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Outlander's 'Man of Worth' is a season finale full of bittersweet beginnings
Spoiler Warning: The following discusses detailed plot points from the Season 4 episode “Man of Worth.” If you haven’t had a chance to watch the episode yet, go back through the stones and return once you have.
Well, sassenachs, it's hard to believe it, but we've reached the end of things — at least for now. (Don't forget: the show has already been renewed for a fifth and sixth season, so we've got plenty more Outlander ahead to look forward to!) Last week's penultimate episode covered a lot of ground in terms of forgiveness: Brianna chose to move on with her life after her assault by Stephen Bonnet by confronting him in prison face to face, though a chaotically timed breakout attempt by Fergus and the Regulators may have left the dastardly evildoer's fate in question as of now. Meanwhile, Roger attempted an escape from the Mohawk, but found himself unable to ignore the helplessness of a fellow captive and walked right back into potentially dangerous territory.Shadow Lake
Remember when I was concerned about the lack of Jamie, Claire, and Ian last week? Well, the good news is we pick up with them having definitively located Shadow Lake. Jamie scouts ahead to investigate the camp but comes back with no sign of Roger, and the three decide to move ahead into the Mohawk territory with the desire to trade for his safe return. Ian, having acquired some understanding of the tribe’s language in his travels with John Quincy Myers earlier this season, tries to inquire about Roger’s whereabouts and offers various items in exchange for him. Ultimately, the three are directed to the tribe’s leader, Tehwahsehwke, after mentioning Roger’s importance to their family, but when Claire removes her scarf to reveal the opal stone hanging around her neck — anyone else remember the skull she’d found sitting in the woods? — any willingness the tribe may have had to trade Roger back suddenly disappears. One of the tribe’s members refers to it as belonging to someone named “Otter Tooth,” and Tehwahsehwke coldly orders them all to leave.
Once they’re out of earshot, Jamie tells Claire he intends to return at night and rescue Roger himself. Claire advises him against it, even once Jamie mentions he’d managed it before, back in Season 1, in rescuing her from Fort William. They prepare to set up their own camp but are quickly surrounded by a small group of Mohawk led by the woman who had identified the stone as belonging to Otter Tooth. She promises the three of them won’t be harmed if they return the stone, and introduces herself as Wahkatiiosta. Claire offers it in trade for Roger, but can’t help asking the other woman why the stone is so important in the first place.
Over a small campfire, Wahkatiiosta tells them the story of “Otter Tooth,” a man who had mysteriously arrived on Mohawk lands before she was even born, who would never mention where he was from but only ever spoke of when. He consistently warned the tribe of their impending destruction and urged them to take up arms against their future oppressors before they inevitably met their own ends. After he led a small party against white settlers, the village was angered and concerned his actions would bring soldiers back to them seeking retaliation, and Wahkatiiosta’s father, the chief at the time, ordered Otter Tooth to leave. He returned countless times against their wishes, and eventually the tribe was convinced he had been “possessed by an evil spirit.” Eventually, a small group of warriors pursued him into the forest and killed him, but his words of warning continued to ring long after his death. Wahkatiiosta adds that it is believed anyone in possession of the stone Otter Tooth wore around his neck has the power to see how the tribe’s story will end.
Ultimately, the two sides agree to an exchange: Roger for the stone, and Wahkatiiosta’s group quietly leads Jamie, Claire, Ian, and Rollo into the Mohawk camp via the water. They manage to reach Roger’s hut without encountering any trouble, and for a moment it almost seems like they might be able to pull this covert rescue off — but a warrior stumbles across them as they try to make their escape and fires his rifle to sound the alarm and warn the rest of the camp, and the group is ultimately outnumbered and surrounded on all sides. Tehwahsehwke rules decisively that Wahkatiiosta will be banished, but also informs the others that they need to leave, given that there has been no fair trade for Roger. Jamie instantly offers himself in exchange, for Bree's sake, and tells Ian to convince the tribe’s council. As Jamie and Claire tearfully prepare to be separated, Tehwahsehwke announces they have accepted the trade — only it isn’t Jamie who will be taking Roger’s place. It’s Ian.
The young man firmly and bravely informs his uncle that he means to stay with the Mohawk, to live with the tribe from now on. “You must promise that you’ll leave and no’ come back for me,” he insists, and don’t think Jamie or anyone else is going to be able to convince him to escape at the first opportunity. Ian’s given the tribe his word, and he doesn’t intend on breaking it. After the other two leave with Roger in their custody, now it’s Ian’s turn to run the gauntlet in the hopes of finding out if he can make it out the other side. Fortunately, he fares better than Roger did, and as he stands triumphant at the very end, he is proven worthy and declared an official member of the tribe, much to his own surprise and delight.
On the way back to Brianna, Roger doesn’t waste any time in repaying Jamie for the sound thrashing he delivered all those months ago, getting a few good punches in with his beloved’s father before losing steam. The next few minutes are spent catching Roger up to speed about all that’s happened since he was gone, from the assault Brianna experienced at Stephen Bonnet’s hands after he left to the fact that she’s carrying a child — and it may not be his. It’s a lot for anyone to take in, and Roger admits he may need some time to process it all, but Jamie goes full Papa Bear and says if he’s not completely sure about being there to support Bree he should go back through the stones right here and now. Claire’s response is more understanding; she says she wants Roger to be certain of his decision, so he should take all the time he needs.River Run
Murtagh rolls up to River Run after his escape from jail, because it seems everyone wants to knock on Aunt Jocasta’s door when they’re in need of a place to stay. He’s quickly caught up on all the goings-on, but is none too pleased when he learns that Brianna is engaged — and to a redcoat, no less! He’s much more reassured when Brianna tells him, in private, that the engagement is only to pacify Jocasta, and ultimately neither she nor Lord John plans on going through with it. Once Roger returns, they’ll end things quietly, but right now it’s still a matter of waiting.
Someone else won’t be waiting a minute longer, though, and that someone is Brianna’s baby. She goes into labor still waiting for Roger and the others to return and delivers a healthy baby boy. Two months later, her as of yet unnamed son is growing and thriving when Phaedre comes in with news of visitors approaching — it’s Jamie and Claire, and Brianna comes out to greet her parents, her face falling when she realizes Roger isn’t with them. The next day, however, Brianna glances out the window to see a lone rider approaching the house as the Frasers are preparing to leave and runs across the field to share a tearful, happy embrace with Roger. “Take me to see my son,” he tells her, but his isn’t the only arrival at River Run today. A group of British soldiers rides up with a message for Jamie: He’s been given the order by Governor Tryon to form a militia and go against the Regulators, and his first mission? To track down and kill the fugitive known as Murtagh Fitzgibbons.
- Murtagh and Jocasta! I’m sure I’m not alone in sensing the ~tension~ that had been brewing between them these last few weeks, and when it finally culminated in the two of them ending up in bed together I was thoroughly excited about it. If there’s one thing I love it’s a potential romance kindling between a pair of old friends, so I’m excited to see where this relationship goes next season, especially considering the trouble Murtagh finds himself in these days.
- Given the path Ian's character has taken this season, this writing of this “twist” was probably already on the wall, but him saying farewell to his family in favor of exploring a new life elsewhere is still an incredibly bittersweet scene in the finale, in part thanks to the wonderful performance of the talented John Bell as Not-So-Young-Anymore Ian.
- In regard to unresolved threads, something tells me that Stephen Bonnet may be rearing his evil head next season, given that we didn’t see a body in the aftermath of the explosion — and given the fact that Jamie and Murtagh are all too readily writing him off as dead.
- Jamie-in-spectacles! It was very brief, but it did come at the end, complete with removal for dramatic effect.
That’s it for now, Outlander fans! Feel free to sound off in the comments about your favorite moments this episode, or even within this season as a whole, as well as your predictions for where next season will go, or tweet at us over at @Syfyfangrrls. It's been an absolute privilege recapping this show for SYFY FANGRRLS, and I can't believe the end is already here — for now, anyway. Dinna fash, I'll be back again before you know it.