Category Archives: Maria Kennedy Doyle

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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Outlander Season 4 Finale, Man of Worth

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It is with great anticipation, dread, sadness, joy and all other emotions that come along with it, that the end of Season 4 has reached us. Quite a journey the first few years in the American Colonies Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) have had. With all of this seasons new characters, and a few that are still along for the ride, we have enjoyed the roller coaster and now have to survive the drought.

If you haven’t watched tonights episode, go no further. Series and book spoilers ahead.download-1

Rescuing Roger and the Mystery of Otter Tooth

Fair trade with the Mohawk is a no go for the Frasers. After months of searching for Roger, they meet another band of Mohawk who tell them where they can find the tribe that bears the symbol of Ian’s traded medallion. Upon entering the camp, Jamie showing his language acquisition skills and Ian ask the Mohawk if Roger is with them, and can they img_2440trade for his return. Kaherton (Braedon Clarke) asks them to find “Dog Face” and tell the chief that they want to trade for his return. After a few exchanges, all seems to be going well. Then as luck would have it, Claire’s huge opal necklace reveals itself and the tribe is repulsed. They refuse to trade for Roger. Claire asks what is the meaning of the stone to them. She will trade it for Roger. The chief shuts her and Jamie down, and tells them to leave.

imagesLater, when they have gone some distance from the Mohawk and are camping for the night, a small group of Mohawk come and ask them for the opal stone. Claire seeks to trade the stone for Roger, however she wants to know what it means to them. A Mohawk woman tells Claire that the stone belonged to Otter Tooth, a man who claimed to be from their future, who came to them in her grandfather’s time. He spoke of the end of the Mohawk and that they must make war on the white man before they are gone, for the Iroquois Nation will be no more. The man was ostracized from the tribe and downloadeventually killed. Claire tells of finding the skull with the opal and later being visited in the storm by a ghost, Otter Tooth, who guided her.

 

 


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Murcasta: That Relationship Thing Everyone Was Waiting For

Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) arrives back at River Run after dodging the Redcoats for weeks after his jail breakout. Jocasta feeds him and they have a somewhat tension filled img_2462meal at River Run. Jocasta brags a bit about Brianna making a fine match with Lord John, and Murtagh counters in disbelief, that Brianna will wed a Redcoat? Jocasta (Maria Kennedy Doyle) is concerned and a bit dismayed that Murtagh has returned to his old ways, getting himself in trouble with the law. He remarks it’s not the first time he’s been on a broadsheet and has managed to survive. She has heard about the jail break from Brianna, and while she will feed him, strongly suggests that he not stay long, img_2459for they will come looking for him. Bristling back he mentions that he has only come to check on the lass, and asks about her health. The conversation goes back and forth from talking to bristle. Two very stubborn personalities, and old friends from the days gone by.

Later Murtagh is spoiled by a glass of good whiskey from Jocasta as an appeasement that doesn’t last long. The conversation turns to accusations by Jocasta of Murtagh being given a gift of living in a new land, where he img_2458could have made something of himself, not inciting discord. Murtagh counters with the fact that others came to the colonies by choice, he was forced there in servitude, the mission of the Regulators as being just, protecting the poor who do not live as grand as Jocasta has been so lucky to, with 3 husbands, etc.. Jocasta jabs back with how Murtagh was always bad when he turned up at Castle Leoch, scowling and slinking about, causing trouble. We really know that was Dougal. Finally after the man defends himself, she throws whiskey in his face. He’s dealing with a MacKenzie of Castle Leoch, they will always find a way to twist and suit conversation to their needs. How does one fight back?

The only way to stop two old friends arguing so, and stop the tension, is somehow by ending up in bed together, or so it goes here. In a storyline twist perhaps telling us that Jocasta had been envious of her sister’s suitor ignoring her from years before, that secretly over the years she had liked Murtagh, something  finally had to give? Sadly, he’s a wanted man. The next morning she has of course changed her tune, she wants him to stay, even though she had wanted him gone. It is risky keeping him there, with Jocasta’s connections and him being on broadsheets everywhere. All Murtagh wants is for her to come back to bed.img_2460

It was a Outlander Fandom obsession for months, that did not go unnoticed by the writers. Many had speculated about Murtagh having the relationship with Jocasta, since he seemed to have taken the place of the book character Duncan Innes, one of the prisoners from Ardsmuir that Jamie had found. That Character marries Jocasta. Perhaps with Season 5 and if the Gathering is used there, we may see a secret wedding. What hasn’t been revealed, and this storyline from the books tells later, is that Jocasta for many years had a relationship with her manservant, Ulysses. Wether this is going to throw a cog in the works later, we don’t know. I for one had hoped that Murtagh would find someone who could fight alongside him or at least be more aligned with the rather complicated man. But as he pointed out, maybe she could use her influence to help in other ways. Yes, I’m a huge Murtagh fan. But really I was hoping for another direction on this one. Remember that bit about MacKenzies being schemers? Would Jocasta be willing to risk River Run for affiliation with such a man?

Here’s your gratuitous Murtagh shot. Enjoy it, it will be a long year. I think Murtagh would enjoy the Clash, at least their, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” song.

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Brianna Meets Her Child

Time goes by waiting on Jamie and Claire. Murtagh stays on, managing to dodge Redcoats,  and asks Brianna the difficult questions, are you going to tell me what the devil you were doing seeing Bonnet and are you really going to marry Lord John? Brianna explains that she wanted to bring peace to herself through forgiveness. She also explains that the betrothal to Lord John was just to get Jocasta off her back about marrying eligible wealthy men in the county, she is still holding out hope that Roger will eventually be found. 4137

In a birthing sequence I have to applaud, we hear music and see the birthing process and not another agonizing screaming scene. We’ve all seen them, through many series and films. This scene was done in a classy way, the emotion was there, raw, all of the actresses, Sophie Skelton, Maria Kennedy Doyle, Caitlyn O’Ryan and the amazing Natalie Simpson were superb. Murtagh pacing outside was a treat, Great Godfather that he is.


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The Mohawk faction that believed in taking the Opal Necklace of Otter Tooth as it will help them to foretell the future of their tribe, offer to help the Frasers to retrieve Roger in exchange for the necklace. Things of course do not go according to plan, and when Claire and Jamie enter the hut, the astonished Roger is distrustful. Claire hurriedly 41313explains what has happened, Jamie somewhat apologizes for beating him and selling him to the Mohawk. There isn’t time, they must get him out. A lengthly escape battle is joined. Of course they are caught, and then Young Ian is also caught after fighting so bravely to get them out of the village. Claire begs for Roger, and Jamie offers to sacrifice himself and stay in Roger’s place.

outlander-season-4-episode-13-the-drama-ends-1700295Ian decides to not translate Jamie’s offer, instead he offers himself to the Mohawk. He has decided to do what Uncle Jamie had requested of him months before, to become a man of worth. This scene is poignant, and probably would make more sense if they had shown more of Ian’s fascination of life among the tribes. However, Ian has shown his true worth and takes to his trial on the gauntlet with all out gusto and feats of street fighting we didn’t know he had in him. He makes it to the chief’s toe, and places a hand there. He rises, he is worthy.img_2465

 

jpeg image-a30dc06aaa75-1The Frasers and Roger leave Ian to the Mohawk. Claire decides it’s time to tell Roger of Brianna, what happened to her that night after he left. She goes into details about Bonnet attacking Brianna. Jamie is infuriated that Roger left her defenseless. He is also smarting at losing his nephew to the Mohawk, and what is he going to tell his sister? Roger counters with Brianna told him to leave, that he tried to come back but was forced onto the Gloriana by Bonnet. The sick realization that Bonnet has caused so much grief for the family incites anger between the two men, while at the same time it should be uniting them. Claire looks on with that “Men!” stance, when really they should be getting back to Brianna. But it’s better to let them fight it out now, then have it drag on for two months on the way back, if Roger is going back with them. Jamie continues to throw blame at Roger, even though Jamie has done terrible things to Roger.

Claire gives Roger a choice after the confrontation continues. She tells him he can make the choice to come back or not, the child may not be his. Can he stand by their daughter? Jamie is outraged that he will not stand up for Brianna, and he and Claire stand firm. Can anyone really blame Roger, after what he has been through, to be told at the last that Brianna has been raped, and that the child may or may not be his?


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Two months pass. Murtagh has managed to stay at River Run without being found by the Redcoats. Brianna’s child is now two months old and quite sturdy, but she is pining for Roger and her parents. The Frasers arrive back, however Roger is not with them. Claire and Jamie thank Jocasta for looking after their daughter, and Claire seems to mend fences with a fairly receptive Jocasta. Funny what a little love will do. While they were gone they gained a grandchild, however they have lost Ian. The Frasers measure what they have and have lost.41317

Later, in a conversation between Jamie and Murtagh, he updates Jamie on Bonnet blowing up with the jail. He is sorry Jamie did not get to exact his revenge the way he wanted. However we know that there is a set of keys. And Murtagh has been wrong before, remember a herd of Red Coos and Black Jack Randall?

img_2457Brianna starts packing and notices a lone rider coming up to River Run while she is preparing to go back to the ridge with her parents. She hesitates then runs through the house, flying down the path. It is Roger, and he has made his decision that he wants to see “his son”. Roger has now shown that he is a man of worth. Right on their tail a group of Redcoats on horseback come. There’s no time to get to warn Murtagh. Luckily Phaedra spots them from the house and warns the others, and Murtagh is secreted away. The riders enter the house and deliver a declaration to Jamie Fraser from Governor Tryon. It is a Call to Muster, to create a militiaimg_2456 to fight the Regulators. In the Call to Muster, there is a statement demanding the death of Jamie’s beloved Godfather, Murtagh as a leader of the rebellion. The deal made with a devil for land has indeed come back to haunt Jamie. This will create the tension and split of Godfather and Godson going into season 5, they will be fighting on opposite sides.

 


Outlander Season 4 2018

Much of this season worked and didn’t work for me as a fan of both the books and the series. There were some things I felt were rushed, however when dealing with action and adventure, things needed to be quick paced. I feel better about the season than I did much of season 3, and really I see where the writers were trying to please as wide of an audience as possible. However, if you look at the ratings for the season, viewership has dropped drastically this season. Let’s hope as they get through season 5 and 6 and it can pick back up, or we may not see the books through to the end.

I have been delighted in the storylines with Ian, Marsali and Fergus, and of course ultimately Murtagh that have developed so well. I feel much of the flavor of Jamie and Claire were lost, while I am not a big fan of the “Shipper” thing, I am more of a character quality person, I have tried to like the Brianna and Roger storyline. I found myself fan-girling on some of Roger’s better realization moments, and yes he was indeed odious in others. Brianna was very much a head strong princess in the first part of the season. I loved the costume, and the care that went into the Cherokee and Mohawk tribal clothing, as well as their depiction and storylines. I think that the production crews and film editors topped themselves this season. I look forward with dread to the Droughtlander we now face, it looks like it may be Spring 2020 before we have season 5, although IMdb says it will be Fall 2019. Filming hasn’t started yet, they are still in preproduction.

Droughtlander Survival

Start (re)reading The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon now.

Rewatch the season on the  Starz App until the series comes out on DVD.

Travel to Scotland,  and if you’re lucky catch them filming. Check out the filming locations for season 3. The production designer, Jon Gary Steel hinted at work starting on The Big House. If you read the books, you know what that means.

There’s a placeholder at IMdb for Season 5.1 already.

What were your favorite and not so favorite moments in season 4?

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Sam Heughan on the Outlander Season 4 Finale

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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.

Outlander Season 4 2018

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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Images ©2018 Starz® LLP

Edisode 410 The Deep Heart’s Core

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Home is where the heart is. With only 3 episodes left in Outlander Season 4, we have an episode where the idyllic life that Jamie and Claire Fraser have tried to create on Fraser’s Ridge, changes suddenly when Brianna’s recovery erupts in discovery. Secrets and lies come to a head. In last weekend’s episode, The Birds and The Bees, Brianna (Sophie Skelton) was dealing with the harsh realities and consequences of rape and losing her love Roger (Richard Rankin) after a fight. We left off where Roger MacKenzie was brutally beaten mistakingly by Jamie Fraser, and Ian leads him off to be traded to a band of Mohawk Indians.

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Life is Fleeting Perfection

As we open on another perfect day on Fraser’s Ridge, there is trouble bubbling under the surface, a pot about to boil over. Bree and Jamie (Sam Heughan) begin a talk about what had happened to her. Jamie tries to console her. She continues in her conversation of self-blame, that she didn’t fight hard enough, she did foolish things to get trapped by Bonnet. Jamie counters with a snide remark that maybe she was to blame. Perhaps Brianna maybe was using the term rape to hide that she had had an encounter she wanted, to make it not her fault. His goading of her worked, and taking the bait she starts lashing out at Jamie. Jamie is using a harsh, questionable way to teach her a lesson. After they fight and he locks her in embrace, one she cannot get out of, he says to her again, that no she didn’t fight hard enough. Softening he asks how could she if she was not as strong as the man who attacked her? She could have been killed. She did what she could to survive it. 

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Brianna, still smarting a bit, asks him quite bluntly how it was with him, did he fight back against Black Jack Randall? So they continue to bond under a shared fate. One that Jamie allowed to happen to save Claire, and he tells Brianna that eventually he killed Randall at the Battle of Culloden. Brianna states she thinks that maybe the only way she can get rid of the shame she feels is if her attacker is dead. Jamie reminds her she has never killed before, and does she really want to live with it such a thing?

“Did you fight back?” – Brianna Randall

Folly

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Roger has been dragged for days with a fellow prisoner behind the band of Mohawk, traveling further and further north. He tries to help the other captive stay alive. Sadly, after a few days, his co-captive perishes and Roger is the one they have left to sell, trade, or assimilate. He is still badly beaten, but somehow still hangs on, determined to get back to Brianna. After trailing behind the band of Mohawk for some time, he falls and has an opportunity at escape finally. When he does, after hiding and running for some time, he hears a familiar buzz, and that pull that only a time traveler knows leads him to where he finds a surprise in Rhododendron dell. He has found  a standing stone. Checking his pockets, he finds the two small gemstones meant for him and Brianna, and standing next to the stone he reaches out to touch it.img_2091

A Family Affair

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Brianna are talking in the cabin later, and Claire leads a discussion in what can be done about the baby. Claire is encouraging her to end the pregnancy, for in that time period being a single mother is looked down on by society and reputations are ruined. They discuss it would have to  be soon, she would have to operate. Brianna asks what Claire would do. The reality being that she must make the choice. The child could possibly be Roger’s as much as Bonnet’s. Claire wants Brianna to go back to her time, and crossing while pregnant can be done, she did it with Brianna. She doesn’t know if Brianna and a child can go through, they could become separated.

Lizzie again sets up to start another calamity. Brianna has been having nightmares about Bonnet for some weeks, and her dreams go from Roger being there to Bonnet attacking her again, but she is fiercely fighting him off. She wakes to find it is Lizzie in the room with her, trying to comfort her again. However we know that every time Lizzie opens her mouth, more trouble begins. She tells her mistress not to worry, that her father has dealt with the man who attacked her. Brianna realizing that the man who came and was attacked by her father was Roger, is angered beyond belief, she races to confront Jamie.

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Jamie is about to get in the hot seat again, and will push back at it. Brianna comes bursting in as a tempest, turning on Ian and Jamie with great force. Murtagh (Duncan Lacoix takes a cue and exits the premises as a family row begins. Brianna demands to know where Roger is and what have they done to him. Claire joins in, noticing again Jamies hurt hand, demanding Jamie tell her what he has done.  After Jamie deflects with Brianna wantonly being lustful, perhaps hiding it behind rape, Brianna tells him off. Both Jamie and Ian realize the mistake at last, and guilt, acceptance, and denial abound. Brianna hits out at Jamie and Ian’s nose get’s bloodied. Brianna takes the lead again declaring that no one gets to be angrier than she is, and asks what they are going to do about bringing Roger back.

“You do not get to be angrier than me!” – Brianna Randall

At this point, Jamie is in serious danger of losing Brianna. The news of her rape and knowing where that suffering comes from, has left him very reactive when trying to deal with his daughter. He loses temper, allowing his anger to get the better of him. On being told he did something wrong in beating Roger, whom he was told was her attacker, he starts losing patience and deflects on Brianna not behaving herself, that she perhaps wantonly had sex with Roger. Brianna claims the hand-fasting was done, however that is not enough for her father to accept. Jamie is in serious denial of blame, and may have lost Brianna’s fragile trust forever. He is not doing as well as he thought he would as a father, and  bringing Roger back may be the only way to save the relationship.

After the large fight, with slightly cooler heads, Ian informs them that the Mohawk will have taken him north, and it could be months before they find him. Brianna insists on going, as Roger will not trust Jamie or Ian. Claire protests, she should not travel in her condition. Claire is also not about to leave her on her own. Brianna insists that Claire go in her place, for Roger to see a familiar face and explain things. After much discussion by all involved, it is decided that Brianna will go stay with Aunt Jocasta at River Run, and Murtagh offers to escort her there while the others head north. 

When the women are out of earshot and Jamie, Ian and Murtagh are alone, Jamie makes a demand of Murtagh, to find Bonnet and bring him to Jamie so that he might kill the man. Murtagh agrees to take on the mission after he has delivered Brianna.

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After the great beginnings to Frasers Ridge, in this episode we see the reality of family hit the Frasers. They thought that their lives would be simple, they would Shepard the settlers on their lands. Once Brianna, their beautiful disturbance shows up, they are happy to be a united family, however the reality of family is so fragile. There are always the misunderstandings, agreeing to disagree, and issues eventually resolved. However in the 18th century colonies, misunderstandings often come with dire consequences, and because of this, Brianna may lose Roger forever. Will Jamie be able to win back his daughter’s trust after such an ordeal? There are only three episodes left to sort through the Fraser family issues.

Future Possibilities

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Aunt Jocasta will start trying to find suitable husbands for Brianna, as she sees it right to fix the problem of the young unwed mother, thus protecting the family reputation as well. Brianna’s 20th century sensibilities will still make her stubborn and determined to face the situation on her own. She will need to cope with the pressure of being in a time that is not hers, with people who will see her in a negative light because she is not wed.

Man of Action

Jamie’s asking Murtagh to hunt down Bonnet and bring him in will put Murtagh at risk. Murtagh is already wanted for his Regulator activities. If Bonnet, who has a keen sense for finding a profit anywhere he can, has knowledge of this, he could lure Murtagh into a trap. We know about the last man who was pursued for vengeance by Murtagh and what his fate was. Each man could end up hunting the other.

We do not know if Roger has gone through the stones, but who would blame him at this point? He has been thwarted from Brianna at every turn, mostly by Brianna herself. His conservative ideals and pride have hurt him greatly, but this does not mean he deserves a terrible fate. Painful lessons have been learned in not parting in anger when you love someone. He has the gemstones still, he somehow managed to keep concealed during all his trials. He has the key to return to his own time, and had planned to take Brianna with him. Will he really turn away at the last?

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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.

Outlander Episode 402: Do No Harm

i-2As you can guess by the title of the episode, there is going to be something that goes against the Hippocratic Oath. Claire being a doctor has faced many a deadly scene, and saved many lives, including an excise man who clearly meant her harm in Season 3, Cream De Menthe. So it is with a title like this that we find that The Colonies are indeed becoming a very dark place indeed for the Frasers. And as always, don’t read on unless you’ve watched Season 4 “Do No Harm”.

I also have to warn you, if you are a big Diana Gabaldon and Drums of Autumn fan, there are story changes in this episode. Many of the changes portend even more to come. I enjoy many of the changes, and agree that not everything can make it to the screen. That said, a few things stay in, if not exactly in the book, then the spirit of the situation. i-1

We begin with our travelers still on the river, heading to Aunt Jocasta’s plantation. Jamie, Claire and Ian show up worse for wear at the River Run dock. After their encounter with Stephen Bonnet, they arrive as paupers, which shames Jamie greatly. They are welcomed in and find that the vast property is heavily worked by slaves. While Jocasta explains away concerns, and that she tries to keep families of slaves together, it is still apparent that the practice of slavery runs deep in the colonies and Jamie and Claire are faced with a moral dilemma. Claire is very adamant about her views on slavery, and is identified as being a Quaker by Jocasta trying to make sense out of such ideas.

john-quincy-meyers.w700.h467To help adjust to life in their new surroundings, Rollo has decided to have an encounter with a beast most foul. The rare bit of Outlander comedy ensues and we meet John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees),  the bigger than life mountain man that will help guide the Frasers and Young Ian through their first adventures in the wilds of America. However, his first mission is to rescue all from a fate worse than death smell that Rollo manages to find,  courtesy of a wee black and white beastie. We also have a change from book, a certain medical procedure seems to not come into play at River Run. However, true to Outlander writer’s form, a far more sinister one comes into play later.

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Phaedra (Natalie Simpson), Jocasta’s body slave

Again the Frasers are cursed. We meet yet another odious character in the form of Lt. Wolff (Lee Boardman), and he is just as annoying if not more so than in the books. He is one of many suitors of Jocasta Cameron’s, one she has turned down before.  She has huge acreage and wealth in the plantation and he considers it his right, and uses the Navy contracts to push his personal agenda. He is used to negotiating with Jocasta, and when Jamie begins to assist his aunt, is met with brusque resistance. To make matters worse and as a preemptive strike, Jocasta acknowledges Jamie Fraser as her heir in River Run, showing she is every bit Colum and Dougal MacKenzie’s sister. She seeks to have a way to keep her unwanted suitors at bay and has found the perfect way to do it through Jamie.

download-1A matter of great distress occurs as Jamie is adjusting and discussing the new role of being named heir to River Run. He immediately sets on a path to find some way to do away with the slavery issue, to find some way to emancipate the slaves and pay them as servants. As is pointed out by Farquard Campbell (James Barriscale), a dear and long time friend of Aunt Jocasta’s and landowner, and the every encroaching Lt. Wolff, that the laws must be followed in order to free a slave. Slave must have saved a life, and there is a compensation of £100 per slave to buy their freedom. Unfortunately Jamie learns quickly that the laws are just as hard to work around in the Colonies as they are in Britain. His grand sweeping ideas will meet with great resistance. And this plays out in a terrible fashion.

News comes from the pine works that a slave has attacked an overseer and drawn blood. Jamie, as new Plantation Manager and Claire the healer, rush off to aid the man, and in so doing become embroiled in a scene of slave punishment and laws they do not understand. A young slave, named Rufus, is found hanging by a hook, Jamie rushes in with pistols and demands that Rufus be taken down. With Farquard Campbell trying to diffuse the situation, and explain the laws to Jamie and Claire, there are grave consequences if the punishment of the slave is not carried out. Claire has the young slave brought back to the house and she saves his life from the hook wound, only to have to make a terrible decision later.

Claire has been against slavery and being from the 20th century, finds it abhorrent in any form. In saving a life and following her oath as a doctor, she does not see all that is going on around her or the consequences. In comes Ulysses, to explain the reality of slave life to Claire and her headstrong convictions. The ever faithful Ulysses (Colin McFarlane) is always at Jocasta’s side and as book readers know, really is the one who has kept River Run running. He is well educated for a slave, and seeks to educate Claire on how the lives of the others slaves are affected if one slave does something that is against the law. All slaves on the plantation will be made to suffer if Rufus is not taken to justice by the overseers. Ulysses is a steady hand in the household of River Run, and will keep things running as smooth as possible, and seeks to educate Claire. However make no mistake, his loyalty is to Aunt Jocasta.

Again we see that the Frasers and Young Ian are still not finding a place to call home. The River Run plantation is a great beauty of a place, but it’s underlying current is one that reflects the other plantations in the colonies, that of an ugliness lurking below. It is operated on the backs of slaves and cannot run without them. The laws are unjust, as Claire and Jamie have already experienced in Wilmington, and even more constricting in a place like River Run. The offer of becoming settlers on land of their own that Governor Tryon offered to Jamie and sponsoring other settlers, is becoming more and more appealing to Jamie. Is this an escape and a way to make the rules their own, or will it be filled with just as much danger and injustice  brought on by life in The Colonies?

Book or No Book

There is always the possibility that what was cut out of this episode, may turn up later. Gabaldon’s writings are so rich and much detail has been edited due to time and feasibility constraints. It could even involve a different character, one we all love and hope to see return. I could see a particular medical procedure being performed on this character, the actor is always up for an interesting challenge.

 

 

 

Outlander Episode 401: America is a Dark Beauty

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When last we saw Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe), they were wrecked on a beach after a hurricane. Their landing in America a bedraggled mess. However, they were alive. They had survived.

In the season 4 premiere of America the Beautiful opener we are shown two circles, a Neolithic stone circle with natives attending and dancing in it, and then a hangman’s noose.

We come across our heroes a month after the shipwreck, entering North Carolina to sort through what to do next. Ian (John Bell), Marsali (Lauren Lyle) , Fergus (Cesar Domboy), and Lesley (Keith Fleming) survived the shipwreck. One other survived the wreck, however Gavin Hayes (James Allenby-Kirk) managed to get himself arrested and is heading for the gallows. The episode is a shaky, a bad beginning for arrival in the Americas. It is not all roses for many who come to her shores. The Frasers and their extended family are about to find out how bad. America has great beauty in her forests and streams, but some of the people can be quite ugly.

There is loss this season, and we start out with losing another set of friends. Hayes’s hanging leaves poor Lesley bereft of his friend. After the hanging when the Frasers are gathered to sort through what has happened and how to bury their friend, Leslie brings up that there has been no proper lament. In Scotland, a lament is called a Cumhadh or Coronach. It is an elegy composed for a friend or celebrated person. The table breaks into a lament, lead by Lesley. They then agree to bury Hayes under the cover of darkness in hallowed ground.

Gavin (Gabhainn) Hayes Coronach

Eisd ris! Eisd ris! Dh’fhàg thu, Gabhainn, sinn fo bhròn! Eisd ris! Eisd ris! ‘S truagh nach eil thu fhathast glè òg. Eisd ris! Eisd ris! Dh’fhàg thu, Gabhainn, sinn fo bhròn! Eisd ris! Eisd ris! ‘S truagh nach eil thu fhathast glè òg!

While setting to bury Hayes’s body, Ian and Jamie have a conversation about what happened to Young Ian in Jamaica at the hands of The Bakra, Geillis Duncan(Lotte Verbeek). Ian tells quite passionately his fears after she made him do despicable things. Jamie consoles him and tells him there is a difference in the physical act of pleasure being forced upon him, and true feeling. When they are going to get the body, they find they have an unwelcome guest, Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) in the wagon. Bonnet was due to be hung with Hayes but had escaped. Then went  about ingratiating himself on the Frasers party, even talking them into helping a friend of their late friend get away from the checkpoints set up to catch him.

Claire and Jamie end up spending the night in the woods to not catch suspicion. And that usually means an intimate moment before returning to the others. A deep conversation about what they truly mean to each other ensues. Jamie says to Claire, “After I die, my soul will still be yours. Nothing is lost, Sassenach, only changed.” This statement reminds us quite well a mystery from the first season. Many non book readers kept asking who the spirit was of the Highlander that Frank caught looking up at Claire in Inverness. It was Jamies ghost. You may wonder how that spirit could travel in time when we know that Jamie is not a time traveller. This statement of love is a strong bond. Jamie will always look out for Claire.

The Frasers find they must sell one of the rubies they took from Geillis, they need funding to feed and clothe everyone. Jamie does not wish to appear shabby in front of his Aunt Jocasta Cameron (Marie Kennedy Doyle). Claire wears the ruby set to attract the attention of a buyer. All goes well in selling the piece, and then Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) makes Jamie and offer of land in exchange for loyalty to the Crown, and to help keep an eye on the back country. Claire and Jamie discuss this new possibility, of staying in America, and what does it mean to have this land and gather settlers. He would be expected to stop any rising in the back  country.

The Frasers decide to stay in America, but have not decided on taking the offer of the Governor just yet. They make plans for taking a barge up the river to Aunt Jocasta’s plantation, River Run. Just when things seem so idyllic, disaster comes in the form of Stephen Bonnet and his river pirates. A massive struggle is joined and Claire is in the process of defending herself and Lesley comes to her aid, only to be killed and Bonnet attacks Claire and tries to take her two wedding rings from her, the gold ring from Frank, and the pewter ring from Jaimie. In the struggle Claire swallows the rings,  however Bonnet manhandles her and regains the ring that Jamie gave her. He takes the ring and leaves. This is a departure from the book, Drums of Autumn, where the ring that was taken was Frank’s ring that had engraving on it. This became very important in the storyline later. I’m very curious to see why they changed this detail, as the pewter ring would not really fetch a price. Of course Bonnet also had all of their gemstones as well.

Catch the next episode, 402 Do No Harm on November 11, 8pm EST, and on the Starz® App at Midnight. UK and Ireland viewers on Amazon UK Monday November 12.

 

 

Last Blocks of Season Four Outlander Cast

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by J. Canning

As always, Spoilers Alerts. If you have not read the book series, I will keep it to a minimum.

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This week we got the welcomed announcement that the final blocks of season 4 have had new casting announcements. Some familiar faces and up and coming actors are in the mix.

Scottish actor Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings) will be taking on the role of Gerald Forbes, a lawyer for Jocasta Cameron, Jamie’s aunt. Maria Kennedy Doyle (Orphan Black, Downton Abbey) has taken on the role of the strong, Scottish woman who is the last remaining MacKenzie sibling, her brothers being Colum and Dougal. Her sister, Helen, was Jamie’s mother. The role will be a complicated one and Maria will master it, and no doubt be a force for Claire to recon with. Forbes will be asked to change Jocasta’s will to reflect a new heir.

DownieTim Downie (The King’s Speech, Upstart Crow), is set to play Governor William Tryon, a historical character involved in the War of Regulation prior to the American Revolution. He is the acting Governor of the North Carolina colony, a military man.

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Caitlyn O’Ryan will play Lizzie Wymess, who becomes Brianna Randall’s traveling companion. Her father is forced to sell himself into indenturement.

Simona Brown will join the cast as Gayle, Brianna Randal’s college roommate.

And the pivotal role of Phaedre, Jocasta’s body slave will be played by Natalie Simpson (Ennui, Royal Shakespeare Company). As body slave, she knows intimately Jocasta’s secrets, and book readers will know there are many. She and Ulysses, played by Colin McFarlane(Commuter) are the backbone of the River Run household. Ulysses is the slave that was purchased to have a care for Jocasta by her husband.Simpson

Season four is based on the book Drums of Autumn, by Diana Gabaldon. The book centers on Jamie and Claire Frasers arrival and settlement in the American colonies. If you haven’t started reading your summer books, start with this one. We await the season and are walking in the sands of Droughtlander again, sigh.

Find the actors on:

Doyle 

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0448204/

Downie

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0236071/