Episode 410: "The Deep Heart's Core" (SPOILERS!)
Here are my reactions to Episode 410 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "The Deep Heart's Core".
*** SPOILER WARNING!! ***
There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.
The opening shot shows the whisky-making still in front of Jamie and Claire's cabin on Fraser's Ridge.
As the episode begins, Jamie and Brianna are having a father-daughter talk. Jamie's hand is bandaged, but he's evasive when she asks what happened.
"Your mother told me what happened. Did ye ken the man?" Jamie asks, meaning the man who raped her. Bree says no, and Jamie, realizing that they can't very well have a private conversation this close to the house, invites her to take a walk with him.
"I don't want to be married."
"With a bairn coming, ye must."
"I can't. I love someone else, back in my time."
This is toned down -- considerably! -- from the scene in the book. (Just as a side note, I really didn't like Jamie saying, "Yeah," like someone living in our own time. But it's a minor point.)
"And I will travel through time myself to tell him."
Huh?!? I really don't like this line, AT ALL. We know Jamie can't time-travel! Diana Gabaldon has always been very, very clear about that. It seems to me that this is a very clunky way of avoiding what he said in the book:
"It’ll make no difference to him,” Jamie said, grasping her harder, almost fiercely, as though he could make things right by pure force of will. “If he’s a decent man, it’ll make no difference. And if it does--well, then he doesna deserve ye, and I shall beat him into pulp and stamp on the pieces, and then go and find ye a better man."Anyone who saw Episode 409 ("The Birds and the Bees") already knows that "beat him into pulp and stamp on the pieces" is precisely what Jamie did to Roger.
(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 47, "A Father's Song". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I liked the way they handled the next part, where Jamie and Bree talk about whether she could have done anything to prevent the rape.
"I feel so stupid. I could have avoided it. I followed him into a dark room by myself." This bit isn't in the book, but Bree is articulating here what many readers have expressed over the years, the idea that her own recklessness (in the book, going aboard Bonnet's ship by herself) put her in danger.
I'm glad to hear Jamie say firmly, "It's not your fault, Brianna. Never think that." I thought his body language was interesting in this scene. He's standing a few feet away -- to give her space? Because they're still too new to each other for him to comfort her with his touch? I'm not sure.
The bit beginning, "I'm thinkin', are ye maybe playin' with the truth a bit?" comes straight from the book (DRUMS OF AUTUMN, chapter 48, "Away in a Manger").
I think Sam looks terrific in this scene <g>, and that makes the harshness of his words come as even more of a shock. "Maybe you enjoyed it?" is not in the book, but it's calculated to infuriate many viewers (especially in this era of #MeToo) every bit as much as it does Brianna.
Jamie's physical assault on Bree is not as brutal as it is in the book, but it's still shocking to watch. I liked the way Jamie said, "No, and you couldna have stopped him either," making the point very clear, in case anyone watching this scene misunderstood his intent.
"Would ye think yourself a coward because you couldna fight off a wolf with your bare hands?" The word is "lion", not "wolf", in the book. It seems odd that they would change that, considering that book-readers will recall instantly that Claire did in fact fight off a wolf in OUTLANDER with her bare hands.
"It took courage not to fight." Good segue into the discussion of Wentworth. Most of the dialogue here is taken straight from the book.
"I did kill Randall." This is a change from the book, matching what we saw in Episode 301, "The Battle Joined". In the books, Jamie doesn't remember the events of Culloden, so he has no clear memory of exactly how BJR died.
"I keep thinking, if he was dead, maybe I could forget." I like the way Jamie reaches out to touch her then, gently, saying, "Ye willna forget. But time will let you heal." And I can't help saying, "Awwwww!" when he puts an arm around her and she leans into his shoulder, seeking comfort.
Abruptly, the scene shifts away from Fraser's Ridge, and we're somewhere in the woods, watching a group of Indians on horseback go by, with Roger and another man tied behind the horses. The Indians are armed with rifles.
The sight of the second prisoner took me aback at first, but I think including another white prisoner was effective, for two reasons:
1) To give Roger someone to talk to, so we can tell what he's thinking, without resorting to voice-overs.
2) To add even more urgency to his need to keep up with the men on horseback (because his life depends on it, literally) and his need to escape (ditto).
Roger was tied behind the horses in just this way in the book:
In the morning, they set off again. No question of riding this time; he walked, and as fast as he could; the noose was left around his neck, hanging loose, but a short length of rope bound his wrists to the harness leathers of one of the horses. He stumbled and fell several times, but managed to scramble to his feet, in spite of bruises and aching muscles. He had the distinct impression that they would allow him to be dragged without compunction if he didn’t.As they trudge down the path, suddenly the other captive stumbles and falls. Roger tries to help him up, pleads with his captors to give them water, only to be knocked down with a vicious blow. "You do not speak!" the leader of the Indians tells him, in English. Roger forces the other prisoner to get up, and they set off again, faster than before.
(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 51, "Betrayal". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
They make camp near a river at nightfall, and the Indians tell stories around the fire (an Iroquois creation story involving twin brothers, Flint and Sapling), leaving Roger and the other man tied to a tree. I like the way they're using the Mohawk language there, every bit as incomprehensible to Roger as Gaelic was to Claire, in the beginning.
Roger is making knots in a bit of string, to keep track of the days, an idea that comes from the book. He says it's been a week since he was sold into captivity.
"I've been observing landmarks too, so I can find them later on my return."
"You think you'll survive?"
"I have to. I can't die like this, not here, not now. I'm going to escape. I'm going to get back--to my wife."
I like that very much. All of these things -- Roger's intelligence, his determination to survive, and his love for Brianna -- will be critical to getting him through this ordeal alive.
Meanwhile, back on the Ridge, Claire is talking with Bree about the possiblity of aborting the baby. Most of the dialogue here comes verbatim from DRUMS chapter 49, "Choices".
No matter what your views are about abortion (and I really DON'T want to get into a political discussion!), this is a difficult scene to watch, as Bree and Claire both wrestle with this decision. It's harder, perhaps, for those of us who've read the book, because we have seen that unborn fetus as an infant and a little boy, as the unique human being he will become.
"I know this is an impossible decision," Claire says, "but I want you to know, it is an option." Giving Bree the option, but letting her make the final decision.
My heart just aches for Bree, watching this scene. And for Claire as well. She would do anything to save her daughter pain or heartbreak, but she can't protect her from this.
In the next scene, Young Ian offers to carry some buckets of water into the house for Bree. Jamie watches, amused. "He's smitten wi' ye, lass."
"It's nice, to have a cousin. I never did before." Good point.
I like the bit where Bree and Jamie watch Claire peacefully tending her garden. In the book, the sight reminds Bree of a poem called "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" by William Butler Yeats.
"Innisfree," Brianna said involuntarily, stopping dead at the sight.The last line of the poem is where the title of this week's episode, "The Deep Heart's Core," comes from. I like that very much, even though the poem is not actually referenced in the episode itself.
"Innisfree?" Jamie glanced at her, bewildered.
She hesitated, but there was no way out of explaining.
"It’s a poem, or part of one. Daddy always used to say it, when he’d come home and find Mama puttering in her garden--he said she’d live out there if she could. He used to joke that she--that she’d leave us someday, and go find a place where she could live by herself, with nothing but her plants."
(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 43, "Whisky in the Jar". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Now we get a brief montage of life on Fraser's Ridge: tending the farm animals (including the White Sow), trading with the Cherokee who live nearby, enjoying family dinners, etc. It all looks idyllic and too good to be true, which should give you a clue that things are going to change soon.
I loved the scene with Claire and Brianna talking about what they miss from their own time. It's a great addition -- reminiscent of the "how pizza came to the colonies" scene between Bree and Roger in THE FIERY CROSS chapter 20, "Shooting Lessons" -- and I thought it added a welcome bit of humor to an episode that's been pretty grim so far.
The dream sequence, where Roger abruptly morphs into Stephen Bonnet, is shocking, and very effective! You may recall that they've used this "dream turns into a nightmare" trick once before, in Paris in Season 2, when Jamie had a nightmare in which Claire turned into BJR. But in this case I thought it worked even better. I shuddered when Stephen Bonnet appeared, saying, "Go AWAY!!"
Even in her dreams, Bree couldn't fight him off. These nightmares are going to haunt her for a long time.
Lizzie is concerned enough about the nightmares to assure Bree that the rapist won't come near her again. She seems sure of it, and when Bree asks how she knows that, Lizzie confesses that the man she'd seen in the tavern in Wilmington came to the Ridge, but Jamie beat him "nearly to death" and then had Ian send him away.
And just like that, the first of a series of metaphorical explosions goes off -- BOOOOMMMM!! -- as Bree realizes that it must have been Roger.
I always love watching these explosions in the book (I find them Highly Entertaining, to say the least!) and they did a great job with them in this episode. I enjoyed seeing Bree's face transform as what Lizzie is saying sinks in.
The next morning, Bree bursts into the cabin when the others are having breakfast. "Where is Roger?!" she demands. Uh-oh!
Murtagh slips quietly outside, and Young Ian starts to follow, only to be stopped in his tracks by Bree's voice.
"No, he stays! He was involved in this too -- weren't you, cousin?" I like the way she puts a nasty emphasis on that last word.
More confusion ensues, as they try to work out what happened.
"He didna bed you?"
"No! Well, yes, he did, but...I wanted him to."
This sounds remarkably like the exchange between Roger and Jamie in the book (Chapter 46, "Comes a Stranger"), moments before Jamie starts beating him. It's not noticeably more effective, except for the fact that Bree does manage to tell Jamie that they were handfast.
Cue the explosions, round two:
"To think I was defending your honor, and now I come to find ye claim yourself violated upon findin' yourself with child--" Jamie says, furious.
Bree slaps him hard across the face. "I WAS violated, you self-righteous bastard! By someone else!"
Jamie stares at her in shock.
"You beat up the wrong man!"
I loved that. Perfect, just perfect!
The look of shock on Lizzie and Ian's faces is just priceless.
"My father would never have said the things you said to me. He was a good man. You're nothing but a savage." That last line is not in the book, and it made me gasp. Wow, that's harsh!
"Then who was it?" Ian asks.
Bree and Claire exchange glances, and then it's Claire's turn for a devastating revelation. "It was him," she says, placing the ring on the table.
This third bombshell is a soundless explosion, but no less powerful.
"Now where in hell is Roger?" Bree looks at Jamie, who looks at Young Ian.
"I--I sold him to the Mohawk."
The fourth and final explosion goes off with the impact of a cannon blast, leaving everyone in the vicinity reeling with the shock.
Bree slaps Ian, but her rage is not really directed at him. She realizes it was a misunderstanding.
Jamie kicks over a chair, furious, and Bree lashes out at him. "No!! You do not get to be more angry than me!" Good line, and I really think she has a point. From her point of view, Jamie has ruined her life, and destroyed any possibility of her future happiness.
With an immense effort at self-control, Bree manages to speak calmly. "Now, how do we get Roger back? Where do the Mohawk live?" She's a logical thinker, even under extreme stress.
Claire informs her that the Mohawk live in upstate New York, at least 700 miles away (!)
I really could not be happier with the way they portrayed this sequence, which is my favorite part of DRUMS OF AUTUMN, and such a critical point in the story. Excellent performances by Sophie, Sam, Cait, and John Bell!
The focus switches briefly back to Roger, still on the road with the Mohawk. His fellow prisoner has died during the night.
"Today we ride faster than yesterday," the leader of the Mohawk tells him, and they set off again.
Back on the Ridge, they're making plans to go after Roger.
Ian explains, "It's said that [the Mohawk] adopt folk into their tribe, in order to replace those as are killed or die of sickness." Can you say foreshadowing??
He shows them a medallion that the Mohawk gave him when he sold Roger to them.
Jamie says it will take four months or more to travel to the Mohawk village and back. Clearly, Bree can't go with them, pregnant.
Claire and Bree have a brief private conversation, and Bree says she's decided to keep the baby.
"It could be Roger's, right?"
"It could be."
"If there's even the slightest chance it's his, then I'm gonna keep it. Not just for him, but for me, too."
I like that.
Bree insists that Claire must go with Jamie and Ian, but for a different reason than in the book.
"The last time Roger saw them, they beat him and sold him to the Mohawk. He won't see them as rescuers. He'll run." Good point! "He needs to see the face of someone he knows and trusts, and if it can't be me--"
This is a very logical argument, but Claire absolutely refuses to consider leaving Bree and Lizzie alone on the Ridge -- "not in a million years!" So Jamie suggests that they go to stay at River Run with his Aunt Jocasta.
Murtagh volunteers to escort them, which I thought was a good idea.
"I'll ask Tom Burley to look after the crops, and the animals," Jamie says. He really needs a factor for the Ridge! Where are the Bugs when we need them?
So their plans are settled, but all the deception has left Jamie and Claire upset with one another. Jamie, because Claire knew about Bonnet and didn't tell him. Claire, because Jamie told her he'd injured his hand by hitting a tree, when he'd been beating the crap out of poor Roger.
Jamie tells Murtagh to find Stephen Bonnet. "Bring him to me in secret. I'm gonna kill him."
Meanwhile, somewhere on the road, Roger is furtively picking apart the rope that binds his wrists, exactly as described in the book:
Strand by strand, the hemp came free, until no more than a single thread of rope held him to the pony. He waited, sweat streaming down his ribs from fear and the effort of the climb, rejecting one opportunity after another, worrying from moment to moment that he had left it too late, that they would stop to make camp, that the brave who led his pony would turn and see him, would think to check.Back at the cabin, Claire and Bree say their farewells, and prepare to leave. Bree gives Claire a sketch she made of Roger.
(From DRUMS OF AUTUMN by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 51, "Betrayal". Copyright© 1997 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
At the last minute, Ian rushes up to Bree, saying, "For my part in this calamity, I want ye to know, if we dinna find him--" and he drops to one knee. "It would be my honor to take your hand in the holy sacrament of marriage."
I didn't like the way they shoehorned Ian's proposal in here. It doesn't really fit.
They take their farewells, and depart in different directions, Murtagh and Bree and Lizzie in the wagon, Jamie, Claire, and Ian on horseback.
Meanwhile, Roger is STILL on the road, still tied behind a horse, looking absolutely exhausted. They stop to drink, and the Mohawk leader offers Roger his canteen. Shortly after that, Roger stumbles and falls partway down a steep hill, hanging on by the rope caught around one wrist. He yells for help, and when the Mohawk try to pull him to safety, the rope breaks, sending Roger rolling down the hill.
Roger immediately takes off running as fast as he can through the woods, pursued by his captors, and eventually he manages to lose them by hiding in the bushes. (He eludes them pretty easily, but I'm not going to quibble about it!)
Meanwhile, Murtagh, Bree, and Lizzie have arrived at River Run. Lizzie stays with the wagon while Murtagh and Bree are admitted to Jocasta's parlor by Ulysses.
Ulysses tells Jocasta he has a letter from Jamie, and Murtagh speaks up, quoting from the letter: "This letter is carried to you by my godfather, Murtagh FitzGibbons Fraser." Finally! This is the first time in a very long time that we've heard Murtagh call himself Fraser.
I liked the reunion between Murtagh and Jocasta very much, especially this bit:
"Ye must have taken careful note of my hands, to recall them even after thirty years have passed."
"How could I not? You could hardly keep them from my sister, every day of her young life. Every time I looked at her, there you were with a hand out to help her, or with flowers in them for her."
Bree steps forward to be introduced, and explains her predicament in a few brief words, very calmly. Jocasta welcomes her warmly to River Run.
Meanwhile, Roger has discovered a stone circle in the middle of a clearing in the woods. The stones are very definitely emitting a buzzing sound. He walks around and around the tall stone in the middle, staring at it, as if to convince himself that it's real. Finally he fishes the two gemstones out of the hiding place in his breeches and stares at them. His ticket home, right now, if he wants it.
And as he starts to reach toward the stone, I started yelling, "No! No! No!!"
And just like that, the episode ends. What a perfect spot for a cliffhanger ending!
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 Episode 411.
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