Friday, February 15, 2019

OUTLANDER Season 4 Blu-ray/DVD will be out May 28!



The OUTLANDER Season 4 Blu-ray and DVD will be released in the US on May 28, 2019! (It will be available digitally on May 27.)

You can pre-order from Amazon here:

Blu-ray
DVD
Collector's Edition Blu-ray

Look here for a little more information about the extras available on the Blu-ray, including deleted scenes. I will update this post when more detailed information becomes available.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Favorite romantic quotes from the OUTLANDER books



Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are some of my all-time favorite romantic quotes from Diana Gabaldon's OUTLANDER books.  It wasn't easy to choose just one per book! I hope you enjoy them.

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

If you haven't read all of the OUTLANDER books, there are SPOILERS below! Read at your own risk.


OUTLANDER:

“Ye know,” he observed, letting go at last, “you’ve never said it.”

“Neither have you.”

“I have. The day after we came. I said I wanted you more than anything.”

“And I said that loving and wanting weren’t necessarily the same thing,” I countered.

He laughed. “Perhaps you’re right, Sassenach.” He smoothed the hair from my face and kissed my brow. “I wanted ye from the first I saw ye--but I loved ye when you wept in my arms and let me comfort you, that first time at Leoch.”

The sun sank below the line of black pines, and the first stars of the evening came out. It was mid-November, and the evening air was cold, though the days still kept fine. Standing on the opposite side of the fence, Jamie bent his head, putting his forehead against mine.

“You first.”

“No, you.”

“Why?”

“I’m afraid.”

“Of what, my Sassenach?”

The darkness was rolling in over the fields, filling the land and rising up to meet the night. The light of the new crescent moon marked the ridges of brow and nose, crossing his face with light.

“I’m afraid if I start I shall never stop.”

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "Quarter Day". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

DRAGONFLY IN AMBER:

“I will find you,” he whispered in my ear. “I promise. If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory, two hundred years without you--then that is my punishment, which I have earned for my crimes. For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is the one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest.”

His voice dropped, nearly to a whisper, and his arms tightened around me.

“Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”

(From DRAGONFLY IN AMBER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 46, "Timor Mortis Conturbat Me". Copyright© 1992 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

VOYAGER:

"To have ye with me again--to talk wi’ you--to know I can say anything, not guard my words or hide my thoughts--God, Sassenach,” he said, “the Lord knows I am lust-crazed as a lad, and I canna keep my hands from you--or anything else--” he added, wryly, “but I would count that all well lost, had I no more than the pleasure of havin’ ye by me, and to tell ye all my heart."

(From VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 27, "Up in Flames". Copyright© 1994 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

DRUMS OF AUTUMN:

“But do ye not see how verra small a thing is the notion of death, between us two, Claire?” he whispered.

My hands curled into fists against his chest. No, I didn’t think it a small thing at all.

“All the time after ye left me, after Culloden—I was dead then, was I not?" [....] “I was dead, my Sassenach--and yet all that time, I loved you.”

I closed my eyes, feeling the tickle of the grass on my lips, light as the touch of sun and air.

“I loved you, too,” I whispered. “I always will.”

The grass fell away. Eyes still closed, I felt him lean toward me, and his mouth on mine, warm as sun, light as air.

“So long as my body lives, and yours--we are one flesh,” he whispered. His fingers touched me, hair and chin and neck and breast, and I breathed his breath and felt him solid under my hand. Then I lay with my head on his shoulder, the strength of him supporting me, the words deep and soft in his chest.

"And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be yours. Claire--I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 16, "The First Law of Thermodynamics". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

THE FIERY CROSS:

“I love you,” she murmured against his mouth, and he seized her lip between his teeth, too moved to speak the words in reply just yet.

There had been words between them then, as there had been words tonight. The words were the same, and he had meant them the first time no less than he did now. Yet it was different.

The first time he had spoken them to her alone, and while he had done so in the sight of God, God had been discreet, hovering well in the background, face turned away from their nakedness.

Tonight he said them in the blaze of firelight, before the face of God and the world, her people and his. His heart had been hers, and whatever else he had--but now there was no question of him and her, his and hers. The vows were given, his ring put on her finger, the bond both made and witnessed. They were one body.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 16, "On the Night That Our Wedding Is On Us". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES:

“Claire,” he said, quite gently, “it was you. It’s always been you, and it always will be.”

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 31, "And So To Bed". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

AN ECHO IN THE BONE:

“Thee is a wolf, too, and I know it. But thee is my wolf, and best thee know that.”

He’d started to burn when she spoke, an ignition swift and fierce as the lighting of one of his cousin’s matches. He put out his hand, palm forward, to her, still cautious lest she, too, burst into flame.

“What I said to ye, before ... that I kent ye loved me--”

She stepped forward and pressed her palm to his, her small, cool fingers linking tight.

“What I say to thee now is that I do love thee. And if thee hunts at night, thee will come home.”

Under the sycamore, the dog yawned and laid his muzzle on his paws.

“And sleep at thy feet,” Ian whispered, and gathered her in with his one good arm, both of them blazing bright as day.

(From AN ECHO IN THE BONE by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 103, "The Hour of the Wolf". Copyright© 2009 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD:

“I have loved ye since I saw you, Sassenach,” he said very quietly, holding my eyes with his own, bloodshot and lined with tiredness but very blue. “I will love ye forever. It doesna matter if ye sleep with the whole English army--well, no,” he corrected himself, “it would matter, but it wouldna stop me loving you.”

(From WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 24, "Welcome Coolness in the Heat, Comfort in the Midst of Woe". Copyright© 2014 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
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What are some of your own favorite romantic quotes from the books?

Friday, February 1, 2019

January poll results



Here are the results of the January poll, which asked the question, "Would you go through the stones, if you could?"
  • 24.39% - Of course, if Jamie Fraser was waiting for me!
  • 21.85% - Maybe for a short visit, but not to live there permanently.
  • 10.04% - Yes, but I'd have to bring some essential items with me.
  • 9.38% - No. I like reading about it and/or watching it on TV, but I have no desire to time-travel myself.
  • 9.16% - Yes! I'd love to see the 18th century.
  • 6.62% - No, I couldn't leave my family and friends here.
  • 5.63% - No, I wouldn't survive in an earlier time.
  • 5.19% - No, I'd miss the conveniences of modern life too much.
  • 2.43% - I'm not sure.
  • 1.99% - No, it took a lot of hard work to live in the 18th century.
  • 1.32% - I don't believe time-travel is possible.
  • 0.66% - No, it sounds too dangerous.
  • 1.32% - Other
There were 906 responses to this month's poll. Thanks very much to everyone who participated!

Please take a moment to vote in the February poll, which asks, "Have you ever attended any of Diana Gabaldon's public appearances?"

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

OUTLANDER composer Bear McCreary talks about the music of Season 4



OUTLANDER composer Bear McCreary's latest blog post is all about the music of OUTLANDER Season 4. I found it very interesting, and I think many of you will, too! (There are spoilers in his post if you haven't watched all of the Season 4 episodes.)

Please note that we still do not have information on when the Season 4 soundtrack will be available for pre-order (Bear says at the end of the article that he is still working on the soundtrack), but I'll post here as soon as I hear anything.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Episode 413: "Man of Worth" (SPOILERS!)



Here are my reactions to Episode 413 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Man of Worth".

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.


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I liked the opening shot, showing two kids playing "cowboys and Indians" in a park, in what appears to be a suburban American neighborhood, sometime in the 1960s. The long-haired Native American man reading the newspaper is clearly meant to be Robert Springer, aka Otter-Tooth, the time-traveler with silver fillings in his teeth.

As the episode begins, we see a little bit of everday life in the Mohawk village of Shadow Lake, including several canoes. Roger is still imprisoned in the "idiot hut", following his unsuccessful escape attempt at the end of Episode 412, "Providence". Suddenly we see Jamie, rifle in hand, peering cautiously out from behind a tree. He and Claire and Young Ian have arrived at the village in search of Roger. Jamie takes out a spyglass (that's convenient -- I wonder where he got it from?) and scans the village, but there's no sign of him.

Some of the Mohawk men are playing a game similar to lacrosse, with sticks. You may recall that Young Ian referred to this once. Good attention to detail there!

Jamie, Claire, and Young Ian make their way slowly into the village, with their trade goods. Immediately they are surrounded by Mohawk warriors. Jamie and Ian do their best to explain what they're doing there, speaking a few words of the Mohawk language. Young Ian shows them the sketch of Roger that Brianna gave Claire at River Run.

Kaheroton, the Mohawk warrior who brought Roger here, steps forward. Hearing that Young Ian wants to trade for "Dogface" (aka Roger), he asks why.

"What is he to you that you would come all this way?"
"He's important to our family," Ian says, with vast understatement.

Kaheroton orders the three of them to be taken to the chief of the village. As a crowd gathers around them, notice that there appear to be no children in this village, only adults. (I will suspend disbelief and assume that the kids are hiding somewhere out of sight of the strangers.)

The Mohawk chief (played by Tom Jackson) is an old man, immensely dignified, and I like him very much. I was startled by the fact that he speaks excellent English, but I think that works well here, saving them from having to have someone else interpret for him.

"You want him very badly."
"Aye," Jamie says. "We hope to trade with you."

Not the best basis on which to begin a negotiation, when the other party knows you're desperate! No wonder the chief looks so confident, certainly in no hurry to make a deal.

Young Ian calls to the other Mohawk, inviting them to inspect the trade goods they've brought, including whisky. Claire removes her kerchief to show to one of the women, revealing the large opal she wears on a cord about her neck. Seeing the stone, the others recoil in apparent fear and horror, backing away from her. Their reaction is based on a scene from DRUMS OF AUTUMN:
"Did you mention the opal to Acts Fast?”

[Jamie] sat up straight at that, interested.

“Aye, I did. They couldna have been taken more aback had I pulled a snake from my sporran. They got verra excited--angry and fearful both, and I think they might well have done me harm, save I’d already mentioned the whisky.”

He reached into the breast of his coat and drew out the opal, dropping it into my hand.

“Best you take it, Sassenach. But I think you’ll maybe not want to show it to anyone.”

“How odd.” I looked down at the stone, its spiral petroglyph shimmering with color. “So it did mean something to them.”

“Oh, that it did,” he assured me. “I couldna say what, but whatever it was, they didna like it a bit. The war chief demanded to know where I’d got it, and I told them ye’d found it. That made them back off a bit, but they were like a kettle on the boil over it."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 57, "A Shattered Smile". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The chief's reaction on seeing the stone ("We will not trade with you. You must leave us at once.") increases the dramatic tension considerably, and seeing no alternative, Jamie leads Claire and Ian away. As they go, notice the young woman watching them. She'll be important later.

Now the action shifts to River Run, where Murtagh has just arrived, following his escape from jail in Wilmington. I liked the scene where Jocasta interrogates him (politely, but thoroughly) about where he's been and what he was doing that got him locked up in the first place.

"Dinna fash," Murtagh says. "As I told your nephew, I'm no an easy man to kill." In the show, perhaps. Of course, book-readers will recall that Murtagh died at Culloden.

Jocasta tells Murtagh that Brianna has been spending most of her time alone in her chamber, which explains why she didn't even bother to come and greet Murtagh when he arrived.

I liked Murtagh's reaction to the news that Brianna is engaged to Lord John. "She canna marry a Redcoat!" He doesn't bother to mention the fact that this particular British officer was the governor of Ardsmuir Prison when he was imprisoned there with Jamie, but I'm sure he must have been thinking that, too.

"I dinna recall asking your opinion on the matter," Jocasta says coldly. To me, that's a very strong echo of Charles Stuart in Paris in Episode 202 ("Not in Scotland Anymore"), saying almost exactly the same thing to Murtagh.

In the next scene, Bree and Phaedre are in Bree's bedchamber. Bree, very pregnant, is working on yet another charcoal drawing, but she's distracted, presumably with worry over Roger and her parents. Phaedre, acting as midwife, examines her and finds no problems, assuring her that "your bairn....will be perfect."

Back at the Mohawk village, Jamie tells Claire he intends to go back for Roger that night. When Claire protests, Jamie reminds her that he's done it before. "I ken a story. One where I went to Fort William and rescued you." Interesting. This isn't in the book, but I think it's believable that Jamie would be remembering that. Still, I agree with Claire that what Jamie is proposing seems awfully dangerous, even reckless, under the current circumstances.

Suddenly Jamie freezes, listening hard. "Don't move," he says, and a moment later several Mohawk men burst out of the woods. Jamie overpowers one of them, and then the same Mohawk woman we saw in the previous scene in the village steps into view. (I like her costume.) She tells them, "We're here for the stone. Give it to us. We will not harm you."

The young woman (I did not catch her name) tells them the story of Otter-Tooth. I liked this part very much. It's a slightly condensed version of the story that Tewaktenyonh told Claire in the book (DRUMS chapter 57, "A Shattered Smile"), and I think they captured the essence of it very well.
"He was a brave man,” she said, reflectively. “He didn’t beg. He told them the same things he had said before, but my brother said this time it was different. Before, he had been hot as fire; dying, he was cold as snow--and because they were so cold, his words terrified the warriors.

“Even when the stranger lay dead in the snow, his words seemed to go on ringing in the warriors’ ears. They lay down to sleep, but his voice talked to them in their dreams, and kept them from sleeping. You will be forgotten, he said. The Nations of the Iroquois will be no more. No one will tell your stories. Everything you are and have been will be lost.

“They turned toward home, but his voice followed them. At night, they could not sleep for the evil words in their ears."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 57, "A Shattered Smile". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
As the woman telling the story says, "They returned with white scalps," notice the man throwing a tomahawk in the firelight. So we finally see where that bit from the opening credit sequence comes from.

"It is said that one who possesses the stone has the power to see how my people's story will end." That's certainly true, considering that both Otter-Tooth and Claire are time-travelers from the future!

In the next scene, Bree (very pregnant) and Murtagh are talking about recent events. She assures him that the engagement to Lord John is a sham, and tells him that Jamie advised her to try to forgive Stephen Bonnet.

"Do you think you could forgive your father?" Murtagh asks. "For your sake, as well as his?" I liked the way Bree smiles a little as she says, "I already have."

Back at the Mohawk village, three canoes approach the village at night, and Jamie, Claire, and Ian manage to sneak in without being discovered. Claire and Jamie find Roger in the "idiot hut", and Roger, quite understandably, reacts with alarm at the sight of the man who nearly beat him to death.

Claire speaks reassuringly to him. "It's all right. It's Jamie. He won't hurt you. We've come to get you out of here."

Jamie's reply is almost verbatim from the book (DRUMS chapter 60, "Trial by Fire") but condensed a bit: "I've done wrong to you, MacKenzie. I've come to put it right. For now, you have my apology."

I'm glad he said it, but in this context -- hurried, whispering -- in my opinion it doesn't have the same impact as it did in the book, when the two men were alone, with time to focus their full attention on one another.

Their female guide tries to talk the guard into letting them go, and he fires his rifle in the air. I found the ensuing commotion, with all these men fighting in the dark, tomahawks flying and torches blazing, to be very confusing and hard to follow, but I liked the way Claire more or less glues herself to Roger, making sure that he's safe.

Unfortunately, our people are vastly outnumbered. Eventually they are surrounded, and one of the men points a pistol at Jamie's face. Claire, panicked, screams the Mohawk word for "peace", desperate to stop the man with the gun from killing Jamie right then and there. (Which would put an abrupt end to the series....) Fortunately for all of us, her pleading has the desired effect, and the fighting stops.

At daybreak, the chief calls the villagers together, Jamie, Claire, Roger, and Ian kneeling on the ground before him. The chief orders the Mohawk who were involved in helping to rescue Roger (including the woman) to be exiled from the village. I'm not quite sure why he said that in English, unless he wanted to make sure Jamie and the others understood him.

This next part is extremely well done, emotionally intense and riveting to watch.

"Take the stone. Leave the village. Never return," the chief says. But he is adamant that "Dogface will stay in the village."

Suddenly Jamie is on his feet, offering himself in exchange for Roger. (This is something they discussed briefly in the book, but he never actually did.) Watching both Jamie and Claire here, it's impossible to miss the very strong echoes of Jamie at Wentworth, offering himself to Black Jack Randall in exchange for Claire's freedom. And you can see the memory of that in their eyes, and especially in Claire's face, as she hugs Jamie tight.

Watch Young Ian there, too, as he looks first at Roger, then at Jamie and Claire. You can see him coming to his decision.

"I'm staying," he tells Jamie, very firmly.

And then he adds something that is not in the book, but it's very fitting and absolutely in character for Ian: "You must promise that ye'll leave and no come back for me. I've chosen this."

A quick glimpse of Roger, watching this sacrifice on his behalf, not understanding the full significance of it, but clearly seeing the three of them grieving, staggering under the emotional impact.

Claire comes foreward and hugs Ian, crying, but she knows she can't change his mind. And then it's Jamie's turn.

"Ye once said ye wished me to become a man of worth."
"Ye dinna ken how worthy you are," Jamie says, and embraces him. "Cuimhnich," he whispers. "Remember."
"I willna forget. Never."

I like this very much! The words are slightly different from the book, but the emotional impact is just as great.

Jamie bows formally to the chief and turns to lead Claire and Roger away. Ian takes a single step toward them, then stops himself. The look on his face is just heartbreaking.

John Bell is really amazing in this scene. It's been fascinating to watch his transformation from a boy to a man in the space of just a season and a half on the show (counting from his first appearance in Episode 307), and I am really going to miss him in Season 5.

Meanwhile, back at River Run, Jocasta and Murtagh are drinkiing whisky together in her parlor. I liked this whole scene, particularly the part where Jocasta stands up and tells him in no uncertain terms exactly what she's alway thought of him:

"Truth be told, i never liked ye. you used to descend on Leoch like a dark cloud of rain, stayin' well past your welcome, drinkin' our ale, and gripin' about everything! The way you glower and stare, you make folks uneasy. You were stubborn as a mule then, and you haven't changed a bit. I canna believe I allowed ye to darken my door."

I laughed when she threw her drink in his face. For a blind woman, she has pretty good aim!

HOWEVER.... I absolutely hated the next scene, where Murtagh and Jocasta are in her bedroom after having sex. No. Just...no. Jumping into bed with one another on the spur of the moment like that, as though they're a young couple hooking up in 2019? Sorry, I don't buy that at all, and I'm going to try very hard to un-see it and pretend it never happened.

Meanwhile, in a clearing somewhere on the road home from the Mohawk village, Claire asks, "How are you going to tell Jenny?' Good question, considering that in the books, this incident caused a major rupture in Jamie's relationship with his sister that was not mended for nearly two years.

Roger's temper suddenly snaps, and he takes a swing at Jamie, who is caught by surprise. Jamie doesn't seem upset at all. He simply lets Roger hit him as many times as he wants, taking his punishment for his part in the ordeal Roger has been through.

I liked the way they cut between Jamie and Roger's fight and Young Ian, back in the Mohawk village, running the gauntlet. Roger fights better than I expected, considering that he still has one arm in a sling.

As for Ian, he did a lot better than Roger in running the gauntlet, but then again, he's younger, much better nourished, and not worn down by weeks of captivity and being forced to walk 700 miles. I liked the bit where Ian dove between the warrior's legs. <g>

I was rather put off by how happy and excited Ian looked when he learned he would be adopted into the tribe. Grinning from ear to ear, as though he's forgotten all about the fact that he's leaving his old life and his family behind -- forever, as far as he knows. It just seemed inappropriate to me, under the circumstances.

The scene with Roger, Claire, and Jamie in which All Is Revealed to Roger is just wonderful, very well-written and well-acted, and very, very faithful to the book! Richard Rankin, especially, does a terrific job with this very pivotal scene, as he tries to absorb the life-altering news that a) Bree was raped by Stephen Bonnet just after Roger left her, b) she's pregnant, and c) it might be Roger's child, but then again it might be Bonnet's.

When Claire squats down to speak eye-to-eye with Roger, I was struck by the calm, matter-of-fact way she delivers the news of Bree's rape, and it occurred to me that Dr. Claire Randall must have delivered bad news to patients and their families in just that same tone of voice many, many times over the course of her medical career. Odd that I've never had that thought when reading this part of the book.

Suddenly Jamie's fury boils over and he shouts in Roger's face. "Coward! Bree was angry with you, so you left her! You ran away!"

Roger punches him again, and Jamie shakes a fist at him, furious. "That was the last unanswered blow!" He seems about ready to send Roger back to the Mohawk.

"I didn't leave because we argued. I left because she told me to go." Um, yes -- in the course of an argument! This line makes no sense, IMHO. But it's a very small thing.

The rest of this scene is virtually word-for-word from the book, except for this exchange between Roger and Claire:

"I need time."
"Well, if you need time, you'd better take it, because this is our daughter, and you'd better be sure."

I like that very much! We don't often see Claire in mama-bear mode.

Meanwhile, back at River Run, Brianna is in labor, assisted by Phaedre and Jocasta. I understand why Claire and Jamie couldn't be there for Jemmy's birth, and while that's disappointing, I'm fine with the way they did it. Except for one thing.

"Where is he?"
"Phaedre's cleaned him up, and she'll bring him in, if you're ready to see him now."

I don't understand. This was presumably a natural childbirth, without painkillers of any kind, with no complications that we know of. So why didn't Bree see the baby immediately after he was born? Why did they not even let her hold him until after he was cleaned and wrapped in a blanket, and Bree herself was dressed in fresh clothes?

In their eagerness to make this scene closely parallel what we saw of Bree's own birth as shown in Episode 301, they seem to have forgotten that this isn't 1948, she's not recovering from ether or any other anesthesia, and there's no reason (as far as we know) why she should be unaware of her surroundings immediately after the birth. I've never had children of my own, but I've watched plenty of childbirth scenes on TV, and this just struck me as contrived and not realistic.

On the other hand, that little baby is awfully cute! <g> The next time we see him, he's two months old. Phaedre rushes in to announce that riders are approaching, and one of them is Claire.

Bree is obviously shocked and devastated that Roger didn't return with Jamie and Claire. "He's alive," is all Jamie says. Rather cold comfort under the circumstances, to say the least!

Murtagh fills Jamie in on the situation at the jail, but he assumes that Bonnet died in the explosion. ("I got out. He didn't.") Um, Murtagh? You're forgetting my number one rule when it comes to OUTLANDER: Don't make assumptions, because most of the time they turn out to be wrong. <g> And if the events of this season haven't demonstrated that, I don't know what would.

Claire and Bree finally have a moment alone, and Claire says she wants to take Bree and the baby home to Fraser's Ridge. Bree nods but says nothing, and they have a nice little mother-daughter hug.

The dinner scene that follows is Extremely Awkward, filled with the deafening silence caused by Roger's absence, aka the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.

Finally, just as Jamie, Claire, and Bree are preparing to take their leave of River Run, Bree looks out the window and sees a rider coming up the path. It's Roger, of course, and Bree flies down the stairs and across the lawn as fast as she can. I liked their reunion, though I was disappointed that Roger didn't even get to see the baby, let alone claim him as his own son.

"I may be stubborn, but I'm not a fool. I love you! I always will."
[Much frantic kissing, hugging, etc.]
"I love you, too."
Awwww!!

Just then a group of Redcoats on horseback gallops down the path, nearly trampling Bree and Roger. All that commotion, and what did they want? Merely to deliver a letter from Governor Tryon to Jamie.

"He's ordered me to muster a militia to fight the Regulators." All right, that's more or less consistent with the books. "Hunt down and kill the fugitive, Murtagh FitzGibbons."

Kill him? Kill him? Not "arrest him", "bring him to justice", or any other actions that the colonial governor in charge of enforcing British law in North Carolina might reasonably be expected to order someone else to perform. Just plain murder. (And presumably, although they didn't say it, Jamie will risk losing his 10,000 acres if he refuses to comply.) I really don't like that.

I thought this episode was quite good overall, but I was rather underwhelmed by this cliffhanger ending. It doesn't seem like such a difficult problem for Jamie to deal with, and the ethical questions left a bad taste in my mouth at the very end. For me, this was the least satisfying ending of all four seasons so far.
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I hope you enjoyed this recap. Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes.

Lokeoking for a place to discuss All Things OUTLANDER? Check out TheLitForum.com, formerly the Compuserve Books and Writers Community. You have to sign up in order to read or post on the forum, but it's free.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Season 4 marathon on STARZ Jan. 27



For those of you in the US: STARZ will be showing a marathon of all 13 episodes of OUTLANDER Season 4 on Sunday, January 27, starting at 8 am, and culminating with the season finale at 8 pm.

Please pass the word to anyone you know who may be interested!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Episode 412: "Providence" (SPOILERS!)



Here are my reactions to Episode 412 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Providence".

*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***

There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.


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The opening shot shows the Mohawk drinking what appears to be whisky from a gourd dipper. This is a fairly subtle reference to what Roger did near the end of the episode.

We pick up where we left off, with Roger running the gauntlet upon his arrival at the Mohawk village of Shadow Lake (aka Snaketown, in the book). A particularly hard blow takes him in the left arm, and he ends up flat on his back in the dirt.

One of the women fingers his beard and calls him "Ehhaokonsah," which we learn later means "Dogface".

Notice that one of the warriors is carrying an Iroquois war club, like the one shown here. Those of you who have read THE SCOTTISH PRISONER will recall that Major Siverly attacked Jamie with a similar weapon (SP chapter 20, "Stalking Horse"). Seeing details like that adds considerably to the authenticity and realism of this Mohawk village, and I'm glad they included it.

Meanwhile, back in Wilmington, Fergus tells the other Regulators that Murtagh has been arrested. "I won't let him hang," Fergus says firmly.

The scene switches abruptly to Brianna and Lord John at River Run. I liked this scene very much. It's taken almost verbatim from the book (DRUMS OF AUTUMN chapter 62, "Three-Thirds of a Ghost").

I like Bree's gown in this scene very much. It's lovely.

"No--no, if I sit down, I won't be able to get back up." This line from the book doesn't quite work here, since Bree doesn't appear to be heavily pregnant. But I liked the way Bree visibly pulled herself together after hearing the news.

"I suppose it's too late to add what he did to me to that list [of Bonnet's crimes]?"
"It would only bring shame upon you, and be of no consequence."

I liked the way Bree drew in her breath on hearing "no consequence." But she doesn't lose her temper.

Lord John is very calm, confident that the threat has been eliminated, Bonnet will hang "next week" (ha! little does he know!), and justice will prevail. But he hasn't quite reckoned with Bree's Fraser stubbornness. She announces that she wants to see Bonnet.

Bree goes out onto the veranda (finally, a sunny day! <g>) and Lord John follows. I love watching the two of them match wits. Most of this is verbatim from the book, but I loved this added bit:

"Your father entrusted me with the task of looking after you. I'm not sure that includes taking afternoon tea with a murderer!"

In answer, Bree hands him the letter from Jamie that he brought her in last week's episode.

I'm so glad that they included this letter almost word-for-word from the book! The use of voiceover here was very effective.

Lord John agrees to help her, and then he asks to feel her belly. "My God," he says, just as in the book. "He's real." I'm glad they kept that bit. It's a sweet moment.

Meanwhile, in the Mohawk village, Roger is adjusting (with difficulty) to life as a slave. He's now wearing a sling on his left arm, which was apparently broken during the beating on his arrival. I love the level of detail in the village -- the longhouses, the costumes, all of the props that make it seem like a real place. Kudos to Jon Gary Steele and his team!

Roger is still making knots in his string, but he stops when he sees he's being watched. A Mohawk woman orders him to carry firewood to one of the longhouses. On his way there, he meets a young Mohawk woman named Johiehon (played by Sera-Lys McArthur) with a baby. She's wearing a crucifix, although Roger doesn't ask her about it, and she speaks to him in French -- the first Mohawk to speak kindly to him since his arrival. The woman gives him herbs for the pain of his broken arm. Roger asks her to help him escape, but she refuses.

The Mohawk warrior Kaheroton (Braeden Clarke) who brought Roger here warns Johiehon that Roger is dangerous. She speaks to Kaheroton with affection, and it's clear that they have some sort of relationship.

Back in Wilmington, Lord John and Brianna have come in a carriage to visit Stephen Bonnet in jail. Bree looks like she might be about to be sick. She tells Lord John she's just not "used to being this size", but that's not the real reason. She's clearly not at all looking forward to seeing Stephen Bonnet again.

"A baby is expected. Memories are not. They...simply come." I didn't like this line. Lord John is not noted for saying the obvious. But aside from that, I love the way Bree and Lord John relate to one another in this episode.

"You are impossible not to like," Bree tells him, and I laughed out loud at that. So true!

Back in the Mohawk village, Roger is still delivering firewood, breaking all sorts of unwritten rules of Mohawk etiquette in the process: pointing, speaking when another man is speaking, etc. He's an outlander here, just as Claire was when she first arrived at Castle Leoch, and I think the comparison is interesting.

Johiehon comes to Roger's defense, saying that he does not know their customs, but Kaheroton is angry and knocks Roger to the ground. The commotion attracts the attention of the Mohawk chief, who orders Kaheroton to put Roger in a separate hut reserved for captives.

As they make their way across the village, Kaheroton asks Roger how he came to be a captive.

"Did you break your word of honor?"
"My loyalties were to a woman."
"Then you should not smile upon Johiehon."

He has a point. Roger's weakness for young mothers with babies always gets him in trouble!

Roger is shoved into a large circular hut with walls made of brush. It's broad daylight, but Roger is so focused on his own situation that he fails to notice the presence of the other captive until he speaks.

I really enjoyed watching Yan Tual as Père Alexandre Ferigault. He does a wonderful job! Most of the dialogue in this scene comes from the book (DRUMS OF AUTUMN chapter 54, "Captivity I").

The priest is holding a small Bible. That detail isn't in the book, but I like it.

Père Alexandre tells Roger that the Indians call him "Dogface", and that they are in the "province" of New York. He asks how Roger came to be here.

"I suppose you could say I walked here," Roger says, half-laughing, but with an expression that seems to say that he's laughing because it hurts too much to cry. Wonderful performance by Richard Rankin here, and throughout the whole episode! His face is so expressive.

Meanwhile, back at Fergus and Marsali's house in Wilmington, Fergus is trying to come up with a plan to rescue Murtagh. He's built what looks like a scale model of the jail, laid out on the table. Marsali asks what he's doing:

"Well, you know Germain likes to play with cups and spoons."
"Aye? Well, what's your excuse, seein' as how our bairn's in his crib?"

Cut to a brief shot of Germain, supposedly a toddler well over a year old at this point, who lies propped up in a bassinet, silently watching them, but neither moving nor making any sound, not even reacting at the sound of his name. As I said in my recap of Episode 411, this baby Germain is a prop, nothing more. They're making no effort whatsoever to treat him like an actual living, breathing toddler, and I find that VERY disappointing!

To Fergus's surprise, Marsali doesn't object to his plan to rescue Murtagh from jail.

"You're not angry with me?"
"Not unless you're not going to try." Good line.

Marsali wishes Claire were here. "She risked her life to save [Jamie's] when he was imprisoned at Wentworth."

This jerked me momentarily out of the story, thinking, "Wait a minute. How on earth does Marsali know that?!" Who would have told her? It's not the sort of thing that Jamie or Claire would have told her about, to say the least, and it happened before Jamie met Fergus, so I'm not even sure Fergus would have heard the story. So how does she know? Unless maybe she heard it from Murtagh, who was there at the time.

I liked Marsali's little "pep talk", and I liked even more Fergus's suggestion that the time has (finally!) come for them to move to Fraser's Ridge. Yay!! I hope this means we'll see them all reunited on the Ridge by the end of next week's episode, or at least at the beginning of Season 5.

Back in the Mohawk village, Père Alexandre tells Roger the story of how he fell in love with a Mohawk woman. The gist of the story is the same as it is in the book, with one exception:

"I was prepared to allow God to take me, until I felt a woman's hands upon me. Soft, cooling hands. She cared for me with the gentle touch of an angel." This isn't in the book, but I like it. It's a reasonable explanation for how he came to fall in love with her.

Père Alexandre tells Roger that he fathered a child with this Mohawk woman. But there's a problem:
"The difficulty was that I had always, as a priest, refused to baptize infants unless both parents were Christian and in a state of grace. This is necessary, you understand, if the child is to be raised in faith--for the Indians are inclined otherwise to view the sacrament of baptism as no more than one of their pagan rituals.”

Alexandre drew a deep breath.

“And of course I could not baptize this child. [....] not because of its mother--but because its father is not in a state of grace."

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 56, "Confessions of the Flesh". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I have to admit that I have always been somewhat in awe of Père Alexandre: a flawed, fallible human being, to be sure, but also a man with such an unshakable faith in God that he will not make any exceptions to his faith, not even to save his own life.

"I cannot perform the sacrament of baptism."
"I doubt very much that the Mohawk are perturbed by the niceties of the church, Father."
"No, but you see, Roger, I am. I have broken faith with my God and my calling. I know that I am damned. I will not also damn this child with the false blessing of a fallen priest."

Wow. I like that VERY much! It's refreshing to see a character (any character) on TV these days with such a strong sense of morality. They did a wonderful job of portraying this whole tragic situation, while retaining the emotional power of the original.

Roger asks if Père Alexandre still loves Johiehon. As Roger listens to his (very poetic and beautiful) reply, you can see him thinking about Brianna.

"I have prayed that my love for her would abate, that I would stop seeing her face in my dreams, that I would stop feeling the touch of her hand, stop smelling the rainwater perfuming her hair, stop hearing the gentle lilt of her laugh floating on the wind. But my prayers have gone unanswered."

Suddenly a couple of Mohawk men burst into the hut. They strip the priest naked and drag him away. "Pray for me, Roger," Père Alexandre says, and then he is gone.

Alone in the hut, Roger starts looking for a means of escape, and he begins digging a hole in the dirt with a rock. As night falls, the Mohawk return, dumping the naked and bleeding form of Père Alexandre on the dirt floor.

This scene unfolds almost exactly as it did in the book. To his horror, Roger discovers they have cut off the priest's ear. Roger tends to him as best he can, and then he starts to pray.

"O Father of Mercies and God of all comfort, we humblee beseech thee to visit and relieve the sick servant for whom our prayers are desired. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy. Comfort him with a sense of thy goodness...."

This appears to be a version of the Ministration of the Sick from the Book of Common Prayer. I found it (the whole scene, in fact, but this prayer especially) very moving, as the first glimmerings we have seen in the show of Roger's own religious faith and his desire to help and comfort others. He must have heard this prayer, or some version of it, many times, growing up in the Reverend's house.

Afterward, they sit talking. Père Alexandre is visibly annoyed by Roger's casual blasphemy. Again he refuses to fake a baptism ceremony, even though doing so might save his life. "I will not mock the sacrament, even to save my own life."

"Do you know why I can say you're an idiot?" Roger asks. "Because I've been an idiot myself. And he proceeds to tell the priest the whole story (well, except for the bit about time-travel!) of what happened to him.

This part is not in the book, but I love Roger's whole speech. Richard Rankin does an amazing job in this scene.

"Instead of finding her, I found a man who...I now believe was her father...who beat me near unto death and sold me to the Mohawk."

So he did figure out that it was Jamie, after all.

"I found a way home. All I had to do was reach out and touch it." You can hear in his voice what a miracle that must have seemed to him.

"....and hesitated, like an idiot, because after all that, I still loved her." I knew this, of course, but it's good to hear him say it, for the record.

"There's a saying where I come from: Look out for number one. Well, from now on, that's me."

I don't like this, and in fact I don't believe it. Roger says this experience has changed him, and it most assuredly has, but it hasn't altered the core of his personality. We know that for a fact, because we've just witnessed that personality in action, caring for Père Alexandre with tenderness and compassion, speaking of Brianna with love. Naturally he's focused on self-preservation at the moment -- in the middle of a life-and-death struggle for survival -- but not (we hope) at the cost of his own humanity.

"Save yourself. Because if you don't, no one ever will." Wow, that's a bleak outlook on life if I ever heard one.

Roger tries to persuade Père Alexandre to help him dig an escape tunnel, but the priest is unmoved. Eventually Roger gives up talking and resumes his "Great Escape" routine. And after a moment, the other man joins him. They dig all night, and in the morning, all they have to show for it is a hole that "isna big enough for a cat," according to Roger.

Père Alexandre announces that he doesn't intend to escape with Roger. I like this scene, and the conflict between them, very much. Roger tries his best to persuade him, but Père Alexandre is adamant, willing to die for his beliefs. And when Kaheroton comes for him in the morning, he refuses to baptize the child, and he is taken away to be executed.

Meanwhile, back in Wilmington, Lord John and Brianna are about to enter the jail where Stephen Bonnet is being held.

"Well, your mind is made up. I couldn't help but notice that the rest of you seems rather apprehensive." Good line from Lord John. He agrees, reluctantly, to wait outside the cell while Bree goes in to talk to Bonnet.

Meanwhile, outside in the street, Marsali is driving the getaway wagon. <g> The Regulators are assembled and ready to make their move to free Murtagh.

The scene between Brianna and Bonnet is very close to the book (DRUMS OF AUTUMN chapter 62, "Three-Thirds of a Ghost"), and I enjoyed it very much. Bree is outwardly calm, holding herself under tight control the whole time she's speaking with him.

Meanwhile, Fergus and the other Regulators approach the entrance to the jail. The guard tries to refuse them entry, and suddenly there are half a dozen pistols pointed at his face. "I do not think permission will be necessary," Fergus says drily.

In the cell, Bree opens her cloak to show Bonnet her baby bump. It might be my imagination, but somehow her belly looks much bigger in this scene than it did earlier in the episode.

"I have no choice but to live with what you've done to me. But you will be forgotten! My baby will never know your name, will never even know that you existed. While you rot in the ground, I will raise my child to be a good person, to be nothing like you."

Good addition! I like this very much, and Sophie's delivery of it was excellent.

They eliminated a lot of the action from the book at this point, but I'm glad they included the scene where Bonnet gives her a gemstone, "for [the baby's] maintenance," and tells her to "take care of him".

Things are very chaotic and confused when the Regulators break into the cells, but somehow in the confusion, Fergus and Lord John recognize one another. One of the Regulators grabs the keys from an unconscious guard and they manage to free Murtagh, who is startled to see Brianna.

As they're heading out of the cell block with Murtagh, we see the keys lying on the floor -- very conveniently, just beyond Bonnet's cell. That's extremely contrived, if you ask me, yet another case of the writers hitting the viewers over the head with the thought: Bonnet's going to escape!

After a brief argument over who is going to escort Brianna to River Run (Lord John wins that one), we learn that the Regulators have lit fuses around the building, preparing to blow up the jail as a diversion to cover their retreat as they rescue Murtagh. (In the book, of course, the purpose of the diversion is to cover Bonnet's retreat.) Bree insists that they take the unconscious guard with them.

The instant they leave, Bonnet is on his feet, straining to reach the keys.

The explosion is very vivid and dramatic, and I was impressed with Marsali's fearless wagon-driving in the midst of a very scary situation.

Suddenly we're back in the Mohawk village with Roger, who has managed to tunnel his way out of the hut. (I don't find this believable at all, but I'm trying to ignore that.) He frantically tries to hide, hearing the priest's screams as he is being tortured, and then takes off running through the woods. With no food, no water, no weapons, a broken arm, and no clear idea of where he's going. Yeah, that's going to work. <rolling eyes>

Meanwhile, back in Wilmington, the Redcoat leader has a brief conversation with Lord John and Brianna. Lord John tells him they don't know where Murtagh may have gone. (I'm betting on the Ridge, myself, but I could certainly be wrong.)

Back in the woods, Roger is still running, listening to Père Alexandre's screams. "Don't listen," he tells himself. "He chose his fate. He wanted this." But the more the priest screams, the more Roger wavers, calling himself an idiot, until finally he can't stand it anymore, and he heads back to the village.

He arrives in time to see Père Alexandre, tied to a stake with his feet in a pyre, screaming, and the entire village watching him slowly burn to death, including the woman with the baby. Roger is horrified, to say the least, and suddenly he sees the only possible thing he can do: he can end the priest's suffering right then and there. He takes off running toward the kegs of whisky, which no one is watching. Grabbing one of the kegs, he hurls it with all his strength (one-handed!) at the pyre, causing a huge burst of flame as the alcohol catches fire.

I really didn't see that coming at all, but I liked it! A very vivid, dramatic, and emotionally intense scene, that becomes even more so when the priest's lover, Johiehon, puts down her baby and, with tears in her eyes, walks into the flames and embraces him -- just as described in the book.
“She didna look to left or right, but walked straight into the fire.”

“What?” Roger’s throat closed with shock, the exclamation emerging in a strangled croak.

The flames had embraced the girl in moments. A head taller than the folk near him, Jamie had seen everything clearly.

“Her clothes caught, and then her hair. By the time she reached him, she was burning like a torch.” Still, he had seen the dark silhouette of her arms, raised to embrace the empty body of the priest. Within moments, it was no longer possible to distinguish man or woman; there was only the one figure, black amid the towering flames.

(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 60, "Trial By Fire". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Roger's look of bug-eyed astonishment and horror mirrors exactly the way I felt, watching this. I tend to forget about this scene, since we did not get to witness it firsthand in the book, but they did an amazing job of bringing it to life. Unforgettable, tragic, and heartbreaking.

And that final shot of Kaheroton cradling the baby girl, with such an expression of grief in his eyes. Wow. What a powerful, emotionally intense scene to end on.
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I hope you enjoyed this recap. Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes so far, and please come back next week to see my recap of the season finale, Episode 413.

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