TV Show Review

TV Review: OUTLANDER: Season 4, Episode 4: Common Ground & Episode 5: Savages [Starz]

Sam Heughan John Bell Outlander Savages

Outlander Savages Review

The viewer knew that Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser (Duncan Lacroix) had been transported to America for the remainder his prison sentence in Season 3 of Outlander. When Murtagh shows up in Savages after the death of Jamie Fraser’s other Scottish traveling companions in Season 4, it is a welcome surprise. Brianna Randall Fraser will bring the future into Claire and Jamie’s lives if and when she arrives. Murtagh brings the past with all of its humor, good times, and memories, whether they are cherished memories or bitter-sweet ones.

Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser also brings intrigue. No longer a follower, Murtagh Fraser is now a leader of men, a rabble-rouser, and political activist. With all that Murtagh has been through, he has been forged into a leader. Others see those qualities and follow him in Savages. Murtagh Fraser’s ardor about taxation (“theft” as he calls it) and the group of antagonized Scotsmen that he now leads is going to come to a head with Jamie and his clandestine position within the community. Jamie Fraser may now be giving Murtagh a free hand but that will not last long as the actions of Murtagh Fraser’s group intensify, become public, and unlawful. It’s only a matter of time.

The relationship between Dr. Claire Beauchamp Randall/Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) and Marsali MacKimmie Fraser (Lauren Lyle) has come a long way since their initial pugnacious encounters. Claire has morphed in Marsali Fraser’s eyes from an antagonist and husband-stealer (“whore” is the word Marsali previously used) to a confidante, someone “that has been there” when it comes to pregnancy and child birth. Claire Fraser is now a fountain of solace in Marsali’s eyes and to a smaller degree, Marsali has become the same for Claire, a sounding board of sorts for Claire about things that can only be expressed from one mother to another.

Gerhard Mueller (Urs Rechn) lets his anger prompt him to make a series of irrational decisions in Savages. Gerhard is looking for a reason to lash out at the Cherokee and uses water usage as the fulcrum for a physical altercation with them. He sees the Cherokee coming to his stream instead of utilizing another as a provocation. If there are three other local sources of water like Her Mueller says in Savages, it is dubious why the Cherokee would pick Mueller’s small stream (in front of his house) to water their horses (unless it’s closest to their homestead). Even that is no reason for Gerhard Mueller and his son to point their weapons at the Cherokee. If Gernhard Mueller is so afraid of the Cherokee, why did he move into the forest with them? Why not build a house in the nearby town or move his family to town? Free land and low taxation because of the work that you are going to have to put into that land is a favorable situation. Frontier living, however, is fraught with dangers, present and hidden, regardless if you have been given land to settle or not. Her Mueller should have realized that before he moved his family into a potential danger zone.

The later realization in Savages of the murder and scalping of Cherokee Medicine Woman Adawehi (Tantoo Cardinal) by Gerhard Mueller puts an end to any affinity between Mueller and Claire Fraser. One can only imagine how Mueller stalked, killed, then brutalized Adawehi’s dead body with a knife. Why take Adawehi’s scalp? For what purpose? What was going through Adawehi’s mind as this German family man was killing her? Did Adawehi know it was going to happen? Did Adawehi know (or think) that she couldn’t run away from her fate?

Because of the aforementioned act of violence, the creatively brutal death of Gerhard Mueller in Savages evokes zero sympathy from the viewer, though Petronella Mueller (Marie Hacke)’s death is horrible and unfortunate. As was previously alluded to, the innocent are fodder for the wolves that inhabit the American frontier. The first episode of Season 4 of Outlander proved that. Savages drives that point home like a hammered nail into a thick oak block. What the episode also drives home is that anybody can be a “savage” – (of an animal or force of nature) fierce, violent, and uncontrolled – given the necessary circumstances. The Bear Cherokee proved that in Common Ground. In Savages, Her Mueller meets his necessary, transmogrifying circumstances, which dehumanize him, twisting his actions until they are more abhorrent than those he demonizes.

The potential fire that kills Jamie Fraser and Claire Fraser is glimpsed in Savages with the burning of Gerhard Mueller’s home. As the fire burns and the Cherokee leave, one can perceive a similar fire doing Jamie and Claire in by flame and smoke. Jamie Fraser and Claire Fraser’s home has only one way in and one way out. If that entrance / exit is somehow blocked, and they can’t get to the windows, they will be killed.

The Brianna Randall letter that Roger Wakefield (Richard Rankin) reads at the end of Savages is like the end of a fairy tale for Roger. It’s the bookend to their relationship that he never imagines and one that I doubt he will let stand. The same love that pulls Brianna “Bree” Randall Fraser (Sophie Skelton) through time to her mother is the same yearning that will motivate Roger to follow Brianna. Brianna is not history yet. Roger knows that he can still re-write the ending to their story. He just has to be bold enough to step into that story again while the ink is still wet and the tale is still malleable.

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Rollo Tomasi

A college graduate who started,, and after attending an eCommerce class in Business School. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies. In addition to writing for FilmBook, ProMovieBlogger, and TrendingAwards, he also edits the copy published on the websites, manages their writing staff, back-end operations, site finances, social media accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions.

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