DISCLAIMER: This recap of Outlander Season 7 Episode 2, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
If you didn’t reach for the box of tissues during this week’s episode of Outlander, you might be a robot. Or perhaps one of the animatronic characters at Disneyland, aka “The Happiest Place on Earth.” (See how I did that?) This outing packs an emotional wallop with Bree, Roger and their kids leaving 1776 for the future to save baby Amanda. Every actor puts on a masterclass. It’s a beautiful, family-driven affair. Oh, and every character boasts electrifying chemistry with each other. They all fit together like a puzzle. I’d buy that the core four are related.
I’d be remiss if I failed to mention that cliffhanger. Holy moly! Wendigo, you better sleep with one eye open. She said to the fictional character. Anyway, “The Happiest Place on Earth” also puts the “Who Killed Malva?” question to bed. I appreciate the writers not dragging that one out. Jamie and John severing ties tore my heart in two. Claire’s gut-wrenching sobs felt like someone was taking a sledgehammer to my spirit. It’s a visceral, immersive episode in that regard.
Ready to delve into “The Happiest Place on Earth”? Let’s get to it.
We open with narration from Claire (Caitríona Balfe) as she reflects on the nature of life. She mourns the loss of Tom Christie, who turned himself in as Malva’s killer to save Claire from the noose. She spots Allan Christie (Alexander Vlahos) sitting at the graves of Tom and Malva, feeling the weight of acute grief from losing his family. Claire comforts him. Initially, his words ring true for anyone moving through the grief process.
However, they take a dangerous turn when we uncover the genuine nature of his feelings for Malva. Y’all, he love loved her. We see a flashback of Allan having sex with poor Malva (Jessica Reynolds), who bears the distant look of someone dissociating due to trauma. He claims she felt the same about him. Malva eventually became pregnant with his child. Allan was furious that Malva also slept with Ian and Bobby Higgins. He planted the bug in Malva’s ear to claim her child was Jamie’s. He hoped it would spur her to run away with him. But Malva told Allan plainly that she didn’t love him. Thus, he killed her. Awful.
Naturally, Claire is horrified to learn the truth about Malva’s killer. Allan reaches for the gun on the ground beside him, hellbent on committing suicide. Claire wrestles the weapon from his hands and orders him to leave. He must live with his sin. Suddenly, an arrow pierces Allan’s chest. He drops dead on the spot. Ian (John Bell) shot him. Well, we know where that repulsive turd is going, and it’s not Disneyland. Claire helps Ian bury the body in the woods. Mrs. Bug (Sarah Collier) finds them. Claire’s and Ian’s minds go to the worst place — that she might condemn them. However, she knew there was something amiss with Allan. She assists with the burying.
Later, Bree (Sophie Skelton) gives birth, while Claire helps her daughter with the delivery process. Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Roger (Richard Rankin) provide support. Success! A baby girl is born. The Frasers celebrate. Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan) reads an announcement of Amanda’s birth aloud in the newspaper. Yes, the wain’s name is Amanda. Sexy Grandpa Jamie (or SGJ) shows Amanda the horses. Soon, she’ll get to ride one herself. While Claire spends time with the baby, she notices something alarming. Amanda’s little fingernails are blue. She listens to the infant’s heartbeat and detects a heart problem.
Next, she delivers the news to Bree, Roger and Jamie. Of course, in Claire’s time, she could probably get the baby to a heart surgeon, but they don’t have the medical advancements necessary to treat Amanda’s health issue. Without treatment, Claire tells Bree that Amanda will die. That’s when it dawns on her that she knows someone in the future who can remedy Amanda’s little heart. Initially, Bree decides to go to the stones herself with Amanda. However, Roger insists they all go together as a family, Jemmy included. Claire is wracked with remorse over her inability to heal Amanda in this time. Jamie suggests they default to a dependable course of action: prayer.
Then, Jamie holds a gem in front of Jemmy, who claims he can hear it sing. He knows Amanda can hear it, too. So they might harbor the ability to time travel. They all go into town to fetch supplies. Firstly, they need more gems. Roger sets off to find more while Bree heads to the bakery. That’s when she encounters Lord John Grey (David Berry) and his son, William Ransom (Charles Vandervaart). Well, he’s really Jamie’s son. William is preparing to fight in the inevitable war between the British and the Americans. You know the one. Jamie watches the interaction from afar.
After William departs, Bree chats with John about disclosing his son’s true parentage. John rejects that idea, unwavering in his refusal to upend William’s life in that manner. Bree shares how her love for Frank never waned despite meeting Jamie, her biological father. Let kids have more than one father figure! Still, John is unswayed. Later, Jamie visits John in the latter’s quarters. He reveals the family is in town to retrieve a special gem for Bree. They talk about William. John wonders if Jamie will ever be persuaded to join the British, but our boy is Team America.
Jamie decides it might be best to never speak to each other again. It’s a devastating friendship breakup. Jamie can never meet William, his own son, and he and John are on different sides in this fight. Of course, this shatters John’s world. He’s clearly still in love with Jamie. Before Jamie leaves, John gives him a parting gift: the sapphire he’s had since they met at Ardsmuir prison.
Next, the family reunites to gather the gems they possess so that Bree, Roger, Jemmy and Amanda can travel via the stones. Jamie asks Bree to walk with him outside. We see there are thousands of fireflies swarming around them. It’s gorgeous. They chat about William and John Grey. Bree tells her father about Disneyland and the giant mouse that greets children. No doubt that will give Jamie nightmares. It’s a beautifully tender scene as the pair wonder how Jamie would fare in the future if he could travel.
Then, while sitting in bed together, Jamie gives Claire a gem as her “out.” You know, in case he dies, she needs to return to her original time. In an act of resistance, Claire throws it out of the window. She vehemently states that she belongs with him. Where he goes, she goes. If there’s one thing the Frasers are gonna do, it’s showcase their ardent love 24/7.
Later, Claire and Jamie accompany their daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren to the stones. Each one of them has a gem on their person. Everyone exchanges tearful goodbyes. There’s a good chance they might not see each other again. Ugh, my heart. Jamie’s and Bree’s farewells broke me. I’m a daddy’s girl, after all. Lots of tears from moi.
After they walk through one of the stones, Bree, Roger and their kids arrive in seemingly the right time. We see a plane fly overhead as Jemmy pretends his wooden one can do the same. Now, time to find Claire’s contact and fix Amanda’s heart. In 1776, Jamie and Claire forge ahead despite their grief over losing their family. One night, Claire attempts to assuage her grief by having sex with Jamie, but she stops. Jamie encourages her to cry it out. Both of them have lost so many people in their lives. He vows to be there for her whenever she needs emotional support. That’s a good hubby.
So, Claire and Jamie move through life, trying not to let the constant reminders of Bree, Roger and their grandkids derail them. Lizzie gives birth. Ian plays with his dog in the forest. Life goes on. However, Claire arrives home one night to find her door ajar. She reunites with Wendigo (Brennan Martin), who orders her to help him return to the 20th century. He managed to escape the army. She claims all he needs to travel besides a gem is a clear mind and a focus on where he wants to land. Wendigo whips out his gun and demands her gem supply.
Then, Wendigo’s followers bring Jamie into the room. He has a cut on his face, indicating he fought back. Jamie claims he doesn’t know where their gems are because Claire won’t tell him. Suddenly, Mr. (Hugh Ross) and Mrs. Bug enter the picture. Wendigo’s men dump out Mrs. Bug’s workbasket. Jamie spots the gold ingot that belongs to Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta.
He asks Mr. Bug where it came from, but the latter insists it’s none of Jamie’s concern. Wendigo’s followers upend Claire’s lab, searching for the gems and knocking over glass bottles. One of said bottles contains ether. Claire orders everyone not to breathe it in. Wendigo lights a match so his men can see, which is a no-no. Suddenly, the house explodes, fire burning nearly every inch of it. Uh-oh.
Will Bree and Roger get to Claire’s doctor contact in time to save Amanda? Did everyone survive the Fraser house burning? Will Claire help Wendigo return to the 20th century? Only time (and more episodes) will tell.
Outlander streams new episodes every Friday at midnight on the STARZ app, with a linear debut at 8 pm on STARZ in the US and Canada.