My recap of Never My Love is a two-edged sword. First, another season of Outlander has come to an end. Droughtlander 5.0 (is that right?) may be the longest gap between seasons in the history of the show. Production will be delayed due to the global pandemic. So, tighten your “I need the next episode now” seatbelts.
Also, Never My Love comes with a WARNING—rape, violence, nudity–and a number of very difficult scenes to watch (and to act, I’m sure). It was so intense I am taking a slightly different approach to this last recap of season 5.
So, here goes.
Summary provided by Starz: Claire struggles to survive brutal treatment from her captors, as Jamie gathers a group of loyal men to help him rescue his wife. Roger and Brianna’s journey takes a surprising turn.
We start in the future in an imaginary home with the song, Never My Love (by the Association/1967) is playing. Then we cut to Mr. Brown’s camp and the opening scenes, which are harrowing, violent, and WARNING—brutal.
Protecting Claire’s mind
The song and the house provide a two-fold purpose: Claire is protecting herself to the extent that she can by disassociating with her surroundings while she is being attacked. The filmmakers also give the audience a break from the brutality. They put us inside Claire’s thoughts, and these pictures of a house in the 1960s aren’t flashbacks. We know this because dressed in contemporary clothing, Claire’s imagination is populated by the people she loves from the 1770s: Jamie, Young Ian, Marsali, Fergus, Murtagh, Jocasta, and one or more of Marsali’s wee ones are in this house.
One of Claire’s abductors (a man with Mr. Brown and his men) is from the future. We learn this when he asks Claire if the name Ringo Starr means anything to her. He susses things out because he overhears Claire exclaim, Roosevelt H. Christ.
The Fate of Roger and Bree and Jemmy
Well, the big ‘where are they’ question from last week’s Journeycake was resolved rather quickly. The MacKenzies rise to their feet to take in their surroundings and the shocked expression from last week we learn is because they were staring at Young Ian. That’s right. They went through the stones only to end up where they started.
You may ask, then why did we go through all of that angst last week? Also, for book enthusiasts, the MacKenzies don’t travel to the future in The Fiery Cross, Diana Gabaldon’s fifth book in the Outlander series. Both Roger and Bree were thinking about ‘home’ as they stepped through the stones, which means, they ended up precisely where they wanted to be–home! I did like that this was a lovely way to fasten these characters to the 1770s. Home is where the heart is, and for Roger and Bree, it means being with Claire and Jamie.
Eighteenth-century Carolina is Roger and Bree’s time (and home).
Since Young Ian was at the stones, the MacKenzies join him in the wagon for the return trip to Frasers Ridge.
Oh, I thought there was a timing gaff. The trip took two weeks in Journeycake but seemed to take only a day to return to Frasers Ridge, but I won’t quibble.
Roger does arrive in time to join Jamie’s band of men.
Jamie finds the Brown camp much sooner than I expected–and I was pleased. No way did I want to spend an entire episode searching for Claire (and having her further brutalized on the screen).
There was an interesting choice by the camera team (likely the director). The battle at the camp is filmed from Claire’s perspective. She lies on the ground, gagged and tied, and peers at her rescuers, the camera angle a tilted scene that was effective. The world is askew to Claire, and even being saved is not something she can focus on.
In this sequence, Roger kills a man. He hesitates, but he had sworn to avenge Claire, and he is in the battle to do what is necessary.
After Claire is found, some of Mr. Brown’s men are still alive (including Mr. Brown). Ian and Fergus ask Jamie, who is holding the beaten Claire in his arms, ask Claire if she wants to kill them. Jamie answers on her behalf and explains she can’t or won’t because she’s taken an oath (to save lives, not take them). But he will do the killing for her. Ian and Fergus also pledge to kill for Claire.
Then they line the men up, on their knees, and dispatch them. Of course, one of them lives. That would be Mr. Brown himself, but he is severely injured.
Later, Claire says she thought she saw Roger. Jamie tells her they are back. She is broken and beaten and barely reacts.
Marsali’s Big Scene and the End of Mr. Brown
There are some time lapses, but Mr. Brown is in Claire’s infirmary. She and Marsali are treating him. This is extremely difficult for Claire, and Mr. Brown doesn’t make it any easier. He keeps running his filthy mouth, degrading women, and saying all the worst possible things, making clear (in my mind) that he deserves to be dead.
But Claire can’t do it. She is pledged to do no harm. Brown’s scathing tongue is too much for her, and she leaves Marsali to administer the shot of penicillin. And here is where I fell deeper in love with Marsali. She doesn’t put penicillin in the needle. Nope. Some poison. She then administers the fatal injection, a shot in the neck, to Mr. Brown, and I cheered. I stood and cheered!
When Jamie discovers Marsali, sitting on the floor in the infirmary, she tells him what she has done. But she is fearful (not remorseful). She is afraid that Mr. Brown will haunt her, or she’ll end up in hell. Jamie reassures her this won’t happen. How he knows, I have no clue, but I believe.
An aside: Honestly, Marsali is one of my favorite characters of the season (other than Roger!).
The Closing Scene
Claire is struggling but she will survive. In a beautifully filmed closing shot, she and Jamie lay curled in each other’s arms, nude. It is an embrace of comfort and support and deep love and care.
SOME THOUGHTS ON SEASON FIVE:
From my lens, this season was different from previous years. There wasn’t a Big Bad, no season-long villain or 12-episode long arc, and I missed that. There were more three-episode arcs, but otherwise, it was episodic (problem arises and is solved in one episode). I missed the tension of the season-long arc. On the other hand, I didn’t know what to fear until I tuned in to each 55—to—60-minute episode. So, maybe that was the goal. Keep the viewers (and those who have read the books) on the edge of their seats. And for that, I say – MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!
However, the showrunners framed this season, it was another great 12 episodes of Outlander!
Until next time! Thank you for reading!