To move forward, you often have to look back.
Outlander Season 6 Episode 4 found Ian thrust into the past, offering us our first look at all that he lost.
Ian got the opportunity to make peace with his unfortunate past, which will open his heart to love once again.
Ian’s story is certainly tragic, but there is also much joy that he experienced.
Going with the Mohawk seemed like an immense sacrifice, but Ian found peace and family with his brothers that he’d never experienced.
He also found a deep and true love with a young woman he called Emily.
There has been so much mystery surrounding his past, and seeing the happiness around his acceptance as family within the Mohawk tribe, including how he got his markings put a lot into perspective.
My son, by the ceremony that was preformed today, every drop of white blood has been washed from your veins. You are adopted into our great family. You are flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone. You have nothing to fear from us. We will love you and defend you as we love and defend one another. Hence forth, you will be called Okwaho’rohtsi’ah, Wolf’s Brother. [whooping and celebration]
Given how relations with the Native Americans had been portrayed for so long, it was easy to imagine Ian was terrified and would quickly regret his decision.
But what he’s been struggling with is whether he made the right decision abiding by his love’s wishes to leave and never come back.
As much as Ian was accepted, some believed he didn’t have the spirit of a Mohawk. Lacking that strength of spirit, they believed, was putting his wife Emily and their unborn children in jeopardy.
There is something to be said for traditions like that, though, as when Emily broke Ian’s heart and chose Kaheroton, she gave birth to a son.
There could be so many physical factors at play, including incompatible blood types or the RH Negative factor, but when you don’t have that kind of advanced medicine, you have to go with your gut or traditions.
There is a lot to be learned from this hour when it comes to relationships between men and women.
Newcomers to the land considered Native Americans savages for their lack of western culture. If only they’d taken the time to understand.
A world blended with the best of all would have been a dream.
Consider the story arc on Bridgerton, for example. Women at the mercy of society await a man to choose them to make them whole in society’s eyes. It hurts to think that we haven’t gotten nearly as far from that reality as we would like to imagine.
But with the Mohawk, women chose their partners. Kaheroton was shocked when Ian suggested he choose another partner. Men might have been stronger physically, but they trusted women in matters of the heart.
That same strength of heart also turned Ian away, though, no doubt through counseling of others around her.
Of course, Ian was overjoyed to have been chosen by Emily. They were ecstatically happy. But in that life, you cannot remain together if you do not bear fruit. The fruit of their love being happiness just wasn’t enough.
When Ian was first told to leave, he didn’t get a choice in the matter.
It seemed so cruel until he pushed forth and found Emily and Kaheroton together. You have to wonder if it would have been better for Ian to leave as initially instructed or to see his best friend and wife planning their new life when he hadn’t even left.
Ian was thrust back to that heartache when he saw the Mohawk, and he finally opened to Jamie, sharing over their days with the Cherokee the story of his love and the pain at losing his children and then Emily.
Ian: She whose hearth I share?
Kaheroton: She lives.
Ian: And my child?
Everyone had been happy when Ian returned and tread lightly, waiting for him to share his story. Sometimes, it seems like what you have suffered is so excrement that you can never speak of it or let it go. Talking seems impossible.
But by sharing the story with his uncle, Ian learned that he is not alone and not the only Fraser man to have suffered similarly.
Jamie has a storied past that brought him together with Claire and brought Fergus into their family. They also lost a daughter, and Jamie was far from Claire, never seeing his child or holding her before saying goodbye.
Come. We shall ask my daughter to look for yours in heaven. I ken she will find her there.
The sentiment that their daughters could find each other in heaven surely brought comfort to them both. Sharing his story and getting another perspective as well as the reminder that God is good and kind, gave Ian the strength he needed to keep Kaheroton from certain death.
So, if it was a strength of character that was wished for him when he returned to his people, it took revisiting all that he lost to grasp it. It would have been as simple as allowing a bad man to end Kaheroton’s life for Ian to get back everything he thought he wanted.
Kaheroton proved his love for Emily and Ian by asking Ian to return to Emily and care for her and their child should he die in the duel. That trust showed that he was as uncomfortable with how things went down as Ian was.
Their trip also allowed Jamie to deliver the weapons from the crown with another, more important warning about the fate of the Cherokee in the future.
Jamie: The women in my family are those who see in dreams what is to come. Both my wife and my daughter have seen something concerning your people, though it grieves me to tell you. Some 60 years from now, your people will be taken from their land, from the bones of their ancestors. They’ll be removed to a, a new place far from here. Many will die on this journey, so much that the path they tread will be called, um, the trail where they wept.
Kwiskwa: Who will do this?
Jamie: A man named Winfield Scott, my daughter says, a general.
Kwiskwa: It is good you have given us the weapons, then.
Jamie: No. Twenty muskets against 20,000? It wilna save you.
Kwiskwa: What is the benefit of your warning, then?
Jamie: I canna warn many. If I did, they would call me a madman. But I can warn you. You should not go to this new place or fight. But when the time comes, your people must hide.
Kwiskwa: And by hiding, they will escape what is to come?
Jamie: I hope so. If you pass this warning to your descendants, then perhaps they will escape and live.
Kwiskwa: I will tell my sons and my sons’ sons, but we will remember.
Jamie: Whoever you fight for, be it King George’s men or our enemies, fight for yourselves.
When you think about how Ian got shuffled away from the Mohawk, Jamie trusting the Cherokee Chief with such a secret makes complete sense.
They don’t fear the unknown, whether it be spirits or intuitions or women who see the future in their dreams.
Nothing can be done to stop the Trail of Tears, but perhaps a great Cherokee family will survive to usher in the next fight the Natives will have, trying to regain their history and respect.
As the episode’s focal point was the meeting with the Cherokee, there wasn’t much happening on the ridge.
Malva’s training continued, which meant that Claire shared more secrets with the young woman and started to trust her when it is now apparent she doesn’t deserve that trust.
Everything Malva does with Claire has an edge to it.
It’s so irksome that she continually reminds Claire that her family considers her methodology to be akin to if not actual witchcraft. It’s as if she’s testing Claire, seeing what happens if she pokes hard enough but not actually wanting to poke.
It can’t be good that she knows how to use the ether. Spying on Jamie and Claire making love in the barn could have been considered a young woman keen to understand life’s mysteries, but it didn’t land that way.
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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.