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Outlander's 'Monsters and Heroes' chronicles a scary brush with death
Spoiler Warning: The following discusses detailed plot points from the Season 5 episode “Monsters and Heroes.” If you haven’t had a chance to watch yet, go back through the stones and return once you have.
We're officially rounding the corner toward the last third of the season now, sassenachs, and the show isn't really showing any signs of slowing down, is it? I thought we were done with the near-death experiences and gutwrenching emotions for our Outlander faves! (Just kidding, I never thought that.)
Previously: After an intense battle between the British (including Jamie's hired militiamen) and the Regulators saw both the loss of Murtagh and the near-loss of Roger, the family returned to Fraser's Ridge to try and pursue some necessary healing — from injury, from grief, all of it. But everyone was surprised by the sudden arrival of Not-So-Young Ian on the scene, very much grown-up and changed from his time with the Mohawk, although a surprise surveying trip with Roger allowed the two men to acknowledge their individual hurts and maybe start the process of moving forward.
Brianna and Roger are well on the way to making up and reconnecting as marrieds if this week is any indication, although it's a little harder for them to get some alone time in their little love nest with wee Jemmy already awake in bed a short distance away. Also putting an official damper on the mood is the sudden arrival of Jamie at their front door. One of the Beardsley twins has spotted signs of game west of the Ridge, so it's time to form a hunting party. Brianna is technically her father's first pick as the better shot, but since she'd already promised Claire she'd help with dyeing cloth, it's Roger who joins the rest of the group in pursuit of some potentially good meat for the settlers. They split up into pairs, and Roger and Jamie team up to track some relatively fresh-looking cow pies to their source: a herd of buffalo. But while reloading his pistol, Jamie's unexpectedly bit on the leg by a snake, and Roger correctly deduces that it's venomous. Forced to perform a bit of emergency triage on his father-in-law, Roger wields a knife against the fang marks and then proceeds to try and suck the venom out of Jamie's thigh before it can take effect. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to help much, and when Jamie sends Roger out to try and track down the rest of the group he can't locate anyone — because the rest of them have already returned to the Ridge.
With Jamie unable to walk and rapidly deteriorating, Roger suggests they make camp and return at first light. By the light of the fire later that night, while burning with fever, Jamie tells Roger to do something for him: kill Stephen Bonnet. He gives him Philip Wylie's name, along with the fact that he has arranged to meet Bonnet under an alias. It's clear that the memory of sparing Bonnet's life long ago still weighs on Jamie, especially given all the harm that the man has gone on to commit against members of his own family and the threat he still represents given that he could make a potential claim of paternity for young Jemmy. "The son must pay for the sins of the father, for my mistakes. You must do this," he insists to Roger. But Roger's dismissive — not of Jamie's feelings but of his maudlin attempts to set his own affairs in order. He'll make no such promises, because Jamie's going to live. Meanwhile, Ian's alerted to the fact that something's up when Jamie and Roger's horses come back to the Ridge all on their own.
By morning, Roger's constructed something that will allow him to drag Jamie back to the Ridge, but he's not even sure what direction he's supposed to be going in. Thankfully, a search party led by Ian and Fergus is already out looking for them and it doesn't take long before they're back home in Claire's surgery. The wound in Jamie's leg is pretty bad by this point, and Claire's main concern is whether or not she can even salvage the limb. Thanks to that incident with the Brown brothers, her trusty syringe is broken and there's no way she can directly inject penicillin into Jamie's system without it. But Jamie spots the saw amongst Claire's medical tools and makes her promise not to try and amputate. If he has the choice, he'd rather die than lose his leg. Claire's sick at the thought of even having to take Jamie's leg, but she may not have the choice.
Jamie ropes Roger into helping him out of the surgery and back to his and Claire's bedroom, where they run into Ian on the way. When Jamie mentions his outright refusal for his wife to amputate, his nephew points out that losing a limb never stopped his own father (also Ian) or Fergus from living life. It's time for someone to give Jamie a necessary talking-to, and Ian's full of the confidence it takes to stand up to his uncle. He admits he looked up to Jamie, that the reason he even ran away from home in the first place all those seasons ago was to be with him — but seeing Jamie reminds Ian that his own father, legless though he might be, is full of all the bravery and courage that he's ashamed of Jamie for lacking in all his stubbornness right now. But when night falls, Jamie seems to be taking a turn for the worse, and lying in bed with Claire, he implores her to lay with him, to hold him, as he takes what he thinks might be his last breaths. In a moment of desperation, Claire strips off her nightgown and presses herself to her husband, skin against skin, holding him and begging him not to die. (There's also some, um, unanticipated below-the-waist action? Look, I'm not judging, because it keeps Jamie alive and ticking at least.) In the morning, Jamie weakly tells her that she has permission to amputate his leg with the time comes.
But there may be a solution in sight, even as Claire prepares to do the unthinkable. Back in the woods, Roger had kept the head of the pit viper that bit Jamie, at the time perhaps believing that he could bring it to Claire to identify it — but Brianna notices something unique about its fangs and realizes she can rig a solution to Claire's problem. Using a cloth funnel and one of the fangs from the snake itself, she engineers a syringe so that Claire can inject penicillin into the wound, essentially saving Jamie's leg. As he slowly recovers, Roger informs his father-in-law that he wants to accompany him to the meeting with Wylie — and, by extension, Stephen Bonnet. Alone with Claire, Jamie admits that he had been presented with a choice of whether or not to stay or go, to live or die, and the reason he ultimately decided to stick around was that she still needed him.
- New baby! Although Claire sort of had her hands full dealing with, you know, a slowly dying Jamie, one of the bright moments in this week's episode came when Marsali gave birth to her and Fergus' third child — a girl named Felicity. Also adorable: when Marsali referred to Claire as her "ma" for the first time. I love a sweet found family moment!
- Ian and Fergus also having a gentle bro bonding time over being there to support Jamie was a really nice scene this week.
- Also heartwrenching: when Jamie made Roger promise that if he died, Claire would go back through the stones with him and Brianna and Jemmy. Without his protection, the future may be the only place that's safe for them.
- OK, the random buffalo wandering onto the Ridge was pretty terrifying, but how badass did Claire look taking it down with a single shot of a rifle?
That’s it for this week, Outlander fans! Feel free to sound off in the comments about your favorite moments this episode, as well as your predictions for where the next episode will take us, or tweet at us over at @Syfyfangrrls. I'd like to think we're due for a break emotionally, but the logical part of me knows that ain't about to happen here, especially since there's a planned confrontation with Stephen Bonnet on the books. Hoo, boy. See you next week!