Want to relive Outlander Season 5 Episode 11? We do a minute-by-minute reaction to “Journeycake.”
[9:00 p.m.] For those who thought that after last week’s bastardized beach weekend we might enjoy a few recuperative moments on the Ridge, brace for impact. This recap packaging up every nugget about both time travel and the unresolved mishaps of this season still dangling about feels like an indication we shouldn’t put our feet up just yet.
[9:01 p.m.] …but then you tease me with gorgeous fall weather and mention of a homemade peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I’m like “I’ll take one al fresco, thank you kindly.” This woman’s eternal championing of the life-giving wonders of peanut butter never ceases to amaze me.
[9:02 p.m.] Do the Fraser Macs ever get a day off from serving as the Ridge’s first line of defense? Here I’ve been complaining about the conditions in which one has to grocery shop these days to stay healthy. But these people were just trying to pick up a few peanuts and some sundries and enjoy a Sunday ride, and now find themselves conducting some combination of arson investigation and forensic science en route home.
[9:03 p.m.] This show often gives us shriek-and-repel-in-fear images, and this one falls firmly in that category. As a trauma surgeon, my brother-in-law has witnessed more gore and tragedy in his professional life working to put Humpty Dumpty back together again than anyone might care to see in several lifetimes. And yet despite everything he’s seen, burns are his personal no-exceptions clause. Should he ever be injured and burns overtake his body by a specific percentage, he’s made it super clear to his family that they should pray over him and send him on his way. No heroic measures. Seeing this, I understand why.
[9:04 p.m.] “Thou goest home this night…” One minute this woman was resolved to suffer alone for hours, possibly days, until her charred body gave out. The next she looked up to find herself staring into the handsome and compassionate faces of two angels there to calmly pray over and send her into the next life. Mercy shall indeed follow her.
[9:05 p.m.] Well peanuts, fires and last rites, that was all before the opening credits? Hell of a “cold” open.
[9:06 p.m.] This episode is brought to you by the makers of JIF and the literary unicorn known as Diana Gabaldon. They pack a powerful combo all their own.
[9:07 p.m.] Is it me or has Outlander cornered the market on discovering the most edibly adorable child actors on the planet? It’s not often you roll through a handful of actors to play one character in a single season, which means — it’s time to play Count the Jemmys! I think we’re on number four, but please weigh in below.
[9:08 p.m.] Not only have we answered the long-pondered question on whether Jemmy can time travel, but we’ve also established that if we’re ever forced to revisit an annoying time in history where houses divide over the color of an internet dress, Jamie and Ian will be on the same team.
[9:09 p.m.] Poor Jamie’s face says it all. Also let’s please do the courtesy of finally letting Ian in on the sisterhood of the traveling stones secret since we’re opting to discuss this openly around him. He’s not a toddler who can’t pick up on social cues, nor is he the doughy teen who used to skip along without questions.
[9:10 p.m.] Any “committee of safety” that can’t officially be sanctioned and is run by the Brownsville bunch? Nuh-uh. Why do these folks seem like the type to set cabins ablaze and kill just to give themselves a baseline justification for starting a “committee of safety.” Yes, I will continue to reference it in quotes.
[9:11 p.m.] Really with the small talk, Doc? LEAVE HIM BE. Just slap a band-aid on it and send him on his way.
[9:12 p.m.] Livestock and whisky demands, they’ll get you out of anything. I always thought it was digestive distress that did that, but good to know I have options.
[9:13 p.m.] Ian and Auntie Claire apparently suffer from the same unfiltered loose tongue. No need to further poke the Brownsville bears. Just lay low and let them MOUNT UP, IAN.
[9:14 p.m.] Again, he is not the same kid who will follow you blindly. Give him the truth now or lose him again… this time possibly forever.
[9:15 p.m.] I love that he has come with hard data to substantiate his inquiry. My journalistic heart is ever so proud.
[9:16 p.m.] I’m not sure which unexplained marvel I want to hear them try to demystify for Ian first — the aunt who knows all or the ballpoint pen.
[9:17 p.m.] I respect the choice to not show their walking Ian through the incalculable reality that Auntie Claire is not of their time. I don’t need to see it, but I do just need to know that someone hugged him when the explanations stopped. When you receive information that puzzling and intense, you should always chase it with a hug. Maybe the current times have left me feeling like I’m in a desert of physical contact, but I still think this is the way to go.
[9:18 p.m.] “I am well… my only complaint is, uh, boredom.” — Ulysses, and also two-thirds of the world in the time of corona.
[9:19 p.m.] We’ve all been in places where our own thoughts make for poor company. That’s why getting lost in the pages of a good book will always be a wonderful source of escapism. And also why it’s no coincidence that the treasured author of this very book series has written the dialogue here.
[9:20 p.m.] While we’re on the topic of books — this is an apt reminder to never judge a book by its cover. Because a cover is nice, but a cover is not the book. Ta-ru-ra-lee, ta-ra-ta-ta-ta!
[9:21 p.m.] Will there ever be a time when we don’t wonder or scratch at whether Roger (or Bree) still has doubt about Jemmy’s paternity? We’ve long established he is his father — whether the DNA 200+ years from now evidentiates that or not.
[9:22 p.m.] “We can’t just go poof.” She can’t leave her parents to explain what happened to them and she knows it’s because if anyone knows too all too well what it’s like to carry that burden, it’s her father… WHO ALREADY DID IT FOR TWENTY YEARS.
[9:23 p.m.] Last episode I mentioned that if being an unwilling guest at Bonnet the Beast’s B&B wasn’t enough reason to go back then I don’t know what is. However, I did so without actually readying myself for that possibility to come this soon*.
*…partly because of my card-carrying member status in the Outlander reader book club.
[9:24 p.m.] Lord John Grey! Wait, who’s getting married? Who died? Those seem to be the only occasions for which this ready-for-Bravo lad squeezes a Ridge visit into his busy social calendar. So yes, I share Jamie’s worrisome and perplexed look.
Also, me, at “you’ll be our first guest.” From where I sit, they’ve steadily maintained a revolving door of come-one, come-all guests, but maybe Lord John is the blessed first to sleep inside.
[9:25 p.m.] I hope she’ll never see Bonnet’s face again. But as Jamie can attest, it’s likely she’ll carry the haunting images of him with her for some time to come — even with him verified dead.
[9:26 p.m.] I love how Bree’s chronicling the layers of historical wars, plagues and general shit Ian will have to trudge through in this time while she gem-buzzes off to safety. Good luck and byeee, Ian.
[9:27 p.m.] Um Jamie, given he just rounded third base with you using only his eyes, I don’t think his reluctance to socially distance the length of an ocean has anything to do with the feel of earth under his fingertips.
[9:28 p.m.] “I feel a storm coming…” Lord John Grey acting as meteorologist, finally offering a weather forecast I can bank on with more than 50% reliability.
[9:29 p.m.] Can PB&J sandwiches be used to absorb tears? Asking for my husband (yeah, yeah for him… that’s it) whose tear ducts can’t withstand the emotional load of this tender dialogue, pull-through of history, Bear McCreary’s score and the performances that go beyond the words escaping their lips. There there, hubs… pull it together.
[9:30 p.m.] It’s been like three minutes since Jamie propped up a framed photo of one of his kids he can’t readily see and now there’s talk of adding more to that bedside gallery. I know this was standard for the time — think how long it’s been since Jenny saw Ian, or Marsali saw her mom — but it’s bruising nonetheless.
Also, how serendipitous that Bree possesses such art skills. If it were me I’d be all, “here you go, fam — something to remember me by.”
[9:31 p.m.] I adore when their fictional love resembles our own enduring relationships. That right there is real life. All the best titillating intentions until the exhaustion of the day takes over. Sometimes, you pounce anyway. And sometimes you enjoy a different kind of pleasure in seeing your partner so deeply and peacefully at rest.
[9:32 p.m.] Only these two could spin the blended aroma of meatloaf, pickles and cow dung into an aphrodisiac.
[9:33 p.m.] “You could have raised me from the dead for this.” And then there’s that. Always. Long live the male libido.
[9:34 p.m.] Yasssss sir, I am 100% here for this. But someone pretty please give me reasonable assurance she’s not going to fall out of that window. Girl should be able to enjoy a menopausal orgasm without a clavicle break.
[9:35 p.m.] Dying. Dead. Deceased. However, what will continue to live is the hilarity of that scene in the proper habitat of my brain… and for much longer than a week, for what it’s worth.
[9:36 p.m.] “It’s your brother.” Wow. This episode is just dancing all over this Ridge tying up loose ends. So. Many. Things. You sure this isn’t the finale? I have lost all ability to keep track of time in the past two months.
[9:37 p.m.] What I wouldn’t give to be a
fly on the wall cat in the window for this conversation.
[9:38 p.m.] “I don’t know what to say” is a perfectly proportionate reaction when the father you never knew was your father until you were 20 now reveals you also have a brother you never knew you had. For the wonderful father and fatherly figure he is and has been to so many, it’s just not right how many years of his life Jamie has had to deny the existence or truth of his bairns.
[9:39 p.m.] “We leave in a week.” — Bree, and also the fine folks at Outlander subtly reminding us of next week’s Season 5 closer. And with Season 6 yet to begin filming, this impending Droughtlander is bound to be a doozy.
[9:40 p.m.] Marsali’s losing her bestie and life is only half lived without those. Our daily gal pals dig in with us to celebrate the best of times and make it bearable to slog through the worst. Without them…
Well… Marsali, you’ll always have Lizzie…
Oh God, Lizzie. Can someone please go check on her?
[9:41 p.m.] THEY HEARD ME. SOMEONE PLEASE HUG LIZZIE.
[9:42 p.m.] Lizzie excitedly thinks she’s going while Bree’s busy giving her the friends for a reason, friends for a season, friends for life talk and now I have a new request: SOMEONE HUG ME.
[9:43 p.m.] My PR heart couldn’t be happier — Jamie just hit all the high notes of any talking point I’d offer in mitigating difficult client conversations and situations (an actual company webinar I led this past week). Acknowledge you’re listening, offer appreciation then use a lot of “what if we…” statements to achieve mutual buy-in. And when all else fails, you know what to do.
[9:44 p.m.] Claire, please, just this once… for me… see 9:11.
[9:45 p.m.] The line of questioning and the building suspense as to where it’s headed — to quote Lord John, I feel a storm coming. Ergo, Jamie, add me into that whisky tonic order. Actually make mine a rum punch.
[9:46 p.m.] Domestic abuse robs victims of too much to catalog, including the power to envision themselves worthy of a life free of it — even if they exhaust their own tank working to carve that out for others. Rose is not yet a mother but knows the ultimate sacrifice comes in protecting your child at all costs, no matter what harm you put yourself in to make said sacrifice.
[9:47 p.m.] Oh hell. Rose, I’ll down your drink for you. It’s what Dr. Rawlings would prescribe in a moment like this.
[9:48 p.m.] The bromance between these two was cut far too short for my liking. They tended to each other at a time when each needed it the most, in a unique and highly effective way that only men understand. And now he’s entrusted Ian as his brother to take them on their journey “home” — and clearly not just because he’s now in on the secret.
[9:49 p.m.] Is Bree implying that leaving the shared connection (Jamie) to William now that she knows about him will make it harder for her? Because while I get that she’s currently living in the time in which she could meet him and is leaving it, Lord John does not have that knowledge. To him, whether Boston or North Carolina — neither are England, sooo…
[9:50 p.m.] Anyone thinking back to when Bree tried six ways to Sunday to lure John into marriage? Because here’s Bree and the rest of us, now piecing together all that awkwardness.
[9:51 p.m. Everyone is taking care of each other (we’ll miss you, Ulysses!) and saying such beautiful things in send-off and I feel so squishy and you guys, ARE WE SURE THIS ISN’T THE FINALE?
[9:52 p.m.] No no no and more no. As someone separated from my mom by current circumstances, longing for her scent and all-consuming hug sometime in the near future, this might be the thing that officially does me in. In an episode that’s had its fair share of attempts to take me down, that’s saying a lot.
[9:53 p.m.] Jamie Fraser is spear-forking a triangle-cut PB&J sandwich and it’s oddly sexy and everything I didn’t know I needed. Someone please put him in that tiny portrait velvet pouch and nestle him into my pocket for safekeeping in a manner as delicate as he’s sampling that hand-ground nut butter. He’s the last great hope.
Also, who knew whisky paired well with PB&J! Then again, does the beverage really matter? Family, home and great health go well with everything.
[9:54 p.m.] Starz, please do us a solid and splice together these serene glimpses of nature and Bear’s soundtrack for a looping Yuletide spring log of sorts that soothes all our frayed nerves. My company just gave us complimentary subscriptions to the Calm app. Your contributions will fit nicely into their meditation library.
[9:55 p.m.] All the light and life has been sucked out of that MacCabin and the cinematographers behind this show want to make sure we profoundly feel that. Claire’s sitting on the empty bed with black and white sketches as the lone physical reminder of her children and grandchild is all the colorful proof I need.
[9:56 p.m.] No matter how many time-traveling adventures we take, as someone with anaphylaxis to stinging insects, the buzzing of the stones will never not cause me to panic.
[9:57 p.m.] Thank God Roger believes in the beauty, faith and strength of a rope given that the last time he found himself tethered to one… well, you know.
[9:58 p.m.] Oh Ian, you’re now part of a special club that only you and your uncle belong to. It really takes the heartiest of souls to be able to bear it.
[9:59 p.m.] “We made it!” What in fresh hell is it, Jemmy?
“What was that?” Same, Claire. SAME.
So many damn questions with less than two minutes to go.
[10:00 p.m.] If your brain didn’t go here, then you have not met your lifetime quota of re-watching Season 1 and I beg you to take your leave of me and return only when you have. For the record, I’m relieved to see that mutual eye sex in resetting dislocated bones is reserved only for certain patients.
[10:01 p.m.] All the blood just drained out of me. And not just because I’ve learned to amp to anxiety level 12 whenever an adorable pasty child mutters ominous things to grown ups.
PLUS THOSE DAMN BIRDS AGAIN.
[10:02 p.m.] Holy fiery cross, Batman! Jamie finally torched the Highlander bat signal (holding out for a war worth his fighting) and hell hath no fury. I only wish Murtagh were still here to rescue Claire and exact vengeance alongside Jamie and his Wolfpack 2.0.
Whoa! And I felt the need to ask what might be worth tackling in a finale. As it turns out, forget Lionel Brown — I might actually be the reason we can’t have nice, emotionally fulfilling things. Well we can, but they’re sure as hell going to come on a string as strongly woven as the rope tied ’round the time-traveling Mac family. Anyone else emotionally exhausted from all the goodbyes? While a select few Ridge dwellers were in on the gist, reducing the number of necessary exit lies did not diminish the pain of the total number of farewell moments we endured. I felt like Boyz II Men played on repeat as Roger and Bree skipped all over those hills offering goodbyes to “yesterday.” I anticipated the agony of watching them offer parting words to Jamie and Claire, but fully underestimated the reserves needed to soldier through those with the likes of Ulysses or Lizzie. Sweet Lizzie. BLESS HER MY PLACE IS WITH YOU ALWAYS HEART.
I hope PB&J sandwiches possess the power to refuel weary hearts. Because I’m an emotional eater who suspects a steady cadence of those might bode easier for digestion than the lingering effects of 59 minutes spent learning how to say goodbye in 52 different Outlander-ish languages. And if that fails, I might just seek solace in an open window with the cool nighttime air to help soothe a few — um — things ailing mind, body and soul.
But it was well worth it! Ms. Gabaldon, you certainly gifted us one dynamite penultimate episode, setting in motion mighty-high finale expectations that leave this gal wondering what tricks the powers that be have up their 18th-century storytelling sleeves to surpass it. They’ve already poetically book-ended the Fiery Cross symbolism to bring us into and out of Season 5 and that literary design alone leaves me one satisfied camper, no matter where next week takes us. By the hinted-at looks of it, it’s nowhere any of us want to go willingly. Yes, of course we want our resident Wonder Woman back safe and sound and we want Jamie to achieve this using whatever means he must. As in — DO IT NOW AND DON’T BE GENTLE, JAMIE. And no, we can’t have a finale where we do nothing but sit comfortably in the Cracker Barrel porch rockers enjoying the fall breeze and happy little trees while staring longingly at the Mackenzie family sketches remembering the good times (although that’d be nice). Intellectually I get it, but still. We all knew the Dr. Rawlings pseudonym finding its way off the Ridge would eventually come back to bite us like the pit viper who mangled Jamie’s leg. I fear, however, the wound this one inflicts will slice deeper and fester longer than the former ever did.
So here we are, one week to go. And much like the fast-moving events of life on the Ridge, both the week leading into it and the one remaining episode will fly by. We’ve mashed the climactic moments of a few years and two books into the final few episodes — which, if it was going to happen, how fitting that the author herself had a partial hand in it — so literally anything can happen. Not even avid book lovers can say with certainty where next week will take us in the end. We might all find ourselves like Roger and Bree — singularly focused on Boston before landing ungracefully in a confused thud. When we do, just a little advance encouragement to get up and shake the glitter off your clothes now, that’s what you get for waking up in… well, wherever we’ll be.
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 ”
Episode 5.10: “Mercy Shall Follow Me”
A complete library of recaps from Seasons 2-4 is also available here.