We have experienced yet another powerful episode of Outlander. There are discussions abounding all over social media about changes, wigs, performances and what is to come. I love reading about them all (mostly). I thought about what I would write this week and had a few different things run through the old jellified grey matter.
There were many times in this episode where our characters would say one thing and mean another. There would be a different intention behind the actions they were demonstrating. It really is something we all do though. Sometimes, we do it intentionally, to prove a point. Often we do it subtly, that way we can claim it isn’t what we meant if someone calls us out. Maybe it is just a way to protect the feelings of someone we are with.
In Blood Of My Blood, we can observe many instances of hidden messages being sent our characters way.
Claire’s moments are so well hidden, we barely see them. Mostly because they aren’t present in front of the person they are for. The conflict she has in this episode is 100% focused on Lord John. We have jealousy and annoyance for sure and she doesn’t hide it from John, at all. However, around Jamie, she holds onto it tightly. In fact, she encourages Jamie to spend time with LJG, she actively listens while he shares memories of Willie. She wants him to tell her the stories of the time they spent together. Her love for Jamie has reached a point that his happiness is paramount yet there is that streak of jealousy of knowing someone else is in love with her partner. I don’t think that is a fault either, not many people would take that lightly.
Speaking of that someone else – the super handsome, dignified and yumtastic specimen, Lord John Grey. The way he watches Jamie cutting wood (sounds suggestive but alas, it’s just wood- hmmm still suggestive) shows that he still has that glow of admiration, in his heart. No, it’s love…he loves him and it shows. Yet, when Jamie asks what he is doing there, the answer is because Jamie painted such a beautiful picture of his land, LJG just had to see it for himself. Uh-huh.
LJG feeds another story to Claire about why he has come to the Ridge. Naturally, Claire is pretty perceptive and she called him out on it. She knows he came to see Jamie, full stop. He admits that it is true, sometime later. He says he wanted to know if he could still “feel”. I think we all know John was quite sure he could feel. He likely wanted to be reminded of how much he could feel. To be reassured of the depth of his emotions. It is my guess that Isobel’s death reminded him of how disconnected he was. There was likely guilt there and yes, as he admitted, shame. What better way to drown all of that away than to flood it with love?
LJG tells Claire she is devastatingly straightforward and she claims she can’t help it, she was born that way. As she turns her back, he whispers with a tear streaming down his cheek “So was I.” He isn’t speaking of being straightforward, he is speaking of being born loving who he loves. This scene defies centuries. It is before its time and it is beautiful. It contains that hidden message that people today still need to hear.
Lord John gives Jamie his chess set as he leaves. Claiming it would please him to think of Jamie having a game now and then. I believe this is a very pointed way for John to be sure that Jamie is reminded of him each time he takes the chess set out.
Murtagh had his own moments in this episode but he really isn’t one to shrug away from the truth is he? His comments are much more angled towards getting his point across without saying exactly what he wants to say. Not passive aggressive but cuttingly contentiousness. Even with his direct comments about Gov. Tryon and eating rats, it was obvious that Murtagh was still holding back. It certainly makes you wonder just what he would say if he wasn’t. Say…not do. We have seen he will chop off your damn head if he wanted to. I am talking about if he were to put that particular energy into actual words.
Murtagh is not one to be trifled with and LJG got his dander up and hard. He doesn’t have the benefit of the, let’s face it, unlikely friendship between LJG and Jamie. He can’t quite figure out what the hell is happening here until he gets Jamie alone for a moment. His sleuthing pays off quickly when he deciphers the clue of pain in Jamie’s eyes at the question “And how does that make the lad YOUR responsibility?” Murtagh knew at that moment Willie was Jamie’s son. Which spoke to something else. Jamie had a son he didn’t know about. A son in which he trusted this English red coat to raise as his own. A very big bitter pill for his godfather to swallow. Some secrets cause us to grow closer, others, not so much.
I am surprised Jamie’s tongue didn’t split straight down the middle during this episode. He said SO many things while clearly feeling otherwise. To start, “Best he doesna remember” in regards to Willie not remembering the groom he knew as Mac. You can see in his eyes and his stance he wants nothing more than to be remembered by him.
When LJG introduced William to Jamie you can feel the emotions running through him. The tension as he steels himself in the hope the boy will run to him and when he doesn’t – a Claire quote from Dragonfly in Amber comes to my mind – “I stood still, vision blurring, and in that moment, I heard my heart break. It was a small, clean sound, like the snapping of a flower’s stem.”
However, a simple moment of Jamie calling to the horses in Gaelic does trigger Willie’s memory of the groom, Mac. Which leads to the boy questioning him as to why he didn’t say they knew one another. Jamie replied with an anticlimactic “I dinna ken”. That was cool because William served him a dish of the same back when he told him he was too old for toys in regard to the wooden snake. You don’t want to give it to me straight old man, well, let me tell you something. Chew on that.
It’s funny, not haha funny but hmmm funny. When Willie and Jamie return to the cabin after their adventure, Lord John asks “I trust he was well behaved for you?” Jamie completely omits the part where the little turd nearly got them both killed and plays the OH he was GREAT! Awesome time…you’re a great dad card. That hidden message was for William. It was praising him for his bravery, it was giving them their own private moment to share. Jamie did it for himself. A moment to be just theirs. Reminds me of all the times I babysat for little hellions and told the parents the same thing. I did it so I had something to hold over the little buggers heads for next time though.
William is a boy in pain. The loss of his mother, the fear for his father and the recently ripped off band-aid from when he was a small, Mac leaving him. He repeatedly uses his words to hide behind. From the fly fishing moments to wanting to go home after having enough of rough living. William has a need to protect himself from further heartache and he uses the most useful tool he has in his arsenal. His words. Whether they are effective or not makes little difference, as long as he says them, it makes him feel some control and relief.
Willie asked Jamie quite plainly why he didn’t look back at him when he left Hellwater. This obviously is a very important moment in the child’s life. It is very likely the boy made up a few reasons why in his own head, not all of them good. Jamie let him know it wasn’t because he didn’t care but because he cared so much. Not wanting to give him a false hope that he would see him again because he truly thought they never would. You could see on Willie’s face this was the answer he hoped for. In return, when Lord John and Willie leave Frasers Ridge we are gifted with a turn of a head. A message to Jamie that they will see one another again.
I won’t leave out the ring. The hidden message really isn’t so hidden I suppose. Although, I believe the deeper meaning was beautiful. The ring is fashioned from a candlestick that belonged to Ellen, Jamie’s mother. Designed by Murtagh, Jamies godfather and someone who also cares deeply for Claire. As we know, a ring is something that is endless, just as love should be.
Jamie seems to have an affinity for giving Claire jewelry that has to do with his mother, while Claire is naked – so I am going to let YOU decide what that one means. *I’m laughing right now…you can’t see me or hear me but it’s really loud and snorty like*
On that note, I will leave you with a kiss. Or a thousand.
Sher (ABOotlander person)
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The ring thing… for me Jamie gives her this because a) cynically it’s more March and a lot of book lovers missed this design that was used in the books but also because the SPOILERS…
Barnet ring that was Brian dubhs that Jamie gave Claire was to be used as her wedding ring from Roger but in the series the Barnet was missing in the stones, and a good band like Frank’s would be hard for Brianna to easily recognise, but the Lallybroch ring… in the books it’s Frank’s ring she loses, not Jamie’s, which for me personally, due to its uniqueness, makes more sense.
Plus the thistles show he’s still patriotic, throws back to their struggle the first time around, and keep a bit of Scotland right there with them in North Carolina.
There were so many secret little foretelling moments. The Indians and the mention of Ian off hunting, William’s look around, William asking about the ‘savages’. Claire’s caregiving and tenderness to both John and William. It was beautiful.
I do still want Murtagh to clobber Jamie around the head for marrying Laoghaire. He didn’t like her, he warned Jamie, and he’d have known about her part in Claire’s witch trial. So I really want Murtagh to slap him upside the head… after he marries Jocasta who is said to greatly resemble Jamie’s mom and big love of Murtagh’s life, Ellen Fraser nee Mackenzie.
I saw LJG leaving that chess board there not just as something to remember him by, but in light of what Claire had just told him, as a means to move on a little. Here’s a token after you gave me one, I’ve played this with you (you know LJG would have just fixated on that as he did the sapphire) and he is saying that he doesn’t want to cling on to reminders like that, he’s preparing to move on, he’s giving Jamie the chess board to find new chess partners, that he can share him, he can share THAT. That was something they bonded over and he doesn’t want to feel like it’s just theirs, he takes hope from Claire’s words and decides then to open that part of himself up, to hope and not sorrow, to give Jamie that was more than leaving a part of himself with him, he’s giving him the ability to share that with others, to have the past time, that challenge and bond with others. It’s so deep and so touching. That’s how I saw it, any way 😊
Such a touching and beautiful episode, and a wonderful review of it by yourself. 😊
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I always love reading your reviews. They’re so thoughtful. Thank you