Tuesday, March 17, 2020

“The Nature of Time” - A recap of season 5 episode 5 by your Aussie blogging lass

Outlander Homepage Originals by Susie Brown 

What is the nature of time? There is a lot of philosophy in this, the fifth episode of the season. There is talk of a higher power and the need to have faith in an unseen being. There is talk of the decisions we make and the ripples that such decisions can have, not only in the present, but in the future as well. There are emotional reactions that can wound, and others that can heal. Ultimately though, what can withstand the test of time? 

The episode begins in a church, with a single voice singing a prayer. It is not an 18th century church service however, and as the camera pans away, we see Claire dressed in 1960s garb. She is sitting alone, looking troubled.  Her voiceover comments on the number of times she has put her hopes, fears and secret longings into the hands of a being that she can’t see, hear or feel. As Claire genuflects before the altar, she asks how many times those prayers have been answered.

The answer, or at least part of the answer, is found back in the 18th century. Claire is looking through the microscope at the bread samples when she finally sees what she has been hoping for. Marsali enters and Claire immediately asks her to look. Marsali does so and soon recognises the paintbrush pattern that denotes the presence of penicillin. After a quick explanation of the meaning of “Eureka”, the two women celebrate and the opening credits roll.

After a brief 1960s image of a woman searching through what is presumably a doctor’s surgery or lounge for some reading matter (the choice being a book called “The Impetuous Pirate”), Claire’s voiceover takes up the story once again, with a philosophical observation of the similarities between God and the nature of time. Both are preexisting, both have no end and both are all powerful. Nothing, Claire says, can stand can stand against time, as with enough of it, anything is taken care of. As she speaks, we see a montage of images from all seasons and centuries to date, but this reviewer couldn’t help but think of modern times too. Although it couldn’t have been known when the screening dates for this season were set, it’s a rather eerie line to hear right now, as the 21st century world is in the grips of a pandemic… While Claire tells us that with the passing of time pain is encompassed, hardship is erased and loss subsumed, she also quotes the biblical verse that we are dust and unto dust we shall return. Finally, the voiceover surmises that if time is akin to God, then memory must be the devil. 

We return to the 1960s as Claire greets Brianna in a park. They are heading for lunch at a fancy restaurant and Brianna jokes that one of them must have done something good. Brianna comments that Claire had sounded weird on the phone and Claire admits that she has just lost a patient, one who had had an allergic reaction to penicillin. In the 20th century world, while there are tests for allergies, they are not infallible and indeed, the patient had tested negative. A false positive is rare, but one that had applied in this case. 
“Man,” Brianna says, “I guess you never really know what’s coming, do you?”
“No,” Claire replies, “you don’t.”

We time jump again, back to the Ridge. Brianna and Roger are in bed, having just enjoyed one of the perks of Roger being sent home early from Brownsville. They are relaxed, expressing their satisfaction with their lovemaking and affectionately teasing one another. It is lovely to see this, after Brianna’s almost post traumatic response to the lovemaking of their wedding night. The mood changes slightly as Roger makes a comment about Jamie’s dismissal of him. Brianna tries to pacify him, saying that Roger has the ability to get through to people. “No wonder they loved you at Oxford,” she adds. 

This opens up a new line of conversation. The long ride home had given him time to think and Roger has realised that universities such as Harvard and Yale already exist in this time period. Brianna is immediately interested, musing that she could teach math. But Roger responds that he had merely been thinking about “the old days”, back (or forward) to a time when he felt secure and respected in his profession. Besides, he says, he had given his oath to Jamie to be in the militia. It is an oath that means something to both men, a fact that Brianna acknowledges as thunder begins to rumble outside. 

Meanwhile, the militia have reached Hillsborough, but the reception they receive is one of fear and suspicion. Jamie quickly surmises the reason for this: the townsfolk believe them to be regulators. He formally introduces himself and the mood immediately changes. A spokesmen for the people bids them welcome and blesses them for their kindness.

But is not just kindness that has brought them, Jamie says. He repeats the offer he made to the people of Brownsville, outlining the pay for anyone who joins them. 40 shillings is not an attractive enough fee and there is some muttering and laughter, before the spokesman tells them that the town do aim to keep the militia in good spirits, adding that the redcoats are already benefiting from the town’s hospitality. 

Indeed, there is a jovial mood when Jamie, Fergus and Myers enter the tavern. Amidst raucous laughter, a knife is being thrown at the wanted sketch of Murtagh, in a sort of bloodthirsty game reminiscent of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Jamie promptly gives Myers his orders: to buy a cask of rum, have the garrison make camp and let the men drink until the barrel is dry. Myers is only too happy to accept, remarking that Jamie’s order is their wish. 

Lieutenant Knox greets Jamie, remarking to the others that the Colonel had arrived as promised, and with daylight to spare. Jamie makes a formal bow and informs Knox that he has added another 50 or so men to the muster roll. While Knox sends another redcoat for ale, he rather sheepishly dismisses the knife throwing game as a little barbaric. Murtagh is proving elusive, Knox admits, before adding that he has some unfortunate news to share. He hands Jamie a letter from Governor Tryon. 

The letter’s contents indicate that Tryon tends to pardon the leaders of the regulators. Jamie asks for clarification: will it be full pardons for everyone? Knox is unhappy at this development and Jamie asks if Tryon has explained this decision at all. He hasn’t, but Knox suggests perhaps it has been done out of appeasement. Even so, he worries that such an act will make them appear foolish or cowardly in the eyes of their subordinates. Knox is further worried that his “excessive act in the jail” (which is an interesting way to describe murdering a man in a fit of pique) might have been for nothing. 

Jamie muses that perhaps it is all for the best, as every man deserves a second chance. He counsels Knox: the lieutenant needs to ask and receive the Lord’s forgiveness for the life he took. “Trust me,” he adds. “There will be other battles to fight.” 

Knox tells Jamie that he is pleased to be able to call him a friend, then admits that he is still holding onto one small hope. He is waiting on a letter which may point to Murtagh’s current whereabouts. He has sent for the prisoner records at Ardsmuir, after learning that Murtagh had been incarcerated there.

Now Jamie realises the full picture. If Knox receives the roll, he will discover the connection between Jamie and Murtagh. Jamie asks Knox: does he believe that there are fellow prisoners within the colony who might be hiding Murtagh? it is a risky question, underscored by the foreboding music. “Leave no stone unturned”, Knox responds. 
“Aye,” Jamie mutters softly. “As you say,” he repeats, “tis all for naught.”
Knox passes Jam the knives, urging him to have a go at hitting Murtagh’s face. 
“The pardon doesn’t extend to the man’s image then,” Jamie remarks and Knox confirms that this might be as close as they come to administer judgement. 

Jamie takes aim and fires the knife deliberately wide as Claire’s voiceover takes over once more. As a child, she tells us, she used to be fascinated by spider webs and would spent hours watching and waiting for an insect to become caught. While part of her was worried to watch its death throes, the rest was mesmerised by the way the tiniest vibration of the web would signal to the spiders that prey was nearby. Is time God’s eternal web, with the mildest touch setting off vibrations through the eons?

Dr Claire enters the 20th century hospital room. in time to catch and caution her patient, Graham Menzies, who is smoking a cigarette. The two have an easy rapport and Menzies jokes about the nurses taking a shine to him. But it is obvious that Menzies also respects Claire and they begin to discuss his condition. Rather than the cancer that he has been afraid of, Menzies has large gallstones, along with an infection in his bile duct that can be treated with antibiotics. Claire is attempting to remain the professional, but Menzies argues that since she is discussing a personal condition, he would prefer to be on a first name basis. Menzies identifies a Scottish connection declaring that Claire has some Scottish blood in her somehow. Before she knows it, they are exchanging personal information and discover that they have quite a bit in common. Each has been an “outsider” for more than 20 years, each has married (and lost) the love of their life. The conversation returns to the operation, as well as the tests to check Menzies is not allergic to the antibiotics required to treat the infection. Left with no other options to being “gutted like a fish” Menzies agrees to what Claire has outlined. But it is the comment that Menzies makes about the scar from the operation being just “one more scar not worth brooding over” that affects Claire the most. She turns back to look at Menzies, but it is Jamie that she is thinking of. 

In the 18th century, Claire is doing her own check of Kezzie’s reaction to penicillin. He passes the test - no rashes or swelling indicate that he is not allergic. Marsali is pleased that the mould has worked, but Claire cautions that the test isn’t always reliable. She tells Marsali that everything a doctor does involves risk, with unseen complications that can be fatal. Still, the more that can be done to alleviate the risk, the greater the chance of saving the patient. (Here again, the writers seem to have been prophetic - these are words that ring true in the current 21st century climate as well). 

Claire prepares a dose of penicillin for Kezzie, which she hopes will be enough to begin to fight the infection and the operation begins. Kezzie is injected with the penicillin and is covered with  a sheet. Laudanum is administered and with Mr Bug holding his shoulders, Claire quickly removes Kezzie’s tonsils, with Marsali as assistant. It is painful, but Kezzie doesn’t move, even when Claire cauterises the wound. The operation is over quickly and Claire congratulates him on his bravery. But Kezzie doesn’t want to be put to bed, determined to wait until Josiah’s operation is also complete. The whole procedure is done quickly and under sterile conditions - a 20th century approach in an 18th century environment - and we get a glimpse of the impact that Claire has in this time period. 

Roger is trying to calm Jemmy by dangling a chain in front of him. But Jemmy will not be pacified and in the commotion, a wooden box is knocked to the floor. As Roger picks it up, another Claire voiceover muses whether God is the spider or the spinner of the web, merely watching as the real spiders are awakened, the ones that lurk within the recesses of our own natures. In this case, Roger has just discovered his own particular spider, as he uncovers the gemstone that Bonnet had given to Brianna, which has been wrapped and hidden in muslin all this time. 

Roger remembers a card game he had played with Bonnet, where he had refused an offer of the same gemstone,. Saying “double or quits for the last card,” Bonnet had suggested wagering the gemstone. Choosing to share his opinion of women, Bonnet said that women would do anything for trinkets, coins or jewels. But Roger had told Bonnet that his lass was more concerned with words and deeds than jewels, playing his card and sliding coins across the table as his own wager. Bonnet had tried again. Since Roger didn’t need the gemstone, he offered some “pearls of wisdom” instead, describing women as a tax that men pay on pleasure and laying down his final card. He was cheating, and Roger pointed this out, telling Bonnet that he had played the Ace of Hearts in the last hand. Bonney’s expression had hardened as he told Roger he was mistaken. Roger had recognised the threat and didn’t argue the point, saying that it must have been the ace of diamonds instead. Bonnet had dubbed Roger a wise man, and taken his “winnings” - the gemstone and the money. 

Now, Roger is haunted by the sight of the gemstone. Had Brianna really “done anything” for the jewel? Brianna returns to the cabin, unaware of Roger’s turmoil. She tells him that she had wanted to make mushroom soup for dinner, so had gone in search of chanterelles, not planning on being gone so long. She asks if Jemmy has been fussing too much, but Roger simply holds up the gemstone and asks “What is this?” 

Brianna stares in shock. When Roger asks her to confirm that the gem is Bonnet’s she is unable to answer at first. Finally, she takes a breath and begins. She tells him that she had been afraid that he wouldn’t understand and his response is a rather accusatory “Try me.” Roger is angry and she knows it. Brianna talks about Wilmington and her encounter with Bonnet. She tells Roger that rather than just going to see the hanging, she had felt the need to speak to Bonnet in person. It was then that he had given her the diamond. 

Roger’s response is stinging, suggesting that she had kept the stone as a gift from Bonnet. Brianna replies that she had kept the stone for Jemmy, as a ticket home for all of them. But Roger needs more information. The Bonnet he knew, he tells Brianna, wouldn’t have given up the diamond for anything. Why did he give it to Brianna? She doesn’t want to tell him, turning away and looking into the fire. “Because I told him Jemmy was his,” she says. Her explanation that Bonnet was going to die and that she thought it might be some comfort are body blows to Roger, who recoils as if struck. Brianna is desperate now, going to Roger and trying to apologise and explain further. She hadn’t known if Roger was coming back, she reminds him, and had been grieving for him. “They were just words,” she says, ones that he was not meant to hear.

But Roger is not accepting this. “Words have consequences” he replies. And the words that he utters next certainly do. He accuses Brianna of knowing that Bonnet was Jemmy’s father, even through the wedding and the blood oath. Brianna asks how she could possibly have known that and Roger replies that it is because she had told Bonnet so. They are words that she had never said to him.

This is the hurtful blow for Brianna. “I didn’t think I needed to,” she replies.
When Roger asks what she truly believes, she cannot answer. Without a word, he drops the stone into her hand and leaves the cabin as Brianna begins to cry.

This was stellar, though heartbreaking, stuff from Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton. Each have got the ability to look utterly bereft and hurt by the other’s reactions and certainly embodied the “Words have consequences” theme of the scene. It is reminiscent of the distance between Jamie and Claire in earlier seasons and it is an effective parallel. We hope that, like Jamie and Claire, Roger and Bree will eventually be able to move forward - once again, time will be a factor.

In the 1960s, Claire pulls up at the church. It is the adoration for Graham Menzies and Claire is keeping a vigil. The pastor approaches, asking if she had been a friend. Claire introduces herself and the pastor describes Graham as a rare individual who alway brought a smile to his face. He asks if Claire had known him well and Claire admits that she hadn’t, adding that she isn’t quite sure why she is there. 

“Sometimes even strangers can find their way into our hearts,” the pastor replies and Claire nods. 
They discuss the promise that Graham had made to his wife and the pastor comments that the love and devotion between man and wife is unlike anything else. 
Again, Claire is thinking of Jamie. “He reminded me of someone I lost,” she says.
“No one’s lost who’s not forgotten,” the pastor replies.
Claire’s eyes are full of tears as she muses that perhaps she had just needed to be reminded of that fact. 

Roger is sitting under the tree when he hears noises. He picks up the rifle and takes aim - at Claire, who is returning from the woods with a basket over her arm. 
They both gasp. Roger makes an uneasy joke how he probably would have missed her, but wonders why she is out so early.  Claire tells him she couldn’t sleep, so she had gone looking for herbs for the twins’ recovery. She asks Roger the reason for his early start and he replies that he has been hunting… mostly. 

Claire is not buying this excuse however, citing mother’s intuition as her reason. Roger wishes for husband’s intuition and Claire reminds him that he and Bree haven’t been married very long. Intuition, she says, comes with listening and time. Roger replies that he has time in spades. Claire tells him, from her perspective of someone with lots of experience, that marriages aren’t always easy. She talks about her marriage to Frank, which had been very complicated. Roger apologies for dredging up old memories. But Claire doesn’t mind, replying that she has been thinking about “that time” a lot lately. Frank and Claire had made their marriage work for Bree’s sake, she says. But Roger observes that this had meant lying to Bree about the identity of her real father and asks if she regrets that.

No, says Claire. Bree had needed to feel safe and loved by both her parents. This makes Roger think. He goes to sit next to Claire, asking and receiving confirmation that telling Bree about Jamie had brought the two women closer together. Roger suggests that the moral of the story is that honesty is the best policy. “Not always,” Claire says, reminding him that sometimes the truth does hurt. Brianna had been devastated and angry when she found out Frank wasn’t her real father, something that Roger had witnessed. It was information she couldn’t have coped with as a child and Claire had tried to find the right time to tell her. 
“Don’t be careless of the time you have together,” Claire cautions. 
Roger appreciates Claire’s honesty and tells her so. 

This is another beautiful scene. Richard Rankin and Catriona Balfe have a wonderful rapport and create the perfect mother-in-law and son-in-law relationship on the screen. With the passing of time, Claire has become far less impetuous and has assumed the role of matriarch with ease. 

The next scene opens with Roger returning to the cabin, where Bree is sitting outside. He holds out a collection of chanterelles as a peace offering, which he has gathered from across the creek. 
Brianna wants to explain but Roger tells her it doesn’t matter. He apologises for everything, but there is something else Bree needs to say. 
“Stephen Bonnet is still alive,” she says, admitting that she is haunted by this knowledge, seeing Bonnet everywhere. She then tells Roger of the recent encounter, where an Irishman had given Jemmy a coin.

Roger tries to deflect. It could have been anyone giving Jemmy a coin, he says and brands Mrs Bug a busybody. Bree reminds him that Lord John had confirmed Bonnet’s existence. He has been seen in Wilmington. Roger grabs Brianna’s hands and kisses them. He doesn’t need to know why she didn’t tell him, he says, because as soon as they know if Jemmy can travel, they will use the ticket home from Bonnet’s stone and return to the future. They embrace, but Brianna is once again torn. 

Jamie and Knox are discussing Tryon’s plan to pardon everyone except for Murtagh. Knox brands it a cunning manoeuvre, adding that treasonous behaviour is unforgivable, adding that Tryon has charged him with continuing the hunt. Jamie says he worries it will only encourage lawlessness among the regulators. Knox says they are both only humble servants to the law, adding (with a nod to Les Miserables) that “those who follow the path of the righteous shall have their reward.” 

Jamie asks what will become of the militia and is told that they will stand down and hand in the muster roll. At that time, they can disband and go home, delivering pardons as they go. Jamie says that he isn’t a sheriff and has no standing. But it is not his rank that is important here. Knox explains the reason: it is because Jamie is Scottish, as are many of the regulators. Jamie is to speak as “one Scot to another” reminding the men of Tryon’s desire to be merciful and just. 

Jamie continues the charade of dedicated militia man, commenting that his only regret is that he cab’t continue in the hunt. Knox says that Jamie should go home to his family and leave Knox himself to worry about Murtagh.

In the 1960s, Graham Menzies is making his own requests. He wants Claire to promise that he will be back on his feet by Friday at 4pm, so that he can carry out his shift at St Finbar’s. 
Claire has heard of the service. It is one that Menzies has done ever since his wife Olivia died, taking his turn to make sure that the blessed sacrament isn’t left alone. It is his way, he says, of keeping close to Olivia and that sometimes he feels her presence. 

Claire tells him that he reminds her of someone she had met in Scotland years ago, telling Graham that she had lost touch with the man since. “He must be a fool,” Menzies replies.   That sets Menzies reminiscing about Scotland and how he never stops missing it. He had always planned to return, but when Claire suggests he goes back, Menzies is not interested. Time has passed, he says. His wife is buried in America and he could never leave. Claire tells him that she will get him started on a course of penicillin and he will be ready for surgery the following day. 
“It’s a date,” Menzies says and the two smile at each other.

Jamie knocks on Knox’s door, He has the muster roll, which Knox takes happily. Since they are parting ways in the morning, he says to Jamie, perhaps they could play a game of chess. They have done this before, with Jamie the victor and Knox wishes to even the score. Jamie agrees to one game. Knox pours them both a drink, saying that part of him envies Jamie, who will soon be at home resuming a citizen’s life. Jamie agrees that it will be a relief to pick up the ax and shovel over sword and pistol, prompting Knox to lament another soldier lost the land. 

A shocked 1960s Claire hears the news from the nurse that Menzies has died pre-surgery, an anaphylactic reaction to penicillin. Claire demands to know why she hadn’t been notified and the nurse stammers that she is new and doesn’t know. Claire loses her temper, saying that it is no excuse and that she should have been called. 

A while later, Claire is having a drink and Joe Abernathy joins her. He notices the Impetutous pirate book, admitting that he had left it in the surgeons’ lounge. Romance novels takes his mind off things, and predicts that they do the same for Claire. Claire asks if she is the talk of the 3rd floor.
 “The fourth floor by now,” Joe responds. 
Claire tells him that there had been something about Graham Menzies. She laments that she had allowed herself to get attached to a patient, but Joe reminds her that it happens sometimes. They are doctors after all, not robots. 
But there is more to it. Claire asks Joe if he ever feels like everything is pointing him towards something, without ever been quite sure of what that something is, just that it can be dealt or sensed somehow. 
Joe replies that there is clearly something on Claire’s mind, but in his opinion, the problem is in the heart, not the brain. 

Knox is also sounding sentimental. He tells Jamie that had they gone to battle, he would have wanted no-one by his side but Jamie. Jamie replies that that is a kind comment, adding that it is rare to meet people of a like mind. The last time that sentiments like this were shared over a chess board, Jamie was playing Lord John, but this situation is far from that, as we soon see. 

Knox begins to speak of Murtagh, telling Jamie that men like Murtagh never change. Their duty is to the law, he says and justice will be done. Jamie is still at this comment, but Knox doesn’t notice. There is a knock at the door and as ominous music begins to play, Knox returns to the table with the document he has been expecting: a transcript of the Ardsmuir prison roll after Culloden. Knox starts to talk of presenting the roll to Tryon, but Jamie interrupts, telling Knox that his own name is on the roll. Knox agrees: he is certain that there is more than one James Fraser in Scotland. But Jamie presses further: there is only one James Fraser from Broch Tuarach. He indicates the roll. Knox, his expression changing to one of disbelief, opens it and sure enough, reads Jamie’s name, along with the information that Murtagh’s surname is in fact Fraser. 
“My godfather,” Jamie replies. “Fitzgibbons is his middle name.”

Knox is horrified. He wants to know what kind of deceitful devil wears the guise of honour and talks about justice and mercy. He realises  that it was Jamie who released the prisoners in Hillsborough and that all of his actions have been for Murtagh’s sake.
Jamie leans forward, his expression serious. “Believe of me what you will,” he says, “but Murtagh Fitzgibbons Fraser is a good man.” 

This is the last straw for Knox. He will do what must be done, he says, and will not be in league with a traitor. Jamie stands along with Knox, saying that he is no traitor. He has cheated death in the duty of other men’s ambitions and has the scars to prove it, which he has borne without complaint. What Jamie won’t do, he says, is stand by and watch his kin be hunted like a dog for protecting people who can’t protect themselves. 

Knox responds that Tryon will put a rope around Jamie’s neck. Jamie asks what Knox would have done in his place and Knox replies that he would never break his word, or his oath to King and country. Picking up a knife, he orders Jamie to stand down, while he calls for Jamie’s arrest. 

Jamie advances on him. He swore an oath to his family, he says, imploring Knox, as a good man, to understand. But Knox is having none of this. He took a life in the jail, he says to Jamie, and Jamie had pleaded for mercy on the prisoners’ behalf. He had believed Jamie to be a good man. “Which of us is righteous?” he asks. “It cannot be both,” he says, turning away. This is his fatal mistake.

With the speed and strength of the warrior that he is, Jamie slams Knox’s head into the door and grabs the stunned man around the throat. The struggle is desperate but brief. Jamie strangles the Lieutenant and, in a sarcastic allusion to Ethan’s death in Hillsborough, apologises for not affording him a soldier’s death. He drags Knox’s body to the bed, pulling off his boots, closing his eyes and covering him with a blanket, making it look as if he had gone to sleep for the evening. Next, he burns the Ardsmuir roll in the fire, before ensuring that the flames and smoke build up. Coughing, he takes the rest of the documents and lets himself out of the cabin via the window into an alley way. He stands there for a moment then hears a cat meowing. Looking down, he sees a grey ball of fur looking back at him. “Not a word,” he says, “or I’ll throttle you.” In the distance, we hear shouts of “Fire Fire” and calls for a physician, as Knox’s body is dragged outside. Fergus has appeared too and asks Jamie if it is the Lieutenant. Jamie confirms this, adding that they should leave as there is nothing else to be done. 

There has been quite a bit of discussion about this scene on fan sites. Opinion is divided as to whether Jamie’s act of murdering Knox is justified. This was a show -only development, as Knox does not exist in Diana Gabaldon’s novels. One school of thought is that Jamie is a warrior who is fiercely protective of his family and in this regard, he would have no qualms about killing someone to protect the people he loves. Others say that the way he does it, with seemingly no remorse and a sarcastic comment about a soldier’s death are out of character. Book Jamie would be haunted by the people he had killed and ask for genuine forgiveness, not cover up the evidence, leap out a window and pick up a cat with a lighthearted comment about keeping his actions a secret. (For what it’s worth, this renewer agrees with the latter school of thought.) 

The next scene sees Jamie riding back down the hill at the Ridge, to be greeted by Claire. They embrace and Jamie pulls the cat from inside his coat. He tells Claire that it has been surviving on insects and earthworms and he couldn’t leave it behind. The two have bonded, he says, addressing the cat as Adso, named after the cat his mother had had when he was a boy. Claire is similarly besotted, stroking Adso and offering him a saucer of milk. They walk inside, Jamie suggests that Adso can help keep the vermin out of her surgery. 

The final 1960s scene finishes the conversation between Brianna and Claire. In answer to Brianna’s, “Man you never really know what’s coming, do you?” Claire says that she has been thinking a lot about that, and wants Brianna to accompany her to London. She has requested a leave of absence from the hospital, something that Brianna can’t believe. She asks why London and Claire says that Frank had wanted to take her there. Now she wants to fulfil that plan. Brianna says that she will have to cancel summer classes, but Claire is insistent. It is important that they spend the time together she says and Brianna nods.

Claire has given Adso the milk. She thanks Jamie for the gift, kissing him gently. Jamie says he has much to tell her about Hillsborough, but he can sense that he has something on her mind. Claire asks if he remembers her speaking of a patient named Menzies. Jamie does remember, adding that Menzies’ death had been a rare occurrence. 

Claire agrees, adding that she has finally realised something after all these years. She owes Menzies a lot, she says. His death had a profound effect on her, so much so that she took a leave of absence and came to London with Brianna, There she had learned of Reverend Wakefield’s passing, a funeral that led them to Roger and ultimately, to finding Jamie once again. “Welcome home, Soldier, “ she says and they kiss.

 Claire’s final voiceover begins by naming God. God the infinite, God the merciful, God the eternal. Someday, Claire says, she will stand before God and receive answers to her questions about everything in the universe. She has many questions, but she won’t ask about the nature of time, because she has lived it. 

This was a powerful and quite unsettling episode, enhanced by its spooky timing with current global events. Time will march on regardless, no matter the turmoil, danger or emotion that it leaves behind. It is truly as Brianna said, “You never know what’s coming.” We can only hope that whatever it is, whether on Fraser’s Ridge or in 2020, it won’t be too catastrophic. And on we go, to the halfway point of episode 6…

This episode recap was written by Susie Brown, an author and teacher-librarian who lives in Australia. She found the episode quite troubling against the backdrop of the present day and is secretly wishing for a cute kitten to make everything a little bit better! 


  1. These acts of what has happened in Outlander is great as I cannot access Outlander as yet and at least we can keep up with the story so far which is so great. Truly.