The penultimate episode of the year, it's episode eight of Outlander.

Outlander recap: Night of the exploding hernias

It’s a bad week for time-travellers, insurgents, newlyweds, blokes with misdiagnosed hernias, and basically everyone else in this week’s episode of Outlander. Tara Ward recaps. 

Friends, if I ever have the fortune to fall through a vortex of time and space and find myself two hundred years in the past, please make sure I do not end up in Wilmington, c.1769.

I’m sure present-day Wilmington is lovely. If there was a Tinder of modern American cities, I would definitely swipe right on Wilmington. But after this week’s episode of Outlander, I’d rather ride a winky wonky donkey all the way to Fraser’s Ridge and sleep in the long drop with the angry snake, than spend another minute in this troublesome town.

The only good thing about Wilmington was Marsali and Fergus’ newborn baby. Just when we thought Marsali was enduring the gestation period of an elephant, it turns out she was actually 100% human and had already given birth.  Marsali loved being a mother and reckoned she’d do anything for her son, but Claire warned Marsali that the hardest part of being a parent is realising you can’t protect them all the time.

Sounds like foreboding to me. Hang onto your tricorns.

It’s not a trip to Wilmington without a visit to the theatre, and Jamie and Claire watched a play with their new BFF Governor Tryon. It was a batshit boring party until they met some bloke called George Washington, who Claire reckoned was the “most famous American to ever live”. Hold the phone, because my crystal ball tells me in 1781 Claire will bump into Kris Jenner at the Cross Creek apothecary, and then she’ll really know what a famous American looks like.

The real drama took place in the theatre foyer, after Tryon’s dodgy mate Fanning complained about a “protrusion”. My general rule of thumb is that when a strange man starts banging on about his protrusion it’s time to find a new party, but this random bulge was music to Claire’s ears. When Fanning’s protrusion protruded to the point of no return, Claire whipped out her scalpel, jammed her fingers in his abdomen and showed that hernia who was boss.

“You must keep calm, Mr Fanning,” Claire ordered her patient, as she sliced into his intestines while he bit down on a hanky and cursed the day he was born with an abdominal wall. “You’ve butchered him, woman!” snorted Fanning’s doctor. “All he needed was tobacco smoke up the rear!”

Listen, if I had a dollar for every time a doctor recommended smoke up the jacksy to me, I’d have enough money to buy Roger a longer pair of pants. Take a chill pill, Doc, because the surgery went without a hitch, Claire saved Fanning’s life, and Wilmington’s high society gave Claire a hearty round of applause. Thank you, she’s here all week.

Also, me during the surgery scene:

Praise the Lord George Washington, because Fanning’s bulge was the perfect distraction Jamie needed. He’d heard from Governor Tryon that Murtagh and the other Regulators were about to be set up and arrested, and Jamie needed to give his old buddy the low down. Jamie snuck out of the theatre to tell Fergus, who quickly recognised Murtagh hiding in a bush in the pitch black of night, despite not having seen him since the Battle of Culloden 23 years earlier.

Alas, Brianna and Roger’s reunion wasn’t as low-key. They’ve always packed a lot into their travels, and in the space of one afternoon in 1769 they reunited, argued, pashed a lot, got married, pashed some more, argued again, and then divorced. What, no sexy game of The Minister’s Cat?

Such a pity, because the Minister’s Cat is a hornbag cat. Brianna and Roger got straight down to some 18thCentury business, and performed a traditional handfasting ceremony to declare their commitment to each other. “How could I say no to a man who pursued me for 200 years?” Brianna told her new husband, and nope, nothing weird about that.

But they’d barely consummated their marriage when Roger revealed he knew about Claire and Jamie’s obituary. Brianna lost her shit because she thought Roger was keeping secrets from her, to which Roger replied that now Brianna was his wife she should start listening to him. Ugh, Roger. Brianna told him to get stuffed and returned to her hotel, where Stephen Bonnet sat playing cards.

Sound the foreboding klaxon, please.

Give it up for the most evil man in the world.

Brianna noticed Bonnet was wearing Claire’s wedding ring. He agreed to give it to Brianna, but only after she “earned it”. We heard Brianna’s screams for help, as the camera focused on the faces of the men in the inn. We watched as they ignored Brianna’s cries, as they laughed and drank, as someone picked up her boots from the floor. We watched them do nothing, while Bonnet raped Brianna.

It was a brutal, shocking end to the episode. There’s more to be said about Outlander’s reliance on sexual violence as a plot device, and I wish they’d found other ways to drive upcoming storylines without it. We already knew Bonnet was a terrifyingly manipulative villain, and I hope Outlander takes the time to show the lasting impact this has on Brianna in a sensitive and sincere way.

I also hope that Stephen Bonnet is forever riddled with a thousand exploding hernias that can only be operated on by a drunk donkey with dirty hooves. Wilmington, good night.

Read all of Tara Ward’s Outlander recaps here.


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