SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Wilmington,” the eighth episode of “Outlander” Season 4.
The latest “Outlander” episode picked up with both Roger (Richard Rankin) and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) finding themselves in Wilmington, N.C. Brianna’s entire sea voyage was skipped, but nothing terribly important happened during the voyage in the book, so it made sense to cut it on the show, as well.
The two star-crossed lovers managed to find each other in a pub and they reconciled, although, from Lizzie’s (Caitlin O’Ryan) perspective, they were still fighting — she couldn’t hear what they were saying and all she saw was that Roger kind of roughly pulled Brianna down the street and out of sight. This would prove to be important later.
For now, the duo found an empty building and immediately started ripping each other’s clothes off. Since Roger wanted to be engaged before they slept together, Brianna agreed to be his wife and they took part in a handfasting ceremony, pledging their love and faithfulness to each other, before they made love for the first time. There ceremony was something done in those times when access to a clergyman was not readily available.
Everything seemed to be going beautifully — until the post-coital pillow talk when Roger inadvertently let it slip that he already knew about Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie’s (Sam Heughan) death notice. Brianna was furious that he didn’t tell her about it, while Roger argued that he knew she’d want to travel back in time, and he didn’t want to risk that. She yelled that it was not his decision to make — he took away all her agency in this, which infuriated her.
But she was not the only one who was mad. Roger was still holding on to some anger about the way Brianna left him, with nothing but a letter that he wasn’t even supposed to get for a year. The two fought, and she threw him out, maybe making some wonder why Brianna still loved him after he has said some really ugly things to her in more than one recent fight.
Anyway, when she returned to the pub, who should Brianna see but Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers), playing cards and gambling her mother’s silver ring. Brianna offered to buy it from him, and he took her to a back room to talk about it because he “never haggle[s] in public.” It was there that Bonnet raped her and then gave her the ring as “payment” for their time together. Making a disturbing scene even more uncomfortable were the non-reactions of the other men in the pub, who sat there completely unconcerned as Brianna screamed for help while Bonnet raped her.
After she took the ring — because at this point she might as well — Brianna gathered herself and tried to walk out of the pub with as much dignity as she could muster.
Meanwhile, it seemed Wilmington was a busy place because not only were Roger and Brianna there, but so were Claire and Jamie. They came to town to meet Fergus (Cesar Domboy) and Marsali’s (Lauren Lyle) baby boy, but also because the governor invited them to attend a play as his guest.
Back in the second episode of this season, the show cut a book storyline where Claire performed a hernia surgery on a man at Jocasta’s (Maria Doyle Kennedy) estate in the middle of a dinner party. But, as this episode revealed, it wasn’t a full omission, just a move: They included the storyline here at the theater as a diversion for Jamie to escape the theater and warn Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) about the Red Coats knowing of the Regulators’ plan to rob a coach carrying tax money. Jamie not only saved Murtagh from a serious punishment, but he also alerted his godfather that the Regulators have a spy in their midst.
Plus, the hernia operation in the theater lobby also put Claire and Jamie high in the governor’s esteem because of her exceptional surgical skills. Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) even defended Claire to the local physician, who showed up and was at first horrified at what she was doing. Apparently, the best medical knowledge of the day was that men should have tobacco smoke blown up their anuses as a treatment for a hernia. Yikes.
In a fun little historical nod, Claire and Jamie met George Washington (Simon Harrison) and his wife, Martha (Elizabeth Appleby), at the theater, which might be one of the craziest interactions she’s had thus far. Yes, she already met Louis XV, but for American viewers, meeting George Washington was definitely a head trip.
And after the Red Coats’ plan to arrest the Regulators was thwarted because the rebels didn’t end up robbing the coach, the governor blamed none other than Washington for alerting the Regulators because Washington and his wife were seen leaving the theater during the surgery. It was a nice way to tie the Washingtons into this storyline since we all know he ends up being a leader of the American Revolution. Well done, show.
“Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.