Down the Rabbit Hole Ep 158

Season 4 Episode 407

Down the Rabbit Hole

Directed by: Jennifer Getzinger

Written by: Shannon Goss

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Summary:  Roger follows after Brianna with the help of a friend. Brianna is ill-equipped for the rigors of the 18th century Highlands. Brianna remembers her daddy. Unexpected hospitality is offered. Roger becomes a crewman for a wicked captain. Brianna learns a terrible truth about her host. Ian Murray helps her to the coast. Brianna secures a travel companion and passage to The Colonies.

Brianna’s Quest

Brianna appears to have made a fast getaway into the 18th century because of her inappropriate clothing and purse choices. She doesn’t even don gloves or warm knitwear. She watched her mother quickly prepare for her departure yet seems to have not heeded the example at all well. In a nutshell, she’s on foot and trying to get to the coast from the standing stones to secure passage to North Carolina but injures herself and ends up being taken care of by Laoghaire “Damn Her Eyes” MacKimmie and her daughter Joanie at Balriggan.

Brianna gets to bond with wee Joanie, who seems to be the real adult in the household. She also gets an earful about Laoghaire’s deadbeat former husband. It’s a perspective check that strains what Claire has said of Jamie.

Brianna sees the hateful and wretched side of Laoghaire when it’s revealed in the conversation who her mother is, who her biological father is, and who Laoghaire’s ex-husband is. With the tongue of an adder, Laoghaire strikes Brianna. It’s poetic justice when Brianna tells Laoghaire Jamie never loved her. At least until Laoghaire threatens to have Brianna arrested as a witch and locks her in her room. Joanie saves the day by freeing Brianna and taking her to Lallybroch. Uncle Ian gives her money, a trunk of Claire’s old clothing, and advice to find Aunt Jocasta when she arrives in Wilmington.

We also get to see the relationship she had with her daddy Frank and how the revelations about her parents’ marriage and his death have taken a toll on her. Between that and the effects of her mother’s secrets and subsequent return to the 18th, it’s quite easy to understand the depth of trauma that has accumulated within Brianna.

What the Frank?

Frank returns in flashback highlighting the strain of his and Claire’s relationship, his closeness to Brianna, and the last time she saw him before he died.  We see a side of Frank that has gone largely unexplored in the series. Did the obituary give him the onus to divorce Claire, tell Sandy he wanted to marry her, take the job at Cambridge, and ask Brianna to go with him to England? I find myself angry that Frank spilled the divorce beans to Brianna after his last fight with Claire. What a hellish last conversation to leave her with before he dies. At least his final words to her were “I love you.”

Roger’s Journey

Fiona takes Roger to Craigh na Dun so that he can go after Brianna into the 18th. He’s very smartly clean shaven to deter lice and fleas from infesting his facial hair.  In period clothing, he goes through and becomes a crewman of the Gloriana. The ship is captained by none other than the malevolent Stephen Bonnet.  Roger shows his grit by vehemently decrying Bonnet’s actions in front of the passengers and the crew. Suffice it to say throwing an ill child out the window is not something Roger can tolerate. Roger takes it a step further and hides a mother and her baby (Morag MacKenzie and Jemmy) when the baby has a teething rash. Roger is a man of principals and does what’s right even if it could cost him. By the flip of the coin, Roger’s fate to live or die for his indiscretion against the captain. The luck of Danu was with him.

The Faces of Laoghaire

  • She’s a lovely, generous, and kind hostess to Brianna.
  • She’s a good and loving mother.
  • She has a skewed version of Jamie, their marriage, and what lust or love means.
  • She turns her temper on a dime when Jamie, Claire, or alimony is brought up.
  • She’s bitter about men and tells anyone who will hear.
  • She’s unreasonable and locks Brianna in a bedroom.
  • She sees herself as a victim.
  • She cross contaminates her food. Did you see that cutting board?
  • She has an ax to grind with Claire and Jamie and passive-aggressively grinds it into Brianna. Such a flaming b**ch.

Bonnet, Bonnet, Bonnet

  • The swagger.
  • The humor.
  • The danger. He threw a child overboard for goodness sake.
  • The RING.
  • And Danu.


  • Frank loved Claire more than she loved him.
  • Laoghaire loved Jamie, but he never loved her.
  • Frank knew Claire was telling the truth about time travel and would eventually return to Jamie.
  • Brianna is Jamie’s daughter. I thought Laoghaire would vomit right there.
  • Frank wasn’t going to ask Sandy to marry him (he did say “come with me” to Brianna when he told her about the divorce and getting a job at Cambridge). Maybe truth.


  • Brianna walking and walking and walking like she’s going to Mordor to throw My Precious into the lava before getting rescued by a stranger after passing out, is reminiscent of Claire wandering around that blasted island in Uncharted last season. The writer of this episode wrote that one.
  • Roger being held back by the men as he fights and yells at Bonnet is similar to Jamie being held back while the Cherokee threaten William. Or countless other times Jamie has been held and unable to protect someone from harm.
  • Brianna’s flashbacks of memories that remind her of what is going on in her current situation, such as the argument between Laoghaire and Ian.

Shout Outs for Book Readers

  • The case of the missing PB & J is solved.
  • We meet Morag, baby Jemmy on the ship and The Weymss at the dock.

Links of Interest

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The entire Outlander book series is written by Diana Gabaldon. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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The Power of Two. The Hail Mary S2 E12. My Reflections.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Closing Time – Semisonic

As I watched episode “The Hail Mary” S2 E12, frenetic thoughts and feelings bounced all askew, not unlike Claire’s hair defying the pins and willfully becoming untamed once more. I have a level of discomfort that feels just right. I am stunned when the hour is up. I would swear only half that time is gone by. Each minute is well spent and never dithered away. As the credits roll, my emotions settle, and I recognize the power of two deftly at play here.

Two is indeed better than one.

Two writers, Ira Steven Behr and Anne Kenney crafted together this episode in a seamless fashion. They demonstrated what a collaborative effort should look like onscreen. As I watched, I tried to figure out who wrote what and I couldn’t tell. This is a win for viewers. I only have words of excellence for how these two interpreted the script outline as a team. I hope they are proud of what they put forth. I expect they will garner accolades from fans and peers alike.

Two war council leaders pushing and pulling the Prince, funneling all options down to the ill-fated battle on Culloden Moor. Once at odds, now the Quartermaster and the Lord General get on the same page, but the men are hungry, tired, and weary. Too long in retreat, they are no longer fit to fight. The Prince himself is tired of retreat and desires to forge ahead at Culloden. The weaving of the background tale leaves a sense of frustration for all involved. The Prince and his trusted advisers are as ill prepared as the men. It’s powerfully difficult to watch it unfold. This has been masterfully shown to the audience to provoke feelings of unease, distrust, and being forsaken to a lost cause.

Two still grieving the loss of their friends. Ross and Rupert are not yet over the loss of their other halves, Kincaid and Angus. Being in this place without them has them hollow and spent. They are struggling to find meaning and purpose in it any longer. This demonstration of low morale is a small insight to what the entirety of the forces are feeling. The continued nod to the fallen two, is sweet and heartbreaking all over again.

Two “Hail Mary’s” in the mix, Jamie’s and Mary Hawkins’. No matter what Jamie does or how he schemes, the path to Culloden outwits him and is set ever more firmly. He even uses information Claire gathers from Black Jack Randall to try to reset what is to come. Nothing changes. Fate is inexorable it seems. One has to give Jamie credit. He is one tenacious beast with a bone. His love of family and country propel him to not give up even on the eve of battle. This is a reason he is so beloved and called “The King of Men”. He’s not always the fastest, smartest, or strongest. He’s the one willing to do whatever it takes, at whatever the cost to himself to do what he believes is right. There’s a penalty to being “that guy”. We’ve seen the hardships he has endured, however, in the season finale, there’s no doubt he must pay the ultimate price for those he loves. Sam Heughan making it real and believable.

Mary Hawkins make a reappearance. She’s with Alex Randall once again. His health has declined further. They plan to marry once he is improved. Sadly, this is not to be. Claire becomes involved in his care and knows quickly he will not live. Poor Mary is faced with being on her own and destitute. Big brother Johnny (Black Jack Randall) has been financially supporting them since Alex has been unable to work. This triangle proves to be her “Hail Mary”.  Alex insists upon her marrying his brother so she will have a proper name and title. Mary agrees. Randall takes more convincing. Claire “helps” him to see what he must do. She contrives to have Mary not be his wife, but his widow with all the benefits. Exquisitely acted by all in these scenes, each emotion hits the viewer like a slap across the face. It is terrible, ugly,and disturbing…the lot of it.  In the end, they were wed. Now every viewer can be comforted in the fact that Claire prophesied the date of his death, so Mary will only ever be his widow. And never his wife.And I believe two pregnancies are occurring, one known, one not yet acknowledged. Mary Hawkins not only is in need of a husband, her unborn baby, fathered by Alex, is in need of a name and father. Finally Claire knows how and why Black Jack Randall marries Mary. She also must realize that Jamie could’ve killed Randall all along because Frank is not his direct descendant. I imagine a large dose of guilt there. Genealogy charts do not have the back stories. The other pregnancy was foreshadowed last episode in the prayer Jamie was saying over a sleeping Claire. She looks unwell and seems not herself. I believe she is pregnant again but refuses to acknowledge it to be true. Remember the wee daughter we met earlier in the season? The season finale cannot come close enough.

Two sets of brothers are unexpectedly saying goodbye to the one ill. Due to his increasingly poor health, Colum shows up to the encampment to discuss with Dougal and Jamie his vision for Clan MacKenzie after his death. He chooses Jamie over Dougal, as guardian of young Hamish, who is to take his place as Laird. Dougal is angry and lacks an understanding. He somehow makes it all about himself. His loss. His pain. There’s no way for peace to be made here. One who must do for the clan. One who wants to grab at power. When Colum peacefully slips away (after taking the herbs Claire gave him) during Dougal’s woe is me monologue, the final blow to Dougal is struck. Colum wins his battle by leaving his brother with too much unsaid and nothing fixed between them. I shed more than a few tears after this scene. The insight into what makes Dougal tick is fascinating. Colum always knew him better than he knew himself.  Again, the acting is superb. Bravo to Gary and Graham.

Finally the other set of brothers in a losing battle of illness. Black Jack Randall is affectionately called Johnny by his dying brother Alex. He is the only thing Black Jack has ever loved unconditionally. He’s the only person who’s experienced tenderness and care taking by Black Jack. He knows his brother is dark, but preys on the small light of goodness to carry out his plan to give Mary and their unborn baby, a name and station. This request is too much for Black Jack to handle. He even goes so far as to try to get Claire to help dissuade Alex of the marriage request. Eventually he and Mary wed to his great disgust. In the end, he cannot bear to say goodbye to his brother, and instead of tears, shockingly beats his body with fists after the last breath is drawn. This horrific act is done in front of Claire and Mary. Tobias Menzies crushes every scene. He is vulnerable, desperate, caring, despondent, and hateful.  In addition to the incredible acting, Black Jack looks drawn and thin, in kind to his brother ailing Alex. Brilliant!

I have watched it twice just to make sure that the power of two took full root.

This episode gets a giant YES from me if you could not tell. My full review and discussion will be on my podcast for your listening pleasure.

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Family, Debts, Black Jack Returns Untimely Resurrection S2 E5 Podcast Review

Delights, fights, plots galore, and a few horses asses come out to play in Untimely Resurrection, this well written piece by Richard Kahan. This episode is all about family, debts owed, and the fallout from Black Jack returning.

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Tobias Menzies Spills Outlander “Secrets” with

In’s latest video interview installment, Tobias Menzies spills Outlander “secrets”. The versatile actor reprises his dual role as Frank Randall and Captain Randall in the second season of the Starz original programming.

For the record, he explains he has no idea how a fetus would handle time travel. It’s a bit baffling the business of it all.

Of course for a man of history and research it’s a difficult truth to take in. How could he not believe Claire though in the end? 

More of finding out your long lost wife is carrying another man’s child. Yes, that’s a harsh reality for any man to take in. 

No. That about sums up his answer. You need difficulties to create good viewing or it would be boring.

These are short and sweet interviews. Not a whole lot of secrets, yet fun nonetheless.

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Written All Over His Face- Frank’s Top Looks S2 E1

For being the proper Englishman, Frank does not hold his emotions close to the vest in this premiere episode. Ever expressive, whatever he thinks is written all over his face. I’ve chosen this sampling as Frank’s top looks from”Through a Glass, Darkly,” S2 E1 for discussion. Tobias Menzies is a thoughtful and well abled actor.

His openness of emotion handling the return of his two years gone wife, contrasts heavily with the tightly closed and disconnected Claire. His seeming inability to hold back, bordering on emotional chaos, takes us back to how we’ve seen Claire respond in the past in different situations. A keen juxtaposition.

In this, I find Frank’s responses at once appropriate and erratic. He’s all over the place, which would be expected having your disappeared wife back in your life. Yet, he is no ordinary historian, no ordinary professor.  With his military training and expertise, it’s odd to see him lack mystery and additional meaning behind his words and actions. Perhaps, it’s the personal kerfuffle that has him  so unlike himself.

  My wife is returned. Happy day.

   Something is very askew here. Why did she flinch when I reached for her? What in the hell happened to her?
Maybe if I get into a subservient position, this will go better.        Mrs. Graham, what?

 Why these appear high quality and period authentic. Where the hell has she been? (By the way, where did the plaid on the bed come from?)

  (This simply creeped me out. Why did he smell the shift? There would be dirt, sweat, Jamie odors on there...)  Why is she talking to Mrs. Graham and not me? Why the interest in Scottish history? Why? Why? Why?

You’re my wife.  I love you like I said I would. No matter what. I don’t care what has happened or where you’ve been or what you’ve done…

  Wait a second. Pregnant?!How wonderful.
  Oh wait. Two years…How? Who? What?
  Oh bloody hell. It can’t be mine.You’re carrying another man’s child!!!!!  I could… I do care, very much…
  Wait. What am I…Oh my God.  I have to get out of here.
Yes, I’m breaking down and breaking things. I cannot manage these feelings.  I DO CARE. IT DOES MATTER.I feel a bit better now.
  We tried to have a baby. I’m sterile. I can have a child now. I can have a child and raise it as my own.I want things back to normal. We can move forward, together, I hope. I’m desperate to move ahead.

Frank is now a bit more of an open book. This small glimpse into his perspective does his character good for the viewers. This brought him into reality and fully into three dimensions. If Claire’s perspective alone had been seen, it would be a much different vantage point. He loves her no doubt, but what does he love, the thought of her, the memory, who she once was?  Wanting a child and now having the ability to raise one as his own is a big deal. Especially to one who family history and lineage matters so much. He has an intact family once again, so it seems. He’s an upstanding imperfect fellow who wants to do the right thing for himself, Claire, and the baby. He earns respect for that alone. He hopes she will be in love with him again. He hopes the past can stay where it is. Only the future will tell.

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