the over-taxation and the might of The Government against the colonists. Lord John finally sees the truth and asks him if he will be at the meeting that the army will be raiding that night, a meeting of The Sons of Liberty. However, Ainsley Beeston (Freddie Stevenson) has seen Jamie with Lord John, the known Loyalist, rescuing the printer.
Lord John, out of friendship, tells Jamie he will delay the military as long as he can, giving Jamie time to worn Harnett and Beeston. However, they are not convinced Jamie is not a Loyalist, they have doubts. Jamie must quickly tell them he is there to warn them. The army arrives with torches. The men escape out the back of the inn.
Form Whom The Bell Must Toll
The MacKenzies have been left in charge of Fraser’s Ridge again in the absence of Jamie and Claire. When the parents are away, there always seems to be trouble brewing back home. If they only knew how much. While walking with Lizzie, Malva and Marsali, they come across a burnt-out space with bones by the path, that Marsali identifies as looking like a love charm.
Roger (Richard Rankin) has been helping Amy McCallum, again. This of course leads to trouble. While visiting Marsali and hearing about the preparations for moving to meet with Fergus, Marsali guesses that Brianna is “with child” again, and teases her for not telling her sister. Brianna tells her she hasn’t even told Roger yet. Later, after hearing of gossip on The Ridge about how much time Roger is spending with the young widow McCallum, Brianna calls Roger out on it.
Roger admits that he is trying to help her, as Amy views him as a minister of sorts, and he has a weakness for widows, having lost his own father in the war. Brianna understands that he loves her, and is trying to be kind, however, tongues are wagging. Roger admits that he feels a little useless at home, with brilliant Brianna plotting to bring indoor plumbing to the people of The Ridge, that he is helping someone less fortunate. Roger agrees that his place is with his own wife and child. He will look for a solution.
Brianna (Sophie Skelton) must also step in while Claire the healer is not in residence. While walking with Lizzie and some of the other women of the Ridge (Marsali, Lizzie, and Malva), Lizzie has a fainting spell. She quickly deduces that Lizzie is having trouble with malaria again. Okay, so if you are a fan of the books, you know about the malaria problems, in great detail, that Lizzie has. When did they ever mention this in the last two seasons?
Anyway, as quickly explained by Brianna, malaria must be causing the ailment. The Beardsley twins Josiah and Kezzie turn up very concerned over Lizzie’s health. Brianna hands them a jar of liniment and explains they must seek a plant to help with Lizzie’s ailment. While this is another dear moment from the book, it’s rather hurriedly thrown in.
Roger, accompanied by Tom and Allan Christie, hauls a large bell up the hill to the newly built meeting house. Tom tells Roger to go inside and get some rope and tackle to help lift the bell up to the belltower. He runs inside and finds Malva Christie going at it with Obidiah Henderson. He stops them and tells Malva her father is right outside. She rounds on Roger and threatens him, telling him if he breathes a word that she will tell everyone on The Ridge that he is doing more than mending Amy McCallum’s chimney. Quickly Roger brings Obidiah out with him to help put up the bell, while Malva sneaks out the back.
Roger comes to a solution with “the Amy McCallum situation”, and tells Obidiah to help with mending and fixing things at her place. This way an unmarried man is helping, and maybe staying away from Malva. Smells like more trouble is brewing.
What Was That?
Claire and Jamie are packing up to leave Willmington. While getting the wagon loaded and about to start off, Claire hears a faint tune she remembers, whistling on the wind. It’s not from the 18th century, it’s a tune from WWI. You may know it as The Bridge on the River Kwai March, however, it is Colonel Bogey March. This makes Claire jolt a bit. When Jamie asks, “What’s wrong, Sassanch?”, she infers it is nothing.
However, in the Willmington goal, a figure behind bars is whistling the tune. Windigo Donner is back.
Tune in tonight on the Starz® App at Midnight for Episode 606, “The World Turned Upside Down”, and Sunday at 9 PM CST on Starz®
I was concerned about how late this article was hitting the blog. With our current international situation, I have had to try to sit and actually watch this episode several times, as I always do. However this time, I really wanted to have a think about it. We’ve come through the halfway point of season 5 of Outlander, and with the current situation in the world, there may be a delay again for filming production on this show. How timely some of the themes of episode 506, Better to Marry Than Burn, hit us now as we face isolation and survival.
We begin with the backstory to Jocasta’s (Maria Doyle Kennedy) past. As you probably have guessed by now, my main character’s favorite is Murtagh. Being both a book reader and a series fan, I was so happy to see how this character was broken out into a character that has survived the dismal death at Culloden. I was not too pleased about how the whole Murcasta thing came about. I know, the series and the books are absolutely different animals and should be accepted as such. I have praised much of the decisions that had to be made. It is extremely difficult to translate what is in a book, and what grows with a series on television. Some things just don’t translate. Bring in the fact that you rescue a favorite series only character (yes, Murtagh doesn’t survive Culloden in the books), and great acting by Duncan Lacroix to create such a figure that breaks our hearts, and partner him with the formidable Jocasta Cameron. Well, that’s fire and damnation. And finally, we see why Jocasta is as Jocasta does.
It’s hard to see how Jocasta came to be as she is, a wealthy woman who has already gone through 3-4 husbands and is now going on the 5th? Despite her affliction of blindness, she still sees everything. Unfortunately, this becomes quite painful for her. On the eve before her wedding to Duncan Innes (Alastair Findlay), a book character that has been pushed aside for the Murcasta relationship, she reflects on a painful memory of the past. Her decision to wed is a compromise she must make to keep River Run from being controlled by a man who would not respect the nuances of how the plantation is run. Jocasta is experienced in how marriages go, as well as wealth and the world of things in the 18th century. A woman must find a way to be safe and in control. The only way is through marriage to someone who wants her happiness, not a cause.
We open the episode on a moor with a carriage speeding as fast at horses can carry, careening away from Culloden. A younger Jocasta and her husband, Hector Cameron (Christopher Bowen), with their youngest daughter Morna, are fleeing the ruin of Culloden. They are stopped by a couple of the King’s Dragoons. While they and the youngest daughter are asked to exit the coach and be interrogated, one of the Dragoons spots a chest with a lock hidden under the carriage. He pulls it out and breaks it open. To Jocasta and Morna’s surprise, it’s a chest of French gold. Hector had stolen it as it was destined for Bonnie Prince Charlie to help fight the Jacobite cause. As Jocasta realizes that they have been put in danger because of Hector’s political sympathies, and altercation occurs, and the two Dragoons end up dead, as well as young Morna, who is but 16, left to rot by the roadside as Hector drags Jocasta on in the coach to flee with the gold. It is this painful memory that Jocasta carries on the eve of her next wedding.
Marriage As a Convenience
We come to the present. Jocasta, feeling the blue ribbon run through her fingers that she had saved from Morna’s hair. She is thinking about her past. How she got to be mistress of River Run, and how Hector had made her leave the daughter behind. She is about to embark on her 4th or 5th marriage, for in the world of the 18th-century, women could not be in charge of their destiny. She was readying to marry a man who would allow her to run River Run, and be a shield against a male-dominated society. She hoped at least he would only want her happiness and had no political ambitions. He brings her a lavender-filled pillow to soothe her the night before. Duncan expresses the knowledge that they do not really love each other, but maybe with time, there can be affection. Jocasta is rather brusque with him. The pillow is embroidered with the MacKenzie clan motto, ” I shine, not burn”.
Ulysses enters and glares as Duncan leaves. Jocasta remarks on his being unkind when she herself has been brusque with him. He brings Jocasta to Jamie and Gerald Forbes, the spurned suitor of Brianna. Jocasta is formally placing River Run in trust for Jeremiah MacKenzie. Remember this.
Trouble seems to always brew at weddings. The Frasers are beset by another trial on their relationship on the eve of Jocasta’s Wedding. Jamie and Claire must entertain Governor Tryon and his wife. Claire and Her Excellency part from the annoying political convo of the men, and we find we really do like H.E. as she is very sympathetic and not at all like her husband. The sensible of the two. Sadly a cursed soul from Claire’s past, Mr. Wiley is spied by H.E. and she moves to intercept. Claire stalls next to some ladies discussing Dr. Rawlings suggestions that women do not let their husbands sleep in their bed chambers during certain days of the month. Claire can’t help but chirp in some reasoning, and of course is ostracized by the ladies, turns and splashes Mr. Wiley, fop extraordinaire and cad-about-town, with enough powder on to empty a flour sack. We all know he has lusted after Claire for some time. H.E returns just in time to save Claire briefly, but he will not be put aside.
Wiley Catches Claire back up and she then starts a fiendish plan of subterfuge when Wiley spins tales of being able to procure anything she desires with the help of a certain Irish captain smuggler type. Yep, it’s him (Bonnet). Claire uses her guile to talk Wiley into tasting some of Jamie’s Fraser’s Ridge less than 3-year-old whiskey and suggests that maybe this Irish captain can broker business for them. After sinking her hook in a bit, she foolishly follows him out to the stables to meet his prized possession, Lukas, a stunning Fresian horse. Of course, Wiley makes a play for Claire and she knocks him soundly into the horse dung on his oh so pretty frock coat. (You think she would have learned with the Minister of Finance and the red shoes back in season two) Jamie arrives finally, pulling a knife. Claire reminds him it would be very bad to kill a man on the eve of Jocasta’s wedding. After Wiley is gone, she fills him in on her plot to deliver Stephan Bonnet in a way that justice can be served.
Jamie leaves to challenge Wiley to a high stakes game of Whist. However, to enter the game he must use Claire’s two wedding rings as collateral for his stake. Of course, Claire gets very upset that he would gamble with her gold ring, which she knows Wiley is causing her pain over. She is upset at Jamie’s willingness to gamble with Frank’s ring, so she gives him both rings.
Jocasta is still composing herself after dealing with guests and in her chambers, Ulysses announces another guest has come to give her a present. She dismisses it until she hears Murtagh’s voice. She chastises him on many fronts. Why has he come when the Governor was downstairs? He gives her a Luckenbooth brooch with a ribbon as a gift and demands of her why is she marrying a man she doesna care for. The two barb at each other, as always.
However, when she finally makes her statements of why, other than the obvious that Murtagh is a wanted criminal, she can’t risk the loss of River Run, the real reason behind it all is her painful experiences at the loss of her daughters after Culloden, and because a husband who believed in the Jacobite cause was willing to risk all their lives. Murtagh states that there will be a way for them. She tells him the tales of her losses, the death of her children. That she just wants to have a life of happiness. She takes her blindness as punishment for the fact that stolen gold built River Run after the deaths of her daughters. She spurns Murtagh, she cannot love a man who would believe in political causes that endanger her again and tells him to leave.
It is at this point that the two star-crossed lovers break apart and Murtagh finally declares that he loves her, something he should have said long before. Duncan Lacroix and Maria Doyle Kennedy give us another tumultuous dance of passion and loss. Murtagh leaves struggling to keep all emotions from bursting out. He carefully leaves the brooch she has thrust back to him. We see Jocasta break down in her true pain. Murtagh is crushed and now has nothing but his fight to live for.
“I love you, Jocasta MacKenzie. This world may change, but that will never change,”
Meanwhile, Jamie arrives back at the stables where Claire is asking the horse if he is worth it. He is drunk. He has won the bet and traded the horse back to Wiley for brokering a whiskey deal with Bonnet. Claire is still bristling and declares that Bonnet has cost them again, he has torn at their trust of each other. Of course, this ends up with Claire wanting to play a rough game with Jamie which always seems to lead into a roll into the hay with these two.
Later Jamie strolls into Governor Tryon’s Pavillion while he is being fitted for a new red tunic. He declares that it looks like they will get their war after all. He had hoped to avoid it while he hopes to take the Governorship of the colony of New York. Jamie knowingly takes the news of the Regulator leaders not taking Tryon up on the pardons. He gives that look that he’s thinking how he is going to warn Murtagh and his compatriots before Tryon is upon them.
Well, really, he is just the cutest little harbinger of doom, isn’t he? Back on the Ridge, wee Adso finds a large bug that turns out to be a locust and drops is at Roger and Brianna’s feet. The pair soon discover that all the settlers will be engulfed in a Biblical plague. Roger, sarcastically declares he thought it would just be a few cows going astray. But don’t kick a mushy icky bug gift.
Rogers remembers stories of locust plagues and how smoke was used to drive and divert the swarms from crops. He sets about getting all of Fraser’s Ridge farmers together and at first, they doubt him, being stubborn Scots that they are. He has had trouble getting anyone to trust his judgment, first Jamie and now the farmers. Luckily his ingenuity with creating smudge pots and burning very greenwood at the edges of the fields help to deter the swarm down to a few manageable leftover locust critters to swat at. Roger proves himself to the Ridge.
In closing the episode, we see that slime lawyer Forbes at a coffee house. Unnervingly he is meeting with none other than Stephan Bonnet (Ed Speelers), who is always prickly and quick to slash out at anyone. He informs Bonnet that his son is now master of River Run. Revenge.
Where the heck is Phaedra? Why would she not be present at Jocasta’s wedding? Could it be that like the character of Jenny, played by Laura Donnelly, other commitments came up in filming? I couldn’t find anything published as to the actor’s whereabouts.
Oh, and yes there were a few real locusts used for filming. However, the ones used for close up were bred to be sterile and wrangled safely.
Next week, after working so hard on the Ridge, we have episode 507, The Ballad of Roger Mac.
Catch it Saturday, March 28 at Midnight on the Starz® APP, Sunday at 8:05 pm EST and 5:05pm PST on Starz®, and Monday 30th of March on Amazon Prime in the UK and Ireland.
At long last, we were treated with an early release of episode 501, The Fiery Cross in the US and Canada if you had a subscription to the Starz® App. On the LA Premiere night Thursday, it was announced we would get the first episode dropped at midnight for Valentine’s treat.
Beginnings and Endings
While producers and cast have been stating that the theme this season is based on family and what Jamie and Claire will do to keep the family and extended family of Fraser Ridge safe, it’s the sad business of having to cast a family member aside that hit hard in this season opener. We knew it was coming when Governor Tryon charged Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) with hunting down and killing the leader of the Regulators, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (Duncan Lacroix).
Episode 501, The Fiery Cross, opens with a young Murtagh walking towards Lollybroch and a very young Jamie Fraser suffering the loss of his mother Ellen. Murtagh speaks his oath to always be there by Jamie’s side to protect him. We know deep down this is going to hurt. Jamie lost Murtagh after Culloden and found him again when he sacrificed himself for his family’s safety ending up in Ardsmuir Prison. He found Murtagh broke and fragile, barely surviving in the dank walls. Only to lose him again as the prison shut down and Murtagh was indentured to a cruel man in the colonies. When the Frasers end up in North Carolina in Season 4, Jamie and Murtagh are reunited. However, in true Outlander fashion, it is but a brief moment.
A Da’s Privilege
Roger (Richard Rankin) ends up in Jamie’s very focused conversational embrace as he gets a very close shave from a cutthroat razor after nicking himself. A bit of sacrificial blood for the day’s events. The nervous declarations of Roger promising to find some way to provide for his family, being the scholar that he is. Jamie all too well knows he cannot hunt, farm, build a house, and quite clearly Brianna wears the breeks at times. He admits that the cabin was so he didn’t have his grandchild growing up in the woods. Jamie in his not so subtle way reminding Roger that he will be watching.
Roger spends most of the next few days wondering when Jamie will ever trust him. Can he find some way to get that chance to prove himself?
Something Old, Something New
As you know the series is straying further away from scenes in the books, thankfully the long drawn out beginning of The Fiery Cross with Gathering on Mount Halcion being downsized to a gathering for Roger and Bree’s wedding makes perfect sense. Focusing on the Ridge and the grand reveal of the big house, the unfinished parts of the doors and ongoing building reflect the building of the community.
Claire is a proud mother, gushing and preparing Brianna for the wedding, finishing dress bits and being that rare soft side of Claire we don’t see very often. Jamie is fussing over all the accouterments of the tradition to have a bride prepared with something old, something new (whisky, not aged of course), something borrowed, something blue. He can’t help but have doubts about the day, and the loss of his daughter after only just finding her. It’s a matter that plays out for all fathers, to give away the daughter and trust that another will provide for her. When Brianna comes to greet him, she reminds him that he will always be a part of her life.
In further conversations, Claire tries to take Roger’s corner as she trusts Roger to do right by Brianna and Jemmy. Jamie questioning his initial hesitation at taking on the responsibility of the child. Claire reminds him that he did come round. There was, of course, a little matter of Roger being sold off to the Mowhawk and how that transpired that no one will bring upon such a day, and the shock of finding out what happened to Brianna when he was rescued. Scots and their grudges.
Weddings, Interfearing Aunts, and The Uninvited Guest
There’s always got to be someone who ruins the day. And someone hiding away. It wouldn’t be a wedding if something didn’t go wrong. You get that many Scots together and…
Because there is a price on his head, Murtagh must hide in his shack in the woods, watching the ceremony from afar. Unfortunately, Governor Tryon turns up with a platoon of Dragoons to aid the errant Jamie, who has spent nearly a year dancing around his responsibilities of the Governor’s orders to hunt and kill Murtagh. He is reminded of his duty once in a roundabout, coy way, then more firmly with Tryon announcing he is leaving the Dragoons to aid Jamie in this task. A father really doesn’t need such stress while trying to be all smiles for his daughter on her day.
Lord John Grey (David Berry), is one of the honored guests and pulls Jamie aside behind a wagon to discuss the private matter of locating Stephen Bonnet. Unfortunately, Brianna walks up to the other side of the wagon and overhears the conversation. Lord John tells Jamie of his inquiries, what scant intelligence he has that he is following. Brianna is in shock, the worst possible thing that could have happened on her day, hearing that Bonnet is indeed still alive. She stumbles off into the wedding night, trying to keep it all in and away from her family.
Luckily Roger blissfully ignorant of the situation serenades his wife with a very 1960s song on their wedding night. The next day, the heads are swelling with grog and overindulgence. Roger is summoned to meet with Aunt Jocasta in her pavilion. She tells Roger that she is changing her will, Brianna will no longer be her heir, that she is leaving it all to Jemmy. Roger explodes and tells her where she can put her decisions, that no wife or son of his will take her money. He storms off. Jocasta, of course, being the MacKenzie she is and finding no evidence of Roger MacKenzie’s family, tests him to see if it’s all about the money. As Ulysses asks her if she had the outcome she had hoped for, she agrees. Perhaps Roger has passed her test.
Murtaghs Waters Deepen
Murtagh is a man of conviction. Too long has he an others suffered at the hands of the Crown. The injustices of over taxation and corrupt justice systems in the colony cause him to become one of the leaders of the Regulators, who are not united under one leader but split among North and South Carolina. It is because of this that Jamie is being forced to create a militia to hunt him down. It appears that after years of loss and reconnection, finally finding a home with Jamie again on the Ridge, he must make his decision. Be true to himself, or be true to his kin. Can Murtagh survive with the anchor of the family about to be ripped away?
To add to his losses, while having a love tryst in the love shack with Jocasta, she reveals that a Duncan Inness has asked her to marry him. Book readers will remember that this character was in Ardsmuir with Jamie and had originally been the companion who traveled with him and Claire through the Carribean). In season 4, Murcasta seemed to supplant that book storyline.
It’s not easy for Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy), is the widow with a wealthy plantation, there have been many trying to wed her to control such wealth. She and Murtagh cannot be open about their relationship. Her plantation could be taken from her, she could be jailed. Murtagh backs up and tells her he releases her from their relationship. The rollercoaster has left the platform. That sinking drop is hitting home for Murtagh. He is about to lose all he holds dear, and make a sacrifice so that others don’t lose what they hold dear.
The Fiery Cross
We’ve been waiting to see Jamie don a kilt again. The tartans were outlawed after Culloden, and while everyone is gathered in the night, he lights a wicker cross. The Fiery Cross is a symbol of call to arms in the highlands, where clans and those who give fealty to them are called to action against a foe. Jamie uses this time to finally give Roger a purpose and feel that he has earned a place by his side by naming him a captain. It’s a bold move to go in a full kilt in front of the Dragoons, the tartan is outlawed and still punishable by imprisonment or death. The risk is worth it as Jamie knows it’s the only way to rally so many men from different clans to form a new one in the new world.
Breaking of Bonds
In the final scene, we have Jamie walking up to a secret meeting with Murtagh in the woods. He must do what he has been dreading for a year. The stakes are too high. He releases Murtagh from his oath to protect him and his family. If anyone found out that Murtagh was his Godfather, he could lose everything, all the families relying on him for a home and protection would lose. Heavy is the responsibility of being the Laird.
Murtagh is of course in shock but at the same time knew it would come to this eventually. He has been hit from all sides with loss. Murtagh makes an attempt to have Jamie consider time travel, perhaps Claire, Brianna, or Roger could change time? Jamie is taken aback. Murtagh is hit with the relationship with Jocasta ending, because really he has been putting her in danger, and now his surrogate son says to him, “Please– be hard to find”. He walks away from everything that holds him.
We now have set in motion two people who have loved and cared for each other over the years, their kinship, gone. They will now be on opposing sides of a situation Jamie does not wish to be dragged into, and Murtagh stubbornly will not leave. It is a conflict with his political past that he too has sympathy for, but he is haunted by the pain and suffering of the disbanded clans of Scotland after Culloden. He knows that there is a promise of a bigger war to come, that there is a conflict with The Regulators as told by Claire, Roger, and Brianna is the beginnings of a parting with the Crown by the colonists. The colonies are on a slow burn.
Stay tuned for Between Two Fires Episode 502 next Saturday, 22nd of February at midnight on the Starz App, Starz Channel Sunday, 23rd of February at 5:05 pm ET 8:05 PT, Canada on W Network at 9:00. UK Monday on Amazon Prime.
Starz® just announced today that Season 5 of the Outlander series will premiere on February 16, 2020. The time travel series about a World War II combat nurse Claire, (Caitriona Balfe), her husband Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) continues its next season on Fraser’s Ridge in North Carolina. The Frasers will be dealing with new settlers on the ridge, Jamie seeking recruits for a mustering to hunt down the Regulators and namely his Godfather Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (Duncan Lacroix). Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) will seek to get married and care for wee Jeremiah together, albeit with their history of contention, there will be some rough roads ahead. Not to mention the ghost of Stephen Bonnet. Will we see Young Ian (John Bell) come back from his time with the Mohawk? There will undoubtably be trouble with Governor Tryon, we know that Tim Downie has had quite a few BTS days on his Instagram feed of late. Marsali and Fergus may get that print shop together after all.
It doesn’t state in the synopsis whether they are taking material from The Fiery Cross, or taking elements of the storyline and possibly blending some of it in with the 6th installment, A Breath of Snow and Ashes. It has been stated by Executive Producer Ronald d. Moore that they may be taking half of a book and blending it with another. The books, if you have read them, are lengthly indeed and very detailed. Not everything translates well to screen. And since Dianna Gabaldon is finishing up another installment, which takes 4 to 5 years, it is quite possible that the series my overtake the book series, much lake Game of Thrones surpassed its authors writing and ended as a series this year. Could it be that Moore and Mathew B. Roberts see that the story line may play out or that Starz® may stop production after two more seasons?
Ah, and there is a big gathering at the beginning of the Fiery Cross, the fifth book in the Outlander series written by Diana Gabaldon with all kinds of drama and mischief.
Starz® released this synopsis for the upcoming season:
Season 5 of “Outlander” finds the Frasers fighting for their family and the home they have forged on Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie must find a way to defend all that he has created in America, and to protect those who look to him for leadership and protection – while hiding his personal relationship with Murtagh Fitzgibbons, the man whom Governor William Tryon has ordered him to hunt down and kill.
With her family together at last, Claire Fraser must use her modern medical knowledge and foresight to prevent them from being ripped apart once again. However, while focusing on protecting others, she risks losing sight of what it means to protect herself.
Meanwhile, Brianna Fraser and Roger MacKenzie have been reunited, but the spectre of Stephen Bonnet still haunts them. Roger strives to find his place – as well as Jamie’s respect – in this new and dangerous time. The Frasers must come together, navigating the many perils that they foresee – and those they can’t
Starz® will have an Outlander Presence at New York Comic Con for a second year with Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, author Diana Gabaldon, and producers Ronald D. Moore and Maril Davis. For their first NYCCC appearance Duncan Lacroix, Maria Doyle Kennedy and David Berry will be attending. The official Outlander Panel will be at New York Comic Con 2019 will take place on Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 5:30 pm ET in The Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
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:
Jocasta Cameron, played by Maria Doyle Kennedy to perfection, has been mistress at 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.
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?
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.
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?
Ultimately, 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.