If we can agree that Outlander episodes fall into one of four categories (sex, battle, wounds and trauma), then I’m sorry to report we have another check for the “trauma” column in “Mercy Shall Follow Me.” IMO, the real mercy here is that the folks behind the show have pushed up the timeline on one of my least favorite elements of the books…
It’s time for the stupid, definitely ill-fated plan to kill Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers).
Jamie (Sam Heughan), Roger (Richard Rankin) and Young Ian (John Bell) have arranged through dandy Philip Wylie (Chris Donald) for “Alexander Malcolm” (Young Ian) to meet with Bonnet at a boathouse where they intend to ambush him. While the boys play vendetta, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) head to Wilmington to have a lark at engineering (pre-inventing the glass syringe) and racing about on the beach in search of ingredients for Claire’s cures. What could possibly go wrong?
In a twist that none of *them* see coming, Bonnet skips the ambush and kidnaps Brianna instead. FFS.
He takes her to his mansion on an island called Ocracoke, where for some reason she decides to try to escape with psychology instead of by killing him with a fireplace poker. Her plan inevitably fails, because Stephen Bonnet is a monster. He’d originally thought he’d make a little family with her and Jemmy as part of his scheme to claim River Run, but her trickery convinces him to instead hump a whore in front of her then sell her to a sea captain friend who likes it rough.
Fortunately, Brianna gets a moment alone with the whore and begs her to tell her parents and husband where she is. And also fortunately, her parents find this whore on their own and Claire plies her with corrective footwear tips to get Brianna’s whereabouts. So the Fraser rescue party storms the beach just in time to rescue Brianna.
As the viewer screams, “KILL HIM, YOU IDIOTS” at the screen, these idiots who have encountered Bonnet repeatedly and seen him escape the death penalty TWICE– knowing that he’s laid a legal foundation to take Jemmy and that he’s bought influence all over Wilmington– just tie him up! Brianna decides she wants him to get tried properly and receive official justice?? SO THAT IS WHAT THEY PURSUE.
Then, in a twist that actually did take this viewer by surprise, he gets justice! Cut to Bonnet being read his sentence while he’s chained to a post in the water. It’s death by drowning for the worst character in the entire Outlander universe. Before the water can get him, though, a merciful Brianna arrives on the shore and takes him out with a bullet to the head via her sharpshooting skillz. (He told her he had nightmares about drowning… and she probably needed to see him be dead in order to ever sleep again.)
Meanwhile, Bonnet’s weasly inside man, Gerald Forbes (Billy Boyd), reports to River Run at Jocasta’s (Maria Doyle Kennedy) request. Once they’re alone, he relaxes all his body language in her presence because she’s blind and he’s a weasel. Bonnet has promised him 20% of what he gets out of River Run as a result of their scheme, so Forbes is pissed when Jocasta reveals that with her husband’s (Alastair Findlay) support, she wants him to disperse her fortune to her family. In fact, he’s so angry that he attempts to smother her with a throw pillow.
As they struggle, a bell falls from a table and summons Ulysses (Colin McFarlane), who lifts the little man up and breaks his neck, saving Jocasta.
If you’ve read the books, you’ll know that a lot of the Bonnet storyline was pulled right from their pages– but that most of this arc was taken from A Breath of Snow and Ashes, the book after The Fiery Cross. A hearty THANK YOU to whomever decided to get rid of this awful, awful character early!
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