#Outlander Season 4, Episode 5: Eye for an Eye | NY Times

Jamie doesn’t often fail. Sure, the broad strokes of history may be too powerful for him to change, but charisma is his calling card — those trustworthy leadership vibes have carried him through a lot of trouble. They certainly got him the 10,000 acres from the governor, which he’s eager to fill with Highland tenants.

He just can’t find any.

It’s fascinating to watch Jamie fail to charm, particularly with something this good to offer. Even Jamie is taken aback by the cool reception. He has to give farmer Brian the Full Court Jamie just to find out the problem. Turns out there’s unfair taxation by corrupt British officials who are lining their pockets, and Jamie is now a British landlord. Surrounded by regulators, he slowly realizes the precarious position he’s in.

What a perfect time to reintroduce Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix). He and Jamie fall right back into their old camaraderie. But even Murtagh doesn’t agree to resettle. He’s a regulator, too, righteously angry at a new British government that is too much like the old one.

In fact, Murtagh feels like Jamie as Jamie used to be, violently resisting unjust powers. Jamie is the one who changed, and now he is trapped between wary revolutionaries and a promise he made to a governor he doesn’t trust. This cold shoulder could be powerfully humbling for a man used to leading. It would feel more powerful if Murtagh hadn’t been wooed back quite so quickly, but this wasn’t an episode where Jamie was scheduled to suffer.

Claire is another story.

Claire is always interesting when separated from Jamie — sometimes more interesting than in moments when their relationship tends to make for consensus. (It’s one thing for Claire to assure Jamie she is fine with homesteading, and another to watch her contentedly feeding animals and knitting in the cabin.) She also makes her own friends among the Cherokee, picking herbs and exchanging vocabulary with Adawehi. It’s a quiet, genuine moment, which suggests that Jamie and Claire have worked to be good neighbors.

That changes after Herr Mueller (Urs Rechn), a neighboring German homesteader, pulls his gun on Cherokee men who have come to draw water from the stream outside his cabin, and Claire intervenes. The Muellers are set up as foils to Claire and Jamie: superstitious, bigoted, violent. Unfortunately, their position in the story doesn’t do much besides make Claire look good. When Tawodi (Will Strongheart) declares, “Water belongs to no one,” Claire gets the convenient heroism of agreeing, for all the good it does the Cherokee to hear “You’re right, but he doesn’t see it that way.”

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