There is something difficult to share with this fandom, but every so often the reminder becomes too great to sit on it.
There were instances during Outlander Season 4 Episode 3 poked the hornet's nest, so here goes: I still struggle to like Claire.
Others I know have the same problem. There are two reasons it stood out during "The False Bride." The first was Claire's goodbye scene with Aunt Jocasta, and the second was Claire/Jamie and Brianna/Roger sharing a lot of screen time in different centuries.
From what I understand, the stay at River Run as written was three months which would have given a lot of time for the family to get to know each other. As there are few people the Frasers know in the New World, growing close with Aunt Jocasta should have been a different experience.
What in the book was seminal but hardly the point of their visit became the focal point, and it ruined any chance for Claire and Aunt Jocasta to get to know each other beyond Claire's terrible decision to push her beliefs on a way of life she didn't understand.
She swooped in and right back out, creating chaos for all involved without even cracking a smile or having a kind word beyond "thanks for your hospitality" for the closest woman to Jamie's mother.
Frankly, I hated everything about that production choice. If such choices can and are being made to change the books, then why not wait for a similar message about slavery for another time when it wouldn't so negatively affect everything with Aunt Jocasta?
The need to pull everything negative from the books except the sex is having an impact on the overall picture. Frankly, I can't even remember why Jamie and Claire fell in love. At the very least, Claire listened to Jocasta when the older woman wondered if Claire thinks about what makes Jamie happy.
Claire does tend to railroad Jamie's life. The man is smitten in a way any woman in the world in any time would find overwhelming. Claire kind of takes advantage of it because she knows there aren't men like that anymore in the future.
Even though she has it all, Claire rarely smiles radiantly at her husband. She mostly stands by and approves or disapproves of his decisions. Other than their sex life, she's more of a mother figure to Jamie than a romantic partner. She's always been an older woman, and she's never grown around it.
In contrast, her very different daughter, genetically an undeniable combination of her mother and father, Brianna manages the smiles and the radiance usually reserved to her father, but she also manages to push away the man she loves with enough veracity to prove she's her mother's daughter.
That's not to say Claire has pushed away her second husband; she has not. But because Claire failed to grow close enough to Brianna (something she willingly admits to Jamie) to fully explain how she loved Jamie and Frank before him, Brianna is afraid to love Roger fully.
What a shame.
I really liked the way the two stories were presented.
One of the best-edited scenes was shortly after Brianna and Roger left the airport and started for North Carolina. As they were playing the word games, Jamie and Claire had just left Aunt Jocasta's to try to find a homestead of their own.
The two couples were traveling on the same road centuries apart, and if there is anything to quantum physics, we know they were all in the same place. I don't have a mind that can wrap around that science, but it's fun to imagine how all of time can share the same space.
During that particular stretch of roadway was where Claire and Jamie were talking about their daughter. Jamie never questions why Claire wasn't closer to Brianna or why she allowed Frank to raise their daughter, being the bigger influence on her.
The only negative that seems to have had is in the way Brianna misunderstands love.
To give her the benefit of the doubt, though, I have to agree that everything happened awfully fast. It snowballed from a single flake to a full-blown snowman family within ten minutes.
It always seemed like Roger had it bad for Brianna but that she looked at him more like a big brother or a cousin.
Since I've known the outcome was that they would eventually become husband and wife, I just figured it was some kind of anomaly or meant to look that way for the purpose of the story. Ironically, interviews with Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin show they see it much differently.
My next guess was that since they haven't had a lot of airtime that a lot of their story was progressing off-screen. But after the sale of Roger's house and learning he hadn't yet expressed his love for Brianna, I had to reassess. There was a lot of reassessing.
They were having a great time at the festival and felt very comfortable with each other. For the first time they seemed to be on the same page, they were flirty and dating.
Hell, it's 1970. Brianna is Claire's daughter. The woman was married to two men, had a baby with one while raising it with another. The lack of communication with Brianna about how all of that worked landed with a thud at Brianna's feet.
The seduction of Roger was awful. Roger embarrassed her to make it perfect, something Brianna thought it was. A Scottish Catholic gentleman who had only corresponded via a few letters and short phone calls with an American woman wasn't prepared.
Roger: I want you, Brianna. I cannot say it more plainly than that. I love you. Will you marry me?
Brianna: Roger, this is very fast.
Roger: Aye. Aye, we can have as long an engagement as you like. I just, I want to give you my name. I want when the McKenzies stand at the calling of the clans tomorrow for you to be standin' at my side. I want one day that you'll be my wife. I want to have a home with you. I want to have a home big enough for a for or five wee McKenzies, a couple of dogs...
Brianna: Roger; Roger, stop. I'm not ready for this.
Roger tried to get his point across, but knowing what little she did about her mother, Brianna only knows that there might be someone else in another time who is her Mr. Right.
Can you imagine living your life with the belief that you might fall into Outlander? How could you ever allow yourself to find love or even test the waters with the knowledge you are a product of two different centuries?
For shame on Claire for not better explaining all of that before jumping back through the stones. She was very selfish in how she left.
Roger is old fashioned and wants to get around while his wife only has eyes for him. That's great in theory, but Roger is a little self-righteous, and without using his words telling Brianna he doesn't approve of Claire.
Still, there is a lot of fight between Roger and Brianna, and after seeing their emotional bonds and the sass and grit between them, I am more interested in them than ever.
Watching Roger at the naming of the clans by himself was kind of heart-wrenching, and knowing what we do of Jamie, it's easy to understand why he'd want Brianna at his side for it.
I'd like to see more passion between Jamie and Claire. They've become rather dull. They don't share any joy. They amble through their supposed older age taking a swing at whatever comes their way, but there is no real excitement between them. It's one hands-on-the-face scene after another.
Surely they have more to look forward to in their next 50 years together than that, right?
They've found Fraser Ridge, so they can put down roots and make some native friends. How is that going to go?
Were you surprised Roger already proposed? What do you think of them as a couple?
Share your thoughts below and watch Outlander online any time so you can be up with all the latest Fraser and McKenzie drama!
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.