‘Outlander’ Season 4 Episode 3 Recap: “The False Bride”

Outlander Season 4 Episode 3 Recap
Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in ‘Outlander’ season 4 episode 3 (Photo Credit: Starz)

The third episode of Starz’ Outlander season four is called “The False Bride.” There will be a couple of reasons for that moniker, and we get to see our beloved next generation in this episode: Roger and Bree! A kilted singing Roger at that… Je Suis Prest!

We start in 1970 Inverness. Those who know the book can tell right away we jumped a great distance from the book’s succession of events. The moving van outside the Reverend’s residence gives it away immediately, with Roger (Richard Rankin) giving the home to Fiona (Iona Claire). As we enter the room, he’s playing a little ditty on his guitar. He stops as Fiona and her husband enter. The trio do a bit of small talk. Roger explains he’s going to America for a Scottish festival; he’s been invited to play and sing.

Fiona knows the larger reason is Brianna (Sophie Skelton), and Roger runs down the number of times they’ve seen each other in the past year. In the book, those times where helpful as we got the initial hesitation and preceding growing connection between the pair. The book also explained how Brianna went from a History major like Frank to doing Engineering. In the show, Fiona tells Roger to tell Brianna that he loves her. Roger just smirks and they say their good byes.

At River Run the morning after the hanging of poor Rufus, Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) prepare to head out on their own. Aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) tells Jamie she wishes she could change his mind about leaving. Jamie explains he must be master to his own soul alone.

She laments the decision further, but immediately provides provisions for them to make their way west to some of the smaller Scottish settlements. She also give him a silver set that belonged to his mother. One last wish escapes her before Jamie departs to prepare for their journey. Jocasta longs to see Jamie’s face, just once. Jamie looks down at her with tears in his eyes as he kisses her hand.

Jamie won that battle but faced another one immediately in informing Ian (John Bell) he’s going to go back to Scotland. Ian lists, quite succinctly, the dangers he has already faced when Jamie tries to tell him America’s too dangerous for him to stay. Ian manages to convince Jamie he’s no longer a boy and will inform his parents of his choice to stay in America with them.

Claire enters the parlor to bid Jocasta farewell, and neither of these ladies are ones to keep their opinions to themselves. Jocasta voices her feelings that Claire’s the reason Jamie wouldn’t take up the mantel of Lord of River Run. Equally bold in her delivery, Claire says Jocasta doesn’t know her nephew nor her and thus would have no idea what Jamie would prefer or not prefer to do. The room couldn’t have been thicker with discontent on both sides. Not bordering on hate, but just extreme disappointment and frustration in their own ways.

Outside, we meet Clarence the loud and stubborn jackass (aka mule). He’ll fit right in with the Frasers…lol. As the party gets ready to depart, the mountain man John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees) arrives to serve as escort through the wilds of North Carolina. I still wonder if they’ll have Claire perform the hernia surgery on him later. In the book she did it at the initial gathering for her and Jamie to be introduced to the land and gentry owners of North Carolina. But, alas, we were not entertained with the onlookers’ surprise as Claire performed the surgery on the dining room table. As the group was leaving River Run became the first time Jamie and Claire met Mr. Myers in the show.

Jump to 1970 and Roger’s meeting Brianna at the airport as he lands in America. Their plan is to head to North Carolina, from Boston, to the Scottish festival. In the book, the festival was held in the high country of New England. Historically there were two key areas the Scots settled after the disaster of the Rising: New England colonies and North Carolina Blue Ridge mountain areas. Both boasted similarities to Scotland, though the southern heat was a new experience.

Love to see 1960-1970s autos as Roger and Bree are traveling by car. They participate in an entertaining game of ‘The Minister’s Cat.’ Brianna leans over and kisses Roger, causing him to just about run off the road. Not the best time to distract the man!

Myers and the Frasers head down their own road through the forest. Myers regales the troop with information about the area and, more importantly, the Indians. The scene pulls back to show the excellent colors of the leaves in the trees, the waters of the river as it passes over rocks, and an eagle flying to land atop a tree. (Love, love, love the shots of the eagles they sprinkle into the show.)

That night around the campfire, Myers explains that he needs to take a diversion and has invited Ian to go with him to the trading post. Jamie and Claire are to head on to Woolum’s Creek as intended. Jamie allows Ian to go with Myers, and Jamie with Claire head their separate way the next morning.

As Jamie and Claire travel down the road, they talk of Brianna. Jamie’s surprised that women have more choices of what they want to do with their life in the future. Claire explains the options are much broader for women, so Jamie asks what Brianna has chosen. Claire reveals that when she left Brianna hadn’t really chosen her future yet. Claire admits Brianna did pursue History, given Frank’s passion for it.

As they continue down the path, they hear a rumbling above – a telltale warning of the coming storm. They’re forced to stop to address a horseshoe on Jamie’s grey mount and change topics to what they want for themselves. Claire’s concerned Jamie’s choosing the path he made because it was what she suggested but hopes it was what he also wanted. I hear a hint of Jocasta in her words, especially since Jocasta said as much to Claire before she left.

Jamie assures her it was also his choice; the path they’re taking is because they are of like mind. Before Claire can respond to his reassuring words, an extremely loud thunder crack startles them all, human and beast alike. Jamie had hoped they would make it to the town, but instead he needs to make shelter where they are. Another thunder crack’s too much for Clarence, so he lets out a loud bray and bolts for the forest. Jamie’s still working on his horse’s shoe, so Claire jumps on her ride and takes off after the mule, much to Jamie’s dislike.

Outlander Season 4 Episode 3 Recap
Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton in ‘Outlander’ season 4 episode 3 (Photo Credit: Starz)

Back to Brianna and Roger, the Scottish festival’s all you might think it should be. There are dancers, contests, lots of food and drink, and of course tartan and kilts. The event makes Brianna think of Claire and wonder if she found Jamie and was happy. The show pulls the festival and further interactions between Roger and Bree from various places in the book to put them into these condensed scenes. It would probably be too much of a rabbit hole to explain the various timeline diversions. The show hit the key high points for the plot, so I guess that’s all that matters.

As the pair are looking at the booths set up with people selling distinctly Scottish wares, they come to a booth with an artist drawing a portrait. Brianna wants them to sit for one together, so Roger agrees to do it. After the portrait, they head to another tent filled with folks doing a Scottish Gaily Dance. Brianna has no idea how to do the dance but turns out to be a very quick study.

As Jamie finishes fixing the shoe on his horse, Clarence returns Jamie on his own. Now to locate Claire as the weather’s falling.

Claire’s still out looking for the stubborn beast. As she’s riding, a bolt of lightning strikes a tree right near her position, causing her horse to throw her off and tear away in fear. Claire’s knocked unconscious on the ground on the carpet of leaves that make up the forest floor.

Back at the festival, Roger performs for the crowd the Scottish folktale of a False Bride. (Excellent performance by Richard Rankin.) Later that night, they head to lodging for the night. As they’re about to say good-night, Brianna pulls out a couple of gifts she got for Roger. She found a book about American Scottish settlers and a bottle of mountain moonshine. Slainte Mhath!

Brianna coaxes Roger into coming to her cabin for a nightcap. As you might expect, events turn to physical pursuits.

Roger stopped the proceedings to give Brianna a gift – a golden bracelet engraved with a French children’s rhyme. Delivering the gift is also the moment he decides to go into how much he loves her and wants her to be his wife. Brianna hasn’t experienced the best of examples for a happy marriage in her life, given that Frank and Claire had a frosty relationship at best.

She stops Roger mid-ramble about future kids and their life together to tell him it’s going too fast for her. Naturally, that’s not taken well. The fight about Brianna wanting to have sex but not wanting to marry Roger takes a rather nasty turn. Roger’s had that kind of relationship before and will not have Brianna in that way. He wants to marry her, not just share her bed.

The storm’s in full blow when Claire comes to. In the book, the separation occurred after leaving a family that she helped to deliver a child. As I mentioned, they pulled key events out of various parts and mixed them up a bit to ensure key points could be made.

Claire notices a little crop of bushes that make a slight covering. She takes off her shoes to get the water of them and sets them to the side. Creepily, she hears a wolf or dog howl in the darkness.

Jamie roams the woods trying to find her.

As she’s in the nature-made shelter, she feels a hard surface and digs up a skull, oddly enough. Inspecting the skull reveals a straight vertical cut in its crown. Yep, whomever it was died by an ax or tomahawk chop to the top of the head. Beneath the skull’s a gemstone that Claire finds. In the book, Claire got impressions from the skull but that only opened the door to more questions. What happened next was in both the book and show. In the dark she spots an Indian walking toward her and then he turns and walks away without saying a word. She takes it as the ghost of the skull she’s holding. Super eerie and creepy scene. {full body shiver} Of course, the similar wound to the top of his head sort of gave the game away. The Indian disappears in front of Claire’s eyes.

Once more with Roger and Brianna, and it’s the second night of the gathering. The night marks the calling of the clans and burning of the makeshift stag built from twigs. Roger comes out with the procession of the clans represented at the gathering. As he’s seated, Brianna takes a seat beside him. (Awkward is not the word for it.) Brianna shares that she’s not sure about marriage being something she wants to do. Roger says he loves her ALL or not at all. Just then Roger’s clan is called so he has to walk toward the fire. He lights his torch and announces the MacKenzies are here. Tulach Ard!!!

Roger looks for Brianna after the stag’s lit, but she’s gone.

Claire wakes the next morning and searches for her shoes. She picks up her companion, the skull she found, and sees her boot prints in the muddy ground. Walking in her stocking feet she follows the prints.

At the end of her trail, Jamie’s gathering water by the stream. Jamie says he’s glad she came back to the stream, but Claire tells him she’s never been there before. Jamie points out her boots are sitting near the tree and her horse is nearby. Claire explains she wasn’t the one who walked in them to the stream. Claire tells Jamie of the Indian she thought was a ghost. She believes the ghost used her boots to lead her to the stream. They kill me how they just slough off the ghost part. I would want to get out of that area as fast as possible if a ghost was wondering around.

After Claire cleans the skull, she notices some of the teeth have fillings. She points them out to Jamie and explains the person had to have been someone like her because those tooth fillings won’t be invented for another century.

Eventually, Jamie and Claire gather their belongings and head out. Amazing scenery continues to greet them and us. They come upon a patch of strawberries. Strawberries were part of the Fraser family history as they came over from France. Jamie decides this is the spot. We have arrived at Fraser’s Ridge! Welcome home!

Follow Me