And Jamie regrets the open arms welcome.
Outlander Season 4 2018

Even though the term "Droutlander" was coined several years ago, I'm sure the clever person who dreamt up the name never expected that fans of the series and show would have to wait almost two years before welcoming the good townsfolk of Fraser's Ridge back into our lives. Is Claire okay after her unforgivable experience with Lionel Brown? Is the Revolution upon us yet? Is Jamie still the most handsome man on this side of the Mississippi River?

Patience is a virtue. Instead of answering our burning questions, we are whisked back to Ardsmuir Prison in 1753, where a ragtag group of Scottish prisoners argues with one another. Lines have been drawn. Sides have been chosen. Will you bow to king and country? Or do you continue to associate as a Jacobite? Do you check Protestant or Catholic?

Among the bickering stands Red Jamie, or as his Scotsman like to refer to him, Mac Dubh. He's smart enough to keep his mouth shut, refusing to get involved in prison yard squabbles. Especially when red coats are watching.

Unfortunately, the governor has heard from his top-rate prisoner Tom Christie that Jamie is well-respected among the lads and requests that Mac Dubh tightens up the degenerate brood. After agreeing, Jamie is ushered out the door, but not before he notices Christie and the governor oddly shake hands. 

Back in his cell, Jamie helps a young man named James, who admits he is losing his eyesight. He's also lost the lock of hair his beloved Rebecca gave him before he was sent to prison. The boy confesses that he can't remember Rebecca's face and urges Jamie to show him how to cope as someone who lost his wife. 

Jamie's face softens. He encourages James to rest in the fact that some men will never understand and know love as they have known. If Rebecca loves James the way he loves her, he will readily have the power to bring her face to his mind whenever he wants. This appeases James' anxious spirit, and he calms down. 

Sadly, the prison yard squabble turns bloody the next day, and James is killed when a brawl breaks out. One of the men lays a scrap of tartan on James' chest, which causes the red coat on duty to threaten to flog every man standing if someone doesn't confess to hiding an outlawed piece of plaid material in their possession. Naturally, Jamie claims the tartan and is sentenced to ten lashes.

The prisoners are forced to gather around as Jamie takes each crack of the whip with nothing more than a wince. Christie looks pale. Grown men grimace at the sight of blood. But Jamie reaches a zen-like trance, focusing on something in the distance. Soon, a blurry figure pulls into sharp focus, and there's Claire. Dreamlike. Ghostlike. 

The governor is not happy with Jamie's troublemaking schemes. He wants to know why Jamie defied his orders to maintain control. Jamie explains that some men follow Christie, while some follow him. Where division lies, there can be no control. The simple solution is to make Jamie a freemason like Christie.

Say what? 

That's right, the awkward handshake between the governor and Christie was symbolic. Jamie is willing to make this transition for his men. They will listen to him, and as long as he believes in a supreme being, he thinks the Pope will be okay with this decision to be a freemason. 

Jamie runs the idea by his men, demanding that the senseless fighting cease. Although they are a mixture of Catholics, Protestants, and Jacobites, they are all Scots! From now on, the prison will be a lodge for freemasons who are united in their belief of great architects of the universe. No more politics. No more religion. Who's in?

The scene suddenly fast forwards to 1773 in North Carolina. We see an hourglass ominously counting down time. The Revolution is coming. It's getting closer with each drop of sand. And there's Claire, passed out haphazardly on a bed. Now, because I've seen a trailer for season six of Outlander, I am well aware that our female lead is not dead.

It's too bad no one tells Jamie. He nearly has a heart attack thinking his wife has gone to "meet Christ." After several hard shakes, Claire pops up from her slumber, seemingly excited. Dare I say joyful? 

Claire has recreated ether. Posing as her own guinea pig, she knocks herself out for a solid four minutes. Victory! She didn't feel a thing. Take that, burst appendix. Claire is coming for you with her sleeping drug!

outlander season 6 key art
Credit: starz

Jamie takes a little shine off of Claire's good mood by mentioning a letter from Major MacDonald. It seems he would like Jamie to be an "Indian Agent," which is a fancy way of telling Jamie that someone needs to convince the Indians to fight for the king. It's a hard pass for Jamie. He wants peace and quiet with his wife, family, and townsfolk. 

You've got about a year and a half, Jamie, before all hell breaks loose. Good luck. 

When Jamie and Claire leave to check on Marsali's very pregnant body, Roger and Bree invite a guest into their home who has come to call on Jamie. As Roger reads the flyer, encouraging any man who served prison time at Ardsmuir to settle at Fraser's Ridge, Tom Christie looks back expectantly.

Roger insists that his father-in-law will be delighted to have Christie, as well as the men and women traveling with him from the old country. They even bond over their shared former careers as schoolmasters. Just when Christie inquires about a church, Jamie and Claire return. The non-verbal "what the hell" exchanges between the Frasers are hilarious. With all the secrecy in their family, they've become masters at reading each other's facial expressions. Christie is welcomed with open arms. 

That night, Claire wonders if it's the best idea to invite Tom Christie to stay. It means a lot more food and clothing. Jamie feels sorry for Christie, remembering that he received a message that his wife had died while at Ardsmuir. He recalled that the idea of Claire being alive and well helped him get through a lot of hardship. She's always been with him, and he can't imagine life without her. 

Jamie admits that sometimes, he thinks she's an angel. Then Claire takes him to bed, proving that she's very, very real. 

The following day, Jamie, Roger, and Bree head out to where Christie, his children Marva and Allan, and the others "men and women of faith" are camping. Jamie interrupts Christie's prayer, explaining how things are done on Fraser's Ridge. Welcome to Cabin Building 101.

Meanwhile, we find Young Ian and Allan hunting in the woods. Allan scoffs at Ian's antiquated bow and arrow, favoring his trusty rifle and really cool powder horn. The second I think to myself, "That's a weird thing to brag about," a shot is fired. 

Uh oh. The neighborhood crime watch team, led by the horrible Richard Brown, brother to the horrendous (and deceased) Lionel Brown, is prowling the woods again. Richard laughs at Ian, claiming he mistook him for an Indian, reminding the duo that their committee exists to seek justice. One of his cronies whispers something in Richard's ear, and they are off. 

Allan is rightfully nervous. Tom Christie isn't one to approve of firearm nonsense. Neither is he a fan of blood. Christie nearly passes out when Claire cleans a cut on his hand and sneers at Jamie when he offers Christie some wine to help ease the pain of a little scratch. Jamie's had worse. Have you seen his back? 

Christie thanks Claire for her handiwork, stands up, and stares Jamie in the face. "At least mine will be an honorable scar." 

Oh no, he didn't. 

Instead of kicking Christie off the Ridge as I would, Jamie invites him and his family to his home for dinner. Major MacDonald is there, trying once again to convince Jamie to be the Indian Agent. After adamantly shutting him down, the Major lets it slip that it will go to Richard Brown if Jamie doesn't take the position. 

After a flurry of activity, including a drunken Fergus and Roger consoling a small boy who wants to "go back home," a dozen brows furrow as horse hooves clop in the distance. It's Richard, and he wants to arrest Allan for stealing that cool powder horn. 

Christie proudly stands front and center, demanding that his son swear he did not take the powder horn. Allan can't do it, so Christie insists his son apologize to Mr. Brown at once. Then he begs for mercy, promising he will punish Allan for his sins. Jamie thanks Richard for bringing this to his attention and firmly ask him to leave his land. 

Richard loves the attention. Knowing that gun powder is a commodity during this dark time, he wonders if anyone on Fraser's Ridge might be harboring a rebel? Christie pipes up that he and his son serve the king. No one else!

Jamie officially takes matters into his own hands. His land. His means. He barks for Allan to remove his jacket. Then Jamie uses a belt, not a whip, offering ten lashes to the boy. The Browns leave, satisfied. And Jamie corners Major MacDonald, clarifying that he will take the job of the Indian Agent if it means Richard Brown will not get the job. 

That night, Claire has a nightmare about her rape. She makes her way to her lab, boils up some ether, and inhales the mixture deeply. Finally, she passes out into safe, dreamless sleep. I don't care what Claire tells Jamie and Bree, but this is not the definition of someone who is feeling fine. 

What did you think of the premiere of season six? Will Claire become addicted to the ether? Is Furgus a drunk? Why did Marsali have a bruise on her arm? And is Tom Christie our new villain now that Stephen Bonnet is sleeping with the fishes? 

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content:

Episode Recaps

Outlander Season 4 2018

Diana Gabaldon's genre-bending time-travel novels come to life in the Starz series.

  • TV Show
  • 6
stream service