Coming off an episode spent focusing on Roger, Starz’s Outlander season five episode nine opens with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) examining Marsali (Lauren Lyle). She declares the baby’s heartbeat sounds strong and is perfectly positioned. Marsali admits she feels better knowing Claire will be there as her “ma,” not just her physician.
Roger (Richard Rankin) is gently stroking Brianna (Sophie Skelton) in bed but is interrupted by Jemmy’s enthusiastic cry of dada. They remain in bed, hugging and kissing as Jemmy bursts out with “shit!” Still enjoying each other’s company – and Roger’s ability to speak – Brianna thinks their son learned that particular word from Roger.
Jemmy’s interruption didn’t get them to spring from bed but a knock on the door by Jamie (Sam Heughan) accomplishes the feat. They hurriedly cover their nakedness as Jamie bursts in with news he’s seen signs of game. He finally notices they’re not dressed but asks for Brianna’s help anyway. She can’t, but she volunteers Roger in her place. Jamie, reluctantly, asks his son-in-law if he wants to accompany the men on the hunt.
Shortly thereafter, Jamie, Roger, Ian (John Bell), Fergus (César Domboy), and Josiah (Paul Gorman) trek through the woods in search of game. They spot something and Jamie splits the men up to continue hunting. Roger goes with Jamie and together they find a herd of buffalo. Jamie takes aim, fires, and then sends Roger after the fleeing herd. While he’s reloading, Jamie’s bitten by a venomous snake.
Jamie kills it and then immediately begins feeling the effects of the bite. Roger cuts the wound and drains the poison by sucking it out. Jamie, struggling mightily, manages to get to his feet and tells Roger to find the others. Roger collects the snake’s head before taking off.
Roger’s search for the others isn’t easy and he gets confused about which way to head. He stops to collect himself and fires off two shots to get his bearings. There’s no response.
Meanwhile, the men return without Jamie and Roger. They didn’t have any luck and report the buffalo moved off too quickly. Ian asks about Jamie’s success and Claire informs him Jamie and Roger haven’t come home from the hunt. Ian explains they got separated during the hunt and that they had traveled to the boundary of their land.
Roger returns to Jamie who’s managed to make a fire and is eating the snake. “Fair is fair,” he reports as Roger joins him. Roger explains he didn’t see any of the men and hopes they’ll see the smoke from their fire.
Jamie claims to be “well enough” but his lips are numb and he has pins and needles in his fingers. Jamie asks how they treated snakebites in Roger’s time and learns they used anti-venom injections. Roger suggests Jamie rest and says they’ll leave at first light. He then inspects Jamie’s wound and it’s not looking good.
Later in the night, Jamie asks Roger if he knows the Last Rites. Roger doesn’t and tries to convince Jamie he’s not dying. But Jamie is looking worse and is burning up. Roger again suggests Jamie get more rest.
Before he nods off, Jamie tells Roger he must (not should) kill Stephen Bonnet. If Jamie can’t, he needs to know Roger will do it. Roger admits that Brianna overheard them talking at the wedding and knows Stephen is alive. Jamie explains the plan he’s set up to get close to Stephen (via the sale of whiskey) and Roger confesses he’s not sure he’s capable of killing anyone.
Jamie reminds him his father fought in World War II. He also recalls all that Stephen has done to hurt his family, including attacking both Claire and Brianna. Jamie feels guilty for saving Bonnet from the gallows and believes killing him is his penance. He then notes the son must pay for the sins of the father and in this case, Roger is the son who needs to seek revenge.
Roger tries to joke about it being a weird time to get philosophical.
Jamie’s condition is worsening as he makes Roger promise to look after Claire and the Ridge. Again, Roger swears Jamie’s going to live and they don’t need to worry about any of this. But Jamie will not be dissuaded. He explains that they believe Bonnet will try to claim Jemmy is his son now that Jocasta has bequeathed River Run to him. Plus, Stephen will have witnesses come forward from the tavern who will say Brianna willingly slept with him.
Jamie notes it’s a fine line between a monster and a hero, and he says he’s happy Roger followed Brianna here.
“If you want me to face Bonnet, you’re going to have to teach me to fight,” says Roger.
Ian finds Jamie’s horse next to the house without Jamie in the early hours of the following morning.
Roger drags Jamie behind him on a makeshift sled as he tries to get his father-in-law home. Jamie’s weak but not so much so that he can’t joke about the rough ride. Roger admits he’s not sure they’re heading the right direction and Jamie asks him to stop. Roger describes the wind as blowing from the west, and Jamie says he needs to follow it home.
Jamie reveals he wants Claire to return home if he dies. He thinks they should all go if he dies, if Jemmy’s capable of going through the stones, because it’s not safe in these times. Jamie’s edging closer to death as he instructs Roger to tell Brianna he’s “glad of her” and to give his sword to Jemmy.
He passes out and Roger prays over his body asking God not to let Jamie die.
Roger watches the clouds and heads west, dragging an unconscious Jamie.
Ian and Fergus head out to find Jamie and Roger. Roger hears them call out but can’t yell back. Instead, he picks up a branch and beats it against a tree to make noise. It’s Rollo who’s first to discover Roger and Jamie, and Jamie’s immediately placed on a horse and brought straight to Claire.
She examines the wound and admits she’s never seen anything like it. (Surgeons don’t normally treat snakebites.) Jamie becomes concerned when she recalls watching an autopsy of a man bitten by a King Cobra.
Claire has Brianna watch over Jamie while she instructs Marsali to have everyone search for maggots to eat the dead flesh. (Umm, yeah, gross!) Claire admits it’s bad and Jamie’s body is going to have to fight off the poison. Marsali believes it’s a good sign he’s no longer vomiting and that he had enough of his senses about him to make snide remarks about Roger’s sled.
All of Fraser’s Ridge head to the woods to search for maggots.
Claire spends a quiet moment with Jamie and he’s worried. Normally if he was injured, she’d scold him. Now, she’s being sweet and loving. Her demeanor has him concerned he truly is dying.
She tries to scold him, telling him only one of them gets to be frightened at a time. It’s her turn now.
After she walks away, he spots a saw among her tools. He looks down and watches his toes move. Claire hurries back when Jamie makes a crashing noise. He’s grabbed the saw and declares he doesn’t want to live with half a leg. Claire believes if it’s a choice between his leg and dying, he needs to choose to lose the leg. Jamie’s not having it. He would rather die.
The battle of wills continues. She wants the saw back but he refuses to give it to her. He demands her word that if he can’t stop her from taking his limb, she will stop herself. He declares it’s his choice – not hers.
Brianna assures Roger he did everything he could. They continue their maggot search, but it’s obvious Roger’s upset. He then confesses Jamie wants him to kill Stephen Bonnet. He explains Jamie believes Stephen thinks he has the right to claim Jemmy as his son. They argue over whether people will agree Roger’s the father and he points out their wedding ceremony that was witnessed by hundreds came after Jemmy was born.
Josiah finds a dead rabbit being munched on by maggots. Congrats on the grisly find, Josiah!
Meanwhile, laundry is being taken down from the line when a buffalo wanders into the yard. Jemmy’s outside just feet from it as Brianna races outside to distract the creature. She waves her arms and attempts to draw its attention. It works and he charges after her, flinging her into the air.
Claire grabs a rifle but not before the buffalo’s rammed Brianna. Claire shoots and kills the buffalo and Brianna, surprisingly unhurt, jumps up and runs to Jemmy.
Jamie has pulled himself across the floor and onto the porch as Brianna and Claire comfort the child.
Back in bed, Claire scolds Jamie for moving. Marsali arrives with a bowl of maggots as Roger walks in and warns him the maggots will tickle but not hurt as they do their work.
The men get busy butchering the buffalo.
Brianna asks her mom to be honest, and Claire tells her daughter the infection in Jamie’s leg is bad. It’s too deep for the maggots. If only her needle hadn’t been stomped on, she’d be able to get penicillin into his bloodstream. Claire confesses the thought of removing Jamie’s leg makes her ill.
If the maggots don’t work, she’ll have to cut off his leg – even though he made her promise she wouldn’t. He might live but then he’ll always remember she didn’t keep her word and took his leg.
Roger’s on babysitting duty when Jamie asks to sleep in his own bed. Jamie’s looking like death eating a cracker and Roger agrees to help him to his bed. Ian lends a hand after seeing Roger struggle, but he’s concerned about his uncle not listening to Claire.
Jamie confides in Roger and Ian that Claire can only cure him by amputating his leg. He thinks he’d be no good without his leg, and Ian reminds him his father is missing a limb as is Fergus. Jamie thinks Ian’s dad and Fergus are more courageous than he is, but Ian points out it’s more about pride and stubbornness than courage.
Roger attempts to take his leave as Ian gives Jamie a verbal lashing, but Ian wants Roger to stay and hear him out. Ian says he ran away to be with his uncle who he really admired, but now he sees how courageous his father was – and is.
“I never thought I’d see the day I’d be ashamed of you, uncle,” says an emotional Ian.
Jamie’s clearly moved by Ian’s speech.
Claire finds Jamie in their bed and is understandably upset. Roger tries to explain but decides it’s best to just leave. (Smart decision, Roger!)
Jamie explains he wanted her to sleep with him, not in the surgery.
Ian visits Fergus and he’s got something on his mind. Fergus senses it but has to prompt Ian to spill the beans. Ian doesn’t want Fergus to visit Jamie right now and reveals Claire may have to amputate Jamie’s leg. Ian believes Fergus can take seeing Jamie but isn’t sure Jamie can take seeing Fergus right now.
“He’s stubborn. He doesn’t want to lose his leg. He’s acting like it’s the worst possible thing that can happen to a man. I didn’t want you to be upset,” admits Ian.
Fergus says in one stroke Jamie will be a man of leisure. He then reminds Ian they both need to be there for Jamie when he needs them.
Jamie wakes in the night and looks closer to death than before. He asks Claire to get beside him and she strokes his face. He’s sweating and pale, and says he feels like a pile of moldy crap with maggots. She asks if it hurts and he says no, he just feels tired.
He asks her not to leave him and Claire replies, “I could never leave you.”
Jamie’s struggling to hang on when he reveals he feels cold. He asks her to touch him (she already is) and he falls unconscious again. Claire becomes frantic and begs him to stay with her. She strips off her shirt and holds him tight to share her warmth.
Claire continues to tell him to stay with her as he exhales loudly. She kisses his face, relieved to have him back.
Early the next morning she wakes to find he’s already awake. He gives her back her word. When the time comes, she has his permission to amputate his leg.
Brianna and Roger are at home and he’s holding the severed head of the snake. He’s not sure why he grabbed it but felt compelled to do so. He thought maybe knowing the species would help. Brianna stops him from tossing it in the fire.
Marsali and Fergus are out with the kids when she goes into labor. There’s no time to fetch Claire and she holds Fergus’ hand as the pain intensifies.
Ian’s with Claire as she prepares for the amputation. Jamie wants Ian to take the leg and bury it somewhere but never tell him its location. Ian apologizes for his earlier comments, but Jamie admits they were warranted.
Jamie takes one last look down at his infected leg and says he’s ready. He holds Ian’s coat as Claire tries to steady her hand.
Brianna and Roger rush in and Brianna says, “Did you know that pit vipers have beautiful engineering?” (Earlier in the episode she and Claire discussed Brianna’s plans for the future, and Brianna was concerned she’d never put her interest in engineering to use.)
The fangs are hollow and Brianna’s made a syringe out of them. “Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!” says Claire, impressed with her daughter’s ingenuity.
Jamie had no idea Roger saved the snake’s head and Roger repeats Jamie’s words: “Fair’s fair.”
Claire and Brianna fill the makeshift syringe with penicillin and Claire injects it directly into Jamie’s infected leg. (The wound is disgusting looking.) Claire compliments her daughter on her beautiful engineering.
Marsali’s baby is healthy and they’ve named her Félicité.
Later, Roger points out to Jamie that he’s alive, and Jamie jokes he didn’t think Roger would be one to gloat. They tease each other and then Jamie assures Roger he doesn’t have to fulfill his dying wish. But Roger’s now decided he wants to be there when Jamie “meets” Stephen Bonnet.
Jamie’s on the mend and looking close to normal within days. He’s still weak though, and Claire acknowledges she knows Roger and Ian brought him to their bed to die. He admits dying wouldn’t have taken much effort. He remembers that when his heart was slowing and the pain was fading he saw a passageway. He could have gone through it but he didn’t want to. He realized it was his choice and chose to come back to Claire. She was the one thing that could bring him back.
She asks why he chose to stay and he says it’s because she needs him. He adds, “Whether I’m dead or you, whether we’re together or apart, I will always love you.”
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