“I’m the Laird. That’s me”….Jamie and Brian …Outlander Episode 12

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Sometimes when I watch Outlander on Starz, I get an epiphiany.  I’ve read the books… a lot…, but sometimes this visual version helps me understand something from the story better.  There are advantages to seeing emotions on an actual face.

Starz showed us a small scene with Jamie’s father Brian.  That particular scene in the hallway of Ft. William was all that I pictured when reading Outlander and more.  It was right after Brian had just had a session with Black Jack.

Let me repeat that.

BRIAN HAD JUST HAD A SESSION WITH BLACK JACK!

What that means to the story, I am only now truly coming to appreciate.  The panic I heard in Brian’s  voice, the earnest need to have a “moment” with his son written all over his face and the assurance that “whatever happens” he would be there for Jamie,  took on new meaning for me.  What must have happened in that session?! We can only imagine what Black Jack said, but most assuredly, what DID happen was Jamie’s father recognizing what sort of man held his son’s life in his hands.

I get the feeling that Brian knew there was no “way out” for his son.  The Captain was going to give Jamie 100 lashes upon 100 lashes and there was nothing he could do to stop it.  At the very least, Brian had to believe that Randall meant harm that would effect Jamie for the rest of his life; torture, imprisonment.  I believe Brian’s real fear was that his son would die a horrible death right in front of his eyes.  So, he left his “Braw Lad” the only things of value he could give him; his faith in God and his love.  How many times must Jamie have thought of that kiss over last four years…heart-breaking.

In the books, Brian’s character and back story are revealed when Jamie tells Claire the stories of his own childhood. Here is what I know of Brian Fraser:

  • He is a fair man
  • He is a loyal man
  • He is a wise man
  • He is a man of faith
  • He values education
  • He respects women
  • He is a leader
  • He is a family man
  • He has a wry sense of humor
  • He Is a man of honor
  • He is a man of integrity

And…he wants to be a better man than his own father and…he is.  Jamie was lucky to have such a father as a role model, but it’s a lot to live up to.

Like many of us who lose someone close to us without the benefit of closure, Jamie has regrets and feels guilt.  His father died while watching the whipping and at some level Jamie believes it is his fault.  We all know someone who feels this type of guilt and regret. It is one of the common themes in the human condition.  Jamie’s response to these events is understandable and maybe even predictable.  Guilt and regret are feelings that aren’t always rational or accurate, but they still plague us.  We cannot help what we feel when we lose a loved one.

Feelings just are.

Due to circumstances beyond his control, Jamie has been unable to return home.  He has had a loooong time to think and feel.   In a very real way, his ability to deal with his grief has been delayed.  Jamie has been unable to finish his  business with his sister and deal with what the death of his father means to his position at Lallybroch.  Left unaddressed and unexpressed feelings can warp our views and maybe even change how we react or in Jamie’s case overreact, to what we think we see and hear.  I think Jenny’s comment, “No word in four years” speaks volumes.  Jamie is struggling with his feelings to the point that he couldn’t even bring himself to write home. Guilt.

I’ve seen some social media posts that have suggested that Jamie becomes an instant “arsehole” when he goes through the gates of Lallybroch and that it was just too big of a change in his personality for them to believe.  I’ve even seen folks write that the change was so extreme that Claire didn’t “recognize” the man she married.  I don’t think this is the case at all! I think Claire knew exactly what was happening to Jamie.  She just didn’t know exactly what to do about it!  The subtle and significant looks on Claire and Ian’s faces during the uncomfortable exchanges between the siblings told the viewer that EVERYONE knew!  My God,  the tension was so thick you could have cut it!

It really wasn’t hard to understand.  Jamie feels guilty about Jenny and that makes him misinterpret situations and act defensively.  Jenny is angry and secretly blames her brother for her father’s death. Her brother brought home a Sassenach to be lady of Lallybroch. A Sassenach who has never run an estate or home…like she has…for four years.  She’s coming out sideways too!

Jamie doesn’t want to let his father down.  He wants to be the Laird his father was.  He has a new wife and tenants he wants to impress.  So, maybe….he tries too hard at playing the “Laird”. Understandable. In my opinion, Jamie becomes the more loveable for his misguided attempts to be the man his father would be proud of. The fact that his sister called him on his shite was so true to sibling form that it made me laugh out loud!  He isn’t perfect. He is stubborn and at times brash, but he is willing to admit when he is wrong and move on. I loved Ian’s advice and Claire’s “dealing” with her “I’m the Laird” husband. She dumped his ass on the floor to get his attention! Wonderful.

I think Brian would have been proud of his children as he looked down at them embracing in the graveyard dealing with their grief and their love for one another.

“Frasers, their hearts are as big and soft as their heads are thick and strong” Ian Murray, Jamies’s best friend and Jenny’s husband.

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70 thoughts on ““I’m the Laird. That’s me”….Jamie and Brian …Outlander Episode 12

  1. As many times as I’ve read these books, I continue to be amazed about what I learn about relationships. I have seen them as an example of love over time and adversity. Sometimes a bit fantastical, but we often demand that of or heros and heroines.

  2. I agree with every word here. I, too, am learning so many new ways to get deeper into these wonderful stories. I wish I could personally thank everyone involved.

  3. Great perspective. All the other reviews and recaps I’ve read so far focused mainly on the “dangly bits” that were shown in this episode. I love that you focused on the characters and story motivation.

  4. Margaret Y

    Again, spot on Beth. I always look forward to your commentary. I completely agree that the way Jamie acted is very natural given the circumstances of his leaving Lallybroch and what ensued. There is also the fact that when you go back home, you tend to revert to the family/sibling dynamic. I loved seeing him stumble all over himself and then figure a few things out – it is a necessary part of the maturation process. I adored the character and relationship dynamics in this episode.

  5. Cary

    I like the way you think, Beth 😉 I loved this episode and once again seeing more from Jamie’s viewpoint. I liked that Claire was shown to caring and concerned for Jamie – and supportive! Really felt them as a “team”. More than nearly any other episode, I felt the entire range of emotions from highs to lows, joys and fears. The scene is his fathers room, the memories…so well done! And at the graveside, wow!

    All of the acting was good in the episode, but to me Sam and Caitriona continue to be the ones who rise to the top – they were amazing together.

  6. Patricia

    Your comments are serve to integrate the book and show. You did an excellent job. I have a question since you have such good observation skills. It looked to me like Black Jack Randall was purposefully putting his finger that was full of Jamie’s blood in Jenny’s mouth in a sexual manner. Did you notice this? Have seen no other comments on this
    Thanks. Patty

  7. Patricia

    Great commentary on the episode.You are very insightful
    I have a question…did you notice that Black Jack Randall’s finger was covered with Jamie’s blood when he put it in Jenny’s mouth? Very sick. Have seen no other comments on this.

  8. That was incredible recap from a true fan who has read the books, I thought exactly as you did!! I encourage watchers to please read at least the first 3 books. I am so impressed with this show and how the book is being represented! !

  9. Kitti

    I think your observations are great. The range of emotions we see Jamie go through are amazing. I liked the way the series did his lesson learning. I completely understood why he was being a jerk and I think the writers and the actors did a great job of portraying his maturation. Claire is truly the best thing that has happened to Jamie. She saves his life in so many ways. And the wonderful thing about DG’s two characters is that Jamie saves her in so many ways too.

  10. Suzanne Cole-Rice

    That’s beautiful! You are so right! I was one of those that didn’t like the cocky Jamie. It is hard for a reader to understand screen adaptation but you’re explaination really helped. And it brought me to tears. Thank you!

  11. Shae

    Remember,too, that Jenny took over the mother role in raising Jamie after their mother died. She’s been lady of the house for a lot longer than four years. Laura brought Jenny to life for me. Perfect!

  12. GGW

    Beth, another great post! The brilliance of this episode is its subtlety. I’ve seen some complaints on social media that this episode was only meh! I disagree. Not every episode can have the tension and payoff of Devil’s Mark! Maybe folks will need to view it a few times to fully get all the nuances of the necessary set ups! The scenes where Jamie is discussing Brian and then their interchange in Ft William particularly touched me, even more so than in the book. The impact that BJR had on Jenny, Jamie and Brian HAD to be explored to fully realize Jamie’s future actions and reactions. Yes, the “I love you” exchange between Claire and Jamie was more understated than in the book, but I think it worked well in the confines of an episode that was really NOT about Claire and Jamie’s relationship, but about Jenny, Jamie and Brian’s relationship. That being said, I TOTALLY adored Drunk Jamie! Sam played it beautifully! Looking forward to your next post!!

    • Thank you! I’m learning to withhold judgement on these episodes. Episode 9 showed me that they really are trying to brings things back to where they need to go. Some previews have shown a clip of Claire crying “I never counted on loving you” I THINK we have a big scene in the works!

      • GGW

        I forgot that tearful declaration was still out there somewhere! Thanks for the reminder. I will remind others when I hear grumbling!

  13. erica

    This is my first encounter with your blog, but not the last. I appreciate your in depth perspective on the character relationships, and not the cineamatic nude penises! The best critiques I have ever been able to give on Gabaldon’s work have always been that she writes the best characters ever put on paper. I love these stories because of the depth she gives each of the characters. It is very refreshing to read your words, because like the literature degree holder I am, (and if you’re not, you should consider) there is a lot of depth and analysis in your blog. Thank you! It is so refreshing to see someone treat Her works above and beyond the sex, romance and adventure that So many critics do.

  14. Eile

    Thank you for your words. You got right to the heart of it. I have a hard time watching the scene of him and his Father, without choking up, it is such a heart wrenching moment. Thank you for writing the words I can’t articulate. Brian also was a special kind of man.

  15. I’m one who obsessed over Diana’s books! Not only I,but my husband. He read them first,when I asked ,is there a lot of sex he said, only Jamie and Claire’s! Like its okay they are like us!! He never mentioned BJR. I read book 6_first.the others were loaned out! All of his 20 co
    Workers were reading Diana G. !!! They talked Outlander,on the Island of Hawaii.
    We all felt that these characters were real people,to us!! I wanted to go to Scotland so badly. Since my family have gone,sibs mostly.
    My point is,that we are our true core beings with our siblings every psche doc knows. I’ve got 6! They descended on my home in Hawaii,even Mom. My psyche said,” when a sibling arrives with your
    Mom living over here with you,The Shit Will Hit The Fan!” It did!!!!
    Our siblings are so close that they never pull any punches;
    Diana is such an intelligent person I love reading her work! Ron D Moore is wonderful because he understands this and trusts it!
    These are top notch actors here in Outlander!! Yahoo! I have to add
    That as a victim of rape by a nutjob myself,I see the insight the writers have. The way he made her take his hand was to make her feel somehow she consented! What a terrible villian.!! One I enjoy hating!

  16. Marty Thornhill

    Love your insight and perspective. Since reading the books, I’ve always wanted to meet Brian. (Can’t wait for Diana to write the Ellen and Brian backstory!) You can see where Jamie gets a lot of his character, honesty, and ethics (from Brian), and I think what Jamie says is true, that when once his father was dead, all his words seem more important. Thanks again for a great blog. It helps feed my addiction to these characters!

  17. Beth, I just found your blog recently. I really enjoy your thoughtful perspective. I feel as though the characters in Diana’s book are old friends and I am delighted that Ron D Moore and company are bringing them to life.

  18. It’s a relief to read a sane pov to the series. Before this episode aired in Canada I was reading some opinions on various sites and was a bit nervous that the writers may have done a True Blood.

    • I’m learning to give them time. Ron has promised to bring things around to the story and despite my desire to hear every line of dialogue they have given me the story.

      • I don’t mind them omitting some of my favourite lines, because as you say they have given the story. I don’t even mind the slight differences to get to the same point.
        And thank you for your blog. I’m enjoying reading your previous posts.

  19. You summed it up perfectly, and by god they are typical Scots, which some tend to forget. Hot headed, stubborn, but a heart of gold (well most of them, then again I’m biased)

  20. I’ve just discovered this series & have never read the books 😢 so I just need to say TYTYTY SO MUCH your input has been INVALUABLE in helping me to understand the little “quirks” especially, that I surely would have missed!! I read your blog THEN watch the show so I’ll know what to look 😳 for! TY AGAIN ❤️ & please KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK 👍🏻 (at least for newbies like me LOL!!) ✌🏻️😆😘💋

  21. Susan R

    Hi Beth. Like many others I just found your blog. It’s wonderful. I love that there are places like this for fans to come and discuss the show. I will say that there is one glaring omission for me in the shows – especially this episode. Jamie’s faith. He is a Catholic. A strong one. Yet, so far, there is very little to show of it besides his performing a mechanical sign of the cross at the mention of the dead. I know they can’t include a lot of religious references (if they want people to keep watching, that is) but I truly miss the small references back to his faith; the bible from the prison he continually carried in his sporran. And the Act of Contrition he recites in French. I can’t imagine how the time at The Abbey will be adapted.
    I understand that the show is the show; the book is the book. I love them both. Ron Moore has done an incredible job and I am so grateful that he is at the helm. But I feel they are dismissing a huge part Jamie’s strong character when they omit his expressions of faith. I don’t see how people who haven’t read the books can have a true understanding of our complicated hero. Then, maybe they don’t need to. It’s a TV show, right?
    Just my opinion.
    Thanks for your recaps.

    • Yes! I would agree! Jamie’s faith is essential to understanding who he is and why he does what he does! He wants to be the man his “fathers” would be proud of! Wrote about it of course! http://wp.me/p4mtBT-5T If you like it, I would love a repost so others could read! It always feels awkward posting my own stuff!

  22. Thank you Beth for this insight. Having read the books over twenty years ago I am so happy to watch this adaptation on TV and for someone like you to point out the logical and deep reasons for jamies foolish behavior. He may be well travelled and educated but he is a young male and his ego got the better of him. In this situation this is very understandable. I just wish people would give him a break. I feel sure we will see more of book Jamies maturity as the show progresses. I loved your reasons in his defense. I am new to your site.

    • Glad you found me and enjoyed the post! I hope you joined the blog. There is a button somewhere on the home page. If you join you can be notified every time something new is posted! Welcome!

  23. Wonderful analysis as always. And what are you doing in my brain? You manage to put into words things I had been thinking about but hadn’t been able to express adequately.

  24. webbiesgram

    I too am new to reading your wonderful intuitive understanding and I am so very happy to have found you. I have DG to thank for that ’cause she introduced you to a lot of fans when she reposted. Keep doing what you do and THANKS!!

  25. I have a question since you have such good observation skills. It looked to me like Black Jack Randall was purposefully putting his finger that was full of Jamie’s blood in Jenny’s mouth in a sexual manner. You did an excellent job. Did you notice this?
    Have seen no other comments on this
    Thanks…

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