This Sunday night, the Starz series “Outlander” returns for its fifth season. It has been over a year since audiences saw Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) Fraser settling in North Carolina. No matter where this pair goes, trouble seems to find them. Last season, their daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) lost her virginity to her boyfriend Roger (Richard Rankin). But this happy moment did not last long. The two had a fight and he stormed off. Later that same night, a thug named Stephen Bonnet raped Sophie. The very fertile Brianna discovered she was pregnant and ultimately gave birth to a baby boy. Who is the kid’s father? Let’s flip a coin.
After an utterly miserable nine months of mishap and torture, Roger wholeheartedly decided that he loves Brianna. She may be a tad bratty, but rather that than getting beaten by Native Americans. Roger will also love “his” son too. At the same time Jamie’s Uncle Murtagh (Ducan Lacroix) was causing trouble. He was arrested and thrown in jail… with Bonnet. What a coincidence! After much planning, the whole Fraser gang helped Murtagh escape. And Bonnet is believed to have perished in the jail’s explosion. This seems much to easy a death. After accepting land from the British, Jamie is in a less than ideal predicament- keep your land, but hunt down Murtagh and kill him. Not a bad cliff hanger.
This season opener begins with a flashback of Murtagh telling a young Jamie that his mother has passed away, but he promises the lad that he will always be with him. Cut to the colonial American style opening theme and music of “The Skye Boat Song.” … Sing me a Song of a Lad that is Gone...
With a wedding on the horizon, Brianna and Roger prepare for their nuptials. Jamie helps Roger shave his beard with a sharp blade, while the two discuss how Roger is to take care of his family. Meanwhile, Claire puts the finishing touches on Brianna’s dress and reminisces over her two weddings without her mother. It still seems a bit strange to see Jamie and Claire as parents and grandparents.
An entire community has rallied around the Frasers, helping the family build a home in which to settle. While Jamie continues to seek his daughter’s approval and love, he expresses his concerns over Roger’s commitment. Claire eases Jamie’s worries stating that Roger loves Brianna very much. Jamie gives Brianna something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. This gesture is met with much gratitude by Brianna. She assures her father that no matter what happens, she will always be his “wee girl.” Jamie proudly walks his daughter down the aisle. While Brianna and Roger exchange vows before the community of Frasers’ Ridge, Jamie and Claire sweetly reminisce of their own wedding years earlier. Oh, the good old days.
During the reception, a British Officer approaches Jamie. He tells Jamie that his platoon of men who have been kept very busy searching for fugitive Murtagh. As Jamie was assigned to help find and execute Murtagh, the Brit not so overtly suggests that Jamie’s “help” has been a bit too erratic for his taste.
As festivities carry on, ad-libs and all, family friend Lord John Grey informs Jamie that Bonnet is alive. Shocker! Brianna overhears this revelation and begins to relive the trauma of the rape, casting a shadow on the night’s merriment. Meanwhile, Jamie’s maternal aunt Jocasta leaves the wedding and heads to a small shed in the woods, where it is revealed that Murtagh is hiding out. There, the two enjoy some flirty banter.
Roger and Brianna retreat into their bedroom to spend their first night together as husband and wife. Sensing some tension, Roger brings out his guitar and serenades Brianna with a cover of “L-O-V-E” by Nat King Cole. Over a banjo of “Love,” Fraser kin Marsali informs her husband Fergus that she is pregnant again, and all of the other couples (Jocosta and Murtagh, Jamie and Claire, Roger and Brianna) have sex. Cue montage. Even after spending the night with her husband, Brianna cannot shake the feeling of dread.
In the morning, Jocasta and Murtagh wallow in the sadness of their situation. Jocasta informs Murtagh that she has received a marriage proposal and that she has yet to give an answer. In an effort to keep her safe from the bounty on his head, Murtagh bows out, leaving Jocasta heartbroken.
Later that afternoon, the well to do Jocasta informs Roger that she has decided not to leave her property of River Run to Brianna anymore, but instead to her son Jeremiah. Jocasta worries that if Roger comes to believe that Jeremiah is not his son, but instead Bonnet’s, he can divorce Brianna and take the property for himself. Jocosta is convinced that this will ensure Roger’s fair and loving treatment of Jeremiah. This move insults Roger. But before storming off (he likes to do that), he makes it very clear that none of his family will be taking anything from her. This turns out to be a test, which Roger has passed with flying colors. Roger heads to the house and baptizes Jeremiah as his son.
While Claire keeps busy running her clinic (she doesn’t do much else this episode), the damn persistent British Officer shows up and tells Jamie to start hunting for Murtagh. If Jamie refuses to take part, the British will take back all of Frasers’ land. Knowing that the American Revolution is on the horizon, Jamie states he will have to keep his word to the crown until then.
Needing to make a statement, Jamie dons his Scottish garb and makes a speech to the men and women of Fraser’s Ridge. He asks that when the time comes, they will stand by his side. One by one, the men pledge their loyalty- a kinship that will lead them into the future. Dramatic much?
Jamie meets with Murtagh in the woods. Guess he knew where he was all along! Murtagh wants to know details of the war to come. Jamie refuses, but assures him they will be fighting on the same side. Murtagh says that he is not resentful of Jamie’s family using the stones and time travel to get the life they want. Jamie tells Murtagh that it is no longer safe that for him to stay, and he releases him from the vow he made to him as a child. Murtagh walks into the woods, leaving Jamie alone.