If Not For Hope, All is Lost on Outlander

Last we saw Roger, he was about to touch a stone to return to his time after escaping from the Mohawk men Ian sold him to (that is, after Jamie beat him to a pulp thanks to Lizzie’s super helpful intel).

This week, Outlander opens on Roger in a… shower?! Just when I was about to scream at my TV, however, reality crashes back and we see that Roger didn’t make it through the stones, and was recaptured.

This week’s episode handles three different storylines, so let’s unpack them, eh?

Jamie, Claire, and Ian

After his colossal fuck up, Jamie is on the hunt for both Roger and redemption, neither of which will be easy to attain. Ian gets some info from the Cherokee, who tell him that the Mohawk village they’re looking for is a two month’s ride north, and they have no intention of guiding the trio.

There is definitely no tension between Jamie and Claire. Jamie is still feeling terribly guilty (rightfully so) not only about Roger, but also about the things he said to Bree in his anger. Ian tries to get Claire to talk to Jamie, but she insists she isn’t still angry. She’s fine in that way that means she is most certainly not fine. She can’t stop worrying about Bree and Roger as the group makes camp. While they’re getting settled, Rollo finds a bone to chew! Turns out it’s a human bone, and not just anyone’s: it belongs to Roger’s now-dead companion. Ian recognizes the clothing, they search for signs of Roger’s body and, finding none, hold out hope that he’s still alive.

Courtesy of Starz

That evening in their tent, Claire apologizes to Jamie for not telling him that it was Bonnet who raped Brianna. As much as Jamie blames himself, Claire blames herself, as well. Jamie confides that he’s jealous of Frank, and that he doesn’t think he can be a father to Brianna. The pain and tension between them is palpable as the two try to learn how to be parents together. When Jamie confesses, Claire calls him a fool. She assures him that Bree didn’t anymore mean the things she said out of anger than Jamie meant what he said. Claire tells him that Bree is just like him, and all will be okay. Both apologize to each other and have some makeup sex!

Fergus, Murtagh, and Marsali

Speaking of Stephen Bonnet, back in Wilmington, Fergus is asking around for the pirate, and sees a Wanted posted for none other than Murtagh! He tears it down and heads home to his family, and the outlaw he’s harboring. He tells Marsali he’s having no luck finding work because no one wants to hire a man with one hand. Marsali assures him something will come up before making known her displeasure at Murtagh’s regulator meetings being held in their parlor. Later that night, she wakes Murtagh up while the rest of the house is asleep, and tells him to ask Fergus to join the militia. When Murtagh asks if she is tired of marriage, Marsali replies that if she wanted Fergus dead, she’d shoot him herself, after she shot Murtagh. She tells Murtagh she’ll have a whole man, or none at all. I have to say, I freaking love Marsali and her whip-smart, “take shit from no one” attitude. I also would really love to see more of their story, because Marsali and Fergus’s marriage is so interesting and so full of love.

Courtesy of Starz

The next morning Murtagh and Fergus are chatting away, over the wails of Baby Germaine when Murtagh asks Fergus to join the militia. Fergus declines, but it’s clear that the offer meant a lot to him, and helped boost Fergus’s feeling of self-worth. Marsali joins the men, informing them that Bonnet is back in town. The two men head out to the pub, wait for Bonnet, and when they get him alone, Murtagh knocks him out. Honestly I’m always here to watch people punch Stephen Bonnet. They truss him up like a turkey, but before they can get him to Fraser’s Ridge, or even out of town, a couple of soldiers notice them. Murtagh punches Fergus and tells him to go back to his family. Fergus leaves and Murtagh tells the men who Bonnet is, and they are pretty happy to have not only Bonnet, but Murtagh Fitzgibbons, too! So things aren’t looking great for my favorite Scotsman, either.

Brianna

The real meat of the story, however, is Brianna. She’s spending her pregnancy at River Run, drawing and pining for Roger. Lizzie, upon seeing one particularly dark drawing, asks Bree if she’s possessed. Bree says she isn’t possessed so much as pissed, which, understandable. She seems to have a lot more understanding and forgiveness for Lizzie’s part in the whole “beat, kidnap, and sell my husband” thing than she has for Jamie. Claire may be reaching a bit when she tells Jamie everything will be okay between him and his daughter.

The next morning, Phaedre comes in all excited to measure Bree for a new dress. Turns out Jocasta is throwing a dinner party the next week, and a new dress would look great, and hide Bree’s noticeable bump. Bree gives zero fucks about hiding her bump or about a dress, but tells Phaedre to sit  so Bree can draw her. Later that day, Jocasta gives Brianna some earrings and tells her that Phaedre is altering a different dress for the party. Brianna tries to tell Jocasta she’d rather be alone, which is cute, since I’m pretty sure no one tells Jocasta anything. Jocasta tells Brianna about Ellen, Bree’s grandmother, and before ya know it, Brianna’s agreeing that having a dinner party would be a good idea.

Only it’s less a dinner party and more an 18th century episode of The Bachelorette when it’s made clear that the Machiavellian Matchmaker has only invited unmarried men and their sisters or mothers. Also Pippin!!! The men are practically licking their chops when they see Brianna, and are literally shoving each other out of the way to meet her. One suitor, a judge, has a hella racist mom, which I’m pretty sure means Brianna will not be giving him a rose. Not gonna lie, having all the suitors bring their most problematic relatives along would make The Bachelorette waaay more interesting. The men are falling over themselves over Brianna, and Pippin- er, Forbes, decides to show off his fancy ass gems under the guise of “trying to decide what to make into some jewelry” and it’s hilarious to see all of them deflate when none other than Lord John Grey walks in! He’s more handsome, charming, and rich than the others, plus he’s titled!  

Courtesy of Starz

John continues to be charming and wonderful during the dinner, which is my favorite scene of the episode. Honestly, this whole party is a hoot and the men are so ridiculous. Brianna plays a psychology game with them, which is more revealing than I think at least the judge would like. Brianna pretty much tells everyone that, psychologically at least, it seems the judge is hoarding  a bunch of secrets from his mom. When Lord John tells Brianna that he “saw” her father in the forest of the psychological exercise, Brianna gets a bit huffy. Still mad, it seems. Forbes tries to weasel some attention from her, so Bree fakes a faint, and John escorts her to another room, where Lizzie, as discreet as a hammer to the skull, frets of Brianna fainting “in her condition!” John is thankfully the only one there, and Bree tells him everything about what happened to Roger. John sympathises with her predicament, and gives her a letter from Jamie, which she doesn’t open. Later, she tells Jocasta she doesn’t want a husband, which is confusing to her aunt, since “want” doesn’t really factor into marriages when you’re pregnant and unwed in the 18th century. Jocasta gives her the very real and brutal truth of what her life, and that of her child’s would be if she were to have it out of wedlock, which resonates with Bree a bit. That night, after the house is quiet, Bree heads downstairs to grab a bite to eat, and instead gets an eyeful when she sees John and her Judge suitor with the mommy issues, fucking. Secrets, indeed. Unseen, she goes back to her bedchamber.

The next morning, Phaedre wakes her up to the news that Forbes has asked to marry her and Jocasta said okey dokey. He will propose during second breakfast- er tea. Bree tells Phaedre to say she’s on her morning walk already and that she’ll return in an hour. She then asks for Lizzie, whom she instructs to discreetly find John and ask him to meet her by the old oak tree.

When John meets with Brianna, she starts with a marriage proposal and ends with some blackmail. When John refuses to wed her, she threatens to tell everyone what she saw, and even brings Jamie into it. John is unhappy, to say the least, and tells Bree that he’s more than capable of fulfilling his husbandly duties, thankyouverymuch. It’s clear Brianna is getting desperate as the harsh reality of her situation comes crashing down. John tells her, gently, that he cannot marry her, not only because of the whole gay thing, but the fact that she’s Jamie’s daughter is slightly awkward. Brianna understands, and then opens up about the fact that she’s scared that, even if Roger is alive, that he wouldn’t accept the baby, either way, since it may not be his. She tells him about being raped, and about the impending proposal from Forbes, and her intention to do what she has to for her baby. Resigned, Bree leaves John.

Courtesy of Starz

All is not lost, however, because before Pippin/Forbes has a chance to propose, John rushes in and announces that he’s proposed to Bree and she’s accepted. Looks like John is taking care of all Jamie’s kids, now. It’ll make for an interesting Christmas, at least!

Later, when they’re alone, John again tries to persuade Bree to forgive Jamie, and then tells her about his son, William, minus the tidbit about William being her brother. John tells her he loves William with everything he has, even if they’re not related by blood in any way and encourages her that Roger will feel the same. After he leaves, Brianna finally opens the letter from Jamie.

Oh, also Roger makes it to the Mohawk village and is beaten. Again.

Courtesy of Starz

Alright, only two episodes left of the season, and I have to say, this was probably my favorite so far. I could watch a whole season of John and Bree’s interacting, and Jocasta’s machinations are a sight to behold, no pun intended. I’m not a huge fan of Jocasta herself, but Maria Doyle Kennedy does such an amazing job with the character, that I’m more than happy for the eldest Mackenzie to keep returning to the story. The dinner party had me laughing out loud, and though they were only in a few scenes, the tension and anguish felt by Claire, Jamie, and Ian was heartbreaking. If anything, I’d like to see more Fergus and Marsali, because Lauren Lyle is a goddamn gift. I also wish Starz would give the show 16 episodes, because 13 just doesn’t feel like enough. Also- I think Roger has been punished enough for his stupidity, so can we please not have him getting punched at the end of every episode anymore?

What did you think of “If Not For Hope?” Do you think Brianna and John are gonna tie the knot? Did you think Roger went through the stones without Bree in the opening?

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