Blacklanderz® Convos! Outlander S4 Epi4

Blacklanderz Convos!

Outlander S4 Epi4 – Common Ground

Written by Joy Blake | Directed by Ben Bolt

This conversation is between Blacklanderz Helina, Ayana and Vida. Arranged and edited by Vida.

V: It was interesting that they had the title card with the episode title first, before the writer and director.

A: This is my favorite title card this season. It harkens me back to episode 1×09 “The Reckoning” as we watched Jamie get dressed in his kilt. The glimpses of costumes are wonderful.

V: Bear’s use of percussions and drums at the opening really sets up the episode well.

A: He showed out this episode. He was making statements and enhancing themes. This title card and native indigenous instrumentation is just one of many.

H: Finally! The first glimpse of the Native Americans! I can’t help but love the intricate pattern/design of their clothing! The music sounds ominous. I wonder what they are preparing for?

V: Those were beautiful shots of the them getting dressed in all their regalia. I wonder how long it took Terry and crew to make all those costumes. I think it’s their everyday attire.


Helina: This episode very much sets the tone for Jamie and Claire’s future as they seek to build a home together in the backwoods of North Carolina. Governor Tryon’s land grant of 10,000 acres, although seemingly generous, is not something that will be easily built. Jamie knows it won’t be easy, but this time, he will be able to rely on Ian and Claire.

Building a home will also present challenges. They will share surroundings with the Cherokees who, at the moment, are not only intimidating, but also do not appear friendly. Then again, if the place I called home was increasingly encroached by people who are taking it away from me, I would not be friendly either. Jamie understands that feeling of losing his home well and is determined to reach a common ground with the Cherokees in order to build trust and foster a good relationship.


Vida: Although the title for this episode is ‘Common Ground,’ there was a lot more going on than Jamie, Claire and Ian finding common ground with the Cherokees, who already inhabited the land. There were beginnings: Marsali and Fergus being on their own with the baby on the way; Jamie, Claire and Ian carving out their stake of land and the Cherokees having to deal with settlers, whom they view as invading their land. Last, there is Roger and Bree, with Roger thinking they were going to have a new beginning.

For each, it was also a matter of survival. That was the first thought I had when Marsali discussed missing her mother and not having her there. Was she also afraid she wouldn’t survive the delivery of her child? For Jamie, Claire and Ian, they continuously must survive something; but here, it is the unknown of the indigenous people and the ‘wild animals’ that live within the boundaries they will soon call home. We were introduced to the Cherokee tribe for this season, and I appreciate that they cast all Native Americans for the roles. They surely had a haunting presence throughout the episode.


Ayana: ‘Common Ground’ is a good title for this episode as it explores the Fraser’s search for common ground among their Cherokee neighbors. It also explores the common ground forged in well-established relationships between Claire and Jamie and those just beginning between Jamie and John Quincy Myers.

I’m struck that Outlander cast Native Americans to play Native American roles, but I am delighted. I was wary that we would get cliché portrayals, but I have learned to trust this cast and crew, which ends up being well founded as we get our first introduction to the indigenous peoples.

H: Jamie accepting / signing the land grant offered by Governor Tryon in some ways harkens back to what he lost when he signed the deed of sassine, which gave Lallybroch to young Jamie.

V: That is true, but now we must wonder what all comes with that grant. Ten thousand acres is a lot of land, and damn my people could not even get 40 acres and a mule. My only problem with it all is that people were granted land that was already inhabited with indigenous people. Yes, I know it is history, but it nevertheless pisses me off!

A: I try to pay special attention when anything is signed in Outlander. I wonder what Bree or Roger would think if they run across it. This land grant paperwork is thousands upon thousands better than that slave paperwork that showed Claire owning Temeraire.

H: What commendable decision? Ten thousand acres or not, doesn’t Tryon know how much Jamie despises doing business with the Redcoats?

V: I really don’t like that pompous-ass Governor Tryon, but Tim Downie surely plays him well. He has no idea who he is dealing with; Jamie is neither of the ‘backwoods’ mindset nor will be played.

When we were reading the scripts and started shooting, I was very much into showing that [fascination], even if it’s unwritten. Jamie, at first, is very wary and knows nothing of the Native Americans. I think even at the beginning he calls them “savages” and is very distrustful, and quite quickly you see there’s this unwritten understanding that develops and actually an interaction—and it’s because they’re both very similar in that they’re warring nations, they have the same history.

The same thing is happening to the Native Americans as has happened to the Scots: their land was taken by the British. It’s a very similar scenario. There’s a great respect, and certainly by the end of the season. . . . He really has a great understanding and respect for them.

~ Sam Heughan

H: Governor Tryon offering accommodation at Wilmington for Claire while Jamie establishes the new home was kind, I will admit!

V: I thought he was being an ass. He is not use to women like Claire.

A: He is rubbing me the wrong way too. The offer of accommodation was nice, but I believe it was only to get information out of her. Jamie praising his wife, spreading the word about her healing and recognizing he can’t do this without her . . . I am here for all of that.

This scene is not in the book, but since we always refer to this transaction as Jamie “making a deal with the devil,” we thought that it’d be cool to see the actual signing of the papers with said devil. As Jamie takes ownership of the land, we’re reminded that the price of his new home is to be available to do Governor Tryon’s bidding should Jamie be needed to fight the Regulators. Jamie’s line here, “There is the law and there is what is done,” is a callback to what Tryon told him at the dinner party when the governor first dangled the offer of land in return for Jamie’s loyalty.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

H: Awww, love how Jamie tells Tryon how strong Claire is and that he couldn’t do it without her! *swoon*

V: Yeah, I was thinking . . . here we go again – settling on land and the establishment of the home are a man’s job; keep the little woman out of the way. But he doesn’t know Claire that well – ‘do he.’ You think she’d let Jamie go and leave her behind?! I think NOT!

H: I know Tryon is not trying to lecture Jamie on how to pick settlers and to distinguish “friend from foe!” As far as I’m concerned, the Redcoats have been his foe from the beginning! Pfffff!

V: Yes, he was. Like I said, a pompous ass! Tryon thinks he knows everything and that Jamie is stupid. Highlanders have a lot in common with the Indian savage. Well damn, he just called Jamie a savage, did he not?! Bet he didn’t expect the answer he got though. Jamie throwing shade.

A: There was some shade throwing going on up in here. I’m just hoping that word reaches a key character. We all miss, MURTAGH.

H: Aye, dear Governor Tryon, the Native Americans have much in common with Highlanders as both have been victims of Redcoats’ savagery, have had lands taken away, villages have been plundered, inhabitants raped and killed – Like Jamie said, “savagery can exist in many forms.”

V: Unfortunately, the governor doesn’t look at it that way. In his mind, and just from what we saw in the first few seasons, the Redcoats can do no wrong.

Savagery can exist in many forms,
Your Excellency. I’ve witnessed it
in both prince – – and pauper.

H: The view of the rooftops of Wilmington reminds me of when Claire first got back to Edinburgh, just before she headed to the print shop for the first time!

V: The set designs for this season are truly amazing. I didn’t think of that, but you’re right, it does look similar to the other set.

H: Gotta love Ian, he is always ready to help his auntie, whether in surgery or just lifting heavy items!

V: Funny you should say that. I was thinking the same thing and smiling as he rushed in to help her with her things. He reminds me of couple of my nephews who call me Auntie.

H: Hearing Marsali recounting her experience with morning sickness and longing for her mother really got to Claire – and her motherly instincts kicking in was heartwarming.

A: Outlander shines when the focus is on relationships. This conversation between them is a great example. So precious that Marsali turns to Claire to open up about what she’s feeling when it comes to pregnancy; months of common ground being forged between them. I cringed just slightly when the spirit of Laoghaire was mentioned, but Claire showed no signs of cringing herself.

V: Aww, that was such a sweet and tender moment with them! I can’t blame her for missing her mother, even though none of us can stand her! I am glad the two of them have warmed up to each other.

We thought it’d be nice for Marsali to express that she misses her mother. It was a fun scene to write, as the challenge was navigating Claire’s feelings about Laoghaire. Even though Claire is no fan of Marsali’s mom, Claire is missing her own daughter and can empathize with a pregnant Marsali missing her mother. Claire’s kindness towards Marsali in this moment shows the warm, maternal side of Claire and bonds the two women further, since their rocky start.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

H: Did I hear right?! Did Claire just give props to Laoghaire for raising Marsali right? I must be in the twilight zone!

V: Unfortunately, you did hear that correctly. But, I really think she was trying to console her and put her at ease with her pregnancy and being alone.

H: I never tire of seeing Jamie with Fergus and Ian by his side – especially when he gives them important tasks! Jamie telling Fergus to find the men who will not cause trouble and those from Ardsmuir Prison kind of gave me hope. Could we have a Murtagh sighting?! *Keeping fingers crossed.*

V: I love their relationship too. There have been reports that they really liked Duncan Lacroix and since he did not die, it is highly likely that we will see him again. Best Godfather e-v-a-h! There weren’t any leaks of him from any of the sets while they were filming, but my fingers are also crossed.

A: Jamie ensuring his family has enough money, oh the feels!

H: There goes cheerful Ian, ready for a new adventure and ready to take the wagon on the road!

V: He is always ready for an adventure.

He was also the only one not sad about leaving.

H: I love how in tune Jamie is with Claire and understands her longing for Bree after speaking with Marsali. Reminding her that he kept her memory alive by thinking of her often and that Bree will do the same was a sweet touch!

V: He always knows how to comfort her. He seems to be back in his element in this episode.

A: The way he stares at her face. He not only noticed something is bothering her, but also ask questions in order for her talk about it. Communication is wonderful to witness between these two.

H: As always, Jon Gary Steele and crew did a marvelous job with the construction of Wilmington as did Terry Dresbach and team with the costumes!

V: It is hard for me to fathom all the work they put into these episodes, especially this one. I cannot imagine how Terry and crew created all these costumes. I think this episode had the most people with different types of costumes –  the regular characters, townspeople, Redcoats and the Native Americans.

H: What a beautiful day for a wagon/horse ride through the woods!

V: I thought those were nice shots too. Honestly, I felt like I was riding with them.

H: Oh Ian…I know how you feel, I have a fear of heights too!

V: He is such a hoot. I am glad he is the comic relief for us this season. I wasn’t as fond of him in the books, but John Bell makes it easy to love his character.

H: The view of the landscape from what will be Fraser’s Ridge is breathtaking – and I agree with you Claire, God does have a certain touch!

V: That conversation was interesting to me, especially Jamie mentioning God’s brush strokes. It was also interesting how they mentioned God in all the natural beauty of the place. But, in a different manner, God and religion were also used as the means of enslaving people and by which land was granted in the first place.

A: I’ll say it, it looks like a painting and not in a good way. I couldn’t control my snarky laughter at Claire’s words.

H: As they set up the foundation for their future home and while guiding Jamie and Ian to place land makers, Claire reciting, “My country, tis of thee. Sweet land of liberty. Of thee I sing,” was inspiring.

V: Idealistically, it was the American Dream for some, but definitely wasn’t the ‘land of liberty‘ for all. I saw that whole scene differently. It was a contradiction of sorts. When Jamie mentioned Americans stole the song and claimed it for themselves, I was thinking settlers in America stole or took everything. This country was built off the backs and labor of others; and then, they claimed it all for themselves.

We thought it would be cool to show how settlers used to stake out their property to denote boundaries on their land, and how it was dependent on landmarks such as the uniquely shaped “witness trees.” The location department did a great job finding cool examples of witness trees in Scotland.

Another fun fact—our research showed that the patriotic song “America” has the same melody as “God Save the King.” We thought it would be fun to have Claire and Jamie joke about how the Americans stole it from the English.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

A: Claire response was an interesting one, “we.” Since when did she become an American citizen? Did the show cover this?

V: I don’t recall that they did. I know she talked about it with Frank, but now I can’t remember any further discussion about it and I don’t remember from the book. But, since she spent so much time in Boston (longest place she has ever lived), perhaps she did become a citizen or just feels like this is her country.

H: Jamie really has an active imagination! How does he think of committing indecent things when hearing Claire sing and leave it to Ian to interrupt what could have been….

V: Probably because they have not had any alone time. So hell, anything would make him want to do indecent things at this point.

A: Young Ian equals birth control. 

H: I can only imagine how magnificent the Witness Tree will look in the spring. I was also wondering if Jamie carving the tree with Fraser’s Ridge marking it with an “X” was a nod to the Scottish Flag.

V: They are beautiful. They reminded me of the Angel Oak trees in Charleston, SC, though these did not touch the ground. I had not thought of that until you mentioned it. Initially, I only saw the top part and thought it was a “V”, but when I looked at it again, I saw the “X”. It could be why he did it.

H: Ian seems waaaaay too interested in the fauna of the woods. Doesn’t he get it that it’s not only wild boar he has to worry about?!

V: Ian is a little naïve and gets too excited about everything that is out of the ordinary. But he will learn soon enough; it is not all fun and adventurous.

H: Rollo is really proving to be a great watchdog!

V: He surely is and I am glad he is with them. I remember him from the books, but the show has really brought out his character much more. Every time he started growling, the hairs on my arm stood up. I guess the same happened with Claire.

Claire and Jamie’s interaction with Cherokee warriors is the first sighting of the Native Americans in the show. In their journey from Georgia, they most likely have come across some, particularly at trading posts. It’s interesting seeing the Cherokee at Fraser’s Ridge, with Jamie and Claire not sure if they are friendly. The encounter demonstrates how their challenge will be to make peace with their new neighbors.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

H: What a breathtaking moment it was for Jamie, Claire and Ian’s first sighting of the natives.

V: Hell, it was breathtaking for me, especially the way they stealthily appeared and just stood there in the trees.

A: Jamie is stepping into some shit. I wonder if that signals things to come. I want all the Native Americans clothes. All!

I flew to North Carolina, rented a car and drove across the state to take in the terrain firsthand. Having spent some time in the Blue Ridge mountains, I knew that we could do it here. [Roberts met with the Cherokee tribe in Cherokee, N.C.]

The overall consensus is that they’ve been portrayed onscreen very one-note. Actually two notes: they’re either healers or just baddies waving a tomahawk. We wanted to give them as many dimensions as any other character. That wouldn’t be possible without the right actors, and Scotland’s casting agents aren’t blessed with many Native Americans. So “Outlander” flew in more than 100 First Nation and Native American actors for the duration of the six-week shoot.

~ Matthew B. Roberts

H: Loved Jamie’s use of body language and dropping of the knife into the ground to indicate he meant no harm to the Cherokee men.

V: Yeah, but did you notice that they just stood there, motionless and quiet. I don’t think they even blinked.

It was more about them showing their presence, in a threatening nonphysical way, rather than Jamie’s stance.

They’re going to jump all over this [a Cherokee musket painted a striking deep red]. Viewers are going to go, ‘What the hell’s that?’ when they see something like this musket, but I saw one like it in the Cherokee museum and we were advised that they did paint the muskets they’d traded with this red ochre color to make them look more fancy. We just wanted to get it right: We were told by the advisers, ‘do not have us riding a horse, waving a tomahawk above our head screaming like a banshee.’ That’s John Wayne; we didn’t do that.

~ Jim Elliot

V: If looks could kill, they’d all be dead!

A: When language is a barrier, actions speak louder. Motionless means they are not in motion reaching for a weapon. We’ll take it.

Now that Roger and Bree have broken up, we realized Roger had no one to talk to about his loneliness and melancholy over losing his love, so we invented the character of Peter, a colleague at Oxford, to illuminate Roger’s mood and show that he’s not his old self without Brianna in his life.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

H: Peter’s exasperation of his student’s not turning homework on time was lost on Roger. He has other things on his mind, and by other things, I mean Bree! Cheer up Rog!

V: Hell, I was thinking the same thing. What was he blabbering on about. Roger definitely had other things on his mind. Again, I felt sorry for him.

A: I’m wondering too. I’m glad Peter realized he was being ignored and made a quick exit. 

H: Oh, if it ain’t the wee book that Bree gave to him! That should keep him occupied for a bit!

V: I liked that they gave us a close up of the book and that he kept their portrait in as a book marker. But, I was  surprised that HE had the portrait and not Bree, particularly since she insisted on them having it made.

A: I wondered that as well. Wonder if we will see a cut scene released after the season? We saw her offer the bracelet back, but not this portrait. 

H: Wait a minute…could it be? Did Roger just read that one of the early settlers of Mount Helicon known as Grandfather Mountain could have been Bree’s parents!

V: Yes, and I got chills as he read it. It was as if I didn’t already know.

Mount Helicon, now known as Grandfather Mountain,

H: Loved the contrast of Roger narrating while Jamie is cutting down the tree for the homemaking; Claire uses Clarence to drag the log and Ian brings in the rocks while Rollo keeps guard!

settled in the 1770s by Highland Scots.

V: That was a great parallel between him reading and them working the land.

One nearby settlement
called Fraser’s Ridge provides yet another example

V: The writers and director’s ability to write and shoot such scenes never ceases to amaze me; it’s such a smooth transition.

A: For me, I’m clocking Young Ian’s fascination with all things indigenous people. I wonder if some foreshadowing is going on here. It’s been highlighted in each episode this season.

of a Scottish name in the surrounding area.

V: That is incredible that they made an actual book cover with all of this information on it. Who thinks of all this kind of stuff?

The author’s biography on the book cover is a nod to our STARZ executive Karen Bailey, who is from North Carolina and has always been a champion of Outlander (although the photo of the author here is not actually Karen Bailey).

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

H: It was sweet that Jamie thought of setting a space aside to build a shed for Claire and for her herbs…knives and future patients.

A: As they built their home, I was in sweetness overload with him thinking of and about her. What I don’t understand is him wanting patients near their home. They have access to 10,000 acres, a football field away is good. Your wife is close by, but sick people are far enough away. It seems he doesn’t mind her bringing work home.

V: It was very sweet, but I kept wondering why he thought of all the different spaces, except a bedroom. With 10,000 acres why was it going to be so small, especially with Ian there and possible visits from Fergus, Marsali and the baby.

We’re not a SAG show, so unfortunately, we can’t cast actors from the United States. But it was very important that we cast indigenous actors. So, we went to Canada and brought over First Nation performers. It was difficult, because we kind of had to block-shoot everything because we were bringing over a hundred people at a time.

~ Maril Davis

H: Oh my goodness Ian!!!! What did he get himself into? Why are the Cherokees charging at them?!?

V: He was running so damn fast, damn-near lost his hat, that I initially didn’t see what was happening.

A: I flashed back to last weeks episode and Ian’s impassioned speech about being a man. How quickly he called for his uncle and ran to hide/stand behind him. That was wise of him.

This is the calm before the storm. Jamie excitedly shows Claire the cabin that’s in the early stages of being built before things start to go south. Their excitement is soon dampened with another appearance by the Cherokee. We wanted to come up with something threatening as the Cherokees’ animosity towards them escalates. We see that the Cherokee have removed the boundary stakes and thrown them on the ground, expressing their displeasure at the new Scottish neighbors.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

H: This is the second time they have come face to face with the natives, and this time, they don’t seem to be too friendly!

V: Second warning is right. Will there be a third and then, lights out? No, they are not being friendly at all. The tension has escalated to the point that they threw down their land boundary post. Translation: Are you not understanding the words that are coming out of my mouth . . . we don’t want you here; you are not welcomed HERE.

Nigada witsena! Nogwo! Hia
gesdi yi ditsiwenvsv! Gohidi
AniTsalagi gadohi aneho’i.

V: And what was Jamie going to do with that hatchet?

Everyone you-all-go-away!
Now! This is not your home.
For a long time the Cherokee
people live on this land.
You all go away!

Throw it at them, while surrounded? Then, what?

A: At first, I thought they were warning the Frasers to just run, in general. Then they threw down Jamie’s land marking stakes. Not all of them, just a couple. I wonder if this may have been an attempt at common ground.

V: No, not at all. If that were the case, they would have stayed and tried to communicate nicely. At this point, there is no common ground for them.

H: Roger has been persistent with his research and got a hold of the author too! What wouldn’t he do for love?

V: He is a helluva historian and researcher. Like a dog with a bone, he can’t let it go. That and yeah, the fact that he is trying to find information for Bree.

V: Ayana, I guess this answers your earlier question. Roger did get a hold of the deed to the land Jamie signed at the beginning of the episode.

Signed: James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser or James (‘Jamie’) Fraser

V: As the deed reads, Sign, Sealed and Delivered . . . it’s yours Roger, you found it!

H: The cobblestone roads of Boston…some things stand the test of time!

V: That was a beautiful shot, but I wonder if they were in Boston or if it is another location. I will have to find that out.

H: The phone conversation between Rog and Bree was awkward at first. But, it’s to be expected.

V: I hated that they did not express what they truly wanted to say.

Here we use Brianna’s roommate, Gayle, to show that Brianna is living in an apartment in Boston and attending MIT. Roger tells Brianna of the evidence he found—Claire did find Jamie, and they lived on a large land tract in North Carolina. The serendipity is that they lived on the very same land where this young couple recently traveled on their trip to the Scottish Festival. But the phone call bittersweet as there are still unresolved feelings between Bree and Roger. With Roger stating that he wanted Bree “all or not at all,” this scene was meant to demonstrate that both still have feelings for one another but are unable to connect because of their standoff at the Scottish Festival. Roger gives Brianna the gift of knowledge that her mother made it back to the past and lived happily, despite no longer being her boyfriend.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

V: But, I was glad we finally got to see Gayle. They both played that part well. I loved Gayle’s reaction when Bree told her it was Roger on the phone.

H: I could almost feel Bree’s excitement when Roger told her that Claire found Jamie! And not far from where they went to the Scottish festival! What are the odds?!

V: I wondered if they would make the connection to the festival location. How eerie that must be to know your parents were in the same location 200+ years ago that you just visited a few weeks ago.

H: The pain of what Roger perceived to be unrequited love is tough to watch. I wanted to go and hug him, just as much as I wanted to give him a piece of my mind for his chauvinist tendencies!

V: Richard Rankin is making me love Roger more and more with each episode. His facial expressions convey all that he is thinking and feeling. But I didn’t see him as being chauvinistic. He just did not want a one-night stand and that it was different with her. I know he mentioned that he thought she as a virgin; I guess he was wondering if she slept around. Remember, this was back in the 60s and 70s when there was a double standard and women did not have the luxuries that we do today.

A: I’m over here wondering how much this phone call is costing. In the few minutes Sophie had on screen, she showed all the emotions. I felt her joy at knowing her mom made it. What I wanted most was for Roger to be quiet and let Bree speak. Nope, he had to fill the silence with he had to go grade papers. 

V: Lord, when Rollo perked up, I thought something was happening . . . again!

H: The visitation from the Cherokee have really shaken up Claire.

V: Shit, do you blame her. That scene would have scared the crap out of me. I’d be ready to leave too, but go where?

H: Jamie, the ever realist, understands that no matter where they settle in the woods, their native neighbors will always be around. So, they might as well live somewhere the land is workable and will yield food! But, communicating with the neighbors may prove to be challenging; so, it’s best that they figure out a way to understand them.

V: He is always the realist and thinks things through. He is right, where can they go and not run into the Cherokees. If you looked on the map, they are all around their property, especially to the west.

V: Leave it to the calm shot before the storm, showing everyone sleeping. I knew it wasn’t going to be peaceful for long.

H: It is scary waking up to noises in the middle of the night, but experiencing it in the woods is frightening! Thank goodness for Rollo!

V: That is something I just cannot do . . . sleeping in the woods. Nope, not for me, never going to happen. I am really glad Rollo is with them.

A: I enjoy camping a lot. Jamie’s little cabin looks cozy. However, being awaken by a strange noise, at night, is not good in any place.

H: Poor Finley has been attacked and not by the Cherokee, but by a . . . bear?!? OH MY!

V: When you said that, you know I just thought . . . Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! I didn’t know what to expect. Bear was also scaring the crap out of me with that haunting music.

Then, when I saw Finley all marred, my heart was in my throat.

A: Why do those claw marks look strange? Like claws, but too straight, too controlled. I’m weirded out. 

Rest assured, no horses were hurt in the filming of this scene! The wound was painted on. We wanted Claire to realize it wasn’t the Cherokee attacking their campsite—she recognizes the wounds on their horse as being that of a bear’s claw.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

H: John Quincy Myers smoking meat as he is telling Jamie about the bear and its association with the Cherokee is very informative.

V: Well, he certainly was not in need of any food. He had plenty and more to spare.

H: Bless his heart too for giving Jamie provisions, tobacco to give to the Cherokee and the proper way to greet them with respect.

A: What kind of meat is that? I can’t be the only one wondering. Wonder if it’s bear.

V: No, I was wondering too, then let the thought out of my head. In the wild, it could be anything. It is good that he is close to them and can give him advice. Any other time, Jamie can figure things out on his own. This time, he is totally out of his depth.

H: Ian is handy with the knife, making the fish net, and did he say he can knit too?!?!

Young Ian’s speech about knitting comes from the book, although from a different section. We thought it fit nicely in this scene, as they’re working with fishing nets. Diana mentioned to us that Young Ian’s line, “Everyone kens how to clickit,” was a fan favorite from the book, so we were sure to use it. We like the role reversal here because in the 18th century, men know how to knit, but Claire ironically does not knit even though she knows how to stitch wounds.

It was a particularly cold day in Scotland when this scene was filmed, and Caitriona had quite a time having to put her fingers inside a freezing-cold fish over and over while filming this this scene.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


V: The boy, oh sorry, young man has some skills. For once, he’d be able to teach Claire something she doesn’t know.

H: The look on his face when Claire told him she couldn’t knit was priceless!

V: That was pretty funny, but Claire sure as hell can catch and gut a fish.

H: She’s also a great shot!

V: That, she is; I was impressed. Hell, she is more concerned with defending herself and them, rather than worrying about knitting something and I don’t blame her.

V: This transition scene of a full moon was all I needed to know something was about to go down.

H: For a moment, I thought the Cherokee were about to make a surprise visit to the Frasers again! Where are they walking to in the middle of the night?

V: I was a bit confused too. There is always trouble when people are walking around at night with lit torches. My mind went back to Epi2 when the angry mob came after Rufus; so, I thought they were headed back to them too. But then, we see the Frasers are being watched.

A: There is some deception going on here. The Fraser’s are in pitch black, and the Cherokee are walking in dusk. 

V: I really don’t think the shots are at the exact same time, or it could be their locations are different. It is a full moon, so perhaps that is why the Cherokees’ shot is a little lighter.

H: Getting up in the middle of night is getting old really fast and Claire seems more annoyed than scared!

V: Yeah, it was a bit exhausting this episode. I’d be annoyed too; they haven’t had a good night’s rest since they got there.

I was also wondering  . . . what the hell is it now?

H: Oh no! John Quincy Myers has been attacked! Tskili Yona?!

V: That was a shocker to me. When he kept repeating that with terror in his eyes, I didn’t know what he was talking about. Those gashes are awfully gross and look painful; but I guess that is a setup for Claire.

That’s actually in the edit—I didn’t know that was gonna be cut in. It certainly gives it this spiritual, otherworldly feel to it, and that’s definitely a theme that runs through the season, especially when dealing with the Native Americans. They’re this ancient civilization that were there before all these settlers and immigrants. I know our writers did a lot of research and went to meet a lot of the Cherokee elders. It’s what makes the season so interesting—we have this completely new world and a new people that we’re introducing.

~ Sam Heughan

H: The Cherokees are gathered in what appears to be the shaman’s tent. I wonder what’s going on?

V: I didn’t understand it either. I couldn’t figure out if they were summoning a spirit or trying to get rid of one.

Tskili Yona otsadudalv.
Tskili Yona hwena, otsadadolisdiha.
Tskili Yona hwigatesdi nole
nigesvnv ihilugi, otsadadolisdiha

A: I never wished for voiceover more than I did this scene. I’m well aware there is no one to tell me what’s going on, but I still wanted to know. Bear had me with the music. I’m not sure who is singing but he usually have amazing features each season and this was no exception. This was truly a haunting scene.

Tskili Yona is our responsibility.
We pray to be rid of Tskili Yona.
We pray for Tskili Yona to
leave and never return.
Let us make it so.

We had an idea early on to intercut the images of the Cherokee praying against the bear attack with Jamie hunting the bear in the woods. The Cherokee handled it in their own way, which was to fight the bear on a spiritual level. It makes for a cool juxtaposition.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

V: I also found it fascinating that their ritual, though scary as hell, resembled the dancing around the stones, the one in Jamaica and the prehistoric people, with each differing depending on their culture and traditions.

H: Ian is really turning out to be a great physician’s assistant!

V: Yes, but again, are we going to have Claire doing some kind of surgery e-v-e-r-y episode? That will get old soon.

V: Jamie has had it. Attacking Myers was a little too close for comfort. This also reminded me of Dougal in S1 when they were out hunting and Geordie was killed by that wild boar.

H: Gasp! It was not a bear that attacked Myers…

V: That was a pretty dramatic scene. It was pretty slick how it did look like a bear from a distance.

H: And now, he’s onto Jamie! Oh Jamie!!! Please try not to get yourself killed!

H: I was mesmerized between Jamie’s struggle with the unknown man and the Cherokee chants.

V: It really was. The music being in sync with their chants/dance movements and the wailing female voice had my stomach in knots.

We knew that Jamie’s fight with the bear was a fan favorite in the book, but we also knew our scene would inevitably draw comparisons to Leonardo DiCaprio’s now legendary bear fight in The Revenant, something we were hesitant to do. The scene in that film was rehearsed for months and done digitally with expensive special effects. As we joked about using a man in a bear suit, a unique idea evolved—what if it was literally a man in a bear suit?

Matthew B. Roberts had travelled in North Carolina on a research trip and spent time with the Cherokee. He talked with them about the possibility of using a Cherokee dressed as a bear and how that might come about. We then constructed a story where by a former warrior had committed a crime and been banished by the tribe—something that the Cherokee actually do to punish a brother who can no longer live among them. Forced to live alone in the woods and without community, this character goes into a mental decline where he takes on a persona of a bear, threatening both his former tribe and also nearby settlers. We liked the dark psychology behind this and thought it would be an interesting way to portray this story and a great reveal for the audience.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

I mean, we always talk about the weather, but it was -7 degrees Celsius at night, and it was so cold, because you know Jamie, he’s just in his shirt. But it was fun. It’s hard to light that kind of stuff in a forest, but it’s a pretty intense fight, and he’s a big guy and certainly Jamie is; it just shows how dangerous this land is. Jamie and Claire really are having to forge their way in the wilderness and build their home and their new settlement, and there are so many dangers there.

~ Sam Heughan

H: Thank God! The “bear” is dead!

V: Damn, finally; it went a lot longer than I expected. I thought Jamie was a goner for a second there.

V: It looks as though Adawehi might sense he is dead.

V: I bet he was heavy as hell.

Every department, from production design to costume and hair and make-up, does a huge amount of research to ensure we create a world that feels authentic to the time and place.

~ Matthew B. Roberts

It’s funny. Scotland has a right to roam, so we couldn’t actually close the park. You can only ask people to wait while we film. It’s an authentic Mohawk village that’s populated with people in costume. I remember a few dog walkers coming around the bend on a trail. They looked around like, “Wait a minute, what just happened?” It’s almost like they touched the stones and went through time.

~ Matthew B. Roberts

H: I loved that Jamie lays the “Tskili Yona” at the feet of the Cherokee.

To build our Native American world, they have learned traditional techniques, from canoe building to hand weaving and, to populate that world, we have welcomed a great team from Canada to play both the speaking and supporting roles of the Cherokee and Mohawk Nations in Outlander Season 4.

~ Matthew B. Roberts

H: Perhaps this is his way of letting them know that their common enemy is dead.

V: You’re probably right. But, the looks on these faces say otherwise. And how was he able to just walk into their village?

To read it’s actually a man, I think it’s a really nice twist. We have a few of those this season—moments that I think fans of the books are gonna be surprised by—and I think it really adds to it. It’s fun to keep them on the front of their seats. And it’s also the beginning of the sort of understanding and mutual respect that Jamie has with the Native Americans. This moment, really in their eyes certainly, gives them some respect for who he is and vice versa.

~ Sam Heughan

H: Wait a minute. So, you mean to tell me the Cherokee man knew how to speak English this whole time?

V: Yea, that was a pretty cool switch-a-roo. It’s probably because they did not trust them. Why should they show their hand ahead of time?

H: I loved hearing that Aniyunwiya (Cherokee) women could choose who they partnered with and that there were repercussions for rape.

V: That was a surprise. However, I was initially somewhat pissed that they knew this lunatic was out there killing or injuring people and animals and they did nothing about it.

A: They just ignore their problem?

V: No, apparently, they were trying to handle it in their own way.

Shout out to Terry Dresbach who designed the bear wardrobe for Tskili Yona! Terry was very excited when we first pitched the idea for this story, and how we wanted a bear costume for a man. She researched it and sent us many pictures of how the Native Americans used animal fur and even the heads of certain animals in their dress, which got us even more excited about the story. Terry had a strong vision for the character and designed her own version of the bear suit for the Tskili Yona. It was truly terrifying. It allowed us to tell the tale of Jamie’s bear fight but with our own spin on it.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

V: How did he walk around in this costume. It looks excruciatingly painful to wear.

H: Jamie reassuring the Cherokee that he is no Tskili and that they wished to live in peace seemed to have resonated with them.

V: I guess that was better than offering them the tobacco.

H: Glad to see Myers making a recovery. I feared he may not have made it through the night!

V: He seemed to have miraculously recovered from what all we saw the night before with all those gash wounds.

In the original draft, John Quincy Myers dies in this scene, but the writers and producers fell in love with the actor who portrays him, Kyle Rees. Kyle does such a wonderful job playing John Quincy that we decided to keep him alive so that he could be with us for more episodes. Nevertheless, we wanted to make this scene very tense and suspenseful, to demonstrate the seriousness and viciousness of this bear attack.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

V: And look at Ian fawning on about his Auntie saving all their lives.

A: Those didn’t look like flesh wounds on JQM, yet he asks as if they were. Claire must have him bandaged him really good.

H: The Cherokee are back to Fraser’s Ridge. But this time, they seem less menacing!

V: Yea, but Jamie didn’t think that at first. He is in his defense stance.

H: I can imagine the pride Jamie felt at being given a new name to be known to the Cherokee people! Peace can now reign between the two families.

Our chief, Nawohali.

Yona dihi.

V: I wouldn’t say he took pride in it. The look on his face was more of confusion than anything else.

It means “Bear Killer.” This is
how you will be known to our people.

V: It appeared that Ian was more excited about it than Jamie.

Bear Killer!

H: Giduhwa, interpreting for her husband’s grandmother was another gem. I wonder how many more Cherokees speak English?

V: I really liked that scene. The costumes were intricately gorgeous. There must be more of them who speak English. I am sure we will see it in other episodes. I also hope they have some of them on the panels at ComicCon. That would be a welcoming change. If Graham McTavish can keep showing up, they could certainly invite some of the Native American actors to come, at least the ones that are able to make it.

A: I’m guessing a lot do too. It’s been like over 200 years of British influence, at this point, I believe. I’m glad to see they are speaking their native language more often than not.

Claire is somebody that sees people for people, and that’s something that I love about her. She’s a compassionate and empathetic woman. She doesn’t judge people, and she doesn’t feel that she is superior to anybody just because she’s white or whatever. She doesn’t feel like anyone else is superior to her, either.

Obviously, we are still playing people who are settling land that ultimately belongs to another people, so even though they have this connection to the Cherokee and they see the similarities to the Highlanders, they still settled the land — so it’s a strange one in many ways. But I do love that they very quickly form a bond with their Cherokee neighbors and there’s a mutual respect there. I think that goes back to Jamie and Claire building their community as they want from the ground up, which is one of respect and one of equality.

~ Catriona Balfe

H: Adawehi, a powerful healer herself, recognizes Claire’s ability, which was amazing for someone who just met her.

V: She has a calming presence; something Claire is in need of right about now. I am glad there is another healer for her to learn from, especially when she is not that knowledgeable of the area during this time.

This was a favorite part of the book where Claire meets a powerful Cherokee healer and learns of a dream from Nayawenne, (who in the show is named Adawehi as we changed Tuscarora names to authentic Cherokee names) had about Claire. The line in particular, “Death is sent from the gods. It will not be your fault,” is a foreshadowing for next week’s episode…

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

H: But, I don’t like the sound of the ominous prophecy. Who or what could she be referencing?

V: I was thinking the same thing. How do you tell someone another person’s death is not your fault and NOT tell them what the hell you’re talking about.

A: Claire’s just going to leave it at that? Come, let’s eat. But, I will be peppering you with questions as we do so. 

H: What a contrast. As Roger takes the last of his belongings, Fiona is busy hanging curtains.

Last week, we witnessed Roger see Fiona and Ernie move things into his childhood home. We thought it would be poignant for Roger to see the changes Fiona is making, as it would naturally make Roger feel nostalgic, even though he’s happy for Fiona. Richard Rankin also does a tremendous job of portraying two feelings at once and the ambivalence his character often feels at certain moments.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

V: I like Fiona so much better in the show. She is more personable, and she is most certainly making herself at home.

H: Oh Fiona, the ever romantic…but wait…this whole time she knew about Claire going back in time to find Jamie? Roger’s expression was priceless!

A: I love Fiona. I was waiting for her to tell Roger he took her advice to another level. Telling a woman you love her is one thing. But marriage with four or five kids and pets are something else.

V: I loved that scene between them. She might be quiet, but she surely is alert with her eavesdropping self. Yep, she’s known for a while. After his initial shock, he seemed relieved to finally be able to talk about it with someone.

The shocking thing in this scene is learning that Fiona has known about time travel all along! We debated whether Fiona should be in on the secret, but it was natural that Mrs. Graham, her grandmother, was a caller and thus Fiona would hear stories of people disappearing through the stones. We chose to play in last year’s episode 304, that Fiona was around when Roger, Claire, and Bree were researching Jamie’s whereabouts in the 18th century. We thought it would be fun to reveal—to Roger’s shock—that she’s known their secret from the beginning.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community

H: It is not the Redcoats or separation or even living in the woods where they come to their end, it’s dying in a fire after only being reunited for a few years! Can they live in peace?

V: That’s another thing that is exhausting, at times. There is ALWAYS something happening; some threat or attack every damn time. So, I guess it will be true for each episode. Again, I know the plot must move along, but good grief.

It is with grief that the news is received of

the deaths by fire of JAMES MACKENZIE FRASER

V: I was surprised they did not list Claire’s name.

and his wife in a conflagration that destroyed their

H: The music Bear McCreary used while Claire filed the axe, Jamie cut the tree and Ian chopped the log just flowed beautifully.

V: These scenes were well-executed with Roger reading their obituary, and them showing us Claire, Jamie and Ian building their home.

home on the settlement of FRASER’S RIDGE

on Sabbath evening last.

V: This is the second time I thought the episode was over, but I am glad it continued to show them working and building their home. That is, everyone but Rollo. He was just chillin’.

H: Is that Claire wearing breeks? And Jamie has nothing to say? Times are changing! Jamie’s versatility at being a man of the earth and able to work the land, while at the same time being a well bread man, is superb. I loved how he carried Claire over the threshold of what will become their home!

V: I thought I remembered him giving her a hard time in the book, but it really doesn’t matter. He is just happy with the progress and the idea of their home is coming to fruition.

V: That was a sweet scene. Just think, this is the first time he’s been able to do that. After all this time, they have never had a home.

I think it’s a really different side of Claire. I mean, in other seasons we’ve focused so much on her being so career driven. I think it’s a quieter version of her, in many ways, and more content. The fact that her and Jamie are finally together and are building a home, it’s the first opportunity she’s had to really focus on family life and their relationship. That was quite different for me. It’s an interesting new challenge to be able to explore that.

~ Caitriona Balfe

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

H: Awww, Roger finally calls Bree again! I knew he couldn’t stay away too long!

V: He sat there long enough. I was thinking he finally changed his mind to tell her about the obituary Fiona showed him and he read.

V: Maril’s dog did a really good job!

V: First off, let’s talk about Gayle with her . . . THE Roger, and Roger doesn’t bat an eye. He just carries on, yeah, yeah, may I speak with Brianna.

A: RIGHT, Vida. He just kept on going. He really has to work on listening.

H: Did Gayle just tell Roger that Bree went to Scotland…two weeks ago?

To visit HER MOM?

V: Ah, yes ma’am . . . two weeks ago!! My heart sank when she told him Bree left for Scotland. It also made me wonder what Bree has told Gayle about her mother, especially since Gayle thinks she is living.

A: I know these books and I legitimately got a sinking feeling in my stomach. Gayle said two weeks ago. Wait, hold up!


Episode Rating (1-5 Shots)

Our rating for this episode is 4.5 – shots! It is the highest rating episode, thus far, for us. This episode contained all the elements of Outlander storytelling working together.

But, let’s start with all the costumes. Terry Dresbach should be nominated for all the awards. This episode had the most people with varying costumes – from the main characters, to the Wilmington townspeople, the Redcoats and Native Americans. She should win a separate award just for the Native Americans’ intricate costumes that covered their entire bodies with the ribbons in their hair, the jewelry on their hands and cultural accessories around their necks. Then, there were the set designs by Jon Gary Steele and team. The Cherokee village was so realistic and believable. It was also fascinating to see the beginnings of Jamie and Claire’s home come into formation. Additionally, it is clear that Ben Bolt understands the story. The parallels between present day and the 1700s were smooth transitions.

The acting and characters were compelling. We’ve seen great performances from Sam and Caitriona, but it was nice to see more from John Bell. He is truly Young Ian. Whenever he is on screen, there is a sense that anything could happen. And again, he has some of the best comic lines in the episode. Although Sophie and Richard had less time on screen, we appreciated their performances. Sophie stood out with the least amount of screen time, but her facial expressions had a story to tell. We hope to hear more about her journey from her point of view. Richard has won some of us over with his facial expressions that speak volumes. We were also introduced to Gayle, Bree’s roommate, who nailed her role.

And finally, we also received an introduction to the Cherokee tribe, who will be Jamie and Claire’s neighbors. We appreciated the direction the showrunners/writers took in provided a more nuanced portrayal of the Cherokee people. And though it surprised us that some of them spoke English, we appreciated this better than the grunts and gestures that were portrayed in the book. However, one of us was disappointed that Will Strongheart was cast as Tawodi, a member of the Cherokee tribe. He has been accused of domestic violence by a couple of people, and the fact that his lines in the episode included, “Often times, man is the monster;” “He harmed his woman, one year ago. He laid with her against her wishes. That is not our way.” seemed ironic. Though this is the case, another feels that he was punished for his crime, served his time and should be allowed to earn a living.

When it comes to the music for an episode, Bear McCreary never disappoints. We loved that the title card started with the drum beats and percussion while depicting some of the Cherokee men getting dressed and throughout the episode. He also opened up the Fraser’s Ridge theme, letting it breath; while playing Roger and Bree’s theme  throughout the ending credits.

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.

Helina Well, If Bree really went to look for Claire, then, I’m definitely looking forward to her potentially meeting Jamie too. That would be magnificent, if it happened! Though I am also looking forward to maybe Roger and Bree getting back together, obstacles really seem to follow Frasers! Follow Helina on Twitter: @helinazewdu.

Ayana: I’m looking forward to seeing Bree’s two weeks leading up to her decision to go to Scotland. In fact, if she has touched the stones and gone back in time, I need to be front and center when she meets her father and reunites with her mother. Follow Ayana on Twitter: @Ayana80Smith.

Vida:  The clip for next week did not provide a lot of information. With that said, I am looking forward to seeing Roger track Bree down and Jamie and Claire spending more time with the Cherokees. Although I am also looking forward to Bree going through the stones, I never understood how or why she would go with no actual knowledge of what the hell she is doing. But I guess is shows her having traits from both her parents – stubborn and determined. However, one thing I am not looking forward to is seeing how the Cherokees are mistreated by some of the settlers. Follow Vida on Twitter: @Blacklanderz.


Outlander S4 Epi5 – Savages ~ Video via OneFergus

Written by Denise Di Novi | Directed by Bronwyn Garrity


Claire’s medical expertise proves invaluable, but she begins to fear for her life when tragedy strikes her patients’ household; Jamie and Young Ian travel to a nearby town to recruit settlers for Fraser’s Ridge.



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

2 thoughts on “Blacklanderz® Convos! Outlander S4 Epi4

  1. I can’t believe I haven’t read your recaps before. I love how you intercut your comments with the script annotations and actor comments, too.

    Friendly correction: it’s Toni Graphia, not Tonia.

    I’ll be back!

    Liked by 1 person

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