Outlander Season 4 premiere recap: A dream for one is a nightmare for others

Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room
Photo credit: Outlander/Starz Image acquired via Starz Media Room /

Droughtlander is officially over. The Outlander Season 4 premiere aired today and it’s time to look at everything that happened.

The Outlander Season 4 premiere finally aired, bringing an end to Droughtlander. Claire and Jamie have started their new life in North Carolina but it certainly isn’t the dream they had hoped for.

I’ll admit now that there were parts of the episode that I didn’t like. I never expect any episode to be completely perfect but with how strong the Season 3 premiere was, I’d hoped that this one would be. While it was good to set up the next stage of the story, there were a few elements missing or some just didn’t work.

But enough of that, as I’ll get into them during the week. You’re here for the Outlander Season 4 premiere recap. Let’s delve in.

Saying goodbye and helping through memories

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The episode started with Hayes’ hanging. This certainly wasn’t a change from the books, and Jamie was there to say goodbye to his friend. At first, he was going to help get Hayes out but Hayes was ready to die — well, he didn’t want a friend hanging for the sake of him. All he wanted was a friendly face smiling at him as the last thing he saw.

That’s just what Jamie gave him. Once Hayes was hanged, Lesley caused a scene, which was enough to help other prisoners attempt to escape. One of those was Stephen Bonnet. Remember that name, it’s important later (you know, just in case you’ve not read the books and avoided all the news somehow).

When they realize that a priest won’t bury a convicted felon on consecrated ground without a bride (yeah, that’s moral), the group decide to dig a hole and bury him in a graveyard themselves. That’s when Young Ian has his flashes of his time with Geillis. Jamie understands PTSD and encourages Young Ian to open up to him to help with the memories.

With that over and the hole dug, the group returns to retrieve Hayes’ body to bury him. That’s when Stephen Bonnet makes himself known again. He wants to get out of dodge. Of course, the group don’t want to help at first but he plays the “friend of Hayes” card. They can’t exactly ask the dead body if Bonnet was really a friend so have to take this convict’s word for it.

Bonding with Bonnet

Lesley and Young Ian head off on their own, while Jamie and Claire agree to get Bonnet away to safety. They are stopped, but Bonnet is able to use a leg of venison to take the bayonet hit and gets away with just a graze.

While Claire tends to the graze, Bonnet notices the two rings. This should set off alarm bells, even if you don’t know what he’s capable of. There’s a lot of focus on rings in this episode and you know something will happen in the future.

As they talk, though, Bonnet brings up his fear of drowning. It further helps to bond and means Claire and Jamie open up a little more to him. The perfect con man, right?

By this point, it’s too late to get back to Wilmington, so Claire and Jamie set up camp for the night. In that moment, there’s a sexy love scene and the morning scene about a new world and the American dream follows. Jamie also learns what happens to the Native Americans.

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Watch Outlander with a FREE 7-day trial of Amazon Channels! /

Getting a buyer for the ruby

With Bonnet gone, the mission is back onto getting money to get back to Scotland. It’s not hard to find a buyer for the ruby at a dinner and soon enough they have plenty. However, Governor Tryon has an offer for Jamie. He can have land he in return for his service to the crown.

Claire knows they’ll end up on the wrong side of history, but the two decide to give the American dream a chance. Lesley wants to stay on, Fergus and Marsali will remain in Wilmington (because Marsali is pregnant — that didn’t take long!) and Young Ian wants to stay in America.

Jamie isn’t going to let that happen. Young Ian has more promise back in Scotland and he will return. I’m curious whether anyone has thought about Rollo, who was introduced in the episode when Young Ian won him with a roll of the dice.

Heading to River Run

Now that all that is settled, it’s time to get to River Run. On the way, Claire jumps to a conclusion of the black man steering the boat, sharing her disgusted opinion of slaves. It turns out the man isn’t a slave. After saving the life of his master, he became a free man. Now he works for his master out of choice. I’m glad that came up, because Claire sometimes really does get on her high horse without all the facts.

On the journey, Jamie gives Claire a gift. He bought her an apothecary set, which will become important later. For now, it opens the conversation of how Jamie wishes he could have given Claire more in their 24 years together. All she has is the ring and his mother’s pearls and the pearls are now with Brianna.

Another mention of the ring helps to set up the devastation at the end of the episode. With Ray Charles’ “America the Beautiful” playing in the background, the Frasers are attacked by Stephen Bonnet and his men. As Jamie is beaten up on the deck, Young Ian is knocked out and Lesley is killed below. Bonnet has Claire alone.

All he wants is her rings. As it looks like she’ll lose both, she quickly tries to swallow them both. Bonnet manages to get one: Jamie’s ring. This is the change from “Drums of Autumn” and one that will definitely work for the show. It was also clearly foreshadowed with so many mentions of the rings throughout the episode.

We’re left with Jamie stumbling back in to find the mess Bonnet has left behind. Claire spits out the one ring she kept and realizes that it’s Jamie’s she has lost.

Next. 25 best Claire and Jamie moments in Outlander so far. dark

What did you think of the Outlander Season 4 premiere? Did the music at the end work? What did you think of the change to the ring storyline? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c on STARZ.