The Show-only Sassenach: ‘Outlander’ Episode 404 Review, “Common Ground”

**This is not a spoiler-free review of this episode. This is also a review from a non-reader and any comments revealing spoilers from the books will be deleted.**

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Episode 404: “Common Ground”

Written by Joy Blake, Directed by Ben Bolt

What a beary great episode y’all! (I’m sorry I had to make at least one pun. I had to.)

I just have this strange feeling we’ll be seeing more Native Americans in this episode.

Jamie is signing a grant for land from the governor! 10,000 acres of land from His Majesty. Governor Tryon offers lodging in Wilmington for Claire while Jamie builds Fraser’s Ridge. Jamie is like, “Do you realize how tough my wife is? I mean she says the son of a bitch three times before breakfast.”

The governor complains about how the colonists aren’t paying their taxes. I’m sure this won’t possibly lead to any conflict. It’s just a throwaway line, clearly.

They say the Highlander has many things in common with the Indian savage. Do you think it so?”

Marsali breaks my heart. I love Claire giving her advice to eat small meals even when she’s not hungry and even more importantly VALIDATING HER FEELINGS FOR WANTING TO SEE HER MOTHER.

Your mother did a fine job raising you. I’m sure you’ll do just as well.”

Jamie continues to shatter my already crushed heart by observing that Marsali is almost the same age as Brianna. Claire frets that she shouldn’t have left Brianna.

I held on to thoughts of your face, your words, your heart.”

Did anyone else get emotional when Jamie proudly said, “Our” daughter? Just me? I adore all of the sweet moments Jamie and Claire share in this episode.

Also the sexy ones.

Claire recites “My Country Tis of Thee.” Jamie seizes his inner American and starts getting Claire riled up with sexy thoughts when all of a sudden YOUNG IAN I LOVE YOU BUT WHY DID YOU HAVE TO COCK BLOCK THESE TWO, ALBEIT INNOCENTLY?

It’s been three episodes, Young Ian.

Rollo warns them that some Native Americans are behind them. Guys, you can’t speak dog?

Jamie bravely steps out in front of Claire and Young Ian to introduce himself to the people that probably rightfully own the land they’re building on.

Claire and Jamie’s cute beef jerky moment (“Damned it’s delicious” I love you so much Claire) is interrupted once again by Young Ian being followed by the Native Americans. The Natives (who are confirmed to be Cherokee) speak to them in their language, and nobody has any idea if they’re saying, “Hey best friends!” Or “Get off our lawn, you white idiots.”

On a random note, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Claire being badass handling that musket. Our Sassenach is not one to be messed with!



I WANNA KNOW MORE ABOUT BRIANNA’S BEST FRIEND GAYLE. I want to go to protests with you Gayle!


“Roger I can’t tell you how much this means to me.”

See the thing is I genuinely think Brianna knows she loves Roger. I believe our Ginger princess is scared to admit such a fact. She knows she can love him, but she’s not ready to match Rogers depths of happily-married-lots-of-kids love.

And you know what? I am so glad she still doesn’t back down on how she’s not ready.

I also want to wax poetic about the subtle feelings and looks of exasperation Brianna and Roger give throughout their phone call. The real conversation is the words they left unsaid. They’re dying to talk again, but they’re not at that point again just yet.

Well I guess I gotta go grade papers now or whatever it is I do at my actual job.”.

Claire suggests perhaps they should build their home somewhere else, but Jamie is deadset on Fraser’s Ridge.

If they mean to get rid of us, they’ll come.

Claire wonders if friendly ghost Indian was trying to warn them that something terrible happens at Fraser’s Ridge.

Jamie is still like, “That’s cute, we’re still living here.”

Claire wisely suggests they make a gesture of goodwill.

Someone took all of their meat! TURNS OUT TO BE A F***ING BEAR. Their poor horse is wounded.

John Quincy Meyers kindly gifts Jamie and co some meat to replace the food they lost. He warns Jamie not to continue building their cabin until they resolve the issue of appeasing the Cherokee. Meyers agrees to give the Native Americans tobacco he obtained from Jocasta on Jamie’s behalf.

Jamie and company are awakened once again by a strange bump in the night. Rollo discovers that poor John Quincy Meyers has been mauled, presumably by the bear. Claire goes into full doctor mode while Jamie chases after the bear.

Claire discovers a bite mark on poor Meyers that definitely is more human than a bear.

Jamie discovers this at the same time when a native wrapped in a bear pelt jumps him. The alternating cut between his fight with bear man and the Cherokee dancing in a spiritual circle did a great job of ramping up the tension of the scene.

Jamie eventually has no choice but to kill bear man. Bloodied and bruised, our valiant Scot returns the dead man to the Cherokee.

Did anyone else laugh when the Cherokee chief bluntly asked in English, “Did you kill him?”

I love the fact that they banished bear man for raping his wife. This episode does a great job of showing that even a forward-thinking man like Jamie has his prejudices, until the people he called savage previously show him that in some ways they are far more sophisticated than his white brethren. (I haven’t forgotten how poor Mary couldn’t report her rape that was awful.)

The Cherokee make their way to the Frasers’ home in progress. The chief of the Cherokee christens Jamie Bear Killer. The Cherokee and Fraser clan finally appear to have found common ground. (I see what you did with the title there Outlander writers!)

Claire connects with two of the Cherokee women. The elder had a dream about Claire that sounds quite like a prophecy.

She knows.

“When your hair is white as snow you will have knowledge beyond time.”

The two women gently insinuate that they know how Claire dies. Her death is entirely not her fault! You can tell Claire understands what they’re saying, but she doesn’t want to believe that they know how she dies. (Now you know how Black Jack Randall felt Claire!)

Roger, however, has the gift of 200 years of hindsight and the wonderfully astute Fiona. He attempts to pretend like Claire went to reunite with a lost love and she’s just like, “The hot Scot from the past right?”

Fiona shows Roger a DEVASTATING newspaper clipping announcing the deaths of Claire and Jamie by fire. Did someone tell them to die in a fire and they took it too literally?

Roger refuses to tell Brianna. Fiona disagrees. Is Brianna in Scotland because she found out about the death notice on her own? Will she and Roger reunite? Is it next week yet? (Also I am so glad JQM is okay.)

On a final note, Jamie carrying Claire across the threshold of the framework of their new cabin was the cherry on top of an episode full of cute couple moments.

This was an excellent episode. Everyone brought their A++ game, and it shows. Director Ben Bolt has delivered an excellent set of episodes and writer Joy Blake captured each character’s spirit effortlessly. Terry Dresbach’s costumes are gorgeous, and I love Claire’s colonial style!

Brianna is obviously going to travel back in time, but I honestly can’t fathom how she’ll accomplish the feat. Will she be able to travel through the stones due to having the blood of Claire Fraser running through her veins? What will Roger do???

I want to travel through the stones to see what happens next week! Who’s with me?

Until next time Outlander fans!


“Claire’s medical expertise proves invaluable for a family of German settlers, but she begins to fear for her life when tragedy strikes her patients’ household. Jamie and Young Ian travel to a nearby town to recruit settlers for Fraser’s Ridge, but find their progress hindered by a burgeoning political movement.”

Photos and clips are courtesy of Starz.