Sunday, December 9, 2018

REVIEW: 'Outlander' - Lord John Grey's Visit Causes Honest Conversations for Jamie and Claire in 'Blood of My Blood'

Starz's Outlander - Episode 4.06 "Blood of My Blood"

Jamie and Claire are surprised when Lord John Grey drops in on Fraser's Ridge with an unexpected traveling companion. When Grey takes ill, Claire must reconcile her personal feelings with her duties as a doctor.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of Starz's Outlander.

"Blood of My Blood" was written by Shaina Fewell and directed by Denise Di Novi

Jamie's friendships with Murtagh and Lord John Grey are wildly opposed to one another. Those two stand on opposite sides of the political spectrum. John is a representative of the English government who supports the governor's rule of North Carolina including his tax policies. Meanwhile, Murtagh is a citizen who has paid his debt to society but is choosing to push back against the oppressive leadership of the region. As such, it's so intriguing that the two of them sit down at the same table alongside Jamie and Claire. They can't hide their differences either. In fact, taxes appear to be the driving force of their character arcs this season. Jamie and Claire have been working both sides of the debate as well. They are working with the governor in order to maintain the land where they are creating a home. But they ideologically support Murtagh's pledge for fair taxes. They are also operating with the awareness that this conflict will lead to war where the Americans will win. They don't want to be on the losing side of this battle. But they have to carefully maintain these relationships with all of the parties at the moment. It means that Murtagh's visit is cut short. He is brought up to speed about Jamie's deep friendship with Lord John Grey. To him, he's the warden of the prison who sent him away to the colonies in the first place as an indentured servant. John still remembers him though. In fact, he sees it as remarkable that so many people of the past have come back into Jamie's life after years of agony. It was in that span of uncertainty that Jamie's friendship with John thrived. He was tasked with raising Jamie's son, William, as his own. And now, John presents a young man to Jamie for the first time since he left his posting at Helwater. It's all very miraculous. But again, there is the hint that all of these conflicts will continue to play a crucial role in the proceedings for the season. Neither Murtagh nor John are committed to building homes on Fraser's Ridge. Even Young Ian is absent from all of this because he has gone hunting with the Cherokee tribe. That makes this such an intimate and focused hour. One with themes that will continue because Murtagh has established his home in a nearby community while John and William are starting an estate up in Virginia. They all visited Fraser's Ridge because of Jamie. They too can marvel at the beauty of this piece of land. However, their differences are still forced to the forefront. Murtagh will continue to keep Jamie's secrets too. That has always been a part of their relationship. However, he has more personal agency and responsibility now as well. He built a life for himself. A life that can't be compromised because Jamie has returned and once more has a lot to ask of him.

Of course, the hour quickly turns in a different direction once John is stricken with the measles. That outbreak continues to sweep through the area. It means that Claire is left at home to heal him back to health while Jamie has to take William away for a few days to ensure that he doesn't contract the same disease. Those are such meaningful pairings as well. It means that Jamie is allowed to spend time with his son. He never knew if this would ever happen again. He had to say goodbye to that portion of his life. And now, he is trying to ease William's fears about another parent dying on him. His mother died on the journey to the colonies. John is all that he has left. Jamie knows that that's not true at all. He will care for his child should anything happen. And yet, John is William's father. There is no denying the connection that they have. William blames Jamie for getting his father sick because he only caught the disease while traveling for this specific visit. There is no other reason for them to spend so much time in North Carolina. But both Jamie and William stand up for each other. When William runs into trouble with the Cherokee, Jamie proclaims him to be his son so that he can shoulder the blame. William rebukes that idea and stands remorseful for his actions. That's why there is only minor punishment. It also means that Jamie opens up about the true biological connection to William without it changing anything in their relationship. William doesn't believe it. He just sees it as something Jamie says in the heat of the moment in order to protect the boy who didn't listen to the rules of the land. That means Jamie says the truth while acknowledging that William has become a strong young man under John's care. Claire has to carry the burden of healing John's wounds. Of course, that also fosters an open and honest conversation between them about their feelings towards Jamie. The two of them are similar in a number of ways. They both care deeply for Jamie. John came to see them again because he wanted to know that he could still feel strongly. He felt nothing over the death of his wife. He believes himself to have been an adequate husband. And yet, the show challenges that notion because it abides by the idea that a healthy relationship requires a healthy sex life. That has always been at the core of Jamie and Claire's relationship. They once again get to be intimate with each other once John is healed and can go to Virginia with William. That proves just how strong their connection continues to be. It's such a hot and steamy sex scene as well. It's very seductive and intoxicating. It's the kind of happiness that John is jealous that Claire gets to have. Of course, he understands that's foolish of him to say. Claire and John see the other as being jealous of what they have with Jamie. Ultimately though, they both have strong connections with him. They both raised his children without him. That forges a strong bond. John still has his child as well. Claire still yearns for Brianna and doesn't know that she will reunite with her shortly. So, all of this becomes a meeting of great honesty even if a lot will continue to go unsaid in the future when they meet again.