Stand aside, Jamie Fraser, there’s a new pork chop in town. Tara Ward recaps ‘Savages’, episode five of the fourth season of Outlander.
Welcome to ‘Savages’, or as I like to call it, ‘The Mystery of Jamie Fraser’s Hat’. Just where was Jamie’s hat? Claire didn’t have it, Jamie didn’t have it, and it certainly wasn’t hiding in their jar of beef jerky. This was the biggest whodunnit since Jamie tried to work out why Mrs Crook’s bannocks were lumpy, and since that puzzle involved a skinny-dipping Lord Broch Tuaruch, I was here for whatever shenanigans this nerve-wracking search would throw at us.
Guess what? The pig had it. Praise be, THE PIG HAD JAMIE’S TRICORN.
Who loves a TV show about a pig eating a hat? Guilty, Your Honour. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I’ll dine on the memory of this episode until the end of days.
Parts of it I may push to the cobwebbed recesses of my brain, but there’s plenty I’ll revisit time and time again, like a bespectacled Jamie, a midwifing, gunslinging, shrug-knitting Claire, Brianna going through the stones, and the return of this bloke.
This was the best episode of the season, nay, the series, nay, the entire history of television.
We bathed in the domestic glow of every glorious inch of Jamie and Claire’s quilt-laden, knick-knackalicious, rustic love shack. We’ve sat through three seasons of crazy donkeys and talking coconuts to get here, and it was time to soak up all the luscious, simple goodness of Claire feeding the animals and learning to knit and plonking herself onto the bed, exhausted from being so bloody awesome.
But life on Fraser’s Ridge never stands still, and Jamie and Ian were off to recruit new settlers. Woollams Creek was a tough crowd that even Jamie’s sexy librarian glasses failed to penetrate, where the residents hated land taxes more than they hated Governor Tryon. It did have one good thing going for it, though.
Of all the blacksmiths in all the towns in all the world, Jamie had to walk into this one.
The streets of North Carolina were awash with tears after Jamie recognised the blacksmith trying to rob him blind. Murtagh! Lord of the Dance, as I live and breathe! Jamie welled up, I snort cried like an idiot, even the sow on Fraser’s Ridge bawled into her beret. This was everything. Murtagh is back and he’s a silver fox and all is right in the world.
There were tears in the 20th century too, as Roger put on thirty of his warmest layers and went to Inverness in search of Brianna. He was too late; she’d already taken a one-way trip to Craigh na Dun. Roger’s bottom lip wobbled as he read her letter, telling him she’d discovered that Jamie and Claire would cark it sometime in the 1770s, and she was going back to change the future. Maybe she could also ask Murtagh why he couldn’t be arsed writing a letter to Scotland after he got out of prison, but no biggie.
But sing me a song of a lass that is gone, because Roger has the confidence of a man who knows he’ll never be hypothermic. Sure, Brianna rejected Roger’s marriage proposal, didn’t speak to him for months, travelled through time without telling him, and explicitly told him not to follow her. But is it over? Not until Roger says it’s over, and there’s nothing creepy about that.
Back in Woollams Creek, Jamie and Ian discovered Murtagh was a Regulator, encouraging rebellion against Tryon’s taxes. Murtagh held a protest meeting, aka a right old sausage fest where all the men got cross about all the things, where the years of listening to Dougal’s Jacobite speeches paid off. Murtagh was so persuasive I was ready to sign my own name on his piece of paper, even though I was a woman from the future and these are fictional characters which don’t actually exist.
Jokes! They are as real to me as my Outlander tote bag that holds my Outlander wedding rings, and as vivid as my nightly dreams about scaling Fraser’s Ridge and nibbling on Jamie’s pointy hat. Don’t judge me. You know I’m not alone.
Meanwhile, in the mountains, Claire was hard at work delivering the babies of Fraser’s Ridge. The Mueller family’s newborn bliss was interrupted by an argument between Gerhard Mueller and the Cherokee over water access, until Claire brokered a shaky truce. Mueller called the Cherokee “savages” and believed they had cursed the water. When his family later died from the measles, Meuller was out for revenge.
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Claire was on high alert, and stress-ate a lot of beef jerky. When Mueller turned up and offered her Baby Clara’s doll, Claire accepted the gift, only to find it actually was the scalp of Claire’s friend, Adawehi. It was a horrific crime, and a shocked and upset Claire threw Mueller out. He returned home to find his house set alight by the Cherokee and his wife dying. Moments later, Mueller himself was killed.
Outlander, take me back to my happy place, where the grey ghost of Murtagh whistles ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ and locks eyes with Claire after 200 years apart. Honestly, this moment made my porky little heart swell more than the time Fergus rode the donkey through Lallybroch. What a reunion, what an episode. Welcome back, Murtagh, you’ve made me as happy as a pig in mud.
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