Sunday, January 13, 2019

REVIEW: 'Outlander' - Aunt Jocasta Lines Up Potential Suitors for Brianna at River Run in 'If Not For Hope'

Starz's Outlander - Episode 4.11 "If Not For Hope"

Jamie, Claire and Young Ian embark on a long and uncertain journey to rescue Roger, while Brianna forges a friendship with one of Jamie's old friends as she fends off Aunt Jocasta's attempts to secure her a husband. Murtagh enlists Fergus' help with a dangerous task.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. Premieres and finales may feature longer reviews. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Starz's Outlander.

"If Not For Hope" was written by Shaina Fewell & Bronwyn Garrity and directed by Mairzee Almas

The previous episode concluded with Roger finding another set of stones that could potentially return him to the 20th century. It takes until the conclusion of this hour before the show reveals whether or not he traveled through time once more. And yet, his presence looms through every action that Jamie, Claire and Brianna now do. This season has meandered around quite a bit. And yet, it now has a strong central mission as it heads to its conclusion. It's also fascinating to see all of these characters move past their initial anger over what happened with Roger. Now, they are trying to put into words how they truly feel about the situation and the people that they love. Jamie and Brianna both know that they said some harsh things that they didn't necessarily mean. But they are still just getting to know each other. They don't know how much of those words they should believe. It's enough for Jamie to feel like a failure as a father. He is hot-headed and did what he thought was best based on minimal information. He continues to do that with tasking Murtagh to track down Stephen Bonnet and bring him to justice. But he's also so upset with himself and jealous of Frank. That forces such an honest conversation between Jamie and Claire too. They have the outside perception of being angry with each other. Jamie for what he did to Roger and Claire for keeping Brianna's rapist a secret. This family is experiencing a completely different dynamic now. They have always had to live apart from one another. The tragic twists of fate forced them to abandon one of their loved ones in the pursuit of another. Jamie and Claire were separated for twenty years. Brianna never knew her biological father. But now, they have the opportunity to exist with each other as a family. It was a very beautiful meeting. One that has inspired many interesting questions. Of course, Brianna never expected to live in this time period for a long time. Now, she sees this as her future. It's the world where she will be raising her child. That is scary to her which has made her isolated at River Run. She doesn't wish to conform to the realities of this world. And yet, she has to be practical with them as well. That's a very tricky balance. Aunt Jocasta can tell her so much about her grandmother and how they are kindred spirits. But she's hosting parties in order to find her a husband to ensure that her life and name isn't tarnished forever. Jocasta operates very smoothly in this world even though her perspective of things is very traditional and in contrast to the values that Brianna holds.

It also remains fascinating that Lord John Grey continues to step up to help the children of Jamie and Claire when they need it the most. It also shows the different expectations when it comes to boys and girls. John had to adopt William and care for him as his father because his biological parents could not. That has given William so many different opportunities in life. He has Jamie's spirit but he's still John's child. And now, John is expected to marry Brianna in order to keep her standing in society. John was only asked to check in on Brianna by Jamie. He will do whatever Jamie asks of him because he's still in love with him. That's a reality that Brianna comes to learn as well. It's never something that the Frasers threaten to make public. And yet, that's also Brianna's first impulse upon learning about John's sexual orientation. He is more than willing to contest the allegation by saying that he can rise to the obligations of being a husband. This just isn't something he is interested in at the moment. He doesn't want to become engaged to her. But that's the position they are in by the conclusion of this hour. Everyone wants to keep hope alive that Roger will return to Brianna. The episode concludes with the reveal that he has been recaptured by the Mohawk. He is still in the 18th century. There is still the potential of him being rescued by Jamie, Claire and Young Ian. Brianna also needs to hope that Roger will love her baby even though it's very likely it isn't his. Of course, that's a major theme throughout this series as well. Family is made by love not by blood relations. John cares for William. And yet, they're not biological related. Jamie cares for Fergus and gave him the Fraser name. And yet, they're not related. This season has absolutely brought the family together and seen how that changes all of them. It still revels in the tragedy of their circumstances though. Jamie and Claire may not be facing their looming deaths at the moment. They are no longer at Fraser's Ridge with the fear that a fire will kill them. That may be a threat delayed until the future. Right now though, there is the fear that any action could potentially rip this family apart. One that may not stand the test of time because of the uncertainty of everything related to time travel. Brianna may be stuck in this life for now. But she is still trying to make her influence known even if that doesn't sit well with her potential suitors.