Brianna fell down the time-travelling rabbit hole in this week’s episode of Outlander, but who did she meet there? Tara Ward recaps.
Chuck me in the Fraser bathtub and sponge me down with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, because this season of Outlander is stronger than Claire Fraser’s wig in a hurricane. ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ was an emotional journey through a sea of time traveller debris, with the return of a spurned wife, a meeting with Old Ian, a long walk, a sprained ankle, the best fur coat in the history of television, Stephen Bonnet in charge of a ship, and a freshly shaven Roger.
Oh, and this guy. Hey nah, hey nah, my boyfriend’s back.
We’ve all fallen down the Outlander rabbit hole, but none of us have plummeted into its sticky depths quite like Brianna.
Having made it to the 18thCentury, Brianna began her long walk from one end of Scotland to the other, before ending up at Laoghaire’s house. What are the odds of falling asleep on the side of the road, and waking up in the bed belonging to your birth father’s ex-wife who tried to have your mother burned at the stake? Brianna should buy herself a Lotto ticket, because that’s one heck of a landing.
Laoghaire welcomed Brianna into her home and gave her warm clothes and hot stew, while Brianna put flowers in Joanie’s hair and did all the odd jobs round the house that Jamie couldn’t be arsed doing. It was the beginnings of a friendship more beautiful than the one between Father Fogden and Coco the Talking Coconut, until Brianna accidentally revealed she was Claire “husband thieving hoor” Fraser’s daughter.
Who can blame Laoghaire for locking Brianna in the bedroom? One minute Laoghaire’s married to a ginger love machine from the coolest family on the broch, the next she’s serving roasted pigeon to an unconscious woman she found on the side of the road.
Jamie gets to wear his favourite tricorn and galavant around America with his other wife, while Laoghaire has barely enough to feed the daughter Jamie promised he’d help raise. Also, he never got round to fixing the kitchen cupboard and we all know that’s grounds for divorce in any century.
Meanwhile in 1971, Roger was preparing to chase Brianna through the stones. It didn’t matter that she’d explicitly told him not to follow her, because he’d found the perfect pair of pants and he wasn’t going to let the opportunity to wear them pass him by. Roger nattered on about time not being a reality, but I got distracted after I misheard him say he was taking chapstick through the stones. It’s a fine choice, because who wants dry lips when you first arrive in a new century? Not me, defo not Roger.
You know what else you need in a new century? A cracking pair of trousers. I adore Roger’s short longs, and I won’t hear a word against them. I love them like I love Frank’s hot historian glasses and Claire’s arm warmers and that daft mule Clarence who wishes he was a donkey. In fact, I hope Roger never takes those pants off, because those 20th century calves need to feel the cool mountain air of Fraser’s Ridge around them, ASAP.
But Roger needed more than trendy trousers to survive his voyage to the Americas. He blagged his way onto a ship captained by Stephen Bonnet, who wore Claire’s wedding ring on his pinky finger and casually threw children with smallpox into the sea. Bonnet’s right up there on the ‘Blackjack Scale of Outlander Villains’, currently lying somewhere between the Duke of Sandringham and that bloke who nailed the boy’s ear to the post in season one, and I loved every terrifying moment.
As for Frank’s return? Bravo, Outlander. This was an unexpected sucker punch right through my cold, dead heart and all I’m saying is that I took 84 screenshots of this episode and 77 of them were of Frank. Be right back, just need to write some fan fiction about Frank riding a donkey to Fraser’s Ridge while scoffing down fistfuls of scones and jam.
Poor Frank and Laoghaire. They were never enough for their partner, no matter how hard they tried. Laoghaire was the lumpy bannock to Claire’s smooth bowl of hot porridge, Frank the dry scone to Jamie’s roasted pigeon of sexual magnetism. “It’s complicated,” Frank told Bree when she asked what his problem was, but what’s complicated about finding an 18th century obituary that reveals your 20th century wife will go back in time again only to die in a fire with her one true ginger love, and then not tell her that you know?
But let’s not get our capri pants in a knot, because Brianna was the true love of Frank’s life. Her journey to Scotland in search of one father saw her make peace with another, and I’m not ashamed to say that when the ghost of Frank turned up on the docks of 18thcentury Scotland and nodded his approval, I ugly cried until I snorted like the white sow on Fraser’s Ridge.
RIP me, RIP Frank, RIP Roger’s facial hair. Like Frank said, sometimes life takes unexpected turns, so I’m off to finish my fan fiction about Frank Randall wearing Roger’s capri pants, holding a cup of tea in each hand and singing the Outlander theme song. Cheers to you, Outlander.
The Spinoff Daily gets you all the days' best reading in one handy package, fresh to your inbox Monday-Friday at 5pm.