Before I begin the opening of TFC, I feel the need to address what we didn’t yet see in some form in S4 of the television show. Six chapters were not covered in the adapted material. And since Roger returned to River Run instead of the Ridge, they’ll be some changes to the order of things and surely some scenes will be omitted altogether.
Jamie and Brianna’s reconciliation.
Jamie bonding as a grandfather.
Lord John recuperating at River Run and traveling with the group until he was to turn toward Virginia.
Roger’s oath to the baby and claiming him as his own.
Roger and Jamie accepting each other.
Roger and Brianna hashing out their feelings and relationship while discovering who each other is now. Who doesn’t want to see Roger awkwardly stripping down the first time he is in Brianna’s intimate space while she breastfeeds the baby?
Roger becoming acquainted with his baby.
Claire and Jamie’s relationship advice to Roger.
The big house being built.
Jocasta getting engaged.
Naming the baby.
The beginning of the Gathering at Mt. Helicon. Days 1-4. OMG A listener brought up the idea that the writers could do away with the Gathering altogether!!! WHOA!
Update from Young Ian.
Claire getting Frank’s ring back.
Reuniting Lizzie with her dad.
Jamie taking the baby gambling.
Claire doctoring folks.
The Highland Regiment
Roger disclosing the contents of Frank’s letter to the Reverend to Jamie.
Jamie making peace with Frank.
Calling of the Clans
How do you think the writers will fit it in? How do you think it will be adapted? What will end up being ignored?
By Ken Thomas – KenThomas.us(personal website of photographer), Public Domain.
My basic thoughts outline is below, you’ll need to listen to the podcast above to get the details!
Summary: Roger is recaptured. Brianna uses art therapy. Brianna sketches a beautiful woman. Jocasta plans a party. Jamie, Claire, and Young Ian are on the trail. There is a worry about Brianna. Young Ian plays a marriage therapist. Fergus finds intel, but not work. Jocasta bears a gift. Marsali knows what a man needs. The eligible men arrive. Brianna commands a parlor game. A pirate is captured. A proposal will be made. Brianna hatches a plan. Bones are discovered. Jamie and Claire makeup. Roger is put to a test.
This episode brims over with emotional vulnerability and characters being unable to hide who they are, what they are, and exist in bareness for viewers to watch. The overarching theme of hope from hopelessness is a bit over the top and lacks any subtlety whatsoever, yet the message gets brought home for each of the characters loud and clear.
Brianna The Prized Heifer:
Salivating single men…mostly.
Jocasta is persuasive.
A Lord joins the dinner party.
A game of psychology.
Brianna swoons and begins to gain a friend.
An offer he couldn’t refuse.
Bonding with Brianna.
What’s Up with Roger:
He’s tested by the Mohawk villagers.
Jamie and Claire:
The divide between them.
A Man Needs A Purpose:
Fergus’ plight and the wife always knows best.
Murtagh the Wanted:
Capturing the pirate.
The Bonnet conundrum is fixed.
Lizzie the Loud Mouth:
She’s irresponsible with her words.
I wanted to love this episode. So much detail and excellence were given to the whole River Run experience, yet the Jamie and Claire makeup seemed okay but the lacking impact left something missing. The Fergus subplot is plain bizarre since he had a job when Roger ran into him at the newspaper shop. Nevertheless, Marsali shines. Murtagh and Bonnet end up going to jail together. This should prove an interesting story arc in the next episode.
Please share your thoughts and comments to 719-425-9444 or email@example.com. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.
My basic thoughts follow below, but you’ll have to listen to the podcast to get my complete thoughts.
Summary: Claire and Adawehi bond. A misunderstood truth is given. The white sow is challenging her worth. Jamie shares a supernatural dream. Claire midwife’s a mountain family. Jamie and Young Ian go to recruit settlers. Claire quashes a conflict. Settlers are difficult to come by. Measles claim lives. A dear friend is murdered. Someone special is found. Retribution is demanded. Family finds itself opposing one another.
It is impressive how Claire is integrating and participating in the community and blending cultures through her healing practice, her relationship with Adawehi, and in her clothing (gloves and fur undervest). She even temporarily belays bad blood between the Cherokee and Herr Mueller.
The continuing theme of Claire as a loving mother who misses Brianna. Adawehi tells her Brianna is here, but Claire misunderstands the meaning.
Who doesn’t love MURTAGH? RAWR! They’ve turned him into a serious silver fox. Move over Jamie, Murtagh is in town and seems to be single. Living well post indentured servitude has him doing well for himself.
The reunions between Jamie and Murtagh, Murtagh’s reaction to Claire returning, and Claire’s reaction to Murtagh coming up the path to the cabin are all squishy warm feeling delights.
The sheer superstitious savagery that Herr Mueller displays in believing the Cherokee cursed the water and his family leading to the measle related deaths of the baby, Petronella and Tommy are awful and painful to watch. Claire’s reaction when he hands her Adawehi scalp because the curse was broken through her death is revolting and wrenching. Herr Mueller puts the savage in savagery. The retaliation by the Cherokee for the death of Adawehi erases the Muellers from the New World. Mueller and his wife perish at their hands, and their cabin is burned to the ground. Mueller is the antithesis of the good neighbor Jamie and Claire are trying to be.
Jamie and Murtagh being on the other side of the law and Governor Tryon is setting up a storyline of challenge and decisions between them.
The way Brianna departs the 20th century is baffling and irritating. She appears to have left in a moment of rash decision when she learns on her own of the bad news about a fire at Fraser’s Ridge. She didn’t call Roger to tell him of the fire and obituary notice. When Roger goes to Inverness to track her departure and find clues, Miss Baird (presumably the daughter of Mrs. Baird the Innkeeper) gives him a letter Brianna asked her to hold for a year. She couldn’t take the heartbreak on Roger’s face.
The letter Brianna left is cold and dare I say cruel. She gives no indication she loves him or what her intentions are. She doesn’t even say what bad news she found that led her to leave. She tells him not to follow her into the past. And then, simply says goodbye.
Is she trying to push him away purposely? She seems utterly detached and uncaring. “Oh well, think of me happily in the past.” Ho hum. Nothing to see here.
Where is the deep love and wanting that is supposed to be building the foundation these two characters are bound by and drive us into the next generation willingly?
Roger’s character will have him following her without a doubt. BUT WHY would he follow her? She has left nothing for him to hold onto or to be encouraged by.
I am underwhelmed by the Brianna and Roger storytelling and find myself not caring if he follows her or not.
And don’t get me started on the Holly Hobbie dress she is wearing. It must have been a truly rash decision to head for the 18th.
Claire, Jamie, Young Ian, and Rollo arrive at Aunt Jocasta’s plantation, River Run. Aunt Jocasta extends every hospitality learning they were robbed. Young Ian and Rollo meet a wicked predator. We meet a mountain man. Claire’s sensibilities and beliefs are on edge. Auntie Jocasta hatches a MacKenzie style plan. There’s a party with the who’s who of the area in honor of their arrival. An incident puts Jamie and Claire between what’s right and what’s the law.
Jamie is again in a down and out position and feeling responsible for it all.
Family matters and Jocasta needs an heir.
The timeline isn’t discernible for how long Jamie and Claire’s stay is at River Run before the dinner party or the incident with Rufus and Overseer Byrnes. This is important to why Jocasta named him heir so swiftly without seeing him really acting administratively or performing the business management duties she needs help with. Jamie appears not to have looked at Jocasta’s business dealings until after the public announcement. Really? One discussion with Wolff and Jocasta following his business acumen from afar. He was laird of Lallybroch for a short time with Jenny and Ian doing most of the work, he worked for Jared in Paris for a short time, yet successfully, he was in hiding, in prison, working his sentence off, and then became a seditious printer and smuggler. His bonafides don’t add up without Jocasta seeing him in action.
The plot device of Jamie only learning about the difficult slavery laws of the colony AFTER the announcement to make him an heir and the incident between Rufus and Byrnes. Jamie knew about other laws and even the Regulators. Surely, he would’ve asked about slavery and all it entailed. He was so pie-eyed and Pollyanna about working to release them if he took on the running of River Run. It is a kind and right notion, but as we find out, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Squares and Round Holes:
John Quincy Myers the wild mountain man just happens to be on the property and is the one person who knows how to help Young Ian with the skunk perfumed Rollo. Then he goes poof, and we don’t see him again during the episode. This screams, “Hey viewers, he might be important later, and we wanted you to meet him now.” Secondly, he’s either ill-mannered or completely oblivious in speaking to Young Ian, a lad of 16, in such a way. Book readers, I think you get my vibe on this scene.
Maria Doyle Kennedy as Aunt Jocasta Cameron. She convinces me she IS a MacKenzie through and through. The other new faces Ulysses, Phaedre, Lieutenant Wolff, John Quincy Myers, and Farquard Campbell are also well cast and believable. I am always struck wondering what the experience is playing the part of a slave or a slave owner. Both cause my heart to ache.
Claire and Jamie being in partnership they can’t own slaves, how they proceeded together in trying for true justice, treating Rufus, and subsequently understanding his soul is what matters. They stand unified.
Young Ian’s sweet heart when learning about Jocasta’s blindness and his compassion for the American Indians as people and not savages. He also shows great steel as Claire’s surgical assistant.
Jocasta’s butler Ulysses speaking plainly to Claire about what is to come for Rufus if he lives and how saving his soul is better than what’s to come. He’ll be used as an example for the other slaves to obey. Jamie says the same thing to Claire when he realizes Rufus will not be allowed to live no matter what. I like how these conversations mirrored each other, one from each, a free man and a slave.
Claire’s loving and kind bedside manner connecting with Rufus as he was dying. We have seen her do this before to send a soul off peacefully and with comfort.
Finally, Jamie’s prayer as the clock strikes midnight, Rufus dies from the poison, and Jamie delivers the limp body to the waiting men. Jamie crosses himself and prays, “I’m bending my knee in the eye of the Father who created me. Pour down from heaven the rich blessing if thy forgiveness. Be thou patient wi’ us. Grant to us savior of glory, the love of God…And the will to do on earth at all times as angels and saints do in heaven. Give us the peace.”
Claire’s unwavering belief that people should not be owned. Seeing her fight the need to save the young man and not to cause unintended harm, was a beautiful struggle to behold. Sometimes the right answer requires courage in action we can never see coming. The downside to this staunch and brooding belief is that she isn’t culturally aware or sensitive. Did she have to bludgeon the idea home over and over. It is revolting, but she could have found a way to not sulk around and find a way through the situation without inadvertently putting the slaves in harm’s way, and without threatening Jocasta’s home and land, which she did. SLAVERY IS UNCONSCIONABLE. History, when allowed, will speak it loud and clear without Claire being more entrenched and rasher in action because of her 20th-century beliefs.
I was struck hard at the closing sequence. I applaud the realistic and brutal portrayal of slavery as it was in the American Colonies. I believe we must confront the good and bad in our collective history through any and every medium. The entertainment industry is an important vehicle, especially when the simple and often harsh truths are allowed to be represented, and no agenda or politics get in the way. Time might heal some wounds, but others need intervention and social change to be righted even a little bit. That said, I do think like the theme of circles in episode 401, it was heavy-handed without allowing the viewer to make the emotional, ethical, and moral leaps on his or her own. Outlander viewers are by and large people who can critically think and get what the writers are trying to say.
The idea Jocasta would assume Claire to be a Quaker because of her abolitionist beliefs is simply odd. The Southern Colonies had slaves, the northern Colonies did not. For some reason, viewers REALLY, REALLY need to know that Quakers may be of importance to future storylines.
CORRECTION: There was slavery across the colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries. And the first organized group of white people to speak out against slavery was indeed the Quakers (The Society of Friends) who stood alone as a group for quite some time. I misspoke in my critique. With the exception of Claire’s speech, Jocasta may have been correct in this assumption.
Things to Ponder:
The color blue is seen throughout the décor and in clothing during the episode. Is it a nod to the indigo trade or something else?
Will we be meeting Quaker’s in the future?
Will we see more of John Quincy Myers?
Will Jamie take Governor Tryon’s offer?
Will we see Jamie in a kilt this season? He is free to wear one.
Have we seen the last of Stephen Bonnet?
There are numerous warm fuzzies from the book regardless of who the lines were given. These stand out in particular for me.
We learn Jocasta has lost most her vision but has “now been gifted with hearing that would be the envy of many gossip, and the ability to scent truth from lies, if ye catch my meanin’.”
There’s been a run in with the scary and horrible skunk. Young Ian says, “It lifted its tail and sprayed a foul liquid from its arse.”
Jocasta says to Claire, “Jenny was right about you. You are a peculiar lass.”
When Jocasta adds definition to how Claire speaks her mind on all manner of topics whether she knows about them or not, Claire responds, “the same could be said for Jenny.” There’s the humor! Jocasta likes her fiery spirit.
Claire to Jamie after he tries to be positive about benevolent slave ownership and forging change, “Fuses often lead to explosions.”
Jamie’s response to Claire, “Aye, but when the dust settles, oftentimes the devil yer fightin’ is gone.” Mayhaps, he’s talking about Black Jack Randall?
It took me two viewings before I could get a handle on this episode. I think us devoted book readers need to watch more than once to firmly separate one from the other. We have the blessing and curse of knowing the material being adapted. I like this episode for the most part. I’ve a few gripes so far this season: the choppiness in the flow scene to scene and episode to episode (why didn’t they discuss the ring being taken too), the sense of feeling rushed from one place to the next without taking time to savor or deepen important moments or characters, then slowing way down for one event, and being spoon-fed what the writers deem important. If the writing is solid, there’s no need to put the point on repeat.
Please share your thoughts and comments to 719-425-9444 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments or messages may be included in the podcast or a written post.