Category Archives: Murtagh Fitzgibbons Frazer

Duncan Lacroix Bids Farewell to Outlander: Murtagh Fitzgibbons’ Momento Mori

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 9.41.52 PM It is with deep sadness that I write this. If you haven’t guessed it, or seen episode 507 The Ballad of Roger Mac, please turn back. Now.

Like many of you, I started out watching that debut episode of Season 1, Sassenach and was captured off guard by the odd, filthy, curmudgeon of a character Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. Over the course of that split first season, he entranced me more. I love a good supporting character, especially one with a sad past, difficulty in showing true feelings, however loyal to a fault. Duncan Lacroix got me hook, line, and sinker. Oh, and those madcap scenes and his scheming with bombs and cattle herd rescues endeared him even more. Who couldn’t love the old gruff cynic, the man who distrusted everyone other than Jamie Fraser and never seemed to know how to smile, unless there was revenge involved? The one who was so unlucky in love. Honestly, all the man wanted was a bit of respect.

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Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh Fitzgibbons Season 2 © 2016 Starz®

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Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh Fitzgibbons Season 2 © 2016 Starz®

Sadly, this character in the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon, was fated to die on Culloden Moor. Everyone it seemed had fallen for this crusty Scotsman. I was not alone in my love for this fabulous character, as thousands of fans began writing to the show, “Save Murtagh!” and turning up at Outlander themed conventions with signs begging the writers not to kill him off. Luckily, the writers room had developed a bit of a crush on Murtagh too. In the second season, as we saw his character flesh out and develop, even more, he became that third wheel in Jamie and Claire’s relationship. Accompanying them to France, being their conscience when they thought to change history the first time with the upcoming battle of Culloden. Wearing fancy attire and having to comb his beard. Getting a bit of it on the side. Assisting in the intrigue as Jamie and Claire set out to sabotage Bonnie Prince Charlie’s dream of uniting Scotland. If they had only listened to him more.

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Duncan Lacroix © 2020 Starz®

This waking up after watching episode 507, still in shock, I really did not sleep well. So this condition, this loss of a favorite character, it’s very real. You think you are used to it. After all, if you survived to be a fan of a show like Game of Thrones, you should be used to it. Characters are after all fiction. However, for many of us, they are living, sentient beings. Friends we don’t see often enough. For years we have had favorites in series, and somehow we have to live through the grief when they are gone. It’s very real, there have even been academic papers written about it. Yes, you really are grieving. You have that right.

We are all parasocial to some degree. I think since we as humans grew with oral traditions of stories in our cultures, heroes, then moved on to the written characters in the books that replaced them, there will always be a fondness or obsession for a character that you root for. We need to feel that we have a kinship with our most beloved character. With media being so realistic to us, and our being so demanding of a television series to fulfill our every emotional need while we escape, we look for heroes at many levels. With me, It may not be the lead character. It’s the always the underdogs, the murky strange ones you like for being different but true to their beliefs, and they are heroes just the same. Damn you Lacroix, you got me again. I swear the man has it in for me.

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I have been in a weird state. I have spent the last 6 years waiting for a chance to see Murtagh again and following Duncan’s antics during Droughtlander. I am not alone in mourning the death of a fictional character that touched me deeply, I know this. It’s become a habit. NOT one I want to break. He sucker-punched us all with that final scene. Love hurts. Of course, we all have been trying to prepare ourselves for it. It was inevitable that it would come. Better it was in battle, and that he and Jamie saw each other at the end.

Keeping back that salty moisture from my eyes, I’ve reworded this several times. If you have seen all the media frenzy since Sunday morning, the #DuncanLacroix Twitter feed is awash with sorrows and epitaphs. This Murtagh Monday has become an unofficial holiday. Since the airing of this episode, Duncan’s Instagram account has been quiet. In interviews, he revealed it had been a really emotional scene that had to be shot over two days. He had not expected he would become so emotional between cuts. Even though he has had months to secretly mourn his own character, I suspect he is feeling a bit of it again now. Will it be 48 or 72 hours before we get an interesting picture on his feed, with his gruff off the cuff commentary. We’re waiting, mate.

Outlander‘s Duncan Lacroix On Saying Goodbye To Murtagh

The timing of Outlander Season 5 has been interesting, to say the least. We have a current health crisis that is affecting us globally and making us look deep inside. Luckily we have a great performance to make us feel the deep emotions, to distract us from the cares of the world. Perhaps getting some of that pent up emotion out of us. We were so lucky to have an actor portray the character of Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser for 6 years, one that he stepped into and wore with such conviction and emotional depth. One that the writers of the series realize they had a really good thing and allowed it to grow organically, allowing Duncan a chance to grow this very deep and murky character. Duncan Lacroix was a little known actor on this side of the pond, an English actor who took a different path from his fellow actors and took to studying theatre in Ireland. Who mostly had stage roles, but knew he had to find that character to break out and throw his soul into. He had almost given up acting when he got that fateful phone call. He found that character that all actors dream of, the one he could mold and capture hearts with. It’s a part of him now as he works on new roles. Hopefully, the production of Graham McTavish’s This Guest of Summer film will not be bumped back too much further due to productions being shut down. It will be a wonderful experience for Duncan Lacroix to create another intense, engaging character for us to love.

Duncan, thank you for wrenching my heart in this, your last portrayal of Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. We are crossing our fingers for a surprise time travel back, perhaps Murtagh’s ghost will be at Jamie’s side when he battles the American Revolution in seasons to come. I mean, after all, the spark of the American Revolution was his fault. And please, when we get to have a Wondercon again on the West Coast, I hope you will come! I, of course, wouldn’t know what to say to you, other than thank you infinitely for your intrepid performances.

Search for that perfect Luckenbooth Brooch pin to remind you or your favorite murky man, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Frazer. I am. Support artisans in these trying times.

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For a look at Duncan Lacroix’s portrayal of Murtagh over the past 6 seasons and interviews, look here:

Duncan Lacroix IMDb

Lacroix’s Agency with a listing of projects

Season 2 Interview

Season 3 Interview Three if By Space

Inner Workings of Murtagh in Season 3

Murtagh’s Return in Season 4 Interview

‘Outlander’: Duncan Lacroix on That Heartbreaking Murtagh Twist

Outlander‘s [Spoiler] Breaks Down the Scene That Nearly Made His Corpse Cry

The ‘Outlander’ Death That Brought ‘An Unexpected Wave of Emotion’ (SPOILERS)

 

 

Outlander The Ballad of Roger Mac Recap

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 4.19.46 PMIf you haven’t seen this episode, seriously turn back now.

Hillsborough May 1771

We open with Roger Mac (Richard Rankin) singing Clementine, a very tragic song, to young Jemmy. Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger discuss leave-taking, how he is going off to fight. Brianna and Jemmy are staying with a family acquainted with Aunt Jocasta. History is discussed a bit. Roger reluctantly leaves, he is already running very late.

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Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe ©2020 Starz®

Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are encamped with the militia near Alamance Creek. It is the morning of his 50th Birthday. He and Claire discuss taking stock of one’s life. He muses that he has lived longer than his father, his parts seem to still be working. They also discuss Culloden, that fateful morning when Jamie and Claire kill his uncle Dougal. Remember Dougal? Claire sings “Happy Birthday To You,” very Marilyn Monroe like, while peeling off her Cutty Sark, and creates a morning seduction as only Claire can.

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Sam Heughan and Kyle Rees ©2020 Starz®

Governor Tryon (Time Downie) readies the troops and militia to get ready to fight with commanding officer Captain Bullox. They have cannon and close to a thousand men, and as Jamie tries to deter and talk Tryon out of conflict, remember another glorified leader needing to be dissuaded, yes, there are many likenesses to the battle for Culloden in this episode. The king’s forces were outnumbered but had military might with cannon and calvary. Jamie tried to pressure Prince Charlie to not fight. History is repeating again. Captain MacKenzie is late to the call, as noted by Jamie and the men. It appears Roger is always late.

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Sam Heughan, Richard Rankin, and Kyle Rees ©2020 Starz®

Jamie gives the men a yellow cockade to help identify them as militia, as the red armbands were not readily seen. He emphasizes that this is important as fighting in this terrain would make it difficult to know who your enemy or comrade was. The militiamen were not wearing a uniform and looked just like the Regulators. Isiah Morton turns up at the last, angering the Browns who are always a powderkeg waiting to go off. They threaten to kill him. The news comes the rebels have ambushed the munitions carts, angering Tryon and the Captain.

The minister Rev. Cauldwell turns up with a grievance letter from the Regulators, he urges to try to settle the matter without bloodshed. Tryon takes it as an insult that the Regulators are asking for Parlez. Jamie tries to get Tryon to Parlez back. Anything to stop the bloodshed. Remember Jamie’s reasonings with Bonnie Prince Charlie?

Historic Niggling

In Hillsborough, Brianna is being entertained by the Sherston’s (Matthew Cole and Charlotte Asprey). Hugh shares that he has heard that the Regulators have made camp at Alamance Creek. Brianna is bothered by a trace of memory. That name. The next day she is racing on horseback to the camp to worn her Da. She finds Jamie, Claire, and Roger discuss the battle to come. She tells them that her professor had said the Battle of Alamance was considered the spark of the American Revolution.

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Sophie Skelton and Charlotte Asprey ©2020 Starz®

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Jamie seeks to warn Murtagh, to get him to lead his men away as the Regulators will be defeated, shades of Culloden again. Brianna argues they cannot change history, if they do, the American Revolution may not happen. Jamie is desperate to save his people, the militia, and Murtagh from bloodshed. Roger offers to go warn Murtagh to leave if he cannot persuade his men to follow. Poor Roger, he always seems to find trouble. Jamie gives him a white kerchief to use as a truce, to wave as a banner, and to show the cockade should the fighting begin. Roger leaves that night and heads to the Regulator Camp.

A Man With Nothing to Lose

Murtagh is whipping up the fervor of the men in his camp. They outnumber the Troops and Militia. But as when Roger turns up in the camp and talks to Murtagh, they talk in a tent as Roger tries to lay down the facts. Murtagh argues they have numbers, he argues that they do not have calvary and the cannon power that the groups have. He delivers the message from Brianna, Murtagh knows they are from the future and have prior knowledge of history. Murtagh does start to come around, maybe he has learned from Culloden. He tells Roger he cannot stop the men, they are determined. Roger begs him to leave, save himself for Jamie’s sake. Roger waits in camp with Murtagh to hear the response to the Treaty they have sent. The next morning delivers the Governor’s reply and Murtagh reads out the response. The governor wants a fight. Roger leaves the camp to head back.

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“His blood will soak this ground!”

As Roger’s luck will always have it, he bumps into his many times Great Gran Morag MacKenzie, who he had first met on Stephan Bonnet’s fateful ship. She remembers him and he is set to try to convince her to get her family away, they are all in danger. She points out they have nothing to go back to. Roger on impulse hugs Morag. Then, we hear a familiar voice, one demanding that Roger step away from his wife. It’s none other than William Buccleigh MacKenzie (Yes, Graham McTavish), Dougal’s illegitimate son by Geillis Duncan, his ancestor. He sees that Roger has a yellow cockade and will not let him return to the militia despite protests that Roger aided Morag on the ship and was also a MacKenzie. Roger is knocked out with a rifle butt and taken hostage.

Red Tunics and Oaths

Back at the militia camp, Tryon insists that Jamie don the red tunic of an officer. Jamie is of course taken aback, and forced to wear it or betray his true allegiance. Jamie is faced with finding Roger Mac who has not returned and must warn Murtagh if Roger failed. He fights with himself as he dons the red begrudgingly. He kisses Claire goodbye, and she is the only one who truly understands how distasteful the wearing of that red is to Jamie, what it stands for.

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Sam Heughan ©2020 Starz®

Claire and Brianna ready the field hospital tent.  Brianna is distressed, there has been no word of Roger. Jamie readies his men, telling them to keep an eye out for Captain Mac, he has not returned. The troops spread into a formation to fight, against a single line of Regulators. It’s definitely a trap and ambush tactic, Jamie recognizes it. There is an exchange of fire and Tryon takes the bait, advancing. In the charge, young Isiah Morton (Jon Tarcy) is shot in the back. Jamie tells the men to fight hand to hand as their combatants are doing, it’s highland fighting style, and to show mercy and take captives.

Back at the hospital text, Brianna gets more aggravated at Roger’s absence. Isiah Morton is brought in with his wound, the Morton’s are in the hospital and tell Claire not to treat him. She checks his wounds and finds he’s been shot in the back while running to the conflict. She accuses the Browns of shooting him.

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Caitriona Balfe ©2020 Starz®

Kith and Kin

Jamie gets cornered and almost shot by a Regulator until Murtagh arrives and intercedes. Their eyes meet briefly and Murtagh lets down his guard and is shot by one of the militia. Jamie races to catch him and takes him to a tree, begging for help. The following performance by Sam Heughan and Duncan Lacroix will leave you reeling. Murtagh tells Jamie that it is not painful to die. Jamie is overcome and begs Murtagh, saying he takes it back, he does not release him from his oath to protect him sworn to his mother. Desperate, Jamie begs help from John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees) and others to drag Murtagh back to Claire. Claire can save anyone.

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Duncan Lacroix ©2020 Starz®

Murtagh is brought to the hospital tent, and Jamie is desperately telling Claire how she has to save the man. She feels for a pulse and Claire steps away from the body with that knowing look. There’s no saving Murtagh, he is gone. Jamie is in disbelief, confronted with the reality that he has truly fought on the other side from his kinsman, who was really a father to him. Murtagh’s last sight of him was in British military uniform. He is reeling and leaves the tent. Jamie loses control of himself in his grief.  Tryon shows up and Jamie now can vent. Tryon in his usual annoying smugness argues back. Jamie points out that it was an unjust fight and that the Governor has harmed his constituents in a massacre. Tryon brings up duty, Jamie throws down the uniform and tells Tryon he is no longer beholden to him. He has fulfilled his part of the bargain for Fraser’s Ridge.

As he looks around, he sees Brianna in distress. Still no Roger. Claire, Brianna, and Jamie begin questioning all in the militia and troops if they have seen Roger Mac. They finally come upon a hanging tree, where Tryon had ordered some of the captured rebels to be hung as an example. Hanging from the tree is a man with a sack over his head, and a white kerchief hanging from his pocket. Is it Roger Mac? Fade to black.

Thoughts

Somehow in all of this, no one has informed Tryon that the number one wanted man in North Carolina is dead in the hospital tent.

We have lost one of the best characters in the series. I am so deeply disturbed by this and loved the amazing performances by Lacroix and Heughan together. Their last scene together, unless we are treated to more flashbacks as they have done with Frank.

Is Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser Dead?

Character Death and Parasocial Relationships

Next, episode 508 Famous Last Words. Catch it Saturday, April 11 at Midnight on the Starz® APP, Sunday at 8:05 pm EST and 5:05pm PST on Starz®, and Monday, April 13 on Amazon Prime in the UK and Ireland. We have a mini Droughtlander with a two-week break. On April 4, Starz® is having a mini-marathon of Season 5.

Outlander Episode Perpetual Adoration

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Caitriona Balfe and Laren Lyle © 2020 Starz®

Finally, it’s a bit of action. We start this episode with a flash-forward, or back because time travel is relative, to Claire Randall in a Catholic church in Boston after Frank has died. She is sitting and observing a Eucharistic or Perpetual Adoration for a loved one. We surmise that it is for Frank, however as the story continues with time jump between 20th-century and back to the 18th-century, Claire travels on a journey of remembrance and starts along a path that brings her back to Jamie and her future in the past on Frasers Ridge. Hold on it’s another montage of past and present scenes with Jamie and Claire.

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César Domboy and Sam Heughan © 2020 Starz®

Changes of Plan in Hillsborough

Jamie (Sam Heughan), Fergus (César Domboy), John Quincy Myers(Kyle Rees) and the rest of the militia meet up with Lt. Knox who is frustrated as Governor Tryon has come up with a plan to flush out Murtagh Fitzgibbons. The militia meets up with some very annoying townsfolk who first take them for Regulators, and they’re having none of that. When Jamie straightens them out that they are the King’s men, they are still grousing and want nothing to do with them. Eventually, they lead Jamie to where Knox and his troupes are watering at an inn.

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Sam Heughan © 2020 Starz®

Lieutenant Knox informs Jamie that he is awaiting a letter from Ardsmuir where many of the men that have joined the Regulators served after Culloden, hoping for a prisoner Roll. Jamie continues his rouse of being loyal to the KIng and Knox confides in him that Governor Tryon has a new plan, to pardon the leaders of the Regulators, that if they disperse they will receive a full pardon. All but Murtagh Fitzgibbons. Jamie hands over the muster roll for the militia. Jamie becomes agitated. Knox informs him that he will continue the hunt for Fitzgibbons and that he wants Jamie to disperse his militia and then deliver the pardons to the leaders.

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© 2020 Starz®

Later in Knox’s quarters, Knox remarks that he is fond of Jamie and starts to talk about meeting a fair-minded person and praising him. He receives the letter he has been waiting for. Jamie, uncomfortable and knowing what he will find, tells him that he will find his name among the prisoners. Knox is in disbelief, and when he realizes it is true, he chastises Jamie for being false. He notes that Murtagh has a surname of Fraser, and Jamie admits it’s his Godfather, and he could not betray him. Jamie points out that any man would support and protect his family.

Knox wants Jamie arrested and Jamie overpowers Knox, chokes him until the life goes out of him. He strips Knox’s boots and makes it look as if he has been abed, then burns the Ardsmuir prison rolls and sets the room ablaze. He makes sure the room is alight and IMG_4392then exits out the window and onto the roof, while landing in the alley, he meets wee Adso, a grey stray kitten. He then finds Fergus and rushes out to see that the soldiers have pulled Lieutenant Knox from the flames and that he is dead. He, Fergus and the rest of the Ridge Boys leave town.

Meanwhile, Back on The Ridge

Claire and Marsali are elated, Claire has a Eureka moment as she has finally found the mold that is penicillin in her bread experiments. She and Marsali then must prepare a mixture to assist in taking out the Beardsley twin’s tonsils with. And somehow Claire has procured a syringe because it looks a bit different than the one she brought back with her, and gives Kezzie a shot of penicillin. There is a graphic surgery moment with plenty of blood and cauterizing to make Lizzie squirm. Claire feels quite comfortable playing God.

Let’s not forget the ongoing trials of Brianna and Roger. Roger is rummaging about and comes upon the black diamond that Bonnet gave Brianna when she visited him in jail. He recognizes it as one Bonnet had used in playing a  game of cards he had cheated at with Roger on the ship bringing Roger to the colonies. He knows it is Bonnet’s and confronts Bree. He is angry that she has kept a secret,  not confided in him, her husband. Brianna explains what had happened at the jail, she had inferred the child might be his to give him peace,  that Bonnet had given her the stone. She said she had taken it for Jemmy, for a way back to the future if things went wrong. Roger, with his two big insecurities of not meeting Jamie’s expectations, and the bigger one of whether or not he is Jemmy’s father, is affronted (he seems to be so at least once in every episode he is in). He storms out and camps overnight away from Brianna and Jemmy.

The next morning, he encounters Claire off to rummage about for herbs. She senses things were not good at the cabin. He confides a bit in the conversation with Bree and Claire gives her sage advice about marriage. It’s something that takes time and is to be worked on. Claire gives advice on honesty being the best policy. Later he returns to Brianna and apologizes for being upset. She confesses that Bonnet is still alive, that she heard it at the wedding, and confides in him about the coin found in the basket, Mrs. Bug having an Irishman admire the baby, what her fears are. All things she probably should have told him before. They really have to work on the trust thing.

The question is, will Roger ever get beyond whether Jemmy is his son and make him his son, as he has sworn? Will he and Brianna ever get on the same page as parents?

Perpetual

Claire flashbacks/forward on a patient, Graham Menzies. It’s one of the ones that has always trouble her, the loss of a patient when you do all the right things, in this case, doing a penicillin reaction pretest. The procedure was followed, it seemed clear, however, the man died from a reaction to penicillin after surgery. What should have been a routine procedure, ended in the patient’s death.  Claire is remembering what went wrong with the gift of penicillin, reflecting as she tries to bring a boon to medical care into the 18th-Century. Somehow this playing God is going to backfire.

Impetuous Pirate

One of the few books references this episode. Go ahead, SQUEE! We find Claire in the lounge at the hospital, and Joe Abernathy comes in to chat with her. Joe asks her what is up, is it something to do with the mystery of the Scottish man she hinted at. Claire mentions the loss of a patient. It’s the thing that always niggles a true physician, the one you tried to save. The one that really should not have died. The patient was a Scotsman, who had lived in Boston since the War. Joe and Claire talk about patients, and that lost love that Claire had.

The flashbacks are all about Claire reminding herself of the road that leads to getting back to her true love, Jamie Fraser. The path that made her realize she was not whole, she had followed her promise to Frank, and after raising Brianna with him, she could go back to the man she truly loved.

If she had not had a patient, who had succumbed to penicillin anaphylaxis, and talk with Joe Abernathy about going back to Scotland, and talking to Brianna about going to London as Frank wanted her to go. Then reconnecting with Roger at the wake for Reverend Wakefield, then finding out that Jamie survived Culloden. She would not have taken the chance of going through the stones, finding Jamie again, and finally having a home with the people she loves on Frasers Ridge. It was all connected.

Adoration and a Gray Fuzzball

When Jamie finally returns to the Ridge, he has much to talk to Claire about. However, as he is getting ready to confess to Claire, the wee cheetie, Adso, makes a noise. He gifts Claire the gray kitten he found in Hillsborough to take care of the mice in Claire’s surgery. We come to a full circle of the perpetual adoration, of Claire and Jamie’s love, and how Claire found her way back to him.

Please tell me more about Adso!!
Next on Outlander, Jamie must deal with  Governor Tryon after the Lt. Knox affair. Jocasta is getting married. Claire gets really angry.

At Jocasta’s wedding, Jamie learns that the Regulator threat is far from over and Claire discovers information about a former enemy from an unexpected source. 

Watch episode 506 “Better to Marry than to Burn”, on Outlander at midnight Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22nd at 5:05 pm EST/8:05 PST on Starz. The UK on Monday, 23rd of March on Amazon Prime.

Outlander Episode The Fiery Cross Recap

Outlander Season 5 2020At 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).

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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.501-1200x677

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

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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…

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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.

Screen Shot 2020-02-17 at 1.09.48 PMLord 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.

Outlander Season 5 2020

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.

IMG_4224The 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.

Outlander Season 5 2020

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.

All images ©2020 Starz® and Sony Pictures

Trisha Biggar Interview on designing Season 5 Costume and Brianna’s Wedding Dress

Outlander Season 5 Costume Reveals and Teasers

Outlander Season 5 Characters: Dr. George Sims and the Regulator Cause

download-2.jpgAs we all try to survive another season of Droughtlander, it’s time to occupy ourselves with a little American Colonial history that not many outside of North Carolina know: The War of the Regulation. It will be a key factor in action in the upcoming season. For a great background on the upcoming season start reading up on your North Carolina history.

In the book, “The Fiery Cross”,  by Diana Gabaldon, Jamie Fraser is asked to muster a militia and help Gov. Tryon put down a rebellious group calling themselves The Regulators. Claire hears details from a patient, Mr. Goodwin, about his friend Mr. Fanning, and a riot that broke out in Hillsborough. The Regulators created a riot so fierce that Fanning’s home was destroyed, and Goodwin was injured in coming to his aid.

In Outlander Season 4, we are reintroduced to fan favorite Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser, who has suffered under indentured servitude for 12 years. Upon being released he and many others that were brought to the colonies had to make it on their own in the New World. Many could not afford a ship fare to return to their homeland, or feared doing so. While Murtagh suffered servitude, he was lucky and was able to set himself up as a smithy. However he, and many like him, would be subjected to unfair treatment in the form of over taxation in fees. It’s not a new concept with the British Empire, and all colonies fell under British Empire’s exploitation of people and of rich resources from the lands, heavily taxing the colonists for returned finished goods such as cloth and tea. However, it wasn’t just goods that were taxed, it was legal representation.

In the series Outlander’s 4th season, Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) is one of leaders of the group calling themselves The Regulation, or Regulators. There were members in several regional areas, and loosely formed groups with acting leaders. This movement was composed of farmers and anyone else trying to do business living in the burgeoning times, many of whom had lost their property or livelihood due to excessive fees. The chief complaint was over fees for legal representation and taxation. There was no equal representation with due process in the local regions unless they had money for the excessive fees. Colonists wanted a standardization of any fees, and to see them published, not changed on a whim.

The Stamp Act was created to tax duty on newspapers, legal documents, and commercial documents. In 1766 it was repealed and encouraged colonists to take up against other injustices in the colonies.

Standing Up to Political Corruption

There were several factors that played into the forming of the cause and subsequent rising. Population growth pushed at occupants currently in place in 1760-65 North Carolina and crop failure made it impossible to pay any form of taxes on land for the poorer landowners inland for paying off loans with creditors against crops. The rich plantation owners had access to the rivers and larger crops to sell, access to water, slaves for labor, and transport. Then there was corruption of local sheriffs who squeezed colonists for money. Local courts had control over the regions, with officials often corruptible themselves. The colonists considered these regional boroughs to all be corrupt. The colony of North Carolina found itself essentially dealing with a class war.

One early protest, “The Nutbush Address”, was given by George Sims, a school master in 1765. It was given in Nutbush, later Williamsboro, North Carolina. He was persuaded to publish the speech. The speech denounced abuse of power by local officials and the excessive fees they charged. It protested malpractice of laws in the region. He addressed the deeds of a local clerk, a Mr. Benton, and later was jailed and sued by Benton.

The points:

  • Farmer would be taken to court by a creditor
  • Court fees were twice as much as the debt
  • Farmer must obtain lawyer (fees) file in Court (fees) pay a sheriff’s fee
  • Fees were not standardized

Three years later, the Regulators would use the arguments in this address to further heir cause, outlining their rebellion.

Next: Edmund Fanning and The Hillsborough Riots

North Carolina History

 

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 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.

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The Heir

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

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Which Brings Us To Murtagh

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

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

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Future Twists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Episode 409 The Birds and The Bees

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

Revelations in Wilmington

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

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

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

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

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

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

The River’s Edge

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

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

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

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

Daddy Knew That You Came Back

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

Bree- Scottish: Disturbance, commotion, confusion.

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

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

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

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

Some Secrets Just Won’t Keep

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

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

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

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

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In Outlander, All Roads Lead to Wilmington

IMG_1959 2All roads lead to Wilmington in this episode, as a large crossroads town and serving capitol for the Governor of the colony, it is a great meeting place for many of our characters as their storylines cross paths. In episode 408 Wilmington, we see many dangers arise, and reunions met, and emotions that run the gamut. Now, remember back in Outlander Season 2 in Paris, the insane intrigue and plotting to stop the Battle of Culloden? It looks like the Frasers are going down a similar path, only this time they are eventually going to meet a revolution. Hang on to your seats, there’s a lot going on here.

Prelude 1769

In an episode filled with reunion, connections and intrigue, we start off with the across time reunion of Roger (Rik Rankin) and Brianna( Sophie Skelton). Roger makes it to Wilmington, North Carolina, and is fervently asking anyone in town that we meets if they have seen Brianna. He carries the nearly worn out portrait of himself and Bree that was done at the Scottish games two hundred years in the future. It reflects his beleaguered self, the worn out man seeking a woman he loves who didn’t just go away, passed back in time to do so. The life of a traveler is one fraught with danger and many trials. He turns to ask Fergus Fraser (Cesar Domboy), after leaving his place of employment at the printers, if he has seen the woman in the picture, and Fergus says no.

As Fergus continues on, he heads home to Marsali and their young wriggling son, IMG_1976Germaine. A surprise is in store, Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) are in town at the request of Governor Tryon. Claire is spending time with grandchild and discussing the Governor’s real agenda, to check up on the Fraser’s and test Jamie’s loyalties. For 10 thousand Acres is at stake.

 

IMG_1984Marsali (Lauren Lyle), in a rare moment, confides in Claire how much motherhood has changed her. She feels she would do anything to protect her child, take a knife to her belly even. We see the tension that was once between Claire and Marsali has melted into a kinship of understanding, that Claire is not the evil witch Marsali was led to believe, and that the two women are family and have to support one another. We also see that Claire feels the loss of Brianna while handling baby Germaine.

Surgery as Subterfuge

download-2That evening Jamie and Claire attend the play at the Governor’s firm request and meet Mr. Fanning, who among other things, is the magistrate of the lands that encompass Fraser’s Ridge and surrounding areas. They are told the story of the man trying to placate some of the insurgents the previous spring, by bringing them a cask of rum drink after a recent outcry of taxation woes. He indicates to them that he had injured himself in the process. Other characters pop up and we are introduced to the first historical figure, Colonel George Washington and his wife Martha. Claire of course makes a historical faux pas about cherry trees. She later tells Jamie who he really is, and will be in the future.IMG_1975

Governor Tryon (Tim Downey), takes Jamie, Mr. Fanning and Col. Washington further into confidence while gauging his support against the insurgents, who he states should have no right to call themselves Regulators. Jamie finds out that the Governor knows that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) is one of the leaders and must find a way to escape the play to warn him after the Governor let’s slip that his men have gone to surprise the raid on the tax collector’s carriage. Tryon has a planted man in the insurgent’s camp, and knows of their movements.

JPEG image-9D3880A4E461-1In true Outlander fashion, a diversion must be made to allow Jamie to escape unnoticed, and one conveniently arises when Mr. Fanning goes into convulsions of pain from his injury, after Jamie conveniently aggravates the area, which Claire had suspected was a hernia. A table is laid clear and Claire performs surgery, cleverly diverting Governor Tryon in the process of performing the surgery by demanding his help. Jamie exits and finds that Col. Washington is leaving early and receives a ride in his coach to get into town under the guise of getting his wife’s medical bag, and sets off to warn Murtagh. He comes back before he is noticed missing, thanks due to some superb surgery by Claire, all done with efficient purpose, and not a drop of blood on the immaculate ivory dress.

The play’s the thing, and the intrigue involved was classic Outlander and hails back to IMG_1974season 2 in Paris with Kings, Princes, and an evil Compte. This time Claire and Jamie are battling a greedy Governor and people in power, like Fanning the magistrate with his hands in both pots. The colonies have become infused with backwater politicking. In order to survive, Jamie and Claire must appear to be in the Governor’s favor, yet let Murtagh know he’s in danger. The scene was played out with great finesse and aplomb by Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, as their characters performed a ballet around Tryon and the other guests. How long they will be able to keep up this game, is not known. In Paris it nearly cost them their marriage, and they lost a child in all the strain their plots caused Claire during pregnancy. The stakes are very high again, with a large land grant, getting settlers, and appearing to help keep the peace will prove to be very difficult, and make for at least another season’s storytelling.

Regulator Action

Murtagh408Murtagh Fitzgibbons has done a great many things in his life. He’s been a cattle rustler, soldier, prisoner, indentured man, and blacksmith. And yes, when in Paris twenty years before, he acted as highwayman at Jamie’s direction, to steal the Comte’s and Prince Charlie’s wine shipment to foil the gaining of money to further the cause of fighting in Scotland. Now, as a leader of the Regulators movement, Murtagh is making his own plots and intrigue. His men are at the ready. His purpose to take back the tax monies taken from them. After surveying the road and thinking, Murtagh joins his men and they lie in wait, when the action is about to happen, Fergus comes crashing in and identifies himself as Fergus, and that M’Lord has asked him to worn them. Murtagh recognizes him and they call the raid off just in time. Fergus waits until the others leave, warning Murtagh that MurtaghFergus408there is a traitor in his camp. Murtagh is glad to be reunited with Fergus, however asks why his Godson could not deliver the message himself? Murtagh is incensed that Jamie did not come, growing impatient with Jamie’s neutrality declaration.

Laying the Blame

Later with Governor Tryon and Jamie in the carriage, Tryon bemoans his plans being thwarted and states someone must have warned them. The only people he told were with him in the carriage, except for Fanning who of course was being operated on. Another gentleman points out that Col. Washington had left, and Jamie helps going along with it most have been him. Tryon makes the annoyed statement to, “Never trust a Virginian!’ and that “Washington’s day will come!”. A very prophetic statement. And how will Jamie keep his involvement in going along with this pointing a finger, not bite back later?

The Fasted Hand

IMG_1971Roger is disappointed and well beat with searching for Brianna over two hundred years time and the dangers of sea crossing. There is nothing like finally getting to where she should be located, and not finding her. While sitting in the tavern of Brianna’s Inn, he has a frustration moment and gets up to leave, and then he hears her voice, booking passage up the river to River Run. They reunite and a slight tustle begins again, for their courtship will ever be a rocky one. Lizzie, Brianna’s maid, witnesses as Roger drags Brianna outside and they have another lover’s quarrel. In the street they agree to move to a shed that happens to have a bit of a fireplace and storage room. They declare their love and Roger brings up the old Scottish tradition of Handfasting, to become promised as husband and wife for a year and a day. They perform the ritual in front of the fire and have their wedding night.

In conversation after coupling, Roger let’s slip the fact that he had read the same obituary that Brianna had regarding her parent’s death. In true Brianna fashion, she takes exception when she discovers that Roger knew of the fire that would kill her parents, had read the same article, and did not warn her.

Roger again fails in becoming the parental figure, argues that it would have been dangerous and careless, he had wanted to protect her from the pain. The conversation goes from bad to worse, accusations of Roger controlling what Brianna thinks and does, and Roger rounding with he should perhaps treat her more like a wife and control her more, things would work out better. They come to a head with Brianna telling Roger he should just go. Roger with after traveling 200 years to find her and the dangers of her being on her own. Brianna states that she and Lizzie were doing just fine.

Sadly, Brianna has just set herself up. The 18th century is a very dangerous place for a woman to be alone in. After going from complete happiness, to utter betrayal with her lover, she is devastated, in shock. After Roger leaves, she stumbles back to the inn, where things become much worse. Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) is drinking and gambling in the tavern downstairs and is flashing about her mother’s wedding ring. Brianna recognizes the ring and tries to buy it off him, and get any information she can about her mother. Bad judgement, and filled with anxiety and desperation about Claire, she follows him to another room, right into his trap. What follows is a terrible blow, a day that started with finding her love, the loss of him, and then becoming a victim to a sociopathic man. The rape scene is off camera with the effect being that you hear everything, but the camera stays on the tavern room with everyone in Bonnet’s crew continuing on as they acknowledge, and yet ignore the scene going on next door. A very beaten Brianna is allowed to take her mother’s ring, as payment for services, and she slowly, painfully goes back upstairs to her rooms with Lizzie.

Remember, Lizzie saw her mistress leave with the man, Roger, and come back hurt. Will Lizzie report the incident? And to whom.

Outlander Producers on the Difficulties of Dealing with Sensitivities With Sexual Violence

Season 4 has a great deal in common with season 2, with the plots and intrigues very close to the previous spying and intelligence gathering that Claire, Jamie, Murtagh and Fergus did to sabotage Prince Charles’ battle plans in Scotland. You would think they had learned the first time. The Frasers are falling into the troubles that are prelude to a war, the over taxation of the colonists is just one. As Claire has already brought up, there’s a revolution in 6 years time. War may seem far off, however, it will come to the backcountry and slowly begin to boil.  How can they place themselves out of harm’s way, how to keep Fraser’s Ridge a sanctuary from war.

Tainted Warnings

JPEG image-4D2E75B6D40E-1After the foiled carriage raid, Murtagh is annoyed that Jamie himself could not come and warn him, but is glad of the warning and reuniting with Fergus. We see another seed of the growing conflict between Godfather and Godson, as Murtagh questions Jamie’s loyalties. Perhaps he is becoming old and jaded, and who can blame him? He doesn’t trust the situation with the Governor, even though having Jamie appear close will help him to get information, which is what he had asked Jamie to do, and was refused. Jamie declared he would not help or hinder, that there was too much at stake. Murtagh feels betrayed, and if you remember back to a scene in a courtyard in Paris, when Jamie finally told Murtagh what they were trying to do in Paris, Jamie got quite the punch from his Godfather. Murtagh takes exception to not being trusted or included. Losing Murtagh again would devastate Jamie, he is the last of his clansmen. Do we think that Fergus will become involved with the Regulators, we know he wanted to fight so badly at Culloden. Murtagh will not like how Fergus lost his hand. JPEG image-FE5AAAA94E8E-1

Brianna and Roger

Sophie Skelton has another fine performance in a truly brutal scene. After telling the man she loves to leave, again, Brianna lands in the worst possible situation, becoming the victim of a sociopath. Skelton’s performance in the aftermath of the rape by Bonnet shows her growth as a performer over the last 2 seasons. The Hand Fasting and perceived betrayal, and consequential rape of Brianna at Bonnet’s Hands was on par with a Game of Thrones story line in it’s brutality. Rik Rankin is taking to heart playing a very stubborn man and his much outdated sense of love, but in some ways you cannot blame him. He is right about the dangers in the colonies, he is a historian, he knew what could happen. And Twitter was on fire with how Roger should have stayed! However, he will need to find some way to have more modern concepts of love while being in the 18th century, or he loses Brianna forever. We’ll see what happens next time on Episode 409 The Birds and The Bees, only 5 more episodes to go.

Rik Rankin on The Wilmington Clash at SyFy.com Video

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“Is there a message you wish to give me, lass?”

 

 

Outlander Episode 408: Wilmington Previews

Murtagh’s in a whole lot of trouble. This weeks previews and photos show him hip deep in intrigue. Claire and Jamie are deep in plots and subterfuge again attending a play, and trying to find out how much the Governor knows about the Regulator activities. Governor Tryon confides in Jamie about his knowledge of the insurgent’s leader, Murtagh Fitzgibbons (Duncan Lacroix) and we get another reunion glimpse.

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Brianna and Roger make port, and Roger meets Fergus. Eventually  he meets up with Brianna, however Brianna will unfortunately encounter Stephen Bonnet. Something you should never do, is make Murtagh angry. Guess who is foolish enough to do that?

Roger and Bree’s reunion Fun Preview Article Entertainment Weekly

 

 

You can watch these episodes at midnight on Saturdays with the Starz ®App and at 8PM EST on Starz®. Amazon Prime in the UK on Mondays.

 

Blood of My Blood : The Jaimie, Claire and Lord John Grey Paradox

download-1If you haven’t seen 406: Blood of My Blood, go no further.

As a book reader of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, and a fan of the series, I am writing this as a four part article, as for the rest of the season there will be four or more story lines playing out in their respective arcs, all of them quite paradoxical. Claire, Jamie and Lord John Grey, then Murtagh, Jamie and the Regulators. The Jamie, Claire and Murtagh paradox from Season 2, redoux. The Brianna, Roger, and Stephen Bonnet paradox. Or is this sounding like that song from New Order, Bizarre Love Triangle? Don’t forget young Ian and his fascination with the Indians, which can be seen as more a conundrum truth be told, what will he get himself into there? All will be played out in the next few remaining episodes. Consider it part of your spoiler alerts.

Paradox: a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.

What Comes From Blood Of My Blood

Lord John Grey (David Berry) rides up the Ridge to find Jamie, sawing on wood. They greet and the beginning of the terrible guest episode begins.

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We find a scene of friendship, with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) fetching water from the creek, Claire is teasing Murtagh a bit, Murtagh biting controllably back. Age and old friends. Murtagh admits he must  leave soon, and talks of his Regulator friends, that two of them are going to petition the Governor over the unfair taxation situation, to try to solve the problem the right way, with due process. He must pay his taxes if he wishes to stay in North Carolina.

The Bad Guest

Jamie’s past comes to Fraser’s Ridge. A past that will bring tears of joy and anguish. It’s one of the seasons reuniting scenes that will play out in stress, conflict and growth for Jamie and Claire. This season, after all, is about reunions and family.

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Lord John Grey shows up on Fraser’s Ridge en route to an estate left by his wife, Isobel, who has just passed. The estate is in Virginia, and yes, he has come a long way round for that. With him, is young William (Oliver Finnegan), Jamie’s illegitimate son with Geneva Dunsany. Several layered positions of conflict arise. Jamie, has a son he cannot publicly acknowledge, but is thrilled to see. As always, Heughan is running the amazing facial control in this episode, the emoting is priceless. Of course he has been troubled for years, that he can have no contact with his two children. One is forbidden by hidden identity, one is forbidden by time.

Outlander-s04e06-1627967The conflict for Claire is being confronted with the reality of Jamie’s past with another woman, and the living, breathing child it created. She has come to terms for the most part with the fact he has a son. But the reality of seeing the child stirs up emotions. Also, she must control herself in front of the child, and the attraction that Lord John has for Jamie has not gone unnoticed by her. She and Murtagh chance upon the young lord, one of the few books scenes kept, who is mercilessly attacked by leeches. Claire of course remedies the situation and they bring him to the house, where Lord John has been telling Jamie of his wife’s passing, and how he wants to keep the secret of Williams birth, for fear of what it will do to him. A controlled scene of adults keeping a secret from a child ensues.

It’s Almost Like The Holidays

In the most uncomfortable dinner party ever that is politically charged in such a small cabin, nearly outshines the one from season 2 in Paris. Lord John begins offending in high born manner, by going on about how great the new Governor’s palace will be and complaining of the mob that refuses to pay taxes, and has become violent. He is after all, of the privileged class and knows what is best. Murtagh, gloriously keeping his identity in check, barely, defends the common man. He brings up unjust taxation driving families to ruin. The heated discussion is barely kept in check by the parents (Claire and Jamie). Murtagh leaves.

Outlander-s04e06-1627971After the dinner, Murtagh is fuming on the porch in his “controlled” manner (Note sarcasm here). He confronts Jamie, how can he count a British soldier as a friend after Culloden? The very one who kept him imprisoned, who of course pointed out that he had helped Murtagh get a doctor to get well in front of the little Lord. However, the man had been talking down the Regulators and saying they had caused bodily harm. And why all the secrecy from the lad, why would Jamie go to such lengths? Jamie defends himself as much as he can, still falling back on the land grant, and people depending on him now. But Murtagh knows Jamie well and can tell, it’s something else. He finally guesses it out of Jamie, the child is his. With classic Murtagh agreement grumbling “Hmmmph”, he leaves agreeing to keep another Fraser secret.

The Lingering Guest

The the next act of effrontery by Lord John, he comes down with the Measles. This forces the doctoring of Claire who must administer to a patient who had brought the son, a deal of anguish for Jamie, and his high born political notions driving Murtagh off. William is reluctantly dragged off to fish and hunt by Jamie so he will not get the Measles. Claire endures days of a fevered Lord John who is overly gentlemen like some days and cuts to the bone on others. For her part, Claire as in usually Claire fashion is straight forward and cut the niceties. The conflict of why Lord John is really there, first Claire assumes it’s to report  back to the Governor on the land grant, then to spy on the goings on with the Regulators. Then the conversation turns to William, and what that does to Jamie, but the real burning discussion is the jealousy both pf them have over time being spent with Jamie. While Claire was away, John had time with Jamie, Lord John jealous that Claire is back and the couple are happily committed. When the fever breaks and John realizes what a cad he has been, he admits the real reason he came was because he wanted to see if he had any true feeling left in him. If seeing Jamie would bring emotion, which it did. He had lost all feeling and had felt nothing for Isobel after her death. Claire, in her way, concedes a few things and they part on better terms.

In a father son interlude, Jamie and Young Lord William bond over fishing and hunting. Jamie reminds him of their time at Helwater, as the secret of that experience has come back to William. There is an altercation with The Cherokee, and each of them defends the other, in which Jamie offers himself as sacrifice since he is the father of the child. William denies this and points out it was his fault. It plays out with a light bloodletting and the two return to the Ridge, to find that Lord John is alive after all and the two can leave Fraser’s Ridge.

The Jamie, Lord John Grey and Claire Paradox will continue in a later storyline, we know this one isn’t over. And at some point as book readers know, Jamie’s children, Brianna and William must meet. It will be interesting to see when the series will bring up that reunion. For now, Jamie has seen his son and how well he is doing. Will he finally get to meet his daughter, Brianna.download-7

Outlander is on the Starz® network in the US, Sundays at 8:00 PM EST, 5:00 PM PST, and The W Network Sundays at 10:00 PM in Canada. Starz App at Midnight Saturdays, and Amazon Prime in The UK and Europe Mondays.

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