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Outlander: If Not for Hope

"Hope is at the very heart of love."

Brianna discovered that staying with her Aunt Jocasta meant enduring some unwanted and heavy-handed matchmaking.

This was where Bree's own wishes collided with the eighteenth century. Bree is pregnant and unmarried (see, I knew handfasting wouldn't count with family) but she is also young and beautiful and a possible heir to Jocasta's estate. So bring on the eligible local men. But only if they're prominent and propertied, and clearly, still single for a reason.

The interaction between Lord John and Bree was absolutely the best part of this episode. In order to fend off Forbes' marriage proposal, Bree decided to blackmail Lord John into a proposal because she saw him in flagrante with Judge Alderdyce in a closet (what an appropriate location). After a long, amusing and quite revealing discussion in the garden, Bree had an aha moment when she realized why Jamie was John's answer to her psychological party game at the dinner table the night before.

And it was John to the rescue in Jamie's life yet again, volunteering to masquerade as Bree's fiance until Roger returned. John even kept his mouth shut about the fact that he's raising Bree's half-brother. But not until after John and Bree talked about the possibility of a real marriage between them, which I found a bit creepy. Bree had thought she could simply be a beard for John, but learned instead that she'd be acquiring a real husband who finds her attractive because he loves her father. If Bree married John for real, Jamie would go insane. Not that the honorable Lord John would ever do something like that.

Lord John also shared with Bree that he loves William more than life itself even though William isn't of his blood, and that he's sure Roger will do the same with Bree's child. A nice sentiment, but a bit of a different situation.

The Murtagh, Fergus and Marsali part of the episode was enjoyable, too. Marsali was understandably unhappy that Murtagh, a wanted man, was consorting with other Regulators in her tiny home, and that Fergus wasn't able to find work in Wilmington because of his missing hand. It's interesting that Marsali somehow put those two things together and had Murtagh ask Fergus to fight alongside him as a way of emotionally countering all those rejections Fergus had been experiencing.

But Murtagh was on a wanted poster – at this point, it's a Fraser family tradition – and got caught. The only good thing about that was that Stephen Bonnet was arrested, too. And of course, Murtagh deliberately hit Fergus to protect him from also being arrested. And now Fergus and Marsali will have to break Murtagh out of jail, yet another Fraser family tradition.

Meanwhile on the trail to New York, Claire apologized to Jamie for not telling him about Stephen Bonnet, and realized that the only person that could come between the two of them was their own daughter. It made sense that Jamie would be jealous of Frank in this situation – how could he not be? The bit I enjoyed the most was Ian trying so hard to patch the two of them up. It's so sweet that Ian loves his uncle so much and that he knows how important Claire is to him.

Rollo came in handy, finding the body of Roger's late traveling companion, giving them a bit of hope that Roger was still alive. Which he is. Unfortunately, Roger finally arrived at the Mohawk village of Shadow Lake, and is now facing a gauntlet.


— The title card vignette was Bree's charcoal drawings of the River Run slaves. While Claire reacted to slavery with anger, Bree's reaction was to see and portray the slaves as people, something that Jocasta's dinner guests found shocking and inappropriate.

— What a great fake-out opener, with Roger imagining himself in a modern bathroom taking a hot shower.

— Loved the meta moment when Jamie and Claire were talking about being characters in a movie.

— At the dinner, Forbes was trying to impress Bree by showing her his latest purchase of four gems. All it made me think of was that they'd be helpful for another trip through the stones.

— Bree looked gorgeous in that dress, wearing Roger's bracelet and Ellen's pearls.


Jamie: "If there was a moving picture about us, about me, I'd be seen as a fearsome brute."
Claire: "That would be one side of the story."

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

Bree: "Then I'll tell Jamie."
John: "That's assuming he doesn't already know."

John: "I am almost tempted to submit to your outrageous proposal. It would certainly teach you to play with fire."
Bree: "That sounds like a threat. You mean... with women, too?"

John: "The thing is, we're all here in this New World not because it's new. These lands are as old as any. It's only new because there is hope. And hope is at the very heart of love."
Well said. And it got Bree to open the letter that Jamie entrusted to John.

The interaction between Lord John and Bree made this episode for me. Three out of four unwanted marriage proposals,

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


  1. All it made me think of was that they'd be helpful for another trip through the stones.

    I laughed out loud when I read this line because I had exactly the same thought.

    Loving the John/Bree friendship. More of that, please.

  2. When he first appeared, I did not expect Lord John to become an important recurring character, but you're right that he's become one of the most appealing secondary characters on the show. To be honest, at first I thought he was just put in to say "hey, we're really not homophobic despite having put two absolutely monstrous gay male characters into the story."

    Jocasta has a marked tendency to put her guests on the spot by publicly declaring things before privately discussing them. While I guess it's possible she wassumed Bree understood the purpose of the dinner party, I think the conversation the morning after would have been more appropriately delivered beforehand. And while it's possible she believes she's acting in Bree's best interests, I can't help thinking that Jocasta is still looking for somebody to manage her estate. It seems to me a simpler solution to Bree's problem (assuming Roger is not rescued) would be for her to have the baby discreetly at Riverrun, then return to Fraser's Ridge and have Claire and Jamie claim the baby is theirs. After all, with Claire trekking off through the wilderness, who would know she wasn't pregnant outside their immediate family? She's not so old that it's impossible.

  3. Billie and ChrisB, I thought the exact same thing when I saw the stones.

    Magritte, that is exactly what I thought of Lord John at first and how I think of him now.

    The only new thing I have to add is that one of Bree's suitors was played by Billy Boyd, whom many of us know as Pippin from Lord of the Rings.

    Billie, have you read the John Grey books?

  4. Josie, I've read a couple of them, not all. I think there are two novels, two novellas, a couple of short stories? They're all mysteries that take place during the eight years when Jamie is living at the Helwater estate, and Jamie is a secondary character in a couple of them, so guess which ones I read. At some point, I'd heard that Starz might spin off Lord John, but I don't know if that's really a thing.

    The various novellas and short stories by Diana Gabaldon expand the Outlander-verse in interesting ways. I haven't read them all, but I liked the novella "The Space Between," which is about Jenny and Ian's son Michael and Laoghaire's daughter Joan, in Paris, with some truly strange time travel and sorcery stuff about Maitre Raymond and the Comte St. Germain.

  5. I looked up Maitre Raymond on the wiki after you mentioned in one of the reviews that he had an interesting backstory. He sounds sort of fascinating.


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