Some people – the important people, the one that really and truly leave a mark on your heart – never truly leave you, for even when they’re gone, they remain in your heart, forever. That is true of Brianna, and it was true of Murtagh, but in “Savages” one of them returns to Jamie and Claire and the other starts the journey towards finally reuniting this family.
I’m getting chills just thinking about it. CHILLS, OKAY?
Now, you book readers know that Murtagh isn’t supposed to be here, just as he wasn’t’ supposed to be in Season 3, because book Murtagh perished in the battle of Culloden. But that’s a sad and lonely world, one without Murtagh, so honestly, we’ll be happy to stay here in this one where is alive and well and once again reunited with his family, even if that affects events going forward. We’ll take it, and consider ourselves satisfied.
And Brianna is coming too!
Because, yes, deep down, this is an episode about hope just as much as it’s an episode about racism and the perils of intolerance, which it most definitely is. Such is life, we can’t have one without the other, it seems, and this is a particularly poignant message to send in the times we’re living in.
Even in the darkest of times, though, there is that spark of hopefulness. All that we need is an open heart and a desire to learn – like Claire has. Well, that, and love. The love that takes a man to a place he didn’t really want to go just to be with the people he considers family, the love that takes a young woman through the stones and into the past to save her parents.
Love that can sometimes, be transformed into a home. Because what is home but the place where those we love dwell?
So, let’s talk about the journeys, the intolerance and the Murtagh of “Savages”:
THE LONG JOURNEY HOME
The episode starts with a focus on Brianna, and on how much her parents miss her – in very different ways, fitting, considering the episode ends with Brianna making her way through the stones and coming one step closer to reuniting with her mother and finally meeting the father that has dreamed of her for so long.
And yet, for all that Claire and Jamie year for Brianna, and for all that Jamie, in some way, senses that she’s coming, they really wouldn’t wish her to come to them, they wouldn’t wish her to give up her life, the comforts of a future where women are – to an extent – respected and free to choose their own path, to come stay in the past with them.
Not that they have a choice. Brianna is a free, independent woman who will do what she must, and who will make her own decisions – and her decision is that she wants to try to save her parents, to save their family.
But, as much as this might seem just about saving their lives, what Brianna years for is more than securing their physical safety, she years to be with them, to have her parents there, her real parents. She yearns for the woman Claire is now that she’s reunited with the love of her life, to see that woman, to spend time with her. She yearns for the father she can only imagine, but that she’s been told looks so much like her.
And, in a real way, she yearns, not to understand why it was worth it for Claire to go through the stones, but to feel the same way. That’s why she’s taking that chance. Because she has hope. Hope in her family.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
The journey of Jamie in this episode was about putting real faces to the unrest he knows is coming. He accepted the Governor’s office knowing that put him on the wrong side of history, figuring he had time to, well, figure it out, if it were. But the men he sees on the other side, suffering, the men who will likely play a key part in the revolution that’s coming, they are real people Jamie relates to.
And that’s before one of those men – the leader, actually – turns out to be our very own Murtagh.
It changes everything, even though Jamie would like to pretend it doesn’t. Murtagh isn’t just a casual acquaintance, he’s someone Jamie loves, someone Claire loves, someone who knows the truth of where Claire came from, and someone who they can confide in about what’s coming next.
He’s an ally, the first real, non-conditional one they’ve had for a while, the one they’ve always, always had. And, in the world – in the time, Jamie and Claire need as many of those as possible.
But he’s more than that, of course. And yes, he might have an effect on how Jamie sees the upcoming revolution, and how he gets involved, and the whole storyline with the governor, but that’s not truly why Murtagh is important. He’s important for those instant of pure joy in Jamie’s face as he finally processes who he’s seeing. He’s important for the look of pure joy in Claire’s face as she sees him walking towards her.
This has always been a story about family. Blood or not, Murtagh is just that. And we’re really, really glad he’s back.
A RACIST BY ANY OTHER NAME
This is my first year reviewing Outlander, and maybe, as a casual viewer, you don’t pay attention to the things you do as a reviewer, but I find it both incredibly sad and incredibly poignant that I have to make a section about this very topic – with very different connotations, of course – every damn week.
It, of course, speaks to the realities of the time period Jamie and Claire are stuck on, though a lot of the racist/intolerant ideas of those days are totally alive and well in this day and age – and worse, seem to be flourishing, which is just ridiculous and frankly, make me want to cry a little (or a lot).
Because, yes, sadly, we still fear what’s different. We still are guilty of thinking that anyone who doesn’t act, doesn’t look, or doesn’t believe the same things we do must be, by definition, a “savage” and not worthy of our consideration, much less our respect or our love.
And, like it does in this episode, and eye for an eye runs the danger of making the whole world turn blind. Watching this episode, I was reminded of that famous quote by MLK: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that, and yet, I was also struck by how incredibly hard it is to live by those words.
Do I blame those the Herr Mueller considered savages for their revenge? Do I think the prosecuted are responsible for turning the other cheek, over and over again? No. I think the role of Claire, and Jamie, to an extent, is to show that compassion and understanding must start from the side of the ‘conquerors’ as well as to show that history – and reality, are often told by the people who decided, from the get go, that anyone who doesn’t bend to their will is, by definition, a savage.
It’s up to us to dig a little deeper.
Things I think I think:
- One day I will press play on this show and not belt out the song at an undignified high tone. That day was not today.
- “Savages” was written by Bronwyn Garrity and directed by Denise Di Novi.
- You know I have a soft spot for episodes of TV written and directed by women.
- This conversation between Claire and Adawehi is so much a stereotype and yet it’s also treated like such a common thing, and it’s something that probably happened, though I imagine not as often as it should have; so it ends up being surprisingly refreshing, despite how stereotypical it all is
- Not everything is a metaphor, Claire.
- Though, to be fair, I would have taken it as one, as well cause WHAT ELSE WERE YOU GONNA THINK
- THANK GOD FOR TIME JUMPS AND HOUSES BEING BUILT ALREADY.
- I was getting tired of that tent.
- How can Claire and Jamie still be so disgustingly adorable together?
- Also, Jamie and Adawehi both sensed the same thing regarding Brianna, which totally doesn’t give me feels.
- I would read 50+ chapter fics of Young Ian and his relationship with both Jamie and Claire. The way he calls her Auntie never ceases to make me want to give him a big ol’ hug.
- For two actors who play passionate really well, Caitriona and Sam also do tender like the best of them, and that’s so rare.
- Roger is, of course, going after Brianna. Did anyone doubt it?
- Look, I’m not saying we wouldn’t all react to Jamie like silversmith’s wife does, but wow, that was intense.
- HE’S THERE TO MAKE A NEW RING FOR HIS WIFE, OKAY?
- It ain’t happening.
- How the Mueller’s go from nice, loving family to OMG LET’S KILL WHAT’S DIFFERENT says a lot about what racism is, and how very little it has changed in all the years that have passed from then till now.
- Claire’s tolerance makes her the weird one. That’d be funny if it weren’t heartbreaking.
- It’s nice that they showed how, even if it’s hard, Claire can handle the place by herself.
- This show has never been afraid to show Claire as capable of most tasks Jamie is – if not more.
- Young Ian and Rollo can have their own spin-off.
- I legit screamed when I saw Murtagh.
- Real life scream.
- I scared everyone.
- I couldn’t stop screaming.
- I’m still feeling like I should scream.
- And I recognized him before he even turned, cause of course I did.
- Never leave us again, Murtagh.
- I’m serious, never ever.
- Oh, yay, the racism coupled with lack of information are going to doom us all. How things have changed.
- Murtagh, I still love you.
- And you love Jamie.
- THERE’S SO MUCH LOVE HERE, OKAY? I SEE IT IN YOUR EYES.
- Murtagh’s reaction at hearing about Claire. And Brianna. Ah, our number one shipper is back!
- Can you imagine when he meets Brianna?
- My heart is going to explode.
- HIS heart is going to explode.
- And Jamie’s. And Claire’s.
- Gah, I’m so excited.
- Like Jamie can really stay out of fights. But okay, we’ll let you pretend.
- The times where diseases were thought to be curses, how fun.
- Yes, OF COURSE, LET’S SCALP A NATIVE, THAT’LL FIX IT.
- “You must not be troubled. Death is sent from the gods. It will not be your fault” Adawehi said, and yet, it’s hard to get away from the feeling of guilt.
- I was so scared for Claire in the scene with Herr Mueller, even if absolutely nothing happened.
- Racism cost everyone everything. Ain’t that a lesson?
- Can I just stay with Jamie and Claire in that hug forever?
- Mo nighean dubh: my dark haired lass
- Okay, for that, time can pass.
- Do you now know what that letter has done, Brianna?
- I mean, I think the dude would follow you to the ends of the Earth either way, but the letter? The letter is basically you asking him to!
- The truth of the matter is this: Brianna feels her home is with her parents. Roger feels his home is with Brianna. We all know how that works out.
Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!
Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.