Mountain lions, wolves, and bears-that-are-not-bears, oh my! This week’s episode has quite the display of wildlife and wild lives. Claire, Jamie, and Young Ian are facing off against the wilderness and a dangerous creature, while Bree and Roger are still trying to untangle their very complicated relationship. There’s something for everyone and it’s a great episode as always. Let’s dive deeper with our Swords vs Skins recap.
**Spoiler Alert! The following recap contains spoilers for episode 404. Do not read further if you have not seen the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.**
Sword Score: 10/10. Now that Jamie has signed his charter from Governor Tryon for 10,000 acres, he, Claire, and Young Ian pack up and head out to their new settlement. Almost immediately, they run afoul of their new neighbors. A group of Cherokee warriors show up while the Fraser clan is placing boundary poles. No words are exchanged at the time, but the same warriors later return with nearly all of the poles and some very harsh words. While Claire and Jamie decide what to do to assure the tribe that they mean no harm to them, they are visited by a bear. It steals their meat and mauls one of their horses, throwing their continued survival into jeopardy.
Jamie goes to John Quincy Myers for advice on both how to handle the bear and how to make peace with the Cherokee. Myers tells him that the Cherokee are on edge due to a “tskili yona,” or evil bear. It is this creature that has been causing trouble for the Frasers. The following night, the bear mauls Myers and delivers him on the brink of death to the Frasers’ doorstep. As Claire frantically works to save Myers, Jamie goes on the hunt. He finds the bear and kills it, but not before realizing that it isn’t a bear at all. It is a man.
Jamie delivers the body of the man, still wrapped in his bear skin and claws, to the Cherokee. They explain that he was a warrior of theirs but had been exiled after raping his wife the previous year. They are grateful to Jamie for his service to them. The chief of the tribe comes to visit the Frasers with tidings of peace. He dubs Jamie “Yona Dihi,” or “Bear Killer.” All things considered, that’s a pretty amazing name. While the men talk, one of the elders, a healer woman named Adawehi, tells Claire of a prophetic dream that she had about Claire. She says that Claire’s medical knowledge will only continue to grow as she gets older but warns of a coming death that Claire will blame herself for.
Skin Score: 8/10. While the Frasers are battling the bear, there’s potential trouble brewing on two other fronts. On one side, Fergus has been left behind in Wilmington to recruit new settlers (and to prepare for the birth of his and Marsali’s first child). Jamie instructs Fergus to seek out Highlanders, and to specifically look for men from Ardsmuir prison. It’s been 20 years, but could it be that we’ll finally get Murtagh back??
In the future, Roger is brooding over losing Bree. He reads through the book that she gave him and comes across a mention of Fraser’s Ridge. He writes to the author for more information and gets a copy of the land survey, letters from settlers, and even a copy of the charter signed by Jamie. Excited by the news, he calls Brianna with the proof that her mother found Jamie again. It’s a stilted conversation, full of unsaid words, but it’s a start at bridging the gap between them.
The good news is short-lived, however. Roger soon learns that Jamie and Claire die in a fire at some point in the 1770s. He frets over if he should tell Bree or not. He finally decides to tell her, but when he calls, he finds that he is too late. Bree’s roommate, Gayle, tells him that Bree left two weeks ago to visit her mother in Scotland. Roger realizes that Brianna intends to go through the stones, and that she has no idea what she is heading into.
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