Jamie’s authority is tested when an old rival from Ardsmuir shows up to settle on the Ridge. Claire finds a new way to cope with the trauma of her assault by Lionel Brown.
After a very long Droughtlander, Outlander has finally come back and I was pleased with the return. The Christie’s have come to the Ridge and are already ruffling feathers.
It was a great idea to return to Ardsmuir Prison, which we got a glimpse of in Season 3, and see how Jamie and Tom Christie first met. We see that Tom is a religious man and rivals Jamie in many ways. They have a constant butting of heads and a power struggle. While being held prisoner by the British, the Scots endure many hardships and even though at the time, Tom was leading the crew, the men couldn’t stop rioting. I already didn’t like Christie from the start because he was in cahouts with the Brits and Jamie knew it. After a man dies and a piece of Tartan is laid down upon him, the Scots get into trouble for having the piece of fabric, and of course Jamie takes the fall. It was hard seeing him get flogged again, after witnessing him get flogged constantly in Season 1, and when Jamie imagines Claire walking toward him in Ardsmuir, it gave me chills from when we had seen that scene before after the end of Culloden. What then made my blood boil, was that after watching Jamie get flogged, Tom said that it wasn’t justice. Turning things around, Jamie finally becomes the leader of the Scots, and we realize the rioting has been about men who have their beliefs against the rebel Jacobites. Also between Catholics and Protestants.
Now that we are back to North Carolina, of course Tom, his family and his settlers come to settle on Fraser’s Ridge. Tom first meets Roger, who thinks it’s a fine idea for Tom and his people to move onto the Ridge because he knew Jamie in Ardsmuir, but when Jamie walks in to see Tom in his quarters, the look on his face tells all. He looks like he could just shoot Roger for talking to Tom in the first place, but to hear that Tom and his people are going to settle on his land, unsettles him. We see that the power struggle, after all these years, is still in play and when Tom cuts his hand, and gets mended by Claire, Jamie makes it known that Tom needs to suck it up. When Tom leaves, he makes sure to let Jamie know that at least his scar will be an “honorable scar.” Claire asks Jamie what that means, and we find out that even though Tom has seen Jamie’s scars from getting flogged by Jack Randall, he somehow thinks Jamie deserved it.
We see that Claire is revolutionizing medicine, but also dealing with the after effects of her abduction and abuse from last season. She’s experimenting with ether, which is a pleasant-smelling colorless volatile liquid that is highly flammable. It is used as an anesthetic and as a solvent or intermediate in industrial processes (Oxford Languages). And even though it’s great that she’s creating an anesthetic to use on her patients, what’s scary is that she’s using herself as a guinea pig. Jamie walks into her medical room and finds her practically unconscious, and she’s overjoyed by how long she’s been asleep. Jamie and Bree are worried about her wellbeing and even though Claire is getting annoyed with the constant attention, I think her family is doing a good thing by watching over her. Case in point, Claire has a nightmare in the middle of the night, and instead of talking about it with Jamie, she goes off and uses the ether to fall asleep. I just hope she doesn’t get addicted to it, since she’s still experimenting with it. I just wish Jamie would take more time to talk to her, since she made such an effort when he was having PTSD from his abuse.
Fergus & Marsali:
Well it looks like Fergus has taken a turn for the worst. Poor Marsali is pregnant yet again and about to pop, and Fergus, who has taken initiative to help run the whisky distillery, has been staying there way too long. He’s turned to the drink and we’ve seen evidence that he’s starting to get physically abusive to Marsali. It’s strange because so far, it’s seemed like Fergus was always happy and in love with his wife, but I’m wondering how he has taken such a dark turn. Hopefully we get some insight further into the season.
Bree & Roger:
We didn’t see a lot of Bree and Roger in this episode, but from what we did see, I was actually ok with them. They didn’t annoy me in any way and their characters seem to be coming into their own already this season. They seem more mature and that makes me happy. When talking with Claire, Bree said that she had some new inventions she was working on, but was hesitant to put that into fruition, because she was nervous about what the residents would think. She doesn’t want to cause a stir like her mother has in the past, but hopefully takes Claire’s word, and starts building her creations. I’d like to see how they help the Ridge down the road.
So I guess the Brown’s aren’t leaving the Fraser clan alone anytime soon, because they’re already starting drama. First time around, it’s about Allan Christie. Allan was showing off his powder horn, which he said he carved himself, but we soon find out that, he stole it from the Brown’s. Now, I want to know, when did the Christie’s see the Brown’s before they came to Fraser’s Ridge? They must have if Allan got a hold of one of their possessions. But as a consequence of taking the horn, Mr. Brown wants Allan to get a punishment, preferably, by getting ten lashes. Of course that’s a trigger to Jamie, because he knows all too well, how terrible flogging is, so he tries to take the situation into his own hands, and say that he’ll figure out the proper punishment. Tom has to make things worse by opening his mouth, and so instead of flogging Allan, Jamie decides to use his belt. We’ve seen Jamie use his belt before on Claire, but in this scenario, it must of been hard for Jamie to whip Allan on the back, like he’s suffered so many times. I wonder what it must have felt like for him to be the one whipping, and not the other way around.
I think this season started on a good note. It kept my attention and I love this new rivalry between old “friends.” Also, mentioned in the episode, Jamie decides to take on the role as the Indian Agent, so I’m interested to see how that plays out later on. I’m sure there will be squirmishes between the Indians and Tom Christie.