Well, I hope you weren’t too attached to domesticity in Fraser’s Ridge, because the gang is on the move once more. Happiness is the enemy of episodic television/books, after all.
We also do not dither one bit: As soon as the episode starts, Jamie tells her that Claire gave him the 411 on her uterus. “Do you hate me, Da?” she asks, and my goodness, it is agonizing to hear someone use “Da” when they are not Scottish. It sounds very feigned. I take back my earlier expressed desire to hear such a moment.
Brianna’s concern here is that Jamie is too retro to accept an unwed pregnant kid, and he responds that this was done to her and therefore it’s crazy to think less of her for it. Which is not exactly the same as, “I love you no matter what,” but it’s 1770 or whatever, so we can’t expect Extreme Wokeness. Especially because the next thing out of his mouth is to reassure her that they’ll get her married, because he can’t fathom her not wanting to with a baby on the way, and she glumly says she isn’t into that and is in love with someone else “back in my time” who might not even want her anymore. “If he’s an honorable decent man, he’ll want you,” Jamie says. “And if he doesn’t, he doesn’t deserve you.” Well played, James.
But Bree is still torturing herself for what she perceives as putting herself in a bad situation, and not fighting it hard enough. Jamie insists she couldn’t have done anything but Brianna won’t listen, so he tries a little cruel reverse psychology on her: He starts needling her about whether she could’ve tried harder and says it means perhaps she wanted it, or perhaps she wanted it all along and is lying to them now because she turned up pregnant. Naturally, she takes a swing at him and he restrains her immediately: “I could break your neck. I could end your life here and now. Could you stop me?” And then he lowers her to the ground and says, “You couldn’t have stopped him either. Do you think yourself a coward because you couldn’t fight off a wolf with your bare hands? It took courage not to fight.” It’s a nice message, but this was hard to watch, because the verbal jabs that it took to get her that angry went on a BIT long. I get that he felt like he had to be extreme for her to listen to him, but there is extreme and then there is making your daughter hear you say that you think she’s a lying hoor, even if you didn’t mean it.
Brianna — and I like to think she brings this up because she, too, thought Jamie’s methods were brimming with douche — asks if he fought back against Black Jack Randall. (I keep typing “Frank” when I mean “Jack,” and that is a whole different show.) Jamie is shocked that she knows, and frankly, so am I. At what point in their mother-daughter bonding about Claire’s secret past did Claire decide to say, “You should also know that your adoptive dad’s ancestor brutally raped your birth father in prison.” There are some details that are okay to leave out, I think. Jamie recovers and says he didn’t fight, because he swore to trade his body for Claire’s life, and he’d do it again in a heartbeat. Brianna, arm-wrestling Jamie for the Mr. Bates role in the show, wants know if Jamie killed Black Jack for what he did, because SHE WANTS TO MURDER, and she knows Jamie dueled Black Jack over his honor in Paris. (Did Claire make a scrapbook or something? This is one extensive family history she gave Brianna.) Jamie figures she’ll get herself killed if she tries to take out Bonnet, but she’s game as long as he dies too. So Jamie tells her all about how he is pretty sure he killed Randall at Culloden, and definitely woke up with his corpse atop him. Did it help? “Vengeance didn’t seem so important to me then,” he says, referencing the battlefield littered with his kin. “So I left him to God.” Okay, but he was already dead, so… you didn’t, really. You left him to wolves. And this doesn’t answer her question. Brianna can’t get over the idea that if her rapist was dead, she’d be able to forget, but Jamie promises, “You will not forget. Time will let you heal.” He hugs her. Okay, well, I’ve been asking for real conversations, and that — mining character history and all — was a decent one. Thank you.
Later, Claire quietly offers Brianna an abortion. It would be surgical, and without much pain medication, and miserable, but she thinks Abortion Tea would be too risky — riskier than slicing open your kid without anesthesia or any remaining antibiotics, and nothing but booze to disinfect? — but it’s an option. The wrench in the works: time travel. Claire knows a pregnant woman can go safely through the stones, but she’s not sure Creigh na Dun digs infants, or tag-teaming. So if Brianna wants the baby AND wants to go home, she’ll have to embark almost immediately for Scotland and go through while he’s still gestating. Essentially, then, she has to make all of the choices in about the next 24 hours. Thank you, Claire, for this clear and concise exposition.
And then of course:
OH HI COUSIN BRIANNA NEED A HAND?
I’M THE STRONGEST BUCKET-CARRIER IN THE LAND.
YOUR BECK AND CALL
IS WHERE I’M LIVING THIS FALL
SO BE SURE AND TAKE NOTE OF HOW I AM BOTH HELPFUL AND STRAPPING, AND HELPFULLY STRAPPING, BECAUSE I CAN CARRY MORE THAN JUST BUCKETS IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN! COUSIN IAN!!!!!
Jamie points out to Brianna that Ian’s solicitousness is because he’s smitten with her, and she’s like, “GROSS WE’RE COUSINS,” which is just a shrug to Jamie but which Brianna explains is not exactly welcomed in modern times. Then they admire Claire working away in her garden, and Jamie affectionately says she’d grow roots in it herself if she could. Brianna is amazed because Frank used to say the same thing — that one day she’d leave them and run off to live in the woods. “I guess she kind of did,” Bree says. But this makes zero sense with the Claire whose modern life we saw, which was all about medicine and surgery. We know it’s probably true because we’d met her before, but the problem with the series is that almost no mentions of their life or interactions in Boston actually make sense to viewers who haven’t read the books. Jamie, for his part, mostly just feels guilty, like it’s his fault that Claire left Brianna and forced her here to find Claire, but Bree says she’s glad Claire did. “I came here to find you, too,” she says, with a hint of a smile.
There’s a short but quaint Country Life montage in which everyone is smiling and happy and content, making it look really easy and rad to zap back to the 18th century. But Claire knows better, so next, we see her folding laundry with Brianna when she gets a twinkle in her eye. “Messy cheeseburgers,” she says. Brianna grins. “Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” she says. “Aspirin,” Claire says. Bree’s next is Led Zeppelin. Then they both come straight to where I would have: toilets that flush (also, and I’ve said this before, feminine hygiene products; HOW do they not miss those, and HOW did Bree figure out how to deal with it while she was hiking through Scotland?). It’s nice, and realistic, to have a moment where they both say the stuff to each other they can’t say to anyone else.
Hi! Misery here.
Enjoy this while it lasts, peeps.
‘Cause soon it’s Me Time.
Bree has a nightmare about Stephen Bonnet menacing her again. And though that part is fairly short, it’s still too long, and is tense and screamy and awful. Apparently they did shoot the rape and then decided not to use it, so making Sophie Skelton go through this twice feels like a big ask, and — aside from the usual issues with how much Outlander leans on rape for plot movement — to me this undercuts the choice not to show the rape at all in that episode. It’s like they simply couldn’t resist, and it’s maddening.
Lizzy wakes her up and reassures her overly strongly that “that man” can’t hurt her anymore. Brianna smells a rat, so Lizzy admits that she saw him and that Jamie nearly beat him to death. Brianna is horrified until she realizes that there’s no way Lizzy could know what Stephen Bonnet looks like, and puts two and two together. She hightails it to the main house and bursts in demanding to know where Roger is: “Lizzy told me Roger was here and Jamie beat him,” she says. No, that’s not what Lizzy said, at all, actually. This whole scene is so maddening because it’s all people explaining themselves badly: Instead of Brianna saying right off the top, “Lizzy got the wrong guy,” she instead rages at Jamie and Ian for beating up her boyfriend despite the fact that they have NO WAY OF KNOWING what Roger looks like and they were told without a shadow of a doubt by Lizzy that it was her rapist. And Jamie is like, “Well…. yes I did,” but says he didn’t know the man he beat up was Roger — still not realizing that all “Roger” and “rapist” have in common is the opening letter. That’s where this whole thing takes a detour. Because NO ONE who is in the know has pointed out that Roger and the rapist are not the same person. I mean, Claire, you’re RIGHT THERE; care to jump in with what you know?
I don’t think I shall.
Let’s wait and see where this goes.
Sure it will be fine.
Both of these people
Are so rational right now.
So, so rational.
Murtagh, bless him, is like, “Peace out, I’m going to see what the goat is up to.” Brianna, however, is still stuck on, “You punched out my boyfriend,” and Jamie still hasn’t been told that there are TWO men, not one, in this scenario. So he thinks this means Brianna DID lie about being assaulted, and flies off the handle, believing she told the rape lie to make her pregnancy sympathetic — thus, all the cruel things he said in the woods but did not mean, he now says in anger, thinking they are true. This earns him a mighty slap across the face from Brianna: “I WAS violated, you self-righteous bastard. By someone else. You beat up the wrong man.” Claire, here, goes to hug Brianna and speaks up and reminds everyone that Jamie could not possibly have known and that — oh wait, no, she doesn’t do anything but stare.
I’m still quite certain
This is going to end well
No need to barge in.
Aghast, Jamie doesn’t try to defend himself; he immediately apologize and swears to make it right: “You have my word, as your father.” Brianna spits that HER father would never have spoken to her that way because was an actual ANGEL ON EARTH and JAMIE is just a GROSS SAVAGE. And Claire pipes up that Brianna needs to cool down and respect Jamie, and that they each need to realize it was a miunder– no, wait, she doesn’t. As Jamie just stands there in the smoking mushroom cloud from that nuclear bomb, Claire decides to hug Bree and coo her name.
Well in my defense
Who could’ve seen that coming?
No one, not ever.
Meanwhile, I keep waiting for someone to be like, “Oh, by the way, Lizzy? You are terrible and you made a really bad assumption and did absolutely zero fact-checking and if you want to pop into 2018 there are probably a lot of websites or a certain white house that’d hire you in a second.”
Brianna gives Claire the green light to tell Jamie the truth about Stephen Bonnet, which she does by placing the ring on the table. Jamie is a powder keg but he chokes it down for now. Ian is not spared the wrath either, given that he took Roger’s beaten body and then sold him to the Mohawk. This also earns him a slap. Lizzy feebly offers that she’s sorry, and Brianna is like, “You should be,” but tiredly, and without any of the vitriol. Look, Ian, don’t sell people. And Jamie, don’t beat up people. But I at least get where Jamie was coming from: There’s no law in them there parts and not a ton of people, and if your daughter’s BFF tells you she is 100 percent certain that her rapist is skulking around the trees as if lying in wait, it’s not TOTALLY off-base to clobber him. Also, Jamie merely misunderstood Brianna earlier, and if you think Frank wouldn’t have slugged a dumb frat boy in Boston for doing the same, you’re nuts.
Okay, so they can’t just trot after the Mohawk. Since this all took a while to come out, the Mohawk have a great head start on them, and they’re trekking all the way to upstate New York. Ian says they are “fierce but honorable” and don’t kill those who are useful; he’s confident they will be nice to Roger, because they have a reputation of adopting new blood into their tribe to replace those that die and they also frequently need historians who wear sweaters. Wait, so he sold someone he thought was a rapist to a tribe he thought would be NICE to him? (I’m mostly kidding — I get that he wanted it to be a tribe that would take Roger far away.) In exchange they gave Ian a neck medallion, which he says they can use to find the village. Jamie promises that he and Ian will trade everything they have for Roger’s life, and Brianna is like, YOU TWO IDIOTS? HELL NO. She wants them all to go. Which leaves Fraser’s Ridge unprotected and all their animals to die, but okay. Maybe John Quincy Myers can look after them. He does still exist, right? DOES HE? Can we all agree that it’s dumb that Murtagh and John Quincy Myers didn’t become bros while they were at Fraser’s Ridge?
Jamie correctly points out that Brianna will be too pregnant to keep up with the speed she is demanding of them, and that it’s not safe in that condition. Claire pulls Brianna aside and basically says that it’s Decision Time: Is she keeping the baby? Brianna says yes, because, hey, maybe Roger left a treasure trail before he pulled out. Claire is like, “…. Maybe?” Brianna says, mostly convincingly, that she’ll love it anyway. Claire promises to help her with the birth, but Brianna tells her no: Claire has to go with the Two Stooges, because Roger will need a doctor, and needs to see the face of someone he knows rather than the dude who socked him and the dude who sold him. Claire won’t leave her alone with Lizzy, and nobody mentions that Murtagh could stay with them. I guess he’s got business with the regulators. At any rate, they solve the problem by swallowing their objects to plantations and sending Brianna and Lizzy to Jocasta’s. Murtagh says he’ll escort them, because he knows Jocasta from then they were all wee. Claire tries one more time to fight this — oh, NOW she’s all vocal — and Brianna puts her foot down and orders them all to go and get her Roger back. It comes off as a little bratty, even though she’s right. Maybe I have altogether too much sympathy for Jamie and Ian having been so firmly in the dark this whole time, and altogether too much satisfaction in the fact that SOMEONE punched Roger in the face.
With Brianna back in her cabin, Claire glares at Jamie. “You told me you hit a tree,” she says of his bloodied hand. “You said that, I just let you believe it,” he sputters as she stalks away. Jamie is frazzled. Oh, but he isn’t done, though. Alone with Murtagh and Ian, he asks for a favor.
From River Run to Wilmington you’ll go
To slay the Hat Man we all know.
Spray his rotting brains
All over the plains
For VENGEANCE will make my heart grow.
This seemed like a patently stupid plan until I reminded myself that only Roger knows Bonnet is the captain of a ship, and doesn’t always stay in Wilmington. However, I have every faith that Contrivance will crack its knuckles and gleefully plonk him right in Murtagh’s path.
Before everyone leaves:
COUSIN, TO YOU I PLEDGE MY TROTH
AND YOUR BABY CAN BE RAISED BY US BOTH.
IF ROGER’S LOST HIS HEAD
I’LL MARRY YOU INSTEAD
AND THE GREAT HEROIC ACT OF SAVING YOU WILL BE ALL MINE AND I AM PRETTY SURE THIS GRAND ROMANTIC GESTURE IS GOING TO WORK!!!! IAN!!!
And then Jamie says, “Get off your knee, you eejit.” And Ian hurries to his horse. Oh, I did laugh. Ian, you are a treat. Jamie gives Brianna one more promise that he’ll make this right, and Brianna is like, “DAMN RIGHT.” I can’t decide if it’s to Claire’s credit or detriment that she doesn’t try to broker any kind of understanding between Brianna and Jamie. On the one hand, I get it, and on the other: Brianna is being quite intractable about the circumstances, acting like Jamie did this on purpose. Maybe I’m defensive of Jamie and Ian because I’ve known them longer — well, Jamie, anyway — and they bring me more joy.
So, everyone parts, and Murtagh safely delivers Brianna and Lizzy — who so far has not seen any of Bree’s real wrath — to Jocasta’s. There, they are greeted by the mellifluous pipes of my beloved Ulysses, who takes one look at the seal on the letter the carry and ushers them into Jocasta’s drawing room. She of course knows Murtagh’s voice instantly. Let’s cut to the chase: If Murtagh and Jocasta do not get it on, I will be EXTREMELY VEXED. She even says to him, “I know those hands,” although it’s to tease him about how he was in love with Jamie’s mother. Meanwhile he’s like, “Hmm, you noticed my hands…” Right away the Bang Index soars. It is a BULLISH MARKET and I know two people with genital savings to invest.
There’s an amusing gag with Ulysses, too, where every time he opens his mouth to read the contents of Jamie’s letter, Murtagh or Brianna interrupts him to give their version. The actor gives delightfully surprised facial expressions every time he’s cut off, and then once Brianna delivers her enormously blunt assessment — “It says that I am with child, and unmarried. It asks that you look after me despite the mark that it might bring to your good name, while my mother and Jamie search for the man to whom I’ve been hand-fast, who may or may not be dead” — he blinks and then stammers, “That’s… about the extent of it.” Everyone, have you not heard his voice? Have you not heard Brianna’s flat, affectless voice? LET ULYSSES READ THE LETTER. Let him narrate EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD.
Jocasta welcomes Bree with a lot of repetition of the phrase, “My dear sweet girl,” which to me suggested both that she meant it AND that some wheels were turning.
Roger is having a really crappy vacation. Basically, he and another dude are tied to the Mohawk horses as they proceed back up to their territory, and for whatever reason, the other guy is having a way harder time. Whenever Roger tries to help, he gets slapped, and so all he can do is just tie a knot in his string for every day they walk and watch for landmarks he can use to retrace his steps. It’s a brutal procession, and sure enough, his companion kicks it one night and gets dragged off to an inglorious burial while Roger soldiers forth. I don’t entirely understand why the Mohawk would trade for these two dudes and then abuse them to the brink of death on the way home. What do they get out of that? Is it a test?
heres the thing
i am not sure
you respect me very much
just a hunch
these boots were made
and that’s just what theyll do
and one of these days
are going to really chop up my feet
i liked my feet
she looked at them once
Anyway, it’s not the holiday of his dreams.
short on water
dead man tied to a tree
one small string
still wearing culottes
Then, Roger trips and falls down a hill. He hangs from the wrist that’s tied to the horses, screaming, but works himself free and runs, eventually losing the Mohawk by hiding in a large bush.
nearly lost hand
got good exercise
thought of naughty joke
Roger is off the trail they took, and has run far and wide without any real sense of where he is, so his odds of finding his way back without help are slim at the moment. So he staggers through the woods trying to find anything he can use to orient himself.
no gas stations
But then, he hears an almighty buzzing, louder than anything you could imagine. “My God,” he whispers.
It’s not bees, though.
zero more stars
It is, in fact, American Creigh na Dun. Creigh na New World. Creigh na DOOM. Roger wails and hems and haws a bit, because of course he has two gems no one found in his very inventive hiding place — his shirt tail — and so he could go through right then and there and end this. But that means leaving Brianna. As Roger makes a great big stonking show of agonizing over this decision, his hand reaches out for the stone and we cut to black.
so much walking
five stars will 100 percent come again
Now, what I suspect happens next week is that the Mohawk find him and stop him from touching it, or he just generally decides not to for Reasons. Because it’d be TOO ballsy to have the Frasers embark on this journey only to have Roger toddle off home with nary a word.
Seriously, though, if he loves Brianna that much, may I suggest an alternative? You have two gems. Go through and it’ll only take one, right? So pop over to modern North Carolina, get a shower and a nap, stock up on supplies and maybe some weapons, rob a jewelry store for future travels, and — because they’ll not catch you — come back through and be on your way to her. Has he not thought of this? Am I the only criminal mastermind here?!? I HOPE NOT, ROGER.