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Outlander's 'Providence' offers an attempt at closure and an escape from captivity
Spoiler Warning: The following discusses detailed plot points from the Season 4 episode “Providence.” If you haven’t had a chance to watch the episode yet, go back through the stones and return once you have.
Welcome back, sassenachs! We've come a really long way (across time, in fact) since we first returned to our faves Jamie, Claire, Brianna, Roger and others back in November; can you believe that there's only one more episode left to wrap up this latest season of Outlander? I can't, and I'm the one over here on recapping duty. Last week's ep gave us a solid look at what the colonial dating scene must have been like, especially if you're pregnant and unmarried, but Brianna was as surprised as the rest of us when the eternally dashing Lord John Grey swooped in to rescue her from being forced into a marriage of convenience — by offering her one personally. WHAT. Meanwhile, Jamie and Claire finally made up while on the road with Ian, their merry trio still in pursuit of Roger and the Mohawk tribe he's sort of accidentally been sold into. Let's jump back into it, shall we?Shadow Lake
We pick up where we left off with Roger undergoing some kind of physical trial from the Mohawk. A particularly hard blow from a club smashes his shoulder and he crumples to the ground in pain. From the looks of things, he hasn’t passed the test, and one of the members of the tribe declares that he will remain a “captive.” Due to his beard, he's also given a name that roughly translates to "Dogface."
Ultimately, Roger’s allies are few and far in between at Shadow Lake; the first friendly face who offers any kind of help to him and his injured shoulder is a Mohawk woman named Johiehon and her baby, a girl with striking blue eyes. But Roger’s ignorance in regards to certain customs and beliefs within the tribe are what get him into trouble, even while he struggles to perform the menial tasks he’s been given with a badly injured shoulder. Johiehon comes to his defense against one of the other tribe's members, named Kaheroton, but eventually, Roger’s ordered to be placed inside a hut as punishment. He’s not alone inside; turns out he’s sharing the space with a French priest who introduces himself as Father Alexandre. It’s in conversation with the other man that Roger finally learns some important info — like where he is, for example, which may be helpful considering his desire to get back to Bree.
Alexandre also relays the story of how he came to be with the Mohawk, having received an invitation to join them. After converting several members of the tribe, he fell ill with fever and later fell into the arms of the Mohawk woman who was taking care of him. They eventually had a child, and their union was celebrated within the tribe — but Alexandre’s refusal to baptize the baby due to having broken his vow of celibacy has him on the outs with the Mohawk now, and he’s been confined to the hut as punishment. Roger realizes that he’s speaking of Johiehon and the baby, and asks why he won’t just perform the baptism anyway, but Alexandre remains convinced that receiving one from a “fallen priest” will damn the child’s soul.
Alexandre and the Mohawk remain at a continual impasse, even as he is stripped of his clothes and hauled out of the hut, later returned with an ear cut off as further sentence for his continued refusal. Roger does his best to tend to the other man’s wound and even says a prayer over him, but it’s clear that Alexandre isn’t going to be deterred from his belief, even when confronted with a final, fatal punishment: being tied to a stake with his feet put to a fire until he slowly burns alive. Horrified, Roger impresses upon him to rethink his position, to even say a different prayer if he can’t bring himself to blaspheme the sacrament of baptism. Alexandre insists this is his punishment for giving in to sin, but Roger refuses to believe that falling in love is sinful — especially given all he’s sacrificed in order to make it back to the woman he loves. Relaying his story to Alexandre, however, forces him to realize that he needs to start looking out for “number one” — himself — and seize freedom where he can, and he’s going to start by digging himself a hole out of this hut, to escape the first chance he gets.
After more time has passed, Roger digs deep enough to work his way free and makes a break into the woods, but the sounds of Alexandre’s screaming stop him in his tracks. “He chose his fate,” Roger reminds himself. “Don’t be an idiot. Be smart.” But he can’t go on, eventually making his way back to the Mohawk camp. Alexandre’s fate may already be sealed, but he doesn’t have to suffer, and Roger runs in to set off a stronger ignition the flames of the pyre. As Alexandre’s body burns, Johiehon gently lays their baby down and then walks into the fire to embrace her lover, sealing her fate alongside his, and Roger resigns himself to more time back in "the idiot hut," as he calls it.Wilmington
Fergus reconvenes with the Regulators after Murtagh's arrest. Although he blames himself for getting away cleanly, it’s clear that the men are going to do whatever they can to rescue their friend, at whatever the cost. It’s also clear that Fergus isn’t counting on Marsali to catch on to his rescue plans, but his wife is thoroughly encouraging of Fergus doing anything that gives him a sense of purpose and tells him she’s in to help with the mission. The conversation briefly turns to the couple’s future, and you can tell this is totally a case of Marsali having laid the groundwork for Fergus to be convinced he’d had the idea all along, because when he says that maybe it’s time for them to Jamie and Claire on Fraser’s Ridge Marsali immediately starts packing their things
At River Run, Bree’s finally informed of Bonnet’s capture and arrest by none other than Lord John Grey. According to Grey, he’s been charged with smuggling, piracy, and murder and sentenced to death by hanging next week. Brianna looks less relieved than might be expected, but that’s nothing compared to the bomb she drops on Grey: she wants to see Bonnet before his execution. Grey, being the old-fashioned goober that he is, insists that such a thing cannot be good for her unborn child, but Bree doesn’t exactly want to sit down for tea with the man. In response, she pulls out Jamie’s letter, the one Grey gave to her when he’d first arrived. In subsequently provided voiceover, Jamie advises her against seeking her own revenge. As far as he’s concerned, a man like Bonnet will meet his own end for the destruction he’s caused others, and if Jamie can’t kill him himself he doesn’t want Brianna to bear that vengeance on her consciousness. “Forgiveness can’t change what happened,” Bree tells Grey, “but it can change what will be.”
So the two travel to Wilmington so that Brianna can try to find some closure — if not for herself, necessarily, than for the sake of the baby she’s decided to raise regardless. Grey’s already phoned ahead to Governor Tryon to get them an audience with Bonnet so that Brianna can confront him once and for all. However, that’s the exact same day that Fergus and the Regulators are planning to break out Murtagh, so clearly, that’s not going to present a potential problem, right?
With Bonnet clapped in irons, Brianna has no qualms about going in alone to speak with him. He doesn’t recognize her at first, because he’s not only a rapist but an a-hole, but soon realization dawns and he makes a gross comment about remembering her face, among other things. She introduces herself as Jamie and Claire’s daughter to give him a little context about exactly who she is, but Bonnet being Bonnet, he doesn’t seem to care much. He does appear to care a little more once she confronts him with the sight of her pregnant belly, attempting some remark about how he may be dead soon but won’t be forgotten. However, Brianna firmly informs him that the baby will grow up never knowing his name, and as she turns on her heel to leave Bonnet offers her a parting gift: one of the gemstones pulled from his teeth for the child’s “maintenance.”
Meanwhile, the Regulators are charging in to haul Murtagh out of prison, and there’s a hilarious moment when Fergus and Lord John have a mini-reunion of their own, because there’s always time for that on Outlander. It’s hard when you have friends on the opposing side, am I right? Of course, in all the chaos, as well as the gunpowder the Regulators have laid behind to set off to cover their breakout, someone’s left the keys to the jail within Bonnet’s reach...
- Once again, Sophie Skelton and David Berry absolutely brought it in their scenes together, from the quiet scene of Grey putting a hand on Bree’s stomach to feel the baby kick to Grey’s refusal to out the Regulators for their involvement in the explosion. If this season doesn’t convince Starz to order that spin-off show based on the Lord John books, I don’t know what will.
- No Jamie and Claire and Ian this week! I'm not sure how much the show will be able to continue the momentum on that front, especially since the finale is looming, but I look forward to finding out.
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. What will Roger's punishment be for trying to escape? Will the others get to him in time? Most importantly, will they all be reunited in time for Brianna to give birth? SO MUCH NEEDS TO HAPPEN and I'm not sure it all will before next week, but see you then!