After last week’s downer of an hour, this week we’re treated to an all-musical camp revue in which Jamie performs a can-can and Roger sings “This Bottom’s Gonna Be On Top” from Something Rotten and then the Phantom of Fraser’s Ridge drops a chandelier on the lot of them. It’s gonna be a gas!
We open with Brianna and Roger slumbering in the nude. Roger stirs, in more ways than one, and decides that instead of letting his busy wife catch the Zs she badly needs, he will lick her awake.
say youll lay with me
this morn, this moment
say youll free me
from my boneitude
wake up now
i’m ready here, beside you
anywhere i go, i’ll drag you too
thats all i ask of you
Brianna finally does wake up, because it’s awfully hard not to when there is a Dogface huffing ineptly all over yours, and also he’s decided he has a right to drift his hand south even though she is unconscious. First, though, he lifted the sheet and peered under it.
its still there
im always afraid it will run away
Finally, Jemmy shouts at them from across the room, where he’s basically fully dressed and sitting up, waiting to begin the day. They’re over there sleeping naked and getting frisky, and Jemmy’s like, “HI THERE, REMEMBER ME? I DON’T WANT TO SEE THIS SHIT.” And then Jamie pounds on the door in search of Roger Mac — he uses that name; everyone is trying hard to make Roger Mac happen — and the best Brianna can think to do is answer it while wrapped in a blanket. Jamie takes in the scene of his naked daughter and Roger hurriedly pulling on pants, and visibly wishes he could drop through the floor. I know it’s a different time, but you guys are from the future. Can you not MAKE A ROBE?
Jamie is there because he needs hunters to track a herd of wild game so they have meat for winter. He needs a crack shot like… Brianna, because obviously you don’t want Roger for that. She would rather stay at home and dye fabric, though, and I can’t tell if that’s her being honest or just an attempt to get Roger and Jamie on the same page. Jamie begrudgingly agrees that, well, he needs the aid of human people who are alive, and Roger TECHNICALLY now qualifies, so.
Marsali, meanwhile, is about to pop. Marsali gruffly and without making eye contact announces that she’s very happy to have Claire present this time for the birth, not just as a doctor, but as her mom as well. Lauren Lyle’s face is awesome. She makes very quick work of making you stop and think, “Aw, she’s always given birth by herself, I guess, and without her own mom to hold her hand and help her figure out babies,” while also making it very clear that this admission of what Claire means to her is a big stonking deal. Claire is behind her when she says this, and you can see in Caitriona’s expression the affection and appreciation of this, and that it’s reciprocated. I love Claire and Marsali.
Okay, so before we get into the main story, let’s pause for Brianna’s existential crisis. While she and Claire are dying fabric indigo — I hope they’re inventing jeans! — Brianna starts asking Claire how and when she knew she was born to be a doctor, and tosses in a remark about how single-minded she was, which feels like veiled leftover criticism from her youth. Claire points out that nobody was opening any doors for her, so she had to kick them down herself, and that she’s been a doctor, a surgeon, a healer, a witch; the job comes by many names, but she’s found a way to do it, and it would be her one comfort left if she were to lose Jamie and Brianna. The show’s lumpy characterization of Brianna’s gifts and interests mean that when Sophie Skelton talks about her blazing passion for engineering, I laughed. It was a real “I’m so sure” moment, even though I know it to be true from what people have said about the novels. Claire reassures Brianna that, if Brianna and Roger can’t go back to their time, she just KNOWS Brianna will find a way to translate her wrenching NEED to engineer things into her new era. I feel like this could already have been happening. They run a colony; they have a farm. I get the impression that the books include Brianna participating a lot more in the development of all their processes; is that correct? She’s done jack squat on the show, other than something nonspecific about wind when Roger was making burning shitpiles to drive off the locusts. But, I guess she can’t have a conveniently timed existential crisis if she’s already been useful in this regard, so: Brianna wants to find her science place in the New World, and Claire is sure she will. Claire has read the script, after all.
The menfolk go out a-slayin’ for meat. Ian, by the way, seems to be doing much better. I guess all it took for him to start chit-chatting again was being stuck with Dogface for a few days. They all hear a rustling in the bushes and decide to split up, and despite the group being of decent size, they all consent to Roger and Jamie going off alone together. That… would not happen. EVERYONE knows Dogface is a useless git when it comes to this stuff. No matter how capable Jamie is, there’s no way they’d let Roger be his only line of defense. And yet that’s exactly what happens. Roger’s voice only conditionally works, for crying out loud! He can’t yell for help!
i dont cry out loud
i cant, ive tried
so i just keep it inside
and learn how to hide my feeeelinggggs
Roger and Jamie stumble upon a herd of buffalo in the distance and creep up with their rifles raised. Jamie shoots, and misses, scaring them away. But as Jamie reloads, a snake bites him on the thigh — can’t say I blame it — and he beheads it and then sinks to the ground. Roger eyeballs the twin tooth marks and says he’ll have to cut it and suck the poison out. I turned away from this part, and turned back in time to see Roger expectorate a huge mouthful of blood. Jamie isn’t sure he can walk, so he sends Dogface to go find the others while he rests. I would have thought Roger, Mr. 1970s, would know enough to be like, “No, you have to come with me, you are the only one who will get us back home and that snake bite is bad news.” Instead, Roger pauses, grabs the severed snake head, and then leaves. And guess what happens?
where am i?
another field, another tree i see
this neverending wood in front of me
this noble man who’s knee i sucked
is really well and truly f*cked
unless i find
a way to get us back to fraser’s ridge
but i don’t recognize a single smidge
he’ll never want me for his son
i’ll never be his number one
i’ll never again bone my wife
if i misplace her father’s life
where am i
So, Roger has to skulk back to Jamie, tail between his legs; he has found nothing and no one. Jamie has built a fire and cooked the bottom of half of the snake that bit him, which is a satisfying bit of revenge (and he says as much: “Fair is fair”). Jamie probably could have yelled, but he didn’t, so now it’s dark and they truly ARE stuck, which gives the venom and/or infection in Jamie’s leg a lot of time to ravage him. I do not blame them for ravaging him. He is the very definition of a snack. In the dead of night, Jamie’s breathing turns ragged and he asks Roger if he knows the Last Rites. Roger clings to the obituary as proof this doesn’t kill Jamie, but Jamie has a bigger issue in mind now: If he is incapacitated, or dies, he needs Roger to take the meeting in Wilmington with Stephen Bonnet so he can kill him. “I don’t know if I can take another man’s life. Even one who’s done what Bonnet has done,” Roger muses. Jamie points out Bonnet is a repeat offender who only lives because Jamie showed him mercy, and that mercy has bitten him now many times. He also has figured out Bonnet wants to claim Jemmy as his own, says he’ll have witnesses in town who will claim Brianna was with him voluntarily, and says Jemmy is the heir to River Run. He is a danger to them all. UNTIE THE BONNET, ROGER. “Better we rid the earth of him, so that he may never harm another being,” Jamie says. “There is a fine line between a monster and a hero.” Roger grins, “If you want me to face Bonnet, YOU’RE going to have to teach me to fight.” Jamie passes out, presumably overcome with the idea of how much work that will take. Roger stares at his weak body, worried.
god on high
hear my prayer
in my need
you have never really been there but let’s play along
he is hot
too hot to die
also it may
look bad on my resume
his loins still foam
so bring him home
bring him home
Fortunately, Ian was suspicious when they didn’t come home, and even more so at dawn when he sees one of their horses back without them. So Ian puts together a group to go find Jamie and Roger; meanwhile, Roger has fashioned a stretcher out of a bunch of things I feel like cannot have been lying around, and is dragging Jamie as best he can toward… wherever. Jamie is bumping around back there miserably, looking woeful, as Roger is like, “I have no idea where I’m going!!!!”
On my own
With only Rog beside me
I’m dragged by him while moaning.
I’d probably be just fine now
But life dealt me a Dogface and I’m probably going to die now.
Seriously, Jamie is barely conscious, and has to be like, “LOOK UP, ROGER MAC. FOLLOW THE WIND HOME.” He also begs Roger to take Claire back to the present, because it’s not safe there without Jamie. Then he passes out again, so Roger does his best with a tender prayer for Jamie’s life. After a time, he hears Ian and Fergus yelling, so he whacks a tree with a stick and tries to shout, but I guess only Roger’s speaking voice is back; his shouting voice is still dysfunctional. (Still, that is a miraculous recovery, as was Ian’s decision to not be haunted by his past anymore. The air at Fraser’s Ridge should be bottled.) So they hustle everyone back to Claire.
Jamie’s leg looks “roasted on a spit,” per Claire, who has not seen many snake bites in her life as a surgeon. Jamie looks like refried death that was left out on the counter again to get cold and curdled. This episode can’t seem to decide just HOW dying he is at any given moment, so sometimes he looks sexy and troubled and glistening, and sometimes he looks like a drenched ghost who walks among us. Claire takes Marsali outside and whispers at her to have everyone comb the ridge for maggots to — you know what, I’m not even going there. Basically, this scene is to explain for us that because Claire can’t inject any penicillin due to her shattered syringe, they have to try a bunch of gross and probably fruitless measures — and Jamie may lose his leg. Claire gives Jamie some penicillin broth in the hopes this will help, but Jamie catches sight of the bone saw that’s just chilling out on a nearby table, I guess in case Claire decides to whack off the leg in a moment of spontaneity. The moment her back is turned, he gets up and clatters around until he snatches the saw. When she rushes back in, he growls that he refuses to live his life with half a leg; she insists she’d rather half a leg than none of a life. He can’t brook with that. He clutches that saw for dear life, as tightly as he is clinging to his macho ideas.
I dreamed a dream of days gone by
when both my legs were wrapped around thee
I dreamed you tickled both my thighs
I dreamed of lunges, squats, and burpees.
But the fever comes at night
and the venom plunges deeper
I’ll repel it with my will
I can’t kick the Bonnet with one foo-ooo-ooo-OOOO-OOOOOOT.
Oh, Jamie. You are wrongheaded, but I’ll let IAN tell you all about that later.
As they hack around in the forest looking for maggots, Roger tells Brianna that if the worst happens, he has been given homework: murdering Stephen Bonnet. He explains to her why Jamie believes that Bonnet has a claim on Jemmy. She’s super frustrated by this, as you would be. We leave that conversation so that we can see Josiah finds some maggots, and THEN we snap back to the Ridge, where suddenly Brianna is back at the main house? Sure. Brianna walks outside to see Lizzy and Jemmy in the path of a very placid buffalo. She makes herself big and freaks it out so that it will charge her instead, and right as it crashes into her ass and tosses her to the right, Claire shoots it between the eyes. Hooray, dinner is served! But Brianna gets right back up and trots over to her child. Surely the fact that Brianna just got CHARGED BY A BUFFALO is not resolved this easily?
Then we see Claire plop the maggots into Jamie’s wound and everyone smiles happily as they start to slurp, including him, as if this isn’t the GROSSEST THING IMAGINABLE. But outside, Brianna asks Claire for honesty. Claire says, “His body’s defeating the venom, but the infection… is too deep for the maggots to make any difference.” Without a way to get penicillin into his blood, he’ll die or lose the leg, and Jamie has already made her promise she won’t do the latter. Brianna wonders if it wouldn’t be okay to break that promise and just let him get over it, but of course Claire is concerned he will never be able to look at her and see anything but the person who chopped him up.
Inside, Jamie is alone with Roger, whose company I guess he does not hate now because Roger occasionally made him laugh, and he begs Roger to take him to sleep in his own bed. As Roger struggles to drag him around, Ian arrives to help, which means he gets an earful of a self-pitying Jamie explaining that he refuses to let Claire take off his leg because he would be useless without it. “Don’t you ever say that to my father. Or to Fergus,” Ian says, and oh my god, I once again forgot Old Ian existed. I like Old Ian, too! Old Ian does indeed have one leg, but he is a ballr, and Fergus lost his hand as a lad and is ALSO a baller. Jamie says Fergus and Old Ian are braver than he is. “Or not as proud, or stubborn,” Ian says. “They’re still the same. They’re still THEM.” Jamie growls that it’s a matter of honor. “They lost a hand and leg in battle. There’s nothing HONORABLE about being bitten by a snake,” Ian spits. IAN! He says that as a kid he felt guilty for admiring Jamie so much, for wishing Jamie was his father, for leaving his own family just to be at Jamie’s right hand. “But you’re right. Now I see how courageous my father was. I never thought I’d see the day I’d be ashamed of you, Uncle,” Ian says, before leaving, and YES, I am so delighted with Ian. IAN!!!! GETTING IT DONE.
DO YOU HEAR THE IAN SING?
SINGING A SONG OF ANGRY MEN
PEOPLE WHO AREN’T ANY LESS EXCITING
JUST BECAUSE THEY’VE LOST A LIMB
FOR THE NUMBER OF YOUR LEGS
CANNOT OUTWEIGH WHAT’S IN YOUR SOUL
THERE IS A LIFE ABOUT TO START
WHEN YOU JUST GET OFF YOUR SORRY ARSE AND LET CLAIRE CUT OFF YOUR LEG, UNCLE JAMIE, BECAUSE YOU ARE BEING A SADSACK AND I WILL NOT STAND FOR IT BECAUSE I AM IAN AND I STAND FOR THINGS NOW! IAN!
We then get a lovely little treat: a scene between two people who never get scenes together. Ian runs into Fergus, and tries to cover for his bad mood by saying he and Roger were hoping Fergus wouldn’t have left Marsali alone just to se that old crankpot Jamie. “But I did,” Fergus says, amused. “So I’ll see him quickly.” Ian tries to deflect, and finally confesses to Fergus that Claire might have to amputate and that Jamie is being a stubborn douche about it, and he doesn’t want Fergus to take any of Jamie’s objections personally. “In one stroke, he is going to be a man of leisure,” Fergus says, tapping his metal hand. “It’s what I told him when it happened to me… I was teasing him.” Fergus recalls the way Jamie swore to protect him if any such horror befell him in Jamie’s service, and he’s done it. Then he says he and Marsali just try to think about what they have, and not what they lack: “You and I have a father, and an uncle. We should be there for him when he needs us. That’s all we can do.” He’s very reasonable about it. Ian made great points to Jamie, which needed to be said, and Fergus is a nice balance to that. Cesar Domboy is maybe not the strongest actor in the bunch, but he’s cute and amiable, and I liked him and Ian having a moment that acknowledges their shared connection. Thank you, Outlander. More please.
Oh, but wait. So, Claire finds Jamie in his new spot, and he tells her, “I will not have you sleep in the surgery on the floor. You’ll sleep with me.” Later, she is curled up in a chair in for the night, when Jamie’s eyes fly open. “Sassenach,” he croaks. She crawls in and strokes his face, asking how he feels. “Like a pile of moldy tripe. With maggots,” he says. She strokes his chest and asks if he’s in pain — he isn’t — but he says he feels very tired and doesn’t want her to leave him. “Cold,” he mutters. “Touch me. Touch me before I sleep.” She sits up hard, listens to his chest and sees him slip away, then freaks out. She pulls off her nightgown and lies on top of him to try and warm him up, while purring, “No, I’m here, no, don’t leave me, you’re not leaving me,” at which point she reaches down and HAND-JOBS HIM BACK TO LIFE.
Don’t you fret
Monsieur Jamie F.
You won’t feel any pain
I’ll rub and tug this vein
And it will bring you back
To bubble up your blood
And I will keep you stiff
And I will make you glow
And spooge will make your heartbeat grow
I’m not kidding. The orgasm surges him back to consciousness. Claire has invented MEDICINAL FRANK-WANKS. And then they both fall asleep, so confident are they in the healing powers of a good old-fashioned jacking. The next morning, Jamie agrees that she can cut off his leg, I guess because he’s remembered all the things he can do without it. Like be sat upon by his wife.
Remember when Roger picked up the snake head? I assumed it was to give to Claire so she could see what kind of snake it was and maybe understand the venom or whatever, but NO, he just hung onto it in his pocket. At his house, he shows Brianna, all, “I don’t even know why I kept it,” and goes to throw it in the fire. Dogface, you were making progress. You are the empty chair AND the empty table and yet you walk among us. Brianna takes the head and taps on the fang, and has a mighty Science Epiphany.
Cut to arguably the worst non-violent moment in this whole series. Claire is literally about to rub the saw against Jamie’s skin, after they draw out his last prayer, him putting the bite block in his mouth, all the sweating and panting, Ian apologizing, Jamie telling him he was right, and violin strings as tense as the tendons about to be severed. Suddenly, Brianna bursts in and says — I wish I were kidding about this — “Wait! Did you know that pit vipers have beautiful engineering?” Yep. That’s right. That is a line they made a person say at THIS moment. Claire stares at her as Brianna explains that the fang is connected to a venom sac in the cheek, so when they bite, it passes through the tooth. “Mama, the fangs are hollow,” she concludes. Claire pulls out a “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ,” which, again, has yet to sound organic AT ALL coming from Cait’s mouth, and then adds, “You made a syringe?” Brianna nods. I’m sorry, but no. That is the worst. I know TV doesn’t consistently present what real people would do, but COME ON. You do not barge in with some bullshit about beautiful engineering. You scream, “STOP, I MADE A SYRINGE, I’LL TELL YOU HOW LATER, JUST USE IT,” and then she can explain it as they inject it. We would have picked up on the fact that Brianna is finding applications for her engineering. I PROMISE. Also, ROGER, Claire or Brianna might have figured that out if you’d given them the head to study sooner. I CAN’T WITH ANY OF YOU. “Did you know that pit vipers have beautiful engineering?” Please. Shut your face.
Anyway, it works great, Jamie is fine, it’s disgusting when she pokes the needle into his maggoty wound, and poor Marsali had her baby on the forest floor with no one but Fergus to help her (they REALLY gloss over that part). The baby’s name is Felicite, and they tack on that resolution as an afterthought.
Oh, but we’re not done! Jamie — now not dead — tells Roger he doesn’t have to fulfill Jamie’s dying wish anymore. Roger knows, but he still wants to go with Jamie. “I want to be there when you… meet… Stephen Bonnet.” Oh, good, that’ll definitely be helpful, yes.
Finally, at the end of the hour, Claire sits at Jamie’s bedside and says she knows he almost died on her. Jamie tells Claire that he remembers being given a choice — a passageway he could pass through if he wanted to, and he was tempted, or turning back to what he knew was waiting for him. “That’s when you asked me to touch you,” she intuits. “I knew you were the one thing that could bring me back,” he purrs. She asks why he made the choice to return, and he says, “Because you need me.” She frowns a little. “Not because you love me?” He tells her that he will love her whether he’s dead or alive, but that there’s a war coming and he has to be there to blah blah blah, he’s alive, God rewards deathbed handjobs, and Jamie lives to scamper and shag another day.