Claire's Rescue Takes Center Stage in the 'Outlander' Season 5 Finale (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 5, Episode 12 of Outlander, "Never My Love."]
Outlander packed a serious punch with its Season 5 finale episode, "Never My Love," as Jamie (Sam Heughan) prepared to save his missing wife Claire (Caitriona Balfe) after she was kidnapped by Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy) and his men in the penultimate installment.
From trippy dream sequences and dark twists to a harrowing rescue mission, the episode was nothing short of heart-stopping. Below, we're breaking it all down but beware of major spoilers.
The episode opens in a '60s-era home, with The Association's song and episode title "Never My Love" playing after a set of hands put the record in the player. After being shown some of the home's features, we are shown that the hands belong to Claire who is sitting and listening. The vision is briefly dashed as we see a "present-day" Claire bound and in distress, wearing some bruises and cuts. The violent image cuts back to the dream home where a '60s version of Jamie joins her.
Throughout the episode, the events that took place after Claire was captured in the last installment play out alongside these dream segments. After she was initially kidnapped, Lionel accosts her and tells her she'll pay for her sins of teaching women to refuse men their "god-given right" to sex, revealing he knows she's responsible for the health tips provided by Dr. Rawlings in the local newspaper.
His plan is to bring her to Brownsville where she'll tell the women she was responsible for the musings of Dr. Rawlings. When he pushes her to the ground her dream world is conjured once more as the doorbell rings. A giddy young boy squeals in the arms of an undisclosed individual as Jamie greets Ian (John Bell) clad in a soldier's uniform at the door. When we return to the 18th century, we see Claire attempting to run but once caught she's slashed by Arvin Hodgepile (Gerald Tyler). One of the men says it's going to put them all in danger, accusing Claire of being a conjure woman.
Once she's tied up, a man named Wendigo Donner (Brennan Martin) asks Claire where she comes from and he says some unusual things, mentioning a man on the moon. Before he can say more, Claire is transported back to her dream where she's looking out into the rainy evening from the comfort of the house. Jamie wraps a blanket around her and mentions that she's shaking so much that she's making his teeth rattle. But the ideal world doesn't last long as Claire wakes on a carriage where the man who had referred to her as a conjure woman introduces himself as Tebbe (Alexis Rodney). He offers her food and asks for her to remember that he fed her, fearful of what she'll do to the men once she's eventually freed.
When they deboard the carriage, they're meant to cross the river and Claire asks for Tebbe to help her escape, saying that he'll be spared if he does. But when Arvin interrupts and grabs Claire to take her with him, the stressful situation is once again overtaken by her dream. In the house we see Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) and Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) playing with Marsali (Lauren Lyle) and Fergus' (César Domboy) son and they gather around the dinner table. When she comes out of it, Lionel approaches them and puts a gag on Claire so she can't talk.
That evening, she is sitting around the fire but is struck down by Lionel when she gives him a dirty look. He drags her over to a tree where she's tied up again and delved into the dream world again. As Claire comes out of the dream, she wakens to find a rabbit sitting in front of her. The image doesn't seem to be a coincidence because if fans will recall from Season 3's opener on the battlefield at Culloden, Jamie imagines seeing Claire only to see a rabbit replace the manifestation. Perhaps it's a sign to keep on surviving?
Later, Wendigo return to Claire's side and removes her gag, asking if the name Ringo Starr means anything to her. When she says yes, he exclaims he knew no one from that time would provide the medical advice Claire gave in the newspaper. He reveals he's part of a group of Native Americans who traveled back in time together, one of which included Otter Tooth (Trevor Carroll), the man who owned the stone necklace Claire found in the woods in Season 4. She tells Wendigo that Otter Tooth had died and asks for his help but he says it's best to wait it out and not anger the men any more as they believe she's a witch.
After leaving her at the tree, Lionel approaches Claire with his nephew beginning a line of repeated rapes, one of which includes Lionel. As this happens she continues to fall into her dream world. Claire imagines fun with her family and being wrapped up in her blanket which has transformed from a dull tan into Jamie's tartan. As the brutality continues, her dream dinner, which happens to be Thanksgiving, turns ugly when the doorbell rings, and believing it to be Bree (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin), she finds Lionel and Arvin dressed as cops. They deliver the news that Bree and Roger had been killed in a car accident alongside their young son Jemmy.
Upon making this revelation in her dream, we're transported back into the woods where Bree and Roger gather their bearings after traveling through the stones. But when they stand and turn, they discover Ian. He exclaims that they're back and both Bree and Roger are confused, claiming they were thinking about home when they traveled. But their return is a sign that they're needed in the 18th century rather than the future and so they head for Fraser's Ridge with Ian. As they plan to make camp, they notice Jamie's lit the cross, signaling the need for help, so they continue onward until they arrive.
Lizzy (Caitlin O'Ryan) and Jamie are shocked to see Roger and Bree, and it's quickly explained that their plan to leave "didn't work" and they ask Jamie what's wrong. He tells them that Claire has been taken and Bree wants to help but Jamie refuses. Roger and Josiah (Paul Gorman) offer their hand and Roger says "I will stand by you" to Jamie as Ian puts war paint on and the men set out to rescue the Fraser family matriarch.
As Claire dreams of spending time with Jamie, she wakes to a massacre taking place as the Frasers invade the camp. "Dinna be afraid," the dream Jamie says, "Just the two of us now." Not long after, Jamie discovers Claire tied to the tree and helps unbind her. It's then that Fergus, Ian and John Quincy Myers (Kyle Rees) report that all of the men have been killed except for one, whom Jamie vows to kill.
Once the remaining men are gone, Jamie picks up Claire to leave, but they discover Lionel is alive. Roger and Myers go to collect him in order to bring him to Fraser's Ridge as a prisoner. In the woods the next morning, Claire talks to Jamie and he tells her Marsali is fine after Claire knew she'd been attacked when Lionel kidnapped her. She tells him about Wendigo, and when Jamie asks if the man helped her, she says he didn't hurt her but didn't help either.
When she questions if she imagined Roger at the scene of her rescue, Jamie reassures her and says that Bree and Roger returned. Finally returning home, Claire is greeted by Bree and Marsali and we see her daughter attempt to help her with a bath. Bree tells Claire that she has her hand and ear if she needs it.
Later we see Jamie with Claire and he tells her he's full of rage. She asks about Lionel who we learn is tied up in the surgery. "You let him live?" Claire asks and she admits that she's glad the other men are dead. She then goes on to say that she's experienced a world war, lost a child, lost two husbands, has been imprisoned and betrayed and she survived, before adding that this experience should have shattered her but that she won't let it. It may take time but she will overcome it, telling Jamie she's just broken up right now.
That night we see Bree return to her cabin with Roger and he asks about her mother. Then as they climb into bed he tells his wife he needs to share something with her. Unable to utter the words himself in the light of their room, he asks for her to extinguish the flames before he reveals he killed a man during the rescue mission.
The next day we see Claire join Marsali in the surgery, and while Lionel begs for mercy Claire asks Marsali to steep something for the man. Alone with her abuser, Claire picks up her scalpel and promises to do no harm before she drops the instrument and runs from the room. After returning to her dream world once more, she runs upstairs where she breaks down crying. Then when Lionel begs Marsali for food, the woman says he'll get what he needs and nothing more, filling the syringe with a brew of deadly water hemlock. She tells the man Claire vowed to do no harm, but she didn't and proceeds to plunge the needle into Lionel's neck saying she'd never let him roam around to harm others. Once he's lifeless, she backs away crying. When Jamie finds her, she asks if Lionel will haunt her or if she'll go to hell and Jamie comforts her, saying there's nothing to fear.
We then see Jamie return Lionel's body to his brother, Richard (Chris Larkin), and share what happened regarding Claire. Richard tells Jamie "you did what you must," before adding "as will I when the time comes." The threat is certainly chilling, but only time will tell how serious this will be moving forward. Later it appears that fall's arrived at Fraser's Ridge. Bree and Roger stroll around the property and talk about how happy they are to be home for now.
Claire in the meanwhile notes a crooked laundry post and Jamie offers to have it fixed. But Claire says they should just enjoy this ordinary day with their family because the peace will soon be interrupted by the coming American rebellion, and so they do. Before the episode ends, we see Jamie and Claire wrapped up in each other and as they talk, Claire reveals she feels safe. Will that safety last? Fans will have to wait and see as Season 6 arrives sometime in the future.
Outlander, Season 6, TBA, Starz