Outlander Season 5 Episode 3 Review: Free Will

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Claire and Jamie have been separated many times in the past for many different reasons.

They never enjoyed it, and because of it, they lost a lot of valuable time together. Jamie even gave up raising his child for his family's safety.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that when the couple faced another long-term separation on Outlander Season 5 Episode 3, Claire put her foot down.

Mentoring Marsali - Outlander

While joining Jamie as he goes off to possibly fight one of the only other people on earth who shares as much of his heart as Claire and Brianna makes sense and offers a lot of storyline opportunities, it also seems like it might be a mistake.

But before sharing my feelings on the matter, let's discuss what worked about the latest developments.

Considering the epic romance at our fingertips and the couple's advancing ages, it wouldn't be any fun for them to separate.

We're never going to face another story about temptation or trying to build a new life without the other that will ever make any sense, so the wise choice is to double down on how well being together complements them and their activities.

Colonel James Fraser - Outlander Season 5 Episode 3

Not only is the prospect of Jamie fighting in any kind of skirmish surely unpleasant for Claire, but now that she's on her home turf, she's a lot more confident with the social mores and expectations, and she's happier to get involved.

The rewards far outweigh the risks at this point. Even more importantly, she has battlefield experience. It might not have made sense for Claire to accompany the Highlanders to their bloody standoff, but if atrocity with the Regulators were a foregone conclusion, surely she would have read about it, right?

Whatever happens with the Regulators -- there isn't anything written about it as far as I know -- it can't amount to much.


Unfortunately, if anyone watched Watchmen, you know that not all atrocities in our history have been well documented. And from what I've read of the Regulators, it's going to end badly. Very badly.

With the Frasers' promises to their Frasers' Ridge residents that their family would be in good hands and returned safely, Claire being on hand will seem like a Godsend.

Handsome Jamie in the Woods - Outlander Season 5 Episode 3

And if, God forbid, the worst happens to Murtagh, Jamie is going to crumble, and he will need Claire's support to get through it.

Claire: I'm coming with you.
Jamie: If there is a war with the Regulators...
Claire: Then you will need a physician. Murtagh, Knox, Tryon, they've all made their choices, and I've made mine. You need my help.
Jamie: I always have. And I always will.

Claire has already been a significant help, even if her ethics have caused a little setback for Jamie and his militia to get on the road in the hunt for Murtagh.

So far, their trip has reminded us how different things were just over 200 years ago on this land.

In the scope of history, 250 years is a blip. It's nothing. But seeing how far we've come as a society is awe-inspiring.

A Shock to the System - Outlander Season 5 Episode 3

From indentured servitude to slavery to the terrible way men once treated their wives and children, history is often a stark reminder of our progression and how much we have to be thankful for.

Claire: Why do you keep the goats indoors?
Girl: It's too cold for them in the barn.
Claire: Too cold for the goats but not for the bondservant?

Also of note is how differently we once regarded life in general. From wars to duals to brawls in the street to swift justice, killing each other was almost a way of life.

It's unfathomable to imagine that either Frances, Beardsley's wife, or Jamie could get away with their treatment of the man even as different as their motivations were. Frances wanted vengeance on the man who treated her poorly, and Jamie wanted to end a man's torment even if he deserved to suffer.

In 2020 the hunt wouldn't be for Murtagh for not paying his taxes, but for Frances for elder abuse and for Jamie for murder. In cases like this one, I'm not even sure whether history or the present is the right choice, but it sure is interesting to weigh how much things have changed.

Wedded Bliss - Outlander Season 5 Episode 3

But what is Claire going to do with a baby? They're grandparents of a child just a little older than Frances' baby. I don't recall the couple having another living child, so perhaps they'll find someone to adopt the baby.

Having a baby doesn't make me a mother any more than sleeping in a stable makes someone a horse.


I can't imagine Jamie will be pleased that in addition to their tardiness with the militia that they'll also be caring for a newborn. Then again, he's almost always on board with Claire's decisions, and the two of them will find the right option.

So what is pointing to it being a mistake for Claire to join Jamie and the militia?

Marsali has barely scratched the surface of her medical training, for one thing. Claire put significant effort into finding a strain of mold for penicillin. Still, there is no way even with understanding the different color variations that Marsali will be able to continue that project.

Physician in Waiting - Outlander Season 5 Episode 3

She's been left holding a bag that she's not ready to carry, from the penicillin to caring for their burgeoning community.

But that's small potatoes in correlation to my second point. Hasn't Jamie learned enough about Stephen Bonnet to be aware that leaving his daughter and Bonnett's kid behind without protection is a very poor idea?

Even worse, Jamie only told Claire that Bonnet was alive after they'd already taken all of the able-bodied men and Brianna's husband and ridden miles away. What on earth is Jamie thinking??

Claire: What kind of world is this to bring a baby into?
Jamie: The only world.
Claire: No, it isn't. Jamie, I want Brianna and Roger to go back to their own time as soon as they know if Jemmy can travel. It's safer for them there. For Jemmy especially. Roger feels the same way. He wants to take them home.
Jamie: Of course he does. Your penicillin will make it safer for them here, will it not?
Claire: Only from infection.
Jamie: Well, perhaps it will be safer in your time, but they will be without their family, without their blood.

Jamie and Claire even discussed her desire for Brianna to return to the future so that she's safe from many things, but on that list wasn't Stephen Bonnett. It seems like they're too flippant about the whole situation.

An Emotional Moment - Outlander Season 5 Episode 3

If Bonnet hadn't infiltrated their boat and slaughtered innocent people without them having a clue, it wouldn't be as concerning. But historically, the man got one over on the family more than once. If you watch Outlander online, you know he even survived an explosion!

"Free Will" was a nice distraction from the bigger picture and the hunt for Murtagh, but it set into motion a worrisome set of events that could put Brianna into danger.

What did you think of Jamie and Claire's disgusting foray to the house in the country?

Were you surprised to learn about Josiah's brother?

What will Roger do if he discovers Bonnet is alive?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Free Will Review

Editor Rating: 3.75 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (32 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 3 Quotes

Claire: I'm coming with you.
Jamie: If there is a war with the Regulators...
Claire: Then you will need a physician. Murtagh, Knox, Tryon, they've all made their choices, and I've made mine. You need my help.
Jamie: I always have. And I always will.

Whatever happens with the Regulators -- there isn't anything written about it as far as I know -- it can't amount to much.