Between Two Fires, has brought us a very different look than the first of the season. Basically, shit is getting real. Once the final scene cut to black I said out loud “What? That was an hour?” You know by now, I don’t do recaps but I do take something I noticed in the episode and dissect it.
Speaking of dissection – yes, I will be talking about Claire and her being elbows deep in Mr. F but I really think we need to start with Murtagh.
There were a lot of people talking about how they hated seeing Murtagh involved in the tar and feathering of political figures in Hillsborough. I was one, then I thought about it. Murtagh is the same man he always was. He decapitated Sandringham, ffs (we cheered), he cracked the skulls of MANY (also, cue us, cheering) and he has killed all manner of men. We as viewers always saw the other people as the ‘bad guy’. The villains. We justified Murtagh’s actions and that was the difference.
This time, we didn’t know these men being tortured. The townspeople and the Regulators did. They know them as the political figureheads that took away their homes and overtaxed them. They are the elitists that live in luxury while they struggle to feed their families. We sat back horrified that these men were maimed. The reason being, we had empathy for them. Whereas the Regulators, with Murtagh at the lead, were exacting revenge for themselves and those families. To them, completely justifiable.
This can open our eyes to our own worlds. How many times have we gotten into situations where people have thought of us as the ‘bad guy’ when we were only doing what we thought was right and/or the best for our family? We weren’t doing it against anyone but we were doing it for ourselves. Some have a very hard time separating themselves from other people’s lives and understanding other’s decisions aren’t about them.
Jamie, for instance. The Regulator’s that were imprisoned, he freed them, they still questioned his motives. They did so because they couldn’t wrap their brains around the fact he let them go because of his own conscience. His need to do something for what in his heart he knew was right. Ultimately, he doesn’t care what these men think of him. What he thinks of himself is his paramount concern. He is mindful that he is a villain to these men. His willingness to be seen as less than, in their eyes, is what he is ready to do. For Jamie, the end justifies the means. I believe that particular phrase will play very heavily in Jamie’s story this season.
It has been my experience, “There are two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle, lays the truth.” This isn’t because everyone is a liar, it is because people naturally put their lens on and tell their story through it. It is what makes us…us. The story is our truth.
It does give me a chuckle when it is said, “They only told you their side of things” Well, of course, they did, whose side are they going tell? There will be instances in everyone’s life where relationships were ended because of horrible circumstances where someone was CLEARLY at fault. The interesting bit, I assure you, is both sides will claim the other to be the bad guy and the clincher will be convincing arguments from both sides. Will one be very skewed? Unquestionably.
When we think of these instances, we would like to think we would be unbiased when it comes to seeing who is culpable. Being completely truthful, we often side with the person we care about the most. This will be the one we feel the most empathy for. No matter what the argument is, the story they tell, how convincing the tale told, we will choose to trust the person we want to, not always the person that is right. That is one of those horse-pills to swallow.
A very small moment in ‘Between Two Fires’ gave us a situation in which we can see this clearly.
A man, with his family, taking a break from travelling and stretching their legs. On the road comes a huge group of mostly red-coated soldiers. Not a word is exchanged but the soldier near the head of the pack throws coins at a child’s feet. Insulted by this action, the man spat in the direction of the soldier.
From the man’s perspective. This soldier does not know him or his family’s circumstances, the assumption he needs or wants the soldier’s coin is insulting. To throw it at his child’s feet takes it a step further to be degrading. This is why the man spits in his direction. It tells the soldier what he thinks of his ‘charity’.
- Others in this man’s shoes (even Jamie) would feel this insult and understand why this man would be upset by Lt. Knox’s actions. Some may even say they would have done worse than spit at him. We know the bravado society puts after the fact.
From Lt. Knox’s perspective, a poor helpless family is needing assistance so he tossed them some coin he had on hand. It obviously wasn’t enough for them and the father spat at him. It was ungracious and disrespectful. His obvious generosity was a caring act to be commended, the man and his family should have thanked him for this good deed.
- The soldier’s and elitists in Lt. Knox’s company would see the situation exactly as he does. The reason? a) the soldiers because going against what their commanding officer says can pose a problem, so follow and agree. b) seeing themselves doing the same thing Knox has done, would feel exactly the same privilege.
Lt. Knox is as thick as a brick so he is offended that this man couldn’t see his generosity. He was literally so high on his horse, he missed the fact this family was asking for nothing. He saw himself as superior to them and he chose to give them money. Not just ‘give’ it to them but throw it at their feet. This was not an act of kindness but more an act of power. Expecting thanks and accolades for such a deed is pure arrogance.
There are small instances such as theses in our everyday. Telling someone to smile, not saying excuse me when we bump into somebody, moralizing and proclaiming to others “I don’t see colour”. Sure, using the word “villain” does seem extreme, however, things like those mentioned can really mess up ours, or someone else’s day. The examples were more along the lines of being the type of person that makes others feel better when we aren’t around. Micro-villains, I prefer that.
My mother used to say “If it quacks…it’s a DUCK!” She didn’t waste her didn’t time with “if it walks like a …” stuff. We know on Outlander, the whole “People show you who they are,” adage can be tricky.
Take Claire, she is working very hard to bring her knowledge of modern medicine into the past. Whipping up concoctions of this weird sounding ‘peniwhosiwhatsit’ that is supposed to cure all sorts of sickness. (I know what it is, I’m pretending to be from the 1700s and hearing the word…work with me) You can imagine what prying ears might hear. Or, lawd-have-mercy, what they might see. Like the body of a man that apparently was buried, now with his chest cracked open and his giblets laying all over the place.
Claire’s acutely aware that what she is doing would be seen as sacrilegious, macabre and downright inconceivable. Which means, Claire, our heroine, the matriarch of Outlander if standing in the middle of her community being 100% herself would be 100% a villain in the eyes of those around her. Given the people, the times, their education and knowledge of things that are – their perception would be altogether accurate.
Mrs. Bug thinks the woman is mad, hoarding all this bread to make some magic medicine! Imagine if she saw this poor chopped up man in Claire’s surgery. What we have to admit, unless you truly love Claire, understand what she does, how legitimately intelligent and medically knowledgable she is, the things she does in the world she lives in would never be perceived as anything BUT evil.
Hard to wrap your mind around it isn’t it? Thinking of Claire as a villain. While you are giving a go at those mental gymnastics, I want you to think of this – Stephen Bonnet as the hero.
WHAT THE ACTUAL F??? Yeah, me…I said that. I know…I know. We all know how deplorable the man is and of course, he is a villain. The worst kind. THE villain.
The truth of the matter is, Bonnet doesn’t think so. Get what I am saying? Most people who we see as villains have no problem at all seeing themselves as heroes. They have zero qualms with excusing their behaviour as justified and often blame others for forcing their hand.
This describes Bonnet. Seeing him in Between Two Fires sent shivers down my spine. Yup, he has still got IT. That thing that makes your skin want to crawl off of your bones and run away from home. Every nasty thing that SunnuvaBonnet does, he justifies.
Rationalizing behaviour like this gives us permission to a) repeat it b) excuse it. My point is, frequently those who so many of us see as the villain – will never see it themselves. That is why they exist in the first place. Those that have a measure of empathy and compassion – have the capacity to change.
As I sat with my own thoughts on this whole villain concept, I’m conscious of being the villain in other people’s stories. For some, I have made peace with that. It isn’t possible to alter their perceptions of me and for another, I don’t want that responsibility. I would rather be the perceived villain in our story than open the door to the chaos that created the situation. For others, it makes me sad and embarrassed that I know I could have behaved in a different way. As a consequence, the story may have had a happier ending.
How many times have we justified our actions? Whether they were out of anger, self-preservation or ego? I don’t know about you but my honest self says more times than I like to admit. Justifying something doesn’t mean we were right to do it, it only means we excused our actions at the time and painted ourselves on the “right” side.
The most interesting things cause us to sit back and look at the world, others and our own actions. This week it was this nugget of how we are seen through other’s eyes. We can say we don’t care, some don’t. Some, care too much. Maybe if we were all just a little more aware, it would make us a little kinder to one another.
Boy, I hope I find something FUN to talk about in next week’s episode. I am sure you do too.
PS – Don’t forget to join us as we livetweet to the W Network airing in Canada at 7 pm MST, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN
I have been trying to find a graceful way to open up this blog. Should I be eloquent and flowery or hard-hitting and humorous? I settled on being a bit all over the place – it suits my mood and my nature.
I have wanted to write about the women on Outlander for a while, I chose now because it is helping me pass the time until Season 5 airs. I figure like attracts like making this mutually beneficial.
Those who watch Outlander are exposed to women who are brave, strong, stubborn and determined. They grapple with heartbreak and persevere. They love fiercely and protect one another. Do they have flaws and imperfections? Ummmm, yeah! We all do. It’s another reason they are believable and relatable. That is what this blog is really about. How is it that we, as women in 2020 relate to these fictional women set so far in the past (mostly)?
I knew I wasn’t the only person that saw myself in these women on the screen. I was aware that this is how we stay involved and connected, or not. This made me ask those in my twitter bubble, what woman in Outlander did they relate to the most and why? The question wasn’t specifically for women to answer but no men jumped in to tell me which woman they related to, hopefully in the comments, some will. (Not who they like the most, who they relate to – just making it clear).
Gender stereotypes on television have been played to death and it’s intriguing that we have gone back to the 1700s to see them getting knocked around. Of course, we still see them in characters like Mrs. Fitz, from season 1. She was a dutiful head housekeeper to Colum. She warned Claire, if she did as told, she would gain favour with The MacKenzie. She caused no stir when her grand-daughter was about to be beaten in the great hall. Yet, she stood up to the likes of Father Bain. She ran that kitchen at Leoch like a boss and she smacked around the highlanders if they messed around in her domain. She was granted authority and demanded respect even still abiding by some of the patriarchal rules. I mean, historical accuracy is always a thing in a period drama.
That bit about Mrs. Fitz wasn’t mentioned as a part of who she was when people replied to my query on Twitter. I do love the hashtaggery.
All of these women are aware of Mrs. Fitz’s place in the Outlander universe. It is with their 21st-century lens they are able to pull her strength and fortitude forward. I don’t think they are ignoring Mrs. Fitz’s place in her 18th-century life, I believe they accept and see that Mrs. Fitz was bucking her place where and when she could without putting her life in danger. Something a great majority of women have done – for centuries. Those women hold shit together while making a difference behind the scenes, subtle changes that help push society forward. It may not be as loud and in your face as some but it still has an impact.
Jenny was a younger, stronger and higher ‘ranked’ version of Mrs. Fitz. For an 18th century woman, Jenny really did have and do it all. Career (Lady of Lallybroch for all intents and purposes), children and adoring husband. This maverick of woman could express milk and torture a dude all in the same day. Her strong personality and capabilities help today’s women feel empowered by their own image of “doing it all”.
As we read these tweets we see that these women not only relate to the character of Jenny, they can see themselves as her and she as them. Being Jenny is exhausting work. Besides taking care of everything and everyone – there were plenty of shite pots that needed stirring. 😜
Joking aside, this is why seeing representation on the screen is important. If it is powerful for someone like @ChaoticOctopus who has 6 children, imagine what it is like for women who understand what being abused and manipulated is like.
We might be surprised to know that there are women that feel a kinship with (the often slammed) Laoghaire. If we take a moment to open our hearts, minds and gather some empathy, it shouldn’t be surprised. My friends express it very well below.
Sure, some people are pure evil. I don’t think Laoghaire is one of them. She is a product of her environment and eventually, her bitterness clouds a lot of her story. This is not a Laoghaire trait. It is a human one. It isn’t a flaw that is singular to her, it is one that many of us live in. We tend to judge others for doing it instead of recognizing it in ourselves. I was humbled to see women confident enough in their own character to say they related to Laoghaire. I think many of us, whether we like to admit it or not have had the same feelings of jealousy and bitterness in our lives. Sure, we probably wouldn’t have sent someone to burn – but who knows, it’s not really an option these days either, so there is that.
There is also the fact that I don’t believe that someone truly evil would be able to raise a daughter like Marsali. She is quickly becoming one of the women on Outlander that we are falling in love with. Her character started out prickly against Claire, not shocking given the circumstances from her viewpoint. Marsali is no dummy, she feels deeply and goes by the information she has. Once she had more information, her disposition changed.
Marsali is seen as someone who is clever and uses her observations shrewdly. She doesn’t strike anyone as a wallflower. Many fans note her loyalty as one of her most relatable qualities. I believe that the way she was introduced to us showed her loyalty first and foremost but because of the way so many feel about Laoghaire, I suppose some felt it was misplaced. When we step out of our own perceptions and step into Marsali’s I think we can have empathy for her. She loves her mother. She sees her hurting and the source of her pain is caused by this woman who dropped out of the clear blue sky. Any of us thinking we would react calmly and love Claire, probably doesn’t remember being a teenage girl.
Thank goodness Marsali’s loyalties didn’t disappear, they only grew.
Season 4 brought us Marsali’s fierce loyalty to a fever pitch, do anything for family and not just along for the ride but literally in the driver’s seat on the excitement side of things. Her courage was not only entertaining to watch it was plainly setting the tone for what we have to look forward to. There is no doubt that we will have many relating to her character in season 5.
My friend Cat of @CatsandKilts was the one person who mentioned relating to Lizzie. You know the one, Lizzie, who went by exactly the information she had seen, processed what made sense and drew conclusions based on said information. Like every single person does every single day. In the Outlander universe, this always has crazy consequences. Cat is a brave fan by admitting she feels a kinship to her since Lizzie took a lot of heat last season. Which was kind of a bummer because Lizzie is so many of us, fallible and doing the best she can.
“Tries to do right tho she often fails.” I mean, how vulnerable and human is that statement? We all know how this feels but we rarely say it out loud. We all make assumptions about someone or a situation just by catching a glimpse yet we don’t always admit if we were wrong. Though if someone does this to us or someone we care about – the hell to pay – hot AF.
Another woman who made her Outlander debut was Aunt Jocasta Cameron. She was mentioned in season 1, during the Wedding when Jamie was weaving his family tree together for Claire. We finally met this formidable woman for ourselves. She made quite the impression. Some say she was a mix of Colum and Dougal, I prefer to say Colum/Dougal and Brian all borrowed pieces of HER. Cunning, determined and affectionate is the perfect Jocasta blend. There is definitely more to her than what she shows us. She is the blind one but that seems to be a subtle nod to “You can’t see me either”.
The two studies of Jo above, show us how detailed our personal lens can be when viewing characters on screen. They both relate to her for very different reasons, yet both are powerful and full of meaning. Both are also 100% accurate.
I am endlessly fascinated by women. How we relate to one another, how we lift each other up or tear one another down, the mechanics of our pasts and the trajectories of our futures. The layers/levels/shades and intricacies can’t be explained easily. Though we can see some of these dynamics when we pay attention to how we relate to one another, how we respond to one another’s personalities and the things that make us…well…us.
I was pleasantly surprised at how many identified with Brianna. I have seen some interesting assessments of Bree on social media over the years. It is my belief, the wonderful people in the tweets below…get her. They see her for who she is, why she is that way and how that makes her special. They know those traits aren’t always perfect. In truth, none of us are and nor should we be.
Perhaps some of Brianna’s qualities go unnoticed so people downplay her. I hope with these women pointing out why they relate to her, others may start to see some things they may have missed before. For instance, her creativity (not everyone can draw the way she can draw) and intelligence (engineering, need I say more?).
Bree, like her mother, chose a career that was male-dominated. Even by today’s standards, women are still underrepresented in the Engineering field. Have things gotten better since the 1960s? Of course. Are they where they should be? No. That is why we have women like Claire and Brianna to represent these themes. Hopefully, it inspires other shows to focus on POC and LGBTQ+ in these types of storylines in shows with target markets like Outlander has.
The matriarch of Outlander, as we all know is Claire. She can’t be described in a few words for the reason that she is notably complex. We have seen her as a nurse from WW2 to a stranger who was dropped into Jacobite era Scotland. She bounced through time, lovers, became a mother and eventually a grandmother. There is a dizzying amount of person there as you will see when we head to this twitter breakdown.
I don’t think I was surprised when it was she who had the largest number of people feeling they related to her. I mean, many of us really take a shine to some of those classic Claire lines.
I’m right there with Julia. The first second someone wants to control my decision making – the hackles engage. Oppositional defiance. Whatever you want to call it, I feel it in my bones. That is one of those things that will connect some of us to Claire. I mean, someone tells her “Stay here.” She hears “Runaway at the first opportunity”.
See what I mean? She does what she damn well pleases when she damn well pleases. The housework thing is mostly from the book but same – same. It wasn’t heavy-handed while reading. It was subtle and if it was something you personally identified with you would pick up on it. Which obviously, a few of us did. Imagine it was laundry day on the ridge, everyone is heaving heavy yards of linen and scrubbing in washbasins, Claire would run out of a herb and have to go traipsing through the woods. “OH NO! I ran out of cameltoes guys! George from the pond down the road needs some for his glaucoma! Biiyeeeee!”
Yes, depending on how we live our lives and the focus of our lens – we will get 2 reactions “OMG, ME TOO!” or “UGH! So selfish!” Both can be right. It comes down to empathy, understanding and kindness. It is never that black and white. We can pretend it is, so our point can be simplified and easily argued however, life and relationships rarely are that simple. That is why when those simple things are explained by a point of view, it helps us ‘get it’.
Now, we might think “I’m not the meek and obedient type” is what makes us relate to Claire. When Karen explains the WHY, she peeled back the layers and showed us. It reveals it’s not only surface ‘stuff’. The connections we have to these characters are strong and often personal. We, as fans, could be kinder to one another sometimes if we took a mental note of this.
Relating to them also brings out a desire to develop characteristics we admire. Sorcha mentions this in her tweet about Claire. It makes me grateful that we are exposed to these personalities and qualities on screen. We may see aspects of their spirit we would like to emulate, this supports our purpose to grow as individuals as we move forward and upward in our lives.
It is obvious to me that even though the men on Outlander get a lot of attention, the WOMEN OF OUTLANDER have developed profound connections with those watching. We may draw comfort from them or they may infuriate us but one thing is certain, these women are like us. They love passionately, struggle with heartbreak, lash out and experience joy.
Here is to seeing our favourites still with us (and a few more new ones) #RockTheRidge in season 5!
PS- if you didn’t get to weigh in on what women you relate to in the Outlander universe and why, please leave a comment. I would love to hear more.
PSS-Don’t forget we will be live-tweeting while watching on W Network here in Canada, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN!
I will open this blog with a warning – first- my somewhat warped humour is attached to some sensitive subjects. If you feel you MAY be offended – go now or forever hold your tongue (and your tappity tap fingers in rage mode afterward) because I warned you and will not entertain you with debate or take your interweb spankings later.
The next warning is a trigger warning. I will be discussing childhood trauma and rape in this blog.
You might remember my sunnuvaBonnot blog, if not, feel free to refresh your memory by clicking here. there I spoke about my deep angst re: Stephen Bonnet. You don’t have to read it but it’s there for clarity.
I also wrote about my experiences at the Outlander Vancouver weekend and how much I enjoyed all the things. In said blog, I eluded to my moments with Ed Speleers. I’m not being dramatic when I say they were transformative.
Let’s rewind. Around 23 years ago – while reading Drums of Autumn, one Stephen Bonnet was introduced. This villain struck me as particularly abhorrent. He had this devious charm, disarming good looks that seemed to allow him to lure and get away with preying on his victims. This type of person has always set my teeth on edge and ignited a rage inside me that I had difficulty expressing precisely why.
Fast forward to Outlander the TV show, season 4. Ed Speleers comes to inhabit the body of the villain that lives in my guts. I wondered if I would feel the same about this character visually as I did about the book character. I did. Steven Bonnet, in both forms, were devastatingly like, what I now call, my internal ghost. Every time his character appeared on the page, every time his face showed on the screen- there was this physical reaction my brain fired against.
I knew Ed Speleers, was going to be at the Outlandish Vancouver event. I know damned well Ed is not Stephen Bonnet, I happen to pride myself on not being a complete fricken idiot. I know this man is not the character he plays. Let’s also say it out loud for the people in the back, I know Stephen Bonnet is a fictional character. I KNOW THIS.
There is this thing about trauma though. There is a brain/gut/heart connection that sometimes happens without our consciousness being on board for the ride.
As the cast was introduced into the Meet and Greet on Friday night, the excitement in the room was palpable. People clapping, laughing and cheering as each cast member entered the room. Everything stopped for me when I saw Ed. Not out of awe, excitement or fear. It was reality. It slapped me in the face like 35 yrs of silence might. Seeing him no more than 25 feet away unlocked something and I finally had all the pieces of the puzzle. This puzzle was one of those hideous 3D ones and at that moment, I only wanted to dump it back into the box to deal with it later. You see, it was that moment, as I stood in the same room with the embodiment of this “villain” that reached deep inside me and caused such a visceral reaction was because that type of guy, was MY villain.
This is where I get real honest with you. I was an 11 ½-year-old girl, when the 18 yr old, hot dance troop guy, who all the girls wanted to “get with” took me behind the curtain backstage. I let him because he said nice things to me. I must be 13, right? I was so pretty, wasn’t I? It was exciting – until it was terrifying. I wanted him to stop- but he didn’t. I wasn’t his only victim and he got away with it time and time again because look at him. Shouldn’t I consider myself lucky? Thinking back, finally, clearly, it was all of those things a predator and a broken child say to themselves to make sense of the insane things going on. Brain/gut/heart connection doing what it can to cope. Shove. It. Down.
I know now, the part of me that refused to be a victim as an adult was always afraid for and protecting that little girl that was violated so many years ago. Literally, the ONLY person that could hurt her was a man like HIM. Reading about that buried reality was one thing – seeing the character come to life was another. Obviously, my eyes were wide open to the why of it all now. It really wasn’t comfortable. Let’s call it an emotional wedgie.
So, how does this go down at this lovely Outlandish Vancouver Meet and Greet? I’m having this brain/gut/heart arrhythmia that I’m not about to dial 911 for because that’s no one’s business and I am trying to process it. I’m not 100% confident about being face to face with Ed Speleers bc look wtf happened with him across the damn room from me!
Eventually, Mr. Speleers wanders over to our table. Am I going to be a total tool? Yup. Tool alert.🤦♀️ The hairs on the back of my neck go up. I think to myself, “You are being a complete boob! This guy is a few glasses in and having a great time…pull your head outta your ass.” If you haven’t gathered by now, I’m a shit listener. I decided to step back and take a seat, figuring avoiding him altogether might be best. Nope. That didn’t work! He made eye contact with me and I quickly glanced away. Not something I think is normal in these situations. Generally, if their eye is caught by someone, they are drawn into conversation pretty quickly. I didn’t want to be a jackass but I honestly didn’t know what to say and not be like “Your appearance triggered me and now I’m trippin’ balls.” That’s hardly fair.
I take some deep breaths. Center my thoughts on the energy of the room and away from my own. I focus and then, Ed and I made eye contact again. This time Ed’s eyes dropped down to look at my t-shirt…where our ABOotlander mascot Toger, was proudly displayed. (Thanks Lee for doing that!)
There was my opening, it was time for me to break the ice. The only way I know how – SherryStyle.
Me- *throw a look of disgust at Mr. Speleers and gasp* “Did you just look at my BEAVER?”
Ed- *sputter – eyes bulge* “Huh? What..No! I didn’t look at your beaver.”
Me- “Yes…you did! You just did it again.”
Ed- “NO! You made me look at your beaver by talking about your beaver”
Me- “Mmmmmmhmmmm, there you go again.”
Laughter ensues and more “yes you did, no I didn’t”, winks and smiles (as much as my palsied face CAN smile anyway).
As strange as it sounds…my beaver…TOGER became a running joke over the weekend. The fact that we named our beaver Toger in the first place – everyone knew we were playing with a filthy deck. The next morning, I brought Toger for my photo op. I suggested John and Kikki help protect Toger and me from Ed. Well, as you can see, Kikki was having too much fun fondling Toger to protect him. As for Ed, he was poking away at Toger.
The commentary got VERRA BLUE between the 4 of us. John Bell took his role very seriously but had quite enough and nearly fired all of us. My poor palsied face almost froze in a fit of laughter. I tell ya, that ain’t pretty.
Regressing a bit – Get this. I purchased a little token of Canadian goodness to give to the UK actors before ANY of the Toger/beaver jokes even started. A tiny little beaver with a Canadian flag painted on it, to remember their trip to #OV2019. Little did I know what this gift from me to them, would come to symbolize.
So, I attended a suite party. Things that happen at the suite parties are supposed to stay at the suite parties but this is something I am going to share because it’s a me thing. Ed and I were chatting and naturally, there were jokes. That damned beaver, always getting into trouble. Laughing and carrying on, we had a moment where he looked at me in the eye, hand on mine and completely jokingly said: “You’ve violated me! I feel so violated” I am laughing with him, yet I feel this shudder inside my chest. I’m not sure exactly what it is. We are laughing harder…and then two more times…”You’ve violated me” his hand firm on mine. I took a huge deep breath and felt something let go. “You do NOT know what you just did for me,” I said to him. Puzzled, he made sure I knew he was kidding around, “I was jokin’, you know that.” Of course! Of course, I knew. This weird twisted humour became the perfect vehicle. He didn’t know what he had just done and until I sat with it, I didn’t know the full extent either.
I am telling this to you because with all the laughter and silliness floating around us there was something in those words that became a balm to me. Something in those words that I never once had the chance to say to the person that violated me. As they were being said to me, by the person who held that brain/gut/heart connection to my villain – it healed a broken part of me. That shudder – was energy, that deep breath was to a space in me that hadn’t breathed in 37 yrs.
I felt it at that moment and as I laid in bed that night. I replayed that moment over in my head, as I did, something changed inside me. I was having trouble describing it but I could feel it.
Did you know I was raped when I was just a kid? Did you know it wasn’t my fault? Did you know I locked that up inside me for so fuckin long that it burned a hole inside of me that became a part of who I was? That hole made me rage about men who are handsome, charming and devious? I know you know because I finally said it out loud and I feel zero shame, humiliation or apprehension in doing so.
On the last night of Outlandish Vancouver, we were on the final voyage and I was hoping for a moment with Ed, so I could thank him. Imagine, thanking a man that plays a rapist on TV for giving me back that last grain of power I allowed my rapist to have. Koko sent Ed my way and trying not to sound insane or wishy-washy AF with my palsied face on the verge of tears, I shared with him, much of what I have shared with you. I can’t say exactly what the exchange was because our words during that last interaction were more than kindness, I hold them close to my heart, in confidence. Ed Speleers, as funny as he is, he also is incredibly gracious.
I believe it more now than I did before. No matter where we are in this universe – people are put in our path for a reason. Many things happen the way they do because they are meant to. Had someone said that making an inappropriate beaver joke at Ed Speleers would lead to my healing a piece of my soul I forgot was broken…well, that just sounds full-on bat shit crazy, doesn’t it?
As others converged on our one on one, Ed gave me a huge hug, reached into his pocket and with a smile, pulled out the l’il wooden Canadian beaver I had given to him.
We will always have that.
ABOotlander rebuilt, Sherry
Hard to believe we are over halfway through season 4. There have been so many heated, well thought out and random discussions in the fandom and then here I am…picking something out of the blue to yammer on about.
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. For the surprise appearances and how they made me feel. There were a lot of those…feels.
I believe, like the characters in this episode showed us, the bonds created in our life help form who we become. They are huge contributors to developing our personalities and how we relate to others. Genetics is one thing but the influence of those we surround ourselves with and the interactions we end up having with those people is a large part of who we become.
We see a great deal of Brianna’s past in this episode. Not just in the literal past, but her past. The relationship she had with her father, Frank. Which I think most daughters can say, good or bad, help form who they become as women. That relationship will establish how deeply we trust, our loyalties and most important of all be a major contributor to the confidence we have (or don’t have). The father figure etches parts of us that we can’t recarve. It’s there. We can sand it back down but it takes work and it whittles away at the way it was. Brianna was blessed to have a beautiful experience and positive relationship with the father who raised her.
This episode showed us, it doesn’t matter what we may think about Frank. Our opinion, our view of him, won’t ever be a reflection of Brianna’s experience. She was ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ and even though that comes with its own set of challenges, Brianna has a deep love for her Daddy. She, of course, wants to be independent and strong, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t want his validation. Naturally, Claire’s determination and willfulness comes out in Bree and Frank handles it with a gentle hand, more so than he did with Claire. That in itself shows the care he had for Brianna and why she saw him the way she did.
Brianna continued to seek Franks approval. Even after he died. Apologizing for arguing with him, not telling him she loved him, wishing she agreed to go with him to England and finally by promising him to “Soldier On”. Taking his final words to her and using them to fuel her journey to her mother. Seeing him on the dock at the end of the episode wasn’t simply a farewell. It was a moment of this is your time and bless and release. I saw this as the moment that Brianna finally understood what her father meant when he told her one day she would understand. She got it and knew it was time to go, head held high, with purpose, determination and her father with her.
Frank will never leave Brianna because he lives in her. He helped shape who she is, what she will accept in life, how she will trust, who she will be loyal to and how she will process and form new relationships. He is a part of her every day without being a physical part of her journey. It’s something people should get used to.
I think Brianna’s grief over the loss of her parental bonds speaks very loudly in the person we see now. She is not broken…but there are cracks in the armour. Cracks she has to build walls around in order to feel safe. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love or feel. It means she protects herself from pain. She puts the feelings aside, in order to meet the task ahead, it seems to me that is what is keeping her upright. For now. Kudos to Sophie Skelton this episode. She did a fantastic job spanning all those years.
There is another bond here that I found immensely interesting. It involves Laoghaire. Brilliantly portrayed by Nell Hudson. I know this because I really really do not like this woman, seeing her makes me make that face you make when you bite into something when you think its something else. Go ahead…take a moment to boo and hiss!
I don’t think we were shown “another side” of Laoghaire as much as we were shown her normal every day as a mother. She picked up a stranger off the road that was in distress, she fed, kept her comfortable, shared stories of her daughter and her life with her. All very motherly stuff. However, the ultimate defect in her character was compounded by the severed bond she had with Jamie. Just as solid and tender bonds help form who we become, so do the broken ones. Very often, the broken ones are the ones that create the traits we are less proud of and likely show less often.
We ALL know people that are lovely, wonderful people. They treat most others with kindness, they love their children and would do absolutely anything for them. But. They have “that person”. That person they despise. If that person’s name is mentioned…that lovely wonderful human turns into someone you never would have expected. The car keying, punch throwing, gossip spreading devil! Horns, spit, fire…they go off the deep end to get an ounce of satisfaction in hurting the person that has done them wrong.
Am I sticking up for Laoghaire? Oh hell no! Am I saying Laoghaire reminds me of Karen down the street whose ex-husband married Rita? You betcha! Karen can be a real piece of work. Laoghaire takes shit to level 98, mostly because it’s TV and going to a level 5 just isn’t worthy of our visceral hate of her.
You know who else demonstrated a bond in this episode? Roger. Richly played by Richard Rankin.
Roger, a man who chose to leave his own time for a woman he loves. Roger, who lost his own mother as a young boy. Roger who so innocently told a child there was no such a thing as a sea monster and later on – the young girl was thrown overboard by one.
For a man like Roger, the horror of seeing suffering doesn’t break him, it does, embolden him. Roger, quickly formed a connection with a young mother aboard a ship full of strangers. Putting him in the position of protector, Roger takes risks he knows he shouldn’t but follows his morals above all else. He was determined to keep Morag and her child safe from certain death. The child’s teething rash was likely to be mistaken for smallpox and they would face the same fate as the others, tossed overboard. Roger actions were selfless and swift. Some may question his motives but I think it was simply Roger’s need to feel like he was doing something with all the chaos going on around him. This relationship with Morag and her son grounds him to the goodness he has inside. That goodness nearly cost him his life.
You could see when he thought Bonnet meant to gamble Morag and the child’s life with a coin toss that he was horrified. Yet when it was his own life, he was scared, but he seemed resigned to it. As if, this was more acceptable to him.
Rogers word is his bond. He does not give it lightly but when he does, he will stake his life on it. Which means for the next 6 episodes, we are in for a damn interesting ride.
Sher (ABOotlander Founder)
Don’t forget to join us ABOotlanders on Twitter while we live tweet while we watch on W Network Sundays at 8PM MST. We use the hashtag #OutlanderCAN and each weeks episode hashtag from Starz. We look forward to you joining us and our friends at Fancity, (who are also celebrating #FANMAS! Check them out)
Here I am again, trying to not just pick through the obvious or delve into the dramedy of the week for each episode of Outlander.
Truth be told, I am doing it more to challenge myself, tear off a couple of layers and see something a bit different. It helps me stretch my brain basket out.
The plentiful nuggets of common ground between characters and the land are both unmistakable and subtlely scattered throughout the episode. It gives the title of the episode a lot of meaning. I am going to nudge that aside so we can experience the remnants of all the things that aren’t and how they showed up numerous times in Common Ground.
We all do it. Take one glance at someone or thing, get our first impression, assume we know the story and continue on with that notion in our head. We may tend to block all the other stuff out because it doesn’t suit what we have already convinced ourselves is real.
Starting instantly with the Governor Tryon scene. This guy. Him and his “I want the best people to settle the land” and “I’m noble and wonderful and everything good about the British.”
We know that there is a dash of dastardly tucked underneath that powdered wig and tighty whities (stockings) of his. Certainly not all noble nor wonderful. In fact, here we have a couple of duplicitous characters. Jamie has been a traitor before. That is where I was going with the “not everything is what it seems” with this particular scene. I believe Jamie eluded to this in his comments to Claire about making this a great country for Brianna earlier in the season. It certainly isn’t just in building Fraser’s Ridge but the impact he might have in the coming revolution.
Oh, then we have Marsali. Remember when we first met her? Our initial impression? Wow. What a snide wee thing she was.
But why? Outwardly, she most certainly hated Claire and wasn’t afraid to show it. In return, many instantly thought her a mean-spirited brat. Marsali, let us not forget, is a teenager. Her only knowledge of this Claire woman is the image she had painted by her very bitter mother (whom she loves dearly, she should, she IS her mom). Any daughter would take her mother’s side and react accordingly. Claire, being the adult, totally understood this and didn’t take it personally. She let it ride.
What we saw at the beginning of the episode is the growth of both of these characters. How many stepdaughter/mother relationships never heal? You can have two fantastic human beings who will hate one another forever because of the completely separate relationship of two other people they both love. It is a real head-scratcher. ( Yes I know…some people ARE just horrible, I’m not talking about them😉) Marsali and Claire have chosen to look at one another as individuals. Apart from those relationships and are better for it. Imagine both of them taking their first impressions and holding onto them? How ugly would that be to watch, week after week?
Leaving Marsali and Fergus, of course, reminds Claire of leaving Brianna. Jamie opens his mouth and the word version of cotton candy, unicorns, rainbows and butterflies escape his lips. It seems such a special moment, between Jamie and Claire. If we were to step upon that moment we would see the love and the connection.
What we wouldn’t see is the pain. Claire being torn up on the inside. How many times has this happened to us? In public, surrounded by people and able to look to the person in front of us and manage a grin – all the while, inside, we’re screaming in pain? Yet, there we were, fooling nearly every person in the room because they only see what we allow them to.
It doesn’t always have to be people, it can be nature. It was present throughout this episode. Frasers Ridge itself, visually captivating, has a dream-like quality to it. When that happens, the brain does funny things. When we think something is beautiful, we tend to feel better when we are around it, when we feel better, we feel safer, when we feel safer, we may let our guard down. Letting our guard down isn’t always a horrible thing but when there is something else out there that is looking to harm us, it uses that vulnerability to its advantage. Nature itself is like this, whether it be the creatures that make it their home or the weather itself. Both of these can dispell the wonderful first impression of beauty such places give. It reminds us just because it’s pretty, doesn’t mean it’s kind.
Let’s get comfy and talk about Roger and Bree. After last weeks dumpster fire of miscommunication, what do we have to look forward to? By all appearances, not a fricken thing. After Brianna left Roger at the festival to find a TapCar back to Boston we don’t have much hope.
Roger has returned to his various shades of brown existence at Oxford. He seems to be going by exactly what Brianna has given him during his call to her and vice-versa. There are no questioning things deeper on either part and yet, if one of them had, so much of the miscommunication could have been remedied at least a little bit. Settling for what is on the surface can sometimes be our way of taking the easy way out. Let’s face it if we simply take the generic “I have to go grade papers”, it excuses us from taking a chance and asking “Do you miss me?” Sure, we avoid the possibility of them saying the very thing we fear but it also prevents them from saying the one thing we hope they would.
Fiona looks quiet and innocent but that girl has got all the people figured out and just so happens, she serves it with grace. Everyone should have a girlfriend like her. The kind that people sadly mistake for a piece of the furniture. She sees and hears everything. They are the ones that will be able to tell you what’s what and where you can find it. We would be better humans if we paid more attention to what women like Fiona have to say instead of keeping them a silent witness to everything around us. I bet if we all thought about it, we could think of a few of those women throughout our lives and be surprised at how we allowed them to stay in the shadows. How we still utilized their gifts and input when they shared them but rarely asked them for it. Hell, you may be one of those people yourself. So let me just say…you are valued…in case you haven’t heard it lately.
Now, to the glaringly obvious “it is not what it appears to be” is our bear. First, the menace and destruction were thought to be the Cherokee neighbours. Then, the monster bear. There were pretty clear signs pointing toward that. It likes meat, pooped like nobodies business, left a pretty serious claw slashing down the shoulder of Findlay, Fraser’s trusty steed. Had the Fraser’s been aware of the Cherokee’s dealings with the cracked but not broken bear-man, they would have known what they were truly dealing with, rather than go by what their eyes were telling them. This just proves the whole “working together” gets better results theory. Pretty simple stuff, this one.
I must mention the fact that Brianna went to Scotland WEEKS ago to visit her MOTHER! I don’t think this was a simple case of Brianna just missing her Momma. Roger thinking Brianna would only know the information he was giving her, seems to have been a case of underestimation. This is something many of us do as well, which is why I love how these characters are written. They are relatable. We often predict what others will do based on what we would do. We interpret others actions as a reflection of our own intent. Sometimes we are accurate but not always and it is the ‘not always’ that tends to cause us to stumble. It pays to look deeper, or step back to see the big picture. It may be uncomfortable but the outcome will often be a positive one.
First impressions should be just that. An impression. They are developed in an instant but given time, they can be remoulded, reshaped and in some cases, shattered and recreated. The more we discuss, observe and listen, the better we get at understanding the whole picture. The whole picture tells a story one word never could.
RTs would be cool if you feel others might enjoy a piece of this. Come live tweet with us Canadian folk, we watch Outlander on W Network at 8 PM MST Sundays. We use the hashtag #OutlanderCAN to keep track of one another and help others gauge where the commercials are. Yeah…we have phones with cords AND commercials. It’s ok though. We are a hearty people.
Until next time…and I already CAN. NOT. WAIT!
Sher (ABOotlander founder)
Our first round of Bedtimes stories started because of the initial Droughtlander and my husband’s inability to wait for anything. Like ANYTHING – when he knows the answer is right there. I only have to tell him. He really enjoyed the TV show & knew the books were out there – however not being a reader – there was a problem…unless he could get someone to read them to him. WELL GEE!
#BedtimeStories were born. Sometimes I read and he is silent & enjoys. Sometimes, he is contemplative. Sometimes there are tears or laughter. Often…smart ass comments erupt from him. As I read “Jamie gingerly….blah de blah Claire blah.” He pipes up with “Doesnt he do EVERYTHING gingerly? Get it?” Yeah MasterDad joker, I get it.
I stopped keeping my phone in my room at night around A Breath of Snow & Ashes so I haven’t tweeted his witty remarks as they come. They are jotted down in a note book…maybe slightly illegible but we’ll wait till we are done reading Written in My Own Hearts Blood to do that shall we?
If you have NOT read the books. Stop reading now. Hubbychilds comments are SPOILERS. Not just little spoilers…BIG WHOPPING RUIN YOUR OUTLANDER EXPERIENCE SPOILERS! If you havent read the books…and you read ANY further than this line. It is your own damn fault. You made a choice and it was probably the wrong one. So…with that being said, you are not allowed to leave comments or send me DMs scolding me for throwing spoilers out to the world. Just because the cookies are there…didn’t mean you had to eat them.
The following hubservations are from Voyager on up to a piece of A Breath of Snow & Ashes. So again, I warn you. SPOILERS ARE AHEAD. Can you tell someone has smacked my nose with a newspaper over this before? Uh-huh.
As we closed the pages of Dragonfly In Amber…my husband made an interesting observation. For the record…Me…Diana…and Caitriona…and any other girl person in a Disney movie (thats fairly recent so it might be an age thing)
You know…my sweet hubbychild has always been a little jealous of Jamie. Calling him my boyfriend etc. I have compiled some of his comments throughout storytime…enjoy.
Lets take a look at what he thought during Drums of Authumn shall we?
You may be able to tell…my husband doesn’t like it when people don’t communicate. He notices a common theme with Claire.
There is one character over all the others my husband feels bad for…its poor wee Rog. It sure entertains me to listen to him yak about him. And he has a face now. Richard Rankin…we adore you. We feel sorry for you…but we adore you.
I know you probably feel like meh…this is good. I read enough. I don’t need to hear her husbands ramblings any more…but…since I planned to write this all out…I’m doing it. Feel free to bookmark this and come back later to finish up…
We are at Fiery Cross…you know the one. No…let my hubbychild remind you.
Last…but not least we end with a bit of A Breath of Snow & Ashes.
I think thats an appropriatly inappropriate spot to stop.
You gotta love the guy…
Until next week…
I’m Sher…ABOotlanders Founder