We went down the rabbit hole this week and followed Brianna back in time both through the stones and through her memory. We get to see Frank Randall through her eyes. We also get a little bit of follow-up on some other characters, and a huge development in Roger’s story arc. But just like in Wonderland, not everything quite fits right this week. While not a world-shifting episode, there are some very good parts. We’re going to focus on those as we break down the details in our “Swords vs Skins” recap.
*Spoiler Warning. The following recap contains spoilers for episode 407. Do not read further if you have not seen the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.*
Skin Score: 6/10. Brianna passes through the stones and promptly injures herself while walking through the Highlands. She winds up the guest of none other than Laoghaire and her daughter, Joan. This could have been an amazing set of scenes, as we get to see a slightly-different side of Laoghaire for a while. However, it feels mostly like framing for a series of Frank flashbacks.
That said, the Frank flashbacks are FULL of Easter eggs and definitely worth a second watch. First, we get a short clip of him carrying a sleeping Bree into the house. She is wearing a plaid skirt that looks awfully similar to the Fraser colors. Next, we see Bree lying in bed, listening to Frank and Claire argue. It’s one of the arguments that we saw from their perspective last season. Then, in perhaps the most important scene in the entire episode, Bree sees a letter from Reverend Wakefield, who has sent along a copy of Jamie and Claire’s obituary. She doesn’t understand the significance of what she is reading, but Frank does. He can’t tell her the truth, but he is in visible agony over the discovery. We only wish we knew exactly how much he knew about Jamie’s fate. But now we know how Bree found out about Claire and Jamie’s deaths.
The bright spot in the Laoghaire scenes is young Joanie. She’s a firecracker and we have so many questions about how the constantly-scheming Laoghaire managed to raise two daughters that we actually like. The girl quickly bonds with Brianna over their shared history of absent biological fathers and present step-fathers. That’s a lucky break because when Laoghaire realizes who Brianna is, it’s Joanie who saves Bree’s life by secreting her away to Lallybroch.
We get that there’s only so much time in each episode, but there is so much lacking in the Bree and Ian scenes. He immediately accepts that she is Jamie and Claire’s daughter, gives her money and gets her on her way North Carolina, all without seemingly batting an eye. Clearly, living with the Fraser clan has well-prepared him for such monumental moments. He treats it like it’s just a regular Tuesday afternoon and tells her to make Young Ian write more often. Bree is now on her way to her parents, along with a new traveling companion in the mysterious Elizabeth Wemyss.
Sword Score: 7/10. In the second biggest twist of the episode, Roger follows Bree through the stones. He is more successful on his trip to the harbor, but that’s where his luck runs out. Of all the ships sailing to Wilmington, he winds up on the one captained by Stephen Bonnet. He earns a position as a crew member through the flip of a coin and then spends the rest of the voyage with his fate balanced on the edge of said coin.
Bonnet proves to be just as ruthless a captain as we’d expect. He’s handsome and charming but demands absolute and unwavering support from his crew and passengers. When some of the passengers come down with Smallpox, Bonnet starts heaving the sick overboard with no regard for their age or position. Roger has to act fast to save a young mother, Morag MacKenzie, and her infant son, Jemmy. He hides them away in the storeroom.
That plan saves them from a watery death, but it very nearly costs Roger his life. Captain Bonnet is furious with the deception. He flips his coin again to determine Roger’s fate. Roger is still alive for now, but there are four ports before Wilmington. Will he make it all the way to find Brianna? Or will Bonnet’s increasing madness take them all to the bottom of the sea first?
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