Outlander season 5 episode 1: why fans find Jamie’s flashback scene so significant

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The first episode of Outlander season five has finally landed, and it’s all about love and family. But there was one relationship in particular that was honoured – and it wasn’t Roger and Brianna, who start the series with their wedding. Warning: this article discusses in detail the events of season five, episode one of Outlander, and therefore contains major spoilers. Read on at your own peril…

Full disclosure: I’m premenstrual, I’ve just watched the first episode of Outlander season five, and I’m sobbing fat tears while writing. 

Yes, emotions are well and truly high, fellow sassenachs. 

It was an episode totally devoted to love, which even saw Roger sing a rendition of LO.V.E. on his guitar. (Was this adorable or cringe? That’s for you to decide, depending on your thoughts about Roger.)

But first, to very quickly recap where things left off at the end of season four: Brianna and Roger joined Jamie and Claire at Fraser’s Ridge in North Carolina, where they will bring up baby Jemmy. 

One sub-plot to remember from season four is that Jamie’s godfather Murtagh – who is leader of the Regulator Rebellion – is in hiding from Governor Tryon. This, of course, puts Jamie in a pretty tricky position: he needs to simultaneously protect his family and land, and Murtagh.

And it’s only about to get even trickier in season five. You’re going to need a box of tissues for this one.

What happens in Outlander season five, episode one?

The tears start to roll as soon as the opening flashback scene to the Highlands shows a windswept, young Murtagh making an oath to look after bonnie wee Jamie following the death of his mother. Tears turn into sobs of joy when the beautiful choral take on the the show’s theme tune, Skye Boat Song, properly introduces us to the highly-anticipated new season of the time-travel drama.

Brianna and Roger get married, and we’re given a second flashback

We travel back to 18th century North Carolina, where the Frasers are getting ready for Brianna and Roger’s wedding day. Jamie is wearing his wee spectacles while teaching Roger how to do a close shave. Claire is making the finishing touches to the runway-worthy wedding gown she’s casually made for Brianna. And everybody from around the ridge has come together to celebrate (except poor Murtagh, who is noticeably missing, and missed).

“Je suis prest,” Brianna tells her dad, echoing the Fraser clan’s “I am ready” motto. The proud look on Jamie’s face when he sees her ready in her gown… I just… I can’t even… the tears will not stop. 

Outlander
Outlander season 5: Claire dresses Brianna on her wedding day.

The ceremony is all very nice and twee and lovely. But, let’s be honest, the best part is the second flashback of the episode – to Jamie and Claire’s iconic The Wedding scene (arguably the best fictional wedding ever shown on television). The after-party is pretty swinging too, but there are a couple of moments that dampen spirits and suggest dark times are ahead.

Roger drops a time-travel bombshell

Firstly, Roger very heavily hints that he wants to travel back to the future, saying he’s looking forward to having another wedding in more modern times. And Brianna overhears Lord John telling Jamie that her rapist and the biological father of her baby, Stephen Bonnet, has been sighted nearby.

Everyone is “at it” – and I mean everyone

But let’s not worry about the bad stuff just yet. We have a montage of sex scenes to get through, to the sound of Roger’s guitar playing – yes, it’s all a bit weird, and a far cry from the dramatic Outlander sex scenes of yonder. But there’s one couple in particular to take note of here: Murtagh and Jocasta.

The pair meet in a secret hut, complete with a boggy floor and candlelight – a bit like glamping. First of all, it’s refreshing to see the sexual relationship of couple in their 60s be given the same space as the younger characters. But, also, the conversation they have afterwards suggests that there is no way forward for them – and that’s indicative to Murtagh’s future.

Jamie is given a tough ultimatum

Later, Governor Tryon tells Jamie that he and his men must join him on a mission to find Murtagh’s rebellion and hang him. Otherwise, the King has the right to take away the Frasers’ land and home. Obviously, Jamie has to go along with it. But before leaving, he needs to secretly meet with Murtagh, one last time.

Oh boy, grab another tissue (if you have any left).

Outlander season 5:
Outlander season 5:
Outlander season 5: Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe return.

Jamie says goodbye to Murtagh, and I cannot cope

This poignant and moving end scene, which is further heightened by the episode’s opening flashback, reminds us of just how formative and special Murtagh and Jamie’s relationship is.

“You have everything you ever wanted,” Murtagh tells his god son, before adding: “I don’t resent you for it… but I must do what I must, and you cannae resent me for that either.”

“Nothing could ever make me resent you,” replies Jamie.

*BAWLING MY EYES OUT RIGHT NOW*

We all know that Murtagh has been there for Jamie throughout the whole series – Jamie wouldn’t be here with his family without him. But it’s time for Jamie to release loyal Murtagh from his oath, to help keep him alive. “I release you from it,” he tells him. “Go, please. Be hard to find”.

Will Murtagh return to Outlander?

We know that Claire and Jamie are the greatest love story of all time. But it couldn’t exist without the beautiful bond between Jamie and Murtagh, and this episode did a very good job of honouring that friendship. I have the streaks of mascara running down my face to prove it. The question is: will they ever be reunited? 

Of course, this isn’t the first time Jamie and Murtagh have been separated – they emotionally reunited in season four after years apart. But something about this feels more “final”. And as Murtagh’s character doesn’t follow the same story as the books, we don’t know his future. 

So we will just have to watch the rest of the season to find out.

Slàinte to that.

HOT SCOTS: THIS WEEK’S HEART-RACING SCENES

  • The moment when Jamie digs out his old kilt to go and light the fiery cross and make a powerful speech about community and honour will be forever there in the Outlander part of my brain. And the way Claire gives him a silent “on your feet, soldier” with her subtle nod is TO DIE FOR.
  • After Roger hesitates over whether or not he’ll support Bri and Stephen’s baby, Jocasta – an utter legend – covertly tests him about his loyalty. Roger finally redeems himself by swearing a blood oath to accept baby Jemmy as his own son, and unknowingly passing the test. Top work all round.
  • And we need to give another shout out to Murtagh in that flashback – what a guy. 

Fan reactions for Outlander season five episode one

Following the release of the first episode, fans were quick to share their love for Jamie and Murtagh’s friendship. 

One viewer asked: “What was the word that Jamie says to Murtagh in Gaelic and it’s meaning?” Another explained that “ghoistidh” means godfather.

Another fan proved what a tearjerker it was, tweeting: “Tears in the beginning and tears at the end. Jamie crying after releasing Murtagh from his vows was just so heartbreaking! But the season goes on!”

And a third pointed out some symbolism in the show, writing: “I love that the episode starts out with Jamie sitting on a log while Murtagh makes his vow, and then ends with Murtagh sitting on a log while Jamie frees him from the vow he made. Such great symbolism! I wonder whose idea that was…”

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Images: Starz

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…