Outlander S5 Epi8 – Famous Last Words
Written by Danielle Berrow | Directed by Stephen Woolfenden
This conversation is between Blacklanderz Lorinda, Ayana and Cathy. Arranged and edited by Vida.
PTSD | PATIENCE | FAMILY
Ayana: Young Ian returned, and he brought with him heartache and grief. His timing was perfect. Roger’s body has recovered from being hung, but his heart and mind hasn’t completely healed. Outlander puts its characters through harrowing events that, at times, seem all just for plot. It makes up for this by never forgetting the events. While struggling through their own experience, the characters deal in whatever way they can by reaching out to help a fellow family member through their own struggles.
Outlander takes the time to show that not all therapy is the same, but it is needed and important. Family is something to be valued. Lean on them when you have too, but don’t take them for granted. We all don’t have the same patience level. Everyone hasn’t fought your battle, but they have been through wars of their own. Learn from others. Take care of your mental health.
GRIEF | LONG-SUFFERING | KINFOLK
Lorinda: Where do I begin in my reaction to this episode. I guess I’ll start with Roger. He survived the hanging because he was smart enough to grab the rope at just the right moment, but not in the right place to save his life. He’s grieving the loss of his voice as a teacher and a singer. His words are his instrument for his livelihood. He has to learn to regroup and become something else. But isn’t that how we all live in this thing called life? It’s been three months, but Jamie is still dealing with the loss of Murtagh. The wound of his death is still fresh and painful. Although he hasn’t had the opportunity to share his grief, Ian is dealing with his own. Brianna is even grieving the loss of the husband she knew.
While all of them suffer through their pain, their family and friends display generosity of patience. They walk with them through it. None of them are saying you need to get over it, but waiting patiently for them to resurface in some shape or fashion of their normal selves. Each has kinfolk, as my dad calls them, to help support them. We witness Claire helping Bree and Jamie. We even witness Ian saving Roger; while Roger, in turn, saves Ian by using his new voice.
LOSS | REUNION | METAMORPHOSIS
Cathy: There is loss and the emotional toll it takes on those who have experienced it. Roger lost his voice and peace of mind. Jamie and Jocasta lost a man they loved more than any other. Brianna lost her connection to Roger. Ian lost his youth. The heaviness of these losses dampened Ian’s return and Lord John’s news of the land grant for Bree and Roger from Governor Tryon. There seems to be a shift in Jamie now that he is no longer under Tryon’s thumb, and he has eased back into his comfortable role as Laird. Roger has been forever changed by the trauma of his hanging – no longer the Oxford Don nor the amorous newlywed, but a man lost in his thoughts and to the world. Ian was so full of life and wonder, but clearly changed during his time with the Mohawks. Even Claire is becoming a wise woman, full of calm and advice.
In the end, Roger is reunited with his voice, his fighting spirit and Bree. Ian rebounds with his family, Lord John Grey reunites with the Frasers – though briefly. Even Jocasta reunites with her love, even if after death.
L: Roger is in his element as a professor at Oxford, and he shines in it. Within this history lesson, the title – Famous Last Words – is presented.
A: This is going to be a Roger-centric episode. It’s nice to see him in his actual element, a 1969 Oxford University professor, and doing something he’s apparently good at.
We open on an unfamiliar and unexpected sight—especially after the heartbreaking ending of the preceding episode: Dr. Roger Wakefield leading a tutorial in his college at Oxford University. This effectively grounds the unfolding story in Roger’s point of view and his experience of the world around him, prompting us to wonder, perhaps, why he might be recalling this particular moment… and offering glimpses of the various themes which play out during the remainder of the episode. This ‘flashback’ allows us to emphasize Roger’s strengths: his teaching gift and the rapport he has with his students, who respect and admire him.
This is Roger at his best, in his “comfort zone” at his profession. This is not something we have seen in quite this same way before now. Roger is a confident orator and someone who teaches his students to think critically: to choose their words wisely and to make them meaningful—something he tries to live by. Roger offers the students a valuable moral lesson: that the words we choose shape our thoughts and, often, our outlook on life. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
C: Even after watching him in 1700s America for the past few episodes, the flashback to his Oxford Don days, was believable and relevant. I’m not always a fan of flashbacks, but this one worked. Even Bree showing up at his lecture was consistent with the middle days of their relationship in the books.
L: So now we are thinking of Roger’s famous last words. Did he survive the hanging or is he gone? Let history forget my name so long as my words and deeds are remembered by the ones I love. What were his last words?
A: I still hope for a scene showing Bree ironing her hair to get it straight. Must be nice to be a college student that can afford to fly across an ocean to visit a boyfriend.
Given what has happened to him in Episode 507, there is a certain poetry in the idea that, as an academic, Roger would have studied the lives of historical figures, and particularly those who are remembered for words spoken on their deathbed, or their final words before execution, for example. He offers his musings on what his own words might be if he found himself in a similarly traumatic situation. But the somewhat romanticized expectation rarely matches the inevitably harsh reality—as Roger, to his misfortune, finds out.
On the fields of Alamance, he is not given the chance to speak the “famous last words,” he once delivered in the safety of the college classroom. In fact, he has no opportunity to speak, to object, or to protest at all. In this way, the scene also helps us to understand why it is so remarkably painful for Roger to find himself without a voice after Alamance. We also liked the idea that, while taking turns to visit one another during their long-distance relationship, Brianna might have wanted to “see Roger in action” on this occasion, and to sit in on one of his classes. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
C: What stood out the most was how Rik Rankin modulated his accent – more Scottish when talking to Murtagh and Jamie in 1770s NC than he is with his students in 1960s Oxford, a good example of social adjustment.
Even more brilliant was how they prequeled the silent movie connection.
[V: I thought that was a spectacular transition. Ambitious, but well-executed.]
Cut him down.
C: The tracheotomy that Claire performs is somewhat realistic.
In that, it is easily performed in the field and subcutaneous fat coming out of the incision was a nice touch.
As a surgeon, Claire could have done it with her eyes closed. And by having it done in silent movie format gave it the gravitas it deserved.
[V: Well, I am glad you explained it. I was wondering what that was that came out.]
L: Roger is alive and well. Now we know why there was a silent movie playing. He will be silent in this episode.
Poor Roger has lost his beautiful voice. Claire and Bree are trying to keep things normal, but Roger must deal with his own PTSD now.
A: Three months later? I want to be upset about this time jump. However, between the cold open starting in 1969 and now back in 1771, bitching about three months is petty. Imma go sit down somewhere.
L: The three-month time jump had to happen. Otherwise, Roger would be down and all we would be seeing is Claire doctoring on him.
A: If Roger is taking care of his other husbandly duties, him not wanting to speak isn’t such a bad thing to me. I would encourage him to take his time.
L: Ayana, I was thinking the same thing. I wondered if they were even having relations after this incident. With him being a man, I’m not so sure he could go three months without having that desire taken care of.
C: How wrong is it that Roger has been hanged, clearly has some emotional and possible lingering physical trauma, and all we can think about is whether he’s handling his business?! Seriously, Rik Rankin acted the mess out of this scene.
C: Close ups of Rogers face, while Claire and Bree are talking, is so powerful. The look in his eyes is painful to watch. The small head movements, and lack of fully formed facial expressions, are a clear indication of how much he has checked out.
Well just know that I’ll be
teaching Jem to say “sweater” and
“aluminum.” It’s not gonna be
jumpers” or “aluminium.”
Roger’s “WTF?” expression when Bree goes on about “sweater and aluminum” was priceless. But fiddling with her wedding ring is telling.
Fear and dread, I suppose, when I read the script, for a few reasons; I was always aware that this part of the story was coming. I just wasn’t sure how it was going to be presented, what I might have to do, how I might have to take that on board and then try and deliver it to an audience.
So, obviously there was an anticipation of that particular part of the story. It’s something that has often been talked about, but when I read Episode 8, I remember thinking, “How am I going to do this? How am I going to do this?
How am I going to tell the story?” Roger is obviously the protagonist. Episode 8 is all about him and his psychological journey through this really, really sort of dark trauma. I have [to] do this without offering a word pretty much, for the entire episode. So, I thought, “I have to tell such a strong story with clearly quite a lot going on with really quite complex emotions to be telling, silently.” ~ Richard Rankin
L: Wow, great job using the silent movie.
A: Wait, hold up! Which side was William Buccleigh MacKenzie fighting on?
L: That sneaky bastard stole Rogers cockade and turned him in!
C: Buck is a self-serving opportunist, who used Roger’s Militia cockade, to save himself from the Redcoats.
A: Can you find any person, drag them to the tree and say they were missed in the roundup of those to be hanged? Is this how this works? No trial or jury?
L: Yes, those pompous Redcoats just hung him without a trial, and he was on their side.
A: It seems that Roger’s flashbacks will be in the form of a silent film. So, Buccleigh seems like a real peach, like his father and mother before him.
L: Ayana, he is like “both” of his parents, evil through and through, and selfish without any understanding. Even after hearing Roger saved his family’s life when Bonnet would have thrown them overboard.
C: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; Buck Mackenzie is as self-absorbed and ruthless as his father, Dougal, and as conniving and sociopathic as his mother, Geillis. Buck may not have been raised by them, but he inherited their worst.
L: And, bully Tryon didn’t even give any of the prisoners an opportunity to say any last words. Just pick any three to make an example.
I’m reminded that’s why they hung slaves and left them there. It was to make an example, so everyone else would be too fearful to disobey.
For Roger, the loss of his voice is a HUGE thing. He’s been making modest progress in gaining the elementary skills of an 18th century man, but his ability to sing is the one thing that’s he’s genuinely good at.
It was the defining aspect of his personality and his life–or so he thinks. He can’t bear the idea of trying to talk and failing. ~ Diana Gabaldon
He’s struggling constantly with the reminder of what he’s lost and the searing memories of how he lost it (with the clever silent-film flashback metaphor). Under such a suffocating weight, he can’t think reconnection with anyone–let alone his wife and family–even possible. ~ Diana Gabaldon
In this scene, Brianna and Claire discuss their concern for Roger. ‘Post-traumatic stress disorder’ is not a term that either Claire or Brianna would be familiar with, yet it is something they are both very informed about, in terms of actual, practical, lived experience—and in more ways than one. Claire has been exposed to soldiers suffering from the condition during the Second World War and, here, Brianna describes meeting her college roommate’s boyfriend who served in Vietnam. Roger is healing physically but, psychologically, he has a long way to go. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
L: Yes Bree, Roger is shell shocked, wouldn’t you be? He thought he was dead. The life he once had is gone because his voice has been stolen from him. He has to heal and find his way back.
L: Claire can talk about effects of war on the psyche of men. As a mother, she is wonderful. She and Bree have a strong bond, and this helps center Bree.
A: Gail, the roommate, can be remembered here. But, she can’t be remembered when a cross was burning in Epi1. Interesting how the mind works. (Note: No, Outlander fandom, I’m not letting that go. Not one time traveler pointed out the significance of what a burning cross would come to mean. Not one!)
L: You’re right about Gail.
A: Claire knows firsthand what she’s talking about. I wonder if she will elude back to Prestonpans and her shell-shocked experience there.
L: I forgot about Claire and her PTSD episode prior to the Battle of Prestonpans. Yes, she does have firsthand knowledge of what Roger is experiencing. I believe Bree understands also, that’s why she is being patient with Roger.
C: I love how Claire is morphing into a wise woman. Gone is the teeth mashing, Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ swearing, bossy without consequences Claire. Instead we have someone who is in keeping with her profession and station on the ridge. It also makes sense why Bree doesn’t want to go back to her own time.
L: The scenery of the blue hills is beautiful, and Jocasta’s singing is soothing. Roger gets his singing from the MacKenzies. I thought that maybe they had buried him at River Run, but he’s still with Jamie on Fraser’s Ridge.
A: I agree Lorinda; this transition shot is gorgeous. Outlander shows the value of watching on a big screen 4K television. It’s almost like I can walk through the screen.
The song was a means for Jocasta to grieve for the loss of the man she truly loved. Entitled ‘Flowers of the Forest,’ it is an old Scottish folk tune commemorating the defeat of the Scottish at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. In Scotland today, it is typically played at funerals and memorial services. We hoped that the choice of song would give further nuance and color to Jocasta’s character—illustrating both her ties to the old country and casting light on a life marked by grief, as she sings a hauntingly beautiful lament to a fallen soldier. A talented singer, Maria Doyle Kennedy adapted both the lyrics and the melody especially for the show. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
A: Is that slave owner Jocasta I hear singing? Just think if she would have taken Murtagh up on his marriage offer, she would have buried her 6th spouse. Can she be called that anymore? She doesn’t own River Run anymore. It’s slave owner Jeremiah now. As a parent, my first order of business would have been to free those slaves. I would love to watch that plantation run into the ground.
A: When the casting call went out for Outlander, was one of the requirements: must be able to hold a tune? She travels light though, only one slave with her. As much as Outlander attempts to show Ulysses as a servant, I know he’s a slave.
C: I can’t fault the production for treating Ulysses more as a butler than a slave because the source material does the same. It unfortunately gives a false narrative that slavery was somehow less brutal than it really was.
C: I love the scene choices they’re making when matched with the sound. It would have been easy to have the whole scene showing Jocasta singing and no one would have thought lesser of it. However, starting with the wide angle Blue Ridge Mountains with her haunting Billie Holiday-esqe voice in the background took the scene to a much higher level.
L: Nice to see Jamie and Jocasta together paying their last respect to Murtagh. Oh yes, the pain is still there in my heart after two weeks. She said he wasn’t her husband, but he was her husband in her heart; just as he was the father Jamie needed.
A: I thought she gave Murtagh his gift back. I like the back view; I’m not sure we’ve ever seen that angle of Fraser’s Ridge before.
[V: She did. But as he was leaving, he placed it on a table in the room.]
L: Murtagh was loyal in every area he was called to – from Scotland to Paris to Ardsmuir Prison and even to the new colonies. He will be missed. Yes Jocasta, I also hate goodbyes. If only we knew which goodbyes would be our last.
C: How much more careful we’d be if only we knew which goodbyes would be our last, in this time of Covid-19 with so many losing loved ones when unable to be with them, is universal and timeless. We now have no idea who we know will leave us without being able to say proper goodbye (not that we ever knew, but it seems more poignant now).
How careful we’d be if we kentwhich goodbyes were our last…
L: Cathy, I agree with you in the era we live in now. My parents live 900 miles away from me and are in their 80’s. I thank God every day that they are well and still here.
A: The realness of her statement. I felt that. Treat people like you want to be treated. You never know when you will depart this life. Is that grave at the front of the house?
L: To see the loss Jamie has endure. This must be harder than the loss of his da. He and Murtaugh had a long history together. The pain on his face. You know Murtagh helped him build his home, so this would have also been his home.
A: That one tear gets me every time.
Once again, good ass writing on Outlander. These people ink and quill skills are on par with no other. Not a freakin’ smudge anywhere.
C: If Sam doesn’t win a major award for this season, I will lose all respect for all TV award organizations. The softness with Jocasta against the pain of losing Murtagh is obvious in its subtlety. And, that damned tear! It should have an award category of its own.
L: Sam has done such an excellent job this year. Jamie has evolved, and I’ve been saying that since Epi1. The transformation is spectacular. Yes, that one tear is his trademark.
L: The panning from the cairn headstone to the house is beautiful. Look at how well the house is made and sitting on a nice piece of land. It’s much grander than I pictured it when I read the book.
A: I do not want to pass a grave site as I’m pulling up to your crib. Pretty cairn headstone or not. Put it in the backyard. There is enough acreage on Fraser’s Ridge to have a separate family cemetery.
C: Earlier scenes showed the cairn farther from the house and near a grove of trees. I think it’s just the perspective that makes it seem closer the second time they showed it (aerial shot vs. the ground). The cairn was beautifully done and reminiscent of Culloden.
Governor Tryon has granted Rogerfive thousand acres in thebackcountry.
L: That idiot Tryon is trying to make amends by giving Roger and Bree five thousand acres of land. He is still a pompous ass to believe that he can buy off his guilt and fault for what he did to Roger. I really wish that they rewrite a bit of the book and have Jamie kill Tryon during the beginning of the Revolutionary War. It would serve him right to be punished for having that unnecessary Battle at Alamance. It’s always good to see LJG in the scene.
A: I agree Lorinda, it’s always good to see Lord John Grey. But, I don’t understand Bree’s question here. You do anything you want with five thousand acres. Starting by giving slave owner Jocasta her land back. Transfer the new acreage into your child’s name. Give your parents back their cabin and build your own. You’re an engineer, engineer some shit.
C: At last they are finally showing Bree the engineer. I was worried they were dumbing her down too much.
C: It sets my teeth on edge the way land is given away without regard to the native inhabitants. It’s historically accurate, but you’d think to a former history major, given five thousand acres in backcountry NC, would give her pause – slavery is abhorrent, but stealing land is okay.
[V: And let’s not forget, once emancipated, former slaves never received their forty acres and a mule.]
L: I hear you Ayana. I’d take the land and still tell him to go piss off somewhere. Five thousand acres is a nice piece of land. Shoot, they can start their own little town with that much acreage.
A: I am glad to see Roger active. Bree seems to have drawn up some plans.
The cabin looks transformed. I can hardly tell this was Claire and Jamie’s living quarters last season. Glad to see that both Brianna and Roger have arranged things and made this their home. It doesn’t seem like neither are planning to leave this time period anytime soon.
L: Roger is shell-shocked. No that’s PTSD. He must repeatedly relive his almost death. The visual effects the directors and writers put in this episode are phenomenal. Roger’s point of view through the burlap sack is so detailed.
A: Amazing what can trigger a traumatic experience. I like the way Outlander has chosen to show us his experience. I’m reminded of Claire’s own struggle with her PTSD (S2 Epi10 – ‘Prestonpans’). But the flashback/forwards weren’t just that; they were unique in that Outlander went there. It also serves to remind us that this is a time traveling story as well.
Ultimately, this is where the idea of the ‘silent movie’ came from. There is something very visceral about seeing moments from Roger’s horrific experience at the hanging tree in Alamance in black and white—and in silence. His mind is stuck on repeat, playing his trauma over and over again—like a movie reel projecting images in his mind. And, as we see throughout the episode, these flashes of the silent movie change as Roger slowly comes to terms with his ordeal—as he moves from black and white to color. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
C: The silent movie flashbacks could have gone sideways, but it worked on so many levels.
L: Using a silent movie was brilliant to make that connection to what Roger is experiencing. To watch them stand there and look like they are the law and take his life without any remorse whatsoever.
A: Are they not the law?
L: Thank God he was able to put his hand between the rope and his throat.
L: This has turned into a horror movie. It’s hard to turn it off, so it plays over and over in his mind. He is tormented. Just imagine how this horror won’t leave him, and people expect us to forget the evil of slavery that most of our ancestors experienced.
A: The directing of this scene is compelling. Richard’s acting is just masterful. I know what he’s saying and thinking without him saying a word. He clearly has his hands free, but waits until the last moment to move them.
C: The editing is outstanding! It flowed even in its disjointedness.
A: What’s the other option?
C: What I really noticed was their attention to detail with the hanging and PTSD afterwards – rope burns, bloody conjuntivitis, blank stares, lack of engagement (but the tracheotomy scar was too high – minor in the whole scheme of things).
A: Note how the sound is starting to come back in the film, and it’s the moment the boot kicked the barrel. That sucks. Stephen Woolfenden and Richard Rankin got me over here rubbing my neck.
C: The subtle changes of sound and color weren’t obvious the first time I watched. When Matt Roberts mentioned it, I noticed it the second time I watched.
L: Bree and Lord John have a unique relationship. I see him as an uncle to her. He has helped her through some rough patches in her life and here he is again trying to comfort her.
A: I’m going to say it. I need the dream sequence with them as a thing. I may have to look for that I fan fiction because their chemistry is something to marvel. He can get away with not social distancing himself. That term is so inaccurate. Physically distancing is better.
C: Okay, so I’m not the only one who noticed LJG getting a little too close and comfy with Bree. Her chemistry with LJG is hotter than with Roger. Obviously, it’s Bree’s resemblance to the man LJG loves, but still…oh…and his son.
L: So ya’ll want a “let’s get it on” scene with LJG and Bree. I always thought they could have made something between them work, especially when he told her she didn’t want to toy with him. He wasn’t just interested in men.
In the book, Lord John searches for an astrolabe from afar, which is subsequently sent to Jamie by William (from London), but we love David Berry’s portrayal of Lord John and were eager to find an excuse for him to come to pay his respects and offer his friendship and support to the Frasers. We decided to have him bring the astrolabe with him to the Ridge instead. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
L: That’s what the astrolabe looks like. I couldn’t picture it when I read it in the book. She is an engineer at heart. Yes, you must have patience for healing.
A: If someone handed you an astrolabe, would you know how to use it?
L: Hell no. I would have been like, what in the world is it and how does it work? She went right to it and told the time, simply amazing. She’s just like her daddy Jamie.
C: I’m just glad they are introducing more of Bree’s engineering.
L: The mood between them is so solemn. Grief cannot be taken away, only time can heal that. Claire, you are correct.
Their openness with each other is beautiful. You must let grief have its way. I’m sure if you don’t, the hurt will always rule you.
A: Is this drunk Jamie again? I love drunk Jamie. Is that shade ‘Sassenach Wasted’ Claire is throwing? We have seen many-a-times Claire used drink as LIFE.
C: Jamie must think “wee beasties” are magic. I’ve always been surprised that Diana didn’t use this and other opportunities to introduce the antidepressant properties of plants, herbs and barks which dates back to Greek empire. Psychology was known in Claire’s time, even if antidepressants were not widely used.
L: Once again, the shots they’ve taken of the ridge are breathtaking.
They did an excellent job of capturing the beauty of the Blue Mountain.
L: So, it’s back to work; there is no time to sit idly by. The ridge has needs that must be taken care of. They had enough to keep them busy from sunup to sundown, distractions to ease their minds.
A: Fraser’s Ridge theme. We about to get some ridge transitions here. These are my favorite. I love to see the work on the ridge.
C: Love when they show the hustle and bustle of ridge life. It’s become very much an estate.
L: I love seeing them make the candles.
L: How nice, a family visit.
L: I see Roger has found a distraction of his own. Seems like Jamie is still mourning, and I don’t think he has a high regard for Roger’s carpentry skills. Or, could it be he was leaving his grief at the door so he could bring some joy to the MacKenzie household.
A: Who has the green thumb at the MacKenzie household? I spot those hanging and planters on the porch. Oh, and you have to let me know a head of time that you’re coming over. I won’t answer my door for anyone. LOL
A: Jamie can’t admire Roger’s skills. It’s been three months and there is no loft. Jamie got his Big House structure up in an episode or two. He got that house built so fast we are all confused on the time element of this show and not the time traveling aspect. That’s the clear part.
[V: Jamie also had other men from the ridge to help him.]
C: Hungover Jamie is cute. But why is Jemmy MIA up to this point?
L: Jemmy is growing up. Look at Jamie finally getting to spend time with his grandson. He didn’t have the opportunity to raise his children, but now he can help raise his grandson.
A: Speaking of time, Jemmy looks like a full-fledged toddler here. How crazy is it that I don’t track the passage of time in seeping swaths of Outlander, but the time traveling part I have down.
I’ve been in trouble with most of the Jemmys. I can’t talk about the scene, but one [of the little actors] comes up to me and says, ‘Don’t you ever do that again!’ It broke my heart. And I kept saying, ‘I’m sorry! I’m really sorry, wee man, it’s OK. It’s not real.’ And I had to do it again. I’m like, ‘Oh my god. Can we not do this anymore?’ He was distraught. Poor, wee fella. ~ Richard Rankin
This scene also represents an important turning point in the episode—Claire and Brianna’s suspicions are confirmed: Roger can physically speak but is struggling to cope with his psychological trauma. He is afraid of the consequences of damage to his vocal chords and what this means for his long-term recovery. In his mind, the sound he makes is grotesque and grating. He knows he may be able to get his voice back eventually, but will he be able to sing? Will he be able to stand up in front of a class and lecture or teach again? These questions are bound up in his broader anxiety about his place in the world, his identity, his future life with his family and how he might provide for them. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
L: Roger finally gets to say his first word and thank God he did! He’s embarrassed, but Bree is ecstatic! I wonder if he blames Bree for his incident.
Instead of drawing to her he has pulled away. I really feel badly for both of them, but Roger should be thanking God he’s alive and working with Bree to improve his speech. She seems so lost, hurt and alone.
A: What’s so real about this scene is Brianna’s reaction. Children have to learn one way or another. She comforts her son almost as a side action. Her focus is Roger using his vocal cords. Love the directing here. She knows grandparents are there to deal with Jemmy, so her focus is on her spouse. It cuts that much more when Roger takes that for granted and walks away. I personally would have snapped.
Lorinda, my empathy is fleeting. As I watched this scene, I also remember Brianna’s own trauma. What did Roger do to help her through? Though the show is working its way there, I want to see more balance in this relationship.
He has to shout at him in the scene, and he just was really upset. ~ Sophie Skelton
L: Well, now that you’ve said that Ayana, you are correct. He stayed gone a long time when he found out she had been raped. I guess it takes him longer to recover.
C: This scene was a great way to introduce his speech without it being melodramatic. That poor baby’s reaction was real. But after that, I just wanted to knock Roger upside the head.
Richard Rankin’s ability to play—wordlessly—Roger’s emotional angst was phenomenal, and we knew it would shine through in intimate moments like this with his wife and child.
Here, Brianna is echoing the promise she made to Roger in Episode 507 that, in the event that anything should happen to him, Brianna would teach Jemmy to sing ‘Clementine’ (another nod to the song referenced in the book). ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
L: Wasn’t that the last song he sang to Jemmy before he left? Roger needs some counseling; he is really suffering. You can’t hold that grief and pain for too long; otherwise, it will consume you.
A: Yes, it was Lorinda. Her voice is really pretty. Outlander’s casting call includes must hold a tune. Sophie’s American accent is getting better as the season progresses. He can’t, at least, chisel on beat?
A: Outlander is a PSA for TAKE CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH! You are important and you matter. Take care of your mental health like it’s hygiene or physical health.
C: Bree was like – Okay, the direct approach didn’t work. Imma go gangsta psychology on ya ass. Roger said Bree needed to learn the words to Clementine in case he didn’t come back. Well, she’s letting him know . . . he didn’t come back!
L: Grandparents with their grandchildren is a wonderful thing to behold. I should know, since I just had my first granddaughter. She brightens up our day no matter what is going on.
A: Children grow up fast, but Jemmy has grown up a lot. He’s counting and everything.
It’s been remarkable. I’ve never played a grandad before. Our family has grown and the ensemble has grown, and it’s nice to see Jamie being this paternal figure, this father figure. He’s also now sort of honorary clan chief. He’s really looking after everyone in the whole of Fraser’s Ridge, so he has a lot of responsibility. ~ Sam Heughan
Playing a grandmother at this age is fun because it’s make believe. I get to give them (kid actors) back and it’s great (laughs). We’ve had some really sweet little kids. But they don’t understand why you would have to do the same thing over and over again (laughs). ~ Caitriona Balfe
L: Jamie has some good spidey senses.
And Claire still doesn’t do as she is told.
L: For a bonus, they will be having wild boar for dinner tonight!!
A: I harken back to ‘The Gathering’ here, that sounds like a wild pig or boar.
L: Jamie was ready.
We tried to keep Young Ian’s return as close to the moment in the book as possible by including the boar attack. In our adaptation, to make the scene both possible to shoot and safe for our actors to perform, we chose to combine the return with Jamie and Claire playing a cute game of ‘hide-and-seek’ with Jemmy. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
L: OMG it’s Ian and Rollo!!! Jamie lost one kin, but he gets to recover another one! Ian looks well and is a bit more handsome since he has been with the Mohawks. His skin is even a shade darker, but he has his own woes. Can’t this family catch a break?
A: Ian! It’s Ian. Before Rollo was revealed, I knew it was him. I like his costume too! He looks troubled or grief stricken.
L: Whatever Ian is going through, it’s taken the good-humored portion of his personality away.
Here’s another onion we need to peel. Men are good at keeping their pain to themselves, under the many layers they created. His costume is nice; I like that he continues to wear them. He doesn’t really adapt to the backcountry style of wear.
C: This whole scene epitomizes who Jamie is – loving family man, fierce protector, soldier, with sharp perception and that was just with Ian! And Rollo!
L: Bree and Roger are either going to be happy or mad seeing Ian. I believe Bree can be more forgiving, but I don’t know about Roger. He is another thing that probably gave Roger nightmares over the past few years. Ian has enough sense to wait and see how he will be received.
L: Very good Roger, very good. Ian did take your place, so you could get back to Bree. You too Bree. Ian don’t worry about Roger; he’s had a horrible time.
A: Ian took Roger’s place; he really can’t hold a grudge. I like Ian’s costume; it looks like what the Natives Americans wore last season. The costume designer is different this season, but you can’t really tell in some scenes and that’s a good thing.
C: Ian left a boy and came back a man, but a man that Roger can probably relate to more than Jamie. What struck me the most was how Ian stood tall and strong in his costume. Even before you saw his eyes, his transformation was obvious.
L: Jon Gary Steele work is something to be admired, and yes, it is big! Ian still looks sad, but his way must be more like the Native Americans now. I get the feeling although Ian is back, he’d much rather be somewhere else.
A: Ian throwing shade at Jon Gary Steele. That Big House is a mansion by modern day standards, and it isn’t even finished. I personally get a thrill because it isn’t a plantation. I wonder if Outlander can work in freed slaves living on Fraser’s Ridge.
C: I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Jon Gary Steele is a master set designer. Before Outlander, I rarely noticed the sets in TV productions. I have declared myself a bonafide Steele Magnolia.
L: I saw those Tarot cards in the opening and wondered when it was going to show up.
Those cards remind me of someone else, but I’m going to leave this right here.
I hope the reading doesn’t push Roger over the edge he has been teetering on. Oh hell, that card would show up first! Marsali, what were you thinking? That damn card showed up two times, so are they saying that was his draw in life? He was supposed to suffer on that rope? No, let’s not Marsali. Rewind and play, rewind and play. This poor man needs some help.
A: You are funny Lorinda. This tarot reading brought to mind a different situation as well. It led to my first ever being blocked on Twitter. Marsali’s reading seems to be a bit more accurate and she’s heeding her cards. But, that’s my two cents and like you said, I’m going to leave it there.
A: Lorinda, is this the last of the title card shots?
L: I think so, it was my first time getting blocked too. Yes, your two cents and mine.
[V: If you are a psychic, you already know what the outcome of something is going to be, correct? And, if you are playing with tarot cards, you know the cards in the deck. She knew The Hanged Man card was in there; so, why didn’t she take it out? That’s my two cents.]
C: In medicine, the rule is: Only ask the question if you are prepared to address the answer. Tarot cards, by their very nature, are wrought with the question: What does that mean? If you know there are questions and someone is too weak to handle the answer, why even play the game?
L: Roger is broken and Bree is broken. I would want my husband back too. They were just getting along so well and now this. Like I said before, he needs counseling; they need it together. Both are dealing with trauma.
He is self-absorbed in his pain. I get it. But at some point, he has to man up. Just like Jamie did after his torture by BJR. Bree is right about one thing; he won’t engage. He’s drawn up into himself and has literally given up.
A: I personally, with my impatient ass, needed this scene. I needed to see her snap. It’s not like she hasn’t been through some shit and makes the decision, daily, to be there and present for her family. Most of the characters on this show are doing that – Fergus, Jamie, Young Ian, Claire – this list goes on. I want to witness him being constructive, while wallowing. He has a family that needs and depends on him.
C: Roger has been through a lot, but he’s weak. His reaction to being hanged is understandable and he has his strengths. But overall, his constitution is weak.
Time spent with family is incredibly valued by the Frasers. This scene represents the first time that we as an audience have seen the dining room put to its intended use. The celebratory meal in honor of Ian’s return was the perfect opportunity in which to explore complex dynamics across the web of relationships. It was written to allow for awkwardness and pauses, and you can cut the tension in this scene with a knife.
Much of it plays through the unspoken subtext as well as in the actors’ expressions and looks/glances on screen. Like Roger, Young Ian is suffering. Both are in the midst of coming to terms with their emotions and respective experiences and are plagued by the notion that perhaps they have fundamentally changed, or that they don’t belong. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
L: The Big House looks all warm and cozy. Ian is looking mighty shifty. Man, you can talk to your uncle about anything. He seems so out of place with them, like he doesn’t belong.
A: No one closes their eyes in prayers at this table? At least they’re blessing the food though.
L: Here’s the Fergus and Marsali Show to start it off. That was a flop. Ian is matter of fact, “you know the beginning and now we’re at the end.” This dinner party is a bust. Fergus and Marsali are the chipper bunch; everyone else is a Debbie Downer. It’s too much darkness during this episode.
A: How long has Marsali been pregnant? Why is time passage so confusing, but the time traveling element is clear? WTF Outlander?
C: Fergus finally talks! Honestly, I don’t know who he pissed off, but he’s only a prop now in Outlander.
A: I hate being volunTOLD to do some shit.
Ian gave up his freedom for Roger, now he’s been ‘asked’ to survey his damn land. The indignity of it all. Imma need you to break me off a chunk of land. Nothing is free.
C: Ian volunteered to stay with the Mohawks and became a man of worth. They are treating him as if he is the same man they once knew and Ian’s not having it.
Some is sadness and some is socialization since being with the Mohawks, who were fierce warriors and known for their brutality (in others’ eyes). We don’t know what he’s seen and done (Well, as a book reader, I know. But in the show, we don’t know.)
While the rest of the family is enjoying dinner, it is heart-breaking to come back and be with Roger, alone in the cabin. We wanted to show that, in spite of his struggle and reluctance to fully engage with the world, Roger is trying. He’s experimenting with his voice and, again, has chosen the song that has now taken on so much significance in his relationship with Brianna and Jemmy: ‘Clementine.’ Richard did an outstanding job of bringing Roger’s pain on screen to life in an incredibly palpable way. In fact, he was so passionately in character on the day of filming that during the last take, he broke his guitar when he slammed it down on the bed in anguish! ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
L: I’ve felt hopelessness, despair and depression before. It makes you believe you no longer want to be alive. That’s what I believe is going on with Roger. But because he has isolated himself, he is setting himself up for destruction.
A: Richard’s acting is just fantastic. I’m glad to see he was attempting to sing. Each time we flashback, in this stylistic way, it grows on me. We are experiencing a bit more of what happened and still what we hear clearly is the boot kicking the barrel. This is a great piece of storytelling.
L: Ian is also fighting his own demons. He has to adjust from his way of living with the Mohawks back to the way of living growing up. At least Jamie sees it for what it is.
C: Is Lallybroch such a distant past that he doesn’t remember sleeping in a bed in a grand house?
A: I love the musical choice here; it’s a great mixture with a Native whistle playing the melody. I can’t wait for Bear McCreary’s blog. I wonder if it’s a start to a theme for Young Ian. The music choice and the way he’s looking at that bed signifies woman troubles. Ian’s soul is heavy.
C: I know Ian’s family, but if someone I hadn’t seen in three years showed up acting like he is, I’m not sure I’d trust him. Maybe they can see he’s traumatized, but still…
L: Wait a minute. Is he talking about Jamie and Claire keeping secrets from everyone or that they keep secrets from each other? Jamie doesn’t want him back broken and he won’t leave him. He wants the Ian he once knew back, but is that even possible.
A: More Jon Gary Steele shade thrown.
What does Ian mean about Claire and Jamie keeping stuff hidden? Secrets about a successful relationship or time traveling secrets. I can’t wait for the podcast. I want to know what was meant here. I hope this gets fleshed out later.
C: When he talked about Jamie and Claire’s secret, I thought he meant time travel since he was with the same group that Otter Tooth warned and Claire had Otter Tooth’s stone.
Little Germain is so cute, and we loved the idea that he would be curious—as children often are—about Young Ian’s appearance. Having never seen a tattoo like this before, Germain assumes that Young Ian’s marks are bruises. Although this is only a short interaction between them, it’s moments like this that help make up the overall narrative arc of the show in its entirety and hint towards some of the issues that might be troubling Young Ian…~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
A: How long was Young Ian whittling for? I don’t see any shavings.
L: Now you have me wanting to go back and see what he was whittling. I missed that, lol.
L: A babe can bring out anything; they have no filters or boundaries. Germain is always asking questions.
Do they hurt?
A: Great to see that Germain can once again string together words and make sentences, not just point and say “ball”.
Mine hurts. From playing.
L: Marsali is doing her own counseling, making sure Ian is okay.
A: At this point, Ian has had more lines than Fergus and this is his first episode back this season. This is me throwing shade. Nice callback to Scotland. I sense a Laoghaire episode soon. If she gets one and Fergus doesn’t, all hell will break loose.
L: Now, the way he’s watching her belly, something happened to him.
C: Ayana, I’m with you on the Fergus issue. Why has he been relegated to a prop? Marsali wasn’t given much meat in this episode either.
I’m not sure if non-book readers would have understood the significance of her interaction with Ian.
A: That’s some nice paper stock.
L: Okay Brianna, nice way to tell him you’re not giving up. She loves you and needs you. You’d better not be going to do anything stupid.
A: That’s a nice messenger bag, that leather looks soft as butter. If he would have left that anniversary gift, I was going to jump through my TV and ring his neck.
C: Bree is now written with a more mature voice. Far less annoying than in the books.
Roger and Young Ian—and Rollo—survey the five thousand acres of land, adjacent to Fraser’s Ridge. Detailed research was undertaken with regard to the process of surveying, as well as the tools and equipment involved. It was often a gruelling task in difficult conditions.
Young men of the period could refer to books such as John Love’s Geodaesia, or the Art of Surveying and Measuring Land Made Easy, but hands-on, practical experience was essential. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
A: Being a historian means you can use all these old timey tools? I don’t buy it.
L: Ian is mad and so is Roger. Both have a chip on their shoulders. I wonder if Jamie planned this. Maybe they can help each other begin a healing process.
A: They are both troubled. Jamie is the King of Men for a reason. I’m betting there was a method to his madness of volunteering them for this mission.
C: I think Jamie sent them out together – one, to make sure they both come back; two, for one to get through to the other and three, to make sure they bury the hatchet, since it was Ian who sold Roger to the Mohawks.
Grief is a thing, and loss has a shape. Neither one is emptiness; these are definite, concrete things that have to be dealt with, and in the dealing, we reshape ourselves to incorporate this new, strange, inimical thing that has attached itself to us. ~ Diana Gabaldon
L: Now who took the hemlock. Was it Roger or Ian? I’m betting it’s Ian. Why would Roger continue the surveying of the land unless he’s doing it for Bree and Jemmy? Shoot, do you all think Ian is that depressed that he would want to end his life. Jamie couldn’t bear it at all. It would be much too hard on him.
A: My money’s on Ian too. He’s the new entity on the Ridge. Roger has had ample time to water hemlock his life. Ian was also seen right outside the surgery.
C: Since neither Claire nor Jamie seemed frantic and neither went after them to stop a potential suicide, I honestly thought the hemlock was to set up a scenario in a future episode.
This scene was fun to write, because it allowed for a surreptitious insertion of a ‘futuristic’ object—the paper airplane. Young Ian, who is hitherto unaware of the existence of time travel, has obviously never encountered such an object, and in spite of the complex scientific principles governing the airplane’s flight, it is constructed from a humble sheet of paper. Young Ian does of course know that there is something very unusual and special about his Auntie Claire—and possibly has questions and suspicions about Brianna and Roger—but it’s tantalising to see pieces of the time-travel puzzle potentially forming in his mind.~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
L: Ian catches on quickly. A paper bird. Let’s see where this conversation goes. Roger smiled at him. Ian has learned the way of the Mohawks and understands the complications in the life of the settlers.
A: Ian is astute. Very good guess. Ummm, but daylight is wasting. Are they taking a lunch break?
C: Given how Roger and Ian first met, they had to show them connecting on some level. I liked how Ian knew what Roger was “saying” without a word.
L: What’s up with that tree? It reminds me of the tree Roger was on.
L: Roger’s mind won’t turn off. I told you all that silent movie is a horror one that has now turned into a recurring nightmare. One thing is for sure, Ian recognizes it for what it is and tells him he’s not there anymore. He’s in the here and now, so make sure you are living in the here and now. Ian told him to engage, just what Bree said he wasn’t doing.
A: Truly powerful transition, the fade to the silent film. This one is different from the last few; it’s a dream sequence. I’m not sure whom to complement here, the director or the editor. This is done very well.
So, everyone knows how to use an astrolabe? People are just learning how to properly wash their damn hands in the 21st century. I’m not buying every one in the 18th century knew how to use that thing.
L: Me either. I never heard of one until I read the book. I think I may have gone to look it up. When I was in school, I’d never seen or heard of one.
L: Jamie and Claire are always open with each other. At least she recognized his state of mind and associated it with what Jamie went through.
A: What the fuck is this room? Where are they? What part of the “Big/Huge House” are they in? Is this the finished master bedroom? Cathy, you got me out here paying attention to the walls though. That is a stunning shade of green. Reminds me of the room that Fergus and Marsali stayed in during S4. I wonder if that’s where the idea stemmed from.
C: Ha! Sorry not sorry! The green walls in the kitchen bedroom looked like the same that were in Fergus and Marsali’s Wilmington house. The wall color in Jamie and Claire’s bedroom is stunning.
[V: Cathy, I lightened up the picture just for you!]
L: I missed a room? Ayana, now I must go back and watch it one more time. You have an eye for detail.
A: Lorinda, I also believe that goes a long way to both their healing. They feel safe with each other so they are able to share more openly. They know it’s a safe space. She was able to bring up something only he could recall (his most painful times) and use that to figure out Roger’s head space. I love their relationship.
L: His nightmare of being hung will be with him forever. Just like it stays with me forever every time I witness hangings on TV.
It takes me back to the hanging, without a trial, of the many slaves and freemen when they were accused of anything. It will never go away. I will never forget and I’m tired of people telling Black people to let it go.
We see their struggles played out more or less in parallel, to the point where they find themselves alone together in the woods. Away from helpful, well-intentioned people who don’t understand a damn thing. But they understand each other. They fight each other, but they fight to that understanding. ~ Diana Gabaldon
A: Oh shit, the silent film is no longer silent and partly in color. Not sure what this means. I just know it means something.
The storytelling has been on point this episode. Let me send a shout out to Danielle Berrow, the new Outlander writer. The transitioning from old school filming to actual was seamless. Bravo to the editing team.
A: I wonder if this is the first time that Bear McCreary handed Roger and Bree’s theme to the entire orchestra. It’s sweeping AF. Usually the melody is plucked on the guitar.
A: This could also signify Roger’s acceptance to be in this time, truly as a couple accepting and loving in the 18th century. But, let’s not forget the water hemlock thread. I guess it’s Ian.
C: The transition from silent black and white to sound and color was lost on me the first time. I was too busy reacting.
It was only after listening to Matt describe it and watching again, that I noticed. I love that not everything that was done was “is your face”.
[V: I caught it the first time, but had to stop it and think about its significance. It was brilliantly done.]
We loved the symbolism of having Roger throw the paper airplane off the cliff: his worries taking flight as he lets go of some of the pain that has been hampering him over the past few months.
Young Ian’s worries, however, are still unresolved. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
Seemingly small or insignificant visual clues can be very important in building a story. We wanted to include a small detail that would spark Roger’s concern.
Specifically, he knows that Rollo is never ever tied up… indicating that there must be something wrong. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
A: If the neatly folded blanket and garments doesn’t clue you in, Rollo being tied up is a huge clue that all is not well with Young Ian. Oh, and it seems they did a lot of reflecting and resting on this trip and very little work.
We come full circle and, true to Roger’s lesson at the beginning of the episode, discover the meaning and origin of the phrase “to bury the hatchet.” Traditionally, the Mohawk would put away their weapons in times of peace or when peace had been made after fighting—and bury them. This is where the expression comes from. Young Ian longs for peace. He is ending his quarrel with life and wants to stop fighting. Knowing the meaning of this phrase—and having spent time with the Mohawk himself—Roger is immediately suspicious and rushes to prevent Ian from harming himself. ~ Danielle Berrow, Annotation
L: Yes, he saved you; now you save him Roger, get to it. Track and save Ian, please. Jamie can’t take another loss not so soon and not you young Ian.
L: Yeah that’s right Roger, please save him too. He can’t tell you or will he try it? Yes, you saw her face in death, but now you are talking. Do you think Jamie orchestrated this get together? Ian, your wife might be dead to you, but you’re still here. Stay strong young man.
A: That water hemlock can still be saved right? Waste not want not.
C: That was a great scene between Roger and Ian. They buried the hatchet literally and figuratively.
Why? Of all people, why would ye stop me?
I saw ye looking down at the cliff…
I ken what ye were thinking.
Ye have everything — a wife who
loves ye — a bairn – and still ye
dinna want to be wi’ them.
A: Is this the origin of ‘bury the hatchet’?
L: Ayana, you crack me up, that was funny! I wonder why he buried his hatchet. What does that signify?
When that rope was around yer neck
and ye were dying — what did ye
see? What did ye see in the darkness?
C: Roger, going on about historical facts at inopportune times, is annoying. I assumed the opening with his lecture was twofold – last words and burying the hatchet. Both played when Ian buried his hatchet to find peace (only to have Roger tell him that even in death, he’ll see the face of the one he loves). Roger had no last words, but thought of the one he loves; Ian’s last words were to be in Mohawk. And, Ian and Roger came to an understanding after the misunderstanding from when they first met.
I saw my wife’s face.
Ian Murray has lost the thing most important to him. His loss isn’t explained in detail, but we (and Roger) gather that the thing he’s lost is his (unknown to us) wife. Ian has all the 18th century skills that Roger lacks, but he hasn’t got his wife any longer. Roger has. ~ Diana Gabaldon
A: Everything isn’t solved in this moment, but there is a bit of hope, finding a reason to go on. I’m glad Young Ian is being offered a place to discover that for himself. And by Roger no less, as he’s just remembered his Famous Last Words weren’t words at all, but an image.
L: Just what the doctor ordered. At least now Roger knows he must live, not only for himself, but for Bree and Jemmy.
C: I still don’t understand why Claire nor Jamie went after Roger and Ian knowing that one of them wanted to commit suicide.
[V: At first, I wondered the same thing. Then I thought, they did not come because whichever one it was who took the hemlock, the other one would be there to stop him. For once, I am glad that neither one of them came to the rescue.]
A: Personally, I wasn’t at all asking for the old Roger back. I hope he’s changed into being less of a whiner. But, I’m not married to the man.
L: I agree with you. Each of the character’s arc has evolved and grown. So, why not Roger’s? He is the hanged man, but he isn’t cursed. He still has a family and that should be a place to feel thankful.
C: New Roger is more interesting in my opinion. Combined with Bree’s maturity and command, I am more invested in their relationship.
When you see the end of Episode 8, he seems much more accepting of the situation, doesn’t he? And I think one of the sort of main ports for Roger through the episode was that discovery, that realization, that acceptance of the fact that he has changed now. His environment, his experience in the 18th century has changed him and adapted to that time. As much as he might not like that quality of himself, I think that’s one of the things that [he] has to accept — that he’s a different man now. In a strange way, he’s probably less inclined to go back to his own time because he’s been so affected by the 18th century. ~ Richard Rankin
L: The song at the end was a bit depressing. Clementine was lost and gone forever. Thank God Bree and Roger found their way back home, and hopefully, Ian will too.
Although we find them in a slightly different context in the book, we were delighted to have a special place for these much beloved lines (with a slight tweak) between Roger and Brianna, from The Fiery Cross. ~ Danielle Berrow Annotation
I’ll always sing for you. No
matter what, no matter where…
whether you are there to hear or
even if my voice isn’t able… I
will always sing for you.
A: You’re not going to tell me that Outlander’s casting call doesn’t include must be able to carry a tune. I am digging the #RogerAndBree duet of Oh My Darling, Clementine.
L: They all must have done a singing audition. Bree’s singing was phenomenal, most of the actors/actresses can sing. Was that a duet? Once again, back to the episode I must go.
Episode Rating (1-5 Shots)
Although rounded up, we give this episode 5-shots!
Stephen Woolfenden and Danielle Berrow created another great episodes in this season! This episode deals directly and indirectly with the fallout from trauma – Roger’s psychosomatic muteness, Bree’s understanding because of her traumatic experience and Ian’s unknown cause. The fallout was exhibited through the characters dealing with PTSD. Not only does rape or attempted murder effect people’s mental health, but also the death of a love one.
This episode also deals with issues of marriage – old and new, solid and uncertain, balance and shifts – and children (present and on their way). Additionally, we witnessed the wisdom of women. Knowing when love should be soft and when to be tough (both Bree and Claire), intuitive (Marsali) and protective (Lizzie).
We wish we could have been a fly on the wall when Stephen Woolfenden was told sections of this episode would be a silent film. For real, he threw down the gauntlet like, ‘challenge accepted, bitches!’ We’ve noticed, more now than before, how subtly is used. If you blink, you’ll miss seeing it (e.g., the gut punch we felt when Ian and Roger first faced each other after Ian’s return). We loved the scene length, progression and order, which is also editing. Everyone has upped their game and we are convinced it’s from Stephen Woolfenden’s direction. We appreciate how he treats the viewers with respect by giving us substance as thinking adults and not spoon feeding us like mindless children.
With every episode, Outlander provides a cinematic experience. The Blue Ridge Mountain scenes added beauty to emotional scenes and its serene beauty acted as a stark contrast to the pain of those living in them. The rolling creek, the scenes of the land and the Big House made us stare in awe at the beauty each displayed. The close-ups and panned shots were perfectly placed. Sometimes we wonder, if this is the easiest of jobs; or, is it that Outlander employs the best in the business? They make it seem so seamless, as if they just take out their camera, point and shoot.
All the performances were excellent. But Rik Rankin owned this episode! His silence and angst could have played as one note, but instead it was a whole damned orchestra. Sometimes less is more and Rik proved that in this episode. He communicated to the audience what he was feeling and going through. Sofie (as Bree) also had an excellent performance. When she fights for Roger to come back and how she portrays sorrow for his brutal experience. Sam has done his best acting this season. In every episode, we see Jamie, the King of Men, portray grief and understanding. John Bell also stood out (though a bit one noted, but appropriately so). He was tormented, and you witnessed it in every scene. Gone was the immature young boy. What came back to the ridge was a tormented Mohawk man.
As for the costumes, the continuity stands out. We follow this show closely and know that there was a change of the costume director from last season and it has not missed a beat. Young Ian’s costume was a beautiful reflection of how the Mohawks dressed. His and Roger’s costume were well-fit and layered. We were also glad to see the costumes of the other residents of the ridge as they did their daily chores.
Jon Gary Steele did the most magnificent set designs, from the places he chose to represent North Carolina, all the way in Scotland to the Big House. He and his team knock it out of the park Every. Single. Episode! We look forward to the Outlander podcast to find out more about the room Jamie and Claire slept in this episode. The Big House is just that – BIG – and it is fun to discover new rooms as the show progresses.
Bear’s music is the invisible cast member that no one sees, but whose presence is felt. His use of Clementine (obviously a collaborative idea with the director) played perfectly into the theme of this episode and nicely tied to Epi7. We love his use of what sounds like either Indian tabla drums or West African talking drums. Although the Young Ian theme is something all its own, the sweeping and moving Roger and Bree theme was truly spectacular. How long do we have to wait for S5 soundtrack to be released? Just take our money Bear McCreary! Here!
So, how many shots did you give this episode and what are your thoughts?
What we are looking forward to in the S5 Epi9.
Ayana: I am looking forward to the return of Stephen Bonnet. Follow Ayana on Twitter – @Ayana80Smith.
Lorinda: I’m also looking forward to the resolution of the issue with Bonnet. What are Fergus and Ian up to and why is Jamie sweating while he’s talking to Roger? There’s a buildup of conflict, and I wonder how they are going to deal with it. Follow Lorinda on Twitter – @RindalovesBruce.
Cathy: I am looking forward to Ian’s story unfolding. I can’t wait for the drama Stephen Bonnet will inevitably bring, and how the producers will further adapt this monstrous book. Follow Cathy Twitter – @Dr_DoNoHarm.
S5 Epi9 – Monsters and Heroes
When Jamie is bitten by a venomous snake, Claire fears she may not have the resources to save him; Jamie asks Roger to complete an important task in the event of his death.
Outlander | S5 Epi9 Preview ~ Video via TV Promos
See ye in next week!
Make sure you check out Blacklanderz Outlander Season 5 Episode 8 Review.