In “Savages” we were invited to judge who the real savages were, and we got to greet an old friend. See what the roundtable had to say!
Time has passed on the ridge for the intrepid Frasers. Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) have built the swankiest cabin anyone has ever seen and they seem to be passing the time pleasantly. Claire also has a good relationship with Adawehi (Tantoo Cardinal) and she teaches her about Cherokee medicine and tells her her daughter is present. Claire thinks she means in her heart. Oh Claire. Watch this space.
While Claire goes off to deliver a baby for a German homesteader family called Muellers Jamie and Ian (John Bell) head off to find more tenants. Despite Jamie putting on his best laird routine the residents of the settlement are too peeved at the Governor to take Jamie’s offer of free land. So tenants they don’t find, but they do manage to find Jamie’s long-lost Godfather, Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix)! Tears all around.
Checking back in with Claire she manages to deliver the baby but the Muellers are suspicious of some Cherokee that stop for water. Claire talks them down but she later finds out mother and baby have died of smallpox and Papa Mueller blames the Cherokee and possibly Claire! When he finally turns up he doesn’t kill Claire but instead presents her with the scalp of her friend. Jamie comes back not too long after which is good for her peace of mind. Plus he brings Murtagh and a happy reunion is had by all.
Oh and Roger tries to track down Brianna and instead gets a note from her saying she’s gone to warn her parents. Next thing we know she’s got some 1970’s colonial realness of an outfit and she’s at stones!
Let’s see what our roundtable had to say!
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.
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.
Jo (@JoTrainChoo) – Loves black coffee, long naps, reading and is reluctantly addicted to Twitter.
Heather (@taterbug160) – Patiently waiting for next week and Lord John Grey.
Peggy (@TheRonTerryShow) – Preschool Teacher from Newton, MA.
1) When you adapt things stuff you love is bound to get cut. There was a large passage of time and we didn’t see a lot of Claire with Adawehi. Give us your thoughts on their relationship!
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – I didn’t re-read Drums before the season started, so I don’t recall exactly what happened in the books. Overall, I don’t like how this season seems to be using the POC characters as plot devices over fully fleshing them out. What we did see of Claire and Adawehi was fantastic. They were bonding over shared experiences and knowledge. I also appreciated Claire trying to learn Cherokee because too often we only see scenes in period dramas where the Natives are being “civilized”.
Teddie (@teepe54) – The brief but intimate montage of Adawehi and Claire sharing their knowledge of the healing arts established the depth of their unique bond, and it worked beautifully. Their shyly sweet interactions held the promise of so much more.
Jo (@JoTrainChoo) – Their friendship is so timeless we didn’t really need to see it develop. Much of what they experience as healers would be full blown trauma (for me anyway. Blood! *covers eyes emoji* *pukey face emoji*) and that quiet moment of them collecting, cleaning and separating herbs was the perfect scene to show what they have in common. They don’t need the same language. They have so many shared experiences that create an immediate bond.
Heather (@taterbug160) – Indeed, sometimes big chunks of the book will get cut. That said, I think the little time we see them together they do really show that they have created a friendship and a rapport with each other. Claire has even managed to learn a few Cherokee words! I think this speaks to their genuineness to get to know each other, and I really love the little bit we get to see.
Peggy (@TheRonTerryShow) – In the book, there is a lot of time spent where these two characters develop into an amazing friendship, or a sisterhood of sorts but there seemed to be a very quick connection between them on their first meeting. Sometimes you can meet someone once and there is a bond that is ever lasting. Would it have been nice to see more screen time between Claire and Adawehi, of course, but with the short amount of time the show has, there are just some relationship aspects that are just understood.
2) We’re getting a taste of Claire’s new North Carolina domesticity and even have a white sow (and Brianna birthmark) easter egg for fans! Did homesteader Jamie and Claire (and their super fancy cabin) resonate with you?
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – I love the sow who I call The Empress of Fraser’s Ridge after the P.G. Wodehouse stories. I’m not a fan of Jamie’s tricorn so I much enjoyed her chewing on it. Claire and Jamie have never really had a chance to have a “normal” married life, so I appreciated those small details. I didn’t notice the Easter egg at first because I didn’t remember Brianna had a birthmark.
Teddie (@teepe54) – The cabin was the scene stealer of this episode! Jamie and Claire are HOME; they are entrenched, and it’s all theirs. I’ll write off the finely-carved chairs, and leaded window panes as housewarming gifts from Jocasta. Jamie’s dreams are the closest he’ll ever get to time travelling, but boy, he does get around!
Jo (@JoTrainChoo) – Yes. I have said many times that all the rest of the episodes could basically be a “Groundhog Day” version of the ridge. I will never tire of them taking 90 hours to make and put jerky in a pot, or feed the animals, or start making dinner at breakfast time. That sh*t is entertaining AF!!
Heather (@taterbug160) – I adore the cabin, and I loved getting to see Claire be the independent capable farmer she can surely be. They added in so many good book lovers moments and everyone knows I love a pig. (Honestly she’s just misunderstood!)
Peggy (@TheRonTerryShow) – I was a little confused by the lushness of the cabin. Though Jon Gary Steele is a master of his craft and the crew did such an amazing job, I felt like it was a bit too much. When I envisioned the cabin, it almost had a Little House on the Prairie kind of feel to it. Maybe I just didn’t have enough imagination when it came to the inner-workings of the homestead.
As for Claire and being the domestic goddess? Well, she had already spent time traveling with Jamie for a couple years, also had spent many years traveling all over different countries with Uncle Lamb. I’m sure in that time she learned how to cook, take care of herself, hunt and do all sorts of domestic acts. Plus she did have 20 years of raising a daughter and had much of a domestic life already in Boston with her family.
3) This episode we met the Muellers, however briefly. While it’s unclear if they’re Jamie’s tenants, they’re having a bit more trouble than Jamie and Claire getting along with their neighbors. What did you think about this storyline in this episode?
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – I believe that storyline was incredibly important to show that in many cases immigrant colonists supported a system of oppression and lack of cultural understanding to the Native Americans at that time. Mr. Mueller was so superstitious and didn’t bother to ask blessings. He felt so morally and religiously superior that even something as simple as horses needing water turned into a war. He supported the system that drove Natives from their lands and erased their religion.
Teddie (@teepe54) – It was brutal: The depth of Herr Mueller’s sense of proprietary entitlement, combined with his voodoo approach to illness was destined to spin crazily into a tragic end for himself and his family. Book reader or not, the dread was palpable.
Jo (@JoTrainChoo) – What struck me is when Herr Mueller said that his family was not supposed to be the ones that died because they are the ones that believe in God. I wonder (know) how often throughout history (all of it) that mindset has caused similar outcomes (pointless and violent deaths <usually of women>). #thesewhitemenaredangerous
Heather (@taterbug160) – Oh the Muellers. I think this is a tragic moment for both the Mueller’s and the Cherokee. They both come to this meeting at the creek with their own fears and prejudices and because of those the Mueller’s think the Cherokee have cursed them. Mr. Mueller takes out that fear on Adawehi and the Cherokee take that death on what is left of their family (and their house). This time in America is sad and scary and this storyline brings that home.
Peggy (@TheRonTerryShow) – The episode most definitely shows the prejudices and fear of the unknown. It shows that these human traits can be a catalyst for violent events, even if unintentional. It was important to show what the times were like in that era because Jamie, Claire, their family and the people who settle in that area were dealing with much more than the British. They were claiming their stake in the land that was now their home. And with that claim they thought that they had to defend what was theirs by ownership, perhaps not thinking about the fact that the land they “owned” already belong to the native people.
4) Claire is so great at delivering babies. Not really very great at de-escalating tough situations. But we were also a little surprised by her subdued reaction to her “package” from Gerhardt Mueller.
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – I believe she had a mini panic attack because she didn’t expect Mr. Mueller to be so violent and racist. She was expecting a trinket to remind her of the baby and Petronella. She had to process exactly what he did. Even for Claire, scalping would have been words in an old history book. What made it so much worse was that he killed Adawehi who was so kind to her. She was one of the first Cherokee to reach out for cultural understanding. Claire actually saw her life flash before her so to speak because she knew the Natives had every right to attack in retaliation.
Teddie (@teepe54) – What can be said when an actual piece of someone you respect and care for is literally handed to you in the guise of a gift? Claire Randall Fraser, combat nurse and surgeon in past, present, and future has seen a lot of revolting, heartbreaking, and traumatic stuff, but this was likely a first for her. Her reaction was anything but subdued; I call it shock and disbelief: The first stage of grief.
Jo (@JoTrainChoo) – How do you even react though (obviously you scream and throw it across the room and make him pick it up and take it with him on the way out)? …Comatose seems as good as a reaction as any. Also, add in already being alone and mostly terrified 24/7 and really any sort of reaction could be correct (but definitely screaming and throwing would be most accurate).
Heather (@taterbug160) – Claire has never been a great negotiator when it comes to deescalating situations. (Witch trial, anyone?) I don’t think Claire was too surprised to find that Mueller had retaliated, but yes, she could have been a bit more shocked at who he went for, and maybe a little more devastated at losing her friend. Maybe she’s becoming numb to the cold hearted reality of what happens out here in the frontier part of early America.
Peggy (@TheRonTerryShow) – I couldn’t tell if she was more in shock at that point in fear for her own life or just completely angered and didn’t know where to go with it. What he did was disgusting and full of hatred but she knew that he had done it out of revenge; revenge of what he had imagined was a curse on his lands. She must have wondered if he would do the same to her, she was also a healer after all.
5) Jamie and Ian didn’t exactly do a cracking job at recruiting tenants. This was something we didn’t expect. Where do you think this goes from here?
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – This was actually a good way to explain a few historical facts for the audience. First of all, problems with excessive taxation led to the Revolution. Many people think about boycotting tea and sugar, but in the South, the main issue was land taxation. Only the rich could afford the taxes. Owing debts often led small landowners into forfeiting their property, indentured servitude or debtor’s jail to pay the debts. Secondly, one man or even family could not farm more than a veggie garden by themselves. An acre or more needs laborers, and all too often what ended up happening were that slaves were brought to do the plowing and the planting. Thirdly, their failed recruitment introduces the Regulators as a political movement. Governor Tryon back in Episode 1 made the Regulators sound like a bunch of highway bandits. In fact they were frustrated working class men whose grievances against the corrupt government weren’t being heard.
Teddie (@teepe54) – A disappointed and rather bewildered MacDubh needs his Ardsmuir guys back in the fold. Political shenanigans are not what he and Ian were expecting, but as a born leader, it’s time for James Fraser’s substantial leadership skills to shine.
Jo (@JoTrainChoo) – Obviously Murtagh is the leader of the Jets (or was it the Sharks? Hard to tell with the accent) these days so once he heads on up to the ridge it’s gonna be Scots for dayzzzzz.
Heather (@taterbug160) – Interesting question, and one I guess we’ll have to see how it plays out. Jame can’t really give back all that land NOW, and once again he’s being pretty naive about what he thinks he can demand in regards to taxes. (Which is insane considering he knows first hand what the British are capable of.) I think if Murtagh wasn’t so deeply entrenched it would be easier to write off, but as he’s ALIVE and like, leading the regulators… well, maybe not.
Peggy (@TheRonTerryShow) – It seems like they are putting in conflict for a bigger picture. Something is going to happen to bring the clans together in a major way and I believe that’s where Murtagh’s return comes in.
6) It’s time to chat about the BIG news of this episode: MURTAGH IS BACK! And he’s a LEADER of the REGULATORS? Tell us everything.
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – I always had a feeling Murtagh was going to resurface in the colonies, it was a matter of when. Duncan LaCroix made Murtagh a fan-favorite so I knew they were going to find a way to bring him back I enjoyed seeing him pick up with Jamie and Claire as if the past 20 years never happened.. I also appreciated how they showed his life to be a more typical Jacobite result. He served out his term of indentured servitude, then found employment using his settlement money. Murtagh as a Regulator made perfect sense given his past history with open rebellion against the government. These Scottish settlers never gave up their anti-crown sentiment just because they moved to America.
Teddie (@teepe54) – While Murtaugh’s state of existence is a non-issue in the 4th book of the series, who cannot be tremendously thrilled with this plot change—we are talking Murtagh here! The sound of his distinctive voice distracted me only briefly from admiring his silver ponytail and whiskers. As he greeted Claire with the 17th century rendition of a big band tune any negative thoughts I previously felt about “The Search” dissolved away forever. Processing his role as leader of the Regulators is going to be a challenge for me, but I’ll take Murtagh any way I can.
Jo (@JoTrainChoo) – I mean, every time I hear REGULATORS (mount up) I think of Warren G and Nate Dogg so I’ve clearly got my history cap on and ready to talk all things history. But really, good for Murtagh. But you know, I hope he stays safe and doesn’t die because we have him for longer than we thought we would and if Murtagh dies: We riot!!
Heather (@taterbug160) – ALL THE FEELS. We knew he was alive and we knew he ended up in America but SO LOVED how and when they brought him back. Though I kind of miss the quiet, go with the flow godfather we came to love, it will be interesting to see how this new leader type Murtagh plays out.
Peggy (@TheRonTerryShow) – Again, Murtagh is back and we are so excited for it. Such a major shift from the books but a happy one nonetheless. His being back is a reunion that we’ve wanted but it looks like the powers that be are using him to create conflict within the Scots living in NC and the Crown. If this is true, then maybe there is going to be a rift between he and Jamie. It could be almost Father against Son when the revolution comes to head in the future.
7) Brianna’s letter seemed awfully final. What a crushing blow! What’s up with our favorite couple of the 70’s?
Amanda-Rae (@amandarprescott) – I’m still waiting for Roger to apologize to Brianna for slut-shaming her at the Scottish festival. I think it’s finally hitting Roger how wrong he was about her, and I hope he’s suitably crushed enough to finally apologize if he does get the chance. That’s really what’s up.
Teddie (@teepe54) – Brianna went and did it, and all that Roger is left with is a thrift store hat with a pom pom and Brianna’s letter, read a whole year earlier than she had planned. Blood is thicker than water, but Roger’s love for Bree transcends space and time, so… go figure.
Jo (@JoTrainChoo) – Again, it’s sort of an awkward letter to write. “So uh, you know my mom is a time traveler and basically anyone who can read and research could find out about her life and I did and I’m worried and I’m pretty sure I can time travel so. Peace out Roger. See ya never.” *shrugs*
Heather (@taterbug160) – Brianna’s letter was kind of as awful as she is. (Sorry.) It’s easy to blow past this because I’ve read the books, but geesh, she done Roger dirty and it’s hard to imagine him finding the motivation to go after her. I guess it’s hard to ignore a time traveling girlfriend and her family!
Peggy (@TheRonTerryShow) – As a book reader, I already know what lies ahead for these two. But if I weren’t, I would say that with Richard being able to hear the buzzing at Craig Na Dun, there is a huge possibility that they will be reunited, either in the 70’s or in the way, way, way past, like the 1700’s past.
Final Verdict: In Outlander‘s “Savages”, we were blown away by the details, the writing, and the adaptation. That Murtagh moment? Feels for days.
This week our roundtable agreed that “Savages” was one of the strongest episodes of the season thus far. We had a few quibbles with the episode but for the most part we really enjoyed every moment. It’s interesting to note that Bronwyn Garrity, the writer for this episode, also wrote this season’s finale. That bodes well for a really good season 4 finale!
It’s really fantastic when Outlander makes a big decision in the adaptation and it works so well. What we really loved about Murtagh returning is how the creatives managed to subvert expectations for his return. Bringing back Murtagh as a leader of the regulators is a genius stroke. It gives him a purpose and it’s going to a create a conflict that we can’t wait to see play out.
Though we were absolutely in love with Jon Gary Steele’s sets as usual a few of our roundtable did have a chuckle at the incredible amount of things Jamie and Claire managed to accumulate and incorporate into their home-built cabin. But we can suspend our disbelief for a bit of eye candy. And thanks to the writers for including little things like the white sow! If you didn’t read the books she was fun, but if you did she was even more fun!
We enjoyed the metaphor of “Savages” this week, and Jo really touched on it in her answers. Gerhardt Mueller thought his family should be saved because they believed in God, but then killed an innocent woman in his self-righteous rage. The culture clash is fiercely sad here. One couldn’t help but wonder why Gerhardt Mueller and the Cherokee hadn’t come to more conflict before now. Will this cultural conflict continue to impact the Frasers?
It’s clear that Brianna is going back through the stones. How will a woebegone Roger follow her? We can’t wait to see next week!