[This is not a spoiler-free review of the episode. If you have not seen the episode yet, read it at your own spoiler risk.]
Episode 410: “The Deep Heart’s Core”
Written by Luke Schelhass, Directed by David Moore
I was slightly reluctant to head into this week’s episode. Don’t get me wrong I want to watch the show and I want to see life on the Ridge. But last week we got a little bit of happy family time and I was feeling it, I was loving the family meal around the table with Jamie looking all proud passing out plates and pouring the drinks. I thought that with that gift we would be pushed on along and not gifted anymore. Thankfully I was wrong! This week’s episode opens up with some ‘Da’ Fraser talk, Jamie and Bree are bonding well considering the tricky topic, and how attached Bree was to Frank. Jamie shows again how he is different than most men of the time by not being angry at Bree but understanding that it was not her fault what happened to her. He even recognizes that “Fraser fire in the belly” anger Bree is feeling. Jamie deals with it how only he can, he does not just TELL Bree how she couldn’t have fought off Bonnet but he SHOWS her. He gets it, and quickly helps her gain control over the emotions she has going on.
I love how the writers were able to show us how similar these two are not just in hair but in that fiery personality that readers really know. This fire has frequently gotten lost in previous seasons of the series, especially with Jamie where I feel sometimes it was deemed a bit easier to write him more patient than ferocious. I think this lost a bit of his personality especially in season two, and sometimes left us watchers that have read the story a wee bit frustrated. Bree last season came across more whiny and spoiled than fiery and temperamental. Side note: Did anyone else notice that shoulder shrug Jamie does when Bree mentions Black Jack Randall? I love those little Jamie Fraser nuances that Sam Heughan throws in so naturally.
Last week I was pleasantly surprised by Sophie Skelton, she was AMAZING in her performance and this week sealed the deal. I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t sold on her in the role of Bree, but she is really growing into it. Her accent is coming more naturally, and she owns it. If I could give her a high five, I would. Even her facial expressions, while she is listening to her surgical options of getting rid of the baby or having to make an immediate decision to stay or go, are spot on.
I love, love, love, John Bell as Young Ian. He was not what I had envisioned, and he has taken the character and made him more lovable. Knowing the general direction of his storyline I can’t wait to see more. This week Ian was adorable being smitten with his cousin and then doing all he could think to do to make it right. Even when sitting around the campfire discussing the selling of Roger to the Mohawk he had such pride in the necklace that he had traded Roger for. This pride is huge foreshadowing as was his statement.
Something that stood out to me this week is that I feel Bree and Claire are getting along better in the 1700s than they did in modern Boston. I know they ‘say’ they were close, but as viewers, we saw Bree as such a daddy’s girl with Frank. I felt that Claire and Bree didn’t have much of a bond just tension, but they are REALLY bonding on the Ridge, from the family meals to reminiscing over folding laundry, All of their discussions have been tender. Even when Jamie and Bree are discussing Claire growing roots in her garden and Bree says that Frank said Claire would leave them and go live in a garden, there was no snark or bitterness, just admiration, and love. Followed by Bree’s sweet comment to Jamie about coming to find him as well, creating Jamie’s own admiration and love towards his two girls. I LOVE FRASER FAMILY LOVE!!
The Fraser love is quickly back to that Fraser fire the next morning. After her nightmare (sooooo glad Ed Speelers made an appearance because he is AMAZING as Bonnet) and discussion with Lizzie leads Bree turning a discussion of mash into a full-on brawl with punches thrown. I enjoyed the back and forth between Bree and Jamie and Claire’s protective, motherly stance. My favorite line of the episode has to be “You do not get to be more angry than me”. I felt for everyone in that room but maybe not as much as I felt for poor Roger who was still being drug north by the Mohawk.
When Roger slid down that hill and hid behind the rhododendron, I just wanted him to make a pile of leaves and cover himself. I honestly didn’t know where or what the writers were going to do to him at that moment. Oh, and Richard Rankin was bringing that turmoil. He was selling just how torn Roger is about touching that stone and getting the heck out of there. In a series where I haven’t seen how or why Bree and Roger care about each other so much this was one moment that showed us just how much Roger cares for Bree. Think about what you love more than anything and imagine being in Roger’s position, would you touch that stone?
It would not be right for me not to mention the return of Aunt Jocasta, (Maria Doyle Kennedy) who was so perfectly cast for this role I have to remind myself that she is an actress in a wig and not actually related to Colum (Gary Lewis) and Dougal (Graham McTavish). With the hair and makeup, those three honestly look like siblings and Jocasta is perfection. You never know exactly what she is thinking or is going to say in true MacKenzie fashion. I did think she was going to say something to the effect of Bree resembling Ellen, but once again surprised, because she didn’t. I was glad to see that Jocasta was just as smitten with Murtagh as we all are.
I can’t wait to see what next week will bring. This is the first season that I have not re-read the book before watching the season, and I can honestly say it has made me enjoy it more. I have never been a book purist, but it has helped me appreciate the show as a show and not focus on the differences from the books. I can’t wait to continue watching our favorite characters and see what else life on the Ridge brings their way.
NEXT WEEK, SUNDAY, JANUARY 13th 8PM EST: EPISODE 411: “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. Meanwhile, Murtagh enlists Fergus’s help with a dangerous task.”
Photos and clips courtesy of Starz.