Outlander Episode 402 – Do No Harm

The warm welcome that Auntie Jocasta gives her Nephew, Neice in law and great Nephew was about the last warm fuzzy thing that happened in this episode. We get to meet Ulysses and Phaedra as well as John Quincy Myers. We see young Ian’s curiosity and fascination with Native Americans increase. Jamie and Claire arrive at River Run and Jocasta Cameron welcomes them in and has no plans of ever letting Jamie out of her clutches. Jamie is an 18th-century man and while he does not agree with owning people as property because he himself was once not free, he could possibly live with the idea. However, Claire cannot live with the idea. We are confronted with the horrors of slavery and as a white person, I need the reminder. I welcome the reminder, lest I forget that my privilege exists. Diana has said, (and I am strongly paraphrasing here) that political correctness has no place in historical fiction. However, having a modern woman in the 18th century can confront the ghastly political climate while maintaining historical accuracy. I think Jamie’s character needed to be confronted with what the realities of slavery really were in America. What Jamie experienced in his indentured service at Hellwater was bloody tame compared to what African Americans were forced to endure.

Slavery was a carefully planned system of oppression that made it near impossible for change to happen and the beginning of change wouldn’t happen until 100 years after this episode takes place and even then equality was far from view. Were Jamie and Claire catalysts for change in this episode? No, not really. I don’t think that was the point. I think it was two characters trying to make the best out of a scenario that only had terrible outcomes. Jamie and Claire stayed true to their characters in this episode, they did what they would have done when faced with the unimaginable.

Do No Harm went a little off script from the book, the Character of Rufus died on the scene where we first see him. Your heart breaks for this young man who is barely even out of boyhood. He was robbed of the chance to have any other fate than that of which he endured, a tragedy most atrocious. It is a strange feeling to not know what is going to happen next when watching Outlander and I admit I covered my eyes during the surgery scene and the final scene when  Rufus’s corpse is dragged off the porch with a noose around his neck by the angry mob.  It was positively horrifying and I think that was the point. Slavery was absolutely horrifying in every single aspect. There is no way to sugar coat it or look at it with rose colored glasses. I am very curious to know the thoughts and feelings that people of color had when watching Do No Harm. I welcome, honor and revere the thoughts, feelings and insights that are so needed by people of color regarding this episode.

Xo, Lauren

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