Outlander season 4 episode 12 posed many a question, but perhaps the most important one for Roger is this: How much can a single man endure? What is the furthest reach of one man’s suffering?
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Tonight, “Providence” told an exceptional but also heartbreaking story, and it also gave you an even further understanding of the strength of the show’s writing. We did not know the character of Father Alexandre Ferigault entering this episode, so there was no touchstone as to whether or not this story would work, Yet, hearing this man’s story and hearing him speak about his duty, his love, and his refusal to follow the Mohawk’s orders resonated in a powerful, haunting way.
Roger had an opportunity to escape this place and never look back, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He knew that the Father would be punished until death, just for the sake of his refusal to carry out a religious duty. He wouldn’t half-measure it, either. That’s why Roger went back and basically expedited the man’s death. He gave him mercy at a time no one would else would, and with that, he gave both him and also Johiehon, the woman he loved, a sense of piece.
This is where the truly unexpected occurred, as in the closing minutes of this episode, we also saw Johiehon walk into the flames herself, joining Father Alexandre in death and leaving behind the couple’s baby, the same one he had refused to baptize over his complicated state of grace. It’s a move that showcases her faith and devotion to him, but it may also be a controversial one given that this baby now grows up without proper parents, even if they are within the care of the larger tribe as a whole.
For Roger, he can feel a sense of absolution and that he did all he could to help someone who was there for him in the lowest moment of his life. Yet, he now has even less hope of finding Brianna, unaware of the fact that Jamie and Claire are closing in on him.
We recognize that there are going to be some who dislike “Providence” tonight over the lack of Jamie and Claire, but as we wrote yesterday, this show has more of an ensemble feel this year. We think that in many ways, watching people like Roger and Brianna is a credit to Jamie and Claire’s own positive qualities. They have set a standard that other characters, one way or another, are able to adequately follow.
Brianna sees Bonnet
As outstanding as Richard Rankin was tonight, he was certainly far from alone as both Sophie Skelton and Ed Speleers delivered in an emotional scene that has been some time in the making. Bree and Lord John Grey returned to Wilmington in this episode, and while there, she had an opportunity to confront the man responsible for her assault. She told him in that moment that she forgave him, despite his terrible acts, and that even though he would hang and be gone from the world, he would live on through the baby she was expected. She made it clear to him, however, that this said baby would never the truth about who he was or some of the things that he did.
This scene within the prison showed all of the layers of Bonnet — he is a louse of a human, a monster, and an abuser, but you also saw a more broken version here. You saw a fear of death that hadn’t been there before, and while we wouldn’t say there was remorse, he did give Bree a jewel to use in order to care for the baby — even if she didn’t want it, this was a dying man’s wish.
The course collision
This is where things got even more interesting. While Brianna was in the jail, Fergus helped to lead the charge with the Regulators to free Murtagh from the same exact prison. While there, Lord John had a decision to make — try to stop the plan or look the other way. He was outnumbered, but more than that he knows what Murtagh means to Jamie. More often than not, Lord John will always side in Jamie’s favor. In letting them go (and also letting them blow up the jail), he’s really now an accomplice in the act and Governor Tryon could enact some revenge, if he ever finds out the truth.
While the jail is no more and Murtagh is safe, here is the twist: Bonnet may have been able to reach for the keys that were on the ground. The fact that this scene was included strongly suggests to us that he is somehow still alive out there and there is a larger story left to tell.
Thanks to the quality of the performances, “Providence” will stand out as an excellent episode within an exceptional season — quite possibly the most ambitious of any that we’ve had a chance to see in the series. There were so many risks here, from sidelining Jamie and Claire’s story to focusing heavily on characters at the Mohawk village we knew very little about. Yet, it all worked and the stage is now set for an extraordinary finale.
What did you think about Outlander season 4 episode 12 from start to finish? Be sure to share right now in the attached comments. (Photo: Starz.)