And just like that, the future of the United States of America is secure (for a couple of hundred years, anyway), thanks in large part to none other than Jamie Fraser.
Would we have expected any less from our hero?
Outlander Season 7 Episode 8 wound down the first half of the season on that significant front, and it cued up expectations for the second half of the season.
We’ve come to an awkward part of Outlander where history and our story intersect to the point there isn’t much room for concern, even when characters’ lives are hanging in the balance.
That doesn’t even take into consideration that the material is relatively set in stone thanks to the incredible universe Diana Gabaldon created through her novels.
Sitting back and allowing the story to wash over you is wise in cases like these. But at the same time, episodes and seasons are crafted as if they want you on the edge of your seat, wondering what comes next.
With history and the internet at your fingertips, otherwise key moments can fall flat.
A case in point would be Claire’s fear over Jamie lying motionless on the battlefield, a woman and her son poised to take his life. That was never going to happen. It gave Caitriona Balfe a nice opportunity to strut her acting stuff, but other than that, we weren’t concerned that Jamie was in any real danger.
Similarly, the second battle of Saratoga moved mountains for the war effort. It was almost in the bag by the time that battle ended.
General Simon Fraser, an actual general in the British army, was slated to die, but connecting him to Jamie and showcasing what it’s like for those who left home far in the distance to fight wars or make new homes for themselves worked wonders for the story.
Once upon a time, wars were fought by gentlemen who understood that although they fought opposite their friends and family, there was still room for compassion and love in spite of it all.
It seems unlikely anybody in combat today experiences something similar. Let’s be real; people can’t even tolerate a difference of opinion any longer. Can you imagine taking up arms?
Jamie [in Gaelic]: How are you, cousin?
Simon [in Gaelic]: I have the devil of an indigestion. [in English] I must’ve eaten somthin’ that disagreed with me. This gladness to see you once more on this earth, [in Gaelic] Jamie, son of Brian.
Jamie [in Gaelic]: Simon, son of Simon. [in English] When last I saw you, we were lads, running after the older boys with shinty sticks taller than ourselves.
Jamie: Sorry it must come to this, away from Kent and away from Scotland.
Simon: I have kin with me now, and so I am content to die among my comrades.
Simon calling for Jamie and the two reconnecting when it mattered the most reminds us of the best humanity has to offer and suggests there is still room for us to swing wildly into a better future in the present.
Finishing out our part in the Revolutionary War also highlighted what an incredible young man Ian Fraser Murray has become despite the incredibly harsh moments he’s experienced since arriving in America.
His love and loyalty know no bounds, and his heart, while closed for too long after losing his child and wife, is open again to all the possibilities of life.
Ian was essential on the battlefield to secure American history, and his fearlessness saved many allies’ lives, most notably his beloved uncle’s.
With his heart once again open for business, he really has something to fight for now, and there’s no stopping him now.
Falling in love with someone who looks like Ian isn’t what a respectable young woman should do, but it’s not stopping Rachel from falling hard for the enigmatic young man.
I think it’s best if ye dinna touch me, ‘cause if you do, I’ll take ye, here and now, and then it’s too late for us both.
Ian is at once drawn to her and repulsed by what his connection to her could mean.
His heart is open, sure, but in the forefront of his mind stands Mr. Bug and his promise to retaliate for his wife’s death by ensuring Ian feels the same pain.
When Ian was overcome with desire, standing nose-to-nose with Rachel, he shared that they shouldn’t be together and the fear driving that thought, but he didn’t share why he had it.
We really need to discuss how these close calls continue happening with land as expansive as America.
On Outlander Season 10 Episode 4, Ian came across a wounded William meandering through a swamp. Now, Mr. Bug comes face to face with Rachel and Rollo on a wooded path. For storyline purposes, putting people together in this manner works.
But from a realistic perspective, the odds of it occurring seem worse than pinpointing where you’re going as you step through the stones. I understand the reason for it, but every time it happens, I feel a little embarrassed that it is actually happening.
It’s a reminder that Outlander is, at heart, a romance novel, and you have to take a lot of what happens in the medium with a grain of salt.
Generally, it was just too convenient.
Ian wanted to keep a promise by returning to Scotland, but he was supposedly concerned about opening up to love again, and Mr. Bug wasn’t far from his mind.
It’s almost cruel that Bug would show up to threaten Rachel so soon after their ship set sail. Realistically speaking, by the time Ian gets word that Bug is in the vicinity, Rachel would be dead, except for the fact Bug would probably hold any nefarious actions until Ian returned just to watch him squirm.
Mr. Bug’s unwelcome presence so soon after Ian departed suggests that his Scotland trip will be short-lived.
Before “Turning Points” ended, Jamie, Claire, and Ian had reached the shores of Scotland. What comes next for them will do so on Jamie’s old stomping grounds.
In contrast, Roger and Buck will be right back where that trio just left, as they stepped through the stones to rescue Jemmy from the maniacal Rob Cameron.
There was so little heed paid to that segment of the story that I would have preferred not to visit it at all in the midseason finale and to hold it entirely for the midseason premiere.
We didn’t learn anything we didn’t already know, so the two scenes felt shoehorned into an otherwise beautifully packed closing chapter on the Revolutionary War.
There were a couple war related oddities.
The pivot from a rousing commander’s speech to the second battle of Saratoga was awkwardly edited. For a second, I thought Jamie was having a dream. He and Claire had just discussed Benedict Arnold, and his placement in the battle scene felt surreal.
Adding real people to this reel life has always worked well, but Benedict’s inclusion felt off, especially since they were giving him a pass for his traitorous behavior by revealing what a great guy he was and his whiny sadness at being passed over for promotion and whatnot as a reason for that behavior.
It’s very likely that he was a great guy. But nobody has a definitive answer on why he defected, with theories ranging from greed to anger at authority figures to just not wanting to be free of Britain.
None of it paints a rosier picture of the man and his actions, and trying to do so here wasn’t necessary or warranted.
“Turning Points” wasn’t a bad midseason finale, but it wasn’t stellar, either. Even without dissecting it as I did above, it just wasn’t inspired.
Maybe you disagree. Maybe you loved it and find Outlander’s direction to be on par with the series ending in a mere 16 episodes.
I’ll never know if you don’t hit the comments below and share your thoughts.
I’m always willing to consider differing viewpoints. Maybe you can sell me on why it worked!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.