'Outlander' season 4 episode 12 review: After Sophie Skelton, it is now Richard Rankin's turn to shine in his best performance ever
With only one more episode to go, 'Outlander' delivers an excellent TV spectacle making us teary-eyed this time — thanks to Richard Rankin who plays Roger MacKenzie.
The penultimate episode of season four of the time-traveling series established 'Outlander' to be a show filled with star-studded cast members, and this time it was Richard Rankin who stole the spotlight.
Prior to this season, Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire Fraser and Sam Heughan, who plays her Scottish Highlander lover delivered award-winning performances, so much so that Balfe won her fourth Golden Globes nomination in a row this year. Season 4, as our earlier article pointed out, was Sophie Skelton's to own as Brianna, after her heart-wrenching performance in episode eight titled 'Wilmington', where she prolifically played the part of a rape survivor.
As the season almost comes to an end, it's Richard Rankin who delivered another outstanding performance as Roger in 'Providence'. Safe to say now, the young time-traveling couple is living up to the standards set by the OG couple, if not more.
Brianna Randal Fraser and Roger MacKenzie have been through a lot even before they ventured through the stones of Craigh na Dun. Their 18th-Century journey has only roughened their path and tested their love; so here comes another major adversity — Roger's fate in 'Providence'.
The previous episode 'If Not For Hope', revealed that Roger had decided to stay back in the 18th Century for the sake of true love and not escape his life-threatening misadventure even when fate offered him a chance to travel back to the 1970s where he could easily give up being a Mohawk captive and resume his identity as an Oxford professor. However, he chose to stay and was beaten again by the villagers of Shadow Lake, for no apparent reason other than him simply being a slave, "sold by his own people".
The episode picks up right where it left, where Roger is tortured and tormented beyond belief. But what follows is even more devastating. With one broken hand, Roger is still made to do chores around the village and he encounters a kind lady with a baby in her hand. "He does not seem dangerous," she tells the Mohawk who got Roger to Shadow Lake. The blue-haired Mohawk retorts that he was sold by his own people so he cannot be good.
As Roger is put in the hut where he is held captive, he encounters a man who speaks his language — the well-dressed man, with a Bible in his hand, introduces himself as Father Alexandre Ferigault, who ended up as a captive because he fell in love. Turns out his love was the kind lady Roger encountered and the baby she was carrying was Alexandre's.
As a Catholic Christian, Alexandre believes that he deserves all the tortures he's subjected to because he fell in love and "sinned". The tortures we witness includes him being stripped naked, his ears being cut and the most brutal thing, we have ever witnessed on TV — being suspended over a burning pyre and letting the fire consume the body slowly, starting from his feet.
Before the latter happens, Roger and Alexandre decide to flee from the shed and start digging the ground. The hut is made of vines and dried leaves, but somehow it is so strong that digging a passage hole takes an entire night and morning. It is time for the Mohawks to come and take Alexandre to be tortured again, so he tells Roger to escape without him. Roger gives him a better alternative, it's best to baptize the baby because that is what the Mohawks want from him.
In the most stirring scene, Roger tells Alexandre his love story and how he came to be there. You may need napkins to dry your eyes at around 30 minutes into the show. Roger calls himself an idiot for not taking his freedom. He advises Alexandre: "Turn your back on love and take freedom. Save yourself, if you don't, no one ever will."
Alexandre has no choice but to succumb to the Mohawks because he will not take the choice he has — since he has "sinned" and he cannot perform holy rituals such as baptism. So he allows himself to be tortured. As Roger escapes, he hears the agonizing cries of Alexandre and as the good soul Roger is, returns back to the village, cursing himself for being a good soul — "aah f***ing hell!"
On approaching the site, his eyes widen to see the horror of what is happening. Alexandre's feet have burnt black and he is crying out in pain while the Mohawks spectate. To put an end to his pain, Roger runs towards the pyre, grabs a barrel of oil and throws it in the fire. Alexandre is set ablaze in flaming fire. His love, the kind lady, kisses her baby, lays him aside and unhesitatingly walks to the fire, jumps on it, hugs the body of her lover and the two melt together in a raging conflagration.
This leaves the blue-haired Mohawk in utter shock and despair as he takes the baby in arms and looks at the blazing fire, where the girl he loved died with her lover.
Roger is also seen staring at the fire in disbelief. This is Richard Rankin's best performance ever. Period.
Without discrediting Sophie, Brianna confronts her rapist Stephen Bonnet in a powerful episode as she tells him that he will be forgotten even if the child is his. On seeing Bonnet in chains, Brianna approaches him seething with fear but conquers it all. "Do you know who I am?" she asks the villain, to which he replies: "I remember your face and other things but not your name."
Brianna is choking, we sense, but she is facing her nightmare with such grace and confidence. She affirms "You are going to die... you will be forgotten. My baby will never know your name." The villain unexpectedly reaches for his teeth and breaks a ruby and gives it to Brianna. She denies to take it, but he insists saying it is for the baby.
Fergus and his comrades come to rescue Murtagh Fitzgibbons and in a rush drop the prison keys near Bonnet. As they rush to get out of prison, the jail blows up as Fergus and his revolutionaries had planned. While our favorite characters all made it out, the question is has Stephen Bonnet also made his escape?