NOTE: This post contains spoilers for Outlander season 7 episode 3, “Death Be Not Proud”.
Following the explosion at Fraser’s Ridge, the heroes of Outlander must now find a way to move on. Outlander Season 7 is off to a strong start and while Bree and Roger are renewing with life in the 1970s, Claire and Jamie are considering going back to their roots. However, there are still some loose ends they must tie up.
What does Outlander now have in store for the Frasers? Let us find out by taking a closer look at “Death Be Not Proud”.
This new episode of Outlander brings us back to bonnie Scotland where Bree and Roger are visiting their old friend Fiona Graham Buchan in Inverness. Baby Mandy has apparently been seen by a doctor and is doing well. Fiona gives the Mackenzies a mysterious box addressed to their son Jemmy that was delivered at Reverend Wakefield’s old house and has been kept safe for them. When they open it, they find things like musket bullets but mostly letters from Claire and Jaime and upon reading one of them, they learn that the Frasers are alive and well in the past.
Indeed back in 1776, Claire and Jamie made it out of their house right before it blew up after Wendigo Donner dropped a lit match in a puddle of ether. However, and despite their best efforts, the Frasers could not save their home. Buckets of water were thrown at the fire but it spread too quickly around the house for anything to be done.
As Claire and Jaime watched the flames consume it, they observed that it was not january and that they were not dead, referring to the obituary that Bree had brought them when she decided to travel back in time in season 3 to alert them that they would die in a fire. “Bloody newspapers, never get anything right,” comments Claire while in the future, Roger concludes that by inventing matches at the Ridge, Bree is the one ultimately responsible for the house burning down but that it must be a different fire from the one mentioned in the newspaper. Indeed he thinks that if her parents survived this fire, then he and Bree did manage to change history and save Claire and Jamie.
Very few things survived the blaze at the Ridge, but Claire manages to recover one of her journals while Jamie finds his old kilt safely stored in a box. But something else wasn’t destroyed in the fire: William’s portrait that Lord John once gave Jamie. Ian finds it in the rubble and gives it to his uncle, revealing while he’s at it that he knows William is Jamie’s son.
He once saw William when he and Lord John visited Jamie at the Ridge and tells his uncle that “He reminded me of my mother, and you. He’s a Fraser, sure enough.” Jamie says William can never know about his true origins and Ian promises he will never tell a soul.
But family portraits are not the only things that survived the fire and Jamie recovers the gold bar that was in possession of the Bugs. He confronts Arch Bug about it, demanding an explanation that the old Scot is not inclined to give. The gold bar, however, is marked with a fleur-de-lys, a French symbol that indicates that this piece of gold is part of the lost gold that was sent by the French to the Jacobite cause to aid Charles Stuart’s rebellion, way back in Outlander’s second season.
Arch reluctantly admits that he was there when the gold arrived in Scotland, along with Dougal Mackenzie and Hector Cameron. But while he and Dougal took the gold back to their clans, Cameron flew with it to America where he used it to build the plantation at River Run. So when Arch visited River Run years later, he decided to take back the gold Cameron had stolen from Scotland. When Jamie asks where the rest of it is, Arch refuses to tell him, prompting Jamie to banish him and his wife Murdina from the Ridge.
Mistakes and promises
At night, Jamie and Young Ian spot Arch digging amongst the ashes of the Big House. Understanding this is where he hid the gold, Jamie calls after Bug, who turns around and fires his gun at him. Thinking only about protecting his uncle, Ian shoots an arrow at Bug, killing him instantly, only to realize as he looks at the body that it was in fact Mrs. Bug in disguise.
Ian is devastated. He never meant to kill Murdina, who he always liked and saw as a grandmother figure. Stricken by remorse, he tells Claire about wanting to find a way to make it right. Sometime later, after Mrs. Bug has been laid to rest at the graveyard, Ian goes up to Arch Bug and admits his responsibility in Murdina’s death, and offers the old man his life. Arch’s response is that it is too easy for Ian to die and tells him that he will return and enact his revenge when Ian has something worth taking, meaning someone he loves.
Days go by and the Frasers start thinking about rebuilding their house. No matter what happened, the Ridge is their home and Claire and Jamie have every intention of continuing their lives here. But before they can start making plans for their new house, there is something else Jamie would like to do. He tells Claire he has been thinking about his home in Scotland, Lallybroch, and about the promise he made to his sister Jenny (back in season 3) to bring Young Ian back to her safely. With the revolutionary war getting ever closer to them, Jamie feels like it is now or never, and admits he has another reason for not wanting to stick around while the conflict is going on: he promised himself he would not face his son William on the battlefield.
It is decided then, the Frasers and Young Ian are going back to the motherland. But before they start getting their affairs in order and preparing for their trip, Jamie tells Claire about a dream he had. In it, he saw Roger, Bree and the bairns, all safe and sound in the future. He even saw Fiona and caught a glimpse of Jemmy picking up a telephone. Is Jamie now somehow capable of seeing the future through some kind of magic connection he might have with his descendants? No one knows and frankly all that matters to Claire is to hear that her granddaughter is in good health and that her family is happy. She wishes she could phone them but accepts that letters will have to do.
Speaking of letters, Claire writes one to Brianna to tell her about their plan to return to Scotland and describes how they are preparing the Ridge for their departure. Continuing Claire’s letter, Jamie then tells his daughter about the Jacobite gold and explains what he did with it. He, Claire and Ian melted half of it (turning it into musket bullets, like the ones in the box they sent to Jemmy) and hid the rest in a cave that Jamie and wee Jemmy once found during one of their hunting trips. He therefore writes to Bree that should she ever need it, Jemmy will be able to tell her where the treasure is hidden.
Back in the future, reading this letter, Roger and Bree decipher Jamie’s message and understand he is referring to the lost Jacobite gold but since they don’t really need it and it’s said to be cursed, they decide not to ask Jemmy about its mysterious location… Although they are curious to know. Unwilling to read all the letters at once, Bree and Roger get to the rest once they are back in Boston, but before they leave Bree wants to show her husband something. She takes him to see Lallybroch and as they look around the place, they find out it is for sale. Looks like Boston will have to wait and that perhaps they might need that Jacobite gold after all…
Back at Fraser’s Ridge, Claire and Jamie are saying goodbye to Lizzy and the Beardsleys. It’s a bit much for the young woman after having also seen the Mackenzies off and she gets a bit emotional while Claire and Jamie promise to return. On the way out of the Ridge, Claire spots her cat, Adso, in the woods. The feline had been lost ever since the fire at the Big House and was presumed dead by some, so finding him is what also breaks Claire. As happy as she might be to go to Scotland and see Lallybroch again, she is also sad to be leaving the Ridge. She asks Jamie to reassure her that they will return, which he does. Then, looking into the eyes of her husband whom she heard pray one night that he was enough for her, Claire tells Jamie that he always will be.
Now Claire, Ian and Jamie are off to Scotland, but will they really make it back to Lallybroch? The trailer for Outlander’s seventh season has made a point of showing the Frasers fighting in the midst of the American Revolution. It is therefore highly unlikely that they’ll manage to avoid it and safely wait it out in bonnie Scotland after all.