‘The Birds & The Bees’

‘The Birds & The Bees’


The Birds & the Bees

Season 4

Episode 9

Editor’s Rating

3 stars

Photo: Aimee Spinks/© 2021 Starz Entertainment, LLC

If you thought Outlander might give us a short reprieve from the horrors of its last episode over this holiday weekend, well, you really don’t know Outlander, do you?

“The Birds & the Bees” picks up immediately after Bree’s attack last episode. Still shaking, she returns to her room where Lizzie sees Bree bloodied and bruised and puts it all together (although, remember, she still mistakenly thinks Roger is the bad guy here). Here’s the thing, fam: I know Lizzie means well, but she is totally that friend who won’t just drop it when you say you’re fine. Like, obviously, I’m not fine, but clearly I don’t want to talk about it right now. GET OFF MY BACK, CAROL. I’m sure the last thing Bree wants to do at the moment is get into bed with her brand-new indentured servant, so maybe stop trying to push her into talking, you know?

Thankfully, some good news finds its way to Brianna the next day. Okay, well, first she suffers some major heartbreak when she learns that Roger has set sail on the Gloriana after their huge fight. Of course, we know that he only left because Bonnet threatened to remove a limb or two from his body if he didn’t complete their job up in Philadelphia, but Bree thinks Roger has headed back to the stones, back to the 1970s, for good. But who even cares about that right now because Lizzie learns that Jamie and Claire are in Wilmington at this very moment. Brianna has found her parents! You guys, I’m already crying about it.

Brianna and Jamie meeting and Bree and Claire reuniting plays out a little differently in the novel, but the important parts are all there. Which, I guess, includes that the first time Bree sees her father, he’s peeing outside of a tavern — wholly unnecessary but also hilarious, so, sure. What really matters most, of course, is Jamie’s reaction to seeing his daughter for the first time. Oh, you guys, Sam Heughan nails this. (He’s tremendous in this episode, no?) Once his shock wears off and the tears show up, I mean, how do we even move on from this moment? It’s perfect.

But move on we must, because as emotional as Jamie is upon learning his daughter has time-traveled to see him, he is just as excited to be able to bring her to Claire. Our big ginger is right: That reunion is also wonderful. Bree doesn’t waste any time alerting her parents to their impending deaths (or the fact that Frank knew Claire would travel back to Jamie, which Claire takes in stride). The best part of this whole thing is that later when Jamie and Claire are chatting about the news, Claire calls it “disconcerting.” It feels like she’s underestimating the situation a little, until you remember all the wild shit Claire’s lived through, so a little obituary from the future is probably only disconcerting. Nevertheless, they decide that they should avoid being in the cabin on that date every year throughout the next decade. We’ll make it a holiday, Claire says. Oh, Claire, only you could turn “attempting to cheat death” into a vacation.

Bree also meets her cousin Young Ian, who decides within hours of meeting her to tell Bree the story of how Stephen Bonnet robbed them after Jamie helped him escape execution. Knowing all of this, she’s even more reluctant to tell her parents what happened to her — she knows that they’ll only blame themselves. Cousins, man.

All of that goes down and we still haven’t even gotten to Fraser’s Ridge! Things there are pretty great for a while. They’re taking in the views, poking fun at Jamie for now having two time-traveling women in his life (no seriously, the three of them are the cutest), even Murtagh — sweet, sweet Murtagh — is enjoying all this family time. I’m still tearing up thinking about him telling his godson that he deserves something good in his life. As nice as it is to see all the Frasers gathered around one table telling stories of Jamie’s youth, Bree’s transition in time isn’t completely smooth.

Aside from dealing with the trauma Bree’s trying to keep a secret from her parents, there is also the Frank Factor. Bree feels disloyal to Frank just being with Jamie, and Jamie is attempting to be sensitive to the situation (his speech about being grateful to Frank is very sweet) while also relishing however much time he has with his daughter. It’s a tricky dynamic! So Claire suggests the two go hunting (for bees!!!) together and get a little one-on-one-on-bee time.

What follows is an incredibly adorable excursion from which I’m still swooning. Jamie is moved to see Bree smile in her sleep! Jamie calls Bree his “darling” and his “blessing!” They talk in bee-hunting metaphors until finally ready to deal with the Frank of it all! It’s exactly what they needed. Jamie comes home really feeling the bittersweetness of the situation: He’s so excited that his daughter called him “Da,” but he’s already lamenting that eventually she’ll have to go back to her own time. A great day followed by a reminder that he was robbed of so much time with his children. If only they could just sit there eating fresh honey forever, you know? I’d watch that show!

Just as the Frasers are settling into their routine, things take a turn. God bless this show for that ridiculous shot of Bree staring at a mother bird feeding her baby birds because, like, WE GET IT, SHOW. Brianna is pregnant and Claire figures it out. After a hilarious fight about why Brianna didn’t pack condoms for her trip to the 1700s (moms are moms no matter the century), Bree confesses that it might not be Roger’s baby, and the truth (without naming Bonnet) comes spilling out. This is definitely Sam Heughan’s episode, but can we give it up for how incredible Caitriona Balfe is in this scene as Claire processes a whole slew of emotions at once?

Claire tells Jamie everything she knows about Brianna’s attack, and Jamie is rightly incensed. As the parents grapple with how to help their daughter, Claire finds the ring that Bonnet stole from her in Bree’s laundry, and because Claire is no dummy, she pieces it together. Brianna makes her mother promise not to tell Jamie — he’d be devastated by guilt and go after Bonnet. Claire’s like, “Oh ,yeah, you’re probably right,” so reluctantly agrees. This is a huge mistake.

Because who should appear traipsing through the woods near Fraser’s Ridge but Roger Wakefield, fresh from his trip to Philadelphia (where he took some gemstones as payment — which will probably be important later). And who should spot Roger first, but Lizzie and Ian on their way home from the mill. (Lizzie is sporting a big crush on Ian, and I think I’m here for this dork love?) This is a disaster! Lizzie tells Ian that Roger is the man who attacked Brianna and now it looks like he’s coming after her. They immediately alert Jamie. Once Lizzie swears that this is 100 percent the man, Jamie finds Roger and beats the living hell out of him. Lizzie ruins everything! After Roger is knocked unconscious, Jamie tosses him on his horse and tells Ian to get rid of him. Who knows what ridiculous idea Young Ian will come up with to do so, but you can bet there’s going to be some real family drama on Fraser’s Ridge very, very soon.

Can’t we just go back to the telling of stories and the eating of honey? It was so nice there.

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