This week sees continued fallout from Bree’s assault and Lizzie’s rash assumptions that Roger was the perpetrator. As part of that, for once, we see the clear-cut evidence that Jamie is a man of the 18th century. So often, he agrees with and goes along with Claire in ways that occasionally verge on feeling anachronistic, which is undoubtedly to make him more palatable to modern audiences — but when it comes to preserving the reputation of his only daughter, he’s got some real old-fashioned views.
Much of this episode is dedicated to quiet moments between Bree and Jamie, which starts off with him lying about the source of his wounded hand and goes downhill from there. Jamie knows what happened to Bree, and she fears it will make him think less of her. He assures her that’s not the case, and he will see her married. Bree protests because she loves Roger, who she still believes has returned to the present day.
Bree fears Roger won’t want her now, but Jamie says if he’s an honorable, decent man he will. She keeps going over the event in her head, insisting she could have avoided it by not following the man into a dark room or fighting him harder. Jamie pushes her buttons, asking her if she is lying about the rape to cover up her mistake now that she’s pregnant. This provokes Bree to attack him, but he grabs her and wraps her arm around her neck, easily showing his brute strength over her. It’s a bid to show her there was no way she could have fought off her attacker. Jamie wants her to see she’s not a coward and what happened to her was in no way her fault.
This is Bree’s opening to ask about Jack Randall, revealing to Jamie that Claire told her what happened to him at Wentworth. Jamie says he did not try to fight him because he gave his word he would not in exchange for Claire’s life. She wants to know if he ever killed Black Jack Randall because she’s wondering if killing the man who raped her would help her. Jamie balks at this idea, but Bree calls his bluff saying her honor is something worth reclaiming. Jamie is just worried she’ll get herself killed, and he admits he did finally kill Jack Randall at Culloden. He says killing your attacker will not let you forget — but that time will heal the wound.
Speaking of wounds, Roger is still a bleeding, bruised mess and he’s now being hauled through the forest by a group of Native Americans, bound with ropes. There is another nameless man facing the same fate, who is struggling and falls. Later, they are tied against a tree while the men make camp for the night. Roger is tying knots in a string to keep track of the days. He’s been observing landmarks because he plans to escape and get back to his wife. The other man finds this idea laughable, which brings Roger to a state of hysterical tears. The next morning the man is dead against the tree, and the Mohawk drag Roger off, leaving the man there to rot.
Claire tells Bree she’s willing to perform an abortion if she wants one, but it will be very dangerous and painful. But Bree has to decide soon. Bree wants to know if Claire ever considered getting rid of her, and Claire says no, but it was different because both she and Jamie wanted a baby. Bree verifies with Claire that the withdrawal method isn’t foolproof (ya, think? I am still missing the line from the book when Claire tells her people who use that method of birth control are called “parents.” LOL). There’s a chance the baby could be Roger’s. If Bree wants to return to him, she must go soon because though Claire knows she can pass through the stones pregnant, she doesn’t know what would happen if she tried to take a baby in her arms.
Ian is continuing to make some meager attempts at flirting with Bree, which Jamie points out to her. Bree explains in her time, it’s not encouraged to be smitten with your cousins. They admire Claire tending her garden and Bree remembers Frank joking Claire would leave them to go live alone in the woods — which she kind of did. Jamie fears Bree blames him for Claire leaving, but she assures him she also came to the past to find him — not just her mother.
Bree seems to have made her choice — to keep the baby and stay in the past, as we see her adjusting to life on the Ridge, feeding the animals, enjoying family dinners, and more. Claire and Bree fold laundry and discuss the things they miss from the future, including hamburgers, Led Zeppelin, and toilets that flush. Excepting toilets that flush, because, well duh, what are some things you would miss if you traveled 200 years into the past? Mine are Bruce Springsteen, Harry Potter, and burritos.
In the night, Bree is having a dream and imagines Roger has come back to her. As she tells him she’s pregnant and doesn’t know if it’s his, he morphs into Bonnet. “Perhaps he’ll have my eyes,” he growls about the baby before climbing on top of Bree once more as she tries to fight him off. Lizzie wakes her from the nightmare.
We’ve talked before about how often this series uses rape as a narrative device. You can chalk it up to historical accuracy, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s difficult to watch and can often feel excessive to the point where I know it has turned people off from the show and books altogether. Indeed, I personally feel it crops up far too often. So, let me just say that I detested this sequence. It was more explicit in what it showed than Bree’s actual assault two weeks ago. Storylines of this nature are always challenging and triggering for viewers, and I felt that the initial incident was handled with great care by the entire Outlander team. This moment feels like a slap in the face. I understand they want us to understand the lasting impact of Bree’s trauma — and how it’s not something you easily recover from. But for anyone watching the show, especially those of us who are survivors, it felt extremely cruel and unnecessary to revisit it in such a graphic and stomach-turning manner.
Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled recap — Lizzie tries to reassure Bree by telling her she can promise her the man who attacked her won’t be able to hurt her again. Bree presses her as to how she knows that, and Lizzie reveals that she saw the man on the road nearby and told Jamie. Jamie nearly beat him to death and had Ian send him away. But Bree is confused — how could Lizzie know what the man looked like? And that’s when she realizes that Lizzie thinks Roger is the man who hurt her.
Bree storms into the cabin and demands to know what they’ve done with Roger. She confronts Jamie about how he really injured his hand. Jamie tries to defend himself, saying they all thought Roger had left the past. This leads Bree to admit she welcomed Roger into her bed after they were hand-fast. Jamie is furious, thinking Bree lied and that he nearly killed a man to defend her honor when she slept with a man out of lust and then lied about it when she was pregnant. OH NO, YOU DID NOT SAY THAT.
Bree slaps him and calls him a self-righteous bastard (GOOD!), explaining she was violated by someone else and he beat up the wrong man. He promises to make it right, but Bree is outraged and says her real father never would have said such things to her. Ian wants to know who it was who attacked her and Claire pulls her wedding ring from her pocket and throws it on the table. Immediately, both Jamie and Ian realize it was Stephen Bonnet.
They still need to know where Roger is, and Ian admits he sold him to the Mohawk. Bree punches him (I really like this side of Bree — please continue to beat up your doltish male relatives Bree). Ian’s crying, Lizzie’s crying, everyone’s crying and apologizing which leads Jamie to start breaking things. “You do not get to be more angry than me!” Bree reminds him. She wants to know how to get Roger back — the problem is the Mohawk live in upstate New York over 700 miles away.
Ian assures Bree the Mohawk are honorable, and most likely will adopt Roger into the tribe to replace members who died. He reveals he received a necklace in exchange for Roger (it’s a big clunky, ugly piece of jewelry — the least you could’ve done was get some gemstones out of this Ian!). Ian says they will use the necklace to try to find Roger, and Jamie pledges to trade all they have to get him back. Bree doesn’t want them to go on alone since they’ve already made such a mess of things, but Claire explains Bree can’t go with them because of her pregnancy and the length of the journey.
Bree has decided to keep the baby if there’s even the slightest chance it could belong to Roger. She’s sorry Claire won’t be there to help her through it all, but she needs her mother to go with the rescue party. Claire is the only one Roger might perceive as a friendly face, and he’ll likely be in need of a doctor. Claire doesn’t want to leave her on the Ridge alone, so Jamie suggests they send her to Aunt Jocasta. River Run is the opposite direction of their journey, so Murtagh volunteers to take Bree there. He remembers Jocasta from his days at Leoch. Oh, do you now Murtagh?
Later, Jamie tasks Murtagh with finding Bonnet in Wilmington, and bringing him to Jamie in secret so he can kill him.
They’re all packing up to leave and Claire advises Bree to rely on midwives at River Run. Bree has drawn Roger’s portrait to assist in their mission. She wants Claire to tell him everything because he deserves to know since he tried to come back for her. Before they go, Ian proposes marriage to Bree out of guilt and concern they won’t find Roger. Jamie hauls him up off his knee, calling him an idiot, and pledging to Bree he will not rest until they find Roger.
Bree arrives at River Run with Murtagh and Lizzie in tow and they’re greeted by Ulysses. They give him Jamie’s letter, but Jocasta recognizes the sound of Murtagh’s voice and his hands. He astutely knows she must’ve paid close attention to his hands to remember them after so long. Is Jocasta getting handsy? BA-DUM-CHING.
She dismisses the comment explaining it’s because his hands were always in service to her sister, Jamie’s mother, who Murtagh once loved and hoped to marry. Murtagh introduces Bree to Jocasta, and they explain she’s Jamie and Claire’s daughter from Boston. She’s unmarried and with child and needs to be looked after while her parents search for the man she is hand-fast to. Jocasta feels her face and decides she can stay. Turns out Bree Fraser gives good face…take note, Madonna.
Back with the Mohawk, Roger is now only being led by a rope around his wrists, not his waist. After drinking from a waterfall, he stumbles and falls over the edge of a road. They try to pull him back up but his hands slide out of the rope, and he tries to run away. The Mohawk chase him through the woods, but he successfully hides behind a bush. While trudging through the forest, he hears the familiar buzzing sound of the stones and is shocked to find another standing stone in a clearing — almost exactly like the one at Craigh na Dun. He pulls the gemstones from his pocket and begins to cry as he ponders his options. He lifts his hands to touch the stone, and we cut to black just as his fingers are about to make contact.