Outlander Season 5 Episode 1 Recap: The Fiery Cross
Want to relive the Outlander Season 5 Episode 1? We do a minute-by-minute reaction to “The Fiery Cross.”[9:00 p.m.] Welcome back, Obsessenachs! You did it. We did it. It’s been 386 days since our last new episode of Outlander. Let me repeat that – THREE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SIX DAYS. Which means, you get a gold star and you get a gold star and you get a gold star – WE ALL GET A GOLD STAR. [9:01 p.m.] Officially petitioning for every episode to start with sweeping Scottish vistas and young Murtagh in all his Pantene glory. Anyone care to second the motion? [9:02 p.m.] “I’ll always be with you” doesn’t forebode well for where this season – and maybe even this single episode – will take us. Please don’t bookend this premiere with Murtagh promising to stay with us (yes, us) forever and then *gulp* leaving 53 minutes later. Too soon, show. TOO SOON. [9:03 p.m.] I always thought I’d hate the change-up in the opening credits score with the start of a new season – the original is our Outlander constant! How wrong I was. Each season’s reimagined opener infuses more depth, connection and relevance to an evolving family story we fell in love with as soon as Raya Yarbrough first implored us to sing her a song about a certain lass that was gone. [9:04 p.m.] What Roger Mac wouldn’t give right about now for a Dollar Shave Club shipment to the ridge. Also, I knew we’d get some mother-daughter and father-daughter pre-wedding bonding moments on screen, but I’m loving the bonus of extended father-new son time. After the shape we last saw them in, we needed this. And so did they. [9:05 p.m.] Our office building flooded last year and five months later, a bunch of urban contractors were still scratching their heads (among other things) trying to navigate what to do first (read: not next, first). But not these Frasers and their Scottish groupies – forget Rome, they’ve built a damn commune in seemingly a day. [9:06 p.m.] Copper and brass, my arse, says a dreamily be-speckled Jamie Fraser. This is a man who moved heaven and earth to round up all the perfect, touching accompaniments to marry Claire – who he barely knew, mind you, but loved deeply all the same. So, no Roger, the bare minimum 15 pieces of flair canna do for my daughter on her wedding day. [9:07 p.m.] “Home is the place, the site where we live. But Fraser’s Ridge was much more than that…” Yes, all of that – thanks to the dual gift of rich storytelling and the brilliant Jon Gary Steele. [9:08 p.m.] The last mother-daughter moment that conjured up this sappy a reaction from me was Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried in Mamma Mia. An exaggeration, and I can hear you eye-rolling me from here, but I’ll jump all over any chance to drop my guilty pleasure love of Mamma Mia. [9:09 p.m.] Serious question: every updo I’ve ever had required copious amounts of aerosol hairspray – what are these Fraser women using? [9:10 p.m.] “But the house – how are they making their money again?” – My husband’s lone comment during the beauty of this old, new, borrowed and blue moment. You guys, so grateful for you – have I mentioned that? [9:11 p.m.] Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe never cease to delight in their ability to nail the physicality and maturity of characters two decades their senior. So well, in fact, that my brain struggles to grasp that it wasn’t actually 30 years ago when we first watched Jamie and Claire fall in love with a dislocated shoulder and a dreary, shared ride in the saddle. It was less than six. [9:12 p.m.] My dad is my rock, my own Jamie Fraser of sorts… you know, if Jamie Fraser were an average height Lebanese man boasting a similarly fierce love and devotion to faith, family and friends. At any rate, this takes me straight back to my parents’ home 12 years ago when my dad paced their pool deck, scotch in hand, nervously waiting to come in and catch a first look of me in my wedding dress. I don’t recall the words that we exchanged, if we even did, but I’ll never forget his face. [9:13 p.m.] The music, the pearls, this moment Jamie never knew he’d get and a mention of NO MURTAGH – Outlander, the ugly girl cry meter is on overdrive and we’re not even a quarter of the way into this episode. Then again, I’ve had 13 months to hydrate – so, as you were. [9:14 p.m.] “The Frasers of the Ridge are here.” Damn straight. Also, I’m going to start announcing my family’s entrance this way whenever the automatic doors at Target slide open. [9:15 p.m.] Hail hail, the gang’s [mostly] all here! And I can’t get Hank Williams Jr.’s “All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight” off repeat in my head. This is going to be one hell of a fun reception. Which reminds me, I’ve figured out my husband’s income stream question from earlier – Fraser’s Ridge Events. Jamie and Claire moonlight their Southern Living cover home as a special events venue. A few weddings, a bar mitzvah here and there, a baby shower or two – bam, Claire’s got a new walk-in closet and spa tub. [9:16 p.m.] I love the significance of Jamie proudly saying “I do” considering his and Brianna’s many years apart and very limited time back together. But part of me – albeit unrealistic for the time – hoped for Claire the Riveter to confidently join him in a “we do.” [9:17p.m.] Last season we got to enjoy the parallels of the wedding night for Jamie/Claire and Roger/Bree played out; now it’s time for the wedding itself. Such a wonderful nod to the core fan base. [9:18 p.m.] This Roger and Bree wedding nuptials thing is really interrupting my Jamie and Claire moment. [9:19 p.m.] Governor Tryon needs to work on his wedding crasher game. He’s lacking all the charm of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson and based on the Frasers’ and MacKenzies’ collective faces, I’m not the only one who thinks it. [9:20 p.m.] “The groom sings like a bird, but not one for shooting them.” Spoken like any father-in-law who’s learning to love his new son as he is, while quieting any misaligned expectation for who he imagined would be the type of man to take his daughter’s hand. [9:21 p.m.] Hair ticks, heretics. Tomato, tomahto. Remember my earlier motion to start all episodes with a young Murtagh with a fresh blowout? I’m also going to request we get regular Germaine-isms from this little moppet playing him so adorably.
Side note: I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure Roger and Bree are enjoying one of Outlander Cast resident baker Tammy Lish Spencer’s port wine chocolate cakes with port wine chocolate ganache. Drooling? Same. Here’s the recipe – knock yourself out.[9:22 p.m.] “Wed… at last.” Aunt Jocasta gives compliments on a string with as much piecing authenticity as my irritably honest grandma used to give. Granny Gert, you might have met your match. [9:23 p.m.] “When we go back, we can do all this again” and Bree’s reaction scream of a premarital counseling conversation session they never quite had. Kids? Got one. Money? Got none. Sex? Yes, lots please. Say our vows then get the hell out of 18th century dodge so we don’t die in a war or from some olden ailment? *crickets* [9:24 p.m.] Though speaking of time travel, I so want to bop on through the stones just to attend this fantastic bash, and then Uber stones on back through. [9:25 p.m.] Lauren Lyle is just pure delight to watch as Marsali. We didn’t get enough screen time with her last season, so I hope this is the start of that trending in a different direction. [9:26 p.m.] “Some Shakespeare anyone?” LOL! And also, everyone is giving the trademark “who brought that guy?” look that accompanies at least one person at a party. Because there’s always one. [9:27 p.m.] No one dances sober unless he’s insane is also my mantra. No disrespect to anyone who loves dancing, but if you saw me dance, you’d employ the same self-guiding principle.
Speaking of carefree antics, we’ve slipped in a proof of life check on Willie. The last time we saw him he didn’t seem much past the “girls have cooties” stage, but Papa John is painting him to be quite the teenage Casanova.[9:28 p.m.] Holy hell, my heart jumped into my throat at Bree walking in on that conversation. We just saw what it looks like when pure unabashed joy is forced aside by crushing fear and trauma [9:29 p.m.] I know plenty of Outlander fans would be all “all set, thanks” at any further mentions of Frank Randall (RIP, Frank). But I’m relieved there’s a Frank moment here because there should be. We don’t need him, and Claire doesn’t need him but today is about Bree. And while she loves Jamie from a place in her heart carved out just for him, she still might have loved – and likely always pictured – her dad here in this moment. [9:30 p.m.] Same, Bree, same. I can’t fathom the pained blend of emotion and thought coursing through you right now, but when I experience even an ounce of anything toxic, nuzzling my baby is the strongest antidote. [9:31 p.m.] I watch far too much Law & Order SVU because there’s not a chance in hell I’d be escorted out in the dark woods into a creaky hut and left alone – and I HAVE THE GOOD FORTUNE OF EYESIGHT. [moments later] Enchanting woodland palace + Murtagh the fairy king = I take back everything I said above. Lead the way, Ulysses. [9:32 p.m.] Y’ALL – HE’S FINALLY HOLDING THE BABY. At ease, soldiers. You can stand down now. Jamie and Claire are grandparents – doting, present grandparents. It’s a role neither one thought they’d ever have the blessing of playing and I’m 100% here for it. We all are. [9:33 p.m.] Forget like father, like son – Bree guzzling that whisky in her honeymoon suite (and her groom’s reaction to it) is a far better like mother, like daughter. [9:34 p.m.] Speaking of, I keep waiting for Rupert and Angus to bust in for a wee keek. God I miss them. [9:35 p.m.] Hear ye, hear ye – I hereby proclaim my third official petition of the night. This time, a crooning Roger montage per episode. All in favor, say “aye.” Friends, when this season ventures into a dark and twisty place and assaults my heart and all my senses (because, Outlander) – please remind me to revisit this scene on repeat like an Outlander yuletide log of sorts. [9:36 p.m.] My my how far we’ve come from “bolt the door.” Most anyone with a young child has had sexy time hijacked by a kid more than once. But I love that we’re seeing that common scenario played out from the grandparent perspective.
Also, Johnny. Sweet, perpetually alone Johnny. That thunk feels like a metaphor for your love life.[9:37 p.m.] We should bask in the glow of Roger and Bree finally together, for real. But I am audibly – “oh God… oh no… oh hell… is she… she’s about to…” – on edge waiting for her to have a trauma-filled, teary outburst and it’s dampening the joy for me. [moments later] … Welp, it’s clearly splintering at hers too. [9:38 p.m.] Silver fox, say it ain’t so! The carefree honeymoon is over already? Sigh. Then again, that’s just it. It could never be carefree for long given the underlying circumstances in and out of their control. [9:39 p.m.] DO THE RIGHT THING, MURTAGH. SAY THE RIGHT THING, MURTAGH. AT YOUR BEST, SOLDIER. [9:40 p.m.] Oof, that wasn’t it. At least not for Jocasta. It’s incredible the things she sees that don’t require eyesight at all. [9:41 p.m.] I mean, given that party’s free flow of whisky casks and possibly undercooked pig on a spit, I’m not shocked Claire’s got patients lined up down the ridge. Hangovers and dysentery do make outstanding reception favors. [9:42 p.m.] Auntie J does tailgating right. She would hit it off fabulously with my pal and fellow Outlander Cast writer, Anne Gavin. [9:43 p.m.] Roger thought he was going to dodge the stereotypical mother-in-law bullet by scoring Claire in his corner, but tsk tsk tsk. He didn’t factor in the meddling, brash aunt. [9:44 p.m.] Clever girl, Auntie J, CLEVER GIRL. [9:45 p.m.] I do love colonial life. I’ll trade you a tonsillectomy in my kitchen without modern sedatives for your hunting skills. Deal?
While we’re on the topic, this feels like a super time for a parlor game! Would you rather: run the Mohawk gauntlet of beatings (ala Young Ian), or merely walk through this tuberculosis alley while snacking on an apple? I’ll give you a moment to ponder.[9:46 p.m.] “You’re up early, early bird and all…” and I’m sitting here thinking, it’s the 18th century frontier – did Tryon actually think Jamie would be teenage sludging inside until noon while half the wedding reception hacked up an 18th century malady outside his house and the other half continued loudly building it? Also, much like a bull in Spain, I have a visceral reaction every time I see one of those damn redcoats. [9:47 p.m.] You guys, Roger is going to do alright at this marriage thing. The man’s got his priorities in check. [9:48 p.m.] I love that Claire now has her very own slice of Mrs. Fitz heaven. Sure, they’ve adapted to and called plenty of places home, but this one is truly theirs to make her own from the get-go. And, for me, nothing is as settling about a home as having a kitchen you want to spend time in. However, Jamie’s update is an unwelcome reminder that you can have it all, but that “all” often comes with unavoidable conditions. It’s like those damn compliments on a string, only more dire. [9:49 p.m.] “If Tryon wants a Scot, I’ll give him a Scot.” You sir have just given us your first hero moment of the season. One for the marketing sizzle reals, for sure. [9:50 p.m.] The music, the trunk, the boots hitting the wood floor – sweet baby Jesus, knee porn kilted glory is back! Which means, IMMA NEED A MOMENT TOO, CLAIRE [9:51 p.m.] I haven’t seen this brand of Jamie Fraser since Prestonpans and Culloden, and I didn’t realize how sorely I missed it or needed it until it resurged in the hills of western North Carolina. [9:52 p.m.] They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom! Sorry, wrong rousing Scottish battle cry… but as you were, Col. Fraser, because this one’s working on me all the same. [9:53 p.m.] Oh this is too good – Jamie is having his very own Jerry Maguire bold stance moment looking at Roger all don’t leave me and my goldfish hanging. Be my Renee Zellweger. [9:54 p.m.] I’m all for these grand declarations of loyalty, but these words and this specific gesture only take my brain back to that room at Leoch during one particularly memorable makeup scene. I’m looking right at you, Cowgirl Claire, and your little dirk too. [9:55 p.m.] Atta boy, Roger. Best to stand by your old man. But also, Jamie swears to look over you and that’s a promise that would lure any man into peril. [9:56 p.m.] Beside the point, but curious – when exactly did Jamie sneak off and assemble this giant wooden cross? Did he contract the construction crew to give up their lunch break for a side hustle? [9:57 p.m.] And just like that, we’ve erected yet another one – this one feeling very much like Fraser’s Ridge’s own Christ the Redeemer. Also, see above as inquiry still holds.
“One last thing, it’s time…” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN. EMOTIONS ON 11 RIGHT NOW, SHOW. JE SUIS PREST I AM NOT.[9:58 p.m.] “There’s always a war coming… But it’s for us to decide which ones we fight.” Murtagh, reminding us that, per usual, his wisdom holds in any generation, any era of time. [9:59 p.m.] You have everything you’ve ever wanted feels like Murtagh’s way of reminding me that his surviving his book fate to this point is more than any of us ever thought we’d get. But please don’t go now. I mean the intellectual side of me gets it, but dammit don’t go now. [10:00 p.m. p.m.] “I release you from it, and I’ll beg you to leave my side and never let me find you.” And we’re officially at DEFCON 1 on my emotional scale.
Your tears are ours too, Jamie.
Outlander, it’s damn fine to see you and might I add, you look lovely as ever. Season 5 kicked off with a taste of everything we’ve come to love and expect (because let’s face it, we’re a needy bunch) from this show: family, love, community, loyalty, heritage, humor, drama, trauma, solidarity and so much more. It struck a strong resemblance to a classic Season 1 episode and will rank as my favorite premiere episode in recent years. I’m not sure I can aptly or succinctly articulate why but I don’t need to. Because Claire summed it up best when she told – then showed – us that Fraser’s Ridge is so much more. And I’m left wanting more in the best way possible. As much of this episode hinted, I know we can’t stay in the safety of this premiere bubble forever, but I’m still going to nestle in it for as long (and as many re-watches) as I can until that hillside cross is set ablaze.
Until next week, friends…
A complete library of recaps from Seasons 2-4 is also available here.