WTF Just Happened in Outlander? S7, E4, “A Most Uncomfortable Woman”

by: 
hello world!
| July 14, 2023

In the last episode, Jamie and Claire recovered from the loss of their house, discovered some of the lost Jacobite gold, and started the journey to take Ian back to Scotland. Will they make it? I doubt it . . . Let’s find out.

Content Warnings: Mentions of sexual assault.

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. 

Faith strengthened.

WHAT HAPPENED

Episode 4 opens at Lallybroch in 1980. Bree and Roger have moved in! It’s been a while–Jem and Amanda have grown up by about 5 or 6 years. Please note that because of the time skips, I’ll group the events of this episode together by MacKenzie action and Fraser action. The MacKenzies are renovating the estate’s interior, and the estimate for the work is higher than they expected. Who thinks they’ll use the gold? I’ve seen enough adventure and horror films to know you no touchy what’s not yours-y, but we’ll see what they do.

Roger is writing down their history and life experiences when he discovers the musket ball is made of Jacobite gold. They aren’t talking to Jem about the gold yet. Instead, Bree goes on a job interview for a plant inspector position where the interviewer makes things difficult on account of her being a woman, but she counters him at every turn and gets the job. Roger wants to support his family and wishes Bree didn’t have to get the job, and while he had his heart set on being a minister, he’s questioning his faith after the two of them altered history, thinking they changed the plan. Bree counters his doubts with a bigger question: Who’s to say that everything that happened wasn’t part of God’s plan, after all? This gives Roger comfort, and they seem to be back on the same page.

William tries to intervene as a fellow soldier burns a woman.

Back in the past, in Wilmington, Jamie’s son William Ransom is talking with his cousin, who’s also fighting for the Crown. They figure putting down the rebellion will either be glorious . . . or bloody carnage. They come across a redcoat abusing a prostitute who he discovered has pox. The redcoat lights the woman on fire, and while William tries to help her, it’s too late. The others stand around laughing, and William curses them for it.

William gets a promotion for standing up to his fellow soldiers during the incident. He’s recruited as a messenger to the Crown’s allies in the south. We follow him down to a southern, swampy area–in which state, I’m not exactly sure–and I guess he’s a point-of-view character now? While traveling, his horse encounters a snake and throws him, and he impales his right arm on a stick during the fall. Ouch. To make matters worse, his horse runs off and leaves him weaponless.

Cornelius Harnett threatens to conscript Jamie.

In Wilmington, Jamie and Cornelius Harnett meet. As the leader of the Sons of Liberty, Harnett wants him to enlist officially, and while Jamie tries to avoid it, Harnett threatens to conscript him. The law allows him to send someone in his stead, but let’s be honest, that’s no real choice. Jamie tells Claire he will fight as a colonel of the militia, not to be on the winning side, but for Claire, for Bree and their family, and because he can’t ask anyone to fight in his place. Claire supports his decision, and Jamie says while nothing is guaranteed, it’s comforting to know the war will be won. She’s going with him as a doctor, and Ian will stay and fight as well–he wishes to speak with the Shawnee to see which side they’ll fight on.

William is thrown from his horse.

In the south, William is on foot in the swamp with an injury. If he’s not careful, he’s going to walk right into an alligator. Also, can we talk about how dirty that water is? He’s basically taking a bath in the stuff. Luckily, Ian finds him before he gets too sick. Am I the only one who was like, “How? Wasn’t Ian just in Wilmington? Aren’t they states away?” Pretty convenient, but with all the time skips this episode, I’ll chalk it up to one of those and call it a day. Ian digs the wood splinters out of William’s arm, and ewww, it’s infected. While they wait for his arm to dry, Ian recounts his experience of being adopted by the Mohawk. Learning of their traditions prompts William to realize he’s done no deeds worth remembering, so Ian suggests he better not die yet.

Also, ya’ll. Why does this William guy remind me of Gabe from The Office? I know it doesn’t make sense, but I can’t shake it.

Yikes.

Back in Wilmington, Claire runs into Tom Christie, and he kisses her . . . like full-on, face-grabbing, deep-inhaling kisses her. Um, excuse me. Can you not? They both expected the other to be dead–Claire from the house fire and Christie from a death sentence. He asks if Jamie is alive, too. Claire answers yes, and Christie, after a minute, says he’s glad to hear it. He accompanies her back to the Inn they’re staying at and asks if Jamie knows Christie loves her. Claire gently explains he does. I expected Claire to lay some ground rules here, but nope. Boundaries, both of you!

As for Christie’s survival, it turns out that upon discovering he was literate, the Governor made him his secretary. By the time another secretary came, there was no one else to surrender him to, so here he is. Good thing Claire fixed his hand, huh? They observe they seem to be taking turns saving each other’s lives. He didn’t go back to the Ridge because he heard Allan had left (*cough cough* sure, he’s definitely not buried in an unmarked grave in the middle of the woods), so he decided not to return. Turns out Christie wrote the obituary because he couldn’t imagine the thought of them all gone with no formal marking of the event. He then says he shall have no peace while Claire lives, in a kind of second declaration of love. I’m not here for this Christie/Claire storyline you guys, they can wrap this up.

Jamie and Claire share a romantic moment.

Later, Claire tells Jamie that Christie kissed her, and he asks if Claire liked it. When she fails to answer, he asks if he’d better go kill him. They acknowledge that Christie touched her against her will and not to her liking, but Claire advocates against a Christie beat down. Jamie basically says poor fellow, because she doesn’t love him. Yeesh. Afterward, he mentions, in short, that Christie laid down his life for Claire once–he might do it again. Then they get all swoony, and Jamie says that while Christie might want Claire, he doesn’t know a thing about her, and Jamie’s never kissed her without caring who she is. Then the lovey-dovey stuff happens, and my rant begins.

Personally, this whole reaction seems way out of character for both of them–and it’s the final straw for me. I’ve meandered with the recent seasons and held out, but this . . . this floored me, and while the show acknowledged it, the writing and overall vibe made it seem like no big deal. They’re really trying to tell me that after the multiple instances of sexual assault Claire survived in the Season 5 finale, and at other times throughout her past, that Christie kissing her without her permission (and not just kissing her, grabbing her face) is something we’re going to basically let slide? And the writers want me not to stare, flabbergasted, at Jamie’s first reaction being to ask her, “Did you like it?” WHAT? I almost threw my computer across the room. Christie seriously lived on the Ridge that entire time and didn’t hear a word about what happened to her and maybe thought he better not make that very-not-swoon-worthy move? That, plus the fact that neither of them set any sort of ground rules with Christie about this behavior, made me incredibly confused. And yes, I know, Jamie asks if he’d better go kill him for it, but . . . we don’t even get a “Hey dude, thanks for saving my wife’s life, but that wasn’t cool?” Not to mention that if this is foreshadowing, and Christie will take a bullet for Claire later or something, Jamie’s stringing him along as a human shield–which is also pretty messed up in its own way? Nah, these two lovebirds just go to bone town right afterward, and I was just left staring wide-eyed at what I feel is a glaring character choice discrepancy. Yikes. I’ll finish the recap and give you my final call on how far I’m going in this season.

New character alert: Denzell and Rachel Hunter

In the south, Ian finds a physician named Denzell Hunter and his sister Rachel to care for William’s severe infection. They prepare to remove his arm, and Ian gives William the rosary Jamie gave Ian a while back, saying it will give him strength. Before they make the cut, the Hunters discover the infection has collected in an abscess of sorts; they can remove that bad stuff, and William can keep his arm. Nice! Ian thanks Rachel for helping William see reason during the procedure, and I sense some serious flirtation. She returns the rosary Ian gave William, but Ian says William can keep it. 

We get a mini interrogation while Rachel gives William a shave, and when he lies and says he came to the area for hunting, she sees right through his threadbare cover. He’s not so good at this whole secret messenger thing. Enough time has passed for the puncture wound to scar, and Rachel shares that she and her brother will be leaving soon because they see liberty as a gift from God and thus are going to join the Continental Army. William sees his opportunity when she mentions she knows one of the men he’s supposed to deliver a message to and offers to accompany them on their way. 

Elsewhere, Jamie gathers soldiers and joins up with the other revolutionary forces at Fort Ticonderoga.

On the way to Fort Ticonderoga.

WTF

If you’re short on time, here are a few highlights for the TL;DR:

– Jamie is threatened with conscription, and instead of going back to Scotland, he, Claire, and Ian officially join the revolutionary war effort.

– Christie is alive and outright kisses Claire full on the face. I need this whole Christie storyline to be done now.

– William is now a messenger for the Crown and is on a mission to deliver information.

– Ian makes a new lady friend? Rachel seems to like him well enough.

– Jamie and Claire arrive at Fort Ticonderoga to join the Continental Army.

A shave, or an interrogation?

WHAT STANDS OUT

Don’t judge me. I still think William reminds me of Gabe, and I still don’t know why. Anyone else? No? Okay. But on a serious note, they’ve been dangling the metaphorical carrot of the Revolutionary War for about a season and a half now . . . ish. So we’re finally getting somewhere.

But it’s too little too late for me. While COVID did impact season 6’s filming, the story has been meandering for several years now and–way before the Christie thing happened–I have been steadily losing interest. Alas, I’m bored and annoyed (and completely thrown for a loop by the incident) and I think I’m done with Outlander. Consider this a rage quit. If you guys want to keep watching, you can do so on Starz. Have fun with Gabe! I mean . . . William. (Gabe.)

Redcoats approaching.

WHAT’S NEXT

In the episode 5 preview, Bree opens a letter saying the Frasers are at Fort Ticonderoga. Traveling back in time to the Fort with the Frasers, viewers look through a telescope to see redcoats approaching and the first cannons fire. How does the episode title, “Singapore,” fit? You’ll have to wait and see.

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