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Outlander: The Company We Keep

"Love makes fools of us all."

Roger's background in traditional Scottish folk music is coming in handy, but Roger himself? Not so much.

That was his solution to the Brownsville problem? Wait for Jamie? Roger's professorial lecture on Dutch courage was so aggravating; Jamie's body language in response was pretty much what mine would have been, and I'm an academic myself. I'll say again that trying to measure up to Jamie Fraser, King of Men, would be difficult for anyone. But really, Roger.

Thankfully, like last week, this episode was really about Jamie and Claire working together, this time to solve the problems of the fractured Fraser militia versus the nasty Browns of Brownsville, and the disposition of the orphaned baby Bonnie. While Jamie's solution to the star-crossed lover issue – getting Isaiah and Alicia out of town and covering their escape with a goat – was satisfying, the best part of the episode was that lovely scene in the darkened woods when Jamie asked Claire if she wanted to keep the baby.

Jamie's offer to adopt Bonnie wasn't just lip service. He and Claire never got the chance to raise Brianna together, and he would have been a committed and loving father to Bonnie if it was what Claire had wanted. It was a lovely thing for Jamie to do. (What a guy, huh?) Claire's reaction was also lovely. She is happy just to be with Jamie for as long as they have, and she doesn't think they need a baby to complete them.

I did find it a bit hypocritical that they initially dismissed Isaiah and Alicia's love for each other when technically, Jamie and Claire are both bigamists themselves. That particular truth clearly didn't hit Jamie until Isaiah described his situation with his wife, and it was Jamie and Laoghaire to a T: married two years but not living together, no children, no love, no commitment. When Claire returned from the future, Jamie dumped Laoghaire like a hot potato. "I have no life but you, Claire." Message received.

So Richard and Lionel Brown, and assorted other guys also named Brown, were ultimately willing to join the Fraser militia, but you can just feel that they're going to be a disciplinary problem. And Lionel Brown kept staring at Claire. Or glaring. Hard to tell what he was thinking, but it can't be good.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, big points to Marsali for the way she tried to help Brianna by telling her about her own abusive father. And take away points from Bree, who should have told Marsali the truth about Stephen Bonnet. Let's all remember that Bree kept things to herself last season and what that did to nearly everyone.

Bree didn't tell Mrs. Bug, either. Or Lizzie, who pretty much knows the whole story already. Burning drawings of Stephen Bonnet in effigy isn't going to accomplish anything, Bree. He's still out there, even if he's not actually lurking behind the big house waiting to pounce.


— Why was Edward Speleers (Stephen Bonnet) in the credits if we didn't see him? Was it his hands we saw flipping that coin in the title card vignette?

— That beautiful Big House has a huge drawback: it's isolated. Was that a panther screaming that we heard?

— Marsali's story about her father explained a lot about Laoghaire's failed marriage to Jamie.

— Jamie dancing the Highland fling was delightful. Claire's reaction was even more delightful.

— "Doctor Rawlings Recommends" was published in the paper. I'm sure there will be repercussions.

— Title musings: "The Company We Keep" was a nice pun. I don't think I have more to say than that.

— Book versus series: Actually, this episode was very close to what happened in The Fiery Cross. There were only minor differences.

— So the twins both have infected tonsils, and it's back to the Ridge for Claire, escorted by her failed Captain of a son-in-law. I really liked that Jamie insisted Josiah and Keziah were only fourteen to keep them out of the coming fight when it was obvious that they were older than that.


Claire: "Do we bring a newborn all the way to Hillsborough? I'm not sure it's the best way to put the fear of God into the Regulators, unless they're afraid of a few dirty diapers."
Jamie: "The surest way to send any man scurrying for cover."
Clearly not Jamie, though.

Jamie: "What were you gonna do once the whisky ran out?"
Roger: "I was hoping you would arrive before that happened. And you did."

Jamie: "Do ye ken the meaning of the word 'captain,' Professor MacKenzie?"

Jamie: "Who's Doctor Rawlings?"
Claire: "Me."
Jamie: "You? Beauchamp, Randall, Fraser, now Rawlings? You have another husband I should ken about?"

Roger: "He doesn’t have any faith in me."
Claire: "He just entrusted you with the one thing he loves most."

Claire: "Can you recite the alphabet backwards?"
Jamie: "I expect so. English or Greek?"

Claire: "Marsali and Fergus, well, I'm sure they will keep the Ridge sufficiently populated, if that's what you're worried about."
Jamie: "Aye, that lass is with child every time Fergus lays eyes on her."

An interesting episode, with yet more set-up for the season. Three out of four nasty men named Brown,

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


  1. I am not liking these stand alone episodes at all. What was the point of this one? Love conquers all? Haven't we already been shown that and better?

    Speaking of which, TPTB need to figure out Roger and Brianna. I have been patient and given this relationship a lot of latitude, but if they are supposed to be Claire and Jamie 2.0, wouldn't Roger be happier to be going home to see her and less whiny that Jamie doesn't like him?

    Finally, has anyone else noticed that the credits now show both Caitriona"s and Sam's names over a shot of each of them respectively from the back? I haven't figured out why yet.

  2. ChrisB, all of the credit shots show characters either from the back, or so that you can't see their faces. They've been doing it throughout. This time, the Sam and Cait shots are from specific episodes -- Cait's from "Free Will," and Sam's from a later episode.

  3. I hadn't noticed that in the earlier credit sequences. Huh. Guess I'll have to pay more attention the next time through.


  4. ChrisB, I have rewatched so many times by now that it's almost embarrassing.

  5. Regarding the credits sequence:

    1. I still love the shot of Jamie and Claire looking out over the Carolina mountains from the fourth season.

    2. One exception to the back-shots might be in the fourth season credits, when there's a glimpse of people on horseback riding along a river--it wasn't until late in the season that I realized it was the Mohawk leading Roger (on foot) and that he was technically visible in the shot.

    Moving on to the episode itself:

    Billie, I was, like you, completely delighted by Jamie's offer to adopt Bonnie.

    I also loved Jamie's utter faith in Josiah's ability to hunt for the people of the Ridge. It was such a contrast to his utter lack of faith in Roger, which I also share.

    And I mean that in a very non-judgemental way. Like Roger, I'd be a disaster in the eighteenth century. Unlike Roger, I know my weaknesses. (Okay, so there is a bit of judgement there.)

    However, I do have one complaint: where is this kitten I was promised? There. Is. Still. No. Kitten.

  6. Here are my notes on the podcast for "The Company We Keep," episode 5x4. Commentary was by executive producer Toni Graphia and writer Barbara Stepansky. Graphia said the writers rarely fight about which writer gets which story -- they tend to get the ones they want. Stepansky really wanted this one. She also got to watch the filming in Scotland.

    Graphia really loved the scenes where Jamie and Claire are alone with the baby at the creek, and the walk in the woods where Jamie asks Claire if she wants to keep the baby. These are the scenes that the fans love, about their intimacy as a couple, the regret that they didn't get to raise Brianna together. Jamie knew what Claire was feeling. Stepansky said the line she liked the most was the one about regret not being enough.

    The Brianna/Marsali scene at the kitchen table drinking was lovely, and not in the book, although Stepansky pulled it from Marsali's history in the books. Graphia said that Diana Gabaldon does such a terrific job giving her characters history and depths.

    Production details:

    Graphia said that the beginning and ends of each episode tend to be fluid and some of the Brownsville stuff was storyboarded for 5x3.

    Stepansky herself discovered that Hieland Laddie song that Roger sang. The whole episode was full of music, which is always well researched.

    The sword dance is from another part of the book but there was space for it in this episode. Graphia said that she went up and down the hall asking the writers who could get the sword dance in, and Stepansky wanted it. And Sam Heughan practiced and did so well with it.

    The horses were set free in the end to cover Alicia and Isaiah's escape. They have a terrific horse wrangler on Outlander and that path where they were running free was narrow, and it was done carefully and really well.

  7. I'm finding this season rather dull, to be honest. I think the problem is that the people with the most stake in the primary plots are not recurring characters and aren't especially likeable. The season arc presumably focusing on the Regulators and Stephen Bonner is progressing slowly, and I don't find Bonner all that compelling a villain.

    And I think you're being a little hard on Roger. Making a captain with no preparation is on Jamie, and he could have wound up in a shootout. Even if he prevailed fairly easily in a firefight (no guarantee given that the enemy has cover), it would have killed any recruiting from the town.


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