I'll start by getting rid of this confession so as not to have to come back to it: season 4 is not my favorite, far from it. A lot of episodes annoy me and others annoy me downright. I find this all the more unfortunate since it seemed important to me not to miss this introduction to life in the colonies, so rich in subjects to be exploited: Indian tribes, slavery, colonization, migration, reconstruction. clans and above all, the family that comes together through time! Damn, Diana Gabaldon offers so many avenues to explore that you just have to reach out to pick the fruit!
Having said that, after digesting my disappointment, I took the trouble to watch it a second time. Relieved of exacerbated waiting; disproportionate hope; from my own perception of volume 4 of the literary saga, I have come to better appreciate the season as a whole.
There are nevertheless some very beautiful moments, in particular the prodigious journey of Roger, a small, narrow and slightly annoying history teacher, becoming this incredibly courageous character and full of humanity. There is the sweet maturity that settles in the couple of Claire and Jamie, the return of Murtagh - damn what happiness -! The meeting with the touching although a little irritating William Ransom and especially the few moments spent with the wonderful Lord John. There is this force of nature that is Jocasta Cameron! There is also the beautiful evolution of little Ian into a man of value, and of course, the reunion with Brianna!
Yes, there is all of that, and yet I can't get my mind off that the fourth season only serves to bridge the three and the five. (Feel free to leave your opinion on this in the comments at the bottom of the article.)
Here it is, it is said, it is not very serious and above all, it is up to me. Now, let's get to the heart of the subject that brings us together here: the finale.
The two episodes, " providence " and " a man of valor " (which I cannot separate as they are articulated together) have the particularity of making 4 independent arcs intersect which will not end up regrouping. Parallel stories that feature a central character and essential support.
1 - the way of the cross (not to say, the descent into hell) of Roger who never seems to want to stop, with, in mirror, his meeting with the French priest, Alexandre Ferigault .
2 - At the same time, Brianna's heartbreaking and once again lonely journey, followed by her friendship with Lord John.
3 - The risk-taking on the part of Fergus in order to free Murtagh from an imprisonment that will undoubtedly lead him to the gallows, supported and aided by Marsali , as always.
4 - The painful quest of Claire and Jamie to find Roger while trying to forgive, to oneself and to others, and the posture of Ian who offers himself in exchange to allow Jamie to keep his promise.
The “providence” episode opens with Roger's arrival at the Mohawk camp, Sadow Lake, after long months of forced march through the forest. He is physically and morally exhausted, who would not be after this ordeal? Only his desire to find Brianna keeps him alive.
The Mohawks jostle him, observe him like a strange animal, but he does not understand anything, too stunned and exhausted to perceive the importance of the ritual which is organized around him. A hedge surrounds it, not to welcome it, it seems, but to strike it, again, always. His shoulder shatters, finishing hurting his aching body.
Sold by his own - a mark of supreme dishonor - he is deemed unworthy of being a member of the tribe, just as he apparently fell short of being a member of the Fraser family.
Again thrown to the ground, the sentence falls, “ you will remain a prisoner, you will not be among us ”. A young woman gives him a name: Ehhaokonsah … dog's head.
So his mind breaks too.
His meeting with Father Alexandre Ferigault allows us to become aware of his evolution. When the priest explains to him that he prefers to die rather than baptize his child, because he no longer considers himself worthy of it in God's eyes, Roger invites him to open his eyes.
" Turn your back on love, and privilege your freedom "! he told her at the end of his argument. And we feel strongly in this statement, the weight of the torments that gnaw at him. He himself pays the price for his stubbornness in loving which made him cross the stones; embark for America then finally give up turning back when he miraculously had the opportunity during his short escape. But these long months of pain have cured him, he thinks. Yes, he will stop being an idiot, because loving almost killed him.
The little energy that remains in him, he will use to flee and return to his time, safe from the Indians, safe from a century full of dangers, safe from love even. He remains combative, but out of rage, out of refusal to endure the repeated violence.
Anger is its engine.
And it's almost there! Outside, he runs through woods to the stone circle, taking advantage of the inattention of his guards too busy to watch the French prisoner bite the flames. But it was counting without his humanity. Because that waiver was just a varnish to survive.
The priest's cries prevent him from giving up, from running away, from denying himself. Therefore he turns back and saves his soul to the detriment of his body. Just as Ferigault chose torture rather than deny his faith, he chooses love. He chooses to be an idiot, in good conscience.
In a way, by shortening the priest's agony and allowing himself to be captured once again by the Mohawks, he proves that he is worthy of being one of them. But this time, it is they, amazed, who do not understand. " Dog's head " he is, and will remain so in their eyes, when at this moment, there is no more human than him.
We are not told how Roger saw it afterwards, alone in this prison of branches and leaves in which the French are no longer. Probably he awaits death in his turn, as an end in itself. However, when the Frasers are finally there for him, he is ready to follow them.
I noticed during the last negotiations with Chief Tehwahsehwkwe who refuses to let him go, that Roger does not intervene, neither to defend his cause nor to convince Jamie or Ian not to sacrifice themselves for him. And then I realized that, from his point of view, those two owed him it! They are the origin of the hell he has just been through, and it is only fair that they now offer to exchange their places.
When you look at it from the very beginning, Roger is the only one who has not made any mistakes, never to have lied, except perhaps when he hid (just a few days) from Brianna the existence of the newspaper clipping about the fire, and again, he only did it because Fionna had asked him to. Roger is a pure one who has nothing to be ashamed of, on the contrary, he would have plenty to blame for each other and never want to see them again.
Finally Ian takes his place and Roger leaves with Claire and Jamie. He can express his rage by hitting Jamie in turn, to the point of exhaustion, just before he learns what Brianna went through. His ordeal seems endless, tragedies and injustices follow each other with diabolical regularity like pearls on a thread.
The Frassers urge him, threaten him, make him weigh past and future responsibilities, on him who has only one breath of life, a breath of hope! In this New World, it seems that you always have to prove that you are worthy, beyond all reason.
It takes Roger time and that is indeed what he needs more than anything else. Time to find his rightful place in his own life. Take back the reins of its existence and its destiny.
When we finally find him at River Run in Brianna's arms, he's transformed.
He is no longer the 20th century history teacher. He is no longer this frightened traveler under Bonnet's thumb. He is no longer "dog's face" at the mercy of the Indians, nor even this son-in-law manhandled by the superb Jamie Fraser. No, he is an accomplished man who can therefore claim his due. His wife, his son, his rightful place in the New World.
What is certain is that Brianna's arrival in the 18th century will not have been easier than that of her mother or that of Roger.
Here she is pregnant, either by the man she loves, or by the man she hates, forced to put herself under the thumb of an aunt, certainly loving, but also a slave and schemer! Strangely, in Jocasta's hands, Brianna is more than ever in danger, grappling with the social rules of a time when women are either a wife or a whore.
She has to absorb all at the same time the trauma of a rape, the deleterious anguish about what Roger is going through, the muffled anger against her father and her cousin, and finally the incessant intrigues of her aunt in order to throw her into the dark. arms of a substantial number of suitors.
Since her arrival, she has never been so surrounded, and paradoxically, she has never been so alone. She expels part of her torment through her drawings which allow her to express what no one is able to hear, but that of course cannot be enough.
Fortunately, Lord John Gray joins her, so everything changes.
John is an extension of paternal protection that allows her to become a girl again. She can therefore walk towards forgiveness through John, which she might not have been able to face her father, their two anger feeding each other.
She almost ruined everything though! by trying to manipulate him and by blackmailing him with filthy blackmail. Fortunately for her, John is not the man to be judged in haste. He understands that Bree is just a cornered and terrified young girl. So he doesn't hold it against her and decides to support her, interposing himself between her and the other suitors, this Forbes in particular, who wanted to marry her as quickly as possible in order to take possession of Jocasta Cameron's property.
Under the protection of John Gray, Brianna finds what she lacked more than anything: time to wait for Roger's return and therefore, the possibility of keeping hope.
Besides the bond with Jamie and the marital protection she needed, John is also the one who will allow Bree to talk to Bonnet and carry out what her father advised her to do: forgive, or at least permanently detach. the hatred she feels for this man of the unborn child. It is essential for her, vital even.
From a purely scriptwriting point of view, it's interesting that the junction point between the 4 story arcs is when John reads Jamie's letter to Brianna.
Indeed, we join the Fraser off to Shadow Lake to find it Roger , Brianna and John reading about Jamie about Bonnet that Murtagh was supposed to meet before being stopped in turn, forcing Fergus and Marsali to organize his escape.
When John accepts Brianna's special request, the baby moves in her womb, as if at this precise moment he has the right to exist. “ There it is, ” says John. “ Yes, I know, ” she replies. Finally, she is no longer the only one to bear the responsibility for this unborn child.
Brianna therefore leaves with John in Wilmington in order to confront her attacker, chained, of course, but having lost none of his arrogance. It's so easy to hate him!
This meeting allows Brianna much more than to express a forgiveness that she finds it difficult to grant. She can tell Bonnet straight in her eyes that this child will have nothing to do with him. By expressing this loud and clear, Bree can definitely separate the unborn child from this father she is denying. Nothing that he represents will go to this child.
“ I have no choice but to live with what you have done to me, but you will soon be forgotten. He will never know your name, or even your existence ”.
There she is, the door she closes on the past. The trauma will remain in its place, attached to the brutality of the rape, and not to the life of her baby.
“ While you rot six feet under, I will raise MY child with respect for good values, he will have nothing in common with you” .
I can't help but think that she is giving Bonnet a real gift, because not only does she "offer" him a child, and therefore a future when he will soon die, but also the assurance that this child will be one. good person and not a bandit like himself always has been.
We can also take a moment to wonder if, at this point, Brianna is convinced that Bonnet is indeed the progenitor. The way she asserts it suggests so. However, it is possible that she decides not to tell Bonnet about Roger so as not to offer him more of her life than necessary. It doesn't matter what this man thinks since he is destined to perish within a week. What matters is not him, but her.
As she's done with him, she crosses paths with Fergus and Murtagh. The prison explodes. Everyone believes Bonnet is dead. Life can resume its course.
She finally gives birth, supported by her aunt Jocasta and the wonderful Phaedre (Impossible not to underline here the enormous difference with the original version of Diana Gabaldon which made Claire return in time to assist her daughter!) And no longer has to other choice than to wait for the return of her husband or the announcement of his death.
John left, but Murtagh took over. There is always, above Brianna, a protective angel sent by her father. Is she aware of it? Yet she seems to be getting better. Maybe it's the rumor of Bonnet's death, or the presence of her baby, or maybe it's just the acceptance of a time without control anymore.
When, back, her parents tell her that Roger is alive, but that we have to wait a little longer to find out if he has decided to return, Bree's heart is torn again. The little one is two months old, we are told, so she hasn't seen Roger for almost a year!
Fortunately, the wait will not last longer, as he finally returns to her and her child. Their solitary ordeal ends at this moment. As long as they are together, everything can fall into place.
The young Frenchi has always been the great forgotten of the writers from the moment he became a man and I was really happy that a more important place was offered to him in this final.
It's not well explained in the series, but since their move to Wilmington, his disability has been closing doors one after another in his search for a job and Fergus suffers from not being able to support them. his wife and his son.
Marsali's request to Murtagh to offer him to join the regulators makes us understand half-heartedly: Fergus doesn't feel like an accomplished man, and someone urgently needs to give him a chance. , even if it puts him in danger.
It turns out that the opportunity will come twice and he will prove to be up to the task.
First in the search for Stephen Bonnet so that Jamie can get his revenge.
Then in a more pronounced way - since no longer responding to the wish of another, but emanating from his own decision - in the organization of Murtagh's escape.
When he announces Murtagh's arrest to Brian and Malachi, he has this important sentence: " He took his responsibilities, I will not let him be hanged ." The question does not arise for Fergus. Regulators will help him, but he is sure he would have done even without it.
Let us not forget the time spent which binds him to Murtagh during the second season, whether in Paris or in Scotland during the rebellion. They have known each other for years and have great affection for each other. It is therefore in his name that he will save him and not just because he is Jamie's godfather.
So here he is organizing the escape. Marsali discovers it and supports it, who surprises? Him apparently! who has never had the opportunity to assert his qualities openly. He doubts himself, is sorry for the absence of Jamie who would have known what to do! At the same time, Marsali is sorry for Claire's absence. It is obvious that both have lived until then in the shadow of the Fraser couple who are difficult to measure.
" What would they have done in our place? Fergus wonders. " They would have found a solution," Marsali replied. “Trust your plan,” she adds.
And that's what he does. He organizes and carries out this escape by taking the head of the small troop, he who has always been the follower.
In the prison, they cross paths with Brianna and Lord John. There again he intervenes. He is the mediator between Murtagh and the Briton Lord John, who symbolizes the almighty power of the crown. He stands at the center of a major conflict and manages to maintain a status quo, the time to free Murtagh.
He has the idea of blowing up the prison in order to erase all traces that could lead to them.
Mission accomplished. The young couple can finally join Fraser's Ridge, where Fergus will have his place, where he will no longer be handicapped, but the son of the Fraser house.
Claire and Jamie
Claire and Jamie have been parents for many years. Parents of Fergus, by adoption, illegitimate parent of William and replacement for Joan and Marsali on Jamie's side, surrogate parents for Ian from Jamaica, and most importantly, parents of Brianna.
But this is the first time that they happen to be parents of Bree at the same time. It is the first time that Jamie can play his role of father and that Claire is torn between her husband and their daughter.
Bree, the aptly nicknamed, is a source of joy in the family, but also, and almost immediately, a source of problems. His presence could have been nothing but jubilation, but the conditions of his arrival are dramatic. Rape, pregnancy, and above all, the disastrous misunderstanding about Roger for which everyone must bear their share of responsibility.
Brianna for not having mentioned Bonnet earlier and Claire for having hidden it in turn. As for Jamie, my gosh, though nurtured by a protective sentiment towards his daughter, his almost murderous rage left Roger nowhere for an attempted explanation. Obviously, he does not brag about it to his family. And, as if to definitively close this infernal loop, here is that Ian sells Roger to the Mohawks without even bothering to warn his uncle.
As we know, this quadruple secret will have dramatic consequences.
In the episode "Providence", the Frassers are absent from the screen, except when John reads Jamie's letter whose voice-over lulls us with his soothing message. We have the feeling that beyond the high mountains that separate them, he continues to be that benevolent father that he always wanted to embody. His word is wise, his words are measured, his presence is reassuring.
They are not there, and yet they are endlessly represented.
With John to begin with, who confesses to Bree his attachment to Jamie during dinner at Jocasta's, then during their conversation in the park where he admits to thinking about him all the time, but also about Claire, because the couple is indivisible.
They are there again through Murtagh who goes in search of Bonnet at Jamie's request so that he can seek revenge.
They are evoked by Fergus and Marsali who regret their absence, they who would need help so much!
They are present of course through Brianna who has such a hard time forgiving her father and who longs for her mother.
They are there for us too, relieved to know that they are reconciled despite their fear of not finding Roger. Their distance ultimately symbolizes this long walk of 1000 kilometers which separate them from Roger and their will not to give up.
We finally find them in the introduction of the last episode of the season: “a man of value. "
They have finally reached the Mohawk village and are confident that Roger is alive.
Alas, at the sight of the Dent de Loutre stone, the exchange attempts are canceled and they are ordered to return, without Roger. But of course, it is inconceivable!
As usual, Claire faces the injunction with courage and stubbornness. Her eyes fixed on those of Tehwahsehwkwe, she refuses to retreat so close to the goal. Jamie, a good Scotsman, accustomed to clan rules, knows there is no point in arguing the chief's word. You have to move away in order to regroup better and come back to the charge.
Besides, that's what he says, barely installed in a neighboring clearing. He first evokes Fort William when he came to save Claire from the clutches of Black Jak Randall years ago, then as if to close a debate that is irrelevant:
" I don't know what this stone means to the Mohawks, but I won't go back to Bree with a rock while Roger is still here ."
When Wahkaiiosta surprises them with a few loyal warriors in order to retrieve the Opal, it's interesting that Jamie immediately steps back. Obviously, the stone and all that it symbolizes refers to that part of Claire's life that escapes her.
For a moment, the existence of Roger, Bree, Fergus, Claire and Jamie doesn't matter anymore. What prevails is the fate of the Iroquois tribes that Dent de Loutre tried to preserve. Carrying the burden of the fate of his people just as Claire carried that of the Scottish defeat, he gave his life without achieving his ends. His ultimate power is to defy death to find Claire in the form of a ghost and give her the stone so that she relays her message.
The destiny of Dent de Loutre, the memory of a glorious people, the freedom of Roger. Everything ends up interlocking finally and hope is reborn on one side as on the other.
Alas, the plan fails. Wahkaiiosta is driven from her village and the Frasers are again ordered to leave, without Roger.
So Jamie doesn't hesitate any longer. It is instinctive in him, it flows in his blood, this is how he sees his place with his family: his life against that of those he loves.
But for once, the man of great worth, it won't be Jamie. Because there is Ian now.
He too must be forgiven. If Roger is there, captive and wounded a thousand miles from his wife and child, it's because he sold him to the Mohawks, and it doesn't matter that he did so under Jamie's injunction. He will stay here, take his place, free the whole family! It will be the solution, the appeasement, the cure.
Besides, this warlike line which is organized almost immediately around him and which recalls the one which had brought Roger to the ground does not appear to him so terrifying. He understands her, he confronts her. Like a good Fraser, he is quick.
His smile when officially accepted as a member of the tribe is, in my opinion, the happiest moment of the entire season.
For their part, Claire and Jamie leave with Roger.
For them there is still a lot to do. First of all to receive Roger's rage, but especially to inform him of the rape of Brianna and the unborn child.
Suddenly their quest is no longer "to save Roger"! But "spare Brianna". It didn't happen gradually, but suddenly, as if a door had just closed behind them.
We feel the weight of pain impacting each of their words. There is both urgency, but also heaviness, distress, anger, regrets, doubts ...
I allow myself a small personal criticism about the posture of the Frassers, which I find to say the least severe with respect to Roger. No consideration of the hell he went through. We throw a reality in his face by telling him to make almost unbearable decisions. Even though Claire seems to want to give him a little time and tries to soften up sometimes, she stays away from him anyway without taking care of his state of health, which is unlike her.
“ You cost me a boy I love, and my girl doesn't need a coward, ” Jamie told him.
" If you need time, take it ", adds Claire in order to appease the spirits " Because it is about our daughter " ...
And we feel there the stake which tears them both.
The drama feeds on the past, the present and the future, seeping into the very heart of the family.
This time Roger takes will be private and we will not know anything about his journey until he returns to River Run.
We are given to see the arrival of Claire and Jamie with Brianna and their sadness in the face of her disappointment. Everything remains in suspense despite the fact that they found him, despite the birth of the child. A child who still has no name, because nothing for the future has yet been written. Fortunately for us, the wait will not last. Roger returns and chooses his wife and son.
As for the future, finally, it will not be played at level since a new obstacle arises through a message from Governor Tryon:
Jamie Fraser must keep his promise to the crown and must unearth and then execute Chief Regulator Murtagh FitzGibbons.