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Outlander season 7 episode 7 recap: Loss and deception

Roger and Bree kiss in Outlander season 7 episode 7

NOTE: This post contains spoilers for Outlander season 7 episode 7, "A Practical Guide for Time-Travelers".

It is time for Outlander to return to the battlefield as the historical events depicted on the show are reaching a turning point. The Battle of Saratoga is just around the corner, and the Frasers have to face their fates. Meanwhile, in the 1980s, Brianna and Roger are encountering a new foe.

What happened in the latest episode of Outlander, “A Practical Guide for Time-Travelers”? Let’s recap. 

Meet the Nuckelavee 

Rob turns up for dinner with the MacKenzies. (Image credit: Starz)

In the comfort of Lallybroch, Bree is reading a letter written by Claire explaining how she and Jamie are now at the Continental Army camp by Bemis Heights, NY, not far from Saratoga. Bree barely has time to learn that Claire has seen William again when she is interrupted by Roger bursting into the house, with Buck Mackenzie in tow. 

The latter tells them about how he was minding his own business back in 1778 when he and his family passed by Craigh na Dun and he heard the buzzing from the stone circle. He went to check it out and next thing he knew he was in the 1980s, getting acquainted with cars. As Bree wonders how he ended up at Lallybroch, lurking around their house, Buck explains he saw Roger go into a shop in Inverness and recognized him, but that he didn’t know how to approach him. Since the last time he saw Roger, he hanged him, not knowing how to break the ice is understandable.

Later on, feeding Buck with a stack of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Bree and Roger learn a bit more about why he tried to hang Roger in the first place: he thought Roger had his eyes on his wife, Morag. Why else would have he been so nice to her? Roger then explains it was because Morag is one of his direct ancestors, and that he and Buck are related. However, before Buck can fully wrap his mind around the whole time-travel thing, they are interrupted by Rob Cameron who’s decided to show up for dinner, unannounced, and they take Buck out of sight.

Readying for battle

William Ransom and Sandy Hammond. (Image credit: Robert Wilson/Starz)

In 1777, William is at the British army camp near Stillwater. Hanging out in a tent with his friend Sandy Hammond and a bunch of higher-ranked soldiers, he listens as generals discuss how they are waiting on reinforcements and that a lot of British soldiers are deserting. 

Despite their situation, the British seem confident they can win the war; before William can hear more, a messenger arrives and unnecessary soldiers are dismissed from the tent. Soon after, Captain Richardson comes to find William with a new mail delivery mission for him, but William is not keen on missing out on the next battle against the Continental Army.

At the rebel camp, Claire and Jamie are also expecting things to heat up. While she is writing to Bree, Jamie comes up to Claire and gives her a book he found. Watching her look at it, he comments that she needs glasses. He then tells her that the riflemen are being mustered for battle in three days, and the Frasers have to start preparing for the worst. Claire and Jamie have been in this situation before, facing the dangers of war, but this time around seems to have them more worried than ever.

On the Redcoat side, William and Hammond are eating when they are joined by General Simon Fraser, and William takes this opportunity to request a change of plans as far as he is concerned. He doesn’t want to go on another dispatching errand, he wants to fight in the upcoming battle, and General Fraser allows him to do so.

A most unwanted guest

At Lallybroch, Rob Cameron hardly cares that he is imposing on Bree and Roger. He shares a wee dram with them before asking Roger to see Reverend Mackenzie’s hymns. Obliging, Roger takes him to his office, the very same room where the letters from Claire and Jamie are stored along with all kinds of other information relating to time travel. Given that Rob has already had a look through the “Practical Guide for Time-Travelers” by accident, one would think Roger would be careful about leaving the man alone in a room where he can learn a lot more about it, yet he isn’t. His mind is on Buck and he just isn’t fully in the moment.

After dinner, Bree and Roger are eager to get rid of Rob and get back to the Buck business, but Rob is just a lonely divorcé in no rush to go home. As he finally makes his way to the front door, however, he offers to take Jemmy to the movies with him and his nephew Bobby the next day, and the Mackenzies agree that it would be nice.

Once Rob is gone, Roger looks for Buck and finds him watching TV with Jemmy and Mandy. The children are already making friends with “Cousin Buck”, saying he isn’t as scary as he seemed when they thought he was the Nuckelavee, and even Roger is coming around to his ancestor’s side. Only Bree is still unsure about Buck’s motivations, wondering how come the stones took him to their time, and having resentment towards him because he tried to kill her husband. However, Roger explains he has forgiven him and that he wants to help Buck go home.

The following day, Bree takes Buck with her to work as she doesn't want him to stay alone at Lallybroch. The two of them talk about how traveling to the future means everyone they love is now dead, and there is a shared sense of loss between them. She then questions him about what went through his mind when he traveled to the stones, looking for a reason why he is in the 1980s, but before they can dig into it, they are interrupted by Rob Cameron (again). 

Going from bad to worse

Claire and Jamie say their goodbye before the battle. (Image credit: Starz)

After his day at school, Roger comes home to find Buck in their caravan, looking at a toy plane. Buck warns Roger that he thinks Rob Cameron has a “hot eye” for Bree after seeing him touch her arm at work, but Roger dismisses him, arguing Buck thinks every has a “hot eye” for other men’s wives. He decides, however, to also be honest with Buck and reveals that he saw his death date on the Mackenzie family tree. It’s 1778, which means that either Buck never makes it back to his own time and is presumed dead by his family, or that he does make it back, but not for long.

Later on, Roger teases Bree about what Buck said regarding Rob Cameron, and the conversation leads them to bed while Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” plays in the background. The night goes on and Roger wakes up in the middle of it. He decides to go to his office and, sitting at his desk, notices the box of letters from Claire and Jamie has been disturbed (duh!). Before he can look into it any further, a strident scream from Mandy has him rushing out to the caravan. 

He finds Bree consoling their daughter who starts telling them that Jemmy is gone. They understand that something is up with the special connection she and Jemmy share and that something is wrong. Jemmy is supposed to be at a sleepover with Rob Cameron’s nephew, but they quickly gather that not only was there no trip to the movies or sleepover, Rob Cameron has instead taken their son to Craigh na Dun. Roger realizes Rob knew all along that the “Practical Guide for Time-Travelers” was no work of fiction and that he has also read Claire and Jamie’s letters. He and Buck rush to the stones in hope to catch him, but while they hear their familiar buzzing, all that is left of Jemmy is his scarf.

Back in 1777, both Jamie and William are going to battle. While Claire and Jamie share a poignant goodbye, William experiences his first true loss when his friend Hammond is shot in the head right as the battle starts. He hardly has time to realize what happened before he has to charge the Continental army with his men. William slashes at the enemy with his sword and it is clear the horror of war is finally hitting him. After the fight, he orders the dead to be buried properly and as the rest of the army celebrates a win, William cannot help but feel rather deflated. “You’re a different man now,” General Fraser tells him. And speaking of Frasers, the last shot of the episode shows us the fallen on the battlefield, and amongst them, face down and presumably unconscious, is none other than Jamie Fraser.

Why did Rob Cameron kidnap Jemmy? Will Claire find Jamie injured on the battlefield, or worse? Tune in next week on Starz and Lionsgate Plus to find out in the mid-season finale of Outlander season 7. 

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