Outlander Man of Worth Review
Roger Wakefield MacKenzie (Richard Rankin) wanting and seeking revenge for the bloody beating that he took at the hands of James “Jamie” MacKenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan) is completely understandable, though I imagined that Roger would have had the sense to wait until he healed completely before seeking it. Rage, however, is seldom sensical and Roger can’t help himself with his attacker so close and the memory of his bludgeoning so vivid. Jamie shows his quality once again be letting Roger have his way with him, knowing that this is what he deserves, that Roger is in the right, and that he had been in the wrong. It is surprising that what Jamie allows satisfies Roger, when one considers Roger’s state when Jamie had finished beating him unconscious.
There is no love lost between Roger and Jamie but when Jamie is indignant about wanting Roger to leave after Roger is told of Brianna “Bree” Randall Fraser (Sophie Skelton)’s rape and pregnancy, Jamie has no moral legs to stand on, not after what he did to Roger and what Roger was subsequently put through with the Mohawk. The humorous part is that Jamie doesn’t recognize the shaky moral ground he is standing though Roger does, his fleeting facial expression betraying the fact.
Roger asking for time to digest the rape / pregnancy news after his rescue is to be expected but even so, it isn’t what Dr. Claire Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie want to hear. They want to immediately know that Roger is going to support their child and her newborn. They have been thinking about Roger’s predicament, his potential responses, and their daughter’s welfare everyday of their travels to upstate New York, while Roger has just learned of these matters. That makes Jamie and Claire’s request of Roger perspicuous yet irrational. Very few people, if any, could make the decision that Claire and Jamie thrust upon Roger within the same heartbeat.
The most heartbreaking scene in Man of Worth, however, doesn’t surround the monumental choice that Roger has to make. Rather, it’s the result of that choice, creating an unintended dubious situation. Brianna’s parents return to Riverrun without Roger, they indicate that he is alive, and since he is not with them and form the looks on their faces, its implied that Roger decided to leave Brianna (and her child) behind and go home. Since Roger shows up at the end of the episode, what happened? Did Roger say that he was going to leave through the stones, depart from Claire and Jamie on the road back to Riverrun, have second thoughts, then make his way to Riverrun? It’s hard to believe that Roger would decide to go through the stones and leave the woman that he loves behind when she needs him the most. All of that is implied by Roger not returning to Riverrun with Jamie and Claire and then showing up at the end of the episode. I like dramatic moments like anyone but this sequence of events is questionable. If this is what happened in the book, that is one thing. If this sequence of events was created specifically for television, its about as credible as Sansa Stark not telling Jon Snow that the Knights of the Vale were with them before the Battle of the Bastards began in Game of Thrones.
When Roger does return, the structure of that key emotional moment is right out of Gone with the Wind and its film adaptation. It is a well-written scene in the Gone with the Wind book, it is translated almost verbatim on-screen, and the version of it in Man of Worth is executed in such a way that the viewer feels the unbridled joy of scene’s participants.
One of the elements that makes the Outlander rendition so effective is that Brianna believed that Roger didn’t want her anymore and had left her to return home. When he shows up it is like the world has been made right again, that the nightmare sheen has turned into a dream once more. Brianna literally runs back into that dream, the dream that she had imagined for herself before her parents returned and a black cloud had descended on her life.
Ian Murray, Jr. (John Bell)’s decision to stay with the Mohawk, to put right the situation that he created, is a noble move on his part, even-though the act is appropriated from Jamie. One can’t imagine what is going through Ian’s head between the time Jamie makes his decision to stay with the Mohawk in exchange for Roger and Ian placing himself in Jamie’s place but it must have been a torrent of emotions and impulses. Giving up the life that he knew, the life and the moments that he could have e.g. seeing his mother and Scotland again, all to rescue Roger, is a heavy toll. In the end, it comes down to exchanging one life for another. Ian, unwaveringly, answers honor’s demand. His brave move speaks to his character and those that raised him. It becomes clear during the episode that Man of Worth alludes to Roger. By Ian’s action, it is referring to him as well.
The same can be said about Ta’wineonawira.
The Mohawk, for better or worse, should have heeded the prolific words of Robert Springer / Ta’wineonawira (Trevor Carroll). They couldn’t have known that Ta’wineonawira was from the future and that what he was telling them was of true future horrors. Perhaps if Ta’wineonawira told them that he was a traveler, that he had come from future, they would have. The reason why he didn’t tell them is obvious. They would have thought that Ta’wineonawira was mad, disregarded everything that he had said before and after that disclosure, and they would have shunned the crazy person. Ta’wineonawira should have taken Claire’s route and influenced the lives of those whose trust he had gained in subtle ways to avert disasters like when Claire told Janet “Jenny” Murray to plant specific crops before Claire disappeared for twenty years.
The order to hunt down and kill Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (Duncan Lacroix) at the conclusion of Man of Worth is a harbinger of the perilous mission that Jamie Fraser will navigate during the beginning portion of Season 5 of Outlander. Jamie has no intention of complying with the order but he will have to make it look like he is doing his utmost to do so. The safest bet for all parties concerned would be for Murtagh to leave America and go back to Scotland or somewhere else. Murtagh could book passage on multiple ships to throw the British off his trail. One thing is certain, now that the capture sentence dangling over Murtagh’s head has been changed to a death sentence, all of the options Murtagh previously has had have been reduced to two: 1.) stay in America and be hunted everyday for the rest of his life or b.) leave America and be free (to a certain degree) of the fear of the noose.
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