Prepare yourself for some emotional whiplash, friends. Just as you’re reveling in the pure joy of seeing Claire back on her surgical game, watching our favorite lovebirds remind us that teamwork does in fact make the dream work, and um, hello, enjoying some time with Mr. George Washington, you will be harshly brought back down to earth. Once again, tragedy befalls Brianna Randall because the poor girl can’t catch a break and Outlander can’t stop using sexual assault as a plot point.
It’s 1769 in Wilmington, North Carolina! Roger, recently arrived from sea and still in his heinous culottes, wanders the streets with the drawing of Brianna, asking the locals if anyone’s spotted her, as he knows she arrived on the Philip Alonso. He looks like some sort of sad, conflictingly hot street urchin. Just as he’s drowning his sorrows at the local tavern, who should walk in but Brianna. Does it seem like way too short a time for them to just bump into each other in Wilmington? Sure. Am I going to complain about it? Hell no! I don’t want a whole other episode about these two sad sacks walking around aimlessly!
Their reunion is fraught, since Bree is mostly happy but pretty shocked to see Roger after she went to great pains to make sure he didn’t follow her. Also, the last time they saw each other was hella uncomfortable. While they are aggressively chatting outside, Lizzie watches the whole thing from the window and unable to hear them, she gets the wrong idea about what’s going on. This misunderstanding will most definitely come back to bite everyone involved. Cool!
Bree and Roger sneak off to some sort of barn situation to hook up, except — this is not a joke — Roger is still on his bullshit about not sleeping with her before they’re engaged. He literally traveled through time to find her and yet he still won’t sleep with her before they get married (even though he’s had tons of sex and just wants her to be a virgin — sorry, I can’t with this dude). It’s times like these I wish Bonnet had tossed him overboard.
But Roger’s in luck because, guess what? Bree is totally cool with being the one to give in and since Roger “pursued her for 200 years” she will marry him now. I don’t know, you guys, is following someone who does not want to be followed 200 years into the past romantic or incredibly suffocating? That’s a question you have to answer for yourselves. Good luck on that journey.
Since they can’t magically conjure up a minister to marry them and they really want to do it, Roger suggests they get “handfasted.” It’s a Highlander tradition in which people who want to get married but live far away from a local minister are promised to each other for a year and a day, which hopefully gives them enough time to make it official. It sounds like a way for unwed devout Catholics to bang without feeling guilty about it, but what do I know?
Roger and Bree, with their hands tied together, say their vows in front of the fire (where is the owner of this barn situation? Does no one use this place all day?), and, voilà — they are “married.” Of course, they immediately enter into a very extended sex scene in which, yes, Roger does attempt some “dirty talk” by basically asking Bree if the carpet matches the drapes. If you were hesitant to call Roger The Worst before, are you on board now?
Anyway, their wedded bliss lasts all of a few hours because Roger lets slip that he had Jamie and Claire’s obituary, but decided not to tell Bree about it because he didn’t want “to break her heart.” Bree does not take the news well. The fight escalates as Bree reels from the fact that Roger was going to take away her choice of warning her parents or not and Roger is all too eager to throw out the notion that he’s her husband now and she should listen to him. YEAH, I KNOW.
And so, within hours, the newlyweds wonder if this was all a huge mistake and if Roger should just go back on through the stones. It’s really not a great look for Roger, which is saying something, because remember those culottes I was talking about?
Bree, thinking she has just lost Roger again, tearfully returns to the tavern. Unfortunately for her — for all of us — Stephen Bonnet is there, too. He makes a lewd remark and Bree is about to go on her way, until she notices that he has her mother’s ring and asks about it. He’ll give it back to her for a price — and he doesn’t need money. Bonnet pulls Bree into a back room, closes the doors, and we have to listen to her screaming while no one else in the tavern does anything to stop it. It is truly, brutally awful.
Thankfully, not the entire episode is completely grisly. (I warned you about the whiplash.) Claire and Jamie are back and here’s hoping they never leave us again! You guys! For our patience through last week’s Brianna-and-Roger extravaganza, we are rewarded with the Frasers all dolled up to go to the theater in Wilmington with Governor Tryon AND getting to watch the power couple work together to save Murtagh and some other rando with a hernia. This storyline is the stuff dreams are made of.
Here’s the deal: The Gov wants to trot Jamie around for Wilmington society and introduce him to his Number Two, Edward Fanning. Fanning has his hands in all the tax shenanigans as well as the militia — he seems extremely shady. He also has what looks to be a really bad hernia (karma, dude). When Claire offers some medical advice — you might need surgery, sir — Fanning and Tryon and every man except Jamie, who knows what’s up, is like, but you’re A WOMAN. Claire’s face during all of this is why we love Claire so much.
She doesn’t have too much time to let her feathers get ruffled because she learns that George and Martha Washington are in the house. Talk about a power couple! She is so excited to meet them, it’s very cute, and for once, dear reader, time travel is fun.
But the show must go on. As the play begins, Tryon informs Jamie that he has a spy amongst the Regulators and he’s going to trap a few of the men — including their leader, Murtagh(!!) — this very evening, as they attempt a raid on a carriage carrying tax money. Jamie knows robbery is a hangable offense and he quickly needs to come up with a plan to save his godfather. How can he enjoy the play now?! (Just kidding, Martha Washington says it’s terrible, and In Martha We Trust)
He comes up with a good one. He “accidentally” elbows Fanning right in the ol’ hernia and the man screams out in pain. There is chaos! There is commotion! Claire says he needs surgery immediately or he will die! Even in the midst of this, men are like, “But you have a vagina, how can you wield a scalpel!?” Honestly, Claire should just let Fanning suffer, but she’s a professional, so she orders everyone INTO THE LOBBY to get set up for emergency surgery. Meanwhile, she gets the low-down from Jamie, who needs her to distract Tryon as he runs off to warn Murtagh of the trap; Tryon can’t know Jamie’s gone.
Jamie uses George and Martha Washington as a sort of Colonial Lyft to get to Fergus and Marsali’s (they had a boy, BTW), and has Fergus find Murtagh while Jamie tries to slip back into the theater unnoticed. Don’t worry guys, it all works out! Although, it’s a little unsettling that Tryon knows exactly who Murtagh is. Keep an eye on our guy, Jamie!
And sure, saving Murtagh is exciting and all, but the most exhilarating part of the entire excursion to the theater is Claire, back in her element, crushing some impromptu surgery. Before you know it, she’s three knuckles deep in that dude’s abdomen and not even breaking a sweat. Governor Tryon is impressed, Fanning’s dummy doctors are impressed, we’re all impressed. You also must remember that while Claire is successfully performing surgery under less-than-desirable circumstances, she is also successfully saving her husband’s ass by distracting Tryon. She manages both tense tasks with a cool composure. Never forget that Claire’s the true hero of this show. If only the entire episode had just been Claire, Jamie, and George Washington.