SPOILER ALERT: Do not keep reading if you have not yet watched the fifth episode of Season 5 of “Outlander,” entitled “Perpetual Adoration.”
Prior to the fifth season premiere of “Outlander,” executive producer Maril Davis spoke with Variety about the challenges of adapting “The Fiery Cross,” the Diana Gabaldon book on which the season is based, noting the slower pace of the storytelling and fewer moments of tentpole action. “It’s funny, of all the books, this is the one I had the hardest time reading more than once,” Davis said at the time. “Even [Diana], when I’ve talked to her about it, I think she feels the same way. I think for most people, ‘The Fiery Cross’ is a little different. Still amazing, but I think we did have a challenging time adapting this one.”
The fifth episode of Season 5 of “Outlander,” entitled “Perpetual Adoration,” was a good example of this slower brand of storytelling: The episode focused on character growth more so than action, feeling like it brought the first act of the season to a close.
The thrust of the action that was present in the episode was with Jamie (Sam Heughan), who took the men from Brownsville and met up with Lt. Knox (Michael Xavier). Upon arriving, he was surprised to learn that Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) had issued pardons for the Regulators — all of them except Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix). It was a sly trick on the governor’s part because not only will it sew discord among the Regulators as to who will accept their pardon and who wants to keep fighting, but some of the ones who want their pardons may consider give Murtagh up.
Jamie also learned that Knox had sent for the prison roll from Ardsmuir. His thinking was that some of Murtagh’s fellow inmates may be hiding him, so if they could get their names, they might be able to track Murtagh down. Jamie, of course, couldn’t let Knox see the Ardsmuir records because it would be revealed that Murtagh is a Fraser and that Jamie was in prison with him.
So when Knox invited Jamie to play chess and have a drink before Jamie set off back to the Ridge, Jamie confessed to being on the prison roll and told Knox that Murtagh is his godfather. Jamie then asked him spare Murtagh because Murtagh is a good man, telling Knox that he, too, is a good man. Knox balked at all of this, clearly feeling betrayed by someone he thought was his friend. He told Jamie he was going to have him arrested, so Jamie choked him and put him in his bed, then started a fire and closed the flue so that it would look like Knox died of smoke inhalation in his sleep.
As Jamie slipped off into the night with Fergus (Cesar Domboy), he found Adso the cat in an alleyway. As book readers know, Adso pops up much earlier in the book, so it was nice to finally see that little fuzzball show up.
Back at the Ridge, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) was busy tending to her patients. Her penicillin experiment finally yielded some usable results, so she was able to perform tonsillectomies on the Beardsley twins (both played by Paul Gorman), though she was still nervous because there are no guarantees when it comes to drugs and surgery.
This was intercut with flashbacks to Claire’s time in presentt when she lost a patient — a jovial Scottish man named Graham Menzies (Stephen McCole) — because he had a penicillin allergy that didn’t show up when they tested him for it. Incidentally, it was eventually revealed that Frank (Tobias Menzies) was already dead by this time in Boston. (Do you think Graham’s name was a shout-out to Frank and his portrayer since he wasn’t there to make a surprise cameo appearance like he did in the seventh episode of Season 4?) Menzies’ death was what spurred Claire to take Bree to London, wanting to enjoy all the time she could with her daughter. But it was there that they eventually heard about Reverend Wakefield’s death and subsequently met Roger (Richard Rankin), which was how Claire eventually knew she could find Jamie alive in the past.
Speaking of Roger, he came across the gem that Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) gave Brianna for Jemmy and recognized it from his time on the ship with Bonnet. He was mad at Brianna (Sophie Skelton) for not telling him she saw Bonnet and spoke to him, even more upset when it became clear during their argument that she still thought Bonnet was Jemmy’s father.
But after a heart to heart with Claire, during which his mother-in-law gave him some good advice about how the important thing in her own family when Bree was young was that Bree “felt safe and loved by both of her parents,” Roger told Brianna that nothing about Bonnet mattered. However, then Bree dropped the bombshell on him that Bonnet was still alive. Roger was visibly shaken to hear this news, but he reiterated that nothing mattered when it came to Bonnet because as soon as they know if Jemmy can time-travel, they’re going home.
“Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.