For the first time this season we see Claire (Caitriona Balfe) in the 1960s multiple times in an episode. The flashback that opens Starz’s Outlander season five episode five shows Claire in church, praying. She reflects on putting her hopes and fears in the hands of a being she can’t see and on having her prayers answered.
We then catch up with Claire looking through a microscope and beaming with joy at having created penicillin. Marsali (Lauren Lyle) is equally ecstatic about the discovery which means they can now save lives of people who otherwise would have died.
Claire reflects on the passage of time as clips of scenes from various periods in her life parade by. It ends with Claire musing, “If time is anything akin to God, I suppose that memory must be the Devil.”
Once more to the ‘60s we go and Brianna (Sophie Skelton) meets her mom for lunch at college. Claire’s upset she lost a patient due to an allergic reaction to penicillin.
Up next is a sweet romantic scene of Roger (Richard Rankin) and Brianna in bed in their home on Fraser’s Ridge. Brianna praises Roger’s ability to get through to people and he jokes about establishing MacKenzie University. Surprised, Brianna actually thinks that’s a good idea. Roger, however, knows he needs to get back to the militia because he gave Jamie his word.
Speaking of Jamie (Sam Heughan), he catch up with him leading the militia into town. The locals mistake the militia for Regulators but after Jamie assures them they represent the King, the townsfolk welcome these visitors. Jamie asks for men to join them and doesn’t get any takers. Instead, they point out Redcoats are already in town taking advantage of their hospitality.
Jamie and Fergus (César Domboy) join Lt. Hamilton Knox (Michael D. Xavier) and his men already passing the time with drinks in a local establishment. Jamie orders up a cask of rum for his garrison and informs Knox he’s recruited 50 additional men. Knox has news of his own. Governor Tryon is going to pardon the leaders of the Regulators, but he didn’t reveal his motivations. Knox confesses he’s worried he might have killed the imprisoned Regulator for no good reason – if they’ll all to be pardoned.
Jamie counters with the declaration every man deserves a second chance.
Knox then reveals he’s about to receive a letter with information about Murtagh’s time in prison. He expects the letter will list other prisoners who served alongside Murtagh in Ardsmuir Prison. Jamie quickly figures out that means it would include the names of other prisoners now living in the colonies who might be hiding Murtagh.
Back at Fraser’s Ridge, Claire tests to make sure Keziah (Paul Gorman) isn’t allergic to penicillin. She remains worried because she’s aware the test isn’t always reliable. (She lost a patient who died due to a test that erroneously returned a negative response.) She explains everything she’s doing to Marsali, and Marsali watches like a good intern as she injects Keziah in the buttocks.
Next, Claire gives Keziah laudanum for pain and begins the operation. She promises to work quickly with Marsali’s assistance. She removes his tonsils and then cauterizes the tissue to stop the bleeding. It’s over in less than a minute!
Keziah confirms he’s all right and Claire calls him brave. He refuses to leave, even though he should be off to bed to recover because he wants to stay for Josiah’s surgery.
The scene shifts to Roger taking care of little Jemmy. He accidentally knocks a box from the mantel to the floor and discovers a diamond. It’s the same “rare beauty” Stephen Bonnet had when they bet against each other in a game of cards. Roger called him out as a cheater but immediately took it back when Stephen’s face darkened and the mood shifted from fun to threatening. Stephen reclaimed the gem – and the pot – after Roger backed down.
Brianna returns from looking for mushrooms and Roger immediately confronts her with the gem. She confirms it was Bonnet’s and explains she wanted to tell him about it but was afraid to upset him.
She received the gem from Bonnet when she went to watch him hang. While Bonnet was locked up in prison, she spoke with him and that’s when he gave her the diamond. Roger can’t believe she kept the gift, and Brianna says she only kept it for Jemmy. The gem will allow him to go through the stones. She believes it’s their ticket home.
Roger wonders why Bonnet would ever part with the diamond. Brianna, upset, confesses she told him Jemmy was his. She thought that would comfort him as he died to know he had something left in this world. She swears Roger was never meant to know this…and for good reason. She knew how much this would upset him.
“Words have consequences,” says a devastated Roger. Roger reminds Brianna she’s never said he was Jemmy’s father, yet he now knows she’s said it to Bonnet.
“I didn’t think I needed to,” replies a distraught Brianna.
Roger finally asks in her heart what she truly believes. She tears up but doesn’t respond. Hurt beyond words, he hands her the diamond and leaves.
Roger’s outside with his gun when he hears a noise. Fortunately, he realizes it’s Claire before pulling the trigger. Claire’s always a good sounding board for Roger and she reminds him marriages aren’t always easy. The discussion turns to her first marriage to Frank and she says they made it work for Brianna’s sake. Roger wonders if she ever regrets lying about Brianna’s real father for so long. She admits she doesn’t regret it because it was more important for Brianna to feel safe and loved by both parents.
Roger points out that by telling Brianna about Jamie it brought her closer to her daughter. He thinks that means honesty is the best policy. “Not always,” says Claire. “Sometimes the truth really does hurt.”
Brianna was angry when she learned the truth as a young adult, but she couldn’t have understood the truth as a child.
Claire warns Roger not to be careless with the time he has with Brianna.
Roger returns home with a peace offering of mushrooms for Brianna. She wants to explain but Roger quiets her, no longer needing Brianna to explain her actions. He apologizes but then realizes she’s worried about something else. With tears in her eyes she reveals Stephen Bonnet’s still alive. Roger had no idea and becomes upset all over again. Brianna then confesses Mrs. Bug said an Irishman approached her and spoke to Jemmy. She thinks that was Bonnet which means he’s nearby.
To make matters worse, she explains Lord John confirmed people have seen Bonnet in Wilmington.
Roger clasps Brianna’s hands and assures her it doesn’t matter. When they determine Jemmy can go through the stones, they’ll leave.
Back to Jamie we go and he’s still in town with Lt. Knox and his men. Word’s arrived about the pardon but now there’s a catch – every Regulator will be pardoned except Murtagh Fitzgibbons. The Governor wants to make an example of him and Lt. Knox will continue to lead the search for Murtagh with his men.
Later that evening over a friendly game of chess, Lt. Knox informs Jamie the militia will be disbanded; Jamie and his men can return home. Knox passes a list of pardons to Jamie to be delivered along the way home. The Governor wants Jamie, a Scot, to impress on the Regulators (who are mostly Scots) that he wants to be just and merciful.
Knox praises Jamie, telling him he’s the man he’d want next to him in battle. A knock interrupts their conversation and it’s the transcript of the Ardsmuir Prison roster from immediately after the battle of Culloden. Before Knox opens it, Jamie tells him he’ll find his name on the roster. Knox isn’t shocked since there must be many James Frasers in Scotland. Jamie agrees but drops a bombshell…there’s only one from Broch Tuarach.
Knox looks taken aback at that bit of news. He looks down the roster and discovers Murtagh Fitzgibbons has the Fraser surname. Jamie admits Murtagh is his godfather.
Dumbstruck, Knox asks, “What kind of deceitful devil wears the guise of honor and talks of justice and of mercy?”
It dawns on Knox that Jamie released the prisoners. He also realizes everything Jamie’s done is for Murtagh’s sake.
Jamie expresses his belief Murtagh is a good man. Knox doesn’t buy it and calls Jamie a traitor.
Angered, Jamie swears he’s no traitor. He says he’s cheated death “in the duty of other men’s ambitions” and has the scars to prove it. However, he refuses to watch his kin hunted like dogs for standing up for those who can’t protect themselves.
Knox pulls a knife, demanding Jamie stand down so that he can be placed under arrest. Jamie won’t allow himself to be taken away because his first oath is to his family. Knox thought Jamie was a good man but now feels he must be turned in. He threatens Jamie with the knife again as he demands to know which of them is actually a righteous man. “It can not be both,” says Knox while inching toward the door.
Jamie acts fast and grabs him before he can escape. He strangles Knox; he has no other choice. “Forgive me for not affording you a soldier’s death,” says Jamie to Knox’s lifeless body.
Jamie places Knox on his bed and shuts his eyes. He removes Knox’s uniform and covers him with a blanket. Jamie burns the transcript from the prison and then closes the fireplace vent. The cabin instantly fills with smoke.
Jamie sneaks out a back window after collecting his gun and the militia’s roster. An adorable grey kitten spots him and meows as the townsfolk notice the smoke from the fire. Men drag Knox from his home, unaware the lieutenant was murdered.
Jamie returns to Fraser’s Ridge and immediately falls into an embrace with his gorgeous wife. He pulls away, warning her to be careful. The reason for the embrace’s early end is revealed and it’s the cute kitten who greeted him in the alley!
Welcome to Outlander season five, Adso!
Jamie couldn’t possibly leave the poor little guy behind, explaining to Claire the kitten’s been surviving on insects and earthworms.
Jamie and Adso took an instant liking to each other. It doesn’t hurt that this tiny kitten looks like the one his mother had when he was a wee lad. Jamie’s even named the orphan kitty after his mom’s cat.
The episode ends with one final trip to the ‘60s. Claire asks Brianna to accompany her to London after her school’s out. Brianna’s shocked her mom’s willing to take time off from the hospital and wonders why London. Claire says it’s because Frank wanted to take her there before he died. Claire also confesses it’s important to her they spend this time together.
And now we learn the real reason we’ve seen Claire of the 1960s become attached to and then lose a patient to a penicillin allergy in flashbacks throughout this episode. She tells Jamie if it weren’t for that patient, Graham Menzies (not named after Tobias Menzies or Graham McTavish – the character first appeared in Diana Gabaldon’s third Outlander book, Voyager), she wouldn’t have taken a leave of absence from work and gone to London with Brianna. If they hadn’t gone to London, they never would have met Roger. And if that didn’t happen, they wouldn’t have found Jamie.
They kiss again and Claire says, “Welcome home, soldier.”
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