‘Outlander’ Season 5 Premiere: Vows Are Made & Broken in ‘The Fiery Cross’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 5, Episode 1 of Outlander, “The Fiery Cross”]
The wait is finally over as Starz returned to Fraser’s Ridge with the Season 5 premiere of fan favorite series Outlander.
In the installment titled “The Fiery Cross” — the same title of Diana Gabaldon’s book on which Season 5 is based — vows are made and broken, while plenty of romance abounds. But beware, there’s always trouble afoot in the Fraser family’s world. Below, we’re recapping the extra special episode, but beware of major spoilers ahead.
The action kicks off in Scotland, years in the past as Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) tells a young Jamie about the passing of his mother Ellen. “I swore to her,” he tells his godson, “that I’d follow you always.” The sentiment, while sweet, conveys a bit of concern to viewers who will recall that Jamie (Sam Heughan) was ordered by Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) to apprehend the fugitive Murtagh Fitzgibbons in order to retain his vast spread of land where Fraser’s Ridge has settled.
The scene serves as a framing device though as we then join Jamie and Roger (Richard Rankin) in the present, where the highlander is helping shave his future son-in-law who is minutes away from marrying Brianna (Sophie Skelton). Their back-and-forth is funny to say the least as Jamie questions Roger’s capabilities in providing for his family, despite the young man’s reassurances. It’s clear Roger’s not cut out for being an 18th-century man.
On the bride’s end, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) helps ready her daughter, gushing over her dress and the joy over such a momentous occasion. Wandering off to find Jamie, who is rounding up Bree’s requested “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” — Ellen’s pearls, fresh whiskey and a stolen sprig of blue flowers — Claire gushes to him about their daughter. But Jamie’s slightly saddened at the idea of losing his daughter so soon after finally meeting her.
When he goes to present her with the items she’s requested, Brianna warmly remarks,”You remembered!” Sharing some brief words, she promises she’ll always be his wee girl before they lament Murtagh’s necessary absence from the impending ceremony. He did make Bree’s ring, so he’s not missing altogether. When Jamie asks if Bree is ready to walk down the aisle (or, in this case, outdoor path), she responds with the Fraser family motto, “Je Suis Prest.”
On their way down the steps, viewers are shown that most of the characters they’ve come to love are in attendance at the ceremony. Lord John Grey (David Berry), Lizzie (Caitlin O’Ryan), Fergus (César Domboy), Marsali (Lauren Lyle), Aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and more look on as Roger and Bree say “I do.” The moment stirs up some strong memories for Claire and Jamie as flashbacks to their own wedding day are interspersed throughout.
Merriment ensues from that point forward — at least until the Frasers greet Governor Tryon, who takes Jamie aside and accuses him of putting off his duty to find Murtagh. He tells Jamie he’s brought along a man named Lieutenant Knox and a platoon in the hopes that he’d hunt for the fugitive he’s been charged to find. This is the beginning of a list of unpleasant revelations made, but more on that later.
The usual wedding traditions take place, but before cake cutting can happen, Roger runs into Fergus and Marsali’s son Germain, who tells him that he has ticks. When Roger questions this, the boy claims his grandfather — Jamie — said he has “hair ticks,” as in, Roger’s a heretic. During Bree and Roger’s cake cutting, he complains that Jamie doesn’t like him, but Bree reassures her new husband that all will be fine as they shove mouthfuls of cake into each others mouths.
Next, it’s Aunt Jocasta’s turn to congratulate the couple, and curiously she asks for a word with Roger at some point before she parts to head home to River Run. It’s after she leaves them that Roger makes a remark about doing their wedding over when they “get back,” implying his goal is still to return to their own time in the future.
As the night carries on there’s a bit of fun with drinking games between John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees), Marsali, Fergus and Lord John Grey. There’s also plenty of dancing, but when Bree goes in search of Jamie — who is talking to Lord John Grey about his illegitimate son Willie — she overhears the Brit tell her father that there’s been sightings of Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) in the province. This sets off a chain of PTSD flashbacks of the pirate’s attack on Bree, which may have resulted in her son Jemmy’s birth (it’s still uncertain whether Roger’s the boy’s biological father or not).
Returning to the party, Bree scoops her child up into her arms while a worried look plasters her face. We’re next transported to the woods where Ulysses (Colin McFarlane) escorts Jocasta to a makeshift hut where Murtagh’s hiding out. While they discuss their setting, Murtagh reveals he did catch a glimpse of the ceremony from a distance, remarking on its grandeur.
As for the rest of our characters, they prepare for bed, with Jamie and Claire discussing Tryon’s threats as they care for grandson Jemmy while Roger and Bree toast their marriage with a glass of whiskey. It’s then that Roger takes up his guitar and begins playing Nat King Cole’s hit song “L-O-V-E,” serenading his wife before everyone’s night devolves into some rather passionate moments as well as a pregnancy reveal from Marsali to Fergus. The montage concludes with Lord John Grey sat by the fire alone as everyone sleeps off their hangovers — poor John.
Meanwhile, Bree’s concerned face doesn’t reflect the joyous tone of the evening, and it’s clear Stephen Bonnet’s resurfacing will plague her thoughts moving forward. In the morning light, Murtagh and Jocasta discuss their relationship, and she reveals that Duncan Innes has proposed marriage to her. Although she hasn’t given an answer, Murtagh responds by saying he won’t “stand in the way” of her happiness, but whether she follows through or not remains to be seen.
Back at the big house, Claire’s seeing patients when we encounter new character Josiah Beardsley (Paul Gorman) who inadvertently flirts with Lizzie as he waits to meet with Jamie, who hopes to hire him as a hunter for Fraser’s Ridge. After complaining about a sore throat, Jamie introduces the boy to Claire, who examines him to find his tonsils are abscessed, but he refuses surgery and considers taking up Jamie’s offer to settle at the ridge in return for hunting duties.
Meanwhile, Roger meets with Jocasta to have that talk she requested earlier in the week, revealing that she’s left River Run to Jemmy in her will. The motive? If Roger were to doubt the child’s biological connection, than at least a fortune would force him to treat Jemmy with kindness and consideration. Roger is steaming with the implication and he tells Jocasta to “cram it,” walking away in disgust. Surprisingly this is the result Jocasta was hoping for, as she wanted to test his loyalties to Bree and the baby.
When Jamie takes his leave of Claire and meets Tryon once more, time is officially up and he’s been ordered to deliver Murtagh ASAP. He’s been asked to participate in the hunt within the next week. As for Roger, he returns to his home with Bree and proceeds to conduct a blood oath or vow to Jemmy, promising to always see him as his own blood no matter what.
Jamie, on the other hand, is distraught over his predicament and tells Claire he has no choice but to call upon the loyalties of the people settled on his land as well as their family to fight by his side. “If Tryon wants a Scot, I’ll give him a Scot,” Jamie says as he prepares for the night, once again donning his signature kilt which fans haven’t seen for some time.
Lighting a cross structure, Jamie calls upon his people, asking for them to pledge their loyalty, including Roger — who he names a Captain — and Fergus. He tells them that the next time they light the fiery cross is the time he calls for their help, hinting at things to come. The next day as Jamie and Claire look over their land, they agree there’s “one last thing” to do.
Returning to that frame-like structure, Jamie and Murtagh talk about the current state of affairs. Jamie warns his godfather that he’ll have to leave, but he tells him to “be hard to find.” Murtagh questions the coming war, wondering why Jamie can’t share more information about the Revolutionary War they’re a part of, but Jamie promises they’ll soon fight on the same side. Until then, Jamie has to stick with Tryon for the benefit of his family. “Because they did,” Murtagh says of Claire, Brianna and Roger traveling through time to the past, “you have everything you ever wanted.”
The remark hangs in the air as Jamie’s about to object, but Murtagh adds, “I don’t resent you for it,” before he asks Jamie to not resent him for his own choices in the future. Jamie asks, how he could ever resent Murtagh? As their conversation reaches its natural conclusion, Jamie tells Murtagh that he releases him from the vow he made to him as a child. What will happen with this promise now expired? Tune in for the next chapter when Outlander returns Sunday, February 23.
Outlander, Sundays, 8/7c, Starz