This week’s winner of “most problematic” Outlander character goes to Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan), who puts the sting into the end of “The Birds and The Bees.” Good news for those who enjoy the pace of the show, versus the books: no waiting for major plot points here!
The episode begins where last week’s ended, with Brianna (Sophie Skelton) doing an early morning walk of trauma, from the scene of her rape by the evil Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers), to her bedroom upstairs in the tavern, where a watchful Lizzie is waiting for her. Lizzie bears witness to her bloody nose, the bruises on her back as she undresses and the blood on her petticoats. She offers comfort and help, but Brianna just begs her to go to sleep and leave her alone.
Brianna wakens after noon the next day and walks gingerly down the stairs to inquire after Roger (Richard Rankin). The tavern keeper says that he was there that morning looking for her, but that he left with the crew of the Gloriana. Brianna runs to the docks to find him, but the ship sailed with the morning tide. She has no way of knowing that Roger sailed under threat of losing a limb if he left the crew before the ship reached Philadelphia. She doesn’t know he was forced by the same cruel man who attacked her. She thinks he left because she told him to.
Her emotional processing of Roger’s departure is interrupted when an elated Lizzie appears, excited about her own cleverness in having boldly spoken to a Scottish man she met in the street. The Scot told a tale of a woman acting as surgeon at the theatre the previous night, and even though it’s obvious who the woman was, Lizzie did confirm that she was the wife of James Fraser (Sam Heughan), Claire (Caitriona Balfe). Not only are Brianna’s parents both in Wilmington, Lizzie has a lead on where Jamie is at the very moment.
Brianna takes off in search of her biological father, and she discovers him relieving himself against a wall in an alley. (?) When he senses a young woman observing him while he urinates, he finishes up and asks what she wants. She says, “You.” He’s like, “Thanks, miss, but I’m very married,” and she asks if he’s Jamie Fraser. Then she finally introduces herself as Brianna, his daughter.
What follows would be super tender… if we hadn’t just seen him peeing on a wall and decidedly NOT washing his hands after. He regards his daughter for the first time, overcome with emotion at her being “grown.” Sure, he’s seen literal photos of her at about this age, but he didn’t expect to see her in the 1700s. He strokes her cheek with his pee hand, and she collapses crying into his arms.
Jamie rallies and takes her to find her mother, and when Claire spies Brianna sitting with Jamie in 1700s North Carolina, she drops her parcels in the street and runs to embrace her daughter.
Then, as soon as the reunion is over, Brianna pulls them aside to show them the photocopy of their obituary while they’re still standing in the street. She’s like, “I didn’t know what year this happened in because of the smudge, but I wanted to get it to you ASAP.” And they’re like, “Oh, we die in a fire.” (Brianna. She’s direct.)
They invite her to come home with them, and they introduce her to her cousin, Young Ian (John Bell). He’s never heard about any daughter before, but he’s learned it’s best not to ask his auntie too many questions. Brianna explains that she has Lizzie with her, and Lizzie is included in the invitation. The little band boards the same barge Steven Bonnet robbed them on, and they make their way towards Fraser’s Ridge.
On the barge, Young Ian tells Brianna the highlights of Bonnet’s robbery. When he gets to the bit about the bandit taking Claire’s wedding ring, Brianna knows for sure that their attacker and her rapist are the same man. Now that she’s burdened with the knowledge that he was free to attack all of them because of Jamie’s compassion, she doesn’t want her parents to know that her experience is among the ripple effects of that act.
When they arrive at Fraser’s Ridge, Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) is hiding out there in the wake of the previous evening’s aborted carriage robbery. He understands where Brianna must have come from when he’s introduced to her, being the only one in the know about Claire’s origins.
Over dinner in the cabin that night, Murtagh is goaded into telling tales about Jamie’s youth. The one he picks, about 14-year-old Jamie being threatened by his uncle Dougal for a stolen kiss with one of Dougal’s daughters, is incredibly awkward to sit through. Nobody responds as though it’s uncomfortable to talk about Dougal after Jamie killed him, but Brianna gets squirmy when kissing comes up, and she goes to bed early.
The next day, Brianna tells Claire about Roger. She doesn’t explicitly say that they slept together, but Claire isn’t stupid.
Weeks pass. Brianna demonstrates her shooting skill, acquired from Frank, for Jamie. She helps with chores. She and Lizzie, who is smitten with Young Ian, sleep in a little shelter next to the main cabin. Everything would be swell if she weren’t clearly hiding something more than her heartbreak over Roger, and if there weren’t the question of whether she’ll stay in the 1700s and for how long.
Jamie is loving having her there, and he wants her to stay. Claire is loving having her there, and she wants her to stay for a while… and then to return to her own time, where it’s safer and there are more opportunities for women. Claire suggests that Jamie take Brianna hunting with him so they can spend some time alone together.
It turns out he’s bee hunting. They’re in search of flowers, and they’ll follow the bees from the flowers to their hive so they can capture the hive and bring it back to the garden that serves the Fraser household. When Brianna asks if the bees won’t be disoriented by the move, Jamie uses his reassurance as a metaphor for how she can be happy in her new home with him. He expresses his gratitude to Frank for taking Claire back, raising Brianna and loving her, which seems to remove any remaining strain between them. They find and secure a bee hive and return home triumphant.
Not long after, Brianna stares meaningfully at a nest full of baby birds. When she’s picking herbs with her mother later, Claire starts ferreting out what’s going on with her daughter. Thanks to mother’s intuition, she gets as far as the fact that Brianna is about two months pregnant by this point. She’s thrown for a loop when Brianna shares that she isn’t certain who the father is, because Roger pulled out and then she was raped the same night. Brianna holds back the identity of her rapist, but Claire is upset enough about what’s happened to her baby without that nugget of information.
When they get back to the cabin, Claire tells Jamie that Brianna was raped and that she’s pregnant. Now he knows that someone has hurt his daughter. Uh-oh.
Unbeknownst to anyone, Roger has completed his tour with Captain Bonnet and asked to be paid in small gemstones instead of currency. He takes the gems, which he’s conceivably requested so he can pass back through the stones with Brianna, and begins making his way to Fraser’s Ridge to find her. He gets most of the way there, when he stops to get off his horse and meander vulnerably about in a clearing, looking at his compass.
It is here that he is spotted by Lizzie, who didn’t take any action when she thought he was dragging her mistress away from the tavern against her will, and who is determined to make up for that inaction now. She insists to Young Ian that this is the man who attacked Brianna, and they make haste for Jamie. Lizzie tells him that she saw this man roughly drag her mistress away by her arms, and that she was too frightened to do anything. She also saw Brianna return at dawn with bloodied petticoats that indicated her virginity had been roughly taken, bruises and a bloody nose, though.
Jamie charges through the brush like a stag and falls on Roger in a fury, beating his face to a bloody pulp before Young Ian can pull him back. Some people pass nearby in a wagon, and the interruption is enough to stop Jamie from going further. He loads the senseless Roger onto his horse and instructs Young Ian to get rid of him somewhere– not kill him, but make him go all the way away.
Hot-headed Jamie’s sense of vengeance is in the right place, but Claire is almost simultaneously discovering the rest of the truth. While she’s doing laundry, she shakes her wedding ring out of the garment in which Brianna had hidden it. As soon as she sees it, she understands its significance, and Brianna confirms her horror. Brianna begs Claire to keep Bonnet’s identity a secret to prevent Jamie from hunting him down, sure that that would lead to Jamie being killed by the ruthless villain. Oh, dear!
Note: Even though Laoghaire mentioned Marsali in Scotland, and even though Laoghaire and Joanie both confirmed that Jamie was married to Laoghaire and was Joanie’s “Da,” Brianna never mentions her time with Laoghaire and Joanie to anyone. Even though she does talk about meeting uncle Ian and Joanie drove her to his house, and even though Jamie asks her to also call him Da, and she acts like it’s a new word to her. What’s that about?