It’s very amusing to me that Jamie gets the macho heroic nickname BEAR KILLER from the Cherokee, and poor old Roger the Occasional Self-Righteous Turdbag gets christened DOGFACE. Yes, I know, it’s noted in the episode that dogs are not the enemy and it’s to do with his whiskers, but still. The Mohawk tribe may indeed like dogs, but they do not like Dogface, so it’s not a compliment. Outlander would do well to remember that we came here to hang with Bear Killer and not get fobbed off onto Dogface, because Dogface is the sad wingman in this scenario. Also, all I can hear now is Meg Ryan saying, “Is one of us supposed to be a DOG in this scenario?… I am. I AM THE DOG.”
I mean, the story of Fergus is really that he’s adorable, full stop. It’s a shame that I want more of every secondary character, at the expense of the ostensible new leads. We don’t need Brianna! We have GLORIOUS MARSALI. And we don’t need Roger; we have Fergus, and Murtagh, and John Quincy Myers if he’s still even ALIVE, and John Grey sometimes, and even Ulysses, whose velvet pipes are gone in this hour but no less forgotten.
Anyway, Fergus rallies the vice-presidents of Regulators R Us to Murtagh’s aid. They must rescue him, or die trying, all for one and one for all, you know the drill. Marsali catches Fergus mapping out a plan on their dining table, and because Marsali is awesome, her response is, “LET’S DO THIS THING.” They further agree that — especially because now they MIGHT get in a wee bit of trouble with the law — perhaps it’s time to skip town and go live in Fraser’s Ridge. (Hopefully Murtagh will eventually tell them that Jamie and Claire can’t come to the phone right now, or else their arrival will feel very lonely.) Marsali packs up their things so she can drive the getaway carriage straight to the promised land, and Fergus calls her an “exceptional woman,” which she is. Maybe if she and Brianna become friends, she will rub off on her new half-sister. I also feel like she can probably fix dizzy Lizzy. I cannot believe an offspring of Laoghaire’s is one of my favorite people on this show, but she’s one of the few who ever makes me LAUGH in a way that is intentional, and I need that on this show. It is almost never funny anymore.
Here, I shall leave this story until it converges with Brianna’s.
John Grey brings Brianna news of the dastardly Captain Stephen Bonnet: The men did indeed arrest him in Wilmington, on charges of piracy and smuggling and murder. Brianna would like to add rape to the list, but Grey convinces her they don’t need to taint her name that way because Bonnet will hang for his other crimes and thus will face an eternal suckling of the gnarled left toe of Satan. (I’m paraphrasing.) Brianna wants to see him — but not, as John fears, to watch the noose snap his neck. Rather, she’s read Jamie’s letter. I had hoped this would be a really tender and personal love letter to his child, but it’s actually — read in Sam Heughan’s voice over — Jamie telling Brianna not to seek revenge, because it will twist her soul. “For the sake of your own life, you must find the grace to forgive,” he says. I think there is a lot of acreage between not actively seeking and killing your rapist and forgiving him, but who am I to tell a person how to heal from trauma. I think Jamie just doesn’t want Brianna to ruin her own life by plotting a murder — that’s fair; he should take his own advice though — so he cautions her not to live nor act in fear. “Such a man [as Bonnet] carries with him the seeds of his own destruction,” Jamie writes, so she needs to free herself from the manacles of hate. (Really, this is just a way to get Jamie into the show; it’s fleeting, but he looks dishy on horseback, and God knows I’d rather hear him read this letter than Brianna, so.)
Suddenly Bree is all sad that she never said a proper goodbye to Jamie, although her emotions generally are completely opaque and one rarely has any idea what her inner life is beyond, “tired.” Dear Brianna: To paraphrase the words of that great poet laureate Kirk Van Houten, can you borrow a feeling? Bree decides that forgiveness can’t change the past, but it can bless the future. With or without Roger in it. “If I can say my piece, then maybe I can find a way to be free of [Bonnet],” she says. “For my baby’s sake.” Fair enough, say both I and John Grey. The baby kicks and John gets to feel it, which is sweet. “My God. He’s real,” John breaths. “Yes. I know,” Brianna replies, boringly.
He agrees to find a way to get her to Wilmington safely and see the prisoner. Guess what? He totally finds a way to get her to Wilmington safely and see the prisoner.
Never doubt John Grey.
There is nothing I can’t do
Thanks to editing.
Brianna woodenly struggles with the memories of what happened to her there, and John is adorable and solicitous and SUPER nice to her despite what a surly individual she has become. “You are impossible not to like,” Brianna says to him, and my God, child, what an odd way to express his radness. Why on earth would you be trying not to like him? He’s listened to you with an open mind and an open heart, he did you a MAJOR engagement solid even after you rudely tried to blackmail him, and he’s stopped whatever he was doing to take you to a prison in Wilmington, all while offering you kind comfort. Of course he’s impossible not to like, but why are you even resisting? John Grey is puppies and baby angels and Diet Coke all rolled into one dreamy bouffant.
Brianna nervously heads into the prison and makes John wait outside the cell while she goes in to confront Bonnet. Meanwhile, enter anew Fergus’s Story, as we see the regulators sprinkling gunpowder around the perimeter. This is a pretty dumb prison, it turns out, if it doesn’t have anyone patrolling and just two guards at the door. There isn’t even a warden supervising the visit, as far as I can tell. MAYBE a nearby jailer, since his keys come into play later. But otherwise, it’s very lax indeed.
Who protects the gentle people
From the varmin, the filth, the crooks?
You’ll never guess! Shh, don’t tell the press:
But NOBODY is on the hook.
Anyway, Bonnet leers at Brianna, and lumps her together with all his one-night trysts (“I remember your face… and a few other things, but not your name”) and so she jogs his memory — sadly, not the way Andre the Giant jogged the albino’s memory in The Princess Bride, but rather with actual information. Bonnet chuckles that if she’s in search of Jamie’s jewels, she’s too late; he sold them to buy a ship, although he did save that one little trinket that she earned back. Ugh. Also, it is insane how much I want to watch Ed Speelers say cocky, horrible things, because his character is evil incarnate. Brianna shows him her growing stomach, and he snorts that many a prostitute has tried to pawn off spawn on him, but Bree says she has no reason to lie because he’s about to hang: “If it makes dying easier for you to know there is something left of you on this earth, then you’re welcome to the knowledge.” She turns to leave, but he gets kind of hot for the idea that he’ll be gone yet never forgotten, so Brianna wheels around and gets up in his face to spit that he WILL be forgotten because she will never breathe a word of his existence to the child. And while he is snacked on by maggots, she’ll be raising an actual nice human being. His response is to reach into his mouth and pull out a jewel he’d stashed in there in… one of his tooth holes or something? He hands it to her “for [the baby’s] maintenance.” She doesn’t want it, but she takes it, because she is not an idiot. Or, you know, ostensibly because he tells her it’s a dying man’s last wish, but ALSO because she is clearly not an idiot. Take the dead man’s ruby, Brianna! It will come in handy for time travel, among many other things. Take note, y’all: Roger got two from Bonnet, I believe, and now Bree has one, so theoretically their future family of three could all buzz off together through the rocks. I’m just saying.
It’s not that I want you to go,
But rather, that I want you to go.
I mean, don’t go,
But please, go,
Go go go go go go go.
The regulators have now stormed the fortress, where Fergus sees Lord John. This is where it all starts to converge: They free Murtagh just as Brianna comes out of Bonnet’s cell, and after some argument, it’s agreed that Grey will hustle Brianna back to River Run because she’ll be under Tryon’s protection and outside of suspicion, whereas Murtagh will be hunted for what’s about to happen. No one explains to Fergus who Brianna is, or why she knows all his friends, but I guess he doesn’t have time to be curious. I’ll be IRRITATED if that information was revealed off-camera. Anyway, that plan in hand, everyone scurries outside right before the prison explodes. (That Bonnet spies the jailer’s keys on the floor and reaches them with his foot, plus that we don’t ever see Bonnet die, clearly means that he survives the blast and will return to ooze another day; it’s absolutely 100 percent wrong that I’m glad about that, because he’s a monster, but still. Ed clearly has a great time playing a demon.)
John is a little dumbfounded that they’re going so far as to EXPLODE THE JAIL, but Fergus points out that they need a diversion to cover Murtagh’s escape. And it works, because they all flee — Murtagh climbs under the tarp covering the back of Marsali’s getaway wagon; I LOVE HER — and Governor Tryon’s men do not even THINK to question Brianna or John Grey except to wonder if they saw or heard anything. Sadly, neither John nor Brianna gives them any false information about escaping to Georgia, or anything, which might’ve been shrewd to buy further cover. Oh well. Still! Well done, Fergie Ferg! Indeed, Fergus might be the only Fraser who can plan things. Maybe they should hand over to him the job of planning how Jamie and Claire can not die in a fire.
Roger does not do particularly well in the gauntlet we witnessed at the end of the last hour.
feats of strength
are not for me
did not exist
a turtleneck competition
i could win that
but no one asked me
no one ever asks
“YOU REMAIN CAPTIVE,” the chief (I think) decrees, as a child bends down to tug on Roger’s whiskers and bestow upon him the name that, in their tongue, means Dogface. And nobody there likes Dogface much, nor bothers to teach him their customs or language.
one and a half stars
bc the brutal truths
at least feed my self-loathing
which is like a meal
There is a kindly healer who speaks with him in French, and who has a baby clearly conceived by a white father. She sticks up for Roger when he both interrupts someone and points wildly in one direction, things they frown upon in the Mohawk culture and might have mentioned to him if they hadn’t already decided he’s a lemon. The hot young Mohawk who brought Roger there, Kaheroton, seems to view the woman with a certain softness and Roger with DEEP suspicion — in fact, he tells her that Roger doesn’t need her kindness because he’s clearly a garbage human, due to the fact that his own people sold him. I mean, that’s a fair conclusion.
When Dogface gets in trouble for all the gesticulating, he flops around and whimpers about how they should feel sorry for him because he’s hurt. No one cares. So Kaheroton drags him off to a mysterious hut, and along the way, asks Roger where his loyalties lie and why he’s an outcast. Roger does not say, “I have no idea; some random dude punched me in the face and the next thing I knew I was on the menu.” Instead, he bitterly says it was a mistake and that his loyalties were with a woman, and Kaheroton essentially is like, “WELL STOP SNIFFING AROUND OURS, THEN,” and tosses him inside The Hut — another oddly palatial construction given that its purpose is to be a prison.
not a pizza hut
ample room for yoga
for downward dogface
Therein, he meets a white French priest, who tells him that they’re in New York. Roger is like, “Holy f*ckballs,” basically. The priest tells his story: He’s a missionary who came down with scarlet fever, and he fell in love with the healer and couldn’t stop himself from sinning extravagantly with her. “A woman stole your heart,” Dogface commisserates. “The oldest story in the world.”
women are thieves
we are innocent
love and evil
the first letter
of the word vagina
but i’m still down to f*ck
like if she turned up or whatever
The priest, obviously, is the man who impregnated the woman Roger was talking to earlier. And in fact, everyone was thrilled, until he refused to baptize the child. The priest thinks he can’t perform a sacrament because he broke faith and damned himself, and that he would be passing on that eternal damnation to the baby. The Mohawk don’t understand his logic, and it’s unclear whether his lady love tried to explain it or even is afforded that chance, so now he’s stuck in Prison Hut feeling horny and alone. Just then, some Mohawk storm in and rip off his clothes and drag him out to “go naked before the Lord.” Roger uses this time to carve a hole in the floor of his GENUINELY ENORMOUS SHELTER so that they can leave, and dogs are good at digging, so great. Use your talents, Dogface.
The priest is thrown back into the tent battered and bloodied and missing an ear. Roger tries to clean Father Van Gogh’s wounds, and offers a prayer for him, which is somehow enough for Father Van Gogh to sit up and drink some water. He explains that he refused another chance to baptize the baby, and so he’ll be burned at the stake very very slowly over the next three days. Dogface rather cunningly points out that Father Van Gogh could just pour some water on the kid’s head and mumble some unrelated Latin, or the Hail Mary, and no one will be the wiser. Father V.G. is a proper guilty Catholic, though, and HE WOULD KNOW THE DIFFERENCE, so he won’t mock the sacrament even if it kills him. Which it will. Roger spits that he’s being a total idiot.
And this is when Dogface decides it’s time to tell HIS story, and honestly, Father V.G. should be happy he only has one ear with which to hear it. Because, yes, Roger’s self-reflection has taken him to “I’ve been an idiot myself,” but not for ANY of the MANY reasons we know and believe him to be an idiot. “I fell in love with a girl. I asked her to marry me and she said no. So what did I do?” he says, rhetorically. The answer I hoped for was, “I berated her and then ran off and froze her out of my life, rather than listen and try to understand,” but no: He says instead that “like an idiot” he followed her to prove his love. (As if she’d asked him to, which she didn’t, and as if simply being in love is supposed to be enough for a person to love you back. He really is the toxic Nice Guy who thinks he’s owed his turn.) And yada yada yada his entire retelling of his woe glosses over his own stubbornness, his own inconsideration, his own mistakes; instead, he paints himself as a man who is simply stupid for being bewitched, who couldn’t even reach out and touch a rock because of the depth and purity of his love, and whose entire life is off course because he’s just so darn loyal. Like a puppy.
i am dogface
so it tracks
His conclusion to Father Van Gogh is that love is terrible, and you should — and here he does actually say this — look out for number one. So he thinks Father Van Gogh should do whatever he can to stay alive, to get to a priest who will absolve him and give him a fresh start, and above all BLOW THIS POP STAND.
Hey, though, will anyone think of me?
I know that I’m just a baby,
but if you defect
it’s me it affects
And I say your death would not please.
Seriously, that poor kid. Neither Roger nor the priest is like, “Hmm, maybe consider staying alive for the sake of the child that has been made.” Instead, Father Van Gogh decides to help Roger try to Shawshank his way out of The Hut. Alas, not even Dogface can dig quickly enough, and dawn comes too soon; with it, their captors. Roger makes one more plea to Van Gogh to tell a very tiny lie for which he eventually could find forgiveness, and does at least here mention that he could also attempt a life as a husband and father. It doesn’t work. Father V.G. decides to die, and Roger spits that it’s misplaced loyalty, but Father Van Gogh can only live by his conscience. So they hide their handiwork by making the equivalent of a Rita Hayworth poster out of a pile of garments, and Father Van Gogh is carted off to get cooked.
Dogface manages to get himself out of his kennel, but as he scampers away from the village, he hears Father Van Gogh’s screams carrying across the land. Roger berates himself for stopping, for listening, but he can’t resist… and then of course he goes back because he’s An Idiot Who Cares. He RUNS to where he can see the burning pyre, which is built to tickle the good priest as slowly as possible for maximum agony. Also, we’re forced to watch all this in slow motion — Van Gogh screaming and crying, the healer he loves sobbing as they stare at each other, Dogface trotting, etc. Unable to see the man suffer, Roger spies a nearby bucket of what I assume is oil or moonshine, because he hurls it at the bonfire and it catches immediately and lights. Oh, but we’re not done: The crying mother kisses her child, sets the baby on the ground, and then sprints for the fire and climbs up in there and throws her arms around Father Van Gogh’s charred body. Everyone watches as they burn to death together over what feels like about 20 minutes of screen time that just will not end. Dogface sadface! Kaheroton shock! Fire! Villager shock! Fire! Dogface screamface! Fire! It goes on and on like that, with slow music backing it all. And the thing is, it would be more poignant if Father Van Gogh hadn’t just been going on about how his love for her was SIN and WEAKNESS, or if she’d been sneaking him food and it had prolonged their love, or something. Because now I feel like this lovely lady just killed herself for a person who wasn’t remotely willing to fight for her or alongside her. But the baby is cute, and has been scooped into the arms of Kaheroton, king of the MoHot, who can snuggle it into puberty.
And as Roger is seized and dragged away, he says, “That’s it, lads. Take me back to the Idiot Hut.” Well. I wish I’d thought of that name. Who’s the idiot now?