Outlander Season 5 Episode 1 Review: The Fiery Cross

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Happy Valentine's Day, Outlander Fanatics!

The Droughtlander is over two full days before expected as Starz drops a Valentine's gift for fans.

If you haven't watched yet and aren't familiar with the books, especially, you might want to wait to join us in this conversation. Spoilers abound, so proceed at your own risk.

Family Portrait - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

Outlander Season 5 Episode 1 covers a lot of territory for a family-based hour of the romantic adventure series.

It's finally time for Brianna and Roger to wed, and with that, we get a lot of special moments, but we're also struck with the fact that no matter how beautiful the day, there is always someone, somewhere, hoping to tear down their happiness.

Claire Prepares Bree - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

For the first time, we get a more introspective look at Roger as he tries to fit into a time with which he only has book knowledge and a family that can be quick to judge.

While Claire helped prepare Brianna for her big day, the two shared their happiness at being together to celebrate despite the almost insurmountable odds that could have separated them, Jamie and Roger bonded, as well.

Their unfortunate history makes any relationship between Jamie and Roger tentative, so it's with amusement that we watch the father groom the husband-to-be with a straight razor. Good on Roger for putting some faith into his soon-to-be father-in-law because he's already experienced Jamie's quick temper to detrimental consequences.

It's after the couple is wed that Roger gets another jolt of reality when a nephew exclaims that he has "ticks" but really means that he's heard Roger is a heretic for his Protestant faith.

Brianna and Her Men - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

So on the day of their wedding, family and friends are already considering disaster with the thought Roger's religion and belief in divorce could set him running for the hills -- again.

Nobody gives Roger enough credit, of course, as we later learn when Jocasta prods him annoyingly and gets the exact reaction she was seeking -- anger that anyone could believe his love was so fleeting that he'd abandon his wife and child.

Because yes, Roger does believe Jeremiah aka Jemmy to be his, and once all of the festivities had settled down, he proved it with an emotional blood oath the boy ensuring that "by blood" would define their relationship whether he was Jemmy's birth father or not.

Roger is still struggling to accept being in a time not his own, though, and before their wedding day is over, Brianna is faced again with the understanding that the man she just wed will want to return to their time again no matter how she feels about it.

Roger Makes a Blood Oath - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

It's sure to be a bone of contention as the season progresses.

Roger's commitment to Brianna and Jemmy is imperative, though, as another stain on her wedding day was overhearing Jamie and John talking about Bonnet's resurfacing -- a man believed to be dead.

It throws a pall over Brianna that might aid in Roger's plight to return to the future if only it means she can protect her family and escape the man who separated them and might be Jemmy's birth father.

Maybe, when we go back, we can do all of this again, and I'll be a little be more prepared.


At the seat of that, though, is wondering whether or not Jemmy has what's necessary to travel through the stones, as surely Bree and Roger aren't going to leave him behind should they travel again.

On the Homestead - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

It's hard to imagine how they'd even test that theory with an infant, though. Maybe novel readers have a clue for those of us who haven't read them yet.

The otherwise joyous occasion was also marred by Governor Tryon's presence pressing Jamie to hunt and kill Murtagh.

Jamie is a pawn of epic proportions as a Scot hunting the Scottish. It's easy to wonder why the damned Red Coats don't do the hunting themselves, but Jamie has gotten a substantial parcel of land in return for his loyalty to the King, and they're going to test that loyalty every step of the way.

The opening scene of Outlander Season 5 set the stage for the turmoil with Murtagh as he pledged his oath to Jamie shortly after Jamie's mother's passing.

John and Jamie Chat - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

By the end of the premiere, Jamie released his godfather from their bond. I'm not sure either of them knows to what extent the hunt will take them, and in this instance, even novel readers are in the dark.

It's no longer safe for you to remain here. I know you stayed because of the vow you made to my mother and to me. Now, I release you from it. Go. Go. Please. Be hard to find.


Murtagh's death came early in the Outlander series, so all of this is new territory. And with Jamie torn between a future he understands thanks to his time-traveling wife and a present in which his feet are getting held to the fire, it's going to be rocky territory no matter how they play it.

The scenes between Jamie and Murtagh, though, give me pause long enough to suspect that to protect his family and the future freedom of America, Jamie might be forced to act in ways he wouldn't otherwise.

Jamie and Claire took advantage of time with their neighbors for Jamie to light a fiery cross and call upon the men to stand by him when the time comes that they're needed. We, of course, know that time is probably a lot closer than any of them suspect, making the scene quite stunning.

A Touching Goodbye - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

It's with that pledge of his men that Jamie and Roger cement their bond as family and more, too. In an effort to keep Roger safe when the fighting ensues, Jamie makes him an officer in his impromptu army, and he's impressed when his book-smart son-in-law recites the oath in full without prompting.

As for baby Jemmy, he receives all of the love and acknowledgment any baby could want, and his future is set as the heir to Jocasta's fortune.

Jocasta's will is important since she's considering accepting an offer of marriage from Duncan Innes. What does that mean for fans of Jocasta and Murtagh?

Just as Murtagh made it clear to Jamie where he's going to focus his energy despite Jamie's predicament, so he shared with Jocasta in a heart-wrenching scene.

Jocasta Rests - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

Pulling her hand free of his when Murtagh failed to understand, or perhaps failed to counter, Innes' proposal said everything. What Jocasta needs and what Murtagh offers is worlds apart.

One of my favorite things about the premiere and that I can promise doesn't abate as the season progresses is the further inclusion of Fergus and especially Marsali.

They were very present for the wedding, and we even found out they'll be having another child.

As Fraser's Ridge continues to expand, they'll be an integral part of life on the ridge.

Fergus and Marsali Get Cozy - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

Also integral to the story as it progresses is Claire's dedication to medicine.

She's the Outlander equivalent of Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman (for you youngsters, don't worry about it), providing care to her neighbors that they cannot and will not get elsewhere.

It won't always be easy for her carve a path that wouldn't otherwise be taken for decades into the future, but the scenes in which time itself is tested are some of the series' best.

Without the knowledge that Claire, Brianna, and Roger have, Outlander would be any other time-period romance, but imagining a bit of ourselves living out of time is what makes Outlander sing.

The Cross - Outlander Season 5 Episode 1

There are sure to be harrowing times ahead as the Frasers and their neighbors wait for the moment that Jamie, once again, lights that cross calling them forth in battle.

They don't have the knowledge that the Frasers share about the future, but we can only guess that Jamie, Claire, Brianna, and Roger will do everything they can to ensure those they know understand why the decisions they make will mean so much.

All of this action will call on Sam Heughen to be as marvelous as ever. He's infusing Jamie with unexpectedly touching emotion which was apparent as Jamie prepared to let go of the daughter he's only just gotten to know, as well as the person he has known and counted on the longest. What a Valentine's Day treat!

It's your turn, Outlander fanatics!

What did you think of the premiere? Was it everything you had hoped?

What do you think is up next for the Fraser family?

Share your thoughts below, and watch Outlander online for all of your historical references.

The Fiery Cross Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
  • 4.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (51 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Outlander Season 5 Episode 1 Quotes

Jamie: But having just got you back, must I give you away so soon?
Brianna: Da. No matter where I am, I will always be your wee girl.

Claire: You've been busy.
Jamie: I should so what I can for her. While I have the chance. We've not had enough time together.
Claire: It was going to happen one day. And we're giving her away to a man who loves her. What? You doubt his love?