SPOILER ALERT: The story includes details about the season-finale episode of Outlander. You have been warned!
The season five finale of Starz Outlander ended on a good note, kind of. Tonight’s episode, which was titled Never My Love, was written by showrunner Matthew B. Roberts and Toni Graphia and directed by Jamie Payne.
The finale opens with Claire (Caitriona Balfe), who has been taken captive by Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy) and his men after Lionel discovered that Claire was using the guise of Dr. Rawlings to publish articles with innovative medical tips for the people of the Ridge and accuses Claire of “spreading dangerous ideas.” Claire tries desperately to escape but is tied up and beaten by Lionel’s men.
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While in captivity, Claire meets another time-traveler named Wendigo Donner and promises to get him back to his time if he can save her. Unfortunately, Wendigo only provides little help as he fears the consequences of his action. Things take a dark turn when Lionel and his men set up camp. Claire, gagged and tied up to a tree, is violently sexually assaulted by several men including Lionel.
To dissociate from the assault, Claire escapes mentally into a dream – seeing what seems to be a 70s version of her close family coming together for Thanksgiving dinner.
Meanwhile, it is revealed that while Roger (Richard Rankin), Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Jemmy traveled through the stones, they were thinking of “home” and find themselves in the 1770s once again. As the Mackenzies and Young Ian (John Bell) reach the big house, they notice that the cross has been lit which is an indication of trouble. Jamie (Sam Heughan) fills them in on recent events and Roger and Ian accompany him to retrieve Claire and wage an attack on Lionel’s camp. Jamie and company are able to defeat Claire’s captors and round up the remaining survivors for Claire to have her revenge on the men that brutally assaulted. Claire chooses to honor her oath to not take a life.
Not able to point out which of the men participated in the gang rape, Jamie has all the remaining men killed but spares Lionel’s life for questioning. While on their way back to the ridge, Claire learns Marsali (Lauren Lyle) and her baby survived the previous ambush and Wendigo is nowhere to be found. Claire, visibly shaken and badly bruised, demonstrates a powerful display of resilience declaring, “I’m supposed to be shattered by this. Well, I won’t be.”
Elsewhere, Roger and Bree are settling in for the night with Roger carrying a weight of guilt for what he had done during Claire’s rescue. He struggles to confess to Bree that he killed a man and questions his morality.
The next morning, Claire is in the surgery with Lionel who is tied up on the table and begs for mercy on his life, which almost pushes Claire to abandon her oath. Not showing gratitude for mercy he was given, Lionel continues with his antagonistic remarks and ends up getting a lethal injection from Marsali.
After discovering what Marsali had done, Jamie takes Lionel’s body back to his brother, Richard, taking responsibility for Lionel’s killing. After acknowledging his brother “reaped what he sowed” and that Jamie did what he had to do, Richard promises retaliation when the time comes.
That’s not the only danger Jamie has to worry about. The episode ends back at the Ridge where the Fraser family is enjoying the tranquil moment, something that Claire foreshadows will not last long. She ominously remarks, “who knows how much longer we’ll have this peace knowing what’s coming,” referring to the impending American Revolution.
Claire and Jamie share a tender moment wrapped in each other’s arms where Claire, questioning her bravery, tells Jamie that she feels safe and then the scene fades to black.
The series is slated to return for a sixth season and while Season five covered some of the events that occurred in the sixth book in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series titled, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, executive producer and showrunner Matthew B Roberts told Deadline that “right now, Season 6 covers Book 6.”
“But, as in seasons past, we always look ahead and behind to see if there’s any way to add in something we’ve missed or bring up a future bit that may be appropriate to the upcoming season, he added. Roberts teased that “season six brings us closer to the Revolutionary War, and Jamie and Claire will encounter a new group of settlers in and around Fraser’s Ridge.”
Both Ronald D. Moore and Jeffrey Hirsch have confirmed talks of a spin-off. As to what the next interaction of Outlander will be, the details are still being worked out.
“It’s an ongoing discussion, but nothing is set in stone as of yet, said Roberts. “It’s amazing how the passion of the audience for these characters and this story has grown over the seasons; we would love to find a way to continue to reward the loyalty of our fans.”
There have been rumors of a spinoff with popular character, Lord John Grey, who is also the center point of a short story series written by Diana Gabaldon. “One never knows where Lord John Grey might turn up next,” said Roberts.
Speaking to the longevity of the series, Roberts is hopeful for more seasons past six. “Diana is still writing this story, so we would love to continue making the series as long as fans want to watch.”
Deadline also spoke with star Sophie Skelton, who talked about her journey this season and what’s in store her character Brianna in the upcoming season 6.
DEADLINE: How would you describe your character Bree’s journey throughout this season and also, your journey throughout season five?
SOPHIE SKELTON: I always said that season four was the one that I was just really excited to get to because I feel like, definitely in the books and even mostly in the scripts I feel like that’s where Brianna really becomes the character that I always loved and wanted to play. Obviously, she’s grappling with a lot when we meet her in season two. Her dad just died, she’s doesn’t get on with her mom, and so it just really takes a long time to get to know Brianna. She acts out a lot I suppose with any trauma that’s going in her life. She doesn’t always handle it in the most elegant way should we say but she’s really becoming a woman that I think everyone can be proud of now.
Season five has just been a really fun one in terms of being able to show everybody the true Bree. I feel like even after the rape she holds a lot to herself, she’s very stoic, she’s very Fraser-like in that she’s very held and puts on a very good facade. I think whilst on Jamie that can look very sexy and cool, on a young girl, that can look a bit difficult. For Bree this season, and even off the back in season four where I felt like we got to know her a lot more, I think this season we really get to know the deepest layer of Brianna should we say. She takes some peeling to get to the bottom of but now, I feel like we can see what she’s going through, through the audience’s eyes. I feel before we didn’t really know what was going on in Brianna’s head and now we’ve had really a lot of time to get to know her and sit with her, and even in the Bonnet episode 5-10, there’s moments where we see it. We see Brianna putting on this show for Bonnet. She’s trying to act brave and she’s okay, and everything else, but then we actually get these moments with her on her own where Bonnet’s turned away from the camera and it’s just the camera and Bree and we actually see what she’s going through underneath and I feel like that’s been Bree the whole time and we just haven’t had time to see it. So it’s been a really exciting one to actually just get the material to let Bree release a bit.
DEADLINE: Now that Bonnet is dead, how is that going to affect Bree emotionally going forward?
SKELTON: I think it’s easy to forget, especially when something comes out week after week and you can’t just binge it all at once, it’s easy to forget that Brianna’s been going through the turmoil with Bonnet the whole season but I don’t just mean from a PTSD point of view but I mean from a more imminent danger point of view in terms of finding out on her wedding day that he’s lurking. So we see a really light side of Brianna on her wedding day. Obviously, she’s nervous initially but then at the wedding, she’s so light and delicate, and she just seems so free. Then she finds out about Bonnet and she’s been carrying that weight the entire season and just knowing that he’s lurking around that it means that Jemmy could be in danger, her family, and obviously it really puts her recovery on hold because he’s lurking.
It’s nice now to get to the point at the end of the season where that weight has been lifted again. But one thing I do feel strongly about is that obviously, Bonnet has gone but the trauma hasn’t. So even though that imminent danger is out of the way and that is a big relief for her. She’s still going to have some struggling and some healing. It’s not all going to be you know fairies and sunshine from now on but she’s definitely on the way to at least being able to live day by day a little easier and sleep at night. One thing she wasn’t able to do was rest knowing that Jemmy could be taken from her in the middle of the night and now at least that danger has gone.
DEADLINE: You mentioned that she’s still dealing with the trauma and at the end of the penultimate episode, we see you know a very horrific rape that happens to her mother, Claire. Luckily, she’s rescued and she’s reunited with her family but how will Claire’s more recent trauma affect Bree in her path to healing?
SKELTON: Well, it’s really interesting because I think one thing the show does really well is you always see the aftermath of rape victims. Sometimes things can be pushed over and sort of put away in a box after the event. But we really do sit with the characters and with the ongoing torment that happens after an attack and I think what’s great is that we show different versions of it. We show Brianna acting out, we show Brianna in depression, we show Roger’s depression, we show Jaime’s, we show that Claire’s really just trying to be resilient but then she has that moment where she breaks down and I think it’s great to see that there’s not just one way to deal with anything.
It would be interesting if we have moments where maybe it rehashes Bree’s feelings up. But I actually think in Brianna’s case, because that would be a fair way to deal with it, too, but I think in Brianna’s case, it helps her heal in a way because I think one thing that Brianna does really well is put aside her own troubles to look after other people. So even when she was still going through PTSD and knowing that Bonnet was lurking around, Roger was obviously going through something, and she put her own stuff aside to deal with him and help him. So I think it’ll be the same with Claire. With Bree, it’ll almost force her to just her concentration into the people she loves and let her own feelings vary and take a bit of a backburner, and she’ll just want to make sure that Claire’s okay.
DEADLINE: I want to talk about you know the fact that Brianna has been hesitant about going back through the stones and early in the episode we find out that she and Roger didn’t go through the stones, they’re still in the 18th century. They both say they were thinking about home — which from the episode it’s hinted that they were referring to Fraser’s Ridge as home. Is Roger now on board with living in the past?
SKELTON: Definitely. One thing Brianna has been carrying, too, is the guilt that Roger doesn’t really fit into this time. Obviously, they’re at this time because of Brianna’s family and because she’s now with the family she never had and definitely Jemmy now has a family, too. I think in that moment when Roger says I was thinking of home, it’s another weight lifted for Bree because it almost means that Roger has therefore subconsciously decided that this is his home, too and that they both belong there. So she won’t be holding him there. I think she felt like she was holding him there in a way and of course she felt guilty but now she can feel at least that this is where he wants to be, too. By home it’s maybe not so much Fraser’s Ridge but, without it sounding too cheesy, I think is like home is where the heart is and their family’s there. Wherever they all decide to settle, as long as they’re all together, I think that’s where they’ve decided that they are safest even though it might not be the safest time.
DEADLINE: So Roger made his first human kill, which clearly doesn’t sit well with him. How’s that going to affect Roger and Bree’s relationship in the upcoming seasons, or is it going to affect their relationship?
SKELTON: Obviously, they have a very rocky relationship but now they are both a lot more settled in their circumstance, in the place that they’re in with Jemmy’s parentage whatever that may be, they just seem a lot more of a team. I think now any circumstances that aren’t exactly going in a tremendously good way they tend to work through them together now and everything makes them stronger, everything’s that thrown at them, so I think they’ll be okay. From that conversation, the gravity of that scene, the way he asks her to blow out the candle before he tells her, it actually seems a very settled way. Obviously, we don’t play that scene out but the way that I always imagined it going is Brianna knows what to say to Roger to make him feel better. In that moment she would just say like ‘you did the kindest thing and the best thing.’ Obviously, Roger’s a very religious man so I think any turmoil he would have with it would be a conversation Roger would be having with God in a way and I think he and Bree will be fine from it. She would’ve talked him round in a very good way to make him realize that he did the kindest thing as opposed to the most horrific thing.
DEADLINE: The final scene of the season hinted that a big storm was approaching indicated that a storm was approaching. Obviously, we know that the American Revolution is forthcoming, but what can you tell fans to expect from next season? Is there anything you can tease for us?
SKELTON: I’m really excited about next season because one thing I love about the show is that it’s got the sci-fi element but it feels so realistic because it’s rooted in times of history. The American Revolution is just going to be a really dramatic, action-packed, fun, fun in a weird way, storyline. I think it’s going to be most of the season in terms of brewing up to that American Revolution that amazing period in history and just seeing how the Frasers deal with it together is just going to be really, really magnificent. It’s going to be pretty epic so it almost seems like season five just setting up for six a little bit because this has been brewing the whole time.
DEADLINE: Is there anything for your character specifically that you’re excited for people to see?
SKELTON: In the book, I will say, Brianna has another baby on the way and that brings more questions in terms of where they end up in time period, so that’ll be very interesting. I also think it will be very cool to see Brianna maybe being a part of the American Revolution because she has all these skills that Frank helped teach her knowing that she would go back to the past and who knows, maybe he found an article where Brianna’s fighting on the American side, you never know. There’s lots of stuff that could be a potential for Bree next season.
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