Category Archives: Episode Recaps

Outlander, Season 4, Episode 4, Common Ground

The title card for this episode shows a Native American dressing.

We then find ourselves with Jamie and Governor Tyron, as Jamie dips a quill in an inkwell to sign his name to very formal looking document. Tryon commends Jamie on his decision to take up the offer of land, 10,000 acres. Jamie is handed a chart of the land as Tyron begins to say that arrangements can be made for Mrs Fraser to stay in Wilmington while Jamie goes into he wilderness to establish their new home. Jamie tells Tryon that Claire is coming with him, she is a healer with great experience and could not do it without her. Tyron further questions Jamie on what men he will have to help him create Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie tells him he has his best man in Wilmington tasked with finding the right settlers. 

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We then have some very polite verbal sparring. With Tyron saying it is difficult to determine friend from foe, mentioning the Regulator’s who are stirring up trouble for his tax collectors. Trouble is not too far under the surface in North Carolina, with collected taxes not reaching the treasurer and Tryon knows not all the tax collectors are honest.

Tyron observes Highlanders have much in common with the Indian savage. Does Jamie agree? Jamie is extremely diplomatic, answering that savagery can exist in many forms, and he has seen it in both prince and pauper. A very honest statement!

Tryon is impressed by Jamie’s answers, his worldly wisdom. He states that those who defy His Majesty are no better than barbarians and the law is inefficient in dealing with them. Before Jamie leaves he says “There is the law and there is what is done.” Jamie knows this land deal is a deal with the devil, however, it is his opportunity to make the system work for him this time and allow him to get back the opportunity which had been taken from him.

Inside a tavern we see Claire, Ian and Marsali. Claire is arranging goods to take with them into the back country, blankets and food are being dealt with as Claire and Marsali converse. Marsali shares with Claire that she can barely think of food, her pregnancy causing her to be queasy, likening it o seasickness. Claire gives her some advice and Marsali breaks down, choking away tears as she confesses to Claire that she misses her mother. Claire shows compassion and reassures her that her mother, even if she and Claire did not get on, did a fine job raising her, and likewise she will be good at raising her own child. It is a touching moment, with young Marsali so far from home showing her vulnerability.

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Jamie, Fergus and Ian arrive at the tavern, with Jamie instructing Fergus to take care in choosing settlers, preferably Highlanders, to look for the men who were in Ardsmuir who were sent to the colony. Jamie asks Fergus how he and Marsali are coping in Wilmington. They have enough money with Fergus doing some work and Marsali was taking in sewing.

Ian is all smiles, excited to get underway. The wagon is loaded he announces! Jamie and Claire farewell Marsali and Fergus. The three of them can join them at Fraser’s Ridge when a cabin is ready and the bairn is born. 

Claire is thoughtful, and concerned, which Jamie notices. Jamie says Marsali is almost the same age as Brianna. Claire doesn’t recall much of her own mother and she worries about Brianna, she won’t be there for Bree, or a grandchild.  Jamie recalls how he too missed Claire, he survived by clinging to her memory and Brianna will do the same. These recollections give us insight into the quiet moments between Jamie and Claire.

The wagon is loaded, passengers aboard and they make their way along a muddy street, farewelling Marsali and Fergus. After leaving the town they are travelling at a steady pace for two weeks until they arrive back at the place Jamie has chosen… Fraser’s Ridge. Claire immediately goes to look out over the vista followed by Jamie, while Ian hangs back unsure of the drop.

Jamie goes to work staking the borders of his land, hammering in posts with a scrap of red fabric tied to the top. The new settlers have been hard at work setting the posts into the ground, defining the borders of their land, with Claire consulting a map and giving directions. Despite the hard work they are elated and energetic with Ian excitedly saying “We must have placed 100 posts!”, while Jamie remarks on how wondrous it is that the land is theirs. Claire is moved to quote from a patriotic song… My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing…” Jamie asks if it is a poem from “her time”, Claire tells him it is a song called “America” which has the same melody as “God Save Great George Our King”  they both smile at the thought of the tune being stolen and made “their own”. Jamie approves and asks her to sing. Claire declines, Jamie comments on her “prim and proper” singing makes him want to do indecent things! She encourages him… where to begin? They are interrupted by Ian calling out for Jamie. Ian has found the “witness trees” Tryon told Jamie about. They mark the furthest boundary of their land. Jamie carves a marker into a tree, signalling to all who may pass that they are entering Fraser’s Ridge. Stepping down from the tree Jamie puts his foot into, well, a pile of poo! Ian speculates on what animal left it, raccoon or wolves? Claire feels it’s a larger animal, perhaps, mountain lions, known as panthers in these parts, or a bear. 

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As they stand by the remarkable pair of trees (which are real trees)  Rollo barks a warning. Slowly Jamie and Ian turn… to see Indians observing them. Jamie tells Claire to give him the knife and to step behind him, Ian bravely wants to stay by Jamie’s side as he approaches them, but Jamie tells him to stay with Claire. Jamie walks towards the men, into a leafy clearing, arms spread. He makes a point of dropping the knife. The Indians look on without any display of emotion. Clearly Jamie is unarmed, he introduces himself and slowly the Indians turn and walk away.

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The exterior shot of the solid brown stonework sets the tone. Brown is definitely a theme! Roger’s officemate is talking, but Roger is distracted and not listening. Roger apologises, and sits. Peter his fellow office occupant, leaves for “a scotch and a smoke” and invites Roger to join him, but Roger remains… his mind is elsewhere. He reaches into a drawer and picks up the book Brianna gave him as a gift at the Scottish Festival. “A Home from Home: Scottish Settlers in Colonial America”. Inside the book is the drawing of Bree and himself… he looks at it and sets it aside. Idly looking at the open pages of the book he sees something of interest, and takes a closer look.

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Over scenes of tree chopping and felling, stump and stone clearing we hear VO by Roger reading from the book, describing the settlement of the area, which mentions “Fraser’s Ridge”. Jamie, Ian and Claire are all working hard, while Rollo watches on! Just as well he earns his keep as a guard dog! During the clearing process Ian finds a stone arrowhead. 

Roger says the words “Fraser’s Ridge” over, and looks up the author information on the cover of the book. He is intrigued, the historian in him bristling with questions.

Back in time, Jamie is placing a post into the ground, the last of many connected by rope, marking out the shape of their cabin. Jamie gives Claire a tour of the facilities to come, including a meat store and smokehouse. In the meantime their meat supply is suspended high above the ground, away from predators. Jamie’s plans include a “wee shed” for Claire’s herbs and to tend patients when they have settlers. Jamie is fixing a post when we hear Ian’s voice raised in alarm. He and Rollo are running back to camp, pursued by Indians on horseback. The men look more aggressive this time, speaking in Cherokee they thrust several of the boundary marker stakes into the ground before riding off. They have shown their displeasure at their land be appropriated by Jamie.

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Weeks later, at Oxford, a large envelope from the US has arrived for Roger. It contains copies of research documents sent by the author of the book Brianna gave him. It truly is a goosebump moment when Roger leafs through the papers, realising Claire made it back to Jamie. The documentary evidence is right in front of him. He phones Brianna, unsure of the time difference. After a slightly awkward exchange of obligatory pleasantries, Roger’s tone becomes more formal. He tells Bree he has some news “about your mother”. He tells Bree about Fraser’s Ridge, near Grandfather Mountain, where the Scottish festival was held, and of the land grant of 10,000 acres. He goes on to quote from a letter  from a woman to her family in England … “his wife Claire, a healer”. Bree is overwhelmed, it means so much to her to know that her mother was reunited with Jamie. She thanks Roger for looking, despite what happened between them. There is more awkwardness as Roger makes excuses and they say goodbye.

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In the dark, a fire burns outside the lean-to which is the Fraser’s temporary home. Inside a fire crackles, as Claire suggests they could build elsewhere on their 10,000 acres. Jamie, says no, this is the place, a stream, tillable soil, and sheltered from the east wind. Again, Claire says perhaps they could move further away from the shared border, but Jamie knows a line on a map won’t stop the Indians. Claire is concerned that her Indian ghost was a warning to them, but ghost or no ghost, Jamie’s feeling for this land is deep, the mountain has spoken to him, this is the place they will settle. Jamie is frustrated he cannot communicate with the tribe to let them know he means to honour the boundary lines, and be a considerate neighbor. Claire suggests a gesture of goodwill is needed. Jamie agrees and decides to speak to John Quincy Myers the next day. They settle down to sleep, until Rollo starts barking. Awakened, they prepare to face the Cherokee. They exit their lean-to hut, armed, scanning the woods for the Indians. Their stash of meat has been stolen. The sound of cracking branches is heard, Jamie and Ian aim their rifles towards a slight movement in the distance. However instead of Indians they find Finley the horse limping towards camp. The horse has gashes consistent with being clawed by a bear.

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Next morning we find Jamie at John Quincy Myers camp discussing the bear as Myers places strips of meat laid on sticks over a smoky fire.  Myers recalls the Cherokee have mentioned being troubled by a Tskili Yona, an evil spirit in the form of a bear. Myers offers Jamie meat to help replace what was stolen, and while Jamie is reluctant to accept Myers is down to earth in telling Jamie that food is essential to keep their wits about them. He tells Myers about the boundary posts being returned, and that he wishes to make a gesture of goodwill to the Indians. Luckily Myers has some tobacco to gift to the Indians ease the situation. Myers also tells Jamie the Cherokee words “Siyo ginali”, a respectful greeting, however he says perhaps it is best that he make contact with the Cherokee on Jamie’s behalf. 

Back in camp Ian and Claire sit side by side, Ian mending a net (torn by a large fish) and Claire gutting trout. Claire admires Ian skill with mending the net, likening it to knitting. Claire confesses she can’t knit. Ian tells Claire that everyone at Lallybroch can “clickit”, yes, even Jamie. Ian promises to teach Claire when he can get his hands on a skein of wool. 

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Ian is still concerned about the bear. Claire hopes it has gone back into hibernation. Ian and Claire go about their work in camp, all the while we feel they are being observed. 

As Jamie approaches we see Claire doing some shooting practice, just in case the bear decides to come back to camp. She aims and shoots a block of wood on a stump. She is accurate, but Jamie can tell the powder wasn’t properly tamped down. Claire mentions how difficult it must be for men to properly load a rifle in the heat of battle. Jamie loads the rifle, tamping the powder more firmly, and shoots a similar target, it vaporises! 

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Later, in the dark we see Native Americans silently walking through the woods, carrying flaming torches to light their path. Back at Fraser’s Ridge Rollo begins to rouse from sleep, whimpering. Jamie wakes, instantly reaching for his rifle, Claire and Ian also. Cut to another scene of the Indians carrying their torches aloft. Jamie ventures outside of their shelter, aiming down the barrel of his rifle and he swivels looking for whatever disturbed Rollo, who begins to bark. Neither Ian or Jamie can see anything out of place, but Rollo continues to bark and they hear a noise, a human groan. They hurry to find John Quincy Myers laying injured on the ground. His stomach slashed and bleeding, he utters the words Tskili Yona as Claire attempts to staunch the blood with her bare hands.

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The procession of Indians have arrived at their destination, the Council House where a ceremony is taking place. Adawehi is present, performing a ritual, surrounded by the tribe. 

Jamie instructs Ian to stay and help Claire with Myers. He goes off to find the bear, walking deeper into the forest. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the forest the Indian ceremony continues.

Jamie hears rustling and sets down his torch. Snuffling noises are heard, Jamie shoots and must reload his rifle, it’s time consuming. The Indian ceremony continues. Claire is treating Myers and notices bite marks, made by a human.

Jamie is set upon from behind, by a crazed man wearing a bearskin, with bear claws tied to his hand. Tskili Yona is a man. Jamie fights him barehanded, sustaining injury from the claws. The Tskili Yona attacks Jamie with a knife. Jamie falls to the ground, and he battles the man in desperate close combat until he is able to rise and run, still pursued. Jamie grabs a marker post and as his attacker lurches towards him he spears him with the post. The attacker is dead. Back at the Indian ceremony Adawehi seems to sense a change in the atmosphere.

Next morning, we see Jamie dragging a timber framed litter, weighed down by the dead man. Jamie is uncertain of the reaction which awaits him as he enters the Indian camp. The men are stern faced as Jamie speaks the respectful Cherokee greeting Myers had taught him. Tawodi pointedly asks Jamie if he killed the man. Jamie says he did. Tawodi repeats the words Tskili Yona and tensions abate, the Indians lowering their weapons. Jamie says it is a man not a monster. Tawodi wisely says “oftentimes, man is monster.” The Indians knew the monster was a man. One who was banished from the tribe to live alone in the forest, but returned to the tribe again and again. He was invisible to the tribe, their rejection having made him lose his mind, and take the form of a bear. He returned to the tribe, destroying shelters and stealing food. The tribe  could not kill him, as he was already dead to them. Jamie says he is not Tskili, he and his family wish to live peacefully and he pledges his word to the Cherokee who stand looking very serious.

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Back at camp Claire is giving Myers instructions on keeping well, Jamie and Ian are also present as the Cherokee arrive. Jamie is unsure of their intentions and approaches them looking fierce, pistol in hand.

The Cherokee chief speaks, Tawodi translates that the chief prays no more blood is spilled between them, Jamie agrees that it is their wish as well. More Cherokee words are exchanged, including yona dihi, Tawodi explains it means “Bear Killer” and that is how Jamie will be known to the Cherokee. Jamie realises the honour and asks the Indians to join them to make their acquaintance now that they have reached Common Ground.

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Claire meets Giduhwa and Adawehi, her husband’s grandmother. Adawehi has a message for Claire, she dreamed about Claire… the moon was in the water, Claire became a white raven, flew over the water and swallowed the moon. The white raven flew back and laid an egg in the palm of Adawehi’s hand. The egg split open to reveal a shining stone inside, it had great magic to heal sickness. Claire understands Adawehi is a healer, Giduhwa confirms this, saying she is a very powerful healer. Adawehi has another message. While Claire has medicine now, her power will be full when Claire has white hair.  Wisdom beyond time will come to Claire when she has hair as white as snow. Further, Claire must not be troubled, death is sent from the gods. It will not be Claire’s fault. The Indian ladies look kindly upon Claire as she says she is not sure she understands.

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Back at Inverness… Roger brings a box downstairs, thanking Fiona for storing them. Fiona asks if Roger has spoken to “her”. The answer is yes, Roger did talk to Bree for 5 minutes, though he isn’t sure if she was pleased to hear from him or at the news he brought. Roger is being cagey in what he says to Fiona, but Fiona knows exactly what happened before, with Claire going back in time to find Jamie Fraser. Roger’s open mouthed expression is priceless as he realises Fiona knows everything, but tries to make out he doesn’t understand what she’s just said.

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Fiona explains she overheard everything, and with her Granny being a caller at the stones knows about people disappearing. Fiona was concerned about Bree, being separated from her mother. Roger tells her he kept searching for evidence that Claire had found Jamie. At least Bree knows now, but she hasn’t contacted Roger again. He is crestfallen, but senses Fiona knows more. Fiona tells him her Granny used to help the Reverend with his research, as she goes to a drawer, taking out a folder of some of her Granny’s papers, she opens it revealing a copy of an obituary notice stating James MacKenzie Fraser and his wife died in a conflagration in their settlement of Fraser’s Ridge on 21 January 1770… something… the date is smudged.

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Roger know they received the land in 1968, so sometime in the next 12 years they die. He knows Brianna will be devastated, but he says to Fiona that he can’t tell her. Fiona feels Bree should know the truth, that her mother is dead. A distressed Roger raises his voice, saying Claire has been dead for over 200 years (time travel conundrum!), which Brianna knows, but this news will break her heart all over again. Fiona returns the folder to the drawer.

Back on Fraser’s Ridge, Jamie, very much alive, is chopping down a tree while Claire sharpens an axe… and Ian also pitches in to build their new home, once again observed by Rollo. The shape of the cabin rises from the cleared ground, steps rising to nowhere as Jamie carries Claire over the threshold. Jamie gives Claire a tour of their new home and happily embrace, with Claire saying “It’s perfect.”

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Back in Oxford Roger sits grimly at his desk, eventually deciding to pick up the phone. He dials Brianna. Brianna’s roommate Gayle, answers, checking he is “the Roger”.

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Gayle tells Roger Brianna is not home, surprised that Brianna didn’t tell him that she went to Scotland to visit her mother. Brianna went a couple of weeks ago, and Gayle thought he would have seen Brianna by now. Roger is silent with shock and after a while tells Gayle he’ll try her again. He hangs up the phone, sitting back in his chair.

The end.

 

Outlander, Season 4, Episode 3 – The False Bride. Recap

Inverness 1970 Roger sits on a lone chair, a few boxes scattered in the room, playing his guitar, as the Reverend’s house stands almost empty. Fiona and her husband Ernie arrive beginning to move into their new home. He has a gift for Fiona, a jar of salt and a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Ernie cracks open the bottle. There are no glasses so they all share a drink straight from the bottle… Roger presses a set of house keys into Fiona’s hand as she teases about Roger going to America for a Scottish festival. Roger has been invited to play. Ernie sees the irony of Roger going to America to play at a Scottish Festival, and Fiona points out it’s not the only reason. Roger is courting a lass from America. Fiona sends Ernie off to instruct the removal men so she can have a private word with Roger.

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She asks when he saw Brianna last… Brianna visited Oxford over summer and they spent another Christmas together in Boston. They also write and have the occasional telephone conversation. Communications were much more difficult and expensive… it’s been hard, with Roger’s teaching and Brianna’s studies… Fiona says he has to tell her, Roger feigns ignorance. So she spells it out, that he is in love with Brianna, and she tells him to go get her!

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Meanwhile at River Run we find see Claire, arms crossed, her eyes red rimmed from tears, chin dimpled in tension, unhappily standing on the porch. Inside, Jamie is telling Jocasta they must leave… the concept of owning slaves is untenable for them, they must move on and control their own destiny. Jamie will only be master to his own soul. They will keep to the plan they had before they came to River Run, to take Ian back to Wilmington to board a ship for Scotland and they will travel west into the mountains where Jamie has learned of a town with many Scottish settlers. Woolam’s Creek, Jocasta says. Jamie says Claire can practice her healing and he can find work as a printer. Jocasta scoffs at the suggestion, as Jamie hands back the pouch of money. Jocasta will not accept it back and admonishes that Jamie should not let his pride stand in the way of his family’s security. Ulysses has arranged horses and a wagon with provisions, along with a rifle and some pistols. Jamie expresses his gratitude as Jocasta moving to a table in the hallway says there is one last thing… a pair of silver candlesticks. They were Jamie’s mother’s and Jocasta “kens” she should want Jamie to have them. Jamie looks Jocasta directly in her eyes, then to the candlesticks. He gently reaches for one, picking it up he looks emotional and says he will treasure them. Jocasta comforts herself with the words “No good comes grieving over what is already lost” as she desperately wants to look upon the face of the only family she has, however denied by her blindness, she must settle for touching his cheek. He reaches for her hand and kisses it.

Jamie and Ian were walking briskly through the hallways, Jamie is telling Ian he has already told him “No”, he has promised Jenny and Ian that Young Ian will return home where he belongs. Ian objects, he doesn’t belong to anyone, and protests that he will not be on his own he will be with Jamie and Claire. Once more Jame insists Ian is going home and Ian retorts about Jamie sailing to France when he was younger than Ian is now. Jamie was fighting a war at Ian’s age. Jamie responds about that country, at least being civilised, compared to the savages and unknown dangers of the New World. Ian then gives Jamie a laundry list of events he has already faced. His is not the lad who left Scotland he is a man now, with free will to choose the place he calls home. Impressed by Ian fortitude and the logic of his statements, Jamie says he will not stand in Ian’s way any longer and that he will write to Ian’s parents. Ian, promptly says a man writes his own letter and word of his decision to stay in America will come from him. Jamie sends him away to write the letter as they are leaving that day. Smiling broadly Ian rushes off to do it.

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 Claire comes to say goodbye to Jocasta who wishes the events of the night before had been different. It’s an awkward meeting between the two women who love Jamie. Despite her blindness, Jocasta does understand how much Claire loves Jamie. Grudgingly, Claire gives Jocasta a compliment before saying her goodbye. Jocasta speaks up again, saying Claire is doing Jamie a disservice, his passion for Claire is the reason Jamie would not accept her offer, to fulfil his destiny. If Claire loved Jamie as much as she claims then she would want him to be the man he was born to be… a laird, a leader of men. Not stifling his potential as a small town printer. Claire’s final words to Jocasta are less than cordial, challenging what she knows about them after knowing them only a few days. Claire can stand no more, and thanks Jocasta for her hospitality and leaves the room.

 Outside we find Jamie and Ulysses doing final checks of the harnesses of the animals… and we get to meet Clarence! A loud braying mule. Phaedre, smilingly, tells Claire she has packed some food for their journey. As Ulysses and Phaedre return up the path we see Jocasta standing on the porch.

As Claire, Jamie and Ian finish packing goods onto the wagon a man riding a horse arrives, whom Ian is delighted to introduce as John Quincy Myers. Jamie acknowledges Myers help in ridding Rollo of the stink of the skunk. Myers has been informed by Jocasta they are travelling west to Woolam’s Creek. He is going the same direction and would be pleased to guide them into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Jamie tips his hat in thanks and they move off, being observed by a stoic Jocasta. As they move away Jamie waves his arm, holding his hat. As always, Ulysses serves as Jocasta’s eyes, and informs her that Jamie bids her farewell.

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A departure, and next an arrival as we see Roger amidst other passengers entering an airport, smiling as he sees Brianna approaching him. He has arrived in Boston.

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Stopping in front of Brianna and putting his luggage down she smiles broadly back at him. Awkwardly, they embrace, despite the fact they are pleased to see each other. Roger foreshadows turbulence, oh dear should we tell him? We see a sedan, Brianna’s blue Mustang, heading down the highway. “…Friends, inquisitive friends are asking what’s come over me?”… plays as their car travels many miles, leaving Boston behind for the Blue Ridge Mountains. Inside the car we find Brianna and Roger sharing French fries and a chocolate malt. It is obvious they have been travelling for hours and it’s Roger’s turn to drive as they play a game. The minister’s cat is a lot of things as they playfully banter on the long drive. Brianna teases Roger by calling him pretty, even though he has ketchup on his cheek! The banter continues as Brianna reaches across and kisses him, the car swerves dangerously but they both laugh and giggle. Their car continues along the road, Grandfather Mountain in the background, as we seamlessly go back in time to see Jamie, Claire, Myers and Ian travel in the wagon and on horseback the same curve with the mountain backdrop. Myers tells them about the area, its background and current owners, the Cherokee. Ian’s interest is immediately sparked and he mentions Myer’s “interactions” with the Indian women, much to Claire and Jamie’s amusement.

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We see a sweeping autumnal mountain vista as the wagon continues its journey, scenic waterfalls and tall trees… after dark, around a campfire Myers tells them he must make his own way the next day on a trading mission. Myers, promising Ian’s safety, has asked Ian to accompany him on the diversion. They will take the wagon and meet Jamie and Claire at Woolam’s Creek. Jamie gives his agreement. A grateful Ian goes off to help Myers with the horses (and Clarence!).

Jamie and Claire are alone at the fire while Ian and Myers attend to the horses. Claire is enjoying the open air and starry night, but Jamie is unsure, asking if she wouldn’t prefer to start a new life in Boston for example. Claire wants them to make a home together in a place of their own, not a place where she has already lived a life, especially as it is the origin of the seeds of a revolution.

Next morning finds Jamie and Claire alone, riding through forest, happy in their own company, talking about life in the future, Brianna and choices in life. Thunder rumbles and they both look skywards, a storm is brewing. They plan to find cover in a town (good luck with that Jamie!) but their progress is halted by a horse with a problem shoe. Rain is already falling as Jamie tends to the horse. Claire, her thoughts of Jamie’s future awakened by Jocasta’s prompting, talks of Jamie’s past occupations… tending horses, a printer, a smuggler, a seditionist, an outlaw. Jamie cares nothing about himself, he could live as an outlaw still, but now he has others to consider, Claire and Ian, Fergus and Marsali. He fears he has nothing to give her. A tremendous crash of thunder signals worsening of the storm, Clarence brays in alarm. They must camp where they are. More thunder alarms Clarence even more and he breaks free of his rope. Claire quickly mounts her horse to go and bring back the mule.

A magnificent willow stag and colourful balloons come into view… we’re not in the 18th century anymore. Cheery folk music plays, Scottish dancers perform, men in kilts and cars of the 70’s show we are at a Scottish festival in America. Roger and Brianna stroll through the crowds, smiling at each other and enjoying lighthearted conversation. We see them enter a large tent, Grandfather Mountain looms large in the background. Inside, people mill around enjoying the camaraderie of the festival. Brianna is surprised at the number of Scots in the area and Roger mentions the area was settled by Scots in the 18th century and is immediately concerned for her. Brianna says she is not upset, but she does wonder if Claire ever made it back and found Jamie. Their smiles fade slightly as they talk. Brianna notices a man doing Highland Clan portraits and she wants a drawing of the two of them.

Drawing in hand, they wander away from the tent looking happy. Energetic folk music is heard and they are drawn to it… Inside another tent musicians play and people dance. Brianna wants to join the fun, so they do! Grab his hand and spin for 16 beats! Wow! I’d be dizzy and falling over! The vision slows, focusing solely on Brianna and Roger, in their own bubble amongst the crowd.

Back in the 18th century Jamie has finished shoeing his horse as the rain and thunder continues. Braying madly, Clarence returns, but not Claire. Jamie calls for her, she is nowhere to be seen.

Claire is riding through the forest calling out for Clarence. Just as she realises she is lost lightning strikes a tree directly in front of her. Her horse rears and she falls. Claire lays unconscious on the leaf strewn ground as her frightened horse runs off.

Returning to the Scottish Festival we see Roger has taken his place on stage for his performance. He plays the guitar as Brianna, smiling widely, sits in the audience. A jaunty instrumental song ends and Roger takes centre stage, he sits to play a more gentle tune and sing a Scottish folk song. “I once loved a lass. I loved her sae weel.” “She’s gone to be wed to another…” a song of love and loss. Brianna sits enraptured by Roger’s singing and the song. The lyrics turn mystical “How many strawberries grow in the south sea?” Brianna removes the drawing from her satchel and admires it. There is much cheering and applause as the song ends.

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Night has fallen and we see a sign showing details of Brianna’s lodging for the evening. North Carolina Highlander Lodges, Est. 1944, cabin number 10. Brianna praises Roger for his musical talents and teases about what other hidden talents he may have. He kisses her goodnight, and she kisses back. They are both breathless. He turns to go to his own cabin, next door, when Bree asks him to wait. She has bought him something, a book. “A Home from Home: Scottish Settlers in Colonial America.” He thanks her. Then she presents him with a bottle of Mountain Moonshine, and she entices him in for a wee dram.

The mounted head of a deer surveys the room. The level in the bottle of whisky is substantially down, as Bree and Roger continue to drink. They both find the deer head creepy, Roger approaches it for a closer look and make some jokes. Suddenly a white garment, Brianna’s blouse, is tossed over the antlers and Roger turns wide eyed to find Brianna partially undressed. He reaches over to kiss her and they embrace. His hand slides down her back and cups her body. Out of breath and off balance they tumble to the floor, wrapt up in the moment until Roger (good old fashioned minister’s son that he is) breaks their embrace. He wants it to be perfect, it seems an idea has created a mind over matter situation. She protests that it IS perfect. He steps away and goes to get a small box. Embarrassed, Brianna sits on the floor, her arms crossed protectively over her body. Roger retrieves her blouse from the deer head and places it over her shoulders. He helps her up from the floor, and she sits, shrugging her arms into her blouse as he hands her the box asking her to open it. Brianna opens the box to find a silver bangle, engraved inside with the words “je t’aime un peu, beacoup, passionnement, pas du tout.” “I love you a little, a lot, passionately, not at all.”? Words from a French children’s rhyme Roger tells Bree. It was just meant to be a gift, but Bree is right, the weekend has been perfect. Roger has a declaration, he takes a deep breath and tells Brianna “I want you, Brianna. I cannot say it more plainly than that.” He loves her and she reciprocates the feeling. He goes down on one knee, clasping her hands and asks her to marry him.

Brianna is taken aback as Roger explains he wants her by his side, as his wife, to have a home together with dogs and children… even if it means a long engagement. But Brianna is just not ready for such a huge commitment and she stops him. Now he is embarrassed, stepping away to pick up his jacket. Brianna launches herself at him, he is now shocked and she is dismayed. Their values clash, after angry words from Roger, Brianna retaliates and slaps him across the face. If Brianna doesn’t care enough to marry him, then he doesn’t care enough to have her in his bed.

Nothing is making sense to either of them at this point. They argue, they love each other but both end up miserable. He leaves her alone in the cabin, eyes full of tears.

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In darkness lightning lights the sky and rain falls as Claire finally wakes after her fall. She groans and grunts getting to her feet in the downpour, calling out for Jamie as she looks around for some shelter. The large base of a fallen tree provides some respite from the rain.

In another part of the forest Jamie is riding, calling out for Claire.

Claire unzips her 1968 boots, and empties water from them as she tries to find a comfortable place to sit and rest. Settling further under the canopy formed by the fallen tree she sees the shine of a white object. Brushing away soggy leaves she uncovers a skull with an obvious crack at the back. Wolves howl, unsettling Claire even more as she looks out into dark depths of the forest illuminated only by lightning.

Jamie rides on, eventually finding Claire’s horse which he ties to his own amidst the tumult of the storm.

Claire observes the massive crack in the skull and sees a glimmer amongst the leaves, it is a large opal. She cleans off the stone asking if it belonged to the long dead person whose skull she hold in her hands. As if in response a flaming torch appears in the forest. Claire calls out for Jamie until she backs off quickly upon realising it is not him. The man, painted face and dressed in Indian garb, approaches her relentlessly. The man, unsmiling, stands looking directly at her, the opal hung from a cord around his neck. Wordlessly, he turns, and an injury equal to the crack on the skull is clearly seen. He walks off and is gone leaving a confused Claire.

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Metal drums hold fires amid a circle of elevated seating, taking pride of place in the center is a large willow work stag. It is the Calling of The Clans. A man playing bagpipes lead a procession of men proudly holding their Clan banners and others including Roger, holding unlit torches. He scans the crowd looking for Brianna, but is disappointed as he takes a seat. Belatedly, Brianna arrives and asks his permission to join him. He shuffles along, making room. They both begin to apologise to each other, but Roger pushes the envelope asking Brianna if she has changed her mind. Her answer is no… It’s complicated for Brianna, who has seen a marriage of obligation and she is not at all sure that marriage is for her. But Roger doesn’t understand and as she cannot commit to him, feels rejected. The Calling of the Clans begins. A man from each clan in turn announce their presence, light their torches and stand around the stag.

Finally Roger says, “I’ll have you all or not at all”. Brianna tries to return the silver bangle, but he insists she keeps the gift. They look seriously and unhappily into each other’s eyes. Clan Mackenzie is called and Roger moves off to take his part in the calling. He looks towards her seated before turning towards the stag. All cheer as the stag quickly ignites, flames reaching high. When Roger looks back to where Bree was sitting he finds an empty seat. He looks anxiously around the crowd… no Bree. He looks despondent as the stag continues to burn.

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Daylight has returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains. The bright light and chirping birds wake Claire. She takes in her situation, looking around for her boots, but they’re are nowhere to be seen. It doesn’t make sense to her. She stands, continuing to search for them, and rather than seeing her boots she sees footprints. She starts to follow them, still confused she goes back for the skull and opal. The footprints lead into the forest to a stream where she sees Jamie crouching by the water. They run to each other.

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He asks if Claire is hurt. She says no, she is just glad she found him. He is grateful she had the wits to come back to this spot, but Claire says she’s never been there before. Jamie says “What about those?” Pointing to Claire’s boots. She asks where he got them. He tells her they were there, by the stream and he wondered why she had gone off in stockinged feet. She asks if he saw anyone nearby, or, hesitatingly, anything. Jamie has not, just Claire’s horse. Jamie has been led to the stream himself by following the footprints, Claire says “Me too.”, she has never seen the stream before, and she didn’t walk there in her boots. Sensibly, Jamie asks who did! Claire explains she saw an Indian, or a ghost of an Indian who has brought them back together. They embrace… Jamie says Claire should wash and rest after her harrowing night. Later we see Claire by the water’s edge cleaning dirt from the skull, revealing silver fillings, something which won’t be invented for another 100 years. The skull of another time traveller.

After riding once more through the tall trees, they stop to rest. Claire finds wild strawberries growing and picks some. She hands one to Jamie who tells her they are the emblem of the Fraser clan, harking back to the Frenchman, Monsieur Freseliere who came to Scotland and took land in the Highlands. They share a wee joke about Mister Strawberry, did he grow them or was he just fond of eating them?

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Jamie rises from the strawberry patch, looking out over the vast view before them… he says this is the most beautiful land he has ever seen. Sighing Claire agrees as Jamie envisions crops and animals on the land. Claire looks to Jamie saying she knows the look on his face. He is in love! With the land.

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Pushing aside any thoughts of town living, Jamie knows this is where they must settle, however that means doing a deal with the devil, Governor Tryon, and later dealing with what Claire knows is to come.

Does Claire trust him with her life, with her heart? Yes, she does… always.

Jamie announces they will call the land Fraser’s Ridge, as we see them embrace, turned towards the stunning vista.

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The End.

 

Outlander, Season 4, Episode 2 – Do No Harm. Recap

We open with Jamie and Claire still on the riverboat. Jamie sits alone looking pensive as Claire approaches him. He feels responsible for their current plight, despondent over Lesley’s fate, a shallow grave on the riverbank. Jamie must bear the guilt of knowing he allowed Stephen Bonnet to escape the noose. Claire tries to ease his guilt.

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The captain announces they have arrived at River Run… a magnificent estate looms as Jamie reflects how, once a man of means, he is now penniless. Claire tells him it’s not the first time, he had nothing when they married. Jocasta is family whom they, luckily, can turn to in their time of need.

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Jamie, Claire and Young Ian disembark from the riverboat and they are greeted by Jocasta, accompanied by an imposing man.  She welcomes Jamie warmly, holding out both hands to him. Jamie is tearful with a catch in his voice, as we realise Jocasta looks like Ellen, Jamie’s mother. They speak of Jamie’s mother. Jamie introduces Claire and Jocasta asks Claire to call her Auntie… We can tell Jocasta’s eyes aren’t focused, and her blindness is revealed when Young Ian presents her with a bouquet of “weeds” and her manservant needs to step in to alert her to the gift.

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She tells them she has been blind for many years and makes light of her situation saying her hearing is acute and she has the ability to gauge truth from lies! She turns, stepping between Claire and Jamie, walking them up the path to River Run, promising to show them River Run style hospitality. Jocasta asks Ulysses, by name, to lead the way to the parlour, as the camera cuts to an aerial view of an imposing white mansion with small buildings off to the rear. People mill about…

Inside the parlour at River Run Jamie is explaining to Jocasta about their misadventures with Stephen Bonnet. Jocasta welcomes them to stay for as long as they need. With a canniness worthy of any MacKenzie Jocasta quickly recognises Jamie as a man of strength, with a head for business (thank you for spreading the word Jared!). Jocasta plans to hold a gathering to celebrate their arrival at River Run. We quickly see that Claire is not the only one we can watch thinking!

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A door squeaks open and everyone is assailed by a foul stench! Young Ian and Rollo have had a run in with a skunk. A creature hitherto unknown to Young Ian, but never forgotten I’m sure! Fortunately Jocasta knows just the person with the knowledge to rid Rollo of the malodorous affliction… Ulysses is sent to find John Quincy Myers, but only after he shows Jamie and Claire to their bedroom. 

While going upstairs to their bedchamber Jamie remarks to Claire on Jocasta’s likeness to his mother. Inside their bedchamber Ulysses ensures their needs are met, and Claire earns a look of disapproval from him and the housemaids look decidedly uncomfortable when she asks them to call her Claire. An instant compromise is made and Claire says “Mistress Claire”. Once alone with Jamie, Claire looks out the window and Jamie notes she hasn’t had much to say. Distressed, Claire looks at the slaves in the field… one day it will be different Jamie declares.

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Rollo and Ian are met by mountain man, John Quincy Myers, who with the aid of small boy, bathe Rollo in a vinegar bath proceeds to remove the foul odour. Ian is fascinated by Myers rampant beard and stories of the Indians. They banter about beards! Ian notes the similarity between Highlanders and Indians.

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We see an overview of a peaceful river and the camera scans the field with the slaves working the land overseen by an unfriendly looking man.

Ulysses, and Jamie hand in hand with Jocasta, followed by Claire walk onto the porch of River Run. The conversation turns to the output of the plantation… in addition to tobacco, indigo, cotton  and pine. With the forests providing 200 barrels of turpentine monthly, however the main source of revenue is the sawmill. Answering Jamie’s question Jocasta says River Run has 152 slaves. She proudly states she has kept families together and not only treats them with benevolence, but some she considers to be friends. Claire cannot hold back, arms crossed, she asks if they feel the same way, since they have no choice. While Jocasta cannot see Claire she has no doubt from the tone of Claire’s voice that she disapproves and makes an attempt to justify owning slaves. Claire excuses herself to meet Phaedre in the garden to replenish her herbs before she says something she may regret.

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Moments later Ulysses announces that Lieutenant Wolff is waiting in the parlour for them. The Lieutenant randomly offers a suggestion on planting wheat along the river, presumably thinking he’s doing Jocasta a favour. However, Jamie who knows a bit about dirt says a wheat crop would be doomed to failure due to the moisture. Rice would be better! The Lieutenant excuses himself saying he will return to discuss contracts later. Jocasta tells Jamie the Lieutenant will not be accustomed to be spoken to in that manner, and she gives a hint of the issues she has faced being a woman alone, running River Run, foreshadowing events to come.

Having earlier promised a celebratory welcome to River Run, we find Jocasta sitting as Claire is being fitted for a gown, Phaedre pinning the garment to be altered. Jocasta wonders about the colour of Claire’s hair, saying she sounds “fair”. Claire looks slightly nonplussed, but says nothing except to say her hair is dark brown. Phaedre describes Claire to Jocasta in glowing terms. In a wee bit of banter with Phaedre, Jocasta mentions some men might be reluctant to be interested in a woman so tall. It is obvious that the plantation owner and her slave have a good relationship.

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Jocasta is fishing for compliments on River Run… Claire is not forthcoming with praise and Claire’s tone of voice tells Jocasta her disapproval. Claire is honest and tells Jocasta she does not agree with keeping people as property. Jocasta asks Claire is she is a Quaker… thinking quickly she says not, but she does share their beliefs. Jocasta tells Claire they Jenny was right about her… that she is a peculiar lass! Jocasta observes that Claire is “a lively one”, so no wonder Jamie was drawn to her. Jocasta recognises someone with “the fire of a MacKenzie”. Jocasta, perhaps somewhat begrudgingly, acknowledges Claire.

A party is held, with the cream of Cross Creek society, to meet Jamie and Claire. There is talk of politics and taxes, and Ian looks indignant when his views on the Indians are dismissed as naivety. 

Jocasta prepares to make an announcement to the gathering… ting, ting, ting on her glass summons their attention. Celebratory glasses of win are being distributed and the guests press closer to her. Lieutenant Wolff notes the “good vintage” has been brought out, heralding good news indeed! Jocasta promptly names Jamie as heir to River Run, and that he is henceforth to be its master. This pronouncement takes James totally by surprise.  The somewhat surprised crowd politely applauds, and some reluctantly toast the announcement as Jamie and Claire try their best to look happy.

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Later in their bedchamber, Jamie and Claire, are upset and distressed by Jocasta’s calculated announcement. Claire declares she cannot own slaves, Jamie agrees. 

Next day, we find Jocasta, Farquard Campbell and Jamie discussing Jocasta’s announcement. Jamie says he wishes to free the plantations slaves and pay them a fair wage. Farquard Campbell, invited by Jocasta to share his wisdom, proceeds to detail that is almost impossible to achieve, both financially and legally. Not only are there legal and financial hurdles, such actions would threaten a way of life. Mr Campbell says lives would be at risk, not least Jamie’s, there have been others with thoughts like Jamie’s, however, they disappeared… an indirect threat. 

Jamie leaves the room, and heads out to see Claire who is replenishing her medical box, sharing what he has just learned. There is another way… to reconsider Governor Tryon’s offer, to live on their own terms. Claire points out the obvious pitfall, the coming war. Before they can continue their conversation Jocasta, accompanied by Mr Campbell and Ulysses come to asks Jamie to be her representative “in a matter of bloodshed”. Overseer Byrnes has been attacked by one of the slaves, the man’s ear has been cut off. Claire says her services will be needed, she may be able to reattach the ear. Jocasta asked Phaedre to bring Jamie a pistol, this is promptly forthcoming. Led by Mr Campbell, Jamie and Claire head off in the wagon. 

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Upon arrival in a glade of trees Mr Campbell introduces Jamie to MacNeill as Mistress Cameron’s representative. Claire announces she is a healer and asks to be taken to the injured man. MacNeill tells Campbell that Rufus is responsible. Campbell says that Jamie will be aiding him overseeing Rufus’s execution. Naturally Claire and Jamie are appalled. They are informed the law of bloodshed demands it, any slave guilty of assault of a white man woman or child shall be put to death. We are faced with the sight of a man being hauled up a tree, a hook embedded in his abdomen. White workers hold back the other slaves as the man cries out in pain. 

Claire doesn’t see a slave, she sees a human being in need as she and Jamie rush to help him. Jamie orders the man be let down at once, his orders are immediately contradicted by Overseer Byrnes who, stock wrapped around his head, orders the men to keep raising Rufus wielding an axe towards Jamie. Jamie steps up, pistols raised, ordering them to let Rufus down. The men reluctantly lower Rufus, as ordered, despite Byrnes’s complaint.

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Rufus now lays on the ground, the horror of his injury is apparent. Byrnes has broken the law, taking it upon himself to execute Rufus and Campbell tells him so. Claire tells Jamie they must take Rufus back to the house to treat him. 

Back at the house Rufus is placed upon the dining table and Claire goes into full emergency mode, directing the house slaves to clear the table, find Ian to bring Claire’s medical box. Claire and Jamie try to comfort Rufus while rushed preparations are made. Ian finds the laudanum, as requested by Claire, to help ease Rufus’s pain. Mary, one of the house slaves, looks ready to faint as Claire undertakes the grisly task of removing the hook. Jamie asks Phaedre to take her away.

Jocasta is shocked to find Claire trying to heal Rufus. While agreeing that Byrnes will have to pay for his savagery, Rufus will still, by law, be hung.

Lieutenant Wolff and Farquard Campbell arrive to speak with Jocasta and Jamie. Jocasta coolly declares she will see them in the parlour. As Claire continues to work on Rufus, with Ian’s assistance, Wolff and Campbell, backed by a Redcoat soldier. Lieutenant Wolff lays out he law of the land, pointing out Jamie’s error of judgement and threatening to imprison Claire as well as Jamie. Jocasta asks for the opportunity to put the matter right.

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Claire’s has done all she can for her patient, he stirs and gasps in pain. Claire gives him water. Rufus asks where he is, the main house, he knows he should not be there and asks Claire why she has healed him. Claire reassures him in her own inimitable style! Rufus has not heard a woman speak that way before… Claire asks if there is anyone he wants to see and Rufus tells of being taken from his home in Africa, of his sister. Ian looks on distressed, if anyone can understand being forcefully kidnapped from their home, he can. Rufus drifts back into unconsciousness, and Claire asks Ian to arrange for Rufus to be taken to her bedroom so he can be more comfortable.

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Claire leaves the dining room, taking a large bowl of waste from the surgery with her. She finds Ulysses waiting in the hallway having been asked by Jocasta to keep on eye on things. He warns Claire that things will be much worse for Rufus when the overseers come. It would have been better for everyone had Rufus died on the hook. We see glimpses of Wolff and his men standing outside. Jamie goes to Claire, sitting at Rufus’s side, and tells her they have until midnight to turn Rufus over to be executed. Jamie explains to Claire the untenable situation, there is no way out for Rufus, even allowing him to escape would bring harm to other slaves. The horror of the situation finally dawns on Claire, she and Jamie face a tragic dilemma. No crime goes unpunished.

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Loud voices are heard outside, Claire and Jamie go to the window and see a mob of angry overseers, with fiery torches, weapons and a noose rushing towards River Run. Claire knows they will tear her patient apart. Jamie leaves the room to find Jocasta and Ulysses in the hallway, it is nearly midnight and Jocasta tells Jamie they will burn down River Run if justice isn’t served. We hear banging on the front door… and raised voices demanding the slave is turned over to them. Something is thrown through a window, the mob is becoming uncontrollable.

Bravely Jocasta goes down to face them and Jamie returns to Claire in the bedroom. Jamie says he knows Claire has taken an oath to do no harm, but perhaps she can help Rufus as she helped Colum. Claire is agonised. Jamie asks isn’t it better to save the man’s soul rather than have it torn from his body? Claire hears Rufus call her name and she goes to him and tells him she is going to make him a tea to help him sleep.

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Meanwhile Jocasta is placating the angry mob, promising Jamie will deliver Rufus to them. Claire mixes a concoction, and puts a cup to Rufus’s lips. He drinks. She gently places his hands across his body and asks about his sister… Rufus reminisces about his sister as he slowly drifts into unconsciousness and takes his final breath. The clock strikes midnight and the mob becomes even more unruly. Jamie crosses himself and says a prayer for Rufus as tears stream down Claire’s face. We hear Jamie’s prayer over images of him carrying Rufus’s body out to the mob. Men place a noose around Rufus’s neck dragging him off to  be strung up. Everyone in River Run looks upon the scene, horrified, each with their own fears.

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Jamie and Claire are certainly “outlanders” in this episode. Strangers in a strange land with rules they need to learn and find ways to live with…

Say what you will about this episode, it was difficult to summarise, and with unpalatable subject matter it will not become a favourite. However it does set out, very plainly, the ugly truth of life at River Run. It contained so much nuance of expression which can’t be translated into words. The storyline and must have been difficult to write, to maintain the essence of the book while “compressing” events given the limited time allowed in the TV adaptation. I have read about it being watched, muted, and the viewer still being able to enjoy the story through facial expressions alone, definitely a sign of great acting!

 

Outlander Season 4, Episode 1 – America The Beautiful

Here is my recap of Outlander Season 4 Episode 1 – America The Beautiful 

I write recaps, not critical reviews, and I try to find insights which link back to previous episodes and which may foreshadow future events. 

2000 BC, people clad in skins and furs build cairns around a standing stone monolith, add fire and dancing around the stone circle we are flung back in time reminded of the ancient traditions associated with stone circles. Fast forward and we see Native Indians repeating their celebration of the myth, mystery and superstitions of the stones. The circle of life is never far away.

With some voice over from Claire we are taken forward in time once more, to Wilmington, North Carolina in 1767 and a hanging.

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The noose is directly in our sight, completely unavoidable. Just like being hung is unavoidable for poor Gavin Hayes who we see being visited by Jamie who suggests a plan to rescue him. Hayes knows this would only bring the people he loves into further jeopardy, and he is willing to accept his fate.

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Jamie’s humanity has not gone unnoticed. Another prisoner eyes him speculatively and asks for a drink of the rum Jamie brought for Gavin. Unhesitatingly, Jamie shares the bottle with the man. Keen of eye and ear Bonnet immediately imposes on Jamie. As much as I find absolute horror in hanging at least Hayes wasn’t condemned for a petty crime.

The prisoners are led to their fate. The gallows await. Hayes is first. All he wants at this moment is to see Jamie’s face. Jamie rushes forward to give his friend some degree of comfort, his smiling face. The worst happens, Hayes is hung. It’s not a pretty sight. Lesley is distraught at what has happened to his close friend. He cries out, rushing forward as arms reach out to stop him. During the stramash Bonnet, opportunity taker that he is, escapes.

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Jamie asks Fergus and Lesley to claim Gavin’s body. Jamie, Claire and Marsali leave to find Ian. Ian is found, but he is not alone! It seems Ian has been gambling. Jamie does not approve! But Ian has been lucky winning some cash and a huge dog, introduced to us as Rollo (taken from “a roll of the dice”).

They all meet up at a tavern. Fergus reports that the Minister will not allow Gavin to be buried in consecrated ground without substantial payment. Jamie knows Gavin was afeared of bad spirits and decides they will bury him in the graveyard themselves. 

Lesley begins to sing a caithris for his friend Gavin Hayes. All join in…

Marsali is looking tired and pale and wishes to rest. 

They head off to bury Hayes in the churchyard. Lesley staying with Claire at the wagon and Jamie and Ian digging Gavin’s grave. 

Jamie is alarmed when Ian freaks out… the pit of the grave recalling haunting memories Geillis stepping out of her bloodbath, of sexual assault and attempted murder. He feels guilt as a festering pain inside… How could he have felt pleasure?  How you can do it without wishing to and all the while it feels pleasing. Jamie tells Ian “your cock hasna a conscience, but you have”. Mirroring Jamie’s own trauma in Season If there is anyone who understands Ian’s situation it is Jamie.

As they are about to unload the wagon Lesley reminisces about Gavin Hayes… “life wi’out him doesn’t seem right”.  Foreshadowing his own demise.

Rollo growls, there is a stramash in the wagon… Bonnet is hiding there. He begs Jamie to convey him to safety. He imposes upon Jamie’s humanity. After Hayes is buried Jamie and Claire head out in the wagon with Bonnet hidden in the tray. After the escape of the condemned prisoner sentries abound. Redcoats stop them, stab the “body” – Bonnet… and they go on their way. Bonnet’s leg is slightly wounded… Claire tends him. He sees her wedding bands. You can see his mind ticking over. Nothing escapes him. He truly is a scoundrel.

He tells Claire he is not afraid of the noose…  and a story of being plagued by thoughts of drowning… one day we will know if that really bothers him. He’s clever. Finding a way to get Claire to empathise with him. Bonnet sets off to find his associates on the river. He states “And I won’t bother you again. You have my word.”

Jamie and Claire, at last, find themselves alone. A night in the woods! Yay! What can happen… oh wow! Jamie’s chest!

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First law of thermodynamics! I want to be alive with you! Both birth and death makes us want to live our lives to the fullest, to be more alive. Both Jamie and Claire feel desire rise in them, needing an affirmation of life. They find it in each other. We rejoice!

Next morning we see Jamie and Claire ready themselves for the day, pausing to take in the magnificent views. They talk of the American Dream… what of the native Americans… Jamie has empathy and realises the parallel of the Highlanders being dispossessed. 

They return to town, a dinner party awaits at one on the grandest homes in Wilmington, following an invitation by a Mr Lillington . They prepare for the dinner, dressed in their finest clothes. Jamie’s obviously salvaged from a chest which survived the shipwreck of the Artemis, and Claire dressed in clothes which she seems a little unsure about, maybe given to her by Mrs Olivier in Georgia. Jamie gives Claire a necklet with a large ruby set in gold. He had arranged for one of the gems retrieved from the box found on the Silkies Isle, (and subsequently stolen by Geillis) to be set by a local jeweller. Their aim is to sell the gem to another dinner guest, Baron Penzler to raise funds to secure their future.

The dinner goes well, the Baron unable to resist the ruby or Claire, nor can the other men ignore her charms. Another guest, the sister of man about town Phillip Wylie, Judith Wylie is obviously jealous of Claire and cuttingly comments on her hairstyle. 

Jamie is called to a private audience with Governor Tryon (played by Sam Heughan’s old friend Tim Downie, check out their commercials for Tennants lager if you haven’t seen them already – saddle the unicorns!)

Both Lillington and the Governor make it clear they understand Jamie’s association with River Run and Jocasta Cameron. 

Jamie is invited to have a private meeting with Governor Tryon. The Governor speaks of land grants and opportunity for industrious folk with skills to work the land. The Governor makes it clear that rules about payment can be broken. Jamie has (due to necessity) untaken an oath of loyalty to the Crown. The offer is intriguing, but requires more consideration. There may be hope of a fresh start in the New World, perhaps…

Back in their room post dinner Jamie says they now have enough money for their passage back to Scotland (where is now safe to return, Lord John Grey having stepped in to get the warrant against Jamie withdrawn) and to get a new printing press and set Claire up as Healer. They have a lot to think about. Claire appraises Jamie of facts of the future of the Colony. Jamie considers the options. Knowing this country will become Brianna’s home in the future weighs heavily on his mind. Despite the knowledge of troubles to come, the concept that he can contribute to making the New World a better place for Brianna sways him. They make a decision.

Next morning at the tavern, Jamie announces that he and Claire have decided to stay in America. Ian think is is a fine idea!However, Jamie is still firm that Ian must return to Scotland for Jenny’s sake. 

Lesley, Fergus and Marsali can make their own decisions about their futures and Jamie distributes funds from the sale of the ruby to them, and there is extra to pay as alimony to Marsali’s mother (we dont really want to say her name do we?).

Lesley want to stay at Jamie’s side. Fergus and Marsali have news of their own. Marsali is pregnant (despite efforts by Claire to give her advice on preventing pregnancy!), and they also wish to stay, in Wilmington, where Marsali intends to find work as a seamstress, and Fergus will seek employment.

Young Ian’s return to Scotland on the Campagnia is planned for a few weeks, in the meantime he will accompany Jamie, Claire and Lesley to River Run.

The trip by riverboat awaits… their worldly goods are loaded aboard and there is conversation about the future, meeting Jocasta (she’s a MacKenzie!) who Jamie has not seen since he was a wee lad. Claire is distressed at the sight of a elderly man she presumes is a slave constantly standing to propel the riverboat. The Captain Freeman tells them that Eutroclus is now a free man, having been instrumental in saving his life, and is earning a fair wage for his work. I believe this scene is to demonstrate to Claire that slaves can be freed.

The trip proceeds apparently uneventful. Jamie brings Claire a box, a small chest. Claire is thrilled, almost overcome, to find the medical chest filled with bottles and instruments. Jamie is delighted to be able to give Claire a gift, since his ability to give her things such as jewels has been very limited. It’s of no matter to Claire, his ring is all she needs. Claire has left Jamie’s mother’s pearls with Brianna. They are happy, their mutual love undoubted.

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Night falls and the riverboat is moored to the bank. All is calm as the travellers sleep. It is Rollo who first senses danger. Stephen Bonnet with his pirate compatriots are attacking them. In violent confrontations Jamie, Lesley, Ian and Claire are attacked. Jamie is taken outside, outnumbered and robbed. In a heartless stroke Bonnet slices Lesley’s throat open when he turns to help Claire.

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Bonnet turns to Claire seeking her rings, stopping her from helping Lesley. She twists off both rings and tries to swallow them. He violently grabs her, holding her by the throat.

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Bonnet puts his fingers in her mouth trying to get at them (for me I had a big flashback to Randall putting his fingers in Jenny’s mouth at Lallybroch). Bonnet manages to get Jamie’s ring out of her mouth as she chokes trying to swallow Frank’s ring. After the pirates leave Claire manages to cough up the gold ring.

They have been attacked, pummelled, robbed and worse, Lesley has been murdered. So, from a position of having money and resources for their future they find themselves penniless.