Spoiler Warning: The following discusses detailed plot points from the Season 4 episode “The Deep Heart's Core.” 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! As SYFY's resident Outlander recapper, I have learned some very important lessons during my overall tenure, but the biggest of them all has to be the harsh, undeniable truth that whenever our favorite characters seem poised to settle into their lives happily and well adjusted, something or someone comes along to thoroughly muck up the works. Last week's episode could have seen a happy reunion for Roger and Brianna if it hadn't been for a well-intentioned if thoroughly misguided assumption from Lizzie, leading to an equally terrible misunderstanding of the situation by Jamie and earning Roger a thorough beating from his prospective father-in-law. (They're technically related now that Roger and Bree are handfast, right?) Anyway, the last we saw of Roger was his unconscious body being dragged away on horseback to some unknown fate, with Bree completely unaware of everything that's gone down. Surely this will all be cleared up in short order, right? Right? Wrong.
We pick up at Fraser’s Ridge shortly after Roger gets his ass kicked, when Jamie reappears with his hand bandaged and spins some yarn about how he’d had an accident at the still. Brianna buys it, and Jamie extends an invite to her to tag along with him while he checks the various snares and traps to catch game around the land — but, as it turns out, it’s also so they can have a heart-to-heart about her “situation” (i.e. being pregnant and unmarried). Jamie, in his thoroughly dated attempts at fatherly wisdom, insists that Bree should marry right away; with a baby coming, she needs someone to provide for her and all. But Bree insists she won’t marry just anyone while she’s in love with someone.
Now that Jamie already knows about the assault she experienced, Brianna seems comfortable enough to confess that she still harbors some blame within herself for not having fought back, for having put herself in that situation to begin with. Jamie assures her she’s not at fault in any way, and that, sure, she could’ve fought back — unless she really wanted it, that is. Reader, I was a little nervous about where this conversation was going, but we quickly discover that this is Jamie’s attempt at reverse psychology, to try and get Brianna angry enough that he can demonstrate to her firsthand that fighting back can be an even more dangerous option, especially if she’s outmatched. This scene also serves as a reminder of the trauma Jamie experienced at Wentworth, but as he tells Bree, his reason not to fight what happened to him was purely to protect Claire — and getting his final vengeance at Culloden wasn’t nearly as satisfying as he thought it would be. I was hoping this convo would end with Jamie offering to teach his daughter some self-defense moves, but sadly, this doesn’t turn out to be a Karate Kid moment.
Bree has some tough choices ahead, as Claire gently reminds her. If she decides to have an abortion, Claire tells her daughter she’ll perform it, but the procedure would be surgical and exceedingly dangerous in this time period, especially without access to any anesthesia. If she decides to keep the baby and go back to the present, on the other hand, she’d have to do it while still preggers, since Claire’s own experience traveling through the stones is proof that an unborn fetus can survive the journey. It’s evident that Bree is still torn about what to do, especially since she doesn’t know for sure who her baby’s father is, but she’s going to have to make up her mind and soon. Bear in mind that Bree and Claire still think Roger has gone forward through time, so that’s a shoe that’s waiting to drop any day now.
As for Roger… well, he’s looked better. Still healing from the thorough thrashing Jamie gave him, he and another man have since been sold into the custody of the Mohawk, and their ultimate destination lies in upstate New York, a great distance from Wilmington and Fraser’s Ridge — and farther and farther from Bree as the days pass. If he can survive the journey long enough to escape, he vows to get back to the woman he considers his wife. His fellow man-in-chains (or ropes, more accurately) doesn’t fare so well and dies in the middle of the night, so Roger’s left alone to forge on, walking miles upon miles during the day with his hands tied to the back of one Mohawk’s horse.
Bree takes Claire aside and tells her she’s made her decision: She’s keeping her baby. Whether it’s Roger’s or not, she’ll love it anyway, and Claire says she’ll help her daughter through every step. But Bree can think of one person who’s going to need Dr. Mom more, and she tells Claire to go with Ian and Jamie: “He needs to see the face of someone he knows and trusts.” Claire is rightfully concerned about leaving Bree alone and pregnant in the woods, so Jamie suggests that their daughter go and stay with Jocasta in River Run instead, where she’ll be safe with family. But before everyone turns in for the night ahead of a long journey heading their separate ways, Jamie quietly asks Murtagh to track down Stephen Bonnet once he’s done dropping off Bree. Why? Because he plans to kill him, once and for all.
Now alone with the Mohawk, Roger decides to seize advantage of the first opportunity he can to truly escape. That chance sort of happens by accident, when a trip up a narrow cliff and some mild dehydration send Roger tumbling over the edge, eventually slipping free of his bindings. He takes off into the woods, narrowly dodging bullets at almost every turn, and doesn’t stop running until he encounters a very familiar-looking stone circle, buzzing with power. He still has those gemstones sewn into the seam of his shirt, and as he reaches out toward the center stone with trembling fingers, visibly torn over whether to go or stay, the credits roll.
- I can’t lie, I laughed when Ian dropped down on one knee and proposed to Brianna to try and make up for everything. Sweet summer cousin, so misguided.
- The part where Claire and Bree list off everything they miss about living in their present is entirely relatable. Who wouldn’t long for a nice, simple PB&J or the ability to listen to Led Zeppelin? Or easy access to aspirin? I’d for sure miss indoor plumbing.
- Jocasta’s back! I’ll never say no to the return of Maria Doyle Kennedy and her character’s keen ability to sense anything. Who else picked up on that subtle flirting between her and Murtagh? I ship it.
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. Has Roger gone back through the stones after all, or will the Frasers manage to track him down before that happens? And how preggers will Brianna be when they’re finally reunited? See you next week!