Outlander 5×02 “Between Two Fires” was a transitional episode, the kind that does more to setup what’s to come than to surprise us by what is happening. Despite that, though, the episode had its important moments, including the return of our least favorite character ever: Stephen Bonnet and Claire’s attempts to play God, and who knows, maybe mess with the fabric of time as we know it.
It is interesting that the show is finally willing to go there, because if we think about it, just the time traveling back and forth, not to mention Brianna’s general existence, means time has already changed. Plus, it’s not like Claire, Brianna and Roger are the only time travelers we know. Other people have traveled. Maybe they’ve already changed the world. Maybe the future we know – the one they know – has already been influenced by other time travelers.
And in this sense, who can blame Claire for wanting to play God? What would you do with knowledge of the future? Sit and wait for things to happen and try to do something to improve your life and the lives of the people around you, people who depend on you?
The answer is quite simple.
Of course, there’s the fact that Claire has tried to change big things before and failed, but those things weren’t really up to her: this is.
Jamie, meanwhile is fighting against his instincts, his honor and what he knows is coming by siding with the English against the Regulators. He’s got very little choice in the matter, he’s between a rock and a hard place: he knows there’s a war coming, and once that comes he cannot be on the side of the English unless he fancies being on the losing side once again, but right now, he has a family – and settlers to protect.
So he must try to play both sides, prove to the regulators that he isn’t all that bad while trying to maintain his façade of the good soldier, the man who follows orders. It’s not an easy balance to maintain, and if for now Jamie is managing, it’s only because Murtagh hasn’t been on the other side.
We all know when push comes to shove – and this is TV, so it will come – Jamie will choose Murtagh, and no one, not us, not Claire, not Brianna, will blame him.
And then there’s Brianna, who can’t get Stephen Bonnet out of her head, and Roger, who cannot get the fact that Stephen Bonnet is in Brianna’s head, or the fact that he might be Jem’s father out of his head.
In Brianna’s case, it’s totally understandable. She hasn’t really dealt with what happened to her, she only mourned and then was forced to deal with the consequences, as women often are. She thought she’d closed that chapter of her life forever, and now it turns out she didn’t, and that’s just bringing out the old feelings.
As for Roger, well, I can take his issues, his doubts and his pain, as long as he doesn’t turn it on Brianna. I always could. My main issue with him last season wasn’t that he felt horrible, guilty, angry and enraged – but that he made Brianna suffer for it, even if he didn’t mean to. Well, that, and that even in his good moments he behaved like he was way more backwards than even Jamie, born a good 200 years earlier, ever was.
But season 5 seems to be asking us to judge Roger – and Brianna, for that matter, for their own actions, their own feelings, without comparing them to Claire and Jamie. Tall order to begin with, but if the show will allow both these characters a chance to feel and express those feelings in constructive ways, maybe we can get there.
Hopefully without many more episodes where the story takes Jamie – or any other of the main four – too far away for all story-lines to entwine. We’ve gone through long episodes of separation before, and I think we can all agree on one thing: we do not like them. We do not like them one bit.
Things I think I think:
- Murtagh’s face says it all. This is what he believes in.
- And nothing is holding him back now.
- Why is Sophie so pretty?
- Or Sam, for that matter.
- Or Cait.
- These people are all too pretty, I cannot stand it.
- Loyalty to king and country, HAHAHAHAHA.
- Oh, that was a good joke.
- “Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect” is a very convenient way to justify things.
- Duty and honor above all else – except Jamie’s family.
- That’s the thing.
- And Murtagh is part of that.
- Plus, I’m not so sure Jamie’s honor is telling him the same thing it’s telling the guys in red.
- I just really love Marsali, how did we even get here?
- I am Murtagh, no I am Murtagh, no …me!
- Brianna casually referring to Jamie as Da will never not give me feels.
- Of course he doesn’t respect you, Roger.
- WHY WOULD HE?
- This scene of Bree and Roger shooting has been their best scene together in a season.
- “Our family is here.”
- Yeah, the problem is Roger doesn’t consider Jamie as family.
- Ironically, though, he has absolutely no one to go back to.
- He doesn’t really want to leave, he just doesn’t want to stay.
- I’m going to love Marsali as Claire’s apprentice.
- Playing two sides is not sustainable, Jamie. Not one bit.
- Yeah, I’m sitting here being mad about the fact that Claire has to pretend to be a man for people to pay attention to her knowledge.
- “We are your family, Roger.”
- I know this is like the journey of the season, but ugh. LOL
- Penicillin. Really?
- Well, I guess if you’re gonna play God, do it right.
- Ugh, Bonnet.
- Fucking Bonnet.
- “I’m a father now.”
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of “Between Two Fires”? Share with us in the comments below!
Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.