Welcome to my recap of episode 505, Perpetual Adoration.
I must be honest, we are halfway through season five of Outlander on Starz, and I feel like we’re being treated to the longest build-up in history of Outlander on cable TV. So many setups and so many paths that will eventually lead to disaster. It is ominous and unsettling, and sometimes, I’m not entirely sure how much I’m enjoying the season or am merely waiting for the ax to fall and chop the Fraser family into bits and pieces. This would include their extended family, too, whom I’ve also learned to love. Yep, I can see it now, broken pieces scattered all over the Carolinas!
Let’s be clear, I’m not complaining (much), but I swear, these episodes run the gambit from exciting to frustrating to nail-biting.
But enough of this chatter. It’s time to dig in for the recap.
Summary provided by Starz: Jamie and his militia arrive at Hillsborough to learn that Governor Tryon has proposed a rather unorthodox solution to deal with the threat posed by the Regulators and to resolve the growing political crisis. Jamie is forced to take drastic action when his relationship to Murtagh is at risk of coming to light. Busy with present-day life at the Ridge, Roger and Brianna must nevertheless come to terms with their past when Roger learns new information about Stephen Bonnet. Claire recalls an episode from her past that led her back to Jamie.
We begin with a surprising opening—a church in Boston in the 1960s sometime after Frank’s death. And Claire’s voice-over alerts us to her thoughts on life, death, and God, as she kneels in a pew in front of an altar.
Back at Fraser’s Ridge, Claire is looking excitedly through a microscope. Marsali enters the room, and the two women share the joy of discovery of a new medical innovation (at least for the 1700s)—Eureka! Claire has found the formula for penicillin.
In Boston, Claire and Brianna meet in the park and head for dinner. Claire has lost a patient and is feeling melancholy.
At Fraser’s Ridge, Roger and Brianna are in bed, in each other’s arms, chatting during the post-coital afterglow. Soon, however, Roger reveals he is still stinging from his dismissal from Brownsville – Jamie sent him back with Claire, who had to take care of the Beardsley twins. Roger may want to go back to his time, but he also wants to impress his father-in-law, which appears to grow tougher and more stressful week after week.
In Hillsboro, Jamie and his militia arrive in town to continue the task of gathering an army only to learn that Lieutenant Knox and his men are in town at a nearby saloon. Jamie finds Knox and quickly learns that Governor Tyron has decided to offer the Regulators a pardon—well, all except for Murtagh Fitzgibbons. Knox is thoroughly upset about Tyron’s declaration, feeling he may be embarrassed by the change in their charge. But he still has Fitzgibbons to hunt down.
There is a philosophical tone to the episode. Claire’s frequent voice-overs question faith, mortality, time, time travel, and her personal belief system and how that affects her perspective, clearly even more complicated by the fact that she is a time traveler.
In the 1960s, she has a patient–a Mr. Menzies (a tip-of-the-hat to Tobias Menzies, the actor who portrayed brilliantly Frank Randall and Black Jack Randall—no. The character in the book was named Graham Menzies). Graham Menzies is a charming relocated Scotsman, and Claire diagnoses him with gall stones, too large to pass. He’ll require surgery.
At Fraser’s Ridge, Claire is surgically removing Keziah’s infected tonsils, right after she confirms he isn’t allergic to penicillin. The tonsil operation scene is fairly graphic (shudder) but also a successful surgery.
We cut away to Roger, taking care of wee Jemmy when he knocks over one of Brianna’s boxes and inside finds the gemstone, he lost to Bonnet in a card game he recalls. Bonnet cheated to win, but Roger was at a disadvantage (Bonnet’s reputation for savagery) and couldn’t call him a lying cheat. These are painful memories for Roger but moreover, finding the gemstone begs the question, why does Brianna have it?
When Brianna enters the cabin (after hunting unsuccessfully for mushrooms), he immediately asks her about the gemstone and Bonnet. She responds that she spoke to Bonnet in jail, which she hadn’t mentioned to Roger before. So, he’s shocked and confused. It doesn’t track that Bonnet would give her the stone. Brianna is forced to admit that she told Bonnet that her then unborn child was his. Understandably, Roger is beyond upset, but he remains calmer than I imagined. Maybe, because the baby is in the room sleeping. Still, Roger is devasted. And Brianna is suffering, too. The pain these two are put through in this scene is something to watch. The acting is A+ and emotional.
In Boston, Claire is in church, and we learn that her patient, Mr. Menzies, died. Not from surgery, but ironically from an allergic reaction to penicillin.
At Fraser’s Ridge, Roger is reclining against a tree when Claire comes through the woods and discovers him, having spent the night away from home. She admits she shouldn’t ask why he spent the night in the woods, but of course, she does. They end up talking about the ups and downs of marriage. Claire helps Roger understand the sacrifices of marriage, and he returns home with a bunch of mushrooms and an apology. But there is something in Brianna’s face that forces him to realize—there’s something else he doesn’t know.
She tells him Bonnet is still alive. Roger’s emotional range is tested again. But Brianna is not done. She then shares the information about the coin in the Jemmy’s bassinet and her fear that Bonnet left it for ‘his’ son. Hard times ahead for the MacKenzie’s!
In Hillsboro, Knox officially releases Jamie from his militia recruiting chore.
Joe Abernathy shows up at a bar where Claire is hanging out. She happens to have with her a romance novel she picked up from the hospital lounge. Joe lets her know he left the book there (for her) because he finds them relaxing. (Most positive words about romance novels on screen in a while).
Knox and Jamie are playing chess in Knox’s private quarters when they are interrupted by a messenger with a document providing a list of Scottish prisoners. Jamie realizes his name and relationship to Murtagh will be on the document. The jig is up, and he tells Knox Murtagh is his godfather.
This is a tough call for Jamie. Knox will never break his oath to King and country. Now, with this news and realization that Jamie has been playing on the other side while claiming to be an honest man, Knox asks him “which one of us is righteous”. And that is the last question Knox will ever ask. Jamie has no choice but to kill Knox. (And let’s be clear, if Knox hadn’t killed the militiaman in episode 503, we’d have a lot of character-explaining to do about Jamie Fraser.)
Clever man that he is, Jamie skillfully masks Knox’s death by setting a fire (burning the documents that the messenger had delivered). Closing the flute creates a smoky fiery mess. Jamie walks away without suspicion, while Knox’s death looks to be due to smoke inhalation.
As Jamie makes his getaway, he runs into a stray cat, whom he threatens to throttle if the wee beast makes a sound. Jamie returns to Fraser’s Ridge with the kitten and gives it to Claire as a gift.
Back in Boston, Claire asks Brianna to join her on a trip to London. So, all of the backstories show how a Scotsman’s death led Claire to take a break from doctoring and travel to Britain.
On the porch of the house in Fraser’s Ridge, Claire adds up the pieces. She begins with the death of Graham Menzies and tells Jamie how life and death conspired to lead her back to him.
Join me next week for episode 506, Better to Marry Than Burn.