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Laura Hurley

After Outlander Dropped A Big Reveal About Young Ian, Actor John Bell's Comments Are Making Me Nervous

John Bell as Young Ian in Outlander Season 7

Spoilers ahead for Episode 5 of Outlander Season 7, called "Singapore."

There were big questions about Outlander following the fourth episode, ranging from what was ahead for the crop of new characters to why on Earth an episode primarily set in the 18th-century Colonial America would be called "Singapore." The answer to the former question involved rat stew and attempted murder, with the answer to the latter tying back to Claire's knowledge of World War II. The reveal that has me nervous about the future, however, involves Young Ian, the discovery he made, and comments dropped by actor John Bell about his character in Season 7. 

Since nothing can be too good for too long on Outlander, I think I'm justified in feeling a little nervous for Ian as the show runs out of episodes in the 2023 TV schedule! So, let's first get into what happened for him in "Singapore."

(Image credit: Starz)

Young Ian Got Some Good News

A brief time jump ahead brought Young Ian to reunite with his aunt and uncle at Fort Ticonderoga, where he could use his ties to the Mohawk to help the revolutionary cause. He was more than a little reluctant when a superior officer directed him to deliver a message to a Mohawk leader that would involve a reunion with his former wife Wakyo'teyehsnonhsa, a.k.a. Emily

Before leaving for the village, Young Ian had a chat with Claire that revealed he hadn't fully gotten over the loss of his child with Emily, even after opening up about it in Season 6. Claire cleared up his worries that they'd lost their child because his spirit had been weak, and set him straight about reproduction in a scene that was both sweet and sad, in light of Claire's own late-term miscarriage of Faith back in Season 2. 

And Ian was in for a big surprise when he arrived at the village and encountered Emily! He learned that she had a son and daughter now, and asked to meet her son. Anybody who caught the brief look on her face probably guessed what was coming when she brought him out, giving the little boy's name as "Swiftest of Lizards." And that little boy sure looks like he's half Scottish!

Young Ian quickly made the same deduction but didn't speak it out loud, with John Bell turning in a lovely performance. Emily allowed him to choose an English name for his unacknowledged son for when the boy inevitably will have to walk in Ian's world, and Ian honored both his father and his uncle by choosing "Ian James." 

He didn't give any indication that he intended to disrupt Emily's life and family by trying to claim any parental rights, but it was a touching moment that hopefully allays his fears about whether or not he can father children and pursue love again. Surely this was just a nice storyline and calm before the storm of evacuating Fort Ticonderoga and nothing bad is going to happen to Young Ian, right? Right?!

(Image credit: Starz)

Why John Bell's Comments Make Me Nervous

Unfortunately, Ian getting something to smile about just reminded me of how it wasn't that long ago that he was devastated and offering his life up in payment for another. I'm referring, of course, to when Young Ian shot and killed Mrs. Bug in a fatal case of mistaken identity (and scene that left the actress genuinely choking on fake blood). After Mrs. Bug's death, which had to be filmed in a very specific way, Mr. Bug  vowed vengeance on Young Ian, but not in the form of killing him. Arch Bug intends to wait until Young Ian has something worth taking, and then he'll see him again for revenge. 

While Arch Bug hasn't yet appeared since making that vow in Episode 3, he certainly wasn't kidding when he made the threat! When I spoke with John Bell about Young Ian's priorities in Season 7 earlier this year, I asked the actor if Mr. Bug's promise was going to weigh on his character or if Young Ian has bigger things to worry about. Bell shared:

No, I think those those last words from Arch Bug are going to haunt him for a while. He just wants to protect his family, so when anyone threatens his family, he's ready for action, basically. Get that axe out, get that hatchet out! But, you know, he's shown that he is quite prepared to do what is necessary when the time is right. It's just that love of family.

Now, I'm a few books behind on Diana Gabaldon's Outlander saga, so I don't know if tragedy is on the way for Young Ian, and there are certainly ways of Arch Bug getting his revenge without finding out and then targeting little Ian James. Young Ian loves his family dearly, and even seems to be feeling some sparks with Rachel Hunter, although William – who has no idea that Young Ian is his cousin – seems to be interested in Rachel as well, with the not insignificant complication of his allegiance to the British. On the whole, Ian has plenty to lose without his secret son coming into play. 

All the same, whether or not his son is in any danger, him getting any sort of good news in the first half of Season 7 just makes me nervous on his behalf in the second half. The super-sized seventh season will air eight episodes this summer and then the other eight at some point in 2024, so we may wait a while to see if Arch Bug reappears to guarantee that Ian gets some bad news after learning that he's a father. Not everything can be as much fun as Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin debating whether they'd go for the lost Jacobite gold!

(Image credit: Starz)

What's Next For The Extended Fraser Family On Outlander?

For now, keep tuning in to Starz on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of the extended Fraser family's exploits in Outlander Season 7, or stream new episodes a little earlier when they become available via the Starz app on Fridays at midnight ET. The Revolutionary War is only just beginning on the hit drama, and it remains to be seen how far into battle the show gets before ending with the eighth season. Outlander of course isn't afraid to use time jumps, so even readers who are current on Diana Gabaldon's saga likely can't guess what exactly will make it to the screen!

Plus, it seems that more time travel could be in play, and not just in dream form like Jamie's visions of the future. Brianna seems to have accidentally discovered a new place where time travel is possible after her workers trapped her in a tunnel, and I was half expecting her to emerge a couple hundred years earlier than she intended. Good thing she wasn't wearing any jewels, I guess! 

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