Want to relive Outlander Season 5 Episode 7? We do a minute-by-minute reaction to “The Ballad of Roger Mac.”
<Starz familiar chime plays>
Me: Ahhh… this week has been a doozy. A good soothing hour of Outlander will be like balm to the soul.
<Ratings warnings fade in>
Show: Hold my beer.
[9:01 p.m.] So many disparate pieces from the past two seasons of Outlander are dropping on us haphazardly here like an unpredicted hail shower. Today’s forecast apparently calls for the motherload of all storms as all these plot systems converge into one in a single episode.
[9:02 p.m.] It’s been a long time since I took piano lessons and read sheet music, but even I can see “The Ballad of Roger Mac” has yet to be fully written and the next two measures are up in the air…
[9:03 p.m.] “But what no one can prepare for is to face family in the time of war…” Your lips to God’s ears, Claire, but as is often said: war knows no boundaries. Even when you try your best to define the lines clearly.
[9:04 p.m.] I hate to take away from this saccharine-sweet moment, but could they have cast a baby to play Jemmy who looks any more like Ed Speleers?! I mean, seriously. Freeze frame that cherubic face (note my endearment is directed at Speleers and the baby, NOT the character of Bonnet) and you’ll see.
[9:05 p.m.] I’ve never faced sending a loved one off to war, and hope I never have to. Roger’s pondering whether he’ll return. Bree’s making him promise he’ll come back to keep singing to their baby (gulp). They’re embracing like it might be their last and all I can think is — wonder what they’d put in their 1960s lunch boxes? I hope there’s chips… and maybe a cookie. Chips and cookies make everything better. Hey, I’m an emotional stress eater. It’s been a month.
[9:06 p.m.] Sweet golden jubilee birthday, JAMIE IS 50!
[9:07 p.m.] This past Friday I took my own stock of another year of life in the books, celebrating my birthday with my family at home (to be honest, how I’d choose to spend it, health advisory in place or not). Sometimes in doing this, it’s too easy to get caught up longing for things you didn’t achieve and body parts that don’t work as they should anymore, among other wishful thoughts. Or you can go with an attitude of gratitude and reflect on the marvelous and mundane things that met you on the path of life in the past year. They’re there — just open your eyes to take them in. I went with the latter and it was a damn fine day.
[9:08 p.m.] “…the world and each day in it is a gift.” Or, per usual, what Jamie said more succinctly. I should just leave all my deep thoughts to the Frasers.
[9:09 p.m.] … and apparently all the gift giving. I was just sitting here wondering what you give the King of Men who has everything as he turns 50. Then boom — Claire for the coital win. If today does indeed go to hell for them, I’m glad they’ve started it tented off from the world intertwined in a place of familiarity, intimacy and home.
Gov. Tryon: I have all the big, fancy toys. I’m better than you, na-na, na-na, boo-boo.
Col. Fraser: Hey Billy, sledgehammer to kill a fly? Seriously?
[9:11 p.m.] Son, you must have bullocks the size of church bells to show your face again… in range of your would-be father-in-law no less. He’s either a glutton for punishment, too young and ignorant to know better or too loyal to Jamie for having helped maneuver his escape and life with Alicia. I suspect a bit of all of the above.
[9:12 p.m.] This is a well-placed reminder that incessant squabbling and fighting amongst each other is useless and dangerous during a time when solidarity and standing together are what’s needed for any chance at surviving the bigger battle. And yes, I’m looking at you too, politicians around the world.
[9:13 p.m.] I thought the Findlay brothers were young before, but now in the immediate context of what they’re about to take on, it’s hitting me harder: they are boys. Just boys. Their soft teenage faces, their naive reflections. In addition to boundaries, war also knows no age.
[9:14 p.m.] Watching everyone, Claire included, scramble to find and save Murtagh from his ultimate fate… I shall never again complain about the professional pressures of meeting a deadline or running short on time to get everything done. If you’re on the front lines of healthcare, this moment of humility does not apply to you. Carry on, clinical soldiers… you’re braver than I’ll ever be.
[9:15 p.m.] When all else fails, send in the clergyman. Nice. Also, not that I don’t trust you, Tryon (ahem, I DON’T TRUST YOU, TRYON), but how about giving us the benefit of sharing the actual words in the letter and not just your emotional paraphrasing?
[9:16 p.m.] I’d like to revisit 9:13 — those boys exhibited more maturity than these men in power acting as children will ever possess.
[9:17 p.m.] Um Bree, you could stand to borrow a note from your mom’s playbook. Your ability to hide or play off your prophetic knowledge leaves a lot to be desired. I’m just glad she stopped a breath short of, “I read it in my 18th century book while in college in the year nineteen-hundred and sixty-eight!”
[9:18 p.m.] Dear God. Jamie, you might not have been summoning the Lord, but we’ve got you covered. They said a picture is worth a thousand words, right? I hope so because these words he’s muttering have meaning I’m sure, but…
[9:19 p.m.] But then again, Dougal… sigh. I love that in an episode bearing a strong resemblance to the perfection of Outlander Season 1, we’re spending time reflecting on the oft-overlooked merits of Uncle Dougal.
[9:20 p.m.] “Murtagh and I fought back to back as well; this time we’ll fight face to face. No amount of prayer will help.” This has been building, but for the record, je suis prest I am not.
[9:21 p.m] Sometimes following this story with our friends from the future feels like Groundhog Day on repeat. They ponder how to head off something bad from happening, then bemoan that they can’t (or sometimes shouldn’t) alter the course of history. They lick their wounds and keep on keeping on. Until a new perilous moment pops up and they wonder if this is the time they can change it all. Rinse and repeat.
[9:22 p.m.] Roger might be a songbird, but this week he’s a canary in a coal mine of sorts. While his intent is to warn Murtagh, Scot or not, he’s still crossing enemy lines in hopes his intentions are well received.
[9:23 p.m.] Last week, bugs helped Roger find his confidence. This week, may he never again doubt whether his father in law believes in him. It speaks volumes that Jamie agreed to let Roger be the one to go warn his godfather.
[9:24 p.m.] Claire, readying her battlefield infirmary… also me, taking daily inventory of my essential oil stash before braving the new normal of working from home while concurrently homeschooling a first grader.
[9:25 p.m.] If the premiere episode offered us Jamie’s hero shot moment, this grandstanding battle cry is Murtagh’s time to shine. After years of seeing him as the loyal, quiet understudy or wingman, he’s finally come out of the shadows to stand on his own. Dammit, I just wish it were for something that wasn’t about to get him killed.
[9:26 p.m.] “The history is written, man.” Roger is trying everything to appeal to Murtagh’s senses, stopping just short of pop culture catchphrases that go mainstream after his time. He feels more like an Uncle Ben from Spider-Man but given our household’s current Star Wars saga marathon in progress, I’ll throw in a wild card.
[9:27 p.m.] Hold up — so we got only a curt retelling of the Regulators’ appeal to Tryon, but have to listen to Tryon’s petulant written ramblings in full? UNSUBSCRIBE.
[9:28 p.m.] I for one would really like to have seen Murtagh’s turn-away campaign and the Regulators’ Tom Petty like-reply.
[9:29 p.m.] “For the love yer godson bears you…” Screw catchphrases — in a last desperate attempt, Roger is going for the jugular.
[9:30 p.m.] Morag seems skittish… A) just the general tone for any population facing impending battle? B) a tad of PTSD in seeing him and thinking back to her harrowing time on that ship? C) trying to bid him on his way before he gets his arse into trouble?
[9:31 p.m.] C. Definitely C. Stop meddling, Roger. You’ve got a tad of your MIL in you, but not the right tad. Whatever you do, don’t touch——dammit, Roger, SOCIAL DISTANCING.
[9:32 p.m.] Jamie will never look more regal and in command than when he wears his father’s leather duster. The privilege and honor of wearing it will always adorn him, no matter if the coat is on his body or not.
[9:33 p.m.] Can you imagine the million pounds of added weight he must feel walking even a step in that crimson coat of shame? Jamie’s inability to make eye contact with Quincy tells me a little part of his soul just died. Mine too.
[9:34 p.m.] Gulp. Just how far down the trail is he from Murtagh?! Roger, I don’t stand for abuse either, but for the future… if we’re going to go bold and brave, let’s make sure we have a Highlander warrior in the wings to back us up. Speaking of Highlander warriors…. BUCK FRIGGING MACKENZIE, played by none other than GRAHAM FRIGGING MCTAVISH.
[9:35 p.m.] We have officially sailed into the graphic violence storm pattern of this episode. I’m a book reader, so here’s me bracing for impact.
[9:36 p.m.] Same, Claire. SAME. The trademark JHRC sentiment used to perfection and the canteen full of what I hope is whisky given the day ahead. Hell, I’d be good if it’s just water. I suspect there will be plenty of wounds to mend and tears to shed. Hydrate, girl. HYDRATE.
[9:37 p.m.] The writing in this episode is spectacular. It’s been on glorious display throughout, but worth noting at this very moment with Jamie and Claire. From the defining of what will do and what’s better to the promising that today will not be their last, they had me at JHRC but held onto me for good measure all the way through.
[9:38 p.m.] The lining up for battle, Jamie in a redcoat, Murtagh somewhere on the other side… it’s all too much. WE’RE ACTUALLY DOING THIS. I can’t tell if Jamie’s working to convince them, himself or us that this can be done by just phoning it in for effect.
[9:39 p.m.] Wait, that’s an option? Okay then, B. Emphatic B! Fire on you, Billy. Final answer.
[9:40 p.m.] The redcoats stick out like sore thumbs, like huge red targets bumbling through the woods. And then there’s our good salt-of-the-earth Scottish men, dancing through these trees in battle while blending into the land.
[9:41 p.m.] “I just don’t know which is worse — that he’s missing or he’s been shot.” Bree, summarizing the cruelest “would you rather” game hand she’s ever been dealt.
[9:42 p.m.] Gunpowder on Morton’s back, shot at close range — I’m with Claire, something smells off.
[9:43 p.m.] Jesus, Mary and Dr. Rawlings, NOT THE SYRINGE. Is nothing sacred? My only hope is that Claire hadn’t actually administered the penicillin yet and Brown’s hand now swells to the size of North Carolina, causing some raging gangrene or sepsis or both.
[9:44 p.m.] An updated look at me, bracing for the storm of graphic violence. The undeniable magic of a Bear McCreary score is the only thing that could make this gruesome (but spectacularly shot) battle montage palatable. The Battle of Alamance will rank high alongside Prestonpans and Culloden as one of Outlander’s finest moments of cinematography.
[9:45 p.m.] Like a game of Clue, I certainly didn’t suspect Murtagh’s death would come at the hands of the Findlay boy, just out for a hunt and following his colonel’s “no waver” order. Ultimately, it wasn’t back to back or face to face as Jamie prepped himself earlier — it was chest to chest. We knew this was coming, but none of us could ever be ready for it.
Also, I know that he was bracing his fall, but it’s poetic that Jamie hugged his godfather through his final standing moments.
[9:46 p.m.] His allegiance to and love for Ellen was on his dying breath — and I’m gone. Harry Potter fans, feel familiar?
And even in death, here’s Murtagh offering Jamie one final bit of godfatherly love and guidance. While he might think it’s his last opportunity for a teachable moment with the lad, dinna fash, Murtagh — rest easy knowing your lessons will live on for and through Jamie and others long after you are gone.
[9:47 p.m.] I thought my heart was breaking for Jamie, but the final crack just came at hearing him proclaim that Claire will know what to do, all will be well. I’m attempting to steel myself for what Claire’s about to be hit with, knowing there’s not a damn thing she can do despite all her skills and all the faith in the world he has in her.
[9:48 p.m.] Jamie’s frantic grabbing of random medical supplies, Claire’s “I’m sorry, he’s gone,” Bree pulling the curtain to leave them in peace. What this sequence might have lacked in dialogue, it certainly didn’t need thanks to the gut-punching emotion conveyed through action.
[9:49 p.m.] “Murtagh, my friend.” Your disbelief, tears and sentiment are ours too, Claire. (Blake, I’m going to need a t-shirt on this one, buddy)
[9:50 p.m.] READ THE ROOM, TRYON. This is not the time.
Side note: For my fellow This Is Us fans caught up on last week’s season finale, this struck me as eerily similar to the moment where Kevin stumbles out onto the lawn gasping for air from some news he received inside the house when Randall appears out of nowhere to sling insults at him again.
[9:51 p.m.] There really are two sides to every story, even in history books. A battle was won, but at what cost? And how will the story be retold to later generations? History is history, but that doesn’t mean it’s spared from the game of telephone mishaps that befall run-of-the-mill gossip.
[9:52 p.m.] I’ve never wished for Jamie to start disrobing more than I did just now. That was the most painful 20-minute wardrobe malfunction ever.
[9:53 p.m.] Jamie, the death of Murtagh has brought us all to our knees. Also, given the seemingly nine lives of Murtagh, I feel like Claire (and the show) knows we need closure and won’t be able to process the final-final of this beloved character without a sheet being pulled over his deceased body. YOU’VE MADE YOUR POINT.
[9:54 p.m.] Annnd, we’re still down a Roger. JHRC, this man’s day just won’t quit. Much like the latter half of Season 4 (though hopefully shorter), we’re now back on the trail of Roger. For what it’s worth, I didn’t have near as much anxiety when he was with the Mohawk as I do right now. But I also hadn’t just had my heart cut up into a million and two pieces saying goodbye to Murtagh all of 37 seconds ago, soooo…
[9:55 p.m.] He calmly says he executed these men as he was ordered to do, as if, you know “just a Tuesday, how ‘bout tacos for dinner?” War: no boundaries, no age and now no mercy either.
[9:56 p.m.] Holy. Christ. Our songbird is hanging from a tree. I’m waving the white handkerchief of truce on this episode. I AM DONE.
I’m not sure I have the ability to offer any coherent thought right now after the emotional storm we just collectively weathered. My pal and editing partner, Janet, suggested I just paste a whole bunch of crying emojis here and call it a day. I reserve the right to go that route anytime in the next two minutes…
Well friends, the Outlander lords giveth and they taketh. We’ve dreaded the day we’d have to bid Murtagh (and beloved actor Duncan LaCroix) a final farewell ever since the glorious reveal last season where we learned he survived his book fate and gained more time with us on screen. I know there was plenty of banter about how they’d jive the deviated adaptation of the TV storyline with the original source material of the books. Would Murtagh survive more than an episode or two with us? Would he step in to play Duncan Innes? Would Jamie be the one to kill him? I have always appreciated the book and the TV show for the two separate mediums they are, and for the unique qualities they independently bring. Sometimes aligned, sometimes not, and that’s perfectly okay by me. After all, you can’t bake the same cake with a different recipe… but this Outlander fan [points both thumbs to chest] has appetite enough for both cakes. I never doubted that when it was time — while I’d never be ready — the show would not disappoint in honoring the integral character of Murtagh with a logical and fitting end to his TV arc. And that they did.
This episode drew out cathartic tears that have been lodged inside me painfully for a couple weeks given everything swirling around in the world. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Save for Jamie, the last of the original Highlander Wolf Pack has fallen. And save for Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe, the last of our original cast members is now also gone. How apropos, then, to send him off in a style as beautifully powerful as an Outlander Season 1 episode. Because that’s what this was — from start to finish, the powerhouse Outlander we all fell in love with was back. For so many reasons. The writing, the camerawork, the dialogue, the FINALLY MOVING THIS DAMN SEASON ALONG (sorry not sorry for yelling — so worth it at this point). And saving the best for last, the acting. Stellar performances all around, but I’m not sure I can heap enough praise onto Sam Heughan for his outstanding talent this episode. You, sir, are more than just a pretty face with pecs for Jesus and it’s about time people stood up to take notice of that.
Mr. Duncan LaCroix, <sigh>. You are a treasure with an enormous gift and I’m grateful to have had these past few years to fall head-over-heels smitten with both Murtagh and the man playing him. I’ll spare any more words here, saving them for the poetic moments my fellow writers will bring you in send-off blog posts coming out later this week.
Oh, and before we go, I’d be remiss not to mention how we left Roger hanging from a tree. So there’s that. Both his cliffhanger fate and Bree’s horrified facial reaction threatened to undo me again emotionally and compromise the rationed stash of paper products in this house. As such, I’m exercising my Janet option to sign off this post:
Until two weeks from now, friends…
If you’ve missed any of our Season 5 episode recaps, you can catch up with them here:
Episode 5.01: “The Fiery Cross”
Episode 5.02: “Between Two Fires”
Episode 5.03: “Free Will”
Episode 5.04: “The Company We Keep”
Episode 5.05: “Perpetual Adoration”
Episode 5.06: “Better to Marry than Burn”
A complete library of recaps from Seasons 2-4 is also available here.
Another great commentary, Ashley, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
“— wonder what they’d put in their 1960s lunch boxes?” All I can think about now is the weird way that Claire was making that sandwich one time in the 60s…was it in the opening credits? Good Lord, I’m going to have to go back and check every episode until I know, aren’t I?
“He’s either a glutton for punishment, too young and ignorant to know better or too loyal to Jamie for having helped maneuver his escape and life with Alicia. I suspect a bit of all of the above.” I suspect it’s that the reality that living together ain’t the same as dating 24/7. All those quirks he thought were cute in Alicia before are just driving him up the wall now and he’ll welcome any excuse to get out of the house.
“Their soft teenage faces, their naive reflections. In addition to boundaries, war also knows no age.” Oh yes, this was so heartbreaking. You could see in the way Jamie looked at them that he knew there was a chance one or both wouldn’t make it.
“But then again, Dougal… sigh. I love that in an episode bearing a strong resemblance to the perfection of Outlander Season 1, we’re spending time reflecting on the oft-overlooked merits of Uncle Dougal.” Yes! I love every time they mention the characters that drew us into this show. I wish they’d do it more often. My mind wanders to how much Claire has shared with Brianna about her early experiences in the 1740s…does she know about Rupert and Angus and Colum and Mrs. Fitz?
“Jamie’s inability to make eye contact with Quincy tells me a little part of his soul just died. Mine too.” Sam’s acting here was incredible. You could almost see his skin crawling. Mine too. ?
“dinna fash, Murtagh — rest easy knowing your lessons will live on for and through Jamie and others long after you are gone.” How lovely to give me yet another reason to start crying again!
“the final crack just came at hearing him proclaim that Claire will know what to do, all will be well.” This reaction surprised me so much. Jamie’s usually so controlled and stoic; to see him frantic and grasping just underscored how raw and real and deep his pain was, and it was all the more heartbreaking because I didn’t expect it of him.
“Would Jamie be the one to kill him?” I wondered about that, too, and thank GOD, that’s not how it shook out. I could not have handled it.
Great musings, and wonderful tribute to Sam and Duncan. I will miss that face, that voice, those eyebrows…
LAURA, my brain partner in snark! I must respond to each. They’re all too good.
1. Do you think Bree has also mastered the art of maintaining a PB&J through 3 centuries of time travel, like her mama? And you nailed it — it’s detailed in the book but done as a subtle nod to readers in the title card of the episode where she steps in a puddle and lands on Jamie’s pecs.
2. Pandemic-appropriate if you ask me. I love her, I do, but I’LL SIGN UP FOR ANY WAR AND I DON’T CARE WHAT WE’RE BATTLING.
3. Those sweet boys. I had to remind myself they were different than the other teen boys Jamie is also mentoring during this time.
4. If she hasn’t been told about Mrs. Fitz, then it is true that humanity as we know it is truly done.
5. Same, girl. My skin CRAWLED. He walked away with such shame. Like the lion who is sheared in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.
6. Ohhh lovely, I do what I can. Also, sorry not sorry.
7. And we’re back in a tent watching a death — just like Rupert! Or Angus? Or both. I can’t keep them straight.
8. I knew in my heart of hearts he couldn’t… but I also know we have NO source material to reference as a guidepost and the producers like to eff with us, sooooo….
9. The eybrows, the smile lines, it’s all so much. What a guy.
Thank you for jumping into the fray this week! xoxo
First and foremost: A happy, happy birthday to you! I wish you a healthy and wonderful year.
I echo so many of your sentiments and insights. I knew this was to be a humdinger but with all the goings on I had no idea just how hard it would hit. I did something I don’t usually do – it watched as soon as it dropped on Saturday night. Our daughter finally called earlier in the evening to let us know she was safe for now – she is a trauma ortho NP and has been working 80 to 90 hour work weeks. She is headed for a one week rest and quarantine. Difficult conversations were necessary as she is single mom of three, so I thought a little Outlander would aid in relaxing and maybe some sleep. Well….sort of.
Every birthday should include “taking stock” and a bit of nookie. Nice job Claire.
There has been a lot of forecasting with the red coat for this season. I liked that it was forced. I never thought that he would willing put it on. As the saying goes if looks could kill that face could have taken out Fort William alone. JHRC came out of my mouth before he even saw Claire! “I love you” is rarely open stated between these two and cherished. Perfect timing.
Murtagh’s death was incredible. Jaime was thinking Claire could fix absolutely anything. The depth of such a loss. Acting just doesn’t get any better. Full confession, and agree with world crap and all – sobbing 🙁
Jaime tried to tell Tryon he screwed up. Gloating was not going to help. What Tryon did NOT get was those seeds of Revolution were firmly now sown in the south. Enjoy North Carolina. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet – welcome to New York. I have so appreciated Outlander’s attention to historic detail and understanding. When I saw that Toni Graphi wrote the script I knew this was in excellent hands.
What news doesn’t travel to the back country is that Boston has had these same issues since 1765. So for you history buffs here is the short version: Tryon is just a symptom. Ben Franklin, working in London, had been trying to get Parliament to see the colonists as actual British citizens, not just “colonists” since 1765. Obviously unsuccessful. The Stamp Act, The Townsend Act, and The Boston Massacre all have already occurred prior to the put down of the Regulators. The Sons of Liberty were already at work attempting to get the Crown to back off off excessive taxes to keep Colonial businesses from strangling. Some was necessary due to the French and Indian War or the Seven Years War but most was due to corruption and greed of governors, tax collectors and sheriffs that required their cut. I mention all this because on my second watch of the episode when I was not sobbing, Jaime throws the coat down at Tryon – watch his men. They are clearly on his side. They are no longer “British”, but Americans. This is clearly a defining moment. Here is where many will choose who they will be. This is 1771. Unrest festers and boils for the next 4 years and by the time the Declaration is written fighting is full blown. All throughout the Colonies Loyalists begin to flee or are run out. Washington, showing up with numerous militia will already be in Boston to support Warren, Adams, Revere and the Minutemen and the Massachusetts governor will be just the first shipped back to England.
Waiting to see what they will do with Roger Mac. I was starting to like him again – damn. I have read the books, so no spoilers. So we shall see.
See you next time. Stay safe, sanitize and wash your hand of the wee beasties.
Sandi, thank you so much for your astute comments! I’m sorry that I’m delayed in replying — it’s been a week! I appreciated the history lesson at the bottom more than I can express. American history was one of my favorite subjects, but I never explored (or absorbed) the section on the regulators to a degree that makes me useful either. But I’m forever a student, so grateful to learn!
I know for many Outlander fans it is the love story that is the draw, and while I enjoy it, for it is the history!
I know the redcoatwas “a thing”. It was not in the books. I also know it was used with artistic purposes. Hueghen, doing a masterful job of showing his disdain, this bugged the living crab out me. It has taken all this time for me ponder and try to figure out why. The English would NEVER recognize a Colonial militia soldier. They would not recognize Washington, why in the hell would they do that to a Jacobite Scot? Ok. Embarrassment? Paint a target maybe so he would be shot by a Regulator? See if he would refuse and could lose the land? Tryon did have Gage there. Gage went on the fight in Boston and eventually lead troops against the Colonies. That move would have lost him his governorship.
This was the one time I really felt Outlander blew it. Great theater. Not true to character, time or reality.
Hope you are well. Looking forward to Sunday.
Well done. You’ve captured our horror, sadness, giddiness. Everything. And yes. I agree stellar performances, but damn, Sam is just extraordinarily good in this portrayal.
So extraordinary! Thank you so much, Cindy, for reading and for your kind comments.
Another wonderful recap. I was sure I could keep from crying until Jamie’s strangled cry of “Help me!” just took me over the edge. Happy Birthday, by the way…looks like I’ll be spending my own alone as WA will still be in lockdown at the end of April. Strange times…
Strange times indeed, Elizabeth. But you reading and commenting has brought joy and sunshine to my day.
Happy Birthday, Ashely! I hope your day was filled with wonderful things.
Oh, this episode definitely deserves a re-watch.
You know, I was thinking the exact same thing about how baby Jemmy looks just like Ed Spleers. So adorable!
What a perfect way for Jamie to wake up on his birthday! Every woman wishes she were Claire in that scene! Now that’s an awesome way to ring in the big 5-o.
It was heartbreaking saying goodbye to silver fox Murtaugh. So sad to see one of the few original cast members leave the show.
Even though I knew it was coming, it was still heartbreaking.
Sam as Jamie let the floodgates open and we were all grieving with him. His plea of “don’t leave me” was so powerful. It was a plea for all of us.
No one could replace the closeness that Jamie and Murtaugh have: They are bonded as brothers, close in their secrets, and Murtaugh and Jamie are even closer than father and son. Murtaugh was with Jamie though both good and bad. He also accepted Claire and her being a time traveler as well.
Where in the Outlander verse there’s so many strings attached to love, with Murtaugh, Jamie and Claire that love was unconditional.
Love the mention of Dougal…Which brings me to Roger.
I think the “hanging” is a fake out. Remember, Roger’s got both Dougal and Gallis in him, and I think Roger just might be intelligent enough on how he could fake his own death to confuse these idiots in his way.
Mrs. McKensie’s husband, Tryan, and Brown were all extremely annoying taking up way too much time in this episode. Hopefully we’ll be done with them all soon.
Thanks for the birthday wish, Dawn! I watched this episode a few times when it aired and haven’t been able to go back yet. I know, it’s been less than a week… but it just did me in emotionally in the best way possible. Cathartic for sure. I hope this week is treating you well. Thank you as always for reading and commenting!
This episode was OUTSTANDING !! Moments in Episode 7 …my appreciation with a few minor reservations:
1. First scene with Roger and Bree – when Roger says to Bree he hopes she knows the words to “My darling Clementine” – the personification of knowing and trying to overcome trepidation with gentle humor ORGANICALLY generated from the moment. A little distracted that Gemmy is adorable but so blond …… Bonnett????????
2. Adored Claire and Jamie’s first scene which begins with him stretching his hand – the very hand the Claire painstakingly repaired after Wentworth … and shout out for the delightful – Jamie’s remark about his cock saluting every morning and Claire’s singing Happy Birthday to you ala Marilyn Monroe!!! NOTE TO PRODUCERS: This intimate scene was 4 minutes – NOT 45 seconds!!! Second Note: The entire scene was filmed with both actors in frame – none of those overused, overlong close-ups that have been plagued this season.
3. Having the red coat being put on —was a Jamie moment (and I agree that I wished it hadn’t been so discussed prior to viewing!) BUT Claire’s reaction when seeing it was priceless and what else could she say but “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ.” For some reason, I loved that she stepped out of the tent taking a sip of water from a canteen though I thought that her back should have been to Jamie so turning around – we would have seen a clear, immediate response to her seeing Jamie in the Red Coat – filming a bit muddy. (Minor detail, I know, but not so minor as we had to live through her reaction because ours was stolen by previews!)
4. I have to admit I was a little surprised that Jamie asked Claire to “wish me luck” … though I appreciated her response and the moment did get to where it needed to be. Somehow wishing for “luck” when he is about to confront Murtagh seemed strange … but how I adored “I love you, soldier” and his response. Very distraught about the line –“The day will come when we will part, but it will not be today”
5. I didn’t quite appreciate Jamie’s scene with the two boys – of course, until one of them shot Murtagh. To have an innocent boy do the deed and one that Jamie had counseled was so stellar.
6. Right before he is shot, Murtagh was walking towards Jamie. There was a moment missed here – to see Murtagh take in Jamie in a Red Coat – It would have been our last time to see his beloved arched eyebrow.
7. It was a nice touch for Bree – when realizing Murtagh is gone … to close a curtain around them. HOWEVER, the curtain seemed odd in that setting as was the fact that there suddenly seemed to be no other patients in the tent. I wonder what it would have added to moment if they had been surrounded by others.
8. One thing I absolutely adored is that after Claire said “he’s gone” – she didn’t rush to Jamie. She knows that as she could not save Murtagh, she cannot comfort Jamie at this moment – his grief must be his own. By just saying “Jamie” – she let him know that she was there … and understood that no words would suffice.
9. I was glad the episode gave Claire a moment with Murtagh but NOT ENOUGH. I longed to hear Claire whisper over his body: “You will keep watch over us still, I know – Murtagh … dear friend, my friend . . thank you.” Claire and Murtagh’s friendship deserved more as the journey towards their friendship was such an integral part of Outlander.
10. Claire taking the tartan from Murtagh and shrouding Murtagh gave breath between moments of Jamie’s stages of grief … which made those moments even more potent.
11. I know the image of throwing down the red coat will be seared in our minds BUT it is the unusually guttural voice that comes from Jamie when he says “I’m finished with my obligation” which still rings in my ears.
12. I cannot explain why – and I don’t care about adherence to the book at this moment – BUT I would have preferred Claire to recognize it was Roger hanging first.
A special note of gratitude to the writer Toni Graphia who embraced Diana’s words and went beyond when necessary – elevating the episode to heights that truly allowed the actors to soar.
Dianne, I loved ALL of your comments, especially the bit calling out the four-plus minute vs. 45-second sex scene. Your lips to the producing gods’ ears. Appreciate the feedback and the time you took to share your thoughts here for all. Brilliant writing and performances indeed!
Wait…Did you just say 2 weeks from now??? ????????????
Wait…Did you just say 2 weeks from now??? ????????????
True. Story. It’s a bye week this week – back on Easter Sunday.
Ashley, I don’t know how you keep up the standard each week, but you’re wonderful. Thank you. I look forward to your succinct recaps and delightful musings almost as I look forward to the episodes. And up until S5 07 your writing has been of a markedly higher standard than the series writers’, but with The Ballad of Roger Mac we’re back on track. But two weeks! Even though I’ve read the books and know how things go, it’s still too long to wait. (I almost wrote “too long to hang in there” but that seemed rather distasteful)
Lyn, what wonderfully nice things to read (I mean, sorry not sorry actual show writers)… brought much-needed sunshine to my day. Each week I stress out over how to get thoughts onto paper, and then each week they just seem to roll out. But I think the show is to praise for that. Thank you nonetheless for your super kind words.
I loved that thought about Bree looking like she was going to say she remembered that from her history class in the 20th century. She really did. What must they have been thinking: Bree says she hasn’t been to Alamance Creek, but she says twice (I think) she remembers something happened there. And the strange look on her face. They might have thought, oh, these Fraser women are a strange lot.
Sam Heughan was just outstanding. To see him utterly fall apart, I didn’t see that coming. I thought of Claire covering her ears and laying in the ditch all night during that World War II memory in Season 1. I haven’t yet watched the episode twice, which I usually do. It was heartbreaking to hear Jamie say he couldn’t live without him. They’ve been joined at the hip since he was a child.
I never thought Jamie would harm Murtagh. I thought he would protect him to the extent of sacrificing himself. I can see why Murtagh didn’t say anything about Jamie’s red coat. Murtagh knows him so well, he knew Jamie must have been forced to wear it.
I was so glad as well to see Jamie throw down that red coat! Burn it for good measure!
BURN THAT COAT, JAMIE. Tar and feather it if you need – Murtagh-style!
Just a critical note(s): Sophia Skelton’s inauthentic acting continues to be a distraction for me. She has a habit of heavily breathing out when she says her lines, almost like sighing. Her lines don’t carry real weight because to me she’s not inhabiting her character. Her scenes with Roger have no emotional resonance even if writers give them cute things to say or have them banter off each other.
That child is really adorable, though.
I would have preferred Claire not say “I love you” to Jamie. They show it so well without saying it, as they have in past seasons. It’s more powerful that way. The writers in this season tend to be more wordy (not all of them, though). When Jamie says to Claire in bed that he’s glad for each day and what’s in it (something like that), it was a platitude which I felt would have been better left out.
Interesting thought on the “I love you” sentiment — too obvious a thing to say? Like their thing with each other is to use a “soldier” mention and that would have worked fine here? Now that you said, it did feel rather Hallmark card like to have them go with a standard “I love you” and these two are anything but standard. And also, I hear you loud and clear on Sophie…
Yes, I totally agree with you Lauren on Sophie Skelton’s acting. She is very distracting. I also do not feel any connection between her and Richard Rankin. It totally ruins the Roger/Bree storyline for me.
Almost as if she is trying too hard to force an emotional connection or something.
Baby Jemmy is so adorable!
I’ve only read as far as Outlander the book, but does anyone else feel that to have two characters named Jemmy McKensie is a bit odd?
That may or may not be a coincidence in the Outlander universe…
I have to say I did NOT see losing Murtaugh coming. My thought was “If you’re going to bring him back, bring him back for good.” But now I see that was wrong of me and if he had to go, this was the episode for it. Toni Graphia did a FANTASTIC job of incorporating Diana Gabaldon’s writing from DIA, ESPECIALLY Murtaugh’s last words. The cinematography is spectacular; the direction beautiful and on point; and the acting sublime (SAM HEUGHAN stepped into the ring for this one). And while initially I detested the idea of Jamie putting on the redcoat because it didn’t happen in the books, and I didn’t believe the character would ever acquiesce to such a move, it was a mighty fine visual gut punch. So many horrible, awful things that happened to Jamie happened while he was wearing that damn coat. The 2 week delay until we learn the fate of Roger Mac might be enough to do me in, but I’ve seen the future.
Well done, lass!
Tammie, thank you for taking the time to read and comment!
I loved your commentary — your heartfelt and insightful prose — was a pleasure to read and added to my appreciation of the episode.
While I look forward to the next episode, I am willing to wait an extra week. The season seems to be zipping by much too quickly.