#Outlander Season 4 Finale: Keeping Promises | nytimes.com

 

“Must you fight the same fight again? Do you not recall how it ends?”

In the season premiere of the Frasers’ American adventure, “Outlander” prompted big questions: Why bring Claire and Jamie to this place, at this moment in history? To what purpose did they cross the ocean into the tumult of colonial America?

The season has struggled to answer. For one thing, it spent more narrative energy on bringing familiar faces back into the Frasers’ circle than on giving those characters much to do. Some of those reunions were satisfying, as when Brianna joined her family through the stones. Some were convenient, as when Lord John moved in next door. And then there was Bonnet, whose ability to appear in every aspect of the Fraser story strained credulity.

All this busy work pushed some characters into the background. Take Ian — particularly noticeable this episode after he agreed to stay with the Mohawk in exchange for Roger. The show made time for a heart-wrenching goodbye, and the actors John Bell and Sam Heughan did a great job. But that moment brought into relief how scattered this season has been. And Claire’s darting in for a last-second goodbye reminded us that she was practically demoted to a supporting act for large stretches of this season.

That is even more unfortunate considering that when Claire was at the fore, it was usually during strained, and often failed, attempts to engage race issues. Slavery didn’t stop anyone from accepting hospitality at River Run — even Brianna. Jamie honored the Cherokee’s fight against land grabs, only to claim ten thousand acres. When the Cherokee were upset by that, Jamie won them over with a classic white-savior move.

Some beats — like this episode’s “Cowboys and Indians” opening vignette — suggest the show is aware of the fraught history here. But watching this episode, that’s hard to imagine.

In the Mohawk village, Claire discovers her necklace belonged to Otter Tooth, a fellow time traveler. He came back to warn the Mohawk against encroaching colonials. Many dismissed him, but some remembered his words a generation later: “You will be forgotten. The nations of the Iroquois will be no more. No one will tell your stories. Everything you are will be lost.”

Go through the stones to read more at the source: Outlander Season 4 Finale: Keeping Promises