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Elementary Has Good Ideas but Poor Execution in Fidelity

Veronica

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After Sherlock was dramatically arrested in last week’s twist ending, we find our hero in an ominous interrogation room. The mysterious red-haired villain, who has the appropriately evil sounding name of Anson Gephardt, shows up with the usual spiel of threats to warn Sherlock off investigating the deaths relating to the Kotite case. In a shocking twist, as soon as Sherlock is set free, he decides to – wait for it – continue investigating the case. Strap in, kids, because this week’s plot is positively labyrinthine.

A bit of investigation reveals that Gephardt is a member of a American intelligence agency with a grudge against the Iranian government. Going over the files from Kotite’s hit and run case reveals nothing of interest, so Sherlock theorizes instead that something happened in the area that would have made the jury members of interest to Gephardt. Perhaps they saw or overheard something in the court case that needs to be covered up. In order to find out more, Joan heads off to speak to the widow of Cy Durning, the prosecutor of Kotite’s case, while Kitty and Sherlock go to speak to Farrell and Putnam, the law firm that  Kotite’s defense attorney, Tom Saunders, worked for.

Sherlock and Kitty sit in awkward silence at the firm until Sherlock, god bless him, tells Kitty that her son was beautiful and that he’s happy for her. I’m so proud of him. Kitty accurately points out that Sherlock doesn’t exactly sound happy about it. Before they can discuss further, it’s time for them to talk to Sydney Garber, the managing partner of F&P. He refuses to give them access to the case files they request, but he does reveal one intriguing piece of information: Saunders had paranoid schizophrenia. Meanwhile, Cy Durning’s widow is more helpful. Durning was secretly recording all of his cases on cassette tape, including the Kotite case.

The team’s new discoveries come together when Joan finds a section of the tape in which Saunders breaks into a diatribe clearly influenced by paranoid delusions. He made several extreme claims about astronauts, a Venezuelan bomb, and buried gold. Joan believes one of Saunders’s delusions must have been actually true, and that everyone in the courtroom at the time was killed for hearing it.

Not only does Sherlock find this claim plausible, but he knows immediately which claim is true. A few days earlier, shortly before Kotite’s murder, a bomb was set off in a library restroom in Venezuela, killing dozens of people and nearly killing the president. The president then went on to win his re-election bid due to the sympathy vote earned by his apparent near assassination. Sherlock concludes that Gephardt, a rogue agent, orchestrated the bombing in order to help the Venezuelan president win. The connection to Saunders must be that his law firm, Farrell and Putnam,  has locations around the world, including Venezuela. Sherlock thinks that Gephardt must have used the law firm to get in contact with a Venezuelan corporation that helped him with the bombing. The question now is why, and who. Sherlock and Joan break into F&P’s offices to go through their files to try to find answers, and find an unexpected one.

A note on a file proves that Sydney Garber also knew about the Venezuelan bombing well before it happened. Gephardt wasn’t using the law firm to get in contact with Venezuelan companies; he was working with Garber and Saunders, and that’s how Saunders knew in advance about the bombing.

Joan and Kitty head back to the law firm to speak to Garber again. But before they can get anything out of him, a man on a motorcycle appears and attempts to gun them all down. Joan and Kitty narrowly save Garber’s life, through the heroic measure of Kitty kicking him in the groin to force him to dive to the ground.

Realizing that Gephardt has turned on him, Garber willingly talks, spinning them a tale of international intrigue spanning decades. Back in his university days, Garber was roommates with a man who went on to become the head of Venezuelan intelligence. Three years ago, Gephardt asked Garber to put him in contact with this man. Gephardt arranged a deal in which he would fake an assassination attempt on the president so he could be re-elected in exchange for something called the Fidel Files. The files are supposedly a collection of all the information that Fidel Castro shared with his communist allies over roughly fifty years. (Did you notice the episode title is “Fidelity”? Har har.) In order to prove his story, Garber hands over his own copy of the files.

Here’s where things get even weirder, and start to not quite make sense. Naturally, Detective Family assumes that this file must have been Gephardt’s ultimate goal all along. They dive into the files, trying to find just what it was that Gephardt was looking for. But before they can get very far, Gephardt uploads to the internet a video of himself confessing to his crimes. He also uploads a copy of the Fidel Files, but with one key difference; in his version of the files, there’s a film clip that seems to prove that the Iranian government has nuclear weapons. The team realizes that planting this clip must have been his goal all along.

So, quick summary, because I’m having a hard time following this myself: Gephardt, who considers the Iranian government a threat to U.S. safety, decided to engineer a video that would motivate the US to go to war with Iran. But he knew that if he simply put this video on the internet, people would be rightfully suspicious of its authenticity. He needed a context that would make the video seem believable. Thus, the Fidel Files. Because everything else in the Fidel Files is true, it would make Gephardt’s fake video clip seem believable too. But to get the files, he had to kill people in Venezuela. In order to cover that up, he murdered the handful of people that knew about the bombing in advance. Then, immediately after covering up his crimes, he…confesses to his crimes. Wait, what?

I follow everything else about this story. It’s a little over the top in how elaborate it is, but I can follow the chain of events. What I don’t understand is why Gephardt would go to such extreme ends to cover up a crime that he planned on confessing to the entire time. There was most likely only a slim chance that Kotite and the others would realize that a rant they heard three years ago from a delusional man was related to a current crime. And even if they did figure it out, Gephardt planned to confess anyway, so the truth would come out regardless.

Murdering those people was not only pointless, but made things more difficult for Gephardt. It drew the attention of Kitty, Sherlock, and law enforcement and triggered their investigation into him. If the police had arrested Gephardt before he received the Fidel Files or was able to post them, his plot would have failed. Why would a man as careful as Gephardt take an unnecessary risk like that? It simply doesn’t make sense. And considering Kotite and Durning’s murders was what kicked off this entire story, that’s disappointing.

Bell is that guy who hovers over the play button while watching a video

But anyway. The stress of trying to keep up with Gephardt at last prods Kitty into confronting Sherlock about his behavior to her. She angrily criticizes him for how cold he’s been to her since she told him about her baby, and accuses him of being angry with her because she’s quitting detective work. If being a detective is requisite to being Sherlock’s friend, then they’re over.

Sherlock counters that he isn’t angry with her for quitting; he’s angry because when she fled the country two years ago, she never contacted him again, not to let her know that she was okay…and not to let her know that she had a baby. He’s happy that she’s happy, but he had thought their friendship meant more than that.

I have to say, I felt pretty vindicated by this part, as I was also frustrated by the fact that Kitty just completely vanished after she left, with barely any mention of her ever again. But I have a ton of thoughts about how Kitty and Sherlock’s relationship was represented in this episode, so I’m going to save it for the end so as to not clutter things up.

Sherlock thinks that the only way to ease the nation’s rising paranoia about the supposed proof of Iranian nuclear weapons is to get Gephardt to confess to faking the video. But before he can get to Gephardt himself, governmental forces find and take him down. Sherlock’s chances seem lost, until Sherlock realizes that Gephardt’s home has all the proof he needs that the video was faked. He assembles his proof and passes it on to various governmental sources. And that, rather underwhelmingly, is how the Gephardt plot is wrapped up. It’s just…suddenly over.

The episode itself wraps up with Kitty asking Sherlock to come meet her in front of a church. She explains to him that when she returned to London, she expected to have a hard time alone and to need to dive in her work, only to discover that she felt fine and happy. The word she uses is “fixed.” She realized she didn’t need detective work anymore, and had been thinking of quitting even before her pregnancy. But knowing that Sherlock did not feel “fixed,” she didn’t feel comfortable contacting him and just kept putting it off. She admits that if it wasn’t for the Kotite case, she might have never contacted him again. But she knows he deserves better than that, and she promises to not do that again. To cement her promise, she invites Sherlock and Joan to Archie’s christening as his godfather, and promises that from now they are family.

This was a feel good ending, and it was definitely cute to see how surprised and happy Sherlock was, but overall, I don’t feel good about this ending or this episode.

First of all, the whole thing felt really rushed. I suspect that the writers had Kitty’s actor, Ophelia Lovibond (what a great name), available for only a few episodes and wanted to give her a satisfactory goodbye in this limited space. That’s an admirable goal, particularly because I was dissatisfied with how she was written off before, but I just don’t think two episodes was ever going to be enough. I mean, as I’m sure I’ve made clear, I love Kitty Winter, so I was probably never going to be totally happy anyway. But I just don’t think they could ever wrap up the complex feelings that Kitty and Sherlock’s relationship encoded in just two episodes. How do you explain why Kitty vanished for two years, prove that she’s happy now, give a believable reason for why she won’t be back permanently, deal with how Sherlock would feel about that, and provide an emotional conclusion to a powerful friendship, in just two episodes?

And they didn’t help themselves by coming up with such an over the top murder/conspiracy plot to go with it. Again, I think they were being ambitious with this plot, and ambition is to be applauded. But maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to put the super complicated plot in the same episodes as the super complicated friendship. Both stories ended up being rushed and full of holes, which is the inevitable result of trying to shove so much into less than two hours of television.

As well as being rushed, I’m also pretty uncomfortable with the way that Kitty and Sherlock’s relationship was treated. For me, Sherlock and Kitty’s relationship has always been highly symbolic. In season one and two, Sherlock still essentially considers himself as a one man island who does not need or want connections with other people. His partnership with Joan begins to break down this perception of himself, but to me, it was his friendship with Kitty that really proved to him that a) he is capable of connecting with people, and b) these connections actually are something he wants. Kitty is the person that proved Sherlock was capable of loving more people than Moriarty and Joan. That’s a big deal. How can a five minute conversation at the end of an episode possibly encapsulate all of that emotion? And to suggest that it can is a disservice to the significance of their relationship, even if you do say some sappy stuff about how their really family.

Even worse, I was really uncomfortable with the simplistic way that they talked about Kitty’s mental state. “Recovery” is such a complex idea. It’s an admirable goal, and there’s nothing wrong with striving to attain it. At the same time, it’s not possible for everyone, and that’s okay too. Elementary usually takes the stance that Sherlock probably will not ever attain a point of “recovery.” He will always be a recovering drug addict, and he’ll probably always be depressed. Normally, I really appreciate that. The idea that “recovery” is the be all end all goal of mental illness is a concept that can be used to harm mentally ill people and even suggest that their lives aren’t meaningful or worthwhile unless they can attain that. Seeing a flawed but ultimately admirable individual like Sherlock simply live with his mental illness is a wonderful thing.

They didn’t give Kitty the same kind of complexity when it came to this big question. Was that really an accurate representation of how recovery from trauma works? From Kitty’s description, she was just okay one day. Does that really happen? I felt that in order to reassure the watcher that Kitty was leaving the show happy, they just erased her emotional struggles and told you she’s all better now, and that rubs me wrong.

Even if the portrayal of her recovery is accurate, the language that they used was so simplistic that it made me really uncomfortable. Let me say again that they literally used the word “fixed.” “Recovery” is one thing. “Fixed” is something else, particularly since the opposite of fixed is “broken.” People who don’t or can’t obtain a state in which they feel they are now okay or recovered are not broken and it is hurtful to suggest otherwise.

To be fair, Sherlock does conceive of himself as being broken. He has said as much. And I know that many mentally ill people (including me!) feel that way at times. But it’s one thing to feel that way about yourself, and another thing for someone else – for one of your closest friends! – to indicate that she thinks of you as being broken too. I know that Kitty and the writers meant well, but I felt like the potential to interpret her words in a hurtful way is too high. And even if you didn’t take it that way, it’s still a really shallow explanation of Kitty’s behavior. It’s an injustice to Kitty and to trauma survivors, and it’s disappointing to see in a show that usually tries to portray mental illness in a nuanced way.  

Overall, my conclusion to this episode is something I have heard said on many a cooking competition show: the ideas were good, but the execution needed work. The conspiracy was a cool idea but it was too complicated and rushed, and that lead to plot holes. A proper farewell to Kitty is a lovely thought, but in order to wrap up a highly complex relationship and character in one episode, they ended up simplifying Kitty and Sherlock’s feelings in a disappointing way.


Images courtesy of CBS

Veronica is a recent English graduate who likes to spend her time reading way too deeply into science fiction, murder mysteries, and children's cartoons.

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine Should Let Rosa Date Gina

Megan

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Gina and Rosa

Google most non-canon LGBT ships, and you get results for various fanfiction sites, maybe an article or two about why they should be canon, why the show is clearly missing the opportunity of a lifetime. Google Rosa/Gina—dubbed Dianetti—and you get tweets from the two actresses involved.

Though media has made huge strides in the past decade or so with LGBT relationships, there is still a lot to be done. Queerbaiting remains common, as does the bury your gays trope. Relationships—especially wlw ones—are still seen as less valid, less possible, than their straight counterparts; this is in part due to many writers, actors, and showrunners continuing to tease of F/F relationships. By creating a dynamic where two women are clearly not just friends (and, of course, never making that dynamic explicitly romantic either), they get the best of both worlds: LGBT viewers who crave representation with none of the potential backlash for so-called political correctness.

The Beauty of B99

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, however, has never fallen into that trap. Holt and Kevin may be the subject of many jokes, but they are never the butt of any. Similarly, topics like racial profiling and police corruption are taken seriously. It is a comedy show, but it is also a show that recognizes the power of its platform. Where another show would tease these topics and turn them into a punchline, Brooklyn Nine-Nine turns them into a discussion.

Holt and Kevin marry each other as quickly as possible.

(Source: tumblr)

So, of every show on television, I know that Brooklyn Nine-Nine would treat Rosa and Gina well. That is an important part of the discussion that is oft forgotten: representation does not end when it begins. Instead, it is an ongoing process, most successful when the writers and showrunners make continued efforts to deepen and better their characters and relationships. When we ask for representation, we are asking for a commitment: at the very minimum, do not kill them. Because that is still often too much to ask, we never get to the next step: do not cheapen them, do not forget them. Do not let them be a checked box on a list of things a show needs to have.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has proven they can do it. So why don’t they?

The Case For Dianetti

Over the past four seasons, we have seen Gina and Rosa flit in and out of various relationships. All the while, however, they have been there for each other.

Rosa is closed-off, awkward whenever the slightest hint of emotions are involved; Gina, on the other hand, is as open a book as she could possibly be. In the same way that Jake and Amy build on each other and make each other grow, Rosa and Gina could do the same.

In the past, the show has paired Rosa with men who are too different or too similar. Marcus was very openly emotional, and while the importance of having such a character cannot be understated, he was not right for Rosa. Adrien, then, had the opposite problem: he and Rosa never truly get to know each other during their relationship because both were content being unattached in that way.

Enter Gina. She is the perfect option, the perfect mix of emotional and independent; she is the one who can make Rosa consistently smile, the one who isn’t semi-scared of her at all times.

There are not many women on television that are like Rosa, and to give her a chance to find true, lasting love would be very valuable to many viewers. Having her and Gina both go through several unsuccessful relationships is good—it’s realistic and done well. But just as Jake and Amy found each other, just as Kevin and Holt found each other, I would like to see Rosa and Gina do the same.

In a world where F/F ships are punchlines to jokes that weren’t funny the first time, it is a rare and very special thing to see such an opportunity supported by both actresses involved. We have the support, and we have the chance; all that remains is for Brooklyn Nine-Nine to take the leap.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine consistently surprises me with the topics they are willing to tackle and the grace with which they do so. So, as it returns this month for its fifth season, I hope that they will tackle Rosa/Gina next.


Images courtesy of Fox

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The Neighbors from Hell

Kristen Roche

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This week’s episode of American Horror Story: Cult opens with a blonde woman, Rosie, speaking with Dr. Vincent (Cheyenne Jackson) about how thanks to him she’s overcome her fear of being trapped in dark places. (Sidebar: why is Ally the only important woman without white/blonde hair in this show?) When Rosie and her husband Mark, return home, however, they are accosted by clowns and nailed into coffins. Rosie’s worst nightmare that she admitted to Dr. Vincent. It makes you wonder if the Doctor is part of the cult. Hmm…

Switching up the timeline of things (again), we return to where we left off after last week’s episode; the Mayfair-Richards household following Ally’s (Sarah Paulson) gun play. Detective Samuels (Colton Haynes) assures Ally that he doesn’t think charges will be pressed because the murder of Pedro was in self defense. Though Ivy (Allison Pill) knows it was accidental and not self defense, she agrees with the Detective and the power finally returns.

The next day, protestors gather outside the Butchery on Main, branding Ally as the “lesbian George Zimmerman,” and the news is there to broadcast the protest. Unable to show her face, Ally is forced to stay in the car while Ivy goes to work. Before Ally can go home, however, she is confronted by Kai (Evan Peters) who calls her brave. He tells her to never apologize and that he’ll take care of the mob for her. When Ally does arrive home, she receives a very different greeting from Meadow (Leslie Grossman) and Harrison (Billy Eichner). The couple, dressed in sombreros, condemn the accidental murder and accuse her of being a racist.

Ally and Ivy are unable to avoid the news of the protestors on television. The news finally moves on to announce the deaths of Rosie and Mark, who were found in coffins in their home with a smiley face symbol painted above them. The same symbol that was found on the Changs’s house.

Things turn to the strange (or stranger, anyway), the next day when Ivy and Ally find dozens of dead crows in their yard. It gets stranger yet when Winter accidentally lets an unknown man into the house. The man was responding to an ad on Craigslist that listed lesbians looking for pleasure from a man.

During a phone session, Dr. Vincent talks to Ally about the Craigslist ad. It’s in this scene that we get our first election reference of the episode, a record few this time. Dr. Vincent suggests Ally file a police report then asks for an emergency meeting to talk about an inpatient facility. Ally (obviously) disagrees with the doctor’s assessment and ends the call. When she reaches town, protestors accost her car, but with a single word Kai is able to get them to leave.

Returning home, Ally and Ivy find Oz and Winter playing with a guinea pig with a cisnormative name.  They learn that the animal was a gift from Meadow. When Ally tells him that he cannot keep the pet, Oz lashes out and says that he wishes Ally wasn’t around. Ally then calls Harrison who is sitting with Meadow and Detective Samuels. Harrison states that he likes Oz but not Ally, and that Oz needs testosterone in the house. Angry, when Ally sees a truck spraying green mist, she chases the truck down to no avail.

Elsewhere, Meadow and Kai play the pinky game. When asked for her greatest fears, Meadow offers a superficial fear that Kai slaps her for. This is a revolution and he doesn’t want his time wasted. Kai calls her out as being afraid of never really being loved.

In a rare moment of levity and normalcy, the Mayfair-Richards family having a nice family dinner at the Butchery on Main. Oz apologizes for lashing out at Ally, and she decides to let Oz keep Mr. Guinea. When they arrive home, however, what was a good night takes a turn.   smiley face is painted on the door, and Mr. Guinea blows up in the microwave.

Ally crosses the street and enters the neighbors house where she assaults Harrison. She accuses the couple of being responsible for all the wrong that has been done to them, but Meadow is genuinely scared when she hears about the smiley face. Ally escalates matters and threatens to kill them before leaving. Ivy finally reaches her breaking point with Ally, calling her out on her absurd reactions, when Oz points out that the same smiley face is on the side of the Wilton’s house. Instead of warning the couple, however, Ivy and Oz return home. Ally follows behind, only to find mysterious people spraying a green substance on her lawn. When she tries to reveal their faces, she finds smiley faces in the place of where real faces should be.

Meadow is not the only Wilton to play the pinky game with Kai. This time, Harrison plays, and does a better job telling the truth to Kai than his wife. He admits that he wishes Meadow were dead.

When Detective Samuels calls on the Mayfair-Richards home, Ally talks to him with crazy eyes about her conspiracy theory. She’s finally the one that seems to be making some sense and no one is listening. It makes her look even crazier to have make-up smeared down her face. 

The conversation is halted by Oz’s scream. His mothers immediately head upstairs to find him closing his laptop. He admits that he got past Ivy’s parental controls as he saw her type in the password once, “Clownz”.  Sorry Ivy, but you’re starting to look pretty suspicious here. Ivy and Ally finally convince Oz to reveal what’s on the computer. It is a video of Ally in the bath getting fingered by Winter. Whomp, there it is.

Ivy wastes no time retaliating once they bring their conversation to the hallway and punches Ally in the face. She starts yelling about Ally breaking their family, while Ally seems hung up on the fact that someone planted a camera in their bathroom. Both valid points.

Not willing to stay in the same house as her cheating wife, Ivy prepares Oz to leave with her. Just as they are about to leave, however, police arrive across the street. They exit the house to find Harrison is freaking out and upon seeing her, accuses Ally of murdering Meadow. He woke up covered in Meadow’s blood, Meadow nowhere to be found. While the adults were arguing, Oz returns to the house. His mothers run after him to find him staring at the walls. Walls that are now covered in blood with a bloody smiley symbol on the living room wall.

Closing Thoughts

At this point, it seems as if the cult behind all the murders and strange happenings in this small Michigan town is larger than expected. In fact, it seems almost as if Ally and Oz are the only ones that aren’t part of the cult. With Meadow and Harrison both deferring to Kai, it appears that the blue-haired man might be one of the ring leaders. But then again, there’s also Dr. Vincent and Ivy to think about. Where do they fit? Are they secretly behind it all? And if Ivy is involved, what is it about Ally that makes her want to torture her so much?

With more questions raised in this episode, such as the questionable green substance, it’s easy to wonder where this cult is going, but perhaps the biggest question is; do we really care?


Images courtesy of FX

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Outlander Slows Things Down for Episode 2

Meg

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This week’s Outlander was much slower than last week’s, returning to the steady pace they set in the first few episodes of both seasons 1 and 2. Unlike other shows that use this tactic (*cough* The Walking Dead *cough*), it works in Outlander because of how invested I am in the characters, no matter what they’re doing.

Recap

Like last week, this week’s episode divided its time between Jamie in the 18th century and Claire in the 20th. Jamie is at Lallybroch with his family, but he’s a wanted man. The redcoats frequently harass Jenny and Ian, even randomly throwing Ian in the clink in the hopes that they’ll all decide to betray Jamie’s whereabouts. Since they don’t ever really do anything to him, and he seems largely friendly with the soldiers, it’s a fairly empty threat.

Still, it’s dangerous, because in the aftermath of Culloden, being a Scot in Scotland was essentially outlawed. By that I mean clans were no longer allowed to wear their tartans, bagpipes were banned, and Scots weren’t allowed weapons (except I guess what they had to have to have hunt, like a bow and arrow or a knife).

Jamie has gone full-on wild man of the woods, complete with giant beard and long hair. He doesn’t really speak, just brings offerings of excessively large game (seriously, it was huge) and makes crazy eyes at people. Fergus, my dear son, is still in his service, and for all that it’s been 6 years, he’s not that much taller or older. It’s like the Stark kids in reverse.

For real, Bran’s like 25 and Fergus is still just 14.

While Ian’s locked up, Jenny goes into labor a bit early, and her sons Robbie and Jamie see a raven perched on the gate. They tell Fergus that a raven’s bad luck and can mean the death of the baby. The boys found a pistol hidden in the dovecot, so of course they use it to shoot the bird. Because why not!? Pistols aren’t against the law or anything.

The redcoats hear the shot because black powder guns are LOUD, and of course the tenacious captain brings some of his boys around. Unfortunately Jamie chose that moment to come a-visiting, so he’s walking around the house carrying his new nephew when the English show up.

Jamie hides and Jenny tells them the baby died, and while the commander is being semi-respectful, his corporal, a Scot named MacGregor, is a real ass. Ultimately the maid shows up with the pistol and says it was her dead husband’s, and she shot at a raven to scare it away.

The commander says to leave her, she’s no threat, and the soldiers leave. Fergus is giving them the stink eye as they go, and apparently it gives the Scottish corporal the idea to follow him, thinking he’ll lead them to Jamie. He’s wise to their bumbling, however, and he leads them away from Jamie’s cave. He taunts them as Jamie, hiding in the woods, watches in horror.

The soldiers catch Fergus and the corporal, um…chops his hand off with a sword. Which wasn’t nearly as violent and/or bloody as it could have been, thank goodness, because my poor son! As soon as they’re gone, Jamie wraps his stump and carries him back to the house.

Noooo, my wee angry son!!

Fergus later tells Jamie he’s lucky, because when he first hired him, Jamie swore if Fergus was hurt while in his service, Jamie would keep him for the rest of his days. “With one blow I’ve become a man of leisure,” he says with a grin.

Fergus’s maiming causes Jamie to realize that hiding out isn’t helping anyone. He tells Jenny and Ian they have to turn him in, partly to get the hefty reward money, but also so that the soldiers know once and for all that Jenny’s loyal to the Crown. She isn’t happy about it AT ALL, but she agrees. She sends her maid out to Jamie’s cave with some food, and she helps him shave the beard and cut his hair.

She also takes her dress off and offers him some old-fashioned comfort, which he reluctantly (and tearfully) accepts.

Later Jamie shows up at Lallybroch acting all “Jenny, it’s me after all this time! I certainly haven’t been hiding in a cave in the woods for the past few years! What a random happenstance!” The soldiers are there, of course, and he’s carted off while Jenny watches, crying.

Meanwhile in the future (which is our past, but not AS past as Jamie’s time), Claire is trying to be a full time mom and housewife. If y’all learned anything about Claire the last 2 seasons, you should’ve learned that that would NEVER work. It starts with her fantasizing about Jamie while Frank sleeps next to her, then the two of them having sex while she thinks about Jamie. Poor Frank.

After a dinner party one night she seduces him in front of the fire, but when she won’t open her eyes to look at him, he stops and tells her that when they’re together, he’s with her, but she’s with Jamie. She doesn’t deny it, and after that they go back to being much more distant.

Later Claire enrolls in medical school, and all the little white boys in her class are Shook. But they’re even MORE shook when a Black man walks in. He sits next to Claire and introduces himself to her, and in that moment a beautiful friendship was born.

“YOU got into Harvard Medical School?”
“What, like it’s hard?”

The episode ends with Claire and Frank crawling into bed to say goodnight. Claire turns off the light and lies down to sleep, and as the camera pulls back we see they’re now sleeping in twin beds. I guess their pretense of returning to their marriage has ended, and they’re staying together mostly for Bree’s sake.

Review

Like I said, this was kind of a slow episode. Not a lot happened, really. It was mostly about Jamie and Claire trying to adjust to their new lives without each other. Jamie is essentially dead inside, a shell of himself, while Claire has Bree to think of.

They both tread water for a time, but eventually realize they have to figure out some way to keep going. Jamie turns himself in to the English because he knows he’s hurting his family and putting them at risk by being a fugitive. Even if they never find him hiding out on Fraser land, they’ll always suspect Jenny and Ian are sheltering him, and one day they may not be so congenial when they cart Ian off to jail.

If I have a criticism of the episode, it’s that Fergus losing his hand—a moment that shocked Jamie back to life, so to speak—lacked some of the punch it was clearly meant to have. Maybe I was just really tired, but my reaction was kinda like, “Oh no my son! Welp. Sucks for him.” I don’t know what they could’ve done differently with it. I certainly didn’t need it to be gorier. I guess it just seemed sort of…sudden? And possibly after Jack Randall’s antics, any old dastardly redcoat just doesn’t really compare. The whole thing was a little rushed in an episode that otherwise took its time.

I’m gonna admit it, y’all: I hate seeing Jamie with another woman! I can deal with Claire with Frank, but Jamie with the serving lady (who was very nice and very brave) had me seeing red. Like, duh he believes Claire’s gone forever, and it’s not like I’m mad at Jamie for seeking comfort with someone else—he needs to move on and get out of his emo phase. But STILL! Logic be damned!!!

“No cage could compare to the one I’ve been living in!” *cues “Welcome to the Black Parade”*

I honestly love this show and these characters, so I really could watch them stare at their shoes for an hour, but having said that—I hope next week picks up the pace just a li’l bit. Just a smidge. Especially on Claire’s side, because while yeah I love seeing her make That Face She Makes when men are sexist jerks, I want her to have something more to do than miss Jamie. Medical school and her career should definitely help that issue.

All in all, this was a solid filler episode, and I was glad to see Jenny and my (now one-handed) son Fergus again. Next week we’ll re-meet Sir John Grey, so that should be interesting. Also I wanna see more baby Bree because that is a super cute baby. Like, wow.

Episode Grade: B. It wasn’t as good as last week, but it’s a great show, so it earns some generosity from me. Also all the emotional notes were spot-on.


Images curtesy of Starz

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