There is a brightness to come.
Unfortunately, Outlander Season 4 Episode 2 offered another dark look at America.
There is little to love about what Claire and Jamie experienced at River Run, but I also don't agree with Claire's refusal to stick around to see if she could make a difference, however small, in the lives of the negroes at the plantation.
Claire arrived at the plantation set on disliking everything about it, even if she and Jamie were in dire straights after what occurred on Outlander Season 4 Episode 1.
She could barely muster up a smile or her signature wit upon meeting Auntie Jocasta despite the joyful welcome Jamie and his wife received from his mother's sister.
Coming from the future, being anywhere in the south during that time wasn't going to be easy, but Claire also knew enough about history to understand not everyone was a stone-hearted bastard and in meeting Jamie's aunt she would likely be walking into one of the lesser evils.
Knowing about the past and its atrocities yet being unable to change them isn't an enviable position. They've learned the likelihood of two people changing the future on a large scale. That doesn't mean they cannot make small differences in the lives of those they encounter along the way.
When Jamie and Claire broached the topic of slavery with Auntie Jocasta, she was up front and honest. For her, it was how things got done in the south. She honestly thought she was doing right by those on her plantation and considered them friends.
Whether the gift of hindsight would allow her to see things differently is moot. She would never have that opportunity. So Auntie Jocasta treated her negroes better than most in her position probably would. The banter she shared with each of them was an indication they felt comfortable in her presence.
Claire and Auntie Jocasta had a willful conversation about it as Claire was getting fitted for a gown for the bash Auntie was throwing in their honor. The looks on Claire's face betrayed her thoughts since she didn't have to hold them back from the blind woman.
But Auntie Jocasta wasn't put off by Claire's forthright behavior at all. She saw through it what Jamie would find so attractive about his bride. Claire is as bold as any Scot.
You're a lively one, aren't ya now? No wonder Jamie is attracted to ya. The fire of MacKenzie in ya.Auntie Jocasta
It probably surprised both Jamie and Claire that their conversations didn't put off Aunti Jocasta from naming him her heir.
All the women in Jamie's life are full of passion and spirit, though, so it shouldn't have come as a shock.
I am pleased to announce that I've decided to name my nephew Jamie as my heir. It is my attention that Jamie should act as master of my estate immediately. I leave River Run in his hands.Auntie Jocasta
No, they don't want to own slaves. Who would? Auntie Jocasta was open to any ideas Jamie had to free the slaves of River Run and pay them a fair wage instead, but the conditions set by law to do that were purposely made to be nigh on impossible.
While I realize the idea is for Claire and Jamie to find their own land and start something together, it's surprising Claire hadn't yet considered what she could have done at River Run to ease the burden of those who work there.
They couldn't legally free them, but couldn't they have given some more thought to informal options? A fair wage wouldn't be out of the question. They could work on saving one person at a time.
I wish Claire hadn't taken on the wrong fight.
By choosing to save Rufus and get on the wrong side of all of the other overseers, they can do none of that. Those others would be watching them like hawks, waiting for them to screw up.
Saving that boy's soul is all that can be done for him now.Ulysses
What Claire had to do in the end was atrocious. She's a doctor. It was as if she wound up as the executioner herself. That will stay with her for the rest of her life. She fought so hard to save Rufus and give him dignity only to put all of the others in jeopardy and aid in his death. It's too much.
Claire often lets her heart react instead of acting with her head. Jumping into the fray and igniting the spark that was ready to blow after the incident between Rufus and Barnes ensured Jamie and Claire couldn't benefit from life at River Run. Their chance to help Auntie Jocasta's negroes and keep them out of nefarious hands was over.
That's a shame.
On the other hand, sticking around the south and facing more trials with slavery only means more darkness that hits too close to home right now, and that's unsettling. Moving on from the south is, in the end, welcome.
That's not to say it wasn't nice to meet Jamie's aunt or to witness Ian's first encounter with a skunk. This experience and visit will no doubt change everyone, but on Outlander Season 4 Episode 3, Jamie and Claire will move north.
We'll also get our first glimpse of Brianna and Roger, so prepare to smile for the first time this season. Whew.
Hopefully, going north for Jamie and Claire doesn't mean another green screen boat ride. That was awful, right? As it turns out, there really IS a difference between Scotland and the United States! Eeek.
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Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.