WTF Just Happened in Outlander? S7, E1, “A Life Well Lost”

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| June 23, 2023

Welcome to Outlander Season 7! To catch you up, last season saw the tensions of the Revolutionary War begin, Claire was framed for murder, and she and Jamie were separated on their way to her trial. Phew, that’s a lot to fit into one sentence!

I’ll be upfront with you all: I’m going in a little skeptical this season. I’m purely a show-watcher; I haven’t and don’t plan to read the books, so I don’t know where things are going, and last season felt different. I’ve been on the fence for a while and am trying to hold out to see if they bounce back. With that said, let’s get into WTF happened in the first episode of this two-part season (part 1 began June 16, 2023, and part 2 will air in 2024, running for 8 episodes each).

Spoiler Alert: We are recapping the episode, so there will be spoilers past this point. You’ve been warned! Turn back now if you wish to stay unspoiled. 

Jamie battles his fears

WHAT HAPPENED

The season opens with . . . a not-dream-sequence? This subversion of a popular trope illustrates Jamie imagining his worries that Claire has died before the scene cuts back to reality as Jamie reminds himself to give no rein to his darkest fears. Ian brings their horses, explaining the Cherokee and John Quincy are on their way back to the Ridge to check on things, and then he and Jamie are off to get Claire. The fake-out felt a little click bait-y, but I’m still relieved Claire’s okay. Also, I can’t hear someone say “blood of my blood” without thinking of Daenerys. Am I the only one? Yes? Okay.

In jail, waiting for her trial, Claire makes acquaintances that explain the unrest in the streets. They mention there hasn’t been a trial in some time, clueing Claire into a mini monologue about how the revolution is directly affecting the colonies.

A compromise.

Elsewhere with Roger and Brianna, Roger is ministering to soldiers. While he’s there, some soldiers ridicule him, and the Reverend nods for Roger to say something. Roger answers with, “Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee. And God will surely go with thee.” This gets the attention of one of the prisoners, who immediately recognizes Ali’s famous quote. They immediately know each other as time travelers, and Roger meets Wendigo Donner. Donner came back to help the Native American people, but his plan went awry when he and his fellow time travelers got split up when they went through the stones (anyone else worried this “split up” detail is foreshadowing for future episodes?). He has a gemstone and asks for Roger’s help to return to his own time. Roger discusses his desire to help Donner with Bree, and they disagree over the moral grayness of decision-making in dangerous scenarios. Bree doesn’t understand Roger’s perspective, and he decides not to help Donner. They share a prayer for him together, asking God to help Donner in His way.

Meanwhile, soldiers come to get Claire from prison and take her to a ship where the Governor’s pregnant wife is feeling ill. The woman complains that her family has been run out of their house, basically, by the mobs of citizens. Claire assists her and faces a mini interrogation about Malva Christie’s murder last season. 

Finally a reunion!

While Claire is on board the ship, Major MacDonald manipulates the conversation to the question of the Frasers’ allegiance. She sends a letter off the ship to Tom Christie in town asking for “supplies,” with the phrase “vir meus,” which is a Latin phrase that translates to “my husband.” Christie finds Jamie and gives him the message, and Jamie goes to Claire. Since the Governor has enacted martial law over North Carolina, he has the authority over all prisoners, including Claire, and thus could release her. But it’s become a question not just of Claire’s innocence, but the Frasers’ stance on the war. Are they guilty of treason? The Governor asks Jamie to gather troops for the Crown and commit them to MacDonald’s campaign. Ugh. If he recruits 200 men, Claire will be released. 

The Governor questions Claire

Jamie later reveals to Ian he has no plans to recruit, but he will be going back for Claire. Tom Christie approaches and cryptically asks for Jamie’s help with something. Instead of Jamie going to get Claire, Christie wishes to go to the Governor and confess to Malva’s murder. Jamie agrees, and the camera reveals a tear falling from Christie’s eye. He asks what Jamie would’ve said at his funeral, and Jamie, in short, tells him he respected him and hopes he had his respect in return.

Christie goes to the ship, and before confessing to his daughter’s murder, he speaks with Claire. While alone, he explains to Claire that Malva was a witch and was no daughter of his; his brother slept with his wife when Christie took part in the Stuart cause. Christie’s wife was also a witch who was hanged for the murder of his brother, so Christie sent for Allan and Malva. He says he killed Malva to prevent another witch from entering the world. Also, we learn Malva tried to kill both Christie and Claire in Season 6 when she made a broth out of the Sin-Eater’s bones to poison them. He confesses he loves Claire and, in so many words, is doing this to save her. That I didn’t see coming, but I do appreciate him saving Claire.

Christie saves Claire’s life.

Christie leaves to speak with the Governor, and Claire is released back to Jamie. They then lie in bed looking exactly how the audience feels–SHOOK. The Frasers are not convinced Christie did it; they think maybe Richard Brown killed Malva for revenge over Marsali killing his horrible brother Lionel Brown. Claire is worried Christie made the confession just for her, and Jamie reminds her that Christie loved her, vowing he’d have done the same and counted his life well lost if it saved hers. Jamie tells her this is what Christie wanted, and if he feels the same way about her that Jamie does, then she’s done him no wrong by taking her life from his hand.

After Claire falls asleep, Jamie leaves the room to pay Brown a visit. With fear in his eyes, Brown wagers Jamie won’t dare harm him because his men would hunt Jamie down. Jamie then explains that the Cherokee and Ian are paying Brown’s men a little visit as well. Brown tries and fails to appeal to Jamie’s morality, and the episode ends with Jamie suggesting Brown makes his peace with the Lord. 

WTF

Okay, where do I even start?

  • Christie confesses to killing Malva and gives us more backstory. I knew she was scary!
  • But Christie didn’t do it? The narrative leans toward Brown being Malva’s real murderer in search of revenge. Considering Brown is human garbage, I think he’s the one who did it.
  • Christie is in love with Claire? Am I oblivious? Did anyone else pick up on that? Crawling out from under my rock now . . . 

WHAT STANDS OUT

Jamie and Claire are back together! Whoo! Season 6’s storylines are almost wrapped up, and I’m not at all sad to see Brown go. He’s been the worst, and it was satisfying watching him squirm. Also, can we talk about the line? “I’m also a violent man. Any goodness that prevails in me is because of my wife. You tried to take her from me.” That’s some serious characterization, folks.

Separate sides?

WHAT’S NEXT

The next episode preview has John Grey asking Jamie if he thinks the rebels can oppose the Crown and win. Jamie, speaking presumably to Roger about his traveling back in time to be with Bree, says he’s become a husband, soldier, and a man of honor, to which Roger nods. The next episode is titled, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” and I’m worried it’ll be anything but.

P.S. If anyone else, like me, didn’t catch the official Season 7 trailer when it first dropped, here it is for your fandom theorizing: 

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