Category Archives: Sophie Skelton

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 Better to Marry Than Burn Episode Recap

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Maria Doyle Kennedy ©2020 Starz®

I was concerned about how late this article was hitting the blog. With our current international situation, I have had to try to sit and actually watch this episode several times, as I always do. However this time, I really wanted to have a think about it. We’ve come through the halfway point of season 5 of Outlander, and with the current situation in the world, there may be a delay again for filming production on this show. How timely some of the themes of episode 506, Better to Marry Than Burn, hit us now as we face isolation and survival.

Epilogue

We begin with the backstory to Jocasta’s (Maria Doyle Kennedy) past. As you probably have guessed by now, my main character’s favorite is Murtagh. Being both a book reader and a series fan, I was so happy to see how this character was broken out into a character that has survived the dismal death at Culloden. I was not too pleased about how the whole Murcasta thing came about. I know, the series and the books are absolutely different animals and should be accepted as such. I have praised much of the decisions that had to be made. It is extremely difficult to translate what is in a book, and what grows with a series on television. Some things just don’t translate. Bring in the fact that you rescue a favorite series only character (yes, Murtagh doesn’t survive Culloden in the books), and great acting by Duncan Lacroix to create such a figure that breaks our hearts, and partner him with the formidable Jocasta Cameron. Well, that’s fire and damnation. And finally, we see why Jocasta is as Jocasta does.

It’s hard to see how Jocasta came to be as she is, a wealthy woman who has already gone through 3-4 husbands and is now going on the 5th? Despite her affliction of blindness, she still sees everything. Unfortunately, this becomes quite painful for her. On the eve before her wedding to Duncan Innes (Alastair Findlay), a book character that has been pushed aside for the Murcasta relationship, she reflects on a painful memory of the past. Her decision to wed is a compromise she must make to keep River Run from being controlled by a man who would not respect the nuances of how the plantation is run. Jocasta is experienced in how marriages go, as well as wealth and the world of things in the 18th century. A woman must find a way to be safe and in control. The only way is through marriage to someone who wants her happiness, not a cause.

We open the episode on a moor with a carriage speeding as fast at horses can carry, careening away from Culloden. A younger Jocasta and her husband, Hector Cameron (Christopher Bowen), with their youngest daughter Morna, are fleeing the ruin of Culloden. They are stopped by a couple of the King’s Dragoons. While they and the youngest daughter are asked to exit the coach and be interrogated, one of the Dragoons spots a chest with a lock hidden under the carriage. He pulls it out and breaks it open. To Jocasta and Morna’s surprise, it’s a chest of French gold. Hector had stolen it as it was destined for Bonnie Prince Charlie to help fight the Jacobite cause. As Jocasta realizes that they have been put in danger because of Hector’s political sympathies, and altercation occurs, and the two Dragoons end up dead, as well as young Morna, who is but 16, left to rot by the roadside as Hector drags Jocasta on in the coach to flee with the gold. It is this painful memory that Jocasta carries on the eve of her next wedding.

Marriage As a Convenience

download-5We come to the present. Jocasta, feeling the blue ribbon run through her fingers that she had saved from Morna’s hair.  She is thinking about her past. How she got to be mistress of River Run, and how Hector had made her leave the daughter behind. She is about to embark on her 4th or 5th marriage, for in the world of the 18th-century, women could not be in charge of their destiny. She was readying to marry a man who would allow her to run River Run, and be a shield against a male-dominated society. She hoped at least he would only want her happiness and had no political ambitions. He brings her a lavender-filled pillow to soothe her the night before. Duncan expresses the knowledge that they do not really love each other, but maybe with time, there can be affection. Jocasta is rather brusque with him. The pillow is embroidered with the MacKenzie clan motto, ” I shine, not burn”.

Ulysses enters and glares as Duncan leaves. Jocasta remarks on his being unkind when she herself has been brusque with him. He brings Jocasta to Jamie and Gerald Forbes, the spurned suitor of Brianna. Jocasta is formally placing River Run in trust for Jeremiah MacKenzie. Remember this.

Weddings Breed Troubles

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Tim Downie as Governor Tryon ©2020 Starz®

Trouble seems to always brew at weddings. The Frasers are beset by another trial on their relationship on the eve of Jocasta’s Wedding. Jamie and Claire must entertain Governor Tryon and his wife. Claire and Her Excellency part from the annoying political convo of the men, and we find we really do like H.E. as she is very sympathetic and not at all like her husband. The sensible of the two. Sadly a cursed soul from Claire’s past, Mr. Wiley is spied by H.E. and she moves to intercept. Claire stalls next to some ladies discussing Dr. Rawlings suggestions that women do not let their husbands sleep in their bed chambers during certain days of the month. Claire can’t help but chirp in some reasoning, and of course is ostracized by the ladies, turns and splashes Mr. Wiley, fop extraordinaire and cad-about-town, with enough powder on to empty a flour sack. We all know he has lusted after Claire for some time. H.E returns just in time to save Claire briefly, but he will not be put aside.

Wiley Catches Claire back up and she then starts a fiendish plan of subterfuge when Wiley spins tales of being able to procure anything she desires with the help of a certain Irish captain smuggler type. Yep, it’s him (Bonnet). Claire uses her guile to talk Wiley into tasting some of Jamie’s Fraser’s Ridge less than 3-year-old whiskey and suggests that maybe this Irish captain can broker business for them. After sinking her hook in a bit, she foolishly follows him out to the stables to meet his prized possession, Lukas, a stunning Fresian horse. Of course, Wiley makes a play for Claire and she knocks him soundly into the horse dung on his oh so pretty frock coat. (You think she would have learned with the Minister of Finance and the red shoes back in season two) Jamie arrives finally, pulling a knife. Claire reminds him it would be very bad to kill a man on the eve of Jocasta’s wedding. After Wiley is gone, she fills him in on her plot to deliver Stephan Bonnet in a way that justice can be served.

Jamie leaves to challenge Wiley to a high stakes game of Whist. However, to enter the game he must use Claire’s two wedding rings as collateral for his stake. Of course, Claire gets very upset that he would gamble with her gold ring, which she knows Wiley is causing her pain over. She is upset at Jamie’s willingness to gamble with Frank’s ring, so she gives him both rings.

Murtagh is Burning

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Colin McFarlane ©2020 Starz®

Jocasta is still composing herself after dealing with guests and in her chambers, Ulysses announces another guest has come to give her a present. She dismisses it until she hears Murtagh’s voice. She chastises him on many fronts. Why has he come when the Governor was downstairs? He gives her a Luckenbooth brooch with a ribbon as a gift and demands of her why is she marrying a man she doesna care for. The two barb at each other, as always.

However, when she finally makes her statements of why, other than the obvious that Murtagh is a wanted criminal, she can’t risk the loss of River Run, the real reason behind it all is her painful experiences at the loss of her daughters after Culloden, and because a husband who believed in the Jacobite cause was willing to risk all their lives. Murtagh states that there will be a way for them. She tells him the tales of her losses, the death of her children. That she just wants to have a life of happiness. She takes her blindness as punishment for the fact that stolen gold built River Run after the deaths of her daughters. She spurns Murtagh, she cannot love a man who would believe in political causes that endanger her again and tells him to leave.

It is at this point that the two star-crossed lovers break apart and Murtagh finally declares that he loves her, something he should have said long before. Duncan Lacroix and Maria Doyle Kennedy give us another tumultuous dance of passion and loss. Murtagh leaves struggling to keep all emotions from bursting out. He carefully leaves the brooch she has thrust back to him. We see Jocasta break down in her true pain. Murtagh is crushed and now has nothing but his fight to live for.

“I love you, Jocasta MacKenzie. This world may change, but that will never change,”

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Duncan Lacroix as Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser ©2020 Starz®

Meanwhile, Jamie arrives back at the stables where Claire is asking the horse if he is worth it. He is drunk. He has won the bet and traded the horse back to Wiley for brokering a whiskey deal with Bonnet. Claire is still bristling and declares that Bonnet has cost them again, he has torn at their trust of each other. Of course, this ends up with Claire wanting to play a rough game with Jamie which always seems to lead into a roll into the hay with these two.IMG_4450

Later Jamie strolls into Governor Tryon’s Pavillion while he is being fitted for a new red tunic. He declares that it looks like they will get their war after all. He had hoped to avoid it while he hopes to take the Governorship of the colony of New York. Jamie knowingly takes the news of the Regulator leaders not taking Tryon up on the pardons. He gives that look that he’s thinking how he is going to warn Murtagh and his compatriots before Tryon is upon them.

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Sam Heughan ©2020 Starz®

The Wee Cheetie Pest Finds a Plague

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©2020 Starz®

Well, really, he is just the cutest little harbinger of doom, isn’t he? Back on the Ridge, wee Adso finds a large bug that turns out to be a locust and drops is at Roger and Brianna’s feet. The pair soon discover that all the settlers will be engulfed in a Biblical plague. Roger, sarcastically declares he thought it would just be a few cows going astray. But don’t kick a mushy icky bug gift.

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Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton ©2020 Starz®

Rogers remembers stories of locust plagues and how smoke was used to drive and divert the swarms from crops. He sets about getting all of Fraser’s Ridge farmers together and at first, they doubt him, being stubborn Scots that they are. He has had trouble getting anyone to trust his judgment, first Jamie and now the farmers. Luckily his ingenuity with creating smudge pots and burning very greenwood at the edges of the fields help to deter the swarm down to a few manageable leftover locust critters to swat at. Roger proves himself to the Ridge.

In closing the episode, we see that slime lawyer Forbes at a coffee house. Unnervingly he is meeting with none other than Stephan Bonnet (Ed Speelers), who is always prickly and quick to slash out at anyone. He informs Bonnet that his son is now master of River Run. Revenge.

Questions

Where the heck is Phaedra? Why would she not be present at Jocasta’s wedding? Could it be that like the character of Jenny, played by Laura Donnelly, other commitments came up in filming? I couldn’t find anything published as to the actor’s whereabouts.

Oh, and yes there were a few real locusts used for filming. However, the ones used for close up were bred to be sterile and wrangled safely.

Next week, after working so hard on the Ridge, we have episode 507, The Ballad of Roger Mac.

Catch it Saturday, March 28 at Midnight on the Starz® APP, Sunday at 8:05 pm EST and 5:05pm PST on Starz®, and Monday 30th of March on Amazon Prime in the UK and Ireland. 

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.

Outlander Season 5 2020

© 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 Free Will Recap

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Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser ©2020 Starz®

It’s one of the creepier stories in the Outlander books, the acquiring of the young Beardsley lads as part of Fraser’s Ridge. It’s one story many were glad to see had been kept. It’s official, we’ve begun the episodes I like to subgroup as “Please won’t you be my neighbor?”. Sadly much of the neighbor meeting is far from that warm and fuzzy childhood program feeling. Instead, the reality of the frontier and colonial isolation, of those forging to make new communities, and those taking advantage of tax gauging as we have already experienced with the Regulator wars starting up. It’s that very poor and backcountry situation where many create their own forms of justice. Men roam and raid, just like they did in the old country, and it wasn’t always the natives you needed to be afraid of, there were those that tried to make it look like it was Indians, when it was really smugglers and brigands, just like back in Scotland. Well, you wouldn’t want it to be perfect, would you?

Episode 503 Free Will shows us the theme of free will and making decisions. It’s an episode about making choices. We open with Claire and Marsali in Claire’s Surgery with the multitudes of mold experiments that keep failing (It is going to dawn on her to stop covering them with glass, right?) And a time-lapsed exposure of mold growing, notice that one does not have the glass over it.

An Education

Claire is questioned by Marsali on how she knows about searching for the mold, did she read it in a book, etc. Claire is determined to go against history, that it be damned. She is going to bring penicillin discovery forward 147 years. However, remembering her witch trial experiences, she turns the questioning around on Marsali and in a Socratic manner, starts asking her questions about why the mold could be significant. Marsali starts using reasoning and we get to see more of the multitudes of glass bell captured experiments and workmen still working on the house.

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Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser and Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser ©2020 Starz®

Jamie finally returns from Hillsborough and tells Claire that he must muster up the men that swore fealty to him and aid Lt. Knox in persuing Murtagh and the Regulators. He is worried about leaving the Ridge so close to harvest. Claire declares that she will go with him, and of course, he argues no with the typical Claire getting the upper hand, you will need a doctor with that many men, and Claire will ride with a large group of men, including the new Captain Roger MacKenzie.

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Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton ©2020 Starz®

Jamie meets with Fergus, who hands him a letter he secrets away and instructs him to write up an advertisement to be published regarding a call to arms. Fergus hastily grabs one of Claire’s medical papers and writes on the back of it. Now, a little foreshadowing of future trouble will no doubt come of this. Either her carefully tracked experiments with mold or her writings of care in the home for sick persons encouraging boiling of water (Dr. Rawlings Recommends). We’ll see later what trouble it will brew. Could it be a note that was meant for Murtagh?

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Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, Lauren Lyle, and César Domboy ©2020 Starz®

Bonnet Sightings

When the group breaks for setting up camp, Jamie pulls Claire aside and tells her that there have been sightings of Bonnet, up to his old tricks smuggling in Wilmington.

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©2020 Starz®

As if That’s Not Creepy Enough

When the Frasers leave with their band of men, they run across young Josiah stealing their food from their encampment in the morning. However, it’s not Josiah as Jamie appears next with the young Josiah (Paul Gorman playing both). It’s his twin Keziah. Josiah must tell their tale of woe to the party, about being indentured at 5 for 30 years to the Beardsleys, and Kezzie losing his hearing due to beatings from. Jamie still wants Josiah to be a hunter for the Ridge, especially if he is gone fighting, so he tells Claire and the Beardsley lads he is going to buy their indentureship from Aaron Beardsley.

So Jamie and Claire set on a side adventure to the Beardsley homestead.

Rules for horror films set in the woods:

  1. Don’t go into the spooky cabin.
  2. Don’t go in the basement, luckily they don’t
  3. But seriously don’t go into the creepy attic with dripping stains that must smell of human waste and rotting flesh. That smell Claire really should know.

The set of the buildings is reminiscent of many a horror flick we have seen. The “Don’t enter that cabin in the spooky woods!”  warning is lost on Jamie and Claire. He is determined to get the lad’s indenture papers from Beardsley. It doesn’t take long for Claire and Jamie to come upon the very troubled young Fanny Beardsley, the fifth of that name. Mr. Beardsley is a cruel man and has worn down four previous wives. Fanny tries to find them the indentured papers and swears that Beardsley is dead. She just wants them gone. After some time bumbling around in the cabin, dealing with goats, and hearing a noise from upstairs, Claire, who always manages to land in it, finds the source of the most putrid odor she has been smelling. Now, being trained medically, granted there was both goat odor and excrement probably in the house, but what physician doesn’t know the smell of what she encounters on the pallet? A very emaciated and flesh filled with maggots Beardsley.

Horrified and disgusted, the Frasers try to revive the man, whom Fanny tried to kill. Fanny explains that the man was trying to harm her when he had a fit. But Claire sees evidence of wounds being reinjured or not allowed to heal. Fanny was making death a very long torturous affair. Claire and Jamie demand to know the story, and in the middle of an altercation when Fanny tries to kill him, she goes into labor. After Claire delivers the child, Jamie remarks the child is black. Fanny finally opens up about life for her and the poor lads, and how the apoplectic (stroke) Beardsley had mistreated all his now dead wives, and that one wife is a ghost she talks to on a regular basis. So people do just go mad in the backcountry.

The purpose of this long drawn out story? We see the kinds of other people that make up the society of the colonies. The child, who Fanny abandons after conveniently finding both the deed and the indenture papers, is left with the Frasers. Claire discusses raising the child on the Ridge, Jamie brings up that they could try to have another child. What Claire really needs to discuss with Jamie is that she feels that Brianna, Roger, and wee Jemmy should go back to the 20th century where they will be safer. Jamie, who has spent most of this season trying to not lose Brianna, who he has just given in marriage and now is being told that she should go back to her time, digs in a bit and reasons that they don’t know if they can go back, or that Jemmy can even go through the stones. At the end of the episode, we see Jamie asking the man if he wants to die, to stop suffering. The man agrees by blinking, as he cannot speak. In the end, we hear a single pistol shot.

Okay, one more episode and finally Adso? Because we need that cuddle fiend. Oh, then there’s that Scottish officer.

Next episode, we meet the even more charming Browns. And you thought the Hatfields were fun. Catch Company We Keep, Episode 504 this Saturday, March 7 at midnight on the Starz App, Starz Channel Sunday, March 8 at 5:05 pm ET 8:05 PT, UK Monday, March 9 on Amazon Prime.


All images ©2020 Starz®

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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©2020 Starz®

“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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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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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.


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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 LA Premiere Today at 5:30 pm PST and Interview Round-Up

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It’s two more sleeps and the Outlander drought is over for this year. Earlier this week, New York had its premiere. And apparently, Sam Heughn let slip that it may be Murtagh’s last stand? Caitriona Balfe tried to save him, or stop him, and Sophie Skelton sought to deflect. But were they successful? There was a gasp in the audience. Was it an intentional slip, meant to tease? Who knows?

Go to the Facebook page for the live broadcast at 5:30 PM.

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Is This The End of…

We have all surmised that it may finally be Murtagh’s end. Historically the Battle of Almanance saw an answer by Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) with the hanging of some of the dissidents. If you are a book reader and history buff, you know about the last stand of the Regulators at Almanance and how it lit the fuel for further rebellion. However, Murtagh has survived before, and possibly he can escape. If Stephen Bonnet can do it, he most certainly can. Or will he sacrifice himself for another? Nail-biting commence. Got that dram handy?

The Low Down

Recent interviews with Matthew B. Roberts, producer, and writer on the series, have revealed what many of us book readers knew, there’s going to be another wedding. I didn’t expect them to be so revealing about it, as they usually like to keep cards close until the first episode has aired.

The costumes and wedding pictures revealed the wedding dress of Brianna very early on this last month. This is a departure from another wedding dress that was kept under wraps for some time. Roberts reveals more details on the season, the conflict as it stands for Jamie and Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix), Godfather and Godson on two opposing sides. Jamie will don the redcoat of the British Army, and the army that has dogged him all of his life, to keep the land grant for Fraser’s Ridge.

Claire will be urging Brianna, Roger, and Jemmy to go back through the stones. The violence is mounting with the heavy taxation by the crown. Both Brianna and Roger, (Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin) know what will happen during the next 5 years. Claire fears for their safety. And everyone has that newspaper clipping about a particular fire on Fraser’s Ridge that is a few years away, in the back of their minds. Jamie is in conflict, he doesn’t want them to leave. He finally has his family around him. He already lost 20 years with Claire after forcing her to go back to their time.

There’s going to be further Murcasta Emo, with ups and downs. Their star crossed love will play out over the season. It will be a bit of a rollercoaster. Not a surprise with two Firey personalities. Will they secretly get married? Or will Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) be forced to marry a particular naval officer to keep suspicions at bay?

When and Where to Watch Season 5

The drop for Season 5 is at Midnight (ET) Saturday, February 15th on the Starz App, 9 pm PT. It will be 8 pm (ET/PT) on Sunday, 16 February on Starz cable. In Canada, it’s on the W Network premiering at 9pm on Starz.

UK watchers can view Outlander on Monday, February 17 on Amazon. Australian viewers on the same date, on Foxtel.

Watch for Sam Heuhan and Caitriona Balfe on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

The series has been very good at managing its pre-season reveals. Many of the supporting actors must wait until it is official for them to announce they’re even being on the show. Veteran actors of the series have been releasing all sorts of behind the scenes goodies.

The Crew

We’d also like to thank the film crew and everyone else who makes this show great. The cast is very supportive of who makes them look fantastic.

Check the cavalcade of BTS below. And one really great shot of Duncan Lacroix by Richard Rankin, Film-Noir Murtagh.

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Interview on Facebook Live if you missed it!

Matthew B. Roberts Interview on The Hollywood Reporter

Did Sam Heughan Just Spoil That Murtagh Dies in Outlander Season 5?

Outlander season 5: Caitriona Balfe says series won’t face problems like Game of Thrones