‘Outlander’: Brianna’s Shocking Proposal at River Run & the Search for Roger in ‘If Not For Hope’ (RECAP)
If Not For Hope
Season 4 • Episode 11
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 4, Episode 11 of Outlander, “If Not For Hope.”]
Outlander‘s fourth season is quickly approaching its finale and the latest installment, “If Not For Hope,” set up some intriguing stories along the way.
With just two episodes left, it’s interesting to see where things are heading. Brianna (Sophie Skelton) is separated from parents Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Blafe) once again as the Frasers continue their search for Roger (Richard Rankin). Below, we’re breaking down the episode’s essential moments but beware of major spoilers ahead.
The episode kicks off at Aunt Jocasta’s (Maria Doyle Kennedy) estate River Run, where Brianna is passing the hours away by drawing. When Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan) serves Bree some food, she notices the dark tones of her art and worries she’s possessed, but Bree is still angry about her predicament with Jamie and Roger. Lizzie expresses her guilt but Bree absolves her and, in return, Lizzie asks if Bree will forgive Jamie.
At the end of the day, Bree can’t forget the things Jamie said to her upon discovering that she had slept with Roger out of wedlock (despite their handfasting). Meanwhile, it seems like those same waves of anger are being washed over Jamie as Claire serves up a semi-silent treatment.
The couple, along with nephew Ian (John Bell), are following Roger’s path with the Mohawk. Ian discusses his necklace from the Mohawk with some Cherokee, while Claire and Jamie debate over fact and fiction as Claire is still upset with Jamie for lying about beating Roger. When Ian returns, they learn that Roger may be at a Mohawk settlement known as Shadow Lake.
They learn that it’s at least a two months journey north from where they are currently, and though they’re daunted by the journey, they’ve done it before.
When they set up camp for the night, Claire moves away from Jamie, spurring Ian to feel guilty about their discord. Claire then explains she’s just worried about the pain Bree and Roger must be feeling, adding that he’ll understand some day when he has children of his own.
Back in Wilmington, Fergus (César Domboy) is asking around about Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) but is treated poorly by those who notice his missing hand. Fergus also happens upon a wanted poster for Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) for his role in the Regulators. When he returns home to Marsali (Lauren Lyle), we see that Fergus is discouraged, telling his wife that with that hand he’s only partly man to others.
Meanwhile, Murtagh is in Fergus and Marsali’s home meeting with Regulators in secret. When his meeting is over, Fergus tells Murtagh that Bonnet is making his way to Wilmington in a few days.
Back at River Run, a very pregnant Brianna is sitting in her room when Phaedra bursts in. She reveals that they will be fitting her for a new dress for Jocasta’s dinner party. Bree denies Phaedra’s request, but later on when Jocasta approaches Brianna and offers her a pair of earrings, she learns Jocasta is having an old dress altered for her.
Bree once again refuses but Jocasta advises that the girl to spend some time in company rather than reading and drawing all day. The woman explains that Bree’s grandmother Ellen was similar to Bree, only marrying on her own terms and for love. Eventually, Bree agrees that some company would be good.
That evening in Wilmington, Marsali enters her kitchen where Murtagh is sleeping and takes out her frustration over the living situation on the kitchen items. Of course, Murtagh awakens and Marsali asks Murtagh if he thinks the Regulators and taxes will come to anything. When he says yes, she drags a chair over.
Marsali asks Murtagh to take Fergus on as one of his men, but he can’t understand why she’d want her husband to end up dead. She tells him about the hardships that Fergus faces with his handicap, and how she wants him to feel like a whole man.
Over at River Run, guests are arriving and Jocasta introduces them to Bree. One at a time, Bree meets overeager single men, including Mr. Forbes (Billy Boyd), Judge Alderdyce and his mother Miss Alderdyce (who ask about Bree’s drawings), as well as Lieutenant Wolff (Lee Boardman), who invites Brianna to travel with him.
Mr. Forbes then invites Bree and the guests to the parlor where he asks the young woman about her interest in gem stones. It is then that the final guest arrives — Lord John Grey (David Berry), who introduces himself to Bree as an acquaintance of her parents.
In Fergus and Marsali’s house, Murtagh says he’ll need as many rifles as possible as the couple’s baby wails. Marsali gives the man a pointed glance, prompting Murtagh to extend his offer for Fergus to join the fight. Despite being told he is strong enough for Murtagh’s group, the young man denies the offer by saying his place is at home with his wife and child. The clearly thrilled Marsali thanks Murtagh and tells the men that Bonnet’s arrived in town, so they set off into the night.
During the dinner at River Run, Lord John monopolizes the guests before asking Bree to offer up her own anecdote. Instead of a story, she opts for a psychology experiment in visualization. During the exercise, she asks participants to imagine themselves in a forest walking with both a person and an animal. When she asks Judge Alderdyce, he tells her he saw Christ and a squirrel.
Bree deduces that Alderdyce is feeling guilt over something, as the squirrel from his mother’s garden represents hoarding or secrets. She suggests that he has been keeping secrets from his mother, and the visibly shaken man tells her he needs to step out for a minute. What could he be hiding? Bree turns her attention to Lord John, asking him who he saw. He tells her he saw Jamie, which perplexes her, but he justifies it by saying how she’s a reminder of him, adding that Jamie asked him to look after her.
The reveal concerns Bree — does Lord John know her secret? He assures Bree that Jamie would never share her secrets because he’s honorable but it sets Bree off. After getting up to leave, she feels lightheaded and Lord John helps her to another room. When Lizzie arrives a few moments later, she reveals her worry for Bree and Lord John puts the pieces together that she’s pregnant.
She reveals her truth and gives him the short version of the situation that brought her to River Run. She also admits that she’s concerned about Jocasta’s growing attempts to marry her off when she’s in love with Roger. Lord John then sympathetically gives her a letter addressed to her from Jamie, and promises to speak with her in the morning.
Bree then asks Aunt Jocasta point blank about her intentions for the evening. Jocasta tells Bree she should be married for the sake of her child’s future, but Bree counters with the fact that her grandmother was given a choice to marry for love. Jocasta then tells her Roger isn’t coming back because he’s with the savages, dead or alive.
Next we see Fergus and Murtagh in the tavern at Wilmington, surrounded by many red coats that pose a threat. They see Bonnet walk in the door and retire to a room upstairs. Taking his opportunity, Murtagh bursts in, gun in hand. When Bonnet says he’s in the wrong room, Murtagh agrees saying that he was looking for a gentleman before hitting Bonent over the head with the butt of his gun.
In the middle of the night, Bree wrestles with opening Jamie’s letter, opting instead to look for a snack downstairs. Walking along the corridors, she finds Lord John and Judge Alderdyce in the middle of a secret tryst, and she’s able to get away undetected.
In Wilmington, Murtagh and Fergus drag Bonnet out into the alleyway but are seen by two officers. Murtagh panics and tells Fergus to return home to his wife. The officers recognize Murtagh, but he’s not going down alone, making the officers aware of the other wanted criminal — Bonnet.
The next morning, Phaedra wakes Bree with the news that Mr. Forbes intends to propose. Brianna tells her to stall for an hour and calls upon Lord John to meet her on the grounds. There, she asks him to marry her, but he shrugs her off saying that it’s not what her parents had in mind when he was asked to look after her.
That’s when she threatens him, saying that she’ll out his sexuality if he does not comply. He asks if she’d do so knowing the severe punishment he would receive. To that, she says she would tell Jamie, but Lord John explains that he already knows.
As she continues to question him, Lord John tells her he may accept the proposal just to teach her a lesson. She then asks if he’s ever had relations with women, to which he replies that he can carry out “husbandly duties.”
The two sit together a moment and eventually cool off. He apologizes for not being able to marry her, and she apologizes for attempting to blackmail him. Bree then asks if Claire knows about Lord John’s feelings for Jamie, and he confirms that Claire is perceptive.
Lord John tells Bree she should marry for her child, adding that there’s hope for Roger’s return if Jamie and Claire are heading the mission. But Bree counters that even if they find Roger he may not want her after the rape. She then resigns herself to accept Forbes’ proposal.
Bree enters the house to hear Mr. Forbes out but Lord John comes running in behind her and announces to the house that they’re engaged. Jocasta’s pleasure is clear on her face.
By the river at their camp site, Jamie hurts himself and when Claire tries to help, he brushes her off. Rollo runs in with a giant bone (most likely a femur) and when the Frasers retrace his path, they discover the body of the man. Ian recognizes him as the other prisoner who had been traveling with Roger and the Mohawk. They all search for more remains but thankfully come up empty-handed.
Back at River Run, Bree tells Lord John about how she’s done things she never could have imagined before due to her worry over the baby. That’s when he tells her about Willie, though he doesn’t tell her that he’s Jamie’s. He just says that his son isn’t his own blood and he loves him all the same, explaining that Roger will likely love Bree’s child no matter what. The conversation leaves Bree with some newfound hope, and she chooses to read Jamie’s letter.
Finally it’s Jamie and Claire’s turn for some hope. The couple turns in for the night, and Claire apologizes for not telling Jamie about Bonnet’s identity, explaining that her secrets with Brianna are special. She details how Bree used to confide in Frank (Tobias Menzies) before his death, so when she confides in Claire, it means something to her.
Jamie admits that he’s jealous of Frank, but Claire assures him that Frank wasn’t perfect. She tells Jamie that Bree is just like him — they say things they don’t mean out of anger. Suddenly their tension dissolves and all is right with the fan favorite couple again.
And finally, the moment most fans were waiting for! Last week’s episode found Roger at a standing stone conflicted about leaving Brianna behind in the 18th century. Well, it appears that he didn’t go through with it because he’s back with the Mohawk as they arrive at their settlement. There, they create a path with rows of people on either side.
The Mohawk that brought him there pushes Roger down the path as the natives beat him repeatedly in some sort of initiation process. Will Roger survive long enough for Claire and Jamie to arrive? Fans will have to tune in to find out!
In the meantime, here are a few things to keep in mind for the rest of the season:
- Murtagh and Bonnet were taken into custody. Will they go to the gallows or will Bonnet escape once again?
- Since Lord John accepted Bree’s proposal, will he be appearing more often? We hope so.
- Jamie and Claire’s journey with Ian is still months away from being finished. Will they complete it by the time Bree delivers the baby? The clock is certainly ticking.
Outlander, Sundays, 8/7c, Starz