Outlander review: Claire, Jamie and Bree would be lost ‘If Not For Hope’


The Frasers, Bree, Murtagh and the rest of the gang struggle to make the best of a no-win situation in “If Not For Hope.”

If you didn’t know there were only two episodes left of Outlander‘s fourth season, you would probably be able to guess it from all the table-setting in “If Not For Hope.” Sure, there are a few resolutions — Claire and Jamie make up, Brianna takes steps toward forgiving her father’s uncharacteristic jerkiness — but, really, this episode’s main function is prepping the final two installments’ story and action. And that means the characters are reckoning with their past decisions and figuring out how to move forward.

For Claire, Jamie and Young Ian, of course, that means a quest to find Roger and bring him back to Brianna. Besides the kind of useless, fake-out of a cold open, Roger only appeared in the final scene of “If Not For Hope.” He and the Mohawk have finally reached their destination of Shadow Lake. The tribe welcomes him by beating him in what I suspect is some sort of initiation ritual.

Unsurprisingly, Outlander is still not portraying its non-white characters with much depth. The audience has no idea of what the Mohawk’s motives might be and what, exactly, they want with Roger. In an attempt to build suspense, the show is presenting the tribe through Roger’s eyes: they’re threatening, scary and mysterious to him, and to us as well. They deserve more than that, and I know the show is capable of it.

Outlander season 4 production still. Photo Credit: Starz

In any case, the Frasers will be making their way to Shadow Lake, a two-month trek, in the episodes to come. Claire sort of let Jamie off the hook for his terrible behavior in “The Deep Heart’s Core,” apologizing for keeping a secret from him and reminding him that he and Bree both said things they didn’t mean. (Which is true, but Jamie acted like a misogynistic lunatic. Bree was just defending herself.) I guess everything’s hunky dory between Mr. and Mrs. Fraser, but I doubt Roger will be as apt to forgive the man who beat him within an inch of his life. Please, Outlander, make Jamie eat a bit more crow for being a bohunk these past few eps.

You know what happens to bohunks? Their dumb actions have consequences. As you’ll recall, Jamie tasked Murtagh with finding Stephen Bonnet and delivering him to Jamie. Well, Murtagh — who is a wanted man for leading the militia against the tax collectors — found Bonnet, and the authorities found Murtagh. Now they’re both in jail. What a crack plan, Jamie!

At least Fergus didn’t suffer the same fate. He’s been dealing with some pretty low self-esteem lately. He needs to work in order to support Marsali and the baby, but no one is willing to hire a man with a disability. At Marsali’s behest, Murtagh asks Fergus to join the militia for an ego boost and a sense of purpose. Fergus, proving himself to be perhaps the smartest character in Outlander‘s universe, turns down the offer. He has a family to think about, after all. Not that that stops him from going after Bonnet with Murtagh, but, hey, he didn’t get caught. So, what I’m saying is Team Fergus forever.

Outlander season 4 production still. Photo Credit: Starz

I’m not willing to make the same commitment to John Grey, but it was nice to see him back in “If Not For Hope.” He arrives at River Run to check up on Bree, per Jamie’s request, and to attend Aunt Jocasta’s Brianna Fraser Is Open For Business dinner party. Grey is among the single men in attendance and the only one Bree can stand talking to — she even tells him about Roger, Bonnet and her pregnancy. When Jocasta makes clear that should Bree have her baby without a non-handfast husband, two lives will be ruined, Bree asks Grey to marry her.

After a few fits and starts — Grey saying no, Brianna attempting to use his sexuality as a means for blackmail — Grey agrees. He comforts his new fiancée by reminding her, “Sometimes, people do the wrong thing for the right reasons.” (That may as well be Outlander‘s official slogan.) Grey also tells Bree that he’s raising a son he did not father, but loves him more than anything: he’s sure Roger will feel the same way about Bree’s baby. What Grey does not mention is that Willie’s biological father is Jamie — and that Bree will soon be her own half-brother’s stepmother. Intrigue!

Basically, while doing everything they can to rectify the dumpster fire that is the Roger situation, Outlander‘s major players create even more fires that will need putting out. Claire, Jamie and Ian will have to find a way to peacefully buy back Roger; Bree will soon have two husbands and a child on her hands; and Murtagh will probably be facing execution. That’s a lot of plot to get through in two episodes and season 4 has been fairly shaky — we’ll see if Outlander can stick the landing.

Related Story. Outlander review: Sing me a song of a man who’s being a total jerk. light


  • So, does Fergus know about Bree, as in does he know that Jamie and Claire have a daughter? Or does he believe this revenge plot is about the robbery and murder Bonnet committed earlier this season? Basically, I’m wondering how aware Fergus and Marsali are about the Frasers’ affairs.
  • This episode just makes me want more Fergus and Marsali stories. Their 10 minutes of screen time or so were more interesting than pretty much all the Brianna-Roger scenes in the show’s history.
  • An outstanding passive-aggressive argument from Claire and Jamie this episode: “Sometimes it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.” “When ye dinna have two sides of the story, aye, it is.”
  • Brianna’s grand entrance at the dinner party could have come straight from The Princess Diaries.
  • By the way, it’s insane Bree is offended by one of the guests using the word “negroes” when she’s voluntarily living at a slave plantation.
  • Hey, Jamie, you know what’s worse than acting like a “fearsome brute”? Feeling sorry for yourself because people think you’re a “fearsome brute.” Accept you’ve made terrible mistakes, own up to them and try to make things right. Whining about Frank isn’t helping anything.