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Outlander: Blood of My Blood

"I have all that a man could want. A home, honorable work, a wife by my side, good friends, and the knowledge that my son is safe and well cared for. I want no more."

Talk about your emotional interpersonal journeys.

There is a lot to be said about how often this world reinvents itself. Sometimes it's change the audience didn't know we wanted. Sometimes it takes a beat to acclimate.

But they've really done it now.

They put a wig on a child. Right? I mean that's the only explanation for such a ridiculous hair cut. Right?? What in the actual? Did we just witness the birth of the mullet? Whyyyy?

Anyway, if I didn't know any better, I'd cite Murtagh's crankiness as proof that he is just as fed up with wig-tastrophe that is season four as I am. As it happens, he's just sick of men in red jackets pushing him and his friends around. I got the feeling that his feelings were actually hurt at realizing that there are parts of Jamie's life that he isn't in on anymore. And I did not like seeing him upset. I liked it way less than I would've imagined. Were his feelings actually hurt? Please please please don't kill him. Let him live in Woolems Creek if he must but PLEASE don't kill him. By this logic, though, Fergus should probably stay in Wilmington. UGH! I digress. This hour was mostly about four specific people and their super intricate and very complicated dynamics.

The whole boy scout adventure, my heart was broken and taped up, shattered and glued back together, rinse and repeat. Getting to spend time with his son, and in the wilderness no less, is something that he would so obviously dream about. If he ever let himself dream of such happinesses. His heart seemed to stop when he saw William but if it didn't then, it definitely did when we all found out that Willie remembered the stable groom his father Mac him.

We have to give Jamie props for always putting his children first. Whatever sadness for himself or jealousy about not getting to be part of their lives always come after his appreciation of the men that were there. And even bigger props to Sam Heughan for playing out the minutia of the weight of those sacrifices and never missing a beat. Covering William with a blanket is as tender a fatherly moment as he will likely ever get and I appreciate that it was played with that kind of reverence. Teaching him how to dress a deer, how to tickle trout and set up camp are things Jamie would have learned from his father. Getting to share that precious time under the open sky was almost penance for everything that Jamie has suffered.

And he taught him less obvious but just as practical lessons, too. Jamie let it be okay for William to be upset that he might lose yet another parent. He showed him how to be courageous and how that courage might be rewarded. For his trouble, William looked back at Jamie as he rode away, giving him hope that it was special for the boy, too. That it wasn't all just to pass time. That they might see each other again. I don't know if any of this was setup of things to come but as catharsis for Jamie, I am just so glad that he got to spend a little time with William. Now that I'm thinking about it, if Brianna and Fergus had shown up at the end, this whole episode would have read like a fever dream that Jamie's subconscious cooked up.

Hair issues aside, the kid spent a lot of time looking like he had serious stomach issues which I found distracting, to say the least. There were times when it worked for him. Like when he was understandably very worried about Lord John. Or when he confronted Jamie for not looking back as he rode away from Helwater. But there were other times that I really wanted him to relax his freaking face. Of course every time Jamie catches a glance of William, he gets all teary eyed – probably because he is embarrassed by his kid's terrible haircut. So maybe William's face is all twisty because Jamie's constant staring makes him uncomfortable? Kudos to casting. There was a remarkable resemblance between them.

And then there were two. Poor Claire, after last week's ordeal sending Jamie away could not have been the easiest decision. She did have Murtagh there so I am sure that gave her some peace about it. (Though, it was easy enough to forget since we didn't get to see him at all.) And poor John. I'm sure he was super bummed that he'd come all that way just to sit on the brink of death with someone that wasn't Jamie. I have to say, the honesty of their conversations was startling. Even the characters were taken aback at just how much honesty got tossed around. I'm surprised John had the strength to fight off measles after the verbal lashings he gave and received. Claire admitted that she is jealous of the time he spent with her husband while she was away.

I have two thoughts about this revelation. One, is she pissed at everyone that got to spend time with him? Not that I necessarily blame her if she does. She's certainly not really holding it against anyone. How mad was she, for instance, that Ian knew about Jamie's knitting skills when she didn't? It makes me want to go back and rewatch some of this stuff and try to reread her face. And two, I find it such a lovely dimension of their relationship that while she is jealous and knows it, that doesn't undermine the connection she has with Jamie or her confidence in that connection. It doesn't make her insecure in her marriage. It is a fact. Maybe it's something that we already knew. Still, I like being reminded exactly how strong the bond is.

How weird is it that John didn't feel anything when Isobel died? I can't help but judge him for it. Part of me thinks it was in the script just to get him to Fraser's Ridge. TPTB felt like they needed a catalyst to get him there. Another part of me thinks that if a person doesn't feel anything when his childhood friend dies that it might foreshadow something dark in him. I mean, they were raising a child together for crying out loud. He felt nothing? Maybe it was an exaggeration. Maybe he felt the loss and it made him sad but he thought he should be a little more devastated. Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Maybe maybe maybe... even Claire felt bad when her fake spouse died and Frank had just admitted his plan to whisk Bree away.

And apparently we were all very good in past lives to deserve the end in the bath with the Frasers alone at last. Wow wow wow. I saw in an interview that Caitriona Balfe gave, she said that the bathtub scene was her favorite scene from this season. Cuuute. I can't imagine anyone would argue that it wasn't a lovely exchange. These two always have chemistry that would put Bill Nye to shame and it's no different here. Somehow they are able to act out longing. Even when they're together, even when they're alone they are almost desperate to be touching. Even when they're talking, they seem desperate to say more. I don't know what's more fascinating to watch. The passion between characters that know they are soul mates or the actors bringing that relationship to life.

3 out of 4 hugs from secret sons
3 out of 4 baths
Is 3 too many? To me a 3 is a solid episode that didn't blow my socks off. This was a solid season 4 ep, but it wasn't as good as a solid season 1, 2 or even 3 episode.

Bits and pieces

I might be a little hysterical after watching John Gray pick at Claire's insecurities by admitting that her husband had once offered him his body, but I don't appreciate the writers lending a line from the blood oath of the Frasers' marriage vows in reference to a child that they don't share. It's rude. Or something.

Also kind of rude for John to throw it in Claire's face that Jamie had offered his body in exchange for Willie having a father to raise him. In the grand scheme of things, Claire isn't going to hold it against Jamie. He has a history of giving up everything in his power in service of the people he loves. But John doesn't know this, I don't think. For all he knew, he could have really hurt Jamie by threatening his marriage. He did apologize but that was more for throwing it in Claire's face – not for being a bad friend.

Look, y'all. I am as sympathetic to a closeted single parent suffering from unrequited love as the next gal. And okay, he has saved Jamie's life a few times over... but for the record, I can not condone anyone trying to come between the Frasers. Okay? I won't stand for it. I'm watching you, John.

Back in season three, Jamie gave himself a new name wherever he went. At Helwater, he went by Mac and that is the only name Willie had ever known. While it's barely the whole truth, it's nice that he at the very least knows the man's real name now.

The new ring is real cute and all, but are we never getting the key to Lallybroch back? This is symbolizing that we are really, really done with Scotland. Isn't it? Man, I really like Scotland.

Bree is becoming one of those terribly kept secrets. I can only assume the writers were like 'oh well, she'll be in the fray soon, might as well have Claire share the news with practically everyone that will listen.' Imagining this takes me out of the story. Also, there is one person Claire still hasn't told and once again I'm curious if putting an ocean between her and Jenny was an accident.

I realized a while ago that the reunion I really want is Claire, Jamie, Murtagh and Fergus. I want the Paris Core Four back together again. But like I said, Outlander is all about the reinventing. I have to get okay with the new normal. In my mind Murtagh headed to Wilmington after leaving Fraser's Ridge and before returning home.

How lucky that Ian wasn't around to meet his secret cousin.

Murtagh: "When you find the time, perhaps you can tell me about his mother unless that's a secret as well."

William: "Have you ever seen such a glorious thing before, Sir?"
Jamie: "Never."

Jamie: "No! This is my son. His blood is my blood. Take mine instead."

Jamie: "Dinna ken the meaning of what they said, but I believe their mercy was due to you. Your courage."
And then all the fatherly pride that has ever existed poured straight out his face.

John: "I don't believe I've ever met someone so devastatingly straight forward. Male or female."
Claire: "Well it's not by choice, I was born that way."
John: "So was I."
Someone give him a hug.

John: "Do you know what it’s like to love someone and never give them happiness? Not through any fault of yours or theirs. Simply because you were not born the right person for them."
Claire: "I understand."

Remember Frank? I have a confession to make. Thanks to the internet machine, I started this series knowing that the love story belonged to Jamie and Claire and could never really invest in Claire's first marriage. Frank putting Brianna first and loving her as his own daughter is the only thing that has ever endeared me to him at all. It feels nice to let this off my chest. Sorry, Frank.

Jamie: "So often I’ve burned for you. This water on your skin, caressing you. It makes me jealous of the rain itself."

1 comment:

  1. I loved this episode and felt the same as you about Frank. When Claire told John "I understand," I explained her former life and how Frank was a "good man, but..." I could hear her say what she doesn't say: but I didn't, couldn't feel anything for him. I understand why Claire wouldn't go into detail with John about her lack of feeling for Frank, it's too personal. This scene made me think about how no one, except perhaps Murtagh, knows how much Claire and Jamie love one another and what they've been through together. Murtagh has seen what Jamie and Claire will do for one another--the unconditional sacrifices they make for each other and their love. No one really knows, though, but Claire and Jamie.
    I've never thought much of Claire and Frank for the same reasons. When I go back to the first episode, Claire isn't the same woman we see after she meets Jamie. She is her truest self with Jamie.
    I also loved the scenes with Jamie and Willie. It was heartbreaking to see Jamie being a father to Willie, though he knows it's for a short time and he can't tell the boy the truth. If Willie will ever guess the truth, he'll have to be much older. To find out your true father was blackmailed into non-consensual sex with your mother, that you were an accident of this, would be quite a bit to take in and certainly not for a child.
    The bathtub scene: I agree completely. The chemistry between Cat and Sam as Claire and Jamie is and has always been amazing. You describe it well. It's why I love this series.


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