Spoiler Warning: The following discusses detailed plot points from the Season 4 episode “The Birds & The Bees.” 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! After last week's episode, I think we were all in need of a good solid pick-me-up for some of our favorite characters, and this week definitely gave us a partial respite — but thanks to some good old-fashioned misunderstandings and lack of communication, there's going to be some pretty intense fallout as a result. A brief recap, first: Everyone converged in Wilmington last week, where Jamie averted a potentially disastrous fate for Murtagh and the Regulators while Claire performed a little emergency surgery, all without getting a single drop of blood on her flawless white gown. Meanwhile, Roger and Brianna finally found each other, but their sweet reunion was cut short after an argument sent them spiraling away from each other. Brianna, unfortunately, drifted right into the terrible, awful, no good, very bad Stephen Bonnet's clutches, and the assault that ensued left her traumatized and shaken.
We pick up in the immediate aftermath of Bonnet’s attack on Brianna as she finally makes her way back to the room she and Lizzie Wemyss have been sharing. Lizzie, with no knowledge of what’s just transpired, only has the impression that Brianna has been spending the last few hours in Roger’s company — and undoubtedly assumes that he’s to blame for the brutal injuries we see Brianna struggling to wash away. Brianna repeatedly brushes off Lizzie’s offers to help or talk about what she’s just been through, and my instincts are telling me that this lack of clarification is only going to lead to a serious misunderstanding later on.
Roger circles back around to the inn in the morning looking for Bree, only to find a smug Bonnet enjoying his breakfast. He’s glad Roger’s showed up because the last thing he’d wanted was to have to send out his men to look for a missing member of his crew before leaving for Philadelphia. Roger tries to turn him down, saying he’ll be staying behind in Wilmington, but as far as Bonnet’s concerned it’s not a request, and he’ll enforce Roger’s involvement by any means necessary. Abandoning his duty is not an option. “I’d sooner see you lose a lass than a limb,” Bonnet replies, though he informs Roger that he’ll be free to come back to North Carolina after that. Of course, by the time Brianna wakes up later that day and comes downstairs looking for Roger, she’s informed that he’s already departed and heads out to the docks to look for him, but there’s no sign of him or the ship he originally sailed in on.
The good news is that Brianna’s path is set to cross with someone else very soon, because Lizzie has news of very interesting events that transpired last night, a story of a striking Scotsman and his wife performing surgery at the theater — and they’re still in town. Brianna manages to track Jamie down behind a building while he’s literally unzipped and relieving himself, and to make matters even more awkward he thinks she’s propositioning him at first when she tells him she’s been looking for him. How does he not recognize her when Claire brought those photos of her back through the stones? I’m willing to suspend my disbelief because the moment Jamie finally realizes it’s his own daughter standing in front of him is beautiful and delicate all at the same time. Both of them are overcome with emotion as well as that kind of nervous tension that comes from seeing someone you know of, know your connection to, but have never been able to meet until now.Jamie leads Brianna to Claire, who is equal parts shocked and ecstatic to be reunited with her daughter, and Bree doesn’t waste any time at all in telling her parents about the obituary she’d found. Jamie can’t resist getting in a small dig at the printer for the smudged date (seeing as how he used to be one and all), but given that they have no indication of how soon their possible deaths could happen there’s not much else to do for the time being save heading back for Fraser’s Ridge and settling in as one big happy family — for now, anyway.
As they make their way down the river, Young Ian confesses it’s a place that still gives him the creeps after they’d been robbed by a man called Stephen Bonnet, and Bree realizes with quiet horror that he's the same man who had attacked her, but it’s a secret she keeps to herself through the rest of the journey back to the homestead. Murtagh’s been camping out at the cabin ever since Tryon’s plan to have him and the other Regulators arrested was foiled, and he and Jamie agree it’s best for him to lay low for a while before trying to head back into town.
Weeks pass, spring blooms, and Bree continues to guard the truth of what happened to her even while she and Jamie try to get used to being around each other. Naturally, the subject of Frank comes up, most notably when Jamie praises Bree’s aim with a musket and she mentions that Frank had been the one to teach her how to shoot. In an attempt to grow closer to the daughter who he still considers something of a stranger, Jamie invites Brianna to go bee hunting with him in order to take a hive back to camp; turns out it’s the quality time they needed to bond a little more, and Jamie tells Brianna she can call him “Da” if she wants to. Unable to sleep later that night, Jamie reveals to Claire that he wants their daughter to stay, but she reminds him that, realistically, Brianna doesn’t belong in the past. The advantages afforded to her in her own time, both in society and toward her potential future, are worth more than spending whatever remaining months they have left together.In the days that follow, Bree finally opens up to Claire about what happened to her, but the story of her rape is tinged with its own separate revelation: She’s two months pregnant, and she doesn’t know whose baby it is. Claire, who seems to have a nose for sniffing out any medical condition, had already deduced the latter, but it’s the circumstances that may have led to Bree’s pregnancy that make the situation even more potentially devastating.
Having procured his last round of payment from Stephen Bonnet in the form of a gemstone, you might think Roger is intent on going back through the stones after all — but no, he’s made his way back to North Carolina and onto Fraser’s Ridge. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see Brianna or Claire before he’s spotted by Lizzie and Young Ian, and Lizzie incorrectly identifies Roger as the man who had attacked Bree. Jamie, who’s already been filled in on the details by Claire, proceeds to beat the living daylights out of him — but this all goes down while Claire finds her first ring in Brianna’s clothes and finally fills in the missing pieces of the story about Bonnet being the one responsible. The only thing that stops Jamie from beating Roger beyond a bloody pulp is a passing wagon of settlers, at which point he tells Young Ian to “get rid of him,” and as Ian hauls Roger’s limp body off into the woods on horseback, we cut to black.
- All the awards to Sam Heughan and Sophie Skelton for how they played out the beautifully emotional first meeting between Jamie and Brianna, and the way in which they had to navigate their characters’ relationship this episode. Watching these two grow closer this week was wonderful and a much-needed balm after the trauma of "Wilmington."
- I’m subtracting points for Bree criticizing Lizzie for running through town (“it’s not ladylike”) when she’d just got done doing the same thing. That was kind of an odd line that felt tonally out of character for her in general.
- Claire also finds out that Frank had known about the obituary before he died, that he knew she would eventually go back through the stones to Jamie. It’s something that isn’t news to us but gets a little overshadowed in the wake of Bree’s bigger reveal later on in the episode, and it’s a moment that happens very quickly before the subject changes — which is sort of a shame, because I would’ve liked to know more about how Claire felt about learning the secret her husband had kept in the final years of their marriage, but I can understand why it wasn’t as important in the long run.
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. Is this huuuuge misunderstanding going to be cleared up? How long will Brianna decide to stick around on Fraser's Ridge, especially in the wake of this latest situation? See you next week!