Want to relive Outlander Season 4 Episode 11? We do a minute-by-minute reaction to “If Not For Hope.”[8:00 p.m.] While they’re reacquainting you with last week’s walk, walk, walk, fight, fight, fight episode, I’d like to gauge your reaction to something else. A very astute viewer left a comment on last week’s recap that had me do a bit of a Scooby Doo head jerk. MG asked, “Does anyone wonder what Ian and Lizzie thought about Brianna’s comment about how her ‘father’ never would have said that?” Zoinks! Such a valid point. If I’ve missed a discussion about this, please illuminate me. Did they ever say she was raised by another man, even if in the same time period? I don’t believe so, but her blurting out the differences between how each father would have reacted is a bit suspect. After all, it wasn’t Murtagh in the room. He was outside with the ham and biscuits, like I told him to do. [8:01 p.m.] Cold open this is not. Hot, furry librarian bod it is! Clearly, this is a dream sequence, but can you blame him for it? I know when we go glamping and it’s cold and I’m tired, I fantasize about long, hot showers and products. You guys, it’s just the same. [8:02 p.m.] Oh look, Roger didn’t go back through the stones. I. Am. So. Shocked. But seriously, who among you thought he truly might? But again, who among you could blame him? Also, I did a double take as I was convinced he was wearing a kilt. It’s not, but I’m just relieved those hokey pants are gone. [8:04 p.m.] Yes yes, emotions, apologies, regret, honesty – BUT THERE’S A CHEESE PLATE and we just casually panned away from it. I speak fluent charcuterie, so I need some specifics, please. [8:05 p.m.] I do love that Roger’s life precariously hangs in the balance and our great white hope lies with Ian and his Flavor Flav necklace. [8:06 p.m.] Claire and Jamie packed horses, a nephew, jerky, furs, casks of whisky and yet the heaviest load they’re carrying on this trip north is their passive aggressive avoidance of talking about what happened, who’s to blame and how to move past it. Ahhhh, marriage. But haven’t we all hit a point in our own relationships that mirrors this? Sometimes we have the best intentions and pride ourselves on “maturity,” but just aren’t ready to be the first to dig in and offer an apology, admit accountability, ask for forgiveness or just have an honest conversation that paves a path to resolution. *POINTS FINGER AT SELF* [8:07 p.m.] I love when Outlander serves me a “suck it up, Buttercup” moment. Like this one. I’m annoyed when the line at Starbucks takes more than 5 minutes, yet these people find out Roger’s an entire state away – on foot – and are just casually like “200 miles north, eh? Well, aye, let’s take a wee walk then.” #21stCenturyWorldProblems [8:08 p.m.] Claire’s badass outfit of layers and wraps and satchels and knitted happiness – over here having fellow wanderer apparel and accessory lust. That is all. [8:09 p.m.] I can understand Ian trying to facilitate peace between his aunt and uncle because he’s burdened with guilt on his role in the whole mess. But have you ever been on a trip with people in a fight or constantly bickering and thought – dear god, this is awkward. Also, make it stop? Because that’s Ian. [8:10 p.m.] Two things: I love that the “wanted” sketch artist managed to pencil a smile and some laugh lines into his likeness of the always-gruff Murtagh. And two: Google translation of Fergus’ reaction to the photo. (You’re welcome). [8:11 p.m.] Admission: I’m more sold on the chemistry and love story coupling of Fergus and Marsali than I am Roger and Bree, and this story is aimed at us favoring the latter. I’m not sure whether that says something about me, or………. maybe you feel it, too? [8:12 p.m.] “We’ve got us a lord coming to visit from Virginia.” [8:13 p.m.] My heart did flip flops at Phaedra’s reaction to someone taking both notice of her beauty and the time to memorialize this age of it. We live in an era now where 700+ billion photos are taken every single year, so it’s tough to fathom that this woman has likely never seen herself through someone else’s eyes or lens. [8:14 p.m.] “There’s comfort to be found in the company of others.” You’re depressed, you’re sick, you’re heartbroken, you’re exhausted with life, you name it. And you know what happens? Those who care about you just show up anyway because they sometimes know what could help you better than you know it yourself. [8:15 p.m.] Annnnnnnnnd sometimes, you’re like, “Yes, thank you… BUT I’M STILL NOT GOING TO ANY DAMN PARTY.” Bree’s trying to take a note straight out of her dad’s playbook. [8:16 p.m.] You know what any new mom loves? Being kept awake by someone or something that isn’t a crying baby. For the love. I also love that Murtagh’s become that gruff, but loved uncle that couch surfs from one family member’s house to another. [8:17 p.m.] “He doesn’t put his boots on my blankets.” I adore everything about Lauren Lyle’s feisty portrayal of Marsali and it pairs so enjoyably with Duncan Lacroix’s Murtagh. As Murtagh never lived to this point in the books, every time I get to see him interact with a character we’ve yet to see him with, it’s like Christmas morning all over again. Also, see 8:11 again. [8:19 p.m.] Just what every pregnant, heartsick, worried gal feeling discombobulated in a strange place wants – a cotillion! [8:20 p.m.] Ulysses, please summarize this entire sequence for Auntie J as “Mistress – horny, wigged bachelors one, two and three are now throwing purvey, tongue-wagging looks at your niece.” [8:21 p.m.] Correction: just what every pregnant, heartsick, worried gal feeling discombobulated in a strange place WHO WAS ALSO RAPED wants – a gaggle of strange men offering to take you off privately to see “magnificent sights” and something else nondescript but super creepy they wish to show you. And your aunt says, go on… GO WITH THEM, DEARIE. [8:22 p.m.] Final thought on this mess…I think… I feel like I’m watching an episode of The Bachelor/The Bachelorette and poor Bree didn’t even realize she sent in a submission tape. (Side note: I encourage you to watch the entire parody clip.) [8:23 p.m.] One lord a leaping, look who it is! Splendid evening indeed! Unless you’re one of those other less handsome dudes, then you’re like… [8:24 p.m.] As it turns out, Fergus was already as whole as can be. Sometimes we don’t even want to be on the trip, we just want the opportunity and the honor to decide for ourselves whether we go or stay. [8:26 p.m.] “Must I close my eyes when you are before me.” Yes.
“Can you picture the person?” HARD YES. [8:27 p.m.] Big ole eye roll from me that we’re playing a parlor game that involves visualizing walking through a forest with a companion when the bulk of the main characters of this show are currently on the longest damn walk ever through a forest. [8:28 p.m.] Explain your way out of this one, Lord John. I guess I should be glad Bree’s found comfort in the distraction as her aunt promised, but her helium-filled voice here needs to go down a notch. Please and thank you. [8:30 p.m.] Quick well-being check: Roger. Has anyone seen Roger? [8:31 p.m.] “…and in yer condition.” – Lizzie, clearly having learned nothing from saying too much. Total side note – can you imagine Lizzie’s letters home to her dad? “Oh hey, dad – sorry it’s taken me so long to catch up. We were on that boat, then shacked up in a bar, then up in the mountains in a tent and now we’re at some rich, old blind lady’s mansion. TTYL!” [8:32 p.m.] As strange as this encounter is, I’m into it. And I imagine it’s a welcome one for Bree. As mad as she might be, she has got to take some comfort and confidence in her dad sending a trusted friend to look in on her. In a new world that’s been flipped off its axis all to hell, you take tiny pieces of dependability anywhere you can. [8:33 p.m.] So many bed chambers undergoing preparations… how the heck does one get in on that? Y’all, feel free to come to my house. I don’t require much, just little dark chocolate mints on the pillow. [8:34 p.m.] I know Jamie and Claire felt this was the safest place for Bree, but it’s baffling to me that they couldn’t have seen foreseen this push from Aunt Jocasta – a woman of high society who, even though she will care for your daughter as her own, will never share the same modernist beliefs you do in guiding that care. [8:35 p.m.] Fergus flicking that coin, LIKE THE ONE-HANDED BOSS HE IS. [8:36 p.m.] Murtagh – 1, Bonnet, 0. Wait, that can’t be it. That was too easy, and we have 25 minutes of show left. [8:37 p.m.] Gee, what’s on your mind interrupting your sleep, Bree? Also, new bedroom goals – a plate full of shortbread cookies just within arm’s reach for those middle-of-the-night nibbles. [8:38 p.m.] Speaking of middle-of-the-night nibbles… I’m all for Lord John Grey getting some pleasure, but is the hallway in earshot of the bedchambers the best spot for a discreet romp? [8:38 p.m.] Stephen Bonnet –yes, the murderer who escaped the gallows but has been since been floating about, hiding in plain sight at the harbor, tavern and everywhere in between but you’re just now piecing it together? [8:39 p.m.] “And Lizzie, be discreet.” Given her track record, suuuuper likely. [8:40 p.m.] “Oh dear God in heaven.” Me too, John. That’s the second wonky proposal involving Bree in less than a week. And, while you’re keeping score at home, that’s twice now Lord John Grey has been offered a Fraser hand or – err – body part of some sort in exchange for his weighted help to sort out their complicated family affairs. [8:42 p.m.] Last week I saw and fielded plenty of comments about how immature Bree was acting and her unfair treatment of all. Spoiled brat, I heard many of you cry. I was a bit, now there, there… can you imagine being in her shoes? And now I’m in your camp. Threatening to out the poor man unless he marries you? I don’t care how dire straits your situation is. ENOUGH, LASSIE. [8:43 p.m.] Yes, please. Let’s all sit down. My feet are weary from zig-zagging all over the “wait, what?’ curves in this episode. I’m exhausted. [8:45 p.m.] Forget what she’s intending to do for a second and just focus on her words. Understanding and promising to do what you must for the sake of your child is Bree wearing more shades of grown up than I’ve seen her yet. Because as I often tell my husband – there’s a difference between an adult and a grown-up. [8:46 p.m.] Lord John, heading off Mister Forbes’ proposal at the pass. Also, this is happening? Oy. Jamie’s going to LOVE this. Oh, and then there’s Claire… [8:47 p.m.] Knick knack, paddy whack, give that dog a bone. Roger’s old pal ain’t rolling home. But Claire’s head wrap rocks, so that’s something. [8:48 p.m.] “What a world to bring a child into.” – said every parent who ever brought a child into the world. [8:49 p.m.] Hope, hope, hope. Alternate titles included “If Not for Secrets,” “Indecent Proposal” and “Dude, Where’s My Roger?” [8:51 p.m.] RIP, guy whose name we didn’t know but who said himself he was going to die by week’s end. However, I’m not a complete heartless arse – Jamie’s right. He was someone’s baby who somehow grew up and found himself on the path to uncertain demise. If not for that… [8:53 p.m.] I’m listening, but can’t hear over the noise of Caitriona Balfe’s off-kilter wig screaming at us, “HEY. LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME.” [8:55 p.m.] I love everything about this. Forget last week, this is the deep heart’s core. Shared honesty, vulnerabilities and anxiety matched with transparency, reassurance and compassion – all topped off with apologies and forgiveness. This, folks, is relationship adulting at its finest. [8:56 p.m.] And because I can only be mature for so long… I love that Cowgirl Claire maintains a default configuration for makeup sex. Tee hee. [8:57 p.m.] Oh now, come on – if a man walks hundreds of miles but we don’t burn a whole episode watching him do it, DID IT EVEN HAPPEN? As it turns out, yes, yes it did. [8:58 p.m.] Dear god, this poor lad can’t catch a break to save his face. Worst fraternity hazing ever. On the bright side, his hair looks uh-mazing, so that’s something.
I’m a former track athlete – a miler, to be specific. It’s four laps around the track, or quarters as we’d call them, and each one had their own particular feel, drumbeat and personality. On the first, you’d experience the adrenaline of the starting gun propelling you forward, leading you to sprint the whole thing before you realized it, excitement at full tilt. That second one was the sweet spot where you’d find your pacing, connect to your breath, get into a rhythm, settle in. The third was always the toughest because exhaustion was starting to set in and you knew there was still enough race left to tip the scales one way or the other as to the outcome, so you struggled with how to keep the comfortable glory of the second one alive. And then there’s the last one – oy – the “barnstorming” one. The one that sometimes ain’t pretty, but you’ve got to empty the tank, get it all out and sprint to the finish.
You see where I’m headed with this, right? This episode, for me, felt like that odd place somewhere between the third and final laps. We’ve put in the work, we know where we need to get next to be done with this, but by god our legs might give out and we might display some pained ugly-sweat faces before we find a final wind to get us to the finish line.
In short, after the high of the past few weeks, I’m about as enamored with this episode as Bree was her creepy old men suitors. To be fair, there were certainly some bright spots – Marsali and Fergus and all their adorableness, David Berry’s acting, Jamie and Claire’s coming together on the same page again and Murtagh because… Murtagh. I’m willing to give it another go or two to see if it grows on me more, or just hope (THERE IT IS AGAIN) that next week picks the baton back up from the glory of the lap-two episodes. Speaking of those, If Not For Rewatches…
Until next week, friends!
If you’ve missed any of our Season 4 episode recaps, you can catch up with them here:
Episode 4.01: “God Bless America”
Episode 4.02: “Do No Harm”
Episode 4.03: “The False Bride”
Episode 4.04: “Common Ground”
Episode 4.05: “Savages”
Episode 4.06: “Blood of My Blood”
Episode 4.07: “Down the Rabbit Hole”
Episode 4.08: “Wilmington”
Episode 4.09: “The Birds & The Bees”
Episode 4.10: “The Deep Heart’s Core”
A complete library of recaps from Seasons 2-3 is also available here.