Category Archives: Murtagh FitzGibbons Fraser

Outlander 405: A Savage Reunion

Finally, andownload-6 episode that harkens back to some season one and two drama, turmoil, strife, danger and that warm glowing feeling. After a season of bumpy starts and some very rapid fire storytelling, we get a very meaty episode with the dark realities of the colony of North Carolina, how hard it will really be to tame such wilderness, and all the human ugliness that can be told. While episode 402 Do No Harm was a shocker, Savages gets into the real meat of the dangers of colonial life. Even if the Frasers have been lucky enough to find a Scottish community for a backbone, and as they find in this episode, that doesn’t always suit. This episode was fantastic on many levels, and mainly because the backbone of the savages theme was that in reality, those that think they are civilized are not far removed from being a savage by more than a hairs breath, if that. This episode had the balance of action and extreme situations, along with the heartfelt homecoming of relationships rekindled. If you haven’t watched the episode, as always, spoilers alert.

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In this episode, we have a short interlude with the Roger and Brianna storyline. Roger wearily and doggedly returns to Inverness and makes a visit to Mrs. Baird’s B&B, looking for Brianna. Miss Baird tells him that she left a few days back, and when he asks if she left anything, after telling him no, changes her mind and produces a very short letter to him. The instructions had been to mail it to him a year after she left.

Roger reads the letter with dread, and yes Brianna does still care for him, but she must leave to warn her mother about the fire and try to change history. Of course none of these characters has learned about changing history, that it often cannot be done, and there can be dire consequences if a timeline is broken. Brianna is a stubborn one. However with ten years time before the burning of the house on the ridge, perhaps she can warn her mother and they can make preparations. Roger is already heartbroken and the full impact of what has happened hits him. Not only has he lost her, in his own country, but now she is 200 years in the past. And how far behind her is he?

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Claire’s growing friendship with the healer and Shaman Adawehi (Tantoo Cardinal) becomes more evident as we open in the 18th c. timeframe with the two women sharing an intimate creekside moment. The foreshadowing of the scene alone is sublime. Water is life. And there is sharing. The wise woman teaches Claire about local plants and herbs for healing, and begins to share the Cherokee language with Claire. Finally Claire has met a mentor, someone she can truly learn from. She asks Claire if she has children. Claire shares her love for Brianna.

Claire later prepares to leave to help a German family, The Mullers, the daughter about download-3to deliver a child. The child comes and everything is a success, and they even name the baby for Clara, the German Claire. Things seem well and we see a proud German father, Gerhard, who shares all his hopes and concerns for family with Claire. Then there is an incident at the creek, where the Cherokee tribe come to water their horses. In a misunderstanding, Gerhard (Urs Rechn) insists on thinking that  the Indians steal the water and threatens to shoot them. The proud Tawodi (Will Strongheart) states that the water belongs to no one, it is for all to share. A standoff ensues and Claire places herself between a bunch of angry men. She somewhat successfully talks both sides down, Outlander-Episode-405-Preview-_-STARZ-Google-Chrome-11_25_2018-7_49_07-PM-7-768x432however the superstitious Gerhard takes the blessings of Tawodi for the creek water as a curse. Claire again has to talk the German back down. The incident bodes ill of the representation of the water and water rights ideals of the white settlers and the cultural beliefs of the native people and foreshadows what will become an ongoing problem between the newcomers and the tribal concerns in the colonies.

Jamie and Ian make for the Scottish settlement, Willem Creek, to look for settlers for Fraser’s Ridge, with high hopes that anyone would be glad of a 100 acres land granted, that would not be taxed until the land became fertile and able to support itself as a farm. Good intentions do not always go well in the colonies as the men head to a local town to recruit from the Scottish settlers and townsfolk. After an unsuccessful meeting or two, Jamie tries the brother in arms approach, one English prisoner to another with a man called Brian. He is informed of the over taxation in the name of the Governor Tryon and the corrupt sheriffs that have driven the men to quit their farms. They are loath to start again, and have their hard work and toil lost to the sheriffs.

download-1Finally Jamie and Ian give up, and when they are about to leave, our every calamitous Young Ian, has a bridle bit break. Jamie sends him to the blacksmith, and behold we here a favorite voice from the past as we get the back view of a man at the forge. Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser turns from the forge and greets Young Ian who is begging for help. Ian of course has no clue who is standing before him, and begins haggling with a man who will never back down at a price for a service. Ian leaves the smithy and meets up with Jamie, his bargaining talents smashed. Jamie is enraged that all their money IMG_1896 2has been spent to fix a bit, and storms back to confront the smithy. In a scene that recalls the Print Shop Scene in season 3, where Claire and Jamie reunite in intensity, Murtagh with his back turned again hears Jamies demands and the voice hits him like a chord of notes. The emotion that rolls on the man is amazing, and Duncan Lacroix knows how to tug the pathos cord. He turns and looks at Jamie, thanks God, and Jamie takes a few moments to realize with the ever whitening hair and subtle age changes in face and countenance, that his lost Godfather is standing before him. As Ian says, the Old Coot. Bad choice of words, lad. Sam Heughan counters with emotional rolling of his own. The men rejoice and serious man hugs commence. Jamie introduces Murtagh and Ian is excited as he has heard about all the adventures the two men have shared in the past.

IMG_1890The men share a pint or two at the public house and Murtagh tells his story of indentured years and being apprenticed to the blacksmith. Jamie tells a very over joyous Murtagh that Claire came back to him after 20 years and is still in disbelief about it, and that he has a daughter.

Murtagh refuses and invitation to come to Fraser’s Ridge, and is annoyed with Jamie over taking the land grant from Tryon. He invites them to a meeting that night and says all will be made clear. At the meeting, Murtagh reveals himself to be a Regulator, the very men that Governor had warned about, and admitted his sheriffs may have been taking advantage of the people. Where else would Murtagh be, if not in the thick political rebellion. Jamie is about to get an earful of the other side of the story. Murtagh gives a speech, filled with pointed sarcasm, another thing Lacroix can sink his teeth in. He places a choice before Jamie. Murtagh has had enough of being treated unfairly by the British. He will pay what is due, not a penny more or less.  Murtagh makes a key statement about the backbone of the future problems which give rise to rebellion in the colonies, the ten years leading up to the American Revolutionary War. All anyone wants isIMG_1895 fair representation. Again, Jamie refuses to stay with Murtagh and join with him. He has a wife and Young Ian to consider. Jamie states he will not join, nor will he hinder their cause. After the meeting, he and Young Ian (John Bell) return to Frasers Ridge without Murtagh.

Claire spends the days after the birthing of the Muller’s grand daughter working the farm and of course pinning for Jamie. Rollo has kept he company and a disturbance happens and Claire lifts the musket she has  kept at the ready for days to protect herself. A local German pastor knocks on the door and is in fear of her safety, the Mullers have lost the daughter, grand daughter and son to The Measel. Claire is in disbelief as all had been well. Some time later Herr Muller appears and after he talks his way in, he is mad and insane with grief, fears that Claire is ill, and proceeds to tell her his story. Claire tries to use 20th century reason and explain illness, that the sickness was not a curse. He hands Claire a bundled fabric parcel, that she takes for the grand daughter’s doll. Muller tells her he has taken care of the witch of the Indian tribe while she unwraps in horror what the package contains.

Claire promptly and in her usual anger filled justice fashion, turns him out. The continuing tragedy unfolds as Muller returns to his homestead and the Indians take revenge.

This episode was the culmination of mysteries and fears that would continue to build in the colonies. The writers and actors succeed in telling us a very brutal reality that is to come, and at the same time show us some hope and compassion that people can have when living in extreme conditions. Murtagh’s changes his mind and does leave the town and turns up on Fraser’s Ridge, whistling “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, to get Claire’s attention. We get that embrace of hope at the end of a long and tumultuous episode. While fans very fervently hope that Murtagh will stay on the Ridge, with story arcs and Murtagh’s chance to live after having everything taken from him in Scotland, he will take a chance and make a change, fight for what he believes. Murtagh has more of a story to tell. There will be plenty of conflicts with Jamie and the Governor’s land grant, chances and turns the character will take in rebellion and the lead up to the War of the Regulators. We hope that the natives, who are no more savages than those that threaten them, will continue to build trust with the people of Fraser’s Ridge and that coexistence can continue. But this is the American Colonies, a place of great hardship and the conflict of those that were before, and those that came after.

As we see in the closing of the episode, young Brianna, who symbolizes hope for the future, approaches the standing stones at Crag na dun and steps through. There is always the future and a chance for our characters to carve out a life in the colonies of King George in North America.

And yes, I really want Murtagh’s great coat very badly. Don’t you?

Interviews and Articles

Killer Duncan Article on Vulture

Duncan Lacroix Interview on Vanity Fair

TV Insider

Duncan Lacroix Interview on Reunion S 4 Episode 5 Savages

Matt B. Roberts on Bringing Murtagh Back Variety Magazine

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Airing on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 8PM EST 5PM PST in the US on Starz®, show then airs on Amazon Prime UK on December 3, 2018. In Canada on the W Network.

All Images ©2018 Starz® LLC

Outlander Episode 405: Mysterious Man Murtagh is Coming Back?

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#WheresMurtagh

Are you grinning yet? I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see Duncan Lacroix credits listed for the upcoming Outlander 405 episode, “Savages”. Many of us have been pinning for our favorite godfather and all out best man to have at your side. As was done in season 3, Murtagh has been wrapped up in mystery, and seriously kept under wraps. Duncan dropped his Twitter account earlier this year. There were many rumors it was hacked, and many fans had speculation as to him marrying Jocasta. I think with all the pressure on about keeping his character under wraps, the huge fan base he had, and the fact that Twitter can drive anyone nuts, we lost him in the media and contact with his fun rants and musings. Never fear, he resurfaced on Instagram and you can get a few tidbits from him on his explorations. Let’s hope he’ll have an interview with a journalist in the next week after the episode, or even post some BTS from the filming.

So, where has he been? If you recall in last season’s separation from Jamie (Sam Heughan), Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) and the other Ardsmuir Prisoners were shipped off to the Colonies for indentureship to serve out their terms. Being indentured means you work effectively as a slave, similar to Jamie’s situation at Helwater, but under less desirable conditions. Indentureship was also used as a way to buy passage to the New World. In essence, it’s another form of slavery and servitude without pay. You are a servant for 14 years with no real control on your life.

download-1In this season, we have seen Jamie Fraser come to the colonies, procure a land grant, and as he mentions to Fergus to start looking for the Ardsmuir prisoners to see if they have survived and can settle the land, no real mention of Murtagh. As a matter of fact, Jamie doesn’t seem to give the man much thought. Very odd for a life long companion and godfather, wouldn’t you say? Or is that true, is he suppressing an urge due to other obligations, or a feeling that he let his kinsman down? It is possible the writers wanted to build up the suspense and keep viewers focused on the developing Brianna and Roger storyline. However, with a relationship such as this, why has Jamie not brought up finding Murtagh sooner, he only references his men from Ardsmuir? Two of them, Lesley and Gavin found Jamie in Edinburgh. What kept Murtagh FitzGibbons Fraser from finding Jamie again? This episode promises to show the hardships of the colonies even more intensely.

Knowing Murtagh as we do, with all this hardship and separation from Jamie, and the fact the man would be in his 60s by this point, would he have survived? Many did not live past 30 years. With his personality, he may have gotten into some trouble in his indentureship, had more years added on. He could have come out of it so scarred from everything that staying and becoming a Mountain Man would be the best answer, it’s as close to his Highlander sensibilities as you could come in the American Colonies. BTS fan filming capture in Cumbernauld last winter showed what appeared to be Lacroix in just such a “rig out”, white hair and mountain attire. Will he have gone a bit native, maybe even have an Indian family? Perhaps he has finally found someone he could settle with. We hope he just brings himself to Fraser’s Ridge.

This episode promises some serious conflict. Book readers will know of the tragedy that download-3faces Claire. Claire spends a great deal of time trying to heal others, and work with the Cherokee (Tuscarora healer in Book), Adawehi/Nayawenne(book)  (Tantoo Cardinal), to understand the plants in the area. She also seeks to help a German family with tragic results. This leaves Claire in Fear for her family’s life.

The Frasers and Young Ian spend a great deal of time building on the common ground they have been trying to establish with the Indians, and Jamie starts showing his talents for acquiring language. Characters are mentioned in the IMDB listing that coincide with the tragedy that is about to roll out. The aftermath of it will make it very difficult for Fraser’s Ridge. Which is why Jamie’s adamant about getting Ardsmuir prisoners settled on the ridge to help to fight off conflict and make up to them all the terrible tragedy that befell them.

Jamie’s omission of outright looking for Murtagh may have been due to having to get himself established and making his family safe. The man has been occupied. It is not that he doesn’t think of Murtagh, he does too much. Would Murtagh have even survived this long? And how will he find him?

Jamie and Young Ian begin the quest to find some of Ardsmuir’s prisoners in 405: Savages. Get a fresh box of tissues out. Murtagh is the one to defend those he loves, we know he will.

Other possible appearances: Book readers know that we are revisited in Drums of Autumn by none other than Lord John Grey, with young Willie in tow. There may be just too much going on in this episode for this scene, and it well deserves to play out in it’s own episode, possibly the upcoming 406: Blood of My Blood, or 407: Down the Rabbit Hole. 

Airing on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 8PM EST 5PM PST in the US on Starz®, at Midnight Drop on December 2 for the Starz App ( 9PM PST). The show then airs on Amazon Prime UK on December 3, 2018. In Canada on the W Network.

Episode 405: Savages on IMDB

https://m.imdb.com/title/tt8399426/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_2

Will Jamie Reunite With Murtagh and Young Willie in Outlander Season 4?

All Images ©2018 Starz® LLC

Murtagh Fitzgibbons-Fraser: Why We Have The Man’s Back

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Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh FitzGibbons Fraser in Season 3 Outlander

(Obligatory Spoilers Alert. Read at your own risk.)

by J. Canning

So, during Droughtlander 4, you are standing there, with your dirk shielding Murtagh’s back. Imagining what must happen for your favorite supporting character to survive another season……

I have a confession. I really love this series, and follow the stories of the two main characters Jamie and Claire Fraser with passion as with most fans. However, I feel more passion about some of the supporting characters and actors. I fangirl on the supporting cast. Why? The support characters need love, too. They are also more tangible for many series fans. I have always found it strange that some people become so very obsessed about the lead romantic characters and ignore some really fine acting going on in the background and side stories with support characters. These characters make the story rich and varied. I am not alone, there are many of you out there that have grown to love great supporting characters. We really like being along for the ride with some of the other characters created by the writers. We can’t get enough of them.

Series and film writers may initially create the characters, but the actors absolutely bring them to life. My favorite character is Murtagh Fitzgibbons-Fraser, Jamie’s Godfather. In the books Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber this character is not very detailed, book Murtagh is mostly in the background. I always thought he could have had more to say and do, being so important to Jamie Fraser. I, and an army of supporters, are so glad the writers and producers of the television series believed in him too, a character that needed to be really expanded upon, woken up if you will. The amazing casting of a daring actor, Duncan Lacroix, took on that very challenge, and Murtagh has not been allowed to sleep.

We are shown that Murtagh can be deep, and Lacroix slowly builds this feeling over several episodes, coming up from a bubbling bern. We first see him as a member of Dougal MacKenzie’s band of cattle raiders, seemingly just along for the ride. But his true purpose is to keep his Godson alive. While the writers and producers took a great gamble in fleshing out the mostly background character of Murtagh FitzGibbons-Fraser, they struck a fantastic goldmine in casting the very talented Duncan Lacroix, an English stage and screen actor little heard of this side of the Atlantic, but known on the stages of Ireland and in the UK. Due to his superb skills, Duncan Lacroix took a hold of the character and made him the most believable and loyal curmudgeon you could ever encounter. He created a Murtagh that the fans just couldn’t live without. He is afterall Jamie’s Godfather, but really a father, friend, guardian, confidant, touchstone, and loyal companion to the end.

Out of Scotland

The role of Murtagh changed drastically with season 2, when Jamie, Claire and Murtagh enter the spiky toothed mouth of a very dangerous Parisian crocodile, and the gently smiling jaws of  Court of King Louis. While Murtagh was a fish out of Scotland for the most part, his role became that of Jamie and Claire’s conscience, a reminder of reality, with a thump on the heid. This is much needed, as Jamie and Claire lie, cheat, and steal their way through Paris in Series 2, subsequently putting their lives and the life of their unborn child at risk. Murtagh demands to be told what is really going on, what is this they are really trying to do with the secrets and lies, and why?  When the man is finally told the truth, that Claire is a time traveller, and knows the fate of the Highlands, he eventually accepts it and supports Jamie’s belief in her. We see a side of Murtagh who is a deep thinker, and expertly played by Lacroix with furrowed brows and a punch, that shows the character’s frustration and sympathies with a complex concept seemingly impossible in their time. The man is willing to believe in the pair and their young fostered son, Fergus. Whether it’s pistols, swords, dirk, or ax, Murtagh will find a way to fight out of any situation. At mid season when Claire and Jamie finally leave Paris, fans were on the edge of their seat, let Murtagh get back to Scotland and to Lallybroch. You cannot leave him behind.

He Really is Deep

No greater scene of pathos is rendered by Duncan Lacroix when we have the aftermath of the scene of Mary Hawkins rape and how it changes the lives of all involved in La Dame Blanche. The anguish felt by Murtagh, when he blames himself for not protecting Mary and Claire from their assailants and of what could have happened to the unborn bairn, will just melt you. We see a great moment of deep trouble for the otherwise indefatigable Murtagh. The man beats himself up, and with Jamie rallying behind him, vows to seek vengeance. When the man says he will do something, he will. Lacroix plays the man with such an elastic range that you have to know the part was written for him and inspired by his abilities, including the swinging of an ax with such an expression of satisfaction at a job finally well done.

With all the subsequent Murtagh insights that finished out in season two, the offering of marriage to Mary Hawkins when she is to be left destitute by the death of Alexander Randall, to the fighting leading up to the ill fated Battle of Culloden, that a great and troubled soul will stand behind the Frasers.  We are left with a character we know from reading the books, doesn’t live past the battle. Fans of the books and series together took to social media and bombarded the shows producers that Murtagh must live. #SaveMurtagh was one of the longest running tags on Twitter.

Cullodenhouse

As many fans of the Outlander television series agree, when you have such an amazing gift as a character that was lost in the original Outlander Book series at a pivotal moment in Dragonfly in Amber, given another chance in the series to live, you can get on the cheer squad. It was hard for the writers to keep the secret and they were up against some formidable fans. That pain and suffering of a favorite character’s loss, then when rescued becomes the breath you need to believe in series miracles. Well, after many years of Game of Thrones deaths, it’s nice to feel like you can breathe a bit with this series. In Season 3, The Battle Joined, where Murtagh turns up fighting with Jamie, even if it was a brief moment, the tears were flowing and boxes of tissues torn through. Twitter had a torrent of love.

After two seasons of the fight to stop the ill fated battle, and the insurmountable task of changing history, Jamie and the Highlanders find themselves outnumbered and on the moors. Through a subsequent flashback, in flies the frenzied remnant of the Viking heritage of the Scots, otherwise known as Murtagh the Berserker FitzGibbons-Fraser, with a grin that none other than Lacroix can deliver. The man is slaying Government officers right and left, the whole while book readers are cringing thinking, is this the moment? We lose sight of him again. It is not until the episode of All Debts Paid that we see what happened to Murtagh. We find him alive, barely, with Jamie years later in Ardsmuir Prison. And true to Outlander writing, they are subsequently parted again as Murtagh is lead off with other indentured prisoners to serve out a 14 year sentence in the American Colonies. If you pick up the Outlander Season 3 Collectors edition, you will find a treat in the outtakes. Watch the Murtagh, Jamie and Lord John Grey scene that was cut. Not a word from Lacroix, just pure look and feel in this one.

Where Will Murtagh Go From Here?

Speculation. We all love to do it in our favorite series. Anticipation drives us wild, and our fourth season of Droughtlander is killing us with the wait. I know I have a few ideas on how the path of Murtagh could go from here. I try to be pragmatic and look at the evidence of the soul of Murtagh we have so far. It may not be romantic, not in the sense that we attribute to the romantic pairings of Claire and Jamie, Bree and Roger, or Marsalie and Fergus. These are classic romances. Murtagh is not classic, he is a creature unto himself. His romance is of the soul that Duncan Lacroix has put into him. One with great soul that can be very deep, for the right people he wants to love and protect.

So, what about season 4? Indenturement in the colonies is 14 years time. Given that Murtagh was about 20 when he became Jamie’s Godfather, and in his 40s around the time he met Claire, this will put Murtagh well into his 60s. Did he survive his servitude? Many are speculating that he take another character’s place from the books. Pictures have leaked out on Twitter from filming around January. What do I think? I always thought if he had survived the boat trip, I wouldn’t put it past him to be snagged by pirates. But I could see him as a Mountain Man in the backcountry of South Carolina. Pelt hunting and Davy Crockett aside, it is what would be natural to him. The man lived off the land in the Highlands, so it makes sense to me he would end his days doing this, and hopefully fighting at Jamie’s side in the upcoming battle for independence of the American Colonies. I think Murtagh a tough enough character to be fighting into his eighties. Oh yeah, in the books there was this guy that had a very “interesting” operation performed by Claire, that’s one scene I could see Lacroix pulling off like no other could. I really shouldn’t say that. We will find out in November 2018.

So, I salute you who support minor characters. Raise a glass with you. We are fans of the underdog, the character that helps enrich a story to make you feel like you are along for the ride. We love having an alternative viewpoint, a conscious for the main character or characters that stops them from doing something really morally bad, or just plain makes them think. Then there are the rescue scenes and the great Murtagh sarcasm that echos in our heads. Maybe that character, like Murtagh, takes on the bad decisions, the risks to keep the main characters alive, sacrifices him or herself to give some reality to the viewer. We got this in the resurrection of Murtagh FitzGibbons-Fraser and owe Duncan Lacroix a debt of gratitude for fleshing out this fate making curmudgeon. We salute you, sir, and wait for your next performance.

You can next see Duncan Lacroix in The Outlaw King with fellow Outlander Alumni Stephen Cree on Netflix this November, and in the upcoming dark comedy Western, The Sisters Brothers@SistersBrosFilm.