Hello Outlander friends, have you finally finished screaming into the abyss long enough to process everything that happened in “Journeycake”? There is so much to process! This episode — written by the OG Diana Gabaldon — is so packed with Moments that we hardly have time to fully dive into Claire and Jamie’s window sex (Jamie had time to dive, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, you’re welcome). Suffice to say that it was (1) extremely hot and those grandparents can get it, and (2) extremely stressful because there is TV precedent for a woman being humped out of a window to her death — bless this show for reminding me of that glorious Reign moment. There is so much going on that we must breeze through the sheer glee Claire feels while showing Jamie his own sperm through her microscope. Because yes! That is a thing that happens on! this! show!
So what exactly goes on in this episode that takes up so much of our time? Well kids, the Frasers have learned that wee Jemmy can time travel, and Roger and Bree want to go home. Home home. Two hundred years in the future home.
And so it’s happening! Claire and Bree are just hanging out trying to make peanut butter so that Jemmy can have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches — the best sandwich there is, don’t @ me — while Jemmy’s hanging out with Ian, who pulls out that familiar opal that once belonged to Otter Tooth and everything changes. When Jemmy holds the stone, it feels incredibly hot. It’s so hot, it breaks in his hands. The stone is hot to the touch for Claire, Bree, and Roger, too. It’s cold when Ian or Jamie hold it. And there’s that time-travel buzzing, too. Jemmy can hear the buzzing. Yup, Jemmy can definitely time travel.
Bree and Roger surmise that the stone broke in their son’s hand because his time traveling abilities are more intense, which is perhaps a symptom of having two time-traveling parents — it points to Roger being Jemmy’s biological father. So, that’s nice for them. But now with this knowledge, they are making good on the promise to take their family back to where they belong. Bree’s not as pumped as Roger, but she knows it’s the safest thing to do. Still, she doesn’t want to just disappear without an explanation.
One surprising person who won’t need an explanation when Bree, Roger, and Jemmy go poof, as Bree describes it, is Ian. Ian’s always had his suspicions about his strange Auntie Claire — he guessed fairy, which isn’t too far off — and after learning more about Otter Tooth and his opal while living with the Mohawk, those suspicions were raised once again. After the whole hot/cold stone debacle that played out in front of him, he’s finally ready to ask his aunt and uncle some questions.
Ian takes the news that his aunt has traveled from the future very, very well. Like, he just immediately accepts it as truth. Part of that might have something to do with the fact that he wants Claire or Bree to help him travel back in time and fix…well, he won’t fully explain what he wants to fix but we know it has something to do with a wife and the reason why he left the Mohawk. Sorry, time travel doesn’t work like that! Ian is the saddest of boys. Regardless, he is Team Time Travel now, and that seems like a win for everybody.
So Ian won’t need an explanation as to why Roger, Bree, and Jemmy are suddenly gone, but everyone else on the Ridge will. They decide they’ll tell people Roger got a teaching job in Boston. All of this means that we now have to sit through a parade of heartbreaking good-bye scenes. I never once thought I’d be tearing up during a Lizzie scene, but here we are, folks. HERE WE ARE.
“Good-bye” must be the word of the day on Fraser’s Ridge, because Lord John Grey gifts us with his presence (spinoff! spinoff!) only to inform Jamie that he’s headed back to England to help William become the earliest earl he can be. “No doubt there are a great many things I shall miss about being here,” he wistfully says and honestly, bless this man for never missing a chance to make eyes at Jamie. Before he leaves for England — now with Ulysses by his side in order to prevent Ulysses from being, you know, arrested for murder — Lord John wants to give Jamie a portrait of William. Who knows when he’ll see his secret son again, you know? It makes Jamie feel all the things.
But mainly, it makes Jamie feel like he finally wants to tell Bree that she has a brother. It’s part of his emotional good-bye to his daughter. He tells her the whole story of how William came to be and why he’s with Lord John and why he can never know the truth about Jamie being his real father. He tells Bree about William because he wants her to know that she has other family out there in the world. He’s very torn up about her leaving. He remembers when Claire left him the first time and he didn’t think he’d ever know his daughter. Even through that, he knew Bree was out there in the world, and that helped. “Even though I may never see any of you again, you have made my life whole,” he tearfully tells his daughter. I mean, at least, I think that’s what he said — I couldn’t really hear over my uncontrollable sobs. JAMES FRASER, PEOPLE.
The hits keep on coming. Bree and Roger have a nice chat with Fergus and Marsali to say good-bye, and Marsali (who is preggers again because those two just don’t stop) has to go and tell Bree that she’s become “a sister” to her, as if we aren’t all already torn up enough. Bree gets a chance to talk to Lord John about William and tells him how lucky her brother is to have a father like him, because she wants to devastate me. Even worse, Bree runs into Lizzie who has assumed she’s also moving to Boston and Bree has to inform her that no, she needs to stay on Fraser’s Ridge and help Jamie and Claire. “You’re the one that saved me. I’m meant to be with you, always,” Lizzie tells her. Lord, saying good-bye to people so that you can time travel 200 years into the future is hard.
For Bree and Roger’s final night on Fraser’s Ridge, they have one last family dinner. It kicks off with those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches Claire’s been working on. Jamie eats his first ever PB&J with a fork and knife and I swear to you I have never been so turned on. They toast to home and to family and then Bree, Roger, and Jemmy are off. I kept waiting for something to stop them from reaching the stones — because as book readers will know, this does not happen in book five, FYI — but no great obstacle comes. Ian escorts the MacKenzies to the stone circle Roger had found when he was sold to the Mohawk (Roger’s life, you guys), they tie a rope around themselves and Jemmy because we’re all about some true lo-tech time traveling, and they’re gone.
It works! The three of them make it through the stones in one piece. Where they end up, we’ll have to wait and see. From the looks on their faces and Roger’s “what the devil?” it seems like it is probably complicated!
Oh, wait, you thought that because Bree and Roger leaving 1772 was so traumatic and sad that it would be the only major drama going on at Fraser’s Ridge this week? That is the cutest. I told you there was a lot to process!
Just when you think the dumbest dick to ever walk the backcountry in the late 1700s is dead and gone and no longer able to torture the Fraser family, a new villain has arrived to take the place of Stephen Bonnet. Okay, well, he’s an old-new villain. Guys, I’m very sorry to tell you but the Clowns from Brown Town are back! Brown Brothers Richard and Lionel show up at Fraser’s Ridge with some new buddies, including Arvin Hodgepile and Wendigo Donner, and want Jamie and his men to join their “Committee of Safety,” which is basically a thing they made up so that they can police the county. The Frasers did happen by a tragic house fire early in the episode, in which they could tell the family was killed before the house was burned, so there are some shady things going on in the area, but still, do not trust the Browns for one second. Jamie’s basically like, can’t a man just have window sex and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with silverware in peace? He declines the offer to have him and the men of Fraser’s Ridge join the Browns. So, that’s strike one.
Strike two comes when Lionel Brown returns to Fraser’s Ridge with his wife and her broken wrist. Immediately, Claire can tell that Lionel did this to the poor woman. She explains that Lionel hurt her when she refused to have sex with him — he wants kids and she read an interesting article by a Dr. Rawlings about how to avoid getting pregnant. Then, when Lionel’s in Claire’s surgery, he notices her Dr. Rawlings-labeled box. Oh, this dude is onto Claire. He already had it out for her because she called him out for purposefully shooting someone on their side during the Battle of Alamance, so this discovery just reignites that fire.
Before you know it, there is a big explosion at the Fraser’s Ridge Still. The men run off to figure out what happened and leave Claire and Marsali to work on a patient. Suddenly, the men who had shown up earlier with the Browns run in, knock out Marsali, and kidnap Claire! When the guys finally return and learn what’s happened — Marsali is still unconscious, but breathing — Jamie is distraught. He races to the giant cross he had built in the beginning of the season and lights that baby on fire, summoning all the men of the Ridge. Oh, it’s on you guys, and it is exciting.