ROGER AND BRIANNA
Inverness, 1970. Roger is in his empty house, noodling around on his guitar when Fiona and her dude are there to take possession of the house. Roger gives them a traditional gift of salt, I guess (for flavor in your life) and champagne. He and Fiona’s dude make toasts, and Roger hands Fiona the keys, with a sense of due ceremony. It’s his childhood home, after all. Roger is headed to America to play at a Scottish festival, but also to see Bri, and he give a sort of delighted abashed grin at the pair as Fiona tells her man that Bri is studying engineering at MIT.
RIchard Rankin is so adorable you guys.
I’m tipsy recapping BTW. There’s been wine.
Fiona asks when Roger last saw Brianna; it’s hard to manage a transatlantic relationship. Fiona: you are in love with her so you should tell her. “Now, go get her.”
At River Run, Claire watches the slaves go off the fields, while Jamie tells Jocasta that they’re leaving. She hoped they would stay and love River Run like she does, but Jamie wants only to be master of his own soul. They’ll go back to Wilmington, send Ian back to Scotland, and go west to a town where there’s a lot of Scottish settlers. Claire will set up as a healer and he’ll set us a printer. He tries to give Jocasta back the money bag that she gave him last episode, but she scoffs, “Don’t let your pride get in the way of your family’s security!” Ulysses is getting horses and provisions organized for them, along with a rifle and some pistols. Jocasta also has a set of candlesticks that had been Jamie’s mother’s, and they (Jocasta and Ellen) would like Jamie to have. Jocasta touches Jamie’s face and says that she would like to look on his face, just once.
Ian is lobbying to stay in North Carolina. Jamie’s promise to Jenny and Old Ian wasn’t really Jamie’s to make, and Ian’s been through a lot: pirates, kidnapping, hurricanes, and now he’s a man who can make his own choices about what he does and where home is. Jamie: that’s legit. I’ll write to your parents. Ian: Nope, a man write his own letters. Also my mom is an ocean away and can’t stop me.
Claire goes to say goodbye to Jocasta, and there’s a really well-played tension where they both have some respect but also fundamentally can’t understand aspects of the other woman. Jocasta tells Claire that she’s doing Jamie a disservice. Jamie was born to be laird, and he could have been one at River Run and now Claire is taking him off to be a printer in a backwater. Claire: you haven’t seen him since he was a kid, and you don’t know him now and you don’t know me. Thank you and goodbye.
Included with the horses is a mule, Clarence, whom Ulysses describes as both sturdy and LOUD. Phaedre also provided some salted meat and biscuits in with the provisions. Joining the party (at Jocasta’s suggestion) is John Quincy Myers, who is heading into the mountains, and he’ll show them the way. Jamie touches his hat to Jocasta, and Ulysses tells her, “Your nephew bids you farewell, mistress.”
In Boston, Roger comes down the concourse and there’s Brianna waiting for him, smiling like the sun. There is awkwardness as they both are kind of like “are we in a kissing place IDK IDK maybe I am but they are not so we won’t kiss.” Instead, they are driving a land yacht car that gets 10 miles a gallon from Boston to North Carolina. There’s a pile of Dairy Queen bags in the back, and Roger says these are the best chips he’s ever had. Dork.
Further long on the drive, they’re playing a game called “The Minister’s Cat” that involves high falutin’ vocabulary, until Brianna is like “you’re pretty.” She’s not wrong. Then she kisses him while he’s driving, which is not smart.
The picture dissolves to the same place, but 200 years before as JQM gives the Frasers a quick history lesson of the Indian tribes in the area. It’s fall, the trees are turning, and there’s some gorgeous landscapes and bald eagles and everything. At night, JQM tells Claire and Jamie that he’s going to part ways for a bit, trade with the local Indians, and Ian announces that he will be going along too. (Jamie and Claire both work very hard at accepting that Ian gets to make some of his own decisions now, but it’s clearly not easy.)
Jamie asks Claire if she like to maybe go somewhere that’s more familiar to her, like Boston. She says that no, it’s not the same, (I bet it would be both awesome and weird) and it wouldn’t really be starting anew, and besides, things are going to explode there in a year or so. She wants them to make a home together, that’s theirs.
The next day, Claire and Jamie ride along through the North Carolina countryside, and talk about what Brianna is going to do when she grew up. Claire always knew what she wanted to do, but Brianna hasn’t found her calling yet. “She’d try something, and get bored, and move on.” Jamie muses that in the now (18th century) most people just go into their parents’ professions. Bree tried history because of Frank (Jamie’s cheek twitches at his name) but wasn’t really into it. Jamie assures Claire that Bree will find her way. Claire agrees, but there isn’t a day where she won’t worry about her. Thunder rumbles, and Jamie says they’ll stay in a tavern until they’ve made enough money to get their own house. “Or a quaint brothel?” Claire sasses. Jamie asks if she’s going to hold that over him forever, and she says no, not FOREVER.
Later, one of the horses has a shoe loose, and Jamie yanks it off. Claire asks him what he wants to do: he’s good with horses, and he’s good at printing. Claire doesn’t want him to make a decision about what he wants to do with himself just based on what she wants. “There’s a phrase that becomes important in America. The pursuit of happiness.” Were it just himself, Jamie would happily be an outlaw, but there’s Claire and Ian and Fergus and Marsali and the Petit Fergus, so he really should be doing something a bit more… settled. Before Claire can answer, thunder cracks and Clarence brays. Jamie says they’ll make camp, and at another crack of thunder, Clarence breaks his rope and takes off. Claire mounts up to go after Clarence, who is still fully laden with a lot of supplies.
At the Scottish Festival, there’s highland dancing and caber tossing and a lot of people in questionable plaids. Roger is wearing a kilt with his black turtleneck and sport coat, and Bree’s like, my mom was right about men and kilts and being irresistible. There’s a LOT of people there. Bree expresses surprise at the number of Scots in North Carolina, and Roger tells her that it was mostly settled by Scots. He also apologizes if it’s too upsetting for her, and she says no, it just makes her think of her mom. Bree and Roger get their portraits done (Bree calls Roger her boyfriend, which seems important and he’s delighted by that) wearing Mackenzie tartans.
Later, they find ceilidh dancing, and give it a go. A woman in a plaid shawl gives them instruction, and they dancing, grinning and basically being cute.
Back in the past, Jamie’s just finished reshoeing the horse when Clarence runs back. But no Claire. The wind is picking up, so Jamie grabs a pistol and goes to search for Claire. Elsewhere, Claire recognizes that she’s lost, when lightning strikes a tree and spooks her horse. The horse rears and Claire falls off, smacking her head. The horse runs off.
At the festival, the evening concert is going on. Roger sings a song called
“The False Bride.” He has a lovely voice, and Bree watches him adoringly. She also looks at the portrait of them together, which is a good picture.
After the concert, they walk to their respective cabins, and kiss. Roger tells her goodnight. Bree got him a book about Scottish settlers in North America (since he knows all about the Scots in Scotland) and also some Mountain Moonshine (it’s a dry county, but she has Fraser charm). They go into Bree’s cabin for a drink. Bree has a deer head on her wall, which is creepy. Roger goes to talk to the deer, and Bree throws her shirt onto the antlers.
She stands behind him, in her skirt and bra, and Roger, being not stupid, kisses her. They kiss so enthusiastically that they fall down, and then Roger stops because he wants this to be perfect. He gets up and goes to his coat while she looks at him, confused and folding her arms across her chest, “….but it is perfect.” He’s got a gift for her as well, a silver bracelet that says “Je t’aime… un peu, beaucoup, passionnément, pas de tout.” I love you a little, a lot, passionately, not at all.”
Roger tells her that this whole weekend is perfect, and gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him.
Roger, this is fast. He says she’s right, it is, but they can have a long engagement, but he wants to stand with her at the calling of the clans the next night knowing they’ll be married and to have a home with her and children and and and. Bree does not have the look of a woman who is going to say yes. She’s not ready for this. Roger absorbs this, and says “nae bother” before putting on his coat. Bree gets up and kisses him and the stupidest argument ever happens.
It boils down to yes, she wants to have sex with him, but he isn’t down for fucking without marriage. “If all I wanted was to have my way with you, I’d have had you on your back a dozen times last summer.” She slaps him, and he’s like well if you don’t care to marry me, I don’t care to have you in my bed so that’s that. Bree: I HAVEN’T EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THIS AT ALL. WHAT THE FUCK. Roger: A NICE CATHOLIC GIRL LIKE YOU SHOULDN’T BE FUCKING PEOPLE. Bree: YOU HAVE HAD OTHER GIRLS I KNOW YOU HAVE. Roger: THAT IS DIFFERENT BECAUSE I DIDN’T LOVE THEM. Me: WHAT. Diana Gabaldon: THIS FIGHT IS WORD FOR WORD HOW I WROTE IT YOU CAN’T BE SURPRISED. Me: HE IS BEING STUPID AND REGRESSIVE. Bree: YOU’ll HAVE SEX WITH A GIRL BUT ONLY MARRY A VIRGIN. Me: SEE WHAT I MEAN.
I mean Richard and Sophie are killing this but god. Roger pouts that he loves her but she doesn’t love him. “I didn’t say that.” “You didn’t have to.” Welp. I mean, part of the problem is that Roger has gamed this relationship in his head out far past where it really is, and Brianna has not actually been a part of that (GUILTY). So he’s intellectually more invested than he has a right to expect her to be. Also he’s being stupid and chauvinistic and regressive.
The storm over Claire has gone full bore, and it’s dark. Claire wakes up and after calling for Jamie a few times, finds herself a fallen tree that sort of provides some shelter. She takes off her boots and empties them of water (they have zippers because she brought them with her through the stones), and then finds a human skull buried shallowly next to her. The skull has a gouge cut across the top of it. Underneath the skull is a stone (it’s an opal, or at least, it is supposed to be). Claire contemplates the skull and asks it if the opal belonged to it.
Off in the distance she sees a torch, and thinks (reasonably) that it’s Jamie… but then she sees a) it’s being carried by an Indian in a white shirt and black smeared around his eyes, and b) she can only see him when the lightning is flashing. When there’s no lightning, there’s no man and no torch. Claire, being who she is, asks him who is he and what he wants, and then sees he has the stone on a thong around his neck. He looks at her, and then turns away, where she can see that there’s a wound down the back of his head that matches the one on the skull, and that a portion of his scalp has been cut away.
Then all is darkness, and Claire is alone again.
Back at the festival, it’s the closing evening. Roger is looking for Bree, and sits with the Mackenzies. Bree asks if she can join him, and they both start to apologize, sort of. She hasn’t changed her mind, and neither has he. Bree explains that part of her hesitation is that Claire married the man she loved, and then met her soulmate later, so like, it’s a THING, right? Roger: So you’re waiting for something better? Bree: No, my exemplar of marriage is a complicated mess.
The “calling of the clans” begins, where the emcee dude calls out the names of various clans, and people cheer and someone yells back “The Stewarts are here!” While this is happening, Roger pouts, and Bree tries to give him back the bracelet. He won’t accept it, and when the Mackenzies are called, Roger raises a torch and replies that the Mackenzie are there. He looks back, and sees the Bree is gone, while they burn a wicker stag. I’m sure this means a thing. Roger yells “Tulach ard!” (the warcry of the Mackenzies), and I’m sure he wonders how he’s getting back to Boston for his flight. I mean, this is going to be a REALLY awkward drive.
It’s morning for Claire, and the storm is over. She looks at her stocking feet, then to where she put her boots, but they’re gone. She looks around, and realizes there’s boot prints in the mud. She goes back, and gets the skull and puts it in her bag, and then follows the boot prints. They bring her to a stream, where Jamie, the horses and Clarence are waiting. Jamie and Claire embrace and Jamie’s like thank god you had the good sense to come back here.
Claire: I’ve never been here before. But her boots are there! Claire asks if he saw anyone or anything, but he didn’t, he followed her foot prints to that spot. Claire: Oh, it was the ghost. Sweet. Jamie: …..Okay, cool. Claire tries to talk to him about all the stuff from yesterday, about his ambitions and how he thinks he has nothing to give her, but he thinks she should have a wash first.
Claire is washing…the skull. And realizes that it has silver fillings in the teeth. 100 years before it’s supposed to be invented. The skull belonged to a time traveler. “Who were you?”
After riding for some time, they find some wild strawberries. We’re going to ignore the fact that it’s autumn and out of season for the symbolism: the strawberries are the symbol of Clan Fraser- in French, strawberry is freselier. Jamie looks out from the ridge and calls it the most beautiful land he’s ever seen. There’s a river, and a meadow for animals, and a flat spot for crops… “I know that look on your face, Jamie Fraser. You’re in love.” Jamie’s like, we meant to live in the safety of town, not out here with nothing and we’d have to accept the governor’s offer, but….
Claire admits that she’s often dreamt of them having a home of their own. “Do you trust me, Claire?” “With my life.” “With your heart?” “Always.” This spot will be their home, and they’ll call it Fraser’s Ridge.
I mean REALLY, Roger. What the fuck man. What the FUCK. Honestly, Richard Rankin makes Roger waaaaaaay more likeable than this book makes him (I’m a fan of his charmingness, but that haircut, my man. 1970 is not being kind to you). And Sophie Skelton is doing great with Brianna, as well! We’ll see how we go, but she seems a lot more comfortable than she did before.
FRASER’S RIDGE MY PEOPLE. WE MADE IT!
Maybe it’s appropriate that I watched this episode after Thanksgiving, because Jocasta’s comment to Claire that she’s holding Jamie back hit a nerve. IT’S NOT ALWAYS THE DAUGHTER/NIECE-IN-LAW’S FAULT OKAY?
The scenes with Bree and Roger at the Scottish Festival didn’t do a whole lot for me. I think the people who have read the books are more invested in their romance, whereas I don’t feel it’s been as sweeping and Claire and Jamie’s (obviously you’re missing time travel, danger, etc). It’s sort of like watching two people date.
Also, Roger is an idiot and he’s annoying me. One, playing guitar on stage while wearing a kilt is risky business. You know someone in the front row was getting an eye-full of nuts. Two, maybe Bree wants to sleep with you before marriage because she wants to know if you’re terrible in bed. Sexual compatibility is sort of important. Or maybe you could just respect the fact that she needs some time to process the idea of an entire lifetime with you. Maybe you shouldn’t slut shame her and then virgin shame her in the same breath. Maybe you should just go away now.
“I love you all or not at all,” is a neat way to say “I don’t respect your boundaries.”
The historical scenes in this episode were gorgeous. It’s pure travel-pr0n. I’m not sure where specifically they filmed this episode but wherever it is, it’s gorgeous.
So anyway, Claire has a concussion and is hanging out under a tree stump, in the pouring rain, talking to a skull. And then a ghost stole her boots. Honestly, I’ve had days like that too. And then we get more scenery pr0n. It’s not a bay way to end an episode.
What about you? How are you liking this season, and this episode?