Blacklanderz Convos! Outlander S4 Epi13

Blacklanderz Convos!

Outlander S4 Epi13 – Man of Worth

Written by Toni Graphia | Directed by Stephen Woolfenden

This conversation is between Blacklanderz Tqwana, Amanda and Tami and Vida. Arranged and edited by Vida.


RECONCILIATION | CHOICES | FAMILY | UNCERTAIN FUTURE | HONOR

Tqwana (Tq): This was an episode that had some really emotional highs and a few things that fell flat. Overall, it was a good season finale that’s going to make Droughtlander unbearable. We have to wait a whole year to find out how Jamie’s going to get out of this mess with Tryon and still keep his land. Once again, the First Nation actors really brought it and those scenes, especially Otter Tooth’s story and everything with Ian, stood out.

 TRIAL | ADAPTATION | COMPROMISE | REUNION | ADORATION

Amanda: This episode had the tough task of tying up several concurrent storylines. Some of the earlier episodes however hampered the effectiveness of the more intense scenes. The First Nations actors continue to deliver powerful monologues and action scenes. The final scene leaves viewers with a question, but I don’t believe that specific question is enough to sustain curiosity for a year.

TRADE | LOVE | FORGIVENESS | LOYALTY

Tami:  We are already at season 4 finale. Can you believe it? Droughtlander begins again. This episode attempts to tie up loose ends and leave viewers on the edge of their seats. We follow Jamie and Claire’s dangerous mission to rescue Roger. As we watch relationships be tested, loyalty being tried and love hopefully conquering it all. There were a few surprises and plot twists but one thing for sure, it was far from boring.


Tq: Whew. I had to pause watching these boys playing cowboys and Indians like it’s all good. Thankfully, Otter Tooth throwing the shadiest of shade at them made it all better. It made me think of Claire in an earlier episode telling Jamie about the poor media representation, which is still kind of ironic considering that this show has had its issues with that very same problem. Maybe this was a sort of nod to that.

A: I freaked out when I saw Stephen Woolfenden listed as the director! I love his work on Poldark and Doctor Who. He’s the main reason why I’ve been hyped for this episode since the beginning of the season. I also loved the massive side eye Otter Tooth was giving the cultural appropriators from the 1970’s. This is what he was warning people about.

T: This title had me feeling like it will be an intense episode. I have always liked how they title the episodes.


Tq: Great panned-out shot of the Mohawk village. The production team really killed it with that set. It impresses me every time I see it.

A: I also appreciate this visual call back to S3 when Jamie was searching for Ian.


He’s on a quest to win back her trust and love. He promised Bree he’ll save Roger. He can’t come back empty-handed.



 Jamie, who was raped by sadistic British Army captain “Black Jack” Randall in Season 1, sees himself in her. They’ve both been through a trauma. ~ Sam Heughan



This scene with Jamie scouting the Mohawk ultimately proved a more dynamic and tension-filled opening for the episode. We wanted to see a bit of life in the Mohawk village, and research showed that they played lacrosse, so we included that in the description, and it made the scene more unique and visually interesting. ~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


Tq: Claire, Jamie, and Ian are finally there. Is Roger praying? That’s a nice, sort of moving touch.

I know they didn’t think that they’d just be able to walk into this village without any problems.

As an aside, what is going on with Jamie’s hair lately? Are they purposely making it look like he has thinning hair as he ages?

A: I am too busy paying attention to dress construction to stop and look closely at Jamie’s weave but I do think it’s likely to show a more mature Jamie.

Tq: As someone who can make a beauty supply store $30 lace front work, I know they can do better.

T: I think their hair is supposed to look wrecked because of the months of travel. I personally dislike both Sam and Cait’s wigs. They both have beautiful hair and they cover them with horrible wigs. If you want to use a wig, please message a Kardashian or Wendy, I’m sure they can point you in the right direction.


Like any foreign language, you need to be learning it for years to be able to speak it with confidence. So, that was a part of Ian. I didn’t want him to suddenly come across as the greatest linguist of the 18th century, you know? But his passion for the Native American culture is so strong that he takes that challenge on himself and learns it. So, that’s exactly what I had to do, you know? ~ John Bell


T: Seriously! Did they really think that the natives would be cooperative? After all, you’re white.


Immediately, I was in touch with the Mohawk language preservation society, which is the biggest course you can do. They have an online course to learn the language. They’re using it to fight against the language’s extinction, so to be able to have that wealth of resources available to me was great. As well as that, there were elders that came from America, from the New York area, and Canada, to work with me on some of the more specific words and specific intonations that were required. ~ John Bell


Tq: I really like Ian taking command of trying to get Roger back, speaking Mohawk like a boss. He’s growing into his own nicely.


I just had a great time. I love languages. I’m very passionate about it. The best way to understand someone’s culture is to be able to speak their language, so I think it was important to Ian. It was important to me. I’m super pleased with how it came across. I think he does justice to their beautiful language. ~ John Bell


A: I agree. We’re not getting the scenes where he was interacting with the Cherokee (Tuscarora) in the books, so this was a nice nod to that.

T: This scene really highlights that Ian has been associating with the natives for quite some time. Other than the garb, I was not buying it before. Now I see communicating and being somewhat at ease, this looks more believable.


I think it’s to do with his attitude on life in that he’ll often be the butt of the joke, but never lets it get him down, you know? He’s a survivor. He’s a fighter. He’s an incredibly emotionally intelligent character. That’s what I love about him. He doesn’t feel like typical 18th century man. He’s much more understanding. That, of course, is instilled in him by his relationship with Jamie. He does feel a little bit like a mini, a younger Jamie. So, that’s why it’s so lovely to be able to really work with Sam and find those moments of their similarities. ~ John Bell


Tq: Wait, so the Chief spoke English this whole time? Ha! I love it that he wouldn’t speak it for Roger.

T: I believe this is different from the books because their main problem was the lack of communication and struggle to communicate in the native language. With that being said, I do find it quite enlightening that the tribe speaks English.


Whether or not we’ve been making missteps sometimes, what I hope we do is spark a conversation, shine a light on that time. What the genesis is for what America is dealing with today. There were people here for millennia before Europeans came and settled, and this is a reminder of the roots of how American democracy came to be. ~ Caitriona Balfe


Tq: Those are some nice copper pots. Is Roger really worth all that? And whisky? I’m kidding. Maybe. But it does seem ridiculous that this is what you bring to barter for an actual human. You just know that it won’t be enough. On the other hand, it’s not like the Mohawk found Roger useful in anyway, so why not just give him back?

A: The good whisky and copper pots would have worked with trading livestock or furs. Not even an African slave trader would have accepted those items. They’re also confused as to why they sold Roger into slavery anyway.

Tq: Everyone jumped back from Otter Tooth’s stone like it had been cursed, which to them it probably is.

T: My first question is why are you wearing jewelry? Personally, I didn’t think it was smart to wear a dead person’s accessory.

A: I love the SFX touch of showing the stone glowing as if he was “there” with Claire.

Tq: I didn’t even notice! I love when the show leans into the supernatural elements.

[V: I love these wide angle shots of the village and the First Nation actors.]


Tq: Back on the plantation. Everyone seems a little too cool with all this slavery happening around them. I expected a different reaction from Murtagh having been indentured.

Where was he since escaping? Jocasta will know what you’re bringing to her home though. Don’t overstay your welcome.  I love their banter, but Murtagh needs to remember that’s a Mackenzie. He’s lucky Jo didn’t shank him for that marriage comment.

A: I was also expecting more of a negative reaction from Brianna as well, but befriending Phaedre seems to be her coping mechanism.

Tq: That’s kinda ruined when Phaedre still has to curtsy to her and call her Miss Bree. But, I guess whatever helps her sleep at night…

T: Again, this is where the show misses it with that theme. In the books (sorry to be a purist, but not 100%), I appreciated that it profoundly bothered Claire and Brianna. After all, Joe was like a father to Bree.

In the show, you can see that Brianna does not look down on Phaedre, but at the same time, it doesn’t seem to bother her. Then again, Bree has no problem with Lizzie being her maid that she purchased.

A: That’s a good point. Even on the show, we see her with a black roommate, Gail, in college. It’s strange even on the show timeline that she’s not concerned.



Bree doesn’t know if Roger’s alive, if her parents are alive. Giving birth without her mother there is something she’s very afraid of and sad about.



 Jocasta has become a mother figure, but Claire is the only person Brianna can talk to about her fears of having a baby, and everything else. ~ Sophie Skelton


[V: This canopy bed in purple with the matching wall paper is to die for!]



People tend to disregard the value of when people really get to know each other and spend time with each other. Their partnership could save Roger — they just have to keep from being wrenched apart in the process, something that often happens to Claire and Jamie. ~ Caitriona Balfe


Tq: Wahkatiiosta is so bad ass. She walked in with no fear. She could totally take Jamie, I think.

A: I think she could take on a whole army!


What’s great is that they [new writers to the show] bring a new perspective. But for sure there are times that the character you’ve been building is maybe not what they’ve written. Sometimes you have resistance to something because it doesn’t feel honest. Sometimes you have resistance to something just because it’s new. Sometimes you’re like, ‘oh, I wish we hadn’t done that.’~ Caitriona Balfe


T: One thing I love about the native culture, women are revered, and they can choose their husbands. The freedom native woman had predated most cultures. It was not shocking to see a woman roaming around or wearing pants.

Many years ago – before I was
born, a man came to us. He would
not tell us from whence he came –
he spoke instead, of from “when” he came.

His name was Tawineonawira. “Otter Tooth.”
He wore that stone.

Tq: Another instance where voice over works well telling Otter Tooth’s story. But, did it feel like they glossed over the time travel aspect?

He talked of war. . . how we must
lift our tomahawks – “Kill the white
man or the white man will kill you” he said.
“Kill them before it is too late.”

Tq: I know they showed him in the 20th century in the title card, but it seems to get lost to Claire, Jamie, and Ian that he traveled. Then again, they haven’t told Ian yet about Claire being from the future, so that may be why it isn’t focused on; or, the mention of Claire finding the skull with the dental fillings.

A: I agree that the message that Otter Tooth is an indigenous rights activist from the 1970’s was lost in the shuffle.

T: I understand the importance of this story, but I feel like they spent too much time on this.


The story of Otter-Tooth was one of my favorite parts of Drums of Autumn, and I was excited to portray his story here. We needed a device to get his story on screen and chose to do it through the character of Wahkatiiosta.



On television, it’s hard to have a character give a big speech where she’s talking us through a story. Therefore, I came up with the idea to use “flash cuts” of Otter-Tooth, which can be effective when peppered throughout a long monologue such as this.



I knew we had the actor who played Otter-Tooth, from Episode 405, so we brought him back and the director shot these small moments (what’s called MOS, which means he shot them without any sound). Later we used “ADR” to add voices where needed, such as Otter-Tooth ranting to himself by the fire.



These flashes to Otter-Tooth are interesting for audiences so they can visualize the words of the story being told, and are cool and atmospheric, adding a nice, stylized touch to these scenes.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


Tq: This severed head is too much. Wow.

A: I was not prepared for the beheading either.


Tq: We finally got a “Da!” It’s not the payoff I was looking for though, but it’s good to know that she’s forgiven Jamie finally.

T: Yes! She finally called him “Da”!!


A lovely, short scene with Murtagh and Brianna, where two important pieces of information come to light. One—when Murtagh asks Brianna if it brought her peace to see Bonnet, and her simple answer is “Some. Enough.” This lets us know that she did get something out of her harrowing visit to her rapist’s jail cell. Two—Murtagh clearly wants Brianna to forgive Jamie, and we learn here by her answer, that she has calmed down and thought deeply about what happened and has now decided to forgive her father.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


I love the interaction between Murtagh and Brianna. It’s so easy-going and you can feel the affection. I especially loved this conversation and it ended with him touching her stomach.

A: I also like that Brianna realizes Murtagh can be trusted. He could play godfather again (depending on the Regulator plot).


Tq: Another amazing overhead shot. I’m really digging the cinematography this episode.


I loved that! You just see us all stealthily coming along the black lake and then Rollo’s little head pops. It’s brilliant. Getting Rollo into that boat that day was a challenge, but yeah, he was very calm and collected. Totally. He’s far more professional than any of us. ~ John Bell


A: This episode is a cinematic and directing standout for sure.

[V: Seeing Jamie . . .

Roger probably thought he was having a nightmare!]

It’s you!

Roger . . . it’s all right. This is
Jamie. He won’t hurt you. We’re
going to get you out of here.


These three small scenes, although only two pages in length, are another example of a large scene with many actors and moving parts and in this case, it’s an action scene. These scenes alone can take several days to shoot. The old writer’s adage “Atlanta burns,” refers to a description in Gone With the Wind. It’s a metaphor for how a small bit on a page could actually be the hardest and most difficult to shoot.

Our “Atlanta burns” here is “Jamie and Claire rescue Roger,” and was one of the hardest things to shoot in this episode. The director Stephen Woolfenden did an amazing job with the complex blocking needed to portray a realistic rescue sequence, especially one that took place at night in the cold and rain.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


I’ve done wrong to ye, as ye’ll
know. I’ve come to put it right.
For now, you’ve my apology.

Tq: Snitch! Why are they so intent on keeping this man that is no great contribution to their village?

Yes, Claire! Knock a mofo out! One handed and lugging Roger’s dead weight. I stan.

A: Queen Claire slaying once again!

T: This is a nail-biting scene.

Are they going to make it out?

I’m okay with them adding this in. It makes the episode more exciting!

Tq: Hold on, why is Wahkatiioosta the only one kicked out?! And that’s it?! She sacrifices her place in the village for them and we don’t even try to speak on her behalf?

Not Jamie, Claire or Ian? Not the ones who helped her? Can she at least get an invitation back to Fraser’s Ridge or something? At least Claire looks remorseful.

A: Once again, a native woman’s pain is basically an excuse to drive the plot forward.

Someone should have spoken up for her or even had more of a chance to defend herself in the dialogue.


This was probably the biggest and most important scene in this episode, as Jamie offers to trade himself for Roger, simply saying, “Take me.” In the room, we referred to it as our “The Last of the Mohicans” scene, as we were inspired by that movie where there was a similar dilemma.



Young Ian trading himself instead of Jamie is, of course, from Diana’s book, although we chose to do it a bit differently. In the book, we see a naming ceremony where Young Ian is transformed into a full Mohawk, while Jamie and Claire leave, accepting the fact that Young Ian is now part of the tribe. We felt it would be more dramatic for Young Ian to literally be torn from Jamie’s arms and say goodbye with much more uncertainty about what will happen to him. Although Jamie hates leaving his beloved nephew, he ultimately honors Young Ian’s decision.



We were careful to lay the track and show that Young Ian has been fascinated with Native American culture. Ever since he met John Quincy Meyers, and also from spending time hunting with the local Cherokee, he has been drawn to their lifestyle, and a part of him feels like he belongs here.



He’s always been an adventuresome lad, and takes after his uncle Jamie in that way. In this episode he truly becomes a “man of worth,” something that Jamie said to him back in Episode 401, and this is Ian’s way to prove himself—by not only saving Roger and making up for the mistake that was made, but also saving Jamie by offering himself to the Indians.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


Tq: Ian’s face. He’s not going to let Jamie do this. I love that kid.

Look at the conviction on his face when he tells Jamie his choice. Definitely a man of worth.


As an actor when you delve into your characters so deeply, they stay with you. Young Ian doesn’t feel to me too far from who I am, which is what’s so lovely about playing him. I can really relax into him, who he is and what his values are.


You are free to go . . . to take
Roger. . . I’m staying here.


So as a journey, it’s been a gift to be able to have that moment right at the end where all of these past traumas, all of the conversations he’d had with Jamie, all of the decisions he has made, lead him to this destiny, this fate. It really was just remarkable. I’m so happy with how they’ve decided to write that final moment between Jamie and Ian. ~ John Bell


How can I part wi’ ye?

Tq: Sam Heughan and that one tear does me in every time. I knew this scene would be sad, but damn. I’m practically sobbing. Bravo John Bell!

It will be hard for us both.


Young Ian, from the minute he landed in the New World, there’s always been that part of his head that is like, This is a destiny for me. It’s only when he is confronted with that decision, face-to-face, that he knows the choice that he has to make. But that doesn’t mean that when he makes that choice that he’s out of the woods yet.

So when it comes to running that gauntlet scene, and the determination and the fire that you see within Ian to make it to the end — there’s that sense of relief, you know? Relief that I have proven myself, that I am a man of worth, to quote the episode title. It’s truly a special moment for Ian. We were all in unanimous agreement that Ian would be overjoyed at seeing himself being accepted into this culture that he has admired from afar. ~ John Bell


Oh, Ian . . .

A: This scene is still a standout moment for John Bell.

T: Jamie and Ian have a special bond and their pain was quite palpable in this scene. I teared during this scene. Sam’s performance was phenomenal! For the first time, I felt that John Bell’s performance was stunning! These two actors shone in this emotional scene.


My heart was broken that day absolutely, because that was us coming to the end of the filming and really saying good-bye to each other at that moment. It was really important for me that it echoed the first episode [of season four] — when Jaime is comforting Ian when he has his attack of PTSD and we get that beautiful moment where two men open up together and talk about their past abuse — because the coin has been flipped. ~ John Bell


Ye said to me once that ye wished
for me to become be a man of worth —

Ye dinna ken how worthy ye are.

Cuimhnich. Remember.


It’s now Ian comforting Jamie and telling him that he’s gonna be alright. There’s a change of perception: Jamie suddenly sees Ian as no longer the young Ian that he’s looked after, he sees him as a man. And Ian finally sees in Jamie that he has the strength to let him go, and so there’s a beautiful respect there that’s given through tears. ~ John Bell


I willna forget you, Uncle Jamie.
Never.


I think if Rollo had been off the leash, he’d be jumping into that gauntlet straight away and trying to help his master out. His instinct is always to protect. When we were doing that scene with Sam back in that first episode, we had to take Rollo off set because he was howling at not being able to get near me, to get close to me, to try and comfort me. He’s an incredibly emotional creature, and it’s so great to see that he is still there with Ian as his support. ~ John Bell


Tq: Oh, you never liked him? Girl, no. Stop lying to yourself. All this chemistry. A man that challenges that Mackenzie stubbornness with his own stubbornness. I ship it.


Circumstances what they were, we didn’t even socialize until those things played out in the last episode. We shot them all back to back. We started with, I think, the dinner-table scene, when I come back and I hear about Brianna supposedly getting married to Lord John…



We shot the conversation leading up to the whisky in the face. Then it was straight on to the bedroom. [Laughs] It’s kind of similar to other actors, you know, that once we’re on set, we’re trying to stay in character as much as we can.



Maria did a fantastic thing: She wouldn’t make eye contact, so she kind of went in blind to me as an actor, as well, between the scenes. ~ Duncan Lacroix


A: I like this change from the books because, in this era, politics was indeed personal. Friends and families fought on opposite sides of the incoming Revolution.

T: People will disagree with me but this whole thing made me uncomfortable.



We just thought it would be so much fun if Jocasta and Murtagh got together. We’ve seen Murtagh with a random girl here and there in past seasons, but besides our knowledge of his deep love for Ellen, Jocasta’s sister and Jamie’s mom, we’ve never really explored Murtagh’s love life. Jocasta has been through quite a few husbands, but they’re both so feisty and crotchety, in the best way possible, that we thought it would be a lot of fun to see them together and a great surprise. ~ Maril Davis


Tq: Look at that afterglow! That silver fox with those locs flowing. I live! This is my favorite scene of the whole season. I love, LOVE this change so much!

A: Murtagh/Jocasta proves that love after “a certain age” is certainly compelling on screen!


You think that these two are never going to be friends and then they end up in bed together! We thought it was fun unpacking the backstory to think that Jocasta probably had a crush on Murtagh when she was younger, but obviously Murtagh only had eyes for her sister and how maybe she’s kindled that flame over the years. Murtagh has a kindred spirit in Jocasta, and we thought it worked so well. Where their relationship goes, who knows? That’s something we’re still talking about. They make a cute couple. ~ Maril Davis



So, it was just purely no run up, no talking about it — which, I think, oftentimes just works out a lot better. You can overthink things with acting… What really worked for me was kind of a lucky dynamic as far as how to go in blind. I think Murtagh, for all his gruffness, in the lady department, he probably isn’t such a hero. The fact that you can take in someone that you’re attracted to without them looking back…There’s a lot of nice things you can play with there. ~ Duncan Lacroix


T: I knew Murtagh would take on someone’s character in the books, but I didn’t expect him to shack up with the woman he love’s sister. It was awkward for me.


Tq: Jamie, really? She’ll understand? This is Jenny. You know better.

Where was this fighting spirit when Roger had to go through the gauntlet?

Now he wants to throw hands? His whole experience with the Mohawk would’ve been different if he at least tried like Ian is doing. But, I guess this is part of his character evolution. And yes, Jamie deserved a few of those punches.


This is a scene that was not in the book, but that we talked about a lot because we wanted to see Roger vent his anger at Jamie about getting beaten and show that Jamie is man enough to know that he owes Roger for that mistake. This scene was always planned as an intercut with the gauntlet that Young Ian is going through, as in some ways this is also Young Ian enduring punishment he feels he deserves for selling Roger.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


A: Of course, Roger wants to punch Jamie out rather than accept that he was to blame for all of the sexist crap that led to him ditching Brianna. I’m thoroughly looking forward to Jamie forcing him to become a better man in future seasons.


Tq: Now I’m thinking of Mulan, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”

T: Ian is a man. He needs to make his own decisions. In the books, you find out Ian chose to stay for love and that was enough closure for me. Don’t get me wrong, I was sad to Ian go, but I understood.


He’s dramatically changed over the course of the season, and that’s one of the things that excited me most about his character. He goes through such an evolution, such a change through all of his experiences and all of his challenges. ~ Richard Rankin



I love stunt work. I love dancing. Scenes like that are the marriage of the two, so the minute that they announced that this is what was gonna go down, I was like, “I am doing this. I want to do the whole thing. I want to run the whole thing every take.”



And so, the stunt guys basically just left to just chill and have a coffee and stand by and watch. I handled it.



I like to think of myself as a springy, jumpy, athletic kind of guy, so to be able to do that was just the best.



I had to remind myself that I shouldn’t be enjoying this, that I should be shitting bricks a little bit, because a couple of the times I’m running through ducking and diving going, “This is fucking great fun! Let’s go again!” ~ John Bell



We did two days of rehearsals in the studios beforehand, with about 50 [First Nation] Canadians that had come over, and the stunt team as well. When we got onto set, they had given us two days to do it.



There was a huge amount of stamina required for it, but you get that rush of adrenaline when you’re about to do a stunt because you know that camera is right in front of you. That rush of, “Oh shit, here we go!” kept my fire burning. ~ John Bell



You know, I don’t know if they even would have explained it to Ian. There was this instinct of, “I can see the chief at the end of the line, and there’s 50 warriors in my way. I’m pretty sure I’ve got to get to the end of this.” But you’ve also got to remember that Ian had also been resting. He hasn’t been made to walk 700 miles and then get thrown into that gauntlet, you know?



He’s had more time to prepare himself for that moment. Roger was doomed from the beginning because they didn’t even give him a bed for the night and say, “Right, rest up, challenge tomorrow.” They were like, “You’re here now, prove your worth.” ~ John Bell


Tq: This joy on Ian’s face. My heart can’t handle it! He’s so proud. He’s finally found where he belongs.

You have proven yourself worthy.
You will become one of us.

A: This scene, in particular, would have been more effective if we saw earlier in S4 Ian interacting with the Cherokee.

T: I’m sad to see Ian leave but he has found his place. It made more sense in the book; but in the series, it felt kind of random.

I feel like it made the Cherokee seem mean and harsh. They have their reasons for taking someone. It was a life for a life trade.



I think we see a very different, deep, interesting character by the end of season four, which gives us an exciting platform into season five with him.



I think we aren’t sure what to expect from him now. When we leave him at the end of season four, we’re unsure with what we think of him and what we think he might be about now. Whereas, we were certain in seasons two and three of what he was. There’s was no question that he was this lovely, friendly, loving, humble assistant professor of history at Oxford, but he’s not that anymore. He’s very much a changed person. ~ Richard Rankin


Tq: Claire face says, “men are so stupid.”

Richard and Sam play really well off each other.

A: I dislike Roger, but I do like the way Richard Rankin is playing the “son-in-law with the hard to please father-in-law” dynamic.

T: Look, I understand Roger is angry and Jamie feels guilty, but a punching match is not the answer. It’s disrespectful to both Jamie and Ian. Goodness Roger, you just witness Ian trading himself for you, let it go. Jamie apologized and came to save you. I’m sorry, but this season, I feel like Claire lost her fire. Claire in S1-3 would have stepped in and called these men out. I feel like her and Jamie aren’t as strong as before. I would have much rather Claire tending to Roger’s wounds. Or, as Claire and Jamie are always on the same page, she should have stepped up and put Roger in his place. If it were me, I don’t care how angry you are, you do not have the right to touch my man. Go punch a tree Roger.

Tq: You still should’ve stayed Roger, made sure she got back to her room safely. Why you and Bree kept forgetting it’s the 18th Century is beyond me.

A: Roger is not sparking joy for me right now, throw him OUT! So done with his excuses and dodging responsibility.

Tq: I almost spit water on my laptop, Amanda! KonMari these dudes. You gotta throw the whole man away, sis. I felt that when Jamie said that’s your last freebie. I look forward to more scenes of them together.


These are key scenes, as this is where Jamie and Claire have to tell Roger that Brianna is with child, possibly from her attack. It’s now Jamie’s turn to vent and unleash his rage on Roger, as he blames Roger in part for why Brianna was raped.



Jamie, as a protective father figure, also pressures Roger into making a quick decision—to be a man, come back with them, and claim Brianna and her child—but it was also important to play Claire as a voice of reason, as she tells Jamie to give Roger time to think. It’s a lot to take in, in  the moment, considering everything Roger has been through and it’s an important decision, one that he should be sure about.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


A: I need more Roger beat downs in Season 5.


I hope they’re there for Brianna and him both. That relationship has been tested to the very limits. I suppose it’s stood the test of time, you could say, without trying to be too cheesy. They’ve been through a lot. Brianna’s been through a heck of a lot herself. So, I just hope that everyone is there for them at the end of the season. ~ Richard Rankin


T: People are going to hate me for saying this, but I understand Roger. I get that he needed time. After all, you went through a traumatic experience and you’ve just been told that the woman you love was raped and is pregnant.

On top of all that, Brianna has to stay in this time. Roger needed time to process that if he chose Brianna, he has to be 100% certain. He has to be a father and accept this child. He cannot hesitate or go back on his word, once he chooses Brianna.

He will also have to consider that Brianna comes with her family, Jamie included. Quite frankly, it is a lot to process and sacrifice. They all can’t be Jamie, unfortunately.


I think Jamie is naturally a protective father and is very hesitant about Roger — or any man. Would any man be good enough for his daughter?



Jamie sees him as a coward if he doesn’t man up and do the right thing, but I think Claire sees the subtleties and the complexities of this decision. ~ Toni Graphia



Tq: Here’s a change I don’t like at all (and, I usually stay away from the book purist rants). Jamie and Claire not being there for the birth.

If she was around two months or even three when they left the Ridge and it took them two months to get to the Mohawks and two months to get back, they should have and could have been there.Jamie being there for the birth and Bree being afraid she would die, if he wasn’t there, would have been the type of scene that showed her complete forgiveness rather than just her telling it to Murtagh.


I love the way that all the ladies (Phaedre, Lizzie, and Jocasta) are there for Brianna during the birth, and also to be supportive afterwards when Brianna must face meeting her baby that she harbored so much fear about, due to the traumatic way he was conceived. It was fun to give Jocasta the line about choosing the baby’s birthday so that it appears he was born in wedlock—how very “Mackenzie” of her! Sophie did a beautiful job at portraying a myriad of emotions as she holds her baby for the first time, looks into his face, and falls in love with him—no matter who the true father is.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


A: I also often complain about book purists, but I definitely believe they’re onto something with this scene.

I didn’t even re-read the book before S4, but this is a clear break in the internal logic of the show.

We saw Jamie in earlier episodes feeling sad that he wasn’t there for Brianna growing up. Earlier in S4, he prioritized being there for the birth.

T: At this point, I am beyond disappointed.

I understand that not everything can make it into the series and I’m all for creative changes, but important and fundamental elements should not be removed! How on earth do you omit this?


Tq: And, another two months have passed?! Bree said she’s forgiven Jamie, but she doesn’t speak one word to him for the rest of this episode. The emotional payoff isn’t there.

A: The timeline the story established earlier in the season makes no sense for the baby to be two months old before Brianna sees Jamie and Claire. This was definitely a wasted opportunity for Claire, Brianna, and Jamie’s character development.


T: Are they intent on making Frank this great father and Jamie a flawed man? I wasn’t expecting a complete reconciliation, but this was important.

A: It’s funny you mention the Frank situation Tami. S4 is sending out mixed messages, while also shortchanging character development. At first, Frank appears WORSE compared to Jamie because he selfishly withheld the colonial obituary, but then Brianna heard all of Laoghaire’s trash talk about Jamie instead of her extended Lallybroch visit. The birth scene could have ended for the show timeline Brianna’s doubt about Jamie as a father figure.


In the book it happens differently — things don’t take quite as long. We debated so much in the room on where to end this episode but also the idea of Roger, whether or not he would come back immediately unlike the book.



We ended up doing a version like the book where he doesn’t immediately come back with Claire and Jamie. We talked a lot about how that would make Roger look – it makes him look unlikeable. A lot of people felt like, how do you redeem Roger after that? ~ Maril Davis


[V: I love the color coordination of these costumes.]

Tq: So, they think Bonnet is dead?

Damn…I have a meme in mind for that.

A: I have a bad feeling Bonnett did survive the explosion, just for the writers to have a wild card in the Regulator versus the government elites plot next season.

T: Are we forgetting Black Jack?


This was just meant as a sweet mother-daughter bonding scene, as Claire comforts Brianna about Roger not coming back.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community



This was the very last scene added to the script, only days before it was shot. We knew we needed a transition from when Claire and Jamie return home, and before they leave for Fraser’s Ridge, and then a scene that showed Brianna reluctantly accepting that Roger wasn’t returning to her.



We only had a small amount of time on our schedule to shoot this, so this short scene of the family around the dining room table accomplished what we needed, by simply showing the empty chair, and then Brianna coming to take her place with her family.



Although not a word is spoken, it powerfully conveys the sadness of her resignation, and yet, the comfort that she is surrounded by family and will be all right with the people who love her.

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community




Even though the news is shocking, the guys in the writers room were like, ‘I would immediately come back. I would not hesitate! It was a big debate if we should let that happen like the book. And ultimately we decided to because it is a human moment.



Whether you like Roger or you don’t like Roger, it’s a lot of information to take in. We know where we’re going in the future and there were certain things we wanted to see unpacked in season five. This is the start of that; that relationship is still growing and moving and morphing. ~ Maril Davis


Tq: And, I’m still not feeling the chemistry between Bree and Roger so their reunion was blah to me as an emotional climax.

Bear’s score is doing the heavy lifting here. Accepting the baby as his son goes a long way to redeeming Roger’s hot garbage ways, but I’m not totally there yet.


It’s important that I marked that transition quite clearly. Now what we have is a very changed man. The audience should be seeing Roger now as a very different person. ~ Richard Rankin


The babe?


I think Jamie will never forget that Roger took more time than Jamie may have thought he should have taken to come back. He’ll still have to do some proving of himself to Brianna’s father, so I think there will be some conflict in that relationship next season that they’ll have to sort out. But I think [Bree is] more forgiving than her father. I think her father is being protective, but Bree knows that she and Roger have a fraught, turbulent beginning to their relationship. ~ Toni Graphia


A boy.

A: WHERE IS ROGER’S APOLOGY FOR ALL OF THE SLUT SHAMING AFTER THE HANDFASTING?!?!

I don’t feel any sort of resolution, as S3 didn’t make the development of their relationship a serious priority. Her was an absolute douche at the first proposal and then he ditched her on their wedding night. Tqwana is right, the score is trying to replace what should have been included in earlier episodes.

T: Alas, Brianna and Roger are reunited. I feel like more should have been said. Have either of them learned anything? It would have been nice for Roger to meet his son.

Take me to see my son.


Brianna and Roger really haven’t, as a married couple, been in the same place at the same time. And actually even as a dating couple, they haven’t been in the same place at the same time. And now they have a child together! The only important thing we needed to do at the end of that story for this season is have Roger accept the child as his own, whether or not that child is a blood child of his or not. That was very important because there’s still a lot of open-ended questions. ~ Maril Davis


Tq: This episode has a Fergus and Marsali problem. Just saying…

A: Agreed. I miss Fersali.

SOLDIERS!


It’s the thing that happened in the earlier seasons when he first met Claire. She proved to him with Culloden and all that history, but this is on an even bigger scale. He totally believes her—there’s not even a question. She’s been right so many times. They’ve tried to change history before and have they been successful? Not so much. They’re very aware this season [about] what’s coming. It’s on the horizon, the Revolutionary War is there. You can sort of feel it—the thunderclouds are there. It’s setting it up. ~ Sam Heughan


Quickly! To the slave quarters.


It’s interesting — I had to be reminded to look at Jamie, as well. That kind of connection went to come in second. That’s the first time that’s happened with Murtagh. “Remember to look at Sam [Heughan].” [Laughs] …There’s no build-up to this relationship, really. Because obviously, it’s going to throw up lots and lots of problems. For one, Jocasta’s a slave owner, and Murtagh’s just come back. He spent 12 years there as [a] servant, so.

There’s also moral dynamics it’s going to throw up. You’re right, he’s been on his own for 12 years. Although he’s got Jamie back, he’s still kind of leading this rebellion with kind of laissez-faire attitude, because he’s got nothing really to lose. I think at this stage, Jamie’s a man to himself now and can take care of himself. He’s got Fraser’s Ridge, so that sort of taken care of… I’ve yet to read the scripts for the new season, but yeah, I can’t wait to find out how that kind of dynamic will play out. ~ Duncan Lacroix



We always chuckle at this scene, as the fun thing is that before Murtagh goes to hide, he and Jocasta have what they think is a subtle, secret embrace, but it’s clocked by Jamie and Claire who have a “WTF” moment when they realize there’s something going on between Jamie’s aunt and godfather!

~ Toni Graphia, Outlander Community


Tq: The looks on Claire and Jamie’s face when they realize something is going on with Jocasta and Murtagh.

Yeah, y’all been gone awhile. The elders are getting their freak on.

We’re looking for Mr. James Fraser.


By the end of the season you see, no matter how hard they try, they get pulled into it. It’s really exciting for next season because it’s going to set up that whole world and the different political sides with Murtagh…


I’m James Fraser.


It’s going to be tough. This is not the first time they’ve dealt with these things. And at first Jamie thinks he can play it. He can play with fate and play with history, maybe to his detriment. ~ Sam Heughan



Certainly next season we’ll get to explore more of Jamie and Murtagh potentially being on different sides of the line of this conflict and what will happen to them.


I’ve a letter for you, from His
Excellency, Governor Tryon.


They’re family, godson and godfather, and for Jamie to be put in this predicament, he made a deal with the devil, and we wanted to end the season on a cliffhanger. This starts to set the table for the next season in wondering what Jamie’s going to do. I don’t want to get too much into season five but if anyone has read book five there is a lot of the Gathering. We didn’t want to start it and then stop it and then pick it up again in season five. It seemed like a rather large story that we wanted to get into one season as opposed to trying to bridge it over two. That’s why we decided to hold off and wait until season five and slightly alter the end of this book. ~ Maril Davis


What does it say?

Tq: Jamie looking like a snack in his specs.

He’s ordering me to muster and lead
a militia to fight the Regulators.

Tq: A cliffhanger! That’s just cruel, Outlander.

A: I knew they were going to end it on some sort of cliffhanger. I just didn’t expect Jamie to now play Dog the Bounty Hunter to bring Murtagh into jail.

T: I don’t mind the cliffhanger… I just wish it was a different cliffhanger. Again, it’s okay, but not amazing.

My first mission – hunt down and kill
the fugitive, Murtagh Fitzgibbons.


Episode Rating (1-5 Shots)

We give this episode 3-shots! This was not as strong of a finale as previous seasons.

Amanda: Stephen Woolfenden’s directing and the strong performances from the cast were not enough to compensate for the pitfalls in character development. The action-packed scenes were captured in a cinematic fashion, while the emotionally intense scenes relied on close-ups and an intimate perspective. Granted, some of these issues are caused by script decisions in earlier episodes. However, a season finale has to give viewers a firm sense of completion, and I did not feel that way regarding the Fraser family.

Although Jamie and Claire’s relationship takes a bit of a backseat during the episode, I believe Roger and Bree suffer more from inconsistent writing. It is hard to believe they belong together after the finale hug when they have spent most of this entire season fighting or separated by hundreds of miles. Roger did not apologize during their reunion, which would have redeemed him in the eyes of fans like me, who disliked his character the entire season. For book fans, who may be eye-rolling my grudges, I must note that I liked Roger in the books.

The show’s timeline has made his redemption arc very questionable and relies on fans filling in details from the novel for it to be believable. This also involves fans making excuses for his bad treatment of Brianna and not holding him accountable to her. It is hard to believe their reunion when you are someone who thinks Bree needs to dump Roger’s selfish and misogynistic dead weight.

Tqwana: Some emotional payoffs fell flat while others soared. The ones that mattered most to me, unfortunately, were not there. The ones that the show seemed to focus on felt forced. Other changes from the books are keeping me on my toes wondering what’s going to happen next – regarding Murtagh and Jocasta, and Murtagh and Jamie being on opposing sides of the coming war for now. I hope that Claire doesn’t take a bigger backseat. She seemed to be an afterthought this episode to the problems of the menfolk in her life.

Tami: This episode had all the fundamental elements to end this season on a high note. I’m sorry to say, it fell woefully short. I felt that it lacked a lot of emotion, even between Jamie and Claire (only in the final episode). There was a lot of dramatization, but it led to nowhere significantly important. Although I have already read the books some years ago, it was so pivotal that I still remember some scenes, and this was one of my favourite book of the series.

It was disappointing that Claire and Jamie missed Brianna giving birth (yes, I said it!); perhaps more disappointing than Bree not meeting Jenny or bonding with her uncle Ian. Personally, it only made sense for Jamie to be there because of the building and then strain to the already fragile relationship with his daughter. Witnessing the birth would have, at least, been the first step to rebuilding their relationship on a solid foundation, as well as creating a bond between the four of them (Jamie, Claire, Brianna and the baby). For a show that advocates and highlights societal stigmas, this would have been an excellent opportunity for them to shed light on another important issue. In those days, it was unheard of for a man to be present at a birth. Yet, in the book, Jamie was there, and I fell more in love with him.

I think Outlander has managed to exceed our expectations in the past that this time, I expected the season finale to end on a high note. It felt sub-par and rushed, but they made sure to make it dramatic. S2 finale will always be my all-time favourite finale. Sorry everyone, but I’m a person that craves substance and closure. Unfortunately, this episode left me thirsty and unfulfilled.

With that said, it was an incredible season that had some powerful performances, expanded character’s story line and introduced us to new characters. Kudos to the cast and crew. We especially give shout-outs to Terry Dresbach (Nina, and crew), Jon Gary Steele (and crew) and Bear McCreary. The costumes were gorgeous, especially the colorful, intricately designed Mohawk costumes. The set designs were inviting; the Mohawk village looked so real, it is incredible that it is a park. Even the cabin at Fraser’s’ Ridge made some of us want to visit. The music was masterfully woven through the scenes, and at times, not only moved the story along, but also us to tears. All were characters in and of themselves.


LOOKING FORWARD

What we are looking forward to in the S5.

Tqwana: I know book purists will hate it, but I’m glad that we do not know exactly where S5 will go with all the changes. I am sure Jamie and Murtagh will figure something out, but I look forward to the plotting and scheming they will have to do too. I want to see Ian’s life as a Mohawk a little. John Bell is way too good to be off screen for too long. His story also gives me hope that we’ll get more than a mention of Jenny next season too.  Follow Tqwana on Twitter: @TqwanaBrown.

Tami: Hopefully, next season we get rewarded with more character and relationship building. I felt that Richard really shone this season, but his character still needs to be developed. In the season finale, there was minimal to no interaction between Bree and Jamie, as well as Jamie and his grandson (incredibly disappointed). Can we have Jamie hold him and bond with his legitimate grandchild? He did not get a chance to help raise Brianna and this is supposed to be his opportunity to be involved… hopefully, they don’t mess this up. Follow Tami on Twitter: @_Cosmo_girl.

Amanda: Next season, I want the writers to properly address the concerns sexual assault survivors and feminists raised about all of the rapes in the later novels. I also want the show to carefully consider their plots with slavery and tribal issues and, at the very least, consult outside experts to make sure Outlander doesn’t perpetuate modern racist stereotypes. These offensive plots are when the writers SHOULD stray from the books and not slavishly stick to problematic material. I know Book 5 is called The Fiery Cross, but actually showing it is a terrible idea. As far as characters go, I do not remember the book’s plot. I have no issues with condensing as long as the changes have a clear internal logic.

I definitely want to see Claire come out of the shadows because I believe she was unnecessarily sidelined for huge parts of this season. Brianna was an unexpected favorite of mine this season, so I would like to see her hold Roger’s feet to the fire. Roger is from the future; he should know better on treating a spouse with respect. Extended glimpses into Ian and Fersali’s lives would be much appreciated. Follow Amanda on Twitter: @amandarprescott.


DROUGHTLANDER is HERE!!!

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