SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The False Bride,” the third episode of “Outlander” Season 4.
After spending the first two Season 4 episodes solely with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) in the new world, “Outlander” is finally checking in with what Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) were up to in the 1970s.
Roger sold his father’s house in Inverness to his father’s housekeeper Fiona (Iona Claire) and her husband, then set off for America to perform at a Scottish festival in North Carolina. He stopped in Boston first to see Brianna and she accompanied him on his trip south. These two were obviously smitten with one another and had a wonderful time dancing and bonding at the festival, but things took a sour turn that night.
Roger asked Brianna to marry him and she said no because she wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment — but she wanted to sleep with him either way and Roger was outraged. “You don’t want to marry me, but you’ll f— me?!” he threw in her face, adding that if all he wanted to do was have sex, he would’ve had her on her back a dozen times already. It was not one of Roger’s finest moments and he earned himself a slap from Brianna for it. It was probably pretty shocking for non-book readers. Readers may remember that this fight happens almost verbatim in the book, so the show’s writers didn’t just make Roger a horrible guy for no reason. But he was being a total hypocrite — he had slept with girls before and yet he wanted Brianna to save herself for marriage. She rightly pointed out to him how insane he sounded and he stormed off.
One thing to keep in mind — not only is this storyline set almost 50 years in the past when women’s liberation was still kind of in its infancy, but Roger was raised by a Scottish reverend and Brianna was raised by Claire in America. Those are two very different perspectives in regards to sex and intimacy. That does not in any way excuse Roger’s behavior here, but it does provide a little context.
Anyway, Bree was understandably upset that Roger could be so cruel to her — honestly, he was lucky she found him and wanted to talk things over. But she did and tried to explain to him that she isn’t sure she ever wants to get married, not after her parents exchanged wedding vows and yet Claire went on to find the love of her life with another man. Roger was still pretty crappy to her about it — Roger apparently has trouble seeing situations from any perspective other than his own — and that’s how the young couple left things when he flew back to the UK.
Meanwhile, in 1767, Claire and Jamie decided they could not take over River Run from Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy), which greatly disappointed her. It seemed like not only did she like having a man around who isn’t trying to marry her and take her plantation, but she also seemed terribly lonely and probably enjoyed Jamie, Claire and Ian’s (John Bell) company. But she still graciously provided them with supplies, a guide in John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees) and Clarence the donkey (book readers, rejoice!) as they set out for a town where a lot of Scottish immigrants had settled. Jocasta also gave Jamie one last special gift — his late mother Ellen’s silver candlesticks. Jocasta also gave Claire a “gift” by giving her a piece of her mind about how Jamie should be a laird, not a printer. Claire bristled at the woman making assertions about them after knowing them three days, but Jocasta was not wrong.
Jamie’s plan was to send Ian back to Scotland, but Ian made a strong case about all he has faced and how he badly he wanted to stay with them in America; Jamie relented fairly quickly and they set off. Ian quickly got a real taste of frontier life when Myers took him along to trade with a nearby Cherokee tribe.
This left Claire and Jamie alone in the woods, which introduced viewers to Otter Tooth (Trevor Carroll), a noteworthy book character that you’re undoutbedly going to hear more about as the series goes on. Here, he appeared during a violent storm in which Claire went looking for a spooked Clarence the donkey and became disoriented and lost. At first, Claire was uncertain if Otter-Tooth posed a threat or if he was even real — that shot of him approaching her where he got closer with every crack of lightning was awesome and very creepy — but she discovered in the morning that he helped Claire and Jamie find each other after the storm passed. She also figured out that Otter Tooth was the ghost of a man whose skeleton lay nearby and that his silver fillings indicate he was a time-traveler because those weren’t used in the United States until the 1830s. One other thing to note: Otter-Tooth had with his skeleton a giant uncut opal. That will be important down the line.
In the morning, Jamie and Claire found a wild strawberry field and Jamie started mentally plotting out the home they could make there. It would seem his decision to be an American settler has been made. They decided to accept the governor’s offer and make a life for themselves there. Jamie previously lamented that he didn’t have anything to offer Claire (though we all know that’s not true — they have love and that’s pretty huge). But now they have a home. Welcome to Fraser’s Ridge.
“Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.