Want to relive Outlander Season 5 Episode 3? We do a minute-by-minute reaction to “Free Will.”
[9:00 p.m.] I will never grow tired of these sweeping vistas and glimpses of Fraser’s Ridge purposefully tucked inside unspoiled country. Meanwhile, in 2020, developers would have thrust a country club and an 18-hole par 3 into that spot by now.
[9:01 p.m.] I love how Claire is leaning into the Socratic method of teaching to avoid directly answering Marsali’s pointed questions of her own. Early favorite for this week’s clever girl award.
[9:02 p.m.] Did Claire hit up a Williams-Sonoma sale? Color me jealous of her suddenly endless collection of wooden serving platters with glass domes. Also, I haven’t seen a time lapse video of the molding process look so glorious and cinematic since Burger King released their latest commercial touting a preservatives-free Whopper. Behold.
[9:03 p.m.] “Damn.” Dr. Claire… and coincidentally, also me all through AP Biology class as a high school freshman when visions of becoming a doctor swam through my head. Spoiler alert: I hold a journalism degree, so I’ll just continue to live vicariously through Claire.
[9:05 p.m.] The blurry title card imagery is creeping me out — either we’re prepping another pig for a roast or possibly still working on Mr. Parrish’s innards. Neither bode well for my digestive system.
[9:06 p.m.] Home. Sigh. I feel immense relief and peace whenever I or my husband make it home safely from a work trip made possible through 21st century transportation and technology, so I can’t fathom the degree to which Jamie feels this each time he crests that hill unscathed to see their homefront all aglow, warm and welcoming. Like tiny bubbles fluttering all through the veins. If it’s doing that for you, just wait until you see what your homecoming does to your adoring wife, Colonel Fraser.
[9:07 p.m.] Deo gratias indeed. Above comment, on repeat.
[9:08 p.m.] “Right now Murtagh’s safe and you’re home…” — Claire, you know as well as we do there’s only so long any of us can nestle into that comforting sentiment. As it turns out, about 10 seconds thanks to Jamie announcing he’ll back out soon with more men in tow.
[9:09 p.m.] Well actually, our intrepid blogger Anne Gavin offered a history lesson on the War of Regulation we published just this weekend. Have a quick read, get smart, then carry on…
But also, let’s all acknowledge Jamie’s statement about the impact of tragedy, even if it’s only one life. One is still one too many — on any side of a war or social issue claiming lives.
[9:10 p.m.] “I always have, and I always will.” I’ll toast to that, too, Frasers. Also, please note that between this loving exchange and Granpiere and his coffee on the front porch looking quasi-Mufasa, my eyes have officially leaked onto my keyboard. 10 minutes in. Don’t judge.
[9:11 p.m.] Oof Fergus, this can’t lead anywhere good. *face palm* Also, that’s a stunt my 7-year old might pull — grabbing any sheet of paper he can find to scribble or practice sketching Harry Potter, showing zero regard for the professional, personal or high-priority nature of the “available” supplies. But Fergus, you’re a grown ass man.
[9:12 p.m.] Is it possible that I miss Ridge Murtagh so much that my brain is doing tricks on my heart… and vision? I spy with my little eye a Silver Fox making bricks, another climbing a ladder while being spotted by his twin, one pushing a wheelbarrow. You guys, I SEE MURTAGHS EVERYWHERE.
[9:13 p.m.] Nothing to see here, just preparing for tonight’s roasted pork loin…… and also logging a little extra credit for Prof. Claire’s Anatomy 101 class. At this rate, the swine population of Fraser’s Ridge has never been more at risk.
[9:14 p.m.] I liked it far better when Jamie summoned the villagers for The Gathering to end all gatherings, and I’m certain he did too. But my word is this telling of their loyalty to this man (and the cause) — they come in droves whether it’s to fete his daughter or line up in battle behind him. Not to get all Stars Hollow on you, but where he leads, they will follow… anywhere that he tells them to.
[9:15 p.m.] “No amount of studying can prepare you for what’s to come…” Very sound logic in any time period indeed. All the books in the world can only teach you so much, but experiencing life — the highest of highs and the lowest of lows — will take you the rest of the way.
Also, Claire never looks better than when she’s at the helm with Jamie, side by side.
[9:16 p.m.] What a serene ride to be left with your thoughts. Nowadays, we drown out long (and even short) journeys readily with phone calls, music, podcasts, any distraction from our inner thoughts we can get. So for their sake, I’m glad they’re braving this in the 18th century to benefit from this peaceful calm before the storm of what’s to come.
[9:17 p.m.] Claire’s mama brain is all sorts of conflicted, contemplating how to clone herself to both stay on this medical mission to support Jamie and the men and castrate Bonnet herself. Whether she’s showing it or not, you know she’s got to be thinking, “Dammit, you men had one job. Should have sent a woman to do it.”
[9:18 p.m.] We all recall with far-too-crystal clarity how it unraveled Jamie completely to learn of Black Jack Randall’s survival when he’d only just stepped onto the road to healing from his assault. To know your daughter will inevitably face the same gut-punching interruption you felt (or watched your husband feel) has to double the punch.
[9:19 p.m.] Highlanders gathered around a campfire drinking and carrying on, referencing body parts at risk of snapping off thanks to frigid temps. I mentioned it in the premiere but it bears repeating… god I miss the good ‘ol days of Rupert and Angus.
[9:20 p.m.] Dun dun dun, the plot thickens. There are two of them. And tattoos to either clear it up or confuse us further. I’m trying to keep up, too. Josiah and Keziah. They sound like they might belong to the Duggars, but they don’t. At least I don’t think so. ¯\_(“/)_/¯
[9:21 p.m.] Jamie and Claire are at their best when they’re fostering or caring for a child who isn’t their own. It’s one of my most favorite sides of Team Fraser.
[9:22 p.m.] Once in my life I had a ruptured eardrum and the pain was so nauseating, it took everything in me not to throw up. One time. But this poor lad has been beaten repeatedly, suffered immense trauma and still manages to have enough compassion to give what little he has to accommodate another creature in need. This kid has more resilience and character in his pinky than many will have in an entire lifetime.
[9:23 p.m.] 30 years a slave — please keep this in mind the next time you feel weighed down by and bemoan your home mortgage with the same term length.
[9:24 p.m.] I know on the inside he’s questioning every moment with a, “what the hell am I doing? Please don’t die. Please don’t muck this up.” But on the outside, Roger is shaping up to be quite the captain.
[9:25 p.m.] The twin took the cheese, the twin took the cheese. Hi-ho, the derry-o, the twin took the cheese. Quite frankly I can’t fault him. When I’m hangry, I lunge for cheese too.
[9:26 p.m.] “Ho! The House!” The exact way I boldly alert my family that I’ve rolled into the driveway after my nightly commute from work. And I seem to get the same crickets response. Glad to know it’s not me.
[9:28 p.m.] Oh gee, that worked out well. In fairness to Mrs. Beardsley, I typically have the same reaction to door-to-door solicitors on my porch. Unless they’re sporting pigtails and a uniform and selling delicious cookies.
[9:29 p.m.] Intellectually, I get why Jamie needs to square things up legally to add the twins to his clan, but all this talk of getting their papers… he knows they’re not puppies, right?
[9:30 p.m.] Well, it’s taken 57 hours of air time with Claire the healer, but we finally found something she can’t handle. In a game of “Would You Rather,” Claire picks fresh entrails and festering mold in the room across from her kitchen over this fresh hell every day of the week.
[9:31 p.m.] I guess the ‘ol “were you raised in a barn” barb isn’t quite so piercing for Mrs. Beardsley, eh? I mean, I often feel like I’m running a petting zoo inside my house (#BoyMom), but she is quite literally maintaining a stable of farm animals INSIDE HER HOUSE. Gentle, helpful goat lady, she is not.
[9:32 p.m.] Let me play doctor for a moment and give you a break, Claire — I’m going to recommend a Neti nasal rinse for you both after you exit this house of hoarders and horror. Rampant sinus and upper respiratory infections feel imminent after spending more than 12 seconds in the Beardsley Barn & Breakfast.
[9:33 p.m] Ma’am, I’d urge you to step aside. Hell hath no fury like a determined and headstrong Claire on a mission.
[9:34 p.m.] Anyone else ever watch the early ‘90s HBO series, Tales from the Crypt? Because Mr. Beardsley’s putting up a mighty fine claim of “who wore it better.”
[9:35 p.m.] Closed caption says [ominous music]. And the award for greatest understatement of the episode goes to…
[9:36 p.m.] Also, quick request before we move this body downstairs — gloves, Claire. I know you didn’t care for them last week while playing bob for toxic organs inside Mr. Farrish’s gut. But for the love of all things self-preserving, PLEASE FIND SOME GLOVES.
[9:37 p.m.] Promising to return two teenage boys unscathed from the uncertain-yet-certain perils of war. Wow. Geez. Um, no pressure, Capt. Mackenzie. Even still, and considering 9:24, our Roger Mac infused confidence and clarity into this moment, and to this mother, like a seasoned officer with a lifetime of battle behind him.
[9:38 p.m.] Anyone else relieved Marsali isn’t on board this little side jaunt? She’d either go straight to the head of the advanced class, or second guess then immediately resign from her new vocation. Knowing Marsali, it’s the former. Ergo, reason #1288 why Marsali is a badass.
[9:39 p.m.] And apparently hell also hath no fury like an abused and hellbent-on-revenge Mrs. Beardsley. Time for a little “Cell Block Tango”musical interlude because this horrid excuse for a man most certainly had it coming, he had it coming… he only had himself to blame.
[9:40 p.m.] Ear exams, gangrene near-corpses, unplanned labor and delivery… Claire’s expending alllll her doctor skills in the first two days away from home and they have yet to make it into battle.
[9:41 p.m.] Is there anything these two can’t do together? I’m loving how much airtime we’re getting with the Power of Fraser this episode. I can’t readily recall if this is the first baby they’ve delivered. But first or fifth, it’s warming my heart all the same.
[9:42 p.m.] “She isn’t yours.” Yes, she’s yelling that with spiteful fury hoping with what little function her husband has left, he hears it. But I’m also wondering whether she feels any amount of relief to learn her baby was potentially conceived in love (or pleasurable lust) rather than anger and brutality.
[9:43 p.m.] Reasonable plea from the peanut gallery: Can we get the newborn lungs into a more sterile environment? Even outside exposed to the elements feels a better option given it was all of 10 minutes ago they had their faces masked unable to breathe in the stench of this airborne dumpster fire.
[9:44 p.m.] “Who is the father, if you don’t mind me asking?” I love how Claire chooses to delicately exhibit social graces here and now, after she’s already stormed into their house uninvited like a bull in Pamplona and snooped into every crevice of that house — and these people.
[9:45 p.m.] “Having a baby doesn’t make me a mother anymore than sleeping in a stable makes someone a horse.” Ma’am, you win for quote of the episode.
[9:46 p.m.] You’re free now, Fanny. And I thank you fine friends in advance for indulging me as I work in one of my favorite songs of all time that fits this moment too damn perfectly not to. High praise, The Band:
Take a load off, Fanny
Take a load for free
Take a load off, Fanny
And (and) (and) you put the load right on me
(You put the load right on me)
[9:47 p.m.] She has to stay there in squalor another day or two. From here on out, I vow to never again complain about having to conquer the fifth circle of Hell, otherwise known as Costco on a Saturday.
[9:48 p.m.] Not to get political, and I promise I’m not, but since the daunting prospect of bringing a baby into this world has now been muttered twice in the span of two minutes…
Doesn’t that fear ring true in today’s environment, too? But yet, we still bring babies into this world because we allow ourselves the grace to experience joy in greater quantity than fear. And when those babies do make their grand entrance, we never stop trying to insulate them from the dangers around them — no matter the time period. Something to consider as we continue to all ponder when Roger and Bree should raise their family.
[9:49 p.m.] For a man generally asleep with one eye open, on guard and at the ready, I’m shocked they slept deeply enough in those conditions to not hear her escaping. Then again, this fireside spooning proves once again that these two truly can make a home no matter where they land… as long as they’re together.
[9:50 p.m.] That baby is the smartest of them all. She’s lived less than 12 hours in that hellhole and knows it’s time to let the screen door hit them on the way out. WHINE AWAY, BABY GENIUS.
[9:51 p.m.] Yesterday, she had no clue where in that hoarding mess the papers were. But at the chance to escape, suddenly she’s got those, the deed to the cabin, grandma’s hot milk cake recipe, a how-to manual for torturing your deadbeat husband, her 401K portfolio, you name it.
[9:52 p.m.] We’re fostering another kid?! And Sweet Home Alabama, WE’RE TAKING THE BABY ON THE ROAD TO WAR?! Side note: Claire with that baby slung up cozily against her is making my uterus throb. Too much?
[9:53 p.m.] BLINKING TWICE FOR NO AT WHATEVER WE’RE ABOUT TO WATCH YOU DO, JAMIE. I get it, he’s doing the humane thing but I still don’t have to witness it. Free will, y’all. It’s come full circle.
[9:54 p.m.] “My foot is putrid” is the overdone excuse I often employ to escape my house for a weekend pedicure. So now I just feel insensitive.
[9:55 p.m.] I love he we started this episode with Jamie expressing gratitude and thanks to God for coming home to find his family alive. Now we’re closing it with his begging the same God for forgiveness at taking another man’s life. Biblical bookending.
[9:57 p.m.] Imagine the conflicted emotions and thoughts firing through Jamie’s head as he exits this house… now compound that exponentially by factoring in the eerily similar nature of the stroke that took his father too soon. I can’t rub enough calming essential oils on you to ease your pain, lad.
[9:58 p.m.] Well this just got super real. Here’s our King of Men, who has escaped what we all felt was certain death too many times to count. But it’s this entire ordeal at the Beardsleys’ house that rattled him enough to ponder his own end. Albeit sad and morbid, this conversation expressing care wishes and final arrangements he’s having is one everyone should have with their parents, spouses, children, etc. And much like here, that conversation is usually initiated from the weirdest and most uncomfortable of places and timing. Because while necessary, no one wants to steal from simple, enjoyable moments to have it.
YASSSSSSS, Outlander! In case that was too subtle, let me be clear — big fan of this episode. I referenced it a few times, but it’s worth including in my closing thoughts: Jamie and Claire being Jamie and Claire and doing as Jamie and Claire do make this show’s heart beat fully. And this episode showed that in strides. No matter the task, we got to see them operating as equal partners — complementing each other, challenging each other, completing each other. So often, these episodes (and past seasons) have been comprised of a patchwork of moments where we watch them individually move forward while separated from each other physically. He’s off doing his thing, she’s somewhere else doing her thing. Then they come together. It’s probably not unlike any of our own daily, busy balancer lives, so it’s relatable.
But chalk it up to the strength of Jamie and Claire as a unit (or the power of Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe’s onscreen partnership), and it’s hard not to vehemently prefer an episode like this where we see the best of what Jamie and Claire offer the world…together. They’re thanking God for answered prayers and an emotional homecoming, leading a militia on the journey to battle, building camaraderie with a band of merry men trying their damndest to soothe each other’s anxious brains, assuming care for neglected children, solving horror mysteries, putting their own health at risk to help others, debating what’s best for their own children, making promises to each other for end-of-life care. And through it all, somehow, still finding a way to snuggle into each other amidst the chaos knowing that’s where comfort can be always be found. In our own way, that is also all too relatable.
You Frasers. You just do this to me. In the end, if we’re keeping score — I’m not sure how many soldiers Roger Mac recruited, but the Frasers picked up three additional kids so I’d say they win the day. Per usual. 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”
Episode 5.02: “Between Two Fires”
A complete library of recaps from Seasons 2-4 is also available here.