Outlander recap: Every time we say goodbye...
With the end of season 5 fast approaching, time moves quickly on Outlander now, taking us to the Autumn of 1772. The Frasers are returning from a shopping trip to William’s Creek, where Claire has bought peanuts to attempt making her own peanut butter (and I thought driving a half mile to Trader Joe’s was annoying).
They come upon a charred cabin, full of burned bodies. Jamie says that the residents of the house were dead before the fire started. While searching for survivors, Roger finds a badly burned child, who is barely clinging to life and in extreme pain. Jamie comes over and intimates that they should put the person out of their misery, which Roger takes into his own hands, smothering her with a cloth. Jamie says a prayer for the dead, while Roger watches the life seep out of her.
Now back on the Ridge, Ian plays with Jemmy and Otter Tooth’s opal, while the family does chores. Jem says the stone is hot, which confuses Ian because to him it feels cool. Suddenly, it breaks apart in Jemmy’s hand and Claire, Roger, and Bree can all hear the distinctive sound of the stones. To Jamie and Ian, the stone feels cold. But this is definitive proof that Jem can travel through the stones, meaning Bree and Roger can return to the future.
The discovery is interrupted by the Browns and a group of rough looking men. They come asking Jamie to join their newly formed Committee of Safety to help protect colonists. Jamie isn’t so hot on the idea, and Ian is irritated at the men for accusing local tribes for the string of burnt cabins and deaths. Claire treats Lionel for an infected wound on his leg, and they warily send the Browns away promising to think about their request.
Later, Claire tells Jamie that Bree promised Roger they’d return to the future if Jem could travel. But they can’t get too far into the conversation because Ian comes in demanding to know what was up with the opal and Jemmy? Ian gives Otter Tooth’s diary to Jamie and Claire, and Claire realizes it was written in ballpoint pen. It recounts Otter Tooth’s inability to discover where exactly in time he had ended up.
Claire tells Ian the truth – that she, Roger, and Brianna are all from 200 years in the future. Ian takes it surprisingly well, admitting he always thought Claire might be a faerie.
After killing Gerald Forbes in self-defense to protect Jocasta, Ulysses is hiding out in a shed on the Ridge. Claire and Jamie go to visit him and warn him about the roaming Committee of Safety. They also bring him a book to pass the time. Ulysses knows that no one will pardon him for killing a white man, even if he did it to save Jocasta’s life. They debate where he should go to be safe, and Ulysses reveals he is a free man and has had manumission papers since just after Hector Cameron died. But he chose not to leave Jocasta.
I could rant about how problematic it is to perpetuate this myth that some slaves were so happy with their lot in life, they chose to stay with their masters even after being freed (it’s a bill of goods we’ve been sold before in movies like Gone With the Wind and Song of the South), but I’ll leave it at pointing out how frustrating it is and move on.
Back at their cabin, Roger and Bree debate what might’ve caused Jemmy to shatter the opal. Bree wonders if Jem is extra sensitive since both of his parents are time travelers, thereby potentially providing definitive proof that he is Roger’s biological son. Roger says all he’s ever wanted was for them to be a family and be safe, and in the future, they will be safer. Not only that, but they’re all living a life they were never meant to. Bree agrees, but she says they have to figure out a story to tell others on the Ridge and have time to say a proper goodbye to everyone. They decide to say Roger got a job at a university in Boston to stay as close to the truth as possible.
Down at the river, Ian discusses Bree’s decision, and she explains that the oncoming war is part of why they’re leaving. But Ian asks about whether or not they could stay and change things. He remembers that Claire and Jamie tried to stop Charles Stuart. Claire explains that they weren’t able to stop the course of events and Culloden from happening, but they did save some men at Lallybroch.
Ian wonders if traveling to the past might grant someone the chance to change things between a man and a woman. He begs Claire to take him through the stones, but she explains to him that he can’t time travel. It's simply not possible. They push him, asking if this has something to do with why he left his tribe, but he won’t answer.
Lord John comes to visit and tells Jamie it is time for him to return to England. Lord Dunsany has died, making William the ninth earl as soon as he comes of age. He has to return to make arrangements for the estate and prepare William for his position. He promises they’ll return to Virginia someday. Even John acknowledges that a storm is coming in the colonies. John also has brought Jamie a small portrait of young William, telling Jamie he looks more and more like his father.
Later that night, Claire tells Jamie she asked Bree to draw portraits to remember them by. Claire puts on perfume, but before anything sexy can happen Jamie falls asleep. Later that night, she wakes up having a hot flash and stands in the window. Jamie wakes and goes to her, and they go full romance novel, cataloguing each other’s distinctive scents out loud while getting sensual. Then, Jamie makes his way downtown. That’s one way to combat a hot flash.
The next morning Claire is examining something through her microscope and shares it with Jamie. He marvels at the “germs” and their handsomely thrashing tails, while Claire giggles and tells him he’s looking at his sperm, which she woke up in custody of. We needed this scene, why?
Jamie goes to find Bree and shows her the portrait of William, telling her that she has a brother. He explains about his time on the estate and his brief relationship with Geneva. Bree says William looks like Jamie. Jamie tells her that William is in London and will never know Jamie is his father because it would ruin his life. He explains how Lord John became the boy’s father. Jamie tells Bree to look for William in books, since he is an Earl after all, and therefore perhaps easier to find. He wanted her to know she had more of her blood in the world. She tells him they’ll leave in a week. Jamie gives an emotional speech about how though he might not ever see any of them again, they have made his life whole.
Bree tells Marsali and Fergus the news about Roger’s teaching position, and Marsali emotionally asks what will she do without her? Bree has become like a sister to her. Oh, and they have another baby on the way. Damn Fergus wastes no time. Bree gets emotional, saying leaving everyone behind will be the hardest thing she’s ever done.
Lizzie thinks she’s going with Bree and Roger, and Bree has to tell her she can’t come. She tells Lizzie she has to stay and look after her parents. Lizzie tells Bree she’s the bravest person she’s ever know, and they share a tearful embrace.
Lionel Brown comes back to the Ridge, seeking Jamie’s final answer on the Committee of Safety. Jamie reiterates his refusal, saying he needs to look after his family. Lionel also brought his wife to see Claire. She has a broken wrist and Claire intimates that this injury is caused by someone twisting it. Claire sends Lionel out to fetch whisky so she can chat frankly with the woman, and the woman says it was her fault for refusing to sleep with Lionel. She doesn’t mind Lionel abusing her, but she doesn’t want to have a baby and subject a child to that. Per Dr. Rawlings’ advice in the paper, she won’t sleep with him two weeks before her courses to avoid getting pregnant. Lionel returns and spots the name Dr. Rawlings in Claire’s medical kit. He rushes his wife out.
Roger asks Ian to come with them to the stones; they need someone to bring the wagon and horses back to the Ridge. Bree fears if Jamie and Claire go with them, she won’t have the courage to leave. Ian says he will do it, and Roger hands over the deed to his land from Tryon, asking Ian to look after it.
Bree approaches Lord John, telling him she knows William is his brother. Lord John says they are both very like Jamie, kind, courageous, and with a temper. He says he wishes he could tell William about her. He’s leaving for England in two days’ time with his new manservant Ulysses, who will become a free man the second he steps onto a British ship.
Bree and Roger emotionally watch Jamie play with Jem on a horse. She and Claire hug. They all share a final family dinner, for which Claire has made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. True story, when I lived in England, it was super hard to find peanut butter anywhere. You don't know what you have until it's gone! Jamie toasts to home, family, and great health.
The next morning they ride off in the wagon to travel to the stones. The journey takes them two weeks and back at the Ridge, Claire studies the portraits Bree made in Roger and Bree’s cabin. She and Jamie share a sad embrace.
At the stones, Bree and Roger tie themselves to Jemmy with rope and pass out gemstones to each other. She tells Ian she loves him and asks him to take care of her parents. They touch the stones and disappear, which Ian marvels at. They land in a pile of leaves and Bree says she feels turn inside out. Jem wanders off, and Roger and Bree stare at something we cannot see in shock.
On the Ridge, Jamie, Fergus, Keziah, and Josiah are digging a privy when there is an explosion in the distance. They realize it’s the whisky still and run off because Claire is busy teaching Marsali how to put someone’s arm back in the joint. But suddenly, a group of men rush in. It’s the men who were with the Browns, the so-called Committee of Safety. They attack and stab people in the house, knocking Marsali out. They put a bag over Claire’s head, and she screams for Jamie, as they carry her off. The men return to the house and Fergus is disturbed to find his son wandering around. The boy tells him that Marsali won’t wake up and that the bad man took grandmama.
Jamie goes to the Ridge and lights the cross, calling his men to him in this time of crisis.
What do you think Sassenachs? Are you surprised Bree and Roger chose to leave? What do you think they’re shocked to see after traveling through the stones? Are you worried for Claire’s life now that she’s been kidnapped?
Outlander…On Demand! is indefinitely on hiatus, but you can catch up on old episodes on the website or the app. And, if you tune in to EW's Instagram stories on Monday morning, we will be discussing this episode on Instagram Live.