Bree and Roger were successful in going back through the stones, but they weren’t so lucky with who is navigating them through this new world. Here’s our review of “Down the Rabbit Hole”!
“Down the Rabbit Hole” gives us exactly what it implies. We’re starting a journey with Bree and Roger that will, hopefully, lead them back to each other and Claire and Jamie. Since this is the start of their journey, and they don’t know anyone or how to truly navigate this time, we see them link up with people that have had a negative effect on Jamie and Claire’s life. They’re also not stable in general.
Through all this, we get small flashback of Frank and Bree. These insights into the last couple of days of Franks life offer the audience a shocking view we’ve never had before, and also (for me) more respect for T.V. Frank.
Let’s kick off with Roger!
Things move pretty quickly for him this episode, but that doesn’t mean that the events are any less jarring. To start the episode, Fiona takes Roger Craigh na Dun. He’s got his historical clothes on, and he shaved his beard. It’s a travesty.
“For your sake, I hope time travel is a reality. Otherwise, you shaved your beard for nothing.”
Fiona understands my feelings.
When they walk up to the stones, he asks if Fiona can hear that sound, but she tells him that they don’t call to her. They hug, and I’m so happy for their friendship, and Roger walks forward and goes back in time.
The first time we see Roger in the past, he’s at a dock, trying to find passage to America. Of course, the only ship that’s going to the colonies is the ‘Gloriana’, captained by Stephen (fucking) Bonnet. Bonnet says he doesn’t have room on the ship for him, but Roger won’t give up. He follows them out and asks if Bonnet would take him on as a member of his crew. He needs to get back to his lass in America. Upon seeing Roger’s hands, Bonnet says:
“Your hands are better suited for writing letters than sailing.”
Roger picks up a barrel and asks Bonnet where he wants it on the ship.
“You believe in luck? Heads you come. Tails you stay. What’s your name?”
“Twenty shillings a month, Mr. Mackenzie. You’re free to leave the ship when it’s in port, and you’ll be paid once the cargo’s unloaded. Sailor’s will show you where to go. And MacKenzie? There’s four ports before Wilmington. I hope she’s worth it.”
On the ship, Roger makes friends with a woman, Morag, who has a baby son. Roger’s also just a nice guy who talks to the kids and makes everyone comfortable. Bonnet is a sociopath who takes babies from their moms to give them alcohol for their teething and also decides to throw people overboard who have symptoms of smallpox.
Let me say, I understand keeping the ship healthy, but whoa lawd, his approach is insane. He throws a little girl out of the captain’s window and her mother jumps after her. Bonnet tells the crew to bring anyone with signs of the rash to him, and Roger goes to Morag and her baby. The baby has a rash, but it’s because he’s teething. Roger tells her that he’ll keep her hidden and bring her food.
It turns out that she’s a MacKenzie, too!
On one of the days that Roger brings Morag food, Bonnet shows up behind him.
“I said a wise man doesn’t concern himself with things beyond his power, but on this ship, everything’s in my power.”
Bonnet tells Roger about a time when he was seventeen and a man flipped a coin for his fate. Roger believes that he’s going to kill Morag and her baby, but Bonnet tells him, he’s not flipping to see if he kills them, he’s flipping to see if he kills Roger. After all, Roger’s the one who’s been taking the food.
“Heads ye live. Tails ye die.”
He flips the coin and it comes up heads.
“Seems Danu was with ye tonight, sir.”
I couldn’t breathe throughout this scene.
Also, did y’all see Claire’s ring on Bonnet’s pinky?! It also looked like he had rings from other women on his hands, too. This man keeps trophies. He needs to thrown off this ship. At the end of the episode, Roger’s safe, so that’s a plus.
During all of this, Bree has been having her own journey near Lallybroch…
Bree’s walking through the Highlands with her map, and things are going okay at first. Then she sees a home in the distance and gets excited, causing her to trip down a small hill and sprain her ankle. I assume being accident prone is genetic because she and Claire always get hurt at the wrong times. Brianna manages to find a safe place to rest that night and starts a fire with matches she brought. She eats her sandwich and realizes she’s pretty much screwed because her ankle is messed up, and she can’t get too fair on it.
The next morning, she’s walking and sees the home in the distance again with smoke coming from the chimney. She tries to make it, but ends up falling down from exhaustion and wakes up in a nice, warm bed. While she’s unconscious, she dreams of Frank, carrying her from the car as a child.
Like most things on Outlander, there’s a downside to every plus.
Plus: Bree is safe.
Downside: She’s with Laoghaire.
When Bree wakes up, Laoghaire gives her something to eat and asks what Bree is doing out this way. Bree explains she’s trying to find a port so she can buy passage to the Americas. Laoghaire shares with Bree that her daughter lives in North Carolina as well. Joanie makes a crack about Marsali being married to a frog, and Laoghaire says that he might be, but he’s the father to her grandchild. Fergus is a lovely young man, and she’s lucky to have him as a son-in-law. She needs to recognize this.
That night while Bree is in bed, Ian Murray arrives with the alimony from Jamie to Laoghaire. It’s not as much as it should be, though, and Laoghaire is angry about it. I understand this. She’s trying to keep herself and her child fed, but there’s a part of me that understands Laoghaire is also doing this to hurt Jamie. Ian tries to calm her down:
“If he had more, he’d send more.”
“I’m tired of his excuses. We canna eat excuses.”
Bree comes downstairs and sees Ian and Laoghaire arguing, and Ian recognizes that she’s an outlander by her accent. Laoghaire sends her back to bed, and Ian offers Laoghaire money to hold her over until Jamie can send more. Laoghaire refuses, stating that she still has her pride.
The next morning, Laoghaire says that Bree must think she’s uncouth for arguing with a man in the middle of the night. She further explains that he’s not her husband, but the man that tells her bad news every month because her former husband isn’t sending the money he should.
Laoghaire offers to make a stew while Bree helps Joanie in the garden. She even tells Bree that she must keep the dress she’s wearing because she’ll need it for her voyage at sea. When Bree thanks her, Laoghaire tells Bree that she hopes that someone would do the same for her daughters. Claire does that with Marsali and I wonder how or if Laoghaire knows about it…
Once Laoghaire leaves, Joanie offers some clarification on the topic of her dad. Jamie (she doesn’t say his real name) isn’t her dad, but he’s the man she calls dad. This is really sad because we’re seeing the kids left behind. I know we all hate Laoghaire, but Joanie’s an innocent in all this. She misses Jamie, too. Bree also explains that the man who raised her isn’t her biological dad, and Joanie asks of her true father:
“Is he a lout?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think he is.”
Joanie tells Bree that her da didn’t love her mom the same way she loved him, and Bree shares that her mother didn’t love her dad that way either. That’s when we get another flashback of Frank and Brianna.
She bursts into his office and asks why he isn’t answering the phone. Frank is drinking, and Bree asks him what’s on his desk. He tells her that it’s research from a colleague in Scotland.
We see the obituary and a letter. Bree casually looks over both of them, but doesn’t see anything interesting to her at the time. In the letter, it calls for Frank to think about taking a leave of absence so he can have some mental rest and time to refocus. When Bree picks up the obituary, she asks who died, and Frank doesn’t say much.
This is quite obviously his tipping point. Frank doesn’t know it’s his death that prompts Claire to go back, so right now, all he knows is that sometime in the future, Claire goes back to Jamie. This pushes the idea of divorce into his mind because if she’s going back, she won’t be leaving him. He’ll do it first this time.
Bree asks about his research and mentions it’s going nowhere. When he agrees, Bree says that it doesn’t sound like him to just give up. When he looks at her and the obituary, I wonder if he thinks that she’ll be going back with Claire? He attempts to tell her something but backtracks and says that he can’t explain.
“Look, it’s obviously important to you.”
“Yeah. It was everything to me aside from you.”
“You should go home. She’ll be worried about you.”
“She’ll be fine.”
“Go home, Brianna. Please. Go home.”
When she’s leaving, he stops her:
“Brianna, someday, I promise, you’ll understand.”
“Maybe someday I won’t care.”
Back in the 1700s, Laoghaire talks to Bree before bed. Laoghaire expresses concern about Joanie finding a good man one day, if one actually exists. Then Laoghaire waxes poetic about how her husband used to love her and steal kisses from him, took a beating for her when she was young, but his heart was hardened against her by some witch woman.
Laoghaire loves rewriting history.
Bree asks Laoghaire to tell her Joanie’s favorite Bible story, so Laoghaire beings to retell her the story of Noami and Ruth. Joanie joins them, and it’s a lovely picture.
The next morning, Bree is fixing Laoghaire’s cabinet, and Laoghaire mentions Lallybroch which prompts Bree to say her mother’s relatives live there. When she says that he mother’s Claire Fraser, Laoghaire visibly changes her posture and her tone of voice. She says that Frank Randall must have been a good man to raise a daughter like her, and Bree agrees. Then we get our next Frank flashback.
Brianna brought him tea and scones the next morning after he told her to leave, and he broaches the topic of studying abroad for the first time.
“There are some excellent universities.”
“I’m sure that’s true, but Harvard’s here. You’re here.”
Then we go back to Laoghaire and Brianna, and Laoghaire’s planting seeds of doubt about Jamie Fraser. She’s making up gossip to turn Brianna against Jamie and Claire, and I remember why I hated her to begin with.
“I only hope he doesn’t turn ye away for a second time.”
Brianna goes on to tell Laoghaire that she has to find them because she can prevent their deaths. This causes Laoghaire to show her true colors because she wants her money, and she needs to know if something will cause her to lose her alimony.
The scene that follows is intense. Bree and Laoghaire get into a heated arguement where Bree says she understands she’s not welcome anymore and goes to leave. Laoghaire follows her to her room, though, and Bree lets her have it:
“The truth is Jamie Fraser has never loved you.”
Laoghaire locks Brianna in the room and says that this time she’ll see a witch burned at the stake. This turns us to another flashback of Frank.
It’s the night that he leaves Claire, after asking for the divorce. Brianna gets in the car with him, and he explains that he and Claire are getting a divorce, and he wants Bree to come with him to Cambridge and study in England. Brianna is shocked and doesn’t understand how he and her mother could be divorcing. They love each other, right?
“It wasn’t for want of trying. I’m sorry. I truly am. Come with me, will you?”
“We had a plan. We were supposed to go to Harvard together. I’m studying history. We were going to share your office.”
“I know. I know, and a thousand years ago, your mother and I had a plan, too, but you know sometimes, life takes unexpected turns. And you know what we do? We soldier on.”
Brianna doesn’t take the news well at all, and ends up getting out of the car without saying she loves him back or that they’ll talk later. Since this is the night that Frank dies, Brianna will carry this guilt for a long time.
Afterward, Bree talks to Frank’s grave, and she expresses her guilt for not staying in the car. It’s this guilt over his death that is the driving force behind her going in search of Claire. She won’t have another parent die if she can change it.
Back at Laoghaire’s home, Joanie helps Brianna escape and takes her to Lallybroch.
“You’re a kind soul. It’s not your fault, your mother’s a witch.”
She asks Bree to find Jamie and tell him to come home right before Ian walks out and asks who Joanie has with her. Joanie tells him that it’s Jamie Fraser’s daughter.
Ian goes into super helpful mode, and gets Bree set up. She’s got Claire’s old clothes, she’s got money for passage on a ship, and he takes her to the port. Ian only asks that she tell his son to write more to his mother.
Inside the office, Bree meets a man who is trying to find passage for his daughter to the colonies. They will both be sold to man soon because Joseph and Elizabeth’s contracts have been sold to someone else. He doesn’t want his daughter to end up a concubine. The father begs Brianna to take Elizabeth with him, and after meeting her, Brianna pays for both their passage to the colonies.
Elizabeth waves at her father from a distance. This man who she will never see again because he put her needs above his own, and it’s heartbreaking. Brianna sees Frank, too. He smiles at her and nods his head. When Bree tries to acknowledge him back, he’s already gone. She turns with Elizabeth and they board the ship for the colonies.
I feel like the flashbacks with Frank add an emotional dimension to the episode that I wasn’t expecting at all, but also give Bree and I think the audience much needed closure on Frank’s story. I teared up seeing him on the dock, seemingly giving Bree his blessing. I will always love the father he was to Brianna, and I’ll never doubt for a minute his love for his daughter.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? The preview for next week has Bree reuniting with Roger, but also meeting Stephen Bonnet. Murtagh is in trouble, and Jamie and Claire must help him before the British capture him.
Make sure you live tweet with us each Sunday and catch our WSN Reviews series on YouTube after each episode!