“If Not For Hope” – Recap and Review

No rant today.  Just my usual recap.  Let’s go!

This ep starts off with Roger in the shower.  For a quick second, I figured that he actually did say, “Fuck Brianna,” and decided to go back to a time period that was a tad less violent.  However, the hot Mohawk guy shows up in the mirror behind Roger, and we see that he basically just had a hallucination.

Over at massa’s plantation aka River Run, Brianna—who’s now beginning to show her bun in the oven—is sitting in one of the meeting rooms drawing dark and disturbing images.  Lizzie sees her drawings and believes she’s possessed, but Brianna assures her that’s not the case.  Lizzie starts to blame herself for everything that’s happened, and begs forgiveness.  Surprisingly, Brianna forgives her and tells her that what she did was just an honest mistake, which it was, although it caused a ton of trouble.  Lizzie goes to walk out the room, but turns back and asks if Brianna will ever forgive Jamie.  Of course, Brianna can’t forgive Jamie because of what he said, despite the fact that he apologized the second he said it.  *Sigh*  So Lizzie can be forgiven, but not your father?

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In our favorite place, Nowhere, USA, Jamie is searching for Roger with Claire and Ian.  To say that there’s tension between the Frasers is an understatement.  They’re barely talking, unless it’s to discuss the situation with Roger.  Jamie asks Claire if she knows anything about the Mohawk.  Claire says that she only knows what she’s seen in movies, and with films, it’s hard to tell fact from fiction (the constant debate regarding Bohemian Rhapsody is proof of that).   Jamie remarks that if you don’t have both sides of the story, it is hard to tell what’s made up and what’s real.  Claire catches the subtle shade.  Jamie goes on to say if anyone made a movie about him, he’d probably be portrayed as a vicious brute.  Claire says that’s one side of the story.  *Sigh*

Ian tries to get the Cherokee to lead them to the Mohawk tribe, but they refuse, as they have no business up there with them.  Since Ian knows a little bit of the Mohawk language and the man he sold Roger to speaks English, they decide to go on without a guide.  When the family stops to make camp, Ian asks Claire to try to patch things up with Jamie.  Claire claims she’s not mad at Jamie, but she’s worried about Brianna and she’s upset about the situation.  Ian tells Claire that he hates to see the both of them suffering so much.

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In Wilmington, Fergus is looking for Bonnet and a job, and having no luck in either case.  When he gets back home, Murtagh is there, speaking with another regulator.  Marsali isn’t very comfortable with Murtagh being there—to say the least—and she’s especially not comfortable with the tasks he’s assigned Fergus with.  Fergus reminds Marsali that Murtagh would do the same for him if he had the chance.   As for being refused work every five minutes, it’s starting to make Fergus feel like half a man.  He remarks that Jamie doesn’t treat him as if he’s disabled, but the folks in town act like he’s a useless cripple since he only has one hand.  Later that night, Marsali wakes Murtagh up (and the way she wakes him up is doggone hilarious), and asks him to please allow Fergus to join the Regulators.  Even though what they’re doing is dangerous, and Fergus could possibly be killed, Marsali wants Fergus to feel like a man again.  She either wants a full man, or none at all.

At River Run, Jocasta’s planned a dinner in a few days and she makes arrangements to have Phaedra (the house slave) fit Brianna for a new dress, since she’s the guest of honor.  However, Brianna turns down Phaedra’s assistance.  It’s not because Phaedra is working for free against her will (much like the federal workers before the shutdown finally ended), but it’s due to the fact that Brianna isn’t in the mood for partying.  Brianna opts to draw a picture of Phaedra instead, given that’s she a beautiful girl.  Anyway, Jocasta later speaks with Brianna and tells her that being around other people will be good for her.  Besides, she already had Phaedra alter one of her old dresses, since Brianna refused to have a new one made.  Brianna says that she’s happier being by herself drawing.  Jocasta regales her with a story about how her sister (Jamie’s mother and Brianna’s grandmother) married way past her “prime,” but when she did, she married for love.  The story makes Brianna feel a bit better, and she agrees that being around other people may make things easier.  With that, Jocasta tells her to get her pregnant ass upstairs and try her dress on.

The night of the party comes, and Ms. Brianna looks stunning in her retro fitted dress.  All the fellas think so too, because the minute Brianna comes downstairs, they’re all staring at her with drool leaking from their open mouths.  I wish I had a bucket of water for their thirsty asses.

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It’s not lost on Brianna that the majority of the guests at that party are men—single men.  The few women that are there are either the men’s mothers or sisters.  What really irked me though, is when the guests inquire Brianna about her hobbies and interests, she mentions that she likes to draw and that she finished a picture of Phaedra just the other day.  Of course, Ms. Forbes, one of the guests, assumes that she drew a picture of Phaedra from Greek mythology.  That damn Jocasta even went along with that lie.  Another guest, Judge Alderdyce, correctly guesses that she’s talking about Phaedra the house slave.  The first thing out Judge Alderdyce’s mother’s mouth was, “Why ever would you want to draw a picture of that?”  That?  That!?  THAT!?

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Brianna actually looked appalled and the thirsty men continued to be thirsty.  However, their thirst turned to disappointment when the last guest arrived…Lord John Grey.

Back at Fergus’s place, Murtagh asks him to join The Regulators.  Although Fergus is more than happy that Murtagh even considered him to fight by his side, Fergus rejects the offer, telling him that his place is with Marsali and Germain.  Marsali is in the next room listening in, and when she hears Fergus’s answer, she’s delighted.  Yes, she wanted Murtagh to allow Fergus to be a Regulator, but hearing Fergus say that he’s more of a man being near his wife and child gives her reassurance that he is still a whole man, and that he’s happy with his family regardless.  She tries to hold in her joy when she enters the room they’re in and announces that the ship they were looking for just arrived at port.  Bonnet’s ship.  Before Fergus and Murtagh leave, Marsali stops the latter to say thank you.  Someone on social media mentioned that Marsali is so much more mature than her mother.  I wholeheartedly agree.

Back at River Run, the thirst continues to be real.  Brianna suggests they all play a  psychological game she learned a while back, and of course, the men jump at the chance.  She tells them all to close their eyes and imagine they’re in a secluded forest with one other person and an animal, and she’ll tell them what the person and animal represent.  After they’ve all done the exercise, Brianna asks Judge Alderdyce what he saw.  The judge says he was walking with Christ and saw a squirrel that continually pops up in his mother’s garden.  Brianna deduces that the judge feels the need to confess something and he’s keeping a secret from his mother.  The judge’s mother is quick to say that she and her son have no secrets.  Right.  Let me tell y’all something…my mom is my best friend, but she doesn’t know every little detail about me.  Let’s just be real.

Judge Alderdyce excuses himself for a moment, and Brianna asks Lord John what he saw.  Lord John says that he saw Jamie.

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Brianna wonders aloud why Jamie is the person Lord John imagined he’d be with, and he tells her that Jamie personally asked him to check on her.  When Brianna asks why, John answers that Jamie only told him that Brianna would soon be embarking on a long journey.  Brianna inquires if Jamie gave any other details, and Lord John tries to put her mind at ease by telling her Jamie would not divulge any personal info of hers unless she wanted him to.  John adds that Jamie is an honorable man, and Brianna quickly retorts, “Don’t talk to me about my father’s honor!”  Brianna is such a damn brat.  If these men knew I what I know, they’d run.

Brianna tries to excuse herself for a moment, but faints.  Lord John sees to her and helps her to another room.  Lizzie comes in genuinely concerned, but unfortunately spills the beans about Brianna’s pregnancy.  Naturally, Lord John doesn’t pass any judgement, and Brianna tells the tale of how she and Roger were handfast, hooked up, and how he was sold to the Mohawk.  John then gives Brianna a letter Jamie wanted her to read.  Of course, Brianna doesn’t read it.   Jocasta comes in to see about Brianna, and once they have some time alone, she asks if the party was a setup.  Jocasta admits it was (shocking!), and she tells Brianna that she has to get married soon, now that she has a baby on the way.  Brianna insists that she get married for love like her grandmother did, but Jocasta tells her that if doesn’t make a move soon, the baby will be born a fatherless bastard.  It’s one thing to be born out of wedlock in 2019, or even 1981 (me!) or 1971, but in 1769?  That’s a no-no.

At a tavern in Wilmington, Fergus, Murtagh and a few more of the Regulators spy on Bonnet’s ship mates.  After a few moments, guess who comes boppin’ up?  Stephen Doggone Bonnet himself, getting victim #2 ready.  Bonnet heads upstairs at to undo his fly and get ready for the deed, but before he can, Murtagh appears with his gun drawn.  Bonnet swears up and down Murtagh has the wrong room, and my boy gives him the perfect response, “Yes.  I’m looking for a gentleman.  You’re no gentleman.”  Then he knocks the hell out of Bonnet’s evil ass.  I love it.

Murtagh and Fergus are about to load Bonnet’s nasty ass in the wagon to take him away, but the authorities notice them.  Murtagh tells Fergus to get back to his family and punches him in the stomach to make it look like he was assaulting him.  When the cops arrive, they recognize Murtagh from his wanted posters.  Murtagh makes sure they realize he has Stephen Bonnet, a wanted murderer.  The cops take both of them away.  Dammit.

Later that night, at River Run, Brianna is up wondering if she should read Jamie’s letter or not, and true to form, she decides not to.  She gets up to get something to eat and/or drink and hears the sound of panting coming from another room.  She walks into the direction the noise is coming from, and guess what she sees!  It’s Lord John and Judge Alderdyce gettin’ their freak on!!

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I figured that when Brianna mentioned that Judge Alderdyce had a secret his mother didn’t know, him being gay was the hidden truth.  Once Brianna notices the two men having some private time, she runs back to her room.  The next morning, Phaedra happily wakes Brianna up to let her know that Mr. Forbes (one of the suitors) has staked his claim to Brianna and he’s already asked Jocasta for her blessing.  Naturally, Jocasta has no problem with it.  Brianna tells Phaedra to let Jocasta know that she went out for her morning walk and will be back.  She also tells Lizzie to have Lord John meet her outside.  Once she and Lord John are on the grounds alone together, she asks Lord John to marry her.

Lord John refuses, and Brianna—whose audacity knows no bounds—-threatens to tell other people about what she saw the night before.  She even throws Jamie’s name in the mix, threatening to tell him what she knows and Lord John easily calls her bluff, telling her that Jamie and Claire are already well aware of his alternative lifestyle.  After more threats and harsh words (one of which sounded like a veiled threat of marital rape if Brianna did force Lord John’s hand), Brianna and Lord John calm down and begin to speak to each other like civilized adults with some home training.  Brianna admits that she really wouldn’t have said anything, and in turn, Lord John admits that although he sees Jamie when he closes his eyes, he sees Claire as well, and the love they have for each other.  With tears in her eyes, Brianna confesses that she was raped and isn’t 100% sure who the father of her child is.  If and when Roger comes back, he may not want to be with her anymore.  Brianna doesn’t want to marry Mr. Forbes, but she will for the sake of her baby, since it looks like she no longer has a choice in the matter.

Brianna comes back to the house, and is all ready to give Mr. Forbes an answer.  However, Lord John enters and announces that he and Brianna are engaged.  Mr. Forbes leaves the house, clearly disappointed, but Jocasta is overjoyed.  It may not be the man she wanted for her grandniece, but it’s a man nonetheless.  Later, Brianna and Lord John are talking while on the porch.  Brianna admits that in this world, she’s said and done things she never thought she would or could.  Lord John tells her that sometimes people do bad things for a good reason, and that Jamie may know something about that.  Slipping back into brat mode, Brianna doesn’t wanna hear that, and says that she’s not sure what’s worse:  dwelling on the past or facing the future.  Lord John then tells Brianna about William, and how much he loves him, even though he’s not biologically his.  Oooh, I bet this child’ll have a shit fit when she finds out who William’s father really is.  Anyway, Lord John assures Brianna that Roger will love the baby no matter what.  It’s only then that Brianna finally does the mature thing and reads Jamie’s letter.

Back in the Neverending Forest, Rollo approaches Ian with a big ass bone.  Ian is eventually able to pry the bone from Rollo’s mouth, and when Claire examines it, she states the obvious…it’s human.  Hell, I honestly believe it was a femur, also known as a thigh bone, for those of y’all that cut anatomy class.  Rollo leads them to the body where the bone was found and Ian recognizes him as the man that was already captured by the Mohawk when he sold Roger to them.  They go off in different directions and search for Roger’s body, but they don’t find anything.  They end up giving the man a proper burial, and when Ian states that he feels so bad for him, Jamie says, “Well, one thing…he was someone’s son.”

Claire—like her bratty daughter—finally has the power to forgive Jamie.  She enters his tent later and apologizes for not telling him the truth about Brianna’s attacker.  She goes on to say that after Frank died, Brianna and Claire kept secrets just to themselves, which is why she didn’t tell Jamie what was going on.  Jamie tells Claire that Brianna doesn’t need him, and that he can’t be a father to her.  After all, Brianna said that Frank would never say the things Jamie said to her.  Jamie goes on to say that he’s jealous of Frank because Brianna thinks he’s a better man.  He even says that he was starting to think that Claire saw Frank as a better man, too.  Claire comforts him by telling him that Brianna says things out of anger just like he does, and that Frank was far from perfect.  They embrace and y’all can guess what happened next.  This scene made me cry.  I hate seeing Jamie so miserable.

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Somewhere in upstate New York (let’s say Syracuse!), Roger finally arrives at The Mohawk encampment.  The second he arrives, the men untie him and form a Soul Train line where they actually take turns beating him.  Seriously.  Even I can’t make this shit up.  And that’s the end.

This episode was enjoyable, but I can’t help but notice that Jamie and Claire are being pushed further and further into the background whereas Brianna and Roger are being brought into the forefront.  For the last few weeks—including the following episode, which I will review soon—we’ve seen Brianna and Roger have the most screen time as well as the most interesting storylines.  Outlander is supposed to be Claire and Jamie’s story.  I miss the plot centering around them.  This season, they’ve become supporting characters in their own doggone show!  As for Ms. Brianna, she showed a bit of improvement, but she’s still not on my good side as of yet.  That won’t happen until she actually faces her father, and tells him, “I forgive you, and I’m sorry for the hurtful things I said.”  I would add that she needs to call him “Da,” as he asked, but at this point, we can’t expect miracles.  Even if she does that, I still have to give her the side eye for being so complacent with having slaves wait on her hand and foot.  I’ll give her a point for being offended when Jude Alderdyce’s clueless mama referred to Phaedra as “that,” but that’s all I can give her credit for.  Hell, Brianna’s even gotten comfortable with ordering Lizzie around at this point.  As for Roger, I really feel bad for the poor man.  This trip back in time has been pure hell on him!  The 18th century truly blows!

Despite my feelings regarding Roger and Brianna being the main focus of the series as of late, I did like this episode.  The party had me in stitches, considering that Jocasta brought together some of the most least desirable men in North Carolina to ask for Brianna’s hand in marriage.  What really had me rollin’ was that the oldest, least attractive one was the thirstiest of them all (Lieutenant Wolf, in case you’re wondering).  Ain’t nobody comin’ to see you, Otis!

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It was good to see Lord John again, and aside from that uncharacteristic threat he gave Brianna, he further proved why he’s such a beloved addition to the Outlander arc.  Ironically enough, he was the only handsome “suitor” invited to the party (even the writers touched on this), but we all know he wasn’t interested for a multitude of reasons.  I’m glad that Claire and Jamie made up.  It’s just a shame that they had all of 15 minutes of screen time.  Sadly enough, they got even less screen time in the next ep.  More on that later.

I apologize for being late posting these again.  All last week and most of this week, I was under the weather, so I didn’t write as much as I wanted.  I’m going to crank out this next episode recap/review as quickly as I can, as well as the season finale.   That’s right, we’ll soon face the season known as “Droughtlander.”  If that means a break from Brianna though, I’m all for it.

—Written by Nadiya

So what did y’all think about “If Not For Hope”?  Do you think Brianna is still being a brat?  Did you ever feel like she was being bratty?  Did you think she was okay with having the slaves wait on her at Jocasta’s house?  Do you feel bad for Roger’s plight?  Do you think he’ll still accept the baby if it isn’t is?  What do you think about Jamie and Claire no longer being the central characters this season?  Do you miss seeing them, or are you okay with Brianna and Roger taking the spotlight?  Let me know in the comments section!

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