Outlander Recap: Frank Is Back, in the Saddest Possible Way


Last week’s episode of Outlander was a cryfest, delving into Jamie and Claire’s most sensitive spot—the time they spent apart—with the return of Lord John Grey and Jamie’s son William. So, how to match that—in an episode with no Sam Heughan or Caitriona Balfe whatsoever, to boot? Oh, I don’t know. How about BRINGING FRANK BACK? Pass me the smelling salts, I cannot seem to get up.

Here’s what happened in the latest episode of Outlander:

  • If this opening shot of Brianna making herself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is supposed to make me feel all maternal and Claire-like, then it has succeeded. Did she only bring ONE SANDWICH? On her perilous journey into the unknown PAST? I’m furious.
  • If this shot of Brianna wandering in the snowy wilderness is supposed to make me feel all maternal and Claire-like, then it has also succeeded. Also, that map is nowhere near detailed enough for this kind of journey! In fact, she really doesn’t have much of anything with her. Obviously, she wants to avoid being caught with anything from the future that she can’t explain, but still…an ugg boot would have been good.
  • Great, now she is injured and limping.
    Outlander Season 4 2018

    “Maybe I should have listened to Mom a little bit better.”

    StarzAimee Spinks

    • Oh, great, Roger’s gone and shaved his beard off. I’M NOT SURE I LIKE THIS EPISODE.
    • Seeing both Bree and Roger go through the stones this season makes it feel a little ho-hum. Like it’s a bus or something (fine, albeit a bus to the past).
    • IT’S FRANK. Tears sprang to mine eyes. After dozing off from sheer exhaustion, Bree falls into a childhood memory of Frank carrying her out of the car.
    • IT’S LAOGHAIRE. And now it’s IAN. It is so weird seeing Brianna meet Jamie and Claire’s past acquaintances like this.
    • Hee hee, it’s always funny when someone says “outlander” on, well, Outlander.
    • Does Brianna know she’s making a flower crown for her own sister? By marriage rather than birth, but still. And this conversation they’re having, about each having one parent who wasn’t in love with their other parent, is just like dramatic irony icing on top of the dramatic irony cake.
    • Okay, this whole episode is a torturous masterclass in us knowing more than Bree, and it is really making me feel protective and sad. This Frank flashback shows that he actually discovered the obituary of Jamie and Claire from the Wilmington Gazette before Roger did—which means he had at least some evidence that Claire was actually telling the truth about her adventures in the past. The letter he’s received from a Scottish colleague is partially obscured by the camera angle, but the writer seems to know how important this information is to Frank; we also learn that Frank said he’d had “trouble with his heart”—whether both physically or emotionally, or both, we don’t know. Poor Frank—he was carrying so much more around with him than we knew.
      Outlander Season 4 2018

      StarzAimee Spinks

      • The Bree and Frank scenes are all lovely, but in this particular conversation—where Bree is trying to figure out what’s troubling her father—Frank is clearly struggling with all these revelations about Claire, and Tobias Menzies does an incredible job of showing just how wildly difficult it must be to a) have a wife who is in love with a man from the past, b) discover that time travel is apparently real, and c) not be able to tell your intelligent and loving child, who is secretly actually not your biological daughter, by the way, what’s going on when you’ve already drunk two-thirds of a bottle of whisky.
      • It’s also bonkers to think that when Roger told Brianna about what happened to Claire and Jamie, she’d actually already seen the obituary. She just didn’t know what it meant at the time.
      • Laoghaire’s reminiscing is, unbeknownst to her and Bree, actually giving Bree more information about Jamie. While it’s not fair for Laoghaire to still blame Claire for stealing Jamie away, it is sobering to realize that he’s left them behind.
      • Oh god, seeing Roger brave the port is giving me hives. He’s a historian, for crying out loud. He isn’t made for adventures!!!!!!!!
      • And now he’s gone and fallen in with Stephen Bonnet. Really well done, Roger. Nice work. Do you even KNOW any knots???
      • Well, it was heartwarming to see Laoghaire treat Bree so kindly, but now she’s telling her that Jamie was rumored not to care about his daughter—without disclosing that she has her own grudges against him. Not very fair!
      • Bree! Why would you mention the fire? If she understands anything about 18th century Scotland, she should know that any talk of premonitions is going to have her condemned as a witch. Especially when we all know who loves to go around pointing the finger. And Bree’s in her house right now!
        • “Jamie Fraser has never loved you.” Like her mother, Bree isn’t going to hold back when she disagrees with someone; now that she knows Laoghaire tried to have Claire killed, she unleashes a full torrent of rage. True as it may be, she’s in deep trouble now: Laoghaire’s off to inform the witch police.
        • The Frank flashback that fills in the events before Frank’s car accident is so sad. Like Lord John Grey, Frank is a tragic romantic figure in Outlander, and we know that he was finally feeling free of the sham that was his marriage with Claire. No wonder Bree feels responsible for his death, though—she isn’t, of course, but theirs was probably the last important conversation he had before he died.
          • Stephen Bonnet. Just Threw. A Child. Overboard. Now Roger knows what we know—that he’s the devil incarnate.
          • Joanie to the rescue! She’s sneaked Bree out to Lallybroch, where Ian greets her and gives her enough money to get to the Carolinas. As he says, it is a shame that Jenny isn’t here to meet Bree. But Ian sends Bree off with some of Claire’s old clothes, which she must find comforting.
          • Back on the ship, Roger’s good deed has been found out. Now Stephen Bonnet wants him to pay—but he’s going to treat him to a pant-soiling game of chance instead. Heads he lives, tails he dies. He comes safely out the other end of this “gentlemen’s wager” but Roger definitely knows he’s not in Kansas anymore, so to speak.
          • By now, Bree has definitely learned that the past swallows you up quickly. She’s on her way to America, but now with a servant she’s agreed to take on to avoid her being sold as a concubine. Before she sets foot on the ship, she “sees” Frank, nodding in approval. It’s a beautiful end to a richly emotional episode.

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