Outlander season 4, episode 1 recap: America the Beautiful


We canna believe it, the Droughtlander is over! And the season 4 premiere of Outlander reminded us exactly why we miss the series while it’s gone.

Outlander is a show unlike anything on television, and it’s not because of the production value or the twists and turns. It’s simply because of the love story between two characters that spans hundreds of years, and it’s such a powerful love that we can’t help but be drawn into it.

As a quick refresher, we last left Jamie and Claire on North American shores which takes us away from the Scottish Highlands to the future land of the United States of America. Ian, Jamie’s nephew, was kidnapped and after rescuing him, their ship is destroyed during an intense storm and Jamie and wind up on the shores of North Carolina.

But the season 4 premiere of Outlander doesn’t pick up with Jamie and Claire, but rather circa 2000 B.C. in North America. We get a glimpse of stones very similar to Craigh Na Dun and a group of women that begin to dance around it, just as we once saw happen in season 1.

A time jump from that point takes us to North Carolina in 1767 where Jamie is trying to say goodbye to a friend that is about to be hanged in the middle of the town square. But he doesn’t wish to bid farewell to his friend Gavin, but rather tell him how he will help him escape. Another man by the name of Stephan Bonnet overhears Jamie saying this to Gavin.

Credit: Starz

Fans of the book the series is based on know this Stephan character really well, and let’s just say he won’t be good news at all. Gavin seems to have made peace with dying but wishes to have some whiskey before his last breath and wants to be able to look at a friend as he is hanged, which means Jamie has to stick around to see this tragedy.

While Ian is nowhere to be found in this scene, we do see Claire, Fergus, and Marsali standing in the square as well. And as far as we know, it’s been about four months since the shipwreck and their arrival to the North American colonies. We also learn that Jamie has family in the colonies, and that’s why the group has been heading up the shore in hopes of going to them.

While Gavin is executed, the other two prisoners manage to get away along with Stephan. Cut to the opening credits which have gotten a makeover to reflect this season’s theme of being in the colonies. Even the singing voice has a been tweaked to incorporate Scottish and American accents–they really do think of everything, don’t they?

Ian finally makes an appearance as the group gathers to talk about their next move up the coast. Their destination is River Run where Jamie’s aunt Jocasta lives but before they leave Jamie wants to bury Gavin properly. Due to his supposed crimes, he is not allowed to have a burial in the cemetery, but if Jamie has anything to do with it, he’ll make sure Gavin rests in peace.

Claire, Jamie, and Ian head out in the night to bury Gavin and Claire’s voiceover reveals that they have some money from the gems and they hope they’ll sell more so they can find a way back to Scotland eventually. Poor Ian starts to have PTSD when he’s helping Jamie dig Gavin’s grave, and remembers the torture he endured with Gellis.

This is a very emotional scene for Jamie who sits Ian down and asks Ian to talk about what happened to him. Ian is devastated after being forced to sleep with Gellis, and Jamie admits he too once was forced to do such a thing. And while he doesn’t state who, Outlander fans can never forget.

When Ian and Jamie go back to the cart, they learn that Stephan has been hiding under the sheets all day. Bewildered and angry, Jamie confronts him and agrees to let him and when asked, also agrees to let him stay on the cart until they get far enough so he can escape.

When they get to a checkpoint, Jamie and Claire are anxious to see if the redcoats find Bonnet hiding under the sheets. To ensure no one is hiding under there, one of the soldiers stabs a bayonet through and when silence follows, they allow the cart to go through.

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Stephan’s leg was injured by the stab but he dealt with the pain because it meant him being able to escape. As Claire took care of his wounds, Stephan took notice to Claire wearing two wedding bands.

Once able, Stephan leaves to go meet friends by the shore and tells Claire and Jamie to be mindful of people hiding in the woods.

Claire and Jamie find a place to make a shelter for the night, and then do their hot and steamy thang that we all shamelessly love. Seriously, could anyone possibly love another as much as these two love each other? Sigh.

The next morning, Claire gives Jamie a history lesson about America and what point it is currently at in its history. Inquisitive about the natives, Claire tells him that a very dark future lies ahead for the creation of America, and it’s certainly not rainbows and butterflies.

Later that night in town, Jamie and Claire prepare to go to a dinner where they hope to sell off one of the gems. They do so by having Claire wear a gold necklace with a red ruby on it–something they hope will catch someone’s eye.

And their mission is a success when they are approached by a potential buyer interested in purchasing the necklace. But something else unexpected happens, Jamie is approached by the Governor who offers him a land grant in exchange for the promise to bring more people into the settlement and for pledging his loyalty to the King.

Claire tells Jamie that she sold the necklace for 100 sterlings, and if they sell a few more, they can certainly get back to Scotland and start a new life (hopefully!). But Claire seems to be content with staying in the colonies and tells Jamie that perhaps he should accept the offer he was given by the Governor.

Jamie feels the entire situation is shady and Claire reveals that in seven years time, a war will break out and the English will lose. And while Jamie no longer wants to fight in war ever again, he does want to make the land a place his future daughter can feel safe and protected in. Awww.

It appears that Claire and Jamie have made a decision for themselves to stay in the colonies, and Ian wishes to do so as well, even though Jamie wants him to go back home to Scotland. Fergus and Marsali wish to stay as well because Marsali is pregnant and traveling back at this time wouldn’t be suitable for her.

And just like that the trek towards River Run continues as Jamie talks about his widowed wealthy aunt, who based on the description, will be an interesting character to eventually meet. And if you weren’t already super jealous of Jamie and Claire, then the next scene in which he gives her a beautiful present surely will send you over the edge.

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Jamie knows he hasn’t been able to shower her with presents, and this is something he can offer her besides the ring he has given her previously and his mother’s pearls which Brianna currently has. When nightfall arrives, the group docks the boat for the night only to be boarded by vicious pirates moments later.

And guess who we see? STEPHAN BONNET! Ugh, I knew he was bad news. Just to break our hearts after making them gush with love, Outlander has us in tears as Stephan steals all of the gems and asks for Claire’s rings. She puts them in her mouth to swallow but he manages to get one out anyway–Jamie’s ring.

Ugh, Outlander, why?!

Outlander airs every Sunday on STARZ at 8 PM EST!