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Between two fires 

Season 5 - Episode 2 

 

 

Between Two Fires, is presented in two permanently intersecting parts, one in Fraser Ridge, where Claire desperately tries to counter the medical ignorance of the time, and the other in Wilmington, where Jamie tries, in vain, to ease the tensions between the two opposing camps.

 

This epidemic is very important, because it presents to us the political context in which the season will take root and which will prevent the various protagonists from deviating from their path, despite the personal tragedies that will affect them all. The extreme cruelty inflicted by the tar and feather torture (which was a common practice at the time) demonstrates, if need be, that there will be no turning back possible.

The scenario is also rooted in great history since Governor William Tryon, lawyer Edmund Fanning and Judge Henderson on one side, and regulators James Hunter, and Hermon Husband, on the other, really existed. and did face off in Wilmington. (See article: Tryon vs. regulators .)

 

In the pre-generic scene, we find the regulators taking their own justice by punishing the culprits and taking over the courthouse, a powerful symbol of their demands. Indeed, having exhausted all legal remedies in order to be heard, they mount a tone of violence and directly attack those they hold responsible for the inequity of the taxes which continue to impoverish them. : the collector John Evans caught in the act of having repeatedly claimed their due from the settlers; lawyer Edmund Fanning, indicted for stealing large sums from the crown, and Judge Henderson, accused of acquitting him.

The scene ends with an appearance by Murtagh who fervently embraces this movement of legitimate revolt, as he had done in the past during the Jacobite uprising. 

For Jamie, it's the past nightmare that begins again. As he had lived with Prince Charles - who, for the record, had signed in his place his allegiance to the Scottish king to force him to join the ranks of the rebellion, now he must again cooperate with the enemy - to whom he had no choice but to swear loyalty - in order to preserve his family and sharecroppers. This coming war and his moral obligation to take part in it is like a curse for this man who has always had only one desire: to build a house and live there in peace among his family.

 

We find out first, riding alongside Lieutenant Knox who, unlike the hateful William Tryon, has qualities that Jamie respects. Admittedly, it is a British soldier who has the mission to arrest the chief of the regulators, but we feel him ready for some moderation and we have the hope that he will be the one who can put an end to the rise in power. internal conflict.

In other circumstances, it is highly likely that the two could have been friends and one would almost wonder if it would not be appropriate for Jamie to confess his special connection to Murtagh Fitzzgibon to him. Unfortunately, they are told of the Wilmington clashes. It is no longer a question of chatting quietly and laying the foundations for a friendly relationship, but of acting and taking a stand

Barely arrived in town, the tone is set. The villagers try to restore order in the streets sacked by a revolt in which they refuse to take part. In the bar, the atmosphere is even darker. The tax collector shows his burns and stirs up hatred around him.

While he understands the regulators' claims, Jamie struggles to validate the violence they have displayed. As a fine politician, however, he manages to remain neutral, and assures the collector that one day he will be proud of his scars. We know he is referring to what he himself went through.

Then he meets the three imprisoned regulators, and we feel more and more uncomfortable. It is obvious that no further discussion is possible between the two camps and Jamie's posture is delicate, he who would still like to be able to save everyone. But this is counting without the anger of Ethan MacKinnon who spits his disdain at a Hamilton Knox completely overwhelmed. As helpless as he was during the disputes between the Scots and the Irish during the days of the Jacobite Revolt, Jamie fails to make his voice heard.

The assassination of the regulator will be the breaking point which will force him to definitively choose his camp. Decidedly, the British are still these murderous tyrants, unfit to consider the plight of those they despise. No matter what Knox says, he is no better than the others, imbued with his superiority and filled with the desire to make those who cry out injustice loud and clear.

 

And of course, there is Murtagh.

The roles are reversed from Scotland. It's Murtagh who refuses to let go with his fight, and it's up to Jamie to save him. Whatever visions they each have of a possible future in the New World, they can neither compete nor meet. Their only point of convergence is to be both protectors of their people, as Murtagh rightly points out to Bryan Cranna.

Yet here they are: Murtagh at the head of an upcoming uprising, and Jamie, summoned to assemble an army of settlers to put an end to it.

At Fraser's Ridge, despite an air of peace and prosperity enveloping the Big House, we also feel each other's struggles. 

Brianna, for starters, who tries to exorcise Bonnet by compulsively depicting him in her sketchbook.

Roger then, poor captain and bad marksman, who realizes that his wife seems to want to stay in this time when he does not feel in her place.

Finally, Claire, who not only could not save Mr. Farrish from a simple appendicitis, but who finds that his death was accelerated by the taking of mercury that his wife gave him, out of ignorance.

We already know that Claire can't stand losing a patient, but it's even more terrible when it comes to an ailment that she could have easily cured. Once again, she measures the way to go in order to protect her family from the most basic diseases. She trembles for her grandson in particular, because she knows that the slightest injury could kill him. The solution, however, she knows it, but it will not exist for 157 years.

Her discussion with Brianna on this subject allows us to realize how much Claire is now essentially attached to the times in which she lives. We are a long way from the time when she begged Jamie to spare Black Jack Randall so that Franck could live. Today, regardless of the implications of her actions in a future that she will never join. What matters is the lives of those close to him. And if that means risking a secret autopsy or breaking certain rules of time and taking oneself for God - as her daughter points out to him - then so be it.

If she has not been able to change the big story by allowing the Jacobite rebellion to defeat the British tyranny, she can on the other hand intervene, at her level, to change mentalities and medical practices in her community.

 

But it is not naïve for all that! And the women of Fraser's Ridge have a good time reminding her: she is only a healer, no one will listen to her. So, as some historians or writers who used male pseudonyms did in their time, she will entrust her advice to a fictitious man who will be able to convince better than herself. Dr. Rowling (whom the novels talk about in more detail than the series) will be his spokesperson. In the meantime, she will never stop finding the formula for penicillin and makes the decision to train her first pupil, the more than capable Marsali Fraser. Because she knows it, it is by teaching the women of this time that mentalities will be able to evolve.

The episode ends with a completely different story, that of Bonnet and Gérald Forbes who are far away, both acting in the name of political ideals.

We now know that the two men hatch a plan to seize the wealth of Jocasta Cameron. Forbes informed Bonnet that Jemmie McKenzie was now the rightful heir to River Run. It only remains for the latter to claim paternity!

Brianna has indeed every reason to be worried. 

By Valérie Gay-Corajoud

Valérie Gay-Corajoud