Category Archives: Richard Rankin

Outlander Episode 508 Preview

We have a week hiatus from continuing with episode 508, Famous Last Words. We will have a funeral for a dear friend who’s passing left many of us reeling this week. Duncan Lacroix hinted in an interview this week that Jocasta will be singing a Scottish song. It also looks like Brianna may get a visit from Lord John Gray. Oh and some Hemlock is missing.

From Starz®

The Frasers must come to terms with all that has changed in the aftermath of the Battle of Alamance Creek. An unexpected visitor arrives at the Ridge. Watch new episodes of Outlander Sundays only on STARZ.

Outlander is on the Starz App at midnight on Saturdays (April 11), April 12 on Starz at 8:05 pm EST 5:05 pm PST. Available in the UK and Ireland on Amazon on Mondays. 

Outlander’s Wee Droughtlander and Plague

This week we are still reeling from the loss of our favorite Godfather, Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser. I personally haven’t handled it well at all and slept fitfully a few nights. So, yes, I too have lost a best mate.

Outlander is taking a two-week hiatus, with this coming weekend being a mini-marathon of the first half of the season. Great distraction for those of us feeling quite lost over The Ballad of Roger Mac. Keep up hope.

So to lighten the mood a bit, here is a clip from 506 BTS about Locust Wrangling 101. Lauren, dahling, we want those shades! Paul Gorman, Laren Lyle and the rest of the Ridge crew get creepy crawly.

©2020 Starz®

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.

Outlander Season 5 2020

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 Company We Keep

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Kyle Rees and Richard Rankin ©2020 Starz®

There’s no sugar-coating this one. We finally meet The Browns, and in Brownsville, we have quite a murky quagmire of problems occur. Sadly, the neighbors just keep getting worse and worse for Fraser’s Ridge.

Roger Just Can’t Get a Break

Roger continues his inner struggle with not meeting up to Jamie’s standards as a son-in-law and now as a Captain of Fraser’s Militia. Roger first encounters the Browns while searching for more recruits to join up with the militia to help combat The Regulators. Even with money promised as payment for service, Roger just doesn’t have the commanding experience and bravado that Jamie Fraser has. He is trying to win his father in laws approval and just keeps failing.

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©2020 Starz®

Roger (Richard Rankin), Fergus (César Domboy), and the militia come upon Brownsville and walk right into a feud, which unwittingly they have brought with them, in one Isiah Morton. Guns are pointed and they nearly get their heads blown off. Roger tries to calm down the tensions and find out what is going on. Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy), informs them that Alicia Brown(Anna Burnett) and Morton has dallied with her and that has cost them a land acquisition in the marriage of 10 acres. Despite Fergus’s warnings, Roger decides to give the Browns a cask of the famous Fraser whisky meant to be used for bartering and acquiring more militia. You know where this is going. Roger sequester’s Morton to appease Lionel, stalling for Colonel Fraser to arrive.

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Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, and Paul Gorman ©2020 Starz®

Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) show up with the young baby Beardsley with them. Jamie sees that something is amiss and Roger’s explanations of how he handled the conflict are not what a captain should have done. Jamie has to, of course, take over as commanding officer, and yes Roger had given the men a great deal of the whisky meant for trading. This had also annoyed some of the militiamen, who did not like how Morton was just handed over. They had deserted the night before. To say Jamie is red to the ears annoyed doesn’t cover it. To make matters worse, Jamie goes to meet with Morton to get his side of the story. We find out that Morton is in an arranged marriage himself, miserable as Jamie was with Laoghaire being married, and is in love with Alicia. Jamie tells Morton to run.

Claire discovers Kezzie Beardsley has also got tonsilitis like his brother and informs Jamie that she must perform surgery soon. Jamie takes this as a good way to give Roger an out, as he is clearly not suitable to be in the militia and cannot make decisions as a captain. He assigns Roger to take Claire and the Beardsley twins back to Fraser’s Ridge. But no before more drama ensues. The Browns who have sobered up a bit, discover that Morton has flown, and confront Jamie and the Militia. Long rifles are drawn on both sides and in sweeps Richard Brown (Chris Larkin), head of the family.

He has been trying to patch things up with the family with 10 acres that wanted Alicia until she became spoilt. He seems to have a cooler head than Lionel Brown, and Jamie states that if there is a conflict, the Browns will be seen as “Enemies of the Crown.” Well, no one wants that. Richard pledges the Browns to serve in the militia, with pay of course. His condition is that he commands them. Jamie postures that he is in command and that Richard must answer to him. This uneasy alliance will come back to haunt the Frasers.

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©2020 Starz®

Claire and Jamie have a walk in the woods after the Brownsville hootenanny that evening. Jamie softens and says it’s good to see Claire with a bairn again, and that they should keep the wee bonnie and take her to the Ridge. He misses that they could not raise a child together, after losing Faith and then having Brianna raised by Frank, Jamie has been wanting to maybe try to have a child again. Claire is touched by his thoughts, and it would be difficult for her to do so at her age. She tells him that she thinks she’s found a home for the child with a couple who have just lost their baby. Jamie thinks that the Beardsley estate, such as it is, might help make amends for the land loss of the Browns. They hear a shot in the w

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©2020 Starz®

oods. Upon investigation, they find young Alicia making a mess of trying to kill herself. Claire takes her back to the Browns and their rooms and consoles a tearful girl.

Later that night, Morton comes back into Brownsville and threatens Jamie with a pistol. He insists that Jamie bring him to Alicia. Morton confesses to Alicia that he is married and does not love his wife, that he only cares for her. Jamie and Claire confronted with star crossed lovers begin to soften and then Roger Mac comes in and they concoct a plan to sneak the young lovers out. The next morning Jamie creates a hullabaloo with the escaped horses of the Browns as a distraction and the young lovers escape the back way.

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Caitriona Balfe ©2020 Starz®

Back on The Ridge

While all of the Brownsville capers were happening, life back on the idyllic Ridge was becoming worrisome to young Brianna (Sophie Skelton). Mrs. Bug returns from town with young Jemmy. In his basket, there appears a strange coin. Mrs. Bug tells a strange tale of a young Irishman admiring Jemmy so, and Brianna fights to keep her growing horror in. She surmises that it is Bonnet. She removes her and Jemmy to the Big House.

Later she goes out in the night for wood and is spooked. She returns to find only Germaine in the house playing while she is looking for Jemmy. She panics and starts looking for him everywhere. Marsali tries to calm her, finally, she finds him on the porch. Marsali sees that something is up and pours them both a dram. Brianna really never states what is troubling her, despite Marsali confiding in her and trying to draw it out.

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A bit of cheeky BTS Laren Lyle, Sophie Skelton, and young Robin Scott ©2020 Starz®

The Scene Swapping

While this episode could have been more dramatic, we do finally get to meet The Browns and see a bit of foreshadowing of trouble brewing for the Frasers. The presentation of the scenes was very choppy, alternating between storylines with the militia and the Ridge. I think if they had not alternated so frequently the episode would have been a bit smoother and the characters would have built up more as the Browns become more a part of the story in the future. While seeing the story arc for Brianna as she is dealing with a mother’s fear of her child being taken away does build some important character points for her this season, having scenes presented in more of a 1/3 grouping might have made things more believable.

Up next we have episode 5, Perpetual Adoration this Saturday, March 14 at midnight on the Starz App, Starz Channel Sunday, March 15 at 5:05 pm ET 8:05 PT, UK Monday, March 16 on Amazon Prime.

Synopsis provided by Starz:
Jamie and his militia arrive at Hillsborough to find that Governor Tryon has proposed a rather unorthodox solution to deal with the threat posed by the Regulators. Busy with present-day life at the Ridge, Roger and Brianna must nevertheless come to terms with their past.

Outlander at Wizard World Cleveland

All you lucky Mid-west and Easties got to have the lovely Caitriona Balfe, Duncan Lacroix, and Richard Rankin at Wizard World Cleveland March 6-8. Fun was had by all. It looks like Richard Rankin is thoroughly addicted to the Wizard World Con circuit and Duncan Lacroix is picking up a few cons going into spring. Fingers crossed they will come West Coast way later this Con season.

Sadly Colin McFarlane had to cancel due to illness.

WE hope that doesn’t mean that we lose Murtagh at the end of season 5 as we get into the heated conflict with The Regulators. Since the production is taking up filming at the end of April, and Duncan is slated for a new con at the end of that month.

Speaking of Duncan, he seems to have not gone home since the holidays and his 50th birthday. He has been hanging in LA with friends for a couple of months now. Mayhaps he is doing the Hollywood audition circuit, and may even venture into Hollywood North, otherwise known as Vancouver B.C.

Catch Caitriona’s panel here, part 1 and 2

and part 2, Duncan and Richard show up, and Richard is a handful…

Outlander Episode Free Will Between Two Fires Recap

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©2020 Starz®

It is with great trepidation, I think that’s the right word, caution, taking one’s time, that I finally get around to this recap of Outlander S502, Between Two Fires episode. I usually get these done on Sunday, trying not to rush too much as some of you may still have not seen the episode. I must admit that even though I, like you, rewatch for details a few times, I had to watch this episode 3 times and gather three sets of notes to even see where to go. I usually keep my viewing of other recaps to a minimum as I want to keep my opinions and oppressions not tainted, or I look at them well after. This time I was finding I was peeking around at others as I was trying to figure out how I really felt about the episode. Apparently, all fan feeds and reviews are all over the place in this episode. It may be down to having two very different writers, who have worked on several scripts for the series (Toni Graphia and Luke Schelhaas). There are two separate stories with a third arc. All of the main characters will play with the fire in one way or another in this episode.

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©2020 Starz®

Playing With Fire

With that being said, where else could this have gone after that gut-wrenching farewell between Jamie and Murtagh at the end of the season opener? We knew it would be Murtagh Fitzgibbons (Duncan Lacroix) going full-throttle into his new clan, The Regulators. Our darkly moving waters, always on Jamie’s right man and God-Father, is without a purpose other than to fight for these men and what injustices they have had. Murtagh has never really left the battlefield at Culloden and the injustices that the King’s Red Tunics bring. He has lived with the oppression of his people and lost his beloved Scotland. So it is with a great fierce force that we see Murtagh step away from that “play fair now” attitude in season one’s Jinty match, he’s tired of being patient about it. It’s all a vengeance that is his now instead of for those he loves. He becomes embroiled in the War of Regulation.

We open on Hillsborough, North Carolina and a mob scene with Edmund Fanning being accosted and other officials being tar and feathered. Murtagh pronounces a sentence on them, they are corrupt and will not allow for due process of law for the common people. As we see later in the episode, while tarring and feathering is seen as a humiliation, it is a very real threat to the body of a person. It is torture. It is vengeance. So begins Murtagh’s fight for the right to fair representation.

To understand a little more about what the movement was about, and what sparked it, and why many believe it leads to the start of the American Revolution, read below.

Jamie (Sam Heughan) has been sending dispatches to Governor Tryon elaborating his search for the outlaw Fitzgibbons (Note that neither Jamie or Murtagh mention the Fraser part of that name) and bring him to justice. Of course, Jamie has done all he can to hide the relationship he has with the man, so he begins a very precarious dance with Lieutenant Hamilton Knox (Michael Xavier). He enters into the conversation in subterfuge, dancing the line of truth and honor, which both men find they have a conviction for, but we learn to have different ways of showing it.

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“I admire a man who puts duty and honor above all else,” Lt. Knox

As always, Jamie is being the diplomat that he is, shows his compassion for those who cannot feed themselves. However, we have warning moments of the zealous nature of Lt. Knox’s purpose. He reveals a desire to acquire favor with the Governor, perhaps gain lands of his own if he brings Murtagh Fitzgibbons to hang in New Bern. Jamie proceeds with caution and works hard to show that he intends to follow his oath to crown that he swore.

“Then you’d admire the man who chooses to starve rather than betray his conscience?” Jamie responds.

They arrive at Hillsborough after the riot and are greeted by Edmund Fanning, the Lawyer that Claire (Catriona Balfe) operated on in Season 4 at the theatre. He tells them of the tragedies that have transpired, the tar and feathering and injured parties, one near death. They also have three fugitives. Jamie asks if one is Murtagh Fitzgibbons.

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©2020 Starz®

Lt. Knox confronts the three prisoners, who turn out to be some of the men that Jamie tried to offer land on the Ridge to, Ethan, Lee Withers, and Bryan Cranna. Jamie rushes to cover his association tracks with Murtagh and gives a hint that he is really trying to protect Murtagh by going along with the Crown. The men are interrogated by Knox at sword point. When pressed where the whereabouts of Murtagh, Ethan declares that he is Murtagh Fitzgibbons. In the heat of the moment, Knox loses control and runs the man through. Jamie declares that he has just killed a man without trial. Jamie returns to free the men, as we know he would. Of course, after several tense moments of trying to get the not so bright Bryan and Lee to realize he is trying to help Murtagh and to not lead Knox right to him, he tells them to not make it so easy for them to find Murtagh.

Later at the Regulator’s encampment, Bryan and Lee return and tell Murtagh and Herman Husband of their ordeal, and Bryan confronts Murtagh about his allegiances. He criticizes Jamie Fraser. That Fraser is an agent of the Crown now. Murtagh tries to deflect in a nostalgic realization.

“No, he stands with his people, I stand wi’ mine.”


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©2020 Starz®

Hauntings and The Rise of The Mrs’s Burke and Hare

Brianna (Sophie Skelton) is still haunted by her rape at the hands of Stephen Bonnet. After hearing on her wedding night that he is indeed not dead and back in the colonies, she has been sketching disturbing drawings of Bonnet. She really cannot talk to anyone about what she’s heard, she keeps it all inside. She is broken out of this trance by a sudden emergency in Claire’s surgery. Rushing to help Claire, she becomes her mother’s conscience and shows an aversion to blood and guts.

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A Fraser’s Ridge settler is brought in by his wife with stomach pain and trauma. Claire is asking the wife about what she used as a treatment, she used purging and bleeding, both common barbaric practices in the 18th century, on him. She gave him a Mercury based purgative, sadly Claire backs away and says she can do nothing for him. Brianna assists her as best she can, but we see that she struggles with it, she knows Mercury to be a poison. She is also struggling with the blood. What was clearly the Appendix burst symptoms to Claire, and should have been a simple matter, she cannot do anything. Claire is appalled by the fact that she cannot do what she could have done if she had antibiotics, a simple thing in her time. That and the knowledge to not give people poisons in the first place.

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After a conversation with several women making candles at the Big House, Claire offers her 20th-century knowledge about poisons, and the women scoff. She decides that she must use a bit of subterfuge to help enlighten people enough so they can take care of patients. After Claire enlists the help of Roger to create a fake burial of the man, she uses him for an autopsy. Brianna confronts her about using her 20th-century practices in the 18th-century, how it could possibly change space and time if she brought things like penicillin forward in time. Claire points out they have already altered time by coming through the stones, and that Brianna came to warn them about the fire that might kill them. How was that not altering time?

Roger also gets some modern medicine when Claire checks his eye vision after his unsuccessful hunting with Brianna. And let’s just go back there for a moment, Brianna shoots a turkey, blood involved. She lets Roger pick it up. But back to Roger, who other than a bit of normal short-sightedness in one eye, is fine. As Roger concedes, he’s just a bad shot. A philosophic discussion around Roger wanting to go back to his own time, and Claire suggesting that they should, it would be safer for the three of them. Roger points out that they don’t know if wee Jemmy can travel. That was your foreshadowing moment, folks.

Let’s not forget that Claire also realizes Brianna is having doubts about working with the dead. So she enlists the help of Marsali (Laren Lyle), who has fine butchering skills. If she can refine that into helping by stitching up patients and assisting at surgeries, Marsali with her tough Scottish resolve could help to ease people’s fears over seeking help. We’re in for a treat as the 18th-century version of Burke and Hare start up their own side series.

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So Claire tries her hand at some preventative medicine, by using the name of the doctor who’s medicine box she has, to write informative treatments coming from a male doctor of the 18th-century. Clever girl.


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That House as a Character

Okay, so I have to let this one go I suppose, but put it out there for you. Many book fans have been dying to see the Big House. Of course, we love Jon Gary Steels’ amazing design work, however, such a house would not have been feasible in those times, only if you were a wealthy merchant in a large city perhaps. I guess it’s lucky for the Frasers that the 1798 Window/Glass Tax hadn’t hit yet. Let alone, where they would get all that glass? And window glass was not as refined as it is today. Just another thought I suppose. I guess that wild whisky that Jamie is crafting is getting some serious barter going on. Tell us your thoughts on the Big House.

And let’s not forget Claires experiments with penicillin fishing. Back to the glass thing. Glass bell jars we used to protect plants and create a greenhouse. People had just started keeping specimen plants. If you are trying to catch spores, they cannot go through the glass, so I hope that she remembers what every good doctor knows, that air is the transport for microbes and dust, where spores like to float.

Stay tuned for Free Will Episode 503 next Saturday, February 29 at midnight on the Starz App, Starz Channel Sunday, March 1 at 5:05 pm ET 8:05 PT, UK Monday on Amazon Prime.


All images ©2020 Starz®

Outlander Characters Season 5: Edmund Fanning

Lauren Lyle on Marsali’s Medical Apprenticeship

Just Who Were The Regulators?

The intolerable Acts

Writer’s Room Tour

 

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

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