Content of Character- My walk through #Outlander E12 #Providence

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.

 

 

Hidden messages. Blood Of My Blood S04E06 #Outlander thoughts and stuff.

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.                                                 Capture3

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.”

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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)

Don’t forget to LiveTweet every Sunday with your Canadian friends as we watch at 8pm MST as Outlander airs on W Network, use the hashtag #OutlanderCAN to play along.

Join in celebrating #FANMAS put on by our friends at Fancity   They have great give aways for all your favourite fandoms – including of course your favourite, OUTLANDER! 

 

 

More than meets the eye. My takeaway from Ep4 of Outlander, Common Ground.

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.

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My own socks tell us this story. 

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)

 

 

 

 

Ghosts are everywhere. My Take on “The False Bride”. Outlander S04E03.

There is no shortage of drama this season is there?  The cool thing about having a blog in this fandom is I get to decide what I talk about. I have decided to challenge myself to NOT write about the obvious this season.

I want to look past the topic du jour and move to the things that made me go hmmm and maybe they will make you go hey…meh…or OH! Either way, I will have said it and hopefully, feel good about it when I am done.  That’s the point of my watching Outlander in the first place. It makes me feel good. I like it. My Mom used to say “If it doesn’t feel good…don’t do it.” I live by that.

So…ghosts. I’m not talking about Casper, the bent neck lady or the very obvious Native gentleman caller from the episode we are talking about.  I am referring to the ghosts in our life that either guide our decisions or keep us from moving forward out of fear of facing them.  They were ever present in The False Bride, whether we noticed them or not.

Right at the very start, Roger sitting in the old empty manse and Fiona coming through the doors to take up residence reminded us of Reverend Wakefield and Mrs. Graham. Both now, just memories, shadows in the halls but very much a part of who Fiona and Roger are today.  As we see later with Roger when he has his meltdown with Brianna.  He was raised by a Reverand. It makes more than a little sense that ghost still sits in his mind and when that is the case, it affects his heart as well. Those are the ghosts that often speak the loudest.

Claire sees her fair share of ghosts in this episode. Both literally and figuratively. To start, there is no doubt she is thinking of the ghost of her friend, Joe Abernathy. Black, free, a doctor…her dear friend. Someone she may have been judged for being friends with but still “allowed” to be friends with.  She watches as the slaves walk by and you can see it pains her because she has seen the other side of this story.  She knows the truth of the people she sees being treated ‘less than’. The pure inhumanity of it bubbles to the surface.

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Going from this kind of friendship…to where she is – is not something any of us should reconcile.

As they ride away from River Run, they leave the ghost of Rufus behind them. Their troubled time there.  They also leave the people they couldn’t help.  This is something that I am sure will continue to haunt Claire.

Claire confronts Franks ghost as well.  He will be ever present when she speaks of Brianna.  He was the only father her daughter had. He raised her and owns that space in her world.  As she speaks of Bree to Jamie, you can see both of them feel Franks ghost pass through the moment. Claire as a reserved embrace, and Jamie with a grateful chill.

Then, we have Claire’s literal ghost.  Good ole Claire takes off after Clarence the mule in a storm and ends up lost, alone and in the dark.

It’s ok though, she has company.  She finds a little head, ok, it’s a skull. One that has been cracked down the middle and removed from the rest of its body.  This particularly unlucky fellow decides to pay Claire a visit, in a jarring and pretty cool way.  He makes his way toward her during lightning strikes. Then what does he do? Dude steals her shoes.  He makes up for it by wearing them and leads her to Jamie and Jamie to her. Awwwwwwwwww.

This particular ghost is filled with more questions because his mouth is filled with silver fillings. Which clearly means he is a time traveller too.

Young Ian had a different group of ghosts he faced in this episode. The pirates not once, but twice. Geillis. The hurricane. That was a lot of trauma for a young kid.  He grew up PDQ (pretty damn quick). Those experiences formed who he’s now become, a young man who knows his mind.  Thankfully, the ghost of the child he was, will always be there for us. His smile and pure cheekiness each episode gives me hope anyway.

Jamie had his own ghosts, didn’t he?  When speaking to his aunt Jocasta, the ghost of the laird he would have been in Scotland lingered there. He knew what she didn’t though. River Run could never be that for him, some things cannot be recreated.

The ghost of Jamie’s mother was real and alive when his aunt gifted him Ellen’s silver candlesticks. Something tangible, he could touch and take with him to his new place, where ever that may be.

While visiting the ghosts of Scotland in his memories, he was able to see his future.  Looking out over the vista, Jamie fell in love with the land he saw before him because of the echoes of his past. The strawberries and the mountains all familiar to him yet, this new world made him feel hope.

I want to finish up with Brianna.  The Scottish festival was the first shiver of her ghosts coming to the forefront. Bree seemed to want to deny she was thinking about her mother but Roger knew it had to be there, raw and real.  The memory of her and the ramifications of her travelling through time to find Jamie. Those ghosts came to visit the festival that day, who could blame them? The music was bangin’.Screenshot (531)Bree is a young woman that knows what she doesn’t want.  That is very much because of her ghosts. One ghost is the father she grew up with. She now knows he lived in a marriage of convenience with her mother. Another is the ghost of a father that she never knew, he was the recipient of her mother’s love and devotion. Given the choice she was faced with in the episode tonight, those ghosts would have sat upon each shoulder like the good choice and bad choice. Each in her ear.

We all have our ghosts.  Whether we see them, hear them or feel them. They are there, influencing us and the choices we make. We should really trust our own voice rather than rely on the ghosts, but you know…to each their own.

Sometimes, those ghosts…they just make us run up the basement stairs really quick or check behind the shower curtain before peeing.  Either way…do you.

Remember to live tweet with us. Canadians watch along with W Network and use the hashtag #OutlanderCAN. We look forward to having you play along! If you love to win stuff and love to fan please follow our friends at FANCITY. They have a great worldwide Outlander giveaway coming up soon!

Sher

Founder of the ABOotlanders

My take on Outlander’s E02, Do No Harm. The lies we tell ourselves.

There are many conversations that can and surely will be taking place about this powerful episode.  I thought, and probably over thought the direction, I would go in my take away.

What I kept coming back to was the self-talk of the characters in our story.  As in life, we tell ourselves lies in order to live with our actions, the situations we create and the circumstances we find ourselves in.  Sometimes those lies are harmless small ones, intended to take the sting away and sometimes they are brutally large because facing the truth would be admitting how incredibly horrible we truly can be.

When people hear the word LIE, they think ‘bad’. They think ‘evil’. That isn’t quite what I mean here. Yes, a lie is an intended falsehood, however, when we are telling those lies to ourselves to help cope with something ~ that becomes the crux of the situation.

We start with that, Jamie and Claire. He is beating himself up over helping Bonnet escape. Claire turns to him and explains he shouldn’t take the blame for the robbery and Lesley’s death, it’s not his fault, they both trusted the bastard.  Truth is, had they given him up to the authorities, they would have made it safely to River Run, gemstones in hand and their friend alive. This is a way to help them cope with their loss.  Of course, we don’t want them to blame themselves. In fact, if someone we loved were in a similar position, we would tell them the same in order to make them feel better.  I ask myself sometimes – Do I want the truth or a comforting lie? Lots of the time…a comforting lie hits the spot quite nicely, thanks.

Now, those fools at the dinner party! Believing if it wasn’t for them coming to America and making it a ‘civilized’ world it would be nothing but a wasteland. This a perfect example of lies we tell ourselves to justify our uninvited and or all around crappy behaviours. Not bothering to see there could be another way, ignoring the logic around us. Even when it is clearly pointed out.  Ian took a moment to do that and was met with a condescending reply. Those reactions are often the biggest clue that we know we are full of rocks and bananas.

Jocasta shared with Jamie and Claire how she saw some of her slaves as friends.  This is a deeply seeded version of the example I just gave. Though there may be hints of truth in her statement, the reality is, the slaves are not her friends, she will not truly treat them as such because it would harm her place in society.  She spoke of her struggle as a woman, not being able to speak her mind or run her business with men as an equal. If she was to open her mind, just a little further, including others being treated even worse than that, by her…that is where change can start, no? Simply with the acknowledgment.

Then, you know, Jocasta outright lies. In the sense that she would rather ask forgiveness than permission.  She knew damn well that she was going to make Jamie heir of River Run. It was the main purpose for her party, “introducing you to society” was a ruse created to foist this grand plan upon him.  It sure makes it hard to say “HELL NO!” In front of people congratulating you eh?

Now keep in mind, lying to oneself is also a means of self-preservation in difficult circumstances. This is Claire’s running commentary throughout the episode.  There is not one moment that she relaxes. She is in obvious perma-clench mode. For good reason.  She is having a visceral reaction to slavery and not only being surrounded by it, but by it being forced upon her. It certainly is easy, from the relative comfort of our living rooms to tell her to smarten the hell up because ultimately she IS making shit WAY more difficult. However, Claire…part of what makes her Claire is she feels before she thinks. In this case, it’s not only her “do no harm” oath, but it is also her hate of a system that she KNOWS is wrong on every level of wrongness that was ever created, and being a part of that in any way, makes her wrong too. So, she lies to herself.  Tells herself, because of her interference, she can help Rufus. There will be something she can do to make sure he lives. When the real truth is…there is nothing.  Deep down, she knows it…and that only infuriates her further.

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We now have Rufus (played impeccably by Jerome Holder). Imagine, putting one foot in front of another, day after day having been taken from the life he knew and loved, forced into this, of all lives?  You would most certainly have to lie to yourself. He was telling himself, one day…one day I might see those I love again.  There has been nothing to show him this might happen, to give him this hope. Yet, he tells himself so he may have the strength to see another day.  We have the power to convince ourselves because we have no other choice…we need to hold onto something in order to survive.

If we sat and examined the stories we tell ourselves on the daily, we would see the lies, the half-truths for what they are.  Coping mechanisms…both good and bad. Human and inhumane. They often define our character.  If we find ourselves angry when someone points them out to us, that may be an indication we need to take a self-appointed time out and do some critical thinking.  It is most definitely not a painless process. That is how change happens.

It’s tough, but someone’s gotta do it!

Thanks for stopping by and if you like what you read, or even thought it was kinda o.k., please give it a share, leave a comment or send me cuddles (pickles and cheese knows I can use ’em after THAT episode!)  We livetweet with the W Networks airing of Outlander in Canada, every Sunday, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN. We look forward to all of our Outlander friends joining us!

For a more in-depth conversation about Do No Harm and the way the show handled the aspects of slavery and the continued effects it has on today’s society, I suggest you hop on over to our friends at Blacklanderz. Their twitter feed has a great deal of the discussions we need to be having.

Until next time,

Sher                                                                                                                                                          Founder of the ABOotlanders 

Outlander. Season Four. Episode 1. So many things being talked about – but not this…

Friendship. The power it holds in our lives. Trust within those friendships and the consequences we might suffer if we put our trust in the hands of the wrong ones.

America the Beautiful was our opening episode of the season and wow…as per Outlander style it was something! Now, because I know all of the drama and debates happening out there in this fabulously fickle fandom – I will let that keep playing out – out there – and in my bubble, here, I am going to ask you to gather around as I talk about the NUMEROUS ways America the Beautiful gave us friendship – in its entirety. From all angles. Even the one-sided angle. We have ALL experienced THOSE friendships.

The first brush with the good ship, friend, was Jamie paying a visit to a condemned Hayes.  He had a plan to help him escape – yet Hayes, wouldn’t let his friends take the chance of also being in his position, so he accepted his fate. In turn, Jamie makes a promise to him that is kind of like a punch in the gut.  Offering to be the smiling face of the friend he looks upon as he dies.  Only the best of us can do something like that. Put our own feelings of anger, grief and despair aside to bring loving comfort to someone else.  Jamie did it for Hayes – his smile – forced and not easy to look at, yet you could see Hayes used it as an anchor.

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There are teeth showing…and compared to everyone else, that is as close to a smile as anyone could manage. That’s a good friend.

When we lose a friend, especially a friend who has been there to support us through really trying times, the grief can be overwhelming. We saw that with Lesley as he rushed the gallows after Hayes was hung.  We also felt the breadth of his mourning when he started singing in the pub.  Those with him, also feeling the pain of the loss, chose to join in both for their own solace and to show him he wasn’t alone. It is what we do, isn’t it? Or at least, it is what we should do.

How about those who use our friendships to manipulate us? Yeah, that happens. That rotten sunnuvabitch Stephen Bonnet does just that.  He used the pseudo-friendship he had with Hayes to manipulate the mans truly grieving friends. Having listened to their conversations, knowing their soft spots and understanding that Jamie was a man of honour- he knew damn well what he could get away with. He knew that this fresh wound of a friendship lost would get him exactly what he wanted. That’s what sociopaths do though, isn’t it?

As we know, their choice in trusting this man, in the name of friendship, turned out to have very dire consequences indeed.

Sometimes we forget that familial relationships need friendship to thrive.  Sharing blood isn’t enough to form a friendship. Finally, when we are very lucky, a meaningful friendship can create a familial bond.

Young Ian and Jamie share a moment while digging Hayes’ grave.  It’s intense, it’s heartbreaking yet, it solidifies a friendship. Sharing a secret will do that.  We can share a bloodline all our life and never truly be a friend to one another.  When we are vulnerable and dig into the deepest recess of our soul to help, validate and support someone we care about – that is when friendship is formed.

Lesley, Fergus and Marsali (and sure, Rollo too) are all examples of friends that became family.  These bonds were created in trust. Lesley with Jamie at Ardsmuir and continued to grow through the years, shown clearly at the pub where he didn’t want to venture on his own but to stay with the family of his heart.  Fergus, in every sense but blood, is Jamie and Claire’s son. Marsali…yes is Jamie’s stepdaughter but you can see the bond forming between her and Claire. What started out as a troubled and even vicious relationship, has softened. This friendship becomes a tender, loving and it’s not a stretch to say maternal influence on Marsali’s life.

I would be amiss to not mention Claire and Jamie in all this talk about friendship.  There is no way to have the trust, passion, deep respect and love that this couple has…without the bond of friendship.  We must like one another in order to love one another.  This episode had that friendship shine through and yet, we may have missed it.  Subtle support.  They reach for one another’s hand numerous times throughout the episode, those glances of “I’m right here. Supporting you.”  Jamie knowing, without words, that Claire is bothered or thinking something that she is struggling to put into words.

We also had those attempting new friendships. Governor Tryon, his friendship, of course, comes with a price. As many do.  The dinner party scene was full of those “facade friendships”. Really not friendships at all, I know, but you get my meaning.

How about the unexpected friendship?  Riverboat Captain Freeman and waterman, Eutroclus. A very unlikely friendship. One born from gratitude.  Eutroclus could have let Captain Freeman die in a fire, he saved his life. Captain Freeman, freed Eutroclus from slavery and then, hired him. I am sure knowing, freeing a man wouldn’t be enough. Many freed slaves were then recaptured and put back into servitude. This friendship certainly isn’t without its faults, however, it does have it’s merits. I would be damned remiss if I didn’t include the fact that Leon Herbert has the deepest, richest and sexiest voice I have EVER heard and I would feel honoured to hear him read all the things for all the days. That is what I imagine heaven would sound like.

In the end, friendship also can mean sacrifice. Hopefully not the sacrifice that Lesley ultimately made to protect his friend, Claire. That was devastating.  Though we do this in small doses on the regular.  Defend our friends from bullies, defend our friends from those who have hurt them. Step in and step up to show them the solidarity we feel with them.  That, my friends, is powerful.

That is what we need to do.  See something, say something, do something. Your friends need you. Be a superhero.

Join us as we LiveTweet with W Networks airing of Outlander in Canada, using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN.  If you like what you have read, please share, RT or leave a comment, engaging with like-minded fans is my jam.

Much Love,

Sher (Founder of the ABOotlanders)

 

 

 

Doctor Joe is now taking patients. ABOotlander Sher, chats with Wil Johnson.

Outlander fans have welcomed Wil Johnson into the family as he stepped into the role of loyal friend and confidant, Dr. Joe Abernathy.

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In the books, I loved Joe’s smooth and confident character. He was an equal to Claire that is rarely portrayed in the era they met.  In my mind, he was a butter voiced Sydney Poitier.  Without sounding too sucky-uppy – Wil Johnson fit the mold perfectly.   I anticipated seeing him on-screen more than other supporting characters because of my perception of him as Claire’s partner in crime in the 20th century.   We all need our “person”.  The one we can lean on, hold up, share the tough stuff with and Joe, was Claire’s person.

When I started following Wil Johnson on twitter I noticed his genuine humour and positive outlook about being enveloped into the Outlander Universe.  I am sure it can be daunting to all of a sudden be “loved” by so many random strangers – however, he handled it with grace.  Sharing his kindness with no strings attached.

I wanted to know more about this man who earned the role as Dr. Joe so I asked if he would do a Q&A…he graciously agreed.  We tweeted ridiculously funny GIFs at each other – this is a contract in the world of social media.

Sit back and enjoy “THE” Wil Johnson brought to you by “THE” ABOotlanders

You don’t even have to look closely to see that Wil is not a one trick pony.  I am not sure how this man finds the time but his list of awesome is a long one.

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See…there’s lots there

He sings, dances, acts and DJs – I mean I am tired thinking about it all.  When you present it all together for him, Wil sounds surprised he does so much.

WIL: WOW! That is a lot! lol…To be honest, I get enjoyment from all of them in equal measure. They all require a different skill set and each area has to be mastered with time, consistently and discipline. When you get it right, that feeling of satisfaction is unfathomable. But if I was to pick one that slightly edges the others out…it would have to be DJing! I say DJing because it’s the only discipline in which it’s all about you..two decks and a mixer. What you do directly in terms of manipulating the music, how you mix the tracks, directly affects how people will respond immediately. INSTANT GRATIFICATION!!! LOOOOL!!!

Want to hear some of 1LWil’s mixes?  CLICK HERE FOR THE SICK BEATS I’m trying to be cool obviously, Wil on the other hand just is. Where Dr. Joe is calm and cool, Wil…just cool.

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WIL: Right now I’m putting together a playlist for a new Mix I’ll be bringing out on MIXCLOUD which will be Deep House & Soulful House combined…Two of my favourite genres of music!

We all have that favourite band – Wil’s is Earth, Wind & Fire – you know,  in case you didn’t think he was cool already.

As if all of the previously mentioned talents weren’t good enough for you, the man cooks as well.  His favourite meal to put on the table?

WIL: As the Son of Jamaican parents, my favourite signature dish is ‘Stew Chicken with Rice & Peas!!!’

We can’t give away his recipe but if you thought to yourself…damn…that sounds good.  HERE you go. Gotta love the YouTube.

I think it is a prerequisite for any friend of Claire to be good behind the bar.  Dr. Joe makes a mean martini Wil on the other hand…

WIL:I serve a mean Rum & Coke on the rocks!!!! LOOOOOL!!!!

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…because Wil made me a drink…

Wil is a dad. That might not seem too unusual – however, he is the dad of 7…count ’em…7 children.  I see a recurring theme in Wil’s life. If you are going to do something – you might as well knock it outta the park!

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Just. Like. That.

WIL: The most important aspect of being a Father for me is ‘being there’ for your children and encouraging them in all their endeavours. Always telling them you love them and as much as you can, do things with them. Children must feel that you are their ‘ROCK’ that safe place of peace, truth and balance…

We either parent how we were parented or go rogue.  Considering what he is most proud of overcoming, I will say, Wil’s mom was his role model.

WIL:Living without my Mother who died 26 years ago. We were extremely close and she was my biggest fan and supporter of my work.

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A mothers love.

Wil is quite popular in the UK, having worked on many TV shows. Waking the Dead, Babyfather and Emmerdale–  to name a few. Joe Abernathy is Wil’s first american role. I was curious just how long he had to wait before hearing that he earned his role.

WIL:It was around a month before I heard I’d been booked to play Joe Abernathy….A LOOOOONG MONTH!!! LOOOOL!!!!

I wasn’t surprised to learn  Wil hadn’t read the Outlander books.  I mean, come on, you saw a glimpse in the day of Wil Johnsons life…I would say there wasn’t time to read the tomes.  “I work off the script and what eventually ends up there.”  This shows us how dedicated the writers are to keeping the soul of the book alive in the characters being portrayed on-screen.  Oh, and how well the casting department has done their homework.

We know Joe Abernathy wasn’t the most popular guy in medical school – like Claire, he was pushing through preconceived notions and boundaries that had been placed in his way.  The era itself was well represented, even if it was uncomfortable for us to watch.   Wil lets us know how important it is to break down those boundaries.

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It might not be that easy…but it IS that impactful

WIL: It was an honour. When one has the opportunity to play such a role as Joe Abernathy, you feel like an Ambassador…meaning, this role portrays positive aspects of our human nature and can be looked upon as a beacon or symbol of what is good, fair and decent in human beings. Joe for me ticks all those boxes and I felt a duty to live up to that.

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And so you did

Wil is a very dedicated actor, you can tell, his favourite book being Year of the King by Antony Sher. It is a glimpse into the world of an actor honing his craft.

Outlander is a huge production. Fans are constantly in awe of the what is put in front of them on-screen.  I have always wondered how the actors respond to this “world”.

WIL: The attention to detail in every aspect of production. When I was on set, I felt I WAS in the world of Outlander… for real…..

Joe Abernathy isn’t seen regularly in the books, however he is one of the characters that has a regular presence. Popping up throughout the books as a touch stone for Claire’s life in Boston.  I was curious if we will be seeing Joe again, once Claire heads back into the past.

WIL: I don’t know what the future holds in store for Joe. If they continue with this character in some shape or form I would be very happy about that.

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Joe is one of the very few people who knows Claire well. What do you think Joe thinks of this woman he befriended?

WIL: Joe truly admires Claire and is in awe of her strength. Joe draws inspiration from Claire in that respect.

I envision Caitriona Balfe having some of Claire’s traits.  I have a hard time imagining actors can play roles with such conviction and believability unless they have some sort of relationship with the character they are portraying. I asked Wil what he saw in both of these incredible women? (one real, one fictional)

WIL: Drive..Passion..Tenacity…

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Who me???

Speaking of relating to the character,  what does Wil say he and Joe might have in common?

WIL: Joe Abernathy and Wil Johnson are TRAIL BLAZERS!!! We both strive to change perception by our actions….

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We all have shows we love, our readers wouldn’t be here if they didn’t.  I am always curious as to what others are watching. I love shows from the UK and feel us Canadians miss out on some great ones because of that silly Atlantic thing.

WIL: G.O.T!!!! GAME OF THRONES!!!!!!!!! THAT IS MY SHOW!!!! Not sure what you might have missed out on….hmmmmm…Emmerdale???????

The following video was made during Wils 2 year stint as Dom Andrews on long running British soap opera,  Emmerdale. (This may or may not be the video I watched to see if he had the “Joe” voice I imagined. It was and he did)

Us ABOotlanders always love to know of Canadian connections. So, I asked.

WIL:Canada is on the list of places to visit for my Wife and I. Also I have family who live there so it would be nice to see them.

Let me suggest Alberta to the Johnsons.  They now know they have a tour guide if needed.

If you have read any of the chats here on the ABOotlander Blog, you know our Signature question.   Wil was not left out.

“If you were to visit us ABOotlanders in Alberta, Canada and someone offered you the following:

  • Moose droppings

  • Beaver tails

  • Prairie oysters

  • Taber corn

Which would you choose…and why?”

WIL:   I don’t know any of them but I would say Moose Droppings!!!! Sounds the most interesting…..Loooooool!!!!!!!!!

Interesting is right Wil.  Moose Droppings are delicious!

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They look like the real thing(ish) but don’t taste like them. I think…    I have never eaten the real thing.  Really.

The exciting Wil Johnson/ Joe Abernathy news is we’ll get to see  more of Dr. Joe Abernathy is Episode 5 “Freedom & Whisky”  HERE is a sneak peek of Joe…showing you exactly why I think Joe is kick ass.

SherryLynn aka Sher (ABOotlander Founder)

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