There’s no sugar-coating this one. We finally meet The Browns, and in Brownsville, we have quite a murky quagmire of problems occur. Sadly, the neighbors just keep getting worse and worse for Fraser’s Ridge.
Roger Just Can’t Get a Break
Roger continues his inner struggle with not meeting up to Jamie’s standards as a son-in-law and now as a Captain of Fraser’s Militia. Roger first encounters the Browns while searching for more recruits to join up with the militia to help combat The Regulators. Even with money promised as payment for service, Roger just doesn’t have the commanding experience and bravado that Jamie Fraser has. He is trying to win his father in laws approval and just keeps failing.
Roger (Richard Rankin), Fergus (César Domboy), and the militia come upon Brownsville and walk right into a feud, which unwittingly they have brought with them, in one Isiah Morton. Guns are pointed and they nearly get their heads blown off. Roger tries to calm down the tensions and find out what is going on. Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy), informs them that Alicia Brown(Anna Burnett) and Morton has dallied with her and that has cost them a land acquisition in the marriage of 10 acres. Despite Fergus’s warnings, Roger decides to give the Browns a cask of the famous Fraser whisky meant to be used for bartering and acquiring more militia. You know where this is going. Roger sequester’s Morton to appease Lionel, stalling for Colonel Fraser to arrive.
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) show up with the young baby Beardsley with them. Jamie sees that something is amiss and Roger’s explanations of how he handled the conflict are not what a captain should have done. Jamie has to, of course, take over as commanding officer, and yes Roger had given the men a great deal of the whisky meant for trading. This had also annoyed some of the militiamen, who did not like how Morton was just handed over. They had deserted the night before. To say Jamie is red to the ears annoyed doesn’t cover it. To make matters worse, Jamie goes to meet with Morton to get his side of the story. We find out that Morton is in an arranged marriage himself, miserable as Jamie was with Laoghaire being married, and is in love with Alicia. Jamie tells Morton to run.
Claire discovers Kezzie Beardsley has also got tonsilitis like his brother and informs Jamie that she must perform surgery soon. Jamie takes this as a good way to give Roger an out, as he is clearly not suitable to be in the militia and cannot make decisions as a captain. He assigns Roger to take Claire and the Beardsley twins back to Fraser’s Ridge. But no before more drama ensues. The Browns who have sobered up a bit, discover that Morton has flown, and confront Jamie and the Militia. Long rifles are drawn on both sides and in sweeps Richard Brown (Chris Larkin), head of the family.
He has been trying to patch things up with the family with 10 acres that wanted Alicia until she became spoilt. He seems to have a cooler head than Lionel Brown, and Jamie states that if there is a conflict, the Browns will be seen as “Enemies of the Crown.” Well, no one wants that. Richard pledges the Browns to serve in the militia, with pay of course. His condition is that he commands them. Jamie postures that he is in command and that Richard must answer to him. This uneasy alliance will come back to haunt the Frasers.
Claire and Jamie have a walk in the woods after the Brownsville hootenanny that evening. Jamie softens and says it’s good to see Claire with a bairn again, and that they should keep the wee bonnie and take her to the Ridge. He misses that they could not raise a child together, after losing Faith and then having Brianna raised by Frank, Jamie has been wanting to maybe try to have a child again. Claire is touched by his thoughts, and it would be difficult for her to do so at her age. She tells him that she thinks she’s found a home for the child with a couple who have just lost their baby. Jamie thinks that the Beardsley estate, such as it is, might help make amends for the land loss of the Browns. They hear a shot in the w
oods. Upon investigation, they find young Alicia making a mess of trying to kill herself. Claire takes her back to the Browns and their rooms and consoles a tearful girl.
Later that night, Morton comes back into Brownsville and threatens Jamie with a pistol. He insists that Jamie bring him to Alicia. Morton confesses to Alicia that he is married and does not love his wife, that he only cares for her. Jamie and Claire confronted with star crossed lovers begin to soften and then Roger Mac comes in and they concoct a plan to sneak the young lovers out. The next morning Jamie creates a hullabaloo with the escaped horses of the Browns as a distraction and the young lovers escape the back way.
Back on The Ridge
While all of the Brownsville capers were happening, life back on the idyllic Ridge was becoming worrisome to young Brianna (Sophie Skelton). Mrs. Bug returns from town with young Jemmy. In his basket, there appears a strange coin. Mrs. Bug tells a strange tale of a young Irishman admiring Jemmy so, and Brianna fights to keep her growing horror in. She surmises that it is Bonnet. She removes her and Jemmy to the Big House.
Later she goes out in the night for wood and is spooked. She returns to find only Germaine in the house playing while she is looking for Jemmy. She panics and starts looking for him everywhere. Marsali tries to calm her, finally, she finds him on the porch. Marsali sees that something is up and pours them both a dram. Brianna really never states what is troubling her, despite Marsali confiding in her and trying to draw it out.
The Scene Swapping
While this episode could have been more dramatic, we do finally get to meet The Browns and see a bit of foreshadowing of trouble brewing for the Frasers. The presentation of the scenes was very choppy, alternating between storylines with the militia and the Ridge. I think if they had not alternated so frequently the episode would have been a bit smoother and the characters would have built up more as the Browns become more a part of the story in the future. While seeing the story arc for Brianna as she is dealing with a mother’s fear of her child being taken away does build some important character points for her this season, having scenes presented in more of a 1/3 grouping might have made things more believable.
Up next we have episode 5, Perpetual Adoration this Saturday, March 14 at midnight on the Starz App, Starz Channel Sunday, March 15 at 5:05 pm ET 8:05 PT, UK Monday, March 16 on Amazon Prime.
Synopsis provided by Starz:
Jamie and his militia arrive at Hillsborough to find that Governor Tryon has proposed a rather unorthodox solution to deal with the threat posed by the Regulators. Busy with present-day life at the Ridge, Roger and Brianna must nevertheless come to terms with their past.