Jamie and Claire’s trip to Scotland has been cut short due to the Revolutionary War that’s afoot, but we still get our Scottish fix through Brianna, Roger, and the kids, who are remodeling her ancestral home.
The best-laid plans are often scuttled, but never more than during times of war.
Let’s start talking about Outlander Season 7 Episode 4.
Brianna and Roger adjust to life in the 1980s
As much as I feel for the Fraser family being torn apart at the seams through time travel, joining Brianna and Roger in the ’80s is worth it.
Claire has already had her chance at an incredible career in the 20th Century, and Brianna deserves the same.
If you didn’t grow up when I did, it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t that long ago that women’s place in the corporate world was most often relegated to the secretarial arts.
They never received the recognition for keeping corporations afloat as they did during a time of typewriters instead of computers, landlines instead of mobile phones, and in-person meetings instead of Zoom.
That’s how I got my start, and if I’m being honest, I hated every minute of being a corporate slave.
Brianna MacKenzie has a wealth of information from her education and what she pulled off in the 18th Century with regard to the water, and she wanted to put everything she learned to good use.
As was standard at the time, she had to force herself into the position she wanted. Her unique past and the way she’s had to fight for so much in her life gave her the tools she needed to make her voice heard.
Man: I’m sorry; there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding. It’s a secretary that we’ll be needin’.
Brianna: Perhaps so, but I’m applying for the plant inspector position.
Man: [scoffs] But you’re a woman.
Brianna: What aspects of plant inspection require a penis?
She is her mother’s daughter!
The biggest surprise was how poorly received the news was by Roger. Even knowing how the Fraser women can move mountains, he sincerely thought they’d never give her the job.
It’s not because he doesn’t love or support her, but that he wants to make right by his promise to Claire and Jamie to care for and provide for the family.
Many often forget that caring and providing come in many different forms. Monetarily is but one way to do it.
He’s so good with the kids, and Roger MacKenzie doesn’t want to do anything that could interfere with Jemmy’s development. Jemmy knows magic is real, and forcing him to admit otherwise could change the person he will become.
Brianna has found her next challenge, and now Roger has to find his. They’ve both got their hands full with remodeling Lallybroch, but finding something that challenges your heart and mind is more of a trick.
Roger discovered the gold musket ball, and you know the Jacobite gold has to be on his mind. They’re collapsing under the weight of their expenses, and it sure would come in handy. It would also give him and Jemmy something to do together, father and son.
Young Ian can’t escape his Mr. Bug-fueled nightmares.
Ian Fraser Murray may have spent time with the Mohawk, but his soft heart remains intact.
Killing Mrs. Bug really did a number on him, and his soul is suffering. He flinches at every sound, worrying that Mr. Bug, an elderly man, is slinking around in the woods, waiting to take what he holds most dear.
There are no two people he loves as much as his Uncle Jamie and Claire, and his greatest fear is that they will pay with their lives for his sin.
Thankfully, Jamie and Claire have had similar thoughts more times than they can count, and they’re well-versed in how to tame a suffering soul.
Whether Mr. Bug will ever exact vengeance for Ian taking away his beloved wife remains to be seen, but the damage he did by swearing to show up when Ian least expected it is probably punishment enough.
The Bugs never seemed like vengeful people, and it very well be that Mr. Bug’s intent was for Ian to suffer exactly as he is now. In that case, mission accomplished.
Jamie gets sucked back into the war he was trying to escape.
So much for taking Ian back to Scotland to reunite with his family; instead, Jamie Fraser is taking his nephew off to war, as when Cornelius Hartnett called, Jamie answered, and where Jamie goes, so go Claire and Ian.
Jamie and Claire have seen more war than two people should, but this one is unique. It changes the course of history, ushering in the era in which Jamie’s own family came to be.
It’s easy to say that it’s a foregone conclusion that the war will be one since the United States is where Claire and Brianna came from, but just like they don’t know for sure how the stones work, so do they not know exactly how time functions.
Jamie’s reason for returning to Scotland was two-fold. First, he wanted to fulfill his promise to Jenny. But he also wanted to ensure he was never face-to-face with his son on the battlefield.
That becomes a possibility now that Jamie will be heading to Fort Ticonderoga. But it’s also possible that William’s new mission could keep him further away from the battlefield as he slips in and out of enemy territory delivering important messages on behalf of his superiors.
William’s special mission goes awry.
It’s hard to know someone’s values when they are raised by another. All that we really know of William Ransom is what we have learned through Lord John over the years.
This episode changed that.
We first learn that William doesn’t look kindly upon his fellow soldiers for humiliating and setting a woman on fire for doing the very thing they did unto and expected from her.
That was a harrowing scene, and I daresay that William grew up tenfold as a result of experiencing it. How can you fight alongside men who are willing to do that to a woman? It sure can’t be easy.
His actions singled him out for a special mission delivering correspondence, but his horse got spooked, and William was injured and alone in the middle of nowhere.
I have to call attention to the fact that of all the roads in the middle of nowhere, it seems highly improbable that Ian would have come across his cousin, but it did work wonders for the story nonetheless.
If someone else had come across him, they might not have been as willing to help William. Now we know why Ian revealed on Outlander Season 7 Episode 3 that he was in on the secret Jamie tried so hard to conceal — that he had a son.
Finding William in such a state was just what Ian needed to clear his head of the trauma caused by killing Mrs. Bug. It’s a good reminder that he is a good soul, and when the opportunity arises, he does well by people in need.
It’s also a perfect excuse to get to know his cousin without giving anything away. William had to be surprised at the kindness of this odd-looking stranger, and it warmed my heart when Rollo lay down beside him, and Ian said he already viewed William as family.
This journey also brought Ian to a young woman that clearly got his heart racing. Rachel and Denzell Hunter are essential characters in the Outlander universe, as you will eventually understand (if you don’t already).
They’re Quakers with liberty in their hearts, and Rachel is supporting her brother, who is off to assist in the war efforts as a surgeon. Can there be any doubt they will wind up working alongside Claire as she tends to battle-wounded soldiers up north?
When freedom rings, many are called up, but Quakers are not supposed to heed that call, and as a result, they’ve been estranged from those they considered family.
It’s not hard to see why Ian would be taken with Rachel. She’s got the same grit and skills as Claire, making her a perfect choice should he decide to open his heart.
Whether he’s willing to do that with Mr. Bug’s promise eating away at him is up for him to decide.
William will be indebted to the there of them forever. He was so close to losing his arm or his life, but their care saved him. That’s miraculous considering where he was, lost and tramping through swampy lands.
Claire bumps into a very much alive Tom Christie.
Claire Fraser managed to save her life by offering her skills to a British captain, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that Tom did the same. But you know what? It’s still a surprise.
The joy with which Tom greeted Claire cannot be understated. He was positively brimming with it, discovering she was alive. But he also realized that he was in for a life of torture, knowing she was alive but in the arms of another. Such is the pain of unrequited love.
Their honest and forthright conversation was delightful, and we learned why the obituary Brianna saw in the future was so out of place.
When Tom learned of the fire and believed they had perished, he couldn’t let their deaths go unnoticed. He felt his duty was to mark the occasion so the world would know what they lost.
While Claire was incredulous to see Tom and receive a whopper of a kiss on the lips, Jamie was concerned that Tom touched her against her will.
Was that a thing back then? I understand that it is Jamie we’re talking about, and his love for Claire knows no bounds, but that comment seemed stuffed in there for the sake of making #metoo people happy that it didn’t go unaddressed that Claire didn’t ask for it.
It’s funny that Jamie wondered if she enjoyed it, and it speaks volumes about how highly he regards the woman he loves. He still wonders why he deserves her, no matter how many times she assures him that he does.
Jamie was ultimately satisfied knowing that, should the need ever arise again, he was certain Tom Christie would lay down his life for hers without question.
This was a good, if a bit disjointed, Outlander episode, but where it once seemed things were happening too fast, now I wonder if they’re going too slow.
With each passing episode, I feel the now 22 remaining before Outlander comes to a close are not nearly enough to wrap up everything that needs to be said.
As much as I dislike an abrupt ending to any series, counting down to the predetermined end is just as agonizing.
Are you ready for more time on the battlefield? Isn’t it crazy how many wars were brewing so close to home not so long ago?
Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
And keep an eye out for a conversation with Mark Lewis Jones, who plays Tom Christie, to get his insight into the man who saved Claire’s life by sacrificing his own and living to talk about it!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.