Warning: This article contains spoilers for Outlander Season 5, Episode 6, “Better to Marry than Burn.”
In Outlander‘s last episode, Claire set Roger straight about the realities of marriage and discovered penicillin. Roger declared he, Bree and Jemmy would head back to the future as soon as they knew Jemmy could time travel. Jamie gave Claire a gift that purrs — and that’s not a euphemism. He gave her Adso, the cutest kitten that has ever existed.
In this episode, Jamie and Claire travel to Aunt Jocasta’s (Maria Doyle Kennedy) wedding where they get into a fight and Claire returns her wedding rings — both of them — to Jamie! And Roger and Bree deal with a bug problem at Fraser’s Ridge. That’s right, bugs. We watch them fight bugs. But something weird happened in this episode: I didn’t mind Roger. I KNOW. 2020 is wild. Here are the highlights:
Aunt Jocasta’s Sad Flashback
The episode opens with a flashback of Aunt Jocasta, her husband, Hector, and their daughter being stopped by the Redcoats. It goes bad. The Redcoats find gold under their carriage, and a gun fight breaks out. And her daughter is shot and killed. Jocasta is forced to abandon her daughter’s dead body as she and her husband flee. Note: her husband doesn’t seem that upset.
Aunt Jocasta’s Wedding Celebration
Cut to the day before her present day wedding. Her hubs-to-be, Mr. Innes, brings her something. Seems like a sweet dude, but he’s no Murtagh is what Jocasta is thinking.
Jamie greets his aunt and is wearing his signature tiny glasses. Why? Because Jocasta is making it official that Jemmy gets River Run. She says she will run it ‘til Jemmy comes of age. She signs the official document. Jamie whips out his quill pen and co-signs it. Mr. Forbes is randomly there, unclear why. Signing shit with a quill is boss. I’m going to start carrying one around to grocery stores, banks… How many people can rock a quill in 2020? Just me.
Jamie, Claire, Lord John and Governor Tryon
As they look at Jocasta and Innes, Jamie laments to Claire it should be Murtagh. Claire tells him it was Murtagh’s choice, to buck up and enjoy the day. And as usual, he does what she says. They run into Lord John, who’s dancing with some ladies. Claire compliments his dance moves. Does Jamie have some competition? Laird of the Dance vs. Lord of the Dance. I would like to see this dance competition.
They run into Governor Tryon, who’s a full-blown douche. He tells Claire to call his wife “her excellency,” which his wife quickly dismisses. Jamie compliments Tryon on his pardoning the Regulators. Tryon laughs and says, “Well we’ve passed a law prohibiting gatherings of ten men or more.” THAT IS A WEIRDLY, TIMELY RULE GOV. TRYON. TOO SOON for us in 2020 (cries softly). Gov. Tryon believes this will prevent the Regulators from conspiring, and maybe Knox would still be with them. Jamie raises one evil eyebrow. Mrs. Tryon tells her husband to zip it and whisks Claire away.
Uh-Oh, Things Get Loco at the Ridge
Bree tells Roger he could have gone to the wedding with her parents. He tells her he preferred to stay home since Jemmy has a cold. Bree says, “Jocasta insulted you at our wedding, so you decided to insult her by skipping hers.” And by Roger’s smile, she’s correct.
Cute cat alert: Adso brings them a bug. A cricket, a grasshopper, locust? Suddenly, there are bugs everywhere outside! The townspeople are freaking out and say, “Let’s burn the fields!” Roger yells and takes command of the room. Wow Roger, excellent. Maybe we’ll call you your excellency. (Okay, I’m trying to be nicer about Roger). He’s like, “Hey idiots, we ain’t burning anything! The wind shifts and your homes will burn.” The people are not interested in his logic and say they wish Jamie was there to help them. Roger is like, “Too bad b*tches you have me.” They ask him what his solution is. And he stays quiet. Started strong Rog!
Claire’s Stalker Arrives — Phillip Wylie
Claire and Mrs. Tryon see someone arriving on a raft, who’s dressed in panto. (Why, guy?) Claire recognizes him as Phillip Wylie who she met in season four. Claire tells Mrs. Tryon she found him to be annoying. Mrs. Tryon agrees.
All of a sudden, Wylie spots Claire and makes a beeline for her. Ok, pause. Why is he dressed like a smile-less clown with a very large fake mole? Please explain. Mrs. Tryon says she’ll block him and distract him and Claire seems thankful. Why is this pantoclown creepin’ on Claire?
Claire starts snacking off a random plate with reckless abandon, making her our wedding spirit animal. She overhears two women talking about Dr. Rawlings and his medical advice. “What kind of woman wouldn’t want to get pregnant and have a baby?!” Remember Claire’s medical notes told girls how to not get pregnant. Of course, Claire has no chill and says, “A kind of woman who can’t afford to have a baby!” Yes, gurl!! But stop, you are acting too 1960s! The ladies do not like her interjection.
She turns to leave and runs right into pantoclown! He kisses her hand. Like French kisses it! You know who could use some social distancing right about now? Claire. And Claire’s face is maybe the best face we will ever see, ever. She pulls her hand away from creep clown. Wylie says she looks hot and is a lovely “wedding ornament.” Lol, this clown. You already had no chance with her, and now you really don’t. Mrs. Tryon saves Claire and says Jocasta needs her, as Wylie creepily watches her walk away.
Oh Bug Off, Field of No Dreams
Back to Roger, Bree and their bugs. Roger’s stressed. Bree tells him he’s doing the best he can. What’s up with this show not treating Bree as an equal? In every episode, her role is to placate Roger’s ego. Isn’t she an engineering student? Bree is Jamie and Claire’s daughter, she should be the star of these stories, and Roger should be supporting. Give Sophie Skelton more to do than just pat Roger on the back. Why is Roger the one that needs to solve this? Probably because his ego might not be able to take that. (Sidenote: Caitriona Balfe also admitted on a her first Instagram Live that Roger gets a little “mansplainy.” And that is correct. Or as Roger would say, “Well, Caitriona, what you mean is…”)
Roger wishes Jamie was there, and Bree says, “He wouldn’t be able to do anything different.” Well, Jamie would consult his smart-ass wife, which you could do too, Roger Macadoo. He remembers a story his father read him about a plague of locusts driven away by smoke. A lightbulb goes off. They are gonna smoke those bugs away.
Cut to Roger gardening, he’s making poop pots. Ok, sorry, but I want this episode to be all wedding content, not flying bugs. Roger wonders how they will get the smoke to move. Bree looks at the laundry and then says the best line of the episode, “I’ll handle this and you keep shoveling your shit.” Yes, equality!
Claire and Philip Flirt?!
As Claire’s looking for Jamie, guess who’s right behind her?! Creepy clown man! Phillip Wylie, is that a panto in your pocket or are you just excited to see Claire? He starts aggressively flirting with her as she tries to run away from him. But he blocks her with his cane. Okay stop. Claire’s face at this point shows the discomfort of every woman ever who’s had to have an uncomfortable, forced conversation with an aggressive male not getting the hint.
She tries leave and he hits on her again! Doesn’t he know she’s married? He tells her, “I can get you lots of fine things!” She’s got plenty of fine things, have you met Jamie? Wylie continues, “I know an Irishman in Wilmington who can get you anything you want.” Claire’s face turns about as white as pantoclown’s. BONNET!
Claire tells him she has something of interest to him. He smiles like a creep wank thinking he’s about to get lucky. What’s Claire Bear up to? She pours him a whiskey, as he eyes both of her wedding rings. He loves the whiskey, and she says, “My husband makes it.” Wylie says, “Is he silver or gold?” Claire responds silver and explains the gold is from her late husband. Wylie is shocked, “Mr. Fraser allows you to wear another man’s ring?” He asks when Frank died and Claire says a lifetime ago. She then says, “My husband’s whiskey venture isn’t breaking even, maybe the Irishman you mentioned could help.” Pantoclown says, “Well Mr. Bonnet only deals with people he knows.” Claire tries to hide her shock, and fake flirts with Wylie by saying, “Thankfully, I’ll deal only with you.”
Wylie Takes Claire to the Stables and it’s Complete Panto-monium!
Wylie tells Claire, “Thanks for showing me your pride and joy, now let me show you mine.” Oh jeez, he better not show us his 18th century bollocks. He leads Claire into the stables. Please say he’s showing her a horse and not his horse. Which makes me wonder, does he put that panto make-up everywhere? Thankfully, he shows her an actual horse, named Lucas. As Claire pets Lucas, Wylie leaps on her and kisses her neck. No clown man! No. Claire whips around and he kisses her neck again. She pushes him away, but he keeps pawing her so she pushes him into a pile of horseshit. Karma works fast, my man. He spits, “You bitch!” Oh, what a shock, he’s a misogynist. Guess who walks in right as he says that? Jamie F-ing Fraser.
Jamie throws him against the wall! Panto says Claire is a “vile succubus” who begged him to take her. Lol pantoclown, she wouldn’t be begging you for anything. Jamie whips out his knife and Claire’s like, “Hey babe, let’s not kill someone at your aunt’s wedding, it’s not cool.” Jamie throws panto out of the stables and says, “If you go near my wife again, I will kill you.” Fair. Jamie then hugs Claire and finds creeper’s fake mole on her neck. Ew. Claire explains he knows Bonnet, but they can’t use Wylie to get to him.
Jamie disagrees. Claire says, “I’ve thrown him in horseshit and you’ve threatened to kill him, how’s this plan gonna work?” Jamie replies, “Well, he likes to gamble?”
Roger is Smoking
Back at the Ridge, the smoke plan is happening. Lots of smoke. Roger coughs. He did not anticipate smoke inhalation clearly. Bree has made fans out of sticks and sheets. Smart. A swarm of locusts fly above. This looks bad. But I don’t care.
Jamie & Claire Have a Fight
Jamie finds panto and threatens him, saying he’ll tell Mrs. Tryon what he did to Claire. Wylie seems scared. Jamie tells him they can settle this with a game. He says, I won’t say anything if you win and your honor remains intact. And if Wylie loses, Jamie gets Lucas the stallion. Wylie laughs and says his pride means nothing, they wager gold or no deal.
So Jamie asks Claire for her gold wedding band. Claire says, “Have you lost your mind?! No, not Frank’s ring.” Uh oh, Jamie and Claire fight incoming. He says if I do this we can get Bonnet and I will not lose that chance. Claire retorts, “What if you lose the ring?” He doesn’t seem to think that would be a bad thing. Claire asks, “Who are you doing this for?!” Oh, she’s very mad. Rage-tears mad. He exclaims, “For our daughter’s honor!” Claire says, “Oh for her honor?! Or for yours?” Ahhh, so they finally are talking about the fact that Claire still wears dead Frank’s ring. Jamie doesn’t answer, and Claire gets her answer and angrily takes off her rings, drops them in his hand and storms off. She’s pissed. He’s pissed. And we want more of THIS PLEASE. Because, when they fight, they make up, sometimes naked, with knives. (Looking at you season 1, “The Reckoning” episode).
Here’s my opinion on Frank’s ring. I’ve never questioned Claire wearing it, because without Frank and their wedding, Claire would never have met Jamie or been in Scotland so #thanksFrank! High five on setting your wife up on the best marriage ever (not yours). Plus, who knows? Maybe the gold and silver are needed to travel through those testy stones.
Battle of the Bugs
UGH ROGER and the damn BUGS AGAIN. We ARE BEING BUG-BLOCKED! Great news. Roger smoked them out. Round of applause, you can even sing Roger, get back to Jamie and Claire’s anger, please.
Murtagh sneaks into Jocasta’s room the night before the wedding. Crazy, risky Murtagh. Jocasta is like why you here boo? He gets down on bended knee and asks her to wait for him? Weird timing, dude. She gets mad and asks him why he didn’t stop it sooner? Murtagh says something Scottish-y and they make out. But then she tells the story of her daughter dying, and says she will not lose everything for a man again. She asks him to go. Something tells me Murtagh will be responsible for a lot of Jamie and Claire’s upcoming problems. And again, Murtagh, if you separate them, we will have WORDS.
Claire and Jamie Scare the Horses
Ringless and angry Claire walks to the stables to see Lucas, the horse. Ol’ Lord of the Rings, Jamie, himself, walks in feeling pretty proud. He says he’s been looking for her. She spits, “You’re drunk.” Oh, Claire is not screwing around (yet), she’s mad. Jamie shows her both the rings and says, “Cause to celebrate!” Wow, Jamie, read the room. You have never been so wrong.
Claire yells at him that he let Wylie use his Scottish pride against him. Jamie throws back, “What about your pride? You think and say what you like no matter the consequences.” Narrator: Jamie, you’re making a mistake, stop talking.
Jamie continues, “You think too much from your own time.” Claire says, “I don’t need you to tell me how to behave.” (Didn’t they have this fight in season 1, where Claire had to explain she’s not “the meek and obedient type?”) Yes. They. Did. Tipsy Jamie says that sometimes she needs reminding how to behave. She walks away furious. Jamie grabs her arm and says, “You’re a woman like no other. But don’t forget, you’re still a woman.” Narrator: This won’t go well. Claire slaps Jamie!
What happens next can only be described as some very angry stable sex. Jamie kisses Claire. She angrily pulls away. Then stops, looks at him, and kisses him. This is very Jamie and Claire. Jamie throws Claire against the stable wall. And then, well… Sorry Lucas!
QUARANTINE WARNING: I know we’re all looking for a lot of shows to binge. But take it from Sylvie @grnYZE- “Do not watch Outlander with your parents. I repeat. DO NOT watch Outlander with your parents.”
In Jamie’s defense, what he said that made Claire slap him may have sounded like a very un-Jamie, chauvinistic thing to say. But it was actually drunk Jamie trying to warn his wife not to forget what time period she’s in, otherwise she’ll get hurt. Except he said it all wrong. ALL WRONG.
Their post-coital convo is much less angry. Jamie apologizes and Claire says she thinks she has a sex bruise. It happens kids, especially when you do it against a wall, next to an innocent horse who’s minding his own business!
Claire tells him to promise her Stephen Bonnet will never take another thing from them, again. Well, that’s foreboding AF, Claire. Did you have to say that out loud? Jamie puts the rings back on her hands. Frank’s first, then kisses her hand and then their wedding ring and promises her the rings will never leave her hands again. He also affectionately calls her the nickname he gave her on their wedding night, “Mo Nighean Donn.”
I think we can all safely say, Jamie and Claire are the most “stable” couple on this show.
Stephen Bonnet Strikes Gold and Tryon Declares War
Bonnet (Ed Spellers) meets Mr. Forbes (that smarmy spy!) for coffee. Mr. Forbes says, “Your son is now the proud owner of River Run.” Oh God damn, Bonnet is going to kidnap that child and kill them all. Money signs light up in his eyes and it is truly chilling. Quick question, does everyone just casually know that Bonnet raped Bree? Why is Mr. Forbes so nonchalant about this? He’s clearly not a good person, but how would he know this information?
Tryon puts his little red coat on and tells Jamie, “War’s on b*tch.” Tryon says gather your men. Jamie’s caught between a rock and hard place.
Here are a few final takeaways about the episode:
1) The stables scene was way too short and rushed. They should have cut some others scenes to dedicate more time to this. But it was another great example of how well Outlander shows how consensual Jamie and Claire’s relationship is. Even in their sex scenes that are borderline aggressive (like in, “First Wife” and this episode), Claire has equal control.
2) We need more Marsali and Fergus — they were highly underused in this episode. Not sure if they even got one line?
3) During the beginning of the stables scene, Caitriona Balfe made it look like Claire had been crying for hours, you know, that puffiness around your eyes when you try to hide you’ve been crying. It’s not makeup, it’s just really good acting. She deserves an Emmy for this show — and hey, now we know she could accept it via Instagram Live. (Serious question: Will Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe be able to film Season 6 remotely from their homes on a dual IG Live?)
4) Murtagh and Jocasta’s scenes were too long. SORRY. Finally, the show focused on a conflict with Jamie and Claire, but they dedicated more time to Murtagh and Jocasta and bugs. And we saw the Jocasta flashback scene, they didn’t need her to recap it to Murtagh again later in the episode. Their scene was 10 minutes! Jamie and Claire’s stable scene was only 6 minutes. Yes, I timed it to prove a point. Because Claire and Jamie are the heart and soul of this show. They deserve at least half of each episode.
Outlander, here’s a fun game to play:
Would we rather see Jamie and Claire or Bugs? Jamie and Claire.
Would we rather see Jamie and Claire or hear Murtagh talk about the Regulators? Jamie and Claire.
Would we rather see Jamie and Claire or hear Roger sing? Jamie and Claire.
And of course, the best fan reactions to this episode:
Trisha – If you want to follow along with fan @IamNotTrisha, her live tweets of the show are super entertaining and worth the watch during these quarantine times. There is no greater joy than watching her Snapchat videos as she reacts to every Jamie and Claire scene.
@Jill_millander – “Even with clothes on they are the hottest couple alive.” #TRUTH
@New_Sasha – “That slap! Claire’s not having it. Drunk Jamie IS having it! The way they challenged each other!”
Next Episode: *Spoilers* Bree races to warn her parents. And it looks like she does this trip on her own. Jamie screams, “Help me.” Something bad is going to happen, this episode looks like it will be very dark and upsetting. Murtagh is screaming about war. Not a fan of the warring Murty. And you know why.