Once again, we've got two entirely different stories at play, threaded together by Claire's letter, written her present and in Brianna's past.
Another tie that binds them both is how the family is in grave danger -- Brianna's family due to the nefarious Rob Cameron and Claire's due to the wages of war.
Outlander Season 7 Episode 7 sets up the midseason finale with aching realities that we know will carry well into the second half of the season.
Let's start with the good. Roger MacKenzie and his great great great (many greats) Grandda put the (immediate, in Buccleigh's case) past behind them and started fresh.
There's something about time travel that allows for bygones being bygones.
Buc stumbled through the stones in much the same way that Claire did, at least according to him.
I'm inclined to believe him because of the fascination he had with the present and the gusto with which he gobbled down peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the joy he seemed to have watching TV next to his descendants.
And can Outlander really introduce two antagonists in one fell swoop? I hope not.
I kind of like the guy, including how he once protected his wife from what he thought was Roger's advances, and even more, that he recognized Rob was a bad guy before the bad guy side of him came to light.
Buck: That Mr. Cameron I met today. He's trouble. He's got a hot eye for your wife.
Roger: You think everyone's got a hot eye. That's why I would up with a noose around my neck.
Buck: Any other man in my time would have thought the same. A man is born knowin' when someone is praying on their women!
Roger: Well, you were wrong, and that isn't your time.
Buck: I thought I should tell you.
Sometimes, you have to listen to what's being said without judgment. Roger might not make that mistake again.
Before turning the mic over to the creep that is Rob Cameron, let's take a moment to realize that it's not the '80s at all, but 1991, as that's when Phil Collins released Hold On, which was playing as Roger took Buc's warnings about Rob to his lovely wife.
There may not be a lot more time for them to enjoy each other in the wake of Rob's actions, so it's nice that they got down a bit. It's funny how Claire and Jamie have grown out of torrid sex, and Brianna and Roger have taken their place.
That scene gave the impression that the power of their love might be creating another life, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if they have another child on the way.
Lord knows the freedom with which they made love might be a long time coming in the wake of recent events.
That brings us to Rob Cameron, who didn't fool me for a minute. A tiger doesn't change its stripes as easily as Rob pretended to do.
We got our first whiff of the man he was when he and his men locked Brianna in the tunnel under the dam.
He sensed something he wanted from the family. It could have been, as Buc said, and he desired Brianna MacKenzie. It could also have been that he desired Lallybroch. Whatever it was, his pretense of friendship with Roger was only that.
And really -- can you ever trust anyone who just "pops round" (as the Brits say), hoping you'll cook them a meal? That's so rude.
His supposed interest in Roger's documents was a red flag exacerbated by the deliberate way Roger placed the trunk on the desk. Calling attention to an item like that screams to watch out. Were you screaming in your head for Roger not to let that man rummage in his documents unhindered?
We can pretty much guess he got wind of the Jacobite gold and Jemmy's knowledge of it. It must have been in the book he got a hold of in Roger's class. What a smarmy bastard.
Does that mean that Roger and Buc will be traveling through the stones to find Jemmy, or will it be a family affair? I can't imagine that Brianna and Mandy would stay behind, so perhaps when Outlander Season 7 returns, they'll be back in time again.
Hopefully, Bree won't even miss a day of work if she times her return right. Why am I even thinking of that when Jemmy is missing? Oy.
Things are not any better in the past. War isn't just brewing, it's fully engaged, and in Jamie's worst nightmare, he even shared a battlefield with his son.
After the first battle of Saratoga, Jamie is down, his head bloodied, and I can't help but think the only reason for it is that he spotted William, which took him by surprise, allowing someone to get the jump on him.
When Claire and Jamie Fraser were saying goodbye, they had been through this before. She's counting on him returning to her, as is his way.
Claire: You'll come back to me. You always do. And if you don't, I'll come looking for you.
Jamie: I ken you will, Sessenach.
She also assured him that if he does not return, she will find him. That may be where we are now, which will be far more difficult during battle than before it began.
After seeing their men gunned down on the battlefield, the Redcoats might not be as magnanimous with prisoners of war as they were when she managed to escape.
William was the key to her survival, and after what he witnessed, he was not the same man as he was even earlier that day.
The British way of fighting is what ultimately spelled their doom in the Revolutionary War, so it shouldn't have been surprising to see them toasting each other before heading into battle. It seems like they didn't take it very seriously.
The truth is that they failed to appreciate the passion with which the fight was undertaken. The colonies didn't wage war on a whim; they had very specific goals, and when freedom rings, you answer.
Still, it was very strange to see how William and his buddy Sandy were almost giddy with the thoughts of war.
It was a different time, of course, when the love of country was as important as love for your family, and the thought of abandoning that love was not clearly understood.
Defending the honor of your country was a noble profession, despite its many drawbacks.
The offer was on the table for William Ransom to remain relatively unscathed, but he was filled with a boy's dreams of war when becoming a man couldn't only be accomplished through it.
Before the battle, William had once again been relegated to a glorified errand boy, and he didn't like it one bit. He wanted to stand side by side with his fellow soldiers, bravely walking into battle.
From the look on General Fraser's face, you almost had to wonder if he recognized in William the distant relative he was. A sadness crept to his face when William stood his ground, knowing exactly what lay ahead for the young man.
The way the officers were cavorting made it seem almost like a game. But the reality of war hit William over the head with a force he never saw coming.
British soldiers stand in formation, waiting for the call to load and shoot. They were outmatched and only gained traction when the German reinforcements were called in.
William's best friend never even got that far. He was the first man down as the first shot rang out, piercing him right in the forehead. William lost his innocence at that moment, stunned into disbelief that he could be joking about bosoms one second and attending to his dead friend the next.
It set off a spark in William that made him one of the deadliest soldiers on the battlefield. That's an enormous price to pay for losing a friend and yourself in war.
When the battle was over, General Fraser knew they didn't come out of it any better than they went in. Still, as was their custom, they falsely claimed victory when, in reality, they lost double the men of the Americans.
General Fraser did his best to comfort William, but there is no comfort for someone who sees reality for the first time and is changed forever in its wake.
General Fraser: If General Burgoyne can convince us that we are victorious, then we have prevailed.
William: Lt. Hammond is dead.
General Fraser: An honorable death.
William: But I lived to tell the tale.
General Fraser: They send forth men to battle, But no such men return, so says Aeschylus. You're a different man now.
William: Send forth men to battle, But no such men return; And home, to claim their welcome, Come ashes in an urn.
I wonder how this will change William's opinion on the war. Will he begin to consider that allowing the Americans their freedom might be a more worthy endeavor than losing friends and countrymen trying to stop it?
If he ever learns that Jamie was on that battlefield, how would it affect his thoughts on the man he currently respects?
"A Practical Guide for Time-Travelers" did an excellent job showing the myths around and the realities of war.
There is a lot to contemplate and more war ahead on Outlander Season 7. The question is how long those we love will still be participants in it.
What are your thoughts on this terrific, if somber, episode? Drop your comments below.
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 X and email her here at TV Fanatic.