Warning: spoilers ahead for Episode 10 of Outlander Season 4, called “The Deep Heart’s Core.”
Outlander‘s fourth season hasn’t been easy on any of the characters, and poor Brianna Randall has had an especially difficult time. Although she was successful in her mission to travel back in time and warn her parents of their deaths, she was (seemingly) abandoned by Roger, raped by Stephen Bonnet, and left pregnant and uncertain of the father. In a cruel twist of fate, in the previous episode, Jamie beat Roger to a pulp when he arrived at Fraser’s Ridge, believing that Roger had raped Brianna.
Now, after the events of “The Deep Heart’s Core,” the odds are quite good that another person close to her will soon be gone, although not necessarily the one most viewers would expect. Let’s start with what happened in the episode.
It didn’t take too long for the terrible truth to come out about what Jamie and Young Ian had done to Roger. After Lizzie woke Brianna from a terrible nightmare in which she was being raped again by Bonnet, Lizzie tried to reassure her mistress that the man who attacked her was never going to be a threat again. Lizzie admitted that the man had arrived at Fraser’s Ridge, and she had identified him as Bree’s rapist to Jamie. Bree, knowing that Lizzie hadn’t seen her with Bonnet, connected the dots and confronted Jamie about what had happened.
Jamie and Young Ian had no choice but to come clean, although not without a bit of violence on Brianna’s part. Jamie admitted to beating Roger to within an inch of his life, as he was under the impression that Roger was the man who had raped her. Young Ian then sold Roger to a group of passing Mohawk, who exchanged a necklace for Roger. The ornament would come in handy in the search for Roger, according to Ian, yet Bree wasn’t thrilled to see what he received in exchange for her handfasted husband’s life. And things had been going so well with the cousins!
Furious and heartbroken, Bree demanded that they all immediately head out to retrieve Roger from the Mohawk, who already had a week’s lead on them. Given that the Mohawk who took Roger were likely heading for upstate New York in a journey that would take months, Jamie refused to allow Brianna to come along, as her pregnancy would complicate matters as they traveled. It was decided that Murtagh would take Bree and Lizzie to River Run for the duration of the pregnancy while Jamie, Claire, and Ian went after Roger.
Claire understandably wanted to stay with her daughter, but Bree — also understandably — didn’t trust Jamie and Ian with Roger, raising the valid point that Roger wouldn’t exactly view them as saviors when he saw them. The three set off in search of the Mohawk while the other trio headed for River Run.
Speaking of the Mohawk, Roger was not having an easy journey with them. With his hands bound and tied to the back of a horse, he was forced to trot after his captors day in and day out, already injured and clearly malnourished. Roger’s fellow captive died, leaving him alone with the Mohawk. He eventually was able to make a run for it, although not without throwing himself down a steep incline to get himself out of the rope in a move that likely seriously injured his arm. Oh, Roger.
The episode ended Roger’s story after he heard the buzzing that viewers undoubtedly recognized from the many instances of time travel at Craigh na Dun. He discovered another stone circle that would allow him to travel in time, and he’d managed to hold on to two jewels that would allow him to pass through. The episode concluded with Roger extending his hand toward the rock, almost touching it. Thanks for the cliffhanger, Outlander!
Now, on the one hand, “The Deep Heart’s Core” seems to indicate that Roger could be a character departing the series in the not-too-distant future. As sweet as Roger and Bree’s love story has been at times, could any of us really blame him for giving in and traveling back to his own time? He was bloody, beaten, bruised, and stuck in a place without allies and modern medicine. If he had a moment of weakness, surely he could return to the 20th century!
On the other hand, fans of the book series will have a different idea of what’s going down next and the character likely to depart. Spoilers ahead for the Drums of Autumn installment in the Outlander book saga. Assuming Season 4 continues to more or less follow the plot of Drums of Autumn, then Roger will not travel through the stones back to his own time, but that doesn’t mean the show isn’t likely losing a character very soon, considering how quickly Outlander is tearing through the source material!
In Drums of Autumn, Jamie, Young Ian, and Claire do manage to catch up to the Mohawk that nabbed Roger, and Roger himself had been recaptured. The Mohawk weren’t inclined to just hand over their prize, no matter how much the Frasers offered in exchange. They needed a person in exchange for a person, and Young Ian took it upon himself to volunteer to join the Mohawk, thus allowing Roger to return to Brianna. Ian was left behind with the Native Americans, and the rest returned.
Season 4 has already departed from the source material in some key ways, largely relating to a character who survived on the show rather than dying as he did in the books. Still, all signs point toward Outlander going through with the trade and swapping Young Ian for Roger with the Mohawk. Ian has proved himself friendly enough with the Native Americans, and he understands the Mohawk’s ways enough to use the ornament he’d been traded to find them.
Ian also clearly feels awful for his part in what happened to Roger, even if Jamie was the only one who actually struck any blows. His fondness for his cousin combined with his guilt over Roger’s fate could easily lead Show Ian to volunteer to join the Mohawk just as Book Ian did. If Young Ian does stay behind with the Mohawk, viewers will presumably lose him (and young actor John Bell) from the series, at least for the time being. We may want to prepare ourselves for a painful goodbye to Ian in the next episode.