Hey, y’all. I am so sorry this post is so late, but with the death of George Floyd, the world literally burning, more shootings and more damn COVID-19 spikes (the numbers of positive cases are also rising overseas according to The Indian Express and CNBC), as well as me going through my own personal stuff, it’s been hard for me to find the drive to write about the latest—or should I say, the past—adventures of the Fraser family. I’m still trying to get back to being 100% after everything that’s happened, but I have my good days and my bad days. Nonetheless, I promised y’all that I would discuss season five of Outlander, and I always keep my promises.
Last year, I wasn’t entirely happy with Outlander’s fourth season. It had its moments, but between the constant racism, Claire and Jamie becoming side characters, the ho-hum storylines and Brianna’s bratty ass putting her hands on her father, I felt that it was the weakest season in Outlander history. So when season five premiered this past Feb., I made the conscious decision not to do any recaps/reviews this year. I figured I’d just get more of the same, and it wasn’t even worth my time and energy. However, after watching the season five premiere, I was pleasantly surprised.
I ended up loving Outlander’s fifth season. It was full of action and adventure, hot love scenes, and there were very few dull moments. The writing was spot on, and the showrunners had Roger and Brianna share the limelight with Claire and Jamie. Not only that, the racism wasn’t as prevalent this go around (thank God). A lot of folks—particularly on Reddit—weren’t really feeling season five, but I did. As far as I’m concerned, season five was the only one from the Outlander series that’s come close to the caliber of the first season.
Since the last season ended a little over a month ago, so I’m not going to do a traditional review. Instead, I wanna speak on certain topics within season five. These topics vary from things I liked about the season, things I may have disliked, theories about certain facets of the show, and storylines that may or may not be overdone. There’s a lot to unpack with this season, so let’s do this!
***WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE FIFTH SEASON OF OUTLANDER, PLEASE REFRAIN FROM READING THE REST OF THE POST! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.***
Brianna Finally Grew the Hell Up
As a child, I had an older cousin that used to bully me like he was getting paid to do it. At times my very existence would set him off, and I’d have to endure hours of taunts and pranks. However, once my cousin became a father, he mellowed out…a lot. I believe the same thing happened with Mrs. Brianna Fraser-MacKenzie.
It’s no secret that I wasn’t Bree’s biggest fan when we were first introduced to her. I warmed up to her a little in season four, but she had to go and ruin it when she showed her entire ass after the whole debacle with Jamie, Ian, and Roger. Plus, I hated how unconcerned she was when it came to slavery. For me, her overall silence and indifference spoke louder than Jocasta’s participation in the dubious act. What really gets me is that some of Brianna’s die hard fans love to come for folks like myself and accuse us of not liking
“strong women.” Give me a break. It’s not that I don’t like strong women. If that were the case, I wouldn’t like Claire, Jenny or Marsali. I just didn’t like Brianna. Also, screeching and yelling, putting your hands on people, refusing to take ownership, and being disrespectful to your parents isn’t a sign of strength. Those are weaknesses if ever there were any.
Just when I though I would never connect with Brianna, season five premiered and she surprised me. Thankfully, marriage and motherhood transformed Brianna into a level headed young woman that didn’t constantly blow off the handle like a petulant child. This was the season where I saw Brianna exude real strength and maturity. Whenever a crisis happened—which is often in the Outlander universe—Brianna kept her cool and helped out in whatever capacity she could. The real litmus test of Brianna’s newfound maturity was when she found out that she had a brother. I predicted that Bree would have a full out conniption fit when she found out Jamie had a son. You can imagine my shock when Brianna happily embraced the idea of having a brother and didn’t judge her father for having a child outside of his and Claire’s marriage. She even wanted to know more about him. I can honestly say that I just might like Brianna now. She’s still not my favorite character, though. Just sayin’.
Here’s a clip of Brianna risking her life to save her baby boy’s. Take a lesson, young girls. This is real strength.
Brianna and Jamie’s Relationship Hit a Roadblock
One of the few things about Outlander’s fifth season that irked me was the fact that Brianna and Jamie’s relationship seemed like it was on autopilot. They had a touching moment before Brianna’s wedding to Roger (as evident from the above pic), but after that, their interactions were few and far between. If Jamie had to leave for whatever reason, Brianna wouldn’t tell him goodbye, nor would he say anything to her. There also was a point in the show where Brianna had to warn Claire and Jamie of impending danger, but she only communicated with Claire and hardly said anything to her father. At least she started calling him “Da” this season.
For once, I can’t blame Brianna’s character flaws for this one. This seems to be a faux pas on the writers’ part. Don’t get me wrong; they had a touching moment every now and again, but Lord knows it wasn’t enough. We should’ve witnessed Brianna and Jamie becoming closer this season, especially after the horrible melee they had last season. However, they’re just as distant as they were before. Thankfully, this one of the very few things the writers missed the mark on.
Check out one of the rare moments Jamie and Brianna had together. This clip shows Bree’s reaction to Jamie telling her about William. Again, I’m loving the growth and maturity.
Jamie and Roger Find a Common Ground…Finally!
Despite the fact that Bree and Jamie’s bond stalled, Jamie and Roger’s bond strengthened over the course of the fifth season. The connection between the two Scots didn’t happen overnight, though. When the season premiered, Roger and Jamie’s relationship was strained, at best. Roger hadn’t quite gotten over Jamie handing his ass to him last season, and Jamie couldn’t get past the fact that Roger had to take some time to think before making the decision to spend his life with Bree and Jemmy. Plus, Jamie ain’t too fond of the fact that Roger is a Protestant and believes that his new son-in-law is a heretic (I love how little Germain spilled that tea to Roger, “Uncle, [Grand-père] said you have hair ticks!”). There’s also the issue of Roger being more of an academic than a solider. In the 1700’s, it would behoove you to have book sense as well as skill in using a sword and musket, but the latter category is a bit more important, especially for a young man. Brianna can use a gun better than Roger, and initially, Jamie saw that as a weakness.
Jamie gradually started respecting Roger over time as he became more skilled in the art of combat and after Roger’s intellect prevented Fraser’s Ridge from being devastated by locusts. The real turning point of their relationship happened when Jamie was bitten by a viper during a hunting trip. Roger was the only one nearby when the incident occurred, so he cared for Jamie the rest of the night. The next morning, Roger tried to get Jamie back to the house and after the hunting party found them and brought the men home, Roger stayed by Jamie’s side. Roger even prayed for Jamie, and thanks to his intuition to save the viper’s head, Claire and Brianna were able to create an anti-venom to save Jamie’s life. By the time Jamie was back on the mend, the tension between him and his son-in-law completely vanished. Although Brianna and Jamie’s bond didn’t flourish, I’m glad Roger and Jamie became closer.
Unfortunately, the only Jamie and Roger clip I could find (that had a clear picture) was a behind-the-scenes featurette about the evolution of Jamie and Roger’s relationship. Check it out.
What Happened to Ian?
One of the big events from season five was Ian’s return from the Mohawk. From jump, we noticed that he wasn’t the same wide-eyed, naive teenager we remembered from the third and fourth season. He adopted the Mohawk’s signature hairstyle as well as their facial markings. Not only that, he was very withdrawn and despondent when he first returned. He even attempted suicide, but Roger (who was also going through mental distress at the time) managed to thwart his plans. As time passed, Ian’s cheerful and lighthearted personality came back to an extent, but there would still be moments when he would go back to that hurt place and withdraw from everyone.
Whatever happened to Ian while he was with the Mohawk isn’t 100% clear. From what I’ve read (I haven’t read the actual Outlander book series, but I have read about the individual books, if that makes sense), I can only assume that Ian may have fallen in love with someone in the tribe and later lost her. Hopefully the writers will shed more light on it next season.
Ian still retained a small bit of his innocence, as evident from the scene below. I’m glad his old personality hasn’t completely vanished.
The Bass-Ackward Browns
When Roger and the fellas rode through Brownsville at the start of the season, I figured the townspeople’s time on the show would be one and done, like so many other characters in season five (i.e.: Fanny Beardsley and Stephen Bonnet’s favorite ho). Lord, how wrong I was. It turns out Richard and Lionel Brown—the ass backwards proprietors of Brownsville—were more important to the overall plot than I initially thought, and just like herpes, they just kept coming back.
I never liked Richard or Lionel, Lionel especially. It was crystal clear that they were dense and violent as hell when they were intent on killing Isaiah Morton for knocking up Lionel’s daughter, Alicia. When those fools tried to kill Isaiah again at the Battle of Alamance and Lionel smashed Claire’s only syringe of penicillin for calling him on his shit, I was too done. Unfortunately, The Browns had a few more appearances to make during Outlander’s fifth season, and their last appearance pissed me all the way off. What Lionel’s no good ass did to Claire was appalling, to say the least (more on that later). Richard’s reaction ticked me off, too. Lionel’s triflin’ ass broke into someone else’s house, kidnapped the owner’s wife and had her gang raped, but yet when the husband of the victim presumably kills him and comes to town with Lionel’s dead body out of respect, you threaten to exact your revenge. Bitch, please.
By the way, I cheered when Marsali took Lionel out (I especially loved that she referred to Claire as her “ma”). Kick rocks, ho. As a matter of fact, here’s the clip!
Stephen Bonnet Finally Got His
I assume the Browns were introduced to the story as the new villains because Stephen Bonnet’s time in the Outlander universe came to an end. I assumed he’d continue to be a nuisance for the Fraser family for the next few seasons, especially given the fact that Bonnet acquired a lot more money and an even meaner streak (if that were possible). Not only did he graduate from being a petty pirate to a sex trafficker, but he even cut a man’s eye out for disrespecting him during a wrestling match. He also had his sights set on Brianna and Jemmy, making plans to kidnap the two of them so he could acquire River Run, which Jemmy will inherit since Jocasta no longer has any living children. The Frasers already had their own plan in place to take Bonnet out, and after he snatched Brianna up—and I have to give her props for her quick thinking when it came to preventing him from raping her again—they caught up with him just before he was able to sell Bree into sex slavery. Per Brianna’s request, they turned his ass in to the authorities. She’s better than me; I probably would’ve ended him or least whupped his ass right there on the beach where they found him.
In an interesting twist of fate, Bonnet was sentenced to death by drowning, which he recently admitted to Brianna was his biggest fear. However, while the sentence was being carried out, Brianna accelerated Bonnet’s impending doom by bustin’ a cap in his dome. I especially loved the ending; Roger asked Brianna if she shot Bonnet to ensure he was dead, or if she was doing him a kindness by taking him out of his misery. Brianna never answers him. I personally believe it was a little bit of both.
Yeah, that was some ‘ol bullshit.
Do the Stones Just Take You Back in Time Or Do They Take You To Where You’re Meant To Be?
This is one of the main topics regarding Outlander’s last season that I wanted to discuss. Ever since I started watching the show, I always wondered why Claire was able to go from 1945 to 1745—200 years exactly—whereas Gellis traveled from 1968 and ended up in the same time period Claire did. After all, in the case of the Fraser family, time is parallel. It’s always an exact 200 year difference from Claire’s time and Jamie’s time. When Claire went back to find Jamie, she left in 1968 and traveled to 1768. It was the same case with Brianna and Roger when they first went through the stones. They left sometime circa 1971 or ’72 and arrived around 1771-72. However, Gellis went back 223 years instead of an even 200 when she decided to time travel. Also, there’s the case of Donner and Ottertooth. Donner and Ottertooth went through the stones together to stop the genocide of their people, but somehow, Ottertooth went further back in time than Donner did. However, what really gave me pause was what happened to Brianna and Roger when they tried to go back home.
Brianna, Roger and Jemmy decided to return to their time, and when they went through the stones, they ended up right back where they started. They didn’t even travel a day forward or backward. Roger and Brianna admitted they were thinking about home the entire time. This begs the question asked in the heading: Do the stones just take you through time, or do they take you where you’re meant to be? Was it indeed fate that brought Jamie and Claire together, or a happy accident? Was it meant for Gellis to go back to 1745 to ensure The Jacobite Rebellion suceeded? Was Ottertooth supposed to meet with the Native Americans before the pilgrims arrived on the shores of America? Are Roger and Brianna supposed to be in the 18th century with the rest of their family?
If it is fate that’s bringing these people to these destinations, you could argue that destiny has a sick sense of humor (Claire and Jamie are the sole exceptions to this rule). Gellis still couldn’t help the Scots win The Jacobite Rebellion, not even by the means of witchcraft. Ottertooth not only failed to save the Native Americans, he ended up being executed by his own people. Even though fate seems to have a different plan for poor Roger, I still feel bad for him. He was dying to get back to the 20th century, but he and his family ended up making a doggone U-turn.
The mystery of the stones/portals will probably never be unlocked, and that’s fine with me. It’s a lot more interesting when everything’s not explained and you can come up with your own assessments. What do y’all think?
Does Outlander Have Too Much Rape?
Last but not least, is the subject of the amount of rape featured in Outlander. Season five ends with yet again, another sexual assault. This time Claire is the victim, and her rape scene is almost as brutal as Jamie’s. While watching the season finale, it hit me that nearly every member of the Fraser family has experienced some type of sexual assault:
In season one, Jamie was repeatedly raped and tortured—psychologically as well as physically—at the hands of Black Jack Randall.
Midway through season two, Fergus was raped. Once again, the assailant was Black Jack Randall. Fergus was only 10 years old.
In season three, Ian was kidnapped and forced to have sex with Gellis Duncan while in Jamaica. He was 16.
Shortly after losing her virginity to Roger in season four, Stephen Bonnet had sex with Brianna against her will in a tavern. Although she screamed for help and the tavern was full of people, none of them came to her aide.
Lastly, Claire was kidnapped, beaten and gang raped by Lionel Brown and his men during the season five finale. Like Brianna, Claire begged Donner for help, but he refused. Before this incident, many men attempted to rape Claire through the years. Black Jack Randall was one of them.
When I first started watching Outlander, I noticed some fans referring to the show as “Rapelander,” and I felt like they were being a little too harsh. After all, I figured Outlander didn’t have any more rape than say, Game of Thrones. Plus, the story mostly takes place in the 18th century, and law and order wasn’t always enforced, especially when it came to sex crimes. However, after five seasons of seeing characters assaulted, I now have to agree with the detractors.
I didn’t even mention some of the other incidents that’s occurred such as Geneva blackmailing Jamie into sleeping with her or Claire being forced to have sex with King Louis XV to have Jamie released from prison. With the amount of rape featured on this show, I could probably write an Outlander post on this subject alone (I even considered it once). I mean, doggone, how much is enough? Will the writers ever slow down when it comes to characters being violated? I haven’t read the books, so I don’t know if there’s more sex crimes to come, but I’m hoping the showrunners will start pumping their breaks. Claire’s assault was stomach churning enough.
—Written by Nadiya
So what Outlander moments from season five spoke to you? Did you agree with any of the moments I included in this post? Were there others that you wished I mentioned? Do you think the stones take you where you’re supposed to be or do they just randomly take you back in time? Is there a superfluous amount of sexual assault on Outlander, or do you feel like it’s actually relevant for the time period? Let me know in the comments section!