We open in Wilmington. It is a crying shame they didn’t cast James Van Der Beek in this show, and I do mean that literally.


Bonnet is chilling at his favorite brothel with Billy Boyd — his character name is something else but at this point “Billy Boyd” works just as well, and we ARE in Wilmington, after all, where everyone refers to people by their first and last names — who reveals, in conversation, that Bonnet has retained him as his lawyer. He advises Bonnet to be discreet about his various shady business dealings for now, or else he might botch their plan to get custody of Jemmy. But Billy Boyd wants compensation. Billy Boyd is pretty stupid if he thinks Stephen Bonnet won’t just kill him as soon as he’s done being useful, but mostly, this conversation is laying out the exposition for us: Billy Boyd will get 20 percent once Bonnet gets Jemmy and then murders Jocasta and her husband.

The time has come to mobilize
So say a little prayer for I
You know the longer that they stay alive
They keep me from the vital prize

I don’t want to wait
For her life to be over
I want her land right now
Give it to meeeee

I don’t want to wait
For her life to be over
I’ll choke her out
and then I will be free.
With Jemmyyyy.

So, when this whole “trick Stephen Bonnet into thinking he’s meeting with Alexander Malcolm” plan happened, I had concerns. First, we know that Jamie and solid plans go together like Ben Affleck and wisdom. Philip Wiley, the fop who brokered this meeting, knows who Claire and Jamie really are and has proven that he has zero discretion. I figured he’d just rumble them out of annoyance, and a desire for revenge, meaning Bonnet would know Fraser’s Ridge is unprotected and go wreak havoc there while Jamie and Roger are en route to their “meeting.” But no! I guess Wiley kept his word. However, they also sit around in a public house making plans and waiting for Ian — IAN! — to change into his Alexander Malcolm costume so he can pose as the whiskey maker. I have many questions. First, it seems strange to me that Bonnet wouldn’t recognize Ian. The night Bonnet tried to use Jamie’s carriage to escape, Ian was there. And Ian there when Bonnet robbed them during the trip to River Run, albeit busy inexplicably being neither killed nor maimed by Bonnet’s thugs. But the point is, Ian is hardly an unfamiliar face to Stephen Bonnet. John Quincy Myers would have been a better choice, but they can’t pay that guy right now. Second: Wilmington surely isn’t that big. They know Bonnet is there. Astonishingly, they do not seem the SLIGHTEST bit worried that they will run across him, or even one of his henchmen who might be aware who Brianna is. They do not seem the LEAST bit concerned about discretion, or about doing some well-timed skulking, or of Bonnet discovering them and ruining their hasty plan.

Naturally, that is exactly what happens. We see Claire hitting up a glass-blower in town with a design for a new syringe, and suddenly — as she and Brianna pass through town — we cut to a very distant camera which is clearly the POV of a covert observer. It’s SO odd to me that they’re being so open. Listen, James Bond existed in their time. Could they not have learned anything about covert ops?

Dumbheads are forever.
They are vexing in the extreme.
They will win but there’s no victory.
It’s all luck and contrivance
That keeps them alive,

And so, now we cut between the gents going off to Wiley’s storage shed on the water — the site of the whiskey meeting — and Claire and Brianna walking along the beach, looking at whales so that Brianna can let us know that she has read Moby Dick, racing each other, frolicking. There is nobody on this beach. At all. Miles and miles of empty coastline. Our beaches are fuller and it’s a pandemic. You’d think there would be SOMEONE else, ANYONE, availing themselves of this activity? But no, because for Reasons it needs to be deserted. Back at Dawson’s Creek, Roger tells Jamie he wants to be the one to kill Bonnet, and Jamie’s face is like, “…”

i am a bad shot
swords are hard
i don’t fight
my voice doesnt work
except for how it does
but what if
hear me out
i bore him to death

Jamie promises to avenge Roger Mac if/when he fails. Roger is all, “Likewise,” and Jamie tries not to laugh in his dogface (I might be projecting a little there). A rowboat slowly pulls up. So slowly. Ian is waiting in his costume, which is as hat and a black coat — Bonnet vs. Tricorn, lid vs. lid. But when the men disembark from the rowboat, and Bonnet is not among them. Ian cannot hold them off, so he sends them into the shed, and the three of them let their fists fly. Roger throws a barrel at one dude and knocks him out under the water; Jamie cracks someone on the head; Roger gets out his dagger and ineptly swipes at the air for a while before Jamie clocks his assailant. “What took you so long?” Roger pants. “You were doing so well, I didn’t think you needed the help,” Jamie says dryly.

At the beach, during Brianna’s joyful solo romp in the ocean, the editor whips up a little Etude in the Key of Ominous. Sure enough, when Claire wanders up over the dunes to look for shells, Bonnet’s boot plonks down in front of her. Where was he and what was he doing this whole time? There are no crowds to hide behind. Was he just lying on the ground watching them pick up shells, banking on them eventually splitting up? And then… why go for CLAIRE and not Brianna? At any rate, Claire is peeved. “I never forget a face,” he snarls. “Yours, or your daughter’s.” And presumably not IAN’S!!!! either, then, but that’s beside the point know. Claire pulls a knife, but then Brianna bounds up and startles her, so Bonnet disarms her and then holds the blade to her throat. Brianna grabs a revolver from Claire’s basket. Bonnet insists all he wants is Brianna and his son. There’s a bit of a melee next, in which he knocks out Claire, Brianna tries to shoot him but finds the gun isn’t loaded (that is not useful, Claire!), and so she charges at him and gets HERSELF knocked out in the process. By the time Claire comes to, everyone is gone, and not even bellowing BREEEEEEEE at the top of her lungs can solve it. She grabs a horse and rides like the wind until she runs into Jamie and Roger and Ian, and tells them what happened.

Brianna is at Bonnet’s love shack, which she will learn later is in Okracoke — an island off the North Carolina coast that is today a 5 hour and 20 minute drive from Wilmington. The show acts like Okracoke is an easy skip from Wilmington, because one of the prostitutes Bonnet favors is in his house one minute, and then in Wilmington at her brothel the next. The road pretty much follows the coastal path, too, so it’s not like there’s a hypotenuse to a triangle that his boat can use. Bonnet shrugs that he left Claire alive on the beach because he has no quarrel with her. “I have a quarrel with you,” Brianna spits. Bonnet frowns. “It’s not because I couldn’t remember your name at the jail, is it?” he asks. And here again I will note that Ed Speelers is having the best time in this part, walking a fine line between sociopathy and arrogance, and it sometimes feels like he prepared for this by watching a lot of Sherlock episodes with Moriarty in them. It is a shame that I like the actor so much in this part when he is playing an IRREDEEMABLE HUMAN BEING. I don’t want to root for him! But I will also miss him? It is a terrible quandary about a terrible man. As Bonnet gets out a trunk and opens it up to reveal a bunch of dolls he’s collected, he tells her that he just wants to be a father to their son. He has a gift for her too: a gown to wear to their first civilized dinner, at which he announces she’ll need to teach him how to be a man of class and etiquette, turning him into “a worthy gentleman” for when they move in together to their fancy manor house.

I don’t want to wait
For your scorn to be over
I want to woo you now
Pay attention to meeeee

I don’t want to wait
For your scorn to be over
We’ll raise our son
In River Run
We threeeeee.

He promises that if she does this, no harm will come to her. “You saw something in me. You’re drawn to me. We’re drawn to each other,” he says. “That’s why fate has brought us together, again and again. To be parents to Jeremiah.” Brianna is nauseated that he knows the baby’s name but she also realizes that for now she needs to buy time. So she orders him to take his elbows off the table, and bring his fork to his mouth rather than bending down to shovel the grub in like a dog. Bonnet digests this, sits up, and mirrors her, in a moment ripped straight from Beauty and the Beast, to the point where I’m pretty sure a candelabra on the table shushed a nearby clock.

After the meal, she tries to dodge the boudoir question by telling him it’s improper for a lady and a gent to be alone in there. “How do men and women of our standing pass the time?” he asks, brushing her thumb suggestively. She sputters that he would read to her, or she to him if he doesn’t know how to read. He asks if this is something Jemmy likes her to do, and she says she loves reading because it helps her stand in other people’s shoes and learn what drives them: “Love, money, revenge…” Bonnet asks which one she thinks is his motivation, and she tells him that can’t be love because you don’t hurt those you love, and it can’t be revenge because she’s done nothing to him, so it must be money. And River Run. Bonnet insists that every story has two sides, and asks almost childishly if Jemmy might learn to feel for him if he heard Bonnet’s story. “You can’t make someone love you,” she responds, but he points out that “learn to love” is a real phrase for a reason and that they coud learn to love each other. Then he slithers up and breathes into her neck that when she told him that he’d have something left of himself on this earth, via the baby, it made him feel A Certain Way. And it wasn’t vengeful, or a yen for money. “Will you teach me how to love?” he asks. This is all incredibly insipid. Bonnet was an interesting villain because of his charm and lack of scruples, and this mawkish turn where he’s Just A Hurt Little Boy Underneath is very blah to me. I am almost ASTONISHED that Diana Gabaldon resisted the temptation to give Brianna feelings for the brute as she sees his human side. That would have been the MOST horrible turn of events, no matter HOW you feel about Dogface.

Anyway, Bonnet brightens at the idea of being read to, an experience he’s never had and which he can now share with his son. She opens the first book she finds, which is a dry tome on husbandry, and announces that it’s Moby Dick (which hasn’t been written yet). And then she narrates freaking Moby Dick FROM MEMORY, because Brianna is a magic human library. Granted, Bonnet wouldn’t know the difference, and surely it’s not all true, but she does flip pages as she goes as if she’s reading from the actual book, so that is a LOT of fake Moby Dicking that she’s doing off the cuff. I am not sure which outlandish Outlander dicking I believe less: this one of the Moby variety, or last week’s medicinal handjob.

Time passes. She’s now a good 2/3 of the way through the prop book she’s using, which is not slim. She is MAKING UP MOBY DICK ON THE SPOT. I AM SO SURE. Bonnet is absolutely lapping this up and wants to know whether Captain Ahab vanquishes his foe.

I don’t want to wait
For this book be over
I want to know right now
What of Moby?

I don’t want to wait
For this book to be over
Will he go free
Or will he be

Brianna tells him the ending, and Bonnet frowns, “The monster prevails?” She allegories all over this joint, telling him it’s all about perspective and about which creature you believe to be the true monster: hunter or prey. Bonnet’s face goes slack as he tells her THE SEA IS A TREACHEROUS PLACE and IT’S HUNGRY FOR SOULS and IT CALLS FOR ME and DARKNESS DARKNESS. He’s Lego Batman, basically. Both he and Brianna shed tears as she reassures him she doesn’t think any less of him for confiding in her because “I could never think any less of you,” an insult that he totally misses because he’s a narcissist. Bonnet asks what she does when Jemmy has nightmares; he never had a mother or a father so he doesn’t know. She says she cuddles the tears away. “SHOW ME,” he says, pulling her toward him, and she wriggles out of it by saying a lady would say goodnight now and a true gentleman would let her. Bonnet bows politely and tells her he looks forward to seeing her in the morning.

When she wakes, after spending the night sleeping horizontally on a day bed for some reason — half of her is on the floor — she sees Bonnet in the next room with a woman we recognize from the brothel as his favorite prostitute. They are fussing around and setting up a fancy breakfast table. Brianna starts playing into his fantasies, asking if they’d live there, and then tells him that she thinks she should go get Jeremiah. She insists that it’ll upset him if they don’t handle it carefully, and that she needs to be wary of her parents’ reactions, but that “fate will bring me back to you, like it has before.” Bonnet wonders if she shouldn’t stay longer with him alone so they can bond, which is almost anachronistic talk coming from him, but Brianna says Jemmy will be getting upset at the length of her absence. “The sooner I can leave, the sooner I will return to you,” she tells him. Bonnet appears to fall for this, taking her hand and waxing poetic about how he’ll find them a proper house in Wilmington, and then tells her they must seal their promise with a kiss. She swallows her bile as subtly as she can and then does it. When she finally pulls away, he sees through the rule — “If there’s one thing I don’t need to be taught, it’s what a kiss is” — and throws her to the side. He steams that he let his feelings cloud his judgment, just like that time his workmates left him in a hole to die, and then growls that he’ll show Brianna what she’s missing. He grabs the prozzy, who looks delighted, and has her right there on the couch.

Tale as old as time
Gross as it can be
Tries to be a gent,
‘Til some one gets bent
O’er in front of me

Certain as his bum
Thrusts until release
Vomit in my throat
God, I need a boat.
Beauty and the Beast.

The encounter is grunty and altogether too brief to be showing Brianna much of anything, skill-wise. She huddles in the bedroom until he’s done, at which point he orders the proz to keep an eye on Brianna and leaves. Brianna learns her name is Eppie and tries to get her to help, or at least get a warning to her family; Eppie won’t cross Bonnet, warning Brianna that her safest bet is to be agreeable and keep her mouth shut.

Back in Wilmington, it takes Jamie and Roger about thirty seconds to extract the name of Bonnet’s favorite brothel from a squealing Wylie. They go there and meet with absolutely no luck, until Claire notices Eppie — who, yes, is suddenly back in town, having traveled by Floo Network — limping around and correctly diagnoses that her legs are different lengths. Claire uses a deck of cards to measure it, and then gives Eppie money to get the special shoe lift made that will alleviate her pain. “Because when someone is in need and you can help them, then you help.” This is, happily, exactly enough to get Eppie to tell Claire she knows where Brianna is: “You’re going to need a boat.”

Jocasta has called Billy Boyd to River Run so that she can work mischief. She tells Billy Boyd — after being left alone in the room — that she wants to write up a legal document dispersing her fortune to her larger family. It seems to ME apparent from Maria Doyle Kennedy’s performance that Jocasta is doing exactly what she did with Roger at the wedding: trying to goad him into showing his true colors. But we don’t actually know this from the scene itself, and don’t have any real reason to think Jocasta would be onto him, which makes me wonder if they cut some exposition in service of making this scene feel like a surprise, somehow. But it doesn’t, and nor should it; without the chicanery, it would be absurd. So, Jocasta goes on and on about how much she wants to give Marsali, and Brianna, and Ian, and even Lizzy the Maid. Billy pretends to write this down, but is too stupid to conceal his fury; when Lizzy gets an inheritance, actual smoke comes out of his ears, and if he could run out of the room and leave a Billy Boyd-shaped hole in the wall, he would. Because this dumbass has convinced himself that Stephen Bonnet would ever actually honor his part of their deal. He leaps up and unloads on Jocasta for spending his future fortune on her relatives, and for not marrying him herself, and making a fool of him as he tried to court Brianna. Then, having blown his cover, he smothers her with a pillow. This is the flaw in Jocasta’s plan — she IS a Fraser, after all — because she didn’t have anyone close enough to the door to jump in quickly. Luckily, she knocks over her bell while flailing for breath, so Ulysses pops in JUST after she lost consciousness, picks up Billy Boyd, and breaks his neck. He revives Jocasta by cooing her name, and it’s true that anyone among us would crawl back to the land of the living at the merest sound of his dulcet pipes.

Ian trades his new clothes for a boat — that… cannot be a good boat? — and thy set sail for Okracoke just as Bonnet is trying to sell Brianna into sex slavery.

I don’t want to wait
For your snit to be over
I want to sell you now
Then snatch our son.

I don’t want to wait
For your snit to be over
Who needs thee?
Not Stephen B!
You’re doooone.

It’s a bloody good thing the boat Ian got was actually a portkey, which zaps them straight to the correct beach right when Brianna is being delivered to her new master. Claire screams Brianna’s name and shoots one of her new master’s henchmen in the chest. Blah blah blah the captain retreats without his quarry, Dogface beats up Bonnet, and Jamie ties him up and then drops a flask at his mouth so he can lap up some alcohol. Jamie, I thought we were done showing this man any mercy. Brianna pipes up then and says she would like Bonnet to be tried and judged according to the law. Everyone is understandably concerned about Bonnet being able to wriggle out of this, but Jamie thinks Governor Tryon still owes him a favor for that massacre he ordered and is certain Tryon will overrule anyone who might side with Bonnet. Jamie hisses at Bonnet, “Whatever happens, the last face you see on earth will not be that of a friend.”

Cut to: Bonnet is tied to a post in the water, hands over his head, at low tide. He has been convicted of a number of crimes and sentenced to death by drowning, which is not only his worst nightmare but the poetic dispatch his soul has been predicting. He immediately starts screaming, then quiets down and waits. Time passes. People are bored of watching the tide come in, so they all leave, until the shore is empty and the water is lapping at Bonnet’s mouth. This is a particularly psychologically brutal way to go, I must say. It was giving me a little anxiety just imagining it. Suddenly, just as Bonnet is starting to get mouthfuls of water, he looks up at the land and gasps.

I don’t want to wait
For my life to be over
I want to go right now
Who’s by that tree?

Then a bullet rips through his skull. At the other end of that shot stands Brianna, who lowers the gun grimly. “Was that mercy, or to make sure he’s dead?” Roger asks. Brianna glares at him, then turns to leave as Bonnet’s dead body bobs in the water.

Tale as old as time
True as it can be
Da and Roger failed
Stephen Bonnet bailed
And came to kidnap me.

So I blew a hole
Through his forehead crease
Women get shit done
That doesn’t mean it’s fun
Beauty and the Beast.

Tags: Outlander