By Maureen Lee Lenker
March 22, 2020 at 09:00 PM EDT
Starz

Outlander

S5 E6
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  • TV Show
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Wedding bells are ringing on Outlander again. This time at River Run. Though somehow, they’ve taken the events of Jocasta’s wedding, the best sequence of The Fiery Cross novel, and cut the intrigue by half, thereby making it four times less interesting. Sigh.

But before we get there, we kick things off with a flashback to Scotland in 1746. A carriage is racing down the road at dawn when two English dragoons order it to halt. They demand the man’s wife and daughter exit the carriage so they can search it – and we learn that this is Hector Cameron, Jocasta, and their daughter. As the dragoon finds a box of Jacobite French gold, guns are drawn and Jocasta’s daughter is shot dead in the process. Hector forces Jocasta to climb in the carriage, leaving their daughter’s body behind in the mud.

Back at River Run, Jocasta remembers this horrific event while she prepares for her wedding to Duncan Innes. Innes tries to win her over with a wedding gift – a lavender sachet embroidered with the Mackenzie motto, “I shine, not burn.” Duncan tries to convince her it doesn’t have to be a loveless marriage, but Ulysses interrupts to inform her Jamie and Mr. Forbes are waiting for her downstairs. And both Jocasta and Ulysses know Ulysses did it on purpose.

Jamie is reviewing Jocasta’s new will, leaving River Run to Jemmy and Forbes is the lawyer overseeing the proceedings. Jocasta will serve as the guardian of the plantation until Jemmy comes of age.

Speaking of Jemmy, poor baby has a cold, which just provides more fodder for Roger and Bree to argue about whether he skipped Jocasta’s wedding to get back at her for insulting him at their own wedding. But there’s not much time to ponder this before Adso the cat calls attention to a mounting number of locusts outside their window.

At River Run, the wedding festivities are pretty excessive for a loveless, second marriage. There’s a pavilion complete with metal balustrades. Jamie is bitter that Murtagh isn’t the one at Jocasta’s side. Lord John Grey is even there, trying to fend off advances from all the eligible ladies. They all approach Governor Tryon for a chat, and his wife lets it slip that they’re moving to New York. Apparently, Mrs. Tryon has a big mouth.

Even more pressingly, their conversation leads to the revelation that Tryon has signed an order to prevent riotous assembly – it prohibits 10 men or more from gathering under specific circumstances. Look at you, you thought you could escape pandemic measures and coronavirus discussion by watching a period piece. Ha. Ha. Ha. But really though, Tryon is so ahead of his time, instituting basic shelter-in-place legislation. Too bad we currently lack this level of national leadership.

Meanwhile, the residents of the Ridge are preparing for a different type of plague – one of locusts. They fear the insects will destroy their crops and want to burn Jamie’s fields to prevent a spread. But Roger fears that could spin out of control and set all of their homes on fire. This leaves Roger to have to devise an alternative solution.

Claire and Mistress Tryon chat on their own, and they’re irked to see Philip Wylie’s arrival since Claire hasn’t forgotten how physically persistent he was at a previous dinner in Wilmington. But the man is rumored to be in tremendous gambling debt. Claire tries to avoid him and ends up hearing women discussing the advice of Dr. Rawlings, but Wylie still interjects himself, spending way too much time kissing Claire’s hand. Mistress Tryon proves a great wing-woman and makes up a fake Jocasta emergency to get her outta there.

Roger is struck by sudden inspiration of a story his father read him as a boy about a fictional group who used smoke to drive away locusts in the American West. If they have controlled smoke blanketing the fields, the locusts won’t land and they’ll only lose a small portion of the crop.

Tryon and Jamie discuss the new Riot Act, which as it turns out allows Tryon to indict any man even seen at a riot in previous months. He’s already looking forward to New York, having been offered the governorship there. Jamie urges him to leave a legacy of mercy behind, but Tryon ain’t buying it.

Roger and Bree prepare the Ridge for Operation Smoke the Locusts Out. He is making smudge pots by literally shoveling s—t, while Bree devises a way to blow the smoke in the direction they need.

While Claire looks for Jamie, Wylie once again avails himself of her company, bragging about wanting to see her in lace. He starts talking about how he dodges excise taxes with the help of an Irish seafaring gentleman in Wilmington, which piques Claire’s interest. They walk off together, and Wylie admires both of her wedding rings. She tries to bring the conversation back to Wylie’s associate, getting him to actually name the man as Bonnet. Claire proposes they broker a deal for Jamie’s whisky trading, but Wylie whisks her off to the barn to show her his pride and joy (please don't be in his pants).

So it turns out Wylie’s pride and joy is not his anatomy, but rather his horse, Lucas. Though, only just, since within seconds, he’s kissing Claire’s neck and trying to force himself on her. Jamie intervenes quickly and threatens to kill him, but Claire reminds Jamie that he shouldn’t kill someone at his aunt’s wedding. Right, because that’s the only reason. Wylie of course accuses Claire of being a succubus who was asking for it, but Jamie doesn’t buy it. Claire explains to Jamie that Wylie knows Stephen Bonnet, and she was hoping to tempt Wylie into setting a meeting, a.k.a. a trap.

Back on the Ridge, they’re lighting fires and blowing smoke with bedsheets. Roger and the settlers watch with dread as the cloud of locusts approaches. Soon, the locusts almost block out the sun and there’s smoke all around them. But it passes quickly, and they all embrace as they hope for the best.

Jamie decides to try to engage Wylie in a wager, a game of whist. He threatens to get Mistress Tryon to spread word of his ungentlemanly nature. This is his offer – if Wylie wins, Wylie gets to leave with his honor intact. If he loses, Jamie gets his horse. But the thing is Wylie doesn’t really care about his pride, only gold. This leads Jamie to ask Claire for her gold wedding ring from Frank as collateral. Claire is furious, knowing Wylie knows how much it means to her and is seeking revenge. But Jamie is insistent, hoping this is the way to get their shot at  vengeance on Bonnet. Jamie promises he won’t lose the ring, which leads Claire to give him both her wedding rings out of anger.

Roger’s smoky plot works. They lose some beans, but the cornfields are saved. The men on the Ridge admit they were skeptical, but now are indebted to Roger’s smarts. But Roger is honestly just relieved to have gotten through the crisis in one piece.

It’s time for bed at River Run, but Ulysses tells Jocasta a guest has arrived late and has a gift for her. It’s Murtagh!!! Their connection is, once-again, immediately evident as they embrace, and Murtagh brings her a gift, the pin that sat above his heart on his lapel. But the real reason he’s come is to ask her to wait for him. Jocasta is understandably pissed he waited until the night before her wedding to ask, but Murtagh never thought she’d accept Duncan’s proposal.

Jocasta sees no point – Murtagh is a wanted man, but he says he could get through everything knowing she would be by his side. They kiss, but she pushes him away. She tells him the story of how she lost her daughters – how after Culloden her youngest was murdered in a fight with dragoons for French gold. Her two eldest daughters died in fires set by the Brits after Culloden. Now, she sits in a house built by the gold that took her children from her. There’s not a moment she doesn’t think of this.

And Murtagh, in her eyes, is no different than Hector – a man willing to die for a cause he believed in, willing to risk and lose everything for his belief he could change the world. Murtagh finally tells Jocasta he loves her, but it’s not enough. But man, kudos to Duncan Lacroix and Maria Doyle Kennedy for the best acting and most romantic moment of the season thus far.

Claire is visiting Lucas, the horse, in the barn, when a drunken Jamie comes in wanting to celebrate that he beat Wylie. Claire is still mad that he almost let Bonnet take the rings from them, metaphorically speaking, again. Jamie censures her for acting too much like a woman of her time, saying sometimes he has to remind her how to behave. She slaps him for it, but it turns out that’s just foreplay. Because soon he’s kissing her and she’s kissing back, and then they’re having some steamy Fraser make-up sex.

In the afterglow, Jamie apologizes for coming after hre like that, but she admits she liked it. Jamie reveals that he agrees with Wylie to trade the horse back for whisky partnership. Mr. Bonnet will soon be meeting whisky purveyor Alexander Malcolm, Jamie’s old Edinburgh smuggler alias. It means they can finally make Bonnet pay for what he did – and Jamie admits he’s not doing it for Bree, but because he needs to see the monster that hurt their daughter dead. But besides that entirely chilling pledge, he also gives Claire back her wedding rings and promises they’ll never leave her hands again.

Speaking of the devil, Bonnet is taking a meeting in Wilmington with Mr. Forbes at a coffeehouse. It seems he’s aware Jemmy could be Bonnet’s son because after an unsettling discourse with Bonnet about ale, he informs him that his son is now the owner of River Run. This can only be bad news for everyone.

The episode ends on an even lower note as Jamie goes to visit Tryon once more. The governor informs him that after the wedding, Jamie is to gather his militia and be in Hillsborough within a fortnight. Tryon is certain it will be a quick fight, and Jamie doesn’t disagree given that the Regulators are disorganized and unprepared at the moment (but if the look in his eye means anything, he’s going to change that).

What’d you think Sassenachs? If you're book lovers, were you dismayed at the major plot omissions/changes from the wedding on the page? Are you still rooting for Jocasta and Murtagh? 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 at 10 a.m. PT, Outlander expert Lynette Rice and I will be discussing this episode on Instagram Live.

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Outlander

Diana Gabaldon's genre-bending time travel novels come to life in the Starz series.

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