Romance is in the air, and this episode takes a huge inhale. And yes, the last five minutes are some of the best of this early season.
If you missed it, here’s the recap.
Summary provided by Starz: Roger leads Jamie’s militia to the rural trading post of Brownsville and finds himself embroiled in a bitter feud. Jamie and Claire arrive to find that Roger’s rather unusual strategy may have cost them the loyalty of the militia. Claire learns that her ‘modern’ medical advice has spread further than she intended.
The story begins with Roger leading the growing militia into a small quiet town, except the trading post is not so quiet. Fergus is the first to see the gun barrel peeking through an open window. Then one of the men from the house shouts, “Isaiah, you bastard.” Now, Isaiah is one of Roger’s militiamen. He’s sitting in his saddle straight and tall, as gunfire blares.
Now, what did he do to anger an entire community?
The militia scurries for cover, including Roger, who is not behaving as heroically as we might expect. He hides behind a wagon, next to Fergus, muttering something like, “Oh, Lord, give me courage.” As the shots whiz by him and Fergus, we quickly learn why Isaiah is the target of the town’s ire. It seems he’s bedded one of the unmarried ladies, ruining her for marriage to anyone else. This, we know, because she rushes into the street, calling after Isaiah, professing her love and admitting her sin. She declares her unwavering love for Isaiah and her refusal to marry another man because of that love.
Moments later, a solution comes to Roger. He will surrender (which means all of the militia put down their arms), and give Lloyd Brown, the father of the young woman who lay with Isaiah. He intends to kill the man. He lost a heap of money because Isaiah ruined his daughter.
Back at Fraser’s Ridge, the women are in charge. They are taking care of the land, the house, and the babies. Brianna is returning from town with a wagon full of supplies. She had taken wee Jemmy with her, and when Mrs. Berg lifts the baby from the bassinet, Brianna finds a coin. She asks Mrs. Berg, who put it there. An Irishman, Brianna, is told. He tossed the baby’s hair and asked if he resembled his mother or his father, and then left the coin. Now, we all know the man is Bonnet. And Brianna’s expression of fear and panic shows she agrees. This prompts Brianna to move into the big house, abandoning her cabin for the safety of the group.
In Brownsville, Roger plans to avoid violence and get the men drunk. Now, I’m not exactly seeing how this plan will work in his favor, but that is the heart of his idea. But even with a good amount of whiskey in him, Mr. Brown will not be swayed. He intends to make Isaiah pay with his life.
Claire and Jamie are on their way back from the Beardsley’s trading post. Claire has Fanny Beardsley’s baby, and at a river crossing, Jamie is joyful at seeing Claire holding a baby. The child is hungry, though, and the sooner they arrive in Brownsville and find a nursing woman to feed the child, the better.
Roger learns from Fergus that some of the militia have deserted. They weren’t pleased with the decision to give over Isaiah to Mr. Brown. Rightfully, Roger figures the missing men will mean he’ll be in deep water with Jamie. But his objective was to avoid the fight (and of course, we know, avoiding the fight is not the Fraser way).
So, who rides into town, but Jamie and Claire and Fanny’s baby? From the smiling faces of the town folk, Jamie believes that Roger has won over the trading post—he doesn’t realize the happiness he sees has to do with homemade whiskey, but that news will come.
His first stop is to inform the Beardsley brothers, Josiah and Keziah, his deaf twin brother, that they are no longer indentured. Jamie and Claire, with baby in tow, then meet up Fergus. They ask for help in finding someone to feed the baby properly (breast milk). Here, Fergus has the best line of the night: he looks from Claire to Jamie, and remarks, that his lordship works fast.
When Jamie finally runs into Roger, their conversation is hysterical. Roger keeps talking about his days as an Oxford professor, and Rome, and other things that make no sense to Jamie, who rolls his eyes more than once. Then finally, Jamie learns that Isaiah Morton’s troubles are the reason the militiamen deserted. Roger believes he did the right thing. Jamie points out that the men need a leader they can trust to do whatever is necessary to protect them. Roger showed them otherwise.
Then Jamie meets Isaiah and promptly demands he marry Alicia Brown. But guess what? Isaiah is already married, but he loves Alicia. He hasn’t lived with his ‘wife’ as husband and wife in over two years. So, now what’s Jamie going to do? Well, he cuts him loose and tells him to run. But Isaiah hesitates. If he runs, he’ll never see “Ally” again.
Somewhere in all this, Roger quips about lovemaking fools of us all. I swear, I love Roger, but I wanted to shake him.
Claire is with the women of the trading post, one of whom is nursing Fanny’s baby. The nursing mother offers to take the baby for the night. While there, she spills her drink on a “broadsheet” – the daily newspaper of the time. It seems some of Claire’s remedies (from the future) are reported in the paper. She takes it to Jamie.
Isaiah Morton is discovered gone. When Lionel Brown (Alicia’s father) vows to go after him and kill him dead, rifles are raised, and a standoff ensues. But before a shot is fired, Richard Brown, Lionel’s brother, comes charging into the trading post on horseback. He has more power over the trading post than Lionel. Everyone lowers their weapons. Richard makes a deal with Jamie to be the captain of the men of Brownsville, who join his militia. Jamie agrees as long as Richard understands that Brown reports to Jamie.
At Fraser’s Ridge, Brianna hears noises in the woods and goes to the door to check. When she returns, Jemmy, who had been playing with Jemma (Marsali’s child) in the living room, has disappeared. Panicked, Brianna fears Bonnet has taken her child. But Marsali finds the baby hiding in a closet.
Later that evening in Brownsville, where everyone’s last name is Brown, by the way, Claire is spending time with Alicia, who professes her endless love for Isaiah. Claire breaks the news that Isaiah is already married. Alicia is heartbroken.
Brianna and Marsali are having a bonding moment back at Fraser’s Ridge over a dram of whiskey. Marsali tries to get Brianna to talk about what’s bothering her. But Brianna is reticent. So, Marsali tells a story of how she killed her father, except what she’d done was pray for him to die, and when he was arrested as a Jacobite and died in prison, she considered herself his murderer.
Claire runs into the Beardsley brothers and finds Keziah suffering from infected tonsils, like his brother. They need surgery, but Claire dares not perform such a thing without penicillin. She must return to Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie agrees and assigns Roger to escort her back, but Roger wonders if he’ll ever gain Jamie’s respect. Claire assures him he will. After all, he is making Roger responsible for the one thing he loves more than anything—Claire and her safe return to Fraser’s Ridge.
Oh, did I mention Roger sings quite a bit during this episode, and not to be outdone, Jamie entertains as well, but with his dancing. (Side note: A few years back when I met Sam Heughan, I danced with him—and about a dozen other women—at a fan event in Rome. So, let me say, Mr. Heughan can dance).
Claire and Jamie take a walk in the woods, and Jamie asks if Claire wants to keep the baby. It might be their last chance to raise a child together from infancy. (They call her Bonnie – which of course gave me Gone with the Wind vibes). His offer makes Claire beam, but she says there’s a couple in town willing to take the child. Then they hear a gunshot. It’s Alicia. She’s tried to kill herself and still holding the rifle (she’d missed her heart). Claire talks to her as Jamie moves in, snatching the gun from her clutches.
Isaiah returns, risking death because Ally is his heart and soul. When he walks into the cabin, the two lovers rush into each other’s arms.
A knock at the door and Roger enters: Why did you come back? He asks Isaiah.
Isaiah’s response is the speech of the season. He replies, in part, that as Roger said, he’s a fool for love. He challenges Jamie and Roger, asking them a question we already know the answer to—would either man leave the woman they love because someone told them to?
Of course, Jamie, Claire, and Roger help Isaiah and Alicia escape, along with a herd of horses and a goat. So, ends, The Company We Keep.
Until next week, and episode 505, Perpetual Adoration.