This was a big week for character development. Everyone is making huge decisions about their lives and how they want to live them. Claire and Jamie are trying to find a permanent place to call home, Young Ian is trying to become a man, and Brianna and Roger are trying to define both themselves and their relationship status while on a road trip together. It doesn’t turn out well for everyone, but at least it doesn’t end for anyone. There’s still plenty to come this season. Let’s take a closer look at this week’s episode, “The False Bride.”
*Spoiler Warning! The following recap may contain spoilers from episode 403. Do not read further if you have not seen the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.*
Skin Score: 8/10. OK, let’s talk about Roger and Brianna. We haven’t seen this kind of mismatched will-they-won’t-they love since Jamie and Claire in season one, and it’s just as delightfully frustrating now as it was then. On one hand, there’s Roger- the Scotsman knows that he’s in love with Brianna and has finally worked up the courage to tell her. On the other hand, Brianna knows that she really likes Roger but isn’t as decisive in her actions.
This leads to their romance quickly heating up on a road trip to North Carolina for a Scottish festival that Roger has been invited to perform at. At the festival, they dance, have their portrait drawn, and enjoy some illegal mountain moonshine. However, when Roger gets wrapped up in a moment of passion and proposes to Brianna, their perfect weekend falls apart. Brianna turns him down, saying that she’d rather move slower without a commitment. Roger is unable to accept it, saying that he wants either all of her or none. There’s undoubtedly way more to their story to come, but things do not look good for them as a couple right now.
While Roger and Brianna examine their differences, Claire and Jamie are in perfect agreement. They’ve decided to leave River Run in favor of finding their own land. This means accepting Governor Tryon’s offer, which comes with an understanding of their loyalty to the British. That’s a dangerous position in 1767 America, but it’s also their most liberating choice. Jocasta takes the news reasonably well and sends them on their way with provisions, including Clarence the mule. She does manage to sneak one last doubt into Claire’s mind before they leave and tells Claire that she is holding Jamie back from being the man that he is destined to be. Unfortunately for Jocasta, Claire and Jamie are excellent communicators. Jamie puts Claire’s fears to rest, assuring her that as long as he has her, he needs nothing else.
Also leaving River Run is Young Ian. He finally manages to convince Jamie that he is all grown up and capable of making his own decisions. And it’s true- for the first time, we see him as just Ian. He lays out his arguments concisely and without whining. Jamie recognizes the man in him and agrees that Ian can make his own choice about where and how he will live his life. Once they are on the road in the Blue Ridge, Ian departs with their guide, John Quincy Myers, to learn about trading with the natives. We still don’t know much about the mountain man, but he promises to keep Ian safe and deliver him back to Claire and Jamie at Wollam’s Creek.
Sword Score: 6/10. Despite Ian’s grand plan for adventure, it’s actually Jamie and Claire who have an encounter with a Native American. A storm rises up and forces them to camp in the woods overnight. Clarence breaks his lead and bolts. When Claire goes after him, she falls from her horse and must take shelter under a broken tree. There she finds the skull of Otter Tooth and his spirit appears to her shortly afterward. It is this spirit who guides Jamie and Claire back together the next morning.
We’re giving this part a 6 because it doesn’t seem to quite fit with what we’d expect from the characters. Jamie, who is usually on board for any discussion of faeries or spirits, brushes off Claire’s explanation for how she found him again. Even when Claire discovers silver fillings (and therefore evidence of time travel) in Otter Tooth’s skull, Jamie’s reaction is more along the lines of, “that’s nice, dear” than anything else. It’s not until they stumble upon a beautiful ridge with suitable areas for animals and crops that he perks up. He falls in love with the land instantly and names it Fraser’s Ridge. Now that they’ve found a permanent home and can be off the road, perhaps Jamie will return to his usual mystery & adventure loving self. After all, there’s nothing but mystery and adventure to be had in the New World.
Outlander airs on Sunday nights at 8 pm on Starz. Viewers can catch up anytime on Starz.com and the Starz mobile app. Check back here to FanFest.com each week for episode previews and full episode recaps.