Though the episode itself was the most religiously symbolic of any we have seen, this blog won’t be going in that direction. Unless of course, you are like me and your spiritual belief is based on being a decent human. If that is the case, then, you might make some comparisons.
As I have attempted to do from the start of the season, I take this blog to another place. This time it isn’t hidden, it isn’t a secret and it most assuredly is not masked. It nearly hits us over the head with many of our beloved cast members and even some we just meet.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. Helen Keller “
We are introduced to a wonderful new cast in this episode, Father Alexandre (played intensely by French actor Yan Tual), Johiehon (played by talented and stunning Canadian actress Sera-Lys McArthur), the woman he is in love with, Kaheroton (wonderfully portrayed by Canadian actor Braeden Clarke) who is also in love with Johiehon but her heart belongs to Alexandre, the father of her child.
This trio gave us not only performances that will stick with us, well, forever but they gave us a love story that is rooted in each one’s truth and character. Father Alexandre made a commitment to God, yet he broke that vow for this woman. Knowing he was damned for that, he accepted it. Yet he refused to damn his child for his perceived sins. He went to his death unaware his love would die with him, though I don’t believe this would have changed his mind. In my eyes, as Johiehon watched Father Alexandre, you could see not only the pain in her eyes but the desolation. Once Roger ensured his pain had ceased, it was not only an agony but a relief that came over her. Johiehon knew Kaheroton loved her, she knew he would care for her child out of that love. My heart damn near broke in half as she gently placed her child on the ground and walked into the flames. Knowing, she could not live in a world in which the man she loved was taken in such a way.
Depending on our perspective we can see Johiehon’s strength of character in many ways. I choose to see it in a way of grace. There are choices we feel we can live with and those we feel we can’t. Who are we to judge what others believe to be their limits?
Kaheroton gave Alexandre many chances to redeem himself to the Mohawk and not face death, yet I believe he always knew what choice the priest would make. I do think there was a part of him that thought once the priest was gone, he would be able to step in and care for Johiehon and her child. When she made the choice to join Alexandre in death rather than live without him, Kaheroton saw the mistake he had made. Instead of Johiehon only being brokenhearted as he had intended, she no longer existed. These are the lessons we are made to learn with when we bend our character. I am sure Kaheroton never expected it was one he would face. Now, he will see it up close, each day when he looks into the eyes of the child she left behind. This is sure to be a defining moment in Kaheroton’s life, a fork in the road of his character.
Brianna. We certainly saw the content of her character shine in the dark dank cell facing off against the sunnuvabitch Bonnet. Understanding completely what her BioDa was saying to her about forgiveness. It wasn’t for anyone but herself, freeing her of the hold this man had on her. Forgiving him would allow her to live her life without the fear and anger that came with the hold he had on her. Not only did she forgive him, but she also had the grace to give what she thought to be a dying man knowledge of his life (possibly) going on in the form of another. All I know is Brianna has about a bonnets full more character than I do. She’s just a better person than I am, and she is pretend.
Lord John, Murtagh, Fergus and Marsali. All of them are high on the truly good people scale. They all have the best of intentions in their choice making. They knew the consequences of living with the disappointment in themselves simply wasn’t worth it.
We watched Lord John decide his loyalty to Brianna and the Fraser family in general outweighed all other loyalties. Love, family and promises made really do mean more than business and duty. It most certainly laid out his character for us.
Murtagh, though a leader of the Regulation, he knew leaving a guard to die wasn’t the right thing to do. His pride in being Brianna’s protector was just that, pride. He set those things aside, showing his true self, his character.
Marsali and Fergus, those two are a true joy to watch. I believe in these two, I believe no matter what, if one wavers, the other will not nudge but push them in the direction they know they need to go. It isn’t a push of defiance, its a push of “LET’S DO THIS!” It’s the kind of push that we know we need. We are afraid to it alone. Like something is missing and when that other person says it’s right and validates our thoughts, we feel stronger. That is what Fergus and Marsali are. Each others Jiminy Cricket. Their character feeds one another, much like Johiehon and Father Alexandre but yes, to a much different end.
I don’t want to but I am going to. I am going to talk a little about that sunnuvabitch Bonnet. Here, I discuss lack of character. Psychopaths tend to be without it and he is no different. Some might be swayed to think that when he hands Brianna the gemstone, that is a glimpse of something deep within him. To that, I say, bullshit. When we show character, it isn’t for ourselves. It is because we can not possibly live with the other decision. Sunnuvabitch Bonnet is all but positive he is going to die. He doesn’t know where this gem will end up so why not have control over that too, right? This man’s lack of character is as obvious as his lack of shampoo.
I think the following quote fits both the man I just finished speaking about and the one I am about to…
“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.” –Abigail Van Buren
One person this season whose has been back and forth quite literally has been Roger. We have seen him grapple repeatedly with the desire to keep Brianna safe and to be honest with her because sometimes telling people the truth ultimately hurts them. We have seen him risk his own life to try and save hers. We have seen him risk his life for the chance she might accept him. We have seen him beaten, sold, beaten, escape, tortured with the thought of going home to safety, not going home to safety because there was a chance to be with the woman he loved again, to being beaten and captured AGAIN. In all of this, Roger changes. Or does he? I think Roger, in this episode, tries to convince himself and his new companion, Father Alexandre, that he has changed into someone that needs to care only about himself. Believing caring about others has only has gotten him into this mess in the first place.
Where the truth lies is, Roger has always been this man. The man that cares, loves and wants to be loved. His character is goodness. Does it hurt him? Yes. In every way it does. Would it hurt him more to defy that goodness? Absolutely. It would hurt his soul. When you hurt your soul, you break something that can’t be mended until it is made right.
We saw this struggle for Roger numerous times but none so obvious as when he was at the stones, the physical pain on his face when he thought about going home and leaving Brianna. He knew he would never be able to live with that agony. It wasn’t simply about loving her. It was about his character. His right from wrong. Who he truly is. We saw it and heard it again, in technicolour, as he was running away from his captors and the tortured cry of Father Alexandre. He was verbally trying to convince himself he was doing the right thing by leaving Father Alexandre to the fate he had chosen for himself. The priest knew what he was doing, was a grown man, making an adult choice. Still, Roger being Roger, could not live with the knowledge that this man would possibly live for days in agony. Not knowing if or what he could do to help him, only that he must try. He turned around and went back. Roger was aware he would likely face the same fate. To Roger, this was more bearable than living with the knowledge that he turned his back and did nothing.
The truth is an inherently good person makes these choices every day, or they live with the pain of making the wrong choice. That voice in our ear, that pit in our stomach, that feeling we get that we should have made another choice – that is the pain I’m talking about.
The bigger the choice the louder the voice, the deeper the pit, the stronger the feeling. We always have the power to reverse the effects of those bad feelings but of course, it is always wise to try and make the right decision in the first place, but you know, life.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”- Kahlil Gibran
There is no doubt in my mind that if we really wanted to use this season as a barometer for our behaviours, the way we treat others and ourselves, we could truly learn a lot. What it takes is being open and to think critically. It certainly isn’t easy, especially in real life but it is worth it. Even when it hurts. Hmmm, maybe especially when it hurts.
Sher (founder of the @ABOotlanders)
Please join us as we livetweet the FINALE while we watch on W Network Sunday, Jan 27th, use the hshtag #OutlanderCAN so we can find you! Man, I can’t believe it’s over already.