You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Outlander’ Season 4 Premiere Recap: Jamie and Claire Meet ‘America the Beautiful’

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “America the Beautiful,” the season four premiere of “Outlander.”

The tagline for “Outlander” season four is “Brave the New World,” and the premiere episode wasted no time introducing Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) to the not-so-beautiful America upon which they landed in the season three finale.

First, they bore witness to the hanging of Jamie’s Ardsmuir Prison comrade Gavin Hayes (James Allenby-Kirk) and would have seen several other men sent to their deaths if a melee hadn’t broken out at the gallows. Regardless of whether the men are criminals and whether they should be subjected to capital punishment, it was a sobering look at frontier life in the early United States, which is a running theme in the premiere. The episode isn’t titled “America the Beautiful” for nothing — it’s a commentary about how they’re in this vast, beautiful country and yet there is ugliness at every turn.

Anyway, because Hayes was a criminal, the British can’t even give him a proper burial, so Jamie and company set about burying Hayes themselves under the cover of darkness.

During the burial, we learned that young Ian was still struggling with what he went through when Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek) held him captive. She not only raped him, but her dark magic scared him to death. Ian was also still carrying tremendous guilt over the fact that his body responded to Geillis’ touch even though he didn’t want to sleep with her, which was obviously something he was ashamed to admit to his Uncle Jamie. But Jamie knew exactly what Ian was talking about and reassured him that wasn’t his fault that he responded to Geillis the way he did. It was a lovely scene between the two, serving as a good reminder that Ian is still very much a young boy in many ways.

After burying Hayes, Jamie, Claire and the rest of their crew set off north to visit Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy), but found themselves with an unwelcome stowaway on their wagon — one Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers), whom book readers know to hate on sight, though by the episode’s end, show watchers who haven’t read the books did get an idea of how odious a man Bonnet is as well.

Before he revealed his true colors, Bonnet merely wanted Jamie and Claire’s help in escaping the British soldiers who were looking for him after he escaped during the chaos at the gallows. He swore to them that he was not a killer and that he would never bother them again if they would help him get free of Charleston — spoiler alert: he was lying on both counts.

But Jamie and Claire couldn’t help themselves when faced with someone who appeared harmless and was in need of aid, so they helped Bonnet escape, which is something that will come back to haunt them for quite a while.

However, before Bonnet’s unwelcome reappearance, Claire and Jamie were faced with the task of figuring out just what to do with themselves now. Do they go back to Scotland? Do they settle in America? They have found themselves in North Carolina because that’s where Aunt Jocasta resides and Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) made Jamie a tempting offer — swear loyalty to the King George of England and in exchange, Jamie would receive a land grant. The catch? He can’t be party to the American Revolution and would be expected to help quell any civil unrest in his neck of the woods.

On the one hand, Jamie and Claire certainly didn’t want to face another war after what happened during the Scottish uprising 20 years’ prior. But on the other hand, Jamie knew that the eventual United States is his daughter Brianna’s (Sophie Skelton) country and he liked the idea of playing a small part in helping her future country throw off the ruling fist of England. It probably also didn’t hurt that the Scots (especially Highlanders) still kind of hate the British at this point in time — and not without good reason, as we saw in previous “Outlander” seasons.

Jamie and Claire decided they didn’t have to make a final decision just yet and would call on Jocasta first. After leaving Fergus (Cesar Domboy) and Marsali (Lauren Lyle) behind in Wilmington (because she’s pregnant), the party set off on a barge to reach Jocasta’s plantation, complete with their new traveling companion in the form of Rollo, a beautiful dog young Ian won in a dice game.

It turned out that Ian’s acquisition of Rollo was quite fortuitous because when the barge was set upon by Bonnet and his men, Rollo took down at least one of the bandits. Unfortunately, as a modern cover of “America the Beautiful” played ironically over the montage, the rest of the robbers beat Jamie to a pulp and Bonnet himself killed Jamie’s friend Lesley (Keith Fleming) who was traveling with them. Bonnet also tried to steal Claire’s two wedding rings. She attempted to swallow them to keep him from taking them, but Bonnet managed to fish one out of her mouth — the silver ring Jamie gave her when they were married in Season 1.

Bonnet also stole their pouch of gemstones, which was basically all the money they had. Now the intrepid heroes will be showing up at Jocasta’s vast plantation with nothing but the clothes on their backs, which is sure to make quite the impression. The episode ended with Claire sobbing and clutching her one remaining wedding ring while Lesley lay dead on the floor, with the strains of “from sea to shining sea” ushering in the end credits. Again, ugliness at every turn.

“Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.

More TV

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

  • CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism

    CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism Staffers

    CNN has laid off a handful of staffers from its health-journalism unit after deciding to place its health, climate and Southeastern newsgathering operations under a single aegis. ” As part of the normal course of business, our newsgathering team made a small restructure earlier this week that ultimately impacts 6-7 employees within CNN’s Health Unit,” [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content