A blow-by-blow and sip-by-sip journey through the latest episode of Outlander.
We’ve made it! We’ve survived yet another Droughtlander, crawling our way through the parched desert expanse of Covid towards the shimmering cool oasis of season 6 and . . . well . . . I don’t know about you, but I’m thirsty!
A wee introduction . . .
My name is Brittany. I am a married mother of two, a photographer, and history obsessed. It was this love of history, in fact, which brought me to Outlander in the first place.
My fascination with history goes all the way back to my American Girl Doll in elementary school. Felicity was a fiery red haired girl who was growing up during the revolutionary war. Her books were my favorites, giving my history obsession a focal point: The American Revolution. I actually requested that Colonial Williamsburg be the destination for our family vacation one year (nerd alert!).
This love of history grew as I entered college, culminating in degrees in cultural and historic preservation as well as photography.
My next historical obsession came from a little show called The Tudors. I was absolutely enthralled by Anne Boleyn and have been since. The Tudors was my first historical drama that I loved.
Since then came many others, but it wasn’t until Outlander that one truly grabbed my attention and my utter devotion. I began watching in the summer of 2015 when my daughter was an infant. As a new and first time mom, Outlander found me at just the right moment. I remember singing the Skye Boat Song to my daughter while rocking her to sleep. Now I sing it to her and her little brother, as well. The audience may have expanded, but the acknowledged mediocrity of my performance, I fear, has stayed the course, though they remain my biggest fans.
Just as Claire had no idea what adventure laid ahead for her, I had no idea this show would capture my heart and never let go. Though I’ve been a loyal show-watcher over the years, I must confess to having only read book one (Outlander) and half of book two (A Dragonfly in Amber). I am working on it though!
My obsession grew greatly over the Pandemic. Having an escape from the horror of our present was especially appealing. Why not dive into the past? There’s no plagues or politics there, right? Right?!
The Great Pause was also when I discovered Mary and Blake’s Outlander Cast, both the podcast and the blog, and am so happy I found this community. I was planning on doing a “wee rewatch” for myself and friends before the long awaited season 6 came out, but Mary caught wind of that and asked if I’d like to write for the blog. Blogging is yet another new adventure for me, but I am all about trying new things in 2022! So . . .
A little about the Wee Whisky Recap blog series:
There will be a dram rating – an over all episode rating from 1 – 5.
I will also keep a tally of:
- Slainte Sips – Pinkies up, gentle readers! A celebratory sip when something good happens.
- Grim Gulps – Grab a bottle, Sassenachs, and chug it like Claire! A somewhat larger sip when something bad or nerve wracking happens.
This isn’t meant as an episode review, or summary, rather an informal place to share my musings and feelings on each episode.
Pack your bags, Sassenachs! We’re off!
“And if time is anything akin to God, I suppose that memory must be the devil.”
You know it’s been a long droughtlander when there is a three minute recap woven into the episode.
“Why would he listen to me?
‘Cause ye’re Mac Dubh. If anyone can put him in his place, it’s you.”
Ardsmuir Prison Flashback: Christie’s gonna Christie
From the first sight of Tom Christie, we can tell he is bad news. With no prior knowledge, it’s a bit confusing as to why Christie has such freedom and power in captivity. Jamie wants nothing to do with the fighting or the politics of Ardsmuir, but his reputation precedes him and he can’t escape being the leader he is meant to be.
Where is Lord John when you need him? This Governor Quarry is not pleasant. (Side note: I am happy to see Jamie’s curls again.)
“What we have known, some never will. ‘Tisna just nor fair, but it’s eternal. And it’s ours. If she loves you as you love her, she’s always wi’ ye, lad. Bring her to mind. She’ll come.”
Jamie’s conversation with James McCready was so heartbreaking, yet touching. Jamie is such a natural leader, and overall a great person to have by your side. Jamie brings some comfort to young James, and maybe even to himself.
“You willna break our spirits, Christie! Once a Jacobite, forever a Jacobite! Eh, Mac Dubh?”
Another day, another fight. Again Jamie wants nothing to do with the conflict. He keeps his distance until he sees that young James was in trouble, but sadly it was too late. When Jamie speaks and takes charge they all listen. As much as Jamie tries to keep his head down and serve his time, he is the leader they need.
The Whipping Boy
Okay, here we go. Grab that bottle. Best to have it at the ready.
“A wee bit of tartan for your journey onwards, my dear boy.”
It’s one thing to know that tartan and kilts were outlawed in Scotland after Culloden, but knowing a thing and seeing it’s chaotic result is entirely something else. The British prison guards were more concerned over that outlawed scrap of fabric than the young man dead on their watch, just in case you had any doubt that what happened at Culloden was an ethnic cleansing.
“It’s my tartan.”
Jamie, as always, does the right thing, and takes the blame for the tartan. While Jamie is being flogged (this one’s a gulp, drink deep, my friends) he sees the vision of Claire walking towards him. Just as she did when he was lying on the battlefield of Culloden. She is dressed in all white, and her lace wrap catches on a breeze, rising about her like wings.
Tom Christie looks on in disgust, and later tells Jamie that it wasn’t justice. But is justice black and white? Jamie represents the gray, here, and Christie resents him deeply for daring to challenge his entrenched worldview.
Screw it, have another. Thomas Christie is a walking talking Grim Gulp.
The Rise of the Mac Dubh
“James McCready has died. No one will be working today.”
Take a sip! He’s back, baby!
Is yelling at your television ever appropriate? If it’s Outlander, then I hope so, because I may or may not have shouted, “In your face, Christie!”
Jamie sees past the labels of what divides the men, and most importantly, sees a way forward; a way to survive their time at Ardsmuir.
“From now on, this prison will be a lodge, and we will be Freemasons, united by our belief in the Great Architect of the Universe.”
Jamie uses becoming a Freemason as both a tool of peace and a bargaining tactic. He unites the men and gains the favor of Governor Quarry.
Christie’s reaction, if we interpreted it today, would be some variation of “WTF?? This Jacobite Papist just usurped my power!” Heck yeah, he did, and he did it while exposing Christie’s brown nose, in the process. Somehow, when it’s JAMMF, it’s not ingratiating, it’s diplomacy.
Hooooome, home on the Ridge!
We’re back in the present (which is still the past, where the future is ALSO still the past, so maybe the present is the past-past? and now my head hurts) and back on the ridge!
Take a sip for Fraser’s Ridge! Take another for being able to follow the chronology of this show without a map, a flashlight, and a tour guide.
Keep drinking, though, because buzz-kill Christie is the first person we see schlepping his way up to the Big House. (Gulp)
At nearly 20 minutes, that was about the longest cold open ever (downright freezing)! Also, I am absolutely loving the season 6 theme song. Bear McCreary can do no wrong.
It feels so good to be back on the ridge! I love seeing our beloved characters doing their everyday tasks in peace. I could watch it for hours and not get bored. Does anyone else wish there was an Airbnb to “live on an 18th century farm” for a week? Let’s start one!
Introducing, Chekhov’s Ether
“Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ, Jamie.”
“I find you here barely breathing, thinking you’ve gone to meet Christ Himself, and I’m the one scaring you?”
I love that Jamie is lowkey concerned, but trusts Claire completely. That doesn’t mean he is going to let her out of his sight for long, however.
“Are you going to accompany me on every home visit from now to kingdom come?”
Jamie is doing everything he can to stay away from conflict, for as long as possible. Most of all, he is trying to protect his family and the ridge.
Can we take a moment to appreciate having Claire and Jamie back on screen together again? And canoodling! Take a sip! Take two! Maybe we cheat this time and steal a gulp because just look at them!
Witnesses to history
“Imagine how many good cuppas are gonna be tossed into that bloody harbor.”
I can’t imagine being a historian and knowing you will witness it happening. Like Bree says, “what can we do?” All we can do is live our lives and do the best we can, and the most we can.
This scene made me think of the current situation, it feels like we are witnessing history, and it feels heavy. I can relate to the overwhelming feeling of helplessness Roger and Bree must have. We want to help and change things but don’t know how.
“Here we go, up and away with Granddad. Are we explorers? Are you ready to go wherever the wind takes us?”
On a much lighter note, this was my favorite wee moment of the episode. It makes my heart so happy seeing Jamie being a happy grandfather. Sip!
Can we not have some happy Fersali?
“Like all things, good whisky takes time.”
This line from Claire gives me hope that things will get better for Fergus and Marsali. I hate seeing her silently suffering. You can sense she is trying to be so strong, but is barely holding it together.
You know what to do.
In which Roger puts his foot in it . . .
“And who might you be?”
“I might ask you the same thing since you knocked on the door.”
Here we go. Keep that bottle handy.
Tom Christie is a real piece of work. He walks up to the Big House acting like he owns the place. Careful Roger, you may have just let the devil inside.
“I stand before you in humble gratitude.”
Sure, Jan. I don’t think Tom Christie has been humble or grateful a day in his entire life.
The look Jamie gives Roger. Oops, he did it again, just when he was getting in Jamie’s good graces.
Some days they’ll call you a witch, some days they won’t . . .
“Bree, you can’t live your life afraid of being who you are.”
This conversation between Bree and Claire basically went like: Some people will appreciate your engineering, some may think you’re a witch, but you need not worry.
What’s that hissing sound? Oh . . .
“We need no introduction to you, Mr. Fraser, having heard so much.”
“A pleasure, sir… to meet such an old friend of my father’s.”
I truly wonder what Tom has told Malva and Allan about Jamie. They both seem to truly believe he is a friend of their father’s, and appear genuinely happy to meet him.
Jessica Reynolds and Alexander Vlahos do an amazing job at portraying Malva and Allan as, well . . off, and somewhat creepy. The smirk Jamie gives Tom says so much. He will not allow Tom Christie to ruin his much deserved peace. (Gulp)
Would an angel do this? (SIP!)
“Given everything that passed between you and Tom at Ardsmuir, do you really think the Ridge is the best place for him to settle?”
“No, when I sent out word to all Ardsmuir men, couldn’t very well say all of them but one. I think Tom received word his wife had died while we were at Ardsmuir. But you…you were there with me in the present. I saw you. It’s what got me through it. You were always with me. Sometimes, uh…I think you’re an angel, Claire.”
We as viewers have seen Claire appear to Jamie like an angel several times, but hearing him say what it meant to him is just as powerful.
This scene was so beautiful. Such tender love but such passion as well. Yup they’ve still got it! #couplegoals
Malva’s gonna Malva . . .
Oh hey, creepy Malva.
Claire is a total champ with how she handles her. I would not have been so cool and kind.
In which Jamie longs for the one thing this show won’t give anyone . . .
“Oh, as for peace, it’s the only thing I want.”
Jamie wanting peace and to be left alone is highlighted throughout this episode. From Ardsmuir to the present. We know peace in the Outlander universe is typically fleeting, especially for our beloved Frasers.
“Well, then, Mr. Christie, maybe I should explain how we do things here.”
I love this calm and collected Jamie, so confident in his role. It is so obvious he was meant to be a leader. His people truly love and respect him, whereas Tom Christie leads his people by fear.
“Did yer father teach ye how to shoot?”
“No. No, he’d say, ‘”Son, lay down thy weapons… and take up the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”’
Gonna beat down your dinner with the shield of faith, Allan? Thou art unprepared for life on Fraser’s Ridge.
I’m standing here, beside myself . . .
Speak of the devil and he (or another one in this case) appears. The Browns come in literally guns blazing. Is it me or have Richard Brown’s characteristics completely changed from last season. It was super distracting to me. All of a sudden he seems like a cartoon villain, it was really strange. My one thought on this is that they are trying to differentiate his personality from Tom Christie’s since physically they are very similar. I could be totally wrong on this, if you noticed this please let me know!
Yes, but even one prick, it’s my thing about blood!
“These things usually look a lot worse than they are.”
Apparently Tom Christie can’t stand the sight of blood, because he very dramatically faints, when Claire removes the wrap from his hand and he sees his wound. Of course Jamie seeing him in such a weak state puts him on the defense, then shifts to offense. Jamie offers Tom a dram to help him through the ordeal. Tom refuses his “devil’s juice” but Jamie quickly claps back.
“’Take a little wine for thy stomach’s sake.’ 1 Timothy 5:23. Take heart, man. I’ll fetch it. Some of us Catholics can read– in English too.”
Jamie is a devout Catholic, and knows his scripture. Tom accepts the “devil’s juice” and drinks it while Claire is stitching him up. Jamie looks on and appears to be taking a wee bit of satisfaction seeing Tom squirm.
“At least it will be an honorable scar, won’t it, Mac Dubh?”
Oh hell no! Tom is always trying to take Jamie down a peg, when it’s him who is the one who needs to be humbled. It’s amazing to me that after everything Tom has done, Jamie would still have him fight by his side. Jamie is truly doing his best to focus and fight for the greater good.
Ain’t no party like a Fraser’s Ridge Party, cause a Fraser’s Ridge Party . . . has a flogging.
“Oh, my, uh, apologies. We’re, uh… we’re a little early for the festivities.”
Of course the Christie family would arrive early to a celebration. The only thing worse than a late guest, is an early one. This is quite the crew. Even with the Christies in the mix, things seem to be going well until the Browns show up and crash the party. I take back my previous statement. The only thing worse than an early guest, is an uninvited one.
Allan admits that he stole the powder horn. How and when? We don’t know, at least not yet. The punishment of ten lashes is reluctantly agreed upon by Jamie, in order to preserve as much peace as possible.
“My land… my means…”
Jamie refuses to use the whip from the Browns, and instead uses his own belt. He seems to be going somewhat easy on Allan, or at least not as hard as he could. Either way, Allan is broken and humiliated by the ordeal. We went from Tom watching Jamie get flogged at Ardsmuir, to Tom watching Jamie flogging his son. This shows how important the long flashback portion of the episode was. We needed all of that context for what unfolds, and has yet to unfold this season. Let’s see . . . Jamie, of honey-baked ham scarring fame, has to administer a flogging, publicly? (Gulp)
But . . . it’s one of the Christies, sooooo . . . sip? I guess? I’m so conflicted!
“If you’re to stay, then my word at Fraser’s Ridge is law.”
“God’s word is law.”
Again Tom is portraying himself as holier than thou. Even after his son just admitted to stealing, he is still putting Jamie down. For someone who claims to be a Christian above all else, he is not very Christlike.
Fergus is keeping a REALLY close watch on that distillery
“I’m sorry I’m such a disappointment.”
Fergus’ decline into alcohol abuse may seem sudden, but if we take his life experiences into account as a whole, it makes sense. I feel that almost losing Marsali in the attack by the Browns, was the catalyst to send him over the edge. (Gulp)
A Stir of Echoes
“I’ve never been afraid of ghosts. I live with them daily. When I look into a mirror, my mother’s eyes look back at me…Hold a torch to light the recesses of the dark. Listen to the footsteps that echo behind when you walk alone…All the time, ghosts flit past and through us, hiding in the future. Each ghost comes unbidden from the misty grounds of dreams and silence…”
Claire seeing the Browns was like lighting a match and tossing it on an already sparking pile of tinder, or, you know . . . Ether (it’s literally SO flammable). She has been through so much, the echoes of the past came back to haunt her dreams. The dream disturbs her out of her slumber. As much as she intended to go make herself a cup of tea, she truly wanted to feel nothing at that moment.
She needed an escape from all the trauma that came back to haunt her. This scene is so wonderfully eerie. I believe that moment she looks in the mirror with the candle (Ether go BOOM, Claire!), we see that Claire needed to escape the ghost of herself.
“By blood and by choice, we make our ghosts. We haunt ourselves.”
You know, I’ve got no snark for any of this voiceover. This is the prologue to ‘A Breath and Snow and Ashes’ and it’s honestly one of the most beautiful passages Diana ever wrote. I’m so glad it’s included here. (SIP!)
All in all, I loved this episode! It was so great to be reunited with our beloved Outlander, and all those we love in the Outlander universe. I feel like so much happens, and you need to watch it at least twice to really absorb everything.
I know that Claire self medicating with Ether has fans very divided. Personally, I feel that seeing Claire self-medicate and need an escape is so relatable. We love her for the strong badass she is and though many of us see her as a heroine, even she can only handle so much pain and unrest. It will be difficult to see her unravel a bit, but we know how strong she is. She will get through it, with the support and love of her family.
I am not condoning drug/alcohol abuse. I do feel that it is very humbling to see that our heroine struggles too. We are all human and sometimes we, too, haunt ourselves.
On first viewing I gave this 4.5 drams, but after my second watch and letting things marinate for a bit I give this episode 4.75 drams.
Slàinte Sips: 15
Grim Gulps: 14
Not all sips and gulps were recorded here for posterity, but the sips edged out the gulps for a very slim victory this week.
Who knows what next week will bring?
On first viewing my drink of choice was Sassenach whisky.
Second viewing I drank Dewars white label whisky with London fog iced tea and lime juice on ice.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, fellow Sassenachs!
Until next time.