SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Common Ground,” the fourth episode of “Outlander” Season 4.
When “Outlander” last left Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan), they decided to take Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) up on his offer to settle 10,000 acres of land in America in exchange for Jamie swearing an oath to the British crown. When Jamie signed the papers to make it official, the governor informed Jamie that he would need to be careful of which men he chooses as his tenants because Regulators (aka people rebelling against the Crown) were everywhere. Jamie talked a good game of seeming sympathetic to the Crown, but you could tell he didn’t care much for the British.
But all Jamie had to do was smile, nod and sign the papers and he, Claire and young Ian (John Bell) were off to Fraser’s Ridge. They left Marsali (Lauren Lyle) and Fergus (Cesar Domboy) behind until their baby was delivered and began building their settlement.
Of course, this was the frontier era of America and naturally, the rural landscape was populated with various Native American tribes. While Jamie didn’t mean any harm to their Indian neighbors, he was still taking their land and the local Cherokee tribe was none too happy about that. John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees) advised Jamie to take the tribe some tobacco as a peace offering, but then said perhaps it’d be better if Myers took the offering on Jamie’s behalf.
And that wasn’t the only threat they faced on Fraser’s Ridge. One night, when their meat was stolen, Jamie at first thought it was the disgruntled Cherokee, but when one of their horses showed up with deep gashes in its side, they thought it was a bear. The next night, Myers was attacked and staggered back into camp with deep chest wounds from being mauled.
But when Jamie went out to hunt down the menacing predator, he and Claire discovered separately that it wasn’t a bear at all — she saw bite marks on Myers and realized they were a human. Jamie was wrestling with this man dressed as a bear and living in the woods! In the morning, Jamie returned his body to the Cherokee and was informed the man was banished from the tribe and went crazy while living alone in the woods. The Cherokee dubbed Jamie “bear killer” because the man had been stealing from the Cherokee and they were grateful that he was dead, so they made an uneasy truce with Jamie.
Claire also managed to save Myers from his wounds. One of the Cherokee elders, Adawehi (Tantoo Cardinal), a healer and wise woman who is called “Nayawenne” in the book, came to their camp to tell Claire that she had a dream about her. Adawehi told Claire that she might be a great healer now, but eventually, she would come into her full wisdom and healing powers when her hair has gone fully white. Adawehi also told Claire that she should not be troubled by death — it is sent from the gods, it would not be Claire’s fault.
After forming a truce with the Cherokee, Jamie, Claire and Ian got to work building Fraser’s Ridge. They only had so long before winter would come to erect a cabin.
Meanwhile, although most of the episode focused on Jamie and Claire, it did check in a bit with Roger (Richard Rankin), who was back in Scotland after his fight with Brianna (Sophie Skelton). In his reading, he came across a passage about Fraser’s Ridge and used that as a jumping-off point to find out more about Claire and Jamie in America. When he received proof of their settlement, he phoned Brianna, using it as an excuse to reach out to her, but also clearly emotional to be able to tell Brianna her parents were reunited and settled in America.
Brianna was visibly touched at the news, and the longing was plain on both their faces to try to reconcile, but neither spoke up soon enough. When he told Fiona (Iona Claire) about breaking the ice but not really resolving anything, she revealed she knew all about Jamie and time-travel; her grandmother was a caller at the standing stones, so she has believed in all of that her whole life. She took the opportunity to show Roger something she found among the reverend’s papers — the death notice that showed Jamie and Claire died in a fire in January 177-something (the date was smudged), which could be anywhere from two to 12 years from where they were presently settling Fraser’s Ridge.
Roger couldn’t bring himself to tell Bree at first but later changed his mind and called her. Unfortunately, her roommate Gayle (Simona Brown) informed him that Bree left for Scotland a couple of weeks ago “to visit her mother.”
“Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.