Season 4 Episode 12: Providence
If you tuned in to Outlander hoping to see more of Jamie and Claire in this episode than last week, I feel it is my duty to inform you that you will be highly disappointed. I am so sorry to be the bearer of bad news. You do get to see snippets of Dreamy Lord Grey and Brianna strengthening their friendship, Fergus and Marsali becoming a new power couple of note, and of course Murtagh escaping jail, but not nearly enough. Because this episode, or at least 2/3rds of it, is all about boring, growing more grizzled by the minute, Roger. Not to say that Richard Rankin isn’t a quality actor. He is, and does the best with the subject matter he is given, it’s just that Roger is a truly unlikable, roll your eyes every time he comes on the screen, kind of character. At several points in this episode I yelled out “Oh Roger, I DON’T CARE!!”
I just want to see more of Jamie and Claire. Is that too much ask? The scriptwriters need to use more of these wildly charismatic actors, as they are the reason most of us fell in love with, and still watch the show.
Brianna Confronts Stephen (And Lord Grey is Wonderful)
At least Lord Grey features in this episode, delightful as ever. Even Bree, during my favorite line of the show, admits that it’s “impossible not to like you.” When he hears the news that Stephen Bonnet will be executed for murder, he immediately tells Brianna who declares that she wants to speak with him. Lord Grey, sensibly and hilariously refuses, because he says, your father asked me to take care of you, and ““taking afternoon tea with a murderer” does not exactly fulfill that request. Brianna goes on to say that she received a letter from Jamie (featuring the only scene with Jamie, riding through the woods and providing a voice over) urging her to forget vengeance and seek forgiveness, in order to move on with her life. While I love Jamie for wanting the best for Brianna, it seems a little rich, considering upon hearing about Bree’s assault, he beat the living hell out of Roger, and sold him to the Mohawk.
So – off Lord Grey and Brianna go to the jail cell to chat with the rapist/murderer. If Brianna must endure this horror show, Lord Grey is the perfect partner to accompany her – sensitive, empathetic and endlessly considerate. Meanwhile, there is a wonderful moment when Marsili realizes Fergus is planning to break Murtagh out of jail, and wholeheartedly supports him. These two are a budding Jamie and Claire – loyal and loving and brave, willing to sacrifice all for those they care about. I love them.
Bree meets with a chained Bonnet in his cell, and says her piece. She says that she has forgiven him, and shows him her growing baby bump. He rips out a ruby from his teeth (what…how…was this a thing in the 1700s?!), and gives it to her to aid in raising the child. He says some foul nonsense about how at least he will live on in his child, causing Brianna’s reserve to break and she says the child will never know his name, Stephen will not exist, her child will grow up to be a good person, etc. etc. She leaves with her head held high, and a modicum of closure. Get it Brianna!
Fergus Storms the Prison
As Brianna is leaving, she runs into Fergus and his gang breaking Murtagh out of jail. (They intend to blow up the jail to cover their tracks after they save Murtagh, and time is of the essence.) In one of my favorite scenes the jail breakers hold a gun to Lord Grey’s head and he says the equivalent of “unhand me good sir!” Murtagh and Lord Grey have a tense moment trading salty barbs (I actually don’t remember why these two don’t like each other. Pity, because I’d watch The Murtagh and Lord Grey show all day.) Everyone manages to escape the jail before it explodes. Fergus grabs Murtagh and they run and hide in Marsali’s waiting covered wagon, and head to Fraser’s Ridge. Lord Grey and Brianna head back to Aunty Joscasta’s, presumably.
One horrific cliffhanger – someone has dropped the the keys during the prison break, and the last shot we see before the explosion is Bonnet reaching frantically for them. Is he alive!? Knowing this show and its track record, yes he God damn is.
There’s a nice moment where the militia question Lord Grey and Brianna about the explosion, asking if they saw anything of importance. Lord Grey, honorable and kind as ever, says unfortunately they did not. I really need this man to get his happy ending.
Roger is Awful
The rest of the show focuses on Roger, who has been thrown into a hut in the Mohawk camp for bad behavior. Because this section was truly so boring, I am going to condense. He meets a priest in the hut, Father Alexandre, who while working as a missionary to convert the Native Americans, denied his faith by falling in love with a Mohawk woman Johiehon and having a son. The Mohawk welcome the union with open arms and want him to baptize the infant. The priest refuses to do so because – reasons. He gives a spiel about how baptizing his child would send the kid straight to hell, and although he has turned his back on his faith, he cannot do the same to his son. The punishment for his refusal will be death by a small fire, under his feet. Roger is appalled and insists the priest perform the baptism and look out for himself, because if there is one thing Roger has learned from his ordeal traveling through time and space to find Brianna it is “I am number one.” Insert me yelling – “OH, GO AWAY ROGER!” Things escalate. Roger is horrible. He devises an escape plan urging the priest to follow. They dig a hole to escape the hut (mmm good plan) but do not finish in time. The priest chooses to die for his sins and insists that Roger escape and he will provide the distraction. The priest goes to the pyre, and Roger flees. Upon hearing the priests screams, Roger does some hair pulling (and I did some eye rolling), then runs back to “save” the priest. He throws a barrel full of some sort of powder into the pyre and it explodes, covering the priest in flames and mercifully killing him more quickly. Johiehon, who has been forced to watch the slow mo torture of her beloved, sets down her baby and climbs into the pyre, hugging the priest as both are enveloped in the inferno. Roger is returned to the hut.
So….yeah. That was the ending. I hated it. I suppose the show is commenting on the nature of devotion and just how much people are willing to sacrifice for those they love.
I don’t mean to be insensitive, but we get so few episodes a season, and I would like to spend it with the characters I love. Can we please return to Jamie and Claire’s adventures/rescue mission for the finale?! Let’s do this folks!