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Marine Perot

Outlander season 7 episode 4 recap: Nothing ever goes according to plan

Jamie and Claire Fraser in an inn in Outlander season 7 episode 4.

NOTE: This post contains spoilers for Outlander season 7 episode 4, "A Most Uncomfortable Woman".

Time jump alert! While the part of Outlander season 7 that is focused on the Frasers is still set in the 1770s, the lives of Brianna, Roger, and their children have been fast-forwarded. Their adventures are now taking place in 1980 Scotland which begs the question: how will the show approach further time travel on their side of History? 

But until that comes back into play (because it will, there is no way Bree and Roger will stay in the future forever, right?), Outlander has more stories to tell about Claire, Jamie, and the rest of their family. Let us find out what happened to them in “A Most Uncomfortable Woman”. 

Welcome to 1980

This episode of Outlander opens with a wee time jump. The last time we saw them, Bree and Roger were checking out Lallybroch and finding out it was for sale. Now, they’ve bought it, and a few years have passed. It’s 1980, and the Mackenzies are living in a caravan while the family domain is being renovated. 

Jemmy and Mandy are now a few years older and spend most of their time fighting with one another, as siblings do. However, it turns out that Bree and Roger have burnt through their savings to get Lallybroch to where it is now, and further construction will require an astronomical amount of money the couple simply doesn’t have. So, as their contractor hands them a new estimate, they decide they will make do with what’s been updated so far. After all, a functioning 1980s kitchen and running water is much more than what they had in the 18th century. 

One would think that going after the Jacobite gold that Jamie has hidden in North Carolina could certainly be the solution to Bree and Roger’s financial struggle, but things are not that simple. Brianna doesn’t want to ask Jemmy about the location of the treasure, not wanting to stir the pot of memories the wee lad has of the past. In fact, she and her husband already have their hands full with Jeremiah, as he keeps making up stories that puzzle them. 

First, he claims that pixies are responsible for his mother’s broken radio. Then he argues that a nuckelavee, a horse-like demon, has threatened to hurt Mandy if he didn’t give it food. Brianna and Roger wonder where he is getting all those stories from and why since it’s not like him to lie. While Bree would like to put an end to it, Roger argues that it makes sense that the boy believes in magical creatures. He’s traveled through time after all.

Woman of the family

With the Jacobite gold remaining out of reach, someone has to be the money maker in this family, so Bree goes for a job interview at a nearby dam. She is there to apply for a plant inspector position, but Mr. Campbell, the man who interviews her, thinks she is there for a secretarial job. What else could a woman do, right? Reminding him that no aspect of being a plant inspector requires a penis, she proceeds to lay down all the things she’s noticed are wrong with the dam and ends up getting the job. You go girl.

When she returns home to share the good news with Roger, Bree is disappointed to see that he isn’t thrilled. It isn’t that Roger isn’t happy for her, but on one hand he didn’t think they would give the job to a woman, and on the other he feels bad that he is not the bread maker of the family. He explains he promised Jamie and Claire he would take care of her and the kids and he feels like he is failing. Plus, while he once wanted to become a minister, he now doesn’t know where to stand with God. 

Roger used to think the Almighty was in control, that everything was planned, but then he and Bree traveled to the past and actually changed history (by saving Claire and Jamie from the fire at the Ridge, more on that later). Now not only is Roger unsure what to believe, he also feels like he can’t take care of his family properly.

No choice but to fight

Jamie, Claire and Ian discuss the war effort. (Image credit: Starz)

Back in the 1700s, Claire, Jamie and Ian are on their way to Wilmington and taking a break in the woods when Ian hears a noise and starts freaking out about Arch Bug being there to act upon his revenge. Ever since the old man threatened to kill someone Ian loves, the lad has been terrified of it actually happening. Jamie reassures him that Bug is nowhere near and reminds Ian that making him paranoid is exactly what the old man wants.

When they arrive in Wilmington to prepare to set sail for Scotland, the Frasers’ plans are derailed. Indeed, Jamie runs into Cornelius Harnett, a member of the Sons of Liberty which Jamie joined in season 6. Upon learning that Jamie is not joining the revolution but instead getting ready for a trip to Scotland, Harnett decides he cannot let him go. He means to conscript Jamie or have someone else sent to fight in his stead, leaving Jamie with no choice but to join the rebels. 

Back at the inn where they are staying, Jamie tells Claire he wants to enlist, mainly because he wants to protect his family, but also because he cannot ask anyone to fight in his place. Claire understands and says she will go with him as the war efforts will require doctors. And of course, Young Ian decides to join as well because Scotland can wait. He has come to love America and its people and wants to fight for it. He hopes to offer his services to the revolutionary cause by trying to convince the few Native American tribes who haven’t picked a side to join them. 

 Back from the dead 

Going about her business in Wilmington, Claire later runs into Tom Christie (him again!). He is so stunned to see Claire that he kisses her, and she can’t believe he is alive either. Tom heard about the fire at the Ridge and thought she had died in it, and Claire was convinced he had been executed for Malva’s murder. 

They go for a cuppa and Tom explains how his literacy ended up saving his life. After regaining his freedom, he decided against returning to the Ridge and when he heard about the fire, he placed an obituary in the paper about it. That is the obituary that Bree found in the papers all these years later, the one that led her to travel to the past in season 3, which means that while Roger is convinced they managed to change History, it was in fact meant to be. Perhaps God is in control after all?  

After meeting with Tom Christie and hearing him once again express how in love with her he is, Claire tells Jamie about the encounter. While he teases her about the kiss, Jamie has sympathy for poor Tom who he believes would not hesitate to risk his life for Claire again. Their conversation eventually leads to some intimacy, which is no doubt what the couple needs as their next stop is Fort Ticonderoga, where their participation in the revolution will truly begin. 

A mission goes awry

While the Frasers and the Mackenzies are busy with their own problems, a new player comes into the fold: William Ransom (Jamie’s secret illegitimate son). After showing his true colors to his superiors by going against some soldiers who burnt a prostitute alive, William is given a mission. The young soldier has been waiting to be assigned a posting and fight the rebels, but so far he has been on the sidelines. Now an officer is giving him an opportunity: there are three letters he needs to deliver and then he can go up to New York and join the fight.

William sets off on his post delivery mission, going through the Great Dismal, a large swamp between North Carolina and Virginia. It’s a particularly inhospitable area and when a snake spooks his horse, William suffers a bad fall and an injury to his arm that puts him in a very difficult position. With his horse gone, William has no other choice but to continue on foot, yet his wound worsens. He eventually crosses paths with none other than Young Ian, who does not hesitate to help him once he realizes that the young man is his secret cousin.

Meet the Hunters

Dr Denzell Hunter and Rachel Hunter. (Image credit: Starz)

After doing his best to tend to William’s wound (and telling him about Mohawk death songs), Ian rushes the young man to a doctor. They come across the house of Denzell and Rachel Hunters, Quaker siblings who can (miraculously) help as Denzell is a physician. When he first looks at William’s arm his prognosis is not good: amputation is needed. William is not keen on it but when Ian reminds him he has a full life to live, the soldier accepts. But when Denzell presses his saw against the arm, pus comes leaking out and the physician rejoices: turns out an abscess just needs to be cleaned up and William can keep his arm.

While William rests, Ian chats with Rachel Hunter and the two quickly seem to have a connection. Unfortunately, Ian announces he has to leave and while Rachel appears disappointed, she recovers by taking care of William instead. As the lad’s injury is getting better, we later see Rachel give him a shave and there again sparks seem to be flying between the two young people. She tells William that she and her brother will have to move soon because Denzell has spoken in favor of independence and they are no longer welcome in their community. It so happens that they are going in the same direction where William needs to go to deliver his messages, so he offers to go with them.

Will William and the Hunters see Ian again soon? What will happen at Ticonderoga for Claire and Jamie? Tune in next week on Starz and Lionsgate Plus to find out.

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