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“The miserable have no other medicine, only hope.”

by Cynthia Gentit

[I don’t normally do recaps (this is sounding like a dos equis commercial) but Crystal Fann our favorite ginger blogger is dealing with some plumbing issues (in her house, that is) and asked me to fill in today.  So here we go…]

“The miserable have no other medicine, only hope.”  So said William Shakespeare and so says episode 411, “If Not For Hope” as we see the relative misery of each of our characters altered by hope throughout the episode.

The Hot Open:  A play on words here.  FYI, anytime a show begins by opening directly into the story before the title sequence or opening credits it is known as a “cold open.”  Some shows do this regularly, some never do but when Outlander does it, it always means the same thing – we are in the point of view of someone other than Claire.  It has been a consistent device used ever since The Reckoning way back in season 1.  But in this case, we have a shower head, steam, and a carefully adjusted camera angle on a naked Roger (note the hand placement…) so yeah, you can call it what you like, but I call that a hot open.

roger 1

We rapidly transition back to Rogers past present and find our erstwhile hero has just had a wash in the stream – evidently even his captors couldn’t stand the smell – and gotten (finally) a new set of clothes.  This scene left me with a lot of questions; does the gift of clothes have significance? – is it like giving Dobby a sock?, was Roger going to go through the stones or was he prevented from doing so?  Will we get those answers later or were they left on the editing floor?  Regardless it’s once again #poorRoger.

brianna's drawings

Lizzy apologizes & asks forgiveness:  As well she should.  “I made such a mess of things” and Bree responds “You made an honest mistake, you thought you were protecting me” but then goes on to say that she can’t do the same for her father.  Pity.  I really liked seeing the artist side of Bree here but I do wish we had seen this more consistently in past episodes so they didn’t have to hit us over the head with it REPEATEDLY this episode.  It got a bit wearing.  With the exception of last week, we haven’t seen or heard of any of Brees drawing ability since early season 3.  I think including the scene with Ellen’s portrait back in episode 407 would have established this character trait earlier as it is going to be important in Bree’s past future.

jamie's got a gun

The hunting party:  There is still much tension between Jamie and Claire, note the physical distance between them.  Claire is upset with Jamie for what he did to Roger and he is upset with Claire for not telling him the truth.  Ian is ever cheerful and eager to right his part of this wrong.  I thought the dialog here between J & C was very well written and acted by all.

This episode was written by Shaina Fewell (Blood of My Blood) & Bronwyn Garrity (Savages) and I think both of them have a good grasp of who the characters are.  I especially loved Jamie’s call back to what he and Claire have been through, “we’ve lived with the fear of the unknown before, not knowing if the other is alive or dead, but each passing day Bree must suffer through the very same thing.”  This seems to touch Claire and she begins to soften.

ian and claire

Ian speaks to his auntie:  Ever been stuck with a couple that are obviously on the outs?  I have, so I totally identified with Ian in this scene because uncomfortable doesn’t begin to cover it.  Claire says she isn’t angry although she seems that way to me (so does Jamie to be fair) and is reminded that both she & Jamie are suffering – not to mention Ian is suffering because he has to live with them.

marsali

Fergus & Marsali:  I have to say, anytime Lauren Lyle is on screen I am a happy camper, much happier than Marsali at present because, as Ben Franklin said after three days fish and houseguests both stink.  As far as she is concerned Murtagh has outlived his shelf life.  We see Fergus’ misery as he can’t find work and Marsali’s concern for him is touching.

phadre

A dinner party is arranged:  I love Natalie Simpson as Phaedre, her tiny delayed smile to Bree telling her she is beautiful just squeezed my heart.  So believable from a slave who would never expect to hear such a thing.  And squeeee, Lord John is coming!  Have to say that I didn’t like Bree’s insensitivity on insisting Phaedre pose for her when Phaedre was so obviously uncomfortable with it.  That seemed selfish and indulgent to me.

Bree & Auntie Jo have a chat:  Here we find out Bree has inherited her artistic ability from Jamie’s mother, Ellen and get the back story of Jamie’s parents.  A nice moment since we haven’t heard of Ellen and her painting since Lallybroch in season 1 but again we’re being hit over the head with “Bree the artist” and I miss the portrait scene.

Marsali & Murtagh have a chat:   Marsali is about as subtle as a bull in a china shop, waking a sleeping Murtagh to request he ask Fergus to help him.  Again a solid little vignette.  This one, by the way, was actually a conversation between Jenny & Jamie about Ian Sr. back in Outlander, it was clever to resurrect it here.  Fergus’ later response to Murtagh was precious.  Love these two together.

it's pippin

Meanwhile back at River Run:  The dinner party is in full swing and Bree feels like a prize pig in a room full of hungry wolves.  Bree makes a Cinderella-like entrance and I liked the focus on her silver bracelet as she descends the stairs, a subtle reminder that Roger is also in the room.  Billy Boyd makes me smile every time he is in a scene but I’m still expecting Pippen’s voice to come out when he opens his mouth so it was, unexpectedly, a bit disorienting for me to hear his natural Scottish brogue instead.  Here too, I wish we had been introduced to this character earlier because meeting him at this point smacks of a plot device.  If we had seen him at the River Run dinner in 402 or even in the Wilmington episode it would have made his appearance here less abrupt and convenient.  But watching the gents in the room compete for Brianna’s attention in this scene, while a bit over the top, made me chuckle at how true to life it was.

here's the quarterback

Speaking of entrances:  This made me laugh out loud because Lord John knows how to make one.  He enters the room without a speck of travel dust or a hair out of place and EVERYONE stops to take notice.  In my mind, I saw him in a cape and the superman stance and I heard the “here he comes to save the day” Mighty Mouse theme song in my head.  All the “dude, we’re screwed” looks on all the gentlemen’s faces were priceless, nobody in the room trumps a Lord!  I’m giving a shout out to Lee Boardman (who plays Lieutenant Wolff) on this one, his facial expressions were spot on.

The dinner party:  Did y’all catch that the story Lord John was telling as the scene opened was about Margaret Campbell and her fortune telling abilities?  Another call back I liked.  And speaking of facial expressions, did you notice the looks exchanged between Lord John and Judge Alderdyce during the party?  I must confess to missing them completely the first time through but on a re-watch, yes, there are several and they’re definitely establishing a story.

ooohhh i like him

Bree turns psychologist:  For me, this was one of the weak points of the episode.  Strictly plot device to establish that the Judge has a scandalous secret, not even his mother knows.  The best/cheesiest line of the scene was Forbes “must I close my eyes when you are before me” and Bree’s curt “yes.”  Again, loved the great facial response by Lee Boardman but overall the scene bored me – all that from a squirrel?

brianna

Bree & LJ have a chat: Lord John, ever the faithful watchdog of all things precious to Jamie has come to care for yet another of his children and Bree fakes a season 1, Claire worthy swoon to escape from the clutches of lawyer Forbes.  It’s Lord John again to the rescue, and Lizzy, who should never appear in public without a gag, appears just in time to let it slip that Bree is pregnant.  Can you say awkward? I’m starting to love Lizzie, she could be the new Rupert.  Then we have a long exposition filled rehash of past events and again I am bored but David Berry can even do boring well and we learn he has a letter for Bree from Jamie.  This is a slight change from the books but I liked it.  Not for the last time this episode I scream silently at Bree “read the bloody letter!!!”

on the sofa

Bree calls out Auntie Jo:  Bree doesn’t want a husband and Auntie Jo explains the practical side of being an unwed mother in the 1700s   The dinner party and this exchange just make me wonder, why is Auntie Jo so sure Roger is not coming back?  Does Jocasta not believe Bree’s handfasting story?  She seems very quick to marry off her already married niece.  And what would happen if Bree did marry and Roger returned?  Then what?  Another Jamie/Leery situation?  I know this is from the book but it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me there either so I struggled with the logic of it all.

bonnet

Bad boy Bonnet reappears:  I think Ed Speleers is the greatest gift season 4 has given us.  The only thing better than Bonnet is Bonnet & Murtagh in the same scene.  When Murtagh cracked him in the head with his pistol, hubby and I cheered.

jamie's letter

Bree, read the bloody letter!  But no, instead you’re going to go downstairs and make me see something I wish I could unsee.

My least favorite moment in the episode:  Am I surprised Outlander went there?  No, I’m not, disappointed, but not surprised.  It’s scenes such as this that get people talking and controversy generates PR, so no, I’m not surprised on that level.  Am I surprised that they depicted Lord John having a quickie in what looks to be the linen pantry with the door open for any passerby to see?  Yup.  Lord John has always been more cautious than that.  I’ve seen people saying the opposite but having read all the LJ books, I’m not buying it.  And even without that, the show has established that being caught en flagrante delicto in this time period was punishable by death.  Bree wasn’t the only overnight guest at River Run that night, anyone could have stumbled across them – and Lord John is smarter than that.  Enough said.

Murtagh meets the only soldier in the history of Outlander who actually studies the broadsheets.  And said soldier saying “unhand him” about Fergus – snort.

Bree tells Lizzy to “be discreet” and for once in her life, she is:  The blackmail scene that follows is pretty much straight from the book.  But I have to say, for me, it was a disappointment.   This is a very nuanced scene in the books and I just wasn’t getting what I expected from it.   A bit more of the tone we saw when he dressed down Captain Leonard would have helped.  Plus, I’m just not buying that Bree actually feels compelled to marry Forbes.

bree and john

Fortunately, she doesn’t have to because again, Lord trumps lawyer and Bree is declared a MacKenzie.

Rollo proves his worth:  The discovery of the dead body made me laugh – probably not the reaction they were going for.  Ian identifies a body that has been gnawed on by countless carnivores because it’s missing two fingers?  Well, it’s also missing a leg, so just how accurate is this two-fingered ID?  Fortunately, canny Ian just happens to remember a waistcoat he saw all of once two months ago –really?  How convenient.

bree on porch

Bree & LJ have a lovely chat:  A lot of chatting in this episode – and it looks like she’s finally going to read that letter??

it's not roger

The hunting party buries the plot device, er, I mean the body:  We are again reminded that Bree is on Jamie’s mind, “one thing is for certain, he was somebody’s child.”  Sob, Sam Heughan you can even make me teary over a plot device.  Judging by the look on her face it worked on Claire as well because we get one of the loveliest moments of the episode –

Claire & Jamie do some splainin’:  Another well-written scene and I have to say I’ve forgiven them (a bit) about some of the choices in last week’s episode.  Sam and Cait both were wonderful in this scene.

jamie and claire

Back to the Mohawk:  Time has passed, we know this because Roger has his Ewok beard back, and we finally arrive at the village.  Roger runs the gauntlet and gamely rises to his feet only to be cold-cocked and we end the episode on, yet again, poor, poor Roger.

A good transitional episode.  Next week Bree finally reads that letter – you’re killing me with all this messing about Bree – and we begin the downhill race to the end of the season.  If it’s anything like past seasons the next two episodes are going to be a blur.  So buckle up buttercup, it’s going to get be a bumpy ride.

 

CYNTHIA GENTIT – Cynthia is a guest Sassenach Sisterhood blogger whose love of Outlander began with the show and quickly spread to all things Outlander.  When she’s not an Obsassenach she’s tracing her own Highland roots, enjoying the beauty of north Georgia and finding/selling unique antique and vintage items.  Find her on FB @AToBVintage, on Etsy under A Thing of Beauty Vintage or at www.CherishTheOld.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Deep Heart’s core rhymes with I am Woman, hear me Roar!

by Crystal Fann

I bet I started this blog over a hundred times today, each time looking at my words and wondering if I was being too harsh…to easy…or somewhere in between that didn’t aptly express my feelings on the episode.  So, I think I’ll just start with a wish sent out to the universe…

Please oh please can TPTB at Outlander hire a writer that can write a strong woman without turning her into a bitch?

I didn’t like this episode.   I thought I would, it started out good enough with the sweet moments between Jamie and his daughter but interspersed with those were scenes that put the show in a hand-basket on its way to hell.

The Good Parts

Jamie is a physical man and sadly enough the thing he alone shares with his daughter is that they both have been a victim of rape.   His words were harsh, but an echo of what he knew floated through his daughter’s mind.  His hold was firm, yet not harsh and in a few moments, Jamie convinces Brianna what years of therapy don’t convince some.   It’s not your fault.

The moment morphs into a heart to heart between father and daughter where Jamie shows Brianna that the only thing that can undue the damage done by Blackjack and Bonnet isn’t hatred or revenge, but love and time.

Then we have the moment at the fence when Jamie and Brianna watch Claire dig peacefully in her garden (a character trait from the book I’m glad they kept.)  Brianna mentions Frank again, but only as a realization that while she thought her mother whole back in Boston, only here in that wilderness is that true.

The subsequent scenes of life on the Ridge show that Brianna has found her place among these people and is reluctant to leave, baby forsooth.

 

The Bad Parts

First off…Claire babies Brianna far too much for my liking, and it seems she also loses all good sense when talking to her daughter.   Brianna is the one that just happens to mention the fact that her baby might be that of the man she loves.  Really Claire?  Aren’t you supposed to be the great healer and the fact that the withdrawal method isn’t foolproof (isn’t really all that good at all honestly) slipped your mind?   Also slipped were the dangers in giving her daughter a surgical abortion in the 18th century, pain being the least of those worries.

I DETESTED the scene where Brianna and Claire listed what they missed about the future.  To a casual viewer it gave the impression that these women were forced to live in the past and not that it was a choice made for love.  (I happen to know a casual viewer and that is EXACTLY what he thought).  I think it was the writer’s very pitiful attempt to show us that no matter what she was missing, Bree would rather be in the past with her parents.  Did I mention it was a pitiful attempt?

Even though it’s in the “parts I don’t like” section, Brianna’s nightmare sequence was really well done, even if it was the impetus for Lizzie blabbing and the basket careening further toward hell.  Speaking of Lizzie….how come the ONLY person in this whole kerfuffle that should have been smacked wasn’t?

Brianna comes into the happy cabin pitching a fit and throwing around slaps.  I don’t blame Murtaugh for leaving, Brianna probably would have smacked him too.

Oh sure, Jamie beat the crap out of Roger and Ian sold him to the Indians, but Brianna better bet glad it wasn’t my dad that got hold of him.  My dad would have gutted Roger like a fish, weighted him down and put him in the cat-fish pond behind his house.  (I’m not sure one of my college boyfriends didn’t end up down there).

Yes, it was a calamity of errors, but to hold Jamie and Ian ultimately responsible is just plain wrong.  Jamie and Ian acted on only what they knew to be true at the time.  Had Claire and Brianna not kept the secret of Bonnet’s involvement none of this would have happened.  Both women came across as highly hypocritical and Claire’s scolding tone when she asked Jamie about Roger didn’t work at all.  I really didn’t like Claire at all in this episode.  She laid that ring down on the table with accusatory flair, but it was her secret at the heart of this mess.  I don’t expect much from Brianna in this situation, she’s young and was raised by Frank who apparently taught her she could do no wrong.  Claire however is completely out of character with her actions and reactions.   The Fraser women are responsible for this kebbie-lebbie, not the Fraser men.

Now I know some will argue that most of the episode and dialogue was taken from the book and it was, but it was acted in such a way that gave it an entirely different meaning.   Claire not taking up for Jamie when Brianna said he was untrustworthy where Roger was concerned is UNFORGIVABLE and completely out of character.

One of the main faults in this week’s episode was that it put too much emphasis on the Bree/Claire relationship and not enough on the Jamie/Bree relationship and therefore gave the show the appearance of “it’s Claire and her daughter against the savage world”,

And Jamie’s behavior, almost begging toward Brianna and Claire was just too much.  The man thought he was avenging and protecting his daughter, he should beg NO ONE for forgiveness for that.   I just can’t help but wonder, would Claire and Bree be acting so self-righteous if it had actually been Bonnet who showed up last week?

 

Other Things I liked:

Roger.  Despite not being able to keep from wondering just how bad he smelled, (kudos to the make-up department), I liked the Roger stuff.   He wasn’t one of these men who wore his bravado on his sleeve with loud words and actions, but kept it in the tying of knots and the determination to get back to his wife.   The heartache he felt standing in front of the stone that could save his life but separate him from the woman he loved was palpable and beautifully acted, even if it was the silliest cliffhanger Outlander has ever tried to sell.   Not to mention…. what is it with Outlander that every chase/wilderness hike has to take for freakin-ever?

Murtaugh and Jocasta flirting.   While it’s been said by many in the know that Murtaugh won’t take the place of Duncan Innes…that doesn’t preclude him having his own “true love” with Jocasta Cameron.   I saw a few sparks during their reminiscing…Murtaugh teasing that his hands were so memorable and Jocasta’s quip that he couldn’t keep them off her sister was so adorable.  I can’t wait to see how much this couple will smolder.

Ian.   My God I love every single thing John Bell does.  From his sheepish crush on his new cousin to the way he offers himself as a substitute suitor was precious.   Even his reaction to Jamie calling him a “wee idiot” was adorable.   This is an actor that has really inhabited the character’s skin, playing him true to form.

The Native Americans.  Beautifully appointed and with the horses meandering through the North Carolina (I know it’s Scotland but still.) countryside, the visuals during these scenes took my breath away.

Last week’s show was as close to perfect as it gets.   This week while technically close to the book was far off the beam acting wise.  Can I amend my original wish and say that if it’s impossible for Outlander to get a writer who writes strong women well…. can they at least get some consistency in storytelling?

 

It wasn’t about the snot anyway…..

by Crystal Fann

 

As a book reader, there are six scenes that occur in the books that are iconic …nay ESSENTIAL to the character of Jamie Fraser in my opinion;  the Wedding,  the separation on the eve of Culloden, the Print Shop, Jamie meeting Brianna- and to be spoiler sensitive- one that will occur later this season with Jamie, Claire, Brianna and the introduction of a new character ; and one that occurs in the 8th book that has Jamie writing a note with some very odd paper and ink. There are others that are important, but these six are to me essential for the character.

After seasons 1 & 2, I thought the show-runners got the importance of these scenes, then came the Print Shop.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like the Print Shop save for one small moment-that of Jamie hearing that he daughter he sacrificed for was safe and well. In the book, he breaks down sobbing on Claire’s shoulder.   As played in the show, it pretty much came across to me like “well thanks for the photos Claire, but guess what?  I’ve got a son!”   I wasn’t the only one peeved.   When the backlash hit, Sam defending his portrayal by saying the he thought Jamie would feel more for Willie because he “knew” Willie didn’t help matters much.  Ever since then I’ve had this nagging worry that the scenes I dream of seeing brought to life wouldn’t live up to the prose that created them.

Last week, with Roger & Brianna’s hand-fasting, another iconic scene, I relaxed a little bit…a very little bit.  And if I’m being honest, I think I held my breath for the first twelve minutes of this week’s show, my stomach churning with worry that they would somehow mess with that precious father/daughter moment and how upset I would be if they did.

It was perfect.

Every breath of Jamie laying eyes on Brianna came straight from the pages.  The portrayal of father and daughter meeting each other was exquisitely played.  The rest of the show wasn’t too bad either.

I saw shades of her father in the way Brianna handled her rape, turning inside herself just as Jamie did after the assault by Blackjack.

Completely different from the book, I liked the Roger/Bonnet scene which explains Roger’s absence.  The way Roger’s eyes narrow as he watches Bonnet indicates his intense dislike and I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened in the scene if Roger had an inkling what Bonnet had been up to the night before.   Brianna’s heart breaks thinking that she has lost him forever due to her stubbornness, but Lizzie’s news sets her on another path.

Lizzie is growing on me too.  Even though she’s as tall as Jamie for the most part, this young actress owns Lizzie’s naivete and her fierce devotion to Brianna.  Her immediate crush on Ian had me chuckling.  Sure, she makes a mistake that will later be part of breaking her mistresses’ heart, but she does it from a place of love and loyalty.

Then we get the moment, right down to Jamie pissing (although against a building instead of a tree in the book, but hey I’ll let them have this one).

I joked last night about seeing the snot cry that I’ve been so adamant should be Jamie’s response but in all honestly, I didn’t.  It wasn’t about the snot anyway, not really.  It was about doing justice to that moment when Jamie sees the love between him and Claire made whole.  It was about Jamie seeing the child he thought he would only ever see in his imagination standing before him and recognizing himself in her in a way that made denial impossible.

And it wasn’t just Jamie meeting his daughter that wrung a few tears from my eyes.  Claire’s face- a study of shock and disbelief that morphed with trembling fingers touching her daughter’s face into the most profound joy.

Ian was fabulous as always, especially with his quip that lets us know right quick that things about his “auntie Claire” haven’t gone unnoticed.  Too bad he wasn’t that observant to Lizzie fawning all over him but I guess its excusable because Rollo is a very handsome dog.

There were differences in the book; Brianna telling her mother about the hand-fasting (sorry Diana, but I never found it believable she kept this tidbit to herself) and her belief that Roger is lost to her forever, Ian and her conversation about Bonnet, meeting Murtaugh and the “call me Da” moment were all show creations, but you know what?  When you keep the soul of the story, all the little details seem to fall into place, somehow seeming better than in the original incarnation.

I think my favorite moments – Jamie seeing Brianna smile in her sleep just like him and his gushing to Claire that “she called me Da”, weren’t in the books at all but feeding of that singular perfect moment only wove the story tighter.

 

Jamie can’t look at his daughter without the grin tickling his lips, he’s besotted.  Murtaugh’s right, he’s had a lot of pain and no one deserves to have his daughter more than Jamie Fraser.  Brianna’s learning what a true loving couple looks like by watching her parents.  Sure, she feels disloyal to Frank, but to realize she came from and is part of such deep love is slowly wooing her.  The scenes on the Ridge punctuated with Bear McCready’s “Ridge theme” were a feast for the eyes, right down to the “still”.

Even the not so endearing moments flowed from that perfect core.   Brianna telling Claire that Frank knew she came back is a show creation, but a good one (seriously, you could see Claire thinking, “that son of a bitch!” it was all over her face).

Like any good mother, Claire can tell something is wrong with Bree (wasn’t the stuff about her name adorable) but thinks it’s all Roger related.  Brianna is wrong though, and we see Roger thinking only of her in taking a stone in payment for his time aboard the Gloriana.

I honestly liked the Jamie/Roger confrontation in the show much better than the book.  Jamie Fraser is nothing if not a fair man and his beating of Roger in the book always seemed a little cold-blooded to me.   Just like Claire’s emotions at finding out her daughter has been raped run much truer to me in video than in prose not to mention I guess mothers find things doing their kids laundry just like they do today.

THIS is what a good adaption looks like.   The soul of the story is kept true with iconic moments like heartbeats along the way.  Sometimes the blood flows like you would expect it to, but sometimes, it takes a vein you didn’t notice, but as long as the heartbeat stays strong and true it all flows together…

Perfectly.

You’re not in Kansas anymore…this is Wilmington.

You’re not in Kansas anymore…this is Wilmington.   by Crystal Fann

Outlander had its 50th episode tonight and amid all the twists and turns of new lives in America lay whispers of the past, things that brought to mind what made us fall in love with Outlander in the first place.

First off, can we all just agree what an adorable chub of a baby is that Germaine?   Marsali is beaming with love for her new bairn reminding Claire of a time she felt that incredible rush of a new parent’s love and unknowingly breaking her heart with the belief she will never set eyes on that child again.  Ha!   little does she know!   Heck, Fergus got a look at Brianna just before he got home, well at least a likeness of her.

Back to Marsali I know those of you who read the books couldn’t help but think of a future time when the knife will rip Marsali’s heart to shreds, but for now everything is right in her small world, and fingers crossed it will stay that way for a while at least.

Jamie Fraser better watch his back…I’m starting to do some serious swooning over Roger Mackenzie.   Brianna is Jamie and Claire made over, stubborn, quick-tempered and passionate.   The two of them together is like steel rubbing against flint and it doesn’t disappoint.

Now I just have to ask a question here…what is it with fictional couples on TV that never get caught fooling around where they’re not supposed to be?   Every time I’ve tried something like that, I always seem to get caught with my pants down…. literally.   Brianna had the forethought to tell Roger to close the door, I’d have at least piled a barrel or two in front of it especially if I was about to get naked.

I’m glad Brianna came to her senses and said yes because a man that follows you two hundred years back in time is absolutely worth having.   Based on their last conversation, I thought Brianna came across as a tad impulsive, but I guess facing the idea of never seeing Roger again made her face her true feelings for him.

Their hand-fasting was sweet and wonderful-everything spun in Diana Gabaldon’s words come to life.   Was it a word for word copy of the book scene?  Well of course not, but the sweetness and the soul were captured perfectly.   Roger and Brianna’s coming together was reminiscent in spirit to that of her parents wedding night.  A new future built on the memories of the past, a perfect tribute for a 50th episode.

You knew the fight was coming.   Rik Rankin should get an Emmy for Roger’s “oh she*t” expression alone.   Raise your hand if you yelled at the TV for Roger to lie…mine’s up there pretty high.  Honestly, I don’t think the when Roger found the obituary was as upsetting as him confiding in Fiona as far as Brianna was concerned.   Of course, Roger had to open his mouth about Brianna doing what he says now that she’s his wife.   Don’t let the clothes fool you…20th century woman here dude.   Like most fights, it spiraled due to anger, pride and guilt.  I don’t think for one hot second Roger has left Brianna to fend for herself, but I do think he’s smart enough to let her cool off a bit.

Speaking of the book…the Jamie and Claire part was a show invention with bits and pieces taken from other scenes and one small part from book 8, but you know what, I loved it.   Watching Claire fan-girl over George Washington was priceless, especially when she in her awe blurted out a piece of folklore that in her time would have been taught as truth.   Chopping down cherry trees is a figure of speech… I’m giggling as I type.

Canny Jamie was back!  Trying to figure a way to warn Murtaugh of an ambush, I laughed out loud when he elbowed, then jabbed Fanning in the hernia.   Jamie needed a distraction and he trusted in Claire’s skill to both heal and distract.    I would have loved to see a better cast John Quincy Meyers butt in the air on Jocasta’s dining table, but this fit and it was a way of writing Jamie & Claire into an episode where they wouldn’t have been otherwise. And they did give me that other doctor’s comment about tobacco smoke up the rear as a reminder of that most favored book scene.

Personally, I was glad for an end to that god-awful play, and tickled by George and Martha Washington’s disdain for it.  Brits of that time loved to show off their pompousness but the commander of the upcoming revolution don’t have time for that kind of foolishness.   The future father of our country seemed taken with Jamie-who can blame him really-and I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps the writers are setting up a friendship between those two.  I’ve always felt that the show would veer from the books in making the revolution more of a threat for the Fraser’s and with George’s insertion so early in the show it does make me go hmmm.  I have a feeling Jamie is going to have to make up for throwing George under the bus sometime in the future.

Framed in drama, the underlying amusement has been missing from Outlander for a while and I for one was more than happy to see it back.   The only thing I found lacking was a scene of Murtaugh and Fergus drinking ale in a pub while they caught up, although Murtaugh chuckling at the thought of Jamie at the theater almost made up for it.

Now let’s talk about the elephant in the room, or rather the pirate.   I’m just going to say it, I like the way the rape was handled.   Seeing the violence that Brianna endured is going to lend weight to some things that come later.   Poor Lizzie will of course mistakenly think Roger was responsible for Brianna’s attack, but while she’s at fault for that assumption, you completely understand why.

To be honest, I’ve not been all that impressed at times with Sophie, but the girl brought it that that scene, both before and after.   Ed Speelers, channeling a demonic Jack Sparrow, claiming himself to be an “honest man for a pirate” when he handed Brianna her mother’s ring was terrifying.

I’ve seen several comments about the “spectators” of the rape and how they did nothing, even if they looked appalled.  It wasn’t that those folks were immoral, women were considered basically nothing more than property of their husbands and a woman like Brianna alone and unprotected was fair game for someone like Bonnet unfortunately.  Coming off a stint teaching Constitutional Law, I can sadly tell you that it wasn’t until the 1910 case of Thompson v. Thompson that the law of the land considered violence against women.  What happened to Brianna wasn’t out of the ordinary for that time period at all.  I can just imagine as she lay there screaming with Bonnet on top of her that she wondered why no one was coming to her aid.  Talk about realizing that you’re not in Kansas anymore so to speak.

I can’t watch that scene without thinking what it will do to Jamie and Roger when the find out what Bonnet did to Brianna.  The guilt both men will feel breaks my heart to think about, but makes me itchy with anticipation to watch.

 

About those Culottes….by Cynthia Gentit

About Those Culottes…by Cynthia Gentit

Costume choices on this show fascinate me.  Last season we saw Claire return to the 1700s in her (in)famous “Batsuit.”  Last episode (“own the Rabbit Hole) it was Bree and Rogers turn.

While Claire returned in a sturdy Batsuit, Bree seemed to think a flimsy open in the front “Batcape” would suffice.  Practical Roger, swathed in four layers, apparently was going with a “Hulksuit” for his return.

 

roger and fee

Poor Fee, she looks so cold.  Maybe she should have hulked up her outfit as well….but I digress.

Recently Sassenach Sister Crystal Fann wrote a blog post in which she described Rogers humorously altered pants as “culottes.”  Some readers took exception to that saying that they were period correct, and they were right…but they still looked like culottes, as did the 18th century pants (they’re called slops if you’re being proper btw.)

roger old people

Others have described his headgear as a “poop emoji hat” and I can’t say they’re wrong either but there’s also a lot to love in Rogers costume so let’s break it down, layer by hulky layer shall we?

Layer 4 – Rogers overcoat and poop emoji hat:

roger barrel

I’m not sure where the hat came from – other than the back of Rogers closet – but when last seen at Miss Bairds it had a jaunty pompom on top.  So glad Roger took that off for his trip back, otherwise all those dock workers would have beaten his wimpy butt before he ever laid eyes on bad boy Bonnet.

The coat appeared during Roger & Bree’s “first date” at Fort William all the way back in season 2.  Roger, our intrepid historian, has reworked his 1900s duds to fit a wee bit better in the 1700s.

First, he shortened the coat, for a couple of reasons.  You see, back in the day, a gentleman wore his coat long – like this luscious favorite of mine, Jamie’s French stag coat (le sigh…) but an ordinary workman wore his coat short to allow for movement while working.  Just take a look at the workmen behind Roger, they’re all in short coats.

roger jamie

Shortening the coat allowed Roger to use the extra material to add those fashionable sleeve cuffs.  He also removed the toggle buttons, loops and the hood.  Frankly, I would have left the hood on and ditched the hat if I were Roger but then Bree had a hood and never used it (insert eye roll here…) so maybe our boy was right.  By the way, did anyone see Baby from Dirty Dancing “I carried a watermelon” when Roger picked up that barrel?  No?, well maybe I’m just bent that way, cause I did….

 

roger shaven

This picture gives a good close up on the rough edges of the hood which our boy has hand stitched shut and this leads into…

Layer 3- the corduroy suit:

We saw the corduroy suit earlier this season when Roger called Bree to deliver the good news (and not deliver the bad news) about Jamie and Claire, apparently it’s one of his Oxford work suits.  Some people have criticized the costume designers for putting such a handsome biscuit in something so frumpy but this girl was around in 1970 and these corduroy suits were THE BOMB – and if they had leather elbow patches, well, that upped the cool factor exponentially.

To alter his jacket for the 1700s Roger removed the fold over collar and lapels, hemming them roughly by hand and adding some period looking wood (or leather?) buttons.  Apparently he also cuffed the sleeves but you cannot see that in the picture.

roger combo

On the bottom he took the matching corduroy pants from the suit and shortened them to make “slops” and accessorized his new look with a leather sporran, and the dress stockings and shoes from his Highland Festival outfit.  Which brings us to layer 2…

Layer 2 – The Highland Festival Jacket:

I have to say, of all the clothing adaptations we see in this costume, I think this one may be my favorite.  Festival jacket to waistcoat.  To see this beautiful jacket torn apart tears me apart too – it’s both horrifying and genius at the same time.

The sleeves are mercilessly ripped off and crudely sewn up, the lapels are either removed or narrowed significantly and (I think) the buttons are removed or changed out for plain ones – but the real genius is on the flip side.

 

roger bonnet

Waistcoats have a different fabric on the back than the front, usually a lighter weight satin or silk so Roger removed the entire back of the jacket to reveal the grey jacket lining, giving the illusion of a different fabric back.  You can tell this because the raw seam is on the wrong side for a waistcoat but the correct side for a jacket lining.  I’m sure Roger thought few if any would ever see the seam and no one would question it if they did.   Add a belt, buckle and sporran and bob’s your uncle, instant fake waistcoat.  And, if I had any doubts about how Roger will fare in the 1700s, his “make do with what you’ve got” ingenuity eliminates them.

We’ve now arrived at layer 1 – Rogers’s shirt and stock:

Here, Roger goes hippy with a lace up shirt which were very popular in the late 60s, early 70s, so no doubt it’s either weekend wear Roger already had in his closet or something he picked up in a local shop.  The stock is crudely fashioned from a check dress shirt we saw Roger wearing when he came to visit Bree for Christmas in season 2 and also whilst looking for Brianna in Inverness.

roger quad
If you look closely in the Miss Baird picture you can just see the pompom on the top of Rogers hat before he went through.  I have to say the stock was the only thing that struck me as odd in this ensemble, usually the stock matches the shirt and that plaid really stands out but I guess we’re supposed to see that this was a last minute adaptation and Roger worked with what he had with him at the time.  As if I needed another reason to love Roger….

And that brings us to layer zero – bet you didn’t think I was going there….well I am, because I have to mention the shocking loss of Rogers fuzzy little Ewok beard.   Some were shocked by this but that too is period appropriate.  Gentlemen and men in general did not wear beards at this time for practical reasons because well, there was a lot of livestock in this era – and I don’t mean the four legged kind.  Fleas and lice were a huge problem and men didn’t wash their hair any more often than they washed their bodies so (ewwww) you can imagine the smell.  Um, no, you probably can’t, but trust me, it had to be horrendous.  And that’s all I’m going to say about layer zero because this isn’t that kind of blog post, you’re all going to have to wait for the handfasting for the rest of that layer!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the breakdown of Rogers hulksuit and have a greater appreciation for the thought and work that went into Rogers costume as well as what it says about Roger as a character.  I know I do.

Cynthia

A rabbit hole or DID?

Normally, I don’t look at who wrote an episode, the truth is I just don’t care.  From the scriptwriter’s hand to the final product holds so many changes, ad libs and rewrites the final product is often unrecognizable from the original.   This time I looked though, simply to see if there were two writers; the one who read the book and wrote the Roger part and the one who either never read and or ignored the book and wrote the Brianna part.  It was just one writer though, perhaps with a touch of DID?

Roger…

I have to tell you; unshaven Roger was a bit of a shock as were those culottes he was wearing.   Normally I never have a negative word to say about Terry Dresbach’s genius, but even coming from the future, Roger is a historian, he would have picked a better outfit.  Still, I loved the Roger stuff.  I was slow to warm to Rik Rankin, but he has completely won me over!

I LOVE Fiona too!   I can’t help thinking of Batman and Robin every time I see those two cause Robin ain’t got nothing on loyalty when it comes to Fiona.  Roger looked a bit scared-who can blame him- but with Fiona’s unwavering support raises his hands to the rock to follow the woman he loves.

Apparently, unlike the woman he loves, Roger looked at a map of how to get from the stones to the docks.  I have a theory that Bonnet took one look at those culottes Roger was wearing and that’s why he refused to let him on the boat.   Roger is unwavering in his quest and proves his worth in throwing a barrel on his shoulder.  Bonnet realizes that despite the culottes Roger might be worth having on board.  The flip of a coin decides Roger’s fate; Roger thinks he’s won, little does he know.

Poor Roger, he waited until they were out in the depths of the ocean to realize Bonnet is a psychopath.  I held my breath the first time Bonnet held Morag’s child fearful he would toss the squalling babe overboard, but instead he just gave the baby a sip of whiskey.

The next baby in Bonnet’s wake didn’t fare too well.   Small Pox was a dreaded disease back then and the show is historically accurate in showing that anyone with the disease was sacrificed to Poseidon, doesn’t make it any easier to watch.  Roger knows Bonnet and his crew will mistake Morag’s baby’s fevered teething for sickness and he hides them.  Thankfully Bonnet isn’t that stupid where the baby’s concerned, but he is pissed at Roger and once again flips a coin to decide Roger’s fate.

I do have one small question about Roger though…Claire’s ring was visible several times resting snugly on Bonnet’s finger and we know Roger spent time with Claire when she wore that distinctive ring.  So…. why didn’t Roger notice, or at least question, that Bonnet wore a similar ring?

Briana…

The girl’s got guts I’ll give you that, unfortunately, what she apparently didn’t have was sense enough to look at a map before heading through the stones.  The Scottish wilderness is beautiful but cold and slippery.  Note to Outlander writers here, I don’t need ten minutes and three different scenes of Brianna traipsing through the frozen tundra.  We get it!   It’s an arduous journey and she’s got the courage and grit of her parents to attempt it, but one scene of her shivering and twisting her ankle before falling flat on her face would have been enough.

Thankfully Brianna is found, and we have a moment to bask in the warmth of relief before realizing Brianna’s savior is the true witch of Outlander Laoghaire or as I affectionally call her, Leghair.   Oh, Leghair’s nice enough when she gets to live in the delusion that the love of her life was stolen from her by a conniving Sassenach witch.  It’s when she’s slapped with the truth of the matter that Leghair gets a bit nasty, first with Ian whose money doesn’t have enough blood on it for Leghair to take and then when she realizes she’s been housing the living, breathing proof that Jamie loved Claire and not her.

Thankfully we have Joanie.   While not true sisters, it was nice to see her bond with Brianna with tales of a man, so kind and wonderful Joanie considers him her Da despite living with him for less than a year.   It was the love of Jamie that sent Joanie to rescue Brianna from her mother’s machinations and take her to the family seat of Lallybroch.

Trouble is…we spent far too much time with Laoghaire and not enough time at Lallybroch.  Ian going “Hey”, then giving her money to buy a ship’s passage and her mother’s old clothes like he couldn’t’ get her out the door fast enough just didn’t cut it. Ian thinks Brianna has her mother’s eyes instead of the books “look of her father”.  Have you looked at Claire’s eyes, Ian?    I know Laura Donnelly was unavailable to reprise the character of Jenny Murray, but seriously, even in the book, Brianna’s time with Ian is far more important to the understanding of her father.  Bad move Outlander writers.

And speaking of bad moves.  You cannot convince me that not in the whole of Europe could the casting director find a petite blonde to play Lizzie.  My God, that girl was a head taller than Brianna and probably an inch or two taller than Jamie.  No way is this gal going to be able to convincingly portray Lizzie’s frailness.  They’ll probably have this Lizzie wrestling the white sow before the end of the season.  That’s strike two for this seasons Outlander casting.  Whatever ya’ll are smoking…. STOP!

 

And here’s Frank’s again…

You know, I didn’t mind Frank all that much this time, and I normally am NOT a Frank fan.

First Frank…A sweet memory, I hope we all have one like that.  A memory of being in our father’s arms with a feeling no one can touch us and all is right in the world.

Second Frank…This is a memory for which I hope most of us were spared.   That moment in childhood where we realize that the cocoon of comfort that surrounds us is nothing more than an illusion.

Third Frank – The rabbit hole is opened.  Frank has found the death notice and with it irrefutable proof that all this time Claire hadn’t lied.  She goes back to Jamie-the questions for Frank is, does Brianna go with her.  He’s upset and drinking, so much so that Brianna takes notice, but what she thinks is a problem with her parents’ marriage is so much more.  The memory is so much deeper than a father-daughter moment.  For Brianna, it’s the realization that her father knew all along that her mother returned to Jamie- and that it was a secret he kept.

Fourth Frank – The rabbit hole is getting deeper and Frank’s reeling.   He knows Claire goes back to Jamie, its there in black and white.  Yet there is the young girl who has always been HIS daughter, and she’s trying to understand his mood, trying to help unknowing that for Frank her sweetness is only adding to his despair.

Fifth Frank – The bottom of the rabbit hole is looming and he’s desperate.  To keep his daughter from a fate in the past, he must control her future.  Taking her away from Claire is the only option he can see to keep her in his life.   Brianna reacts like any young adult when confronting change-not well.   Plus, the memory brings on the added guilt of not responding to Frank’s “I love you”, for the last time.

We all know what happens.  Alone in that car, knowing Claire would have never stopped loving Jamie and returns o him, fearful that Brianna would seek out the father of her blood, did Frank try to save himself when the car started to slide, or did he let go, seeking the oblivion only the bottom of the rabbit hole could provide.

Final Frank – Just a moment, the proud nod of a head toward a daughter following her true destiny, but in that nod all that Brianna needed; I love you, I’m proud of you, I was so grateful to be able to raise you, and the most important.  It’s okay to go find Jamie, I understand.  For Brianna, it’s a moment of forgiveness and the permission she needs to embrace her true parentage.  Goodbye Frank.

…’ats not balls…’ats sa Willie!

Those of you who have read the entirety of the Outlander series might recognize that my title is plagiarized from the dialogue of a very adorable young man getting an anatomy lesson from his father and grandfather.  Those of you who haven’t read the books don’t know what you’re missing.

Life’s pretty good on the ridge it seems and nowhere as hectic as my life has been of late.

Claire is enjoying the company of Murtaugh who’s treating her like a queen.  The two of them are so content in each other’s company and neither seems surprised to see a child squawking about leeches on his legs, despite the fact that they’re in the wilderness three miles from the nearest town.  She goes immediately into doctor mode and attends the boy.  Myself I would have least have asked how he got there before I gave him a lesson in the medical attributes of slugs.

Jamie, it seems, has developed a tolerance to the cold mountain air as he saws wood in an ensemble that in modern times would amount to nothing more than a pair of shorts and a wife-beater.   The chest hair and muscles aren’t lost on a very appreciative Lord John, who stammers around excuses for travelling hundreds of miles out of the way before blaming it on Willie.

Lord John looks at Jamie like he wants to eat him with a spoon, something that isn’t lost on Claire and Murtaugh.   Claire handles being slapped in the face with the sight of Jamie’s son rather well, but Murtaugh is another matter.   The old Highlander has a whole other reason to dislike John-Culloden and Ardsmuir forgotten, its all about the taxes now.  (Poor Murtaugh, he’d likely keel over dead if he got a look at my last tax return).   Dinner is tense despite the forced pleasantries and Willie’s abhorrence of an outside toilet.  You know how a lot of people have their best ideas sitting on the toilet.  Well it seems Willie has his while in route.  A Gaelic comment to the horses and Willie remembers the MacKenzie from his youth, but that was a long time ago and he’s a big boy now who doesn’t play with wooden snakes and pees outside.

Claire & Lord John’s first tête-à-tête is tense as well, still Claire does better than I probably would, at least she doesn’t scream at John to keep his grubby hands off her husband.  She’s sweet and supportive listening to Jamie gush over memories of his son.  Murtaugh is a different matter.  The godfather can’t fathom Jamie’s friendship with Lord John and Jamie’s seeming unconcern over the plight of his Scottish brethren until the canny grey fox figures it out.   Murtaugh’s demeanor when he asks about Willie’s mother makes me think he wouldn’t be surprised to find out she lived in a molly house.  Maybe he’s just pissed off that Jamie & Claire are sleeping in a lean-to while Lord John and the young Earl take the house.  That part bothered me too, simply because the Lord John of the book would have never have stood to “discommode” Jamie and Claire so.

Lord John gets the measles…which gives Jamie the opportunity for some time alone with his son.  The kids definitely got the Fraser stubbornness and I have to say, he’s a far more convincing spawn of our Laird than the young man in season 2.   Willie is impressed with the grandeur of America, Jamie is impressed with his son.  In the course of vignettes through the gorgeous countryside, Jamie reminds Willie of their time together ….and Willie begins to remember.  The two begin to bond and Willie kills his first tear while at his true father’s side, a rite of passage even by today’s standards.  Like every other boy, Willie flouts the rules and crosses into Indian territory causing a ruckus.  Like any good father, Jamie takes the blame and offers himself with a truth that won’t matter any longer.  Willie however proves just exactly how much of Jamie Fraser’s blood courses through is veins.   Does Willie believe Jamie’s words about his paternity.  Not in the least, but Willie does remember Mack, his Mack and the love and devotion Jamie showed him all those long days ago.   Even in heartbreak Jamie finds peace in this because through Willie’s actions, we see what a wonderful father John has been to him.  This time at farewell, it’s Jamie that takes a tentative step after his son, only to be rewarded with a look of hope for the future.

Despite Willie being a child of what was tantamount to Jamie’s rape, Jamie’s unabashed delight at his son was sweet and sad at the same time.  This is the only child Jamie believes he will ever know even though he may never call Willie his own.  I wish the writers would have shown up some of the heartbreak Claire must have been feeling over the knowledge that Jamie would never meet his daughter.

Now let me get to my favorite part of the episode – the scenes between Claire and Lord John.  I will say, the Outlander writers had a far more eloquent way of Claire asking John how he kept a wife happy without bedding her and John’s even more eloquent way of saying “I did bed her and she never had any complaints!”.  John calls Claire on her crap.  Claire counters that she too raised Jamie’s child and reminds John that he British robbed her and Jamie of raising Brianna together.  Claire turns right around and calls John on his crap as well.  She doesn’t buy for one second John’s excuse of bringing Willie so Jamie can see him.

John’s sicker in round 2 and therefore not as guarded.  John still loves Jamie and admits they came for himself.  When Claire touts him of the physical love she and Jamie have that John cannot, John’s right quick to tell Claire that he could have had it

if he wanted it, but that it was HIS character and not Jamie’s that won out in that situation.  Claire doesn’t handle this revelation well, but it does make stop looking John like he’s got a rainbow spouting out of his forehead.   They finally find common ground through their love for the same man and this time they part as friends with Claire’s fond wish that one day, John will get his world rocked like Jamie rocks hers. (I couldn’t help but think about Echo in the Bone book readers!)

With the house finally empty, perfect time to take a bath isn’t it?  Does anyone know here I can buy a Jamie shaped sponge??  No seriously, what a perfectly romantic way to reaffirm their love and commitment to each other after the result Jamie’s romp with another woman was shoved in their faces.   Though not exactly like the book, the ring, quote and following nookie had only one flaw…it was too damn short, they should have at least let us watch them count to at least 200!  It looks like its Roger and Bree flying solo next week, so I’ll assuage missing Jamie & Claire by imaging all the ways they counted to 1000!

SPOILER WARNING FOR NON-BOOK READERS….DON’T VENTURE PAST THIS POINT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED!!

I know some people didn’t like Jamie’s joy in his son.  It didn’t bother me much because like I said, as far as Jamie knows, this is the only child of his blood he will ever know.  I like to think Willie gets a double dose since Brianna isn’t around for Jamie to lavish love on.   Now with that said, let me add that I hope someone had the good sense to learn from their mistakes in last years print shop scene and made sure we see some good old-fashioned blubbering, snot crying from Jamie Fraser when he meets his daughter!  If Jamie can love a product of rape that much…can you imagine how he will feel meeting the physical manifestation of his and Claire’s love.   I tear up every time I think about it and I just hope the show does it justice.   If anyone that reads this knows Sam Heughan…you might warn him, I’m going to be PISSED if I don’t see some snot-crying when he meets his daughter…and I’m not the only one.

Image result for man crying with snot cartoon

One last note:  Cynthia Gentit, my heart breaks you didn’t get to hear your favorite line…. “What news from the underworld Persephone!”   I could try and console you with a mention that at least the episode title card alluded to that scene, but since they used a snake that I’m fairly certain didn’t exist in North America at that time…I’ll just say I’m sorry.