It’s ironic that penicillin and Stephen Bonnet both show up in this week’s episode of Outlander, given how many women could’ve benefitted from the former after interactions with the latter.
Brianna’s fears, and her father’s suspicions, are proven valid during the hour when her rapist turns up in nearby Wilmington, N.C. And the fact that he’s talking about her son, Jeremiah, as though he’s definitely the dad? Chilling.
Meanwhile, Claire takes the first steps in becoming a one-woman pharmacy — hence the aforementioned attempt at making modern medicine — and Jamie runs into Murtagh a heck of a lot faster than he thought he would.
Read on for the highlights of “Between Two Fires.”
THE DOCTOR IS INCENSED | Brianna is sitting under a tree, sketching Bonnett’s terrible face, when a woman drives up in her buggy and screams that her husband can’t breathe. As Claire runs out to take a look at him, the man’s wife cries that she can’t understand why he’s not getting better: After all, she’s been bleeding him (ick) and dosing him with purgatives (double ick). Inside, Claire winces when the wife adds that she’s been giving him mercury, as well: There’s nothing the Sassenach can do for the man, who dies on her table a few moments later.
After everyone has gone, Claire autopsies the man and finds out he died of a ruptured appendix. Bree walks in on the scene and freaks out a wee bit: If anyone else happened by, she reminds her mother, they wouldn’t understand what Claire was doing and would assume it was some devil-induced wickedness. But Claire counters that she had to know what killed her patient. Bree sympathizes… but then makes a quick exit so she doesn’t hurl all over the pretty new house. Later, Herself wears a stunning magenta wrap while she pays close attention to Marsali as she butchers a goat outside.
After Roger presides over the dead man’s funeral, Claire approaches her daughter-in-law later, asking, “Do you trust me?” Marsali is all, “Sure I do why what do you have to show me OH GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN WHY DO YOU HAVE A CORPSE IN YOUR SURGERY?!” Everything Laoghaire ever uttered about the “Sassenach witch” comes flooding back (in hilarious fashion, I might add — Lauren Lyle is very funny here) as she asks “Dinna make me say it… Was she right? My mum?” But Claire gruffly says that Marsali has more sense than that. She hastily explains that they buried a coffin full of rocks, and that autopsies are the only way doctors can learn about the inner workings of the human body. Then she recruits Marsali as an apprentice, explaining that she’ll use poor Mr. Farish’s body as a teaching device. Against her better judgment, Marsali is super intrigued.
But Claire’s wisdom isna as well received by everyone on the Ridge, as she learns when trying to counter some bad medical advice some of the women are passing around as fact because they heard it from “a learned physician.” So she draws up a list of preventative health care tips and titles it “Dr. Rawlings recommends,” then gets Bree to help her make copies by hand — though Bree notes that it’s basically just her mother “telling people what to do” and wonders how it’s any different from what the ill-fated Otter Tooth was up to.
The Ladies Formerly Known as Randall clash again when Claire bakes a bunch of bread and starts experimenting with making penicillin, which irks her daughter in the extreme. “What if it messes with some cosmic balance or breaks some rule of space and time?” Bree wonders. “Isn’t this playing God?” Claire counters that Brianna herself already played God when she came back to save their lives, and that every moment they live in the past changes something. “So time, space, history be damned,” she pronounces, and that’s that.
STAY OR LEAVE? I WANT YOU NOT TO GO BUT YOU SHOULD | Speaking of time travel, Roger and Bree continue to be of two minds about whether to stay or go. He’s a big proponent of getting the heck back to the 1970s, especially because he can’t shoot — making him a kind of terrible choice for military captain — and has no skill that’s useful in 18th-century North Carolina. Also, there’s the matter of one James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser: “He doesn’t respect me, Bree,” Roger (correctly) states. Still, she points out while they’re practicing shooting, “Our family is here.” He’s not convinced. “You and Jemmy are my family,” he says. “James Fraser is my colonel.”
But Claire is #TeamRoger on this one, it turns out. “As much as I love all of you being here, I hope you don’t stay,” she tells him when he visits her surgery for an eye exam. (P.S. His sight is fine. He’s just a terrible shot.) She adds that it’s safer in the present, but he points out that the question is moot until they know whether or not Jem can hear the stones screaming, er, singing, too.
RUFFLED FEATHERS | Murtagh and his men have been busy burning Redcoats in effigy and tarring-and-feathering British tax collectors in nearby Hillsboro, so Lt. Knox accompanies Jamie into town to look into the Regulator riots. The damage that the rebels have caused is both substantial and brutal; “I didna think them capable of this,” Jamie says, a little stunned.
Murtagh isn’t among the men who were arrested, so Jamie tries to get some time alone with them, telling Knox he can “loosen their tongues.” But the prisoners want nothing to do with him, seeing him only as a Scot who sold out to the oppressive British regime. The conversation grows more tense as it continues, until finally Knox pullx his sword and demands to know where Murtagh is. “I am Murtagh Fitzgibbons!” cries a man who definitely is NOT, and Knox stabs him in the belly, right there. The man falls the floor and dies.
“You executed a man without trial!” Jamie says, shocked. But when other British officials show up, Jamie lies and makes it seem as though Knox was defending himself. Later on, Knox acknowledges that he’s become “the very thing I despise. I am a hypocrite.” Still, he reminds Jamie, they’ve both sworn to die for king and country.
WE MEET AGAIN | Don’t worry, though: Big Red hasn’t forgotten his people. He sneaks into the jail later that night and breaks the prisoners free, not that they’re super grateful. “I’m trying to save all of our lives,” he tells them, but they merely let him know that the Regulators have more men in the colony at the moment, and they are a LOT angrier than the British.
The men bring Jamie to their camp, where Murtagh calms them down a bit: If Jamie says they shouldn’t return to Hillsboro, then they shouldn’t, he decrees. The men grouse that when the time comes to fight, Jamie will stand with the Crown. “No, he stands with his people,” the silver fox corrects them. “And I stand with mine.”
SLIM(Y) SHADY | Then suddenly, we’re at a women’s boxing match in Wilmington. Niall Forbes is there, and he’s introduced to Stephen Bonnet, who for some reason is dressed like the fantastic Mr. Fox. A crowd of men watch, cheer and bet on Ye Olde GLOW while Bonnet talks business with Forbes and a friend. But when the match is over and Bonnet wins his bets, a man accuses him of cheating. Next thing you know, they’re dueling with swords. Bonnet slashes the back of the man’s leg, and he yields. And then, just to be sadistic, he carves the man’s face up. But he’s not going to kill him, Bonnet explains, because he has to set a better example: “I’m a father now.”
Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!