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‘Outlander’ recap: Jamie and Claire Receive an Unforgettable Welcome in 4×01, “America the Beautiful”

Outlander, Ep 4×01, “America the Beautiful” aired on November 4, 2018

The wait has been long but with tonight’s S4 premiere, “Droughtlander” has officially ended. Huzzah! There’s no feeling quite like hearing that beautiful theme song after a long hiatus. The show picks up four months after Claire and Jamie survived being shipwrecked. They’ve reunited with their family and friends and have been working their way up the coast trying to raise funds for their voyage back home to Scotland. Things take an unfortunate turn for several of our favorite travelers. It all starts when poor Gavin Hayes beds the wrong lass. Turns out he forgot to ask if she was married and ended up killing her husband. Of course, the audience missed those tidbits and we drop in right before Hayes is about to be hung for murder.

A Lament For Hayes

Hayes knows that all is lost. He only asks Jamie for two things before marching out to meet with the hangman. Jamie’s not one to let down a friend. The first was for a sip of whiskey. Something easy enough to provide. It as the next that likely broke Jamie’s heart in the doing. As his friend was hung by the neck, Jamie stood front and center, ensuring that Hayes’ last view was of Jamie’s smiling face. It was a heartening moment watching the small band of travelers come together later to mourn their friend over drink and song.

Jamie and the others later transport Hayes’ body for burial since the local church won’t allow a felon to be buried in consecreated ground. It’s not long before they discover their stowaway. After Hayes’ execution, several other criminals awaiting their turn managed to escape. One of those prisoners was Stephen Bonnett. Initially, Jamie isn’t too keen to help the man, but Bonnett invokes Hayes’ name and pleads his cause in the name of friendship.

 

Friend or Foe

By episode’s end, we discover without question that Stephen Bonnett is a really, really bad man. The question that remains is if he will turn out to be as villainous as Black Jack Randall or Gellis. We already know that Bonnett is a liar, thief, and murderer so he well on his way. The show has never shied away from putting our favorite characters through the most horrific of situations. Clearly, our dear Mrs. Fraser wasn’t going to be killed off (unlike poor, loyal Lesley), but I couldn’t help wonder if Bonnett had something else in mind after stealing the Frasers’ gems and trying to steal the rings that he’d admired earlier in the episode.

Bonnett manages to steal the ring that Jamie made for Claire. A ring she’s worn for 24 years. Wow, can’t believe it’s been that long since their wedding day. Time sure flies when you’re traveling back and forth through time without a DeLorean. Despite the loss, it’s probably a good thing that Claire didn’t manage to swallow that ring along with the gold band from Frank. Claire was barely able to choke just the one ring back up again.

 

Nothing is Lost

Before Bonnett’s attack on the small party of traveler, Jamie and Claire shared another of their truly epic moments. Jamie tells Clair that when his body dies, his soul will still be hers. And just when you thought your heart couldn’t melt enough he adds, “Nothing is lost, Sassenach. Only changed.” Claire teases him that this is the first law of thermodynamics, but that’s not quite it according to one, James Fraser. “No. That’s faith.”

There were other sweet moments between the two lovers throughout the episode. Before Bonnet steals the ring Jamie gave her, our favorite redhead, laments that he can’t afford to wrap his lady in the finest laces and jewelry. The jewels they salvaged from the Artemis, were being used to finance a fresh start for Fergus and Marsali in Wilmington and the voyage home for Lesley and Young Ian. Claire told him that she didn’t need anything more than the ring he gave her all those years before. Honestly, I think that Claire loved the medical kit from Jamie far more than any lace or jewels.

As for the future, Claire and Jamie hope to stick around the Colonies and grab a bit of the American Dream for themselves. Jamie has another great line with, “A dream for some can be a nightmare for others.” He makes clear that he empathizes more so with the Indigenous People of the Americas. They like Jamie’s fellow Scots are being marginalized by the new settlers and Redcoats pushing them out of their own land.

It will interesting to see how Jamie and Claire react further as the show continues this season in dealing with slavery and the treatment of Indigenous People. From upcoming previews, we know that Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta does own slaves. There was a moment in this episode where they discover the waterman taking them down the river is a freed slave, but neither Jamie nor Claire say much else on the matter.

Hit Us Right in the Feels

Other moments that hit us right in the feels this week? Young Ian is still very much haunted from his time with Gellis. He manages to bond further with his Uncle Jamie over the horrible experience. At one point, he asks Jamie if he’s ever lain with someone against his will. Of course, the mind and heart immediately goes back to that horrifying time he spent at Black Jack Randall’s mercy. The other moment that hit us. Well, we already talked about Stephen Bonnett’s brutal attack on the Fraser family at the end of the episode. I left out the best part. The entire scene was set to Ray Charles’ version of “America the Beautiful”. The stirring rendition is everything and what a welcome for the Frasers to this new land. Generally, the show is very careful to pick music that fits the time period the action is taking place in, but the jarring effect of having Ray Charles’ very modern voice playing across this scene. It makes sense, though. We’re supposed to be unsettled by everything that’s happening in those final moments. Welcome to the New World, Jamie and Claire.

Okay, what did you think of tonight’s premiere episode? How adorable was Young Ian with Rollo? It can’t be long before we see that darn Stephen Bonnett again, can it? Here’s to another great season coming our way. Be sure to drop a comment below to let us know what you thought of the episode or hit us up on social media.

 

Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c

Photo Credit: STARZ/Outlander

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Cort Robinson

A lover of words and moving pictures, I'm a fangirl from way back. Seriously—I grew up watching Daytime TV from my granny's knee. It was Knots Landing over Dynasty, and BtVS over pretty much everything else. I watch entirely too much television and am quite happy sitting in an empty movie theater on a rainy day. And if we’re talking bromances, there's no bromance quite like the Winchesters. Cort has been writing since she can remember and podcasting for nearly 10 years with @bradzb. Be sure to check us out our "Brad and Cort Talk" interviews and recaps. Also, join in the conversation over at our "Brad and Cort Talk" FB group.

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