Outlander review: Sing me a song of a man who’s being a total jerk


Secrets come to light in “The Deep Heart’s Core,” and Outlander continues its character assassination of Jamie Fraser.

Did James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser absolutely lose his mind when he finally met his long-lost daughter in “The Birds & The Bees”? From my perspective, that’s the only logical explanation for his pod person behavior in that episode and the latest, “The Deep Heart’s Core.”

Look, I understand that Jamie is a man of his time, the 18th century, but he’s always been fairly open-minded and progressive. (If he hadn’t been, there’s no way Claire ever would have fallen in love with him.) But all Jamie’s avant-garde wokeness apparently evaporated on the spot the moment Bree introduced herself.

As much as I loved the scene in which Jamie um, unconventionally, shows Brianna that the rape wasn’t her fault, and there was no way she could have fought off her assailant, for most of the episode Jamie carries on the caveman routine from last week. The man from the first few seasons of Outlander — you know, the one who listened to his wife (even though she’s a woman!) and thought things through — wasn’t really present in “The Deep Heart’s Core.”

There’s no other way to put it: Jamie acts like a complete jerk when the whole mess about Roger is revealed. He jumps to the (incredibly dumb) conclusion that Bree “bedded [Roger] from lust” and invented the rape story as a way to explain her pregnancy. “Ye said he’d raped ye of yer virtue,” Jamie says. “I nearly killed the man. To think I was defending your honor…” He doesn’t know the whole story, nor does he let Bree get a word in edgewise. It’s just zero to slut shaming in an instant.

Obviously, this doesn’t do much for his still-new relationship with Brianna. Hurt and humiliated, she slaps her father and informs him another man, not Roger, assaulted her. She also lets Jamie know just how much he’s failed her.

“My father would never have said the things you said to me. He was a good man. You’re nothing but a savage.” Looks like the connection “m’annsachd” and “Da” forged last week will need to be rebuilt.

In case you think I’m being too hard on Jamie, let me add that — even after all the mayhem he incited because he didn’t talk to Claire or Bree before he beat up Roger — he instructs Murtagh to go to Wilmington, find Stephen Bonnet and bring him to Jamie so Jamie can kill him. And, nope, he doesn’t let his wife or his daughter in on this airtight plan. To recap: Jamie acts like a dim brute, provokes his wife and daughter’s extreme ire and then decides to keep doing dim, brutish things.

Although she was the wronged party in the blow-up with Jamie, that doesn’t make Brianna immune to questionable decision-making. She considers undergoing an abortion but ultimately decides that, since the baby could technically be Roger’s, she’s going to keep it.

This choice probably wouldn’t feel so disappointing and unearned if TV weren’t so afraid to allow its women characters to get abortions. So many times (Sex and the City, Mad Men, Superstore, Orange Is the New Black, etc.) a series has written in an unplanned pregnancy, and the woman — who usually does not have the resources for a child — thinks about all her options before deciding to have the baby. In other words, pop culture isn’t afraid of the abortion conversation, but it sure is terrified of actually going through with it. I wish Outlander would have had the guts to let young, traumatized, confused, living-in-a-time-that’s-not-her-own Bree decide that, no, she is just not ready to be a mother yet.

But Bree seems adamant about her decision, and she’s even more determined to get Roger back from the Mohawk, to whom Young Ian had sold him after Jamie beat him to a pulp last week. The Frasers get organized and prepare to travel to Upstate New York to track him down, and send pregnant Brianna to Aunt Jocasta’s.

Roger, meanwhile, is walking 10 miles a day without much food or water. By episode’s end, he manages to escape from his captors and stumbles upon a — wait for it — standing stone. That’s the third time-travel portal Outlander has featured so far, for those of you keeping track at home.

It’s unclear whether Roger goes through the stone before the credits roll, but he’s clearly torn. On the one hand, his life is miserable in the 18th century and he’s in possession of two gemstones. On the other, he came for Brianna and wants to leave with her.

Either way, the last three episodes are sure to be a “Gift of the Magi”-esque goose chase. Roger is definitely not going to New York, but Claire, Jamie and Young Ian sure are.

Outlander review: Miscommunication’s the name of the game in ‘The Birds & The Bees’. light. Related Story


  • Stuff that Claire and Bree miss from their own time: cheeseburgers, PB&J sandwiches, aspirin, Led Zeppelin, listening to music whenever they want and toilets that flush.
  • It’s weird Bree is outraged over Ian selling Roger to the Mohawk, but is fine staying at her aunt’s slave plantation.
  • Claire, however, doesn’t want Brianna anywhere near River Run. So why didn’t Murtagh just stay with Bree and Lizzie at Fraser’s Ridge? That seems like the easiest solution.
  • Bree explains 20th-century views on incest to her father: “Can ye no be smitten with cousins in yer time?” “It’s, uh, not encouraged.”
  • Not that it fully sinks in for him, but I’m glad Brianna calls her father out on his nonsense: “You do not get to be more angry than me.”
  • Jamie comes off as a dumb sitcom dad in this exchange with Claire, but it still made me laugh: “You told me you hit a tree.” “No, you said that. I … I just let you believe it.”