Outlander season 5, episode 4 recap: why Claire’s conversations about fertility are so important

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Following last week’s horror show (read all about it here), the fifth season of Outlander thankfully gets back on track in episode four. Here’s everything that happens in The Company We Keep, including some important conversations that Claire has about women’s fertility.

I think we can all agree that Outlander went a little rogue in last week’s Free Will. Without reliving the horrors that took place in the shack in the woods (remember those maggots?), the important thing to remember is that Claire and Jamie resumed their travels at the end of the episode with a baby whose mother deserted her.

So it comes as a welcome relief that episode four returns to normality – by which I mean, what’s considered normal for our favourite time-travel period drama (read: bonkers). Roger still refuses to stop singing, Claire is still adamant she can invent penicillin, and Jamie is still getting away with blatantly freeing prisoners. 

Let’s take a look at what happens in The Company We Keep.

Brianna is preparing to come face-to-face with Stephen, and it’s breaking our hearts

The episode starts so well for Brianna, who returns from a morning at the market with goods and full of cheer. For a brief moment, I expect her to burst into song. But, after learning that a strange Irishman has been giving coins to the local kids, Bree soon realises that Stephen Bonnet is lurking around. Her happiness soon turns to paranoia, especially when baby Jemmy goes missing, and is found outside on the porch. Oh Bree, we really hope Stephen gets his comeuppance soon.

And let’s just take a moment to commend Outlander for continuing to handle this storyline so well.

Jamie still really does not like Roger (HA!)

Oh Roger, this time travel malarkey really isn’t working out for you, is it love?

Serving as Jamie’s captain, Roger immediately manages to get the militia into a sticky situation thanks to a forbidden love triangle that one of his soldiers is involved in (long, slightly unnecessary story that we’ll explore a bit more in a moment). 

Thankfully, Jamie and Claire catch up with the militia to smooth everything out, which involves Jamie yet again freeing prisoners in plain sight and getting away with it. He is clearly as fed up with Roger and his singing – seriously, can someone shut him up? – as I am. In fact, he sends Roger back to Fraser’s Lodge with Claire (again, more on that in a minute) because he thinks he’s an absolutely useless captain.

Maybe it’s time to travel back to your time and try score that record deal you so obviously want, Roger?

Outlander: Claire
Outlander: Claire addresses the fact that she can probably no longer get pregnant again.

Claire talks fertility, and we’re still having these conversations today

Claire is absolutely smitten with baby Bonnie (great name), and Jamie is well aware of it. In fact, in a beautiful drunken, woodland scene, he asks if she wants to keep the baby, as they have never had the chance to raise a baby together and this is probably their last shot. But Claire decides to leave wee Bonnie with a young woman whose own baby just died.

It also turns out that some of Claire’s medical work has accidentally been published in the newspaper – and it includes tips on how to prevent getting pregnant, telling readers when they are most fertile. Does this mean that she’s about to introduce contraception to 18th century North Caroliners? 

And remember that love triangle I mentioned earlier? Well, what makes things so complicated is that the young woman involved, Alicia, is pregnant – and she is terrified of telling her parents. She even tries to shoot herself because she feels so ashamed. But Claire shows the young woman that she has a future with her child and helps her to escape her family. 

These conversations around fertility issues – Claire’s infertility because of her age, the miseducation of contraception, the stigma of some pregnancies – are important to notice, as they highlight how prevalent they still are today.  Women certainly didn’t have autonomy over their bodies back then, and they still don’t today.

Hot Scots: the episode’s most heart-racing moments

• Well duh, did you see Jamie doing that highland fling around the campfire?

• And shout out to Balfe’s producer credit in the opening titles – you go, sassenach! 

You can read all our Outlander news and recaps here.

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Images: Starz

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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