Sunday, January 20, 2019

REVIEW: 'Outlander' - Roger Continues to Make Unfortunate Decisions When Given His Freedom in 'Providence'

Starz's Outlander - Episode 4.12 "Providence"

Brianna confronts a violent figure from her past in an attempt to cope with her trauma. Roger befriends a fellow captive and endeavors to escape the Mohawk village. Fergus and Marsali plan a dangerous mission.

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.

"Providence" was written by Karen Campbell and directed by Mairzee Almas

There truly have been so many unintended consequences to Roger traveling through time in order to be with Brianna. His actions were the reason why they weren't together in the 20th century. He would have to change his ways if he had any hope of building a better connection with her in the 18th century. Their passion made it so that they were excited to see each other once more in Wilmington. However, the mentalities of both characters hadn't changed much either. Since then though, they have been brutalized by this violent and unpredictable world. Brianna is trying to reclaim her own strength and power. Meanwhile, Roger is just trying to escape from a horrifying situation. This episode reveals that it was his choice to stay behind in the 18th century despite having an opportunity to travel through time once more. He made it not because of some fear of the unknown. He didn't know if these rocks would take him back to the destination he wanted to go. He made it because he still had the hope of reuniting with Brianna and being happy together. That was the choice he made. It wasn't made for him by the Mohawk recapturing him before he could touch the stones. They ultimately did recapture him. He is far away from Brianna and the Fraser family. And yet, he still maintains the idea of escaping to be with her. That's what motivates him. The show sees it as this most romantic thing. It's the only thing that he can think about. He keeps making the choice to return to her. Of course, he also sees himself as a savior. He believes he needs to help Brianna with her mission. She has already found her parents though. In fact, Roger's presence put tension between Brianna and Jamie. Roger was sold to the Mohawk for a reason. No one expected to see him here and the other main characters don't know who he is at all. This season has certainly made it more difficult to track which characters have met before and which haven't. This one presents the case for Roger believing he's doing some good only for it to end in tragedy. At Shadow Lake, he meets his fellow prisoner Father Alexandre Ferigualt. The missionary informs Roger about falling in love with one of the local women and having a son. He is imprisoned because he refuses to baptize the child after stressing its importance in his faith. No one can understand his reasoning. Roger believes it would be so easy to deceive this tribe. But Alexandre decides to accept his torturous punishment just so Roger has the time to escape. Roger succeeds in doing so. But he returns in order to help his new friend as well. His actions just lead to Alexandre's body being fully consumed in flames and Johiehon abandoning her baby in order to join him. That's absolutely devastating. It's not what Roger expected. And yet, he also didn't know just how deep and complicated this relationship actually was. He is interfering in matters that are beyond his control. As such, this could be the most destructive lesson he has learned so far. He believes he's just surviving. But he is also contributing to so much more because he doesn't fully think things through. Of course, he doesn't have the opportunity to fully analyze the situation either. That's just the circumstance he is now in.

The rest of the hour is very intense as well. Lord John Grey informs Brianna that Stephen Bonnet has been captured. He is to be hanged for his crimes. That list doesn't include raping her though. That won't change anything for him but would ruin her reputation in the area. As such, it's better to keep everything a secret. That just means that Brianna needs to confront her attacker before he is killed. She doesn't go to Wilmington in the hopes of killing him herself. Jamie pleads with her in his letter to strive for forgiveness instead of revenge. She is able to do just that too. When she sees Bonnet in his jail cell, she forgives him and tries to offer him the comfort of knowing that he has left a legacy in this world. Of course, he remains a cruel villain to the bitter end. He delights at the idea that she will never forget him. She will always remember his face no matter what happens. But this also remains an empowering moment for Brianna. She was nervous to see him again. But now, she is proud to stand up to him in saying that his child will be nothing like him and won't even know who he is. She has that passion because of the hope that she still carries about Roger returning and being the father of her child. She is so appreciative for all that Lord John has done for her. He arranged this meeting in the first place. He does so just in the nick of time as well. But Brianna's heart still yearns for Roger. That will make their reunion so bittersweet because of every tragic thing that has happened to both of them. Right now though, Brianna has a community of people who are willing to fight for her no matter what. Sure, Lord John and Murtagh may have their differences. In fact, everyone sees Lord John as a potential enemy because he is loyal to the corrupt governor. But his loyalty to the Fraser family is much stronger. As such, everyone can trust him to take care of Brianna and ensure that she doesn't get caught up in any of the consequences for the jail break. Fergus and Marsali know that they need to get Murtagh out of prison. He doesn't belong there. He needs to keep the fight alive against the world which wishes to repress them. This action will ensure that everyone will be moving onto Fraser's Ridge by the time that Claire and Jamie return from their own adventure. It also just produces one very uncertain moment where everyone has to rush out of the prison before it completely explodes. Fergus and Murtagh successfully make their escape as well. Lord John helps when the authorities come asking him what happened. And yet, Bonnet is left behind to probably burn up in flames. That's the powerful ending for both of the stories here. These deaths may not be what any of them deserve. In fact, it's even a little ambiguous with Bonnet because the keys to his chains were seemingly within his reach before the explosion. However, it is a profound way to connect all of the stories here in a time when it seems like the show is juggling way too much plot. This episode doesn't even feature Claire or Jamie at all. But it also stands as one of the strongest of the season.