To the surprise of absolutely no one, I got a character name wrong this season. Martin, Lord of the Eyebrows, Too Tertiary and Hot to Live, is apparently named Morton. Isaiah Morton, to be precise. And I learned this because this week’s episode boots him into Secondary Character territory. If we weren’t stuck with the weight of Dogface and this militia/regulators subplot, it might be sort of fun to traipse the country with Jamie and Claire, digging up Colonial-era sex scandals and distributing babies to sad people.
Anyway, much like 2020, this episode comes in a bit hot. Considering I didn’t even know “Martin” wasn’t Eyebrows’s name, much less not his FIRST name, it was a bit confusing when Dogface and his dinguses ride up to Brownsville and a bunch of men start shooting at them and screaming, “ISAIAH! YOU’LL PAY FOR WHAT YOU DID” and we cut to shots of Eyebrows looking very sad. Then, he grows even MORE distressed when a young girl comes out and screams for him, earning a slap from her mother. Roger slumps down behind a wheelbarrow with Fergus, panicked, as they ignore his requests to stand down.
i want to go home
stuff is hard and bad
i could not make a plan
if you handed me a daily planner
k gonna drink
Roger has no idea how to handle all this explosive man rage, so he suggests they all soothe their frayed nerves with booze, and gets out the Fraser whiskey while — in a goodwill gesture, I guess? — letting the Browns lock Isaiah in a shed. Great start, Dogface. He then launches into his spiel about needing a militia for Governor Tryon: “I’ve come to notify you of your obligation to provide men,” he says, ineptly, before self-correcting to “opportunity.” Mr. Brown says his only current obligation is to breaking the neck of young Isaiah “Eyebrows” Morton. It seems young Alicia Brown — who they must have cast out of an old pool of potential Marsalis, as she would VERY easily have passed as a child of Laoghaire’s — has cleaned Eyebrows’s private musket, and it’s imperiled her arranged marriage to some old bag with huge tracts of land. Roger wonders if Eyebrows, though not landed, might be considered a reasonable alternative match and then everyone wins. The Browns are not into this, and would really like Eyebrows to hang, and in fact swore loudly to blow off his head if he ever darkened their door again. I’m beginning to think Eyebrows might not be that great of a catch, to be honest. Did he really think no one would notice him? He’s got the best manscaping in the entire New World. He stands out in a crowd. Why would you go back there? Why not just tell Fergus and Dogface, “Um, these people want to kill me and I need to hide for like a day, okay?”
Anyway, Roger’s big plan is to turn this into a party, and make people so hammered that they stop being mad at each other. I gather Roger isn’t familiar with the idea that drunk people often get worse and dumber and MORE impulsively violent. You’d think the 1970s would have taught him that much. Has Roger… ever spent time with other people?
have you met me
no of course not
Later, Fergus finds Roger and tells him that some of their militiamen left because Dogface pulled a total Dogface here. Roger is like, “I had to do something..?” And Fergus is like, “Sure, and they hated it,” basically.
jamie will never love me now
he cannot fake it
not like brianna who fakes it every night
fergie ferg i am fucked
Meanwhile, Jamie gazes fondly upon Claire as she snuggles the baby they’re calling Bonnie, because she’s a bonny wee thing.
What’s echoing through the mountains
With its sonorous tick-and-tock?
It’s an eternal cheers
From the whirring gears
Of Jamie’s biological clock.
Last week I really did think they were going to have Jamie and Claire raise this baby, because of how he has never gotten to do that with Claire (or anyone else), but before I published the recap I Googled something else and spoiled myself on the actual outcome: They find another home for the baby, which begins to unfold now that they have arrived in Brownsville. Jamie sees Roger singing along to a fiddler, and his face says, “PASS.” I am not really sure what they’re still doing there. The Browns say they’re going to kill Martin. How is Roger vamping with a violinist going to stop that? I guess it’s all part of Operation Slosh.
First, Jamie tells Josiah and Keziah that they’re free. Josiah wants to be in the militia, but doesn’t know how old he is, so Jamie tells him he’s probably fourteen and therefore too young to serve. This kid is about as 14 as I am — although just in case, please someone tell Lizzy back at Fraser’s Ridge that her loins need to STAND DOWN — but it seems that Jamie is merely using this as an excuse to send the boys back home to hunt and “protect the Ridge” and whatnot. He then turns his gaze to Roger.
I let my daughter have him
Though my doubts did grow and fester
But now it’s unspooled
That he’s a damned fool
I need a captain, not a court jester.
Roger tries to explain to Jamie what’s transpired, using phrases like “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and, “Dutch courage,” which he gamely tries to explain. Roger intends it in the sense of, “People bond over booze and lay down their arms,” but often, it’s now used to mean fortifying oneself with drink to do something hard, so Roger’s plan could have backfired on him in many ways and honestly probably should have. Like, everyone here should by all rights have a gunshot wound in their chest, given how ANGRY these people were and how much they are currently guzzling. Jamie is displeased when he hears not only that men have walked away from Captain Dogface, but that Isaiah is sitting in a shed somewhere tied to a post.
they were gonna kill him da
can i call you da
the thing is
i figured you would show up
and fix it
before i needed to
and you did
still no on the dad thing i see
At least Roger is HONEST about the fact that he assumed Jamie would arrive and bail him out; I guess all the singing really was just a stall tactic. The two men argue: Jamie thinks being a true captain is being as loyal to your men, all your men, as they are meant to be to you, and Roger counters that loyalty means nothing if they’re all hurt or dead.
Then Jamie turns to Isaiah and says the most amazing thing: The DISARRAY of YOU and your COCK…” and I tuned out to the rest because THE DISARRAY OF YOU AND YOUR COCK is the title of many a story throughout history and leading straight into present day, and could be inscribed on several tombstones. And Isaiah’s cock is hella fudged now, because it turns out he can’t make an honest woman out of poor Alicia Brown due to how he’s already married. Jamie is SERIOUSLY displeased, while Roger watches.
someone jamie is madder at than me
thank you eyebrows
your cock is my savior
Eyebrows says his was an unhappy arranged marriage, and it was impossible for his heart and his disarrayed cock to deny his love for Miss Alicia Brown. Jamie growls that he can’t trust Eyebrows’s oath to him anymore, now that he knows his wedding vows were a sham. “My oath to you was of my own will,” Eyebrows argues. “So was your infidelity,” sniffs Jamie, a man who DID marry Laoghaire while technically wed to Claire and who then abandoned her to do other things he liked better, like printing seditious pamphlets. He cuts Eyebrows free and tells him never to manscape ’round these parts again.
Claire, meanwhile, has found a nursing mother who can feed Baby Bonnie: Lucinda Brown, who snuggles up while the other ladies gossip about the Beardsleys and how unfriendly they were. They’re all very, very chill and empathetic about the baby’s origins, which Alicia listens to with a little bit too much interest. Then Claire spills something on a news clipping, and lo, it turns out to be Dr. Rawlings’s List of Why Your Old Wives’ Tales Are Going To Kill You. The women all laugh them off as the rantings of a loon, but Claire hustles it to Jamie, who figures out from a bemused Fergus that Fergus used it as scrap to write Jamie’s militiamen ad and the printer must have decided to run them both. Claire wonders if this will cause problems for anyone, or whether anyone will associate Dr. Rawlings with Fergus or Fraser’s Ridge. “Only if anyone tries to find the author,” Jamie pooh-poohs her, which therefore almost certainly guarantees that this will happen. DO NOT MESS WITH FERGUS, PEOPLE. I don’t care if it happens in the books. SAVE THE FERGUS, SAVE THE WORLD.
By now, the Browns have figured out that Eyebrows escaped. They should have just exacted their brutal revenge while they could have. Why did they WAIT if they were so ANGRY? Are these the Browns who eventually become the Cleveland Browns, because that would explain a LOT. Anyway, Jamie is about to get shot by a bunch of drunk buffoons, because I guess NOW they’re in the mood to kill someone, when YET ANOTHER Brown shows up and calms everyone down. He pulls Jamie aside and says that he thinks the regulators are making an already fractured society even worse with their shenanigans, and that he’ll not only pledge his men, but he’ll lead them into battle. As long as they answer only to him. Jamie’s like, “Cool, but YOU answer to ME, so.”
The Browns then ask Claire if they can keep Bonnie. It seems Lucinda’s baby was born early, and did not survive, so she and her husband have a lot of love to give and are pretty attached to this new baby. Then Alicia helps Claire make up a bed for herself — they’re not making her camp with the militia — and breaks down in tears, because she’s in love with Eyebrows and is pregnant by him. Claire tells her, not terribly gently, about the disarray of Eyebrows and his cock. Alicia sobs even harder and announces that she wants to die because she will never love another human person again and no one will have her, and life is OVER, and Claire really should have handed her off to Jamie and been like, “This is what teenagers are like, just in case you had any romantic ideas about raising that baby.”
Next, Contrivance reaches down Kez’s throat and blasts his tonsils with germs, so Claire decides she needs to take the twins back to the Ridge to do a tonsillectomy — well, she hopes; she’s assuming her penicillin is coming along. Yes, definitely test that on two kids, Dr. Rawlings. Jamie orders Roger to escort her, and he makes a feeble joke that Jamie doesn’t enjoy. “He has no faith in me,” Rog mopes to Claire, who points out that he must have SOME faith if he entrusted the thing he loves most in the world — her — to Captain Dogface.
thanks for trying claire
but there is no respect here
for poor old dogface
are going to explode
out of my beardholes
Now, there’s a party outside at the Browns, so I guess… everyone is happy again? Lucinda and her husband make another plea directly to Claire to keep the baby, and Jamie watches her lovingly from afar before getting coaxed into some kind of performance. He takes off his coat and everyone claps.
@NiceRidge holy shit he’s going to strip
@jamiearmy this is literally the only reason i came on this stupid trip, i don’t even like militia-ing, it’s so LOUD and smelly
@NiceRidge right??? TAKE IT OFF CORPORAL
Alas, he stops with the coat, and does some kind of charming dance over some crossed swords before spiriting Claire away into the woods. Here, he asks her if she’d like to keep Bonnie: “It might be our last chance to raise a bairn together.” Claire gently tells him that Lucinda really really wants this child, and Jamie mulls the idea that Bonnie — who technically owns the Beardsley’s property — is an asset in more ways than one to the Browns, who clearly also would love her and take wonderful care of her. But he admits to liking the idea of giving Claire a baby without her having to suffer through a pregnancy. Caitriona Balfe is wonderful in the ensuing scene, in which her eyes go wide with love and awe as she explains to Jamie how much she loves him for wanting that for them, and how much she wishes they’d been parents together — but that she feels completely fulfilled by their life together. She then reminds him that their obituary is still looming, so maybe they’re not the safest place for bonny Bonnie. Jamie agrees, and they both laugh that Fergus and Marsali will keep the Ridge populated with more kids than any of them can handle anyway. I HOPE SO.
Just then, they hear a gunshot, and stumble upon poor heartbroken Alicia, who tried to shoot herself in the face with a shotgun but couldn’t manage it and only grazed herself in the arm. Jamie and Claire smuggle her back home to tend her wounds, and that’s when Eyebrows gallantly sweeps in and begs Jamie for an audience with his love. He argues that he hasn’t shared a home or a bed with his wife in two years, and that Alicia is his heart and soul. Jamie is a romantic, so he grudgingly lets Eyebrows into the bedroom where Claire is fixing Alicias arm, and the two of them start making out HARD while Jamie and Claire try not to giggle. Then Dogface walks in and tries to be all Macho Disapproving about it because he’s pretty sure that’s what Jamie would do, until he finds out that Jamie is kinda fine with all this. Eyebrows makes an impassioned plea: If Jamie or Roger can tell him honestly that they would walk away from Claire, or Brianna, without fighting to the death for them, then he too will leave forever. Jamie and Roger are like, “Well shit, he’s got us there.” Claire points out they can’t stay in Brownsville, though, so…
… we cut to the next morning, when, under cover of absolute morning light, Jamie leads Eyebrows and Alicia out of town on a horse, through camp, hoping no one will wake up. Jamie, are you NEW? It was DARK BEFORE. JUST LEAVE DURING THE NIGHT. Jamie’s other big solution here is to release all the Browns’ horses in the other direction, so that the entire village will be giving chase in the opposite direction. The village which was not awake yet, therefore did not know Alicia was gone, and probably would have afforded them a plenty strong head start had they everyone just stayed asleep rather than being awoken by a horse stampede. Horses, mind you, THAT THE MILITIA WILL NEED and which they might not be able to catch in full.
your da is bad at things too
i feel much better
still coming home tho
still real bad at my own shit
see you soon
Claire blah-blahs something in voice-over about hoping that something good will come of all the reckless chances, yada yada yada this was the end of the episode and they clearly felt like they needed something to button it. HOWEVER, it is NOT the end of the recap, because I haven’t covered Brianna’s B-plot yet. (It’s short.)
So: Brianna went to town and brought back a bunch of supplies, and as the cart is unloaded, Marsali for some reason comes and picks up Jemmy and takes him inside. That’s when Brianna notices a shiny coin in the bottom of Jemmy’s bassinet, and quizzes the people who were with her; by the sounds of things, Stephen Bonnet was sniffing around, and Brianna is super freaked out about it. She decides a bunch of them should move into the big house to keep each other company while the menfolk are out menfolking.
But, later, Brianna is in the kitchen while Jemmy and another kid play. She goes outside to get wood for the fire and leaves the door open, which is not the SHREWDEST idea when you are already paranoid? Sure enough, when she’s back inside, she glances over and sees that Jemmy is missing. Much shouting ensues, until Marsali gets her baby to gesture out the other door and say, “BA,” and sure enough, they find Jemmy sitting on the mat with a ball that had rolled outside. Marsali sees how freaked out Brianna was, and sends everyone to bed so the two of them can talk. “I ken an honest cure for walking nightmares,” she winks.
That cure? BOOZE. I really do not like whiskey. I would have been in big trouble back then. Marsali can tell Brianna is weighed down by something she doesn’t want to admit, but Brianna does not open up to Marsali about her Stephen Bonnet-related fears — I’m unclear how much Marsali knows, to begin with — and so Marsali tries to reach her another way. “I killed my father,” she announces. DON’T GET EXCITED. She did not. But she tells Brianna that her father beat them all willy-nilly, with anything handy, and she hated him with every fiber of her being. She prayed he would stop, and eventually, he got arrested for being a Jacobite; she then prayed God would take him, and sure enough, he died in prison. Brianna is like, “Nah, you didn’t kill him at all,” and Marsali leans forward and says wisely, “Because thinking something doesn’t make it come true.” Brianna seems to appreciate this, and later takes all her Bonnet-related sketches and throws them on the fire.
I don’t get why she wouldn’t just tell Marsali. She might not want to cause panic, but here’s the thing: You want SOMEONE else on this godforsaken estate to know that Bonnet’s return MIGHT logically be happening — she certainly had reason to believe the random Irish stranger giving Jemmy coins might be her alive rapist — and more importantly, Marsali could fully kick anyone’s ass. Marsali will prevail. In fact, I kind of hope Marsali someday gets to behead Stephen Bonnet. Is that wrong?