‘Outlander’: The Frasers Make a Tough Decision Amid Rising Hostilities (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 5, Episode 11 of Outlander, “Journeycake.”]
Outlander raised the stakes in the penultimate installment of its fifth season, “Journeycake” which saw visitors arrive at Fraser’s Ridge with new revelations and tensions in tow.
From a strategic departure to a shocking cliffhanger, we’re breaking down all of the action setting up next week’s finale. Beware of major spoilers as we recap everything that took place in the penultimate episode of Outlander.
This installment begins with a clear passage of time as the story is now set in 1772, you know, four years before that fateful July 4th date in American history. Riding through the woods, Jamie (Sam Heughan), Claire (Caitriona Balfe), Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) along with baby Jemmy, are towing peanuts which Claire’s determined to use for making peanut butter for her grandson. Along their travels, they cross paths with a smoldering ruin of a cabin filled with burned bodies. When Jamie and Roger go to inspect the scene, Jamie discovers an arrow in one of the corpses, indicating they were dead before the house was burned.
Roger also discovers a fatally injured young girl gasping for life, and in a moment of mercy, blocks her airway and relieves her from the pain clear in her eyes. Together they bury the dead and continue on their way to Fraser’s Ridge. Back home, Claire recalls Bree making her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her journey back to Jamie in the past.
They’re observing Ian (John Bell) who is playing with young Jemmy in the grass when all of a sudden the child cries out, noting that Ian’s necklace stone is hot. Bree rushes over to see what’s going on, and Ian doesn’t understand because the stone feels cool to him. But for Bree it’s hot and the stone ends up cracking. When the familiar buzzing fans know from the standing stones of Craigh Na Dun sounds, it’s clear what this indicates — Jemmy’s a traveler like his parents and grandmother.
We then see Mr. Brown (Chris Larkin) ride up with a pack of men on horseback. He informs Jamie that he’s created a committee of safety, mentioning that there’s been a string of attacks, which would explain the burned-down house the Frasers found at the beginning of the episode.
Included in the pack of men is Mr. Brown’s brother Lionel (Ned Dennehy), whom Claire notices is injured and asks if she can take a look. The man who crushed Claire’s syringe at Alamance is apprehensive at first but eventually follows her to the surgery. There, she asks about Bonnie, the baby she left with the Browns. Addressing the elephant in the room, Lionel says he knows what Claire thinks of him, but doesn’t discredit her opinions, only defending his feelings by saying he has a right to defend daughter Alicia’s (Anna Burnett) honor after Morton (Jon Tarcy), who had been in the Frasers’ militia, had dishonored her.
Meanwhile, Mr. Brown asks Jamie and Roger to join his committee as Ian defends the Native Americans, saying they weren’t responsible for the carnage seen in the countryside. While the man reminds Jamie that there was no hesitation to join the militia when asked, the Fraser patriarch takes pause and promises to consider it. In response, Mr. Brown tells Jamie to be vigilant, understanding he won’t be getting an answer right now, and Ian claims they can protect themselves.
As for the stone issue, Jamie wonders if Bree will go and Claire confirms his fear, saying that their daughter, Roger and Jemmy will go at some point. Ian asks about the opal that became a topic of debate before it cracked, remembering Otter Tooth (Trevor Carroll), the native who previously owned the stone and had tried to warn the Mohawk of their impending fate as the victims of brutality exacted by colonizers.
Ian says the one who possesses the stone is supposed to have the “power to see what will come to pass” and reveals he told the Mohawk about his curious aunt during his time in their company. Showing her and Jamie Otter Tooth’s own book, Claire notices it’s a journal filled with ballpoint ink and Ian wants to know what that means. Pushing for answers, Claire and Jamie make a decision to reveal their biggest secret telling their nephew Claire is from the future. “I always knew you were a fairy,” Ian tells Claire, but she discredits this and just says that she’s a normal person in an unusual circumstance. Next, he asks if anyone knew before clarifying by asking if Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) knew. Claire and Jamie confirm this and we see the door shut to their parlor as the couple prepares to fill Ian in on all the details, which we sadly aren’t shown.
A while later, Jamie and Claire locate the little shelter on their property where Murtagh had been in hiding. Now Ulysses (Colin McFarlane) is making use of the abode as he hides after killing Forbes (Billy Boyd) in an attempt to save Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy), who was attacked by the lawyer. When the Frasers ask what he plans to do next he admits he isn’t sure, but he does reveal Jocasta emancipated him when her late husband Mr. Cameron died and he has the papers to prove it. The irony? Forbes was one of the signatures on his emancipation document.
Back at Roger and Bree’s cabin, the couple discusses the stone development and she mentions this could be proof that Jemmy is Roger’s biological son since the stones work for him. Meanwhile, they talk through their story, in which they’ll use a teaching job in Boston as the excuse for leaving Fraser’s Ridge. They will then prepare to journey back into the future. Bree just requests that they take time to say goodbye to everyone and not leave the job to her parents to explain. He agrees and they plan to leave within the month.
Meanwhile, Lizzy (Caitlin O’Ryan) informs Jamie he has a visitor and we discover Lord John Grey (David Berry) has come to stay at Fraser’s Ridge for a while. When Jamie asks about William — Jamie’s biological son and Lord John’s adoptive son — he’s told the boy is in London continuing his schooling. Lord John also mentions that he heard of Stephen Bonnet’s (Ed Speleers) demise and they men agree it’s a comfort to know Brianna can live her life with the reassurance he’ll never bother them again.
Out on the land, Ian asks his cousin Bree about stopping the impending revolution, and she says it’s not possible to change major moments in history. Claire backs this up and claims that it only works on smaller things. When Ian asks if he can go with Brianna because he wants to fix something between a “man and wife,” he’s distraught when Claire says it won’t work. This plot has yet to be fully explained but it’s evident Ian’s truly lovesick. Hopefully this will gain more clarity before the season’s over.
Back in the house, Lord John says it’s time for him to return to Helwater as tensions in the colonies begin to rise. William is poised to inherit the estate and John promises to one day return to Virginia so he can visit Jamie in North Carolina. He then gifts Jamie an updated pocket-sized portrait of William.
That evening, the Frasers get ready for bed and Claire tells her husband she’s asked Bree to draw portraits for them to keep as mementos. This turns the mood a bit somber and later Claire is seen waking up gasping. Jamie tries to comfort her and the scene turns passionate before jumping ahead to the morning. In her surgery, Claire checks the new lens in her microscope Lord John gave her. When Jamie takes a peek, he observes sperm and Claire confirms to Jamie what he’s seeing. He wonders how she got them until she gives him a biology lesson of her own.
Later that day, Jamie sits with Brianna and he gives her William’s portrait, revealing she has a brother and confirming what Claire already knows. He answers her questions and she seems excited to learn she has a sibling, but she’s saddened to learn he’s in England and they’ll be unable to meet. Jamie asks her to look after him when she gets back to the future, requesting she find him in books saying since he’s an Earle it should be easy for her to find. Next it’s Bree’s turn to share and she tells her father that the trip to the future will take place in a week. He tells her that no matter what happens, even if they didn’t have forever together as a family, “you have made my life whole.”
In a separate moment, Bree and Roger inform Marsali (Lauren Lyle) and Fergus (César Domboy) of their departure, offering up their rehearsed story as explanation. Marsali is saddened, asking what she’ll do without Bree who is “like a sister” to her. As more goodbyes take place, Bree attempts to reach her mother but is met by Lizzy who is confused by the upcoming trip to Boston, thinking she’ll be accompanying her and Roger. Bree has to tell her that she can’t come with them, but asks for her to stay at Fraser’s Ridge and care for her parents.
Disrupting the peace once again, Lionel Brown arrives seeking an answer from Jamie for his possible involvement in the safety committee, and he’s upset to learn the Fraser won’t join in the effort. Meanwhile, Lionel reveals he’s brought his wife Rose along to be treated and Claire surmises that Lionel inflicted the injury on his wife, spurring him to take on an aggressive tone. In an effort to get Rose alone, Claire asks the man to fetch some alcohol while she continues to treat her.
Claire says Rose deserves better and eventually she admits her husband harmed her after she refused to lay with him, though she adds that her refusal was due in part to advice provided by Dr. Rawlings, the pen name Claire used to give medical tips in the local paper. Rose was trying to avoid becoming pregnant by such a mean man. The conversation is cut off when Lionel returns, and we see him observe that Dr. Rawlings is written on the inside of one of Claire’s kit drawers.
We then see Roger asking Ian to accompany him and Bree to the stone they’ll use to return to the future, as Bree is afraid to go with her parents and lose her nerve. In return for the favor, Roger offers him the land Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) granted him for the wrongful hanging earlier this season. Ian refuses but promises to look after it.
Bree and John chat on the porch at Fraser’s Ridge and she reveals she knows about William. John says that she and the boy are very similar to each other and Jamie as they all have tempers but also “kindness and courage.” We learn in their chat that Lord John will be accompanied to London by Ulysses, giving the man a chance to escape certain death if caught for killing Forbes. Before parting ways, Bree tells Lord John she’s heard he’s a wonderful father in a sweet exchange.
As the episode winds down, the Frasers gather for one last family meal as Claire serves peanut butter and jelly for the lot of them. It receives mixed reactions, but the sentiment is adorable nonetheless, and Jamie gives Roger and Bree a toast to “home, to family, to great health.” Next we see Roger and Bree at the stones in the American woods as they tie a rope around themselves and Jemmy. They bid Ian farewell and the little family takes their gems in hand before touching the traveling stone. Ian is shocked by their sudden disappearances and we see Roger, Jemmy and Bree land in a new time, though no details about the new location are given.
Back at the Ridge, Claire admires the portraits Bree left in the cabin she shared with Roger. Jamie then arrives and reassures her that their family both in the future and the present will be OK. Unfortunately, Jamie and the other men of the ridge then observe an explosion. The men run after the noise and that’s when a group storms the Ridge to attack Claire, Marsali, and the other women who stayed behind.
When Jamie and the others return, Germain informs his father Fergus that the bad men took Claire and Marsali. The alarms are blasting at this point and Jamie rushes to the cross of their ridge, lighting the flame and calling upon his people for help. Will they answer? Find out in the Outlander finale next Sunday.
Outlander, Season 5 Finale, Sunday, May 10, 8/7c, Starz