Last week, we watched as Jamie tended to Fergus in his darkest moment, stopping him from ending his life and giving his son a beautiful speech about how much he means to him that may or may not have left certain audience members silently weeping into their wineglass. We get a continuation of that conversation in which Jamie sends Fergus out to sell some whiskey in town to remind him that he is needed here — Fergus knows what Jamie is doing — and when Fergus thanks him for saving his life, Jamie just replies, “I’ve simply balanced the scales.” I guess maybe some people may or may not be tearing up again.
This week, Jamie has another sonlike figure in his life to lovingly and empathetically guide through a traumatizing time when he and Young Ian revisit the Cherokee. Plus, he learns what the Trail of Tears is, so a big week for the big guy!
With a whiff of rebellion in the air after the Boston Tea Party, Major MacDonald wasted no time getting Jamie those guns to deliver to the Cherokee nearby. Not surprising to anyone, those guns come with a condition: The governor — by way of the king, of course — wants the Cherokee to swear loyalty to the crown in any upcoming little wars or whatever. Jamie has to play it cool so as to not be arrested for treason, but you know he’s not comfortable with any of this. That angst only grows once frank discussion with Bree (not to be confused with a Frank Discussion, which happened in season four) about the tragedy that befalls the Cherokee and other native tribes. She tells her father that in 60 years, the Cherokee will be forced off their land and made to move thousands of miles away from their ancestral home, a move where thousands of Native Americans will die, and it will be so horrific and tragic that it will be called the Trail of Tears. So, that’s the heaviness Jamie has to carry with him as he goes to hand off these guns to Chief Bird. Always such a lighthearted and worry-free time for our Fraser’s Ridge folk!
Another heaviness soon rears its head: Ian notices that they are not the only ones visiting the Cherokee at the moment. There are members of the Mohawk here as well, including Kaheroton, who was basically Ian’s brother while he lived with them. The blast from the past sends Ian spinning, and he finally lets Jamie in on everything that happened that led to his return to Fraser’s Ridge. Remember when he showed up and he was quiet and heartbroken, so torn up that he almost drank a poisonous tea to end it all but refused to go into the details of any of it? We finally get the details.
A teary Ian tells Jamie about how he was officially adopted into the Mohawk tribe — remember how gutting that was when he sacrificed himself for ROGER of all people? Roger’s hot now, so it’s fine, but at the time, a controversial trade — named Okwaho’rohtsi’ah, or Wolf’s Brother (what up, Rollo!), and fell in love with a woman named Wahionhaweh (he called her Emily before he fully had a grasp on the Mohawk language). She gave him a wolf amulet, which meant she chose him to be her husband because the Mohawk know what’s up and the women get to decide who they want to marry. They were very in love and Ian felt at home there — the Mohawk truly became his family. Wahionhaweh miscarries pretty far along in her pregnancy, and the loss of their daughter is devastating. She gets pregnant again but suffers another miscarriage. Then things really go to shit: Wahionhaweh’s mother comes for a chat with Ian and tells him that the Mohawk believe that babies can’t survive if their father’s spirit is weak, and since his spirit is not Mohawk, he’ll never be able to give Wahionhaweh a baby and he needs to leave and return to the Frasers. Ian discovers that Wahionhaweh has already moved on with none other than Kaheroton — which is just layers and layers of betrayal. And this is why Ian returned to the Ridge so torn up — not just from the heartbreak or the anger of betrayal, but also because he was trying to process the grief from losing his child.
He is still torn up from all of those things. The man needs some level of closure! He gets it in a roundabout way. First, he learns that not only are Kaheroton and Wahionhaweh still together, but they have a son together. Ian can’t control his anger and the hundred other feelings swirling around his head and attacks Kaheroton. The two wrestle until Jamie pulls Ian away, and another Indian agent who’s around, called Scotchee, pulls Kaheroton off by his hair and headpiece and adds in some insults for good measure. Scotchee might have a cute li’l nickname, but know that he sucks. Not only is he an asshole to Kaheroton, but he’s also a drunk and trying to get Jamie involved in some illegal land purchases. When Kaheroton fights back, Scotchee challenges him to a duel because Scotchee is a messy bitch who loves drama.
Meanwhile, Ian is reeling from the news of Kaheroton and Wahionhaweh having a child. He cries by the river until Jamie finds him and attempts to comfort him by opening up about Faith, the daughter he and Claire lost in Paris, whom he, too, never got to hold before she was buried. Ian is scared that because his daughter wasn’t baptized, her soul is lost somewhere, and Jamie tells him that they’ll pray for Faith to find her and take care of her. Listen, I am not a religious person, but this was a moving scene! Jamie is two-for-two on offering kindness and comfort to his Sad Boy sons!
It’s enough to allow Ian to push past his anger and arm Kaheroton with Jamie’s pistol so that he has a chance in this duel, and he’s the one who catches Scotchee trying to cheat and stops him. Ian is healing, baby. As he and Jamie leave, he tells his uncle that he finally feels at peace with the two sides of him — that now he knows he can be both Wolf’s Brother and Ian Murray. So, all in all, an emotional but ultimately positive trip for Ian.
This idea of peace with the duality of your existence is an interesting one for Jamie to have a little think on. Between the duel drama — men just gotta duel, don’t they? — Jamie pulls Chief Bird aside for a chat. He tells him what Bree told him about the Trail of Tears by explaining that the women in his family have dream prophecies and he can’t warn many people about things they know, but he felt he could warn Chief Bird. Even Chief Bird is like, Thanks, but also, how does knowing this help at all? A harsh reality for Jamie, who was probably pretty pumped he could finally use some of his future knowledge.
The whole time he’s warning Chief Bird, and as they talk about the Cherokee pledging loyalty to the crown, Jamie has to pretend that he is still pro-king. It’s getting to him. He knows that his situation is not like Ian’s and he is not like Ian, and there’s just no way he can continue playing both sides of this game. Back at Fraser’s Ridge, he tells Claire that this has to end. He’s going to give up his Indian Agent position and distance himself from the crown. Our baby’s going full rebel! This is a big moment. Claire hears this and is onboard, but also Claire is horny — she remembers the last time he came home from a meeting with the Cherokee and all he wanted was some vigorous humping; she’s returning the favor and good for her! All this Revolutionary War stuff is depressing as hell; Grandma and Grandpa should hump as much as possible before shit hits the fan.
The whole “sex in the stables” thing would be just a cute little way to go out on this episode, but it turns out that Claire and Jamie are not humping alone. Nope. Fraser’s Ridge’s resident creep show Malva Christie is hiding nearby, watching all of it. Goddamn, Outlander really goes from one problem to the next, doesn’t it?
• Just because Fergus is on his way to healing, I hope that doesn’t mean we don’t continue to get these great scenes between Fergus and his adoptive parents. The scenes with him and Jamie and/or Claire have been among the best of the season.
• What’s up with constantly pointing out how allergic Major MacDonald is to Adso the cat? In this episode, his constant sneezing while he’s a guest on the Ridge interrupts Claire and Jamie’s morning sex. Someone get this guy a Zyrtec so the hot people can continue to get it on, please!
• Claire tests her ether out on Lizzie and Josiah and it works! Malva is there too, as she continues with her apprenticeship (I know Marsali has a lot going on right now, but I miss when she was in the surgery with Claire all the time), and she attempts some flirting with Josiah, but Lizzie shuts that situation down.
• Malva asks Claire why she keeps such a detailed journal of surgical notes and does seem genuinely interested in learning from her — but she also can’t stop talking about how her dad thinks it’s the devil’s work and her brother thinks Claire’s an evil witch. Malva gives me the creeps, and I just don’t think she should be allowed near sharp objects.