Why Outlander Probably Isn't Making Brianna's Story Happier Anytime Soon

outlander season 4 brianna wilmington
(Image credit: Image courtesy of Starz)

The latest episode of Outlander was full of ups and downs for Brianna Randall. She started the episode by reuniting with and then marrying/handfasting Roger, who'd come to the past for the sole purpose of finding her. By the end, however, she had been brutally attacked and raped by none other than Stephen Bonnet. Unfortunately, the descriptions for the next couple of episodes combined with what goes down in the source material means her story probably isn't getting happier any time soon.

Light spoilers ahead for the next two episodes of Outlander.

In the next episode of Outlander, called "The Birds & The Bees," Brianna will struggle with the aftermath of her rape by Stephen Bonnet, but she does get a bit of good news when she discovers that Jamie and Claire happen to be in Wilmington at the same time as her. The big meeting of Jamie and his firstborn child will finally happen, and the family will return to Fraser's Ridge. There, although father and daughter will be able to bond, dark secrets emerge that "threaten to tear the Frasers apart," according to the episode description.

As if that's not enough, the subsequent episode will see Jamie and Claire keeping secrets from each other as they work to help Bree deal with what happened to her. As you might expect, the keeping of secrets will backfire and cause a larger rift in the family, and the episode description teases that a terrible misunderstanding will have "disastrous consequences for Roger."

Now, even if you're not somebody who read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander book saga and therefore don't know what goes down for Brianna in Drums of Autumn, these episode descriptions are enough to clue you in that she's not going to be able to bounce back into a happy state right off the bat. While she'll likely be pleased to meet Jamie and relieved to reunite with her mother, she went through too much too quickly to recover any time too soon.

If you are somebody who read the Outlander saga, however, you have a pretty good idea of what's in store for Brianna based on these episode descriptions. Warning: spoilers ahead for Diana Gabaldon's Drums of Autumn novel. Brianna will be forced to deal with more than just the emotional aftermath of her rape.

Showrunner Ronald D. Moore revealed way back in March that the rape scene had to happen because of how the rape impacts Brianna's arc in the overall narrative, and that can only refer to the fact that Bree in the book realizes that she's pregnant after Stephen Bonnet's assault. On the page, it's actually not immediately clear if Bonnet is the father, as the rape went down not too long after Brianna spent the night with Roger.

The show actually went even further than the book to suggest that there's no reason why Roger couldn't be the father, as his tryst with Bree took place mere hours before Bonnet raped her, and he didn't even attempt some measure of birth control, which he did in the book. Was it a good attempt in the book? Not really. But the show didn't even have him try.

outlander season 4 brianna randall wilmington starz

(Image credit: Image courtesy of Starz)

Whether or not Roger is the father of Bree's child on the show remains to be seen; what we can be reasonably confident of is that she is pregnant after the events of the latest episode. The reference to "dark secrets" in the description for the next episode indicates that at least one of the Frasers will find out what happened to Bree before they met in Wilmington. In Drums of Autumn, Claire found out the truth, and she agreed to keep Bree's secret from Jamie.

Brianna's trauma combined with the big secret would naturally upset the balance on Fraser's Ridge, and Bree and Claire may end up regretting the decision not to come clean to Jamie right off the bat. All signs seem to point toward Jamie's discovery and misunderstanding of what happened to Brianna backfiring rather spectacularly... on Roger in particular.

In the book, Lizzie believes that Roger attacked Brianna, and she tells Jamie as much after she and Bree arrive at Fraser's Ridge. Lizzie was spotted in the latest episode watching Roger fight with Bree, and she clearly was unsettled by the fact that Bree didn't return for quite a while after seemingly being dragged off by Roger. She didn't see Bonnet, so if Brianna doesn't reveal specifically what happened, Lizzie would jump to the conclusion that Roger attacked her.

Not known for a cool temper at the best of times, Jamie in Drums of Autumn didn't handle the "news" that Bree had been raped by Roger well, although he didn't know Roger as Roger, but rather as "MacKenzie." When Roger arrives at Fraser's Ridge in search of Bree, he first encounters Jamie and Young Ian instead, and they beat him to a pulp in retaliation for what they believe he did to Brianna. Roger is then handed over to a group of Native Americans, and they do not exactly treat Roger well.

I've suspected ever since the opening credits for Season 4 released that Roger would wind up as a prisoner of a group of Native Americans, and the episode descriptions combined with the events of Drums of Autumn definitely point toward Roger not exactly getting off to a strong start with his father-in-law.

Given how quickly Outlander has been tearing through the source material in Season 4, Roger's time with the Native Americans might not actually last all that long, although we'll have to wait and see. Brianna's life should get marginally less traumatic eventually if the show continues to follow the book, which sent Bree from Fraser's Ridge to River Run to spend her pregnancy in a safe place.

Brianna won't be thrilled with Jocasta's plantation for the same reasons as her mother, and she won't approve of Jocasta's plans for her pregnant great-niece, but Bree may well make an ally there who could help her out in some key ways. Stephen Bonnet likely isn't done in Season 4 either. Personally, part of me hopes that Outlander will diverge from Drums of Autumn enough to just let Brianna chill out and forget her circumstances for a little bit at some point. The poor woman just wanted to find and warn her parents!

Find out precisely what happens next for Brianna and her parents when Outlander airs "The Birds & The Bees" on Sunday, December 30 at 8 p.m. ET on Starz. For some additional viewing options in the not-too-distant future, check out our 2019 midseason TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).