SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the sixth episode of “Outlander” Season 5, entitled “Better to Marry Than Burn.”
It’s no secret that Maria Doyle Kennedy is a talented actress — but if anyone didn’t know before, they do now after watching “Outlander’s” latest episode, “Better to Marry Than Burn.” The thrust of the action this week was Jocasta’s (Kennedy) wedding to Duncan Innes (Alastair Findlay) at River Run, which meant it was time to talk about “the Frenchman’s gold,” a key plot point from the novel “The Fiery Cross.”
In a flashback, we saw how Jocasta and her husband, Hector Cameron (Christopher Bowen), were on the run after the Jacobite rebellion was ended at the Battle of Culloden. They had in their possession a box of gold sent by King Louis XV of France to aid in Charles Stuart’s rebellion against the British crown. But the gold arrived too late to help, so Hector, Jocasta, and their daughter Morna (Rosie Graham) were trying to make it to her other daughters’ estates and then flee for America.
But they were stopped by some Redcoats and in the standoff, Hector accidentally shot and killed his daughter. He had to drag Jocasta, crying and screaming, back into the carriage so they could make a run for it, leaving Morna’s body lying by the side of the road. Jocasta’s other two daughters were also killed when the British laid waste to the Scottish citizens after the failed uprising.
That part was revealed later in a conversation with Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix). He came to see Jocasta before her wedding to ask her to wait for him, but she said she couldn’t — “You cannot fault me for wanting to spend the time I have left with a good man — a man whose only cause will be my happiness.”
She acknowledged that while Murtagh was also a good man who wanted to make her happy, part of his focus was on the Regulators’ rebellion. Telling him about her daughters, Jocasta said she lost everything because of her late husband Hector’s Jacobite obsession, and she won’t go through that again. So they parted ways, with Jocasta obviously carrying a tremendous amount of sadness in her heart for all those that she had lost.
Meanwhile, Jamie (Sam Heughan) finally told Claire (Caitriona Balfe) that Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) was still alive, and she tried to use Aristocrat Philip Wylie (Chris Donald), who happened to be at River Run for the wedding, to gain access to Bonnet.
Claire’s plan was for Wylie to get Jamie into the whiskey business with Bonnet. Unfortunately, Wylie was a disgusting lout and mistook Claire’s attention for romantic interest, attacking her in the stables. When Jamie came upon them and punched Wylie, that appeared to be the end of their in with Bonnet. Jamie, however, proposed that he and Wylie gamble for it — though he slyly wagered Claire’s wedding ring from Frank against Wylie’s prized stallion, Lucas.
Claire was horrified and offended that Jamie would ask to gamble Frank’s ring, accusing Jamie of doing this for his own pride, not out of any kind of justice for Brianna (Sophie Skelton). She told him if he was going to risk Frank’s ring, he should go ahead and risk both of her wedding rings. It really did seem pretty insensitive of Jamie to ask Claire for Frank’s ring when that ring was indirectly responsible for Brianna’s rape in the first place — remember, she saw Bonnet had it and tried to get it back from him and that was when he attacked her.
Anyway, Jamie beat Wylie at cards and when Wylie was drunkenly bereft about losing his horse, Jamie proposed that Wylie could keep the horse if he would set up Jamie’s whiskey business with Bonnet. Wylie agreed. To celebrate (?), Jamie and Claire had sex in the stables. Really it was more about working out their frustration with each other — Claire was still angry about Jamie asking for her ring, while Jamie was still angry that Claire cared so much about Frank’s ring. They took it out on each other in the form of some angry intercourse up against a stall. But at least they had a way to get to Bonnet now.
And speaking of Bonnet, viewers got a glimpse of him sitting in a pub with Quincy Arbuckle, a man familiar with Jocasta’s legal dealings. See, before her wedding, Jocasta signed over ownership of River Run to baby Jemmy so that Duncan Innes wouldn’t have any claim to it; Jocasta was the estate’s guardian until Jemmy came of age. Mr. Arbuckle was privy to this information, and he informed Bonnet that his son was now the owner of River Run.
Back at Fraser’s Ridge, Roger (Richard Rankin) and Bree thought they were going to have a fairly quiet week at home since they decided not to attend the wedding. But when a swarm of locusts headed their way, Roger’s quick thinking about lighting smokey fires to drive the locusts away managed to save the Ridge’s crops, earning him the respect of the tenants. It was actually quite a nice little subplot showcasing frontier life — although, with all the talk of Bonnet and him now knowing about Jemmy’s inheritance, Bree and Roger are probably not going to be enjoying peace and quiet for very long.
Finally, at the end of the episode, Governor Tryon (Tim Downie) informed Jamie that the Regulators had not taken the pardons they talked about in last week’s episode and before he left to take over the governorship in New York, Tryon wanted to put down the rebellion once and for all. So Jamie was ordered to reassemble his militia and prepare for battle.
It appears no one will be enjoying peace for very long!
“Outlander” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.