How to Predict the Future. What I picked up from #TheBalladOfRogerMac

I will say that I have started and stopped this particular ‘not a recap’ half a dozen times already.  I even wrote nearly a whole blog with another topic and trashed it. It’s not only because I was struggling with what to focus the blog on but because my thoughts were so all over the place, I had a difficult time wrangling them. I finally gave up and said, “What the hell, I’m just going to start…and keep going until I am done!” So, here we go.  Fingers crossed this shit makes sense at the end.

I don’t have to go into how emotionally draining this episode was because so many others have, I am pretty sure there is online debriefing amongst fans due to the mass breakdown. Which went in a couple directions. I usually pull on a thread that catches my attention in the episode and unravel the why.  This blog is a bit different than that.

The Ballad of Roger Mac came with loads to unpack, at first, I did struggle. I wanted to talk about control and how we truly have none except that over our own self.  I wrote about the breakdown of one’s spirit.  Nearly 1000 words in and I deleted the whole fucking thing because I was depressing myself. I did NOT need to feed to you – especially now. I closed my laptop and watched the episode, again.

Here I sit with thoughts of preparedness for the future. How that is more a concept than anything. We can prepare physically for what may happen but we are never truly prepared for how things make us feel. The wild, crazy ride of life that becomes intensely personal and all ours.

One way we can predict/prepare for our future is to assess our past.  We don’t have to be psychic or psychotic to think we can see what is in our future.  Our past behaviours in similar circumstances can lead us toward that vision.  Often, the lessons we may have learned from situations can be helpful to determine what actions would be logical (or not) next time around.

Roger is attempting to unload a wagonful of burden before leaving Jemmy and Brianna.  Thoughts of his father dying in WW2 enable him to picture himself in both his father’s shoes and Jemmy’s wee booties.  He is more concerned about Jemmy not remembering him than he is about dying.

Brianna knows Roger more than anyone.  She recognizes Roger’s pattern of behaviour. He puts his own safety in jeopardy to help others. “Act first, think later’ Roger. He has this horrible luck of not having a chance to think later because he’s been forced onto a ship, beaten silly, or tossed back into the idiot hut. You know, those things.giphy-3                                          We know, Rog, we know…

The worry Brianna feels as Roger heads out is not just because of the impending war but because she knows him to his core.  He is a pacifist, she knows he will protect those he perceives as vulnerable, putting his life on the line without a thought. Bree knows Roger’s future will be filled with the compulsion to intercede on behalf of those suffering. Which as we have seen, given the closing scene of The Ballad of Roger Mac, may cost him everything.

Caretakers, we see you.  Perhaps you aren’t as ‘idiot hutty’ as Roger manages but getting lost in moments where safety, whether physical, emotional or both are put aside in order to safeguard others, is commendable.

We are seeing this right now, all over the globe. Without proper PPE, tired and frustrated health care workers are going into work, missing their own families, to save the lives of others.  I promise you, the caretakers doing this, their families will tell you, it is no surprise. These caretakers have been reacting to situations their whole lives with little regard to themselves.  Their past predicted their reaction to this crisis, not the crisis itself.

Jamie has been on the wrong side of the law for as long as we’ve known him. In The Ballad of Roger Mac, we saw him move from the flimsy side of the crown to full-on rebel.  Given his history, this wasn’t hard to anticipate. In the past, he turned his body over to save his wife.  He plotted with his sister to give him over to the crown for the good of those at Lallybroch.  As an indentured servant, he extended his life as a stable hand to be around his illegitimate son. He lived under a pseudonym, as a respectable printer to distribute seditious material and smuggle contraband. Jamie created a life of playing the game in order to achieve what he needed or wanted.

Murtagh was a man who was always prepared to die for what he believed in. Yes, he hated the red coats and undoubtedly believed in the regulator’s cause. Above all, he loved Jamie.

It wasn’t the oath that made Murtagh save Jamie’s life or that made Jamie want to save Murtagh’s.  It was love.  Jamie had lost his father – he had killed his Uncle – Murtagh was the last man standing that could show him. Show him what, you might ask. The ‘what’ are those now unknowns that we can never predict. It is needing their guidance of having lived ‘the whats’ and their ability to share them with us.

Even at 50, such a loss isn’t easy.  It is like our foundation is shaken out from under us.  We believed we knew what the world was going to look like and then someone strikes it with a hammer to shatter it into dust.  How do we fix that?  Is it possible to reimagine it? Will looking back help us see the future here?

It is deep breath time. Acceptance that living through it is to know it.  This is the experience to learn from. This is the hurt from which we heal.  Healing does not mean getting over or moving on or any of the thousand clichés we use.  Healing means being present in our grief, giving it room to breathe while discovering our new normal.  Creating a space for a new relationship with those we have lost.

That is how we can predict our future after a loss. It’s never easy. It’s messy and it hurts. People on TV will go through it in hyper speed but us? We need to do it our way.  How we look at our loved ones in life can be what helps define that new every day we establish.

Claire, over and above, is reaching back into the past to straight-up create her future, hers is full of penicillin.  Technically she’s reaching into the future (but it’s her past – it can get crazy confusing – especially for me who is easily confused 😋).  Bringing her knowledge from becoming a surgeon further contributes to her life-saving abilities each day she spends in the 1700’s. There are lives she preserves simply by teaching folks basic hygiene.

How many of our ancestors do you think would still be alive if they didn’t have poop fingers? That’s a legit question, friends.

When Claire sees Jamie off to fight, their departure has a much different feel than Bree and Roger’s.  She is his wife, of course, she has concern for his wellbeing. Claire is also exceedingly pragmatic. She puts complete trust in his word to her.  In order to concentrate on what she needs to do, she puts her worry into his hands.

This tactic is one that many of us could learn from.  Especially chronic worriers. I know they are out there.

I am validating the incredibly difficult times we are in right now.  I am going to urge those struggling to go the way of Claire.  For those overwhelmed by worry about those they love.  Ask questions.  Do you trust their intelligence?  Are they capable human beings? If you answer yes to those. Trust them.

Tell them you are concerned and ask them to share their experiences with you.  We tend to get so carried away with random thoughts we disconnect from the reality.  Claire understands that Jamie has said, today isn’t the day we part for good. She trusts him and his words.  Claire focuses on the things she can control, which are medicine and healing. She can not control each outcome but she does her level best with what she has.  That is all any of us can do.

Imagine we could predict our futures to the letter. Having the information of when we would lose someone or we could foresee falling in love…we could never be truly prepared.  We might picture the physicalities of the situation however the feelings we experience will always be new. Emotion is the element that can not be nailed down.

Claire used her knowledge of how wounds are created, faced off with that skeezy Lyle Asshat Brown. She accused him of shooting Isaiah Morton in the back.  His manbaby ego is battered so badly he smashed her one and only syringe, like a toddler.  Keenly aware of the consequences of his actions, Claire is horrified into silence.

Jamie knew he would be battling against Murtagh in this fight.  He always knew there was a chance his Godfather could be killed, yet, when the moment came that he was. Grief took over.

Brianna wrestled with her fear that something terrible happened to Roger when he did not return to camp before the battle. She knew he was missing.  Her worry was colouring everything in front of her. When faced with her husband hanging from a tree. Shock overcame her.

Emotion. Emotion. Emotion.  It will often be the curve in the path to foreseeing what is ahead.  I believe the key is to feel whatever it is you are feeling.  Anger, fear, sadness or shock. Allow it to take its course, validate why it is there and know it’s all right. The less we suppress or deny our emotions, the sooner we move towards the future we envision.

I am sending you all love and hugs- virtual hugs because those I can give you, up close and personal.

Sher xo

ps. I try to livetweet every Sunday with W Network’s airing of Outlander at 7 PM Mt. using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

 

 

 

 

BADaptations #Outlanders on the bright side.

I need to have a little fun. The whole world is NOODLES N NUTS!

We are on the countdown for season 5. Everyone is getting antsy. There is a lot of activity on the Outlander Starz accounts. W Network is gearing up for us Canadians. I’m doing Meme reruns getting jacked for the live tweets every Sunday night followed by, what I hope are some interesting blogs.

For now, I’m going into Imaginationland.  There is always a lot of discussion in the fandom about deviation from the books.  If you have read my blogs before you know my stance on the books vs the show. There really is no vs. for me. They stand alone.  I have been reading the books for 25 years, pretty much know them inside and out. The show has to be a different thing, so I can fully enjoy the experience. Others do it their way, that’s cool. That is what makes the world go ’round. Well, that and gravity sciency stuff.

We have all seen movies, tv shows and mini-series created from books that have been slaughtered by the production company once they had the rights.  I still see people claiming that has happened to Outlander.  I disagree with those assessments. Here, I am going to show you what I envision a REAL slaughter looks like.

 

 

This is a GAG blog. A few things I have pulled out of my thinker that Outlander’s writers COULD have done if they so chose to. I’m not sure everyone is aware they could have done whatever they wanted and still had an audience. It may not have been you or I but it would have been someone.

I recall, in the beginning, many claimed Ron D. Moore and the writers had a love affair with Frank. They percieved this odd amount of empathy was given to his character and with too much screen time. He was Claire’s husband, it made sense to me to show his story, however, if they REALLY loved Frank so much they could have made him a much bigger part of the story.

What if? What if at the moment when Frank and Claire were at the stones at Craigh na Dun, appearing at the same time (200 yrs apart), the power of her desire to see him PULLED him through the stones?  Before you say that never could have happened. The writers are all-powerful in their storytelling. They can make anything they want, happen.  We are just lucky they didn’t.

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We all recall when Jenny was nearly raped by Black Jack Randall. Remember the nasty gossip that Dougal told Jamie?  That Jenny had a child as a result and BJR was the father? That would make for a juicy storyline, wouldn’t it? Almost too juicy for writers to pass up.

Here we could be, Jenny has BJR’s child. Ian still marries her because he loves her and raises the child as his own because that’s what the men on Outlander do, right?  BJR comes to Lallybroch frequently trying to steal the baby, it’s an added side story.  Oh, you know – extra drama! Most writers on TV want drama above all else and this story has years of drama written all over it.

giphy-11It didn’t really happen. Shh…

Ron Moore is currently involved in a super cool show called For All Mankind. The series explores an alternate history showing what happens if the space race never ended and the Soviet Union succeeded in the first manned Moon landing. Let’s put Outlander in that same headspace, shall we?

Since we are clearly aware Mr. Moore isn’t afraid of taking chances, like changing history. We should probably be happy that he didn’t get that itch out of his system with Claire becoming the ‘time traveller that could’. What if that became part of our epic new drama? Hmmm.

Culloden? WINNING! Bonny Prince? Bonny KING, thank ya, kindly. Jamie, no prison for you! You and all the Scots that battled so bravely now have your independence.  That’s a story for the ages, is it not? Yes. This could have been a thing and people would still watch. There would still be blogs. They might suck but they would be there.

I see folks on SM insist that Outlander writers have never read the books. Even though the writers have discussed their process many times of using the books as their outlines. If they never read the books or used them as a reference we could be looking at some crazy shit.

Imagine this. A new writer pops on the scene that has no idea what Outlander core stories are and they decide this –  Frank takes Brianna to a park for the afternoon. The park has this strange rock formation beside it, Brianna is skipping and playing around the rocks. One moment everything is fine and the next moment, she is gone! That’s right, Brianna has travelled through time as a 6-year-old! Frank is now forced to believe Claire after all this time.

That kind of storytelling would match the comments that production on Outlander has gone so far past what the books are about, the story isn’t recognizable.

I could have gone on and on with badaptations for days, it was kinda fun, to be honest with you. I bet some of you reading have ideas of your own. Drop them in the comments and we can have some laughs!

I do admit we all perceive the characters and much of the heart of the stories with our personal filter and biases. That is a completely natural way of enjoying or having contempt for what is happening on screen.  I hope we can look at the brighter side of our experience with Outlander’s adaptation. Yes, there may be some stuff that grinds our gears or twists us up. I most certainly do not take anything away from that. It’s natural for some peeps to fan that way.

The whole point of this little blogscursion. There are some downright horror shows of adaptations. BADaptations.  Granted, those badaptations are creations by people far more talented than I am. Everyone has a vision. I am sure there are people who will love those adaptations just as much as those who don’t.

It is my opinion that Outlander is a RADaptation. (Yep, Gen X’er here)

 

 

I hope you all have a FANtasticalamazirifisome day!

Sher xo❤

 

 

We are OBSASSENACHS because they want us to be…

and to be perfectly honest, we’d have gone willingly. Many of us were sitting here, waiting for someone to come along and make this happen.

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I recently watched a marketing clip of how to sell in today’s ‘go go go’ society and it was how all entertainment works these days. I wanted to sit down and put an Outlander spin on it.

Look, we have a little over a month left of #Droughtlander. I would like to spend it in a bubble because the real shit out there is making me tired. I need to turn it off every now and then if I want to stay relatively sane-ish.

Here were the marketing rules:

TURN CUSTOMERS INTO FANATICS –  The viewers are the customers and CHECK! We are fans aka…fan addicts…fanatics.

PRODUCTS INTO OBSESSIONS –  The product is the show and all the goodies that come with it. CHECK! We never miss an episode, in fact, we watch them over and over. We buy all the copies, we buy all the merch, we donate to all the charities, we attend all the events. Yep. Obsessed is a good word. 

EMPLOYEES INTO AMBASSADORS – Conventions, Interviews, Social Media presence… the cast and crew that take part in these things. Those who engage. TADA! We have our ambassadors. We are tiny lil ambassadors ourselves when we RT/Share/Engage/Like. 

AND BRANDS INTO RELIGIONS.  Don’t scoff. Don’t laugh. People take their Outlander seriously.  (If you are deeply religious – may I suggest you read the rest of this blog with your funny pants on because it is all just shits n giggles from this point on)

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up n down n side t’side toss toss 

 

 

I have come up with 10 Outlandish commandments because I thought it would be fun and tie in, kinda…weirdly. 

  1. I am Outlander, thy epic show, thou shalt not favour any strange shows before me.
  2. Thou shalt not take the name of Outlander in anger or derision.
  3. Keep thy home quiet during thee Outlander hour.
  4. Honour thy Fraser’s and thy MacKenzie’s.
  5. Thou shall not be a twitter assholeeo.
  6. Thou shalt not commit snackicide during the Outlander hour. It means what you think it means. Sicko. 
  7. Thou shalt not verbally assault others during Outlander. Like not even a little. 
  8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. That means don’t be a gossipy Gertie, ok? Two ears, one mouth. 
  9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbours Outlander stuff. Be happy for them. That shade of green doesn’t look good on anyone. 
  10. Outlander is really just a TV show, here for thou entertainment. Enjoy the shit out of it. 
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No, Brianna. I’m just goofing around.

ANYWAY, on the whole, the Outlander fandom does exactly what it is supposed to do according to the world of promotion and marketing.

Sony, Starz, W Network here in Canada, the cast and many of the crew all play their parts. Some don’t like how they do it, that’s rather a matter of taste, personalities or whatever. They will continue to do what they do for their own reasons. We don’t need to know those reasons, we should assume they do it for the success of Outlander.

The same can be said for us, the fans. We play our part. Some might not like the way we do it BUT…thats what happens in this thing called life.  We feed the Outlander machine in our own way.  It doesn’t matter in the big picture as long as we have fun with it.  No matter if you are a twitter maven with thousands of followers, a controversial blogger that likes to debate or a fan that sits back and lurks wondering how the hell everyone keeps all of this stuff straight (I have no idea btw, I rarely remember who runs what account), we all maintain a piece of this crazy Outlander fandom.

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YES. This fandom is crazy. Good crazy for the most part. Like any massive collective of people, there will be drama, infighting, cliques and subgroups.  Those, however, are generally on the outlying rings.

The words ‘silent majority’ are a thing because – the majority of people who watch Outlander are silently enjoying it in their bubbles at home.  Outlander has a global audience that is growing every day because of streaming services, most will never bother with social media beyond a few likes or searches.

Those who are out here with our voices should try our best to use them for good. Whatever that looks like to you, go for it! Have fun with it. There are groups out there that support the actors. All the main cast members have fan groups on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Not just one but multiples. The reason being, different personalities gravitate to one another. That’s cool because you will then find people like you that love the same cast members you love.giphy-8

Richard Rankin is a great example. I am sure he has a twitter handle for nearly every body part and one in every region on the planet. Example: Rankins Dimple. PLEASE do not see this as a personal challenge to create ALL of Rankin’s parts. (Roger’s pit hair, Roger’s thigh bristle,Roger’s man pelt…) Shit, that might have just given peepsmore ideas. 🤣

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There are great content creators that share their love of the show. Videos that blend songs with scenes, that help us relive beautiful moments. Check out Julia on YouTube if you haven’t already. She has the instinct of bringing the music and the heart of scenes together to recreate the story in another setting.

There are also edits by King Fireman on YouTube, his videos are masterful creations of scenes brought together to weave you through a retelling of the story. You need to see them in order to truly know the appeal of them.

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Like, Abracadabra it’s so awesome, magical

We also have a number of fantastic bloggers.  So many I couldn’t possibly name them all. I assure you there is something for everyone out there. You can easily go to your favourite blogs, check out their suggested blogs since like attracts like.

Get lost for hours on end by hitting up Pinterest. Search for Outlander fan art, quotes, memes and whatever else your wee Outlander heart desires. You will find the most amazing things along with a few that make you snort whisky out of your nose. Either way, a great way to waste an afternoon.

Ultimately, it isn’t our drama, negative nellies and infighting that get the attention of others.  That kind of shit just eats and thrives on itself.  It’s possible to not be a part of it if you don’t want to.

What ends up being a lightning rod is the laughter, the good time fans that run around with their t-shirts over their heads screaming about LJG and Jamie and Roger and Murtagh and and and… that get the attention.  The discussions about Claire together with her fortitude.  The conversations about Brianna, her rape, as a consequence the way women in the fandom connected, healed and supported one another that was truly heartwarming. Those are the things that people outside the fandom see and gravitate to.

I admit the way fans jump all over someone that merely mentions on twitter that they have watched Outlander and love it, it’s friggen adorable. It might be surprising to the person initially but think about how welcoming it is. Walking into what you think is an empty room and saying “Wow, that Outlander show was so good” then BOOM 200 people are welcoming you and telling you how wonderful it is to meet you and how you are their people.

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I for one…am happy to be a cog in this Outlander wheel. As long as it is on the air, I will be out here, promoting it. You never know what will happen after.

COME ON Feb 16th, us Canadians, watching on W Network have some #OutlanderCAN tweeting to do!

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Sher XO

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.

 

 

Get naked. Stripping down #Outlander Ep11

That got your attention huh?  Just like the cold but hot open of this episode probably got you. I know my attention was captured, but a naked Roger will do that.

Now, this may be very obvious to everyone out there and you may say to me that this blog is the worst of the season because I haven’t dug deep enough and that’s fair. I don’t think I really did. This just stuck with me through the 3 times I watched.  It became more and more obvious and the reality is, I wanted to talk about it, so I am.

In this episode, our characters were on full display. They might as well have been playing their parts how Roger started the show for us.  In the raw.  That would have made the dinner party a lot less appetizing mind you.

The levels of exposure we saw in If Not For Hope went deep.  This may take me a while so you might want to pour yourself something hot or cold, grab a snack or two.

The obvious is Roger. His literal nakedness isn’t just there for our viewing pleasure. I believe it speaks to a few things. He is now stripped completely of who he was.  The buttoned-up historian of many layers. Each one tore away until he was bare and now, being recreated.  This Roger we will get to know was always beneath the layers but had no reason to be exposed. The layers have been ripped away and no longer protect him, this Roger steps forward to run the show.  Well, at least keep one foot in front of the other. Which is all we can seem to hope for.

Granted, Roger himself wasn’t physically present in the episode but make no mistake, he was there.  Through Brianna, Claire, Jamie, Ian and even Lord John, each bringing him to the surface.  They repeatedly reminded us of how perilous Roger’s situation is. How he was relying on them to save him from this situation they had a hand in placing him in (except Lord John…he’s cool).

Roger is completely on the outside of all of this.  He has no reason to believe anyone is looking for him. He has to trust that Brianna loves him as much as he loves her. That, my friends, is blind faith. Which is perhaps the most vulnerable anyone can make themselves emotionally.  This is intricately tied to the horrific moment at the end of the episode.  Roger makes himself just as vulnerable physically. He realizes what he needs to do. He stands to accept a substantial beating at the hands of his captors in a type of gauntlet, a blind faith, trusting he is strong enough to make it through.

Personally, I would have rathered another shower scene. Richard Rankin, for the lack of screen time, has most certainly given Roger a surprising amount of depth.

I will add, it would be fantastic to see either, in conversation or flashback, what happened at those damnable stones. Richard conveys so much of what Roger thinks in facial expression alone (something I think this cast is flippin’ remarkable at) I would love a peek at that moment.

Please know I do not view vulnerability as weakness. It is a state of being from which each one of us needs to be in, in order to trust or love.

In Brianna’s case, she was all over the vulnerability scale from frailty, threat, disquiet and even pliancy during this episode. She was open to her own pain, in fact, the first moment we saw her in this episode she was in the midst of drawing it. Lizzie saw this as demons. They were in a sense, Brianna’s own demons…of sadness, anger and worry.

Speaking of Brianna’s drawings, it seemed she was using them to expose her disquiet. The opening credits showed many pictures of the slaves at work. Phaedre came into her room, Brianna saw how the light caught her face, she asked Phaedre to sit so she could draw her.  To me, this showed Brianna’s discomfort with the way this world was working around her. She was able to capture that and put it to paper.  I do believe Phaedre was pleased with being seen by Brianna, yet, you could feel her unease. Even if she were safe with Brianna at that moment, she was only safe with Brianna at that moment. The second someone else came into that room that safety would disappear instantly.

Next is Brianna, exposed lamb to the slaughter, Tinder 1700’s version.  This was painful to watch with a modern eye.  I had to keep facepalming myself to reset.

Seeing Brianna have to shut down the fake compliments, the greasy ‘we should ride into town alone together after just meeting one another’ and ‘hey, my mom doesn’t know I’m gay, let’s pretend to be bff’s.’, was too much.  Brianna made the right call with the fake ‘case of the vapours’ to get the hell out of there.  I now know why so many women fainted back in those days and it wasn’t because of the tight corsets. Women are tougher than that. It was to get the hell out of the room and away from all the creeps. They literally had to pretend they were unconscious before people would let them leave the damn room.

After the delightful dinner party (she says with dripping sarcasm), Jocasta gets some alone time with Brianna and in that small amount of time Brianna pliancy grew.  At first, she started this conversation out strong but Jocasta, always cunning, knows exactly which string to pull to unravel even the most complex of patterns and she does just that. She grabbed onto the Roger and baby strings and pulled, hard. Brianna went from bold to pliant, which is a completely different variant of vulnerability.  Jocasta used the perfect words to cut Brianna down and weaken her ‘Roger’s gone…no matter dead or alive. GONE.’ ‘If your baby is born out of wedlock, their life is RUINED.’  Brianna is brought to the point of being forced to look at her situation as the condition it is being referred to.

 

Jumping ahead Brianna is armed with what she thinks is the blackmail of the century. Bree decided to hit LJG where it hurts, in the ‘being gay is punishable by death’ spot.  She felt this was a pretty great plan, she could coerce him into marrying her because she knew this big secret and he would never want to sleep with her because he didn’t like women. Win Win.  LJG is a great guy and all but he isn’t one to be trifled with. He clapped back, letting her know the Vaginawagon wasn’t in mint condition and she would do well to stand down.

That moment with LJG is where Bree is the most exposed.  She allowed him to know all the details of her pregnancy and her desire to protect her child even over her own happiness.  It proves it doesn’t matter if we are trying to show others how strong we are, if there are cracks in the armour, someone will get through it. Even if it ends up being us, no one can stay locked in there forever. It’s stifling.

 

Lord John Grey. That name deserves a moment. He isn’t one you would feel is in a state of vulnerability given his status. Lord John, however, is a man who happens to love men. In colonial America, this is a crime punishable by death. This instantly makes Lord John a person in jeopardy.  The moment he is introduced to Brianna you can see him soften from Lord John Grey…to John, Jamie’s friend.  Which in itself brings an openness to him.  Since he is raising Willie, Jamie’s son, it makes sense that he would have a soft spot for Brianna, Jamie’s daughter.  You would think when LJG is most vulnerable is when Bree exposes his throat and threatens to chow down on it by telling the world he is gay. The idea may be threatening but after the initial imagery passes, he knows this won’t happen. The moments he is truly most vulnerable is when he is speaking of his relationship with Jamie and Claire.  When he speaks to her of Willie. Many of LJGs vulnerabilities lay in the secrets he must keep. The more people he opens himself up to, the more likely those secrets will be exposed.

Lord John chose to keep Brianna and the child safe by becoming engaged to her. It was LJG , after all, who told Bree to trust that Jamie and Claire would bring Roger back.  By promising to marry her, he was giving her the hope she needed and saving her heart from breaking any more.

It certainly was beautiful to see Marsali and Fergus again.  Their relationship is one I wish we could get more of.  They are strong and fierce but when it comes to one another, so tender. Fergus is being attacked by a toxic mentality of not being ‘man’ enough and Marsali is requesting Murtagh fix it.  She knows very well she could tell Fergus, a million times, he is more man than anyone, it won’t make a difference. Until Fergus feels that himself, it will tear at him.

 

When we love someone, even things we are not responsible for, weigh heavily on us. We want to fix them, which will sometimes cause us to be exposed to our own vulnerabilities. Marsali is not a fan of asking for help, but she does, for her husband. It works out perfectly in the end as Fergus feels needed but also knows his place is with his family.

Marsali knew she wasn’t responsible for Fergus’s pain but she worried about it. We see Jamie worrying about Brianna’s pain, and he did cause hers.  Naturally, this is weighing very heavily on not only him but Claire.  Both are in solitary and pensive states.

 

I believe as long as Brianna feels angry, Jamie will feel guilty. That is par for the course, isn’t it? As family dynamics go, when we hurt someone, intentionally or not, most will stew about it, worry, wonder what we can do (if we can do) anything to fix it. Jamie was in his own head, as he should be.  A big part of forgiveness is beating ourselves up, I think we all know that.

Taking responsibility for our actions means owning them and feeling bad they happened.  Wrapping it all together means having apologized and trying to make things better. Sadly, when we attempt to make things better we become vulnerable to not being forgiven.  That is the scariest thing of all.  When we have created pain for someone, it is never up to us if they can move past it. I think that is why Jamie is in this space he has created.  Jamie’s future happiness as a father to Brianna is 100% out of his control. What an all together powerless feeling, but one he understands, from the things he said.

Claire knows some of this though, she is the healer. She does that for them both, physically and emotionally.  She identifies the wound, assesses the treatment and then, she does the best she can.  The same we do for those we love. In turn, we expect those who love us to accept it.  This couple is best when they share their vulnerabilities and allow the other to be the strength where they lack.  With each struggle, bump in the road, argument and disappointment – couples grow. We see Claire and Jamie settled into their life as a couple but still growing and that’s important.

Knowing we are watching Brianna and Roger in their infancy as a couple excites me because it means we still have so much more to look forward to.  There is nowhere to go but up.

 

Now that I wasted a whole hour of your day, I will wrap it up.  I could go on to mention every character and how they were vulnerable and exposed but even I get tired of myself…

 

When we get naked, let our vulnerabilities be exposed – do we do it knowing there is the possibility of getting hurt?                                                                                                                  Do we hide our nakedness all together so no one has the opportunity to hurt us but we are so lonely…it hurts?                                                                                                                      Maybe we only allow certain people to catch a glimpse here and there and still find ourselves harmed in some way.

Life is messy, isn’t it? It’s messy…but it’s beautiful. It’s chaotic…but it’s an adventure. What we focus on expands…what are we choosing to look at?

We only have 2 more episodes left before the next Droughtlander commences my friends, this had gone by so fast!

Sher (Founder of the ABOotlanders)

Please live tweet with us Canadians as we watch on W Network at 8pm MST using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN

Be right…or make things right? That’s my question RE: S04Ep08 #Outlander

I have watched Wilmington 4 times now. The term “emotional whiplash” was being used and I am hard pressed to find another term that is as effective as that one. Unlike a roller coaster of feelings, this is different.

As always the focus of my after the show blog isn’t about the topic of the day or the feelings that rise to the top the quickest but the stuff that bubbles under the surface. Things that I end up thinking about later.  This doesn’t mean I am ignoring the big stuff.  It also doesn’t mean I am avoiding the hard conversations. I am leaving those for my friends who will discuss them with dignity and introspect. Like Connie here, I don’t always share the same views but I love her writing and deductions.  Being open to how others see things is important. It helps expand our own perceptions. I encourage you to read hers.

I started on the path “Life is a Stage” as it was so prevalent through the episode. Upon waking this morning, I read a beautiful blog from Outcandour who shared much of what I was thinking but, of course, said it much more eloquently with no goofy or distracting gif’s.

There was something else I thought about during this episode and it may seem like a stretch, and for me this time, I am o.k. with that. The reason?  This episode was a lot. I truly could go off in a million little pieces.

I find myself in the world of self-examination. As we are most definitely fallible and perfectly imperfect humans we often care more about “being right’ than “making things right”.  Those little arguments that have the potential to become big ugly things.

The most obvious in the episode, Wilmington, is our beautifully cracked set of numpties Roger and Bree.  Instead of admitting fault, taking responsibility for the events that sparked the argument or even swallowing one’s pride in order to make amends, both parties chose to escalate the confrontation. Even pushing one another further into the fray.

These are 100% human reactions.  We may prefer to think we are better than that but mostly, we aren’t. When our feelings are hurt, we can lash out in an attempt to cause equal amounts of pain.  If we succeed in this, we feel validated. Our feelings of vindication can be short-lived if we start thinking of the situation with a calmness later on.

There is this weird mind game we play with ourselves. We are convinced there must be right and wrong in every argument. When very often, arguments take place because both parties are right. They simply are having a difficult time expressing their points or they are choosing not to listen to one another. Naturally, there are the times when each person is completely out to lunch and there is absolutely no point in engaging them at all.  During those times, it’s entirely logical to hit the “bless and release” button.

Feelings of betrayal, anger, embarrassment and shame all overshadowed the other emotions that brought Roger and Bree together.  Those of us watching from the outside, the ones not feeling the pain from the inside are able to think through this situation with clarity and assign blame in which we believe are the appropriate places.  I think if we are to recall a time when our emotions were at a fever pitch, we could empathize more with both of them.

Claire, Claire, Claire.  At first, in regards to Mr. Fanning’s ummmm…issue. She knows she is right about what is going on with him but she doesn’t push the issue too far. Instead of being right, she just plays nice, takes a step back and blends in, as is expected. She isn’t particularly happy doing it but Claire isn’t always reckless. Until of course, being right means saving a man’s life. Then, there is no stopping the woman. Screenshot (1373).png

Even though Governor Tryon and Murtagh never share the screen together, the conflict between the two is ever present. We have two very clear sides. Tryon, collecting his taxes (heavily and wastefully by all appearances) and Murtagh with his Regulators. They are a fed up tax paying band of brothers willing to set the Governor and his men straight by stealing those taxes back. Tryon is right, dammit! There is no wiggle room. There will be no voice given to the Regulators in the Governor’s presence. Whereas the Regulators have said time and time again, they are willing to pay taxes. Fair taxes. Taxes meant for the things taxes are meant for, not to line the pockets of aristocrats and certainly not to build palaces and pay for the Governor and his friends to live in luxury. Which to anyone, with any sense in their head, is indeed fair and just.

Jamie has the opportunity to do right by his friend/godfather. Yes, Murtagh was breaking the law, however, the lines of rightness are blurred here.  He knows Murtagh is going to get a stretched neck if he continues on with his plan of robbing the redcoats. Jamie is aware the excessive tax money is being used in an unjust way and also doesn’t blame Murtagh for the things he is doing either.  In the grand scheme of things, what happens to Murtagh will affect Jamie, emotionally.  This is something he isn’t willing to deal with later. He loves the man and wants to do right by him. This is the choice he has made.

We move to the last scene where the opposite has taken place. There is no right here.  There is no world where any of this right. Bree’s rape where an inn/tavern is full of people, men and women alike. Sitting. Listening. A young woman being brutalized. There is no movement to make this right.  No one dares.  It speaks to much deeper dialogue.  On a smaller scale, in our every day many of us do this.  We see situations, moments in time that give us pause. We know there is little we can do to change the outcome…so we do nothing. The outcome doesn’t affect us directly, so we do nothing.

How often have we seen things in society which we rail against those who stood by without offering assistance? Who held up a video camera to record the events but didn’t intervene? These are moments we wish we would be different, we like to think we would be the ones to stand up and say something, we hope we are the person that would do the right thing.

There are times and circumstances when being right and making things right are the same thing but it takes some serious food for thought and self-examination to see when we simply want to be right, feelings and outcome be damned.

Until next time,

Sher (ABOotlander founder)

Please join us as we live tweet each episode as it airs on W Network in Canada at 8 pm MST using the hashtag #OutlanderCAN 

 

The bonds that make us. When I went Down the Rabbit Hole Ep 07 #Outlander

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!

You done?

Cool.

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)