Outlander Season 4 Episode 1 Review: America the Beautiful

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The Droutlander may be over, but that doesn't mean it's all rainbows and roses for the Frasers as they explore life in America.

That's hardly surprising, as Jamie and Claire have forged their relationship out of the pits of fire, whether it be fiery passion or aggression on the parts of individuals or country. Outlander Season 4 Episode 1 didn't change that.

No, the Frasers saw their start in romantic fiction, and they're going to suffer the price of that until the day they die.

The Most Wanted Man - Tall - Outlander Season 4 Episode 1

Life in America for the average person coming over from Scotland was likely difficult but not as difficult as the Scots suffering along with Jamie and Claire. When you board their ship, you are signing up for an adventure beyond compare.

The only two people who will make it 25 years into the future alive and with only a few gray hairs belong in the immediate family. Can you believe how the time has flown? Jamie and Claire got married 24 years ago and look about a week older (depending on the lighting).

Related: 17 Male TV Characters That Are Probably Feminists 

Yes, this is a romantic fantasy, but after watching This Is Us that goes out of its way to make the aging process as realistic as possible, it's hard to imagine Jamie surviving to 47 in his time period, let alone aging as well as he has under his circumstances.

A New Monster - Tall - Outlander Season 4 Episode 1

Claire, as well, of course, but at least she spent some time with more modern technology, easing up on the stress. 

If you can say Claire was less stressed married to Frank, who looked like the dreaded Black Jack Randall, and missing Jamie while raising his daughter with a man she doesn't love. Probably not.

But Black Jack is going to look like a good friend now that they've met Stephen Bonnet.

What Have You in the Wagon? - Outlander Season 4 Episode 1

Bonnet (who looks too much like Ian for my taste) is disarming and charming. He wasn't in the gallows by mistake. He was the real deal. His good looks, charm, and swagger only make him psychopathic because he uses what he has to his greatest advantage.

He used his "gifts" to free himself, take the greatest advantage of the goodness of Jamie and Claire, steal from them not only possessions but life and some of their spirit.

Outlander doesn't cast ugly villains, and that makes them more treacherous to the viewer. If you were unaware of what was coming, he snuck up on you just as he did our heroes. 

Related: Get Starz via Prime Video Channels for Captivating Original Series & Hit Movies!

But it didn't make America ugly, much as the song at the end tried to portend. It only made Bonnet and his gang more despicable. America was founded by souls like Jamie and Claire even if they didn't have daughters two centuries out for whom they were hoping to make things better.

Don't be swayed by the belief that all people who arrived on our shores were ugly. Keep in mind -- Outlander is romantic fiction. Everyone has to look uglier through the lens of Claire and Jamie. They are everything we want to be -- except continually irritated by so many outsiders! 

The Mistake - Outlander Season 4 Episode 1

There is one more thing I need to talk about when it comes to Stephen Bonnet. Why did his discussion with Claire set off so many warning bells?

Was it by sheer coincidence and his interest in stealing Claire's goods that Bonnet honed in on her wedding rings? 

Bonnet: It's not the noose I fear, madam.
Claire: No?
Bonnet: Since I was a lad, I've been plagued by nightmares of drowning over and over again. You'd think I'd foresee it and waken, but I never do, not 'til the water is over my head. I know it will be the death of me.

Bonnet seemed to have a peculiar insight into Claire as a time traveler. I know there is a proclivity for Scots to have red hair, but considering the previous conversation about Geillis, she was on my mind. 

Is Bonnet related to Geillis? (Note: I don't remember if I ever read Drums in Autumn although I purchased it, and if I did, it was so long ago I don't remember. I read nothing after for sure.) Did he come through the North American stones by accident or something?

He's too vicious, and his conversation with Claire so pointed as to raise some serious red flags. Whatever it is, something is not right with Stephen Bonnet.

While we're talking about Geillis, Ian jumping into an open grave was a strange thing to set off his memories of her and an awkward time for him to bond over rape with his Uncle Jamie. Still, it was touching how Jamie helped him in a manly way.

Ian: Have you ever lain with someone when you didn't want to do it?
Jamie: I have.
Ian: Then you understand how it can be that you can do it without wishing to, detesting it, and all the while it feels pleasing.
Jamie: Ay. What it comes down to, it comes down to is that your cock doesn't have a conscience, but you have. It's not your fault. You did what you must. You survived. That's all that matters.

Thankfully, outside the hangman's noose, Jamie's horrifically false smile as he stood tall to be the last face his friend saw as he fell from one and the Bonnet introduction, there were some decent moments to cherish from the premiere.

There was time for Jamie and Claire to get dolled up and sell a ruby at a dinner where others (caddish wealthy people) were impressed not only with Jamie's connection to Jacosta Cameron but Claire's large ruby.

Wasn't her sales technique cute? The way she leaned in to tease the fellow with interest and then pulled back to remove the necklace and hand it to him was very clever. It was almost daring him not to buy it after that leering eye.

A Mirror Image - Outlander Season 4 Episode 1

They paid passage to Jacosta's before they were relieved of the rest of the money and stones, so that's a plus.

Ian won some cash and also an adorable wolf hybrid he named Rollo for how he won it, with a roll o' the dice. 

Related: Outlander Gets Two Season Renewal at Starz!

There was plenty of time for Jamie and Claire to get their sex on and for Claire to outdo all natural women with her 60-second orgasms that require no foreplay. She really is a goddess among women. 

And everyone with them chose to stay in America.

To that point, they hadn't been on the boat and didn't know Bonnet was evil incarnate, but they had already lost Gavin Hayes to the hangman's noose discovering the clever schemes they used abroad to set prisoners free wouldn't work in America.

A Rare Happy Moment - Outlander Season 4 Episode 1

Claire: This is just the start of what America will become. Eventually, it will reach all the way to the Pacific Ocean. North Carolina will just be one of 50 states.
Jamie: All filled with Scots.

Claire already shared with Jamie the awe-inspiring view on the ridge of North Carolina (i.e., Scotland) and a bit of American history to which he responded the dreams of some are nightmares of others.

That is to say, their time in America hadn't been all that successful.

The governor offered land to Jamie with the caveat that he pledges allegiance to the crown, and while Claire worried because she knew war was on the horizon, Jamie only knew he wanted to fight again for America because it was to become his daughter's homeland.

Staying in America was something both Jamie and Claire decided they wanted to do for whatever reasons. Honestly, it wasn't overwhelmingly clear in the premiere edit. If it was clearer in the book, I'd love to know how and why they decided to stay.

But why the others decided to stay was more challenging. 

Fergus and Marsali are pregnant. Traveling doesn't make sense for them, and their excitement was ... less exciting than I would have expected. But their choice made sense.

Outlander Season 4 Episode 2 will be another hour similar to this, so don't expect things to settle into any kind of harmony until Outlander Season 4 Episode 3. 

Dreams were and are attained in America. That doesn't mean you swoop in and have them handed to you on a silver platter. You're responsible for your dreams now, as you were then. Achieving your dreams is hard work, and there will always be assholes who want to take from you the rewards of your hard work.

We'll be posting an interview with Sophie Skelton (Brianna) and Richard Rankin (Roger) this week, so keep an eye out for it. 

What are your thoughts on the premiere? Did "America the Beautiful" quench your Droughtlander or do you need more? Did the events shock you? Are you worried about what's ahead? Are you a book reader or a show watcher?

Hit the comments and play along!

Don't forget, you can watch Outlander online to catch up on all the excitement and romance.

America the Beautiful Review

Editor Rating: 3.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (42 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Outlander Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

Bonnet: I never married, although I've always been partial to rings. The watchman dispossessed me of mine. There's something about the notion of an infinite circle that fascinates me.
Claire: The hangman's noose is a circle that you'd do well to avoid in the future.

Ian: Have you ever lain with someone when you didn't want to do it?
Jamie: I have.
Ian: Then you understand how it can be that you can do it without wishing to, detesting it, and all the while it feels pleasing.
Jamie: Ay. What it comes down to, it comes down to is that your cock doesn't have a conscience, but you have. It's not your fault. You did what you must. You survived. That's all that matters.