Outlander Season 5 Episode 2 Recap: “Between Two Fires”

Outlander Season 5 Episode 2
Caitriona Balfe and Richard Rankin in ‘Outlander’ season 5 episode 2 (Photo Credit: Starz)

Tensions rise as Murtagh and his Regulators tar and feather a Justice of the Peace and his associates in Starz’s Outlander season five episode two. It’s a graphic, disturbing beginning to an episode that finds Jamie and Claire separated for the majority of its one-hour running time.

It’s obvious Brianna (Sophie Skelton) can’t get Stephen Bonnet out of her head as we find her sitting beneath a tree sketching a dark portrait of her rapist. She stops as a wagon races up with a sick man who needs immediate attention. The man struggles to breathe as Claire (Caitriona Balfe) examines his stomach. With a bevy of worried women watching her every move, Claire learns he’s ingested a toxic substance given to him to help purge his stomach.

To her shock, she learns he’s been given mercury!

There’s nothing she can do to save him and he takes his dying breath on her exam table.

Jamie (Sam Heughan) is apparently enduring an equally trying day as he travels with one of the Governor’s men, Lieutenant Hamilton Knox (Michael D. Xavier), searching for Murtagh. Knox has actually been sent to assess Jamie’s loyalty and honesty, and he finds Jamie worthy of trust. He congratulates Jamie on his ability to bring people together.

As they pass, settlers aren’t impressed with the line of Redcoats traveling through their lands. One even spits as the lieutenant tosses down some coins.

Jamie agrees with Lt. Knox that they’re the same in that they’re “united in their aim of offering protection to those they’re sworn to defend.” The lieutenant questions whether Jamie’s sympathetic to the Regulators, but mostly the talk is amicable… or at least as pleasant as possible, given the circumstances.

Word arrives regarding Murtagh’s recent raid and they take off to that settlement to calm the citizens with their presence.

Back at Fraser’s Ridge, Claire’s knee-deep in an autopsy when Brianna joins her. The new bride is sickened by the sight of the dead man’s opened chest, but Claire assures her it’s necessary to determine the cause of death. She’s confirmed his appendix burst and his wife hurried his death with her treatments. Claire agrees with Brianna that she needs to put the body back together so as not to alarm their fellow settlers.

Claire’s final words before Brianna hustles away: “It’s bad enough I’m fighting the disease; I’m also fighting the cure.”

Claire steps outside and notices how expertly Marsali (Lauren Lyle) butchers a deer. You can clearly see the wheels are spinning as Claire notes Marsali’s knifework.

The townsfolk are busy picking up broken items and tossing away burned wood as Jamie and the Redcoats arrive. Jamie spots Mr. Edmund Fanning (Samuel Collings), a friend of Governor Tryon, nursing an injury to his face. Fanning’s happy the Lt. Knox and his men have arrived, and he informs them the Regulators seized control of the courthouse and forced the judge to listen to their complaints. When he didn’t give them the justice they sought, they tarred and feathered men.

One of the men shows off his horrific wounds and says they did it because he enforced taxes they didn’t want to pay. Lt. Knox calls the Regulators cowardly dogs. Fanning’s house was ripped apart and he was forced to watch as the men were tortured. Three of the insurgents were captured but Murtagh isn’t among those arrested and set to hang.

Jamie asks to speak to the prisoners alone, but Lt. Knox wants to be involved. Jamie then asks to speak to the men first, Highlander to Highlander. He recognizes them and they him, and he asks if they’ve seen Murtagh. They think he’s a traitor and one says the men they tortured were thieves and extortionists. He declares they’ll bring down towns while they wage war.

Knox takes over the questioning and gets no further information. He draws his sword and demands they tell him the location of Murtagh Fitzgibbons. Ethan claims the name as his own, delivering his announcement by spitting in the lieutenant’s face. Knox stabs him and Jamie immediately pulls him away. “What have you done?! You executed a man without trial!” says an enraged Jamie.

When men from the town enter the room, Jamie covers for Knox and says it was done in self-defense.

Meanwhile, Brianna’s teaching Roger (Richard Rankin) how to shoot. He can’t believe he’s a captain in the militia and is practicing his aim by shooting at squirrels. He claims it’s like shooting at Tufty Fluffytail. Brianna’s never heard of such a thing and Roger explains Tufty is a squirrel who teaches children about road safety.

Roger’s fully aware Brianna’s just keeping him busy while the “real men” – his words – are away. Brianna protests, saying Roger’s been left behind to protect Fraser’s Ridge. Roger wonders if he’s protecting the Ridge from squirrels.

They have a sweet moment as Brianna holds Roger close while helping him aim at a tree. It’s broken up before it gets physical by a rafter of wild turkeys. Roger attempts to shoot one and misses, of course. Brianna doesn’t and Roger’s noticeably frustrated.

As they collect the dead turkey, Brianna addresses the elephant in the room. She asks if he wants to return to the ‘60s and Roger pauses before replying. He makes light of the question, saying he wants wee Jemmy to grow up with Tufty and his road safety club. Roger realizes Brianna doesn’t want to leave her parents and return through the stones.

Once more to Jamie we go and he’s a sympathetic ear to Lt. Knox as he grasps the magnitude of what’s he done. He never wanted to become that sort of man, and Jamie suggests he make amends. Jamie wants the others to get a fair trial, but Knox knows the other two men will be hung to help staunch the uprising. Knox finally concludes he gave the man a soldier’s death which was more than he deserved.

Jamie wonders if there’s any cause Knox would die for and he replies, “We’re here, aren’t we? To die for King and Country, for that is an oath we both have sworn.”

Claire approaches Marsali during the funeral for the unfortunate man who died of appendicitis/mercury poisoning. She’s noticed how well Marsali handles butchering deer and asks if she trusts her. She then takes Marsali into her operating room where the dead man is still on the table. Marsali’s shocked and wonders if Claire is in fact a witch.

Claire admits she and Roger filled the coffin with rocks. It was Claire’s idea so she could teach Marsali how to perform surgery on a cadaver. Claire truly believes she’s found herself the perfect apprentice.

Getting over her initial shock, Marsali begins to ask the right questions. Claire assures her after she’s done instructing Marsali, they’ll sew the body up and give it a proper burial.

Jamie sneaks back into the jail and the imprisoned men aren’t pleased to see him. They view him as a traitor even while Jamie protests and says he’s just trying to save all their lives. Jamie breaks the locks on their cells and before they escape, they reveal Murtagh was with them when they attacked the town.

Jamie warns them to tell Murtagh not to return because Knox has an army. The Regulators claim their own large army is made of men with nothing left to lose.

Outlander Season 5 Episode 2
Sam Heughan in ‘Outlander’ season 5 episode 2 (Photo Credit: Starz)

Hours later, the escape’s noticed and everyone assumes it was perpetrated by insurgents hiding in town. Jamie suggests this might put an end to the uprising now that all will know the punishment for rebellion is death.

Lt. Know doesn’t agree. He thinks war is inevitable. Knox and Jamie both recite the saying, “One man fighting for his home is worth 100 fighting for pay.”

Knox commands Jamie to get more men. He doesn’t think the men Jamie gathered on Fraser’s Ridge are enough. Jamie agrees to do so and Knox commands him to return with additional men as quickly as he can.

Claire listens to the women of the settlement discuss different illnesses and treatments. She attempts to warn them that the medicines they’re using are actually poisonous and may seem to temporarily help the problem but aren’t good in the long run. They just laugh at her and toss aside her explanations, sure that the nearest real doctor, Doctor Wilson, has given them the correct information. If the treatments Dr. Wilson prescribes are good enough for the King, then they should be good enough for their men.

Shortly thereafter, Claire begins work on a list of items not to give when someone’s injured or ill. Brianna questions her decision, wondering if they’ll equate her knowledge to that of Otter Tooth. Brianna doesn’t believe anyone will listen to her, but Claire has a solution. She’s going to write them as if they’re from Dr. Rawlings, the male doctor who used to own her medical kit.

After demonstrating what a poor shot he is, Roger sits down for an eye exam. Could bad vision explain his inability to kill squirrels? Claire thanks him for helping with the dead body and confirms Marsali is her new apprentice. “Apprentice under the root cellar…surely that’s a Nancy Drew novel begging to be written,” jokes Roger.

Claire declares his vision is just fine. Roger’s just a terrible shot, mostly because he doesn’t want to shoot any living thing. Talk turns to returning to the 1960s and family ties, and Claire reveals she loves them being there but hopes they’ll return through the stones.

“I’ll miss you all, terribly. But it’s safer in the future for all three of you,” says Claire, acknowledging she’s aware Roger feels the same way.

However, they’re both aware nothing has to be decided until Jemmy hears the stones.

The prisoners make it back to Murtagh and the Regulators and disclose details of what happened while they were being held. Murtagh decides to listen to Jamie and not return to that town. However, the newly freed men aren’t sure they can trust Murtagh’s judgement when it comes to his godson. He assures them he’ll be ready to fight against Jamie if it comes to that.

Murtagh refuses to allow them to believe Jamie stands with the Crown. “He stands with his people,” corrects Murtagh. “And I stand with mine.”

Claire’s spent the entire night backing bread so that she can make penicillin. Brianna doesn’t believe it’s possible, but Claire’s willing to do whatever she can to keep everyone healthy. She’s even sent Marsali after food scraps to find the right strain.

Brianna’s worried something bad will happen if Claire invents penicillin a hundred years before it was actually supposed to be discovered. Brianna warns it might mess with the space-time continuum and what Claire’s doing is playing god. Claire has the perfect comeback; she reminds Brianna that’s exactly what she did when she came through the stones to save her and Jamie.

Claire alters the future when she saves a patient. Jamie changes the future when he saves anyone in this time. Claire’s done with worrying about that and will do what she needs to do.

Roger sings Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World” (you know…the” Jeremiah was a bullfrong song”) to little Jemmy who seems happy enough listening to the peppy tune. Brianna walks up with laundry, complimenting Roger on his parenting skills.

Roger carries the basket inside while Brianna remains with the baby. He accidentally knocks over her sketchbook and sees the disturbing drawings of Bonnet. He returns outside after Brianna yells for him to come see Jemmy taking his very first steps, but his mood’s no longer light as he looks at his wife and child.

Speak of the devil, Stephen Bonnet makes his first appearance in season five as a member of the betting crowd cheering on two women fighting. He’s introduced around as someone who can discreetly get around the King’s levies. Bonnet gets in a fight with another man betting on the women after the man claims Bonnet knew one of the women and cheated.

They settle the argument with a sword fight and Bonnet easily wins. Instead of letting the man surrender, he slices his face much to the crowd’s dismay. When asked why he didn’t just kill the man, he says he’s setting a good example since he’s a father now. Damn, that man’s evil!