'Outlander': The Ghosts of Jamie's Past Visit Fraser's Ridge in 'Blood of My Blood' (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 6 of Outlander, "Blood of My Blood."]
Despite being in the New World, Outlander's Frasers continue to meet old acquaintances and friends within the North Carolina woods.
In the latest episode "Blood of My Blood," Lord John Grey (David Berry) makes a surprise return to the show, paying Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) a visit at Fraser's Ridge. But Lord John isn't alone; he's brought another ghost from Jamie's past along for the journey.
Below we're breaking down the installment's key moments so beware of revealing spoilers ahead.
Continuing the adventures of Outlander's Jamie and Claire, "Blood of My Blood" opens up at Fraser's Ridge, where Jamie is happened upon by his old friend and Brit Lord John Grey. The military man reveals that he's come to visit his former Ardsmuir prisoner after a recent correspondence about Jamie's land grant. But Jamie's old friend also shares that he's brought Willie (Oliver Finnegan) – Jamie's illegitimate son from his time at Helwater – along for the journey as they make way for Virginia.
That's when the scene changes and viewers are treated to a moment between Claire and newly returned Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) as they gather water from a nearby creek. As Claire tells Murtagh that his presence has made Fraser's Ridge truly feel like home they find – unbeknownst to them – Willie, who asks for their assistance in removing leeches from his legs.
Back at the Fraser's home, Lord John admits that Willie may not remember Jamie despite their bond during the boys' early years. Asking about Lord John's wife Isobel (Tanya Reynolds), Jamie is saddened to learn that Willie's biological aunt and step-in mother has died due to illness on her journey to meet Lord John in Jamaica.
When Claire, Murtagh, and Willie arrive at the cabin, she's shocked to find her husband by the fire with Lord John – the link forces the realization that this young man she met at the creek is Jamie's son. And matching Claire's surprise, Lord John is shocked to meet Murtagh again, calling it a true reunion. Murtagh is less enthusiastic about the meeting, though. And finally, when Willie asks for Jamie's name, Lord John introduces the two, but Willie only knew Jamie as MacKenzie at Helwater.
Before sitting down to dinner together, Lord John asks that Murtagh and Jamie keep the truth about their connection at Ardsmuir a secret, to which they're willing to comply. During the sit-down meal, Murtagh grills Lord John about taxes and other hot-button topics including the funds provided to governors. Exasperated, Murtagh heads out of the home, and Willie asks to be excused upon learning of Lord John's hopes for a round of chess with Jamie.
Leading the boy out, Jamie intends to show Willie where the privy is when he asks if his name is Mac (as in MacKenzie). When he confirms the boy's question, Willie asks if Jamie remembers him. It's clear that his impression on the young man was stronger than Jamie previously thought, much to his delight. Confused, Willie questions why Jamie didn't acknowledge their acquaintance, but he simply says he doesn't know why, since he can't admit to their biological relation.
Meanwhile, Claire questions Lord John Grey's intentions, wondering aloud if he's been sent to keep an eye on Jamie to test his loyalties to the crown, but he promises he's only there to visit. So, settling outside for the night to make room for their guests, Claire revels with Jamie over the knowledge that Willie remembers him.
When Jamie leaves her to head inside for his chess match, he's intercepted by Murtagh, who voices his displeasure of Jamie's connection with the English Redcoat. But Jamie won't budge – this forces him to reveal his relationship to Willie in order to preserve his friendship with Lord John. Upon learning this news, Murtagh promises to keep Jamie's secret, saying he's kept all of them over the years.
Solidifying their friendship once more, Lord John and Jamie meet over a game of chess, toasting to their connection, but the joy fades upon Willie and the Lord's intended departure when Claire picks up on the man's measles symptoms. Claire advises that Jamie keeps Willie away for around six days while Lord John's illness becomes non-infectious or either results in death to keep the boy from contracting it, thus splitting the episode into two parallel stories for the remainder of its run.
Unhappy about the predicament, Willie isn't pleased to be taking off with Jamie who has to physically place him on a horse to begin their tour of Fraser's Ridge. Making their way around the property, Jamie points out the land's boundary marked by tree carvings, telling Willie that they indicate where Fraser's Ridge begins and ends next to the Native Americans' lands and advising that he stay within limits.
Willie worries aloud about the ferocity of the natives, but Jamie says that they are agreeable when treated with fairness. The two bond over the beauty of the land, allowing Jamie to have a true father-son moment despite Willie's lack of knowledge. Meanwhile, Claire cares for Lord John, making small conversations that turn rather pointed over time.
Lord John tells Claire that he believes she's jealous of the connection he, Jamie and Willie share, and as stinging as that truth is, Claire shares that Jamie and her have a daughter but were robbed of their ability to raise her together considering Culloden. This leads Claire to question Lord John's visit, asking why he'd risk Willie finding out about his relationship with Jamie, the man says it's to allow Jamie to see his son, but Claire tells Lord John she thinks his intentions were self-motivated.
The insinuation takes the man by pleasant surprise as he tells Claire she's unlike any woman he's known, she tells him it's not by choice, that she was born that way, to which he replies with a tear that so was he, likely referring to his desire for men, which was revealed to Jamie in Season 3.
As for Jamie and Willie, they hunt and fish, but the boy grows weary as he wishes to see his sick father, fearful of his possible death he turns in early for the evening – Jamie covers the boy with a blanket. But Willie's fears aren't misplaced, as Lord John seems to be on the edge of death. The predicament causes the ill man to reveal some shocking things to Claire, including his lack of emotion over Isobel's death, and his true meaning for visiting being that he wanted to see if he could still feel.
"It's hard watching you with him," Lord John tells Claire about her and Jamie – he still loves the man with whom he shares a special bond. Claire asks why he would torture himself that way knowing he'd never have Jamie, but he clues Claire into Jamie's past offer to himself, which entailed giving himself to Lord John in exchange for taking on Willie as his son. The revelation shocks Claire to near tears.
In the wilderness, Jamie wakes the next morning after Willie's outburst to find the boy missing from camp. Jamie tracks him to the water's edge out of their territory, where they encounter natives. Despite Jamie's pleas, they want blood for Willie's trespassing, Jamie offers himself, telling them Willie's his son. Even though he speaks the truth, Willie interferes and says Jamie isn't his father and takes responsibility – they cut his hand superficially. Jamie tells the boy they acted in such a manner because of Willie's honorable actions, and he praises his son for their mercy.
In the light of day with his fever fading, Lord John apologizes to Claire for his lack of discretion, admitting that he grieves over the fact that he'll never wear the satisfaction that Claire does from being with Jamie. He asks if Claire knows what it's like to never be able to please someone they love because they aren't the right person for them. She tells Lord John that she does, after her experience with Frank (Tobias Menzies).
Claire also admits that she's jealous of him and Jamie despite denying it earlier and asks if he still has feelings for her husband. He willfully admits that he does. She tries to provide him comfort knowing that he possesses Jamie's son – a part of him that no one else does.
Upon returning to the Fraser's cabin, Willie asks why Jamie hadn't turned back when he left Helwater all those years ago, he reveals that he didn't want to give the boy false hope that they'd meet again. When they enter the home to find Lord John on the road to recovery, Willie gives the man a lengthy hug and Jamie notes that he's raised the boy well.
As they depart the Frasers' land, Claire tells Lord John that he deserves to wear the look of satisfaction that she does with Jamie and that he shouldn't give up hope, while Willie can't help but take a look back at Jamie and Claire on his journey down the path – could it be a hint of his possible return in the future?
Regardless, the Frasers are yet to have had a dull time in the New World and things are about to ramp up with the impending arrival of their daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton), which was hinted at in the teaser for next week's episode.
But on a lighter note compared to some episodes this season, "Blood of My Blood" wraps with Jamie and Claire sharing a quiet moment together as he gifts her with a new ring – a replacement for the one stolen by Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers). Of course, this leads to some steamier moments between the fan-favorite pair – a satisfying conclusion to an otherwise tense episode.
As usual, quiet moments don't last on Outlander, so here are a few things to keep in mind for next week's surely wild episode:
- We know Brianna's on a mission to save her parents from a future death-by-fire, and we're given a small peek at her upcoming journey. In the preview for next week's installment we see her buying passage on the Phillip Alonzo – a ship – in order to reach her family in America.
- Meanwhile, Roger (Richard Rankin) continues to grapple with Brianna's decision. When he hears the buzzing sound at Craigh Na Dun, will he follow her lead to the past?
- With another glimpse at Stephen Bonnet shown in the teaser, more havoc is sure to be set upon the Frasers, but whom?
Outlander, Sundays, 8/7c, Starz