What a way to bring in the New Year! This weeks Outlander Season 3’s highly anticipated episode, The Birds and the Bees, holds the one meeting that Outlander fans have been dying to see. Just as joyous as the Print Shop scene in Season 3, and culmination of eight episodes waiting, Brianna and her father will finally meet. However, much is afoot and mistaken miscommunications abound in this episode. Hang on to your seats, as you see how much love and misguided attempts to shield those you love from pain, can have disastrous consequences.
Revelations in Wilmington
We open with Brianna (Sophie Skelton) coming up to the room, beaten from her encounter with Stephen Bonnet. Lizzie, her maid, keeps asking all the wrong questions, or rather at the wrong time. Brianna doesn’t want to talk about any of it. Lizzie believes that Brianna spent the whole night in Roger MacKenzie’s (Richard Rankin) company, with no idea of what happened in the tavern below.
Roger returns to the Willow Tree Tavern in the inn the next morning looking for Brianna. Unfortunately, Bonnet (Ed Speleers) is still there, the cat that’s had the cream and is very smug about it. Sitting at the table, Bonnet assails Roger for being good about turning up, he was about to send men looking for him. Roger tells Bonnet he intends to stay in Wilmington, Bonnet knows it’s about his lass, not knowing it’s Brianna, and reminds him of his obligations to the Gloriana, there are more ports to be had. Making a point of not wanting to have to maim him, Bonnet gets forceful about the duties and so do his men, manhandling Roger out of the tavern. Roger barely gets in a word to the tavern keep, “Tell the lass I came looking for her”.
Brianna wakes very late in the day, and Lizzie has been washing her mistresses things, and now knows about much of what has happened to Brianna, the clothing tells a tale. Lizzie has been left to wonder what has happened to her mistress, and her in fever weakened mind, believes that Roger is the one who attacked Brianna. Brianna tells her not to bother with the petticoats, she won’t be keeping the blood stained clothing while rummaging through her mother’s trunk. Lizzie becomes more stressed about the situation, while Brianna continues to compartmentalize everything that has happened. She tells Lizzie she is more determined than ever to find her mother. Without explanation, Lizzie assumes the worst.
Brianna leaves their rooms at the inn and downstairs hears from the tavern keep that Roger had come looking for her, but had left on the Gloriana. Racing to the docks, she finds that it had set sail on the morning tides. Distraught she is stunned and Lizzie finds her with good news, and in Lizzie fashion takes ages to tell her. For Lizzie had been making inquiries. There had been a emergency surgery performed at the Theatre the night before, by a woman. This woman was also married to a Scot. Brianna concludes it must be Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan). Lizzie tells her where to find Jamie, and off she runs, to meet her father for the first time. She finds Jamie Fraser relieving himself in a yard, and when Jamie asks what she wants, responds with, “I want you.”
More misunderstandings begin, but these with a happy ending. Jamie assumes it’s yet another colonial lass without a man, desperate for protection. He is handsome, he gets this a lot. He begins with he is already married. Slowly Brianna lets out she’s his daughter. In a scene very well played by both actors, we see a man realizing he has seen his child for the first time, and a daughter ends her desperate search to finally find her father and her mother. It’s one you have to just view, hopefully with a friend, and a box of tissues nearby. Sam Heughan and Sophie Skelton will melt you on the spot. Heughan has been working the rolling emotions all season, and this time he really pulls you in new directions. The brilliance and beauty in this scene are a credit to the writers, actors, and crew. Really, they just nailed it.
Together Brianna and Jamie sit at a bench and wait for Claire to exit the apothecary, the only place she would be in town, and when Jamie calls out ” Sassenach”, her joyful, shocked embrace with Brianna releases the torment of separation from them both. Brianna’s tearful reunion with her mother is brought to an end, and the obituary for James and Mrs. Fraser is shown to them. Jamie points out the careless date smudge in the corner, for no one knows the exact years date. Young Ian (John Bell) meets his new cousin for the first time, and the Frasers leave Wilmington behind and head up the river to Fraser’s Ridge.
The River’s Edge
On the passage to Fraser’s Ridge on the barge, mother and daughter have a chance to finally talk. Claire knows Brianna is deeply disturbed and has heard a little of Roger and that it didn’t end well. Brianna admits she is in love with him. That they had been hand-fasted. Brianna gives more details of the fight, albeit edited, to Claire. Claire asks how the relationship could be over, after just one fight.
Lizzie, on the deck side, shows she’s just a little bit taken with Ian. On the river the young cousins have a good long talk, and Ian confesses that a part of the river greatly disturbs him. Brianna learns the terrible news of the first time they travelled up the river. Ian tells her of how they were attacked by pirates and the man slit Lesley’s throat in front of Claire, a brigand with an Irish accent, a way about him. The same scoundrel Uncle Jamie had helped escape the noose. We hear Ian as he feels that he can talk with his cousin about difficult things, a relationship that will continue to build. Brianna begins to realize who her attacker may really be, and tries to hide her agitation, as she has continued to keep her mother’s wedding ring hidden from Claire. It is Brianna’s compartmentalizing and denying what has happened to her, that will continue to haunt her in the weeks to come.
On the road back from the river, the cousins and Lizzie continue in the wagon, and Jamie and Claire discuss Brianna and Roger. They discuss that she is hand fasted and that Brianna is heartsick. This leads to the discussion of the news of their imminent death. Claire slightly jokes about not being in the cabin on the “Sunday before January 21st” every year. Jamie reminds Claire about their previous bad luck at altering history in Scotland and France.
When the Frasers arrive at the Ridge, they are greeted by a somewhat harried but thankful Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix), who had narrowly escaped Governor Tryon’s men. Jamie tells Murtagh there’s prime land set aside for him, and to say the word and a cabin would be started. He has come to the Ridge to lie low for a time, and is introduced to Brianna. Murtagh shows us his slow joy we know and love with a, “What took you so long, lass?” and welcomes her to the Ridge. Later, after super, Murtagh at the encouragement of Young Ian, tells a tale of a 14 year old Jamie and Dougal MacKenzie. When the others leave, he tells his Godson that he is lucky to have his child there with him.
Daddy Knew That You Came Back
Brianna is still having difficulties adjusting. She is anxious for news of Roger, hoping he may find his way to the ridge. She and Claire are talking while Claire prepares herbs, Claire knowing brianna wishes to talk. Bree discusses with her mother the dreams of Frank she has been having. Particularly one that she realizes was a clue of things to come. At the time when she was talking with Frank, she had glanced at the same obituary article, not knowing what it meant. Frank had done research on Claire and James Fraser. It is why he had been drinking so heavily, he knew that Claire had gone back to Jamie. Claire continues to try to get Bree to open up about what else is deeply troubling her.
Bree- Scottish: Disturbance, commotion, confusion.
Family scenes of working the still, and life on the ridge ensue. Jamie and Claire patiently watching Brianna as they know that she must adjust to life in a time that is not hers, in a place unfamiliar. At the Fraser’s Ridge Distillery, the family unites for a pleasant afternoon and discussion on the art of brewing a whiskey that tastes better than the previous batch, and the discussion of the joke around the nickname Bree comes up, because a bree in Scotland means a disturbance.
“You can call me Da, if you like.” “Is that Gaelic?” “No, it’s only simple.”
Jamie spends weeks trying to get to know his daughter, and takes her on another book favorite, The Bee Hunt. The writers did a wonderful thing in keeping this treasured book moment, where father and daughter can have some bonding time and learn to be more at ease with each other. Brianna must learn about her true father, while dealing with and sharing her experiences with Frank Randall. Jamie must further accept and be grateful that another man has taken his child in and reared her so well. After the hunt, Jamie and Claire are deep in discussion. Claire wants Brianna to stay, but really she must go back. It is too dangerous in this time for her. Jamie is upset, for Bree has just begun to accept him as father and he doesn’t want to lose her.
Morning comes and Lizzie is finally well enough to be up, and cause the real mischief. She keeps trying to help Brianna and is rebuffed again. Brianna has another secret. Later while she is with her mother, the very belated discussion occurs. In a conversation that makes you want to thump Claire, Claire has picked up that Brianna is pregnant, and of course says the wrong thing. Why didn’t they use protection? Brianna rounds that she hadn’t planned on Roger coming at all, and really when trying to go through the stones it was the last thing on her mind. She also brings up her greatest fear, that it may not be Roger’s at all. She then tells of her abuse at the hands of Stephen Bonnet, and blaming herself for not fighting back hard enough. Later, Claire tells Jamie about the rape, not knowing that it was Bonnet.
Some Secrets Just Won’t Keep
After Roger finally gets paid off by Bonnet, bartering for a small gemstone, a way to get back to the future. He procures a horse and kits himself out to try to find Brianna, heading to Fraser’s Ridge to look for her. After weeks of separation, he is finally getting close. But fate would have it that a confused Lizzie would be there to ruin his plans. Lizzie who has become quite besotted with Ian, is sitting with him and sees Roger, or The Mackenzie, coming up the Ridge. She hurriedly tells Ian that this terrible man has attacked Brianna, and is coming to claim her again. Foolishly Ian runs to Jamie and they inform him. Jamie finds Mackenzie and addresses him, in a brutal pommeling. While this is going on, Claire finds the wedding ring, and pieces together that Bonnet is the man who attacked her daughter. Brianna then tells her that yes, the man that attacked her was Bonnet. She did not wish to upset her mother, making her feel the blame because Brianna tried to get the ring back. Back to Jamie, not waiting to hear what he has to say, only an angry, blood raged father protecting his daughter, begins a pommeling and brutal attack on Roger. After poor Roger is beaten beyond recognition, Jamie orders Ian to pack him off to the Indians and make him disappear, he does not care to know.
Again, praise well deserved to Sam Heughan and Sophie Skelton for playing a father and daughter’s first meeting with true emotional finesse. I have to say that young Sophie Skelton has really begun to grow in this season of Outlander. In another gutting performance, we see the aftermath of tragedy and its effect on the character’s soul, and her play with Caitriona Balfe is magic. If any book fans were doubting of the actress being able to finally portray Brianna the way many have envisioned her over the years, it’s time to let that go and allow for Series Brianna to become the strong character we know she is.
Episode 409 The Birds and The Bees, aired on the anniversary date of the publishing of Drums of Autumn, first published December 30, 1996.
Tune in on Saturdays at Midnight on the Starz® App, or watch Sunday December 30th at 8 PM EST on Starz® network USA, 10 PM Sundays on Canadian W Network, 6:30 PM Mondays on Foxtel Australia, and Mondays on Amazon Prime in the UK.