Outlander - Season 5

‘Outlander’ 5×07 Advanced Review: “The Ballad of Roger Mac”

Outlander 5×07 “The Ballad of Roger Mac” is quite an episode, not just for Roger, as the title suggests, but for Jamie too, and of course, for Murtagh, and for our feelings, which, I promise you, will remain engaged throughout the entire hour in a way Outlander hasn’t always managed to do this season.

Now, of course, that isn’t always a good thing, but this episode manages to both show the senselessness and the randomness of war, one that is, in many ways punctuated by our knowledge – and the character’s knowledge – of the fact that this is just a warm-up to the important war, while also allowing the characters we’ve gone to love to run through the gamut of emotions.

Book readers might feel like they have a sense of where this episode is going, but there are enough shocks in this episode that even those who think will can see what’s coming will have an OMG moment or two. I know I did.

Here are some takeaways from Outlander 5×07 “The Ballad of Roger Mac”

  • This is an emotional episode. Bring tissues. And wine. Possibly ice cream. Is there wine ice cream? Because if there is, get some of that. That sounds like just the thing.
  • Both sides of Murtagh are perfectly in display in this episode: the warrior, and the protector, and more than anything, “The Ballad of Roger Mac” underscores why the show made a really great decision by bringing Murtagh back.
  • Jamie and Claire share a couple of really good scenes – and no, I’m not just talking about the normal “seeing my husband off to war” scene, either.
  • Same can be said about Roger and Brianna, who, in this episode, feel as real and shippable as they’ve ever felt.
  • No one really liked Governor Tryon before, but you’ll like him even less after this episode, if that’s possible.
  • There’s a particular shot of Sam Heughan from the pre-season 5 promotion that I think we’ve all been interested to see on screen, and yes, this is the episode.
  • I can’t even remember how many times in this episode I said something along the lines of: “I know you’re right, buuuuut…”
  • And it wasn’t even to the same character, either.
  • I have a lot of favorite Murtagh moments, but this episode might feature my absolute favorite ever. It’s at least top 5.
  • When the episode faded to black at the end, I literally gasped out loud, and then just sat there for about fifteen seconds, unable to move.

Are you excited about Outlander 5×07 “The Ballad of Roger Mac”? What are you looking forward to the most? Share with us in the comments below!

Outlander airs Sundays at 8/7c on Starz.

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  1. Richard and Sophie have zero chemistry together so no one would ever ship them LOL. Their scenes together are and will always be cringeworthy to watch. On his own, Rankin does fine enough so looking forward to his stuff plus Duncan, Sam, Caitriona and all the rest.

    1. Author

      Though I’ve never been much of a Roger/Bree fan, I believe that’s one of those “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” things. I’m sure some people absolutely adore them. This isn’t exactly a shippy episode on their part, though, so I think you’ll probably mostly enjoy it.

  2. This episode was very good, in my opinion. Acting was very good. I loved Murtagh but to me he died at Colladen. However, I did love the acting and I did tear up even though this was not part of the books. Reading Roger’s hanging was difficult, seeing it portrayed was aweful. Richard Rankin did it well! The books were hard to read – the rapes, the “hanging”, the deaths through war and disease, the betrayals. None, hopefully, will be a part of my life (other than watching TV or movies). I almost hate Gov. Tryon as much as Black Jack Randall. It was good to see Graham McTavich portray character’s son, William McKenzie (by Geillis and Dougal). So far this is my second favorite season.

    1. Author

      I’ve got a much longer spoiler-filled review coming later today, but I completely agree that I teared up a lot during this episode. Richard did AMAZING. For me the books were hard to read as well, and this is also my second favorite season.

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