Tonight, Outlander season 4 episode 11 reminded us that sometimes, sadness doesn’t just rain for some characters — it pours. How else do you describe the closing minutes of this episode? While the good news for us is that Roger didn’t go back to the present, the bad news is that he is back with the Mohawk and beyond that, he’s now being beaten and tormented at their new home. It’s a place that Jamie and Claire are still traveling to — they haven’t gotten there just yet, but they are on the way.
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We thought entering this episode that it would be imperative that Jamie and Claire end up making it to this location in order to push the story forward, but the writers had other plans. They focused in more of the story on an emotional undercurrent bubbling underneath the surface with some of these characters — namely with them each trying to come to grips with the emotional stakes of their mission and their role in it. There was distance between Jamie and Claire, perhaps in part due to Jamie’s actions, but also Claire coming to terms with where they were. In the closing minutes Claire really started to handle her own role in everything, including her decision to not tell Jamie at first about Stephen Bonnet being the one behind the assault. This decision led to Jamie not realizing that Roger was actually the man Bree loved rather than the man who hurt her.
While Jamie and Claire (along with Young Ian) continue to make their way to the site of this particular Mohawk tribe, Brianna found herself in an extremely precarious position back at River Run. After all, Aunt Jocasta had taken it upon herself to set her up with a husband! This was another prime example of Jocasta’s adherence to what she feels are the cultural norms of the time, really at the expense of feelings or nuance. She allows for slavery at her estate because everyone else does; meanwhile, she wanted to marry off Bree because that’s what young people do. That was especially the case for her, given that she was with child.
Now, enter Lord John Grey. He arrived at River Run at the request of Jamie, but didn’t know all of the finer details about her plight. That was made clear to him after Brianna started to become attune to the fact that Gerald Forbes and others were pursuing her hand. She realized during a game of psychology that she played at dinner that he had some element of feelings for Jamie, and she used that to understand that he wouldn’t hurt her and trying to marry him would be the only way to ensure her safety. She proposed it to him, but after being initially resistant to the idea Bree came clean as to all of her circumstances, including that she didn’t know precisely who the father of her baby was because of Stephen Bonnet’s assault.
Right when Bree started to realize that marrying Forbes was her only way out of this situation, Lord John then stepped in and agreed that he would be her new husband. Whether or not they actually make it down the aisle is something that remains to be seen. Yet, this is a move to keep her safe in the short-term. There’s a really fascinating relationship here — both are intellectuals and they each also understand one another’s point of view. A part of this is amplified further by Sophie Skelton and also David Berry, who is proving himself to be this season’s greatest scene-stealer in every scene that he has a part in.
Murtagh is trouble
Despite doing everything that he could to capture Stephen Bonnet and ensure that Jamie could get justice for what happened to Bree, his biggest problem instead was his status as a wanted man. After he knocked Bonnet upside the head (easily one of the most-satisfying parts of this episode), Murtagh was unfortunately identified as a wanted man and, in the aftermath of that, it seems as though the plot with Bonnet has hit a snag … at least in the way that it was originally planned. (Basically, this is Outlander reminding us that we don’t get what we want by default — while Bonnet is seemingly going to be behind bars, Murtagh may be joining him.)
The Brianna storyline brought us the night’s biggest highlights, largely because there were a number of little elements of it that were so well-done, including Bree wanting to draw Phaedre, her attempts at avoiding the suitors, or even the scenes between her and Jocasta, contentious as they were. Add to this some emotionally poignant moments between Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan and we’ve got a sense that entering the finale, Outlander is indeed firing on all cylinders.
What did you think about Outlander season 4 episode 11 as a whole? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments. (Photo: Starz.)