Want to relive Outlander Season 5 Episode 2? We do a minute-by-minute reaction to “Between Two Fires.”
[9:00 p.m.] I do love it when your run-of-the-mill violence requires an adjective, a “graphic” modifier. Super neat indicator of what’s headed our way in the next 50-plus minutes.
[9:01 p.m.] JHRC, Murtagh. I’m not sure you interpreted Jamie’s “be hard to find” in the spirit in which it was intended. Semantics perhaps. I get we’re meant to feel conflicted about which side of history to sit on given our undying love of these Scottish lads, but my stomach will always do flip flops at the merciless torture of any human.
[9:03 p.m.] Oh good, the title card seems to already know that by the looks of the opening sequence, I’m likely to need troughs of comfort carbs to get through this episode.
[9:04 p.m.] I believe in art therapy, if that’s what this is, but every part of me is screaming for Brianna to march that sketch right down to Mariska Hargitay, Ice T and the rest of the hard-working Special Victims Unit. They’ll collar Bonnet’s rapist arse in a nanosecond. Dun dun.
[9:05 p.m.] Such odd timing to mutter “he’s at death’s door” as you step onto someone’s front porch. On second thought, it gives me a good idea for a “welcome to death’s door” custom doormat to send the Frasers as a housewarming gift.
[9:06 p.m.] I much preferred the table of fresh-baked bread to this one. It’s one thing to see Claire look helpless and resolved to certain tragedy despite her skills and best intentions; it only exacerbates it to see the awareness dance across Bree’s face right in step with her.
[9:07 p.m.] While some of the “affable” Lt. Knox’s summation of Jamie leaves room for discussion, “a man I am pleased to break bread with” is one I’ve never heard said of Jamie in all our years of knowing and loving him, but agree with completely. While simple, it says it all — because who enjoys dinners, or any time, in forced company with people you can’t stand? Spoiler alert: one qualification I have when hiring people is to do an internal gut check where I ask myself whether I could sit through a meal with that person, or ask a client to do the same. If my magic 8 ball of a gut says “awkward,” it’s telling… trust me.
[9:08 p.m.] Welp, it appears that Knoxie shares Auntie J’s and my grandma Gertie’s innate gift for those compliments on a string I referenced last week. “My my, Col. Fraser, that’s mighty fine land you have — I might have land like that too IF YOU’D JUST TELL ME WHERE THE REGULATING FLIP MURTAGH FITZGIBBONS IS.”
[9:09 p.m.] “Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.” Ain’t that the truth. And yet, I find myself suffering all the perils of an expectation hangover each time I forget this and feel “let down” by something I thought would happen.
[9:10 p.m.] He might feel sympathy for the Regulators, Jamie, but it’d behoove him to add some empathy into that mix as well to truly conjure up an ounce of awareness for their plight.
[9:11 p.m.] Wait, did I miss Claire also pursuing a doctorate in forensic pathology at Harvard?
[9:12 p.m.] Like me, Bree is scanning that table wishing for the fresh-baked bread, but I suppose fresh air will also suffice.
[9:13 p.m.] Really? Straight into field dressing a deer carcass? Too soon, Marsali. TOO SOON. Though apparently not for Claire, who clearly just got a hair-brained idea of inspiration from this. Also, when I was newly pregnant, I couldn’t stand the sight or smell of meat, yet here’s Marsali alllllll up in it. Ergo, reason #1287 why Marsali is a badass.
[9:14 p.m.] Showing an aerial view of this gorgeous, quaint town seemingly insulated from turmoil before zooming in closer to see the aftermath of war — what a fabulous call by the cinematographer! Such a pertinent reminder that all is not always as it appears from the outside without taking a deeper look inside.
[9:15 p.m.] “In time you will wear your scars with honor…” If there ever was a man equipped to deliver that advice with authenticity, I give you James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser.
[9:16 p.m.] Jamie’s glaring at the hideous wounds Murtagh’s actions inflicted with the same disbelief as us that our beloved Silver Fox could have resorted to such brutality to demonstrate his cause.
[9:17 p.m.] Anyone else reminding themselves to breathe while we wait to see which Highlander bachelors are waiting behind doors number one, two and three?!
[9:18 p.m.] We know these guys, though I can’t for the life of me place where (or when) or recall their names (A tavern? When in doubt, always a tavern. Bryan maybe?). But either way, the “umm, come again?” puzzled look he’s giving Jamie Fraser is really all I need here.
[9:19 p.m.] Well they have something in common there — because Jamie would also rather bite his tongue off than give up Murtagh for public execution.
[9:20 p.m.] Ah hell, I didn’t see any of that coming, naive as it sounds — then again, it appears neither did Jamie. Violence matched with violence makes you no better than the Regulators, Lt. Knox.
[9:21 p.m.] Roger and his bumbling charm and stories of Tufty Fluffytail’s PSAs are exactly the chaser I needed to make that last scene go down — not easier, mind you, just at all.
[9:22 p.m.] Don’t get too 18th century on us, Roger, by purporting that the measure of a real man is marked by whether or not he leaves home for battle. Staying behind to protect all that’s worth fighting for is its own honor. And also, I imagine it’s less about the respect Jamie has (or doesn’t have) for you and more about the respect he’s showing his only daughter at this moment by sparing her additional anxiety and possible trauma on top of all she’s been through already.
[9:23 p.m.] Don’t take it so personally, dude. Girl’s just got a roasted turkey with all the fixins on the brain. Don’t mess with a girl and her vision for dinner… said from experience.
[9:24 p.m.] “At least we know he’ll never be hurt in a car accident” is the very definition of grasping at straws to make a point, Bree. On the other hand, I’m not in favor of Roger’s immature inability to empathize with Bree’s struggle over where and when to be, so we’ll call this edition of The Newlyweds Game an even draw.
[9:25 p.m.] If history (or experience) is any indication, it’s not a guarantee that amends can be found in more ale, Jamie… though I commend you for trying.
[9:26 p.m.] I know I asked for every episode to include a crooning Roger moment, but let me clarify I hope they’re not always graveside performances. RIP, Mr. Farrish.
[9:27 p.m.] Marsali is my spirit animal. Also, Lauren Lyle’s comedic talent in a nutshell. And I’d love to see a blooper reel outtake of this scene, pretty please.
[9:28 p.m.] If I ever ponder a change of career and want to jump into the medical field, remind me to go back in time. The prerequisites (seemingly, no organic chem) and criteria for employment (“you seem handy with a knife, can recognize a body part or two”) appear far more manageable than those of present time.
[9:29 p.m.] I know it’s second nature to Claire at this point, but I’m always impressed she can keep track of who’s in on her secret and who’s not enough to filter her verbal rationale accordingly. I can’t even keep straight and consistent what lies of convenience I’ve told my 7-year old to get him to [insert basic life task] on any given day.
[9:30 p.m.] Oh, so it’s just a little needlework — well why didn’t you say so! See above about lies of convenience we employ to get through daily life tasks.
[9:31 p.m.] You’ve spared them for now, Jamie, but there’s only so long you can lead this double life. We’re only in the second hour of this season’s saga — one aptly named “Between Two Fires” — and it does not look promising for this not to end disastrously… soon.
[9:32 p.m.] My brain apparently needs something frivolous or food-like to cling to at this point in the drama because I was all, “Ohh pork rinds!” before, “that’s wax, Ashley, and we’re just making candles. Settle.” Pinterest away, lassies. (Side note, though: the Epic ones are delish.)
[9:33 p.m.] These women are as blindly trusting with their acceptance of local medicine as I am about downing any essential oil that promises miracles and rainbows and unicorn tears.
[9:34 p.m.] Again, Claire’s filter is much sturdier than mine.
[9:35 p.m.] This week’s clever girl honor goes to Dr. Claire and her Dr. Rawlings pseudonym. I’m going to give that a whirl in professional and personal settings when my own radical (or hell, even basic) ideas aren’t enough… “Yeah, well according to Dr. Rawlings…”
[9:36 p.m.] My initial giggle of Jamie’s Tommy Boy-like reaction to Knox discovering the prisoners missing was cut short by the grim demand to round up more men to continue this sham. Oof, see 9:31.
[9:37 p.m.] Watching Marsali learn the medical ropes as an apprentice is an 18th century Grey’s Anatomy I could get sucked right into.
[9:38 p.m.] “And why wouldn’t you want to stay?” Good on you for astutely reading facial cues, Roger. Claire’s resting mother-in-law face would be the absolute reason to backpedal.
[9:39 p.m.] …and then the true heart of a mother comes out. The one that enables her to sacrifice her own desires to do what’s best by her children and their safety and well-being.
[9:40 p.m.] Yes, I turned on the subtitles for that password reveal and it was totally worth it: “caisteal dhuni,” the Fraser Clan’s war cry. So naturally, Murtagh must be the on the other end of this gatekeeper maneuver.
[9:41 p.m.] Same question, Bryan. SAME. Albeit an answer I don’t actually want to hear.
[9:42 p.m.] I’m with you, Mrs. Bug — what a terrible waste, indeed. Let’s hollow some of that out and make room for a pool of chowder! Heck, I’d settle for a swipe of salted, Irish butter.
[9:43 p.m.] God I love when Claire the healer gets in a zone to do her thing, but Bree’s got a valid point… until her husband or son needs some of that homemade penicillin, then she might feel differently.
[9:44 p.m.] “So time, space, history be damned.” And per usual, Claire says it best. I should stop trying.
[9:45 p.m.] WE ARE NOT AT A FUNERAL AND THIS IS THE ROGER I BEGGED FOR SO PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF OUR OUTLANDER-ADORING GOD KEEP IT COMING BECAUSE IT MAKES ME FEEL SO HAPPY AND SQUISHY THAT I SQUEAL AND FORGET TO USE BASIC PUNCTUATION OR BREATHE.
[9:46 p.m.] Oh hell oh hell, if she’d only shipped that sketch off to Capt. Olivia Benson and the gang when I told her to. And then again, I’m relieved he’s stumbled upon it because Bree has been to hell and back (and back to hell again) without adding suffering in silence to the load. Letting someone into your pain takes courage and a suspension of vulnerability, but holds the promise of healing in a more supportive, sustainable way.
[9:47 p.m.] The first rule of Fight Club is we don’t need a damn fight club. This episode of Outlander is packed with the punch, drama and trauma of several fight clubs, thank you very much. But why am I not shocked to find you here, Rapey McStevens? Brad Pitt, you are not.
[9:48 p.m.] Discreet is not a word I’d readily use to describe this vile man.
[9:49 p.m.] This feels a ripe time to pay credit where credit is rightly due. We have the mightily gifted Ed Speleers and his portrayal of Bonnet to thank for our unwavering hatred of this character. The disdain I had for Bonnet in the book doesn’t hold a Fraser’s Ridge candle to the Speleers version of him.
[9:50 p.m.] NO MORE FIGHT CLUB, DAMMIT. Yield indeed. I’ll take an entire episode of Claire’s coroner house of horrors to any more fight club scenes, Bonnet or not.
[9:50 p.m.] “I’m a father now.” And I’m done. I BEG YE TO TAKE MY LEAVE OF THIS EPISODE.
Can I look now? *peeks through fingers firmly planted over eyes* Is it over yet? You guys, this would be the exact reason I asked you to remind me to watch the dreamy wedding night montage on repeat as a coping mechanism when this season veered away from the light and love of the gathering and down darker paths. Hello, darkness, our old friend.
This episode felt like an attempt to leave the comforts of the Fraser’s Ridge station and hurriedly dispatch trains down every story rail line, along the way showing various points where they intersect. While I enjoyed it (because yay, still basking in the glow of new Outlander!), I’m hopping off this leg of the journey still feeling a little topsy turvy. We’re with Murtagh! Join me in the gallery of death. Now we’re on the trail of Murtagh. Fancy a candle-making class? Wait, more Regulators. Also, cadavers and carcasses! BUT MURTAGH. Mmm bread. Annnnd now we’re at the fight club. Stay with me now. And then Bonnet. *shrinks away in fear* Even with the occasional references to him in the first two episodes and a setup to what’s inevitably next, the arrival of Bonnet still felt out of left field in the context of this episode. Then again, I’d be fine to never see him again, sooooo I’m not sure I ‘m the one to capably weigh in on the appropriate time to drop him back into our world.
All that aside, there was a lot to love about this episode. For me, none more than how they showed the concurrent timelines of Jamie maintaining his charade on the road and Claire womanning life back on the ridge. Because that’s a sample of what wartime must feel like — soldiers leaving home to fight battles we can’t fathom (and might not believe in) while life keeps on keeping on for those left behind. They tend to their own battles on the front lines at home, which might not look all that different: illness, death, grief, longing, worry, sadness, uncertainty and even joy sprinkled in for good measure here and there.
Because amidst the chaos of impending war, joy can still grow — which, at its core, is what Outlander has always shown us. Newlyweds leisurely passing the day together. A baby taking his first steps when you least expect it. Someone taking up a new calling they never saw coming. Pouring ourselves into distractions at work and home to keep our minds occupied. Women banding together and bonding together, as women do. And when all else fails, seek the comfort often found in baking (and eating) warm bread, so much bread.
In that case, keep on keeping on, Outlander. Until next week, friends…
If you’ve missed any of our Season 5 episode recaps, you can catch up with them here:
Episode 5.01: “The Fiery Cross”
A complete library of recaps from Seasons 2-4 is also available here.