Outlander recap: Just let me adore you
Sassenachs, this episode we finally met Adso, the Frasers’ adorable new kitty, and nothing else matters!!! Ok fine, it does, but Adso, you are purr-fect in this recapper’s heart.
We start with Claire back in the 1960s, and she’s at church. Once again, we get some heavy monologuing from her (while last season was light on these, this year our girl is feeling reflective). She meditates on the similarities between God and time. Then, a few beats later, she’s meeting Bree for lunch in the park. She reveals she just lost a patient to an allergic reaction to penicillin. They tested for the allergy, but there is a less than 5 percent chance of a false result.
In the past, Claire continues to try her hand at playing God on Fraser’s Ridge, having successfully located the correct strain of mold to make penicillin. And you know what, all I can think right now is, Claire can you be real and time travel to 2020? Because not gonna lie, we could really use your help right now.
Meanwhile, Roger and Bree are reacquainting themselves with the pleasures of the marriage bed. In post-coital bliss, they discuss his perceived failure in Brownsville and his path forward. He’s been thinking about the universities that already exist in the past as a possible home for him as a scholar. But he gave his oath to Jamie to serve in the militia, and he wants to stand by his word.
Jamie, Fergus, and the militia ride into Hillsborough to a less than cordial welcome. First, they’re assumed to be part of the Regulators and then can’t find any new men to join them. In fact, the residents of Hillsborough are already annoyed because the Red Coats are taking advantage of their hospitality (oh hi, third amendment, we miss you). Jamie finds the troop of men throwing knives at a “Wanted” poster for Murtagh and reconnects with Lt. Knox. Knox is miffed because Tryon plans to give the Regulators a full pardon. He can’t face his guilt over killing one of the men if they’re to be forgiven.
But Knox does have some good news, or so he thinks. He’s arranged to receive the rolls of the prisoners at Ardsmuir to see if it will help him find more contacts close to Murtagh to sniff him out. Jamie is, let’s say, less than thrilled at this news.
Back in the 1960s, Claire talks to her patient – the very Scottish Graham Menzies (since this isn’t a character in the book, I can only assume this is a shout-out to Tobias Menzies himself whose presence is very much missed on the show). She explains he has gallstones, but also an infection in his bile ducts, requiring a full course of antibiotics and surgery. He tries to make conversation, talking about his wife and ferreting out Claire’s potential connection to Scotland. But she deflects his small talk to explain they’ll run tests for any potential allergies and get on with it.
In the past, she’s examining Kezzy, having tested him for a penicillin allergy and found him seemingly good to go. She’s nervous given past (or is it future?) experience, but it’s time to treat him. First, she injects him with penicillin (uh, Claire, where’d you get a sterilized hypodermic needle? Cause they didn’t exist until a good 50 years after this). Then, she gives him some laudanum, has Mr. Bug hold him steady, and tells him to hold very still. It’s time for his tonsillectomy, working as quickly as she can. Lizzie tries to hold the lantern, but can barely stand to watch. I feel you girl.
The surgery seems to be successful and Kezzie is ok, which means Jo wants his turn. Luckily for us, we don’t have to watch.
Roger is baby-sitting Jem, trying to quiet him, when he knocks over Bree’s jewelry box. He discovers the diamond Bonnet gave Bree in prison, but Roger’s seen it before too as it turns out.
When he and Bonnet played cards on Roger’s transatlantic voyage, Bonnet wagered it – while also making some gross, telling comments about women being a tax men pay for pleasure. Ick. Bonnet straight up cheats, and Roger calls him on it, but eventually lets it go. Because let’s be honest, that wouldn’t have ended well and Roger knows it.
When Bree comes home, Roger has been drinking and he confronts her about the diamond, knowing it belonged to Bonnet. She confesses to him that she saw Bonnet in Wilmington at the jail, and he gave her the diamond then. She only kept it as a possible ticket home to go back through the stones. But Roger isn’t satisfied and is determined to excoriate Bree’s trauma (dude, c’mon, stop doing this) – why would Bonnet ever part with the diamond to begin with given what Roger knows of him?
That’s when Bree reveals that she told Bonnet Jemmy was his child as words of comfort at the hour of his death. She was scared and grieving Roger’s loss, but what she said were only words Roger was never meant to hear. Roger doesn’t take this well, accusing her of believing the child is Bonnet’s and not his. And she admits she can never really know for sure. When Roger pushes her on who she truly believes is the father, she can’t answer. So he walks out.
In the future, Claire meets a priest in church. We learn that the patient she told Bree she lost is Menzies, and she is filling his shift at perpetual adoration because he promised his wife he’d be there. The priest reminds her that the devotion between a man and wife is like nothing else, and she confesses it’s reminded her of someone she lost. The priest tells her no one is lost who’s not forgotten.
Claire comes upon Roger in the forest, who has spent the night among the trees – I guess this is the 18th-century version of being told to sleep on the couch. Claire immediately knows what’s up and opens up to Roger about her complicated marriage to Frank.
They made it work for Bree’s sake, but Roger is bothered by the lie they told to Bree. Claire doesn’t regret it though because it meant Brianna felt safe and loved by both her parents. In the end, telling Bree the truth about Jamie brought them closer, but Claire doesn’t believe honesty is always the best policy. Initially, Bree was devastated, and as a child, there was no way Bree would’ve understood the truth. In summation, Claire tells Roger to not be careless with the time he and Bree have together.
He takes these words to heart and brings Bree some flowers he gathered by the creek. Bree tries to explain, but he says it doesn’t matter, except there’s something else. So, Bree tells him that Bonnet is still alive and she’s haunted by him. She also explains her fears that Bonnet approached Jemmy while they were in town. Roger tries to reassure her, but she says Lord John Grey confirmed sightings of Bonnet. But, to Roger, Bonnet doesn’t matter – as soon as they know if Jemmy can travel through the stones, they’ll go home and use the diamond to leave the past.
In Hillsborough, there’s more news from Tryon. It turns out the pardon extends to everyone but Murtagh – they want to make an example of him. Oh, and also, the militia is officially disbanded. Jamie and his men can go home to their families.
1960s Claire has an exchange with Graham Menzies about perpetual adoration, his wife, and missing Scotland. Later, when she learns he died from an allergic reaction, she lashes out at a nurse before meeting her friend Joe at a bar. She’s frustrated for getting attached to a patient, and Joe points out that maybe she’s having troubles of the heart.
Later that night, Jamie brings Knox the muster roll of his men as Tryon requested. Knox invites him to a game of chess, and while they’re playing, a young boy arrives with the transcript of the list of prisoners from Ardsmuir. Before Knox can open it, Jamie confesses to Knox that his name is on the list. As Knox studies it, he discovers that Murtagh’s surname is Fraser. Then, the whole story emerges – Jamie admits Murtagh is his godfather and Knox accuses him of being a devil.
Jamie tries to explain, asking Knox what he would’ve done in his place and that he couldn’t let his kin be hunted like a dog. Knox loses it, holding Jamie at knifepoint and saying he’s going to call for his arrest. Jamie says his oath to his family comes before king and country. But Knox keeps spiraling, realizing that Jamie must’ve helped the other Regulators escape the jail. They come to blows, and Jamie slams Knox’s head into the wall before getting him in a chokehold and literally choking him to death.
Let’s pause for a moment to talk about how frustrating this is! Jamie has killed men before in battle; hell, he even dueled with Black Jack. But Jamie does everything he possibly can to avoid taking human life, unless it’s out of mercy. Given that this interlude is not in the novels, I am really not happy that they’ve turned Jamie into a cold-blooded murderer to stir up some extra drama. It’s simply not him!!! If it was, why bother playing this game with the governor?
But resuming the recap, Jamie puts Knox in his bed and makes it look as if he died after turning in for the night. He puts the Ardsmuir transcript in the fire and then closes the flue, filling the room with smoke. Jamie escapes out the window, finding the most adorable kitten on the planet in the alley. As Jamie reunites with Fergus, they watch as alarm bells ring and men carry Knox’s body out of the inn.
In the future, we see Claire and Bree talking again. Claire suggests they take a summer trip to London, insisting it’s important they spend time together, setting in motion the events that would lead to her returning to the past.
And in that past, Jamie returns home to his beloved Claire with a surprise – the kitten from the alley who he has dubbed Adso, the name of his mother’s cat when he was a child. As Claire gets the kitten some milk (he is so cute I could die), she chats with Jamie about Graham Menzies. She’s just now realized the effect his death had on her, that it led her to take a leave of absence from work and put her on the path back to Jamie.
What’d you think Sassenachs? Finally an episode with some hefty plot development! We’re taking a break from Outlander…On Demand! this week due to safety measures, but you can catch up on old episodes on the website or the app.
Diana Gabaldon's genre-bending time-travel novels come to life in the Starz series.