Outlander Homepage Originals by Susie Brown
What motivates people to act the way they do? This is a question that has intrigued writers, philosophers and psychologists for years and one that is front and centre throughout this episode. All of the principal characters show different motivations in the hour - which is a gripping dramatic ride from start to finish.
The title sequence of this episode shows us a cobbler adjusting a pair of shoes. The significance of this isn’t immediately apparent, but is revealed later in the action. For the eagle eyed viewer though, it offers one connection - a pack of playing cards sits on the bench, with the suit of hearts visible. Cards immediately remind us of one character, but not one who would normally have the capacity to love… In such a short sequence, we are already intrigued about what is to follow.
The story begins in Wilmington. Gerald Forbes and Stephen Bonnet are dining, and the number of scantily clad women reveal the location as a brothel. Forbes is trying to advise Bonnet. It is time to approach a magistrate with their request, he says, but Bonnet’s occupation is making matters difficult. Forbes wants Bonnet to be discreet with his dealings, particularly since Bonnet now has wealthy allies behind him and has been exonerated for his crimes. Smuggling whisky and tobacco is one thing, Forbes says, but there are rumours that Bonnet is trading in “female commodities” as well. Forbes suggests Bonnet lay low, but Bonnet isn’t interested. He brands his business just that: his business.
Forbes asks whether Bonnet is serious about wanting custody of his son, but Bonnet continues to argue. Many of his so called allies owe their wealth to Bonnet’s business dealings, he says, reminding Forbes that he too falls into that category. It is Bonnet’s turn to advise Forbes, suggesting that he behave more like a lawyer and less like a priest. He is losing patience, asking Forbes when the magistrate’s signature will be obtained.
Forbes is becoming nervous. He tells Bonnet that he has provided the magistrate with the names of the tavern witnesses who are prepared to provide evidence and is confident that the signature will be forthcoming by the end of the week, a signature that would deliver custody of Jemmy to Bonnet. The music takes an ominous turn as Bonnet smiles at this prospect. He begins to be distracted by the female company, but Forbes regains his confidence, deliberately placing his chair to block Bonnet’s view of the clientele. He wishes to discuss his compensation. The music builds as Bonnet tells Forbes that he foresees a horrible accident for Jocasta Innes and her husband, news that brings an equally sinister smile to Forbes’ lips, who has never forgiven Jocasta for the humiliation he suffered during his ill-fated courtship of Brianna.
“When River Run’s mine,” Bonnet tells him, “you’ll get your money.” He confirms an amount of twenty percent, ands adds that they celebrate with a dram on the porch. Forbes remarks that he is looking forward to it, before telling Bonnet that in fact, Jocasta has asked to see him. He is sailing up to Cross Creek the next day. Bonnet leans forward, warning him not to say a word of their plan to anyone.
“Confidentiality is my livelihood,” Forbes replies and they drink.
Bonnet drains his glass quickly, finally responding to the glances of one of the brothel girls.
This is a sinister scene, played with equal menace by Ed Speleers and Billy Boyd, who has quickly established the true ugly nature of Gerald Forbes.
Meanwhile, Jamie, Claire, Brianna and Roger are sitting in a tavern discussing their own plan to capture Stephen Bonnet. Brianna isn’t convinced, saying that she has a bad feeling about what they propose to do, but Roger tells her that he wants Bonnet out of their lives for good, away from her and Jemmy. Jamie and Claire agree: getting rid of Bonnet is for the greater good. Claire has her own reservations, not trusting Phillip Wylie, even though he stands to make a lot of money from the deal. Jamie feels that Wylie will keep his word, quipping that if he doesn’t, then Jamie will likely be dead and he hopes that Claire will make Wylie suffer for it.
The conversation is interrupted by the appearance of Ian, who has swapped his traditional native dress for a gentleman’s suit and hat. He is to pose as Alexander Malcolm, once Claire has helped him to cover up his facial markings with some clay. Jamie, Roger and Ian are heading for Wylie’s Landing and Jamie tells Claire that if they haven’t returned in two days, she and Brianna are to return to the Ridge. Claire responds that if they haven’t returned in two days, she and Brianna will be coming after them.
“I thought you might say that,” Jamie replies. He tells Claire not to worry, as Bonnet is only a man.
“And nothing more,” Claire adds, with a nod to Roger.
Later, Claire and Brianna wander arm in arm through the streets of Wilmington. Claire is trying to get a replacement syringe made, to replace the one that was smashed by Lionel Brown. The two women approach a glass blower, Claire explaining what she wants by showing the man a sketch and explaining in basic terms how it will work. The man is both interested and confident that he can make what Claire has asked for and tells her to come back in a few days. The hypodermic needle will not actually be invented for some time, so Claire comments to Brianna that she hopes the smith won’t think they are practising witchcraft when she asks for a hollow needle. The fact remains that Claire needs to have one. She comments to Brianna that Jamie has a tendency to injure himself, reminding her of a cat with nine lives. As they walk and talk, we realise that they are being watched from afar.
Jamie, Roger and Ian arrive at the Landing and cautiously approach the boat shed. There is no-one there yet. Roger asks what will happen if Bonnet doesn’t come alone. Jamie remarks that he is sure that Bonnet won’t be alone, but will bring his sailors with him. Jamie asks Roger what the sailors will be like. Roger replies that sailors travel with Bonnet when they have no other option. They follow commands out of fear, not love and Roger doesn’t think they will care about their captain’s fate.
“Except that they will be needing new employment,” Jamie points out. He warns both Roger and Ian to keep their wits about them: they may not get a second chance.
Brianna and Claire are walking on a beach, collecting natural medicinal supplies. They have kelp for its iodine and are now looking for particular shells for Claire to grind down and use for calcium, along with sponges to use in the surgery. Brianna sets about collecting the shells, adding that she might collect extra for a mobile for Jemmy to help him sleep better. Again this scene is being viewed from a distance: the women are still being watched.
Ian is waiting on the dock, posing as Alexander Malcolm, while Jamie and Roger hide in the shed. Roger tells Jamie that he wants to be the one to kill Bonnet. He knows what Jamie is thinking. He hasn’t killed a man or fought in battle, he says, he is no marksman and only a half decent swordsman, but he doesn’t care. Brianna may be Jamie’s daughter, but she is his wife. Jamie agrees, but gives Roger some advice. Roger cannot hesitate, or challenge Bonnet - he must kill the moment that he has the chance.
“If you fall, Roger Mac,” Jamie says, “know that I’ll avenge you.”
Roger returns the promise, asking Jamie if they have a bargain.
“A rare bargain indeed,” Jamie replies. Their relationship has now come full circle, each having love and respect for the other. They take up their positions once more and wait.
Brianna and Claire watch a whale breeching from the water, commenting on its beauty and how many exist in the current time. By the end of the19th century, whalers will have all but made them extinct. Brianna speaks of the author Melville and why he was inspired to write about them in the book Moby Dick. She remembers seeing a pod of whales on holiday as a girl and reminds Claire that they used to race together along the beach. Inspired by her reminiscing, the two proceed to do just that, but are soon puffed out. Claire muses that she must be getting old and Brianna remarks that it is not as easy to run in a corset. They separate: Brianna to dip her toes in the water and Claire to search for more shells.
The tension heightens as we are taken rapidly between the two scenes. As Ian signals to Roger and Jamie that a boat is coming, Brianna paddles in the ocean and Claire waves to her from the top of an embankment. Roger and Jamie draw their pistols and 3 men approach Ian, asking if he is Alexander Malcolm. Ian confirms this and asks if the man is Captain Bonnet. He isn’t, telling Ian that Bonnet has sent the men to inspect the goods instead. Inside, Jamie and Roger frown at each other. This isn’t part of the plan. The man tells Ian that Bonnet had business elsewhere and wants to know where the whisky barrels are. Thinking quickly, Ian replies that they are in the shed. The men go inside and there is a brief, violent altercation. Jamie and Roger work together to overpower the men, the latter asking Jamie what took him so long to knock out the man that was menacing him. Jamie replies that Roger has been doing so well he didn’t think he needed any help. It is another casual comment that demonstrates that Roger has certainly come up a long way in Jamie’s estimation. Threatening the remaining conscious man with a knife under his throat, Jamie and Roger ask him where Bonnet is.
We find out the answer before Jamie and Roger do. As Claire bends down to pick up a large shell, we see a man’s boot plant into the sand. A split second later we hear a familiar voice musing that you can hear the sea inside every shell. Claire whirls around to see Bonnet walking towards her. She draws her knife, asking what he is doing there. Bonnet explains that he had seen her walking down the thoroughfare in Wilmington and thought that she looked familiar. He tells Claire that he never forgets a face - neither hers nor “your lovely daughter’s.”
Claire swipes at him with the knife, as he taunts her, asking how his son is, and whether Jemmy resembles his handsome father.
“You don’t have a son,” Claire retorts.
“You’re misinformed,” Bonnet replies, adding that Brianna had told him as much. At this precise moment, Bree appears. Claire tells her to run, but Bonnet grabs her holding the knife at her throat. Brianna refuses to leave, quickly grabbing the pistol from the basket and pointing it at Bonnet. Claire entreats her to shoot, but Bonnet threatens to slit Claire’s throat if Brianna won’t put down the weapon. He says that he will let Claire go, if Brianna will go with him, as it is only her and Jemmy that he wants. Claire elbows him in the stomach and Bree pulls the trigger, but the gun misfires. With a cry of frustration she runs towards Bonnet, but he is too strong for the two women. He knocks Claire unconscious and grabs onto Brianna as the screen goes black.
When Claire regains consciousness, she is lying alone on the beach. Desperately, she calls for Brianna, beginning to panic as she realises she is alone. She comes across Brianna’s belt and some of her clothing.
Brianna regains consciousness too, and finds herself lying on a couch. Bonnet is sitting nearby and offers her tea. She demands to know where they are and he replies that she is safe on his island. He tells her that he left Claire on the beach, as he had no quarrel with her. Brianna replies that they have a quarrel with him and Bonnet seems mystified by this, asking if it is because he couldn’t remember her name when she visited him in the jail cell. Telling her that he has something for her, Bonnet goes over to a chest. His back turned, Brianna grabs a poker from the fire to use as a weapon. Bonnet sees this as he turns around and seems almost amused by it. It is clear who is in control here.
Opening the chest, Bonnet says that the contents are for “their son.” When Brianna argues, saying that Jemmy is Roger’s child, Bonnet is unconcerned. He tells her that he knows Brianna had to say that, but that the truth is undeniable. Indicating the chest, he says that he wants to make things right and to be a real father. He sits back, waiting for Brianna to look at the gifts. She steps forward and picks up one of a group of porcelain dolls, as Bonnet tells her that he also has a gift for her. We see Brianna look back, horrified. What is she going to do?
This is a great scene, with Ed Speleers and Sophie Skelton playing off each other magnificently. It is the beginning of a cat and mouse game.
Meanwhile Claire has recovered her horse and is galloping towards Wylie’s Landing. Fortunately, she meets up with Jamie, Roger and Young Ian and tells them that Bonnet has Brianna. As the shock of the news sinks in, Jamie gives a determined nod, and they gallop off together. A new plan will have to be made.
Brianna comes into the dining room wearing Bonnet’s gift - a gown. He has the table set for dinner and compliments her on her beauty. He feigns ignorance at the proper way a gentleman should behave, asking if he is meant to pull out her chair. He is impeccably polite, asking Brianna to sit down, which she reluctantly does. He begins to speak of the future, and how things will improve when they have servants at River Run. Again he asks a question of etiquette, wondering if he should pass the serving dishes with two hands. He insists that Brianna teach him, laughing at her language when she responds that no-one can teach him a damn thing. He wants to teach his son how to get on in the world, he tells her. Brianna can show him how to be in their world and how to be a worthy gentleman. If she does, he says, no harm will come to her.
Brianna is questioning his motives. She wants to know why he wants to be a gentleman. His response would be romantic if it came from a different man’s mouth, but here it is unsettling. Bonnet comments that fate is bringing them together; that she had seen something in him and that they were drawn to each other, “to be parents to Jeremiah.”
This is the most chilling revelation of all - Bonnet knows Jemmy’s name. We see Brianna realise that this fact changes the situation. Bonnet knows far more than she expected him to.To protect Jemmy and herself, she will need to play the game. She begins instructing him - a gentleman wouldn’t have his elbows on the table, nor would he bend down to his food. Bonnet follows her instructions and the two eat.
The scene is reminiscent of season 1, where Claire was trying to outwit Jack Randall over the dinner table. Like her mother before her, Brianna is frantically trying to gain the upper hand, all the while knowing the man opposite her, despite his current attempts at cordiality, is dangerous and poses a threat to her family.
After dinner, Brianna tries to suggest that it is improper for a man and woman to be alone together. It is a useless attempt, with Bonnet merely suggesting that he could get some of his men to join them. He asks what men and women of “their standing” do to pass the time and Brianna suggests that he could read to her. Quickly she realises her mistake: Bonnet can’t read. She offers to do the reading instead and he wants to know if this is something that she does for Jemmy. Brianna refuses to be drawn into any conversation where Jemmy is referred to as Bonnet’s son, so simply says that she loves reading. She loves to put herself into a character’s shoes, she tells him, working out what drives them: love, money or revenge. Bonnet wants to know what she thinks drives him and her answer is immediate.
“Money,” she replies. “That’s why I’m here, isn’t it? Because you want River Run.”
Bonnet claims wounded pride, to be thought of as no more than a common thief. Brianna counters that it can’t be love, as you don’t hurt the people you love. If Bonnet is motivated by revenge, she says, then she has done nothing to him.
Walking towards her, Bonnet replies that there are two sides to every story and she doesn’t know his. He muses what would happen if he told Jeremiah their story, wondering if he can be loved as a result.
“You can’t make someone love you,” Brianna replies, but Bonnet isn’t convinced. He has heard of the phrase “learn to love” and wonders whether she could learn to love him for the sake of their son, adding that he feels he could learn to love her.
Brianna forces herself to smile briefly, then turns away. We see the look on her face as he continues to talk of the time that she had come to visit him in the jail and told him that there would be something left of him on the earth. He couldn’t forget how that made him feel, he tells her. It wasn’t for revenge or money. He wants Brianna to teach him how to love. Brianna is terrified and fighting back tears, but she turns to face him, attempting a smile and offers to read to him like she reads to Jeremiah.
He moves back to the bed and Brianna picks up a book: The Art of Husbandry. She begins to tell the story of Moby Dick and Bonnet is immediately intrigued. Brianna is making up the words as she goes, turning the pages at random intervals. She tells Bonnet that the story is one of Jemmy’s favourites. It pleases Bonnet to know that the boy likes tales of the sea. He leans back on the bed and Brianna continues. She tries to draw out the story as long as possible, but Bonnet wants to know what happens at the end. He wants Ahab to get his revenge on the whale and his expression changes when he learns that Moby Dick capsizes the boat and draws Ahab underneath the water.
“The monster prevails?” he asks. “And Ahab is drowned?”
Brianna replies that it depends on who one sees as the monster: the man hell bent on revenge or the whale who is hunted . Bonnet says the sea is a treacherous place where creatures prey on one another, with the sea herself hungry for souls. He shares his own nightmare of the sea, thinking that it comes for him. He speaks of darkness closing in, and he is unable to move. “No one comes, no-one ever comes,” he says, his voice breaking.
Brianna forces herself to utter some words of comfort, telling him that it is only a dream. He asks if she thinks less of him for telling her and her reply is beautiful in its double meaning: “ I could never think any less of you.”
Bonnet asks if Jeremiah too suffers from nightmares.
“Sometimes,” Brianna replies and she tries once again to appeal to Bonnet, reminding him that Jemmy is only a little boy, who needs his mother. At this, Bonnet shares a little more of his own story: he didn’t have parents, he tells her. He wants to know what Brianna does to comfort Jemmy - and what he could do. Her eyes bright with tears, Brianna replies that she goes to Jemmy and takes him in her arms, where she holds him until he feels safe.
Suddenly, Bonnet reaches out and grabs her, pulling her towards him. “Will you show me?” he whispers.
Composing herself, Brianna tells him that a lady would say goodnight at this point and would go to her bed, alone. Bonnet takes a couple of deep breaths before answering that he looks forward to bidding her good morning.
“Me too,” says Brianna, once again giving him a brief smile. Left alone in the room, she slumps against the wall in both relief and fear.
Ed Speleers does a fabulous job in this scene. We find ourselves wondering if there is any possible way that Bonnet is redeemable. Is he truly vulnerable, having suffered from the lack of parental love and tormented by nightmares? Is he actually yearning for a normal, loving family life?
The next morning, Brianna wakes to the sound of breakfast dishes. The whore from the brothel in the opening scene is serving as a lady’s maid, setting the table. Bonnet formally bows to Brianna as she approaches, calling her “my lady.” She smiles back , as he tells her that breakfast is served. He pulls out her chair and pours tea, as Brianna tries a new approach. She asks Bonnet if they would live on his island. He looks somewhat surprised, before telling her that they could live wherever she liked. Brianna says that she should go and fetch Jeremiah, as she can’t be without him for too long. Bonnet says he will go too, but Brianna is quick to dissuade him, saying that it would be better for her to give Jemmy the news that he will be in the young boy’s life, so as not to upset him. Continuing, she adds that she doesn’t know how her family will react, comparing him to Jamie and Roger by saying, “They’re not like you.” She tells him that fate will bring her back to him, answering Bonnet’s question as to whether this is what she wants by saying, “It’s what we both want, isn’t it?”
Bonnet wants to know when she will leave, suggesting that perhaps they need to spend more time together on the island first. Brianna replies that she misses Jemmy and that she knows that Bonnet wants to meet him. The sooner she leaves, the sooner she will return. After a moment’s consideration, Bonnet agrees. Brianna can hardly believe it. He holds out his hand and draws her to her feet. While she is gone, he says, he will go to Wilmington and find them a place with a parlour and a bed chamber, but first they will seal their promise to each other with a kiss.
This is the crucial moment and Brianna forces herself to comply, allowing the man who raped her to now kiss her. But it is not enough. Bonnet steps away. His face has changed.
“If there’s one thing I don’t need to be taught,” he says, “it’s what a kiss is.” She doesn’t think him good enough for her, he says and promises to give her a reason to despise him. He had hoped she was being truthful, he continues, as Brianna tries desperately to placate him, adding that he had let his feelings cloud his judgement. He tells her about the last time he had done so, when he was a young workman and had thought the others had liked him, only to find himself left for dead, drunk on the floor of a cellar he had helped them to dig. “I don’t need you to get Jemmy,” he hisses.
The whore has come back in with tea. Bonnet grabs Brianna by the throat and tells her he will show her what she is missing. He goes over to the other woman, and takes her violently and loudly, while Brianna hides in the next room, her own breath catching in her throat as she begins to panic. She knows what danger she is in.
The deed done, the whore offers Bonnet a deal: for a few extra pennies, he can watch the two women together. But Bonnet now refers to Brianna as “that one” and announces that she will not be enjoying herself that day. He goes to fetch payment for the woman’s services, telling her not to let Brianna out of her sight.
Left alone, Brianna asks the whore a lot of questions, which she answers in quick succession. The name of the island they are on is Ocracoke, she knows Bonnet well and he sends for her when the fancy takes him, although this is the first time he has ever wanted to have two girls together, or to have someone watch. She asks if the act was to Brianna’s liking.
Brianna replies that she is being held against her will, but the whore tells her that Bonnet is a man who gets what he wants and that she shouldn’t cross him. Brianna asks the woman’s name. “They call me Eppie,” the woman replies. Brianna tells Eppie that she needs to get away, but the woman says that Bonnet will tire of her in a few days. When Brianna says that it isn’t what Bonnet wants from her, Eppie asks if it is money.
Taking the wedding ring from her finger, Brianna offers it to Eppie. It is an eerie parallel to her first Bonnet encounter. It was Claire’s wedding ring that had seen her raped; it is her own that she is now using to try and buy her freedom. She wants Eppie to take the ring in return for getting a message to Roger and Jamie in Wilmington. Eppie says that she would like to help, but that Bonnet is a fair man, as long as people agree with his interests. Otherwise, there is no warning and people end up breathing blood, if they are still breathing at all. Eppie offers Brianna advice instead: to mind her tongue and all will be well. Brianna begs, but her pleas are cut off by Bonnet’s return. He throws a bag of coins to Eppie and she leaves. Bonnet looks at Brianna for a moment before locking her in.
Back in Wilmington, Roger has his hands around Phillip Wylie’s throat, while Jamie and Ian stand nearby. Wylie wants to know why Roger is accosting him in the street and Roger demands to know where Bonnet is. Jamie and Roger are playing “good cop bad cop” - while Roger is aggressive, Jamie stands calmly by, asking if Wylie had given them up, or told Bonnet it was Jamie who had wanted to see him. Wylie denies knowing where Bonnet is, saying that Bonnet only keeps his goods at Wylie’s Landing and that he had arranged for the meeting there. Roger slams Wylie against the wall once again, as Jamie asks where Bonnet’s ship makes berth. Wylie claims not to know, adding that if he did, he would tell them. Bonnet has made his life a misery too, blackmailing him. Jamie makes a show of handing a knife over to Roger and Roger immediately puts it under Wylie’s chin.
This makes Wylie panic. He tells them about the brothel that Bonnet frequents, a place known as Mistress Sylvie’s. Wylie assures them that someone there will know Bonnet, as the man is a creature of habit.
“Then make yourself scarce, Mr Wylie,” Jamie whispers.
“Without a shadow of a doubt,” Wylie replies. Roger releases him and he runs off.
Jamie tells Roger and Ian to stay at the tavern, in case Bonnet comes looking for them. Meanwhile, he and Claire will pay a visit to Mistress Sylvie’s.
Forbes has arrived at River Run. Inside, Duncan is fussing, which is annoying Jocasta. Duncan tells Ulysses to get some cakes, but Jocasta immediately contradicts this suggestion, saying that it is a business meeting, not pleasure. Next, Duncan attempts to put a pillow behind Jocasta’s back. She tells him that she is not an invalid and he expresses concern at the headaches she has been suffering from. Softening somewhat, she takes his hand and tells him that she has been looking forward to the meeting. Duncan replies that she has his blessing to do as she wishes.
Ulysses formally announces Forbes, who hands his cane and hat to Ulysses without looking at him. His entire demeanour has changed from the last time he was at River Run. There is an arrogance to him now, one that Ulysses registers immediately. As Duncan and Ulysses depart, the latter states that he will see to it that they are not disturbed.
Forbes sits on the couch opposite Jocasta, casual and dismissive in his demeanour, asking what he can do for her. Jocasta tells him of Jamie’s recent visit and the news that Ian has returned from the Mohawk. Forbes feigns interest, as he runs his fingers over the embroidery on the couch. It is clear that he is thinking ahead to what Bonnet has promised. Jocasta continues with the news that Marsali has had another child, before coming to the point. She and Duncan are very comfortable, she tells him and will remain so for the rest of their days, so since they can’t take their earthly belongings with them, she wants to bestow gifts upon her family.
This gets Forbes’ attention. He sits upright on the couch. “Gifts?” he asks pointedly. “What kind of gifts?”
“My fortune,” Jocasta replies.
Jamie and Claire enter Mistress Sylvie’s. The madam’s response is a similar one to when Jamie brought Claire to Madam Jeanne’s when she first returned: suspicion and discomfort. It is unusual, Sylvie says, to have husband and wife visit. Claire explains the reason: they are not there for pleasure, she says, but they wish to speak to the girls. Sylvie says it will cost ten shillings for the inconvenience, leading Claire to ask what price she places on a girl’s life. Sylvie asks if Claire is threatening her, so Claire explains further. The mention of Bonnet’s name gets a definite reaction from all the women, including Eppie, who has returned from Ocracoke.
Jocasta directs Forbes to the paper and writing implements on the table and begins to dictate her requests. The first is a gift of £100 to Marsali and Fergus. Forbes brands the gift as generous and in clipped tones, asks if Duncan is amenable to the arrangement. Jocasta assures him that he is and continues her list: £50 to Germaine and Joanie, plus £20 to Felicité and £20 more for luck. Forbes has stopped writing and is eyeing Jocasta incredulously. She seems to sense this, asking Forbes if he is recording her wishes.
“Of course,” he replies, dipping the quill into the ink. “Every word.”
Jocasta continues: £200 to Ian to get him on his feet.
Forbes is quite rude in tone now, commenting that the gift is astonishing given that she hardly knows Ian, adding that the young man has been living with the Indians. He emphasises this word, clearly expressing his disapproval. Jocasta replies that Ian is still kin. Forbes says that she is diminishing Jeremiah’s inheritance, but Jocasta quotes that it is better to give than to receive. On hearing that Jocasta wishes to give a sizeable sum of £1000 pounds to Brianna and Roger, Forbes stands, and begins to pace around the room, commenting that Brianna and Roger will be quite comfortable. Jocasta picks up on this, saying that she had hoped that it would be him that Brianna chose, but that it is all water under the bridge now.
It is the news that Jocasta plans to give Lizzie money too that is the final straw.
“The servant?” he says.
Jocasta replies that she is a poor sweet thing and suggests £25.
“No!” Forbes says.
Jocasta asks what the matter is, and Forbes walks around behind her.
“You can’t give away my money!” he hisses.
Jocasta is stunned. “Your money?” she asks.
“You’ve left me no choice,” Forbes replies. He picks up the cushion from behinds Jocasta’s back and places it over her face as he attempts to suffocate her, all the while berating her for robbing him of his dignity. Jocasta struggles, knocking over the table with the bell on it that is used to summon Ulysses. He appears while Forbes is ranting and grabs the man by the neck. Lifting Forbes off the ground, Ulysses chokes him until his neck breaks and lays his lifeless body on the floor. Immediately, Ulysses goes to Jocasta, trying to rouse her. He begins by calling her “mistress”, but as his anxiety grows, he hints at a closer relationship than just servant and mistress, referring to her for the first time as Jocasta. She opens her eyes and takes a ragged breath, as Ulysses takes her hand.
Eppie is denying knowledge of Bonnet. She walks away from Claire and Claire notices that she is limping. Ever the doctor, Claire diagnoses what is wrong: one of Eppie’s legs is shorter than the other causing her pain. Eppie asks if Claire is a conjure woman, but Claire says she is a healer and knows how to help. She takes a small pile of cards, placing it under the younger woman’s right heel and telling her that any half decent cobbler would be able to make a lift for Eppie’s shoes. At last we understand the significance of the title sequence of the episode. Eppie comments that she doesn’t have the money for fancy shoes, but Claire offers to make a contribution, telling Eppie pointedly that when someone is in need and you can help, you help. She pleads: saying that Bonnet has taken Brianna and she needs to bring her home. Eppie leans in, telling Claire that if Bonnet ever learned it was her who had helped, he would slit her throat. Claire promises that he will never find out and Eppie makes her decision. “You’ll need a boat,” she says.
Ian finds a boat, paying a local fisherman by giving the man the fancy clothes he had worn as Alexander Malcolm. In no time, Jamie, Roger, Claire and Ian are on their way. But it may be too late.
On Ocracoke, Bonnet pushes Brianna, now mere property, towards a man known as Captain Howard. Howard is a despicable creature, pawing at Brianna while Bonnet watches, complaining about the colour of her hair. He wants to examine her teeth and Brianna resists, until Bonnet forces her mouth open. Brianna responds by biting Howard’s finger. This earns her a punch to the stomach, again a parallel to when Randall punched Claire in the stomach back in season 1. Howard brands Brianna a wild bitch and goes to slap her, but Bonnet stops him, remarking that Brianna is “not his yet.” Howard offers Bonnet £6, in order to “break in a wild mare.” With a long cold stare at Brianna, Bonnet agrees, saying that Brianna will be Howard’s as soon as he sees the money. Howard tells Bonnet to follow him to the boat, where his servant holds the purse. Brianna pleads with Bonnet, begging him not to do this, as she can’t be parted from Jemmy. Chillingly, Bonnet replies that he will take care of the boy.
A bound Brianna is dragged towards the boat. But as the servant hands over the money, a shot rings out. Jamie, Roger, Claire and Ian have arrived, the latter doing the shooting. Brianna runs and Bonnet gives chase. On hearing Roger’s cry, Bonnet abandons the chase and runs. Claire and Jamie rush to Bree, telling her that she is safe, while Ian trains the rifle on Howard, who immediately surrenders, takes his other servant to the boat and leaves.
Roger is a man possessed. He catches up to Bonnet, punching and kicking him unconscious.
Shortly afterwards, the group looks down at Bonnet, who has been tied up. Roger and Ian wonder if Bonnet’s men will come for him, but Jamie doubts it. He tosses whisky down in front of Bonnet, who is regaining consciousness and suggests he takes a drop for his soul. Greedily, Bonnet crawls towards the liquor. Jamie stands over him, telling him that whatever happens, the last face he sees on the earth will not be that of a friend.
Brianna wants to take Bonnet to Wilmington, to be judged according to the law. Claire wonders if the law can be trusted, but Roger suggests Governor Tryon, the man who still owes them for his mistake at Alamance. Jamie agrees: Tryon will see Bonnet condemned.
And so he does. Bonnet’s fate is not hanging, as Roger’s had been. Instead, Bonnet has been sentenced to death by drowning. His nightmare is coming true. He has been tied to a post and left to wait there until the tide comes in and he screams in terror and frustration.
It is a sentence that has initially drawn quite a crowd. But as the hours pass, they leave and Bonnet is alone. He is panicking, trying to keep clear of the water, but it is no use. Suddenly, he sees a figure on the bank. A shot rings out, hitting Bonnet in the temple.
It is Brianna who has fired the rifle. She watches as Bonnet’s lifeless body sinks into the water, then hands the rifle behind her to a waiting Roger and begins to walk away. He calls her back, asking whether her action was one of mercy, or whether she had wanted to make sure Bonnet was dead. Brianna doesn’t answer.
This was a gripping episode, with stellar performances from all the main cast. As viewers, we are left with Roger’s unanswered question and are reminded of Brianna’s earlier declaration that often characters are motivated by love, money or revenge. Throughout the hour, Bonnet seemed to show elements of each. Other characters too, have been motivated by a mixture of emotions. Jocasta was motivated by love for her extended family, Duncan Innes by kindness, and Ulysses by his love for his mistress. Forbes was motivated by money and by wishing revenge on the woman who had embarrassed him. Claire has been motivated by love for Brianna and mercy for Eppie, as she sought to cure the discomfort the young woman had been experiencing. Jamie is motivated by family, seeking to protect them, but also to allow Roger to take the lead in the capture of Bonnet. Roger too, is drawn by the fierce desire to protect Bree and Jemmy, whilst taking revenge once and for all on the man who caused him and his family such pain. Finally, Brianna’s primary motivation is harder to quantify - and it is a fitting end that we are left to draw our own conclusions.
This recap was written by Susie Brown, a writer and teacher librarian who lives in Australia. She is motivated by her love of the amazing writing, acting and directing this season - and by Diana Gabaldon’s wonderful story. She can’t wait for the final two episodes.