The gorgeous Outlander theme song (“Skye Boat Song”) leads into the fourth episode of season five. Starz’s Outlander episode four, “Company We Keep,” then picks up with Roger at the head of Jamie’s militia column. They arrive in Brownsville only to be met by an angry man punctuating rounds of gunfire with a demand for them to hand over Isaiah Morton (Jon Tarcy).
Everyone scatters to take cover and return fire as Roger (Richard Rankin) attempts to find out why the man wants Morton. A young woman emerges from the house and the answer is made apparent. She’s in love with Morton, against her family’s wishes.
Roger decides his best option is to negotiate an agreement. Whiskey will definitely be involved.
Back at Fraser’s Ridge, Brianna (Sophie Skelton) returns from a shopping trip in town with a wagonload of supplies and mail. As she’s helping unpack the provisions, she discovers a coin has been tucked into Jemmy’s basket. Mrs. Bug explains a man ruffled Jemmy’s hair and gave him a coin. When Mrs. Bug describes him as Irish, Brianna’s spidey senses tingle.
Brianna attempts to not show her concern, but she takes immediate action. She and Jemmy will move into the big house while her parents and Roger are away.
Roger and the angry man – one of the many Mr. Browns in Brownsville – join some of the male townsfolk in the local pub. Roger plies Mr. Brown with whiskey while his fellow Brownsvillers look on, anxious for a sip of their own. After explaining again that he’s part of the militia fighting the Regulators, Roger toasts to the men of the town and to the men of Fraser’s company.
Roger provides details of the town’s obligation/opportunity to join the militia. All the man wants to talk about is his daughter and the damage done to his family by Morton. He reveals Morton and his daughter, Alicia (Anna Burnett), slept together and now the man he made a deal with for her hand won’t have her because she’s damaged goods.
Mr. Brown won’t accept Morton as his son-in-law and has promised to kill him if he ever entered Brownsville again. He warns Roger that Morton won’t be joining them when they leave town.
And now nearly 10 minutes into the episode we finally catch up with Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe). He’s smitten with the way she cradles the baby, telling his lovely wife he could watch her do so all day. Claire takes the compliment and confesses she’s anxious to get to Brownsville and find someone who can nurse the baby.
Once more to Brownsville we go. The meeting breaks up and Fergus (César Domboy) pulls Roger aside to deliver bad news. Some of the men have deserted the militia because of Roger’s actions. They disagree with Roger handing over Morton.
Not long after, Roger’s in the middle of a song in the street when Jamie and Claire arrive. The first to greet them is Josiah (Paul Gorman) and you can see the weight lift off his shoulders when Jamie confirms he’s secured their paperwork. Josiah and Keziah are officially free of their servitude to the recently deceased Mr. Beardsley.
Josiah’s disappointed to learn he and his brother are too young to join the militia. (He didn’t know he was 14 until Jamie told him.) Jamie wants him to return to Fraser’s Ridge with his brother and help those there by hunting.
Next, Jamie and Claire meet up with Fergus. He jokes that Jamie works fast when Claire shows him the baby and then suggests Claire speak to Mrs. Brown, the lady of the house and the wife of the aggrieved father, about obtaining milk.
She introduces Claire to Lucinda (Muireann Brown), her daughter-in-law. Lucinda just had a baby and the friendly lass is willing to help out. Lucinda’s immediately taken with the baby, and she doesn’t sound judgmental when she asks if the child is a slave’s baby.
It’s finally Roger’s turn for one-on-one time with Jamie. Roger provides a lengthy explanation as to the origin of “Dutch courage” as a way of explaining why he’s provided the town with their whiskey. Jamie’s barely paying attention as he looks for Morrison and Scott – two of the men who left the militia. “And with them, three more,” adds Roger as he fills Jamie in on Morton and his unwelcome visits to Brownsville.
Roger takes Jamie to see Morton, and Jamie’s definitely displeased with Roger’s leadership in his absence. He can’t believe Roger allowed the angry dad to jail Morton, and Roger attempts to explain it was either confinement or immediate death.
Roger admits his plan didn’t include what would happen after the whiskey ran out. “I was hoping you’d arrive before that happened…and you did,” says Roger.
Roger kept the peace but Jamie’s angry because he betrayed the men’s trust by handing over Morton. Those men won’t follow the militia into battle.
Jamie returns to confront Morton, telling him he must marry the man’s daughter. and in a surprise twist it turns out Morton is already married. Morton’s marriage was arranged by his parents, but he truly loves Alicia.
Jamie cuts him free and tells Morton to leave and never return to Brownsville. Poor Morton’s upset he’ll never see the girl he loves again, but Jamie stands firm in his decision.
Elsewhere, Claire delivers a slightly different version of Mrs. Beardsley and the baby, leaving out exactly how and when Mr. Beardsley died. As they talk, the object of Morton’s affection reads from the newspaper and Claire’s shocked to hear her own words quoted back to her. (Fergus used the paper with Claire’s list of ways to stay healthy when Jamie gave him the militia recruiting announcement to take to the printers.)
Lucinda offers to keep the baby for the night, assuring Claire her husband won’t mind.
The ladies allow Claire to keep the newspaper and she shows the article off to Jamie. She’s not sure how her notes got published, but Jamie has an idea. They return to Fergus and he confirms the paper he took to the printer had writing on both sides.
Jamie’s not really concerned, but Claire hopes it doesn’t cause their family any trouble. Jamie jokes the only way that could happen is if someone seeks out the author for a speaking engagement. (These scenes solidify my belief that season five could use a lot more Fergus!)
The brief moment of levity suddenly turns dark when the townsfolk discover Morton’s missing.
The Brownsvillers gather with rifles to hunt Morton, while Jamie stands in front of his men and declares he’s putting the militia under his protection. He refuses to back down and informs the town any act against Morton is an act against the militia. If harm comes to Morton, the men will be declared traitors to the Crown.
Although guns are raised, one single level-headed man is able to talk them down. A meeting takes place between Jamie, Claire, and the leader of the town who promises he’ll pull together the town’s men. They’ll join the militia but they will report to him – not Jamie. A deal’s struck as long as the Brownsville leader will answer to Jamie.
Night falls on Fraser’s Ridge and Brianna ventures outside to retrieve wood for the fire. She’s already on edge when she hears a screeching off in the distance. When she returns inside, she’s unable to locate Jemmy!
She races around in a panic, screaming for Jemmy. Fortunately, he’s not missing after all and has only wandered off chasing his ball. Jemmy’s safe and sound but Brianna’s nerves are completely frayed. Only a heart-to-heart with Marsali calms her down.
Later, Brianna tosses her drawings of Stephen Bonnet into the fire.
As Claire’s room is prepared for the night, Mrs. Brown offers to permanently take in the baby. Lucinda’s baby passed away and this baby would help ease her pain.
Claire runs into Josiah and Keziah outside with the men as they prepare tents for the night. She realizes Keziah has a fever and his tonsils are in worse shape than Josiah’s. He needs surgery soon and that surgery will require penicillin.
Jamie suggests Claire return with the lads to Fraser’s Ridge. She’s reluctant but Jamie reminds her she never read about any battles involving the Regulators. After all they went through to secure Josiah and Keziah’s freedom, he believes surgery is more important than Claire remaining with the militia. However, he wants her to return when she’s finished.
Jamie gives Roger an order to escort Claire and the twins to Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie also admits he never prepared Roger for his role in the militia.
Roger takes the order to mean Jamie doesn’t have faith in him. Claire replies, “He just entrusted you with the one thing he loves most.” That brings a smile to Roger’s face.
Claire relieves Lucinda of babysitting duty to allow the young woman a chance to dance. Both Lucinda and her hubby ask if Claire would consider leaving the baby in their care, assuring her they don’t mind taking care of her as their own. “We have plenty of room to spare now. She wouldn’t lack for anything – if you’ll allow us,” says Lucinda.
A drumbeat signals a change in the music. Two swords are placed on the ground and the townsfolk clap as men dance perform an intricate dance. Jamie’s recruited for the next dance and he willingly steps up to show off his skills. Claire beams proudly from the sidelines as Jamie delivers a crowd-pleasing display of fancy footwork.
The couple then sneak off into the woods for a moment alone. Jamie lovely admits he loves seeing Claire with the baby and wonders if they should take the child home to Fraser’s Ridge. Claire reveals she was just asked to allow the baby to stay in Brownsville. Claire believes Lucinda needs the baby more than anyone and the baby would be in good hands.
Jamie thinks it through, saying the baby would come with the deed to the Beardsley place which would be a good addition of property to Browns’ estate. “I have no life but you, Claire. If you wanted another child, I thought that perhaps I might give you one – one that you wouldn’t have to suffer carrying,” says Jamie.
Claire’s incredibly moved by Jamie’s confession. She holds her husband, looks deeply into his eyes, and tells him she loves him even more. She also regrets they weren’t parents together but she so loves their life. She’s grateful for every day she spends with Jamie.
They kiss and then joke that Marsali and Fergus will keep the Ridge populated with children anyway. They’re still talking about Fergus when they hear a gunshot.
They track the sound and find Alicia ready to shoot herself. (She knicked her arm with the first bullet.) Jamie’s easily able to disarm the young women and they take her back to town to care for her wound.
Alicia confesses she’s pregnant with Morton’s child and suffering from a broken heart now that she knows he’s married. Claire assures her a baby is worth living for and sends Jamie off to retrieve whiskey. He’s surprised by the appearance of Morton right outside the house. Morton doesn’t want to leave Alicia and Jamie reminds him he’s a dead man walking if Alicia’s father finds him in town.
Morton’s shocked when Jamie berates him for leaving Alicia with child. Morton had no idea and when Jamie tries to send him away, Morton pulls a gun. Morton apologizes but demands to see Alicia. The gun is quickly pointed down once Jamie makes Morton admit there’s no way he’d shoot him.
Morton confesses he and his wife were never happy about the arranged marriage. They haven’t shared a home – or a bed – in two years. He declares Miss Brown is his heart and soul and begs Jamie to let him see her.
The reunion’s sweet as Alicia and Morton immediately fall into each other’s arms. He confirms he’s married but only loves Alicia. Roger arrives with the roster of newly recruited soldiers and can’t believe Morton’s returned. Morton demands to know if either Jamie or Roger would leave the women they love with all their hearts. If they can do that, he’ll leave.
They, obviously, can’t.
Jamie, Roger, and Claire help Morton and Alicia sneak off in the early morning hours. After they’re safely out of Brownsville, Jamie sends horses through the middle of town – giving the men something to chase. He blames the disruption on a poor innocent goat.
The episode ends with a voiceover by Claire musing on adultery, betrayal, and dishonor. She says that no matter where you are, you make choices and can only hope the goodwill outweighs the harm that may come of your decisions.
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