Episode 605: "Give Me Liberty" (SPOILERS!)

Roger and Bree in Episode 605

Here are my reactions to Episode 605 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Give Me Liberty".


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









I liked the opening flashback sequence, showing Charles Stuart and Flora MacDonald escaping to Skye after Culloden, very much. It was fun to see Andrew Gower again in his role as the Bonnie Prince, even disguised in women's clothes.

"How does one tolerate these wretched bonnets, or breathe in these cursed gowns?" That made me smile. His personality is exactly as I remember from Season 2.

"We're making haste to reach Armadale, over the sea to Skye." I had to laugh at that reference to the lyrics of OUTLANDER's theme song, but it's very appropriate. For those who don't know, the original version of the Skye Boat Song tells the story of this very incident. Here's a version by the Corries from 1970, with the original lyrics.

I liked Flora MacDonald in this scene, confident and unafraid, despite the dire situation and the very real threat that they might all be killed.

"Mark me, dear Flora, your kindness will not go unremembered." There was a time when I would have rolled my eyes at yet another "Mark me" from Charles Stuart -- the phrase really was over-used in Season 2 -- but I liked it here. And of course, he's right. The Scots never forgot what Flora MacDonald did for him.

I loved the new version of the opening credits, with the Gaelic version of the OUTLANDER theme song, set against the beautiful Scottish landscape. Just wonderful! Even if it's only for this one episode (and I suspect it might be, though I could be wrong), I really enjoyed it. I hope they'll release a video of this version with the lyrics in Gaelic so we can follow along.

UPDATE 4/3/2022 8:37 pm: Here are the lyrics to the Gaelic version, with English translation.

The "title card" for this episode shows a Patriot flag from the Revolutionary War era with "JOIN OR DIE" at the top.

The opening scene shows the new Governor of North Carolina, Josiah Martin, receiving Jamie's letter of resignation as Indian Agent. The text of the letter comes verbatim from the book:

My dear sir,

This is to notify you of my Resignation as Indian Agent, as I find that my personal Convictions will no longer allow me to perform my Office on behalf of the Crown in good Conscience.

In thanks for your kind Attention and many Favors, and wishing you well in future, I remain Your most humble Servant,

J. Fraser

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 69, "The Last Laugh". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

As Governor Martin reacts to the news, we see that Lord John Grey is there in his office.

"He is a friend of yours, is he not?"
"One of my dearest."
"Perhaps you can ascertain where his loyalties lie."

That's a plausible reason for Lord John to be in this episode, and I was glad to see the explanation, because he doesn't appear in this section of the book at all, except via letters.

In the next scene, we're in Wilmington, North Carolina. I liked the brief shot of the ships in the harbor, a reminder that Wilmington is a major seaport.

Jamie mentions Cornelius Harnett, a real historical figure who was active on the Patriot side in the Revolutionary War. I'm very glad to see that the writers treated Harnett with respect, in contrast to the way they portrayed Scotchee Cameron in last week's episode.

The banter between Jamie and Claire about Jamie having a "tendresse" for Flora MacDonald made me smile, especially for the look on Claire's face. This is taken from ABOSAA chapter 54, "Flora MacDonald's Barbecue".

We learn that Fergus has gone to New Bern, but the exact reason is unclear. "But with the former owner leaving in such a hurry...." Claire says. Book-readers will understand this, but I have to wonder what people who have not read the book will make of it. (Owner of what? And why was the owner in such a hurry to leave? And what does this have to do with Fergus?) It seems unnecessarily cryptic here, although it's explained later in the episode.

I liked Claire's comment about Flora MacDonald's image becoming "emblematic of a certain spirit of Scottish rebelliousness". As Jamie points out, that's ironic, considering that she was a strong supporter of the Loyalists during the American Revolution.

"It is strange to think of former Jacobites being so eager to join the Loyalist cause."

This line isn't in the book, but I liked it. I have struggled to understand this myself, especially considering how they were persecuted by British troops in the years following the Rising. Jamie's explanation helps, but I still find it a difficult concept to grasp.

The next scene is not in the book. Jamie goes down to the taproom of the inn, where men are drinking and playing billiards. He catches the eye of a man across the room, who proves to be Cornelius Harnett.

Harnett raises a toast to King George III, and Jamie looks like he's trying not to laugh. When Harnett asks him why he's smiling, Jamie says, "Because I'm among men who have about as much respect for the king as I do." I liked that.

Jamie and Harnett have a private conversation, and it becomes clear that Harnett has heard about Jamie's confrontation with Governor Tryon after the Battle of Alamance. In case you don't remember, here is what Jamie said then, in Episode 507 ("The Ballad of Roger Mac"), in a speech taken almost word-for-word from the book:

"You will kill and maim, for the sake of your glory, and pay no heed to the destruction ye leave--save only that the record of your exploits may be enlarged. How will it look in the dispatches ye send to England--sir? That ye brought cannon to bear on your own citizens, armed with no more than knives and clubs? Or will it say that ye put down rebellion and preserved order? Will it say that in your haste to vengeance, ye hanged an innocent man? Will it say there that ye made ‘a mistake’? Or will it say that ye punished wickedness, and did justice in the King’s name?”

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 72, "Tinder and Char." Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

I thought this conversation between Jamie and Harnett was well-written. I especially liked the bit where Jamie notices the Masonic ring Harnett wears on his little finger, and gives him a Masonic handshake. The message is clear: Jamie, too, is a Freemason, and therefore he can be trusted. Harnett invites Jamie to a meeting of the Sons of Liberty that night.

As Jamie starts to leave, he passes by the fireplace, and his attention is caught by a glass jar on the mantelpiece, with the label, "The Bollocks of the Notorious Pirate STEPHEN BONNET, Taken From His Corpse."

I laughed when I saw that. It's clearly meant as an "Easter egg" for book-readers, referring to the fact that Bree shot one of Bonnet's balls off during a confrontation in FIERY CROSS chapter 103, "Among the Myrtles". In the books, we know that Stephen Bonnet kept this um, object, in a glass jar as a souvenir, just as shown here. But TV Bonnet is dead, so the writers did the next best thing. <g>

In the next scene, we're back on Fraser's Ridge, and Roger is visiting the McCallums, inspecting a hole in the chimney of their log cabin where a stone is missing, letting smoke drift out. I was glad to see that Roger trimmed his beard.

Roger starts humming under his breath. When Amy asks about the tune, he fumbles awkwardly for words, finally saying, "It's a favorite where I come from."

And then, to my astonishment, he starts singing "The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen" (music here, lyrics here), just as though the hanging had never happened. That's a change from the book, obviously, and I didn't care for it. I understand that it would have been difficult for Richard Rankin to keep emulating Book Roger's hoarse, damaged voice through multiple seasons, but are we supposed to believe the hanging had no lasting effect on him whatsoever?

But that's a minor point, all things considered. More important, at the moment, is the fact that Roger is developing a closer relationship with Amy and her son Aidan.

The next scene, with Bree, Marsali, Lizzie, and Malva, looking for the best location to place a water wheel, seems designed to do a number of things at once:

1) to get across the idea that Bree is still inventing things,
2) to make the point that Bree knows Roger is spending a lot of time visiting the McCallums, and she's beginning to be a little annoyed by it,
3) to introduce the love charm known as the "Venom o' the North Wind",
4) to remind viewers that Lizzie suffers from periodic bouts of malaria.

That's an awful lot to convey all at once, and a lot for viewers to absorb. Maybe too much. It felt rushed to me, as though they were trying to pack in too many storylines all at once.

I liked the look of the stones set in a spiral pattern on the rock. It's certainly eye-catching! The reference to the "Venom o' the North Wind" comes from the book, though it's Marsali, rather than Mrs. Bug, who explains it to Bree in the show:

“There’s some charms that take grave dust, ken, and some the dust of bones, or the ashes of a body. [....] What ye said, though,” Mrs. Bug said, returning both to her chopping of turnips and to the original subject of conversation. “About it bein’ on the Flat Rock. Seaweed, bones, and a flat rock. That’s a love charm, lass. The one they call the Venom o’ the North Wind.”

“What a really peculiar name for a love charm,” [Bree] said, staring at Mrs. Bug, who laughed.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 49, "The Venom of the North Wind". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Just as an aside, it's interesting to hear Lizzie mention Ute McGillivray and her daughter Senga, who have not been introduced in the show until now. (I believe Ute was in a scene with other women on the Ridge at one point in Season 5, but not identified except in the credits.)

Malva, talking about Amy McCallum: "She's a widow. Lonely, with those two young children, no doubt." Notice the look Bree gives her, as though she's just now realizing that all the neighbors must know Roger has been hanging around Amy's house.

And then Lizzie falls ill with an attack of malaria. It's been so long since there was any reference to this on the show that I had forgotten that TV Lizzie even suffers from malaria. Bree and the others take her home.

In the next scene, we're in a grand mansion in Wilmington (whose mansion? it's unclear) where a reception is being held in honor of Flora MacDonald. I love all the costumes in this part of the episode -- just gorgeous!

Jamie is surprised to see Lord John, but they're both pleased to see one another. This encounter didn't happen in the book, but I'm pleased to see Lord John here, too.

"I have a particular fondness for reformed Jacobites." Good line.

Lord John describes William as though he's a prodigy. "He bests me at chess almost every day [....] He talks of politics like a politician, of history like an historian, and his knowledge of literature and the modern languages is....well, I hardly know where to begin."

It sounds impressive, but also too good to be true, IMHO.

Jocasta enters the room, on the arm of her husband, Duncan Innes. Just as in Season 5, poor Duncan might as well be a background extra for all the personality he shows in this episode. It's not the actor's fault, it's just that the writers never give him anything interesting to do or say. I still find that disappointing.

"The last time I sent a man to River Run," Jamie tells Jocasta, "you bought him a printshop, and I lost a son." Jocasta proceeds to explain that she bought Fergus the printshop in New Bern, essentially, so that he would be happy, and to get him and Marsali away from people saying horrible things about wee Henri-Christian.

This is a change from the book, where Jamie paid for the printshop himself, using one of their precious collection of gemstones.

MacDonald had been empowered to negotiate on behalf of the printer’s friends--they being anxious to get the problematical real estate sold before some patriotic soul came and burned it down--and so the bargain was concluded on the spot. MacDonald was sent hurtling back down the mountain to change the emerald into money, conclude payment on the printer’s shop, leaving the residue of the money with Fergus for ongoing expenses--and let it be known as quickly as possible in New Bern that the premises were shortly to be under new management.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 68, "Savages". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

I really don't like this change at all. Yes, it emphasizes Jocasta's ruthlessness and high-handedness (doing as she pleases without consulting anyone else), but in this case, I think it makes Jamie look weak, incapable of making decisions on behalf of his family.

Claire interrupts this very awkward conversation by making small talk with Mary, one of Jocasta's slaves, whom we met in Season 4. Jocasta quickly grows impatient with this conversation, and she and Duncan move off in search of refreshment.

In the next scene, we're back on the Ridge, where the Beardsley twins are very concerned about Lizzie, ill with malaria. Bree hands them a jar of ointment and tells them to go look for gallberries to treat Lizzie's symptoms.

I don't think the way they adapted that scene here works well at all. Why come to Brianna? Bree doesn't know anything about medicine, or how to make gallberries into an ointment to treat malaria.

In the book, Lizzie describes what happened when she had an attack of malaria and Claire was not available. She managed to get help by herself:

“My teeth were clackin’ so hard together I thought they’d break, surely, but I told them to fetch the ointment, wi’ the gallberries, the ointment ye’d made.”

They had rummaged through the surgery cupboard until they found it, and then, frantic as she burned hotter and hotter, had stripped off her shoes and stockings and begun to rub the ointment into her hands and feet.

“I told them--I told them they must rub it all over,” she said, her cheeks going a deep peony. She looked down, fiddling with a strand of hair. “I was--well, I was quite oot my mind wi’ the fever, ma’am, truly I was. But I kent I needed my medicine bad.”

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 73, "Double-Dealing". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Bree's involvement here feels really contrived to me, just a flimsy excuse to get the twins alone with Lizzie in order to move their story arc along.

Meanwhile, back at the party in Flora MacDonald's honor, Major MacDonald is chatting with Jamie and Claire when Lord John brings Flora and her husband to join them.

I liked the expression on Flora's face when Jamie said, "Formerly of Broch Tuarach" and she suddenly realized who he was. The story about Flora stealing Jamie's bridie comes from ABOSAA chapter 54, "Flora MacDonald's Barbecue", and it always makes me laugh, imagining Jamie as a child.

Flora tells them that she was delayed because a thief was ransacking her rooms, and stole a necklace. The authorities arrested the thief and retrieved the necklace -- but one of its emeralds was missing.

The instant I heard that, I thought, "Donner!!" I think this was a really effective way to bring Wendigo Donner, the Native American time-traveler, into the story. It's not the same as the book, but it's creative and plausible.

Suddenly Jocasta cries out in pain. Her eyes are bothering her, a symptom of glaucoma. Claire observes that Flora MacDonald may be suffering a slight case of nerves, and invites her to join in the treatment she's about to give Jocasta.

Nerves? Flora MacDonald, who showed nerves of steel in a life-and-death situation at the beginning of the episode, and at this stage of her life is an experienced public speaker, used to appearing before large crowds, suffering from stage fright? I thought that was a flimsy excuse, contrived only to set up the later scene with her and Jocasta and Claire.

Meanwhile, back at Bree and Roger's cabin, Bree has finally had enough of Roger hanging around Amy McCallum.

"What I think is she's a lonely widow with two children, and having a handsome man at her beck and call all the time--"
"She needs me."
"We need you!"

The argument is based on a scene from the book, but their conflict, such as it is, feels really subdued here, with Bree making arguments based on logic ("Amy needs to find a husband of her own, and she won't if you're already the man of the house") rather than emotion. Bree doesn't even lose her temper, which really surprised me.

She was puffing like a grampus with the effort not to cry. Her cheeks were hot with blood and her eyeballs felt red, bloodshot, so hot that she felt she might sear him with a look--certainly she wished she could.


“The point,” she said, gulping air, “is that you’re always gone. Malva Christie, Amy McCallum, Marsali, Lizzie--you even go help Ute McGillivray, for God’s sake!”

“Who else is to do it?” he asked sharply. “Your father or your cousin might, aye--but they’ve to be gone to the Indians. I’m here. And I’m not always gone,” he added, as an afterthought. “I’m home every night, am I not?”

She closed her eyes and clenched her fists, feeling the nails dig into her palms.

“You’ll help any woman but me,” she said, opening her eyes. “Why is that?”

He gave her a long, hard look, and she wondered for an instant whether there was such a thing as a black emerald.

“Maybe I didn’t think ye needed me,” he said. And turning on his heel, he left.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 50, "Sharp Edges". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

I would have liked to see stronger emotions in evidence in this scene. Bree has a temper; why won't they let her show it? That was a missed opportunity, in my opinion.

In the next scene, Claire and Jocasta and Flora MacDonald are chatting over drinks, while Jocasta smokes hemp from a pipe.

Flora reminisces about the Bonnie Prince, Charles Edward Stuart. "I fear my name will forever be associated with him." She's right about that!

"I had always wished to meet a member of the royal family," Jocasta says. Claire mentions Versailles, triggering a sudden memory of the time she lay with King Louis XV in order to secure Jamie's release from the Bastille. She is clearly unsettled by the memory, but she says nothing. Flora leaves to prepare to address her guests, and we get a good look at the beautiful little folly where they have been sitting. Just lovely!

Jocasta reminisces about Murtagh, and it's clear she's still grieving. As soon as she leaves, Claire dives for her medical kit, takes out the bottle of ether, and pours a few drops on a handkerchief.

I was really disappointed to see this. I thought Claire had started to wean herself off of the ether, but here she is using it, in a public place where the guests or servants might stumble across her unconscious body at any time. When is she going to stop this nonsense? Is she, in fact, ever going to stop?? I know Diana Gabaldon has said the ether storyline comes to a satisfactory conclusion by the end of Season 6, but we only have three more episodes to go, and Claire seems no closer to stopping using ether than she was in Episode 602.

Worse, she's still hiding it from Jamie.

"Where did you disappear to?" he asks her.
"I just needed a rest."

Flora MacDonald makes a speech emphasizing unity and loyalty to "the United Kingdom of Great Britain," and the crowd reacts with enthusiasm, while Jamie and Claire applaud politely.

I found the next shot, of Jamie and Lord John's legs as they walk across the lawn, a little disconcerting at first. until I realized who they were. With the camera pointed at their legs, this shot draws attention to the fact that Jamie seems to be the only man at this very formal occasion who is not wearing silk stockings and buckled shoes in the fashion of the day. And I can't help thinking, why on earth not? If Jamie can afford to furnish his house in such grand style, why can't he invest in a good set of shoes and stockings for special occasions? I admit this is a small thing, but it bothered me. If the camera angle had been more conventional, I probably wouldn't have noticed.

Lord John is concerned about Jamie's involvement with the Sons of Liberty, but before Jamie can explain, the slave Mary interrupts, saying, "There's trouble in town."

What happens next, with an angry mob attacking Fogarty Simms' printshop in Cross Creek, is based on a scene from the book.

“Come out, Simms!” he echoed. “What kind of man takes shelter beneath a Scotsman’s skirts, eh?” Jameson’s voice was loud enough that everyone heard that, and most laughed--including Jamie.

“A wise one!” Jamie shouted back, and shook the end of his plaid at Jameson. “This tartan’s sheltered many a poor lad in its time!”


“Is there room under there for me, too?” called one of the fishwives promptly.

Laughter rolled through the crowd. Fickle as any mob, their mood was changing back from threat to entertainment. I took a deep, trembling breath, feeling sweat roll down between my breasts. He was managing them, but he was walking a razor’s edge.

If he’d made up his mind to protect Simms--and he had--then no power on earth would make him give the printer up. If the mob wanted Simms--and they did--they’d have to go through Jamie. And they would, I thought, any minute.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 56, "Tar and Feathers". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

But as portrayed in the show, there's little humor in the situation. The printer points a musket at the crowd, and one of the mob fires a pistol, striking Simms in the arm. Before the situation can deteriorate further, Major MacDonald arrives with British troops, who subdue the mob.

The overall effect, for the second time in this episode, is to make Jamie look weaker than he does in the book. Rather than Jamie figuring out a way to resolve the situation himself, Major MacDonald steps in to do it for him. I didn't care for that.

Later, in their room at the inn, Claire tends Jamie's neck, burned by a bit of tar. The war is coming now, and he can no longer avoid it.

The following bit comes straight from the book:

“I kent I should have to stand one day against a good many of them, aye? To fight friends and kin. But then I found myself standing there, wi’ Fionnaghal’s hand upon my head like a blessing, face to face wi’ them all, and watching her words fall upon them, see the resolve growing in them ... and all of a sudden, it was as though a great blade had come down from heaven between them and me, to cleave us forever apart. The day is coming--and I can not stop it.”

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 56, "Flora MacDonald's Barbecue". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

"The tide has turned," Claire says. "Our allegiance now is to this new nation."

Back on the Ridge, Tom Christie, Allan Christie, and Roger are lugging the new bell for the meeting-house up the hill. Tom sends Roger into the meeting-house for a coil of rope to pull the bell into position, and Roger walks in on Malva and Obadiah Henderson, having sex on the floor of the deserted building.

Malva's reaction here is absolutely spot on, and I loved it! Roger, too, reacts exactly the way I imagined:

They’d sprung apart like a pair of startled deer, eyes wide, so alarmed as to be funny.

He’d smiled, but before he could either apologize or fade tactfully into the underbrush, Malva had stepped up to him, eyes still wide, but blazing with determination. “Tell my father,” she’d said, “and I’ll tell everyone I’ve seen you kiss Amy McCallum.”

He’d been so taken aback by her words that he’d scarcely noticed Bobby, until the young soldier had put a hand on her arm, murmuring something to her, drawing her away. She’d turned reluctantly, with a last, wary, meaningful glance at Roger, and a parting shot that left him staggered.

“Everybody kens ye spend more time up at the notch wi’ the widow McCallum than ye do with your own wife. They’ll all believe me.”

God damn it, they would, too, and it was his own bloody fault.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 50, "Sharp Edges". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Perfect, just perfect!

In the next scene, Roger comes back to the McCallums' house one more time, intending just to finish work on the chimney, but Amy invites him to stay for lunch.

"Aidan can't wait to hear stories of when you were taken captive by the...Mohawk?"

I didn't like this at all. Roger's memories of that time are not pleasant ones, and not ones he wishes to recall. I can't picture him voluntarily telling young Aidan about that time, as though it was all fun and games, a harmless adventure, rather than one of the bleakest periods of his whole life.

Meanwhile back in Wilmington, Jamie confronts his Aunt Jocasta. She admits that she paid for Flora MacDonald's visit. I don't see anything wrong with that, but as far as the printshop is concerned, I agree with Jamie:

"No doubt he'll feel obliged to do your bidding and print your views, since it was your money that bought him the shop."

I find that idea really distasteful. But I like the rest of this exchange between Jamie and Jocasta.

"I dinna wish to hear that he's been hanged for treason, or tarred and feathered for not being treasonous enough." I love this line, but in the book, Jamie said it to Fergus directly.
"I understand the dangers."
"And I understand your grief. But if anything should happen to my son...."

And Jocasta turns to Duncan Innes, who has been sitting like a block of wood through this conversation (silent and useless, contributing nothing), saying she's too tired to talk further.

Jocasta's maid, Mary, confides to Jamie that Jocasta hasn't been herself since Murtagh died. She's been dreaming about the death of her daughter Morna, and the French gold.

Mary asks if Jocasta is losing her mind. "No," Jamie says. "She's lost her heart."

That's a pretty clunky bit of dialogue, if you ask me. But then, I'm biased, because I was never a fan of the Murtagh/Jocasta romance in the first place, so I have a hard time feeling much sympathy for Jocasta in her grief.

Meanwhile, back on the Ridge, Roger returns home to find Jemmy playing with a toy airplane. He tells Bree that he asked Obadiah to look in on Amy and take care of anything she needs. (Is Obadiah going to substitute for Bobby Higgins in the show permanently, then? It seems likely, but I guess we'll wait and see.)

"I have a weakness for young mothers," Roger admits. That's absolutely true, starting with Morag MacKenzie on the Gloriana.

"You know I was never worried about you," Bree says.
"I know. I'm still sorry. I want to spend the time with you and Jemmy. Just the three of us."
"Or the four of us," Bree says.

I love the way Roger reacts to the news that Bree is pregnant, and I'm happy for them, even though it seems a little premature. I'm guessing that they will speed up the timeline somewhat, so that the baby's birth will take place this season, but I could be wrong.

In the next scene, we see Malva going into the crude hut where the sin-eater lived. He must be dead, for he doesn't move at all when she takes a knife and starts sawing off one of his fingers. That's very creepy!

Meanwhile, in Wilmington, Jamie tells Lord John that he intends to attend the next meeting of the Sons of Liberty. John is shocked and saddened.

"You are for independency." It comes out as a statement, not a question. John knows he can't talk him out of it.

"I cannot disguise how I feel any longer. It is a mistake I have made before."

Interesting. I wonder if he's referring to all that time he spent with Charles Stuart during their time in Paris, trying desperately to prevent the Rising while pretending for Charles' benefit to be one of his most loyal Jacobite supporters.

"It is inconceivable and incomprehensible that the colonies might govern themselves." OK, Lord John, if you say so, but "inconceivable"? Now I have that line from THE PRINCESS BRIDE running through my head. <g>

Jamie will not be dissuaded, so John finally agrees to try to prevent the British soldiers from coming to arrest the Sons of Liberty for as long as he can. "Be careful," he calls, as Jamie starts to walk away.

This is sad. It doesn't have the same sense of finality to it as Jamie's letter in the book, formally severing their relationship in order to protect both of them, but you can see in both men's eyes that the effect will be the same, and they regret the necessity of it.

That night, Jamie attends the meeting of Harnett's committee. At first they turn him away, thinking he might be a Loyalist because he defended Simms, the printer.

"Mr. Simms owns a printing press. It's his right to print whatever he pleases." And the same will be true of Fergus, too, I hope!

Jamie's speech about the importance of free speech is not in the book, but I liked both the speech and the way Sam delivers it, more forcefully and with more confidence than usual.

"You call yourselves Sons of Liberty. Is it liberty when men are cowed into silence, or threatened into submission?" Good line.

Jamie tells them that soldiers are coming to arrest them.

"How do you know this?" That line seems a little silly, under the circumstances. Um, by the sound of marching footsteps coming from the street outside and the sight of the torches they're carrying, plainly visible through the window?

Lucky for them, the building has a back door! They quickly disperse, and when the soldiers come in, they find Jamie calmly playing billiards with a couple of the other men.

In the next scene, Bree comes to visit Marsali. She reports that Lizzie is better. Marsali notes with amusement that the Beardsley twins have been "tending to her like a little lost lamb."

Marsali sees at once that Bree is pregnant, and she's surprised that Bree didn't tell her. Bree makes her promise not to tell Claire.

Bree looks at baby Henri-Christian in his basket. "This one won't even get to meet his new cousin."
"Aye, he will. They'll be making mischief together."

Or, well, maybe not. God, that's a sad thought!

Meanwhile in Wilmington, Jamie and Claire are preparing to leave. Jamie's words here come straight from the book:

“When there is war in the air, men take to the roads.”

I thought he was right; I remembered wanderers on the Highland roads, carrying rumors of the Stuart Rising. It was as though the tremors of unrest jarred loose those who were not firmly attached to a place by love of land or family, and the swirling currents of dissension bore them onward, the first premonitory fragments of a slow-motion explosion that would shatter everything. I shivered, the light breeze touching cold through my shift.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 71, "Black Pudding". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)

Suddenly Claire hears whistling in the distance. The tune is familiar, from a famous scene in the 1957 movie THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER KWAI. Another time traveler is nearby!

As they drive away, the scene switches to a jail cell nearby, where we see that the man whistling that tune has long curly hair. It's Donner, the time-traveling member of Lionel Brown's gang from Episode 512, "Never My Love". He opens his palm to reveal the emerald that he stole from Flora MacDonald. And with that, the episode ends.

I hope you enjoyed this recap. Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes, and please come back next week for my recap of Episode 606.

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Laurie Spitzer said...

I enjoyed your synopsis very much. This is the first episode of season 6 where I felt the story went off the rails more than a little. Bree’s pregnancy seemed especially contrived, as Mandy wasn’t born until April of 1776, some 3 years down the road. Like you, I find the whole Claire and the ether bit “inconceivable, and more than a bit tedious now. Still, there were some good bits, too.

Violet Daraitis said...

I just cannot stand this nonsense about Claire/ether. I can barely watch because Claire WOULD NOT do that. They are taking way too many liberties with personalities. They've been watering Jamie down from day one. Did they even read the books or did they just highlight certain parts and make up the rest?
Your insights are spot on, as always. Thank you.

Kim Briggs said...

Very much appreciate your talent. Relieved to have found your site. When hearing about Claire and the ether, my first thought was; why are they co-opting Cider House Rules. Is there an assumption those reading or watching Outlander wouldn’t be well read or know John Irving’s literature?

Jana said...

Good episode, a bit choppy in places but quite a few storylines are being set out here, so all in all, necessary.
I liked that Jamie didn't understand Claire saying that maybe he had a crush on Flora MacDonald, it's nice to be reminded that they are from different centuries.
Loved seeing Lord John Grey back again. I also loved the way he was describing William's attributes to Jamie and Claire. I think he was talking about Jamie there, he was looking straight into Jamie's eyes with such a look of love. Jamie looked proud and a little embarrassed at the way John was talking about his son. Later Lord John tells Jamie to "be careful" and again that longing look. Lord John is obviously still in love with Jamie.
Sam and David Berry are brilliant together.
Bonnet's "bits" in the jar was very funny, I had to wind back to read what the label said. Jamie's face was a picture.
I didn't like Roger singing, I don't like the actors singing these wistful little songs, although I quite enjoyed the rousing songs like Johnny Cope from episode one. Surprised that after having his wind-pipe crushed, he can sing at all.
Jocasta is still sitting like a spider in a web, and possibly causing trouble for Fergus and nice to hear Jamie calling him "my son". I wish there was more of Marsali and Fergus, they have such great chemistry together and are a totally believable couple.
Like most others, I don't like Claire and the ether, I don't think she would do this. Although she is now encouraging both Jocasta and Flora MacDonald
to partake of drugs too. Although I suppose it's no worse than the whisky they all take for pain relief.
Thank you Karen for your observations.
I look forward to next episode, although I'm a bit worried about Malva !!!!

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