Outlander S5 Epi7 – The Ballad of Roger Mac
Written by Toni Graphia | Directed by Stephen Woolfenden
This conversation is between Blacklanderz Lorinda, Sara and Iris. Arranged and edited by Vida.
S: All I know is we got some strong sexual content in the episode content rating, and I am EXCITED!! Lol.
L: All I can think about is Rogers’ voice and the doom it’s about to meet. Hot Sex. I don’t remember any of that.
I: The tone for this episode is set with doom and gloom. Hot sex? Sara, what are you drinking?
BATTLE | REBELLION | TRAGEDY
Lorinda: What a knee buckling episode. I know they are going into battle and I have a bad feeling about this episode. I’m sure this will be Murtagh’s last episode. Once again, the Regulators, like the Scots at Culloden, are not equipped for this battle. Tryon reminded me of a bully. He gave them the false sense that he would let them negotiate, but he lied to their faces. He knows he can overpower them, and he intends to make history.
Then, this asshole puts that coat on Jamie. I hope he gets his just reward soon. Jamie exhibits his hate and rebellion for the Redcoats and the King. Seeing Jamie lose his last parental figure left in his life broke me. Murtagh saved his life; and just when I thought he would get away, it was over. That last scene was, just too much, seeing the men and knowing one was Roger hang from that tree crushed me! It reminded me of the poem titled Strange Fruit [V: And, Billie Holiday, Strange Fruit.].
CONFLICT | OATH | LOYALTY
Sara: This episode centers around the story of the Regulators and their conflict with Governor Tryon. Claire’s voice over sums up some of the major issues dealt with, specifically the difficulty of facing family in a time of war. Jamie has to deal with the stress of knowing that he may come face to face with his godfather on the battlefield. Bree has to deal with her inexperienced husband going off to battle and the worry when he does not return. Jamie is continuously facing the reality that he must represent Tryon’s army in a battle against his own countrymen. He is conflicted and worried about their safety, but knows that he must do this for his own family’s survival.
A lot of this episode throws us back to the days of Culloden and Prestonpans in terms of the scenery and dark themes. Although Jamie’s true loyalty is with the Regulators, his actions have brought him to a place where he is witness to Murtagh’s death by the hands of his own militia. There are some lovely soft Jamie and Claire scenes throughout the episode as well and a major cliffhanger involving Roger.
INEVITABLE | COMBAT | DEVASTATION
Iris: I heard this episode was going to be hard and, as a non-book reader, I wasn’t sure what to expect. History tells us the Regulator’s lost their noble fight, against corruption and over taxation against Governor Tryon and the Crown, at the Battle of Alamance. And yet, I found myself routing for them to win at least one skirmish before their fall to wipe that smug look off Tryon’s face.
Jamie and Roger’s plan to save the Regulators was a long stretch, but they had to try. I really felt Jamie’s pain; he tried his best to save Murtagh and yet he could not. How many losses can one man survive – his father, Culloden, his family, his country and now his godfather? Jamie is a true leader and tactician. This episode was a heart breaker.
We went to Hillsborough ready
for what outcome, we couldn’t know.
S: Ugh! This opening scene reminds me of Prestonpans with all the tents and the makeshift camp in Hillsborough. Claire’s voice over carries me right back to that episode.
But a good soldier is taught to be prepared,
ready to fight, and ready to die if need be.
I: Sara, I agree the opening scene harks back to Prestonpans and I have a sense of dread and anxiety over this coming battle. I think it so easy for us to forget that during the settling of these lands and the founding of this country, family members often fought against each other. Aside from deciding to go to war, this must be one of the hardest decisions someone has to make.
But what no one can prepare for
is to face family in the time of war.
S: For a minute this scene with Roger, Bree and Jemmy appears to be in a modern time as he sings to them. I was confused for a moment because in ECHO that actually happens.
I: Sara, I think the use of modern music is a great way to remind us that they are not of this time.
L: Look at Jemmy sitting quietly listening to his father serenading him.
When Roger is playing his guitar and the family is together, she’s reminded of how [it is] worth it being back in the 18th century, [with] the three of them together and she has Jemmy. No matter whose father Jemmy is, she believes Roger, for all intents and purposes, is Jemmy’s dad. Brianna had a dad, which was Frank who wasn’t her blood father, but she loved him, all the same, and he raised her wonderfully. So, for Bree, as far as she’s concerned, that is the family. In those moments, she can find peace in that century and contentment, for a few minutes. ~ Sophie Skelton
I: Don’t kill me, but Jemmy looks a little like Bonnet with his blond hair and his cute nose. I can’t help thinking that we will see Bonnet again soon.
I: The moment when he sings to Jemmy, while Bree looks on, is disarming for a second and you almost forget the opening with Claire’s voice over.
L: Roger telling Jemmy he will be back and that unfinished song on the music sheet is such a foreboding scene. His voice is beautiful. I wouldn’t tell him goodbye; it would have been like, see you later.
I: He has so much trepidation about leaving Jemmy and Bree. He lost his father to war and he does not want Jemmy to suffer the same loss. Bree does her best to reassure and comfort Roger. It’s good to see them on the same page and not squandering this precious time they have together.
I really think that his music silences the demons in her head and it really is just a few moments of peace for Bree. But obviously, in that first scene, there is that undercurrent of the bubbling knowledge that Roger is gonna be heading off to war. As you can see, Roger is not the most eloquent. Obviously, Brianna is very concerned about that, but she is, as ever, trying to put on a brave face for everybody else. She’s trying to give Roger the confidence that he needs, that it’s all gonna be okay. And then, you see, as he leaves the Ridge, that’s not actually her true feelings. She is exceedingly worried. ~ Sophie Skelton
L: More than likely I would have gone to the battlefield with him. I love how they have grown together. Their relationship has grown on me; they look and work great together. I’m sure they are having doubts about being in the 18th century.
I: Lorinda, I am not sure if I could go to the battlefield and leave my young child in the care of others. I wouldn’t want to risk my child losing both of his parents.
S: Oh, it’s his birthday!! I love when she calls him by military rank, Happy Birthday Colonel. Is it just me, or is it totally on brand for Jamie Fraser to know the exact time of his birth?
L: Yes, it is his birthday. Is it 50? Now, that I’m in my 50’s, I don’t think it’s that old at all.
I: If he is 50-years-old how is she? I know she is older than he, but I can’t remember the age difference.
[V: I think in the book, she is older by five and a half years. That would make her 55 going on 56.]
S: He is taking stock on his birthday, looking at his hands and considering his blessings!!
L: You see him testing the hand that BJR destroyed. I think everyone does a self-inspection daily when they hit their 50’s.
I: A half century to look back on and take stock of. I love how he is checking his fingers, toes, teeth and cock and probably remembering how he got every scar.
It was important to show a quiet, intimate scene with Jamie and Claire as a contrast to the tension of their setting—a military camp—and to show tenderness before the coming violence. Caitriona actually ad-libbed the sultry “Happy Birthday” song while we were shooting it inside a tent in the middle of a field on location. We loved the Marilyn Monroe quality of it, so we kept it.
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
S: I love this moment with them.
L: Did he say his, umm, still stands up by itself in the morning? It’s amazing how good he still looks at 50! They have such a strong relationship and I respect their own special love.
I: Imagine having to think back on his family and life, knowing he will survive the coming battle, and yet trying to look forward to his life afterwards.
S: Are they playing the wedding theme while they make love? Why yes, they are!! BRING ON THE SEASON ONE FEELS!! Okay um, her singing Happy Birthday, while making love to him, is sending me into a spiral.
L: She is going for a test run, I see.
L: Yes, she is singing and getting it on. Sara, this is one of those steamy scenes you were talking about.
I: Was her rendition of “Happy Birthday” a little Marilyn Monroe-ish? Yes, this must be the hot sex you where referring to, Sara. All I can think is, please don’t let anyone interrupt them!
L: Tryon just wants to fight. He seems proud of his cannon. There is no need to fight; all he had to do was tell them let’s negotiate. He is such a bully, trying to leave his mark in history. Roger was too busy trying to take care of what he didn’t do the night before.
I: Tryon is strutting around the field like a peacock showing off his feathers! His lack of strategic thinking is so pronounced against the way that Jamie approaches this coming battle.
S: Jamie looks so hesitant to lead his militia as they report to Tryon. The contrast between the militia’s clothing and the Redcoats uniforms is so striking in this scene. The costume design was used to emphasize the differences between these two groups of men here and I loved the differences.
I: Sara, Jamie contemplates his men’s lives. He puts his men first and doesn’t think of glory or conquest. His thoughts are only of how he can protect them and Murtagh from harm and live to see another day.
S: When Jamie learns of all the heavy artillery they have acquired for the battle, he all but pleads with Tryon to reconsider. This breaks my heart because we know he is thinking of Murtagh and the inequality of resources on the battlefield. I truly admire his bravery for even discussing this with Tryon. It just shows what an honorable soldier he is.
I: Jamie sees no way out of the coming battle. He now knows for sure that the Regulators are not properly armed for this battle and their outcome will not be good. He tries to talk Tryon down to avail.
S: Also, why does Roger always seem so inept. How is he showing up late for this? Isaiah, you’re a brave lad showing up here. I love how Jamie comes to Claire’s rescue when Brown tells her to stay out of it.
I: Roger looks like a deer caught in headlines as he falls into line?
The yellow cockades were another piece of research that we were excited to use. Our wonderful costumer, Trisha Biggar, and her department made them exactly as they were made back then, even using the same material.
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
L: What happens when or if those cockades fall off? Then you’re just dead? The men, on the king’s side, lives still don’t mean much.
I: I’m glad that Jamie is handing them out so his men can fasten them to their coats and hats. I was wondering how they would distinguish Jamie’s men from the Regulators. We don’t need any friendly fire happening during this battle.
L: Why did Isaiah show up, he should have stayed away. You stole their daughter. Well at least they are giving him a reprieve, but I don’t trust those Browns at all.
I: Lorinda, Isaiah is an idealistic fool. If he doesn’t get killed in the battle, his father-in-law will surely try to kill him. Jamie doesn’t need this drama!
Isaiah could have repaid Jamie by staying home with his stolen bride! I don’t know how long the Browns can ‘forget’ his transgression.
L: War is killing. It’s killed or be killed.
These boys are too young to be fighting in a war. Please make it back to your Ma alive. Shoot the Regulators are serious; they want a war.
S: Poor Jamie having to tell these young boys, with no experience in war, their new reality.
I: These boys have no idea what they are up against. The point of war is to kill the other side and then come back alive.
L: Murtagh and the Regulators hit first, so this battle is going to happen. Petition to the governor or not.
I: Yes, they ambushed his troops. I hope they captured enough equipment to level their chances against Tryon’s troops.
L: Tryon is a bastard! He told them he would give them time to consider their grievances, but he’s going to attack them. Dirty Redcoats, no parlay. He is such a liar. You are leaving, what does it matter? He’s embarrassed. Murtagh Fitzgibbons is a general to be sure; you are threatened by his talent in the way of war.
S: This Tryon is such a self-important asshole. I hope Jamie is the one who gets to shoot him in the end.
He has multiple opportunities to negotiate and avoid conflict. Another one presents itself here with the reverend asking to avoid bloodshed and he still just wants to proceed. Tryon, I hope you enjoy what’s coming to you.
I: If only Tryon would take the negotiation seriously and try to see the other side of things. His eyes are red with visions of punishment.
It would be befitting if Jamie gets to kill Tryon, but I don’t know if he or we will be that lucky.
Men like Tryon have a way of failing up to the next great position.
S: Bree’s use of her knowledge of history just might save them.
She is sure that something happened at Alamance Creek. Go Bree. Save your parents!
L: Who is Brianna with? Oops, she was talking like she wasn’t from there. Her history lessons are coming back to her. She’s going to save her family.
I: I think she is with the Sherstons. I am not sure who they are, but it seems like they boarded Bree, Roger and Jemmy for the wedding. But we didn’t see them at Jocasta’s.
[V: Iris, remember Bree and Roger did not go to Jocasta’s wedding. But they are her acquaintances.]
I: Thank god Bree shared Frank’s love of history. It may help them to help Murtagh. Go Bree.
S: Bree to the rescue! Thank God she remembered her history.
L: Right, I’m glad she was a good student. I don’t remember about any of the small battles that came before the Revolutionary War.
Something happened there.
I seem to remember . . .
L: Don’t give up too much information, Bree. You’re from the future; and if you slip, they are going to look at you strangely. They may think you are a witch, who is able to see the future. At least they can watch Jemmy while you go to warn them.
I: Bree, Claire and Roger need to be very careful and remember their audience.
S: Agreed. They need to be mindful of how they reveal their identities.
They say the Indians named it
and it means “all man’s land.”
I: Mrs. Sherston is dropping knowledge of the Native American’s naming the area Alamance meaning the peoples land, community ownership over individual ownership, a very different view from the colonial/settler mentality.
L: The king wants to come and run America colonies like they do in the UK, but it ain’t gonna happen. It’s coming back to you now. Girl, go and stop Murtagh. Hopefully, you can save him.
I: Frank would be so proud of his girl!
L: Yes, he would. She has the grit and skills to make it anywhere. If there is one thing I can give him props for is the way he loved and cared for her.
I would say this episode is when we really start to see the season take off, story-wise. We have some characters that we’ve loved since the first season, and that storyline really now is something that we are concentrating on; hearts are gonna be broken. It’s a wonderful episode in terms of who your most important loyalties are with. It brings up that whole question of, “If you have the knowledge from the future and you can prevent something awful happening to the world or the people that you love, can you or should you do it, and what is gonna be the effect of that?” We really see a culmination of that and who history takes down with it. ~ Sophie Skelton
L: Ride Bree, ride. She was taught to live in the wilderness; daddy Frank got that right! He knew she was going to go back. He taught her everything she needed to know to live in the New Frontier. Scotland scenery is a great substitute for North Carolina.
I: Oh yeah, I forgot about their camping trips. Frank doesn’t get enough credit for raising her. She is riding like Roger, Jamie, Claire and Murtagh’s lives depend on it. Hopefully, they can make good use of this information.
S: The scenery here is so gorgeous. Reminds me of Scotland in the Lallybroch episode when Jamie and Claire are approaching on horseback.
I: The scenery of Scotland is a great stand in for North Carolina. You’d never know this is being shot in Scotland and not North Carolina.
I always feel guilty sticking Sam in the water—verra cold!—but he is always a trooper and was game for pouring water over his head and whole body here for many takes. It was hard to see the red blood when he crossed himself, as it would wash off so quickly, but finally we got a good one and he got to dry off and warm up!
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
L: Hot Jamie! That body is a sight to behold. On a side note: There is something different about him this season. His character is bolder and surer of himself.
S: Jesus, Jamie praying shirtless by the river is exactly what Claire and I needed to see.
L: That’s a blood prayer. It must be powerful.
I: It just occurred to me that the prayer and blood are similar to how Native Americans prepared before going to war.
I can’t help thinking how this season is lacking in a Native American narrative.
L: I remember that prayer. He said it by the still on hill in the book. I like how they added it in, especially right before this battle. Remembering Dougal. He’s almost in the same predicament with Murtagh as he was with Dougal. Jamie is a true soldier. I also think she was worried about him.
Loved doing a call back to Episode 213… and that Jamie still prays to the uncle he killed.
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
I: Jamie at the brook, saying the prayer is just like Culloden. Lorinda, it didn’t occur to me that he is in just about the same predicament he was in with Dougal.
S: He remembers Dougal at this time because he was the war chief. Poor Jamie is reminded that he and Murtagh will fight face to face this time.
S: You can see his devastation at the thought. I think she is just as worried about Murtagh’s safety as he is in this scene.
I: I love how Jamie doesn’t throw away his uncle and call on the war chief to help guide him and his men. Blood is Blood. This time he will fight Murtagh face to face and no amount of prayer will help.
S: Brianna coming to warn them about the future, once again, throws me back to S4. I love that this is her way of protecting her parents. It is her redeeming quality.
I: Bree to the rescue. Maybe her knowledge will help Jamie and Murtagh!
L: She rode to warn her parents and husband.
Yeah. Bree’s not a rash character. She has a good measure of Jamie and of Claire. Claire seems to act on her gut a lot, which Brianna definitely does. But Bree also has that calculation that Jamie — who always stops and considers — does, a little bit more.
It’s an interesting one for Bree because she has this knowledge and she tells them, but she’s not unaware of the fact you do need to take into consideration the effects and ramifications it could have. If they change things today to change things for the people that they love, in that moment, what will happen to the people they love in the future or America, and the effects of that.
I think it plays back to when Brianna was talking to Claire about the penicillin and talked about playing God. Bree’s not trying to be preachy. She is just aware of the fact it could cause more problems, down the line. She just wants to make sure they do all talk it through, in this little amount of time that they have. There’s not really a correct answer. ~ Sophie Skelton
I’ve come to warn you.
S: Can they change history by warning Murtagh?
L: We know they can’t change history. They have tried before and failed.
The fight happens here at the creek,
and the militia will win.
I: Question: I thought they couldn’t change history? Did they try at Culloden, but the Highlanders lost anyway! It must be wishful thinking on Jamie’s part. He will do anything to save Murtagh.
S: If Tryon is supposed to win this battle, then the other side (including Murtagh) has to lose and Jamie realizes this.
L: Jamie is trying to save people on both sides of this battle. It’s practically an impossible task.
S: Wow, Roger actually volunteers to help by going to warn Murtagh on his own? Jamie trusting Roger with this task speaks VOLUMES.
And if ye’re threatened . . .
Wave this and cry ‘Truce.’
Then tell them to fetch me,
and dinna say more until I come.
L: Roger is going into a treacherous situation. At least he has a talisman from Jamie, but will it do any good? Again, if I were Bree, I would have been telling him, you’re not going, or I’d be going with him.
I: He is stepping up to go behind enemy lines. I hope Jamie’s handkerchief is enough to keep him alive. Bree’s heart is sinking.
L: Claire is always the prepared physician before war. If I were Brianna, I would be scared stiff for my husband. I’m not sure if Claire’s reassurance would help her. Looks like Bree doesn’t trust in the white hankie to save her husband.
S: I’m so sad as Claire expresses her regret for not being able to save more soldiers at Prestonpans. Her reassuring Brianna about Roger’s safety seems a bit premature though. These are such unpredictable times. The flag of truce may not protect him.
I: Claire is better prepared for this battle than she was at Prestonpans, but will it be enough. She is doing her best to keep Bree occupied, while they wait for Roger to return. How does she stay optimistic when she knows the outcome?
Tryon will regret the day
that he chose to ignore our demands.
L: Murtagh isn’t going to back down. He is a warrior; I think he will not back down.
His blood will soak this ground!
S: Murtagh is one stubborn Scot! He wants to fight just as badly as Tryon!!
I: Murtagh and Tyron are opposites and yet their speeches sound like a mirror of each other’s.
L: History be damned! Tell them to turn and leave now man.
These men have nothing to go back to. They will not turn.
I: Roger is doing his best, but it’s too late. Regulators will not wait a few years.
S: He is trying hard to convince Murtagh to give up.
I: Murtagh is stuck between a rock and hard place. I didn’t know the Regulators outnumbered Tryon’s troops and yet they were still doomed to lose! If only they were better armed.
S: Is Murtagh going to tell his men to give up?
L: Both sides are getting their men ready for the battle.
Here is a case where I wanted badly to use the entire proclamation—it was so powerful and foreboding. I figured out a way to squeeze it in by having Tryon read half and Murtagh read the other half—a nice cheat! However, when we shot this, we had both actors learn the entire proclamation (quite a mouthful) so we’d have the choice of where to split it. In editing, we made the decision to cut back and forth and that played even better than doing the two halves.
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
To those why style themselves Regulators . . .
In reply to your petition . . .
I have been ever attentive
to the interests of your county
and to every individual residing therein.
S: Will Tryon’s letter convince these men to give up?
L: No, his letter just pushed these men into battle.
I lament the fatal necessity
to which you have now reduced me . . .
By withdrawing yourselves from the mercy of the Crown . . .
I: The juxtaposition of the Tryon dictating his message and Murtagh reading it to the Regulators is so powerful.
And the laws of this country.
S: I can’t believe how convincing Roger is. This scene with the images of both sides considering the decision they must make is so full of suspense.
L: There won’t be any turning back. It’s battle or death. Murtagh won’t save himself, but he will make sure Roger is safe.
I require you who are assembled . . .
S: The bagpipes in the background music definitely takes me back to the battles on the Scottish Highlands.
To lay down your arms,
surrender up your leaders,
and submit yourselves to the
leniency of the government.
I: And, the cinematography of this entire scene is stunning. Tryon in light and Murtagh in the dark woods.
By accepting these terms within one hour,
you will prevent an effusion of blood . . .
as you are at this time
in a state of war and rebellion . . .
S: Roger, you really think Murtagh will abandon his men? The men he recruited for this purpose? He is a true soldier, a leader. He would never!! Just like Jamie would never do such a thing!
Against your king, your country . . .
And your laws.
Signed, William Tryon.
L: Murtagh isn’t going to run away. He doesn’t know how to do that. This war is going to happen; there is no way it will stop. Roger even appealed to Murtagh for the love that his godson has for him.
I: They have both done their best! Murtagh is not the type of man who cuts and runs leaving his men high and dry.
Like Jamie, he will fight with them to the end! Jamie has learned well from his godfather!
L: Man, Roger you are in the 18th century!
I: He is slow to understand the surroundings, times and customs he currently lives in. He is pretty naive.
S: Lord Roger, why are you hugging this married woman? This is trouble!
L: Yes, he may know Morag, but you don’t go around hugging other people’s wives. This is going to be one of those situations when that action is going to catch up with him later.
I: He needs to stop hugging her right now.
Get away from my wife.
I: Oh crap, it’s too late. Why does the voice sound so familiar? Have we seen Morag’s husband before?
L: Now you’ve messed up Roger with your friendly self.
I: Jamie is desperately searching for Roger. He doesn’t want Bree to have to suffer Roger’s lost again.
S: He knows something isn’t right. Where is he?
L: He should have been back by now. He understood that Roger would be in danger with the Regulators and the Redcoats.
S: Tryon is presenting the red coat to Jamie, as if it is a privilege?
I: Tryon is either tone deaf or Jamie is a great actor!
I thought it was a strong visual, and something for Jamie that would go against everything that he’s fought for and what he stands for. His relationship to the British and to what the uniform represents has been pretty bad, at best, from the beginning of the season to his father’s death to Black Jack Randall—the redcoats really suppressed the Scots. So to see Jamie Fraser in a red coat for me was kind of full circle and kind of terrifying at the same time. ~ Sam Heughan
I: Lord, he is presenting him with a red coat. Jamie, ever the strategist, wants to turn it Tryon down, but he knows he can’t.
L: Now you know he doesn’t want to wear that uniform. He doesn’t want to wear that dog uniform.
S: All he wants to do is burn it. I can see it in his eyes. God, what he must feel wearing that coat. He probably feels like a traitor to his countrymen. This is too much. Jamie, throw it back at him! Take your men and run!
It’s more of a power play by Governor Tryon than anything. Tryon is constantly testing Jamie Fraser to see if he will bow to his bidding, and this is just one of his power plays. But yeah, it just has a greater, deeper meaning for Jamie than maybe other people. ~ Sam Heughan
I: In a stroke of genius, he turns to let Tryon put the coat on him. Perception wise, this is much better than having his men see him take the coat and put it on himself.
S: OMG, look at Jamie’s face. He wants to vomit.
L: He looks like he is ready to fight and not the Regulators.
I had a really strong reaction to it—a real revulsion. It just felt so wrong. There was definitely a physical reaction. I wanted Jamie to look good in it—powerful. ~ Sam Heughan
L: Tryon is a bloody bastard for making him wear it. He knows the Scots do not want any part of that darn uniform. Jamie has his game face on, but it’s one of determination to save his men and family.
I: Tryon wants to ensure that everyone knows that Jamie is his bitch for now. He is like a dog pissing on his territory. All I can hear in my head right now is “Mark me” and I can see that fool Bonnie Prince. In this moment, Tryon reminds of the Bonnie Prince.
L: William looks like Dougal MacKenzie; he has his temper also. Is that Graham McTavish?
I: Damn, he not only sounds like Dougal, but yes he does look like him too!
S: Wait is that Graham? He is playing Roger’s ancestor. They are both MacKenzies after all.
I: What a stroke of genius to have Graham play the son Dougal had with Geillis.
In the writer’s room, we talked about how fun it would be to have Graham McTavish, who famously played Dougal, play Buck MacKenzie, who is, of course, Dougal’s son. Then, coincidentally, our Starz executive Karen Bailey called Maril Davis and had the exact same idea, so we knew we were on to something! Maril called me and asked if we could make it happen. First, we had to check Graham’s availability. He was both available and excited to come back. However, since Buck is in his 20s and Graham, while in great shape, is not … haha, we had to make sure we could digitally de-age him a bit. So we did. Actually, the biggest challenge was keeping it quiet until the episode aired. ~ Matthew B. Roberts
S: Lord Roger decided to now hit Morag’s husband and is now blabbing about his ancestor’s relationship to him.
L: What in the hell is he thinking? He knows he can’t fight. Plus, he is on the enemy’s side.
S: This is the worst decision he could make. No one is going to believe you Roger. You are not making sense to them.
L: Why does he think he can talk to that mad fool? He just manhandled his own pregnant wife. Poor Roger . . . poor, poor man.
I: Buck is just as much of a heel as Dougal was. Look at him manhandling Morag, and he is related to the good and kind Roger. This isn’t going to end well for Roger. Even if Roger managed to keep his trap shut, he would still be the recipient of Buck’s wrath.
I: I knew Jamie praying to Dougal was a little foreshadowing of something. It looks like the prayer didn’t work. Dougal is going to get revenge on Jamie with Roger. This a reminder to be careful of what you ask for.
[V: I love these shots and had to put them in.]
I thought it was a bit of a spoiler! But it got people talking, which was great. People are like: ‘Oh, my God, what are you doing? He would never wear a red coat!’
Sometimes I think fans forget that we are trying to engage them and upset them, because that’s exactly what we’re here to do: play with them, entice them, excite them. ~ Sam Heughan
S: Claire, we feel the same way looking at him in the red coat. Wow the directing in this scene is so powerful.
Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.
L: Right. Seeing him in that red coat must have shocked her.
I: She is just as shock as we were to see him in that coat!
S: Without words, she has the look of a woman who knows her husband must have been forced to do something he did not want to do.
L: She’s afraid she’s going to lose him, but Jamie ain’t having none of that.
I: She knows this isn’t good, but he is doing what he must do, and he will deal with Tryon later. She pulls herself together and reminds him that she loves him.
There are some beautiful close-ups in this scene. Love the way they look at each other in the profile shots. These are some of my favorite shots in this episode from director Stephen Woolfenden.
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
S: The I love you Soldier is breaking my heart. I hate this recurrent theme.
S: Jamie saying, Good luck will do. I love you does so much better. This is so emotional! Oh, my heart!
L: Today will not be the day that we will part. Speak it into existence man! Their parting in this scene reminds me of the battle of Prestonpans before Jamie went to battle.
I: Jamie saying there may come a time when they must part again, but it will not be today is so awesome. Imagine living your life knowing that you may have to part from the family you love so much.
For me, it’s the most fun and interesting storyline to see Jamie pitched against his godfather. Inside, Jamie is still the Highland warrior — you see flashes of that — but he’s a military man now, so it’s a new style of fighting. There’s a cannon and muskets and pistols. ~ Sam Heughan
S: Jamie is great at encouraging his men. He is such a natural leader as he prepares them for battle.
S: Take prisoners if you have to. It doesn’t have to be a massacre. I love that he wants a minimal number of casualties.
L: Spoken like a true Leader, don’t kill your brothers! I love when he leads. This is the Jamie I know. I’m not ready for this battle at all! One thing for sure, he’s not wearing that Redcoat with respect. It’s not buttoned up; he’s ready to take it off. I’m laughing that the men didn’t listen to Tryon, but only to Jamie.
I: Jamie is a master solder with great instincts. They can’t teach this at war college. He is giving his men options they can live with. Tryon pales in comparison.
In Prestonpans and Culloden, the audience only saw one POV – Jamie’s. In Alamance, we see both Jamie and Murtagh’s POVs, which gives us emotional stakes on both sides of the battle. This is the most personal battle we’ve ever shown.
While toning with the director, Stephen Woolfenden, we spoke about needing a location where we could play these intimate and emotional scenes — between Jamie and Murtagh and Roger and Murtagh, so they could meet and speak and not feel like the entire world was watching.
We chose a wooded area where we could stage these individual conflicts but also make it feel like a battle was raging around them. ~ Matthew B. Roberts
S: This battle scene!!
S: Poor Jamie is surely taking quite a few punches, but he would rather do that than kill his own.
L: He is fighting as they fight. Showing mercy. And yes, he’s taking some blows.
I: Jamie will do what he can to save lives. He will only kill as a last resort!
L: He and Myers are handling their own. He will never serve the English. They stripped everything from him and his family.
I: The hand to hand combat is brutal and yet, some of these men will live to fight another day.
We were very conscious of history here and took great care to show this battle as much different than battles we’ve shown before. Every department went above and beyond to ensure that this was historically accurate and also interesting in how it played out so uniquely, given the nature of the terrain, the tactics of the two sides, etc.
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
S: I love seeing Claire and Bree working together to keep these men alive.
L: I’m also glad to see them working together. She was her first assistant. Bossy Claire, on the job, was made to save men from the battlefield.
I: They make such a good team. I really like how their relationship has evolved! Bree has Claire’s back!
L: Was that the young boys fighting with that rock? They listened to Jamie, kill or be killed.
I: Yes, they listened, and they are learning. There is more than one way to skin a cat! They trust Jamie totally!
He was probably on his back
and joined the fight.
I: Damn, Isaiah. You come back with your drama and you manage to get shot!
S: Isaiah! OMG!
L: Yes, and I’m betting that shot came from not so friendly fire on your side. Kill him and no one will know we did it.
L: In these fighting scenes, you see the Regulators are at a disadvantage. They only have farm equipment to fight with, very few guns. It just reminds me again of Prestonpans and Culloden.
S: Yes, agreed Lorinda. These battle scenes were hard to watch because they reminded me of their past battles where they have always been an ill prepared, inadequately trained group of fighters. These men are always brave despite knowing their disadvantage.
I: They are not going to let the lack of proper weapons hold them back from standing up for what they believe in. They go to battle against the Redcoats with all the handmade farm tools they can gather.
I: I hate to say it, but the Regulators don’t stand a chance against Tryon’s shiny new cannons.
S: He knows they don’t have the ability to fight cannon fire and still uses it. I hate the Redcoats and Tryon is the biggest coward of them all. I hope he runs like a scared child when JAMMF comes looking for him.
L: Little Billy Tryon just had to bring out the big guns. Like I said before, he is a bully and is trying to earn himself a spot in the history of America. It seems to me like he has a Napoleon Complex.
I: This battle is too real and ain’t no joke. This sh*t just got real for the Militia and the Regulators. It is up close and in your face.
L: Yes, it is real. They did a great job producing and directing this episode. Blood, gore, gunshots and axes. It’s so much going on that you must pay attention to who’s doing what to whom.
S: Some of these scenes were difficult to follow, but definitely a good reenactment of what I would have expected on such a battlefield. The costumes were spot on.
I: I understand why Lionel is trying to kill Isaiah, but I am not sure he deserves Claire’s help.
S: She has learned from her previous lack of medicines and equipment and is determined to do more this time. She has her penicillin, syringe and other medications to rely on. I love that. As usual, she speaks her mind about the Browns shooting Isaiah in the back. I am terrified for her and think this asshole is going to try something.
L: Like I said before, she is a true doctor. I wouldn’t have treated the Browns. They are such a grungy and crazy bunch of people. I’m scared for the baby they left in their care with that misogynistic mentality.
I: He and his men shot Isaiah in the back like a dog. I mean he is so mad that he is willing to make is daughter a widow!
S: She did realize that, but did she have to mention it. Claire, watch YOUR back!! Jamie is going to kill this man though. I just know it.
He has been a threat to Claire, and Jamie will not have it.
L: Lionel is such a chauvinistic pig. He had to be guilty, otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten angry. I told y’all the Browns weren’t to be trusted. Yes, he is going to catch a serious butt whipping from Jamie.
I: He is a coward; he and his men shot Isaiah and then deny him treatment! I hope they don’t need Claire’s help in the future!
S: Oh my God, this man put his hands on Claire and broke her syringe? What the hell?
L: Yes, he did. How in the world will that be replaced?
L: She read him well; you piece of evil cow manure. Now, he’s mad because it’s true. He didn’t have to crush her syringe and to try to hurt her. He is evil and an abusive person.
S: This asshole is a selfish bastard, breaking her syringe so now she can’t help others. For that alone Jamie should take him down.
I: He either wants to speed up Isaiah’s death or slow his recovery. He and his men are probably going to search and kidnap his daughter back, while Isaiah is incapacitated.
I hope they will treat Franny’s baby better than they treat Isaiah.
I: He only tried her because Jamie’s not there.
L: She is completely devastated.
S: Ugh! These battle scenes are painful to watch.
It reminds me of Culloden with all these Scots, shot and fallen.
I: Is that the same music they played during the Culloden battle scene?
L: This reminds me of the Battle of Culloden too. The music is haunting, no victory song being played. Bear’s music is always fit for each scene.
I: The Redcoats treatment of the prisoners is brutal.
[V: Yes, it is.]
[V: When you think of it, it’s also somewhat foreshadowing.]
S: Murtagh saved Jamie from that Regulator, even though it resulted in him letting his guard down.
Between Jamie and Murtagh, their love is so deep. You can only imagine putting them on different sides of a cause, the dilemma that would cause; Jamie being trapped by an oath that he gave and Murtagh being trapped by an oath that he gave.
And that was the dynamic that when we were breaking out this story [in the writer’s room] that we wanted to kind of dive into and see how that played out. ~ Matthew B. Roberts
Ever since our decision to keep Murtagh alive, we knew that he couldn’t just live out his life in a happy place. He was a tragic character in the book, and he died at Culloden. We knew he need an equally tragic death but we also knew we wanted him to die doing the thing he’d sworn his life to: protecting Jamie. Every season there was an opportunity to have him die a hero in this way, but we kept putting it off because we loved the character so much.
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
S: OH MY GOD!! MURTAGH!! NOOOO!!!!
I: We knew Murtagh’s death was coming and we still weren’t prepared!
S: Oh God and just after he saved Jamie.
S: He was shot by one of the young recruits Jamie had told “war is killing”.
L: Oh, hell no! Not Murtagh, not him. Why did you shoot him? You idiot. Didn’t you see your Colonel talking to him?
I: The young soldier was only following James orders.
S: Oh God, yeah, but Jamie is going to blame himself!!
Plainly, Murtagh needed to die sometime, and where better than at the Battle of Alamance? The irony of his being killed by the young militiaman that Jamie had schooled in the art of war added an extra bit of horror and poignancy to his passing, and Jamie’s sense of shock and grievous loss was palpable.
The loss of his godfather, his protector, his oldest and best friend, the man who had been by his side since childhood…for Jamie, this is stepping off a cliff into a thousand-mile deep pit, and he’s in free-fall. ~ Diana Gabaldon
I: This conversation between Jamie and Murtagh is heartbreaking!
It’s so befitting that he would die trying to save Jamie. Murtagh would never betray Jamie’s mother.
S: Poor Jamie! He doesn’t know what to do.
L: And they used the same line from Dragonfly in Amber. Heck, I’m about to cry. Do not be afraid, it does not hurt to die.
I’d never betray yer mother . . .
No matter who asked.
That’s exactly the way I’d wanted it, form way back. This is really is the way I pictured it. It’s kind of what happened in the books, but it’s just being transposed 25 years later. It’s the same lines that he said to Jamie in Culloden in the books. It was just postponed long enough for the silver fox to make an appearance. ~ Duncan Lacroix
S: Oh God, I think I’m dying at his screams for help.
He is gonna take Murtagh to Claire??
Colonel, I-I think he’s – –
Help me now!
I: At first, I thought Jamie was asking his men for help to hide Murtagh’s body so the Redcoats wouldn’t find it and drag it through town with Murtagh’s head on a pike.
I: I didn’t expect them to take Murtagh to Claire.
But, I am scared that the Redcoats might find Murtagh’s body there.
Claire! Save him!
S: Claire can’t help him, Jamie. Poor Jamie. He just believes Claire can do anything.
Ugh! I am taken back to that scene between Murtagh and Jamie when Jamie was a young boy and Murtagh tells him he will always be by his side.
What is it?
L: Poor Jamie, poor man. That’s his only family from his younger years. It’s too late Jamie; it’s too late.
S: Claire knows it is hopeless.
Jamie’s cries to “save him” are making me sob.
Do what you must. Heal him.
Poor Claire. This is so tragic!!
I’m sorry. He’s gone.
L: Oh, this hurts me so much. My heart is breaking for Murtagh and for Jamie.
He canna be. He canna.
S: She is devastated at the loss of Murtagh too. He has always been such a trusted friend.
[V: My heart aches for Bree. All she can think about is . . . What if this is what happened to Roger? He could be out there somewhere, shot and dead.]
Well, when you’re there, you just got to let them, I mean, it’s their scene at that point. We shot that scene at the tree twice, as well, but the first time we shot it yeah, I got really emotional that day for some reason. I didn’t expect to… It was just that scene, saying goodbye to this guy that I’ve inhabited for six years. It all kind of came crushing down on me between takes. Sam did such an amazing job in those scenes and in the triage tent. ~ Duncan Lacroix
I: Jamie is broken. He wants his godfather back! He really hoped that Murtagh would get away!
L: Murtagh was with him longer than his parents were. He was truly his Godfather.
L: I feel for Claire too. I forgot about the two of them being so close together as they searched for Jamie and helped him heal in Paris.
Murtagh’s death…well, I have mixed feelings about that. As played out in Ep. 507, it’s shocking, heart-wrenching, sorrowful and accompanied by some top-notch acting by Duncan Lacroix, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe. I loved it! ~ Diana Gabaldon
Obviously, I’ve just got to stop breathing and stay as still as possible. Oftentimes, the more you concentrate on that, it all goes wrong. So it’s just like you kind of like zone out of the whole scene. But you’re kind of aware that the performance going on around you. There was a point — it’s when Caitriona took my hand and put it on my chest, just the way she was playing it, touching my corpse, as it were, and that kind of got to me a bit, yeah. It was emotional. ~ Duncan Lacroix
S: This bastard Tryon has the nerve to tell Jamie to celebrate? Knowing full well that he had to fight his own countrymen?
S: He is lucky Jamie didn’t smash his face. JAMIE, SMASH HIS FACE AND CHANGE HISTORY!!
I: Jamie, please be careful man!
L: Jamie has had enough. He doesn’t give a care about Tryon or the power he has to take everything he’s worked for away.
Tryon is using his power as a bully. You exerted your power over men who didn’t have the weapons to fight back.
I: He is lucky that Jamie didn’t punch his teeth out!
I: You stepped way over the line. Tryon could have you jailed! Don’t give him a reason!
S: That’s right, Jamie. Throw that filthy redcoat back. I hate this man.
Any other man saying that to Governor Tryon would probably be shot or be locked up. But I think he gets away with it because he is who he is. Jamie Fraser is a very powerful man, and he commands men’s respect. ~ Sam Heughan
As for the effect of Murtagh’s death and the timing of it–this is the turning point for Jamie; the place where he definitively severs his connection (however unwilling) with the Crown and becomes in his own soul a Rebel. ~ Diana Gabaldon
L: I really felt that when he threw that coat on the ground, there was no honor in wearing a coat that represents what destroyed his and his family’s life. I would have stomped on it!
I: Thank god Tryon discharged Jamie’s debt! I thought the weasel might find a way to sidestep it after the way Jamie spoke to him.
S: Claire saves the pin for Jamie and covers Murtagh’s face. This is so final!! This scene is breaking my heart.
L: She’s taking care of her friend. I missed her taking the pin. She must be broken by grief. I want to hug all of them due to this tragic death. Bree is full of grief for Murtagh and for the possibilities of her husband.
I: She is devastated. Murtagh took such good care of her and Jamie.
S: He is grieving but must set his devastation aside to help Bree. Now that’s what a father will do for his daughter. Wait ‘til he finds out what Roger has been up to.
I: She must be almost out of her mind, searching for Roger.
Jamie is trying to find Roger, so Bree doesn’t have to suffer the pain.
L: Yes, he understands how she would feel.
OH MY GOD, this is too much.
S: These prisoners are just being hanged for the sake of it?
L: I can’t take this at all. Christ, help me!!
We went on many scouts searching for the perfect “hanging tree.” They are harder to find than you would think! It had to hold three men and have a lot of space around it. Plus, it had to be close enough to some of the woods where we were shooting battle scenes so we could schedule them together. This was a very good tree, dramatic against the Scottish sky.
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
L: Tryon is a BASTARD!! He didn’t know if he was hanging a friend or foe. Hopefully Jamie’s prayer works.
I: Tyron is a bastard; he orders his men to hang the prisoners.
The challenge here was to shoot it so that our gang wouldn’t immediately see that it was Roger hanging in the tree, because they aren’t focused on that. They certainly don’t expect to find him amongst the Regulators, so it was carefully planned for Jamie to see the white handkerchief in the pocket of one of the hanged men and slowly register the tragedy…
~ Toni Graphia, Annotation
I: How did Roger end up as one of the hanged?
Buck is the worst! Oh no, tell me Roger isn’t dead!
S: Ugh, this hanging scene is terrible. These Redcoats are merciless.
These prisoners are just being hanged for the sake of it?
L: Poor Bree. I’m lightheaded seeing him up there.
I would have fainted!
L: Poor Bree, she looks like she is going into shock. Oh my!
L: They just cut it off like that, next week can’t come soon enough.
[V: Now, we have to wait two weeks.]
S: WHAT A CLIFFHANGER!!! OMGGG!!
Episode Rating (1-5 Shots)
Although rounded up, we give this episode our first 5-shots of the season! It was an action-packed, emotional roller coaster.
This was an excellently written episode that kept us on the edge of our seats the entire time not knowing what was coming next. Hats off to Toni Graphia. This episode, by far, is one of her best. She also, for a small moment, allowed us to hope the Regulators would prevail. The episode also focused on a family in battle, yet provided romantic and tender scenes between the characters. The use of Claire’s voice over, at the beginning, set the stage for what was to come.
We give a shout out to Stephen Woolfenden and one to Stijn Van der Veken. The cinematography, as usual, was breathtaking. The fight scenes were realistic and gruesome. We were praying that the Regulators and the men fighting with Jamie would survive. However, we all know when there’s a battle, death must show up. We loved the use of aerial shots of Bree on horseback hastily trying to warn her husband and parents and the slow-motion technique that truly captured and conveyed the brutality of war. Even the last scene with the wide-angle view of men hanging in the tree, the in and out of focus from various angles, was a spectacular shot.
The actors and their performances were outstanding! The decision to bring Graham McTavish back to play Dougal and Geillis’ son was genius. We also witnessed some of the best acting of this season in the scenes with Jamie and Claire, Bree and Roger, and last, but certainly not least, with Jamie and Murtagh. By far, the latter really resonated with us. Sam did a phenomenal job portraying all of Jamie’s ranges of emotions and his stages of grief! He has transformed in the last two seasons with S5 being his best. Hopefully, they will submit this episode during awards season. It is time for him to win an award for his performances.
It was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking to watch Murtagh being killed and to see Roger hanging from a tree. Although we knew it was going to happen, they still managed to surprise us with how Murtagh died. It was befitting that he died in Jamie’s arms. We will surely miss Murtagh going forward. And, the horrific cliffhanger of men/Roger hanging in that tree was . . .. It is still hard to process it all. That was such a powerful scene that it needs no words.
So, how many shots did you give this episode and what are your thoughts?
What we are looking forward to in the S5 Epi8.
Iris: I am looking forward to seeing if Jamie and Claire bury Murtagh on Fraser Ridge or was that River Run and how Jamie will handle his grief over Murtagh’s death. How will Jocasta handle the news of Murtagh’s death? I am also looking forward to seeing if Roger miraculously survived the hanging. If not, how will Bree manage her grief for him? Finally, I am looking forward to seeing who Jamie draws his pistol on in the woods. Follow Iris on Twitter – @IJMeTV.
Lorinda: I am looking forward to the outcome of Rogers impending doom and how Bree overcomes this tragedy. How will life be on the ridge after the battle? How Jamie overcomes the loss of his last closest relative, other than Jenny and Ian. Also, will Tryon try to retaliate against Jamie for calling him out on his bullsh*t! I’ll be waiting patiently for next episode. Follow Lorinda on Twitter – @RindalovesBruce.
Sara: I would like to see where the Roger storyline is headed. What a cliffhanger!! Is it also terrible to say, but I very much want to see Jamie kill Tryon? In looking at the preview, I see some interesting storylines emerging for the next episode. It also seems like Jocasta actually buries Murtagh on her property. I am not ready for that conversation between Jocasta and Jamie about Murtagh! S5 is already amazing!! Follow Sara Twitter – @SaraScofield72.
S5 Epi8 – Famous Last Words
The Frasers must come to terms with all that has changed in the aftermath of the Battle of Alamance Creek. An unexpected visitor arrives at the Ridge.
Outlander | S5 Epi8 Preview ~ Video via STARZ
See ye in two weeks!
Make sure you check out Blacklanderz Outlander Season 5 Episode 7 Review.