I’ve seen Roger’s character take a lot of heat from the fan base this season and I think people’s perception might be somewhat unfairly colored by how they feel about the book v show adaptation debate. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) i have read the books and I completely understand the mix of emotions people are feeling right now.
For the sake of this post I would like your thoughts on Roger based solely on how he is portrayed in the show. Ive heard him called a lot of things for not going immediately to Bree at the end and I think that overlooks the gravity of his situation. Here’s what I mean: (caps is for emphasis and not shouting)
Both of them contribute to the fight at the festival as their backgrounds and views on marriage clash. Neither one of them is addressing their underlying fears and that’s what drives the wedge between them. Bree: “I’m afraid of having my heart broken or breaking your heart.” Roger: “I’m afraid you are going to change your mind and break my heart.” Instead they fixate on the topic of sex, which only clouds the whole conversation.
I can’t fault Roger for not calling Bree up immediately when he read about her parents, especially with how they left things. He might have eventually psyched himself up to do but circumstances took that choice from him. If you were in his position, knowing only what he knew in that moment, would you be able to just pick up the phone and drop that emotional bomb on someone you loved?
He goes through the stones because Bree hasn’t returned and may be in danger, not because he thinks she loves him or they’re going to get together in the 1700s. He’s there out of selfless (or as he later calls it) idiot love. HE’S THERE TO BRING HER BACK TO THEIR TIME.
He goes through hell before he even finds Bree and has lost all hope of tracking her down before stumbling upon her in Wilmington. The guy’s emotions are all over the place. He goes from she may be dead somewhere and I’ll never find her to she’s alive and I’m marrying my dream girl in like an hour. That’s emotional whiplash like WOAH. Add their mutual inability to communicate honesty and an argument was inevitable.
ROGER DOES NOT ABANDON BREE. Bree tells him to leave (she didn’t mean it) and he storms out (he didn’t mean it). How many of us have done the same in a heated moment? Honestly, sometimes you need to walk away to cool off before trying to talk things through. The difference is most of us can do that without being kidnapped by pirates. Everything he does after their fight is motivated by surviving to get back to her AND securing their way home.
In the finale, Roger tells Claire he thought Bree lied to Jamie and wanted him to be beaten and sent away. Like DAMN. This guy endured a 700 mile death march and multiple escape attempts to go back for a GIRL HE THOUGHT TRIED TO KILL HIM. He thought NO ONE was coming or even cared that he was enslaved. No wonder he calls himself an idiot. WE WANT HIM TO FIGHT BECAUSE WE HAVE THE WHOLE PICTURE.
Roger presents those small stones to Claire like the priceless treasure that they are to him. They are the golden tickets to get him and Bree home. Remember he bartered his wages (for all we know that was all of his money) and miraculously smuggled them through weeks of slavery, for a girl he thinks wants him dead. All he wants to do is go home but he can’t go through the stones when he has the chance because he loves her beyond all hope of her loving him back and can’t leave her stranded. He knows he’s an idiot but he’s an idiot who is going to keep his word and get her home.
Jamie couldn’t be more wrong when he calls Roger a coward in the finale. Seriously, in one day Roger has gone from goes thinking he’s going to die and the love of his life wants him dead, to discovering she not only loves him but is having their baby, to learning she was raped when he walked away from their conversation (cue the crippling guilt), to learning the baby means she can’t go back to their time. Between his emotional and physical conditions I’m impressed the man wasn’t catatonic.
All he wanted was to HAVE A FAMILY WITH BREE and GO HOME. That’s what has kept him alive! Now he find out that he choose. He’s facing an impossible decision that requires him to trust that a) things can work with Bree despite their track record, b) they can successfully process and deal with the effect of the rape on her and them as a couple, c) there’s more to life in the 1700s than the brutality that he’s experienced, d) that he can be ok leaving everything he knows behind in a time that he NEVER he intended to stay in. EVERYTHING is at stake for him and he’s being asked to decide in blind faith.
We’ve seen such ride or die love between Jamie and Claire that it’s easy to forget the plague of doubt and vulnerability that we all feel in new relationships. Roger’s physical and mental state alone puts him in a bad place to make any decisions when they find him. A snap decision here is the last thing either one of them needs. I think staying back and taking the time to be sure was the most loving and responsible thing he could have done. Now they both know the stakes and that they’re all in.
I think the blame we place on him for hurting her by hanging back really belongs to CLAIRE AND JAMIE for NOT TELLING BREE that Roger needed some time. The three of them should have set a time limit for him to decide and communicated that to Bree. That way she could think things through herself and have the closure of finality one way or the other.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. Again, caps for emphasis, not shouting. What do you think?