OUTLANDER S04E04: “Common Ground” – Crazy Like A Bear

FIRST IMPRESSION

This was a good episode with intrigue in two time periods. I like how we get to see what Roger and Brianna are up to while we also follow Jamie and Claire. Although not time travel in a classic sense, the dual stories provide depth for each other.
“Common Ground”

Realizing the futility in taking over Jocasta’s plantation during last week’s episode, Jamie and Claire decide to take Governor Tryon up on his offer of a parcel of land. The Frasers’ pioneering spirit is eventually rewarded, but, as usual, they have to deal with a violent threat first. “Common Ground” showed Jamie, Claire, and Ian meeting some of the Indigenous population local to the newly christened Fraser’s Ridge.

John Quincy Myers suggests that he offer the local Cherokee a bag of tobacco, in Jamie and Claire’s name, to help win them over. Unfortunately, like one of the Frasers’ horses, Myers falls victim to what appears to be a strange animal attack. He has four large gashes down his torso. He drips blood and mumbles about an evil bear.

OUTLANDER S04E04: “Common Ground” – “Your dead parents are going to die!”

In the temporally parallel ’70s, Roger and Brianna aren’t getting along. Brianna refused Roger’s marriage proposal, and the couple went their separate ways. Reading through a book on Scottish settlers in America, though, Roger comes across an entry on Fraser’s Ridge. He realizes that the owners are, in fact, Jamie and Claire.

Roger calls Brianna up and lets her know this interesting tidbit, that Claire found Jamie and they immigrated to the colonies. Unfortunately, this isn’t the only bit of information Roger finds. A news clipping shows that Jamie and Claire are fated to burn to death in a fire at some point within the next 12 years.

Roger thinks about what to tell Brianna, but when he finally calls Brianna’s flat, her roommate informs him that Brianna went to Scotland to visit her mother. All of this leaves Roger somewhat confused.

OUTLANDER S04E04: “Common Ground” – Bearing All

In a brutal fight, Jamie successfully takes the “evil bear” down, impaling him on a property stake. The bear turns out to be a man dressed as a bear, and when Jamie reveals this to the Cherokee, they identify the man as an exiled rapist. One of the Cherokee men reason that exile must have driven him mad.

An older Cherokee woman, her daughter identifies her as a healer, talks to Claire. The woman tells Claire about a dream she had that featured Claire. The older woman also tells Claire not to fear death, that it won’t be her fault.

OUTLANDER S04E04: “Common Ground” – Final Thoughts

As the Indigenous population of North America get more attention on OUTLANDER, I hope that their representation on the show is at least as respectful as this episode. Obviously, Jamie and Claire will represent some of the most moral settlers that North Carolina has ever seen, but I have concerns about a show casting its heroes as colonial settlers.

I’ve been enjoying Kyle Rees’s portrayal of John Quincy Myers, as well as Young Ian’s fascination with the Cherokee. And, with a Cherokee settlement so near Fraser’s Ridge, I’m sure Ian will have several opportunities to befriend the locals.

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