SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Fiery Cross,” the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” streaming now on the Starz app.
In the Season 5 premiere, the “Outlander” writers had the monumental task of condensing the 200-page Scottish gathering from Diana Gabaldon’s novel “The Fiery Cross” into one episode of TV — and the episode still clocked in at more than 60 minutes. But the wedding of Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) provided an enjoyable way to get all of the characters together for a celebration before the impending Revolutionary War tears them apart.
Before the nuptials, the episode opened with Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) telling a young Jamie that his mother, Ellen, was dead but that he would always be with Jamie — which was particularly poignant because viewers know that Murtagh and Jamie (Sam Heughan) are now on opposite sides of the Revolutionary War since Jamie swore an oath to the Crown in exchange for Fraser’s Ridge and Murtagh is leader of the Regulators.
In present day — well, present day for the Frasers — everyone was preparing for Bree and Roger’s wedding. Claire (Caitriona Balfe) helped Bree get ready, telling her that since her own mother couldn’t be at either of her weddings, she dreamt of this day for years. As the ceremony began, both Claire and Jamie were overcome with emotion at watching their daughter get married, looking at each other and obviously thinking back to their own wedding.
The wedding was held on the riverbank at Fraser’s Ridge, which executive producer Maril Davis told Variety was a change they wanted to make from the book in order to make the wedding “more intimate and make it more about our characters than a huge thing that took up a huge span of time.”
The wedding was beautiful, with Bree and Roger swearing their love and commitment to one another in front of all of their friends and family, and then said friends and family took to the grounds of the estate for drinking, dancing, and general merriment. But the day wasn’t solely a celebration for the new bride.
There was a pall cast over the festivities for Brianna when she overheard her father and Lord John Grey (David Berry) talking about how Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) escaped from jail and did not get blown up by the Regulators, as Bree had originally thought. The revelation that Bonnet was alive caused Bree to momentarily flash back to her rape, which Skelton told Variety is something that will continue to have repercussions for her throughout season five.
Meanwhile, Aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and Murtagh continued their romance on the night of the wedding — but the next day, they said goodbye to one another once again because Murtagh was a wanted man and had to go back on the run once the wedding was over. Jocasta informed him that Duncan Innes has proposed to her, and he said that he won’t stand in the way of her happiness, which wasn’t exactly the answer Jocasta was looking for, so they didn’t part on the best of terms.
But Jocasta had some other business to attend to after Murtagh departed: She took it upon herself to do a little meddling in Bree and Roger’s marriage by accusing him of wanting to get his hands on her plantation. It offended Roger deeply and he responded by assuring her he loves Bree and that Jemmy is his son and they don’t need Jocasta’s money, which he later repeated to Bree. Don’t think too badly of Jocasta, however — this was all her master plant to make Roger admit to himself and others that he is Jemmy’s father, whether he is the boy’s biological father or not.
That night, Jamie assembled his countrymen together to form the militia that Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) reminded Jamie about at the wedding. Jamie swore an oath to the crown in exchange for Fraser’s Ridge and the governor wanted Jamie to make good on that promise and catch the Regulators and their leader, who just so happened to be Murtagh.
Jamie lit a large straw cross on fire — hence the title of the fifth book and of this episode — and Jamie asked for his men to swear fealty to him. He showed his faith in Roger by naming him a captain in the militia and then assured the men that this was a “founding of a kinship in this new world.”
Afterward, Jamie and Murtagh finally had to part ways. Murtagh told his godson that he would do what he must to fight the British and Jamie cannot resent him for it, so Jamie released Murtagh from the vow he made to Ellen to always protect Jamie because it was no longer safe for him to be at Jamie’s side, and they said their goodbyes.
“Go. And please be hard to find,” Jamie said in one of the episode’s best moments.
With that, Murtagh left and Jamie finally let some tears fall for the impossible position in which he now found himself.
“Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz. “The Fiery Cross” is streaming now but will still air linearly on Feb. 16.