OUTLANDER – Reviewing “Savages” & “Blood of My Blood”

FIRST IMPRESSION

These were both really good episodes. I've been enjoying how the creative team has been exploring Indigenous–colonist relationships, and I've also been enjoying seeing some old faces in the New World.
“Savages” and “Blood of My Blood”

The sixth episode of OUTLANDER’s fourth season aired on STARZ on Sunday. “Blood of My Blood” continued the show’s exploration of the tensions between European colonists and the Indigenous population in North Carolina. Last week, “Savages” highlighted how tentative and delicate any kind of peace was between these two communities. Fear leads to misunderstanding, and misunderstandings in colonial America often had violent consequences.

OUTLANDER S04E05: “Savages” – “Robert Mueller’s ancestor? Nope, guess not.”

In addition to giving Claire the opportunity to live an adventure with her hunky husband Jamie, Claire’s presence in 18th-century North Carolina also allows those nearby access to 20th-century medical knowledge. The Muellers, fellow settlers, are having a baby, and Claire is happy to give the friendly German family the benefit of her medical expertise. Claire, but mainly Mrs. Mueller, delivers the baby without incident.

The event is pronounced a joyous success until Herr Mueller spots some local Cherokee watering their horses at a creek near his cabin. He screams fanatically at them, pointing his rifle and threatening to shoot. The Cherokee respond in kind, leveling their weapons at Mueller, and Claire who runs outside with Mueller in an attempt to defuse the situation.

Claire is able to keep Mueller from shooting, and she asks the Cherokee if they could water their horses downstream. The Cherokee take their horses and move on, but one of them sprinkles something in the water first. Mueller is convinced that the man cursed his stream, but Claire claims the action was a blessing. Mueller and his family are terrified. Claire looks on, mystified by the family’s reaction.

OUTLANDER S04E05: “Savages” – These Violent Delights Have Violent Ends

Measles strikes the Mueller family. Having already taken the Muellers’ newborn baby, Frau Mueller is also ill and unlikely to recover. Convinced that his bad fortune is the result of a Cherokee curse on his water, Herr Mueller focuses a misguided revenge plot on Adawehi, a Cherokee healer that Claire befriended in “Common Ground.”

The Cherokee retaliate by burning Mueller’s cabin down. He and his dying wife are killed during the attack. This story illustrated the point well: life on the frontier was hard for everyone.

OUTLANDER S04E05: “Savages” – “Bloody Cheap Blacksmi—Murtagh!”

One of the highlights of “Savages” was Jamie and Claire’s reunion with a silver-haired Murtagh, the local blacksmith who overcharged Young Ian earlier in the episode. It’s good for the Frasers to see a familiar face on the uncertain frontier, and they welcome him warmly, revolutionary though he is.

OUTLANDER S04E06: “Blood of My Blood” – Grey Measles

Visiting from Louisiana, Lord John Grey pays the Frasers a visit with his son William. What Jamie, Claire, Lord John, and the viewers know, though, is that William is actually Jamie’s son, conceived when William’s mother Geneva blackmailed Jamie into having sex with her back in season three’s “Of Lost Things.”

After discussing business, politics, and matters of the heart with Jamie, Murtagh, and Claire, Lord John contracts measles shortly before he is about to leave Fraser’s Ridge. Claire tends to him but suggests that Jamie keep William away to prevent him from getting ill as well. Jamie takes William on a hunting expedition, and Claire settles in for some serious fever-induced yammering.

OUTLANDER S04E06: “Blood of My Blood” – “Jamie offered himself to me…no big.”

Throughout the course of the night, Lord John reveals more and more of himself to a relatively disinterested Claire. Claire, never one to hide her true feelings, suggests that John still has feelings for Jamie. He says he does, and he tells Claire that the real reason he made the trip from Louisiana was to find out if he could feel anything after his wife died.

Lord John goes on to ask Claire if she knows what it’s like to live with someone but never be able to truly love them. Claire relates some of the story of her marriage to Frank, and the two bond over their common history.

OUTLANDER S04E06: “Blood of My Blood” – “Uh…yer a wee bit creepy, m’lad.”

Jamie takes William hunting and the two get along quite well until William hits a wall and demands to go home, worried that his father will die during William’s absence. Jamie assures the boy they will go home in the morning, and the boy eventually passes out under his lean-to.

The next morning, Jamie awakes to find the boy’s bed empty. Jamie tracks William to the shore of a nearby river where William has found a speared fish. Jamie brusquely instructs William to drop the fish and come to him, but he is too late. The Cherokee whose land William has trespassed on have found them.

OUTLANDER S04E06: “Blood of My Blood” – “I am Sparta-William!”

Seeking forgiveness, Jamie falls on his knees and claims to be William’s father. Jamie says he is responsible for the boy’s negligence. A war-axe comes up, but William steps in just in time. He says Jamie is not his father. William goes on to admit that Jamie told him of the boundaries, admitting his wrongdoing.

The war-axe comes back up, swings down, and only nicks William’s hand. One warrior says something in Cherokee, and the hunting party leave, fish in hand. Jamie tells William that he’s not sure exactly what the Cherokee man said, but he thinks that their mercy had something to do with William’s honesty.

OUTLANDER “Savages” and “Blood of My Blood” – Final Thoughts

These were good episodes that helped flesh out Lord John’s character, provided some more meat to Murtagh’s character, and showed just how nice a guy Jamie is. Claire came off as very strong in “Savages,” but she showed a more flawed and human side of herself in “Blood of My Blood.”

“Blood of My Blood” was full of touching moments, including Jamie’s providing Claire with a second ring made from his mother’s silver and any number of moments with William. I like that this complicated part of Jamie’s life came up again, and that it wasn’t a huge source of conflict. I look forward to next week’s episode. I have a feeling that Brianna will be showing up any moment now…

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