TV Show Review

TV Review: OUTLANDER: Season 4, Episode 3: The False Bride [Showtime]

Sophie Skelton Richard Rankin Outlander The False Bride

Outlander The False Bride Review

Starz’s Outlander: Season 4, Episode 3: The False Bride is a transition episode not only between past and present but between situations and relationships as well.

The shifting between past and present landscapes in The False Bride is beautiful. The viewer is able to see the untouched landscape and how it is eventually industrialized and inhabited by descendants of Scotsmen that settle that area two hundred years earlier. The untouched frost is a remarkable sight when one keeps in mind the dichotomy between that and the land’s semi-treed future.

Watching Brianna make all of “the moves” on Roger during The False Bride is entertaining. What Brianna couldn’t know is that each act bolsters Roger’s resolve and confidence in his eventual proposal to her. By the time he asks his monumental question, he is virtually assured of the answer. The answer that he receives is so perplexing, given Brianna’s physical signals, Roger is flabbergasted. Brianna has been signaling her willingness to participate in a ceremony of sorts, but one completely out of Roger’s scope of martial imagination.

When Brianna Randall Fraser (Sophie Skelton) and Roger Wakefield (Richard Rankin) visit the Scottish festival, they both go into the festival with differing agendas. Roger aims to ossify his relationship with Brianna while Brianna wants Roger to partake in a seminal event in her life. Both fail to talk to the other before executing their romantic “operations” on the other. If they had, instead of just assuming because of their abundant amorous feelings for one another that everything will work out, their paths would have stayed aligned. Instead, fireworks of a different kind happen between them but no less powerful or impactful. It is startling watching a relationship rip itself apart because of a lack of preemptive conversation and misaligned expectations.

In this key moment, neither of them can see how much the other has come to mean to them, how special the other person sees them. Brianna Fraser holds Roger Wakefield in such high regard that she wants him to share in the loss of her virginity. For Roger’s part, he has corralled his hormones and natural instincts with Brianna, wanting her to be his wife, not just another girlfriend and/or sexual conquest. Love and affection prompt both of these decisions for Brianna and Roger. Dashed hopes and dreams cause them rage at each other and split.

When the ‘fantasy complexes’ that Brianna Fraser and Roger Wakefield have built around each other are dismantled, leaving only reality and what the other person is willing to offer i.e. love, Brianna and Roger may be drawn back to each other. When it comes down to it, each honors the other with a solemn gift and they will soon realize that (once the situation has settled). When that moment happens, they will seek each other out again.

The Scottish festival that Brianna Fraser and Roger Wakefield visit in The False Bride is as much an event for them as it is for the viewer. How many Scottish festivals has the majority of Outlander‘s viewers been to with the pomp and circumstance on display as the one Brianna and Roger visit? Cinematographer Stijn Van der Veken brings the viewer into the festival (the P.O.V. shots help with that), so that the viewer can feel a small percentage of what Brianna and Roger feel actually being there, taking in the smells, sounds, and atmosphere of the festival’s events.

James “Jamie” MacKenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and Dr. Claire Beauchamp Randall/Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) deciding to leave River Run in The False Bride is inevitable. There is no way either of them could countenance being the owner of slaves. Would Jamie Fraser have turned down Jocasta MacKenzie Cameron (Maria Doyle Kennedy)’s offer if he had never met Claire Fraser? It’s doubtful. Jamie, like Jocasta, is a creature of his time period and its sensibilities.

Also inevitable in The False Bride is Ian Murray, Jr. (John Bell)’s decision to stay in America and not return home. In America, Ian has adventure and new experiences around every corner. At home, all Ian has to look forward to is working the family farm and daily chores. Of course he choices America over Scotland. The question is, now that he has made his decision (after battering Jamie in the face with his own endeavors when he was Ian’s age), what will he do in America?

The ghost aspect of The False Bride became of interest at its conclusion. It’s the fact that the ghost is benevolent (leading Claire and Jamie back to each other) and that the skull of the ghost belongs to a traveler (presumably), like Claire Fraser, that intrigues. Who was the traveler? When did they travel back in time? How did they meet their end in that forest with the back of their head cleaved open? Like the bones found last season on Outlander, this skull is the beginning of another mystery. I hope it’s as rewarding.

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Rollo Tomasi

A college graduate who started,, and after attending an eCommerce class in Business School. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies. In addition to writing for FilmBook, ProMovieBlogger, and TrendingAwards, he also edits the copy published on the websites, manages their writing staff, back-end operations, site finances, social media accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions.

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