Welcome back to the Ridge, where yes, before you ask, people are still secretly huffing homemade ether in their surgery. Morale is low, guys. I mean, people aren’t even excited that Bree invents matches. Matches! Kind of a wild thing to choose as your first invention when you literally traveled back in time to warn your parents that they die in a house fire, but okay! All of this is to say that Fraser’s Ridge’s air feels heavy and is only getting heavier.
Jamie is still dealing with two highly delicate situations that could easily become major conflicts at any moment. Let’s start with his dealings with the Cherokee. Last week, he took on the job of “Indian Agent” to be a liaison between local tribes and King George only because the other option for the position was Richard Brown, and that guy objectively sucks as a human being. Of course, taking a position that once again ties Jamie closely to the crown is risky, seeing that he knows the Revolutionary War is coming and plans to be on the side of the rebels fighting the crown. Awkward, right? He runs into a major problem right away, as is Jamie’s way.
Jamie meets with Cherokee leaders who are requesting that England supply them with guns. Settlers are not respecting the treaty lines (surprise, surprise!) and encroaching on their land and hunting grounds, and they would like to be able to defend themselves. Seems reasonable. Still, Jamie is hesitant to even agree to broach the subject with England. This choice bothers Young Ian, Jamie’s number two here, a great deal. But Jamie has his reasons.
Before explaining himself, though, he needs to have sex with his wife. In a truly wild and unnecessary scene, two Cherokee women try to have sex with Jamie because it would be like an honor or something, but he politely tells them no … and then is so revved up that he goes home and immediately requires some time alone with his wife. Claire is very into it! These grandparents are horny as hell. Afterward, Jamie’s pillow talk consists of asking for some clarification on the Revolutionary War: Does Claire know which side the Cherokee will fight on? Basically, he’s worried about giving the Cherokee guns from the crown because it would most likely mean that when the war comes, they’ll be fighting for England and against Jamie — he’d be arming his enemy. If he doesn’t get them guns, it puts them at risk right now, but they might be more apt to take up arms against England when the time comes, which might ultimately be better for them anyway. Unfortunately, Claire’s U.S. history is a little fuzzy, and she can’t be of assistance.
Jamie decides not to tell Major MacDonald about the request from the Cherokee, but Young Ian can’t keep quiet any longer. So Jamie has to explain the basics of the Revolutionary War and his reasoning for his actions — and remind Ian that now that he is on the whole time-travel thing, he needs to remember that knowing what’s to come is both a blessing and a curse. And that’s that on that. Or so Jamie thinks.
Claire might not have the deets on the Revolutionary War, but you’d think Jamie might ask the other two time travelers he knows just as, like, a basic due diligence kind of thing. I mean, Roger was a history professor and Bree studied history for a while and was fully aware of the significance of the Battle of Alamance last season, so maybe she might have some intel? But no, Jamie is satisfied with his decision. Ian, not so much.
Many things are going on at the Big House this week, but the most pressing is certainly that Marsali goes into labor — and the situation is precarious. Claire is terrified that she might have to give Marsali a C-section, which will save the baby but not the woman who has become her surrogate daughter (okay, but seriously, the development of the Claire-Marsali relationship throughout the run of this show is Outlander at its best). Eventually, Roger rouses Fergus from his latest drunken stupor and gets him to his wife’s side. Fergus proceeds to use some, uh, tactics he learned while living in a brothel to help Marsali along. When everybody in the house can hear Marsali screaming out in pleasure, they’re all like, Uh, I gotta go see a guy about a thing. Except for Claire, God bless her.
Bree ends up bumping into Ian, looking quite distressed. Unlike his uncle, Ian has more questions about the role the Cherokee and other tribes might play in this impending war. Bree has some answers, but none that make Ian feel any better: She tells him how, yes, a new nation will be formed after the war, and although white people will tell all the Native tribes that they are a part of it, they won’t be, not really. She tells him how they’ll be forced off their land and about how much they will suffer. Ian feels heaps and heaps of guilt — that blessing and a curse thing Jamie was talking about is real. And it’s because of this guilt and knowledge of the future that, later, Ian will refuse to drop the subject with Jamie. He tells his uncle that because they know about the injustices the Cherokee and other tribes will face, shouldn’t they give them every opportunity to defend themselves? He vows to help them, even if Jamie continues to refuse.
Back at the Big House, Marsali safely delivers a baby boy. It seems like maybe Marsali and Fergus have turned a corner, but it doesn’t last long. Their son is born with dwarfism, and once Fergus realizes this, he runs out of the room; he can’t even look at the boy. It’s pretty fucked up. Marsali, however, showers that little baby with so much love and affection. And she won’t be the only one — a few days later, Jamie comes by Marsali and Fergus’s cabin and overhears Ian inside. He has come to give the baby, Henri-Christian, a blessing. Ian confesses to Marsali that he had a child too, when he was with the Mohawk. He doesn’t say anything more, but it completely puts everything into perspective for Jamie. Next thing we know, Claire finds Jamie writing a letter to the governor recommending they give the Cherokee the guns they’re requesting. Now Jamie knows that he fights so hard on their behalf because they’re Ian’s family, and Ian is his family. “Come what may,” he says, knowing he only has so much control over his future.
The second delicate situation Jamie is still managing is that of Tom Christie. Jamie may think he has more control over this situation than the Cherokee one, but the jury’s still out. Control is Tom Christie’s problem too. He doesn’t have enough of it on Fraser’s Ridge. He builds a big church, and Jamie tells him he needs to turn it into a Freemason meeting house where all people are welcome and also threatens him after learning of a rumor spreading among his people that Claire might be a witch, after a funeral in which the deceased wasn’t actually dead. Tom isn’t a fan of Claire’s for several reasons, but mainly it’s that she isn’t afraid to stand up to his idiotic ideas about health care and women. He has no authority in this place and so tries to hold on to what little authority he has elsewhere — mainly with his daughter, Malva. Malva has been Claire’s little shadow, wanting to learn as much as she can about healing. Tom hates this. One day, after being reamed out by Jamie, he takes it out on Malva, who he finds studying some papers instead of doing chores. He goes to whip her with his belt, but because of his lame hand, he’s unable to. It’s only because of this that he decides to let Claire operate on it. Claire says she has to wait until the wound on his other hand heals, but whenever that operation does take place, it should be an interesting dynamic to watch. Claire may be scared of the ghosts that haunt her and of losing Marsali, but she’s not afraid of someone like Tom Christie.
• Wow, what a funeral to kick off Tom Christie’s new church, huh? Granny Wilson is being laid to rest only for her to wake up … and then die a few minutes later. Claire immediately realizes the woman is suffering from an aortic aneurysm, but no one else really gets that. Hey, at least it gives Mrs. Wilson enough time to give her son-in-law notes on her terrible funeral (okay, fine, they make up before she officially dies). What a way to go out!
• Henri-Christian’s birth is only complicating the dire situation between Fergus and Marsali. When Claire finds more bruises on Marsali’s wrist, she asks her straight up if Fergus is doing this to her. Marsali explains she was so fed up with him being drunk that she lost her temper and attacked him — he grabbed her to defend himself. She also says that Fergus has been drinking because he blames himself for what happened to Claire and Marsali at the hands of the Browns. All of this points to everything getting worse before it gets better.
• Roger’s young friend Aidan has certainly grown attached to him. Aidan shows up at Roger and Bree’s cabin one night and tells them he got lost on his way home. Roger offers to walk him back. He has a soft spot for Aidan and his mom, Amy. No good can come from this.
• While Bree gets annoyed that everyone is more interested in her getting pregnant again than her inventions, it turns out that she and Roger are trying to have another baby. Even with the war coming? These people are looney tunes.
• Lizzy and Kezzie AND Josiah are flirting SO HARD. I’m scared.