The Ballad of Roger Mac
At the Season 5 midway point of STARZ The Outlander, the series has reached a turning point. Since the show began, we have been tracking the romance of Claire and Jamie Frazier. Also during that time, a constant influence on Jamie has been his Godfather Martaugh Fitzgivens. Ever since he made his pledge to Jamie’s Mother, he has been a shadow to Jamie and through him, Claire. And while they have been separated through different circumstances, they are inevitably reunited. Even when they are at odds as far as their “political” beliefs.
In this case, in the foreshadowing of the Revolutionary War, Martaugh has found himself fighting the British rule due to unfair taxes. As part of the “Regulators” he was in direct conflict with the situation that Jamie found himself in. He was bound to the North Carolina Governor who granted Jamie the land he was now occupying, Frazier’s Ridge. Because of that, he was forced to side against the Regulators and Martaugh. While it wasn’t in his heart to do so. He met with him secretly and told him his dilemma. He asked Martaugh to make himself “hard to find.”
With the Regulators making more issues, it has come down to a confrontation between the British Army along with Jamie’s Militia and Martaugh. As much as Jamie had been doing all he could to avoid this, the die had been cast. So as preparations for the upcoming battle approached, Jamie sends his Son-in-Law Roger Mackenzie to try to convince Martaugh to stand down. While he did his best, he was unable to convince the Regulators. But unfortunately, he ran into a young woman he had saved in a previous episode. Apparently, her husband never got that memo. All he saw was a member of the Militia that opposed his position. He was knocked unconscious.
Donning the RedCoat
With cannons and more men being gathered, Jamie did his best to prepare his men for the upcoming battle. This included giving his men a yellow insignia to make it possible to separate the Regulators from the Militia. He also told his younger members about the importance of not hesitating when the moment comes. As for the British Governor, he decide to give Jamie a better way to differentiate the large Scotsman from his kin: a British Redcoat. As much as Jamie loathed the symbolism of such an acceptance, he was honor bound and felt unable to refuse. Thus Jamie Frazier, Scottish Highlander, Laird of Lollybroch, wore the uniform coat of the enemy.
The Battle of Alamance
When the morning of battle arose, no sign of Roger MacKenzie was found. And as worried as Jamie and Claire were about their son-in-law, there was a battle to wage. Although a reluctant one. With the shot of the cannon, the battle commenced. British against Scott, Highlander vs. Highlander. While the battle raged, and the Regulators fought valiantly, the odds were against them, as well as the munitions. Inevitably, slowly, the British Army prevailed. As for Jamie, his Red Coat put him in the sights of a member of the Regulators, one of his kinsmen. While he tried to convince the man of the futility of his plight, the man attempted to kill him. Unbeknownst to him, Martaugh had came up behind the man and killed him. No matter the circumstances, he was loyal to Jamie. This proved to be his undoing.
The Sorrow of Jamie Frazier
A young member of Jamie‘s Militia appeared and shot Martaugh. While this angered Jamie, he knew it wasn’t the young man’s fault. He was doing as he was taught to do: Do not hesitate. This did not stop the anguish Jamie feels. His Godfather cannot die in this manner. Not after everything they have been through. He orders his men to help him get him to Claire. She will know what to do. But it only takes a moment for Claire to realize that Martaugh is gone. Initially Jamie refuses to believe it. She can save him, she must! Claire’s eyes fill with tears as she tries to get Jamie to accept the reality. Martaugh MacGivens Frazier is dead.
As Jamie is trying to reconcile his grief, the British Governor is basking in his victory. He fails to understand why Jamie is not as well. But all Jamie sees is that men who were outnumbered and outmatched were butchered. He sees no great victory here. But what he did see, was that his promise and pledge to the Governor was fulfilled. His life was his own again. Which is more than he could say about Martaugh.
With the battle done, Jamie resumed his search for Roger along with Claire and their daughter Brianna. As they asked passers by if they had seen Roger, they came across a tree. Several bodies hung from its branches. All were hooded. However, one wore the clothes of Roger MacKenzie as the episode ended.
So now we are left with the question “ Is Roger actually dead?” He didn’t die in the book but that doesn’t mean the writers didn’t take an off street here. Although two emotional deaths in the same episode is a very “Game of Thronsian” (Yes, I made that word up) way to go. We’ll have to wait and see. Darn it!
This episode was really the first one this season that pushed the storyline dramatically. The first six were almost self-contained episodes that gave insights into the characters. They gave the storyline a nudge but that’s all. However, they didn’t include the high drama that was present in the previous seasons. Which isn’t to say they were not good. They were just not the emotional rollercoaster that The Outlander has provided in the past. This episode resolved all of that.
Emotionally, dramatically, The Ballad of a Roger Mac was another thrill ride on that Outlander rollercoaster. Along with the battle and it’s foregone conclusion, they pulled at the heartstrings, especially for those who have followed the story of Jamie and Martaugh since the beginning. If you haven’t, it probably loses some its impact. The solution to that? Go back and watch the first four seasons. If you do, I challenge you not to feel the gut punch of this episode. This was high drama and the highlight of Season five so far.
Jump on the Outlander Bandwagon
Have you had the opportunity to watch STARZ The Outlander? If you haven’t, it should be on your list of must watch shows. Especially if you like shows with a historical backdrop mixed with fantasy. Also, check out our Podcast, Martin and Kathy’s Coffee Binge as we talked about The Outlander. If you have been watching it, what did you think of The Ballad of a Roger Mac? Share your thoughts with us at Geek Vibes Nation.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 17 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.