Blacklanderz® Convos! Outlander S4 Epi2

Blacklanderz Convos!

Outlander S4 Epi2 – Do No Harm

Written by Karen Campbell | Directed by Julian Holmes

M: This title card . . . wait, they had to wind the clock like that every day? Wow I would never have been able to keep track of anything.

E: There is no doubt of where we are in time.

C: It carries so much symbolism about time and the hands of time, and the winding up of that time, keeping with the times…

This conversation is between Blacklanderz Erica, Margot (has not read the book) and Cathy. Arranged and edited by Vida. [For those who don’t know, I also interrupt at times – just because.]


Erica:  Watching this episode was difficult. I have read the book and know that slavery is discussed, but seeing it on screen was something else. Despite the topic at the center of this episode, I loved it. I loved the naiveté of Claire and Jamie; Claire’s oath held true but ended up causing harm in the end and Jamie and Claire’s compassion. Since there were several things I loved about this episode, it stands to reason that there were things that I disliked terribly . . . All things related to slavery.


Margot: I appreciated the irony of ‘Do no Harm’ for this episode. That’s one of the first principles of being a doctor that I learned in school. The title is why I chose to write about this episode. There were no heroes in this episode. Everyone lost.

This is one of the heaviest Outlander episodes I have ever watched and that is saying something. I thought it was a good episode, very disturbing and upsetting, but that’s how it was supposed to be. If this is historical fiction in 18th century America, one of the realities is that slavery existed. It was an awful time and people tend to shy away from discussing the repercussions that still exist today.

The way this episode was presented, nothing was sugar coated; if it had been, that would have been insulting. Jamie and Claire must navigate their way through America and I really wonder if there is a way for them to be unproblematic. Claire had so much hope for the country in the first episode; but now learning and witnessing some of the harsh realities of the country she spoke so highly of, I wonder how this will affect her now?


Cathy: This episode for the most part felt like a usual Outlander episode. The general themes in this episode have been seen before – losing everything and having to start anew, a people being treated badly, the blindness to the suffering of others, punishment after a natural inclination to retaliate against pain and humiliation, dignity in the face of that suffering, punishment not fitting the crime… What was very unusual was the lack of chemistry between Jamie and Claire. They seemed more like travel companions and their passion completely lost here.

But, when reflecting on this episode, the word “WILL” kept creeping into my head; Strong willed women (Claire and Jacosta), the unruly will of the people (the mob), the loss of free will (slaves), the dignity of the unwilling (Ulysses and Phaedre).

M: Jamie is sad; he lost his friend and all his money. When he is sad, I am sad. Also, I’m mad that Bonnet took Jamie’s ring. We are all mad.

E: He is so apologetic and always blames himself. Forgive yourself Jamie.

C: I can’t imagine how defeated he must have felt arriving at such a grand place with nothing but the clothes on his back after having been unable to protect his family.

M: Yes…the both of you were dumb to trust Bonnet, they are too nice. I haven’t read the books and I am so curious to know what he really does this season… he sounds worse than Black Jack.

C: True, but Jamie is a soldier at heart, and to be unable to fight must have torn at his insides. But he seemed to recover rather quickly.

M: Okay River Run, and this new music. Can’t wait till the soundtrack is released so I can play it when I study.

C: You know you’re an American when you can’t stay emotionally neutral at the sound of banjos.  I love how each season’s opening has changed to fit changes in the story and very little says “American Instrument” like a banjo and harmonica.

M: Jamie sounds so self-conscious presenting himself to his aunt with no money to his name. Aww, Jamie it’s not your fault… but in all honestly, he should have remembered what Horrocks did and not trusted Stephen Bonnet just because.

I mean… it’s not like Claire is used to Jamie being rich… were they rich in Paris? I think they were … their clothes were on point then.

[V: No, but they had resources at their disposal, courtesy of  his Uncle Jared.]

E:  I love how he cares for his FAMILY; that’s one of the reasons I love this show. A man that knows his responsibility and lives up to it.

M: I’m really happy that Jamie has family in America though. Some relief onto them. This is so emotional. Finally, we get to see this whole scene that had been teased endlessly in all the trailers.

C: Wow! Who would have thought Scotland could look so much like the Carolinas? No wonder it’s where many Scots in America settled. Jon Gary Steele has outdone himself.

Jocasta Cameron is a favorite character in the books, and the writers were excited to finally introduce her into the series. We chose to meet Jocasta at the dock of her magnificent home. She is introduced in all her glory and with the power of River Run in the background. Jocasta is an elegant woman and looms large in Jamie’s life. She reminds him of his mother who he lost when he was young.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

E: The ever faithful Ulysses at her side. He appears more companion than a slave.

C: I could listen to Colin MacFarlane read a phone book all day every day – that baritone! *swoon*, but as soon as I saw him, I found myself getting angry thinking of his dignity in such an undignified situation. His restraint was palpable.

M: Claire and Jocasta are not going to be fond of each other. I can sense it.

C: Maria Doyle Kennedy did not disappoint. Jamie’s reaction to his aunt nicely captured by Sam Heughan. It was clear that Jacosta’s similarity to her sister, Jamie’s mother, took him back to his childhood.

Jocasta is compelling, a joy to play. I just love her. She is complicated and has lived a hard life. At this stage, she has been married three times but it must have been the loss of all her children that really resonated with her, the result being, subsequently, an ability to survive anything.

~ Maria Doyle Kennedy, Outlander Community

M: Ian with the flowers. Sweet Lad.

C: OMG, I love that he is used to infuse humor, naiveté, and righteous indignation depending on the scene.

E: He is so thoughtful bringing her flowers; he was clearly raised right.

M: Okay Ulysses. So, he’s her eyes then? Interesting.

[V: Yes, most of the time. You’ll notice that someone is always with her.]

M: Sense truth from lies… let’s put a pin in that.

E: He appears to be more than a slave to her. Let’s see.

We don’t immediately realize Jocasta is blind. Only when Ian offers her flowers do we see that Ulysses must guide her, and we realize this powerful woman has a physical challenge. However, it’s apparent she has taken her loss of eyesight in stride and doesn’t let it hinder her in any way. We wanted a moment of joy at River Run for Jamie and Claire’s arrival before the mood starts to turn, as the realities of plantation life soon start to affect them, especially Claire who is from the future.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

M: Rollo… people have been so excited for him. I love dogs so I’m excited too. I’m eager to see how Rollo’s importance plays out this season.

E: Rollo is a bit different from the book, but a welcome addition where ever he is.

M: Loving the shot of the estate… the music is great.

E: Certainly. Here you get a real sense of the life that Jocasta has built. Wonder what her life was like back in Scotland?

M: The furniture in this room needs to be in my apartment.

E: Thank you Jon Gary Steele for such a beautiful set.

C: The richness of the wood, the deep and unusual colors of the walls, the brocade paneling, the details of the room decorations and furniture, was simply amazing.

I may not have my sight, dear,
but I’ve been keepin’ an eye on ye.
Between yer experience in Paris wi’
Jared and the trade ye mastered in
Edinburgh – – ye’re capable of whatever
endeavor ye take on.

Family, for both Jocasta and Jamie, is like a compass—a deep magnetic force drawing them back to their roots and to their heritage. Jocasta is extraordinarily resilient and stoic but there is a deep well of love within that she doesn’t often get to express.

~ Maria Doyle Kennedy, Outlander Community

M: It’s quite nice how hospitable she is to them. Okay let’s listen to what Jocasta is saying about Jamie and dropping the idea of this party… I can see the wheels in her Mackenzie mind turning already. People have been gossiping across continents about Jamie.

E: As well they should be. Jamie is a formidable Man.

M: The way she stays hyping up Jamie in this scene made me feel like something was about to happen. People don’t just drop comments like that on others so freely, even if they are blood.

E: I agree. something is up.

M: What? Oh, a skunk. ‘Is that venomous?’ OMG, honestly if it weren’t for cartoons I watched growing up in Jamaica, I would think the same thing. Welcome to America, Jamie. I’m thinking of Tomato juice to remove the stench. Am I right?

E: I thought the same thing. I suppose Vinegar will work.

C: I LOL’d when he called a skunk “some kind of badger.”

M: Everything is so bright and shiny at River Run. That’s so sweet that Jamie wished Claire could have met his mom. It must be so emotional for Jocasta and his mom to be so similar. It’s like his mom is there, but she isn’t.

E: In the books, they were similar in appearance. It must be for him that he’s seeing his mother after all this time.

She’s [Jocasta] incredibly complicated. She’s someone who looks and sounds like his mother, and there’s touching moments.

~ Sam Heughan

M: I like the blue in this house… was this the Paris apartment redone to fit this set?

E: Good Question. I don’t think so. I remember seeing that the interiors were done on set somewhere. The house in Boston was a re-fit of the Paris apartment.

[V: So do I. The set design of this episode is magnificent. I especially loved the warm colors (purple is my favorite) and that it juxtaposed the environment they were in. No, it’s not; they built it.]

As a progressive man in the 18th century, Jamie is also disturbed by slavery, but he is torn as he tries to balance the emotions of reuniting with family. We had to walk the fine line of showing that Jamie shares Claire’s views, but knows Jocasta is a product of her time and someone who is literally blind to how wrong it is to own human beings.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

M:Please, call me Claire’. . . okay another pin. She probably does not understand that the women addressing her like that could get them in trouble.

E: No she doesn’t. Hard lessons are about to be learned here.

M: Showing their reactions to this request was good.

E: What?! Call you Claire? Are you trying to get me whipped? Thankfully she corrected this matter quickly.

C: Love Phaedre and her Scottish accent. She has a resting WTF face.

Claire encourages the slaves to use her first name (something the slaves are not used to), and they can tell right away that this woman is different. Jamie sees how upset Claire is at being surrounded by a lifestyle that she doesn’t believe in and reminds her that this will all change in the future. This episode was a very challenging one and sparked much discussion in the writer’s room.

The writers ultimately felt strongly that we shouldn’t downplay or sugarcoat the reality of this era, even though we knew some of the images would be disturbing. Claire’s 20th century views put her at odds with her surroundings, but unfortunately she is not in a position to affect widespread change—the best she can do is speak her mind and take small steps in this issue that is so large that it sparked a civil war over the very topic.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

M: I feel like Ulysses already senses Claire might be somewhat of a problem here. Just judging by the facial expressions.

E: I didn’t think so. Perhaps he sees her as genuine and the look was for Mary and Phaedre. Claire saw his look and made her quick and immediate correction.

M: She probably hasn’t had much to say because she’s disturbed by seeing actual slaves.

E: She is so out of sorts. As she looks out the window at the slaves, her 20th century mind is ready to revolt.

M: One day it will be different. I don’t think there was anything that could be said to make anyone feel any better.

E: Yeah better, but not by much.

It’s a part of the world that he lives in. He understands it. He has been a slave, he’s been a prisoner incarcerated many, many times in his life, and he knows how that is. He sees these people as people and human beings and understands their plight, so he has absolutely no part of it.

~ Sam Heughan

M: Oh, okay so they use vinegar and water to remove the smell. I like how Ian is trying hard to learn more about the Native Americans.

E: Bathing Rollo was a comic relief. I was grateful for this exchange because it broke up the seriousness of the episode.

M: Where did he hear this information from? Cut heart from chest…? What? Oh, he is drawing parallels to the highlanders; that’s pretty cool.

E: He is hungry for knowledge and forward thinking just like his Uncle.

C: For me, this scene, more than any other, was the most disturbing depiction of slavery; John Quincy Meyers and Ian having a conversation to highlight Ian’s progressiveness when regarding the behavior of “Indians” while a slave child struggles carrying heavy buckets of water on his shoulders and then from the river – to wash a dog – with nothing indicating neither man thought it inappropriate.

The entitlement is the cornerstone of slavery and when depicted with such subtly, made it more impactful. If unintentional, then the writers a tone deaf.  If intentional then it was a stroke of genius.

M: I wonder where all the actors for the slaves came from. I also wonder how they feel about portraying slaves on this show.

[V: I wondered that myself. There was a lot of talk prior to the season starting about the Native American actors, but not any about the Blacks who would play the slaves.]

M: I am loving Claire’s red dress. With this lace? Yes. I like Jamie’s outfit. Dark blue is a good color for him. Wow Jocasta must be loaded. You can tell she’s smart too and she’s done well for herself.

C: The MacKenzie cunning came through every pore. A woman good and wise enough to want as a friend, while astute and cunning to fear as an enemy.

M: Wow she sounds so proud of the amount of saves she owns, ‘Given them a purpose’. I rolled my eyes so hard they nearly hit my brain.

C: Her saying she purchases them in lots to keep the families together, as if that somehow makes her good (*eye roll*) and poor Jamie seems caught between loyalties.

E: I thought the same thing. How kind of her. . . NOT.

We’re seeing it through her eyes. [She is] a modern woman seeing the horrors of slavery firsthand, knowing how long that curse will tear at the fabric of our nation.

~ Toni Graphia and Matthew B. Roberts

M: Claire looks so uncomfortable.

C: Either she’s lost some of her fire, or the writers haven’t been consistent in the depiction of her character. Old Claire would have seen Jamie explaining her as condescending and would have reacted as such.

M: Friend’s? You can’t have friendship in a power dynamic such as this. Claire with the thought provoking and critical questions. ‘Only a few have tried to run away’ Gosh might as well have said, “My plantation is only a little evil.”

M: I’m not sure if I want to cancel Jocasta immediately, or give her some slack because of the times. ONLY SOME THOUGH. Yup, walk away Claire.

E: She thinks she is doing a good thing.  I suppose a little by keeping families together, which was uncommon during that time.

Claire and Jocasta’s differences start to cause conflict between host and visitor. We had a lot of discussion about how far to voice Jocasta’s attitudes about slavery. Naturally, we were concerned whether she would be unlikable. However, we thought it important to portray her as a realistic product of her time, and it highlighted the dramatic tension between these two spirited and opinionated women. Jocasta believes that because she takes good care of her slaves, they are “happy,” and is blind to the abominable nature of such sentiments.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

M: I love that look of disapproval Jamie gave when Lieutenant Wolff suggested planting wheat, basically says, “That’s so stupid.”

E: Talk of wheat in the presence of Jamie. Ignorance is not bliss Lt. Wolff. Jamie has knowledge in spades.

M: A genius. We Stan. So, we’re planting rice now, right? Jamie knows what he is talking about.

M: Why is Wolff so mad??!!! BYE. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

[V: Wolff is use to working with Jocasta and he does not know Jamie. Jamie, to him, appears out of nowhere and Jocasta is taking advice.]

M: Must be hard in this time because Jocasta clearly knows what she is talking about, but she also must walk some fine line because of the sexism in this time. I’m still on the fence of cancelling her or not.

[V: That is why she desperately needs someone, like Jamie, to assists her.]

M: Claire stays looking uncomfortable in this episode. Phaedre is Jocasta’s eyes right now. I feel like Phaedre is low-key shady. She’s going to be a favorite. Especially after what she said about Wolf.

Aye. ‘Tis a splendid estate to be
sure. Many others have marveled at
its grandeur. What is it that ye
most admire? ~ Jocasta

It’s difficult to find the words . . .
I’ve never stayed anywhere quite
like this. ~ Clare

Jocasta wants Claire to marvel at her house and all her belongings. One huge problem though, she has slaves and seems to be completely okay with it. She really doesn’t understand who Claire is. She’s about to find out.

E: She also seems very comfortable with the presence of slaves.  Pardon my ignorance but…did Scotland have slaves? I didn’t really see them in the show or in the books…unless I skipped over that part.

The cadence of yer voice tells me
what ye’re no sayin’ plainly
enough, dear – – ye harbor some

Claire and Jocasta continue to spar with each other. It’s easy to write overt arguments, but a challenge to portray a scene where neither is at liberty to blurt any of their overt feelings and must converse with subtle jabs at each other, constrained by the decorum of the time.

Here, Claire fights to hold her tongue for Jamie’s sake. She wants to get along with her 18th century family, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult. However, Claire would not be Claire if she didn’t speak her mind, and finally challenges their way of life by admitting, “I don’t believe in keeping people as property.” The twist here is that Jocasta actually admires Claire and finds her lively—Jocasta can see why Jamie is drawn to her.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

M: I like that little look Phaedra did when Claire said she didn’t like slavery. This actress is good. This scene solidified that Claire and Jocasta will not like each other.

C: When Claire told Jacosta that, I could almost hear her thinking “It was nice knowing you, but you about to die.

Well . . . yes, I suppose I do.

E: Claire is trying to get behind what is happening here…it must be something for her to be a part of this time in history. This scene is almost just like the book – altering the dress, Claire being uncomfortable with Phaedre dressing her.

Natalie Simpson, who plays Phaedre, was a gem of a find. The actress brought such a depth to this role as Jocasta’s personal house servant.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

I . . . don’t agree with keeping
people as property.

M: I like Claire’s hair at this party.

E: I love how Jamie looks for Claire across the room.

M: These white men like complaining about people fighting for what’s theirs.

E: Young Ian…see his forward thinking?  “Indians were on this land first, were they not?”

M: She’s giving him River Run…. THIS. WOMAN. IS. A. MACKENZIE.

E: WHAT!!! Jamie to be heir to River Run?

M: Okay knowing full well Claire doesn’t like the idea of slaves, she just dropped the estate on them like that without even talking to them. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being that she is cancelled, she’s at an 8.

 E: Check out that eye roll from Claire.

M: OMG, I LITERALLY JUST SAID WHAT JAMIE SAID, ‘There’s no doubt she’s a MacKenzie’.

E: That’s a McKenzie move if I ever did see one.

C: I think she pulled a Dougal.

M: I understand why she would want Jamie to be the heir. He’s blood, she needs someone who is a born leader, strong, smart and good with money to run her estate. Jamie is the perfect match. However, she owns slaves, and this will not fly.

[V: But, at this point, she does not understand that. Anyone, other than Jamie and Claire, would jump at the opportunity to run that large plantation with 150+ slaves.]

M: I never expected Claire and Jamie to try to fight and end slavery. This issue is so much bigger than them, but I am interested to see how they navigate themselves through this. Is there really a way for them to be unproblematic?

[V: Unfortunately no, I don’t think so. In the books, there is always something happening, though it not always their fault.]

M: This old lady acts like she is harmless, but she is on her way to being cancelled by me.

E: Interesting . . . Jamie’s checking the slave logs and finances for the master of the estate.

[V: I loved that they showed that document. It once again reiterated that slavery and owning slaves were a transaction, like any other trade one would keep up with.]

M: With laws and requirements such as this, black people really didn’t stand a chance. Their fates really left up to white people like this? Woooooowwwwww. ‘Outlandish notions

[V: Ah, yes ma’am. They made it excruciatingly difficult for slaves to be freed. And anyone who went against their laws and societal mores to free them would suffer the consequences as well.]

E: How many hoops must he jump through to free these slaves?! The more things change, the more they stay the same. “You cannot place a price on freedom.” Well said, Jamie.

This was a tricky scene to write, but an interesting and explosive one. We had Jamie appear both grateful for this gift, yet try to turn it towards his progressive ideas by proposing huge changes, changes that are met with disbelief and outrage by Farquard Campbell. To suggest freeing slaves at this time was unthinkable, and though we established in Episode 401 that Eutroclus, the water man who worked for the river boat captain, was granted freedom for saving the Captain’s life, the idea of arranging the freedom of 150 slaves was impossible.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

M: Jocasta already didn’t even want to think of the idea.

She just let Campbell talk about the issue to let Jamie get an idea of what he was asking for and look like she wanted to be open to it. Cunning, she’s cancelled now. She has good taste in furniture though.

E: Since the beginning of this country, people were unwilling to work their own land. The immigrants coming now take the jobs that Americans don’t want – maids, bus boys, picking fruit and vegetables. It is modern day slavery!

M: They really are trapped between a rock and a hard place. Either own slaves, or take land and end up on the wrong side of the war in eight years? [Side note: I’m really loving this medicine box. I would be all over that every day, if it were mine.]

E: Eight years is a long time. I see the dilemma but as much as they don’t want slaves, Tyron’s offer is the way to go.

M: I don’t know why I was expecting them to advocate for Rufus in the scene until they kept asking about Byrnes.  EXECUTION? Are you serious…

E: This whole exchange is a bit different from the book. It was a female slave that was killed as a matter of fact. I suppose they needed a bit of drama for the show.

Claire and Jamie now come up against the realization of just how dangerous and volatile this situation is. In the book, the incident with Rufus and the Law of Bloodshed happens before the party where Jocasta names Jamie heir. We switched the order so that there was an escalation which would demonstrate why Jamie’s ideas, sadly, would never be accepted. Jerome Holder as Rufus did a phenomenal job with a difficult role, and gave a haunting and heartbreaking performance.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


E: It’s about to get real.

C: I almost passed out through that scene and realized I was holding my breath.  I’ve read the books and knew what was coming, and still I wasn’t prepare for the gruesomeness.

Claire and Jamie now come up against the realization of just how dangerous and volatile this situation is. In the book, the incident with Rufus and the Law of Bloodshed happens before the party where Jocasta names Jamie heir. We switched the order so that there was an escalation which would demonstrate why Jamie’s ideas, sadly, would never be accepted. Jerome Holder as Rufus did a phenomenal job with a difficult role, and gave a haunting and heartbreaking performance.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

E: I’m a healer. Where is the injured man?  Mistake # 1 in this exchange. Poor Claire, Rufus is not seen as a man…he is property.

M: These people are evil. What in the world? A HOOK? I want to get Rufus a Tetanus shot.

C: Although, kudos to the production crew for the realism, my stomach ached watching him being hoisted up by a hook.

M: Byrnes was ugly anyway. One less ear would have been an improvement.

E: Perhaps he’s a distant relative of van Gogh.

M: I don’t know how to feel about bringing him into the house for the surgery.

E: By saving him, 20th century Claire does not realize that it’s HARM that she’s doing!  That’s mistake #2 – healing a slave after he shed the blood of a white man?!

M: What about after? What’s going to happen?

E: Well, the repercussions from her action will be grave. No good will come of this. Big trouble is on the horizon.

C: The writers did well combining two significant scenes in the book, into one scene in the show – the “hook” scene and the table surgery.

M: My sister was cringing at the incision they made on Rufus for the procedure, but I was sitting here straight-faced.

E: Claire was in her element. Healing.

C: I thought the surgery seemed ridiculous. Anyone who has lived through English brutality in Scotland, including having a friend hanged for poaching, would have known saving Rufus was futile (even if the inevitable infection didn’t kill him).

M: My sister had the same look on her face as Mary. And, like Jamie, I would have asked her to leave.

E: That’s funny. But seriously, you know I love Claire; but, she is certainly doing more harm than good.

C: There is no scenario where Rufus would have been left unscathed. Perhaps it was to highlight Claire’s blind determination where all else be damned, attitude. In the book where she let him die at the scene made much more sense.

E: Mary and Phaedre were torn here. Help heal Rufus and risk their lives or leave.

C: I spent the whole surgery scene thinking about bacteria and other pathogens, and how few of us know what blood feels like. No modern doctor would ever put their hands in anyone’s blood without gloves.

M: At least she has Young Ian as her medical assistant.

E: Yeah, he is quite the OR assistant.

C: But, in every emergency situation, the first thing is to weight the risk versus the benefits.

M: Jacosta is shocked someone wanted to help Rufus?

E:  I really didn’t like this scene. He must be hanged. Jocasta showed no compassion at all.  For all her “caring” for her slaves, she truly does not.  America has changed her (Jocasta that is).  Was it me or was that a smile I saw on Ulysses face looking at Claire attempting to heal Rufus?

M: Honestly, I don’t see anything good for Rufus after this. I’m so torn about this whole scene. She’s healing him, but what about after?

C: I am empathetic, but also pragmatic (and a part time hospice medical director, so I see a lot of death).

M: ‘Rufus is under my protection.’ Look at Jamie advocating. Wait… so Claire and Jamie could be put in jail for helping Rufus? WOW.

E: Yes. All they care about is maintaining order and warding off riotous behavior.

M: Jocasta basically: “My nephew is great!! He just doesn’t know what he’s doing!!!!!

[V: And, she is trying to protect him.]

M: I feel like Rufus must be so scared. He likely can’t trust anyone around him now and I wouldn’t be surprised that Rufus might low-key think that Claire would do something medically wrong to him on purpose (not that she would).

[V: Wouldn’t you be? I know I would.]

. . . my family in . . . Adjumako . . .
Africa. Far from here . . .

M: Minorities tend to have less trust in the health care system and of course given some events in history, it’s understandable. Likely should be the same in the 18th century. Thinking like this made me want to cry.

[V: That is truly sad to hear.]

You were taken from them?

M: Claire getting this insight first hand is huge. I don’t think people really realize or fully comprehend how slaves were brought to America. Of course, you learn about it in school, but hearing the account first-hand from someone it happened to? That is another feeling entirely. These people had their own lives and their own purposes before they were viciously brought to the US. Seeing those large ships must have been a nightmare for them. I hope other viewers see this as well.

. . . my sister too. Abena . . . men
Forced us from the trees where we played . . .
Parted us on the beach . . . took us to ships
Larger than anything I had seen before.

E: Taken as a child from Africa. Lord have mercy. I have often imagined what it would be like to live then – to be taken as a child from your family and taken to a foreign land.

M: My heart breaks for Rufus. I can’t imagine being ripped away from my sister like that and brought to such a terrible situation. Treated like someone who isn’t even human. I’m angry.

E: Young Ian identified with him. “You were taken from them?” Just like he was taken in S3. After seeing this episode, I am even more grateful for the blessing of being raised with my family.

M: Okay, I GET why Claire wants to help, but she keeps pushing it. Why is she bringing him to her room? She has good intentions, but she is making it worse. She isn’t thinking about the after; she’s just acting in the present.

Forgive me for being forthright, Mistress,

M: Ulysses coming through with the hard facts and realities of what is going to happen.

C: His facial expressions speak whole paragraphs when he looks at Claire.

E: Leave it to Ulysses to take Claire down a notch. Again, her heart is in the right place, but timing is the wrong century.

M: I’m glad she got the perspective from Ulysses and not some other white person.

but persist along your path and Rufus will
face a fate far worse than death.

M: You could see that he was conflicted in whether to tell her or not, but she must learn.

What do you mean?

M: Ulysses is now a favorite. It’s so sad that this is they way they had to think.

Saving that boy’s soul is all that
can be done for him now – once the
Overseers come, they will tear the
limbs from his body and leave what
little is left behind as a warning to
the rest of us if we disobey the law.

C: He’s like that auntie who starts every sentence with “I don’t judge, but…”

M: Why are they standing there like some stupid scarecrows.

[V: I think to make sure Jamie complies and to be somewhat of a barrier between the house and what will come, if they don’t.]

M: They have until midnight… 20 minutes left, huh?

E: It’s like waiting to be taken to the death chamber.

We decided an effective way to ratchet up this tension was to put a literal clock on the proceedings, so we know they have until midnight. We use the grandfather clock as a motif all through the episode. Jamie and Claire are literally under a deadline to return Rufus or risk River Run being burned to the ground.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

M: Jamie does not like it at all and he’s being logical, and this is hearth wrenching. This poor boy…

M: She says there’s risk of infection and I want to recommend a tetanus vaccine again. There was no other way. I was thinking they could let him escape too but then Rufus’ people get punished too? These laws and regulations gave no one a chance. Cruel.

C: There was no benefit in what Claire did other than to prove she could. She’s seen enough to know there was no scenario where Rufus would be allowed to live.

M: I did not expect a WHOLE MOB to come to river run.

C: I was struck, once again, by the dignity in an undignified situation with these scenes.

E:Turn over the lawless negro.” This scene reminded me of Charlottesville. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

M: People really like sticking their noses into business that has nothing to do with them.

M: They’re breaking windows now? “Blessed bride” I take it back.  I’m not going to start saying that anymore.

[V: Yes, this was to maintain order and compliance – frighten people, break glass, burn homes, kill slaves, etc.]

M:Yer wife’s foolishness will get us all killed.’ I get it. What she said holds some truth.

[V: And, these people were not playing. They were going to get their “justice” one way or another THAT NIGHT!]

M:I ken you swore an oath to do no harm.’ Oh so, this is where the significance of the title is coming in?

[V: And, you know Claire swears (out loud, all the time) by her oath.]

Ye ken I’ll defend ye and the oath
ye took, no matter what cost. But
if yer oath is to do no harm – –
then isna it a better thing to save
his soul before those men tear it
from his body.

M: Jocasta trying to quell this mob.

[V: She is trying her best and trying to save her damn home from burning to the ground.]

This scene was added late in the script, during production, when we realized that we needed to escalate the tension and have something to cut away to, so as Claire and Jamie tend Rufus, Jocasta holds off the mob.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

M: Having Rufus ask for Claire to end his suffering, like Colum did, would have made it too easy. Claire has to live with what happened tonight for the rest of her life. Larger impact.

E: Yeah, just like S1…take his mind off his pain and let him pass in peace.

Those scenes with Rufus … for Claire, it was just to try to get him some kind of peace, and to, in some way, give him an escape from what is going to be ultimately his fate with the mob. We were wondering whether or not it’s the right thing to do to have somebody take that decision into their hands. Even though Claire is a doctor, is it better to give him this peaceful exit? We all struggle when we get scenes like that, finding the right way to do it.

~ Catriona Balfe

M: There are no heroes in this episode. Everyone lost. Rufus lost the most. This music makes everything more unsettling.

M: At least Rufus was thinking of some happy thoughts at his end. I hope he is reunited with his sister in the afterlife.

C: He also died peacefully.

M: Oh… this scene was the one from the title sequence.

[V: Yes, I caught that too.]

I am bending a knee in the eye of
the Father who created me. . .

M: Jamie and Claire understand what they participated in. They must feel awful. This is terrible. One of the heaviest episodes yet. This prayer and music made everything more heart-breaking.

[V: I was in tears.]

Again, these were devastating scenes to write and film, but crucial to show the reality of the mob getting their way, to see the brutality of the hanging and to realize what Claire has saved Rufus from. She and Jamie were unable to spare Rufus’s life and must turn over his body, but Jamie prays for his soul as the mob has their way.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

Pour down from heaven, the rich
blessing of Thy forgiveness. . . be
Thou patient with us. . .

M: They didn’t even realize that he was dead.

C: The peacefulness of his death only made the dragging and stringing up of his body more jarring. I sobbed.

Grant to us, Thou Savior of Glory,
The love of God. . .

M: I don’t know why I didn’t expect them to show the mob dragging Rufus to the tree and hanging him.

C: The music also made it more difficult to stop crying.

Because the visuals of it are so horrific — it was definitely very visceral — feeling horrified and disgusted and emotional is actually a very natural response, so you use all of those things. And Jerome [Holder] was so incredible. When you have an actor come on to the show, and they bring such an incredible performance, and you get to be real partners in those scenes, that really helps get you through it.

~ Catriona Balfe

E: This had me very emotional and my emotions ran the gamut. I went from anger . . . I mean, did they not see he was dead already?!

M: After that, I half expected they were going to set his body on fire. I think I would have had to walk out of my room, if they had.

E: What satisfaction is there in hanging a dead man? Look who turns out to be the savage.

M: Ulysses, Phaedre and Mary… I liked how we got some idea of what they are thinking just by their expressions. These actors were great.

E: At this point, my anger turned to sadness at the loss of life and that Rufus’ death saved the lives of the other slaves on the plantation…if living as a slave can be called a life.

M: In the end, Claire and Jamie are finally fully understanding where they are and what kind of place America really is.

E: I even shed a tear. Crying about something fiction?! That has never happened.

And the will to do on earth at all
times as angels and saints do in
heaven . . .Give us Thy peace. ~ Jamie

Episode Rating (1-5 Shots)

Our rating for this episode is 4-Shots!

We give this episode 4-shots. It was a tough one to watch and has caused numerous conversations online.

Margot: The River Run set is amazing. So vibrant and the interiors, the costumes are awe inspiring. The music was very good, and the emotion conveyed throughout the episode was very real and almost moved me to the point of tears. I’m not an easy crier when it comes to TV. I’m usually looking at my sister crying and wondering, ‘why’?

I take one shot glass away because of Claire’s white savior actions. She didn’t think about what happens after  healing Rufus and that annoyed me to no end through the episode. I’m glad Ulysses set her straight and she was open to listening. I knew Rufus was lost the second I learned about the ordeal and when they took him down from the tree. But, the producers wanted to highlight the dilemma about how to help Rufus in the least harmful way at the end, so I understand that.  That was the irony of ‘Do no Harm’, either leave him to the mob to be torn apart and experience it all or give him some peace and mercy with a painless death. In the end, they chose the lesser of the two evils and gave Rufus some comfort and peace.

Erica: The topic was a difficult one. While I am the child of immigrants (Trinidad and Guyana), I have often heard from my parents the struggles they faced coming to this country in the late 60s. Although I an not a direct descendant of the American Slave, it did not remove the significance of this experience for those that are.

The sets and the acting were top notch. You can always count on Jon Gary Steele to make you feel like you are actually there, experiencing the scene like you were there. In retrospect, it feels to me like this was a true introduction of slavery to Jamie and Claire. They are both outsiders and must learn quickly how things work within that societal system. And, just as quickly, they learn that this is not the life that they want.

Cathy: Once I past my annoyance with Claire’s righteous indignation and misguided savior complex, I attempted to watch with an objective eye. Only after the third time through was I able to see the details and appreciate how each scene from this episode overlapped with past episodes depicting the same themes, but with different characters and cultures.

The rounded richness of the set, sounds, music, voices, and performances were overwhelming even in the face of improbable events and Jamie and Claire’s bland interactions.

How did you rate the episode and why? Let us know in the comments section.


What we are looking forward to in the upcoming episode.

Cathy: I am really looking forward to seeing more of Natalie Simpson as my girl Phaedre and Colin MacFarlane as Ulysses *swoon*. I think the adaptation of the books is extremely good so far. I look forward to seeing what’s kept, what’s not, and how they weave the stories together. With so much material to draw from, all bets are off. Follow Cathy on Twitter: @DrkKnightingale.

Erica: I am looking forward to Jamie and Claire leaving River Run. I may sing, Oh Happy Day. I cannot wait to see Bree and Roger again; their presence will be welcomed. Additionally, I am looking forward to meeting the Native Americans and seeing Fraser’s Ridge. Follow Erica on Twitter: @imyourealtor.

Margot: I’m definitely looking forward to the aftermath of this situation. What will Jocasta have to say to Claire about this? She’s basically the reason why things escalated. Poor Jocasta’s windows… *rolls eyes*. They certainly will not want Jamie to be the master of River Run now. I’m going to assume they are taking Governor Tryon’s deal, which will set up the rest of the season.

Judging from the preview, I see an encounter with the Native Americans coming up, so I am excited to see how that interaction will play out, and the skull Claire picks up in the preview may be the same one with silver fillings we saw in all the trailers. I’m just excited to see Jamie and Claire build their home together. I love them. Follow Margot on Twitter: @Margot94V.


Outlander S4 Epi3 – The False Bride ~ Video via OneFergus

Written by Jennifer Yale | Directed by Ben Bolt


Jamie and Claire search for a place to call home; meanwhile, in the 20th century, Brianna and Roger’s romance heats up and then fizzles during a road trip that winds up highlighting their differences.


Disclaimer: We hold no rights to any of the pictures.  No copyright infringement intended. 


3 thoughts on “Blacklanderz® Convos! Outlander S4 Epi2

  1. I really like your discussion of the episode, combining your reactions and insights into the action as it occurred. I would have given this 5 shots, if the number of shots equals how tough the episode was to watch and experience. I think this is the most honest depiction of the horror of slavery that I have ever seen. The explanation by the men to Jamie about why he couldn’t do what he wanted brought up some facts about the laws of the time that I wasn’t aware of. We are not taught in school, even in the North where I grew up, about the ways in which the institution of slavery was enforced by laws, and not just economic issues or tradition. It really brought home why it was impossible to rid the country of slavery without a war. I’ve read a lot of reaction from people who felt that Claire was incredibly naive and/or behaving without concern for the ramifications of her actions. I don’t know that there was a way for Claire to be seen as doing the ‘right’ thing in this situation. After all, she knew the historical future and the cost even in modern times to people like her friend Joe Abernathy. I wonder how many of us, faced with the reality of a situation we’ve only encountered as history, would hold back and not react as she did. And, if we didn’t speak up, would we feel that we were being like the ‘good Germans’ who didn’t try to help the Jews who were being taken away by the Nazis and imprisoned, essentially enslaved in labor camps? She didn’t have a really good option here, and one of the things I like about Claire is that she doesn’t hold back from saying and doing what she believes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. There is a lot about slavery that many of us have never been taught, even I whose mother heard first hand accounts from relatives born into slavery and who then passed those stories onto me. I think Claire’s reaction to the horror was unquestionably legitimate and was consistent with her character throughout the Outlander series. However as a physician myself, having her not consider the ramifications of her actions (weighing the benefit and risk to her patient and others) smacked of a God-complex stereotype. In the book, she let Rufus die at the scene of the assault knowing that in the unlikelihood she could staunch the bleeding, he would die soon after (if not by mob, then definitely from an intestinal injury – the most easily infected of all wounds, even with modern antibiotics).
      None of us would pass a test if the criteria were based on always speaking up when we witness wrongdoing. And although it is easy to speculate what we’d do in a given situation in 1766, the ghosts of slavery still linger and present more than enough opportunities to speak up now.


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