Outlander Season 4 Review

  • Series Title: Outlander
  • Season: 4
  • Episodes:  13
  • Discs:  5
  • Network:  Starz/SonyPictures
  • Cast:  Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan
  • DVD: Widescreen DVD (R1, NTSC)

This review contains spoilers for Season 4 of Outlander.

Claire and Jamie arrive in Colonial America a few years prior to the Revolution. They arrive in Wilmington North Carolina where they are wined and dined by the territorial governor. The governor makes Jamie an offer – a 10,000-acre land grant if he agrees to find settlers for the land, collect taxes and put down any resistance. Deciding there are too many strings, Claire and Jamie head to Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta’s. However, before they leave one of their friends is due to be hanged by the Colonial Governor. The friend accepts his fate, so Jamie cancels the plans to get him free. Unfortunately, the distraction goes off anyway and everyone else is freed – including the pirate Stephen Bonnet. Claire and Jamie book passage on a small riverboat with a few friends, including Jenny’s son Ian who has decided to stay in the New World and his dog, Rollo. On the trip, they are set upon by pirates, including Stephen Bonnet. Bonnet takes their money and jewels and even manages to get one of Claire’s wedding rings. He also kills one of Claire and Jamie’s friends.

Shaken but not seriously hurt, they arrive at Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta’s. Claire is surprised to discover Jocasta runs a large plantation and owns over 200 slaves. Jamie is surprised when Jocasta announces at a large party that she is making Jamie her heir. Claire tells Jamie in private she can’t own slaves. Jamie looks into it and discovers he cannot legally free his slaves and pay them to do the same work. Slaves can only be freed for special service to their master (such as saving their life) and even then the Crown demands £100.00 a slave for each that is freed. Jamie can’t afford that cost. Then an overseer attacks one of the field hand slaves and grievously hurts him. Claire, a doctor, starts to treat the injured man, ignoring the minor injuries of the overseer from the altercation. Not only is everyone perplexed by this, but it proves pointless as Claire ends up having to knock out the man with drugs before he’s hanged for his crime of “touching” a white man. Jamie turns down Jocasta’s offer and he and Claire return to Willmington with Ian. Having no other choices, Claire and Jamie accept the Governor’s land-grant offer and set out to make the best of it.

Meanwhile, Roger realizes he really loves Brianna, Claire’s daughter. He travels from Cambridge to the US to see her, and the two attend a Scottish Festival in North Carolina. They have a good time, and Roger proposes. Brianna is shocked by the proposal and turns him down, so Roger leaves. But both seem to feel they’ve made a mistake in breaking up. Roger finds a historical obituary that good news Jamie established the settlement of Fraser’s Ridge – but the bad news that he and Claire died in a fire. He calls Brianna to tell her, only to have her roommate tell him she’s returned to Scotland to “visit her mother”. Roger realizes Brianna has also found the same obituary and decided to head back in time to warn her mother. Roger follows her.

It takes some time and a few adventures, but both Brianna and Roger end up in North Carolina. Roger catches up with Brianna and she’s initially upset he followed her. Still, they go off together, realize they are in love, and even complete a handfasting ceremony (unofficial marriage) before sleeping together. But in the afterglow, they have a fight when Brianna realizes Roger knew about the obituary. Brianna runs back to the pub where she and her maid are staying. There she sees Stephen Bonnet gambling and using her mother Claire’s wedding ring as collateral. She offers to buy the ring from him. Bonnet gets her alone, rapes her and then throws the ring at her.

Meanwhile, Roger is conscripted into Bonnet’s crew and forced to sail to Pennslyvania. Once he’s paid and free of his service, Roger makes his way back to North Carolina. Brianna and her maid make their way to Fraser’s ridge and find Claire and Jamie. Brianna tells Claire what’s happened. Claire, Jamie, Ian, the dog Rollo, and Brianna’s maid settle in – even forming an alliance with the nearby Cherokee Native Americans. Eventually, it becomes obvious that Brianna is pregnant and she tells her mother not only about Roger but that she was raped, though she doesn’t tell Claire who raped her.

It’s at this point that Roger makes his way to Fraser’s Ridge. Brianna’s maid is with Jamie and Ian in the forest and she basically accuses Roger of attacking Brianna. Jamie beats up Roger, finally knocking him out and Ian takes him and sells him to the Mohawk. When they get back to the Fraser cabin everything comes out – Brianna’s pregnancy, the handfasting with Roger, the fight, and even that it was Bonnet who raped Brianna in the pub. Jamie, Claire, and Ian decide to try to find Roger to buy him back. Brianna and her maid are sent to Jocasta’s River Run estate for the pregnancy, and Jamie finds some friends to look after his property and animals.

At River Run – Jocasta tries to find Brianna a husband. Brianna accidentally sees Lord John Grey with another man, and that along with his kindness to her and basic human decency leads her to propose to him. He initially refuses though the two have a frank discussion, including Brianna’s feelings for Roger and Grey letting Brianna know he’s raising another man’s son. Grey, however, eventually comes around and proposes to Brianna – basically to get the other suitors off her neck.

Jamie, Ian, and Claire head off into the woods to find Roger. When they finally reach the Mohawk camp things go OK for about five minutes then the Mohawks spot Claire’s “bear tooth” stone and freak out. They refuse to sell Roger to her and kick them out of the camp. As Jamie and Claire try to figure out what to do they are approached by a Mohawk woman. She tells them of a strange man who came to their tribe, telling them strange stories of the future, and urging them to fight the white man. This split the tribe and eventually the man was banished. When he returned he was killed. This is the skull that Claire found with the stone earlier on in the season when she and Jamie made their way to Fraser’s ridge. They try a raid and fail miserably. The only way they can get Roger back is a like for like trade – Ian offers his life and service. He successfully runs the gauntlet and becomes a member of the Mohawk tribe, while Jamie and Claire get Roger back.

They all head back to Jocasta’s where Brianna has given birth. Jocasta mentions the birth is “in wedlock” something no one seems to pay attention to, especially when the Redcoats show up. Jocasta was hiding Murtagh, who is now leading The Regulators a rebellious group opposed to the corruption of the governor’s tax collectors. But the Redcoats aren’t looking for Murtagh and have no idea he’s there – they present Jamie with an order signed by King George III himself, demanding Jamie quell all rebellion on his land, especially the Regulators. Roger also returns and his and Brianna share quite the kiss.

So Season 4 ends on a cliffhanger – What will Jamie do about the King’s order? Also, Jocasta seemed to think Brianna was married – no doubt to Lord John Grey, so that might stand in the way of her relationship with Roger. Season 4 is set almost entirely in the US and mostly in Colonial Times, though I liked the episode with Roger and Brianna at the Scottish Festival. I still really missed seeing 18th Century Scotland, and I missed Jamie’s sister, Jenny, who is a great character. Still, I pretty much binge-watched this season in only a few days (it took longer to find time to write this review – I finished watching it last Sunday). The episodes tended to end in cliffhangers, as does the entire season. I enjoy Outlander and I recommend it.

Read my Review of Outlander Season 1 Volume 1.
Read my Review of Outlander Season 1 Volume 2.
Read my Review of Outlander Season 2.
Read my Review of Outlander Season 3.