Outlander: Down the Rabbit Hole   Books Included 
December 17, 2018 6:49 AM - Season 4, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Brianna follows in her mother's footsteps and travels through the stones back in time to 18th century Scotland, where she struggles to make her way to the Colonies to find her parents.
posted by olinerd (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(something something, I hope it's okay I posted this. I'm really eager to talk about it)


- Brianna what the actual FUCK did you think you were going to do traipsing across the highlands by yourself in winter like did you even look at a proper map and chart out your course and maybe think of how you could get literally any other form of transportation from Craigh na Dun and like BRING A TENT OR SOMETHING or idk a first aid kit or ANY FORM OF SUPPLIES OTHER THAN PB&J. Also, PICK UP A STICK AND USE IT AS A CRUTCH.

- I know Jenny's actress is pregnant or busy or something which is why we only got Brianna + Ian, but I feel like we lost a lot not getting to see Brianna interacting with all of her Fraser kin. I'd have much rather watched that than "Brianna is hiking".

- I did, however, sort of like the Laoghaire setup.

- I absolutely loved all the Frank scenes. I think this explained his motivations and thinking so, so much better than the books did. Loved it. (And god, Tobias Menzies is just an incredible actor.)

- Roger, grow your beard back please. Also, those pants.

- Lizzie is older and bigger than I expected? But looking forward to seeing her in action.
posted by olinerd at 7:08 AM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also, those pants.
RIGHT? Nobody else is wearing pants like that! Did he just cut the bottoms off his regular 1960s corduroys? Not a good look, dude.

I thought it was verrrry clunky with Ian being like, "oh, Jenny's delivering a baby, let's get you on a boat right away!" There's no way Ian would have sent Jamie's daughter off without giving Jenny the opportunity to meet her. But, given that the actress was not available, I don't know how else they could have handled it. And I did like seeing Laoghaire as a more fleshed out, non-horrible character.
posted by something something at 7:15 AM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Despite myself, I, too, liked the Laoghaire plot. I don't think it should have served as an almost entire substitute for the Bree Meets Her Old Timey Family stuff in the book, but if I can divorce myself from the book a bit, it was good tv. I really miss Jenny so much more than I would have expected, it barely even seems like Lallybroch without her.

Totally agree re: Bree's total lack of preparation. The show's inexplicable change of her major from engineering to history bugs me, and Book Bree would not have been that ill-prepared. I have a hard time seeing how some of Bree's later plot points are going to be accomplished with her current show character.

I did some heavy ranting about Frank Fiction to my beleaguered husband this morning. Frank's not in book 4 at all! I know Tobias is a great actor, but jeez, show, give it a rest! I will never get over my intense and passionate book-hatred of Frank (the racism! the wanting to steal Bree away to England without telling Claire! the affairs!). I read a fan theory this morning that the scene of Bree going to Frank's office at night was intended to paint a picture that all those nights Claire thought Frank was cheating, he was actually in his office doing research on Jamie? OMG, no!

The Roger On A Boat stuff was really good. That Stephen Bonnet actor is really good! And I continue to really like Richard Rankin as Roger.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 8:01 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ha, I also subjected my husband to ranting and he said, "Aren't those books like 800 pages long? Why would they need to make up any new stuff?" I KNOW!!

Anyway, wasn't BookBree originally a history major and then changed to engineering? I thought maybe we just haven't seen that plot point come up in the show yet.
posted by something something at 8:28 AM on December 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

I thought the point of the Frank scenes was to explain the stealing Brianna away - he’d found the death notice and knew it meant Claire had left Brianna and gone back. He knew that would only happen if he were dead. So he was trying to separate Brianna from Claire now to ... cushion the emotional blow to Brianna, maybe, assuming that Claire just deserted her? It sort of explained it to me in a way I could appreciate and be sympathetic to.

Yeah totally still a racist shit though.
posted by olinerd at 9:22 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ohhhh, that is really interesting, olinerd. It's the reason he told Brianna they were divorcing too, I guess - because he saw hard evidence that she still loved Jamie enough to leave her daughter and give up her entire life and career to go back to him. Wow, that is a huge change to the emotional foundation of the story. And interesting that I didn't put it together while watching, I guess because of my longstanding assumptions about the way the story is "suppposed" to go.
posted by something something at 10:14 AM on December 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

I understand that accepting the relative non-aging of various characters is part and parcel of the Outlander tv experience. They really wanted to keep the same actors and the books take place over decades. It didn't make sense to torture large chunks of the primary cast with complicated, expensive, time-consuming makeup that probably wouldn't look real anyway. So they shrug it off, do minimal stuff like leave wrinkles and blemishes unmade up, and color the occasional hair silver.

But surely, surely I wasn't the only person who choked on their beverage when Leoghaire (played by the Nell Hudson, born 1990 and mostly looking like it, even when dressed down) referred to her granddaughter.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:43 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

(Although my spouse did point out that, given the age of becoming a parent at that time, that probably only means she's 38-42.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:00 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

to my beleaguered husband this morning

That's okay - the trade off for the Frank Fiction rants is hearing my Everyone Is Bad At Time Travel rants. Claire bringing a bit of medicine in a skirt seems like genius-level planning when compared against Bree's PBJ and Roger's pants. Roger, in theory, at least has some money - the logistics of obtaining I'd be eager to hear. I can hop on eBay and get some antique money, but don't know how Roger could drum up the cash for old cash (that would have to look new, right?) let alone find enough to pay for passage to America. Bree showed some signs of planning ahead, although her map seems to be sub-placemat level at best.

In period, they actually had books and pamphlets of How To Do Stuff, many aimed at colonists, so it would not have been out of place for historians Bree or Roger to write down stuff that would be useful - how to make things, important dates, names of VIPs, etc. If they're worried about a big fire, then maybe the recipe for Portland Cement would be helpful?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:52 AM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

This one has me yelling so loud at the TV the cats ran out of the room. The writers can shove that entire bullshit Laoghaire subplot right up their collective kilt. If you don’t have Jenny available, FINE, but why do we have to endure this terrible owie I got an ankle-hurty stupidity, and while we’re at it, that actress they picked for Lizzie looks awfully sturdy and not a bit like Lizzie from the book. GRAR.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:45 PM on December 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

The show's inexplicable change of her major from engineering to history bugs me

Maybe that was a way of explaining her failure to realise that hiking with a sprained ankle is easier if one picks up a stick.

The topic of dealing with a smallpox outbreak during a sea voyage must have been something which did crop up regularly in that era (we are in the era before Jenner's vaccine (1796 ) but after Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's discovery of variolation). I'm not sure that a captain would have thrown a sick kid straight overboard - but it must have been a deeply unpleasant occurrence. Interestingly, I guess Brianna, Roger and (certainly) Claire would all have been vaccinated - not something which we would have applied to a time traveller from a more recent era.
posted by rongorongo at 11:18 PM on December 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I actually thought they were doing something interesting with Laoghaire, which is to show us how Jamie could have married her, and how it could have been...okay. Laoghaire the kind and conscientious mother was an interesting glimpse. But it can’t make up for a real Lallybroch scene, and it was honestly ruined by Laoghaire just being evil as soon as she knows Brianna’s father is Jamie. And her getting magically lost to Laoghaire makes sense as a possibility if she was aiming for Lallybroch, none if Brianna was aiming for the coasts.

Also that fucking pb&j, nope nope nope forever.
posted by corb at 11:24 PM on December 17, 2018

Also that fucking pb&j, nope nope nope forever.

That was a fucking jeely piece (lyrics) . Brianna was bringing this thing of culinary wonder back to 18th century Scotland - potentially allowing it to be marvelled over by the population and leading to her adulation. And yet she just ate it. That was one of the biggest shocks of this week's episode.
posted by rongorongo at 11:48 PM on December 17, 2018

Oh - and here is "What can you learn from the Jeely Piece song?" - quite a bit, in fact.
posted by rongorongo at 11:58 PM on December 17, 2018

They pulled the pb&j from Voyager - in the book Claire brings some back with her!
posted by something something at 3:39 AM on December 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

I rather rolled my eyes when Brianna fetched up at Leghair's, but I also liked it in spite of myself. She didn't need to be humanized for me...she's always seemed all too human...and frankly show Laoghaire seems more believable than book Laoghaire. I've known a lot of people who seem quite kind and reasonable until that ONE THING puts them off the rails. Also, Joanie was adorbs.

That said, I think they could have spent just a few minutes less with the limping through the Highlands/bonding with Laoghaire and a few more meeting her relatives at Lallybroch. It would have been so much easier to have Jenny a bit further away if Laura Donnelly wasn't available - maybe one of the daughters moved to Edinburgh and she's spending a month with the grandkids - and it would have been a restful moment for Bree after all that limping and getting locked up by your bio dad's crazy ex-wife.

I'd have to go back and watch, but I think there was a line in one of the earlier episodes about Brianna switching from history to engineering? I might have imagined that. But I think the bit about Bree fixing the (something or other) maybe hints at that.

I know there's a lot of division about Frank, but I loved seeing Tobias Menzies playing him again. The fan theory that Frank knew Claire would go back to Jamie and that's why he wanted to take Brianna to England is very interesting. He doesn't even have to believe that he'll be dead - perhaps the show writers want us to think that Frank planned to take Brianna to England and then let Claire know that Jamie was alive so she could go back to him - that's why he's doing this research.
posted by Preserver at 9:56 AM on December 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Replying to a couple comments belatedly since I just got around to watching the ep...

I thought it was verrrry clunky with Ian being like, "oh, Jenny's delivering a baby, let's get you on a boat right away!" There's no way Ian would have sent Jamie's daughter off without giving Jenny the opportunity to meet her.

They didn't make it explicit, but I figured that Ian was trying to hurry her away before Laoghaire got on with her plan to string Brianna up for witchcraft.* But oooooh to miss an opportunity to see Jenny! Tragic!! For Brianna of course, but much more for us viewers!

*Which really may not have been so hard to do, considering how patchy Brianna's backstory is, and how little she has to prove any of it is true. I mean, the official story about Claire was that she had gone to America after thinking Jamie dead at Culloden, had raised her child there, and then had returned to Scotland (leaving Brianna in Boston) after finding out Jamie had survived. So... why in hell would Brianna be popping up out of nowhere in the Scottish highlands, nowhere near a port, saying that she needed to get to America to find her parents? From the story that had been given to the highlanders, she should have been reunited with her parents months ago, in America. (Also, she had already told Laoghaire that, somehow, she could see the future.)

I read a fan theory this morning that the scene of Bree going to Frank's office at night was intended to paint a picture that all those nights Claire thought Frank was cheating, he was actually in his office doing research on Jamie?

I don't know why they'd need to do that; Frank's cheating has already been well-established on the show. It was even referenced again in one of the flashbacks in this episode, when Brianna overheard Claire and Frank fighting.

I do like the idea that Frank's attempts to take Brianna to England were an effort to create a buffer for her before Claire took off again for the 1700s. I personally don't mind cleaned-up show-Frank; making him into less of a dick makes Claire's choices more interesting and morally ambiguous.

it was honestly ruined by Laoghaire just being evil as soon as she knows Brianna’s father is Jamie.

corb, I thought that played out alright! Laoghaire isn't evil to everyone, I mean it's fine that she's the type of person who's a good mother and who would kindly take in an injured traveller in need. But to find out that that stranger is Claire's and Jamie's daughter?? That would push EVERY button to do with her long-accumulated resentment of Jamie and hatred of Claire. And when Brianna intimated she could see the future, it would cement Laoghaire's suspicions that Claire (and now her daughter) is a witch. I would expect exactly the reaction we saw.
posted by torticat at 4:47 PM on December 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Had to join this community because the show's producers said they actually listen to the fans. As a former film & tv producer having worked in the States & the UK, this is one series that has been true to the original material and a true joy to watch. HOWEVER: Imagine the disappointment when this episode completely ROBBED the viewers (and readers) of Brianna meeting Jenny. Whatever the reason for cutting this short, it was a HUGE disappointment and mistake. Lallybroch is the HEART of the Fraser life, and Jenny had been so beautifully cast and developed that the climax of seeing her reaction to Brianna -- the proof of her identity validated by the string of pearls Jamie gave Claire -- completely was blown past, a complete let down.... I've heard rumors of the actress' pregnancy prohibited shooting -- so, why not shoot it out of sequence?? C'mon!!

plus: this show has been so beautifully crafted and care given to stay true to the original material in the prior seasons, that I worry about the loss of Claire's narration in the last episodes and even the end of last season.
This story is Claire & Jamie's.
I see at trend to move away from that, and commercializing each segment in a very American vein, with certain payoffs that weren't in the original material. While this was the first episode without Jamie & Claire, I hope it is the only one. Their relationship is key. The tension and romantic core (yes, and truly beautifully handled sex scenes) has been excellent, however, I have heard from other committed viewers that they are losing interest because that focus is being watered down. Are they condensing material that could cover two episodes into one (e.g.: Season 3's finale -- what a disaster), due to budget constraints? Or just losing the momentum? Bring back some of the writers from the earlier seasons' episodes. They handled the story beautifully. I look forward to the future episodes with great anticipation. This show has been an inspiration in many ways. No more skimping! PLEASE!!! Peace.
posted by fantasia27 at 6:18 AM on December 20, 2018

So im a little late to this party but i think the reason Jenny/Laura Donnelly wasnt available is because she is staring in The Ferryman on broadway.

We saw it last month and it is fucking incredible, so yeah, definitely feeling deprived of her acting here but glad i got to see it in person elsewhere i suppose.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:53 AM on December 20, 2018

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