DISCLAIMER: This recap of Outlander Season 7 Episode 4, “A Most Uncomfortable Woman,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, time travelers! Outlander‘s latest episode, “A Most Uncomfortable Woman,” is brimming with narrative action and a few fun twists. While it doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as “The Happiest Place on Earth,” this outing propels the story in an exciting direction. Well, at least the 1776 arc. Can I be honest? This is a safe space, right? I’m not into Bree and Roger’s storyline at the moment. I know it eventually picks up, but it’s challenging to get into it when so much transpires in the 1776 plot.
This episode plants vital narrative seeds for the rest of the season that’ll surely blossom in a big way. We get a better glimpse at William Ransom and some essential figures in Ian’s series arc. I love how everything will inevitably converge at Fort Ticonderoga.
Ready to delve into “A Most Uncomfortable Woman”? Let’s get to it.
We open in 1980 at Lallybroch with Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) trying to wrangle their kids Jemmy and Mandy. They chat with their contractor regarding the repairs needed to give Lallybroch a much-needed facelift. However, Bree and Roger wish to keep certain aspects of Lallybroch intact, such as preserving anything her father touched. The contractor gives the couple a new estimate for the upstairs bedrooms. It’s astronomical. They wonder how they’ll pay for it, even with access to the Jacobite gold.
Meanwhile, in 1776, Claire (Caitríona Balfe), Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Ian (John Bell) set up camp while en route to the ship that’ll whisk them away to Scotland. Ian thinks he hears Arch Bug in the woods, who declared he’d exact revenge against Ian for Murdina’s death. Jamie reassures his nephew that Arch isn’t there and that they can defend themselves. In Wilmington, William Ransom (Charles Vandervaart) celebrates his cousin’s promotion and move to New York. However, a terrifying scene diverts their attention, interrupting their conversation.
One British soldier burns a woman alive for not disclosing she has an STD. While the other soldiers scorn this poor woman and encourage the man who burned her, William watches the display with disgust. He tries to save the woman by extinguishing the flames, but it’s too late. She’s dead. William expresses his revulsion to his squad for their reprehensible actions. Oh, goodie. Violence against women is used to put a man’s moral integrity on display. I haven’t seen that happen before.
Next, we see Roger leafing through one of the Frasers’ many journals. He notices one of the musket balls in the chest is actually some of the Jacobite gold. Bree informs him that Jemmy has dismantled her alarm clock. However, the boy blames it on the work of pixies. I’m gonna start using that excuse for everything. Clearly, the family struggles to adapt to 1980. In 1776, William reports to Captain Richardson (Ben Lambert) to discuss what happened the night before. Instead of punishing him, Richardson has an important task for him.
Richardson is in charge of gathering intel in the Southern colonies. He wants William to deliver letters to Dismal Town for Samuel Cartwright, Henry Carver and Joshua Harrington. William must commit the names to memory and cannot write them down. He also can’t read the letters. Richardson reveals that William must pretend he’s Cartwright’s cousin and is looking for work. Hmm. I wonder if we’ll get a taste of Outlander‘s version of the Culper Spy Ring (although TURN: Washington’s Spies depicts this well).
Meanwhile, Bree is at an interview for a plant inspector position. She gives her interviewer her resume and outlines her extensive accomplishments, including her education courtesy of MIT. However, the man interviewing her claims this is for a secretarial role. She’s a woman! Everyone knows they can’t do more than menial desk work. Bree proves him wrong by flagging everything wrong with the plant from a cursory glance. She puts the misogynist in his place.
Later, William encounters a hissing snake while en route to Dismal Town. His horse bucks in fear, sending William flying down a hill in the woods while it flees with his belongings. After the horse runs away, William notices a stick protruding from his forearm. Ouch. He yanks it out. In Wilmington, a familiar face, Cornelius Harnett (James Weber Brown), tries to conscript William’s biological father into the fight against the British. Jamie saved Harnett’s life so he could live to fight another day. Jamie can be on the right side of history by supporting the Americans’ battle for independence.
Then, Jamie reunites with Claire and Ian at the hotel. Jamie decides to help the Americans in the Revolutionary War. Scotland will have to wait. Claire declares her support and desire to contribute to the cause as a surgeon/healer. Ian will also stay behind and fight. He believes the three of them should return to Scotland together. The family who participates in a war together…
Next, Bree returns home to excitedly inform her family that she got the job. She’s going to be a plant inspector. Roger doesn’t look too enthused. After urging the kids to play elsewhere, Roger explains that Jamie and Claire asked him to take care of Bree. Bree reminds him that, at one point, he wanted to go into ministry. However, his views on religion took a hit when they altered the flow of time by saving Jamie and Claire from that fire. Anyway, Roger feels he must be the breadwinner as the man. Bree just wants her husband to be happy for her.
He apologizes for being a manbaby and expresses his excitement for her new post. Yay, stereotypical gender norms! Of course, this is 1980, not 2023. Perhaps I should remove my 21st-century goggles and contemporary sense of morality. Still, Roger is being a big baby. He can still watch out for his family without being “the man” and working a 9 to 5. While wandering the woods alone, William tries to stay alive following his gruesome injury. Ian finds him near the swamp. He explains their connection (well, without revealing they’re outright cousins) — he’s Jamie Fraser’s nephew, and Jamie knows William’s father. Ian also reminds William that the latter had visited the Ridge before.
Ian tends to William’s arm wound, but it’s looking pretty dicey. William wonders if he’s going to die. Ian reassures him that they’re not at that point. William still has a story to tell. Meanwhile, Claire runs into a surprising figure: Tom Christie (Mark Lewis Jones). He kisses her on the mouth upon their meeting. Okay, so kissing someone without their consent is not cool. That said, how did Tom evade certain death?
Tom had heard about the fire at Fraser’s Ridge. He thought Claire was dead. Claire reveals that while she and Jamie are alive and well, they lost everything. Tom explains he was hired as the governor’s secretary once the governor discovered he could read and write. Then, once the real secretary returned, the governor’s influence had dwindled, meaning Tom couldn’t be prosecuted. Tom wonders how Jamie feels about his sacrifice. Claire asserts that Jamie empathizes with Tom’s feelings for Claire and is grateful for his gallantry. Tom insists he’s only loved two women, and Claire Fraser is one of them. Goodness, Jones delivers another powerfully nuanced, heartbreakingly vulnerable performance here.
Claire tells Jamie all about her chat with Tom. The conversation turns steamy as the pair have one of their famous Outlander sex scenes. Although, this one is pretty tame compared to previous ones. That said, Balfe and Heughan’s electrifying chemistry is always off the charts. Meanwhile, Ian takes William to a doctor named Denzell Hunter (Joey Phillips). His sister Rachel (Izzy Meikle-Small) assists the good doc in treating their latest patient. Denzell and Rachel believe they must amputate William’s arm before the infection spreads to his organs. Rachel’s bedside manner is straightforward, catching the boys off guard.
Thankfully, before Denzell makes the cut, pus seeps out of the wound in William’s arm. Later, Rachel serves Ian tea while he’s on her porch, admiring the serene view of the landscape around them. She informs him that William’s fever has broken, and he’s now resting. Ian believes he needs to continue on his journey. Rachel tries to return Jamie’s cross necklace on behalf of William, but Ian insists he wants the latter to keep it. Ian lingers a bit more before departing on his horse, with his trusty pup hot on his heels. The chemistry. Of course, if you’ve read the books, you understand Rachel plays a significant part in Ian’s story…
In 1980, Bree confronts Jemmy after noticing an inexplicable cookie and chips shortage. He blames it on another Scottish magical creature. Bree and Roger discuss in private whether Jemmy believes in the fantastical. Hey, they’re all time travelers. Who’s to say those things don’t exist?
Meanwhile, Rachel shaves William’s face. He flirts with her hardcore. Methinks we might get some love triangle action this season between Ian, Rachel and William.
Rachel tells William that she and her brother are leaving in a few days. While the Quakers believe peace lay with the British, the Spirit moved her brother to vote in favor of independence. Denzell intends to join the Continental Army as a surgeon. One of the soldiers, Samuel Cartwright, informed Denzell of a “call for men” at Fort Ticonderoga. Hey, that’s where Jamie and Claire are headed. William knows Samuel Cartwright. Perhaps this is Outlander‘s version of the Culper Spy Ring without using real-life names. William asks if he can tag along to Ticonderoga with Denzell and Rachel. After all, he has letters to deliver on behalf of his captain. (So, Richardson is a spy for the Continental Army.)
Jamie, Claire and a group of soldiers arrive at Fort Ticonderoga, where the former will unintentionally reunite with William, his biological son.
Do we have a love triangle in our future? Will Jamie reunite with his son at Ticonderoga? Is there a Nuckelavee at Lallybroch in 1980, and did it really abscond with all the cookies and chips? 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.