Karen Rutledge gives us her Outlander Season 4 finale “heart score,” her measure of the episode’s emotional punch. Unlike Episode 10, this time she kept score on purpose.
I’ve come to trade. I offer engaging conversation and my Outlander”Season 4 Finale heart score.
The scores were so close it took me 10 full finale viewings, and even more of it in bits and pieces, to tally. The scores fell out along some typical lines, though — gender, duos and production. Also typical? My arbitrary scoring.
Backing up a minute, my heart score for Outlander Episode 410, “The Deep Heart’s Core,” happened subconsciously. Not so with my scoring of the remaining Outlander Season 4 episodes. In fact, I intentionally did not keep score on Episodes 411 and 412 in anticipation of a smashing final episode. I think letting my subconscious have free rein worked better — it is much more efficient!
Sorting Out the Finale
So, the Outlander Season 4 Finale — how many times have you watched it and was it satisfactory for you? I liked it, quite a bit, although Episode 405, “Savages” still gets top spot in my Season 4 episode ranking.
I’ve said it countless times, I am fully behind the Murtagh adaptation for numerous reasons. The finale gave me the cherry on top. Lots to discuss here so let’s get to it (that one’s just for you, Peakers)!
Wily Women Category
Related by birth, otherwise or not at all, these Outlander women are cut from the same cloth as warrior Goddess Athena. They get it done, whatever “it” may be. Here’s how I scored them:
Claire’s a strong woman, but I didn’t feel a strong Claire vibe in this episode. Her forte seemed to be either relaying bad news or issuing warnings.
Speaking from experience, natural childbirth takes special strength. Bree gets high marks for the birth, forgiving her Da and for that dinner entrance.
Wahkatiiosta knows that Otter Tooth’s stone carries great power and was willing to be banished in order to get it. She gets points for bucking the system.
Perhaps the strongest of all, Jocasta’s “how dare you eat my food and throw my marriages in my face” Mackenzie spirit takes her to some interesting places. We all knew where it was going when she threw her precious whisky in Murtagh’s face. Undoubtedly, Sandra Bullock got her moves from Jocasta.
Wily Women Winner: Jocasta
Mighty Men Category
The men of Outlander gave a good showing in the Outlander Season 4 Finale. Yeah, you’ll see some arbitrary scoring here for sure.
Jamie found Roger and was willing to be traded for his release. His heart was on his sleeve when he had to say good bye to Ian. But Jamie failed to bring Roger back with him. He also didn’t make it back for the birth, such an emotional and critical part of Diana Gabaldon’s story, and he didn’t hold his grandchild. I know, I know. I’m whining. I’ll move on.
Ian outfoxed Jamie, sacrificing himself for the greater good by trading himself for Roger. When he sighed and squared his shoulders and jaw, Ian’s worth was obvious to all. Then, to top it off, he went Van Morrison “Laughing and a-running, hey, hey, skipping and a-jumping” through that gauntlet. He gets So. Many. Bonus. Points.
Poor Roger gets a 10 just for staying alive and for giving Jamie that beatdown despite his weakened state. “Take me to see my son,” were the words we all wanted to hear so bonus points for him, too!
The Mohawk Chief speaks and we all listen. Enough said.
We love this sleekit Silver Fox Murtagh! Well, all of us except those who don’t appreciate this particular adaptation, right? I respect your opinion! He’s a bad boy yet supports Bree. What’s not to love?!
Mighty Men Winner: Ian
Dynamic Duos Category
Power couples are an Outlander staple and the Outlander Season 4 Finale gave us a bonus. First we got that sultry surprise, MurCasta, and then the reunited-and-it feels-so-good MacBree.
Jamie & Claire: 8
Loved that we got what felt like a true, face-to-face Jamie and Claire moment when Jamie tries to trade himself for Roger. It had its place but wasn’t in my top 10. By the way, why don’t Jamie and Claire have a cute name??
Roger & Bree: 10
Book reader or not, did you ever doubt Roger would return to Bree? As he said, “I may be stubborn, but I’m not a fool.” And Bree found a way to outsmart Jocasta and not marry before his return. Well done, MacBreee!
Jocasta & Murtagh: 11
Well, well, well. Miss Jo had all kinds of surprises up those lacy sleeves and sleekit must be right up her alley. Yes, Murtagh was in love with Jocasta’s sister, but maybe some MurCasta sparks flew back then, too. Either way, they sure surprised Jamie and Claire. Can’t wait to hear the discussion in Outlander Season 5.
Dynamic Duo Winner: MurCasta
Creative Costumes Category
While we didn’t see many new costumes in the Outlander Season 4 Finale, I did find things I had missed, notably in the accessories. One idea in particular stood out — the more serious the scene, the more — and the more elaborate — the accessories. Ian’s coat and the vibrant costumes of the Mohawk leaders are the perfect resting place for their circles and other symbolic pins. Next time you watch, look for the Scottish Luckenbooths on Tehwahsehwkwe’s collar. Terry Dresbach’s unique vision will be missed in upcoming seasons.
I could go on and on about the costumes but there’s only one “new one” that stood out for me. It’s one that was, well, less than more. Silver Fox Murtagh seemingly in his birthday suit (and maybe a modesty pouch) scored all the points with me.
Creative Costumes Winner: Murtagh
Although Jon Gary Steele gets a huge helping hand from Mother Nature, Mr. Steele dresses up the outdoors like no one else! Between the exterior sets and Jocasta’s River Run, the Outlander Season 4 Finale was a visual feast.
River Run: 9
I don’t think I could be more in love with Jocasta’s living room (or is it a sitting room??). I need to get that dark wood and blue fabric in my house, seriously.
Bree’s purple bedroom gets high marks, too. The four-poster bed perfectly framed her and her bairn, did it not?
The Great Outdoors Sets: 10
It’s the Mother Nature factor that scores extra points for the outdoor sets — the wind rustling in the trees, the water reflecting the canoes as they move down the river.
The Mohawk Village was a wonderful tribute to a life lived outdoors, off the land. How many of us could survive in those conditions? It really does take a village.
Sumptious Sets Winner: The Great Outdoors Sets
For a discussion of all the Bear McCreary Outlander Season 4 music magic moments, watch for Anne Gavin’s upcoming deep dive post. I feel compelled, however, to mention and score a few stirring moments from the Outlander Season 4 Finale.
The use of Faith’s theme in the opening was emotionally effective. It didn’t quite fit for me, though, as I equate it with death.
Jamie Scouting Excursion: 9
The passage we hear with drums as Jamie first scouts the Mohawk Village was my favorite. I can’t say why, particularly, except that I felt it in my chest and gut.
MacBree Reunion: 10
This sweeping passage was also stirring, actually eliciting chills. In the beginning I heard what I thought of as Roger’s guitar followed by those strings — lifting then soothing — then the “Take me to see my son” woodwinds and flute. I would have been happy ending it right there!
Magical Music Winner: MacBree Reunion
Otter Tooth, the Mohawk version of Shinty players and Ulysses tugged at my heartstrings, all for difference reasons.
Jamie, Claire, Roger, Ian, and company wracked them up this season. No one does the exquisite single tear better than the actors of Outlander.
Sam Heughan’s Cold
I didn’t think Jamie’s voice could be any sexier but it definitely was in the final scene. Put on those readers and speak virus to me, Jamie. (Maybe it was the scratchy sound that scared the baby.)
Ian and his spirit of adventure took the night in my book. Many will likely benefit from his selfless act. I haven’t yet read The Fiery Cross and hope we will see him in Seasons 5 and 6. I can imagine him finding a wife and Rollo “babysitting” their bairns.
So how does your heart score stack up against mine?
Agree, disagree, think I’m crazy and wasting my time??
Want to join the Outlander discussion with this Obsessenach on social media? Twitter: @KarenABQNM Facebook: @KarenKRutledge Instagram: @karen_k_rutledge
I agree with your scores. I love your recaps, etc.
Thanks, Becky! We’re glad you’re here!!
I liked your scores. I really love these soundtracks, have all but#4
Thanks, Marianne! Bear McCreary is a genius. Have you heard his compositions for Black Sails or The Walking Dead?
I love your reap and agree. I hope the writers are watching that neither Jamie or Claire scored high. I love them and the acting is still outstanding but something is missing this season and it isn’t about sex…I am a faithful fan of the series and books and love them both. Well said.
Thank you! I agree that something has slipped away and often wonder if it is simply the newness of the production for the actors.
Yes, I agree. There’s something missing in Outlander this season. It seemed as though Claire and Jamie were treated like minor characters, instead of the sizzling major characters we know they are.
To me they are very physical characters. Sex is very much who Claire is as a person and Jamie and Claire’s sex scenes are electric. It is how they come together, communicate, recharge….
For the writers, taking such a vital element away from them, not only didn’t ring true, it was a disservice to the characters.
To me, both Claire and Jamie’s characters are far too important to only have conversations relating to the children!
Something just definitely felt off.
Of course, I have recently rewatched Season 1 and 2. Amazing stuff!
Thanks, Dawn, and I agree. Now that I’ve backed the Murtagh adaptation, I’m trying to come to terms with the choices the writers make that diverge from the books.
In the last episode, there was a wonderful photo of Jacosta’s River Run was just beautiful. It appeared to be taken from across the river in the evening. In that moment I absolutely fell in love with that home.
Jon Gary Steele is a Master at his craft. Together, the entire production staff create magical moments, don’t they?
I stopped reading at Jamie’s score. How dare you blame Jamie for not getting back in time for the birth. He wasn’t the one who changed the Indian tribe and moved them to upstate New York! (I am kidding) but truly his character was as emotionally bruised and battered in this season as Roger was physically. I say give him points for going after Roger at all after that slap in the face and his wife’s complete disregard.
Hey, Shari! Thanks for continuing to read past my blasphemous low score for Jamie. <)
If it makes any difference, my Jamie heart score would be much higher for the season altogether. For the finale, my expectations were likely way too high (as always) and I ended up with such mixed emotions.
I'll continue my blasphemy and say again that I intentionally haven't read past "Drums of Autumn" in order to manage expectations for Seasons 5 and 6. I'm hanging hopes on the idea that I will enjoy the show so much more if I'm not expecting specific scenes.
Jamie remains my Outlander heart and soul. Whatever the Outlander writers give us, I'm grateful, truly.
Jamie and Claire name is obviously CLAMIE !!!!
Love it! Let’s spread the word!!
I don’t know why it has changed in the way that I feel about it. Jamie and Claire were treated as if they were minor characters.
When Jamie saw Bree for the first time I guess I expected a reaction like he had when Claire came back. At least he could have reacted on a different level. And Claire—when you see your child for the first time in years—under reaction. I know from experience.
But I like Jocasta and Murtaugh—the bed scene turned me on.
Can’t wait until the next season
Thanks, Sandi. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what’s changed. I have high hopes that it will improve next season.
Season four lost the plot completely. I understand changes are required to fit the show, but you have successful and much loved books, why mess with the plots?, too much missing and way too many changes, and truly as much as I have loved seasons 1,2,3 if Jamie and Claire’s characters can’t or won’t re-enact the love the book characters have for each other, then it’s time for a change, It’s not about steamy sex scenes, it’s all about a love story that spans time and place. Diana Gabldon deserves more respect for the novels she has written.
I think Dawn nails it on the story line. On the sets and costumes front: I agree with Karen that the sets for River Run are just great. And outdoor sets are great – up to a point. Let me try something on you all from a rural perspective. Life time gardener here in a state with thousands of back to the landers who have done pretty well at surviving the last 20- 60 years – however long each has been here. The tiny fenced in garden, so close to the cabin, is a bit of an insult to the inteligence. Claire’s garden is up the hills, a little walk away from the cabin. In it she is growing herbs (not a huge amount of space required), she is growing potatoes – up to 12 mos supply of potatoes for quite a few people. Think maybe 50 + ft rows per person. Squash – great spreading vines – 20′ out and having to be kept separate from other kinds of squash. Cabbage – placed 3′ apart, and lots of them because they make sourkrout (? sp)- again – a year’s supply or more of food at a time. There may be corn, there are definitely parsnips, turnips, and carrots. and some greens – think another 150 -250 ft of row crop. Then think of the tiny intimate space close to the house which you have seen Claire hoeing in! Omg, the garden needs must be 100 feet by more than a hundred feet – or these settlers would be eating mostly venison and rabbits! I have a hard time understanding how the research department combined with the set building department got it so wrong – unless maybe they did not consult with one another –
Thanks, Judith! I appreciate you taking the time to comment!!
Growing up in the country, I worked in many a family garden so definitely agree with you about the size needed to sustain a family. My in-laws and grandmother each planted about half an acre.
I give the production staff a pass on this one only due to scale and economy. I took Claire’s small plot as a “kitchen garden” that she could tend and envisioned a larger garden further away from the house that Jamie and Ian would plow, plant and help manage. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a larger CGI garden in Season 5!