Outlander’s “The Birds and the Bees” provides sweetness with a sting in this week’s roundtable
Happy Outlander New Year! “The Birds and the Bees” fell over the holiday season so we’re here to start your 2019 right with a little Outlander chat. We begin with Brianna (Sophie Skelton) dealing with the trauma of her rape by Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speelers). She can’t even confide in her maid Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan) and shuts her out. At the same time Roger (Richard Rankin) goes back to find Brianna but Bonnet holds him to staying with the ship until the end of the line. Bree goes to find him but he’s already gone. Instead she goes to find her father Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), and she does! They go find Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and have a big family reunion. Tears all around.
Brianna goes back to Fraser’s Ridge and gets to know her new extended family. She also gets bonding time with her Da as Jamie learns Brianna is a crack shot thanks to Frank. Brianna also learns a lot about Jamie as well, but she’s harboring secrets. She’s pregnant and it isn’t particularly happy. Claire can sense that something is wrong with her daughter and finds out about the rape and pregnancy and tells Jamie. But Brianna doesn’t tell anyone about the truth of who raped her yet.
Roger takes his pay from Bonnet in the form of gemstones and makes his way to Brianna. But by this time Claire has discovered that it was Bonnet who raped Brianna and she’s sworn to not tell Jamie. So when Lizzie sees Roger heading for the ridge she wrongfully assumes Brianna’s rapist has come to find her. She and Young Ian (John Bell) tell Jamie and they go find Roger. Before he gets a word in edgewise Jamie beats him to a pulp and tells Young Ian to make him disappear.
And on we go! Let’s meet our roundtable panel and hear what they have to say.
Michelle (@mad_maxxie) – In search of Roger Mac.
Teddie (@teepe54) –An obsessive Outlander book reader and later show watcher. Outlander brought Teddie into the world of blogging beginning as a staff writer for Outlandercast. She’s also a long-time registered nurse working in the field of brain injury rehabilitation. Amidst all this she somehow discovered Turkish television and blogs for that as well at Dizidivas and Kivanc North America. She blames Droughtlander.
Connie (@Yr_Obt_Svt) – A native Texan transplanted since 2008 to Costa Rica where she have expanded her efforts to find Gabaldon fans or convert people to appreciate all things Gabaldonian (both English speakers and non). Although Connie’s home is now Costa Rica, she continue to be one of three admins who run “Texas Outlander Fans” on Facebook. You can take the muchacha out of Texas, but you can never take Texas out of the muchacha! Visit the Texas Outlander fans!
Jamie (@drgnys30) – Neonatal ICU RN, Autism Mommy, married to my awesome German hunk with 2 kids and 1 grandbaby that can do no wrong!
1. No time has passed since the last episode and we begin with Bree’s trauma, still fresh in our minds from last week. What are your feelings about Bree, and Lizzie’s reactions, in this opening?
Michelle (@mad_maxxie) – Aside from the fact that I’m still upset that the writers had the handfast and rape occur on the same night, I’m glad they didn’t start the episode as though nothing had happened. Brees pain and urgency and shock are still super palpable and poor Lizzie just wants to help.
Teddie (@teepe54) – The writing and direction laid out Bree’s emotional and physical distress in a way that required few words of dialog and worked chillingly well. Bree’s state of shock was reflected through numb denial where the slightest acknowledgement of the events would bring it shatteringly back into reality. Bree wasn’t ready for that. Lizzie’s offer of both her hand and her ear was moving and mature. Sophie Skelton handles the scenes with credibility and skill, transforming the sometimes petty and girlish character into (perhaps for some) a new and more sympathetic Bree. Sophie, I believed in you from the start!
Connie (@Yr_Obt_Svt) – I thought Bree’s brittleness and shaking and not wanting to be touched was very well portrayed as showing the reaction of someone who had been sexually assaulted. Bree’s injuries and stiff movements were distressing to Lizzie (and the viewing audience), and my heart broke as Bree was trying to wash away Bonnet’s touch and seed. Lizzie wanted so much to try to comfort Brianna in any way that Brianna would let her, but her mistress was all about getting on with her mission, which at this point was to get to Cross Creek.
Dee (@OL_America) – I think it was important to see Bree as she struggles to deal physically and emotionally with everything she just experienced. She had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in one evening and yet she really can’t talk about it to anyone, not even Lizzie. Sophie said in an interview that she wished, as difficult as it would have been, that they had shown Bree with Bonnet because she had researched rape victims and found that many said they disconnected their mind from the situation. She wanted to show that is how she chose to play Bree. I have mixed feelings. If they hadn’t already shown the rapes of Fergus and Mary, then it might have made sense and could show Bree trying to take control in the only way she could. But the books and show use (and show) rape too much and so showing the range of emotion from concern to indifference to even enjoyment by the people in the tavern was probably the right decision.
Jamie (@drgnys30) – As a survivor, the previous episode triggered me, I won’t lie. It was very hard to watch without reliving my own trauma. This week’s episode spoke to me a different way. I saw myself how others might have seen me in the days and weeks afterwards. I found Sophie’s portrayal of Bree to be pretty spot on. I felt Lizzie acted like the typical friend who knows the basics and not all the facts but still tries to help no matter what, no matter the rejection. You can tell she can see the torment and stress Bree is going through, unbeknownst to her, on 2 separate fronts but doesn’t know how to help.
2. Roger and Brianna have parted again. He didn’t even leave a message for her, though. What gives?
Michelle (@mad_maxxie) – That damn Bonnet. Rushing Roger out and threatening him. I think had Roger not run into him he would’ve found Bree and then Roger would’ve torn Bonnet limb from limb.
Teddie (@teepe54) – Dang the limitations of technology back in the day—It is so last century! More like the last two centuries, and Roger and Bree don’t even have two tin cans and a string, let alone a payphone. Roger did the next best thing in leaving a message with the barkeep, though. That counts for something in the tragedy of errors that ensues.
Connie (@Yr_Obt_Svt) – Roger came back and he DID leave a message for her with the tavern keeper, although by the time Brianna got the message she had missed the boat. Literally. I interpreted Brianna’s hurrying to the docks once she got that bit of information from the tavern keeper as that she wanted to get to Roger and make up with him as soon as possible.
Dee (@OL_America) – Both can be stubborn, emotional and irrational, but this isn’t just a typical couple fight. This is a couple living in a strange and dangerous time who just rushed into a handfast and now because of a disagreement he’s going to leave just because she (pretends) to seem indifferent if he does? I also didn’t like Roger throwing his weight around again: “Now that you’re my wife maybe you should start listening to me.” To me, that continued the, “My way or the highway,” attitude and should be a warning to her. I’m on Bree’s side here.
Jamie (@drgnys30) – Oh the course of true love never did run smoothly!! I think Roger wanted to leave a message but felt she would rebuff it. I do like that Bree asked, on the off chance, if Roger had been there or left a message. If he had told her he was trying to get money\stones to get her and him back home to the 20th century she might have freaked out even worse, not seeing it as him trying to protect her out of love. And that barkeeper? He needs to be shot! Bastard knew who she was, what had happened to her, and knew they were together. Rape culture runs deep and has a long history in this world…We are only now trying to make strides to fix it.
3. The meeting we’ve been waiting for since the beginning of season 4! Did Brianna meeting Jamie and her subsequent reunion with her mother meet your expectations?
Michelle (@mad_maxxie) – That was the sound of the collective fandom crying. It was really well done. The peeing was kinda weird but overall it was a sweet, tender moment.
Teddie (@teepe54) – Yes, and yes! I’m a tough customer when it comes to the Jamie that resides in my head; but in this crucial and beloved scene, Sam Heughan was everything I could ever want in Jamie Fraser. Facial expressions are Sam’s forte, especially when deeply moved, and he shined one million watts! Claire’s response was gorgeous to watch—a balance of reserve, wonder, and motherly love. May I say it was perfect in every possible way?
Connie (@Yr_Obt_Svt) – Every expectation met 100% and exceeded! This episode was almost perfect. I cried. I’m about to cry again. Watching Jamie’s face go from curiosity to tears and awe just about made me ugly cry (Sam Heughan was perfection in this episode), but I didn’t want to miss a word or a gesture so I held back from ugly crying. JAMMF was pissing on a wall instead of a tree, but almost every other detail and bit of dialog from the books was THERE in all its Gabaldonian heart-wrenching genius!
Dee (@OL_America) – I thought they both did a wonderful job, especially Sam. I had to laugh that they left in Jamie relieving himself, poor Sam has had to play that three times in four seasons now and each time it was right before seeing a very important person in his life. I like that Sam and Sophie chose not to rehearse it and this was the first scene they ever filmed together. It helped create a newness and a wonder about it. It looked very cold that day and that left both of their eyes shining with tears of happiness, relief and probably an icy cold Scottish wind. I rarely do this, but I stopped the episode right there and watched it again before continuing, just to catch every word and ever look.
I liked that they kept the bench for the meeting with Claire even though it was in Wilmington and not the Ridge. Toni Graphia said that she had written something very different but Maril fought for the bench. I had to watch it several times so I could look at each of their faces.
Jamie (@drgnys30) – OMG!! I read the first book while in high school, following it up every time a new one came out. Having been very close to my own father, I couldn’t imagine going thru time to meet him (a virtual stranger except for stories) for the first time! This scene was one I had been waiting for and I was definitely not disappointed. I had played it out in my head many times during rereads and I could feel Bree’s excitement and nervousness, her fear of rejection. I could feel Jamie’s astonishment and almost horror at the realization that she was really there. And then the overwhelming joy of them all when Claire is let in on the secret! I felt like this episode rocked it and the producers, cast and crew really put their hearts into it.
4. So Brianna did see that Frank had the obituary, and she told Claire about it. Were you expecting this?
Michelle (@mad_maxxie) – I’m more surprised that Frank knew Claire went back. Did he want to take Bree to England so that she wouldn’t leave him as well?
Teddie (@teepe54) – I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon but I adore that this was included in this episode. Checking off all the critical storyline boxes must be a challenge when there is so much story to be told but I welcomed this early revelation. The writers are moving the story along with expediency. It gives me a book reader’s hope that (in a play on the words of our fearless author [Diana Gabaldon] who reassures readers that “All will be revealed,”) that we can add “All will be included.”
Connie (@Yr_Obt_Svt) – No, this was different from the books (DRINK!) but the way the writers worked it into the script for this episode was masterful. Claire’s realization and reaction to this news really told us a lot in a few moments about her marriage to Frank, and his feelings and heartbreak about Claire. The reach- back to the flashbacks (someone clever has called them “Frank-backs”) from Ep 407 “Down the Rabbit Hole” really connected a lot of the overall tragic story of Frank’s & Claire’s marriage. And you can’t have the whole Claire/Jamie story without Frank. It’s an important part of the fabric of the Outlander saga.
Dee (@OL_America) – Yes but not so soon. I was more surprised at Claire’s shocked but rather subdued reaction. I would have been pretty annoyed that he never said anything to me so that I could save my own life. I wonder if Bree will ever tell her that Frank tried to tell Bree.
Jamie (@drgnys30) – This is a little twist in the story! This was not something from the book, but I am so glad that it was put in here (Yes, Frank is a personal favorite of mine!). From reading ALL the books, I always said Frank knew things and did things a certain way when he knew things and that it couldn’t be changed. I think Bree didn’t realize what she was looking at on his desk, oh the bliss and obliviousness of young adulthood! I think later in her research she recognized it and it triggered the memories of Frank and his letters. I was glad she told Claire, who, for all her devotion to Jamie, did love Frank and knew him well. I think she knew that he would look and try to verify her story, no matter how long it took him.
5. Give us your thoughts on the Father-Daughter bonding time in this episode. Did you have a favorite part? Anything you could have done without?
Michelle (@mad_maxxie) – I think the audience needed to see them bonding and sharing that time alone. It’s was important for Bree to see why her mother loves him so much.
Teddie (@teepe54) – Sam Heughan’s Jamie was stellar in this episode, which so far is my favorite of the season. His shy but hopeful love for Bree was as precious as I could ask for. The choreography of patience, emotional reserve, and respect allowed Bree to begin to understand Jamie’s sacrifice. It also allowed for Jamie to truly appreciate Frank’s devotion and caring upbringing of Brianna. I’m not so sure I’d want to hear a story about my new dad’s bollocks while seated at the dining table. Or anywhere, for that matter.
Connie (@Yr_Obt_Svt) – I loved the tender awkwardness of this developing relationship. Claire was very wise to suggest they go hunting to have some “alone” time together. Also, Jamie seeing Bree smile in her sleep was very powerful in how it affected him emotionally, and that she called him “Da”. (Sigh, sniffle!) Jamie was very respectful in his appreciation for Frank’s raising of Brianna. And he realized that Frank had loved Bree very much and taught her useful things, too, like shooting. (Did Brianna really outshoot JAMIE?)
Dee (@OL_America) – I love how he can’t stop looking at her. When they first go to the Ridge, Bree and Claire can’t stop looking at the Ridge and Jamie can’t stop looking at Bree. In the bee hunting scenes, I admire Jamie for making it OK for Bree to feel confused and a little guilty about being with her real father. I know everyone loves the, “You can call me Da,” line but my two favorite things weren’t that. One favorite was the fact that twice he said to her, “You’ve come back to me.” That is how he sees the situation: He had to let her go to save her life and now she chose to return. I just loved that. The second was when he said she was a disturbance like her mother before her. I loved both the line and how Sam delivered it.
Jamie (@drgnys30) – I think it was needed. Jamie and Bree had very tentative, standoffish interactions. It felt stiff, like you would expect just meeting your real father no matter what century they were in! I think they needed that time to share stories, thoughts, emotions as freely as they might. Most people are blessed to get to know there parents over years of interactions. Bree has only a short while. I think it was hard for Bree to reconcile the differences in men that Frank and Jamie are but to still see that both did EVERYTHING out of love for her and Claire. Those two women are so lucky!
6. Poor Brianna. Her confession to Claire couldn’t have been easy. Did you feel for her?
Michelle (@mad_maxxie) – This was heartbreaking on every level. You felt her shame and embarrassment and frustration and sadness and the utter brutality of having gone through the most traumatic experience. And you feel Claire’s sadness and heartbreak and her loss for her daughter. It’s clear Sophie did her research. She was absolutely incredible during this episode.
Teddie (@teepe54) – Brianna needed mama more than ever and would have spilled everything immediately, if not for Stephen Bonnet, damn him! I loved that Bree was mindful of her parents’ feelings, but it was too much for this young woman to bear. She’s out of her time, lost from Roger, and then raped by Bonnet. Claire’s gentle intuitiveness opened the floodgates which was exactly what Bree needed. Sophie’s Bree was beautifully vulnerable throughout these scenes.
Connie (@Yr_Obt_Svt) – Anyone who has ever had to admit something embarrassing to their parents can feel for Brianna here, whether the hard-to-talk-about discussion concerned an unplanned pregnancy, an STD, an auto accident, or other serious problem. On the other hand, my own mother often knew what was up with me without me saying a word, so Claire’s perception and understanding seems believable and real to me. The emotions portrayed by Caitriona and Sophie rang absolutely true in this scene.
Dee (@OL_America) – I felt for both her and Claire. You could see how relieved Bree was when her mother opened the door to talk about what was really bothering her and that she was pregnant. I felt awful for Bree when she explained that she felt that she could have done more to protect herself. And for Claire, a mother who has already had one child lost, another foster child who was maimed (thank goodness she wasn’t there for that) and now the most important person in her life experienced such trauma while she, a mother and a doctor, could do nothing to take away her pain. It’s the worst feeling in the world as a mother.
Jamie (@drgnys30) – My heart broke for her. She was stressed over it and you could tell she didn’t keep many secrets from Claire.
7. Yikes, Roger, he barely got three words in! What were you thinking?
Michelle (@mad_maxxie) – I knew this was coming but I was soooooo unprepared for it. I was just as angry as when I’d read it in the book & even more heartbroken.
Teddie (@teepe54) – I was thinking that NO ONE was thinking at all, let alone speaking. Despite mostly good intentions, Lizzie, Ian, and Jamie created a great big honking foolish, circumstantial, bloody, vengeful, macho mess of things. With all that’s gone down, a stone circle might look very attractive to poor Roger right about now. That is, if he could even see anything…
Connie (@Yr_Obt_Svt) – Puir wee Roger got his face smashed to a veritable pulp by Jamie. If Ian hadn’t stopped Jamie’s blows when he did, Roger might not have survived. Kudos to Richard Rankin for being able to balance on the horse John Bell was leading away!
Dee (@OL_America) – I kind of think Roger needed a good punch for how he treated Bree at the end but nobody wants to be at the receiving end of a giant, angry Da with the wrong information. It’s a good thing Ian came along when he did.
Jamie (@drgnys30) – Holy Hell! JHRC! Barely restrained, leashed power, that is what I was thinking! Jamie is pissed! His newly found daughter, abused, raped, left by the man she loves-Fatherly vengeance is mine! Poor Roger, he definitely didn’t deserve that but I am sure had the situation been reversed he might have felt the same given the facts Jamie had! I just wish he could have gotten a few blows in edge wise.
8. Secrets, secrets are no fun. Surely one of the people involved in this debacle realize that not telling the truth will cause more of a mess? What’s your opinion?
Michelle (@mad_maxxie) – I think the theme of Outlander is miscommunication. All of these characters are only telling half stories to one another. Makes me want to shake them by the shoulders and shout at them!
Teddie (@teepe54) – Except for Bree and Roger and Claire’s knowledge of Bree’s account, everyone else has their own flawed version of what they think transpired. While I get why she did it, had Bree not kept Bonnet’s identity a secret, Roger would have been saved from a world of pain and been there for Bree, Jamie’s knuckles would look normal, and Lizzie would be less fretful. Either way it’s going to take a while for the pieces to come together. I hope this one gets resolved soon, because a Droughtlander that hinges on this Roger cliffhanger gives me an awful feeling of anxiety. But perhaps the cliffhanger may involve someone else?
Connie (@Yr_Obt_Svt) – Some time ago, I read or heard that there’s a difference between secrets and surprises. These are NOT fun surprises being hidden on Fraser’s Ridge. These secrets are toxic and cause harm. Brianna’s trying to protect Claire & Jamie from learning about Bonnet because she doesn’t want Jamie to get hurt or killed trying to get revenge. Lizzie’s misunderstanding about who hurt Brianna stems from Bree’s keeping secrets from her maid, from not sharing what really happened.
This was one of my most favorite episodes EVER. I also loved that readers got the Easter egg of the story of Jamie fostering with his uncle Dougal, getting his first kiss, and Dougal’s reaction. That was a funny bit in the books that I loved the writers included by having Murtagh tell the story about a young Jamie. I liked that Lizzie got the chance to bring Brianna the good news about her parents being in Wilmington. Caitlin O’Ryan’s Lizzie is really growing on me. And I loved Murtagh’s reaction to meeting Brianna. The family is together on Fraser’s Ridge. Next up, worrying about Roger!!
Dee (@OL_America) – When Claire agreed to keep Bree’s secret about Bonnet being the one who raped her, all I could think of is that a marriage can survive secrets but not lies. But at what point is a secret just a lie of omission, even if you’re trying to protect people you love. I think everybody in the family will be angry with each other until this is all sorted out.
Jamie (@drgnys30) – Lord people!! OPEN YOUR DAMN MOUTH!! Secrets hurt everyone, as evidenced by this episode. Too many secrets, many hearts breaking. I just don’t think Lizzie is to blame. She gave the information as she knew it to be. Bree should have been upfront with both her parents. Let them know totally about Roger, their handfasting and parting. Also let them know about Bonnet’s activities and the subsequent question of her pregnancy. Claire should have ‘fessed up the info she knew along with a full name of Roger from the get go too. Oh what a tangled web we weave- Even if it unintentionally deceives!!
Final Verdict: The “other” reunion we’ve all been waiting for was everything we hoped it would be
“The Birds and the Bees” is our title not just because poor Brianna is pregnant and doesn’t know who the father is. Or because Jamie and Brianna went hunting bees. This episode was about family. We got hints of Daddy Jamie with Willy but it’s nice for us to really go in full throttle as Jamie meets his daughter for the first time.
Miscommunication is a theme in Outlander. It’s so difficult when each of the characters holds back just enough information to turn a bad situation into a debacle that’s so bad you have to cover your eyes. The most frustrating part about this episode is that you could really see where each of the characters is coming from. One thing is for sure: The truth will always out.
Did anyone seem like more of a poor sap than Roger saying, “Excuse me, sir, can you show me the way to Fraser’s Ridge?” He was just so friendly and Jamie was just so much freight train of a man barreling towards its destination. Though at this point Roger’s communication skills are so poor that we don’t feel that much sympathy. We’re looking at you, writers. Jamie and Claire aren’t the only couple in this show. There are room for two in the series.
We did give props to the writers for Claire finding out about Frank. We wish there was more development of this part of the storyline. It came quickly and seeing Brianna as a crack shot and Jamie’s acceptance of Frank as part of her life was really sweet. We get that there’s not that much time and a lot of story but sometimes Outlander feels a little slow. A minute here, a minute there, and suddenly there’s room for a little extra mystery, right?
Up until now Brianna has been an only child with no family. Now she has cousins and a whole host of extended family. She has a place to belong that she didn’t have in twentieth century. But she also didn’t have a the peril she faces in the 18th. We weren’t fans of this rape storyline in the episode but we thought Sophie Skelton did some of her best work on the show thus far showing her recovery.
Overall our fan roundtable had a lot of love for “The Birds and the Bees”. We did as well! The episode was truly heartfelt. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing the fallout and what the heck is going to go on with Roger.