Just a note: Please don’t discuss in the comments anything from the books that has yet to appear on the TV series. Thanks!
This is super late, obviously, because we were slammed earlier in the week (and yes, I’m super sick of that being true; luckily for the next two weeks things should chill out a tad). The problem with getting on a shifted delivery schedule for these is that no sooner am I done, than anew episode airs, for which I am not emotionally ready. I will try to scoot myself into a more favorable timeline here, I promise.
Previously on Outlander, Jamie begged an escaping Murtagh to “make yourself hard to find,” and that’s exactly what his godfather did. Murtagh saw great sense in getting as far away from North Carolina as possible, kept his head down, and escaped and led a life of quiet respectability in New York that involved wearing ABSOLUTELY NO berets. The end.
Who took his better judgment
And slashed it all to ribbons?
It’s the silver fox
Who’ll end up in the stocks:
The insensible Murtagh Fitzgibbons.
Apparently, Murtagh speaks a different English than Jamie, because he interpreted “make yourself hard to find” as “make as much of a mess as possible so that you will attract attention and lead the people who want to kill you RIGHT to the doorstep of your frat house.” His regulators dragged some tax collectors through the public square in a town called Hillsborough and perpetrated what we now call a hearty tarring and feathering, but which I feel like Murtagh simply calls “a Highland pillow fight.” And then — because being scalded and turned into a human chicken isn’t enough — everyone slapped the dudes for good measure. And Murtagh made sure to NOT HIDE AT ALL by getting in their faces and telling them not to beg for mercy when they show none of it to the poor people of this city. For THIS he sent Jocasta out of the sex yurt and into the arms of a man who I have no doubt cannot work his bagpipe with equal dexterity. I suppose if a leopard doesn’t change his spots, then neither does a Murtagh shed his rage beret.
This plotline is on the dull side, because it’s all Interim Wandering: travel, travel, regulator, spittle, accidental murder, Jamie leaves. I’m very sad that Murtagh is wreaking terrible physical havoc all throughout North Carolina. Let me get through the White Male Rage and then we can dig into what’s up with Claire.
Jamie, as usual, is working his magic, wherein everyone comes to trust him and nobody ONCE questions whether he’s on their side despite him having publicly fortified Fraser’s Ridge with an army of people who pledged their allegiance to him. He and Hamilton Knox, the lieutenant whose redcoats are part of Operation Hang Murtagh, flirt about their burgeoning mutual respect, and discuss the motives of the regulators. HamKnox tosses a coin to a hungry family, and the recipient spits at him. HamKnox is disgusted at the lack of gratitude: “Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect, so we must take what we can get,” he says, more or less, and of course Jamie’s sympathies lie the other way. Jamie tells Knox that he admires a man who’d rather starve than betray his principles, and the two of them banter a little more, resulting in Jamie managing to get Knox to see his side of things while also not particularly arousing suspicion. They’re interrupted by a dispatch telling them that the regulators have been rabble-rousing, and Jamie’s poker face is so bad that you just KNOW he went all-in with a hand full of garbage.
When they get to Hillsborough, they’re reunited with one Edmund Fanning, whom we met last season when his innards exploded and Claire did surgery on him on the spot (affording Jamie the cover to go warn Murtagh and Fergus not to do something stupid). Jamie is horrified to see and hear the things the regulators have done during their slumber party. Three of the chicken-pluckers were apprehended, all of whom I believe Jamie knows from when he tried to recruit people to live in Fraser’s Ridge and some people wanted no part of his devil’s bargain. Jamie convinces Knox to let him talk to them first, Scot-to-Scot, which is really just so he can try to communicate to them that he’s playing the role; like the majority of Jamie’s plans, it doesn’t work, and the ensuing verbal tussle between the three obstinate men leads to an I AM SPARTACUS moment wherein one of the men shouts, “I AM MURTAGH FITZGIBBONS.” The other two have not seen Spartacus, so they stand there mutely and do nothing. Then Spartacus spits on HamKnox, who is so triggered that he runs Spartacus through with his sword. Is every historical Hamilton a notorious hothead? “You executed a man without trial!” hissed Jamie as a horrifid HamKnox stares at the giant dead body of Spartacus. I wonder how HamKnox knew Spartacus ISN’T Spartacus. Have any of them seen Murtagh in person? Also, maybe Murtagh should start using another name? Jamie has about twenty pseuudonyms at this point; surely he can come up with one for his godfather.
Jamie lies to the authorities that HamKnox was merely defending himself, and then, under cover of darkness, sneaks into the prison and picks the lock to free the other two regulators. He insists that his only move here is to keep more people from getting killed, but the regulators are not super impressed with what they consider his namby-pamby pacifism. Jamie tells them Murtagh has been instructed to hide himself, so he doesn’t want them going to him and leaving a trail anyone can follow. The regulators are like, “Dude, your man was here with us.” Jamie is aghast at his godfather’s participation in this extreme violence; he warns them not to return to Hillsborough, because Knox has a whole army. One of them points out that those men are across a whole river, whereas their mob of frothing rebels are in town already, eager to bring war and making cooked geese out of all who dare oppose them. So Jamie tries to convince HamKnox that this all worked out perfectly because the regulators are going to spread word far and wide of his might:
Who’ll flash his tender sword blade
And ram it through your rocks?
It’s that legendary tertiary character
Lieutenant Hamilton Knox.
But Knox points out the old adage that one man fighting for his home — a regulator, here — is worth a hundred fighting for pay, and Hamilton sneakily tells Jamie that what they need is the loyal army of THE FRASERS OF THE RIDGE, and you can see on Jamie’s face that he’s perhaps regretting doing everything so completely EXTRA all the time. Seriously, he’s never been subtle a day in his life, and now the redcoats know he has a bunch of loyal men he can ask to die for them all. Jamie is like, “UGH, fine, I’ll go rouse up an army,” and promises to be back in a day. To the surprise of no one, Jamie’s plan is a mess. Honestly, what even was his plan? To clomp around on horseback and cross his fingers and hope Murtagh hitched a ride west? To hire some folks to leave a dead Murtagh-lookalike sitting around and then Weekend at Bernie’s that shit until they could pretend to hang him?
When the escapees return to Murtagh, they complain that Jamie can’t be trusted, and/or fret that Murtagh’s loyalties might also be in question. But he’s MURTAGH FITZGIBBONS, not MURKY FITZGIBBONS, so he makes them a vow.
Who’ll stand against his godson
If this battle turns to shit?
Why, the Iron Beret,
get out of his way:
That doomed ol’ Murtagh Fitz.
Seriously, either Jamie is going to end up watching Murtagh hang, or he’s going to be the one to kill him, and I will not deal well with that. MURTAGH! But sir, if I may give you one note, it really isn’t nice to pour boiling tar on people.
THE FRASERS OF THE RIIIIIDGE
This week’s story is Dr. Fraser, Medicine Woman. Claire is delivered a patient, Mr. Farrish, whom she cannot save because his wife tried home remedies to cure him and they ended up hastening his problems. I have a hard time imagining this is the first time she’s encountered this, but okay. Anyway, once she’s alone, Claire gets poor dead Mr. Farrish on her table and cuts him open with zeal to try and autopsy the fellow. When Brianna knocks, Claire amazingly covers the dude’s face, but not Stunt Cadaver’s gaping torso cavity that she has turned into human pulp.
Greetings, Madam, on this fine temperate afternoon, might I interest three in the graceful curve of mine intestine, O, WOE, would that I had known you were coming, I’d have vacuumed my appendix shards and put my bones back in my chest, but pray sit down and share a cheese plate and tell me what news of…
Brianna practically vomits into him.
… prithee, dearest lass, it has come to mine attention that my pancreas is not to your system’s liking, and mayhap the total fucking bustedness of my midsection hath caused you trauma, please do not judge the book of me, Stunt Cadaver, by my bloody cover…
Brianna points out that nobody is going to understand why Claire is chopping up a dead man’s body rather than preparing him for a respectful burial, but Claire seems to think this is The Only Way to yada yada yada this entire conversation happens over the Stunt Cadaver.
Pardon, ladies, not to be rude, but it is as though I am not even here. Do you not care about the tender pancreas that waits here to be lifted into — oh balls, they called “Cut.”
Happily for Claire, she takes a break from hacking up Stunt Cadaver to walk outside for some air, and is treated to the sight of Marsali expertly butchering a goat. The wheels in her head turn so fast, she practically runs over her own brain. By the way, I’m unclear if I misunderstood something in the last episode: I thought Marsali was indicating to Fergus that she was pregnant, but she doesn’t seem to be. She did hold a different child at one point than her own, and Fergus has to watch them both, but it could also be Jemmy? But it seems to be slightly younger? Dear Outlander: I cannot recognize your babies and I have no idea how much time is ever passing in a given moment, so please help me out. Be as unsubtle as Jamie is.
Meanwhile, poor Dogface is out there being as useless as he feared. Brie is trying to teach him shoot squirrels, and he yammers on about how killing one feels against the natural order of things because Tufty the Squirrel was a character in Scotland who taught children about road safety. Delightfully, this is TRUE. However, if Roger knew the squirrels in my neighborhood, he wouldn’t be so nice about it. One of ours once lobbed an orange at my head from the roof of my garage. Roger mourns that Jamie left him behind because he doesn’t think Roger can hack it doing Manly Man’s Manwork.
here it is
im going to say it
jamie thinks i am crap
no no i speak the truth
dont deny it
dont even try
youre not even trying
you could try a little
Roger whiffs shooting a turkey and Brianna takes it down with one swift shot. It’s worth reminding people here that apparently, in the books, Brianna’s adeptness with a gun and all manner of other outdoor pursuits is explained; in this universe, it never was, so it doesn’t add up and makes no sense at all. I don’t think anyone on this show put any thought into Brianna’s characterization at all. Brianna cocks her head and then crawls way out on a limb and says, “You want to go back, don’t you?”
what gave you that idea
was it my bad shooting
was it my bad shaving
was it my sad dogface
was it how i hate being here
was it that time i screamed ‘omg i want to go home’ and then tried to tell you i just meant metaphorically
Brianna tries to argue that their whole family is here, and Roger points out correctly that Jemmy and Brianna are his family, but Jamie is his boss. But he, too, knows how to read a room, and he knows Brianna won’t want to go. So he shlumps off to be shlumpy.
Claire takes Marsali into her Dead Shed and shows her Mr. Farrish. “DELIVER US FROM EVIL,” Marsali shrieks.
@JohnGreyCanGetIt omg have you been past Claire’s random shed lately, it smells so bad
@hepatitisbri Like human rot
@JohnGreyCanGetIt should we tell her it reeks? i don’t want to vom up any more goat today thanks
@hepatitisbri nah it’s just the smell of brianna’s soul, nothing she can do
So Claire, without the aid of preservatives, is still pecking away at Stunt Cadaver. Marsali, bless her heart, immediately asks if Laoghaire was correct about Claire being a witch, but even SHE is kind of like, “Yeah, I know, I heard myself, I know mom’s a loon.” Claire confesses that they buried a box of rocks in his place so she could teach Marsali how the human body works, and how to cut it open, and where, and then how to stitch it back up. “Like a seamstress?” Marsali asks, suddenly very interested. Oh, dear. I hope Marsali doesn’t become the Jame Gumb of Fraser’s Ridge.
So, I guess while Marsali is elbow deep in Mr. Farrash, Claire hangs out on the lawn while a bunch of women make candles and talk about home remedies. One of them got a powder in Cross Creek for her son, because the doctor said it’s the very same remedy George III’s physicians give him. Claire hears what it does and practically screams that it’s poison, and the women LAUGH and LAUGH, because she’s just some woo-woo healer and THIS man is a REAL MEDICAL DOCTOR. They actually say, in a ham-handed way that’s unusual for Outlander, “Imagine if the king was being POISONED by his OWN DOCTORS,” which of course is what was actually happening. Claire restrains herself from grabbing her cleaver and turning them into her next science projects; instead, she makes a list of recommended health practices and pretends they’re from a Dr. Rawlings, so she can disseminate better health information under a pen name that people will respect.
Roger pops by to have Claire check his eyes, in the hope that he’s a terrible shot for medical reasons, but no. He’s just that bad at it. He mopes that Brianna is so happy there and wants to stay, and well, nobody loves Roger in Real Time Scotland, soooo… and then Claire busts out with, “As much as I love all of you being here, I hope you don’t stay.” Has this been an ongoing conversation? In the show: no. I don’t know why they wouldn’t have sowed those seeds sooner. Roger gets a glimmer of hope in his eye as Claire waxes on about how unsafe it is where they are now, and how Jemmy could cut his knee and DIE because she doesn’t have antibiotics.
will u tell brie
i dont want her to stop doing sex with me
just tell her
please i need a real shower
The two of them fret about how they can’t decide until they know whether Jemmy can travel through the stones. I am not sure how they think they’ll figure this out without, oh, I don’t know, going to the stones. “That could be tomorrow. Or a year from now,” she says. “Or never,” Roger says. Yes. All those things are true. Thanks for those awesome parameters. I have a bad feeling this season might FEEL like it lasts forever.
Apparently, Claire has taken it upon herself to try and invent antibiotics in the past, because she’s attempting to grow an impressive array of mold. Claire, the best way to grow penicillium mold is on orange juice. Trust me, and my 6th grade science fair project. I grew one so robust, it looked like a large furry green mushroom cap. Brianna finally confronts Claire about whether she’s breaking the laws of space and time by introducing all this modern science too early in history, and what if she breaks it all; Claire counters this by pointing out that every life they’ve saved — including Jamie’s — leaves an imprint they can’t control (although their future, built on a world in which Jamie survived Culloden, turned out just fine), and results in things that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Like Jemmy. Brianna is like, “Oh, well when you put it that way, let’s get jiggy with it.”
Outside, Roger is being extraordinarily subtle about monkeying with space and time by singing “Joy To The World” at Jemmy. Loudly, because I assume Richard Rankin wants people to see that HE HIMSELF can do things and that poor Dogface could be more fun if we would just open our hearts to him. Poor guy. They just cast someone who has no chemistry with Brianna, then made him AWFUL to her last season. You can’t just erase that by having him perform nasal ’70s rock. Besides which, Marty McFly introduced rock-and-roll to his mother’s graduating class before THEY were ready for it, and it was a huge risk. You do not want 18th century America to be jamming to Three Dog Night; what if it cancels the Revolution?
Contrivance pops by to ruffle Roger’s hair and send him inside their cabin, so that he can knock over Brianna’s sketch pad and discover that she’s been sitting around making extremely precise, detailed drawings of Stephen Bonnet. Also, his cabin has a HUGE roaring fire in the hearth even though no one was inside and there is no screen. For someone who mentioned Smokey the Bear earlier while trying to explain Tufty the Squirrel, this is very careless. Tufty does not approve of your recklessness, Roger.
not him too
now nobody in the future loves me
Brianna screams for Roger to come outside, and he arrives to see that Jemmy is now walking — by which I mean, they have Sophie Skelton holding this baby by its armpits and scooting it along, because this child clearly was like, “Sorry, hard pass, I am not going to walk just because you didn’t have time to recast me with someone larger.”
As Roger stares at this thoughtfully, wondering what Tufty the Squirrel and Smokey the Bear and Jeremiah the Bullfrog would do in his filthy shoes, we jump to Wilmington, where two women are beating the stuffing out of each other in a seedy bar while men bet on the outcome. Stephen Bonnet is there, looking and sounding fancy, and we learn he’s managed to make a living for himself smuggling things discreetly for the town’s business owners. One of them is a Mr. Forbes, whom we recognize from the episode in which Brianna was being pimped out to all the local singletons by Jocasta. He wanted to marry her, and he is played by Billy Boyd, aka Pippin from Lord of the Rings. All of this is an excuse to let Ed Speelers do his shtick, at which he is still EXCELLENT. “I find the sight of women engaged in such violent combat vulgar,” he preens, before betting on the eventual winner. A man in the crowd yells that he knows who Bonnet is, and about his past — this cannot be shocking, given that they’re in the same town where he had a Reputation — and Bonnet challenges him to a duel in which he of course wins when the man concedes. Bonnet, though, blinds him anyway, and when someone frowns that it seemed a little extreme, Bonnet sighs that he would have killed him, but he has to set a better example: “I’m a father now.” Then he skips out of there with a smile on his face.
This show is pretty good at casting villains. Bonnet is every bit as repugnant as Black Jack, but the cheeky-chappie tone and the twinkle in Ed’s eyes makes him feel different. It’s not a great sign that this gross rapist and thief and blinder and probable murderer is one of the most charismatic people on the show right now. Sorry, Dogface. You lose again.