Need to catch up? Check out the previous Outlander recap here.
James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser very rarely makes a mistake. It’s charming. It’s enviable. And it’s the reason why — when he realizes in this week’s Outlander that he’s accidentally done something objectively horrible from any angle — it’s so captivating to watch him try to reconcile his behavior.
He sputters. He tosses furniture. His face turns a shade of crimson I had no idea Sam Heughan could will himself to reach (and that’s even considering last episode’s Serious Reddening during the father-daughter meeting). Jamie’s extreme discomfiture, followed by the hurt locker he finds himself in as the episode goes on, is unsettling and great. It’s also an interesting new thread in the very tenuous Fraser family dynamic.
Also? Sophie Skelton is more Bree to me in this episode than she’s ever been, and I LIKE IT.
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Read on for the highlights of “The Deep Heart’s Core.”
PROVING A POINT | Jamie’s hand is bandaged from beating Roger bloody, but when Brianna notices, her father lies and says the injury is from a “wee accident” at the whisky still. He immediately tells her that he knows what happened and asks her to accompany him while he checks the hunting snares. “Do you hate me, Da?” she asks. “An unwed, pregnant daughter can’t be what you hoped for.” But he tells her not to worry, because he’ll find her a guy — but she says thanks but no thanks, because she’s in love with someone “back in my time.” Then she suddenly has a thought: Maybe Roger won’t want her anymore, given what’s happened? (Side note from your friendly 21st-century recapper: barf.) But Jamie reassures her that if Roger is honorable, he’ll stand by her. And “if he isn’t, he doesn’t deserve you.”
As their conversation goes on, Bree starts to blame herself for the rape. Maybe she could’ve fought harder? The discussion takes a left turn when Jamie suddenly starts saying that maybe she didn’t fight her attacker very hard because “ye wanted it. Maybe it wasn’t rape at all.” As she tries to process her shock, Bree swings at Jamie, which allows him to gt her into a chokehold. He mentions that he could break her neck and kill her, right there, then inquires as to whether she could stop him. When she eventually yells “No!,” Jamie finally ends his sadistic little game, softening both his manner and his tone. “And ye couldna have stopped him, either… it took courage not to fight,” he promises her. “If you did, he would’ve killed you.”
Jamie definitely thinks this conversation is over, but Bree’s got some questions of her own. “Did you fight back against Jack Randall?” she asks, and he realizes she knows everything that happened at Wentworth. He bites back tears as he says he promised not to fight, in order to save Claire’s life, and he’d make the same choice again. Eventually, he tells her, it boils down to this: “You willna forget, but time will let you heal.”
ROVING ROGER | Elsewhere, Roger and another white man are tied to a horse and walking behind a group of Native Americans. The party does not appear to be Cherokee, and it also doesn’t seem to care much about the comfort of its two captives. The other guy is in worse shape than Roger is, but he has enough energy to be incredulous that Roger thinks he’s going to survive whatever befalls them. “I have to,” Rog tells him. “I can’t die like this. Not here, not now.”
THE TRUTH WILL OUT | Ready for some more super-uplifting conversations between Brianna and her parents? Claire pulls her daughter aside and tells her that she has the means and ability to abort the baby, but that it will be super risky, it will hurt like a mothertrucker and — oh right — here’s no anesthesia because Ye Olden Times. Bree considers the matter but brings up the (very valid) point that the pull-out method isn’t always successful: The baby might be Roger’s. Claire is equally grave about the possibility of Bree’s keeping the baby: If she wants to go back to the present with Roger, that needs to happen before the kid is born, because there’s no telling what would happen to a newborn during the passage through the stones. And just in case Brianna wasn’t already stressed enough about the whole matter, Claire repeatedly tells her that she’s got to choose NOW NOW NOW NOW.
Well, maybe not right now, given the montage we get of life on the Ridge. A quick rundown: Ian is smitten with Brianna (ew), Claire and Brianna miss toilets that flush and Led Zeppelin. And then one night Bree has a dream that Roger has returned… but he soon turns into Bonnet, who starts to rape her again in her bed. When she wakes to Lizzie shaking her, the servant girl tries to reassure her mistress that the man that hurt her never will do so again. And she’s being so weird and awkward about it, Bree eventually infers that there’s something she doesn’t know. “Your da beat him, nearly beat him to death, he did,” Lizzie proudly reports. “And he had Ian send him away.
So when Brianna asks one of the follow-up questions that I have been begging SOMEONE to ask since last episode (“Wait, how do you know what he looked like?”), and then realizes that something really bad has happened… well, tie down the window coverings and take shelter, Sassenachs, because Furious Storm Bree is about to whip through Fraser’s Ridge.
THE RECKONING | Without pausing to change out of her nightgown, Bree bursts into the cabin, where Murtagh and Young Ian are about to eat with Jamie and Claire. “Where is Roger?” she demands. “Lizzie told me Roger was here, and Jamie beat him!” (Please note the use of “Jamie” and not “Da” here.) A few things become instantly clear. First, Jamie didn’t tell Claire what he’d done, either. Second, Murtagh is the smartest man in the room: He beats a hasty retreat, which Ian tries to follow, but Bree demands that her cousin stay and answer her questions. Third, Jamie and his daughter are about to have the most uncomfortable conversation of their brief time together.
Jamie’s face goes from puzzled to “oh-sugar-honey-iced-tea” super fast as he scrabbles to prove that he’s done nothing wrong. And that’s how Big Red and Litlte Red get into a back-and-forth about how Roger DID bed her but she WANTED him to because they’d been HANDFAST and GOD, DAD, CAN I JUST HAVE THE KEYS OR WHAT? Then Jamie doubles down on his dad-ly ire by completely misunderstanding and then getting mad at her for sleeping with a man “from lust” and lying about it when she got pregnant. (It’s not a good look for him.) A strong slap from Brianna shuts him up quickly. “I was violated, you self-righteous bastard. By someone else! You beat up the wrong man,” she tells him. A quick confirmation glance from Claire, who’s taken Bree in her arms, takes all the air out of Jamie. He turns ashen as he swears on his word as her father that he will make things right. “My father never would have said the things you said to me,” she spits back. “He was a good man. You’re nothing but a savage.”
BREE MAKES A PLAN | While Brianna cries in her mother’s embrace, Ian and Jamie still can’t figure out who did rape Bree. Claire pulls out her old ring and puts it on the table. “It was him, “she says. Then Ian confesses that he sold Roger to a band of Mohawk traders who were passing through, causing Bree to give HIM a good crack across the cheek with her palm. (Side note: John Bell’s reaction to the blow is GOLD.) But Bree isn’t done ladling out the pain. When Lizzie says she’s sorry, Bree flatly replies, “You SHOULD be.” And when Jamie knocks over a chair in frustration, Bree wheels on him. “NO!” she shouts. “No, you do NOT get to be more angry than me.” I was going to write something like, “I don’t know if a woman has ever talked to him that way,” but then I remembered that Claire and Jenny are regular presences in his life, so let’s just carry on, shall we?
Bree is all business as she demands that they figure out how to get Roger back. But since the Mohawk are based in upstate New York (which is 700 miles away) and they’ve got a week’s lead on their trip home, it doesn’t look good. Ian says that the Mohawk probably won’t kill Roger — they’re more interested in assimilating people into their tribe to replace those who’ve died — but that’s little comfort. So Brianna says they’re all going to go get her sorta-husband back. Jamie looks surprised: He thought he and Ian would go. Bree’s reaction? “You’re insane.”
PRESSING MISSIONS | But the reality is that the round trip will be about four months long, and Bree’s burgeoning pregnancy will slow everything down. So she implores Claire to go, reasoning that Roger will recognize her as a friend, and he’ll likely need a doctor, anyway. But Claire refuses to leave her daughter and Lizzie alone in the wilderness, so Jamie suggests that they stay at River Run during Ma and Pa Fraser’s absence. Murtagh volunteers to drive them there, and it’s settled.
So is another thing: Bree has made up her mind about the baby. “If there’s even a slightest chance it’s his, I’m going to keep it. Not just for him, for me, too,” she tells Claire. “And if it’s not his, I’ll love it anyway. I know I will.” Later, Claire and Jamie finally have a microfight about what they’ve kept from each other, and no one is happy. Oh, and Jamie secretly orders Murtagh to go to Wilmington and find Bonnet after dropping the young women at River Run. “Bring him to me in secret,” Jamie says. “I’m going to kill him.”
In the morning, after Ian makes Brianna a ridiculous marriage proposal just in case they don’t find Roger (“Get off your knee, ye eejit,” is Jamie’s hilarious, and apt, response), Jamie promises Bree that he’ll find her man. “I’ll hold you to that vow,” she says, making it clear that for the time being, they are still not friends. Then Bree apologizes to her mother “for making you leave me,” (aww) and everyone departs.
At River Run, Jocasta is delighted by the surprise appearance of Murtagh, whose hands she remembers after decades. (Oh Jocasta, behave! Also, side note for Oldlanders: Might Murtagh take on certain facets of Duncan Innes’ role in the books, if you know what I mean? Hmm…) Jocasta is verra surprised to learn she has an unwed preggo for a great-niece, but after a beat, she welcomes Brianna to live at the plantation for as long as she needs.
ADIOS, ROGER? | When Roger’s fellow prisoner dies during the night, the Mohawk inform Rog that they plan to travel faster that day. But Roger is doing worse, and one time when he stumbles, he falls off the side of a ravine. He’s held to the horse only by the loop of rope around his wrist, and when that eventually slips off, he sees an opportunity and takes it: He runs into the wilderness, pursued by the trading party. Eventually, he loses them, but he’s still in really rough shape and in the middle of nowhere, so this episode of Roger’s storyline is still brought to you by the letters F, M and L.
As he walks, Rog hears a buzzing in the distance. And as he presses closer, he says, “Oh my God”: He’s stumbled upon a stone circle, smaller than the one at Craig na Dun, but obviously powerful. He’s got the gems Bonnet paid him with in his pocket, and he starts to cry as he contemplates going back to his time. Then, with his mind apparently made up, Roger walks toward the largest stone with his hand outstretched… and then we cut to black.
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