RECAP: ‘Outlander,’ Episode 510, Season 5: ‘Mercy Shall Follow Me’ by Denny S. Bryce

Outlander Season 5
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Hello Frolic,

This episode tampered with my emotions, and I’m not sure I liked the thoughts I was having about a character I believed I already knew and understood completely. But to help my psyche—I will say that this episode had some of the best acting of the season. Thank you, Sophie Skelton and Ed Speleers.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!

Summary provided by Starz: Jamie and Roger implement their plan to eliminate the threat looming over their family, but it goes awry when their prey proves more devious than expected. Brianna is forced to confront her greatest fear and fight for her and her son’s lives.  

An opening with two slimy characters: Gerald Forbes and Stephen Bonnet are plotting dastardly deeds in a brothel. 

Meanwhile, at a tavern, the Frasers and the MacKenzie’s are plotting, too. The plan is to travel to Wylie’s Landing to end the life of the evil Stephen Bonnet finally. They are using Jamie’s alias Alexander Malcolm (or rather Ian pretending to be Mr. Malcolm) to lure Bonnet under the guise of a transaction for barrels of whiskey. That way, Roger and Jamie can join forces to kill the man who had brutally attacked Brianna.

Richard Rankin as Roger MacKenzie, John Bell as Young Ian Fraser, Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser
Photo: Starz. Richard Rankin as Roger MacKenzie, John Bell as Young Ian Fraser, Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser

The men head for Wylie’s Landing as the ladies wander through the streets of Wilmington, looking for the materials Claire needs to create another syringe for her penicillin. However, they are being watched – and the eyes spying upon them belong to Stephen Bonnet.

At Wylie’s Landing, the team of Jamie, Roger, and Young Ian are waiting for Bonnet. Roger tells Jamie he wants to be the one to kill Bonnet. Jamie reluctantly agrees. Then they make a pact – if Bonnet kills Roger, Jamie will avenge him.

 

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser and Sophie Skelton as Brianna MacKenzie
Photo: Starz. Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser and Sophie Skelton as Brianna MacKenzie

Claire and Brianna are taking a stroll on the beach and whale watching. Brianna remarks about how much she loves the Herman Melville novel, Moby Dick (which was written in 1851, but remember Bree is a time traveler). Brianna takes off her shoes and runs along the beach while Claire ventures off to hunt for some shells.

At Wylie’s Landing, a small boat pulls up. This must be Bonnet. Our heroes are ready for the fight!

The scene shifts between the beach and the landing quickly, spending a few seconds at each location, building the tension. By now, we realize things aren’t going to go as planned for either group.

At the landing, the men explain that Captain Bonnet is not coming, and they ask for the barrels of whisky they came to inspect.

So, as you might imagine, a fight ensues. Of course, Jamie and Young Ian aren’t strangers to fisticuffs, but Roger’s fighting skills (smh) aren’t top shelf (by any means). Nonetheless, our men win the scrimmage, and Jamie threatens one of the men–he wants to know where’s Bonnet?

We return to the beach, and Claire is searching for shells. A man’s boot appears on the screen, and we know it’s Bonnet! With his slimy charm, he approaches Claire, commenting on her beauty and her daughter, and also dares to ask about his son. Claire pulls a knife but loses that battle. Brianna sees the scuffle, runs toward them, and draws a pistol from her basket but alas the gun misfires. Bonnet says he wants only one thing, Brianna and his son, and he’ll let Claire go. Another brief battle ensues, ending with Claire unconscious on the beach, and Brianna kidnapped.

The next few minutes of this Outlander episode takes on a bizarre twist in my humble opinion. Bonnet has taken Brianna to his island, literally, and here he confesses he wants to be a real father to his son, Jeremiah. He shows Brianna a chest of dolls and some other toys he has for his son. And he sounds, well, damn it, sincere (the twisted fool, sorry, I hate Bonnet).

Anyway, Claire awakens on the beach, finds a horse, and rides off to find the menfolk. She locates them, heading back to Wilmington, we assume, and she delivers the news: Bonnet has taken Brianna.

Bonnet has a gift for Brianna, too. A gold dress and he invites her to join him for dinner. He doesn’t quite know how to be this gentleman, and he needs her help.

Brianna is disgusted, but she plays the part, biding her time, trying to find the right moment to escape. Meanwhile, Bonnet is asking her to teach him how to be a gentleman and a father, when Bree asks why he states that he wants to change, so the two of them can be parents to Jeremiah.

Brianna begins to teach him things, starting with dining etiquette. (Ugh, I hate Bonnet).

Later, she is alone with Bonnet in his bed chambers. He now wants her to teach him how to love. And this is when Brianna uses all her cunning to avoid another attack, and she convinces him to allow her to read to him. He can’t read. And she grabs a book from the shelf: The Art of Husbandry.

In a tearful (and somewhat heart-wrenching) soliloquy, Bonnet shares his deepest fear—drowning in the ocean. Talk about subtext, after Bonnet tells his tale, he asks Bree if she thinks any less of him now that he’s exposed his deepest secret. Her response: I could never think any less of you. (HaHa!)

The next morning, Brianna believes her plan is going well. She thinks Bonnet will allow her to return home to Fraser’s Ridge to retrieve Jeremiah. But before she leaves, he wants a kiss. Brianna’s persuasive/survival skills are strong, but she can’t fake a kiss, and Bonnet immediately knows she’s lying. He’s angry and grabs his servant girl, a woman we saw earlier at the brothel. Then in front of Brianna, he has his way with the woman to show Bree what she’s missing, he claims.

After Bonnet leaves for a few minutes, Brianna tries to persuade the woman that when she returns to Wilmington to find Bree’s family and tell them her location. The woman doesn’t want to betray Bonnet because he’s dangerous and accustomed to getting his way.

Photo: Starz. Chris Donald as Phillip Wylie, Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser, Richard Rankin as Roger MacKenzie

In Wilmington, Roger and Jamie find Phillip Wylie. Roger is roughing him up. Jamie passes Roger a knife to up the ante. Wylie blabbers under the slightest threat and tells them about Bonnet’s favorite hangout — the brothel in town.

Richard Rankin as Roger MacKenzie
Photo: Starz. Richard Rankin as Roger MacKenzie

Now, we venture to Jocasta’s home where Mr. Gerald Forbes is arriving – he is a lawyer, and keep in mind, he is conspiring with Bonnet. Jocasta explains she’s decided to change her will (which infringes upon Forbes’s plan to make himself a rich man, along with Bonnet).

Jamie and Claire are at the brothel. Here we find the woman who was with Stephen Bonnet.

Jocasta is dividing her fortune among her family, diminishing the money Mr. Forbes expects for himself and Bonnet. Suddenly, he loses his mind and attacks Jocasta, covering her face with a pillow. But Ulysses comes to the rescue and breaks Forbes’ neck.

At the brothel, Claire is bargaining with Stephen Bonnet’s whore and gains her trust. The woman tells Claire about Bonnet’s island.

On the island, the hideous Bonnet is selling Brianna to a ship’s captain—who doesn’t like red hair, prefers a flaxen color, but he’ll take her because she has good teeth. Bonnet sells her for six pounds.

Bonnet and Brianna travel to the captain’s small boat, back on the beach. Just as she’s about to be loaded into the rowboat and taken away, our heroes (Jamie, Claire, Roger, and Young Ian) show up. After a nice bit of fighting, including a thrashing by Roger of Bonnet, dear Stephen is captured. The decision is made to take him to town for trial and execution. They believe it will work this time since Tryon owes Jamie for the mistake (hanging) for Roger.

In the next scene, Bonnet is in the water, arms tied above his head, hanging from a pole, waiting for the tide to come in and drown him. This was a form of capital punishment back in the day, I guess (And, yes, I checked). 

The townsfolk watch for a while, but it takes time for the tide to come in. Eventually, the crowd leaves. 

Now, keep in mind, this is Bonnet’s greatest fear, drowning, and the fear is carved all over his face and heard in his screams. The camera comes in for a closeup, and suddenly, Bonnet stops trembling and thrashing. He stares at something onshore. We don’t know who or what he sees until a bullet strikes him in the forehead.

Then we see the gun barrel held by Brianna standing on the beach. Roger is at her side, and he asks her, “Was that mercy, or was it to make sure he’s dead?”

She doesn’t answer.

Whoa, Brianna! You go, girl! And Bonnet is dead (yes!), and I’ll be back next Sunday to recap episode 511, Journeycake.

Until then.

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