Episode 512: "Never My Love" (SPOILERS!)

Here are my reactions to Episode 512 of the OUTLANDER TV series, titled "Never My Love".


There are SPOILERS below! If you don't want to know yet, stop reading now.









The episode opens without the usual "Previously" voiceover. The recap of last week's episode consists of a montage of moments, punctuated by drumbeats, ratcheting up the tension without a single spoken word. I thought that was very effective.

On a related note, I think this was the first episode we've ever had without the usual opening credit sequence. (Leaving the credits for the end instead.) I thought that was an interesting decision. It made the whole first part of the episode seem more immersive somehow, more suspenseful, as though to tell the audience, "No, you're not getting a break from this just because we have to show the opening credits!"

As the episode begins, we see a 1960's record player, playing the song "Never My Love" by The Association. We're in a house we've never seen before, with 1960's architecture and furnishings.

Claire is sitting on a couch with her back to the camera, staring at the wall. Suddenly we see a closeup of an orange. This is a reference to the orange King Louis gave Claire in Episode 207, "Faith," and it's just the first of many, many subtle "Easter egg" references to previous scenes and events from earlier in the series. The blue vase on the table is another one, going all the way back to Episode 101, "Sassenach". There are lots of these throughout the episode, and I'm not going to try to note all of them! It's an interesting and creative approach, and I thought it worked really well.

Finally we get a look at Claire. She's sitting with an oddly blank expression on her face, and she looks almost catatonic, not like her normal self at all. Notice the painting on the wall, which appears to be depicting the Big House on Fraser's Ridge.

Suddenly we get a flash of the real Claire, lying on the ground with her nose bloodied and evidently broken, a gag in her mouth, looking terrified and absolutely alone. And gradually it becomes clear, this is Claire's way of willing herself to be "elsewhere".
I lay rigid, eyes shut, recalling various nasty experiences of my past and wishing I were in fact in attendance at one of those events, instead of here.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 28, "Curses". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Claire sees Jamie, looking very much as he did when she first met him. I liked that. It makes sense to me that Claire, in desperate need, would conjure up an image of Jamie as he was when she fell in love with him.

Suddenly Claire hears Arvin Hodgepile's voice: "I say we kill her. Leave her for the beasts." (Book-readers will remember Hodgepile as the leader of the gang who abducted Claire.) This is a flashback to an earlier part of the ordeal after she was abducted.

Lionel Brown sneers at her. "Well, aren't you the clever one? Dr. Rawlings. You never thought anyone'd find out about your little newspaper column, did you?"

Claire tries to protest that she was "only trying to help", but Lionel Brown isn't listening. He says he's going to take her to Brownsville, so the women there will "see you for the charlatan you are".

Frankly, this seems like a flimsy reason for abducting Claire. But then, Lionel Brown isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, here or in the book. Still, he's extremely dangerous, and Claire would do well to bear that in mind.

Back in the 1960's "dream-house", the doorbell rings. The family is starting to gather. We see Germain being dangled upside down, Young Ian dressed in a military uniform. Ian greets Jamie with a hug. "Happy Thanksgiving, Uncle."

Another memory intrudes: Claire running from her captors, only to be caught and thrown to the ground before she gets very far. As punishment, Hodgepile cuts her breast with his knife, just as in the book. In the confrontation that follows, I loved Claire's reactions.
Without the slightest notion as to what moved me to do it, I dropped the rock, ran the fingers of my right hand across the cut, and in one swift motion, reached out and drew them down the thin man’s cheek. I repeated the nasty laugh.

“Curse, is it?” I said. “How’s this? Touch me again, and you’ll die within twenty-four hours.”

The streaks of blood showed dark on the white of his face. He was close enough that I could smell the sourness of his breath, and see the fury gather on his face. What on earth do you think you are doing, Beauchamp? I thought, utterly surprised at myself.
(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 28, "Curses". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
We haven't seen her this furious in a long time, and I thought Cait was absolutely channeling Claire through this whole scene.

Now we get our first good look at Donner, the man with long curly hair we saw briefly during the attack on the house in last week's episode.

"Do you have clear night skies where you come from?" he asks, in an unmistakably American accent.

But Claire has more urgent things to worry about than this man's peculiar speech. As night falls, she hears the other men laughing, saying, "Her legs aren't tied."

And just when the terror threatens to overwhelm her, the music starts up again. Jamie wraps a blanket around her from behind, saying, "You're shakin' so hard it's making my teeth rattle," just as he did on the night he first met her, in Episode 101, "Sassenach."  I loved that! It makes total sense to me that she would reach instinctively to him for comfort, as she's always done.

In the next scene, Claire is riding in a wagon. One of her captors, a man named Tebbe, gives her a chunk of bread.

The scene at the creek is taken straight from the book.
“The water is my friend,” I said, trying for an air of mystery suitable to a conjure woman. I was not a good liar, but I was lying for my life. “When we go into the river, let go your hold. A water horse will rise up to carry me away.”

His eyes couldn’t get any wider. Evidently, he’d heard of kelpies, or something like them. Even this far from the cataract, the roar of the water had voices in it--if one chose to listen.

“I am not going away with a water horse,” he said with conviction. “I know about them. They take you down, drown you, and eat you.”

“It won’t eat me,” I assured him. “You needn’t go near it. Just stand clear, once we’re in the water. Keep well away.”

And if he did, I’d be under the water and swimming for my life before he could say Jack Robinson.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 28, "Curses". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Unfortunately, Hodgepile grabs her arm before she can put this plan into action, and Claire's mind retreats back to the relative safety of the dream.

In the "dream-house", with "Never My Love" still playing in the background, the family reunion is in full swing. Jocasta and Murtagh are there, and Marsali and Fergus (all of them dressed in 1960's clothing and hairstyles).

Back at the stream, Claire is shouting at the top of her lungs, as Tebbe and Hodgepile drag her in opposite directions, and she comes closer to the creek with every step. "Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ!" she yells, and we see that Donner heard that loud and clear.

Lionel Brown settles the dispute by stuffing a rag into Claire's mouth and tying another cloth tightly around her head, gagging her.

Irritated with the way Claire is glaring at him behind the gag, Lionel Brown ties her to a tree some distance away from the others.

At the "dream-house", the conversation over dinner turns to baby names for Marsali and Fergus's latest child. James, Ian, or maybe Ringo, if it's a boy?  Or perhaps Jocasta, if it's a girl?  Jamie ignores the talk. He is completely focused on Claire, and I got the distinct sense of her holding on to that image of his face (exactly as he looked when she first fell in love with him) as a lifeline.

Suddenly we're back in Claire's present time, and she's lying on the ground with her nose smashed, struggling to breathe. The bunny rabbit is another of those "Easter egg" references, going back to the early episodes of Season 3. You may recall that Jamie saw a rabbit when he woke on the field at Culloden in Episode 301.
My nose was puffed from cheekbone to cheekbone, and swelling fast. I clenched my teeth on the gag and blew outward through my nose, trying to clear it, if only for a moment. Blood tinged with bile sprayed warm across my chin and splattered on my chest—and I sucked air fast, getting a bit.

Blow, inhale. Blow, inhale. Blow … but my nasal passages were almost swollen shut by now, and I nearly sobbed in panic and frustration, as no air came.

Christ, don’t cry! You’re dead if you cry, for God’s sake don’t cry!

Blow … blow … I snorted with the last reserve of stale air in my lungs, and got a hair of clearance, enough to fill them once more.

I held my breath, trying to stay conscious long enough to discover a way to breathe—there had to be a way to breathe.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 28, "Curses". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I thought they did an excellent job of portraying this! It's riveting and terrifying, just as it was the first time I read it in the book. Cait managed to convey the terror and desperation of that moment extremely well.

Fortunately, Donner shows up just in the nick of time, and removes the gag so Claire can breathe again.

"Does the name Ringo Starr mean anything to you?" Even though I knew this was coming, I still felt an excited little shiver up my spine at these words. Another time-traveler!

"I need gemstones."
"I have gemstones." She's lying, of course, but under these circumstances, naturally she'll tell him whatever he wants to hear.

"You ought to act more afraid." And with that, he replaces the gag and walks away.

The next scene is very hard to watch. Lionel Brown brings his nephew Cuddy over and basically goads him into raping Claire. The whole time the boy is assaulting her, Claire is back in the "dream-house", trying desperately to be elsewhere.

In the book, it's clear that the teenage boy didn't actually penetrate her, but I'm glad they didn't bother with that distinction here. It was certainly sexual assault, by anyone's definition.

And then Lionel Brown climbs on top of her, and this time it's very clearly rape. <shudder>

In the "dream-house", the table is set for a festive Thanksgiving dinner. Claire notices water beginning to drip from the ceiling. The roof is leaking.

Jamie's toast at the dinner table is taken almost verbatim from the last chapter of OUTLANDER:
“I meant it, Claire,” he said quietly. “My life is yours. And it’s yours to decide what we shall do, where we go next. To France, to Italy, even back to Scotland. My heart has been yours since first I saw ye, and you’ve held my soul and body between your two hands here, and kept them safe. We shall go as ye say.”

(From OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 41, "From the Womb of the Earth". Copyright© 1991 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
As I was trying to recall why the words seemed so familiar, I caught sight of Lionel Brown sitting at the dinner table. Wow, I really wasn't expecting that!

Back in the present day, Claire lies still after Brown is finished with her. He calls, "Who's next for a go with the hedge-whore?" That made me want to throw up.

Two more men approach Claire out of the darkness, and suddenly we're back in the "dream-house", with babies and little kids and hugs and smiles all round. "Dinna fash," says Jamie, looking down at Claire from an odd angle. "I'm sure Roger and Bree will be here soon." But a few moments later, the doorbell rings.

Claire answers the door to find a pair of policemen (strongly resembling Hodgepile and Brown), telling her that Roger, Bree, and Jemmy have been killed in a car accident.

The next scene finally switches away from Claire's point of view, to pick up the MacKenzies' storyline where we left off in Episode 511, "Journeycake". We see them recovering from their trip through the stones, and suddenly Jemmy runs toward something he recognizes....

....which turns out to be Ian. So the stones evidently spat them out, and they never left the 18th century.

"I was thinking about home."
"So was I."

I'm really disappointed with the way this turned out! I saw it coming a mile away, and in fact was quite upset last week when it occurred to me that this was a distinct possibility. Putting the viewers through all those emotional goodbye scenes that we saw in Episode 511, only to say, in effect, "Never mind! Just kidding, we didn't mean it, we're back!" makes me feel manipulated, as though the whole long sequence of emotional farewells was not only pointless, but that I must have been an idiot to fall for it.

Spending all that screen time and that long emotional buildup to give the characters and the viewers time to adjust to the idea of the MacKenzies' departure, only to reveal it was all for nothing, seems to me like a cheap trick, and I don't like that At All. I suspect the whole thing was planned on purpose to set up the dramatic sequence we see later in this episode, where Roger and Ian arrive just in time to join in the rescue. And while the characters may be OK with that -- they can pick up where they left off and dive right into Season 6 -- I am left feeling that my emotions have been toyed with for no other purpose than to create a cliffhanger that will drive up ratings for the season finale.

I keep reminding myself it's only a TV show, but this really bothers me. Diana Gabaldon says this plot twist was NOT something she came up with, but the way they resolved the situation in this episode is inevitably going to make me view the events of Episode 511 in a more negative light. I think that's unfortunate.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm glad they came back! But I think they never should have left in the first place.

Moving on....

Bree, Roger, Jemmy, and Ian arrive back at the Ridge a few days later, in time to see the fiery cross blazing on the mountaintop, where Jamie lit it at the end of Episode 511. They hurry back, to find Jamie gathering his men, preparing to leave in pursuit of Claire's abductors.

I love that Jamie is wearing his kilt! <g>

The exchange between Roger and Jamie comes straight from the book, and I thought it was really well done:
“Ye called me,” he said at last, still looking up into the blazing dark. “At the Gathering, at the fire.”

“Seas vi mo lâmh, Roger an t’oranaiche, mac Jeremiah mac Choinneich,” Jamie said quietly. “Aye, I did. Stand by my side, Roger the singer, son of Jeremiah.”

“Seas vi mo lâmh, a mhic mo thaighe,” Roger said. “Stand by my side—son of my house. Did ye mean that?”

“Ye know that I did.”

“Then I mean it, too.” He reached out and rested his hand on Jamie’s shoulder, and I saw the knuckles whiten as he squeezed.

“I will stand by you. We will stay.”

Beside me, Brianna let out the breath she had been holding, in a sigh like the twilight wind.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 110, "Man of Blood". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Ian puts on his war paint, preparing for battle, and the men ride out.

In the next scene, we're back in the "dream-house", just Claire and Jamie, and it feels oddly peaceful, with just the two of them there. Gradually Claire comes awake, to the sound of gunfire and a blaze of firelight.

Jamie to the rescue, finally!! In the book, this is what I always think of as the "cavalry-coming-over-the-hill" moment, and usually it's the first chance I have to take a deep breath in quite some time.

In the ensuing melee, watch Roger. He's just killed a man in battle. I'm not sure which man it was, but it doesn't really matter. It's a huge moment for him personally. As Diana put it in the Prologue to THE SCOTTISH PRISONER, "It marks you, killing. No matter why it's done."

In the "dream-house", when Jamie said, "Dinna be afraid. There's the two of us now," I actually started to cry, from relief.

Jamie's reaction to the sight of Claire was very well done. He stares at first, as if not believing what he's seeing, but then he cuts her bonds and says quietly, "You are alive, you are whole, mo nighean donn," in echo of what he said to Roger after the hanging.

I'm very glad they included the bit with the knife and Jamie's, "It is myself who kills for her." I've always loved that in the book.

"Kill them all." I liked the way Sam said that, but the execution scene was still shocking! Notice Ian walking up to them with a tomahawk in one hand and an Iroquois war club in the other.

When Jamie bent to pick Claire up, I thought at once of this line:
He’d led her through the morning light in that clearing, a blood-soaked Adam, a battered Eve, looking upon the knowledge of good and evil. And then he had wrapped her in his plaid, picked her up, and walked away to his horse.

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
The next morning, by the stream, Claire looks almost like a completely different person, wrapped in Jamie's plaid with her hair hanging down over her face. She seems to force herself to take an interest in the others, asking about Marsali, telling Jamie about Donner. But all the time, she speaks in a monotone, and she won't even look at Jamie. (Contrast that with her excitement in Season 4 when she discovered the fillings in Otter-Tooth's skull.)

"Did he harm you?" Jamie asks, referring to Donner.
"He didn't help me."

Interesting. But again, there's no emotion in her voice. Does she resent the fact that Donner didn't help? Is she angry? She seems to be completely numb.

Jamie tells her that the MacKenzies have come home. He reaches out very gently to touch her shoulder, and she doesn't flinch away at his touch.

Home at last! Bree comes out to meet them, and my heart broke for her, seeing the look on her face.

"I thought I'd never see you again," Claire says. Again, I blame whoever had the idea to send them away in the first place! The thought that Bree's absence added to Claire's distress during the ordeal, and it was all so unnecessary, makes me mad.

Here comes Marsali, looking MUCH more pregnant than when last seen. From the point of view of the people on the Ridge, only a few days have passed, probably less than a week, from the abduction to Claire's return home. How did Marsali grow a baby bump that size in such a short time? (Particularly if she's carrying Henri-Christian, who presumably wouldn't weigh as much as an average fetus.) That doesn't make sense to me.

The next scene, where Bree helps Claire take a bath, is quiet but poignant. Claire appears to be scraping dirt or bloodstains from her fingernails. Bree is silent, but I can imagine her thinking that it would have been nice for someone to tend to her this way, after she was raped by Stephen Bonnet.

"You have my hand, Mama. And my ear, if you need it." This line is a deliberate echo of what Lizzie told Bree after her rape in Season 4.

The scene between Jamie and Claire was well done, but in my opinion they can't compete with the book version, which is one of my all-time favorite chapters in the whole series.

"I'm glad the others are dead," Claire says. "I'm sorry that I am." What?!?  I'm not sure how to interpret that line. Does she mean she feels dead inside?
“I have lived through a fucking world war,” I said, my voice low and venomous. “I have lost a child. I have lost two husbands. I have starved with an army, been beaten and wounded, been patronized, betrayed, imprisoned, and attacked. And I have fucking survived!” My voice was rising, but I was helpless to stop it. “And now should I be shattered because some wretched, pathetic excuses for men stuck their nasty little appendages between my legs and wiggled them?!” I stood up, seized the edge of the washstand and heaved it over, sending everything flying with a crash—basin, ewer, and lighted candlestick, which promptly went out.

“Well, I won’t,” I said quite calmly.

“Nasty little appendages?” he said, looking rather stunned.

“Not yours,” I said. “I didn’t mean yours. I’m rather fond of yours.” Then I sat down and burst into tears.

His arms came round me, slowly and gently. I didn’t startle or jerk away, and he pressed my head against him, smoothing my damp, tangled hair, his fingers catching in the mass of it.

“Christ, ye are a brave wee thing,” he murmured.

“Not,” I said, eyes closed. “I’m not.”

(From A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 29, "Perfectly Fine". Copyright© 2005 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
Cait did a wonderful job with the show's version of this speech. This episode has shown some of her best work since Episode 207, "Faith", in my opinion. Jamie's reaction was much more subdued than I expected. No shouting, no smashing of furniture, no overt indication of the depth of his own rage, or guilt. I wish they'd taken a little time to let us see the impact of all this on Jamie, as well.

I liked the scene between Roger and Bree, especially the last part, which comes straight from the book. I'm glad they took the time to acknowledge the toll the rescue took on Roger.

The next scene takes place in Claire's surgery, where Claire and Marsali are tending to the injured Lionel Brown, tied down on the surgery table. I thought the substitution of Marsali for Mrs. Bug in this scene worked very well. Marsali obviously has a personal stake in this -- she was attacked, after all -- and it's plausible that she would be in the surgery, tending to Brown.

Claire starts to pick up a scalpel, and suddenly we see her in the "dream-house", examining the orange we saw near the beginning of the episode. I'm not quite sure what they intended to convey with this. A reminder of the encounter with King Louis? That doesn't seem to fit here.

"I will do you no harm," Claire says, and walks out of the room. She makes it almost to the top of the stairs, then collapses, sobbing.

I was glad to see her finally let out some of what she's been feeling, though I'm sure this barely scratched the surface.

Marsali has her own plans for Lionel Brown, as it turns out.

"If I'm not well-treated," he taunts her, "my brother will come with his men, and he will slaughter you, and burn the houses over your heads while you sleep."

Marsali is unmoved. She fills a syringe with an extract of poisonous water hemlock root, and injects Lionel Brown in the neck, killing him almost instantly.

"[Claire] took an oath to do no harm. I have taken no such oath. You hurt me. You hurt my family. You hurt my ma. I'll watch you burn in hell before I let you harm another soul in this house."

Go Marsali!

Jamie finds her a little while later. He doesn't reproach her for killing Brown. In fact he's gentle with her. When she worries that she may be going to hell, he says, "Nothing to fear, lass."

The next scene shows Jamie riding into Brownsville alone, bringing the body of Lionel Brown home to his family. Most of the dialogue in this scene comes from ABOSAA chapter 34, "The Exhibits in the Case."

Richard Brown takes the news more calmly than I expected. "Lionel, he reaped what he sowed. And you did what you must." And then he adds, in an ominous tone, "As will I, when the time comes."

Jamie's voiceover on the ride home is taken from the Prologue to THE FIERY CROSS. I loved hearing it spoken out loud.
I have lived through war, and lost much. I know what’s worth the fight, and what is not. Honor and courage are matters of the bone, and what a man will kill for, he will sometimes die for, too.

And that, O kinsman, is why a woman has broad hips; that bony basin will harbor a man and his child alike. A man’s life springs from his woman’s bones, and in her blood is his honor christened.

For the sake of love alone, would I walk through fire again.

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, "Prologue". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
I didn't really care for the final scene between Roger and Bree. Much as I love Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken", I think the writer was trying too hard to make the point.

"We wanted the stones to take us home, and they did." OK, we get the idea! Is it really necessary to spell it out again?

The next scene, with Jamie and Claire, is very good. Claire looks battered, bruised, but happy to be alive, enjoying the pleasures of "an ordinary day" and Jamie's company. She's not yet fully recovered, but getting there.

Thunder rumbles ominously in the distance. There will be troubles yet to come, the Revolution, for one thing. But there's time enough to worry about that later.

I'm so glad they included the classic final line of THE FIERY CROSS, though they surely knew the book-fans were counting on hearing it:
“When the day shall come, that we do part,” he said softly, and turned to look at me, “if my last words are not ‘I love you’--ye’ll ken it was because I didna have time.”

(From THE FIERY CROSS by Diana Gabaldon, chapter 111, "And Yet Go Out To Meet It". Copyright© 2001 by Diana Gabaldon. All rights reserved.)
And I let out an involuntary "Awwwwww!!" at the words, as I always do.

The final scene shows Jamie and Claire in bed, naked, obviously having just had sex.

"Ye are a brave wee thing," Jamie says.
"Am I?"
"Aye. How do you feel?"
"Safe," she says, and relaxes, safe in his arms.

I really enjoyed the a capella version of the OUTLANDER theme music that accompanied the credits at the end of the episode.

This was a terrific season finale, a great way to wrap up Season 5!
I hope you enjoyed this recap. Look here for my recaps of all of the OUTLANDER episodes.

Looking for a place to discuss All Things OUTLANDER? Check out TheLitForum.com, formerly the Compuserve Books and Writers Community. You have to sign up in order to read or post on the forum, but it's free.


Nobody in Missouri said...

I thought this was a brilliant episode and kudos to all the actors, especially Cait. Just one observation that I made that differs from yours. I think Ian was wearing the uniform of the Marine Corps in the dream house segment. His haircut was pure "jarhead". And now for the long wait. Sigh.

Tricia said...

“I’m glad they’re dead. I’m sorry I am” - she’s sorry that she’s glad they’re dead, which makes sense to me for the character. She’s recognising that the acts of violence done to her have taken away some of her humanity.

The people on Twitter and elsewhere who complain about the amount of sexual violence in the show annoy me. What do they think happened in those days? We have an epidemic of sexual violence now, at a time when we have laws against it and means of detection. And at least Outlander shows the consequences and effects on the person who’s been attacked, rather than treating it as a plot point to justify revenge by male characters.

I too was annoyed by the fake-out on Bree and Roger’s return to the present. It did cheapen the emotional farewells, especially for book readers, for reasons you will understand.

The dissociative 60s sequence was brilliantly done though, most especially when Jamie was holding Claire safe in his arms. The contrast between those images and what was happening to Claire were heartbreaking.

Jana said...

Hi Karen, thank you for your review.
To be honest, I don't know how I feel about this episode, a bit shell-shocked I think.
It was brilliantly acted by everyone, and quite shocking in parts, and very realistic. I didn't like the reason for Roger and Briana's return, although I hadn't thought they would actually go back in time. This part of the script made no sense. I don't like it when the story is changed for no reason. There is enough in the books for there to be no need to add another storyline for no apparent reason.
The wasted time with Roger and Brianna could have been better used showing Jamie's anguish at what happened to Claire, he was devastated and afraid she wouldn't get over it, or allow him to touch her. I wish that Jamie had comforted her when she broke down at the top of the stairs, they seemed a bit disconnected at this time.
The rescue in the woods was brilliantly done, perfection. Sam has an amazing ability to break your heart without saying a word, and Caitriona was wonderful as always.
Season 5 has been a real pleasure to watch, so thank you to all the actors and everyone else who works so hard on Outlander.
Still the best show I have ever seen on TV. And I can hardly wait for series 6. Not too long a wait I hope.
Thank you Karen.

Anonymous said...

Love the f3capI think the relevance of the orange when Claire was in the surgery was to show that Claire was taking back control of her life as she did after being with King Louis

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen , like you I thought having Roger and Bree leave home in the first place and then having them return to Fraser's Ridge , was a wast of time , but I liked the 60's flashback with the Fraser Family Thanksgiving it helped Claire cope with a brutal ordeal in the the hands of that horrible pig Brown , the rape scenes were brutial but nessassary , the fight scene was right out of the books and was glad Roger was there to fight by Jamie 's side and was glad Jamie was wearing his Fraser Tartan , and seeing Claire 's trama and reactions to seeing all of the men dead was from the book and had hoped the alone scenes between Jamie and Claire where she tell him how she must survive would be longer and the bathing scenes with Bree should have been longer too , loved seeing Marsli giving Linoel Brown what he diserved was great was glad Claire didn't take care of that beast . and seeing Roger and Bree deciding to stay was good , seeing Jamie bringing Browns body back to Brownsville was from the book and Jamie 's speech too and then seeing peace restored on the Ridge was a welcome to see , and seeing Jamie giving Claire the loving care she needed naked in bed during the storm was comforting to see , a good ending to a great season that made up for season 4 , will be watching more this week. Loving Outlander , Sincerely .

Unknown said...

Why was the ceiling leaking? All I can think of is that Claire noticing that shows us that things are not perfect in the dream scene. Possible foreshadowing of troubles to come? Any other ideas?

Maricarmen said...

Excellent recap! thank you. I love this episode with the modern “dream” and all; totally agree about the now pointless Mackenzie’s “journey”, were valuable minutes lost!. I think they’d have introduced instead all the exciting scenes prior the attack with the bodhrans and battle screams. And yes I noted the instant belly hahaha

Glenda Cottier said...

She took the orange from the King in France to show that she was leaving with her dignity, even after what happened. The flash to the orange in this episode showed the same. She was choosing to keep her dignity.

Anonymous said...

I thought she was considering to "peel" him with the scalpel. However, the King Louis comparison also makes sense.

Mary Tormey said...

Hi Karen , brilliant final to a brilliant season and was hard to watch at times but still great acting and writing , knew that beast Lionel Brown would put Claire through hell and loved the 60s flashback scenes , it was a safe haven for Claire to go during her ordeal and she felt safe there especially with Jamie , loved seeing Roger and Bree come back to Fraser 's Ridge and Roger fighting along side Jamie 's side as the son of the house and Bree being there when Claire came home and she taking care of her , mom , was cheering when Marsali gave that bastard Brown what he richly diserved and the peace that came to Fraser's Ridge afterwards , and the strong love scene in the ending knowing that that Jamie and Claire 's relationship is stronger than ever , great final to a great season , will be watching more this week. please post more soon. Happy week. Loving Outlander. Sincerely .

Sassy Momma said...

I read about the Orange. When she carried the Orange out after King Henry’s encounter, she was saying she was taking her dignity with her. Some with the Orange here: it is a piece of her dignity that her attackers can not touch.

Ellen S. Ross said...

I think "I'm sorry that I am" means "I'm sorry that I am glad they're dead."

Belinda said...

Thanks for all your recaps Karen, i go to them immediately after watching the episodes.
Now can we all do a zoom link with you to ask more questions!!! ����

Anonymous said...

When Claire picks up the orange and walks away, she is recalling killing the Count St. Germaine with Master Raymond’s poison at the King’s inquisition in Paris. Obviously it still weighs on her

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you posted much of the dialogue. I am deaf, but read lips. Some of the words I couldn’t make out and I didn’t have the captions on. It really helped to understand the dynamics between Claire and Donner. By the way, in the books, another of her attackers is an older man who has lost his wife. He escapes the massacre. But Claire recognizes him while shopping and Jamie sneaks off and it is a mystery what has happened. In book 8, I think. Anyone recall this?

Unknown said...

Did anyone else notice in the flashback around the dinner table that Fergus did not have his prosthetic hand. Another indication of Claire's perfect escape world.

Anonymous said...

Great review. The only interpretation I don’t agree on is assuming they had sex in the final scene ... Jamie might just be holding her out of comfort and not necessarily out of post-desire. I’d like to assume there is a lot more healing planned for Claire come season 6 with the idea the writers might somehow weave in a more serious sexual scene so the audience can feel their connection return. They opened up these issues and therefore should explore the avenues carefully and fully.

Anonymous said...

The closing scene where they are laying naked in each other’s arms does not indicate to me that they had obviously just had sex. I know they did in the book, but I think it was too soon after her attack. I think they just wanted to be as close together as they could be so she could feel safe.

Susan said...

Damn, this has been a fantastic season! Great recap, too! I,too,thought that "I'm sorry that I am" meant she was sorry that she was glad they were dead. I thought that the dripping ceiling was Claire's ability to hang onto this dreamscape was slowly cracking and the reality was going to come flooding in on her. Also, the orange sitting there, waiting for her to pick it up, to gain control again, of her herself, and her dignity.

I have been thinking about the whole Mackenzie's journey ordeal. Looking back I completely see your point. So, I am searching for answers, I am gonna throw this out there and see what everyone thinks about it. I have 3 points, 1st, because of all the references throughout the season, Roger and Bree HAD to actually go back through the stones to realize where 'home' really was for them. 2nd, It gives Jaime and Claire a reason for telling Ian about the stones and Claire's time traveling, to clue him in so to speak, and I feel like there is going to be more down the line about it?? 3rd, In Claire's dreamscape Roger and Bree are gone, which adds to her agony, and after we see the ceiling dripping, the officer's come with the news(and I think there is some significance to Frank's death by car accident) and we see her backing away, possibly loosing her battle with maintaining that dreamscape of mental safety, the family moves forward just as they have come to actually save her. We see those empty seats more than once, so that is significant to Claire's mental capacity to maintain that dreamscape. Thus, they're leaving was meaningful on different levels.??

Well, thoughts anyone?

Your recaps are so good, and thought provoking too, making me dig deeper into these episodes, thank you!

Anonymous said...

I viewed her flashbacks in another way. I think Claire was thinking “if we lived in my time, none of this would be happening, it would be easier and this is how I imagine it”. But then when the cops come to tell her that Bri and Roger died in a car crash, it brought her back to reality to realize that there is harm in her time period as well. In other words, she can’t have regret being in the 1700’s. There is harm during any time period.

I don’t know if anyone else had this same thought, I didn’t read comments before posting this.

I loved this episode. It was dark, as was the entire season but I loved it. I didn’t care for the start of the season and there were some far fetched episodes but overall it was good. Not my favorite season, but good.

Jana said...

Hi there,
Jamie had sex with Claire so soon after the rape because there was a chance Claire could have been pregnant by one of the rapists, and Jamie wanted to give himself and Claire the possibility that any child from the rape could be his, and both could accept the child as it could possibly be their own.
Book Jamie even has doubts in his own mind that he will be able to make love to Claire, as he is struggling both by her being raped and his ongoing nightmares of his own rape and torture by Jack Randall.

J9 said...

Can someone explain ...did they combine books 5&6 into season 5? And then will season 6 be books 7&8? They showed that Jacosta had the gold, but that whole plot hasn't been explored at all. Any guesses? And , great recap!

Anonymous said...

No,he thought about " Jeremiah" and came out in the time,his father lived in at this point.

Sreid said...

I totally agree. They have such a strong connection with skin on skin healing, as it were. They even went to the trouble to have Claire posed so that both of her legs were together across Jamie's torso, and he was cradling her like a child. She was not in a lewd position. It was more like they both needed the skin contact, the body warmth, and the closeness. I realize the book scene was different.

Anonymous said...

What is the water drip in the ceiling?

leaves on the Raney Tree said...

Ian was in an army uniform. For those who didn't live through it, the Vietnam War was traumatic for families whose sons went. But Ian comes from a warrior family, so would probably have volunteered if not drafted. Thank you, Karen, for all of your insight during these series. Makes watching them the richer for your knowledge.

Unknown said...

I also agree that Bree & Roger's attempt to travel through the stones and the death of Bree,etc in the dream house would help Claire get over her guilt about it being her fault they were in the 1700's. It also insured Bree wasn't at the big house to be hurt by the Brown gang. I haven't read any of the books so I go with the "based on the books..." and don't know what is missing or added. Season 5 was great once it got past the first few episodes. Excellent acting by all.

Anonymous said...

It's a symbol that her dream world is crumbling, that the real world is seeping in.

Anonymous said...

Shhh...spoiler alert for future seasons!

Doc20002001 said...

Outstanding episode, Claire's escape from reality scene with The Association's- Never My Love has to be one of the most emotional scenes I've experienced in my almost 54 years as as crazy as it sounds that song has been one of those songs that comes to mind when I've been in bummer periods of my life. Probably because my mom used to play the hell outta that album when I was 1ish yrs old in 67' and i guess my brain always brings me back to those memories of our 1st house and playing or laying next to the giant stereo console we had in wheeling Illinois. I have to say this episode really puts Outlander in my top 3 shows ever, the acting and writing is top notch and the way Caitriona and Sam perform you would think they were husband and wife in real life. There is something very special with the two of them and their acting that is more than just being great actors. To the cast, crew and writers thank you for a great season and bringing me back to 1967 for a little bit. Until next season!

Doc20002001 said...

I found this gem someone put together. Enjoy


Laura Clark Curtis Design Studio said...

The last scene of them both being naked - to heal skin to skin > foreshadowed by Claire lying on Jamie naked during the snake bite infection fever - to keep him alive, safe and warm ( remember he was cold, too ?). They heal each other from past assaults and near death experiences.

Samm said...

I agree. I feel like we were seeing a skin to skin connection, not necessarily sex, differing from the book. Did anyone else feel as though the way they did Claire’s bruised makeup, it made them appear as one? The shot from above and how they were intertwined made them look as though the two became one. Maybe that’s just me... Very well done.

Thorunn Sleight said...

I think the ceiling leaking indicated that reality was starting to intrude on her place of refuge. It was after this that Lionel Brown is seen sitting at the dinner table.

Alison S said...

I found this last episode so problematic. Brianna and Roger should never have left so the return and its reason were just as artificial. Questions of what and how to focus on with time travel will continue to be a problem and will need clear explanations.

Claire’s rescue could have been so dramatic. I think Diana’s description in the books of the war paint and drums is so forceful and dramatic, I’m flabbergasted it wasn’t recreated as she presented it.

I understand the artistic reason for the disassociation using sixties imagery but it did nothing for me other than show cinematic artistry. I’m afraid I felt the same way about the silent movie treatment of Roger’s ordeal.

The presentation of the rape and its aftermath are so different from Diana’s version and her comments about rape. It wasn’t a gang rape although it was certainly a gang assault. Is a gang rape more sensational to TV viewers? Obviously yes. Not a good enough reason to change the story here. And the recovery… will we be forced to watch a twenty first century take on Claire’s recovery? Diana has been really clear on her position that each rape (and subsequent recovery) is something unique to the person involved. Read her view in Outllandish Companion Vol.2, Part 4, Sex and Violence. Claire and Jamie’s scenes after their return to Fraser’s Ridge, although clearly not something TV could show, explain how their physical connection to each other is integral to their healing and intimacy. And Jamie gets to feel angry and guilty.

I hope season 6 can restore my faith in the producers’ “lip service” to being true to the novels. I also that Cait and Sam, if they are now the custodians of Diana’s characters as well as producers, can exert some influence on the evolution and representation of the marvellous characters which have been created.

Alison S

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