‘Outlander’: Claire Takes Initiative & Jamie Walks ‘Between Two Fires’ (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 5, Episode 2 of Outlander, “Between Two Fires”]
Season 5 of Outlander wages on and with it comes plenty of Fraser family drama in the latest episode titled “Between Two Fires.” Faced with tough tasks Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) take one their own burdens and attempt to find solutions along the way.
Below, we’re breaking down the startling episode’s key moments but beware of major spoilers ahead.
In case any fans forgot that the series is now set in a near Revolutionary War period, “Between Two Fires” reminded them in the first few moments as Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) and his regulators created chaos by means of protest. Burning effigy dolls loom as he and his men tar and feather the authority figures for their taxation on the poor. It’s a brutal scene and proves that the regulators show no mercy.
Meanwhile, back at Fraser’s Ridge, we see Brianna (Sophie Skelton) sitting by a tree sketching, but it’s not a wistful moment, as we see her drawing — Stephen Bonnet’s (Ed Speleers) face. Traumatized by the news of his survival after thinking him dead, Bree’s suffering in silence as she carries this news. The moment is then disrupted by a frantic carriage rider and passenger, pleading for help, a woman referred to as Mrs. Farrish.
The woman’s husband is seriously ill and she’s seeking Claire’s help, when they finally get him indoors, Claire begins her examination and the woman reveals what she knows about her husband’s ailment. She’s been bloodletting but he hasn’t shown any improvement, when Claire palpates the man’s stomach she realizes he’s suffering agonizing abdominal pain.
After asking some more questions, Claire learns the woman fed her husband Blue Mass Pills to try and treat the problem. For those unaware, this pill contains mercury and so there’s nothing left to do as the man suddenly succumbs to his state. Mrs. Farrish can’t understand why Claire couldn’t save her husband from death, but with Claire’s knowledge from the future, she can’t contradict medical practices of the 18th century openly.
As for Jamie, he’s off with Lieutenant Knox (Michael D. Xavier) to search for Murtagh under the orders of Governor Tryon (Tim Downie). Knox is impressed with Jamie’s ability to cultivate the land and unite people and it’s clear there’s a mutual respect even if Jamie isn’t taken with the red coats. The warm and fuzzy feelings surely disappear though when Knox suggests that by accomplishing their task of capturing Murtagh and hanging him, it will afford him a more decent life.
On the road, civilians spit at the red coats as they pass through and Jamie observes this unkind attitude. Knox tells Jamie he believes red coats deserve respect no matter the circumstance. Jamie on the other hand appears to believe differently and when Knox pushes for him to open up Jamie asks if Knox is “recording my words for posterity?” When Jamie claims to agree though, Knox says he admires a man who puts “duty and honor above all else.”
Continuing their journey, news of the regulators’ attack reaches them and they set off at a faster pace to learn more. Meanwhile, back at Fraser’s Ridge, Claire’s conducting an autopsy on Mr. Farrish, which Bree walks in on. Uncouth and taboo for the time, Claire’s decision to open the man up causes Bree’s stomach to turn. Claire tells her daughter that she needs to know what’s making people sick, it’s “bad enough I’m fighting the disease,” she says, “I’m also fighting the cure.”
After Bree leaves her, Claire wanders outside to see Marsali (Lauren Lyle) butchering a deer without a scowl or so much as an ounce of disgust on her face. The observation allows viewers to see the cogs turning inside Claire’s mind.
When Jamie and Knox finally arrive in town, they witness the townspeople attempting to repair the destruction that took place. Among the chaos is Mr. Fanning (Samuel Collings) — the man Claire operated on in Wilmington during Season 4, “it’s getting worse,” he tells Jamie of the political tensions. He leads Jamie and Knox to the men who were attacked, and while Jamie reassures that they’ll wear their scars with honor, he’s sickened by the brutality shown and startled to learn some of the regulators were caught.
Jamie attempts to greet the prisoners first, no doubt attempting to come up with an escape plan for the men which could include his godfather Murtagh. Ultimately this doesn’t work and the prisoners are touted out in front of Jamie and Knox together. Luckily Murtagh isn’t among them, unluckily they recognize Jamie but don’t say so in front of the red coat. When their chat turns heated as Knox enforces threats as a means for gaining information, one of the regulators is accidentally killed by the Lieutenant. Jamie calls it self-defense as a means of diffusing the situation, and it’s clear he’s trying to come up with a new game plan of helping the remaining prisoner.
On the Ridge, Brianna and Roger (Richard Rankin) practice his shooting skills and he complains that Jamie doesn’t respect him, but Brianna reassures that Jamie’ll come around. It’s then that she asks,”you want to go back, don’t you?” regarding Roger’s wish to return to the future. “But our family is here,” she argues, and the discussion ends with an impasse.
Back in town, Jamie advises that Knox offer the other regulator a fair trial in an attempt to make amends for the death of the other prisoner. Knox says he could do that, but in the end the regulator would be found guilty anyways and says he gave the other man a “better death than he deserved.” It’s at this point that Jamie frees the remaining prisoners, who questions his actions and loyalty to the Brits. Jamie in turn chides them for bad behavior but swears he doesn’t condone Knox’s earlier actions.
On the Ridge, Mr. Farrish’s family holds a funeral, but Claire has other plans, leading Marsali to her treatment room, she asks, “do you trust me?” When Marsali reassures Claire that she does, the physician reveals the body of Mr. Farrish on her table. Shocked, Marsali asks if Claire really is a witch — something Marsali’s mother Laoghaire (Nell Hudson) claimed.
“I am not a witch,” Claire counters and she talks about the reason for an autopsy and learning about the body. Claire says Roger helped her bury rocks to mimic the weight of a body until they’re done learning from the corpse. By Marsali becoming an apprentice, Claire says Mr. Farrish’s death will mean something.
Claire’s struggle to education continues when she overhears women discussing their treatment methods for burns. This leads her to create a list for preventative healthcare written under a man’s name in an effort to create smarter healthcare among settlers. Later she gives Roger an eye test — an attempt to explain his poor shooting abilities — and they discuss the future. Claire agrees he and Bree should return to the future, but it’s dependent on whether their son Jemmy hears the stones like them.
While Knox orders Jamie to call upon more men following the prisoners’ escape, at the regulators base camp, Murtagh hears word of what occurred. The men aren’t convinced Jamie’s no their side, but Murtagh stands strong. “He’s walking between two fires,” he tells his men of Jamie, meanwhile the men say Murtagh’s “wavering between two fires.” Murtagh assures them though, Jamie “stands with his people, and I stand with mine.”
After her chat with Roger, Claire’s new goal is to make her family’s life easier in the 18th century. Baking massive batches of bread, she reveals she’s going to let them go moldy as she attempts to make penicillin. Bree tells Claire that’s “playing god,” and that it shouldn’t be done, but Claire is determined to give her daughter a fallback if illness or infection strike, “space, time, history be damned.”
At the MacKenzie cottage, Roger sings “Joy to the World” to Jemmy as Bree finishes up some laundry,”you’re a good dad,” she tells him after happening upon the performance. When he offers to put the clothing away, he accidentally knocks over her sketch book revealing various dark drawings of Bonnet and suddenly Roger sees that Bree’s going through something he wasn’t aware of.
Finally, we’re transported to a new location as two women go at each other like their in Fight Club and onlookers include Forbes (Billy Boyd) who is introduced to none other than returned-from-the-dead Stephen Bonnet. Forbes is told that Bonnet is discreet in his dealings, and helps acquire goods sans tax. The scene shifts when the fight ends in favor of Bonnet’s bet and when he’s accused of cheating, Bonnet violently slashes the man across the bridge of his nose and face.
Bonnet’s associate asks why he didn’t just kill the man outright if he was going to mutilate him so badly. “I considered it, but I want to set a better example. I’m a father now,” he says before exiting the barn in a metaphorical mic-drop moment.
This leaves fans with a lot to consider, luckily they’ll have a whole week until Outlander returns for more Season 5 drama. Don’t miss it, check back here for the next recap.
Outlander, Sundays, 8/7c, Starz