Catch Up:

Episode 1: “America the Beautiful”
Episode 2: “Do No Harm”

Inverness 1970

I must admit I was a little sad to see the Reverend Wakefield’s house being emptied and packed up. It appears that Roger has sold the home to Fiona, Mrs. Graham’s granddaughter, and her fiance, Ernie. “May the roof above never fall in, and we below never fall out,” Roger says, toasting. As he hands the keys over, Fiona remarks that Roger is headed to America for “a Scottish Festival.” He’s been invited to play guitar, and seeing Brianna is an added bonus.

Roger presents the two with salt as a housewarming gift.

“I may no’ read tea leaves like my granny, but I can see you’re in love wi’ her!”

Fiona shoos Ernie away and chats privately with Roger for a moment. She encourages him to tell Brianna how he obviously feels about her. Roger looks pained at the idea. It’s kind of a fun change from Fiona’s obvious crush on Roger to have her acting sisterly towards him.

Roger doesn’t deny he’s in love.

“Dinna let your pride stand in the way of your family’s security.”

Back in colonial North Carolina, Jamie and Claire are packing up to leave River Run, and Jocasta is disappointed. His plan is to head towards Woolam’s Creek, where there are a lot of Scots settled, and find work as a printer. Jocasta scoffs. Jamie tries to return her money to her, but she refuses. She also hooks them up with some guns, a wagon, horses, a mule, some provisions, and a beautiful set of silver candlesticks which were Jamie’s mother’s. “I’ll treasure them,” Jamie tells her. She laments that she can’t see his face, just once.

Jamie says goodbye.

Go West, Young Man

Jamie and Ian argue about whether or not he will be staying with them in America, or returning to Scotland. Jamie wants to send him home, citing the unknown dangers, but Ian drives a hard bargain. “I’ve been set upon by pirates. Twice! Kidnapped. Thrown into a pit. Sailed through a hurricane[…] I’m a man!”┬áHe has a point. Jamie smiles and says he will not stand in his way. He offers to write Jenny, but Ian says that a man writes his own letters. Jamie smirks.

Jamie’s glad he doesn’t have to be the one to break it to Jenny that Ian isn’t coming home yet.

Strained Relationships

Claire comes in to say goodbye to Jocasta; each lamenting the events that led Claire and Jamie to leave. Jocasta admits that she admires a woman of conviction. Jocasta goes on to scold Claire. “You’re the reason he wouldn’t accept my offer.” She accuses Claire of holding Jamie back. Claire swallows her vitriol, and manages to state coldly that Jocasta doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about. Jocasta pulls back a little. “Thank you again,” Claire says, then clarifies: “For your hospitality.”

Why is it that getting a scolding in a calm voice always makes it seem worse?

As the Frasers get ready to leave, John Quincy Myers arrives, saying he’s going their way and will be happy to guide them. They are obliged.

Leaving River Run.

“North Carolina, here we come!”

Back in 1970, Roger arrives in Boston, and he and Brianna share an awkward greeting. “It’s good to see you,” she smiles. “You too,” he breathes. Rankin’s acting is particularly good here – you can feel how much Roger wants her, and how much restraint he is exercising. The two banter adorably all the way to the festival. Brianna lays a pretty big kiss on Roger as they’re driving, to his shock and delight.

The sexual tension is thick.

Myers narrates their way through the forest, giving the history of the area. “Cherokee women choose who they marry, and before that, who they bed with,” Myers remarks. Claire smiles wryly. “I love this land!” Ian exclaims, no doubt fantasizing about beautiful native lassies.

A man of the wild.

“These mountains are old friends to me, and those who dwell around them near enough so, too.”

That night, Myers explains that the next morning, he’ll be headed a different direction to trade with the Indians, and he has invited Ian to go along with him. Ian wants to go, but Jamie and Claire are skeptical. Myers is reassuring, and they reluctantly agree that they can all meet up in Woolam’s Creek in a few days. Jamie asks Claire privately if she wouldn’t rather be going someplace more familiar, like Boston. Claire replies that she has already had a life in Boston; time for a new one. “I want us to make a home together,” she assures him. “A place that’s ours.”

This guy seems trustworthy enough, let’s send our underage nephew out alone with him.

The Pursuit of Happiness

It’s clear that Claire has taken Jocasta’s words to heart about being too great an influence on Jamie, though, because she grills him pretty thoroughly about whether he’ll be happy as “just” a printer, living in the back country, settling down. “A man my age SHOULD be settled,” Jamie says. She implies that he seems to have gotten a lot of pleasure from being an outlaw. Jamie is offended, but admits that if it were only him, he’d probably still be one. But it’s not just him, any more. “I would lay the world at your feet, Claire. But I have nothing to give you.” He’s swoon-worthy as usual.

You don’t need to give us anything, Jamie, just keep looking at us like that!

Lightning strikes and Clarence, the mule from hell, runs off. Claire rides after him, against Jamie’s wishes.

“My mother always said men in kilts were irresistible. She was right.”

Roger and Brianna wander through the corny Scottish festival, flirting adorably. The setting makes Brianna wonder if Claire ever made it back; is happy. Roger says he’d like to think she did, and she is. The two stop to get their portrait drawn and Brianna surprises Roger by referring to him as her boyfriend. He sings beautifully that night, and you can see Brianna falling in love. They walk back to the cabins they’re staying in and she presents him with a book about Scottish settlers in Colonial America and a bottle of moonshine. “Shall we?” she grins. “Maybe just a wee dram…” Roger agrees.

Ms. Randall, are you trying to seduce me?

Getting Ahead of Himself

Once inside, they chat nervously. Brianna makes the first move. “Christ,” Roger whispers. “You’re a sneaky one!” She giggles as they tumble to the floor. Roger interrupts the festivities to present her with a bracelet. Oh Roger, no! He messes everything up by proposing. When Brianna says it’s too fast, Roger doubles down and pressures her to say yes, saying he wants a home, and “four or five wee MacKenzies, a couple of dogs…” Holy crap, Roger. Slow down. She interrupts that she isn’t ready, and he gets surly and nasty with her, and earns a slap in the face for it. She calls him out on his bullshit, and she has a huge point, but he’s still going to pout rather than acknowledge her feelings about it.

The world’s most awkward proposal.

Claire Being Claire

As Jamie is waiting, Clarence makes it back to camp just as the rain begins, but Claire is nowhere to be found. Lightning strikes again and Claire is thrown from her horse, who escapes. Claire awakens much later in the dark, in the pouring rain, lying on the ground. She takes shelter in the well of a tree and removes her boots. (Why, Claire? WHY REMOVE YOUR BOOTS?!) She finds a human skull at the base of the tree and picks it up, as the wolves start howling. Meanwhile, Jamie is riding around in the pouring rain, calling her name. He finds her unmanned horse. Claire thinks she sees Jamie coming towards her, but it’s apparently the ghost of the Indian whose skull she has just found, and he doesn’t feel like talking.

Claire’s ghost.

From Bad to Worse

At the festival during the calling of the clans, Roger and Brianna are still at odds. They awkwardly try to apologize for the night before, but Roger isn’t done being pushy. “Have you changed your mind?” Brianna scowls. “No.” He can’t seem to understand that you can love someone, and that marriage isn’t out of the question, but that you’re not ready to discuss it yet. It’s all or nothing for him. Brianna calls his bluff and hands him back his bracelet. He refuses and leaves her to participate in the stag burning, which seems like an apt metaphor. He looks for Brianna in the stands afterwards, but she is gone.

Roger has ALL of the butt-hurts.

More Claire Being Claire

Claire wakes up in the tree well in the morning, curled up with the skull (again, WHY, CLAIRE?) The rain has subsided. She looks for her shoes, but they are gone. (I TOLD YOU SO, CLAIRE!) She follows a set of footprints in her stocking feet, but not before tucking the skull into her satchel. (UGH! SO MUCH WHY, CLAIRE?!) The prints lead her to the river, where Jamie is waiting. The two embrace, crying with relief.

I’d make a “reunited and it feels so good” joke, but these two have been reunited so many times that it’s getting stale.

Zoiks, Gang!

Jamie points to her boots on the riverbank, and how he knew she’d come back there. “I wondered why you’d just gone off in your stocking feet!” Me too, Jamie. Me too. Claire explains about the ghost of the Indian, and shows Jamie the skull. “I think he used my boots to lead me – US – here!” Jamie replies that she’s had a harrowing night; wash up and get some rest. As Claire kneels down near the stream, she washes the skull properly. Silver fillings! 100 years too early! Another time traveler!

Claire wouldn’t be Claire if she weren’t carrying around a dirty old skull. Never mind that she’s probably disturbing ancient remains, or something.

“I know that look on your face, Jamie Fraser. You’re in love!”

The two find wild strawberries along the trail, and eat some. Jamie remarks that it’s the emblem of the Fraser clan, and that this is the most beautiful land he’s ever seen. They take in the view. He starts making plans in his head. Jamie says he’s considering accepting Governor Tryon’s offer, devil be damned. Claire is skeptical. “D’ye trust me, Claire?” Jamie asks. “With my life,” she replies. “And with your heart?” “Always,” she promises. “Then this will be our home,” Jamie declares. “And we’ll call it Fraser’s Ridge.”

A place of our own.

Stray Observations:

  • I liked Roger and Brianna’s road trip montage. The soundtrack was particularly good – The Parliament’s “I Wanna Testify.” Keener-eyed car people may wish to correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that Brianna’s Mustang is a 1964.5 coupe. One article I found (none have clarified with the final word, that I saw), speculated that it was a 1969, but Brianna’s car lacks the characteristic hood scoop from that year and the body shape looked different to me, so…anyone know for sure?
  • Holy cow, how talented a musician is Roger?! I loved hearing him play and sing.
  • Jamie and Claire chatting as they ride about Brianna and touching on women’s rights was amusing. Jamie seems intrigued and totally on board with women being entitled to more agency than they are afforded in his time. You don’t get married to Claire and not get pretty cool pretty fast with women doing basically whatever they want, I guess!
  • The bracelet Roger gives Bree is inscribed in French, and reads “Je t’aime un peu, beaucoup, passionnement, pas du tout.” It means “I love you a little, a lot, passionately, not at all.” As Roger points out, it’s similar to reciting “He loves me, he loves me not,” when children would pluck the petals from flowers.
  • Does it bug anybody else that Claire is still wearing Frank’s wedding ring, now that Jamie’s is lost? She can’t put it aside?

Join us next week for Episode 4, “Common Ground.”

Image Credits: Sweatpants & Coffee.

Emily Parker is a musician, writer, and avid reader who started Bucket List Book Reviews, the ‘1,001 Books to Read Before You Die’ project. For Sweatpants & Coffee, Emily hopes to inspire the reading of the classics by a whole new audience by only reviewing the really good stuff.

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