‘Outlander’ Season 4 Episode 8 Recap: “Wilmington”

Outlander Season 4 Episode 8 Recap
Sophie Skelton (Brianna Randall Fraser) and Richard Rankin (Roger Wakefield) in ‘Outlander’ season 4 episode 8 (Photo Credit: Starz)

Okay, let me start this recap with WOW! A classic episode of action and plot progression awaits you with Starz’ Outlander season four episode eight. I’m sure Herself is just as excited to see it as the fans. All the players are in the past now, and they just so happen to have all visited Wilmington, hence the title of the episode.

The town of Wilmington is the place to be as the episode begins. We start with Roger (Richard Rankin) still frantically searching for Brianna (Sophie Skelton). He’s showing her picture to everyone in the village, and just so happens to run into Fergus (Cesar Domboy) though neither realize who they’re speaking to, of course. After his frantic search yields nothing, Roger sits down in a tavern for a pint.

Fergus returns to his apartment where Marsali (Lauren Lyle) and the baby are being visited by Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe). In the book, Claire wasn’t with Jamie in Wilmington, and he was not there for a play after being summoned by Governor Tryon (Tim Downie). Fergus got in one of his classic mishaps with the law and Jamie was there to sort it out. In the show, we’re treated to a play instead of a trial.

Claire and Marsali go to the kitchen to get lunch together and they talk of motherhood. Only Jamie knew of Brianna in the colonies, so Claire obviously was thinking of her in the conversation but did not mention her to Marsali.

Roger’s in a state of distress while he takes in a pint of ale. Notice I didn’t say “enjoying a pint of ale.” He’s enjoying nothing while he’s searching for Bree. He accidentally spills some of his drink on the picture they had made at the Scottish festival that he was showing around town. Instead of dabbing the liquid away, he wipes it – horribly smudging the picture.

Just as he’s about to leave the tavern, he hears Brianna’s voice. She’s asking for a way to get to Cross Creek, and when she turns around Roger’s there. They embrace and hold each other as if they both were to melt into the earth on the spot.

Suddenly, Brianna realizes he’s there and she didn’t want him to be. In the book, she provides the reason for that sentiment but they don’t explain it in the show. She left him behind as an emotional anchor to pull her back through the stones when the time comes.

Roger grabs Bree’s arm to take her outside, just as Bree’s handmaid, Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan), comes down the stairs to see him tugging Bree along behind him out the door. Lizzie witnesses a tense discussion through the window but cannot hear what they say. Even though Bree said she loves Roger in the exchange, his grabbing of Bree’s arm to take her to a nearby barn distresses Lizzie as she watches Roger tug Bree out of sight.

In the barn they, naturally, are getting rather frisky. However, Brianna stops the passion mid-grope, given this was the place that Roger had stopped things the night of the festival. He said he wanted all of her or none at all. Good timing to throw it back in his face I suppose; thousands of miles and 200 years later. She admits that this time she will marry him. He doesn’t have a ring, but she has the bracelet he gave her. Roger explains he has an idea of being handfasted together, which is a temporary marriage for a year and a day. They would need to get formally wed before that time ends to remain married. Brianna agrees to do the ceremony right then.

At the theater, none of which is in the book, Jamie and Claire are introduced to several people in the higher society in North Carolina. The Governor introduces his trusted associate, Edmund Fanning (Samuel Collings). Claire notices the man’s grimacing rather sharply and based on the symptoms he describes, our trusted surgeon extrapolates the condition very astutely.

In keeping with the times, the men of the gathering don’t want to hear Claire’s opinions about Mr. Fanning’s care nor what she thinks would solve the condition. Our heroine has learned her timing a bit better after more than 20 years, so she bites her retort off for the moment. She is dutifully sent with the wives after exchanging a knowing look with Jamie. (As I mentioned in a previous recap, in the book it was the backwoodsman Myers who had the condition of a hernia that wowed the crowd when Claire demonstrated her skill before the esteemed gathering at River Run.)

Claire chats with the Governor’s wife, Margaret Tryon (Melanie Gray), and she points out a very surprising visitor among the gathering. This meeting is also not part of the book, but I did find it interesting to include in the show. Claire is privileged to meet George (Simon Harrison) and Martha Washington (Elizabeth Appleby). As everyone is called into the seating area for the play to begin, Claire has a moment to explain the significance of Washington to the country’s future to Jamie.

Over in the barn, Roger and Bree perform the handfasting ceremony after arranging the room a bit. It’s a very sweet and charming Scottish tradition.

Back at the tavern, Lizzie inquires after Brianna’s return and is concerned she hasn’t come back.

As everyone takes their seats for the play to begin, Governor Tryon lets slip to Jamie he has a plan in place for that very night to stop the conflict with the Regulators, unaware Jamie’s godfather is leading them. The Governor even knows that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) is their leader. Jamie’s very concerned but can’t do anything at that moment.

Murtagh’s watching the road and ready for the carriage filled with tax money, or so he thinks, to roll by. Instead of money, the carriage is full of soldiers.

In the barn, Roger and Bree begin the wedding night ritual of two flesh becoming one. It’s not the slightly stumbling, very scared of each other, scene we witnessed when Jamie and Claire consummated their marriage. Roger makes sure one last time before officially taking her body that she truly wants to have him always. She begs yes please, and they get down to business immediately. In the book, the pair end up having sex four times over the course of the night. We’re not so treated in the show to all that, but not disappointed in the show’s outcome either.

Inside the theater, spectators of the play are expected to interact with the actors on the stage, so some are shouting out things as the play goes on. Jamie continues to squirm in his seat knowing that Murtagh is in danger.

Murtagh and his band are lying in wait for the carriage to come along on the road.

Once more to the barn we go and the pillow talk between Bree and Roger is too cute. She asks if he enjoyed it; he asks if it hurt since it was her first time. Bree eventually kick-starts round two in a way similar to Claire’s in their wedding episode, which makes for an interesting symmetry between the couples.

Outlander Season 4 Episode 8 Recap
Caitriona Balfe (Claire Randall Fraser) and Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser) in ‘Outlander’ season 4 episode 8 (Photo Credit: Starz)

While the play continues, our quick-witted Jamie concocts a plan. He elbows the poor Mr. Fanning and it causes his hernia to come near to bursting. Claire immediately takes charge despite several protests from males in the room, the Governor among the dissenting voices. Jamie quietly explains the dangers to Murtagh to Claire, and she says she’ll try to buy Jamie as much time as possible.

Claire starts ordering men around, much to the Governor’s dismay and protestations. The men all do as she says in order to save Mr. Fanning’s life.

Jamie heads outside to find a way to get a message to Murtagh and runs into Mr. and Mrs. Washington leaving the play. They assist Jamie in getting to an inn, though they have no idea they’re aiding him to counteract the Governor. Jamie uses the excuse of retrieving Claire’s surgical tools from the inn.

Claire continues her orders while also providing ongoing explanations. She begs for assistance from the Governor and he grudgingly obliges. Claire cuts her patient while four men, including the Governor, hold him down. Claire must push the hernia back into place which makes the patient shout and lurch. Once the protrusion is back inside, the man calms immediately and Claire can close the incision. A town doctor comes running in and accuses Claire of butchering the man. The Governor defends her against the accusation and declares she has the situation well in hand.

Jamie heads back to the theater on a horse while in the woods the carriage arrives at the spot of the ambush.

Everyone looks on as Claire painstakingly sews the opening closed. What started out as everyone appalled at Claire’s cutting the man open, ends with applause for her display of skill and most certainly saving the man’s life.

Fergus manages to reach Murtagh just as the band’s about to attack the carriage. Fergus warns the carriage is full of soldiers, not money, and is a trap for them laid by the Governor. This is the first time Murtagh sees Fergus grown but believes his warning because he knew Jamie sent him, as always. Fergus reveals there’s a spy among Murtagh’s men.

In the barn where Bree and Roger are back to pillow talk, it comes out that Roger knew about the obituary reporting the death of Jamie and Claire. Brianna’s extremely angry he didn’t reveal this information to her himself. She gets even more mad when Roger spills the beans that he and Fiona spoke of the situation and determined it best not to tell her. Brianna’s most angered by Roger attempting to take away her choice of going back in time or living in ignorance of their deaths. The inevitable words that will soon be regretted ensue. They leave the barn on very hard terms; Roger saying if she wants him to go back, he will, and Bree saying no one is stopping him from going. With that, Roger leaves the barn. I guess the honeymoon is over already.

Leaving the theater, the Governor and Jamie share a ride in a coach. One of the other men in the coach admits to seeing Washington and his wife leave the theater early. Naturally, the Governor assumes Washington gave the Regulators the warning.

Brianna gets dressed and returns to the inn/tavern where she has a room with Lizzie. As she enters the tavern, there’s a table of men playing cards. None other than Steven Bonnet (Ed Speleers) is about to bet Claire’s silver ring (in the book it was the gold one) as he grabs Bree’s arm to blow a kiss of luck on the bet. Bree recognizes the ring, of course. Bree asks if he knows her mother’s whereabouts since he has her ring. Bonnet replies that he doesn’t know where she is, but he’ll make a trade for the ring.

In the book, Brianna went to Bonnet’s boat to attempt to buy the ring back for her mother. In the show, Bonnet charms Brianna into a side room where he forcibly takes his cost of the ring through a pound of her flesh. Everyone in the tavern can hear the struggle and rape but do nothing to stop it.

By the time Brianna comes out of the room, after Bonnet gave her the ring and leaves, the tavern room’s cleared out. Brianna heads upstairs with blood coming out of her nose and looking very much the worse for the events. In the book, the rape and her time with Roger happened a few days apart. In the show, these events occurred on the same night, making it one of the best and worst nights of her life. It also saw her mother save a man’s life, and her father save several men’s lives. Extremely eventful day for all.

The next episode will also be full of events the fans are eager to witness. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I must admit I will be impatient to see it.

Happy Holidays to all!

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