Outlander: The False Bride

"There's a phrase that becomes important in America: the pursuit of happiness."

An episode about making choices – in two different time periods.

River Run was not a viable choice for Jamie and Claire, although Auntie Jocasta was kind enough to provide some ready cash and parting gifts, as well as one more unsuccessful attempt to guilt Claire into staying, for Jamie's sake. If not River Run, then what?

Alone together in the woods of North Carolina, Jamie and Claire finally had time to talk about what they wanted for their new life together. Claire has always known who she is and what she wants to do. In twenty-first century terms, she is the one with the mobile job; she can be a healer anywhere. But Jamie has never had choices. Circumstances have made him a soldier, a groom, a smuggler, a printer. He isn't even accustomed to thinking about what he might want; as he told Claire when they were discussing Brianna's choices in the future, in his time children mostly ended up doing what their parents did.

There's no question that life in the wilderness would be a lot harder than taking a job in a town, but it was what Jamie actually wanted. Is this fate? Are Jamie and Claire supposed be there, at the newly dubbed "Fraser's Ridge"? The strawberries – the origin of the Fraser name – certainly suggested that it was meant to be. So did their encounter with what turned out to be a benevolent ghost.

Is this only the second time we see a ghost in this series? (I can never forget that Frank met Jamie's ghost outside the bed and breakfast in the pilot episode; thinking about it always upsets me.) The circumstances were definitely creepier this time, even though the outcome was oddly touching. After being separated by a thunderstorm and a frightened mule, Claire found the skull of an Indian named Otter Tooth who manifested and cleverly used Claire's boots to bring her back to Jamie. Otter Tooth had silver fillings. We can only assume that like Geillis, Otter Tooth cared about what happened to Claire because they are fellow time travelers. How many time travelers are out there?



The 1970 half of the episode was also about choices.

Both couples are in different time periods but the same place: Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina. Brianna doesn't know if her mother found Jamie, if they're in Edinburgh, if they're happy. (You know, they should have arranged something in advance. Claire could have written a letter to Brianna, wrapped it in plastic and buried it at Craigh na Dun or something.)

While I like Brianna and Roger, I'm finding it difficult to become invested in their story, and the artificiality of the Scottish festival, the brightly colored tartans and haggis-eating contests, made their romance feel even more like an imitation than the real thing. And then Roger completely and totally blew it. Roger, when the woman you love is throwing herself at you, you don't reject her and then put her blouse back on so you can propose marriage! Earlier, Roger sang a song about his beloved lass marrying another man; talk about foreshadowing. Not to mention a bracelet that says, "I love you a little, a lot, passionately, not at all"? What sort of message is that for Brianna?

Roger wants marriage and kids and immediate commitment, or nothing. Brianna doesn't know what she wants. She is very young, going to college, adjusting to the loss of her parents and being alone in the world. And Brianna has also internalized the fact that Claire chose one man when she was nineteen, and another when she was twenty-seven.

What's the hurry, Roger?

Bits:

— In an episode about choices, it was nice that Jamie finally let Ian make his own. If Jenny and Ian are surprised by their youngest son's decision to stay in America, I'll be shocked.

— Ditto Fiona, who married a nice guy and bought the Reverend's house. Good for her, not wasting her life pining after Roger.

— Brianna is studying engineering at MIT now. First Harvard and now MIT. A smart woman, like her mother.

— Claire put Otter Tooth's skull in her bag and took it along. That was a very Claire thing to do.

— The charcoal and pastel portraits at the Scottish festival were fun. My mother and sister did that for a living once.

— Jocasta gave a mule named Clarence to Jamie and Claire. Clarence is a memorable character in the book series.

A Home from Home: Scottish Settlers in Colonial America. That feels like set-up, like it will include a mention of Jamie and Claire.

— Title musings: "The False Bride." What does that mean? If it was referring to Brianna, she never lied to Roger. I thought this episode should have been entitled "The Pursuit of Happiness." (Note from later: "The False Bride" is actually the title of the song Roger sang at the festival.)

Quotes:

Jocasta: "I thought perhaps, in time, you would begin to love River Run as I do, and accept the ways that are different here."
Jamie: "I'm sorry, Auntie. I'll only be master to my own soul."
Well said, Jamie.

Jamie: "There are savages here and dangers we dinna yet ken."
Ian: "Dangers we dinna yet ken? And what of those I do ken? The dangers I've already faced? I've been set upon by pirates twice, kidnapped, thrown into a pit, sailed through a hurricane..."
Ian has a valid point there. He's not a baby any more.

Roger: "These are the best chips I've ever had."
Brianna: "You're in America. Call them french fries."
Roger: "Of course. Aye. 'Cause that makes perfect sense."

Brianna: "The minister's cat is a coccydynious cat."
Roger: "A cat with a wide backside?"
Brianna: "No. A cat that's a pain in the ass."
My sister actually named one of her cats Pain in the Ass, Pia for short. And that's two mentions of my sister in the same review.

Myers: "Cherokee women choose who they marry and, before that, who they bed with."
Good for them.

A gorgeous couple desperately in need of a hairdresser

Jamie: "I was an outlaw when first we met, and an outlaw when you returned. If it was only me, I would live as one again, and when I was old, I would lie under a tree and let the wolves gnaw at my bones. But it's not just me. It's you. And Ian, Fergus, Marsali. You understand? I would lay the world at your feet, Claire, but I have nothing to give you."
Jamie really doesn't seem to understand that all Claire wants is him, not what he can give her.

Brianna: "My mother always said men in kilts were irresistible. She was right."
I don't get that. Although I'll freely admit that Sam Heughan in a kilt is something special.

Three out of four haggis-eating contests,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

2 comments:

ChrisB said...

Brianna: "My mother always said men in kilts were irresistible. She was right."
I don't get that. Although I'll freely admit that Sam Heughan in a kilt is something special.


I'm loving your reviews, but this comment made me laugh out loud. I am completely with Claire. Men in kilts are the sexiest thing ever!

Billie Doux said...

ChrisB, it's so good to see a new comment from you! :)

I do love the kilts on Outlander because they did so much work to make the tartans true to the period, even to the point of only using the vegetable dyes that would have been available then. I don't actively think of these things while watching the show, but we see things and absorb them subconsciously.