Outlander: The Deep Heart's Core

"You do not get to be more angry than me."

Another strong episode. But honestly, I wasn't sure how I felt about this one.

Jamie got another opportunity to be a good father in a difficult and upsetting situation. Bree told Jamie that she was angry at herself for not fighting Stephen Bonnet harder than she did, and Jamie went for reverse psychology. He deliberately upset her by leering and accusing her of wanting to be assaulted, and then, with the pain he was feeling showing on his face only when she couldn't see it, he restrained Bree physically in order to prove that fighting harder would have made no difference.

Was this the right thing to do, though? Jamie's heart was in the right place, but what he did made me uncomfortable. Did feeling helpless again do Bree more harm than good? Would a sympathetic ear have been enough? This was followed by an interesting discussion about whether or not taking revenge by killing her attacker would help Bree heal, something Jamie is certainly in a position to know. Jamie seemed a bit taken aback that Claire had told Bree about Jack Randall, but he still told Bree honestly that vengeance wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Bree had an equally emotional discussion with her mother about the difficult choices she must now make. Claire offered the option of abortion without anesthetic; Bree decided against it because there was a chance that the baby could be Roger's. But there were also time travel complications. Claire went through the stones when she was pregnant, but could Bree get safely across the ocean to Craigh na Dun in time? What about going through the stones with an infant in her arms? Having this baby might mean that Bree will be trapped in the past, no small thing. So much for MIT.

And then there was the massive misunderstanding that has forced Roger to take an unwilling, scenic hike to upstate New York. The truth did finally come out, spurred by Bree having a nightmare about Roger turning into Stephen Bonnet – an outright and obvious parallel to Jamie's nightmares about Claire turning into Jack Randall back in season two. Everyone made mistakes. Yes, Bree should have told the truth, but she had gone through a ton of trauma on top of several major life changes, and didn't realize that keeping her pain to herself would have consequences. Punching out both Jamie and Ian might have been a bit much, though. It wasn't their faults, either.

So – road trip to rescue Roger. A long road trip that will take several months. And of course, Bree can't go, but fortunately, there is Aunt Jocasta. It's nice to have a rich relative nearby, even if she does own slaves. And I'm actually cool with Murtagh going to find Stephen Bonnet so that Jamie can kill the right guy this time.



I've been unhappy with Roger's behavior for awhile, but I started liking him again in this episode. His current dire situation didn't keep him from helping his fellow prisoner, even though the poor guy died, anyway. And Roger knew very well that he had to toughen up or he would die too, and he was determined to toughen up. He was tying knots in a thread as a way to mark the days and miles, watching for landmarks in case he had an opportunity to escape.

Which he did. And fate appeared to have taken him directly to the stone circle we saw in the fourth season premiere. Interesting coincidence, that. He even still has the tiny gems he took from Bonnet in lieu of pay.

So essentially, Roger now has to make the same decision that Bree just made. Will he stay or will he go? The thing is, if Roger did go through these stones and leave Bree in the eighteenth century, he wouldn't be worthy of her love, now, would he?

Bits:

— It's interesting that the stone circle Roger just found right there in America could have been the solution to Bree's problem. Except there is no way for her to know about it.

— Ian proposing to Bree was very sweet but sort of ridiculous. They are first cousins, a bit close genetically. Although that clearly wasn't as big a deal in the eighteenth century.



— Murtagh and Jocasta know each other pretty well. Apparently, Murtagh actively courted Ellen MacKenzie; he didn't just worship her from afar.

— Frank used to say that Claire would leave them and go live alone in the woods. Maybe Frank just knew that Claire's heart was somewhere else.

— It just occurred to me that back in Paris, when Jamie told Claire to go back to Frank if something happened to him, they weren't taking Faith into account. If Faith had lived, Claire would have been trapped in the past, too.

Quotes:

Other captive: "You think you'll survive?"
Roger: "I have to. I can't die like this."

Claire: "Hamburgers. Messy cheeseburgers with all the fixings from Carmi's."
Bree: "Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches."
Claire: "Aspirin."
Bree: "Seriously? Aspirin? Leave it to the doctor."
Claire: "You tell me that next time you have a headache."
Bree: "Led Zeppelin."
Claire: "Led Zeppelin?"
Bree: "Mm hmm. It's a band. You wouldn't like them."
Claire: "Maybe I would."
Bree: "I doubt it."
Claire: "Music. To be able to listen to it anytime you want. Just to be able to put a record on. Some good jazz."
Bree: "Toilets."
Bree and Claire: "That flush."

Bree: (to Jamie) "No! No! You do not get to be more angry than me."

Roger: (to his captor) "Let me guess. My carriage awaits."

I'm not sure what to rate this one. What did you guys think? How many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches out of four?

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

5 comments:

Flagrant Bibliophile said...

I think that Jamie did exactly the right thing to help Bree. Many assault survivors deal with false guilt, even as they recognize the illogical nature of it. The struggle between knowing something is true but feeling otherwise, coupled with the wondering if a different course of action could've changed the outcome, is a heavy burden. Jamie recognized that Bree was like himself, that words alone wouldn't provide reassurance, that she needed to know experientially before she could heal.
Despite his own discomfort with rendering Bree helpless again, he used a minimum amount of force to help her get unstuck from the doubt, and her relief showed on her face, as well as her trusting questions and deep listening afterwards. I've read your brave post disclosing your history on this topic, and can understand why you would feel very uncomfortable with Jamie's action. But what might not have been helpful to you was just what Brianna needed.

I've disagreed with your assessment of Roger's behavior for several episodes. I think that you don't put yourself in the shoes of male characters as often as you do with the female characters, and then you give much more grace to the womens' mistakes. I like him, and I think that he is a very good fit for Brianna. Throughout this episode, he is showing the same courage that Jamie praised in Bree, as well as mental coolness, compassion and even humor under difficult circumstances. Those qualities are of infinite worth in a marriage partner, and I think likely to earn Jamie's respect in the long long run, once they get past the obvious beating misunderstanding, and then Roger's lack of 18th century trade skills (I swear that I hear both a) gratitude for Roger's part in bringing Claire back to him, and b) confusion as to the purpose of the position, everytime Jamie says the word "historian"). Despite Roger's despair, I don't think that he will bail out of his present circumstances, because that means abandoning Brianna.

Speaking of abandonment, I come from a multiple fractured home, and am married to a man whose parents were married for 39 years before being parted by death. I noticed Brianna, whose upbringing was unsteady before having the rug of lies pulled from beneath her feet, refers to herself as unwed and is uncertain as to whether Roger will still want her. Roger refers to Bree as his wife, and is committed to her and to their marriage vows, no matter what. Yeah, I don't see him leaving through that stone circle, not without Brianna.

I really liked the family interactions very much, imperfect people loving each other imperfectly. 3.5 out of 4 PB&Js.

Billie Doux said...

Flagrant Bibliophile, thank you so much for your thoughtful and well-written comment.

It is very likely true that I don't put myself in the shoes of male characters as often as I do with female characters :) and I have indeed found Roger's actions frustrating this season. But I also think he's a very good man and of course, he most certainly doesn't deserve what is happening to him here. The title of the episode refers to Roger more than Bree because Roger is finding strength inside himself that he probably didn't know he had.

Flagrant Bibliophile said...

Billie, you are welcome, and thank you very much for listening. I have an advantage in that I've read much of your writing here, and have a feel for your history, line of reasoning, and voice. It can be awkward hearing even gently worded criticism from a stranger. To be fair, I like your writing and insights very much, and I appreciate hearing your views even when I do not share them. I previously mentioned that I have disagreed with your assessment of Roger for several episodes, but it took me some time to work up the courage and articulation to post anything; I felt rather strongly about my divergent opinion, and was uncertain as to its reception. So thank you again.

Billie Doux said...

Flagrant Bibliophile, dissenting opinions are always welcome here. Everyone's mileage varies when it comes to their favorite shows. I'm glad you finally posted, and I hope you'll post your opinions again.

Josie Kafka said...

I should really start by saying that I appreciate how they're handling the aftermath of Brianna's trauma with respect.

Having said that, I burst out laughing in the heated scene around the table.

My breaking point was when Brianna punched Young Ian. The look of shock on her face was valid, but it also could have easily been followed by some very meta humor: "What, cousin? Da? Do you think we're living in some wacky time-travel romance novel? A turgid supernatural soap opera? Mistaken identities and selling my boyfriend to the Mohawk and protecting my virtue and then saying I have no virtue and have I mentioned yet that you sold my boyfriend?! Who writes this nonsense? Why can't we just raise goats?!"

(h/t to Angel for the phrase "turgid supernatural soap opera").