The penultimate episode of the season for most shows can feel like just a series of set-ups for the finale. Luckily, Outlander has never been like most shows. While this episode does set up next week’s season finale rather neatly, it also stands squarely on its own. There is forgiveness and redemption and tragedy and love all throughout this hour, which only makes us sadder that the end is almost here. Before we dwell too long on the season finale, let’s break this episode down with our “Skins vs Swords” recap.
*Spoiler Warning! The following recap contains spoilers for episode 412. Do not read further if you have not seen the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.*
Skin Score:9/10. At River Run, Lord John brings news of Stephen Bonnet’s capture and conviction. Brianna immediately insists on being able to see him before the hanging. Jamie’s letter told her to strive for forgiveness and Bree has chosen to take his advice. She knows she cannot change what happened, but she believes that talking to Bonnet will give her peace for the rest of her life. Against his better judgment, Lord John agrees to take her to Wilmington.
Once inside the prison, Bree is able to speak her piece to Bonnet. She reveals her identity and pregnancy to him. She offers him forgiveness for his crime against her, and the knowledge that a piece of him will live on. Bonnet is pleased that he won’t be forgotten, but Bree assures him that he will be. The baby will never know Bonnet’s name or even of his existence, and that she will raise the baby to be a good person. Her words finally break through Bonnet’s callous exterior. In a rare show of humanity, he gives Bree a ruby and asks her to take care of the baby, even knowing that the child won’t know of him. Bree accepts the gift and returns to Lord John just as Fergus and his gang burst onto the scene.
Sword Score: 10/10. It turns out that while Bree was facing her attacker and all the emotions that go with it, Murtagh was sitting just a few cells away. Fergus has rallied the Regulators to try to rescue him, but it’s not just the men that he brought with him. Fergus knows that making such a public move will make Wilmington unsafe for him, Marsali, and their infant son, regardless of the outcome of the mission. Lucky for him, Marsali is more than ready for a new adventure. She agrees that it’s time for them to head west to Fraser’s Ridge and packs up the house while Fergus and the others make their plans. The more we see of Fergus and Marsali together, the more we want to see. They’re such a wonderfully underrated team.
The Regulator’s plan works out perfectly. They free Murtagh, blow up the prison, and everyone escapes with their lives. Lord John even does his part to throw the militiamen off the trail of the Regulators. He and Bree head back to their hotel while Murtagh, Fergus, Marsali, and baby Germain make their escape for Fraser’s Ridge. We are left to assume that Bonnet died in his cell in the explosion. But if we know anything about Outlander, it’s that the presumed dead have a way of coming back to life later on, so we’re going to need confirmation of his death next week.
Further north, Roger is still a prisoner of the Mohawk. His violent welcome appears to have been an initiation of sorts, one that he failed by falling. The tribe has dubbed him “Ehhaokonsah,” which translates to Dogface. Unable to adapt to the tribe’s customs, Roger finds himself kept under guard inside a thatched hut. He has company in the form of Father Alexandre Ferigault, a French priest. It turns out that Father Alexandre fell in love with a member of the tribe and they had a child. When the tribe asked him to baptize the baby, he refused, as he has broken his vows and cannot offer the sacrament. The Mohawk do not accept this and condemn the priest to burn for his refusal.
Roger is furious at Father Alexandre’s continued refusal to baptist his child. Roger tells the priest of his love story with Bree and all the times that he was an idiot over his love for her. Roger has vowed to stop letting his heart be his guide and to start acting in his own self-interest and tells Father Alexandre to do the same. Luckily for Bree, and for us, that’s a vow that Roger soon breaks.
He escapes the hut while the tribe is distracted with Father Alexandre’s execution, but he soon once again gives up his freedom for someone else. He returns and grants Father Alexandre a quicker death by throwing oil on the fire. The priest’s lover is devastated. She gently puts down their infant daughter and walks into the flames herself. Roger is then captured and returned to the hut. Will he escape again? Or will Jamie and Claire finally find him and rescue him?
The season finale of Outlander airs Sunday, January 27th at 8 pm on Starz. Viewers can also watch on Starz.com and the Starz streaming app. Be sure to check back here to FanFest.com for a final episode preview and a full episode recap.
Kade is often described as, “here just a minute ago” and can often be found just around the corner from where you’d expect. Approaching is not encouraged, unless you come with a strong wifi connection and a nice charcuterie board with gluten-free breads.