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‘Outlander’ Recap: “If Not For Hope”

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We didn’t think it was possible, but the closer we get to the season finale, the more intense the episodes get. This week, we find out how Bree’s pregnancy is progressing, if Murtagh can find the man who raped her, if Claire and Jamie and Young Ian can find any trace of Roger, if Roger even remained in the past, and just how far Marsali’s patience goes. (Hint- about as far as you’d imagine.) It’s a great episode, and well worth the watch for the verbal sparring alone. Let’s break it down with our “Swords vs Skins” recap.

**Spoiler Warning! The following recap contains spoilers for episode 411. Do not read further if you have not seen the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.**

Sword Score: 9/10. Another couple of months have passed at River Run, and Bree’s pregnancy is definitely showing. With no news of Roger, Aunt Jocasta decides that enough is enough. She invites all her single male friends over for dinner to meet (and potentially marry) her niece. And what an interesting group of friends it is: there’s the handsome Judge Alderdyce, the portly Lieutenant Wolff, the older Mr. Forbes, and oh, also LORD JOHN GREY. We don’t know how Lord John manages to waltz in and out of the Frasers’ lives at the worst moments, but we’re secretly glad that he does.

Bee navigates the choppy waters of the dinner party as best as she can, which involves some amazing verbal sidesteps and denials. But despite her best efforts, most of her suitors remain besotted with her at the end of dinner. She escapes by pretending to faint. Later that night, she stumbles upon Lord John and Judge Alderdyce in a very compromising situation.

Bree uses that information the next morning to try to blackmail Lord John into marrying her. He refuses and tells her nearly the entire truth of his very complicated relationship with Jamie (only leaving out the part where his son is actually Jamie’s son and Bree’s half-brother). Bree then confesses the truth about her baby’s potential parentage and her worries over if Roger will take her back, even if he’s found alive. Something she says strikes a chord with Lord John, and he thwarts Mr. Forbes’s proposal with an announcement to all at River Run that he and Bree are engaged. We’re hoping that this announcement satisfies Jocasta long enough for Roger to reappear.

Skin Score: 8/10. While Bree tries to hold on hope for Roger’s return, there are two other married couples trying to find their way back to each other. On the road, Jamie and Claire are distant with each other. Jamie, and us too if we’re being honest, is convinced that Claire is angry at him for what he and Young Ian did to Roger. Young Ian breaks down first and calls Claire on her cold-shouldering behavior. She says that she isn’t mad at Jamie, and Young Ian urges her to tell Jamie that. When the gang discovers the body of Roger’s former fellow slave, Claire finally sees how much this trip is weighing on Jamie as Bree’s father.

Claire goes to Jamie and apologizes for her behavior. She tells him that she’s been Bree’s only parent and confidant for so long that she forgot how to let someone else in. She also apologizes for keeping secrets from him in order to protect their daughter. Jamie is sure that bringing Roger back is the only way that Bree will ever forgive him for what he did and said. Claire assures him that he and Bree are very similar. They both say things in anger that they don’t mean, and that there is hope for reconciliation.

In Wilmington, Marsali and Fergus are also struggling. Fergus has been unable to find work. Most employers see his missing hand and dismiss him, well, out of hand. Marsali sees him becoming more and more downtrodden each day and goes to Murtagh. In a scene that makes clear that she’s Laoghaire’s daughter, Marsali demands that Murtagh ask Fergus to join the Regulators. Murtagh agrees and extends the offer. Fergus declines, but the ego boost from even being asked results in a remarkable change in his demeanor.

Murtagh and Fergus manage to capture Stephen Bonnet, but their plan goes awry when the local militiamen show up. Fergus escapes, but Murtagh is taken into custody along with Stephen Bonnet. The law sees them both as murderers and criminals, so here’s hoping that Murtagh can escape the noose. And that Bonnet can’t.

Outlander airs Sunday nights at 8 pm on Starz. Viewers can also watch on Starz.com or the Starz streaming app. Be sure to check back here to FanFest.com for full episode recaps each week, as well as future episode previews.

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