OUTLANDER – S04E10: “The Deep Heart’s Core” – Let’s Be Honest

“The Deep Heart’s Core”
“God, I miss toilets and Led Zeppelin!”

“The Deep Heart’s Core” was an exciting and frustrating episode. In true OUTLANDER style, reunions are short lived, and emotional bonding is difficult and tenuous. But before getting to “The Deep Heart’s Core,” doing a brief review of the previous two episodes, “Wilmington” and “The Birds & The Bees,” is probably a good plan.

OUTLANDER – “Wilmington” and “The Birds & The Bees” – The Story So Far…

The past three episodes of OUTLANDER have taken viewers on a wild ride. Although Roger and Brianna reunited, hand-fasted, and consummated their unofficial marriage in “Wilmington,” the same episode ripped them apart again when their post-coital fight about Roger keeping Jamie and Claire’s 18th-century deaths from Brianna ruined their short-lived marital bliss.

The newlyweds both said things they came to regret, including one outburst about how Roger should return to his own time through the stones. Roger lost several husband points by abandoning his new life partner in a relatively lawless time and place only a few hours after reuniting with and marrying her. And, Lizzie proved to be basically the worst servant ever, but more on that later. First, some seriously terrible stuff.

“Wilmington” – No Coin Toss This Time

During Roger and Brianna’s brief separation, Stephen Bonnet savagely rapes Brianna when Brianna finds Bonnet handling Claire’s distinct wedding ring in a tavern. Bonnet manages to gain Brianna’s confidence by promising the ring if Brianna does what he wants. Brianna protests, but Bonnet forces himself on her. After he’s finished, Bonnet callously provides Brianna the ring, saying he always pays for what he takes. Ugh.

An injured and humiliated Brianna manages to make it back to her room. Lizzie wakes up when Brianna enters. She sees the bruises covering Brianna’s body and the blood on her face and petticoats. This is when Lizzie accidentally becomes the worst servant ever.

“Wilmington” – “I’m Lizzie, the worst servant ever!”

Lizzie really dropped the ball in “Wilmington.” Mistaking Roger for Brianna’s attacker might be understandable given Roger’s seemingly rough treatment of Brianna when he and Brianna reunited — he tugged on her arm — but Lizzie’s behaviour after her mistake was what really did it.

Above all, servants should be discreet. Telling Young Ian that she had seen the man who attacked Brianna, rather than just passing this information on to her mistress directly betrayed Brianna’s trust and gave Young Ian and Jamie an opportunity to wrongheadedly manipulate events. Long story short, Jamie beats the ever-living crap out of Roger because he thinks that Roger is the man who raped Brianna. Arg!

Jamie instructs Young Ian to dispose of Roger’s brutalized frame, and Young Ian decides the best way to do this is to sell Roger to some passing Mohawks in exchange for a fancy necklace.

There were some happy moments in “Wilmington,” of course, like Roger and Brianna’s reunion and Jamie and Brianna’s first meeting. These heartwarming moments are what OUTLANDER viewers wait for with bated breath, so it’s good that such a violent episode also tried a little tenderness.

“The Birds & The Bees” – “Uh…it could be Roger’s…”

Adding insult to injury, Brianna’s traumatic episode comes back to haunt her when she realizes that she’s pregnant. In another tender moment, Claire knows that Brianna is pregnant before Brianna tells her. They discuss the likelihood of Roger being the father, but Brianna reveals that although Roger employed the “withdrawal method,” Stephen Bonnet did not. The OUTLANDER TV series has become famous for this kind of gritty reality, but, again, ugh!

All signs point to Brianna’s unborn child being the product of Bonnet’s rape, but even though Claire offers to abort the fetus — as a 20th-century MD Claire has the medical knowledge, if not the ideal tool kit, to perform the operation — Brianna decides to carry the fetus to term in the off chance that Roger is the father. Whomever the father, though, Brianna says that she knows she will love her child.

Other notable events from “Wilmington” and “The Birds & The Bees” included Brianna’s meeting Young Ian and Murtagh. One looks forward to Brianna’s continuing relationship with the dopey lad and the silver-haired Scottish rebel, especially the latter.

But enough about past episodes, let’s get on to the most recent episode of OUTLANDER, “The Deep Heart’s Core.”

OUTLANDER – S04E10: “The Deep Heart’s Core” – “Da, maybe we should have a discussion about the negative effects of re-victimization…”

In a misguided but effective attempt to show Brianna that she did all she could to fight off her attacker, Jamie puts Brianna in a headlock and asks her if she could fight him off if he wanted to kill her. She admits that she couldn’t, and, Jamie’s point proven, he releases her.

This was one of those moments on TV where a very complex issue gets boiled down too much. Although overcoming trauma is different for everyone, staging a false attack on a victim to prove a point is more likely to scare them than help them heal.

Since they’re talking about rape, Brianna mentions Black Jack Randall, and Jamie relates his own experiences dealing with rape and manipulation. Hmmm…maybe that would have been a better place to start than putting your daughter in a headlock.

All of this apparently effective if unorthodox parenting is meaningless to regular OUTLANDER viewers, though, because we know that before long Brianna will learn that Jamie beat the crap out of Roger, and that Young Ian sold Roger to some Mohawks! Once she does finally learn the truth, things get pretty tense indeed.

OUTLANDER – S04E10: “The Deep Heart’s Core” – *Facepalm

Effective though Jamie’s non-traditional parenting style was when he proved his point by insulting and overpowering his daughter, it proved ineffective when he insulted Brianna for having sex with Roger and then claiming Roger raped her. Quite rightly, this misinformed outburst earned Jamie a smack across the face and an admonition from his daughter.

Once Brianna learns that Young Ian sold Roger to some passing Mohawks, she wastes no time in demanding a search party form, but she won’t allow Jamie and Young Ian to go alone. Brianna manages to convince Claire that she has to accompany Jamie and Young Ian so that Roger will see a friendly face rather than that of a man who viciously attacked him. Claire reluctantly agrees, though she would prefer to stay with Brianna to see her through her pregnancy and labour.

Instead, Murtagh agrees to take Brianna to River Run, the plantation home of Brianna’s slave-owning Aunt Jocasta. Murtagh says he looks forward to seeing Jocasta again after so many years.

Though Claire and Brianna try to prevent Jamie from learning who actually attacked Brianna, Claire eventually tells him — like she should have in the first place — and Jamie acts exactly the way Brianna and Claire predicted he would. He makes immediate plans to capture and kill Stephen Bonnet. Ah, good.

OUTLANDER – S04E10: “The Deep Heart’s Core” – Roger that

Roger has been having a rough time since Young Ian sold him to some passing Mohawks. Forced to travel hundreds of miles by foot, he eventually manages a tense escape, nearly losing a hand in the process, by falling down a ridge.

Beginning to retrace the millions of steps he took, thanks to having taken note of landmarks he passed on the way, Roger heads back to Fraser’s Ridge. He comes across a helluva cliffhanger in the idyllic colonial wilderness, though. Standing in his path and buzzing defiantly, a time stone stands in a small clearing. Roger reaches into his pouch and pulls out the gem stones that Bonnet gave him for payment. He reaches out his hand. Credits roll.

OUTLANDER – S04E10: “The Deep Heart’s Core” – Final Thoughts

This was a tense and ultimately episode, but I felt that some of the big moments came off as manufactured. The ongoing pattern of manipulation leading to negative outcomes should be obvious, if not to Brianna and Roger then at least to Claire and Jamie.

But rather than sharing information freely to best overcome adversity, everyone clammed up, and things turned into quite the ”jobby” indeed. Fortunately, all of this childish behaviour from her father, servant, cousin, and even mother gives Brianna a chance to show everybody how strong she really is.

Her rape and her fixation on finding Roger have turned Brianna into a bit of a typical damsel, but her enraged dismissal of Jamie and Young Ian showed off her tough side. This is one Fraser/Randall I’d avoid messing with — actually, it’s probably best not to mess with any Fraser/Randall.

As the post-show trailer advertised, we’re only three episodes away from the end of the season, so I look forward to finding out how things will play out. Will the fire that is supposed to kill Jamie and Claire occur before season’s end? Will they avoid their apparent fates? Did Roger go through the stones? There are lots of loose threads to wrap up in three episodes, so I’m looking forward to a whirlwind, which only the Fraser clan can provide.

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