[This is not a spoiler-free review of the episode. If you have not seen the episode yet, read it at your own spoiler risk.]
Episode 706: “Where the Waters Meet”
Written by Sarah H. Haught, Directed by Tracey Deer
Outlander’s “Where the Waters Meet” picks up pretty much where “Singapore” left off in the case of every character’s storyline.
In the case of Jamie (Sam Heughan), Claire (Caitriona Balfe), and Ian (John Bell), they escaped the fall of Fort Ticonderoga to the British by canoe with the Hunters and civilians in tow. Unfortunately, it does not take long for Claire to get into trouble. After hearing the supposed Native Americans making a racket, the group gets off the roads. Later, we find out it is the British imitating the Native Americans to scare the rebels into showing themselves. Claire follows the hysterical Mrs. Raven into the woods, where Mrs. Raven kills herself rather than fall into the hands of the Native Americans. Unfortunately, the gunshot from Mrs. Raven draws the British soldiers to Claire’s location, where she is kidnapped and taken back to the Fort.
While Ian and Jamie are off trying to locate and kill some British soldiers, Denzel (Joey Phillips) finds and tells them that Claire has gone missing. They come upon the dead Mrs. Raven, and Ian is able to tell that someone was dragged off. A plan is hatched to get Claire back, and this time Ian has the upper hand on Jamie regarding who should rescue Claire.
As a resourceful and giving woman, Claire puts herself to work in the makeshift stockade (really more of a fenced-in yard), standing up for the prisoners and caring for the sick and injured. She meets Walter Woodcock (Tobi Bakare) again, who was removed from the medical area by the British. Unfortunately, he isn’t doing so well due to complications from his surgery.
While looking for more help for her patients, Claire runs into William (Charles Vandervaart), who has arrived at the Fort after departing from the company of the Hunters. William remembers Claire, and Claire finally sees the older William. This relationship brings good fortune to Claire’s patients and fellow prisoners, as well as a flask of brandy for herself.
When Ian arrives at the Fort under the guise of being a Mohawk British scout, he is able to locate his auntie, but not without William noticing his presence and that he is obviously related to Claire. Of course, William also owes Ian a debt, and letting him go with his aunt is him clearing that debt. Then there’s that pesky distraction that Jamie starts by launching fiery arrows into the Fort and causing a ruckus. Claire has somehow gotten herself out of trouble again because of her family.
When William arrived at the Fort, he was made aware of the plans of the British at the Fort, as well as meeting up with General Simon Fraser (Angus MacFadyen). He was also made aware by Captain Richardson (Ben Lambert) that the letters William lost were to spies working on the side of the rebels—sneaky, sneaky British.
The “past” side of things is headed toward Saratoga, and Jamie is being recruited for a sharpshooting team based on his skills behind a rifle. The problem is that William might be on the other side.
Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) are still existing in the “future.” Roger approaches the school administrator about the teacher’s conduct towards Jemmy. That discussion leads to an opportunity to teach the community about Gaelic, which Roger is keen to accept. After teaching this class, Roger finally meets Rob Cameron (Chris Fulton), who pushes Roger into inviting him for dinner. I’m sure Brianna will be pleased with this development. Because he was late leaving for this class, Brianna included Roger’s journal or book about their time-traveling experiences that he was working on with Reverend Wakefield’s old leaflets. Unfortunately, it was passed around the class and into Rob’s hands.
Brianna and Roger also discussed that weird forcefield Brianna encountered in the tunnel, and they determined on a map that it may be connected physically to another stone circle. (Cue the dun-dun-dun sound.)
Even more curious is how the episode ended with Roger encountering the supposed nuckelavee who was peering into his kitchen. After chasing and catching him, Roger immediately recognizes him. Unfortunately for non-book readers, this particular character may cause confusion because the show did not really plan out his casting very well. This man is the same one Roger encountered in season five before being hanged. It is none other than Buck Mackenzie who has been recast, with Diarmaid Murtagh playing his part now, taking over for Graham McTavish. The episode tried to end on a cliffhanger or “who the heck was that,” but the end credits ruined that plan…or if you read the books and knew they had already recast Buck.
This episode felt like filler again. Not a lot is happening, but the characters are meeting again or for the first time to move the story forward to a more meaningful or exciting point. We know a significant battle is coming in the next two episodes, and this episode is just pulling us toward that huge climax for this half of the season. By now, the audience knows they will not see Scotland in the next two episodes, even though Claire is still mentioning it. In Brianna and Roger’s time, Rob Cameron is becoming a sketchy character, and we have Buck reentering the Outlander-verse, but he is out of his time. It was nice to see Richard Rankin back in a kilt and using his singing voice again, even if only briefly. I can remember when he was cast and everyone knowing that he was a great singer and how important that was to the Roger character. Suffice it to say, we have had to settle for less Roger singing, but at least it is still hinted at or shown from time to time. I think the audience’s excitement is building for these last two episodes of the first half of season seven, and I hope the show can pull off a meaningful, impactful end to this portion of the season.
THIS WEEK, FRIDAY, JULY 28, AT 8 PM ET: EPISODE 707: “A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR TIME-TRAVELERS”
Synopsis: “Jamie prepares to face British forces in battle. Roger and Brianna question Buck MacKenzie’s intentions in the 20th century. William fights in the First Battle of Saratoga.”