Warning: This article contains spoilers for Outlander Season 5, Episode 3, “Free Will.”
Did Outlander just give us a whole hour of just Jamie and Claire together?! Yes. It. Did. All is forgiven for the last episode, which had no scenes of them together. This episode, “Free Will,” is like a fun horror movie starring Claire and Jamie, and I’m here for it. It’s 60 minutes of pure terror and suspense, where Jamie and Claire make every classic mistake you’ve seen in every scary movie — and it is amazing. Here are my takeaways:
Marsali, Mold & Claire’s Med School
The episode opens on Claire and her top med student, Marsali, inspecting moldy bread for Claire’s quest to make penicillin. (Claire, you could have brought that little recipe back in Season 3). Marsali asks Claire how she knows what to look for in the bread. I always forget Marsali doesn’t know Claire is a time traveler. I feel like she could handle it and her reaction would be entertaining.
Jamie Returns Home
Jamie finally arrives home to a sleeping Claire. He says something in Latin or Gaelic. Claire wakes up, welcomes him home, and asks, “What are you thanking the Lord for?” “You.” Dude has got game. (Side note: Claire and Jamie have a double bed. Which is fine. But they’re both very tall. I feel like they should have built a bigger bed.)
Jamie fills Claire in on everything and tells her they have to gather an army. Claire’s worried. Wars tend to lead to Jamie and Claire being separated for ridiculous amounts of time.
Claire says she’s going with him. Jamie tries to object, but she shuts that down and says she’s a physician and he needs her help. He replies that he “always has and always will.” Ahhh… equality is so hot.
The next morning, Jamie asks Fergus to grab a piece of paper to get a message printed up saying they are recruiting an army. Fergus grabs one of Claire’s pieces of paper on which she has a lot of medical stuff written. Uh oh, he’s going to accidentally get copies of Claire’s secret sauce notes printed.
Claire and Bree say goodbye. Bree sees Jamie, but doesn’t say anything to her father. Hmmm tension? Claire and Jamie head out with Roger. Something tells me they will have to rescue Roger at some point.
Jamie Gives Claire Bad News
Jamie tells Claire Steven Bonnet is alive. She asks Jamie if Bree knows and Jamie says no, she doesn’t. Wrong JAMFF. Claire looks pissed, but is relieved Bree doesn’t know. (Narrator: Except Bree did know. She overheard Jamie and Lord John talking at her wedding). I would really like Claire to be the one to kill Steven Bonnet. He’s probably en route to the Ridge as we speak.
Claire, Jamie, and the rest of the guys sit around the campfire telling jokes about how cold it is and the impact it’s having on their bollocks. Guess who loves 18th century bollock jokes? Claire. Coolest. Wife. Ever. Someone asks Jamie if he sleeps with his head or feet near the fire. He proudly boasts, he’s warm “no matter which way he is laid.” To which Claire responds, “That’s what you think.” That’s right, Claire and Jamie are making sex jokes around that campfire.
Meet the Beardsleys
The next morning, someone yells, “thief!” at the campsite, and chaos ensues. We learn that Josiah, one of the settlers in Jamie and Claire’s crew, has a twin, who has broken into the camp and is running around like Donald Duck without pants.
Turns out Josiah and his twin brother are indentured servants to a man named Beardsley, who starved and beat the boys. Jamie decides he will purchase their indenture to free them. He sends Roger ahead with everyone and he and Claire decide to go see Beardsley. I’m calling it now, Roger is going to mess this up. You don’t put a librarian in charge of putting together an army. Historian, sorry.
Jamie and Claire arrive at what looks like a rundown shack but really feels like the set of the beginning of every horror movie. Here’s how it goes down:
Claire: Jamie, this place is super weird.
Jamie: Agree, let’s split up.
Claire: Great idea, I’ll check the barn by myself.
Clearly, Claire’s never watched a horror movie. Jamie knocks on the main door of the creep cabin but no one answers. However, there’s a large goat inside. Normal. Just as Jamie is walking away, cue horror music. A young woman peers at him through a broken window. She tells Jamie to leave. He says he just wants to talk to Mr. Beardsley. She tells him Mr. Beardsley is dead.
Claire reiterates to Jamie how weird this place is. He tells the creepy window woman, who seems to be Mrs. Beardsley, that he needs the papers to free the twins. She begrudgingly lets them in. Jamie puts his gun down and enters. NO. Jamie, do not put your gun down when entering what is clearly a crazy house.
Claire and Jamie enter the hoarder house and wow, it does not smell good. Mrs. Beardsley claims she can’t find the papers. Suddenly, there’s a sound. Jamie says, “What’s that?!” The door thumps. Something is in the closet. Jamie whips out his handgun. (Okay fine, good plan to have a backup gun, James). Cue creepy, suspenseful music, Jamie opens the door, and out runs another goat, who weird lady says is Billy. She keeps Billy the Goat locked up so he doesn’t mate with the other goats. Jamie tells her to keep looking for the papers and runs out to get Billy the slutty goat back.
DO NOT GO UPSTAIRS CLAIRE!
Meanwhile, Claire’s like, “That smell isn’t goat.” Claire knows it’s a dead body. Gurl. Get OUT. Mrs. Beardsley claims she smells nothing. Sure, Lies-ah Minelli. Claire sees something dripping from the ceiling. Ew. This is when I’d leave this horror cabin. False. I would never have entered.
But no, Claire turns into Dora-the-God-Damn-Explorer and heads up the stairs! NO CLAIRE.
Mrs. Beardsley gets upset and screams at Claire not to go up.
And so begins the Claire Witch Project, where she slowly walks alone down a dark hallway. Oh gosh, there’s a lot of flies. Definitely a dead body incoming. Mrs. Beardsley follows Claire. I think she might try and murder her.
Claire sees a decomposing body on the ground. She goes to touch the dead body. WHY CLAIRE?! The body moves! Claire screams for Jamie. Okay, this horror episode is very enjoyable. Jamie races upstairs.
Turns out Mr. Beardsley is not dead, just had a stroke, an apoplexy Claire says, and is lying in his own filth. Claire deduces Mrs. Beardsley has been keeping him alive so he suffers. Oh Jesus, Claire wants to save him. Classic Claire! She can’t say no to helping people.
They move the body downstairs and Claire begins removing maggots from Beardsley. Okay again, why?! Jamie doesn’t even question why Claire is trying to save him. He knows better. Claire, let him die, you can still do an autopsy on him and I know you love those. Claire says she can’t leave Mr. Beardsley. Yes you can. Claire. All of a sudden, Mrs. Beardsley starts choking Mr. Beardsley with a rope! Jamie grabs her, they struggle. She pushes him, and flies against the wall. Suddenly, her water breaks! Omg, what?! She’s pregnant?!
THIS EPISODE IS WILD.
Cut to Claire delivering the baby, and then handing the baby to Jamie, who notices the baby is not white. The baby is not Mr. Beardsley’s, which Mrs. Beardsley is very happy about. Mrs. Beardsley tells Claire that Mr. Beardsley kidnapped her, and she’s his fifth wife. He killed all his previous wives. Listen, I know Claire and Jamie love to help people, but it’s time to leave this crazy cabin. But Claire is invested in this horror-reality Jerry Springer show, and asks who the father is.
Claire, Jamie & a New Baby
Claire assures Mrs. Beardsley, whose name is Fanny, that she and the baby will be safe from Mr. Beardsley. But Fanny doesn’t seem all that excited to be a mom. Claire and Jamie should take that cute baby.
Claire wonders what kind of terrible world this is to bring a baby into and Jamie replies, “The only world.” Claire says no, and tells Jamie she wants Brianna to go back to her time with Jemmy and Roger. Jamie looks distraught, which we knew he would. Claire tells him Roger agrees. Jamie says, “Of course, he does.” His Roger-hate grows. Jamie points out that while it might be safer in the future, they would be without their family. AGREE JAMIE.
Claire and Jamie spend the night on the ground by the fire below the gangrene, dead-ish body. Why do they not have perpetual back aches? They’re in their late 40s/50s. You cannot sleep on the floor and walk around pain-free. I call bullshit. Forget penicillin, Claire should figure out how to make a Tempur-Pedic bed.
They wake to the sound of the baby crying. Fanny Beardsley is gone! She left the deed to the house with the baby. Are Jamie and Claire now parents again? They have a baby and a new creep house. And goats.
Before we know it, Claire has made some sort of baby Bjorn. Jamie tells her to take the baby and wait outside. Jamie gives Mr. Beardsely a choice: Claire can save him, or Jamie can shoot him. Beardsley chooses. Jamie shoots him. The camera pans to Claire and the baby and a whole bunch of birds fly up into the sky. This episode has now become Hitchcock’s The Birds. I dig it.
Jamie comes out and looks disturbed. He thought apoplexy killed a man outright. That is how his father died. He worries his dad suffered. Jamie makes Claire swear she will kill him if something like that happens to him. She says she’ll do what must be done. I hope this isn’t foreshadowing.
This episode was different but interesting — and we got a full 60 minutes of Claire and Jamie together, which is all we asked for. And bonus, they now have a baby. Brianna will be excited for her new younger sister. Confused, but excited.
As we said before, putting Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan together in any scene is must-see TV. And putting them in every scene in this episode, was exactly that.
Next week: *Spoiler* Jamie tells Claire, “If you want another child, perhaps I might give you one.” Oooh Jamie, Claire might need to explain menopause… But listen, you two should still try. A lot. The next episode looks super tense. Lots of guns pointed at Jamie. Roger yelling. Claire looking concerned. And we can’t wait.