So Season 4 is off to a roaring start!
This season we thought we’d break away from full recaps and discussions and just write our thoughts about the episode. So let’s get down to it!
Episode 2: Do No Harm
So we’re already seeing the “New World” in all its glory and gore. Seriously the show never skimps on the gore.
Last week we lost a beloved character to a hanging, saw Jamie and Claire decide to make a life in America, and live out the adage “no good deed goes unpunished” when they’re attacked by Stephen Bonnet, an outlaw they helped earlier in the show. ***SLIGHT SPOILER*** For those of you missing BJR, fear not! Bonnet is the new sociopath we’ll all come to loathe together.
This week the Frasers land post robbery at River Run, home of Jaime’s Aunt Jocasta (played wonderfully by Maria Doyle Kennedy), whose wardrobe is a thing of envy. It’s sad this is the last season Terry Dresbach will be heading up the costuming department, but let’s enjoy every outfit we can until then, and Jocasta’s are drool worthy.
The scenery is drool worthy as well. The lazy serpentine river, the fall colored trees, the lush green hills…I mean this episode was just beautiful. Visually that is.
Oh Aunt Jocasta, you respect and dislike her all at the same time. She’s as manipulative as any Mackenzie. She’s obviously a strong business woman and independent at a time when that was not the norm, but she’s also a slave owner and one who sees nothing wrong in the practice and feels quite proud of her benevolence toward her slaves.
In fact, this is a time in America where slavery is legal in all the colonies and the only people calling for abolition are Quakers. So Jamie and Claire are surrounded by people who see nothing wrong with this practice. Claire’s reactions to seeing it first hand, to hearing people talk so casually about it, to suddenly becoming a slave owner herself when Jocasta bequeaths River Run to Jamie without warning…well her horror isn’t misplaced.
Let’s be bold and say we’d all be horrified.
But it doesn’t matter how noble or morally correct Claire and Jamie are, they are enormously outnumbered in their feelings toward slavery. Which makes the Rufus storyline so uncomfortable and complicated. It’s one of those moments where you wonder if the show has gone too far, or has it gone far enough?
We were exposed to the issue of slavery last season, but it wasn’t really a major point, but here the show has the perfect opportunity to delve into the issue more and instead of giving us insight into Ulysses, Phaedra and other slaves working the plantation, and the conditions, the injustice, etc. the episode focuses on one slave, Rufus, who is tortured for striking a white man and though Claire and Jamie try to save him, in the end Claire has to make the decision to poison Rufus so he’ll die in a more peaceful way, and not have to live through the horror of his body being beaten and hanged. So the horrors of slavery are condensed into this one interaction. After witnessing that Jamie and Claire are “Welp, that wasn’t fun. We’re out.” and leave River Run.
Well, the slaves can’t leave. So all Jamie and Claire managed to do was put everyone at risk and then they bail. At least that’s the feeling from the episode, don’t remember the book leaving that kind of impression.
Overall, not a bad episode, but not one of the better ones.
And we hate to break it to all of you who watch the show, but have yet to read the books…there’s plenty more of these situations to come. After all, we didn’t even touch on Ian’s interaction with John Quincy Meyers and what he had to say about Native Americans, so bit of foreshadowing there.
A little morsel about Episode 3: “THE FALSE BRIDE”
Jamie and Claire search for a place to call home with Young Ian and John Quincy Myers, a local mountain man. Meanwhile, in the 20th century, Brianna and Roger’s romance heats up and then fizzles during a road trip that winds up highlighting their differences.
Let’s take a moment for adorableness here with Ian and Rollo:
So what did you all think of this episode? Anything really stand out good or bad?
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