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S04.E11: If Not For Hope

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Jamie, Claire and Young Ian embark on a long uncertain journey to rescue Roger, while Brianna forges a friendship with one of Jamie's old friends as she fends off Aunt Jocasta's attempts to secure a husband.

Reminder: The is the book talk thread. This can include spoilers for ALL the books. If you wish to remain unspoiled for any of the books, please leave now and head to the No Book Talk episode thread.

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Well I liked it. It's a shame the beginning of this season was so...off. They've really hit their stride again now.  I wish all those early episodes didn't feel so much like they were just set up and maneuvering. But at least it got us here.

This was the first time I've ever really liked Lord John or the actor who played him. I'm not usually a fan, even in the books.

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Great episode.  Jocasta's a Mackenzie alright.  She laid out Bree's future without a husband quite well and I think it finally convinced her being an unwed mother would be quite problematic for all, especially for Roger's/not Roger's baby.

Can't wait to hear what's in Jamie's letter.

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I thought this one was a bit off, I'm not sure why. Too melodramatic at the "plantation" and such. All the suitors licking their chops over the lovely Brianna, and then being very disappointed when Lord John arrived. Felt off to me and I didn't love it.  And did we discuss Phaedra having a Scottish accent when we met her earlier in the season?  That did not seem correct to me.  

I loved the scene with Jamie and Claire at the end, and the discussion about how Jamie was feeling about his fight with Brianna.  Claire telling him that he and Brianna are so alike was really great and gave him "hope" that he can be family with her again someday.

I thought the opening with Roger in a hot shower and then the reality of his being recaptured was interesting, but also deprived us of understanding if he chose to stay or if the Native Americans made the choice for him.  Sigh.  Looks like his tribulation is not over yet. When does the adoption into the tribe part begin. one wonders?

I did love Marsali's talk with Murtagh.  That was classic.  

I'll rewatch, but I think it's not my favorite. 

Edited by cardigirl
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I hate when we get to this point every single season and realize how much story is left and what a mess of pacing it will require to shoehorn everything in before the end.  Especially when you think about how slow the first half of the season was in meandering about for setup.  Four seasons in and same old same old.

I love Lord John but if you don't want anyone threatening to blackmail you, maybe don't be having sex in the butler's pantry where anyone could and did stumble upon you.  In the book version, Brianna happens to glimpse him coming back from the slave quarters and puts two and two together from there.  I get that the show probably wanted to avoid the optics and related consent issues that entails for a character we're supposed to see as a good guy, so yes, it is better subbing in the judge who book John clues Brianna in on also being gay.  But both are guests in the house in a time period where the consequences of being outed as gay could be very very dire.  Book John is very very aware of that reality and always discreet.  Take it to one of your rooms.  Even in typing that, though, I realize the show was trying to make sure there wasn't any doubt in what Brianna saw, so maybe simply hearing them or seeing them stumbling into the guest room next door or whatever probably wouldn't have cut it.

Aside from that, John was lovely as usual even as this episode really drove home how he's always hovering right around the edges painfully eager to do the Fraser family a solid for access.  At least the show version was somewhat able to restrain himself from getting into the specifics of just how much he lusted over Jamie to his child and his line reading of "Dear God" in realizing he was now being propositioned by Jamie's daughter was terrific.  Loved the potential suitors practically circling in the beginning and their palpable disappointment when the higher ranking Lord John arrived on the scene.  The man does know how to make an entrance.  Without the book context that unmarried women are relatively scarce in the colony and that here's Brianna, the would-be heiress to this fairly substantial property spelled out, it did feel a little over the top but I'll take it.  Jocasta telling Bree the story of her grandparents marrying felt like a retcon until I later realized she was probably telling Bree what she thought she needed to hear to put her in the right frame of mind to be willing to consider her prospective suitors, and she wasn't wrong in laying out a few hard truths about the reality of staying an unwed mother in this period, again without book Jamie's harsher language about being branded a wanton.  Although guys, if you want to sum up the episode with a talk about hope in the face of everything, maybe don't have slaves in the background of every single shot.  That whole bit had a very '80s plantation miniseries feel to it.

Did like the brief exchange between Jamie and Claire about how history remembers people like the Mohawk and how it's likely to see people like him.  His wig was distractingly terrible in the otherwise lovely tent makeup scene.  I'm happy the show is including Fergus in Murtagh's story as the former is almost criminally underused in the books at this point.  I'm guessing Murtaugh being arrested with Bonnet will up the stakes of the coming prison break considerably, even though I still have no idea what Fergus and Murtagh thought they were going to do with Bonnet until Jamie gets back however many months later.

Poor Roger really is just having the worst time of it.

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6 minutes ago, nodorothyparker said:

Although guys, if you want to sum up the episode with a talk about hope in the face of everything, maybe don't have slaves in the background of every single shot.  That whole bit had a very '80s plantation miniseries feel to it.

That was indeed a bit of a misstep. That line Lord John gives about hope really falls flat when you consider it from the POV of the Native Americans who used to live in the area of River Run and the enslaved people who now work there. They've been better about countering lines like that in other episodes this season, but this one went unchallenged out of plot necessity I guess.

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Aaaaaaaaaaaah!  I just saw the first minute -- the pre-opening credits bit.  Wicked, WICKED show!  They totally got me!

Okay, off to watch the rest.

I love this show.

EDIT:  Okay.  I'm back.  Hmmmmmm.  I'm feeling very conflicted right now.  There were moments I loved but there were other moments that were so . . . off.  I think right now I'm suffering from reader syndrome where my brain screams when they deviate from the book.  I'm going to try very hard to let that go and watch a second time without having expectations.

But let me just go on record (without first reading anyone else's reaction) to say that Lord John and the other guest having sex in the pantry was a bad decision by the writers.  It is completely out of character for John to be so reckless. And "out of character" is a pretty damning phrase in my book.  I can hand-wave away a lot of unbelievable plot twists in service of the story but when the TV writers cause characters I love to behave in a manner that is completely inconsistent with their personality . . . well that makes me really sad.  John is a careful man when it comes to keeping his sexuality hidden (and I'm SURE he has is own damn guestroom in the house.)  There is no way he and the other guest would be going at it in the pantry in a house full of servants and guests -- even if it WAS in the middle of the night.  Damn.

Okay, I'm off to watch again.

Edited by WatchrTina
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I never really liked Marsali in the books but the actress really sells it to me. Plus the actor playing Fergus is perfect too. I thought this was a bleak “ Welcome to the 1700s” for Brianna. You are a woman, expecting ....and the box with your options in it is a tiny one. The woman playing Phaedra is lovely and the accent is wonderful.

I did enjoy the short suitor with the tall sister. I kept thinking they were imagining taller children. 

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So the only time I can tolerate Brianna in this book is during her scenes with Lord John.  I think they handled that bit fine. 

I loved that they moved the scene where Jenny asks Jamie to take Ian to fight with BPC to Marsali asking Murtagh to take Fergus.  "I'll have a whole man... Or none," Jenny says in Dragonfly about Ian.  

But my favorite unexpected part of the episode was when Jocasta acknowledged Brianna's MacKenziness.  

I always skip over the part of this book where they visit Bonnet in jail and hijinks ensue because I think it's stupid so I really have no preconceived notions about how that should go in the show. Obviously, with Murtagh involved it will play out differently. 

Edited by toolazy · Reason: I don't think Clan MacDenzie exists.
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I hated that Brianna tried to blackmail Lord John in the book, and I hated it just as much in the show. I don't care whether she would have acted on her threat or not. It's despicable, and we're led to believe in the book and the show that she backed down only when she discovered she couldn't expect a white marriage. It's way too reminiscent of what Geneva did to Jamie, and you'd think that a victim of rape might shy away from forcing someone to do something against his will. She had other choices, if she were that desperate. She could have married Billy Boyd and lived a quiet life in the Shire.

I love Lord John and I love David Berry's portrayal of him. I so much want him to stop carrying a torch for Jamie and find love with someone who deserves him. 

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2 hours ago, Quickbeam said:

The woman playing Phaedra is lovely and the accent is wonderful.

I agree, my point about questioning her accent was wondering why a slave in North Carolina sounds Scottish. Ulysses doesn’t have a Scottish accent, nor does he use Scottish-isms. I was wondering why. It just kind of took me out of the episode. I done remember noticing it before. 

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Have not read any comments so here it goes. S....L...O...W.....So the great misunderstanding took almost an hour to explain.  I almost did not make it through this episode. It just was so boring.  Good to see Lord John still loves Jamie.  Claire finally admitted to some fault.  Not much just enough to unburden herself in the part she played.  She clearly saw Jamie tortured by the thoughts of his actions.  Even Ian told Claire to go to him.  But sadly no, Claire was not ready to explain herself and that Brianna is the reason why there will be secrets between them.  The F&M episodes were good.  Did Marsali want Murtagh to invite Fergus to join so it would make him feel whole, more like a man? And she expected Fergus to say no? I am not sure I understood all this. Acting was good but with the end so close this epsiode should have been done in about 15 minutres and moved along to something else.  PEACE

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43 minutes ago, cardigirl said:

I agree, my point about questioning her accent was wondering why a slave in North Carolina sounds Scottish. Ulysses doesn’t have a Scottish accent, nor does he use Scottish-isms. I was wondering why. It just kind of took me out of the episode. I done remember noticing it before. 

In the book, it's the groom Josh who has the Scottish accent.  It's explained that it's because he grew up as a slave in a scottish household and so picked it up.  Same thing with Phaedre, I imagine.  

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47 minutes ago, cardigirl said:

I agree, my point about questioning her accent was wondering why a slave in North Carolina sounds Scottish. Ulysses doesn’t have a Scottish accent, nor does he use Scottish-isms. I was wondering why. It just kind of took me out of the episode. I done remember noticing it before. 

I think we discussed this earlier in the season when we first visited River Run, and we came to the conclusion that the different accents are intentional and reflect the backgrounds and experiences of the different slaves. For instance, we can suppose, because of his age, that Ulysses was not born at River Run, but was raised on another plantation or somewhere else in America where his formative years were spent with people who had a more "typical" American accent (if we can even judge what that accent was like in those days).

Phaedra, on the other hand, is much younger and was probably raised at River Run or came there very early in her life and appears to have been raised to work within the household. She was, no doubt, exposed to the Cameron's Scottish accent and those of their friends at an early age and was probably greatly influenced by that. (Even in the book, Claire comments on the fact that some of the slaves at River Run have Scottish accents.)

Lastly, recall the slave that Claire helped to die. he had the accent of an African country. He was more recently captured into slavery, and still had memories of and was influenced by his life in Africa.
 

Edited by Nidratime
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Well, if the book discusses a slave having such an accent thusly, that makes sense, and I truly forgot such discussions from the previous episode. Thank you everyone. It just surprised me this episode. 

Edited by cardigirl
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On a different topic, I enjoyed all the separate characters, settings, and situations we are following now: Claire, Jamie, and Ian on the road; Roger with The Mohawk; Murtagh, Fergus and Marsali, and Bonnet in town; and Brianna, Aunt Jocasta, Lord John, LIzzie, and Ulysses and Phaedra at River Run. Feels more like an ensemble show now, which we may see come together in the last two episodes.

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So, Claire’s not upset with Jamie-at all-But proceeds to give him the cold shoulder for three months or so? Two months? One month? But she’s not upset with him at all, right?😒😒😒😒 

Brianna isn’t one for forgiveness, I see. And I really couldn’t concentrate on any of her scenes because of the zit on Sophie’s chin.

And Lizzie’s got a big mouth. It looked like to me that Brianna faked that fainting spell, but if she didn’t, that was a horrible performance.

While I’m not a fan of Lord John in the buiks, I am really enjoying him on the show, and that’s all due to David Berry. He’s so scrumptious!

While I am trying to understand Claire’s viewpoint, and really loved that scene between her and Jamie, I just didn’t believe her when she said she was upset and angry with the world and circumstances. Her every action, body language and refusal to speak with Jamie, to go to him to make sure he hasn’t hurt his hand too badly, contradicts her line about not blaming him. And Sam’s horrid wig just keeps taking me out of these moments because I have to try to ignore that monstrosity on his head! I wish they’d give him his season three curly wig (assuming that was a wig and not Sam’s real hair). Cait’s wig was very obvious when she went into the tent. It looked better once the strands were falling down her cheeks.

I really wish the show had given Fergus the hook instead of that ridonkulous “hand.”

Poor Murtagh get arrested with that arseholeraping monster Bonnett. 

That last gauntlet was very...Last of the Mohicans-ish.

I dinna care how unfeminist this makes me, but TOTALLY #TEAM JAMIE here.

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I liked this one too.  This season has a much stronger back half!  I loved that they gave Marsali Jenny’s bit about making her husband feel whole.  It fit beautifully.  And it was nice to see F&M again.  I am loving Murtagh and really hoping we don’t just lose him.  I’m already mourning Ian, even though I know eventually we get him back.  

Loved the River Run parts.  Jocasta and Lord John were great!  Fabulous casting, I wish more than ever now we would get the Lord John spin offs.  Loved the suitors and cracked up when I recognized “Pippin” from LOTR.  Bree is...Bree, I guess?  Still coming to terms with the actress at times.  Backing up, loved the opening with Roger in the hot shower.  Poor, poor Roger.  

Eta, the scenes with Bree and Jocasta were gold...so very Mackenzie!!!!

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I think it’s a mole on Brianna, and not a blemish. I think the production values on this show are of a level that they would not allow a “zit,” (wigs aside).

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THE GOOD

I liked the fake-out at the start with Roger’s fantasy of a hot shower being so rudely interrupted.  And I applaud the writer’s decision to leave ambiguous whether or not Roger was pulled away from the stones by the Mohawk like Claire was in season one, or whether he decided NOT to go through the stones and then was recaptured as he began his journey back to Brianna.

At first I scoffed at the idea that Roger would not suffer any negative consequences from the Mohawk for running away. (He seems unharmed when he snaps out of his hot-shower day-dream.)  I fan-wanked it away by deciding that the Mohawk would probably respect his initiative in giving them the slip (temporarily).  But then we got to the final scene of the show.  I don’t know if that ritual was specifically a punishment for running away -- it may actually be something they put all their captives through -- but I like to think that it was the Mohawk version of delayed “justice” for Roger’s having tried to escape.  As with the last two episodes I ended my viewing saying out loud “Poor Roger!”

 

Claire: “Sometimes it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.”

Jamie: “When ye dinna have both sides of the story, aye it is.”

At first I thought the quote above was a bit heavy-handed but now I see how apt it was, especially given the later conversation between Jamie & Claire in the tent.  You know, this episode is growing on me in that it shines a light on something that I don’t think was necessarily focused on in the book – Jamie’s frustration and anger at finding himself in this situation – a situation that would have been avoided if everyone had just been truthful with him about what happened to Brianna. In the book, Jamie comes off as a bit of a dick during this section. The show is doing a good job keeping us sympathetic with the turmoil he’s going through – especially his fear that his daughter will hate him forever if they can’t rescue Roger.

I have mixed emotions about Marsalie asking Murtagh to ask Fergus to join the regulators. As a reader I appreciate that they lifted that bit from Book 2, when Jenny asks Jamie to invite Ian Sr. to come and fight in the uprising.  I can appreciate the similarity of the sentiment (a wife wanting her man to feel “whole” and willing to risk losing him) but the Rising was a much better defined conflict.  It was a war. Eventually there will be a war in America but for now, those “regulators” have a whiff of opportunistic criminality about them.  Still, I’m glad they made use of the premise – that of a loving wife who’ll have her man “Whole or not at all.”  BTW I like Marsali a LOT more this season.  I’m glad they’re fleshed out that role.

I love Phaedra’s Scottish accent. And I loved when Brianna told her she was beautiful.

The competition between Lt. Wolfe and Mr. Forbes (Billy Boyd!!!!) was awkward and funny and brought to a wonderful, screeching halt by the arrival of Lord John. The reactions of the ladies and the looks between Wolfe and Forbes when he walks in were great.  Yeah, John really had no competition there.

Oooh listen, Lord John is telling the story about the fortune teller that we (the viewers) met in Jamaica.  (Ah Margaret. I hope she and Yi Tien Cho have found happiness.)

 

THE BAD

I could not tell who it was that Brianna had drawn that caused Lizzy to have a negative reaction.  Was it Stephen Bonnet?  If so, how would Lizzy know what he looked like?  She never saw him.  Or was it supposed to be various versions of Roger?  If it was, I couldn’t tell.

I liked Brianna forgiving Lizzy for her role in Roger’s situation but I did not like Lizzy suggesting that Brianna should also forgive Jamie.  That just did not ring true to me.  I can’t imagine an 18th century servant expressing her opinion on such a personal family matter.  I had a similar reaction when, in a later scene, Ian tried to make peace between Claire & Jamie.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe when people are living in such close proximity to one another they can’t help trying to smooth things over when there is tension in the group.  But it just felt odd to me to hear Ian trying to give marital advice to his Auntie.

There’s a moment on the trail when Jamie basically gives a little speech about not knowing what dangers lie before them and wondering what Brianna is going through and it’s just totally unnatural.  I pity Sam having to deliver that batch of dialog.

The other clunky dialog was in the scene between Brianna & Jocasta when Bree is being uncooperative about being fitted for a dress.  Jocasta says a few lines about her sister Ellen and then suddenly Bree says “You’re right, conversation is good for a worried mind” and then compliantly goes off to be fitted for a new dress.   Wait what? That was such an odd moment.  I wonder if a bunch of dialog was edited out of the final cut.

Lord John Grey having sex in the pantry with another guest is completely out of character for this careful, closeted, 18th century gay man.  My recollection is that in the book Brianna is so perceptive, she figures out that John is in love with Jamie based solely on her conversation with him and, yeah, that’s a stretch.  Maybe the TV writers thought that was something you could only get away with in a book  (where the characters’ thoughts can be described) and they just didn’t think they could make it plausible in the visual medium of television, so they inserted this scene.  But I hated it because it felt SO out of character for John to be so reckless.

I also hated Brianna’s dinner-table psychology parlor trick.  It was ill-mannered to delve into people’s psyches in that way. I know Brianna is not of this time and that she’s not always a thoughtful or likable character but, ugh. The only plausible explanation I can come up with was that she was deliberately tying to make herself appear less desirable to her suitors by making them all uncomfortable.

Having said both of those things, the ONLY plausible explanation I can come up with for those two dinner guests getting it on in the pantry in the middle of the night is this:  Brianna’s resemblance to Jamie got John all hot-and-bothered and Brianna’s parlor-trick got the other guy all hot–and-bothered and sometimes smart people do stupid things when their passions are inflamed.  I can also fan-wank that John and the other dinner guest knew one another and have “known” one another before (in the biblical sense). That makes their midnight liaison in the pantry slightly more plausible.  But I still think it is out-of-character.

Now lets talk about the scene when Brianna uses her knowledge of what went on in the pantry to try to blackmail John into proposing to her.  Ugh.  I think I know what they were going for but I don’t think it worked.  I think there was a whiff of that scene from back in the Helwater days when John assures Jamie (in the midst of a heated argument) that if he HAD ever “taken” Jamie he would have made him scream (with pleasure.) Jamie puts a fist into the wall after that (missing John’s head by inches.)  I actually think the writers were going for a mild echo of that in that John is offended by Brianna’s seeming assurance that if she married him he would not try to bed her.  John’s offended reaction reminded me of John assuring Jamie that he is “capable” with a woman (he told Jamie that when he announced that he was planning to marry).  Whatever it was that they were going for, I think they missed.  I THINK they were trying to have John make Bree realize that she was playing with fire by trying to blackmail him – and I guess they got where they needed to be in the end (with Bree backing down and admitting her threats were empty and with Bree also learning – for the first time – that Jamie already knows John is gay.)  But I really don’t like that scene.

I also don’t like Brianna actually considering accepting Forbes’ offer of marriage. This makes NO SENSE.  She’d be trapped with him.  He’d be the legal father of her child.  She would never agree to that – not while there is a chance that Roger is alive.  The threat evaporates a moment later when Lord John saves the day by announcing their engagement but for a good 30 seconds the show teeters on the brink of stupidity.

I struggle a bit with Jamie & Claire’s reconciliation.  Claire apologizes for not telling Jamie about Bonnet but unless I’m mis-remembering things, she didn’t find out it WAS Bonnet until pretty late in the game.  She doesn’t know WHO the assailant was when she tells Jamie about the pregnancy and the rape.  The attack on Roger happens simultaneously with Claire finding her wedding ring (the two story lines are inter-cut in that episode right?)  So Claire is not to blame for Jamie not knowing that it was Bonnet who attacked Bree and for his believing Lizzy when she identifies Roger as the assailant.  But I suppose that if Claire had immediately told Jamie the truth when she learned it was Bonnet, then Roger would have been, at most, a day’s ride away and they could have caught up with the Mohawk and rescued him.  Still, this story-line is SO convoluted.  I don’t envy the actors having to figure out what their characters should be feeling in these scenes.

 

THE UGLY

Mommy and Daddy are fighting!  I complained above about Lizzy and Ian trying to reconcile Brianna and Claire (respectively) with Jamie but really, who can blame them?  It hurts so bad to see Jamie at odds with the people he loves most in the world.  Thank goodness Jamie and Claire reconcile by the end.  Here’s hoping we’ll see his reconciliation with Bree before the season ends.

 

OTHER

Thank goodness for Rollo.  Whenever I saw a batch of riders at a distance in the woods I could always tell Team Fraser from the Mohawk by Rollo’s presence.

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Hey pregnant Brianna, whatcha got in that wine glass?  Were the effects of consuming alcohol while pregnant known in the 1960s?  I sure hope Bree is following the no-more-than-one-glass-of-wine-a-day rule.

How did Jamie get his hands on the Weasley’s tent from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”?  I ask because that tent Jamie and Claire had make-up sex in was massive and is clearly bigger on the inside than any pup-tent they could plausibly be traveling with.

Wow, where did they find that many first-nation actors who were willing to shave their heads in the Mohawk style for that final scene?  I presume we’re going to see more of that village in the next episode because otherwise that was a huge investment by the production for a 1-minute scene.

Edited by WatchrTina
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26 minutes ago, cardigirl said:

I think it’s a mole on Brianna, and not a blemish. I think the production values on this show are of a level that they would not allow a “zit,” (wigs aside).

Her entire face was broken out.  Maybe she's allergic to the makeup or something, who knows.  That stuff's terrible.  At any rate, I hated this episode.  It fell entirely flat and was not at all good for me.  And.  The Wig.

 

Quote

Hey pregnant Brianna, whatcha got in that wine glass?  Were the affects of consuming alcohol while pregnant known in the 1960s?  I sure hope Bree is following the no-more-than-one-glass-of-wine-a-day rule.

I think we fuss too much about it.  All of humanity with the exception of the past 5 generations was brought up with pregnant women who were soused, 24x7.  The water wasn't safe to drink unless it had an alcohol content - and people knew that.  We got along juuuuust fine.

Edited by areca
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49 minutes ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

So, Claire’s not upset with Jamie-at all-But proceeds to give him the cold shoulder for three months or so? Two months? One month? But she’s not upset with him at all, right?😒😒😒😒 

While I am trying to understand Claire’s viewpoint, and really loved that scene between her and Jamie, I just didn’t believe her when she said she was upset and angry with the world and circumstances. Her every action, body language and refusal to speak with Jamie, to go to him to make sure he hasn’t hurt his hand too badly, contradicts her line about not blaming him.

I'm most definitely in the minority, but I'm #TEAMCLAIRE.  Why does the burden of clearing the air fall on Claire (or all the women on this show)? Jamie had the same opportunities as Claire to approach her and discuss the situation. She did ask him if his hand was okay, and he had a curt response back to her.  In the end, she made the first move to resolve #manpainlander.

 

As a mom and wife, I would react as Claire did. While they were traveling, she would not suddenly stop grieving what's happened to her daughter (while rehashing her own role in Roger now being so far away). Being angry at the world and turning inward is peak Claire coping mechanism.

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37 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

 

Lord John Grey having sex in the pantry with another guest is completely out of character for this careful, closeted, 18th century gay man.  My recollection is that in the book Brianna is so perceptive, she figures out that John is in love with Jamie based solely on her conversation with him and, yeah, that’s a stretch.  Maybe the TV writers thought that was something you could only get away with in a book  (where the characters’ thoughts can be described) and they just didn’t think they could make it plausible in the visual medium of television, so they inserted this scene.  But I hated it because it felt SO out of character for John to be so reckless.[/quote]

Two things clue in book Brianna - first of all, she senses that he isn't attracted to her (apparently most men are :eyeroll:)  and then she sees him coming from the slave quarters and puts it together.  I think you're right about her figuring out that he has the hots for Jamie in a conversation - the one in which she blackmails him, I think. 

 

 

37 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Hey pregnant Brianna, whatcha got in that wine glass?  Were the effects of consuming alcohol while pregnant known in the 1960s?  I sure hope Bree is following the no-more-than-one-glass-of-wine-a-day rule.[/quote}

I think it was an idea that was just starting to spread.  It seems to me that my oldest sisters, who were pregnant around 1970, drank.  

 

37 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

How did Jamie get his hands on the Weasey’s tent from “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”?  I ask because that tent Jamie and Claire had make-up sex in was massive and is clearly bigger on the inside than any pup-tent they could plausibly be traveling with.

 

Yet another example of the living spaces in this show being way too fancy.  I'm sorry, but Jocasta's house just does not look like a plantation on the inside.  It looks like a European manor house. 

 

32 minutes ago, areca said:

Her entire face was broken out.  Maybe she's allergic to the makeup or something, who knows.  That stuff's terrible.  At any rate, I hated this episode.  It fell entirely flat and was not at all good for me.  And.  The Wig.

 

She has some moles on her face. They weren't zits.  And so what if they were? She's pregnant.

It cracks me up that everyone moans about Jamie's wig.  It's Claire's wig that I hate like poison and have hated for two seasons now.

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Really enjoyed this ep.  I was honestly so glad that they had John fuck someone who wasn't a slave.  That was such a dicey  and bad situation.  I do like that John fully expressed the dire consequences if Brianna outed him, even if Brianna admitted it was an empty threat.  The John/Brianna friendship really stuck with me from the books and I'm pretty happy with it in the show with just this first ep.  

 

The Marsali/Murthagh/Fergus stuff was just perfect.

 

Its taken me a while to warm up to Brianna/Sophie but this ep has really convinced me. She has some real fun reactions.  I certainly didn't notice her "horrible" skin but as someone who has never been blessed with perfect skin I appreciate some realism.  (And I would still pay to have skin as good as hers!)

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49 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

I also don’t like Brianna actually considering accepting Forbes’ offer of marriage. This makes NO SENSE.  She’d be trapped with him.  He’d be the legal father of her child.  She would never agree to that – not while there is a chance that Roger is alive.  The threat evaporates a moment later when Lord John saves the day by announcing their engagement but for a good 30 seconds the show teeters on the brink of stupidity.

 

I agree with so much of your post. It's not just Forbes. If she weren't prepared to marry, then there would not have been any need to blackmail Lord John and then demure once she found out he was "capable." She could just have asked him to fake an engagement. It never made sense to me that book Brianna, much less show Brianna, would consider marrying while Jamie and Claire were out searching high and low for Roger. Wasn't the Odyssey, the handbook for fending off suitors, on the required reading list at Harvard?

Pregnant women smoked and drank in the sixties. There may have been murmurings, but the received wisdom was that the jury was still out regarding the effects of alcohol on a fetus. I was pregnant in the 1980s, and even then doctors were saying that the occasional glass of wine was no big deal. Michael Dorris published The Broken Cord in 1989, to shed light on fetal alcohol syndrome, which had been identified earlier but still was not a major part of prenatal care (at least not at the two teaching hospitals where I gave birth). 

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6 minutes ago, AD55 said:

I agree with so much of your post. It's not just Forbes. If she weren't prepared to marry, then there would not have been any need to blackmail Lord John and then demure once she found out he was "capable." She could just have asked him to fake an engagement. It never made sense to me that book Brianna, much less show Brianna, would consider marrying while Jamie and Claire were out searching high and low for Roger. Wasn't the Odyssey, the handbook for fending off suitors, on the required reading list at Harvard?

The point was that she could marry John and there would be no expectation that they would consummate the marriage, thus remaining faithful to Roger.   Any of those other dudes would have expected sex. 

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Book John in trying and trying to explain why he can't marry Brianna also has a line about how Jamie would never stand for it, it's inappropriate, blah blah blah, about her looking like Jamie and having "echoes of Jamie's flesh."  That's a pretty big tipoff to her that he doesn't just have old friends feelings about Jamie.  While I wasn't a fan of the psychological parlor game thing that managed to feel a whole lot longer than it actually was onscreen, letting show Brianna realize just why John was picturing Jamie is still preferable to watching her be shocked just shocked and exclaiming that Jamie would never, forcing John to defensively acknowledge that no, Jamie would never but thanks for putting it that way all the same.

I assumed that Brianna was mentally steeling herself to try to string Forbes along for a couple of months to get Jocasta off her back and buy herself some more times in hopes of hearing ... something.  But I don't know if I would have gotten there if I wasn't aware of all her book agonizing over a marriage of love vs. a marriage of duty since the show has only had her feebly bring up the baby maybe not being Roger's once or twice as a possible impediment to have someone else immediately pat her hand and tell her how ridiculous that concern is.  Because yeah, you guys are right that she made her pitch to John as a perfectly sincere offer rather than a time-buying ruse, which they only agree to in the book after all of this back and forth.  Since the show has also apparently abandoned all of the book uncertainty of whether she might still be hoping to go back through the stones before the birth, she probably figures if she's stuck there permanently a Plan B with a former hobbit is still better than she and her child be branded a slut and a bastard, respectively.

If Brianna having a glass is a concern, don't ever watch old episodes of Mad Men.  The women on that show were knocking them back and chain smoking through all three trimesters to beat the band.

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1 hour ago, WatchrTina said:

THE GOOD

I liked the fake-out at the start with Roger’s fantasy of a hot shower being so rudely interrupted.  

Hey pregnant Brianna, whatcha got in that wine glass?  Were the effects of consuming alcohol while pregnant known in the 1960s?  I sure hope Bree is following the no-more-than-one-glass-of-wine-a-day rule.

 

I got such a Dallas, “it was all a dream” vibe from the opening scene!

According to this NYT article, they didn’t know in the 60s alcohol and pregnancy did not mix. Not until 1973.

https://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/25/health/policy/sorting-out-ambivalence-over-alcohol-and-pregnancy.html

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1 hour ago, WatchrTina said:

snip

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Hey pregnant Brianna, whatcha got in that wine glass?  Were the effects of consuming alcohol while pregnant known in the 1960s?  I sure hope Bree is following the no-more-than-one-glass-of-wine-a-day rule.

snip

You must not be a Mad Men watcher ; )

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Okay, so it’s a mole that Sophie has. I’ve never noticed it before. But it was visible, then not visible, then visible, which I found to be distracting.

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1 hour ago, toolazy said:

The point was that she could marry John and there would be no expectation that they would consummate the marriage, thus remaining faithful to Roger.   Any of those other dudes would have expected sex. 

Except that she wouldn't be able to marry Roger--that would be a problem. Divorce was virtually unheard of, and annulments for nonconsummation were not easy to secure (even supposing Lord John were willing to cop to that). 

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3 hours ago, toolazy said:

It cracks me up that everyone moans about Jamie's wig.

I know, right?  I thought Jamie looked all kinds of hot in this episode.  Y'all just need to get over the wig. Embrace the wig!!!  It's gonna be there until the end of the series because Sam has cut his hair and he was NEVER going to dye it red + grey.

Edited by WatchrTina
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Just now, WatchrTina said:

I know, right?  I thought Jamie looked all kinds of hot in this episode.  Y'all need just get over the wig.

I’m sorry, but I can’t.* That doesn’t mean I can’t and did not enjoy Sam/Jamie’s hotness.🥰🥰🥰🥰

Especially since I know they can do better.

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12 hours ago, cardigirl said:

And did we discuss Phaedra having a Scottish accent when we met her earlier in the season?  That did not seem correct to me.  

If Phaedra was raised as a house slave and grew up around others who spoke English with a Scottish accent, it would not be strange for her to have a Scottish accent as well. Or at least a tinge of one. 

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I loved the interplay between Jocasta and Bri, especially when Jocasta is furious and bitter (pretty sure she can’t let go that she did the honorable and dutiful thing while Ellen was given a pass), but can’t help herself but almost be impressed and affectionate that Bri showed herself a true Mackenzie.

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6 hours ago, cardigirl said:

I agree, my point about questioning her accent was wondering why a slave in North Carolina sounds Scottish. Ulysses doesn’t have a Scottish accent, nor does he use Scottish-isms. I was wondering why. It just kind of took me out of the episode. I done remember noticing it before. 

Ulysses’s is far older, and didn’t grow up as Jocasta’s slave from birth/early childhood. (Jocasta hasn’t been in the colonies for longer than 20years). Ulysses likely learned to speak English from his childhood caregivers who learned from English people. 

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2 hours ago, AD55 said:

Except that she wouldn't be able to marry Roger--that would be a problem. Divorce was virtually unheard of, and annulments for nonconsummation were not easy to secure (even supposing Lord John were willing to cop to that). 

It's the best of her available options. 

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Thanks to everyone weighing in on the Scottish accent of an American slave. I’m sure there’s all kinds if scenarios that could produce that result. However, Phaedra is not surrounded by Scottish accents or Scottish people, that we’ve been shown, and being raised by ONE person with that accent isn’t going to give you the accent, in my opinion. Brianna was raised by two Brits and she has a Boston (supposedly) accent. 

Its not a criticism of the actress in the role or her portrayal. I think she is lovely and doing a wonderful job. 

Anywho, that’s enough time spent in wondering why. I’ll just hand wave it, like other things I do in this show. 

Sure hope things turn around for poor Roger soon. 

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 Best part of the episode is seeing that Pip returned safely from Mordor and has grown a few inches since his time in the Shire. He even wore shoes!

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22 minutes ago, cardigirl said:

Thanks to everyone weighing in on the Scottish accent of an American slave. I’m sure there’s all kinds if scenarios that could produce that result. However, Phaedra is not surrounded by Scottish accents or Scottish people, that we’ve been shown, and being raised by ONE person with that accent isn’t going to give you the accent, in my opinion. Brianna was raised by two Brits and she has a Boston (supposedly) accent. 

Its not a criticism of the actress in the role or her portrayal. I think she is lovely and doing a wonderful job. 

Anywho, that’s enough time spent in wondering why. I’ll just hand wave it, like other things I do in this show. 

Sure hope things turn around for poor Roger soon. 

It wasn't one person, it was two. There was also Mr. Cameron.

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Brianna- threatening to out Lord John, not acceptable. A way to have gotten around Brianna being a total asshole, would’ve been to have her say “I know that you have relations with men- of course I wouldn’t tell anyone, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a regular marriage because of that. I can help you keep your secret if you can help me.” Basically a continuation of her saying she didn’t want his money etc. The look on her face when she said “with women too?” Ummm yeah, men of his rank were expected to produce heirs. 

When I am watching their journey through he woods I’m hoping Claire is menopausal and doesn’t have to deal with her period any more. (She’s approximately 54 I think, she was 28 when she met Jaime, 3 years until Culloden (31), if she went through the stones when Bree was 20 (after almost a year of pregnancy, she’d be 52).....

 

Yay for Claire for being such a good Mommy. Awwwww my heart is very warm. Jaime being jealous of Frank is very natural, Frank had 18yrs of memories with Brianna. She just met Jaime (Even not counting these circumstances). 

 

I wish we had more light for these nighttime scenes. 

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3 hours ago, AD55 said:

Divorce was virtually unheard of, and annulments for nonconsummation were not easy to secure (even supposing Lord John were willing to cop to that). 

Apropo of nothing, I have an ancestor that divorced her first husband in New Amsterdam (New York) in the 1630's.  She even had children with her first husband but went on to have 7 or 8 children with my ancestor, an English mercenary.  Divorce could be done back then but it was rare.  

There were parts of this that really dragged.  I didn't like the silly psychology game.  It seemed to me that the PTB are really pushing to show us how smart Brianna must be.  She's still not my favorite character.  I didn't start to like her until a few books along. I did enjoy seeing Billy Boyd as a suitor.  It was fun to see all of the men deflate when Lord John arrived.

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5 hours ago, rxpert14 said:

I'm most definitely in the minority, but I'm #TEAMCLAIRE.  Why does the burden of clearing the air fall on Claire (or all the women on this show)? Jamie had the same opportunities as Claire to approach her and discuss the situation. She did ask him if his hand was okay, and he had a curt response back to her.  In the end, she made the first move to resolve #manpainlander.

 

As a mom and wife, I would react as Claire did. While they were traveling, she would not suddenly stop grieving what's happened to her daughter (while rehashing her own role in Roger now being so far away). Being angry at the world and turning inward is peak Claire coping mechanism.

I felt that Jamie did have to wait for Claire to make the makeup move. I was disappointed that it looked like it took months for them to do so. As a mother I feel for Claire but it did not ring true that she would shut out Jamie, he was obviously hurting, & I think they would have talked it over earlier & then commiserated together about how shitty it all was! Damn you Claire. Of course this proves how the hardest part of marriage is raising kids.

5 hours ago, toolazy said:

The point was that she could marry John and there would be no expectation that they would consummate the marriage, thus remaining faithful to Roger.   Any of those other dudes would have expected sex. 

I assume the point will be to draw out the engagement long enough for the Fraser’s to return with Roger, & not actually get  married?

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5 hours ago, toolazy said:

Two things clue in book Brianna - first of all, she senses that he isn't attracted to her (apparently most men are :eyeroll:)  and then she sees him coming from the slave quarters and puts it together.  I think you're right about her figuring out that he has the hots for Jamie in a conversation - the one in which she blackmails him, I think. 

 

 

I think it was an idea that was just starting to spread.  It seems to me that my oldest sisters, who were pregnant around 1970, drank.  

 

Yet another example of the living spaces in this show being way too fancy.  I'm sorry, but Jocasta's house just does not look like a plantation on the inside.  It looks like a European manor house. 

 

She has some moles on her face. They weren't zits.  And so what if they were? She's pregnant.

It cracks me up that everyone moans about Jamie's wig.  It's Claire's wig that I hate like poison and have hated for two seasons now.

Claire’s hair in the tent scene was indeed horrid!

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This one didn't work for me on the whole, only because we're two hours away from the conclusion of the season and nowhere near where we need to be in terms of book-to-screen. The last two episodes were too much filler, and now we'll have to be at a full gallop toward the end. 

Something I wanted to bring up regarding Bree (and Sophie). I like both the character as she appears in the series and the actor herself, but with that said, Sophie's  very much a lightweight.  I bring this up because I just finished Season 4 of Shetland, and the young woman playing Cassie (Erin Armstrong), the daughter of the lead character, was utterly mesmerizing in the role. She's able to convey a flood of emotions without uttering a single word in one powerful scene. I never once got the feeling that Sophie could pull that off, unfortunately. 

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I had my first child in 1978.  No smoking or drinking constraints.  I remember seeing someone smoking in their hospital bed with babe in arms.  I have a photo of myself with a glass of wine in hand at 9 months.  She's fine to this day.

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14 hours ago, AD55 said:

I hated that Brianna tried to blackmail Lord John in the book, and I hated it just as much in the show. I don't care whether she would have acted on her threat or not. It's despicable, and we're led to believe in the book and the show that she backed down only when she discovered she couldn't expect a white marriage. It's way too reminiscent of what Geneva did to Jamie, and you'd think that a victim of rape might shy away from forcing someone to do something against his will. She had other choices, if she were that desperate. She could have married Billy Boyd and lived a quiet life in the Shire.

I love Lord John and I love David Berry's portrayal of him. I so much want him to stop carrying a torch for Jamie and find love with someone who deserves him. 

Very well put and I couldn't agree more! Brianna's behaviour was despicable indeed and I felt so bad for Lord John. He proved once again what a good guy he is when he saved her at the end (even though she really did not deserve it) by agreeing to marry her after all.

Not having read the fourth book, I was surprised how reckless Lord John was with his nightly hook-up (although apparently that doesn't happen in the book?). On the other hand, good for him for getting some. Like AD55, I really wish that he could get over Jamie and fall in love with a guy who loves him back. As they said in the after the episode thingy, he really is such a tragic character and I want so badly for him to find some happiness.

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5 hours ago, Cdh20 said:

I felt that Jamie did have to wait for Claire to make the makeup move. I was disappointed that it looked like it took months for them to do so. As a mother I feel for Claire but it did not ring true that she would shut out Jamie, he was obviously hurting, & I think they would have talked it over earlier & then commiserated together about how shitty it all was! Damn you Claire. Of course this proves how the hardest part of marriage is raising kids.

 

Curious why Jamie couldn't come to Claire first? "Sassenach, can we talk?" Doesn't sound that hard to me. She didn't just shut out Jamie, but Ian too. If others had been traveling with them, she'd have given them the cold shoulder as well. Jamie and Ian were the only ones around her, and she enclosed herself in her grief and worry for Bree and Roger. If Jamie is this emotionally intelligent progressive man, he could have approached her just like Ian did. Does it ring true for Jamie to shut out Claire? She was in obvious pain too, and assumes he's angry with her over her secret-keeping.  I'll never understand why Jamie's given a pass in not going to Claire, but Claire is criticised for actually going to Jamie.

 

In my realization of both scenarios......

Claire goes to Jamie to resolve the issue first: she didn't go soon enough, she's criticized.

Claire lets Jamie make the first move: Claire is criticized for not making the 1st move.

In this fandom, Claire couldn't win regardless of who makes the 1st move. 

 

I think we'll just have to disagree on this topic. It's all good.

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11 hours ago, cardigirl said:

However, Phaedra is not surrounded by Scottish accents or Scottish people, that we’ve been shown, and being raised by ONE person with that accent isn’t going to give you the accent, in my opinion. Brianna was raised by two Brits and she has a Boston (supposedly) accent. 

They're in kind of a unique situation in that much of the society Jocasta is surrounded with is made up of expatriate Scots, including many of the nearby landowners and her late husband.  The next book briefly talks about how Phaedre, like many of the enslaved she knows, was born at River Run.  So it's not like she's had much opportunity to travel or be exposed to other people with different ways of speaking.  Book Ulysses had a previous master, a schoolmaster who taught him to read and write and all the proper airs to hold the household position of relative responsibility he now has.  His speech reflects that.

 

10 hours ago, Scarlett45 said:

A way to have gotten around Brianna being a total asshole, would’ve been to have her say “I know that you have relations with men- of course I wouldn’t tell anyone, but I wouldn’t expect it to be a regular marriage because of that. I can help you keep your secret if you can help me.” Basically a continuation of her saying she didn’t want his money etc. The look on her face when she said “with women too?” Ummm yeah, men of his rank were expected to produce heirs. 

Ideally, yeah, she would have gone about all this differently.  But even Brianna's not coming at this from a super modern point of view.  In her own time, homosexuality was still classified as a mental disorder and while she probably likely was aware of gay people who were whispered about in the university setting, bisexuality or the idea of "dirty gay" men having sex with women was probably a reach too far.  In truth, I doubt she's thinking much about the specifics of John's life at all.  She's desperately casting about for a solution that doesn't immediately result in her being strongarmed into a marriage with any of these dolts who are going to propose after a single evening's dinner.  Even as mad as she may still be at Jamie right now, she's aware that Jamie holds John in some esteem and probably figures she can work with that.

Jamie is so busy stewing in blaming himself while also thinking that everybody blames him that he can't seem to see beyond that.  He says as much in admitting his jealousy of Frank.  Here he went all these years never expecting to be a husband again or a father ever and in fairly short order, (in his mind at least) royally fucked it up in a way that may not ever be fixable should they not be able to get Roger back.  I don't have to be team anybody in observing that.

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6 hours ago, Cdh20 said:

I assume the point will be to draw out the engagement long enough for the Fraser’s to return with Roger, & not actually get  married?

The engagement cannot last too long- Bree will start to show. 

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