Want to relive Outlander Season 5 Episode 9? We do a minute-by-minute reaction to “Monsters and Heroes.”
[9:00 p.m.] Welcome back, friends! Let me just start by saying that the last episode’s poignant tackling of mental health issues stayed with me all week. It’s in part because of how capably Outlander has always addressed these issues (more on that in fellow writer Andrée Poppleton’s latest post). But also because I’m all too aware of how the uncertain times we find ourselves in at present has left many people’s own mental wellness increasingly vulnerable. All that to say, hugs, friends. Lots of them. Socially distanced ones, of course… but hugs, nonetheless.
[9:01 p.m.] Well that just about covers it all, doesn’t it? Sometimes these “previously on” recaps feel like a helium balloon with a slow leak causing it to flail about the room wildly. But we’ve got a heavy emphasis on Bonnet, missing penicillin, Roger’s confidence issues and faith. Sooo, this should be a light-hearted break from the past two weeks*.
[9:02 p.m.] The little nook of my heart that still burns for Kevin Costner in his ‘90s heydey will never be able to see a buffalo all wild and regal on the prairie and not think “tatonka.”
[9:03 p.m.] “…but to share it with me… as my ma.” Realizing that in all the births Jamie and Claire have been present for, they’ve unfortunately had to miss some of the most important ones (Jamie for Brianna, and both Jamie and Claire for Jemmy). And then there’s Marsali who has welcomed all her babies with her mom an ocean away. I love finding tiny moments within this show that make me grateful for what I have — namely doting parents (now grandparents) within driving distance.
[9:04 p.m.] I’m so glad they’ve found both Roger’s voice and naked nuzzling again (mind you, maybe hold off on mentioning your wife’s father while trying to warm up the engine, mkay?). But my word, that adorable expletive-blurting child looks like Bonnet. Yes, I’m saying it again. No matter what child actor they get to age this kiddo up, they all look like Ed Speleers.
[9:05 p.m.] Awww, how neat — the benefits of having your father-in-law as a next door neighbor. Jamie must recall that he was on the other side of that door 25 years ago serving as Claire’s delightful alarm clock when a persistent Murtagh pulled this same bang-bang-bang number.
[9:06 p.m.] Bree, I’m also eagerly anticipating the day when I can finally attend a dye party. But I suspect you’re not referring to a post-quarantine hair colorist appointment.
[9:07 p.m.] You know what’s a super sound idea? Taking two guys with lingering mental health issues out into the woods with loaded guns. I mean, I know it’s been months and it’s the late 1700s when this was normal, but still. Though I will say — Claire may be the physical healer, but papa bear Fraser clearly knows that giving his boys both a purpose and more male bonding adventures in nature are the best ointments for their ailing souls.
[9:08 p.m.] Ah hell, and here I was over here thinking Roger was about to reboot his singing career and give us his best Gene Autry, but instead now I am going to have nightmares of large CGI’d snakes. Is it me or did that snake look like it could double for the one on that Jungle Cruise ride at Disney World?
[9:09 p.m.] Frisky little snake taking a bite out of Jamie’s inner thigh. Be warned, slithering friend… Claire didn’t take too well to that when the woman from the whore house in Season 2 tried this same trick.
[9:10 p.m.] Well I’d say they’re officially kin now. And Cub Roger Mac likely just earned his first aid scout badge.
[9:11 p.m.] These women need a little harmonized wool waulking song to go with their party. I keep thinking they’re dying blue jeans — you know, that popular style of pants I vaguely recall wearing regularly before the era of corona soft pants overtook their place in my daily rotation.
[9:12 p.m.] Claire’s resolve about her clear calling and the constant ambition to excel at it has always been one of her standout characteristics for me. I’ve always heard you should find a job you’d have passion for even if you did it for free, and then make it your life’s work. Claire has clearly taken that to heart enough for a couple generations. Hopefully Bree won’t wonder about how historical semantics change the nature of hers.
[9:13 p.m.] Being a West Virginia native, the vibrant fall foliage of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains will always make autumn my most favorite time of year. With these sweeping vistas, it’s like my TV has enabled a scratch n sniff feature — I can just smell the air.
[9:14 p.m.] Is that Roger’s version of shooting up a flare? I’m not sure it works the same.
[9:15 p.m.] Now that’s a strapping group of hunters! Yeahhh, they’re going to take their horse to the… nope. Sorry. You can blame a summer spent with seven-year old boys on Little League fields for that one. Speaking of horses, why do Jamie and Roger not have their own to expedite this trip home? Did I miss that detail?
[9:16 p.m.] “…perhaps they’ll see the smoke from our fire…” camera pans from the tiniest little flame bud up to the densest thicket of trees. Soooo we may or may not be getting our fire-making scout badge out of this effort, Cub Roger Mac.
[9:17 p.m.] I’m not sure there’s any amount of whisky that can numb the pain of that festering wound. Or it might be water, in which case… get the man some whisky, STAT.
[9:18 p.m.] I’m all for the certainty of that obituary, too… but I’d say he might die, Roger. Take a peek or two. It’s evident Da Fraser is clearly not faring well.
[9:19 p.m.] This man has some rock-solid moral fiber that won’t allow him to entertain a plea to kill Bonnet — a man who brutally raped his wife and can still likely lay claim to his son.
[9:20 p.m.] I’m waffling on the reasons why Roger’s acting and looking so passive about Jamie’s plight, so I bring it to you. Quiz time!
- He’s masking his own fear about the severity of this situation, his lack of confidence to handle it and the notion that the invincible King of Men might fall on his watch.
- He truly has bought into the obituary prophecy hook-line-and-sinker — despite the fact they all acknowledge openly that by going back in time, they’ve added a variable that may alter future events (hellooo — Back to the Future, anyone?).
- He’s treating Jamie with all the eye roll I give my husband when he’s battling a man cold.
[9:21 p.m.] Anyone else having flashbacks to Jamie Fraser lying in a field of war casualties post-Culloden? The one where Sam Heughan acted wordlessly to incredible effect using only breath and facial expressions (revisit this wonderful post heralding this by my pal Janet Reynolds).
[9:22 p.m.] We got our title-nodding quote, but it was a throwaway for me in a scene where Jamie finally offers sweet validation to his son-in-law in dire need of it, followed by Roger willing him to live to show him how to fight.
[9:23 p.m.] Of all the people to find the first clue, I’m relieved it’s Ian. Again, this is not the Ian from years ago — wide-eyed, full of wonder and goofily shadowing his uncle’s every move. This is the one who has amassed enough wood smarts and life skills to find his missing uncle in the most harrowing of conditions.
[9:24 p.m.] Man I get it… some inlaws can drag you down (Not mine, mind you. Hi!*). But Roger is quite literally dragging his father-in-law down the mountain.
*insurance policy, just in case.
[9:25 p.m.] Jamie Fraser has survived multiple wars, brutal assaults, prisons (yes, plural) and more villains and attacks on his life than I can keep count. And yet, it’s a damn snake threatening to end it all.
[9:26 p.m.] Thus far this episode, I’ve marveled at how Roger’s throat injury seems to have healed very nicely, what with his voice having returned after six months sounding just as conversational, charming and snarky as ever. Claire must’ve used essential oils and lots of tea and honey. But now, the producers appear to be shoving a “hey, not so fast! don’t forget!” down our throats by having him bang on a tree to raise the decibel with the same intensity his father-in-law took to his door yesterday morning. So, does he only have issues if he yells? That makes sense given the trauma, and yet his audible “pillow talk” to both Bree and Jamie wasn’t what I’d call a whisper.
[9:27 p.m.] Did he just engineer a stretcher out of trees he whacked down two min ago? If so, screw the fire-making badge miss. You pass, Cub Roger Mac.
[9:28 p.m.] “You should work on your bedside manner, Sassenach.” I love this man. Also, I’m surprised they made the choice to skip over showing Claire (and her reaction) on the porch watching them ride in with an injured Jamie. That feels like a staple in this show.
[9:29 p.m.] Confession: my brain heard onion poultice and I got unnaturally excited that we were about to have potato chips and french onion dip. As it turns out, no. How can I eat during a time like this, you ask, maggot missions and all? Stress, that’s how.
[9:30 p.m.] Ugh — LIONEL BROWN IS THE REASON WE CAN’T KEEP NICE THINGS. I knew that broken syringe would come back to bite us (yes, I said it) sooner rather than later. And now we’ve got the ready-to-pop pregnant nursing aide racing around on a maggot hunt and a mangled Jamie Fraser drinking moldy broth. Poor form, Brown.
[9:31 p.m.] I’m not in favor of watching human suffering. But I also refuse to feel guilty for finding delight in the intimate and playful banter these two always manage to still exchange when she’s tending to his latest impairment.
[9:32 p.m.] “Only one of us gets to be frightened at any one time… and right now, it’s my turn.” Well, and ours too, Claire. Just two episodes ago, Jamie was celebrating his 50th birthday by taking stock of how well everything — um — worked on its own. Now he’s struggling to wiggle his toes.
[9:33 p.m.] Jamie Fraser’s count of asking mighty tall orders of others as he nears death is growing — first Roger, now Claire. As if witnessing his decline wasn’t hard enough, they can add moralistic wrestling to their plates.
[9:34 p.m.] Hold up… you’re considered a willing participant if your rape produces a child? HARD NO. There have been plenty of reasons that going back through the stones seemed appealing, but he’s just outlined a damn fine reason to stay put.
[9:35 p.m.] “Let’s just find these damn maggots.” I’m going to try that line when amidst conflict and wanting to change the subject.
[9:36 p.m.] I quite often describe myself feeling like I’ve been run over by a buffalo at the end of a long day. But Bree was quite literally run over by a buffalo and then just popped right up like a weeble wobble.
For the record, I’ve officially hit my limit on wildlife stramashes this episode. All done now, please and thank you.
[9:37 p.m.] “Ohhh… did someone say bison burger?” — a blanket-togaed Jamie, finding his will to live. Hey, it’d work for me too.
[9:38 p.m.] I can’t tell if Jamie’s sweating profusely or oiled up for a Mr. Universe competition. I know he’s miserable but it’s equal parts fascinating and highly annoying that he somehow manages to still be that dreamy as he circles the drain.
[9:39 p.m.] “I wish to sleep in my bed.” Wow, just wow. That’s a bad sign, and Roger knows it. I retract my last statement.
[9:40 p.m.] I can’t comprehend the conflict racing through Claire. Medically, she can save him by amputating his leg. But as she remembers all too well from her healing him post-Wentworth, he may come to resent her for it. Also, for all the times we’ve seen Claire comfort a teary Bree, I love seeing the reverse. A reminder to mamas of all ages — sometimes our kids’ TLC is the perfect antidote for our own weepy aches.
[9:41 p.m.] “Did you ever say that to my father or to Fergus?” BEEN THINKING THE SAME FOR THE LAST 10 MINUTES, IAN. Jamie, this is so not the time for a do as I say, not as I do. And also, you may NOT pull one of these either.
[9:42 p.m.] Speaking of classic parenting cliches, Ian’s nailing the ‘ol “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed” on his uncle. And by the look on Jamie’s face, it might have done the trick.
[9:43 p.m.] The man wants to be in a place of comfort, spooned up in this tiny 18th century bed next to Claire, his constant “home,” for his possible final moments. Truly, a gift for both of them. I simply cannot.
Complete side note, loving the rich color of their bedroom! Think Aunt Jocasta shared the Sherwin Williams paint number she used in hers?
[9:44 p.m.] “Man of Leisure” feels like a fitting alternative title for this episode. Or a future one, I hope. Not because of loss of limb. But because this all works out beautifully and the extended Fraser’s Ridge clan opts to just lounge in porch rockers, drinking a rotation of beverages and taking a break from getting into weekly sh*t.
[9:45 p.m.] “Marsali and I try not to think about what we lack but about what we have.” Fergus, life has dealt you enough reasons to take a more pessimistic perspective, yet your attitude of gratitude endures. You, sir, are wired for joy. And we, friends, have not been served enough Fergus Fraser magic this season.
[9:46 p.m.] And we’re back to post-Culloden battlefield eyes — Jamie Fraser’s own thousand-yard stare. On that cartoon face discomfort chart doctors show patients, I don’t know what’s equivalent to a pile of moldy tripe with maggots, but I’m guessing it exceeds the standard scale of 1-10.
[9:47 p.m.] Now Claire’s taking stock of Jamie’s parts and his heart has stopped and mine’s in overdrive and we only buried Murtagh about four minutes ago… AND DID I NOT REMIND YOU PEOPLE OF OUR PRESENT PAPER SHORTAGE IN THIS HOUSEHOLD?
[9:48 p.m.] And the woman can raise the — um — dead. I mean we’re already well aware of how the heat of their intimacy generally starts fires, bursts ovaries, saves lives, you name it… but we’ll always take these moving and illustrative moments to remind us. And good on her that she was able to catch a little shut-eye. I would have just hovered over him staring all night. But then again, he needed the solitude to come to his senses and consent to her removing his leg to save his life. STAY WITH US, DAMMIT.
[9:49 p.m.] Bree’s got a Pinterest glow about her. Is she going to fashion a nice leather cuff? A fang necklace?
[9:50 p.m.] And now we’re striving for a child-birthing badge. I’m not sure who looks like a more fitting candidate to deliver his baby based on facial expressions alone: Fergus or his four-year old. I’m also doubting that either Fergus or Marsali would have taken off on a little nature jaunt and ventured further than a tree-banging shout from the Big House given Jamie’s precarious state.
[9:51 p.m.] Wait, we’re actually doing this? I’m inclined to pray too.
[9:53 p.m.] Um, that’s a hell of a fang. Clearly, Claire’s “brace yourself” was intended for us. Because Jamie had already braced for her hacking off his leg without anesthesia, so a quick prick into that wound shouldn’t require much bracing by comparison.
Oh, and quick update: cancel the onion dip, and the bison burger for that matter. Thanks to the overdone special effects and full-screen, mangled-meat leg, I’m all set on food for now, thanks.
[9:54 p.m.] Welcome to the family, bébé Felicité! What a beauty. You’re in good wee company on the Ridge with plenty of cousins to spoil you. Speaking of… Does Lizzy watch all these babies or just Bree’s? Because if it’s the former, she needs to advocate for a raise. ASAP.
[9:55 p.m.] Quick question… Do you gloat when it’s possible your hack-job attempt at curing your father-in-law’s snake bite is what put him in this shape to start with? Also… for those working to keep up at home: morals won’t let Roger kill Bonnet, but it’s totally fine to serve as an accomplice and watch.
[9:56 p.m.] It’s not often we see a resting Jamie Fraser but now we have and damnnnnn — convalescing is a mighty fine look for him.
[9:57 p.m.] Think of the number of times her love has drawn him out of a dark hole of despair or death. And whether he knows it or not, his memory did a version of the same for her all the years she soldiered through a marriage with Frank.
[9:58 p.m.] “…because you need me.” xleondyiblarlbaylg[09823y48p9hafsdnia8syehauwln34jqnw3p9df7wyeab;uw3n5q9rp3ywhf9p8when;fasoe8f89go
Our company IT department will have to deal when my wet keyboard necessitates a service request. Because between this tender scene, Bear McCreary’s score and my rationing of paper products, I’ve reached the point of just letting my battle-worn eyes leak freely.
The past few weeks I’ve been thinking the Frasers could use a little TLC downtime at home, a break from the constant cycle of political and physical warfare, manhunts, trauma, depression and death. As it turns out, Outlander is here to remind us that trouble can always find you — no matter the location. You just hope you have the right skills and support crew to combat it when it does. And speaking of, despite Claire’s “just where the hell is everybody,” everybody was truly here. This was an episode boasting the entire home team, at a time when home team couldn’t resonate more. The snakebite heard ’round the ridge is as critical a scene in The Fiery Cross as any, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting its screen adaptation. My book memory clung mostly to Jamie and Claire’s interactions as his condition deteriorated and attached less to who else circled around them as it did. So I loved the TV reminder of the band of Fraser brothers and sisters who rolled up their sleeves and held vigil at Jamie’s bedside. It takes a village indeed. Hell, I’m not convinced that poor buffalo wasn’t just popping by Claire’s surgery for a quick wellness check on Jamie. YOU GUYS, THE KING OF MEN IS THAT MEANINGFUL TO ALL CREATURES.
Plenty of memorable moments marked this fantastic episode. Much like Roger finding his voice last week when others (Jemmy) needed it most, Bree found her purpose in similar fortuitous timing. Ian and Fergus taught us more about life by reminding that, when taking stock of yourself, missing parts do not reduce your completeness as a person. Marsali gave us reason #1712 why she’s a bad ass, giving birth in the woods less than 24 hours after stomaching the collection of maggots. Claire worked to save Jamie’s life while still making time to hunt big game and put dinner on the table for all, like the working mom warrior she is. And despite his cringe-worthy daddy mention in the middle of propositioning Bree for morning delight (while their child watched no less… I digress), Roger earned all the important badges for himself and his father-in-law. May he finally see himself as a man of worth.
As it turns out, though, in the end my TV version memory will match the book one I long held: one reserved solely for Jamie and Claire. Who knew that the trademark tenderness of theirs we all constantly crave was going to come in the form of snakebites, stray buffalo and maggot-munching wounds? Not me. Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe have a palpable chemistry onscreen that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere, and this episode underscored that tremendously. I’d also be remiss to not mention how that onscreen chemistry has so clearly worked its way off screen given their behind-the-scenes partnership in helping producing the last few episodes.
Alas, our time home, home on the range (you know, where the buffalo roam) was short-lived. We have three episodes left and still so much Bonnet shi*t-eating grin to stare down that I predict I’m going to wish for more CGI’d snakes. The disgusting thought of finally facing him leaves me panic breathing and wanting to cozy right up under a blanket on the Big House porch. Seems more self-sufficient and less taxing than putting it back on Claire to revive us all in whatever manner she deems fit. 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”
A complete library of recaps from Seasons 2-4 is also available here.