Nothing Is Lost, Sassenach, Only Changed: Outlander, ‘America the Beautiful’

***Spoiler Warning Spoilers for Outlander through Season 4, Episode 1, and Book Spoilers through Diana Gabaldon’s Drums of Autumn follow. Spoilers***

As Claire Fraser spends the fourth season premiere opener reminding of life’s significant circles, the layers of her voiceover reflect its significance throughout the hour. Haunted by memories they can’t control, this family of characters kicks off their new lives with unseen individual and traumatic flashbacks; viewers know full well the memories that won’t let go. Paying forward good deeds doesn’t always play out positively and at times, the Frasers’ suffering feels out of proportion. At least, and as Jamie points out to his wife, their love crosses all mortal boundaries — a sentiment they’ll rely on for comfort before episode’s end.

Though Jamie would wish to rescue his friends, sentenced to hang for conflicting (book:  thief; show:  murder) offenses, Gavin Hayes (James Allenby-Kirk) would rather a slug of rum and Jamie’s comforting smile, as he dies. Promise kept, with lamenting song and a toast goodbye, the day’s unpleasantries are hardly done. Poor Ian is utterly traumatized by his season-ending encounter with Gellis; in comfort, Jamie must remember his own horrific encounters, and they bond over releasing ghosts’ names and deeds aloud.

As the group digs their former friend’s final resting place, a wagon stowaway makes himself known. Seemingly thankful for conveyance past hunters who’d seek his similar sentence, Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speelers) foreshadows his true intent (“I never married, but I’ve always been partial to rings.”) after sharing his own greatest fear with a knowing Claire.

Finally alone, the Frasers take their quiet opportunity to do what they tend to do best (“We have to treasure these moments”):  declaring love undying, and properly getting their Jamie and Claire on. Later at the Lillington Dinner, boobs and baubles take center stage, resulting in the desired gem sale that will pay their passage back to Scotland. An intriguing offer of land by the Governor (Tryon [Tim Downie]) heralds the Frasers’ eventual plans to stay. Ian brings home his newly won family pet, a gorgeous pup named Rollo, and again begs his uncle to let him stay along with Fergus and pregnant Marsali. Pondering the possibilities of this American life, Jamie presents Claire with a gift — a doctor’s toolkit — that she might practice her healing, while he dreams of running a press, again. But, a promise is a promise and circles are tricky things … that loop back to where terrible things started. Rollo immediately earns his keep attacking the men that come with that pesky Bonnet, who’s come to collect on his fascination. As Jamie is beaten and held back, the new Jack Randall makes himself known by demanding Claire’s most precious jewels. Though she valiantly fights back in her own desperate way, the bastard makes off with one of her wedding bands, and Mrs. Fraser looks in her hand to find she’s coughed up the ghost of marriages past.

Thoughts:

Cheers to the perfect casting of Stephen Bonnet, who’ll have a large role. Similar to Tobias Menzies, Speelers has that ability to be charming and wickedly evil all at once.

The scene between Ian and Jamie was really moving; the two men having similar (and yet, different) experiences allowed for them both to understand the need to release that darkness from within so they could be rid of it. John Bell continues to be spectacular; here’s hoping he gets a lot to do this season.

I get their heavy-handed, isn’t-it-ironic intent, but whoever chose Ray Charles’ America the Beautiful to play over the final scene didn’t make the right call. It was jarring to the point that it took away from, rather than setting or adding to the scene. Heck, that could have been an entirely silent closing and it would have been more effective.

Book readers know there’s a difference here in which ring Claire retains — in Drums of Autumn, Bonnet makes off with Frank’s gold ring, but in the series, that’s reversed for a very particular reason. ***Book Spoilers Ahead*** Showrunner, Ron Moore said he wanted Stephen to have Claire’s very recognizable ring when he meets Brianna so she would know Bonnet had taken it from her mother. ***End Book Spoilers****

Some of the lyrics from that lament sung for Hayes:

Eisd ris! Eisd ris! Dh’fhàg thu, Gabhainn, sinn fo bhròn!
Eisd ris! Eisd ris! ‘S truagh nach eil thu fhathast glè òg. 
Eisd ris! Eisd ris! Dh’fhàg thu, Gabhainn, sinn fo bhròn! 
Eisd ris! Eisd ris! ‘S truagh nach eil thu fhathast glè òg!

Google translates:

Hear him! Hear him! You left, Gabon, we are so sad! Hear him! Hear him! Sorry you are not still very young. Hear him! Hear him! You left, Gabon, we are so sad! Hear him! Hear him! Sorry you are not too young!

All hail the return of Hot-Times-with-the-Frasers! I especially enjoyed Jamie’s restraint, though he’s clearly fighting cannibalistic desires when it comes to his wife.

Welcome, Rollo!

Songs This Hour:

Ray Charles, America the Beautiful

Cast, Och nan Och

Best Lines:

Well, lad, what it comes down to is, that your cock doesn’t have a conscience; you have. It’s not your fault, lad. Ye did what you must and survived. That’s all that matters.

… Can’t you see that death is a small thing between us. After you left, I was dead. All that time, I loved you. When my body dies, my soul will still be yours. Nothing is lost, Sassenach. Only changed.

That’s the first law of thermodynamics.

No. No, that’s faith.

A dream for some could be a nightmare for others.

Bees that have honey in their mouth have sting in their tail.

He’s much sneakier than I thought. He’s practically Scottish.

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over eight years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

You may also like...