The new world ain’t so new anymore – especially when you’re killing bears who might not actually be bears, and when your mum has already been there for approximately two hundred years. Tara Ward recaps episode four of season four of Outlander.
Holy guacamole, mates, Outlander is BACK. I know it never really went away, although maybe it did take a wee trip through the stones somewhere between Young Ian being captured by pirates and that bloke who talked to the coconut. But let’s lock all of that in our Jamie Fraser cave of repressed memories, because this week, Outlander did us proud.
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and Jamie Fraser was feeling good. He wore his favourite spectacles to sign the deed giving him a shitload of government land, which he and Claire will settle like the intrepid workhorses that they are. Let’s hope Jamie also signed a deed for Governor Tryon’s enormous floral arrangement, because that would look fantastic at Fraser’s Ridge, plonked next to some fresh beef jerky and John Quincy Myer’s innards lying all over the floor.
Wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First, we need to celebrate how heartwarming this episode was. If it wasn’t Claire reassuring a heavily-pregnant Marsali that she was going to be an incredible mother, it was Jamie reassuring Claire that Brianna would manage without her. We were only nine minutes in, and things were more tender than John Quincy Myer’s abdomen after the man-bear attacked him.
I’m just glad Jamie wasn’t wearing his tricorn. I’ve got a soft spot for that hat, and it would have tipped me over the edge into an emotional chasm of my own undoing.
Jamie and Claire began their new life in the mountains, bathing in the golden glow of colonialism. Claire unleashed her inner gun-shooting, fish-gutting self, and had a spring in her step that we’ve not seen since she watched Jamie play shinty at Castle Leoch. She and Jamie began to build their house, so they can spend the rest of their days walking around naked and eating ginger kisses. I’m not a fan of deforestation, but for Jamie Fraser, I make an exception. Much like Pitbull feat. Kesha, it’s going down, I’m yelling timber.
1971 was also a forest of feelings. Historian Roger found a reference to Fraser’s Ridge, discovered a copy of the deed Jamie signed at the start of the episode, and called Brianna to tell her that “Claire found Jamie”. It was a brilliantly awkward convo between these two feuding loveballs, as Roger’s news hung in the air and Brianna realised she didn’t give two hoots about the minister’s cat. The only thing that mattered was Claire had found her Scottish hot potato. It had all been worth it.
All is forgiven, Roger. The minister’s cat is a clever cat, and no, YOU’RE crying.
Back on Fraser’s Ridge, Jamie and Claire’s domestic bliss was interrupted by visits from the Cherokee, who were unhappy at the colonial shenanigans taking place on their ancestral lands. “It’s a message,” warned hairy mountain man John Quincy Myer. “Next time, they might not be so courteous.”
You know who wasn’t courteous? The bear who attacked my new boyfriend John. While Claire held John’s entire abdominal cavity together with her thumb and forefinger, Jamie went to show the bear who was boss. “You’ll get yourself killed!” Claire shouted, and if Jamie and Claire ever renew their vows the ceremony should definitely include “you’ll get yourself killed!” and “I told you to stay here!” and “I let a herd of cows into the prison, just for you!”. Those two, so sweet.
The bear fighting scene was scarier than the time Laoghaire found out Claire was back at Lallybroch. Teeth and claws flew everywhere. I was quietly shitting myself, but Jamie kept it together enough to realise that the beast he’d killed was actually a man wearing a bear skin.
That’s not good, so I will definitely not mention that Jamie’s hair looked AMAZING afterwards.
Jamie returned the body to the Cherokee, who explained the dead man had been banished from their tribe years ago. Jamie had done what they could not. They agreed no more blood would be spilled and named Jamie ‘Bear Killer’, which is a way cooler nickname than ‘Bad Hair Guy Who Lived in a Cave’.
There’s nothing like a death prophecy to kill the mood, and we ended with two omens of doom. Traditional healer Adawehi told Claire that “death is sent from the gods. It will not be your fault”, while on the Real Housewives of Inverness, Fiona showed Roger an obituary of Jamie and Claire’s death in a fire, sometime during the 1770s.
Sweet baby cheeses, Fiona.
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Roger was torn. Would Brianna want to know, given that Claire had already been dead for 200 years? He called to tell her the truth, only to discover Brianna was already was in Scotland, visiting her mother.
BUT HER MOTHER LIVES IN 1768 WAIT WHAT.
Bravo, Outlander. You delivered like a donkey running wild through the North Carolina woods. This was a perfectly balanced episode that gave us space to soak up all the Claire and Jamie up-against-a-tree, packing-some-gunpowder goodness, while still moving things along at a cracking pace. And the news that Brianna’s off to find her mother? See you at the stones, ASAP.