Outlander: If Not For Hope

"We've lived with the fear of the unknown before, not knowing if the other is alive or dead."

Well, this was something. Not a spare moment with something happening in every corner of the board but it still somehow felt like mostly filler?

That opening was pretty effectively jarring. We haven't seen a modern setting in quite a long time. The first time through, I didn't immediately realize they were trying to trick us into thinking Roger had gone back. I was too taken aback by what I was seeing to see the implication. Poor Roger. We didn't see a lot with him or how he came to be recaptured so we're still left wondering if it was his decision to stay. Not seeing it makes me think that the reveal is being saved for something juicy and dramatic.

Can we be honest for a second? Am I the only one struggling to care about Roger and Bree as a couple? I think we are supposed to take their connection as a fact, but we didn't have enough of the build up of that connection. We've mostly just watched them argue and take turns abandoning each other and that simply did nothing to invest me in their journey to find each other. There were times that Claire and Jamie were separated that my heart would just break for the loneliness the characters were feeling. I get none of that here. I'd go so far as to suggest they date other people... if they, you know, asked my opinion.

Then we find Bree at River Run and she's had a busy (few?) months. She's very pregnant and sassy and into her art, bro. And very very busy pushing against the norms and racists and snobs. I kept waiting for some fallout. I was worried a few times that Bree was going to land Phaedra in some very hot water and I'm happy that I was wrong. I hope I stay wrong. Brianna wasn't too busy though, thank the stars, to make friends with Lord John. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I just never loved this character but I did really enjoy what looks like the beginning of a strong friendship. There was an ease between the two of them that felt very natural and lovely. I hated that Bree went for the threat of outing his sexuality though. Not cool, not what friendship is made of. Or a marriage for that matter, I guess.


Watching Jocasta work that Mackenzie magic to set Bree up on her own version of The Dating Game was somehow really heartwarming. I never thought I'd miss the days of Colum and Dougal scheming to use those around them to their own ends but Jocasta fills those fiery and smart and cunning shoes well. I chuckled when she was beaming with pride at Brianna for securing the proposal from John.

Back in Wilmington, Fergus, Murtagh and Marsali are all vying for best supporting character status. I just love Fergus so very much. Always loyal, he of course welcomes Murtagh into his home and helps him to fulfill Jamie's request to find Bonnet. Even with a family to think of and trouble finding work, he's able to be there for the people that he cares about without question. What a standup guy. And I've been waiting to see him and Murtagh together onscreen for weeks now and I wasn't disappointed. Their companionship and camaraderie jump right off the screen as people that know and trust each other. I wonder if I'll get lucky enough to see the two of them in a room with Jamie and Claire before the season is over?

I guess I shouldn't press my luck with Murtagh in the slammer now, though. I might be in complete denial but they wouldn't dare kill him off or write him out again, right? Right?? RIGHT??!!?! Especially not with Jamie gone.

Marsali is so cool. I loved her waking Murtagh up and chastising him for putting dirty boots on her cleans blankets. For pushing him to make her husband feel useful and whole and I loved loved loved the look on her face hearing Fergus decline to leave her and Germain behind. She is the greatest.

As much as I liked anything else, though, nothing compared to Jamie and Claire finally talking, hashing things out and getting back on the same page. Or on the same sleeping bag as it were. And what a testament to them that they practically show up only for the last ten minutes and can carry the hour. This relationship is still the glue that holds Outlander together for me. It's what draws me back every week. And I hate when they get pushed to the periphery for story lines heavy with relationships that I just don't care about as much. Claire has been sacrificed the most here. At least Jamie's blossoming relationship with Brianna had earned him some extra screen time and man does he earn it. Sam Heughan spends so much time as Jamie breaking our hearts. This week he hit a new stride with it, though. It wasn't heavy handed or overly done, but he wore his pain so visibly and it was affecting. He pretty much seems to have given up on being able to be a father to his daughter. His daughter with Claire. The baby he sacrificed twenty years with his soulmate for. He has no hope of earning back a place in her life and if mourning that loss was difficult for Heughan to play, he didn't show it for a second. His pain felt palpable and tangible, and what's more – believable, throughout the hour. I think realizing that Claire didn't hate him did something to ease his pain but nothing to heal the actual loss he feels like he has suffered.

Give me more Jamie and Claire or give me death.
Just kidding. I don't want death. Unless it's Bonnet's.

The least fun spirit tunnel in the history of weird sports traditions. 

2.9 out of 4 spirit tunnels
It feels like it should be less, but there wasn't anything terribly wrong with the episode. Am I crazy or was it a little dull?

Bits and pieces

This review was hard to write. Like squeezing water from a rock. Or whatever that analogy is. I think that means I didn't like the episode as much as others.

It was fun seeing Ian squirm trying to play Dr. Phil for his aunt and uncle. He really didn't like seeing them ununited. So say us all, Ian. FYI, I know ununited isn't a word, but divided feels wrong.

How much time has passed? Sometimes Bree looked very obviously pregnant and sometimes not even a hint of it.

Not that it matters in any way but did Jocasta just tell us that Jamie and Jenny's brother Willie wasn't a Fraser by blood? I guess Ellen could've been knocked up by Brian.

How is Stephen Bonnet, a man wanted for murder, running around Wilmington without a care in the world while Murtagh is recognized and arrested on his first boys' night out?

Why did John change his mind and agree to marry Bree? More deference to Jamie?

This is me not mentioning how hideously distracting Claire's wig in particular was in the tent at the end.

Did you watch the preview for next week? I don't usually comment on previews but I have to say it seemed bizarre and disjointed. I watched it three times thinking that I must be missing something. Maybe I should try again when I'm not so exhausted.

Lizzie: "God in heaven, what have I brought you to? A monstrous darkness, you're possessed."
Bree: "Lizzie, I'm not possessed. I'm hurt and angry."
Lizzie: "It's all my fault."
Bree: "No, you made an honest mistake."

Jocasta: "You canna live on hope."

Fergus: "In Milord's eyes, I'm whole but to them, here, I'm less than a man."

Marsali: "It is burden enough harboring a wanted man under our roof."
Fergus: "He would do the same for me."

Marsali: "If I wanted him shot, I'd do it myself. Besides its be unfair to shoot him first as he didn't put his boots on my clean blankets."

Marsali: "I'll have a whole man or none at all."

Lord John: "Your father would never divulge to me anything that you did not wish me to know. He's an honorable man."
Brianna: "Don't talk to me about my father."

Claire: "Sometimes it's hard to separate fact from fiction."
Jamie: "When you dinna have two sides of the story, aye, it is."
Oooooh, burn!

Claire: "I'm sorry I didn't tell you it was Stephen Bonnet when I knew. Had I, it might have saved Roger. I never thought I would keep a secret like that from you."
Jamie: "Until Brianna."
Claire: "When I made you that promise there was no one else in my life that would come before you. But I don't know if I can keep that promise anymore."
Jamie: "I understand, but I cannot be a father to her."
Claire: "Of course, you can. She's just hurt right now."
Jamie: "She doesna need me. I never thought I'd be jealous of a dead man."
Claire: "Of Frank?"
Jamie: "You heard what Bree said. Frank would have never said those things to her or made the mistakes that I have."
Claire: "Frank made plenty of mistakes. All parents do."
Jamie: "Bree thinks he's a better man. I thought perhaps you were beginning to feel the same, Sassenach."
Claire: "You fool. Come here. She didn't mean it. She doesn't want you to go to hell."
I honestly could have quoted everything they said in the tent. It was so very good and so classic Jamie and Claire straightforward(ness).

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