Outlander review: The Frasers & Co. prove their worth in a satisfying finale


Concluding a shaky fourth season, Outlander finally starts to feel like Outlander again in “Man of Worth.”

Thank Murtagh. After a season of Claire and Jamie waxing poetic about the American Dream, the torture porn of Brianna and Roger’s stories and the not-so-successful attempts to contend with the racism and colonialism of 18th-century America, Outlander has finally returned to its roots.

No, not Scotland, unfortunately, but to the intersection of romance and history, character study and adventure.

Sure, it’s disappointing that season 4 couldn’t get its act together until the finale, “Man of Worth,” but better late than never, I guess. Plus, the wait for season 5 will be easier knowing that Outlander is back to doing what it does best.

I’ll just say it: Even though I don’t care for Roger and, overall, think he and Bree took up too much screen time this season, I got goosebumps watching the couple reunite this episode. Like many of Claire and Jamie’s embraces, it was over the top and melodramatic but it feels like vintage Outlander. I didn’t realize how much I missed that series — the one that offers bodice-ripping romance through a feminist lens — until this episode.

Photo Credit: Starz

Of course, the Murtagh-Jocasta hook-up helps in that regard as well. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I did not see that coming until they began arguing. And then it hit me like a tumbler of whiskey in the face: these two are perfect together. They’re sharp-tongued, intelligent, wise and stubborn. And, who knows, perhaps Murtagh’s speeches about fighting for the little guy will inspire Jocasta to think critically about slavery. If she and Murtagh believe their oppression at the hands of the redcoats is bad, all they need to do is look out at the fields of River Run for a little perspective.

Their union is also welcome because it’s one of those rare instances in pop culture where characters older than 40 — and who, unlike Claire and Jamie, actually look older than 40 — are allowed sexual lives. Murtagh and Jocasta are more than just supporting figures in Claire and Jamie’s story. “Man of Worth” makes that abundantly clear with their burgeoning love. And I’m here for it.

Most of all, the finale succeeds because it shows Claire and Jamie working together, completely in sync. They haven’t been separated much in season 4, but for some reason, our heroes have felt disconnected. Before Bree came on the scene and everyone started keeping secrets, Claire was depressed and remorseful over leaving her daughter, creating distance in her marriage.

Photo Credit: Starz

When the Frasers storm the Mohawk village at Shadow Lake to take back Roger, they seem united in a way they haven’t for a long time. They are moving and fighting in a way that almost appears choreographed. They refuse to leave the other behind. They’re partners.

Which is good, because they’ll definitely need each other’s support next season. Outlander closes out its fourth season with a cliffhanger: Jamie receives a letter from Governor Tryon instructing him to form a militia to fight the tax regulators. His first order of business is to find and kill Murtagh.

We all knew this was coming. Once Claire and Jamie settled in the New World and Jamie made his deal with the redcoats, it was only a matter of time before he’d be forced to choose between the British and the rebels. Knowing Jamie, I doubt he will ever truly ally himself with the redcoats, so I expect much of season 5 will see him playing double agent and secretly helping Murtagh and the tax regulators. At least this time he and Claire’s subterfuge will be on the winning side of history.

Photo Credit: Starz

Claire and Jamie will also have their work cut out for them on the familial front. Not only are they grandparents now, but Brianna and Roger will also accompany them back to Fraser’s Ridge for at least the foreseeable future. And, not that I blame him, Roger isn’t exactly Jamie’s biggest fan. Nor does Jamie like Roger all that much: he’s convinced himself Bree never would’ve been raped if Roger hadn’t left her.

(Side note: Jamie’s “That is the last unanswered blow!” during his and Roger’s long-in-the-making skirmish was my favorite part of the episode.) So much family drama to look forward to when Outlander returns.

Generally, I think Outlander season 4 stumbled more than not. The series just blew through too much plot and potential storylines (i.e. Claire’s conflict with Jocasta regarding slavery, the tension between the settlers and Native Americans back at Fraser’s Ridge, Fergus and Marsali struggling to build a life) without giving them their due.

However, if “Man of Worth” is any indication, Outlander will return to its earlier glory next season.

Read. 15 shows to watch if you like Game of Thrones. light


  • Turns out the time-traveling ghost is named Otter Tooth and he, judging from the title card, is from ’60s or ’70s-era America. He traveled to the past (probably via the standing stones Roger discovered?) to warn Native Americans that they would be wiped out by colonizers. I assume the woman who informed Claire and Jamie all this will return for Otter Tooth’s stone at some point…
  • Jocasta, shutting down Murtagh’s unsolicited advice: “I dinna recall asking yer opinion on the matter.”
  • The show continues to impress fashion-wise: Bree’s River Run frocks have been gorgeous.
  • “Having me beaten nearly to death and sold into slavery seemed a trifle extreme, even for a woman with her temper.” Even I appreciate Roger’s dry sense of humor.
  • Jamie gets more and more worked up during his argument with Roger, while Claire just gets more pragmatic: “Jamie, for God’s sake.”
  • That look Bree has on her face when Jocasta asks her if she’s ready to see her baby is perfect. It is full of so much weariness, worry, sadness and anticipation.
  • Murtagh reports that Bonnet didn’t make it out of explosion at the jail, but we didn’t actually see him die. I think Stephen Bonnet will be terrorizing the Frasers throughout the next season at least.

And that’s a wrap on Outlander season 4! Thanks for reading Culturess’ recaps this season.