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Outlander: Do No Harm

"Welcome to River Run."

Talk about intense.

Practically on the edge from the very beginning with Jamie beating himself up, they really didn't let up. I guess jumping into a new horror is one way to forget about the last.

There are episodes like the wedding that I could watch over and over again. And have. And there are episodes like "To Ransom a Man's Soul" that I'm just never anxious to revisit. No matter how well done, once is enough. This one falls to the latter. The more uncomfortable Claire got, the harder the episode was to watch. Young Ian, Rollo and the skunk were the only relief in an hour of unrest.

Outlander never shies away from dealing with the ugly side of their story and they certainly didn't here. I wanted very much for Rufus to live. And you could feel how much Claire and Jamie wanted it, too. But they were shut down at literally every decision. And because they are who they are, they persisted. Powered through roadblock after roadblock to do right by this boy only to hit a brick wall reinforced with concrete in the end.

A book written twenty years ago doesn't deal with something like white privilege as directly as it might be expected to today. And in that regard, making decisions for Rufus about when he should be saved and when it was time for poison tea wasn't the most heroic thing to be done but this is Claire and Jamie's story so I can't fault the writers for sticking to it being a decision that would rest solely on them.

Were TPTB trying to make a point? Prove to the audience that no matter how gallant and forward thinking, Jamie and Claire simply don't have the option of ending racism and going up against slavery? It is, after all, not an option for everyone to simply decline to participate and leave River Run as they'll no doubt be doing after this. There has to be some kind of grace for the king of men and healer extraordinaire so that the audience can accept that these characters accept living with such atrocities in their backyard. And I think that was the ultimate goal here: to be honest as storytellers but make it clear that Claire and Jamie are out of the history changing game.

Meeting Aunt Jocasta was almost as surreal an experience for me as it was for Jamie. We don't know how similar to Jamie's mom she actually is but this is a woman that I can easily see running aground with Colum and Dougal. She's got a Mackenzie swagger. What a great casting choice.

I might add a rating later. How many skunks out of 4 would you say?

Bits and pieces

The ultimate Outlander antagonist is time. Being lost in the wrong time, running out of time. Here we started and ended with a ticking clock.

Ian is becoming a great surgical assistant. I wonder if he will eventually take an interest in following in his aunt Claire's footsteps.

Aunt Jocasta's grandfather clock, for some random reason, reminded me of Louise's cuckoo clock in Paris. And how unfathomable it is that knowing the time would have been a luxury in the 18th century.

No Fergus. Sad.

Ian: "He lifted his tail and sprayed a foul liquid from his arse."
Auntie Jocasta: "You encountered a skunk, lad."
Jamie: "A skunk? Is that venomous?"
Claire: "No, just malodorous."

Jocasta: "I am pleased to announce that I've decided to name my nephew Jamie as my heir. It is my intention that Jamie should act as master of my estate immediately. I leave River Run in his hands."

Jamie: "There’s no doubt she’s a MacKenzie. Publicly naming me without telling me is something Colum or Dougal would have done.”

Jamie: "I’m bending my knee in the eye of the father who created me. Pour down from heaven the rich blessing of thy forgiveness. Be thou patient wi’ us. Grant to us, thou savior of glory, the love of God and the will to do on earth, at all times, as angels and saints do in Heaven. Give us thy peace."

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