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8.5

Outlander Review: Tensions Erupt in the Devastating "Savages"

(Episode 4.05)

TV Reviews Outlander
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Watch our full video recap of this week’s Outlander in the clip below.

Outlander hits on some themes this week that speak to my roots. It actually ends traumatically, but we will get there.

Roger is dealing with the heartache of looking for Bree at Inverness. He finds where she had stayed, but not her. He only has a letter.

Meanwhile, back at the homestead… Miraculously, in the span of one episode, Jamie and Claire’s home is built, and it’s lovely. Better than the house Pa Ingalls built! It’s even trendy with those tobacco baskets hanging from the wall. Did Claire get decorating advice from Joanna Gaines?

But the family unit is going to split up to take care of business. Claire needs to help a German woman deliver a baby and Jamie needs to find some settlers for Fraser’s Ridge. He cannot take care of 10,000 acres alone.

Ian and Jamie head into town—three days’ journey away—to try to find people to come live on Fraser’s Ridge. 10,000 acres is a lot of land to be responsible for, not to mention pay taxes on. Imagine Jamie’s surprise when standing there in town is his godfather, Murtaugh.

Of all the bars in all the world…

Murtaugh came to the colonies as an indentured servant, but becomes a leader of men. However, even though Jamie is also a natural leader, he cannot get men to move to his land, because none of them want to pay the unfair taxes. In fact, most of them have already lost everything they had as landowners because of taxation. And it turns out that the Scotsman in charge of leading this band of would be rebels is none other than Murtaugh.

During Jamie’s trip, Claire helps deliver a baby for some German settlers, but while she’s there, the Cherokee come to get a drink of water and the German grandfather flips out. He brandishes his gun, the Cherokee get out their arrows, and Claire comes between them.

The Cherokee say, rightly, that the water belongs to no one.

Eventually, everyone stands down and Claire goes home… to an empty house.

She soon finds out that the baby has died, and the child’s mother and uncle. Only the grandparents remain. They get upset and blame the Cherokee for giving them the measles. Claire is left on edge, with no way to reach Jamie, sitting in the house and waiting to see if she will be attacked while the tensions between the Cherokee and German settlers grows to a fever pitch.

Eventually, the grandfather comes to let her know that everything is taken care of and gives her the scalp of her friend. It’s gruesome and devastating.

Claire essentially cremates the scalp in a box, and while that fire is going, the Cherokee exact their revenge by sending flaming arrows into the house.

It’s especially awful when the grandmother comes staggering out of the house and we see that she has been shot with one of the arrows—and then she ignites. The husband is just coming over the ridge to the home when he sees her, but it’s too late, and the Cherokee kill him with an arrow as well.

This is where the episode was really difficult for me to process. My own grandpa burned to death in a house fire. He got out, but it was too late.

Still, the hour does not leave us on that sad, eye-for-an-eye note. We see Murtaugh whistling “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” as he decides he will come at least for a visit to Fraser’s Ridge. And while Roger is heartbroken, we are given the promise of another reunion as Bree passes through the stones.

At the end of this episode, titled “Savages,” I was left feeling like everyone had acted like a savage. Maybe that was the point.


Keri is a professional chatterbox who loves watching TV & movies, reading about pop culture, and gawking at any craziness on the internet. You can follow Keri on Twitter.

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