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Outlander took a huge step forward in its latest episode when Brianna arrived in the past and kicked off her journey to find her parents and warn them. That journey involved a detour that ultimately took her to Lallybroch, where fans of Diana Gabaldon's book series likely expected her to pull out the pearls that had once been Claire's, and Ellen Fraser's before that. The pearls were nowhere to be seen, however, leading to the question of whether Bree had left them in the 20th century.
Outlander executive producer Maril Davis weighed in:
We actually had them in. There's a deleted scene that you'll see on the Sony DVDs that shows that we did use the pearls. It was a decision in the editing room. Certain people had questions about why she wouldn't use them. She could potentially buy passage if she lost her money. There were those of us who felt like she'd never obviously sell those pearls because they are sacred, but why wouldn't she have brought them out earlier? There was so many questions. Also, we left out the fight between Brianna and Laoghaire because it felt a little over the top. For those reasons, we decided not to include the pearls. I'm not sure if we'll use them later, though obviously she has them with her.
No need to worry! Brianna did not leave the pearls in the future when she traveled to the past, nor did she lose them or sell them off-screen. As somebody who read Drums of Autumn, I'm certainly glad Brianna wasn't seen selling the necklace after how meaningful they are to multiple characters. Maril Davis' comments to EW should reassure book fans and perhaps hint that the pearls will show up in the future. Just because the scene was deleted doesn't mean Bree doesn't have the pearls!
At least Laoghaire didn't get her hands on them! The pearls were quite relevant during Brianna's time at Lallybroch in Drums of Autumn. Brief spoilers for Drums of Autumn lie ahead. In the book, Brianna makes it to the Fraser home without too many complications, but she has to prove that she's Jamie's daughter. After all, although height and red hair may point toward a relation to Jamie, they are hardly irrefutable proof. When Brianna pulls out the pearls that passed through the Fraser family, it was enough proof for Jenny and Ian to accept her as family.
The pearls also resulted in some ugliness between Bree and Laoghaire, who is just about as unhinged on page as she is on the screen. Believing that she is owed the pearls as Jamie's wife who hasn't received the alimony she was owed, Laoghaire tried to snatch the pearls from Bree. She was unsuccessful, and Bree left Lallybroch with the pearls and a lot of help to continue her journey to find and warn her parents. End spoilers for Drums of Autumn.
On the show, the sequence of events progressed quite differently, largely thanks to the presence of Jenny Murray, a.k.a. Ellen's daughter and somebody who would definitely recognize the pearls as a family heirloom, in the book. Jenny was absent from the episode, and Ian revealed that she was off helping to deliver a baby. For Outlander fans who kept up with behind-the-scenes news, Jenny's absence wouldn't have come as a surprise.
Jenny is not present in Season 4 due to actress Laura Donnelly's other acting commitments as well as her pregnancy, so Outlander had to tweak Brianna's story as she made her way toward Lallybroch. Bree fell and injured her ankle almost immediately, and she collapsed in the woods before making it to safety. The good news is that Laoghaire, having no reason to believe Bree to be Jamie's daughter with Claire, didn't immediately go bonkers and accuse her of witchcraft. (That came later.)
Bree and Laoghaire actually got along well at first, with Laoghaire giving Bree food and clothing when she and her daughter weren't receiving the income they needed. Brianna and young Joan became fast friends as well, which ultimately may have saved Bree's life after Laoghaire discovered the identity of Bree's parents and decided that she was as much of a witch as her mother.
Naturally, since this is Laoghaire we're talking about, she locked Brianna in her room and began to rant about witchcraft. Things weren't looking too great for Bree until Joan took matters into her own hand, freeing her new friend and taking her to the safety of Lallybroch, where she encountered Ian.
Since this is Ian we're talking about, he immediately offered to help Brianna in her quest to find her parents, giving her money and directions to continue on her merry way to North Carolina. Thanks to Ian -- and inadvertently thanks to Laoghaire -- Bree secured passage on a ship that will take her to the American colonies.
In fact, she secured passage for two after a man pleaded with her to buy the contract of his indentured servant daughter before she could be sold to a man who intended to use her as a "concubine." So, Brianna and now Lizzie are on their way to North Carolina, and the journey will unfortunately take a terrible turn for Bree before she gets to meet her father for the first time. Roger won't have the easiest ride either.
The stakes for Brianna's journey feel higher than ever after the latest episode found a way to bring back Frank and fill in some blanks of Bree's history that hadn't yet been explained on the show. Although her story is soon to receive a tragic twist, at least we can almost certainly look forward to her crossing paths with a character who could very well receive his own spinoff, if all the stars align.
We'll have to wait and see. If the show continues to more or less follow the timeline of Drums of Autumn, I would put money on the terrible tragedy happening to Brianna in the next episode or two, so you may want to prepare yourself for something that will undoubtedly be difficult to watch thanks to new villain Stephen Bonnet, whose decision to toss people with smallpox overboard in the latest episode didn't exactly improve his character after his actions in the Season 4 premiere.
New episodes of Outlander air on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Starz. For more upcoming viewing options, check out our midseason TV premiere guide.