Outlander season 4, episode 2 recap: Do No Harm


Claire and Jamie arrive at River Run in this week’s episode of Outlander and are faced with a world of slavery and ethical dilemmas.

Outlander has officially arrived at River Run, and let’s just say it’s not as amazing as it looks. After being robbed by the horrible Bonnet, Jamie is at his wit’s end as to what comes next. When he was first making his way to his Aunt Jocasta’s he had gems and a means to provide for him and Claire, but now they are penniless.

Jamie is also heartbroken that he couldn’t protect Claire during the scuffle, even though he was clearly outnumbered. Pulling into the dock of River Rum doesn’t really help his insecurity because what they see is a lavish plantation in front of them–and it is glorious.

Aunt Jocasta is led down the dock by one of her slaves, Ulysses, to greet Jamie and Claire and it is a very emotional moment for Jamie who has very little family left in the world. We all took a sigh of relief when Aunt Jocasta seemed to warm up to Claire and even asked her to call her auntie.

Soon after their arrival, they learn that Aunt Jocasta is blind (which is why she didn’t take the flowers Ian was trying to hand to her), and can only make out shadows. But don’t worry Claire and Jamie, her hearing is on point.

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As they settle into the mansion and their surroundings, Jamie tells his aunt about the robbery and how it left them penniless. Luckily, Aunt Jocasta offers her home to them to stay in as long they want and need but it seems like it will benefit her a great deal to have someone like Jamie around. She’s kept tabs on him while he’s made his way around Edinburgh and France so she knows he’s more than capable.

As Claire and Jamie follow Ulysses up to their room, Jamie shares that his aunt looks and speaks just like his mother. Claire doesn’t have much to say at the time and doesn’t until Jamie asks her what’s going on. The obvious response is that Claire is feeling uneasy about staying at a plantation where there are slaves working around her and being treated as objects.

Claire’s warmth and empathy have always been the best thing about her, and this comes out when she finds two young slave women tidying up their room. She asks them to call her Claire but based on their hesitant reaction, she says Mistress Claire instead.

A bit of comedy enters this episode of Outlander when Ian comes rushing into the house with his dog Rollo coming in behind him with a foul stench–the stink of a skunk that sprayed Rollo. To help get rid of the smell, aunt Jocasta brings in a friend, John Quincy Myers, that helps Ian shower the dog with vinegar. During their conversation, Ian and John talk about the natives and there is a profound moment when Ian states that the natives don’t sound very different than the Highlanders (when it comes to violence).

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Claire’s disapproval of the plantation life becomes increasingly more obvious during a conversation with Aunt Jocasta in which she claims that the slaves are her friends. Claire responds back by asking if the slaves see it that way, and at the moment Aunt Jocasta starts to realize what she might be up against with Claire.

In a later discussion, Claire is very open about rejecting the idea of owning people as property, and Aunt Jocasta realizes what Jenny meant when she referred to Claire as spirited and outspoken. But the same thing can be said about Jenny as well, right Claire?

Later that night, Aunt Jocasta holds a party to introduce Jamie and Claire to the community and announces Jamie as the heir to River Run. While this sounds like a good opportunity for them, Claire makes it clear she does not want to own slaves. Jamie, being the sweetheart he is, tells her he’s on the same page with her and that maybe if he takes over, they can work to free the slaves.

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Bringing up the idea of freeing slaves later with his aunt and a Mr. Campbell, he meets immediate resistance from Campbell who thinks it’s a preposterous idea and that trying to do such a thing will be disastrous.

And besides, there are certain stipulations that have to be met in order to free one slave, and the cost is too much for them to bear.

Either Jamie and Claire stay at River Run, or they take Tyron’s offer which would only place them back into a war, something neither of them want. Their conversation is disrupted when Aunt Jocasta comes in to ask Jamie to go represent her in a matter of bloodshed.

It appears when one of her slaves cut off the ear of the man in charge so Jamie rushes over to sort the situation with Claire in tow to provide medical assistance.

When they arrive at the scene, it’s more gruesome than they were expecting. The slave, Rufus, was being hung up by a hook in his side as he was being pulled by a rope. Claire and Jamie put a stop to this and bring the slave down, but not without some resistance first. The reality of the situation is that Jamie will have to help with the slave’s execution for what he’s done, but right now, Claire just wants to help Rufus.

Jocasta is bewildered to learn that Claire and Jamie have brought Rufus into her home and Claire is tending to his wounds on her dinner table. It will spell trouble for all of them but Claire’s goal is to save the dying man in front of her because she is to do no harm as a doctor.

She succeeds in saving his life and has him moved up to her and Jamie’s room, but when she runs into Ulysses, he claims that her meddling will be more problematic for the slaves versus if she had just let Rufus die. Ugh, Outlander.

A riot breaks outside Jocasta’s home with protestors gathering around demanding that Rufus is handed over to them for his crimes. Claire has no intentions of doing so but has until midnight to do so, otherwise, things will go from worse to horrendous.

Realizing they have no options, Jamie suggests that Claire give Rufus the same poison that she gave Colum when he wanted to die. As a doctor, the “do no harm” mantra haunts her, but she knows this is the only way to give him some sort of respectable death rather than be torn limb to limb.

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As she asks Rufus to drink the poison, she holds his hand as he talks about his sister and reuniting again with her one day. As the clock strikes midnight, Rufus takes his last breath and Jamie takes him outside to hand him over. One would think that his dead, limpless body would be enough to appease the protestors. But no, they proceeded to hang a noose around his neck and drag him to a tree just to hang up his dead body.

The look on Claire and Jamie’s face tells it all–and the Outlander fans are left hoping that River Run soon becomes a thing of the past.

Outlander airs every Sunday on STARZ at 8 PM EST!