Outlander Season 5 Episode 7 Review: The Ballad of Roger Mac

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War is ugly.

From the moment the first thoughts are uttered until long after the battle, there isn't anything pretty about war.

On Outlander Season 5 Episode 7, we got our first taste of the American Revolution, and it fit those sentiments exactly.

Eye Candy for the Ladies - Outlander Season 5 Episode 7

The short conversation between Brianna and Roger about sending each other off in the future and how different it is in the past will likely have a lot of meaning to them going forward.

Instead of packing lunch boxes and sending her husband off to a day at the office, Brianna was making sense of sending her husband to war.

Kudos the the school system in the 60s still teaching American history to a great degree, because even I had to turn to Google for information on the Alamance battle.

Brianna didn't hesitate to ride out to inform her family of the carnage ahead, and it was that warning that ultimately put Roger into danger and didn't even achieve the desired result -- to save Murtagh from the massacre.

Women Stay Behind - Outlander Season 5 Episode 7

The confluence of events ensured that the Frasers and Mackenzies will be scarred for the rest of their lives.

Ironically, it was Brianna who raised the alarm of the consequences of meddling with the timeline.

Brianna: Wait. If we do stop this war now, doesn't that mean that the Revolutionary War won't happen and America will never become America?
Jamie: You say some people believe this is the spark. Couldn't the spark alight from somewhere else?
Claire: Yes, it could.
Roger: What matters are the men in my charge, the Regulators fightin' for what they believe in, and my godfather.
Roger: I agree. I'll deliver the message to Murtagh.
Jamie: It's too dangerous.
Roger: I know, but I'm the only one who can do it. He knows me. He knows I'm from the future. He'll believe it.

Murtagh had made his decision to fight with the Regulators, heck, to lead them, despite Jamie's warnings that sitting it out and allowing the bigger battle to commence a couple of years down the road would have been worth the wait.

But in the ultimate catch 22, if Roger hadn't led the battle, the battle of Alamance might not have been the spark that alighted the future war for freedom.

Murtagh Gives a Speech - Outlander Season 5 Episode 7

Roger was right that he was the best person for the job of warning Murtagh. He was also the worst person for the job.

After all, we've seen that he doesn't blend in with the locals, and it was that inability to blend that got him sidetracked and on the wrong side of destiny.

Roger is still a man of modern times despite all that he's seen and encountered in the past.

Hugging a woman seems innocent enough. But fuses were already short, and it was all her husband needed to overreact to a situation he didn't understand.

Roger Finds An Old Friend - Outlander Season 5 Episode 7

So Roger's situation is the ultimate case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Murtagh, too, wound up dying because of something very similar.

Jamie has been in between a rock and a hard place many times before, but he had no illusions that just because he was fighting on the other side of war his people, like in Culloden, would lose that he could escape it unscathed without fighting.

Making matters even worse, Jamie looked the ultimate traitor to his kind when he was forced to don the red coat.

Jamie with his Militia - Outlander Season 5 Episode 7

If it was hard to appeal to three young men in prison that he was on their side, then it was even harder to explain to everyone who needed to understand his situation exactly what it was.

So he didn't. He continued to lead the militia in his control, and that meant going up against the Regulators with everything so they'd survive.

That it was Jamie's own words that brought down Murtagh made the events that much more catastrophic.

Jamie: War's not like hunting. The deer and the possums aren't trying to kill you.
Young soldier: Ma says the point of hunting is to kill something, and the point of going to war is to come back alive.
Jamie: War is killing. That's it. Think of anything less than your own skin, you'll be dead by nightfall. Ye canna waver.

When Murtagh got involved with the Regulators long after he had been dead in the books, it made perfect sense to me that he wouldn't make it out of the Alamance massacre alive. That doesn't make watching his death or Jamie's reaction any easier.

Jamie Fraser the Red Coat - Outlander Season 5 Episode 7

Sam Heughan has been tremendous this season, and all of his emotional scenes have been on point. He should receive some recognition for bringing Jamie's pain to life.

Jamie's birthday has gotten a whole lot uglier, and not only because he turned 50. Although if we all turned 50 looking like Jamie Fraser, we'd be a lot better off for it.

Every year his birthday will be tainted by the death of his godfather and with whatever happened to Roger.

Because, yes, that was Roger hanging by the tree. And I know what happens in the books, but if Roger could live and die later, then I'm not going to attempt to surmise what it means for Roger on the series.

Nurses on the Battlefield - Outlander Season 5 Episode 7

Suffice it to say that it's not a case of mistaken identity, and what comes next will take Jamie's mind off of the loss of Murtagh and center his thoughts on his daughter.

And the battle itself was horrifying. Men shooting each other in the backs on both sides. It was a free for all, and one in which retreating held no salvation.

It will be interesting to see how the family interacts with Tryon going forward. I hate to be the one to tell you, but this true historical figure makes it through the American Revolution and out the other side, dying at his home in England well after the new country is established.

Utter Shock - Outlander Season 5 Episode 7

Will Jamie wash his hands of the man because of how he effected their lives, or will Tryon become a bit of a new Black Jack that he wishes to destroy?

What do you think will happen with Roger?

Did Jamie's grief crush your heart?

If you want to relive some happier times for the family (there have been at least a couple of those times), you can watch Outlander online.

Then drop below and share your thoughts on the shocking developments!

The Ballad of Roger Mac Review

Editor Rating: 4.25 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (34 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, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Outlander Season 5 Episode 7 Quotes

As for taking stock. I have all my teeth, none of my parts are missing, and my cock still stands up by itself in the morning. Could be worse.

Jamie

Jamie: It has struck me that I have now lived longer than my father did. This is a morning he never saw. Died when he was 49.
Claire: I'm sure he'd be happy to know you are alive with children and grandchildren that love you.
Jamie: Aye. Agree. The world and each day in it is a gift. Whatever tomorrow brings, I'm grateful to see it.