First, the usual caveat, in case you are new to GFY: I don’t read the books, because I like evaluating Outlander the series on its standalone merits. So while I’m totally cool with discussing how these events as depicted diverge from the novel(s), please let’s not reveal future plot points in the comments unless it’s clear said plot point has been erased from the TV show. We’ll have plenty of time across season 5 to get into that nitty-gritty.
Second: Murtagh forever. He is, and always will be, both too old for this shit and never too old for any shit at all.
We open with the new version of the theme song, which is a capella and very haunting, and performed by a chorus rather than the original singer. It’s pretty but a bit of a dirge, and I wish they’d just go back to the original season one version, because that earworm burrowed into me with the strength and power of a thousand Jamie Fraser shaggings. Then we get a flashback to Murtagh, perfect Murtagh, as a young man delivering the news to a wee ginger Jamie that his mother has died and that he’s pledged to be Jamie’s eternal wingman. It’s very sweet.
Your hair is red
Your eyes are blue
I’ll be too old for some shit
But never for you.
And then! We jump right to Fraser’s Ridge, as Roger attempts to shave with a straight razor for his wedding to Brianna while Jamie watches wryly and then gives up and helps him. This allows him to hold a knife to his future son-in-law’s neck — the one he once beat to a pulp, albeit due to a miscommunication — while he presses him for information on what, exactly, Roger can do.
So you’ve shagged my one and only daughter
And now you’ll be sayin’ I do.
How’ll you provide
For your cranky new bride?
How exactly will you be of use?
i can’t build
what are tools
i don’t fight
i can’t medicine
i don’t hunt
can read tho
big money in reading
pls just let me wear ponytails and cuddle
Might I suggest he become a shrubber? He could be Roger the Shrubber, and he could arrange, design, and sell shrubberies. There are LOTS of people who might suddenly need one to get out of a jam. Also, a problem with this show is that it doesn’t want to age Jamie and Claire in any realistic way, because it has cast two extremely hot actors in their thirties, so Roger comes across like he’s the same age as Jamie and Brianna doesn’t seem far behind. Another issue is that all this close-up shaving — while useful in letting Jamie jerk Roger’s head to and fro while wearing glasses — removes the illusion that any actual shaving is being done at all, because you can tell Richard Rankin is already hairless.
Next, Claire’s Periodic Narration of Whoops We Need to Handwave Some Stuff comes in softly and explains to us that Fraser’s Ridge has really blossomed, full of settlers, and we can even see that Jamie has been busy building himself and Claire a brand new big house, which would have been a great opportunity for Roger to learn which end of the hammer makes the pointy metal thing go boom. However, this mansion was not even a glint in the Highlander’s eye when they left to chase down Roger. Then they had to journey back from River Run. Bree’s baby is big, but not THAT big, I don’t think, besides which I don’t think they’d have waited super long to get her married to Roger. EVEN with the help from the settlers, it feels like Jamie has erected this mansion in about two weeks. I know the man can get things up quickly thanks to his masterfully handled equipment, but that’s fast even for him.
Claire sniffles all over Brianna’s wedding dress, which is very pretty and also a tablecloth, and praises her to the heavens while Brianna just beams and accepts all these good words because of course. Then we see Jamie arranging the old/new/borrowed/blue items in his under-construction-but-seriously-nearly-complete study, where Claire finds him fretting about how he and Brianna haven’t had enough time together and now he’s giving her away to a dude who was recently known as Dogface. Listen, Jamie, I can’t pretend I’m not also concerned about Dogface, but it’s not like she’s leaving your settlement. Chill, dude. He’s also grumpy because Roger didn’t immediately run back to Brianna’s side when he found out she’d been raped and that the baby might be a bouncing baby Stephen Bonnet. Personally I’d have expected him to need a second with that, after also being clubbed by Jamie and then sold into servitude to some natives who found him totally useless and made him live in a jail. Claire points out that Rog did the right thing eventually, and then Jamie gathers himself and goes to see Brianna. Here, Outlander does the totally predictable and cheesy music swell when Jamie sees her in her tablecloth for the first time. I wish we hadn’t already seen her. It would have been way more impactful.
Jamie gives her a sixpence for her shoe, from Murtagh, who can’t be there. Then he fusses about how this can’t be what she imagined for her wedding, and she says, no, but at least she doesn’t have to imagine Jamie. Never mind that she didn’t know Frank wasn’t her father until like a year ago, meaning she never imagined Jamie at her wedding in the first place. I’m being overly literal, I know. Brianna just is… the worst. This entire scene, Sam Heughan is giving everything he can, and Sophie just kind of looks like she’s asleep. She and Jamie toast, and then Jamie walks her outside to meet Claire, who once again tells Brianna she’s gorgeous, and Brianna simply nods.
Yes. Yes, I am that.
I don’t need to thank you for
just telling the truth.
Then Jamie booms, “THE FRASERS OF THE RIDGE ARE HERE,” and we pan around to see the assembled settlers/wedding guests let up a big whoop while doubtless several of them talk trash about this enormous pronouncement.
@JohnGreyCanGetIt omg jamie is so extra
@hepatitisbri we get it we see you we’re right here
@JohnGreyCanGetIt “THE FRASERS OF THE RIDGE ARE SEATED!!”
@hepatitisbri “THE FRASERS OF THE RIDGE WILL TAKE THIS MOMENT TO EYE-F*CK!”
@JohnGreyCanGetIt “THE FRASERS OF THE RIDGE WILL NOW RETIRE TO REAL-F*CK!!”
@hepatitisbri John Grey is so turned on right now
@JohnGreyCanGetIt stop it he’s perfect
Claire and Jamie genuinely almost mount each other in the middle of the ceremony as they remember their own vows, which is presented as a super romantic moment of hotness between them even though in the clip you can clearly recall that Claire was upset and marrying Jamie under duress. None of this does anything to help the fact that Brianna and Roger have no chemistry. Anyway, everyone is there: Fergus, Marsali, Baby Jeremiah, Jocasta, Ulysses, that dude, some other dude, Governor Tryon, John Grey. The whole gang. There is also a bagpiper present, but we hear none of his work, in favor of the soundtrack that’s serving up so much fromage you’d think we were back in France.
Tryon later pulls Jamie aside to threaten him. Remember how he gave Jamie land in exchange for fealty, and then later asked Jamie to kill Murtagh the Traitor? Well, it seems Jamie has not only failed to find Murtagh, but he keeps sending the Governor letters with fanciful exploits and excuses for the fact that Murtagh has escaped him, and Tryon doesn’t think there’s much real tryin’ happening. We then cut away for a couple other weird snippets to set the table for later, like the sense that people mistrust Dogface because he’s not Catholic, and that Jocasta wants to chat to him later, and then a bunch of boozers try to pull off tongue-twisters while drunk. Only a new dude named Martin, who has noteworthy eyebrows, can do it. Martin has a name where others do not, and therefore I suspect Martin will die this season. He is also, it must be said, no IAN.
HELLO UNCLE I’M STILL WITH THE TRIBE
DEVELOPING A REAL NATIVE VIBE
TELL MARTIN TOO BAD
HE SEEMS LIKE A NICE LAD
BUT EVERYONE LOYAL TO JAMIE DIES OR GOES AWAY, SO SMELL YOU LATER, EYEBROWS!! LOVE IAN!!!!
John Grey and Jamie take a second to stroll off together, so that John can tell him that little Willie, now Big Willie, is a tomcat, which of course he says gracefully and with great tact because he is delightful. But what he really wants to tell Jamie is that Stephen Bonnet escaped the prison he was in before it blew up last season, and therefore roams the earth alive. “Maybe hell’s too good for Stephen Bonnet. The devil wouldn’t let him in,” Jamie growls… as Brianna, who had come along to ask him to dance, overhears. She staggers back to Claire and pretends everything is fine, and they chit-chat about cameras and Frank and how he’d always joked she’d marry a Chad or a Chip but would be delighted she chose an Oxford man instead. “I have a Roger,” Brianna says, and it comes out like, “I have this throw rug I bought at Target which is great because even if it doesn’t last, I’m only out 7.99.”
There was also a quick moment in which Roger, thoughtlessly, mentions doing all this again “when” they go back, and a shadow crosses Brianna’s face but she says nothing. And then here, once Claire is whisked away to dance, Brianna grabs her baby and hugs it to herself protectively. So I am guessing that if they do go back, it might be rooted in trying to keep her and baby Jeremiah safe from Bonnet’s paternal clutches.
Ulysses, that dulcet-voiced god among tertiary characters, escorts Jocasta to a cabin in the woods and leaves her be — and just as we think this is where she’s staying, we find out that it’s A SEX YURT. Murtagh, never too old for THIS shit, is waiting for her there, having somehow borrowed Jamie’s erector set to bring tall this sturdy bone shack. The two of them then proceed to GET DOWN, even though Jocasta never removes her undergarments. Ulysses is truly a treasure. He has been born into a terrible life of slavery, and yet he discreetly and selflessly wants to help Jocasta sup of love’s neverending pasta bowl. Indeed, Roger and Brianna and Jamie and Claire are also off having a private wanging.
@JohnGreyCanGetIt srsly where did they all go
@hepatitisbri is this party over or can we still drink?
@JohnGreyCanGetIt wait what is that godawful caterwauling
@hepatitisbri “THE FRASERS OF THE RIDGE ARE COMING”
@JohnGreyCanGetIt no, that isnt it this time, they sound more like a tennis match.
@hepatitisbri you’re right. no one tells them how far sound carries in the ridge
@JohnGreyCanGetIt it sounds like… singing
@hepatitisbri if she makes roger want to serenade her that way then she is even worse than i thought
Yes, our montage is set to the excruciating soundtrack of Roger strumming a guitar for Brianna and singing Nat King Cole’s “L.O.V.E.” No, seriously, he does that. I have to point out that while he is slightly off-key in parts, Richard Rankin is not a bad singer — but somehow, coming from ROGER, it manages to be terrible? That is quite a magic trick.
the thing is
i thought i could strum for money
busking is an art
just think about it
Anyway, everybody is happy and all the sex is consensual, so you know THAT won’t last. In fact, once their two minutes in Heaven are up, Roger passes out and leaves Brianna lying awake stone-faced, ostensibly fretting about Bonnet, Murtagh is also lost in post-coital thought. Jocasta calls him out on it, and he essentially tells her, “My lust is red, my regrets are blue, but I’m too old for this shit, so I can’t change for you.” I think he’s basically looking at the life choices that have left him a fugitive, and concluding that he simply is who he is: “You can’t change a man. You can only change his circumstances.” Jocasta, hurt, tells him that a dude named Duncan Innes — whom Murtagh and Jamie knew at Ardsmuir Prison — has proposed to her. She reaches for Murtagh’s hand as she tells him gently that she hasn’t answered; she can’t of course see how much this saddens Murtagh, but he IS a wanted man and by more than just Jocasta, so he gruffly tells her that he can’t stand in the way of her happiness. She reluctantly releases his hand. She hates that answer. I hate that answer. MURTAGH. You’re on the lam anyway. She’s probably going to move on whether she wants to or not. At least tell her how you feel.
It’s for the best
Even though it’s the pits.
I can’t promise her the moon
I’m too old for that shit.
Later, Roger comes to visit Jocasta, who breezily informs him that she’s changed her will; instead of leaving all her worldly goods to Brianna, she’s willing them to baby Jeremiah. Whom they call Jemmy. Does he have holograms? She informs Roger that she doesn’t want Brianna to own any property that will become Roger’s because “protestants are partial to divorce,” and that making Jemmy the heir means that Roger will love him for his worth even if he can’t love him for his self. Roger is incandescent at this intimation that the baby is not his, or that he would care either way, and gets right in Jocasta’s face and says, “Let me put this plainly. I do not want your money, my wife doesn’t want your money, and my son will not have it. Cram it up your hole.” And he stomps off.
what did i just do
i am overcome
is sex making me potent
am i bang-strong
is that what bone density means
gonna go with it
Jocasta, of course, was just testing him, and she and Ulysses chuckle about how well he passed. Sure.
Next, we meet a boy named Josiah, who has the curls of baby Fergus and the awkward nature of IAN!!! He is waiting in line to see Dr. Claire, and of course Lizzie — Brianna’s traveling companion and the entire reason Jamie thought Roger was Brianna’s rapist — gets her eyes on him and practically drools the Atlantic Ocean all over Claire’s porch. Jamie recognizes him as an able hunter and would like to keep him at the Ridge long-term, but Josiah has a sore throat. Once with Claire, she tells him he needs his tonsils out — please God tell me she can knock him out first — but that he’ll be quite all right, and Jamie kinda shadily tries to bribe the kid: We help you, and you stay, and run the hunt whenever I’m gone. Claire is like, “Um, we’ll help ANYWAY,” and when the kid leaves, she reveals she noticed he’d been branded a thief. Jamie is sympathetic. Jamie, I guess, needs a young charge, since he’s missing his usual one.
HELLO UNCLE? HELLO? I’M ALIVE
DON’T CRY FOR ME BUT AN HOUR OR FIVE
FEEL FREE TO MOVE ON
TO A NEW QUASI-SON
BUT IS MY METAPHORICAL BED EVEN COLD? I’M JUST ASKING FOR A FRIEND. WHO IS ME! IAN!!!!
And HOW convenient that Jamie met a young hunter whom he could entice to keep the Ridge fed in his absence, only to walk outside and bump into Governor Tryon, who tells Jamie he has a week to get his affairs in order before leaving on a manhunt. Tryon is tryon’ to kill Murtagh as fast as can be, so is giving Jamie bunch of redcoats to help find and kill Mr. Fitzgibbons once and for all. He will not be satisfied until Murtagh’s body is swinging dead from the rafters. Shaken, Jamie goes back in to relay this to Claire. He feels trapped. She points out that he could break his vow because Tryon would absolutely do it to Jamie, but he reasons that it’s the wrong time — not when they know there’s a perfectly helpful war coming that will depose the Brits. But he does realize he needs to cement the settlers’ loyalty to him, rather than to the governor. Unfortunately ol’ Dogface isn’t really ready to be in a clan army, unless he plans to sing the Redcoats to death, but it can’t be helped. “Tryon wants his Scot, I’ll give him a Scot,” Jamie purrs.
And boy does he. After opening a non-metaphorical box, Jamie fondles his old kilt, then walks back out in full regalia. It’s accompanied by the Saucy Bagpipe of Bravery, which is both not a euphemism and — based on how he and Claire look at each other — absolutely a euphemism. She nods briskly at him, and he gives her a rakish grin before heading outside.
I am not throwing away my Scot
I am not throwing away my Scot
I’ll knock up this country
And glad-hand all its flunkies
but I’m not throwing away my Scot.
Jamie strides outside and takes a torch to a giant cross made of twigs, which presumably has always been there and was not raised in ten minutes in the style of Chez Fraser. (They love to burn things, considering they’re aware they allegedly die in a fire.) Once it’s ablaze and people start to creep toward it, Jamie delivers his stump speech: In the Highlands, a chieftain burns the cross to send a message to his lands that it’s time to fight as one. “We’re not a clan. I’m not your chief. But I hope that when the time comes you…”
@hepatitisbri another speech, holy shit, he really does shout about everything
@JohnGreyCanGetIt and in front of the redcoats?!? is this wise?
@hepatitisbri of course not
@hepatitisbri I bet bri made him do it
@JohnGreyCanGetIt look at john be hot for jamie. he’s marrying him with his eyes.
@hepatitisbri is he STILL TALKING
“… can’t say what might befall us, but we must not only be willing to make oaths to our wives and loved ones, but to our brothers in arms…”
@JohnGreyCanGetIt are the redcoats just not understanding his accent? why aren’t they madder? they’re just standing there
@hepatitisbri i’m not saying i want them to cut out his tongue but i kinda want one night of peace and quiet without jamie yelling at me?
“Stand with me!”
@JohnGreyCanGetIt He’s looking right at Dogface. Why isn’t Dogface doing anything?
@hepatitisbri PUSH HIM FORWARD BRIANNA MY GOD
@JohnGreyCanGetIt Oh look here comes “martin” to pledge fealty, like anyone has ever seen that dude before yesterday
@hepatitisbri he doesn’t even GO here
@JohnGreyCanGetIt this is so awk. roger is just gawping.
@hepatitisbri omg jamie just called him out
@JohnGreyCanGetIt “BE A SHIELD FOR YOUR FAMILY AND FOR MINE.” hot damn that’s some good peer pressure, jamie
@hepatitisbri IT WORKED. ROGER IS PLEDGING. I AM SHOOKETH.
@JohnGreyCanGetIt Brianna isn’t. She looks annoyed to even be there.
@hepatitisbri that’s just her resting face
“… it is a bond, a founding of a kinship. I will not light the cross again until time has come to do battle…”
@hepatitisbri blah blah blah, oh look, fergus is next
@JohnGreyCanGetIt “son of my name and also my heart” is really sweet. fergus can also get it
@hepatitisbri also marsali is the most fun person here. i bet she hates brianna. we should get her a twitter account.
All right, so the nuances I just glossed over: Roger impresses Jamie by knowing the entire oath of loyalty verbatim — which is either because he memorized it from when Martin said it five minutes before, or from academia — and then Jamie calls forth Fergus. Marsali looks sincerely delighted for Fergus, and bounces up and down; later we see she’s pregnant again, which unfortunately has me concerned that Fergus is ALSO going to die. NO ONE gets to stay happy near a Fraser. The line forms to the left after Fergus as he finishes his oath of loyalty to Jamie, as the redcoat soldier Knox and his men looks on with a curious smile. Later, Jamie and Claire stand on the ridge overlooking beautiful North Caroscotland, and we see a replica of the cross next to them, waiting to be lit.
Then, a final scene with Jamie and Murtagh, in which they both acknowledge that Tryon will never stop hunting Murtagh — mostly, I think, because he fears that Murtagh is keeping Jamie’s own loyalty from being completely his. Murtagh is frustrated that Jamie knows SOME of the future but won’t apparently tell him what becomes of the regulators. Murtagh, the fact that he’s not telling you anything means NOTHING GOOD becomes of them, sir. Read between the lines. There is a LOT OF SPACE THERE. Jamie begs him to chill out until the real war comes, when they can fight side by side again. “There’s always a war coming. It’s for us to decide which ones we fight,” Murtagh says. Here, we see he’s been building a tiny little Creigh na Dun circle on the grass in front of him. He comments pensively on how Jamie’s life has been touched by all these time-travelers, who have given him everything he’s ever wanted. He says he doesn’t resent it, but that it means Jamie can’t resent Murtagh for doing whatever he feels is right. I got misty here as Jamie swallows and then releases Murtagh from his vow: “Go. Be hard to find.” Murtagh gives Jamie’s lapels a fatherly pat and tug, and then disappears into the woods as Jamie breaks down crying. Sam Heughan really is wonderful in this part. He’s never afraid to make Jamie raw. He squats down and yanks out the giant stone Murtagh used for the central Creigh na Dun rock, and it looks like a dildo, which is apt I suppose — in many ways, Creigh na Dun is the emotional wang of the show.
And this is where I realized, too, that the solution should be to SEND MURTAGH THROUGH THE STONES. Roger knows where the North American ones are. Sort of. Wait, this is Dogface we’re talking about, so he couldn’t navigate their way out of an open field. But he knows they EXIST! He could be helpful ENOUGH, and then we could zap Murtagh into the 70s, where he could smoke a lot of reefer and wear bellbottoms and engage in copious free love, while teaching Gallic at a liberal arts college. He would moonlight in a Bee Gees cover band. And he’d be SAFE. I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him — Outlander did not save Murtagh only to have him disappear for good — but I’d sure like it better if Roger and Brianna go through the stones and meet him on the other side and get to hear all about the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.