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Outlander’s “Common Ground”- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-7 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables

What sort of “Common Ground” did Jamie and Claire manage to find with their new neighbors? See what our Outlander fan roundtable had to say!

Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) got into a minor disagreement with their neighbors this week on Outlander. That is to say Jamie got his land grand and went about putting up borders. And the people who lived on that land for a few thousand years had some objections. Claire and Jamie did get some intimate moments in the building of their new home though. And Claire and Marsali (Lauren Lyle) had a mother-daughter moment reminding Claire that she’d likely never see her own daughter again. Remember Brianna? We did because we saw her last week but Claire not so much.

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Jamie and Claire are really having problems with their Cherokee neighbors who really want them to leave. Not only are they being menaced by them but there’s even a bear out there who’s causing some trouble. Turns out he’s really a man bear. Or a cast-off Cherokee who went nuts and is pretended to be a bear. Either one. Jamie manages to kill the man-bear and he and the Cherokee come to a neutral truce so that Claire can put on a pair of pants and get into it building their dream cabin.

Meanwhile Roger (Richard Rankin) is dreaming of Brianna (Sophie Skelton) despite the fact she left him stranded in North Carolina. He grabs a book they picked up and realizes that maybe the Frasers on Fraser’s Ridge were Bree’s mom and dad so he gets in touch with the author and turns out they were! So he calls her with the news. But after a long chat with Fiona (who knew about the time traveling all along) he finds out Jamie and Claire died in a fire unexpectedly. He calls Brianna to tell her but she went to visit her mother. Say what? Impulsive, Bree!

Let’s see what our roundtable had to say!

Dee (@OL_America) – Lead Admin for Outlander America™; find us also on: outlanderamerica.com; tumblr; Facebook; InstaGram; Pinterest; Youtube.

Jordyn (@urbanoutlander) –It all started four years ago when I wondered about some time-traveling-feminist-show and now I blog/vlog about my Outlander obsession and I met Sam Heughan on GMA Day a few weeks ago so life isn’t so bad after all! www.theurbanoutlander.com

Radha (@BaaderLander) – I watch Jamie and Claire for the articles. Talk Outlander to me on Twitter! 

Carole (@cbraunnj) – Costumer, teacher, admin for Outlander Forever. She makes use of her excessive tv watching by being an obsessive knitter.

Stephanie (@olprintshop) – Stephanie (@twingles321) has been a huge Outlander fan for the past 4+ years. Since her retirement from teaching she have become much more involved and active with Outlander, creating a fan-based website and a blog. She has recently moved from NY to NC where she’s happy to have joined Outlander North Carolina as a moderator. Check out her blog at Outlander Print Shop!

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-6 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables

1) Claire and Jamie are preparing for their long journey to their new home, but not before Claire has a chance to connect with Marsali. What were your thoughts about the very maternal exchange and Claire’s feelings about her own daughter, alone in the future?

Dee (@OL_America) – This is a sweet scene that shows us not only how close Claire and Marsali have become but how much Claire misses her own daughter. Despite the hard feelings (ahem, hate) between Claire and Laoghaire, Claire and Marsali have overcome their rough start and developed their own relationship. Seeing Marsali pregnant, somewhat afraid, and missing her mother, bring up guilt feelings in Claire and remind her that Brianna will someday go through the same thing. Marsali has “Mother Claire” on whom she can rely but Brianna will have no family nearby.  It isn’t surprising that Marsali’s situation reminds Claire of Bree and makes her briefly question whether her decision to leave was the right one. Discussing these feelings with Jamie helps somewhat ease her guilt but not the worry.

Jordyn (@urbanoutlander) – We are starting to see the cost of Claire’s sacrifice leaving Brianna. But the woman still left her daughter to time-travel for eternity! I might’ve done the same. Especially if my daughter was Brianna.

Radha (@BaaderLander) –  This was one of my favorite moments of this episode. Vulnerable, honest, supportive, and an excellent example of how Outlander doesn’t ignore the important events in the lives of the characters. Choosing to exit Brianna’s life and seek out Jamie in spite of where the story goes will likely haunt Claire forever. Even as a happy Claire and Jamie are setting off to build a new future for themselves, the pain of that decision still lives under the surface.

I hope motherhood, and probably parenthood in general, will be thematically important this season. Lauren Lyle was deft at conveying Marsali’s fear about both the short- and long-term challenges of having a child and I love how Claire set aside her own relationship with Laoghaire to reassure Marsali that she will be a good mother because she has a good example to follow.

Carole (@cbraunnj) – Claire and Marsali have been through quite a bit together and it really felt that there’s genuine affection between the two of them. I like that Marsali also is direct and knows that how things are between her mother and Claire but that doesn’t stop her from trusting Claire. Claire also has realized how much she will miss not being around Bree. Although she had a feeling about how much she would miss seeing Marsali pregnant really has it hit home of how much of her daughter’s life she is truly missing

Stephanie (@olprintshop) – This was such a heartwarming exchange from a mother missing her daughter to a daughter missing her mother. A tender interaction to be sure. Since both Claire and Marsali have shared so much along their journey to America they do have a strong bond. That was evident not just in their words but in their body language.

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-5 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables

2) Jamie and Claire waste no time in marking out their borders, but they never really seemed to consider that the land the crown gave them might not have been the crown’s to begin with. Did this surprise you?

Dee (@OL_America) – Jamie Fraser literally fell in love with the land that would become known as Fraser’s Ridge. We saw it happen and felt the joy he and Claire shared as his dream to own his own land came true. However Jamie was so confident in the way the mountains “spoke” to him it’s doubtful he realized the role his dream played in the nightmare of the Cherokee.  His intentions to live as a peaceful neighbor were good. But the result was the same. Ironically his land grant was not totally different from the Highland Clearances by the British. In the 18th century Southeast these land grants occurred often and without consulting the Native Nations occupying the region. Did Claire tell Jamie about the Trail of Tears and the resulting devastation that would occur only about 60 years in the future? Would that have impacted his decision? Jamie was right. A dream for one can be a nightmare for another.

Jordyn (@urbanoutlander) – Of course the Cherokee make their presence known and what a surprise that the first introduction to this new land is a tense one. This is indeed the New World and those that have encroached on it discover that it’s not all that new thanks to its previous inhabitants.

Radha (@BaaderLander) –  I struggle here because Jamie and Claire seem to toggle between clueless entitlement (“I canna tell ye what it is for me to feel the rightness of this place… the mountain spoke to me.”) and social consciousness when it’s convenient for the plot. So often we’re led to understand they have superior understanding of the larger socio-political picture with the benefit of a posteriori knowledge. And yet, several times they fail to act based on this understanding – Claire’s fight to save Rufus being one example. So, no, it did not surprise *me* that they didn’t consider their complicity in displacing native peoples; *their* surprise and lack of planning for this eventuality made me roll my eyes. 

Carole (@cbraunnj) – It really surprises me that Claire, our intrepid couple’s number 1 authority about America, doesn’t consider whose land they are claiming for their own. Granted Claire lived in 20th century Boston which didn’t boast of a Native American population at that time. But she read Bree’s history books which must have given some information about the tribal lands. Also Jamie, who lived through the Clearances, had to have considered the consequences of just claiming the land for their own purposes and just in the name of the King.

Stephanie (@olprintshop) – Knowing history myself, no it didn’t. But they seemed oblivious to this fact. I was surprised that Claire being educated and from the future she didn’t seem to know this either. It was a new world. I guess they were all naive to the ways the both the British and the Indigenous Native Americans operated on these lands. They’ve got a lot to learn!

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-10 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables   3) Jamie and Claire don’t exactly get along with their neighbors in the beginning.  (What guys, can’t find any common ground?) The creatives on Outlander have talked about how they’ve taken many steps to honor the indigenous Native Americans in the show. What did you think of their efforts?

Dee (@OL_America) – I believe production members do their best to portray the source material in a true and respectful manner. According to Matt Roberts in “Inside the Episode” for 4×04, he personally consulted the modern Eastern Band Cherokee Nation in North Carolina.  I saw nothing in the episode to indicate a false or disrespectful betrayal of the history of the time. This episode gave us our first introduction to the Native Nations of the time, so we will get a better idea of the representation as their role in the story is revealed.

Jordyn (@urbanoutlander) – For someone like me who doesn’t have much knowledge of the Cherokee culture, I think they did a good job between costumes and story. Some viewers have criticized that the “bear” story line was trite and demeaning towards the Cherokee but are they experts or knowledgeable of their traditions? I’d rather hear from people who are part of that community instead. I feel like the Outlander writers do their best to be culturally sensitive but they already misstepped with the slavery this season and last. I still think they did a good job here.

Radha (@BaaderLander) –  The Native Americans were a breath of fresh air from the first frame of the title cards! The visual interest alone is off the charts. I can’t speak with expertise but so far I find the Cherokee characters to be rendered with care and creativity by all involved.

Carole (@cbraunnj) – The creative team has really done a remarkable job honoring the Native Americans in dress, living style, speech, etc.  It really shows how much research they did in conveying respect to their culture.

Stephanie (@olprintshop) – I’m not too savvy specifically to the Cherokee culture  but based on what I do know from living in a historic area on Long Island (with the actual the Setauket Indian Tribe) I think they definitely paid homage to them.

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-12 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables

4) The way Roger finds Jamie and Claire is really interesting! Given how he and Brianna parted, were you surprised he went to the effort? It certainly was an interesting development!

Dee (@OL_America) – From all appearances in the last episode, Bree left Roger stranded at the festival in the NC Highlands.  (Bet that was a long walk home.)  Regardless of his behavior in that episode it was not surprising that he clearly still loves Bree and probably regrets how things were left. It also isn’t surprising that he feels obliged to share this important discovery with her.

Jordyn (@urbanoutlander) – Roger Roger Roger. He loves Brianna and can’t say it any more plainly than that. Of course he is still vying for her attention and wants to patch things up. Listen. After you meet a pretty red haired American lass whose mother is a time-traveler wouldn’t you do everything you could to win her back? Even if she totally bailed on your marriage proposal?

Radha (@BaaderLander) –  Not surprised. Roger and Brianna are still in love and care for each other. Not telling Brianna about her parents’ deaths should have consequences down the line. Why are Roger’s instincts so retrograde when it comes to Brianna?! The real surprise is Fiona, sitting on all her family’s Fraser-related research, spilling the tea in dribs and drabs. 

Carole (@cbraunnj) – I’m just surprised how long it took Roger to pick up that book again! Historians are like detectives. They don’t let go until all the clues are found. A failed romance wasn’t going to stop him. But I also think he thought that it would have warmed Bree up again towards him.

Stephanie (@olprintshop) – Not in the least. I mean I have read all the books but without giving spoilers even a jilted Roger would still help Brianna in anyway he could. They share a special bond. All they’ve seen and experienced together nothing can break that. He’s older and wiser than her, he’s going to do the right thing even when she broke his heart.

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-1 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables   5) We haven’t talked much about John Quincy Meyers! Kyle Rees is a lot of fun. What do you think about this friend/confidant role he’s taken on this season?

Dee (@OL_America) – John Quincy Meyers has been a very likeable character and invaluable to Jamie in advising him on developing relations with the local Cherokee and helping him to know his new environment.

Jordyn (@urbanoutlander) – He’s an amicable chump but he really needs to stay away from men dressed as bears who hide in the woods. He learned the hard way what Tskili Yona means.

Radha (@BaaderLander) –  Very much enjoying this jovial, knowledgeable new character. I get shades of Rupert in him. I miss Rupert!

Carole (@cbraunnj) – John Quincy Meyers is a wonderful new character. I’m glad that he’s being given a relatable role. He knows how the back country operates without being a Know-It-All. I just wonder what kind of back story he’s going to be given.

Stephanie (@olprintshop) – I love JQM! Jamie always has a right hand man whether it’s Murtagh or Lesley. This is a new world and uncharted territory for Jamie. He wants to learn the ways and someone like JQM is a perfect mentor/teacher. I’m so glad he was saved! I thought, “Uh oh, another good one gone!” Hopefully he’ll be with the Fraser’s for more upcoming episodes.

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-9 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables

6) Ah, the bear is a metaphorical bear, and now we’re a lot more aware of Cherokee culture.  And peace between the Frasers and their neighbors. For book readers, this was an interesting change. Reader or non-reader, how did you feel about Jamie coming upon his nickname and their newfound common ground?

Dee (@OL_America) – The “bear” killing scene, though it deviated from the book, was reminiscent of Dancing with Wolves.  Jamie receives a Cherokee name based on an event in which he participated.  In the book a small group of Cherokee hunters witnessed Jamie defending himself from and killing a real bear.  Now we wouldn’t want to put our dear Sam through such a thing just to be true to the source material, so the show adaptation was necessary.  It allowed Jamie a bridge to the Cherokee by helping rid them of a threat and thereby gaining him a modicum of trust. (I read that Sam said it was about 17°F when the “bear” fight was filmed and he was freezing, so that is punishment enough without having to fight a real bear!)

Jordyn (@urbanoutlander) – Jamie Fraser will always bat his blue eyes to some understanding with a new group and killing a “bear” is a straight way to the Cherokee’s hearts. I feel like “Bear Killer” is more appropriate if you actually killed a bear but clearly the show didn’t have it in their budget to do it à la “The Revenant” and Sam Heughan isn’t Leo DiCaprio (yet). So for now I accept. Methinks Jamie will need their understanding as the story unfolds.

Radha (@BaaderLander) –  The man-in-a-bear-suit seemed like a reasonable compromise for TV. I disliked the concurrent mislead about the Cherokee’s role in the encounter. What was the purpose of the dance? Were they invoking the creature to attack or just play-acting the story? (Update: At Outlander Community, the script annotation says it’s a prayer against the the bear attack. Unclear in my view.) And why would JQM fail to give Jamie a heads up that the quarry is not a real bear but in fact an outcast furry nut job/assault perp? I call shenanigans on this red herring.

I think the bear-killing adaptation also altered the fundamental interaction between Jamie and the Naive Americans. In the novel the event lets both see each other as “civilized” hunters with a code of conduct. A strong point of connection. The show involves more sophisticated social norms and ethical taboos that Jamie and the Cherokee must communicate about before coming to a tenuous peace.

Carole (@cbraunnj) – Bear vs Man-Bear, that’s the paradox. Personally I think it works better on screen with the Man-Bear. Could the production have come up with a real bear? Maybe. Then there would have been a ruckus about a live bear. A mechanical bear would have been too weird. So having a banished tribal member morph into a deranged person who adopts the persona of a bear works. I do like how Terry created the bear costume. As for how Jamie earns his new name? He did become the BearKiller. He put down both the physical and the spirit of the Man-Bear.

Stephanie (@olprintshop) – I’m a book reader. At first I was like, “WTF?” But I was sucked into the new plot and saw the outcome was the same. Jamie the “Bear Killer”. The icing on the cake was listening to Matt and Maril talk about the changes after. I was good with it. I’m not a purist, I allow for the changes necessary to produce a show in a limited time frame to many who haven’t read the book. I can separate the two.

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-15 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables

7) Um. Fiona was sitting on that secret for a long time. What the heck, Fiona. And Roger wasn’t even going to tell her? Or was he? Too bad we’ll never know because of that BOMBSHELL. Think of your ROOMMATE, Brianna. How do you know Roger isn’t going to be accused of murder? …Anyway, thoughts about Brianna’s little “visit to her mother”?

Dee (@OL_America) – This situation was as frustrating in the show as it was in the book.  I can’t believe Fiona knew and didn’t tell Roger sooner. Although Bree and Roger were somewhat estranged at the time in my opinion Bree should have told Roger what she was doing. I understand that maybe she was afraid that he would try to stop her or follow her but someone needed to know. This is typical of their communication issues. Maybe Bree could have told her roommate that she probably wasn’t coming back from Scotland without telling her the whole story.  Roger is the only person who could understand the true story.  She should have told him.

Jordyn (@urbanoutlander) – The last time a Randall went to Scotland to “visit” someone they TIME-TRAVELLED and became a FRASER! I’m noticing a pattern. I can’t wait to see what Roger will do! Also, if Brianna time travels maybe she should pick up some new friends who might actually be concerned upon hearing that their friend hasn’t been heard from in weeks. And Fiona is a gem for keeping that secret and I want to have a cup of tea and read the leaves with her.

Radha (@BaaderLander) –  As inevitable as, “I have to go back”.

Carole (@cbraunnj) – I was surprised at Fiona for holding back that juicy news. She knows everything else (thank you thin walls). What was the point of her not sharing? So much for sharing is caring. I think Roger was going to tell Bree but he sat on the news a bit too long. As for killing Gayle, I think she’s safe. She’s definitely in the dark about most of this stuff. Although there may be a note to Gayle, “Dear Roomie, here’s an advance for the rent. This should take care of the next 200 hundred years.”

Stephanie (@olprintshop) – I was like, “Wow!” The process has begun and it was exciting and heart pounding. Brianna is headstrong like her mom. My opinion is that she did her own research and came up with what Fiona did. So her only thought became, “I’ve got to save them.” We will see how this unfolds but truth be told it’s as if Roger woke her up. Like she was going through the motions with college and all. The information Roger gave her propelled her to action! She’s Jamie and Claire’s daughter after all what else would we (and Roger) expect?

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-14 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables

8) Claire is in breeks! Jamie is carrying her over the threshold! Was the romance of their new home as swoon-inducing for you?

Dee (@OL_America) – Book readers know the backstory of Claire appearing in breeks and some may be disappointed that it was omitted. That omission is forgiven by seeing Jamie carry Claire over their threshold. This episode illustrates how Jamie and Claire can demonstrate their love and intimacy without having a sex scene. Romantic gestures such as this and others leave no question that Jamie and Claire are more in love and connected than ever.  Now all Jamie needs to do is care their initials in the Witness Tree.  J ❤ C 4 EVA!

Jordyn (@urbanoutlander) – I really enjoyed the Building Fraser’s Ridge montage and the swell of the music gets me every time! It feels kind of nice seeing them setting up and being all romantic on their new homestead! Would love to have seen a scene with Claire putting on those breeks for the first time and Jamie aghast.

Radha (@BaaderLander) –  Girl you are BUILDING A HOUSE! Why would you not wear pants  (and they’re great-looking pants) all the time?!

We’ve seen Jamie and Claire try and start anew time and again. At Lallybroch, in Paris, after Claire returns. There’s a great feeling that this time it’s going to stick (at least for a while) and it’s beautifully aspirational how their dream of a simple home brings such joy to our couple.

Carole (@cbraunnj) – Claire in breeks! That really didn’t faze me since we saw Claire in breeks in season 1. And that was in front of the Highlanders! Out in the backwoods of NC who is going to notice besides Jamie and Young Ian? I didn’t like the carrying over the threshold. But the whole scene was lovely since this is the first real home together.

Stephanie (@olprintshop) – It was more heart warming then swoon inducing. I was too excited listening to Jamie show Claire what/where each room will be and how he personalized each area naming objects like table, candles, books, and the hearth! I had the warm and fuzzies when he mentioned the bed facing east to watch the sunrise! It was a squee moment! The Fraser’s are FINALLY HOME! And Claire rocked those breeks! Will she start a new fashion trend on Fraser’s Ridge? First they need to find some settlers to answer that question!

Nerdeek Life Outlander-4x04-4 Outlander's "Common Ground"- Jamie and Claire try to make nice with their neighbors Nerdeek Life Roundtables

Final Verdict: Watching Jamie and Claire find some common ground with their colorful neighbors meant an enjoyable episode for our roundtable!

This episode featured some of the Jamie and Claire moments that we longed for. We don’t need to see them getting it on constantly. We need to see the things that this episode showed us. Them working together. Connecting. Supporting each other. This is the common ground we want to see Outlander writers!

Superstar of the week goes to Terry Dresbach for the costumes on the Cherokee warriors this week. That first title card of the warrior dressing was truly an exciting moment. The warriors added a life and vitality to the landscape that was completely inspiring.

For a couple as socially conscious couple like Jamie and Claire they were awfully oblivious as to why the Cherokee would have been so incensed by their presence on the ridge. Jamie might feel a connection to the land but didn’t seem to care that there might be others who felt that same connection. What was up with that?

You knew the story wasn’t over for Roger and Brianna. We were a little surprised little Fiona was holding back as much as she was! Come on Fiona that was pretty harsh. And let’s all please have a moment for poor Gayle the lost roommate. Here’s hoping Brianna had the presence of mind to pre-mail a letter or something!

Next stop: Jamie and Claire arrive in River Run! It’s an episode sure to tackle some hot button issues, and we’ll be here for it!

Outlander returns next Sunday, 12/2 at 8 PM EST on Starz!

We'll be here with Outlander all season!

Every week we will be here with an Outlander fan roundtable! Interested in being on a roundtable? Message Andee on twitter: https://twitter.com/andeesings
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Andee Galeno
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  • Diane
    November 28, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you for the discussion, always interesting! My comment is about question 2 and taking over Indian Land. I’m sorry to reference the books but since it’s a small point… Jamie and Claire have a conversation about the treaty line right after their first encounter with Indian, which that was omitted – possibly because the tension between settler and First Nation more dramatic, and probably more realistic. While talking about their grant, Jamie tells Claire that he spoke to Myers about the treaty line, whether the grant map was accurate. Myers said it was, but Jamie had wanted to make sure from the Indians that they thought so too. It would have series that they weren’t complete idiots and/or heartless colonizers. That may have been splitting hairs because settling those lands was of questionable morality, whatever the Indians had agreed to with the British. Interesting to see how it’s handled moving forward.

    • Andee
      November 28, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting!!! I had forgotten that part of the book. Would have been nice to have a sentence or two in the conversation with JQM about that, or even something about it in the tension between the Cherokee and J&C. Maybe even in the ending where they’ve come to an understanding. Or a line between Jamie and Tryon? Obviously there’s so much to fit in but I purposely didn’t re-read DIA so that I wouldn’t constantly be doing the comparison!!! Thanks for pointing it out. Wish they had been able to fit something in! Claire and Jamie are usually so socially conscious this kind of stuck out!

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