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Brianna experiences the colonial Dating Game in Outlander's 'If Not For Hope'
Spoiler Warning: The following discusses detailed plot points from the Season 4 episode “If Not For Hope.” If you haven’t had a chance to watch the episode yet, go back through the stones and return once you have.
We meet again, sassenachs! It's not often that secrets and lies come to light so quickly here on Outlander, but last week's episode brought a staggering amount of truths out into the open — namely, the one where it turned out to have been Roger who Jamie so thoroughly trounced before being sold to the Mohawk by Ian. Naturally, Brianna was very pissed at both her father and her cousin, and in order to try and make it up to her, both men declared their mission to track Roger down and return him safely — with Claire's help, of course. Meanwhile, Jamie tasked Murtagh with a mission of his own: to find and capture Stephen Bonnet. Why? Because he wants to kill the man who's caused his family so much suffering.
When we last left off with Brianna, she’d been dropped off at her great-aunt Jocasta’s place in River Run to safely wait out the weeks, months or however long it’s going to take Jamie, Claire and Ian to track down Roger with the Mohawk. But what’s a girl to do when she’s basically cooped up in a big house all by herself? The answer is: drawing, reading, and more drawing, and while Lizzie expresses some worry about a few of Bree’s darker and more emotional sketches, she assures her that it’s all part of her need to process what’s happened. Lizzie still blames herself for her role in the mix-up with Roger, but Bree says she’s already forgiven. As for whether things will be patched up between father and daughter any time soon, well, it may be a little harder for Bree to forget the harsh words Jamie said to her in the heat of the moment.
There’s going to be enough happening at River Run to take Bree’s mind off of the issue of forgiveness, though, because Jocasta’s hosting a dinner to introduce Brianna to some of her friends — some of her very male, very eligible friends, if you catch my drift. But Bree doesn’t learn that her aunt is basically trying to play matchmaker for her until she comes down the stairs in her newly altered dress and sees a bevy of bachelors waiting to meet her. Behind door number one is Gerald Forbes, who appears thoroughly charmed by Brianna, much to her chagrin. Door number two holds Judge Alderdyce, who gets partial points in his favor for not projecting even half the casual racism his mother does. And door number three contains Lieutenant Wolff, who was definitely sniffing around Jocasta herself only a few months ago but seems to have no problem redirecting his creeper vibes to her niece.But the party has one more unexpected arrival once the group adjourns to the parlor… and a fashionably late Lord John Grey makes a dramatic entrance. He recognizes Brianna almost instantly as Jamie and Claire’s daughter, but later, over dinner, admits that Jamie had also written to him asking that he look in on her to make sure she’s alright. When one of Bree’s potential suitors propositions her for a walk, she feigns feeling faint, but in the chaos that follows Lizzie lets the truth about Bree’s pregnancy slip in front of Lord John. He promises not to divulge her secret, but he also has something for her: a letter from Jamie that her father had requested he deliver to her personally.
Jocasta’s desire to see Brianna’s future secured doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon, so Bree decides to take matters into her own hands — and who better to approach with the idea of a marriage of convenience than, dun dun dunnn, Lord John? Grey balks significantly at the idea of marrying the daughter of the man he’s in love with, but Bree has her own blackmail card to play, having previously witnessed Grey and Bachelor #2, Judge Allerdyce, hooking up in the kitchen while sneaking downstairs to satisfy a late-night pregnancy craving. Grey calls her bluff on all counts but then softens once he realizes that Bree’s just trying to make the best of a hopeless situation. At first, he tries to let her down gently, but it seems that Grey will always have a soft spot for every Fraser and marches inside to inform Jocasta — and a hopeful Gerald Forbes — that he and Brianna have just become engaged. This is absolutely not what Jamie had in mind when he asked you to look after his daughter, sir.
After encountering some Cherokee on the road, Ian shares some good news: they now have an in on Roger’s location. The Mohawk are believed to live in a village known as Shadow Lake, and there’s a good chance he’s there. But it’s also a two-month ride, and unfortunately, it’s a trip they’re going to have to make themselves. That’s not the only issue that Ian picks up on within their traveling party; still sensing some notable tension between Jamie and Claire, he approaches his aunt about it. Claire insists she’s not angry with Jamie, but she is having a hard time thinking about how Roger and Bree must be feeling with each passing day.The first real sign they get that they’re on the right trail comes when Rollo digs up a bone — a human leg bone, Claire confirms. Ian recognizes the remains as belonging to the man who had been with Roger when both had been sold to the Mohawk, but when Jamie searches high and low for any further clues, none emerge. It means that Roger’s possibly still alive, at least, but after they fully bury the body they’ve discovered Claire decides it’s time to patch things up with her husband — so she goes to Jamie later that night in their tent and apologizes for keeping the secret of Stephen Bonnet from him. After years of sharing truths that were just hers and Bree’s alone, it never occurred to her to break that trust for Jamie’s sake. With their daughter here, Claire has to reevaluate who she prioritizes in their family. Meanwhile, Jamie's still dwelling on the harsh exchange he’d had with Bree before leaving, but Claire points out what we all know: “she’s just like you; she says things in anger that she doesn’t mean.” Somehow, that’s the moment when Jamie realizes that he and his daughter are more alike than they are different, in spite of years and centuries spent apart.
Back in Wilmington, Murtagh has enlisted Fergus in his search for Stephen Bonnet, but there’s another complication — Murtagh’s role within the Regulators has become more public knowledge, and he’s now a wanted man. Marsali has her concerns about harboring a fugitive, but she’s more concerned about her husband’s apparent lack of ambition, not to mention the lack of job offers coming his way due to his missing a hand. So she approaches Murtagh with a request: to ask Fergus to fight with him and the rest of the Regulators if and when the time comes. “I’ll have a whole man or none at all,” she declares. When news reaches them that Stephen Bonnet’s ship has once again docked in the harbor, it’s go time, and Murtagh and Fergus eventually confront Bonnet while he’s preparing to enjoy some time with a lady (“enjoy” maybe being the operative word where she’s concerned). Knocking him out is the easy part, but transporting an unconscious man in the city can attract some unwanted attention, and soon Murtagh’s recognized from a wanted poster, hauled off while Fergus makes an escape alone.
And as for Roger? Well, he’s back with the Mohawk after all, being hauled into the village. Immediately upon his arrival, he’s subjected to a trial whereupon the men begin hitting him and beating him with various clubs. It’s evident that he’s intended to remain standing long enough to emerge out the other side stronger than ever, but to what end?
- Acting MVPs of the week have to go to Sophie Skelton and David Berry, who really brought it in all their scenes together. Bree and Lord John are going to be one odd couple, but I appreciate the way their friendship has grown already.
- Ian telling Claire she needed to “go to” Jamie did not come off the way he intended, but it’s almost guaranteed on this show that a fight between the Frasers will end with some tender make-up lovin’.
- Fun cameo of the week: Lord of the Rings’ Billy Boyd as the endearingly hopeful and charmed Gerald Forbes! He was so ready to marry Bree, too; I almost felt bad for him getting rejected so soundly (and dramatically, too, but that's a pattern on this show).
That’s it for now, Outlander fans! Feel free to sound off in the comments about your favorite moments this episode, as well as your predictions for where this season will go, or tweet at us over at @Syfyfangrrls. How long will Roger be hanging with the Mohawk before the rest of the group comes to his rescue? What's going to happen with Murtagh? And how is Jamie going to react to the news of Bree's latest engagement? See you next week!