For a show that plays against many of history’s foregone conclusions, Outlander just keeps finding new ways to surprise. With the future of Fraser’s Ridge in the balance, the series capped its fifth season on Sunday with a couple of OMG moments sure to leave fans of Starz' time-hopping historical drama craving more until Claire carries on in the already-confirmed Season 6.
In ever-escalating ways, this season set a new bar for edge-of-your-seat drama as Claire and Jamie try to forge a fragile new path in the New World, and "Never My Love," the unflinchingly brutal episode that ended the season on Sunday, definitely lived up to the expectations the show's been setting lately.
** Spoiler alert: Light spoilers lie ahead for “Never My Love,” the Season 5 finale of Outlander. Now’s the time to turn back if you're still catching up on the series!**
In an episode that saw Claire (Caitriona Balfe) horribly abused and trying (unsuccessfully) to find comfort by retreating into a fever dream of Midcentury-modern domestic bliss, it's the syringe-wielding Marsali (Lauren Lyle) who may have had the biggest moment. Fans cheered online after Marsali was done administering her final treatment, taking to Twitter to share their reactions — with major well-deserved shoutouts to Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire — who by now has lived through more than one lifetime's worth of trauma:
From Scotland to France to North Carolina to who-knows-where, the small screen version of Outlander has consistently played like a fan-friendly complement, rather than a moment-by-moment walkthrough, of the sprawling Diana Gabaldon book series on which the show is based. But like the books, the TV version gives its heroes no emotional safe space from the harrowing challenges they face in any timeline — except for the self-guiding strength of their own inner will — and the Season 5 finale definitely captured that harsh reailty.
Where do things go next for Season 6? Only Starz knows. But with Jamie and Claire finding at least a moment’s respite to look back on all they’ve been through, and Marsali discovering some welcome resolve in an 18th-Century world that hasn’t rewarded women for showing it, we can't wait to find out. Starz hasn't revealed a premiere date for Outlander's next batch of episodes. But now that Season 5 is complete, that just gives us plenty of time to go back and hunt down all the time-traveling breadcrumbs just begging for a rediscovery.