Outlander season 5, episode 7 recap: is it really the end for this main character?

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In what is probably the saddest episode of Outlander season five, The Ballad of Roger Mac sees the death of a main character. But has a second character also been killed off? 

Excuse me as I write this through streams of tears. The Ballad of Roger Mac is one of the most emotional episodes of Outlander I have watched. I’m finding it hard to write Murtagh’s name without being overcome with another wave of sobs (wait a moment while I grab a tissue). And I almost feel bad for all the times I gave Roger a hard time. Almost, but not quite.

In the previous episode, we learned that Jamie would definitely be going to war against Murtagh and the Regulators. We also saw Jocasta turn down Murtagh’s marriage proposal because, despite loving him, she knew he would bring her heartbreak. And Claire finally invented penicillin. Yay for Claire.

So let’s take a look at what happens in Outlander season five, episode seven.

Murtagh is shot dead and I can’t cope

It all starts so well, with Claire celebrating Jamie’s 50th birthday with a morning romp in their tent at the Hillsborough camp. But reality soon hits when Tryon tells Jamie to put on a red coat before going into battle against the Regulators. Jamie’s shame at putting on the coat is palpable. He is dealing with the very real prospect of coming face-to-face with his beloved godfather Murtagh in a grisly battle. 

When that moment arrives towards the end of the episode, it’s absolutely heartbreaking. 

Murtagh saves Jamie from being killed in the woods. But a soldier then shoots Murtagh and shouts to Jamie: “I did what you said colonel, I dinnae waiver”. Those words shoot Jamie’s heart (and mine) just as powerfully as any bullet. 

Murtagh falls into Jamie’s arms and, due to the amount of blood that’s spurting out of him, it’s clear these are Murtagh’s last moments. “I released you from your oath, you weren’t supposed to save me, you should have done what I asked,” Jamie cries. Murtagh, being the legend he is, replies: “I’d never betray your mother, no matter who asks. Dannae be afraid… it doesn’t hurt a bit to die.”

Jamie rushes him back to the medical tent but Claire says she cannot save him. He then rips off his red coat in front of Tryon, telling him: “I’ve paid my debt and finished my obligation with the crown, you many have your coat back sir.” 

Yesss, Jamie. But is it too little too late? And who is going to break the news to Jocasta?

Outlander: Claire at the Battle of Alamance.
Outlander: Claire at the Battle of Alamance.

Brianna and Claire are, once again, the real heroes 

Brianna is the one who remembers being taught about the Battle of Alamance and its association with the Revolutionary War. She immediately jumps on a horse and goes to tell the gang that the Regulators lose, then stays to help her mother Claire with the battle’s casualties. Speaking of Claire, she’s about to put her penicillin to the test with Isaiah, who has been shot in the lungs. It turns out that the person who shot him was actually one of Jamie’s militiamen. When she confronts the man, he destroys her penicillin by stomping on it with his big stupid foot. 

For a split second, I hate that penicillin-destroying bloke more than Black Jack Randall. Grrr. 

Roger is found hanging from a tree, but is this really the end for him?

The episode opens with Roger playing the guitar. Again. “He never tires of that one,” Brianna says about her son Jemmy, after listening to Roger playing Oh My Darling Clementine. (Oh really, Bree? Well it’s giving me a damn migraine to be perfectly honest with you.)

Anyway, Roger soon goes off to war with Jamie and Claire. In an attempt to impress Jamie, who still clearly despairs of his son-in-law, Roger volunteers to try and convince Murtagh not to go into battle. But Murtagh’s men are having none of it, which means that Roger once again fails in a task given to him by Jamie.

On the way back to the battlefield, Roger bumps into Morag, who he met on the voyage to America in season four. When Morag’s husband spots the pair embracing, he assumes they are cheating and is violent towards his pregnant wife. Roger – in his most impressive move yet – punches the man (seriously, nice one Roger). But this obviously doesn’t end well…

In the final scene, after the battle ends, Jamie sees a man who looks like Roger hanging from a tree. However, this might not be the end of our (least) favourite guitar playing Scot. Firstly, we don’t actually see the man’s face. And secondly, in the books, Roger is hanged after being mistaken for a rebel – but he manages to get his hand around the rope and take the pressure off, giving Claire time to save him. He also loses his voice.

Of course I want Roger to survive, but I am perfectly OK with him no longer singing those Roger Mac ballads to be completely honest. We’ll have to wait for the next episode, which is airing on Monday 13 April, to learn his fate.

Hot Scots: the episodes most heart-racing moments

  • Jamie washing himself in the river. Need I say more?
  • Brianna galloping into camp on a horse, proving herself yet again to be way more useful than her “captain” husband Roger. She is definitely Claire’s daughter.

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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…

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