There was many a “Man of Worth” in the Outlander finale (maybe). See what our fan roundtable had to say!
Outlander is over and the droughtlander has begun. Did “Man of Worth” deliver the feels? Knowing security around the Mohawk village is pretty tight Jamie (Sam Heughan), Claire (Caitriona Balfe), and Ian (John Bell) just head on in there and try to trade for Roger (Richard Rankin). It’s swell until they see the opal around her neck and boot them from the village. Later a raiding party tries to take the opal from her and we find out the story behind that time traveler’s skull Claire found on the Ridge. They try to raid the village to get Roger back and SHOCKER! It doesn’t work.
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Meanwhile at River Run Brianna Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) is squabbling with Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) is nervous about giving birth. Brianna tells Murtagh she forgives Jamie. Then Murtagh winds up in bed with Jocasta because he’s a man of worth too, damn it!
Back at the Mohawk village Ian (John Bell) is set to prove he is the man of worth in this episodes as he tries to atone for giving Roger to the Mohawk by trading himself to them. It’s very Last of the Mohicans only without the burning. That happened last episode. Anyway they take Roger away and he’s still pretty pissed at Jamie so they get into a massive fist fight while Young Ian is running the gauntlet. Ian is successful and becomes a Mohawk! Roger finishes beating on Jamie and finds out what’s happened to Bree since he’s been gone which obviously hasn’t been good.
Bree gives birth! Jamie and Claire return without Roger, who has been deciding whether or not he was going to come back. It’s fine though because after a reunion dinner Roger comes back and it’s all running through the fields and happiness! Until the redcoats trot up the drive and tell Jamie he has to muster a militia to capture the leader of the regulators, Murtagh Fitzgibbons!
Was that enough of a cliffhanger? How did everyone feel about the finale? Let’s roundtable.
Heather (@taterbug160) – Change is necessary, but it’s not always good.
Radha (@BaaderLander) –Farewell, Outlander season 4! See you all at The Gathering…
Teddie (@teepe54) – An obsessive Outlander book reader and later, show watcher, Outlander brought me into the world of blogging as a staff writer for Outlandercast.com. I’m also a long-time Registered Nurse working in the field of Brain Injury Rehabilitation. Amid all this, I somehow discovered Turkish television and I blog for that, too. I blame Droughtlander. Teddie’s Outlandercast Author Page, Dizidivas.com, Kivancnorthamerica.com.
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – Amanda-Rae is a Claire Fraser cosplayer, a Blacklanderz contributor, and a frequent period drama live-tweeter. She is the host of This Week in Mammoth Screen Dramas Fancast, a podcast devoted to following the production company behind Poldark and Victoria. She is also the founder of the Poldark Costuming Project. She used to contribute to TVAfterDark, and in 2019, she will be the host of Nerdeek Life’s Roundtables on Victoria Season 3.
1. When they presented Otter Tooth’s story, it surprised us that the woman thought it was the stone that carried the message and not the person who carried it. Did anything about the story surprise you?
Heather (@taterbug160) – I was surprised they spent so long on it. It made sense that they explain/complete the story of Claire finding the skull with the silver fillings, but the explanation was unnecessarily too long, in my opinion. Also thought it interesting that they thought the power was with the stone, and didn’t think it even a possibility it was the MAN himself that had that knowledge from the future.
Radha (@BaaderLander) – One of the more fantasy/sci-fi elements of Outlander is the notion that gems carry power and can do things (time travel, in this case). I suppose this has parallels to cultures that might believe objects carry powers and influence their environment in some way. If that’s how the Outlander imagining of the Mohawk are, perhaps it makes sense that the Mohawk could transpose Otter Tooth’s message onto his stone.
2. Murtagh and Jocasta, whoa. Not going to lie, we didn’t really see that coming. What were your first thoughts?
Heather (@taterbug160) – I have always predicted he was going to take the place of the guy she’s with in the books [Duncan Innes], it just made sense to me. Now, considering he’s a regulator sure puts her in a bad position, so not sure how short-lived this love story will be. But I kind of love it. Let the seniors in the show be happy too!
Teddie (@teepe54) – That fiery side-eye that Murtagh fixed on Jo right after she threw her whiskey in his face was a sure sign that something was, um, up. Murtagh, you hound! You sleekit silver-haired hottie!
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – Before season 4 started, I expected Murtagh was going to replace Jocasta’s husband/love interest. I was quite excited that I predicted an adaptation change. They were definitely bringing the heat!
Dee (@OL_America) – We didn’t see THAT coming either. However, ever since we first suspected that Murtagh would make a return we also wondered if he would fulfill the role of Duncan Innes in the books and at some point marry Jocasta. This scene was a step in that direction. (Note: When Jamie learns that he must form a militia to capture and kill Murtagh, did you catch Jamie and Claire’s reaction when they get a hint that there is something going on between Jocasta and Murtagh? Go check it out!)
3. Did anyone think this escape plan was going to work? And Young Ian, he’s the hero of the hour! Tell us what you thought of his, “Take me,” Last of the Mohicans moment and the lead up to it?
Heather (@taterbug160) – Eh, no not really. Charging into a camp where you are totally outnumbered with a dude that you have to just about carry is probably not going to to work. Oh Ian, bless him. I knew it was coming but I still teared up quite a bit. I know it wont be the last we see of him but it will be the last we see of him like THIS.
Radha (@BaaderLander) – Young Ian gave us the best sequence of this episode. Touching, well earned emotion, and fully in keeping with his character. John Bell didn’t have a great deal to do this season – 90% of his lines were ‘Come, Rollo.’ – but I think he gave us some of the most memorable scenes of the season. Remember his raw conversation with Jamie about trauma and recovering from sexual violence in episode 1? Also, Ian demonstrated so much remorse for selling Roger to the Mohawk and took steps to make amends at great personal cost. His whole arc meant seeing him make it through the gauntlet and take his place in a new community felt totally triumphant.
Teddie (@teepe54) – The escape plan looked completely improbable given the number of natives coming out from all directions. Jamie and company were outnumbered and outmatched. In the end of all the heartbreak, Young Ian shone like the sun— his sacrifice was huge, his worth established, and through all the tears, his restless curiosity would finally find its niche.
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – I predicted the Mohawk weren’t going to let Roger go without a fight. I loved the way John Bell showed Ian’s emotional journey of affinity with the Natives despite the show not actually featuring those scenes from the novels. I definitely prefer that he traded in a somewhat normal life to preserve the family versus the book version where his decision seemed slightly more self-serving.
Dee (@OL_America) – This scene made me ugly cry. Jamie and Ian are truly men of worth and both were willing to sacrifice themselves to the Mohawk in reparation for their misjudgments. (We still maintain that Jamie and Ian can’t be blamed for Roger and Bree’s misfortune. The pain suffered by Roger and Bree was basically self-inflicted as a result of secrets and impulsive behavior. The exception is Bree’s rape by Bonnet. Jamie was right when he told Roger, “You cost me a lad that I loved.”)
4. Talk to us about the juxtaposition of Roger fighting with Jamie and Young Ian running the gauntlet, then tell us your feelings about these cross-cut moments?
Heather (@taterbug160) – Can I just say how much I was cheering Roger on to hit Jamie? I still don’t buy that he’s sorry at all, he’s just feeling guilty that he beat and sold the love of his daughters life. He’s not sorry about what he did to Roger at all. Very interesting to cross cut it with Ian in the gauntlet. Especially since Roger failed the gauntlet and Ian does not. Maybe he just needed Jamie’s face as motivation the first time!
Radha (@BaaderLander) – This was a terrible false equivalency. One made me cheer and one made me groan, and I think you can guess which did which.
Teddie (@teepe54) – I thought the editing was brilliant, and I thought Jamie deserved every single blow. Ian performed like the Highlander he is; in the end, his proud smile said it all without a single word. Well done, all around.
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – The juxtaposition of Ian and Roger to me only served to emphasize Roger’s physical and emotional weakness. He selfishly left Brianna behind and brought all of this unnecessary misery on himself. Meanwhile, Young Ian is giving up likely seeing his family again for a guy he barely knows. The director of this episode, Stephen Woolfenden, definitely deserves a shout out for maximizing the emotional impact of the visuals.
Dee (@OL_America) – It was a way for Ian and Roger to prove themselves. Roger was not as successful as Ian, in my opinion. At the completion of the gauntlet Ian was cheered and given acceptance by the Mohawk. He was happy. Roger was not.
5. There was so much in the scene when all is revealed to Roger regarding Brianna we don’t know where to start. So why don’t you?
Heather (@taterbug160) – SO MUCH. Can you imagine how Roger must be feeling?! He’s having all this revealed to him, after holding Bree in his heart for MONTHS planning to return to her. Then Jamie is all up in his face about how he needs to make a decision right this second and he needs TIME. I would too, poor guy. He has to go through being elated that Bree is alive, then through the revelations of Bonnet and the rape, then the baby may not be his, and all the guilt of having left and Bree having gone through it all without him. Heavy stuff.
Radha (@BaaderLander) – I would short-circuit after that kind of data dump too, so I think it’s fair that Roger needed to take a minute to process everything. But even in a moment where it seemed like Claire was in Roger’s corner, repeatedly telling Jamie to back down, to give him time to think, she brilliantly reframes by reminding Roger that he’s got some serious thinking to do “because she’s our daughter, so you’d better be sure.” The look on Claire’s face, her body language mirroring Jamie’s, and both of them standing in opposition to Roger – it’s clear who she’s really advocating for.
Teddie (@teepe54) – Richard Rankin’s Roger was fabulous to watch, and he played it perfectly: A 20th century guy who happened to get sold to the Mohawks, traumatized, and wounded and rescued by the man who caused it. My first thought when Roger hears of Bree’s pregnancy was that his reaction mirrored Frank Randall’s when he learned that Claire was expecting a child– joy followed by a stunning realization that could change everything.
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – Roger started to process the consequences of his actions, which I did appreciate since I’ve spent most of the season completely hating him. His realization that Bonnet did a lot more than captain the ship clearly took him by surprise. Of course, his hesitation to reunite with Brianna pushed me right back to dislike. I’m also annoyed that once again Bree’s trauma is now a plot point for a man.
Dee (@OL_America) – At the end of Roger’s (one sided) fight with Jamie, Roger chose to walk away not only from Jamie and Claire, but more importantly, Bree, his pregnant wife, to whom he had already pledged himself… because he needed time to think. We can’t fault Roger for being shocked by the news, but it didn’t make him look like a “man of worth,” at least not at the moment. If Roger and Bree had not fought the night of their hand-fasting and Roger had not left at the first sign of trouble only minutes after their hand-fasting, Bree would not have encountered Bonnet the way she did. Their failure to self-reflect and see their own culpability in their situations is frustrating. The way those characters are portrayed make them appear to be ill-matched. In their courtship they’ve done nothing but argue and over-react, resulting in disastrous consequences. not only for each other but for Bree’s family. For me personally, the show has not made these characters very likeable.
6. We’re definitely not usually, “Well, in the book,” kind of people. But we can’t help it, Brianna’s birth story was not what we expected. And she told Murtagh she forgave Jamie? Tell us how this worked for you.
Heather (@taterbug160) – Ok, so I can get some changes. They are necessary. But they aren’t always good or move the story in a way that make sense. The birth scene from the book is SO much perfection. Why change it?! To exclude both Claire and Jamie from the birth is something I just don’t understand the rational of. Is it because Claire told Brianna she’d likely miss it? I don’t know, but pretty disappointing regardless.
On a side note, Brianna is a little too quick to forgive people!
Radha (@BaaderLander) – The birth scene was one of my absolute favorites from Drums of Autumn for being a true family affair and cementing the new baby as a Fraser first and foremost. Adapting it faithfully hardly seems practical, I was happy with it was presented. Top marks to Sophie Skelton’s red face. Loved that she wholeheartedly forgave Jamie, that was a subtle and delicate scene.
Teddie (@teepe54) – Early rumblings of some book readers’ opinions meant my self-imposed exile from social media until I had a chance to watch the episode for myself. Let it be known that I felt the story changes were fecking brilliant! I think that the composition of the birthing scene let Bree forge some powerful bonds with Jocasta, and with Phaedre, especially. Jamie as birthing coach worked beautifully in the book, and that will be with me forever. But on TV, we must Brave the New World. It took me four full seasons to finally, maybe, suck it up.
A word about Sophie: She gave it her all. She captured the ethereal beauty and inner distraction that so many pregnant women seem to possess. Pregnancy and childbirth can sure put things into perspective; forgiving Jamie seemed a natural next step. And if she can forgive Bonnet, she can sure as anything forgive her Da.
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – I don’t think Brianna’s birth scene was a positive change from the book, and I consider myself an anti-book purist! I didn’t even reread Drums before this season because I wanted the show to stand by itself. This scene was a lost opportunity for character development as well as a break in the internal logic in this season. Earlier episodes established a much shorter travel time between Frasier’s Ridge and New York, so why did Jamie and Claire miss the birth. Brianna should have told Jamie she forgave him to his face. Claire throughout this episode as well as large part of this season felt very underused and pushed to the side in the script, so the birth scene would have been a great moment for her to be a doctor and be a mom. In this regard, the book purists are definitely justified in being angry at this episode.
Dee (@OL_America) – It didn’t work for me. This is tough to justify on any level. Omitting the book birthing scene that showed us the bonding between Jamie and Bree would have been easier to swallow if we had been given a satisfactory replacement. Bree tells Murtagh that she has forgiven Jamie (don’t get me started again), but she doesn’t show it. We have no proof. While she visits Bonnet under the pretense of forgiving him, she has given us no proof that she has given Jamie any forgiveness. She did not speak a word to him after he and Claire returned to River Run. (We saw a similar problem in Episode 412 when, based on her behavior, Ian and Jamie assumed Claire was angry at Jamie. Claire denied being angry at Jamie, but her words and behavior did not match.)
Writers should not assume that viewers can read characters’ minds when their behaviors don’t match the dialogue. I wasn’t convinced Bree had forgiven Jamie. There was no proof. She did not inquire about her cousin, Ian, or acknowledge the sacrifice he made for her and Roger. She at least owed Jamie a, “Thank you for trying,” but he didn’t get that either. It wasn’t as if all Jamie, Claire, and Ian had to do was jump in the car, drive across town, and retrieve Roger. (Note: This was the only part of the episode we did NOT love.)
7. Reunions, reunions, everywhere! First spill on Jamie and Claire coming home to Brianna, and then dish on Roger coming home to her.
Heather (@taterbug160) – So many emotions on Bree’s face. First, you’ve been gone HOW LONG and you bring back no Roger? And oh yeah, I had this baby. Baby cries for everyone.
Radha (@BaaderLander) – I liked the Fraser’s wordless family moment, just standing together in their feelings.
Teddie (@teepe54) – Joyful, hopeful, crushing. Jamie delivering the news that Roger is alive was a great segue to healing, and Bree finally joining the family at Jocasta’s dining table helped close the circle that much more.
If you’re going to run across a humongous lawn towards your man with your skirts a-flying, it’s a hopeful sign that things will go well. “Take me to see my son.” Thud!
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – Jamie and Claire’s reunion with Brianna was a nice moment. I was more disappointed by Roger not apologizing to Brianna for all of the nasty stuff he said before he left her on their wedding night. I was waiting the whole season for that and I’m not pleased there was no attempt to address it at all. It’s hard for me to buy that they belong together because this doesn’t feel like what caused the problems was resolved completely. The emotional impact of their reunion suffered from characterization issues and plots which didn’t show their relationship back in S3/early S4.
Dee (@OL_America) – It was obvious in her behavior and enthusiasm that she was happy to see Roger and he her. It was clear that all was forgiven. Understandably, Bree was disappointed when her parents arrived sans Roger, but she could have shown them a little enthusiasm and appreciation for their efforts and everything they went through to retrieve him. I was surprised that she didn’t even inquire about Ian.
8. And Jamie’s been tasked with finding Murtagh? Well this is going to be complicated. Give us your predictions for season 5!
Heather (@taterbug160) – I don’t even know what to say about THAT cliffhanger because Murtagh is not alive in the books at this point. I do know almost all of the 5th book is held at The Gathering, and I’ll be none the happier if the shorten that up with a little save the godfather action. Very excited for next season!
Radha (@BaaderLander) – Erm, Jamie’s going to protect Murtagh and figure out a way to make it seem like the farmers he rustles up into a ‘militia’ are going to align with Tryon against the Regulators when really they are helping the Regulators lay low until, hey, it’s time to be part of the real conflict, which is when it will be handy (or not) that Martha and George Washington think well of the canny, surgically skilled and war-tested Frasers. Also, all of this must happen before The Gathering is over but don’t worry because it’s an INTERMINABLE DAY.
And now, I plan to dive back into the books. Happy reading, fellow Droughtlanders!
Teddie (@teepe54) – This constitutes an impossible conflict of interest!! Can’t Jamie get a special “Murtagh Pass” to sit out this request, Governor T.? OK, likely not. So we will get to see more of Jamie playing both sides to his advantage, but with a lot of danger (sound familiar?). Having Murtagh around changes things considerably, and unless his dalliance with Jocasta was just a one-night stand this will impact her as well. Starz, you gave us more Murtagh– Don’t take him away from us just yet.
On to Droughtlander. Again.
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – Colonial politics were often personal, and family members often ended up on opposite sides of the Revolution. Jamie having to rat on Murtagh sets up the political issues that lead to the Revolution quite nicely in season 5. I definitely predict more exploration of the Regulators vs. Elites plot. The jail blowing up leaves just enough ambiguity for Bonnet to come back and troll. I predict more beatdowns from Jamie for Roger and thoroughly look forward to them! I don’t think this is going to happen, but I wish Outlander would use Native and African-American consultants for relevant scenes next season instead of relying upon the problematic books.
Dee (@OL_America) – This has the potential of becoming a big mess. We know the eventual role of the regulators in history, but at this point in the story we are still about six years away from the Revolution. So how do the writers incorporate our beloved Murtagh into the story without going too far sideways from the book story (which doesn’t include Murtagh)? Whatever they decide, we hope it includes plenty of Jamie and Claire.
Final Verdict: Maybe we found a “Man of Worth”. But did we find a season 4 finale to be of the same worth?
The Outlander finale. There were four men that we felt could be considered the “Man of Worth” in the title. Roger, for stopping his idiot nonsense and stepping up for his woman (even if it was a little late). Murtagh, for being deemed by Jocasta to be bedroom-worthy. Jamie, for doing right by his daughter. And Ian, for taking responsibility, stepping up, and taking Roger’s place among the Mohawk. Was the episode worth the wait?
We talk about the pacing of Outlander so often. As was the case with a few previous episodes “Man of Worth” had sections which progressed forward at a breakneck pace. Probably because there was so much story to press through in such a short amount of time. Even so there were things that seemed oddly slow or took up a significant amount of time. Remember that skull Claire found? Yeah, we didn’t either since it was so long ago. Could we have connected the dots here earlier? Planted seeds throughout the season so there was some tension regarding the story before it felt like it was a reminder and then resolution. This scene was actually great. But we would’ve appreciated it more if Otter Tooth’s “mystery” had been built, sprinkled throughout the season, and actually had some stakes.
Maybe this week’s questions made us seem like negative nancy’s. So let’s dive it to what we liked for a bit. The performances were strong here. We’re going to credit director Stephen Woolfenden with that in addition to strong acting by Richard Rankin, John Bell, Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, and Sophie Skelton. It takes a lot to craft a good performance and a great director helps! Each of these performers gave good face. Richard and Sam in the scene after Roger is rescued, Brianna giving birth, John Bell joining the Mohawk and running through the gauntlet successfully. If we’ll never quit the show it’s because of performances like these. Every one of our roundtable got Young Ian feels. He was truly fantastic.
The physical production was beautiful. The costumes on the Mohawk were absolutely swoon worthy. They were the costuming stars of this season by far. So a well done to Terry Dresbach on them because they were truly a feast for the eyes. Jon Gary Steele additionally did a really beautiful job on the Mohawk village. The detail was really striking and we’d love a tour so please reach out Jon Gary Steele we’re at your leisure.
Now on to some things we didn’t really like. Brianna giving birth alone, without Claire and Jamie, was a mistake. The fact that Brianna told Murtagh she forgave Jamie was just such a cop out moment. If there had been any other moment instead of her just showing up at dinner we would have been at least partially satisfied. Imagine Jamie holding his grandson, apologizing for Roger not returning with them and Brianna telling him she forgave him. That would be something! Instead we got Brianna giving birth alone which is ridiculous in and of itself- The lengths Dr. Claire consistently goes to to be a doctor and she doesn’t move heaven and earth to be with her daughter? And after that practically zero resolution to a blowout so massive it had repercussions for several characters over several episodes? This just isn’t being fair to these characters. It just flat out didn’t work.
Jamie didn’t even hold his grandson. Claire is holding the baby and hands him not to Jamie, but Jocasta? Is this Outlander? Jamie, a man who has been deprived of raising both children he clearly loves so much as shown in previous episodes, isn’t trying to be around that baby every moment of every day? Are the writers parents? Have they ever met new grandparents? We’re not going to say that, “This is only Jamie and Claire’s story,” because don’t think it is. We’re happy the show has opened up because sometimes the pace of this show is glacial and it needs more characters and storylines. The additional characters add to the world. But give us characters that are true to the world. Someone needs a stronger hand on the scripts and pay attention to continuity.
We’d like to spend some additional time on Roger and Brianna here. We’ve said this before but it bears repeating again. We didn’t get feels from Roger returning to Brianna. Some of our roundtable did, which is great! But our problem has to do with the time given to Roger and Brianna before all of this. We got one episode of Roger and Brianna’s love story. Really, we only got three quarters, because they started fighting quickly. If we had seen them fall in love then their fights and misunderstandings between them would have caused strain that would have provided stakes. Sure, Roger might have been a jerk sometimes and Brianna quick to judge. But we really like Roger, and we wanted to feel more for him than we did. We certainly don’t blame Richard Rankin. His performance continues to be great despite being given mediocre material.
Young Ian choosing to stay with the Mohawk and running the gauntlet was such a massive highlight in this episode. John Bell was definitely the star of this episode for us. If we had seen him interacting with the Mohawk or the Cherokee in early episodes it would’ve been even better because we would have gotten a real grasp for his affinity for them and the way they lived. We wished Jamie and Claire could have seen him run the gauntlet and be truly happy in the life he’d chosen. If so much hadn’t needed to be accomplished in this episode we’d like to think it would have been possible, but that problem goes way back to pacing and the breakdown of the overarching story of the season. Pere Alexander was cool, but more time with Young Ian, a main character, would’ve been cooler.
On a lighter note: We had a real giggle over Jocasta and Murtagh. It was a kick seeing them find each other in that way even if it seemed like a bit of a surprise that came out of nowhere. It’s great to find your passion later in life! This is the storyline that we’re looking forward to in season 5. Murtagh is an outlaw having a passionate affair with a prominent lady of the community. That’s got the potential to be as explosive as Jamie being charged with finding Murtagh.
Some of our roundtable was completely on board for this whole episode, some less so. We love when fan opinions differ. One thing is for sure, we all love Outlander and want it to be the best show it can be. Now we’ll have to go “withoutlander” until who knows when!