Welcome back to the ONC Administrators’ Choice Awards! Now until the end of Season 4 (we refuse to think about it), some of the ONC adminstrators and myself will be voting on our “Bests” from the latest Outlander episode. Last week, we gave awards for Episode, 401.4, Common Ground. Next up, is Episode 401.5, Savages. This week’s voting contributors are Mitzie Munroe, Nancy Roach (a/k/a The White Sow), Susan Jackson, Tara Heller, Blair Beard and Cameron Hogg! And the winners are…
Tara: Murtagh and Jamie seeing each other for the first time in 12 years! I almost died when I saw Jamie’s eyes start to water and that turn of his mouth that he does when he’s emotional and then them embracing! The family is almost back together!
Cameron: When Ian is looking for the smithy, and lo and behold, it turns out to be Murtagh. I squealed like a kid at Christmas. But I did the same when he turned around to see Jamie… and again when he saw Claire… it seems there’s a common thread here.
Susan: Definitely Murtagh–I love the show character, and was so tickled to see him in the blacksmith shop, and that reunion of shock and awe with Jamie was so moving. I assumed he’d be the silversmith and Jamie would have to eventually tell him about his sassy wife. lol
Blair: I call them “The Murtagh Moments”. They start when Ian goes into the smithery and speaks to the man at the forge. Though the ponytail was grey, I immediately identified the backside of Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser! Welcome back Duncan Lacroix!
Mitzie: No-brainer here; we have been teased all year about a possible appearance by Murtagh and AT LAST we have it! My mind is joyfully imagining in all kinds of roles and scenarios we will find our beloved Murtagh engaging in for the rest of the season (and hopefully beyond).
Nancy: The appearance of the White Sow. I’ve been on tenterhooks for two years now as to whether she would make it into the television series. (Lol) Second would be the appearance of Murtagh.
Tara: ‘You’ve no idea you are just a Christmas pork chop, do you?’ It just cracked me up!
Cameron: The exchanges between Jamie and the frisky Mrs. MacNeill. I’ve never heard so much subtext in someone just saying “not today,” when asked if Mr. MacNeill was home. And I’m pretty sure she was hoping to serve him more than “a hearty piece of pie.”
Susan: Jamie’s response to the silversmith’s wife’s question about whether his wife was good at making pie–”Aye, very.” I laughed out loud.
Blair: Murtagh’s cheeky comment to Ian, “Who you calling an old coot, eh?” was the best line of the night! Reminds me of the dated meme, “Whatcha talkin’ bout Willis?”, but better!
Mitzie: Murtagh’s greeting to Claire as he approached the cabin. “Murtagh…?! Is it really you?” “Well, it isn’t no the boogie woogie bugle boy.”
Nancy: Murtagh’s reference to the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” song as he greeted Claire. It brought back to mind the episode in season I with the two of them singing and dancing to find Jamie.
Tara: Murtagh/Duncan it was so great to have him back and have his humor infused into the season. There’s a new side to him being apart of the Regulators so that will be interesting. Loved how he announced his arrival on the Ridge, I did like that part of the Search episode.
Cameron: Duncan LaCroix- he’s just great in this role anyhow, but absence makes the heart grow fonder. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed him until he was back!
Susan: Cait gets my award on this one–she was great. Claire’s emotions had to run the gamut in all of those scenes, and Cait is just wonderful at portraying them all.
Blair: Actress Tantoo Cardinal’s character, Adawehi, was stellar. Sometimes less is more, and Adawehi spoke volumes.
Mitzie: Well it looks like it’s Claire’s turn to snag this honor. Like Jamie last week, we got to see so many emotions from Claire this episode. We saw her strong, weak, happy, sad, scared, angry, exhausted and determined.
Nancy: Again, the White Sow. I believed she was really trying to mess with Jamie’s hat.
Tara: When Murtagh showed up and being part of the Regulators. I don’t know if I saw that storyline coming.
Cameron: The Cherokee setting fire to the Mueller cabin and Mrs. Mueller’s death in that scene. It was different than the book, if I recall, and really more graphic than it needed to be. I felt like it villainized the Cherokee.
Susan: To see Murtagh rousing the troops, so to speak.
Blair: Claire surprised me when she unwrapped the towel that contained not a doll, but the scalp of Adawehi. Her face reflected the horror and sadness that I felt as well. Claire tenderly cares for what remains of her new, yet dear friend and respectfully puts her to rest.
Mitzie: Claire unwrapping the checkered cloth thinking it is baby Klara’s doll when in fact it was Adawehi’s scalp. Being a book reader I knew it was coming but I was still completely caught unawares as to how horrific that moment really was for Claire.
Nancy: The appearance of Murtagh. I knew the moment was coming, but I didn’t guess that he was a blacksmith, silversmith and regulator.
Tara: Well there’s two things.1. Murtagh showing up and reuniting with Jamie and Claire. 2. Seeing Claire’s day to day working on the Ridge.
Cameron: That Murtagh settles right back in with Jamie and Claire, despite being a Regulator and Jamie’s land grant, and it’s like they’ve never missed a beat.
Susan: Seeing Claire being portrayed more accurately as a woman in the 18th century–cooking over a hot fire, being a midwife, feeding the animals (did she run to the Walmart in Woolam’s Creek for those fresh veggies?), and handling a firearm. Historically speaking, women of that time period didn’t live an easy life, unless their family was very well off financially.
Blair: The entire episode was exciting. Full of reunions, regulators and readiness for the future!
Mitzie: We still have split storylines going (which I love) and seeing Roger chasing down leads for Brianna just breaks my heart. And with seeing the rabbit, Adawehi’s comment about Brianna being here and Jamie’s dream, I am enjoying the slow integration of Brianna to Jamie and Claire in the past.
Nancy: The reunion between Murtagh and Jamie and Claire. These moments are so emotionally rewarding.
Tara: I think this is going to see my favorite now. Last week’s moved down to number 2. This week’s had grit and substance and then the day to day thrown in there with Claire.
Cameron: Best so far! The gang’s all here! The Murtagh/Jamie dynamic brings back some of the earlier seasons’ spark. And a lot of the clever one liners are back too, like the silversmith’s wife bit. This episode has some of the “zip” of season 1, which had been been missing in many of the episodes so far this season.
Susan: My favorites in order of 1-5: 404, 405, 403, 401, 402.
Mitzie: We have a new #1!!!! 405 – 1st/403 – 2nd/404 – 3rd/401 – 4th/402 – 5th.
Nancy: This episode moves to number one for me.
So, now that we’ve voted, what about you? Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments who or what gets your vote for “Best” Awards for Episode 401.5, Savages. Leave it in the comments!
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Post by Contributing Author, Susan Holmes Jackson
On December 2, I had the privilege of attending the annual Christmas Open House at Somerset Historic Site in Creswell, North Carolina. Somerset was built by the Collins family and named for their home of ancestral birth in Somerset, England. The Lake Company, as the proprietors of the land was known at first, began using slaves and indentured servants before the 1800’s to dig canals, and clear and farm the land. Read more history of how the land was acquired, and the years of it being one of the largest plantations in the upper South from the North Carolina Historic Sites website.
There was beautiful Christmas music provided by local musician Bob Waters on hammered dulcimer, as well as old carols performed by three wonderful young ladies from the local Columbia High School chorus (I digress, they were my youngest daughter and two of her best friends), and a tribute was made to a former docent, Alecia Rodgers, who worked and volunteered at Somerset for twelve years, who passed away earlier in 2018. Blackeyed peas cooked outside over a woodfire in a cast iron pot, delicious old-fashioned cornbread cooked on the fire inside the original kitchen/laundry house, and hot spiced tea were the highlight of the day! Dorothy Spruill Redford, author of Somerset Homecoming, former director of Somerset Place and descendant of Elsy LIttlejohn, one of the enslaved people at Somerset, made an appearance as well. Decorations were likely more fanciful than when the Collins family lived there before the Civil War, but they were made by the staff and volunteers, so the house felt festive and warm–but that was because it was a 75-degree day! Got to love Christmastime in eastern North Carolina!
Come with me as I enjoyed the sights, smells and sounds of Christmastime at Somerset Place!
This is the Josiah Collins III Home; it is 6,809 square feet, is two and a half stories, contains fourteen rooms, and double porches on the front, as well as on both sides of the back. The front of the house faces a canal, dug by slaves to connect to the Scuppernong River, and was one reason the plantation survived. The canal brought tragedy as well: in different incidences, three of the Collins’ sons, as well as two sons of slaves, drowned in the canal.
The rear of the Collins house, which is just as pretty in back as it is the front.
Lovely natural decor fancied up the “Colony House,” as it became known. It is the original plantation family home and became the place where the Collins children got their education, and housed their tutors and the area’s ministers. It serves as the Welcome Center, gift shop for the site today.
The front parlor.
Copies of original plantation documents are displayed on an antique desk. I cannot imagine writing out financial records and information for human beings I “owned,” and the Collins owned, over time, almost 800 slaves, as well as white indentured servants.
This isn’t the original dining table, but it is groaning with foods and decor that would’ve been served when the Collinses had guests.
The gardens are kept up by volunteers, but were never a huge focus of the mistress of the house, Mary Collins. Read more about her and her life at Somerset here from Southern Garden History (opens in pdf format).
View from the rear of the house looking south towards Lake Phelps, which was originally named Scuppernong by the Native people there, meaning “place of the sweet bay tree.”
The interior of original kitchen rations building, complete with drying herbs and plants.
The Sucky Davis House, reconstructed on uncovered foundations and named for one of the original Somerset slaves from Africa who, with “…18 members of her family, from three generations, lived in three rooms. Five members of an unrelated family lived in the fourth room. Sucky was purchased in 1786 for £75.” (from the NC Historic Sites website)
One side of the one-room first floor of the Sucky Davis House. There are three other beds in this room in each corner, and baskets underneath, which surely was where mothers kept their babies.
Interior of the one-room first floor of just one of the twenty three 16×16’ slaves’ quarters, reconstructed in the 1990’s. This is the Lewis and Judy House, and the original was home for “…Judy, her husband Lewis, five teens, one adult child, a daughter-in-law, and a grandchild.”
I don’t know what this large wooden bowl was used for, but my grandmother had a much smaller version to make biscuits in.
The path that leads to the slave quarters veers to the North, and the large building here is the reconstructed hospital. Many other building foundations have been found in a line from the hospital towards the overseer’s house, including a chapel.
One of the site managers, dressed in period costume, cooks just as the slaves did in the kitchen, over a very hot fire, and December 2, 2018 was not a cool day here in northeastern North Carolina! She had the “fast flip” down to a science, so she could back away and keep cool! I can’t imagine what it was like to cook here on a July day in the 18th century. The fried cornbread/fritters were delicious. I just needed some molasses to make mine better!
As much as the main house and grounds are beautiful, you get a real sense of what at least the basic living conditions was like for the slaves at Somerset Plantation. They were people who stood their ground, and according to Dorothy Redford, once tried to poison an overseer! I love knowing that they fought back as best as they could. Those slaves were punished by being sold almost immediately. Many descendants of the Somerset slaves still live in the area.
I wish I had been able to take more photos, but that just gives you a reason to venture off NC highway 64 on the way to the Outer Banks, and visit Somerset Place yourself. The site is open April through October, on Mondays through Saturdays, between 9 AM and 5 PM, and on Sundays from 1 PM until 5 PM. November through March hours are, Mondays through Saturday, 10 AM until 4 PM, and on Sundays, between 1 PM and 4 PM. If you need additional information, call 252-797-4500. If you’d like to learn more of the history and how Dorothy Spruill Redford helped make the historic site what it is today, read Somerset Homecoming, which is probably available through the site gift shop as well, so give them a call, and support this important place of North Carolina history.
Have you ever visited Somerset Place? Tell us about your visit in the comments.
Susan Jackson is a mother of four who lives in coastal North Carolina, and is an avid Outlander fan. Besides reading, she loves cooking and baking, and music. She is a thyroid cancer survivor and has worked in education most of her life. She hopes to one day blog about her thyroid cancer journey. She is a contributing author for Outlander North Carolina and, among other articles, has previously written about the infamous Stede Bonnet in Will The Real Stephen Bonnet Please Stand Up?
Post by Contributing Author, Mitzie Munroe
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to recap this week’s episode! Best yet this season, in my humble opinion. Just about every emotion was on overload, and as of today am still sporting a silly little grin! So without further ado, let’s get to it!
We open with Claire and Adawehi sitting by the stream, preparing herbs and enjoying being in each other’s company. Both are teaching the other Cherokee and English, as well as chatting as women would do. We see another appearance of a rabbit; a bit of symbolism the writers have been using that brings in Brianna. It’s then Adawehi asks Claire if she has any children. Claire replies, “I have a daughter but she lives far, far away.” Adawehi, being the mystic that she is, knows that Brianna is actually closer than just in Claire’s heart.
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, (thanks Nancy Roach, “The White Sow,” for this little ear worm that is still with me), we have a finished, fully furnished cabin. My, how time flies in television. And what do ya know, The White Sow has finally decided to make her grand appearance and is already up to mischief. Claire and Jamie are preparing for their own departures; Jamie and Ian to Woolam’s Creek to find tenants for Fraser’s Ridge, while Claire is off to aid in the birth of Petronella’s child. Jamie snags one of his mother’s silver candlestick holders before heading out – hmmm, I wonder what he’s up too? Before leaving he asks Claire if Brianna has a diamond shaped birthmark behind her left ear. Claire is astonished that Jamie knew of that little detail as she never mentioned it to Jamie. He explains that he saw her in his dream and that he kissed her upon that mark. Could it be that Brianna truly is closer than we think?
Roger–poor broken hearted Roger–is seen in Inverness trying to track Brianna down after finding out in last week’s episode that she intends to “visit her mother.” Will he find her in time? After learning that she bought a one way fare to Craigh Na Dun not 10 days passed, he realizes he is too late. He learns she last stayed at Baird’s Bed & Breakfast, and desperate for any clues, asks the innkeeper if by chance she left anything behind. At first the innkeeper didn’t want to disobey Brianna’s request, but after seeing Roger’s heart literally breaking in front of her eyes she relented and gave Roger a letter from Brianna that he was not supposed to have until a year later. Oh my, what could be in that letter?
We now find Jamie and Ian in Woolam’s Creek, passing out flyers to residents to get them to attend a meeting in which Jamie will present them with an offer of 100 acres to settle and farm on Fraser’s Ridge. As Ian continues to hand out flyers around town, Jamie heads to the silversmiths house. Oh? His wife, Mistress MacNeill, answers the door and what do ya know, she is all hot and bothered and, well, do you blame her? Seeing as the silversmith is not in town at present, Jamie leaves but will call again. And I bet Mistress McNeill will be eagerly awaiting his next calling! Skipping ahead we see Jamie delivering his pitch in a tavern to some residents that are surprised by the gracious, almost too-good-to-be-true offer, and to Jamie’s astonishment, they each turn him down and walk out. One lingers behind though, and Jamie buys him and himself a pint in hopes to engage him in conversation, perhaps learn more about why these men can turn down such an offer. Brian, as we come to learn his name, explains that Tryon’s crooked tax collectors make it impossible to earn a living as a farmer and none will accept an offer that will benefit the tax collectors in any way. Uh oh, did we just meet some future Regulators?
Meanwhile, back at the Ridge, we find Claire at the home of German settler, Gerhard Mueller, with his wife, son and daughter Petronella, who just delivered a baby girl and whom they have decided to name Clara in honor of Claire. Claire is overwhelmed with gratitude and we can see she is truly missing her daughter in this moment and the prospects of holding her own grandchild in her arms one day. Rollo, (such a good boy), alerts them that someone is outside, and it’s the Cherokee collecting water for their horses. Herr Mueller, taking this as a sign of trespassing goes out with gun loaded, aimed and ready to shoot. Claire intervenes, playing peacemaker and begs the Cherokee to perhaps collect water from a different part of the stream. Being that she and their healer Adawehi are close, the Natives decide to leave. Before exiting, Tawodi performs a blessing of the stream to which they have taken water from. Herr Mueller not understanding the customs of the Cherokee takes it as a sign of ill intent.
Claire travels back home to Fraser’s Ridge, exhausted. And who wouldn’t be after a day like that?! We next get to see a bit of what her daily life is like; feeding the animals, poking fun at the White Sow. “You have no idea you’re just a Christmas pork chop do you?” HA! Bundling herbs, and yay she’s Clickin’ It! Uh oh, she notices the missing candlestick. Day in and day out, managing the farm on her own is hard work and even our “I am woman, hear me roar” Claire needs a drink at the end of a long, hard day’s work.
Back to Woolam’s Creek and we see Jamie and Ian preparing the wagon to set off back home when Ian discovers the bit is broken. Jamie sends him off with the task of getting it fixed. Ian finds the blacksmith when….. can it be…… no…… OMG it is! MURTAGH!!!!!!!! He’s alive, freed and living in Woolam’s Creek! Ian doesn’t ken it at the time, just has a devil of a time haggling with him, and in the end it’s Murtagh that shows young Ian how haggling is really done! All the while, Jamie revisits the silversmith’s home to see if he’s arrived back from Cross Creek only to be subjected to more of the Mistresses advances. (OK, now she’s going too far). When Jamie refuses her offer of “pie” she wagers that his wife must be a “good cook”; Jamie’s reply? “Aye, very.” Back at the wagon, Ian tells Jamie of how much he had to pay the old coot of a blacksmith for the bit repairs, and you can see Jamie is not having any of that. As Jamie’s giving the blacksmith what for, Murtagh hears that all-too-familiar Scottish brogue. We see recognition in his eyes as he slowly turns around. Jamie, not quite believing his own eyes, needs a few seconds to truly grasp who it is he is seeing. His Godfather is alive and standing before him! I wager there was not a single dry eye amongst avid fans witnessing that reunion! We even got to hear the best, joyful laugh from Murtagh that I don’t believe we have ever heard from him before. “There’s so much to tell you. And I want to hear every word.” And the raised eyebrow and sly wink Murtagh gave Ian? YES! Flashing forward we seeing Murtagh, Ian and Jamie in the Tavern catching up when Jamie, after sending Ian to the counter to get another pint, tells Murtagh that Claire has returned from the future and that he has a daughter. AGAIN, we hear another joyous laugh of happiness from Murtagh and I can’t but hope that Murtagh gets his chance for happiness too. Jamie asks Murtagh to return with him to Fraser’s Ridge to set up his own smithy there, but Murtagh also declines. In hopes to perhaps clue Jamie in on just why he has to decline, he invites Jamie to a meeting. Rut Roh!
Murtagh, Jamie and Ian have arrived at the meeting and you can see that Jamie is beginning to see what Murtagh’s reasonings are for declining his offer. Murtagh, proudly wearing his bit of Fraser tartan on his vest, is rallying up the attendees and vowing that they will seek justice on Tryon’s tax collectors. OMG! Murtagh’s a Regulator! And Jamie has sworn to Tryon to quell any unrest amongst the Regulators. He has to refuse joining Murtagh and the cause, but also says he will not stand in their way. Murtagh gives Jamie a long look. Jamie, being privy to the future, probably knows what will happen. I’ll wager we will find Murtagh in Fraser’s Ridge to find out for himself what Jamie knows.
Back on the Ridge Claire is tending the animals when Pastor Gottfried comes to visit. He tells Claire of the passing of Petronella and the baby from measles and that in his grief, Herr Mueller blames her. He fears that he may do something rash and hopes to find him in time. He tells Claire to be on her guard. We see Claire loading the musket (or was it Jamie’s Pennsylvanian long rifle?) and tries to go about her evening rituals, but finds herself jumping at every little noise. Rest easy Claire, Rollo’s on duty. She’s awakened by a pounding on the door and it’s Herr Mueller. At first he seems genuinely concerned for Claire and says he’s come to check on her wellbeing. Claire, being as empathetic as she is in seeing Herr Mueller’s distress, lets her guard down and allows him to come in. He begins to tell Claire of the passing of his daughter and grandchild and how it was from the curse that Towadi performed when they left the stream. Claire tries her best to explain to him that it was from either him or his wife’s exposure to the measles that most likely affected Petronella and the baby, not from any curse. He would not hear of it and defiantly insists that the Cherokee are to blame. He then begins to tell Claire that he took care of them and presented her with a wrapped bundle. In recognizing the checkered wrappings Claire thought that Mueller was giving her the baby’s doll, but when she unwraps it, she is horrified to see that it’s Adawehi’s scalp and neck knife. The horror that she has just come to understand from Herr Mueller breaks her heart and prompts her to send him away. You’re left wondering, who are the true savages in
this episode? She then rewraps Adawehi’s remains in a linen cloth, places it in a wooden box with some herbs, and sets the box in the fireplace upon a fiery pyre. At the same time, the Cherokee are at Mueller’s home seeking revenge for the death of Adawehi, and decide to dispense it by burning the house down with flaming arrows. We see Frau Mueller walk out onto the porch, and she has taken a fiery arrow in the back. Herr Mueller arrives home in time to see his home ablaze, wife (and assumingly his son) dead, and then he, too, is struck down with arrows.
Jamie arrives home from Woolam’s Creek to find an emotionally spent Claire who can only ask him to hold her. Hold her Jamie and hug her tight. We then see Claire gathering split firewood when we hear an ol’ familiar tune being whistled. Can it be? YES, our Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy has come to Fraser’s Ridge! And again, even more joyous laughter from Murtagh. YAY!
Last, but certainly not least, it’s back to 1971 Inverness, and we there’s Brianna at Craigh Na Dun, dressed in the best 18th century clothing she can find, wearing her bracelet that Roger gave her. Narrated in her voice, we hear the words that are in her letter to Roger. “Roger, If you’re reading this it’s because I didn’t make it back …” Brianna found out something terrible happens to Claire and Jamie and she felt she had to go and warn them. She speaks of truly caring for Roger and asks that he think of her living happy in the past. You can see Roger is in agony at reading those words. The final scene has to be one of the best scripted scenes this season: Brianna slowly walking up to the big stone, the scene panning from one side, around the back towards the other side. When it reaches that side, she is gone. Poof! Brianna has officially gone through the stones! Oh boy! Does she make it? Will Roger follow? I think most of us know where this is all headed, and I for one cannot wait until next week’s episode!
What did you think about Episode 405, Savages? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!