Want to relive Outlander Season 5 Episode 10? We do a minute-by-minute reaction to “Mercy Shall Follow Me.”
[9:00 p.m.] Hello, friends! I hope this little corner of my rambling world finds you this week with all your limbs intact and all nearby wildlife social distancing.
[9:01 p.m.] Bonnet, Bonnet, Bonnet! We’ve paraded through Beardsleys, Browns, wars, lynchings, snakes and it’s finally time to confront the true villain of Season 5.
[9:02 p.m.] Mercy shall follow me… apparently in brand new shoes! I don’t recall a deck of playing cards on the list of essential cobbler tools, but this show teaches me all sorts of new things (last week’s CPR method, anyone?).
[9:03 p.m.] I’ve lost count of how many times someone has encouraged Bonnet to be more discreet. Talk about a lost cause. Also, remind me who exonerated him for his crimes. If I recall, Jamie helped him escape execution last season and that’s what originally got us into this mess. Then he made it out of jail again thanks to a fire. He should be a wanted man, and yet here we are wining and dining and criming in public. Someone explain.
[9:04 p.m.] “Oh, you have a priest.” Equally confused, but also LOL. Hey, when Bonnet’s around we have to take these moments of levity when and where we can. They only last a nanosecond.
[9:05 p.m.] If you’re just catching up at home, tiny man Forbes’ gripe is that Bree refused him, so in return, he’s found a new bestie to pal around with and that palling will result in death, broken families and women passed around like whisky. Seems proportionate, tiny man.
[9:06 p.m.] Ian, I know you’re struggling to find your sense of belonging and we’re here for you, for however long it takes. Now quick, go put on white-man clothing again and pretend the entire past year of your life didn’t happen. Then meet you in the tavern?
Speaking of taverns, I love that the Fraser Macs are plotting Bonnet’s take down over bar food. These are so my people. I also do my best strategic work over libations and pub fries.
[9:07 p.m.] Women, we tend to just complete transactions more efficiently. If these were men, it would have been a chest-puffing, peeing contest. “Oh yeah, you blew a glass tube into a thermometer… WELL I MADE A SYRINGE OUT OF VIPER FANGS.”
[9:08 p.m.] “I swear that man is like a cat. Got nine lives, if not more.” Oh girl, we know. Read Andrée Poppleton’s latest post on the many [near] deaths of Jamie Fraser. Speaking of cats, I’d ask who or what is lurking around the corner stalking them, but what’s the point. It’s clear who’s on our path this episode.
[9:09 p.m.] My brain processing this back and forth:
After the trauma of the past year, a relaxing trip to Wilmington’s shoreline could be restorative for all. A nice gentle row through the lowcountry canopy of trees, breezy walk along the beach collecting seashells…
<dread music kicks in>
Oh right, Outlander.
[9:10 p.m.] This minute is ripe with memorable quotes, and like Lay’s potato chips, I can’t have just one. Snack with me? Nom nom nom.
“Brianna’s your daughter, but she’s my wife.”
“If you fall, Roger Mac, know I will avenge ye.”
“And if you fall, I will avenge you.”
That, folks, is a rare bargain: four soundbites for the price of one!
[9:11 p.m.] What a beautiful mother-daughter PSA to end whaling. All that’s missing is Michael Jackson belting his way to a crescendo in the background.
[9:12 p.m.] Wait, we’re splitting up? And we’d do that whyyyyyyy? I get that they’re on miles of unspoiled beach with seemingly no one else around. But you’d think that, at minimum, the events of the past 25 years would have taught Claire to assume nothing and always stick together.
[9:13 p.m.] The beach, the boat, the beach, the boat… we’re jumping all over these waterways. I can’t tell if I’m more nervous that Bree’s about to meet up with a toxic jellyfish or a venomous Bonnet. Either way, Claire’s syringe won’t be ready for two more days.
[9:14 p.m.] Wait, is that Joey Potter? Because it sure as hell isn’t Bonnet. Why do I know that? Because we’re only 14 minutes in.
[9:15 p.m.] Well I’ll be damned, Roger the furry historian packs a punch!
[9:16 p.m.] Go back and watch Bonnet’s face in reaction to Claire’s thinly veiled attempt to slash a knife his way. Ed Speleers possesses the same gift of all-conveying facial expressions as Tobias Menzies the thespian unicorn.
[9:17 p.m.] Did I not say this show couldn’t possibly gift us a moment of self care? Listen, I’m all for sand between my toes and salty ocean air, but given the sole reason they’re in Wilmington and the danger at stake — couldn’t they just opt for a nice book and some room service at the inn while the boys go off and crawl into more danger?
[9:18 p.m.] This is the second time we’ve seen Claire wake up confused and wondering where her baby is, and it doesn’t get any easier to witness. While the loss of Faith in Season 2 was a completely different scenario and outcome, you can’t wish away the anxiety and vulnerability a mother feels when it comes to the well-being of her child — no matter the circumstance.
[9:19 p.m.] My brain in a summarized minute:
Wait, did we fall through the stones into A Breath of Snow and Ashes?
Draw me, Jack.
You know, for a sadistic rapist, his home is more tastefully decorated than I’d have thought.
Huh, I guess the hospitality of tea is universal to all — no matter how vile you are.
Grabbing the poker is the first step. Now finish him.
Oh god, it’s the ending of Seven all over again… what’s in the box?!?
[9:20 p.m.] Annnnd we’re touching his things. My M.O. right now is simply: touch nothing. Touch nothing that isn’t yours. It’s specific to outbreak containment during this time of coronavirus, but the tenets of it apply here too. Someone get Bree some liquid soap and start singing happy birthday. TWICE.
[9:21 p.m.] Now I have to shower too. This is beyond skeezy and all they’re doing is eating. I’ll repeat my prediction from last week that I’d wish for 1,000 venomous meat-leg snake bites over this.
Also, Jimmy from Downton Abbey is unfamiliar with formal dining etiquette or gentlemanly behavior and I’m here to tell you Mr. Carson won’t be having any of that.
[9:22 p.m.] “I’m surprised to hear language like that from a lady.” THEN YOU DON’T KNOW REAL LADIES, STEVE. Further proof Bonnet will never be a part of any family containing the Fraser Mac women.
[9:23 p.m.] I commend Bree for playing this coolly so as not to anger the beast too soon. I hope not, but fear I’d have lost my senses by now. She’s doing what she needs to survive. Clever girl.
[9:24 p.m.] If these two start dancing next, I’m checking out of the Bonnet Bed & Breakfast early. Also, I’m going to go on record now and say I plan to leave a higher Yelp rating to the Beardsley B & B over the Bonnet one.
[9:25 p.m.] “I love reading… putting yourself in other people’s shoes…” Again with the shoes. Is this why we had the title card sequence we did?
[9:26 p.m.] I think Bonnet is just delusional enough to believe that, even after he’s raped her, there might still be a world where they can make it work. Yes, he’s mentally unstable. But also, this is a time when many an arranged, loveless marriage took place — some also under undesirable circumstances. My modern-day manufactured brain will never see this as anything but deplorable, but then again it’s not equipped to process a lot of the time-relevant atrocities that befall our Outlander pals behind the stones.
[9:27 p.m.] If quoting passages from Moby Dick word-for-word is the path to survival, then it’s been a pleasure knowing you all. Please tell my family I love them.
[9:28 p.m.] “The beast was unpredictable…” They always say art imitates life and vice versa, Bree. It might behoove you to cling to your own words in warning. Foreshadowing, if you will.
[9:29 p.m.] I spent all week teaching a reluctantly home-schooled first grader about anchoring fictional characters, defining attributes and sparkle words and it might as well have been AP literature and analysis. These two are only reminding me that tomorrow is Monday and we’ll be at it all over again.
[9:30 p.m.] Did Stephen Bonnet just pull his own dark and twisty Moana? I also love that while the water calls to him in some way, this sea captain is scared of drowning.
[9:31 p.m.] “I could never think less of you.” Oh that’s some mighty fine honesty right there. Because when the bar is already as low as it will go — like molten center of hell low — you truly can’t go lower.
[9:32 p.m.] “A lady would say goodnight now, and she would go to her bed… alone.” Much like the sea, Bree, be cautious of turning your back on him.
[9:33 p.m.] See, you guys, he was just ogling the bosomed woman in the bar to offer her an honest job. And you all said he was a sex-trafficking, maniacal rapist not to be trusted.
[9:34 p.m.] In addition to a verbal filter, this woman also has more willpower than me. I’m pretty sure he’s nibbling on bacon and scones and well there’s no calamity that could prevent me from that scrumptious combo.
[9:35 p.m.] “Fate will bring me back to you.” Oh something (or someone) will, but I’m not sure I’d call it fate.
Speaking of, just where are the Fraser Macs exactly? I understand the storytelling choice to keep us fixated on these two without interruption but it does feel odd that an entire night has passed and we’ve not shown her parents, husband and cousin scurrying around frantically trying to sniff out the trail. Last season when we lost Roger, we had to walk 500 miles (and then walk 500 more) through the woods to find him, week after week, tree after tree.
[9:36 p.m.] Well hell, she certainly made that look convincing… or did she? The man frequently gets his jollies off by forcing himself onto women but purports himself to know when there is or isn’t passion behind a kiss? Then again, I might have just answered my own question. Playing dress up, sharing meals, bonding over reading — he bought into it all. But the lackluster kiss is what sealed the lying deal.
Also, his saying the one thing he doesn’t need to be taught is how to kiss is just a cruel turn of dialogue by the writers to spin my mind to the sweetness of Jamie and Claire in “The Wedding.”
[9:37 p.m.] I retract all the dripping sarcasm of 9:33. Unsee. Unsee. Unsee. For all the PTSD flashbacks Bree has soldiered through, there will be no amount of art or burn therapy capable of counteracting this fresh reminder. It’s bound to bring it all back up like refluxed bile in the throat.
[9:38 p.m.] Asking a woman how well she knows the man she just romped on the couch with 17 seconds ago while she’s still working to cover up her lady bits seems a rather loaded question.
[9:39 p.m.] Bree, the Bonnet B & B appears to be two rooms only. It can only take the man so long to go find a few coins to pay Eppie his regular mare. I’d get to the point quicker.
[9:40 p.m.] My sentiments exactly.
[9:41 p.m.] Jamie apparently also shared my viewpoint of getting there quicker. His casually handling Roger the knife to press into Wylie’s throat and the info flowing freely thereafter — Inigo and Fezzick would be so proud.
[9:42 p.m.] And poof, just like that we’re at River Run! Where I see life with the newlyweds is going swimmingly thus far.
[9:43 p.m.] Mr. Forbes erroneously assumes that because Jocasta has lost her eyesight that she can’t see his lack of eye contact or complete disinterest. But, did someone say fortune? I suspect she’s got a 20-20 vision on how she’s about to mess with Tiny McGee.
[9:44 p.m.] Quick heads up, Miss Sylvie, these two have been known to churn up magic in a brothel. Mabel not needed. Amirite?
[9:45 p.m.] “Are you recording this?” I don’t think his “implements for writing” are to blame for his trouble keeping up, Jocasta.
[9:46 p.m.] Uh oh, she rattled the hobbit. A hobbit who now sounds a bit like a leprechaun angrily pleading for her to “gimme back me gold.”
[9:47 p.m.] Ah money will make you do nutty things… like attack an old, blind woman whose wellbeing is constantly attended to by a human shield of a man never more than a closed door away. Silly hobbit.
[9:48 p.m.] Phew. Outlander knew we hadn’t yet met the character death (or near death) count in this episode. We must have one serving a week.
[9:49 p.m.] Wait, Claire’s a chiropractor now? There really is no end to the woman’s gifts.
[9:50 p.m.] You guys, ROYAL EPPIE FLUSH — IT’S THE DECK OF CARDS.
[9:51 p.m.] No number of “Happy Birthday” singing rounds will wash the filth off this. I’m about to take my fifth shower of the episode.
[9:52 p.m.] When (yes when, because I refuse to believe otherwise) Bree makes it out of here unscathed, I’m going to need a super compelling reason why she wouldn’t now entertain Roger’s wish to go back to their own time. The past six months should be enough cause.
[9:53 p.m.] RIP, Manny. There were three men holding three rifles — and yet we fired off only one shot at one man before Claire yelled. Huh.
[9:54 p.m.] How fitting — two seasons of exhausting dread knowing Bonnet waited in the wings has felt like running uphill in soft sand.
[9:55 p.m.] Boom. For anyone who doubted it to this point, Roger officially has his groove back.
[9:56 p.m.] Bree, now is not the time for high moral ground and a firm belief in the Colonial American justice system. If you’ll recall, that same system is how we still have this soulless man with us.
Also, “the mistake at Alamance” — that’s apparently what we’re now calling Roger hanging from a tree near lifeless thus damaging his throat so severely both his voice and a peace of mind are forever altered. Semantics, I guess.
[9:57 p.m.] Death by drowning — how poetic. Speaking of drowning in silence, do we not require at least one witness to verify the punishment was carried out? This is a man who escaped his first execution and survived a jailhouse fire right before his second, so call me skeptical.
[9:58 p.m.] Well hello, Annie Oakley! All those demonstrations and comments about her keen marksmanship clearly were leading for something bigger. And this was all the payout on that running thread, I needed.
[9:59 p.m.] THE LATTER. Most certainly the latter. Just answering for all of us, Roger.
Well folks, just like that we’ve bid a much-needed goodbye to Bonnet. It came not a moment too soon, and I’m sure none of us would argue that. However, I was surprised that nine episodes of build up (plus half of season) came to a decisive head and neat resolution all in under an hour. It felt almost like the producers were like, “This guy… still?” before getting out a thick magic marker and unmistakably accelerating his timeline on the writers’ room storyboard. I think I’ve exhausted the number of times I can repeat how the show is the show and the book is the book. I appreciate and enjoy them individually for their stylistic and storytelling choices no matter how they converge or diverge along the way. But leaping a whole book into the future to tidy things up early and move on to the larger historical backdrop of the setting (impending Revolutionary War, anyone?) was by far one of the bolder choices they’ve made in adapting the books to screen. I’m sure the choice was influenced by knowing we’ve only got one additional confirmed season left. Gulp.
Speaking of thoughts that are hard to swallow: super villains! It’s hard not to draw parallels between Stephen Bonnet and Black Jack Randall, their lack of moral code, their unfailing predatory nature and their shared fixation on making the Fraser family their all-time prey. Randall was certainly the more calculated, intellectual creature of the two, whereas Bonnet seemed to strike and prevail on a combo of street smarts and dumb-luck timing. The show always made the choice to give Randall’s character ample time to breathe during climactic episodes, so I’m glad they made the same choice with Bonnet here. During the scene where he admitted his fears to Bree, I couldn’t recall Randall ever feigning humanity and imploring vulnerability from us right before he struck. But then I remembered his conversations with Claire during “The Garrison Commander” and, to an extent, with Jamie in Wentworth Prison and we all know how both those meetings ended. Hold me.
While I won’t shed a tear for Stephen Bonnet (but dammit, you sure worked hard in those middle minutes to try and make me), I will miss the firepower of actor Ed Speleers. What a dynamo! Big Downton Abbey fan here, but I don’t think the character of Jimmy gave Speleers the stage to properly display the incredible range he has as an actor. He demonstrated it in spades this episode, making it feel like a proper send-off even if earlier than anticipated.
Amidst the larger victory (byeeeee, Steve), other battles were won. Roger first found his voice, and now his right hook. Jamie discovered his proud father-in-law face. Despite the back and forth on who would be the one to end Bonnet, everyone worked together to rescue Bree and put the pieces of his final demise in place. Sweet Ulysses has been choking men with his eyes since 1742, but finally got to actually choke a man. The Ridge babies got a whole lot richer. Jocasta schooled us on how cakes and business don’t mix (note: don’t invite her to our office break room). Ian got to shed his white-man clothes and uncovered his smile again in the process. And maybe most importantly, Eppie the tavern mare got her some shoes that fit. And like Marilyn Monroe famously said, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” Soar, Eppie, soar.
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”
Episode 5.03: “Free Will”
Episode 5.04: “The Company We Keep”
Episode 5.05: “Perpetual Adoration”
Episode 5.06: “Better to Marry than Burn”
Episode 5.07: “The Ballad of Roger Mac”
Episode 5.08: “Famous Last Words”
Episode 5.09: “Monsters and Heroes ”
A complete library of recaps from Seasons 2-4 is also available here.