Say His Name and the Devil Appears: Outlander, ‘Better to Marry Than Burn’

***Spoiler Warning Spoilers for Outlander through Season 5, Episode 6, and Book Spoilers through Diana Gabaldon’s The Fiery Cross follow. Spoilers***

With a literal plague and the titular advice, Outlander‘s sixth hour this season took a bit of a biblical slant. Borrowing from 1 Corinthians (7:9) and as some of us suspected, Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta Cameron finally chose her fourth and safe husband, Duncan Innes (Alastair Findlay), as Captain Roger and his new bride, Bree came up with a creative way to deter a horde of destructive pests.

A flashback to 1746 Scotland reveals that the trusting Jocasta lost a daughter to her third husband’s chest of stolen French gold, and the rest of her children to Culloden’s fires. Settling down with a dependable companion is at this point more important than any fire she feels over Murtagh’s last-minute drop to his knees, his proposal, and a declaration of everlasting love. Unfortunately, Jocasta’s well-intended future handoff of River Run to baby Jemmy only secures the child’s imminent danger, as her lawyer passes on the news to his maybe-father, the dastardly Stephen Bonnet.

Bree isn’t the only Fraser woman who must fend off unwanted attacks; despite several precautionary measures, Claire barely escapes Philip Wylie’s (Chris Donald) clutches only to be subjected to Jamie’s terrible, hubris-driven gamble — a trap to track down their daughter’s rapist.

Actual adorable moments between Skelton and Rankin!

Back at Fraser Ridge, Roger rejects the hivemind’s field-burning initiative in favor of the shit-pot smokeout idea he remembered his father reading about in a childhood story. When it works, Roger wins over the naysayers’ favor and perhaps, Bree muses, a promotion to major.

After make-up sexytimes in the barn and a dark pact between Jamie and Claire, the line between right and wrong (and a doctor’s do-no-harm edict) grows blurrier than ever. And when the actions of those we call devils aren’t so far from what we’re willing to do in the name of love ourselves, how can we discern the “good guys” from the bad?

Thoughts:

There were so many odd things happening this episode that left me with conflicting emotions and thoughts, I hardly know where to start. Might as well go with Claire and Jamie …

On the one hand, our favorite couple was together; they were fiery and feisty, fighting but then making up with some odd and hot sexytimes.

On the other hand, I as much as and on behalf of Claire, was utterly offended by a) Jamie’s asking for her rings to bet against Wylie — WHO HAD JUST ATTACKED HIS WIFE —and who Claire ably fought off on her own, Jamie! I’m glad Fraser got his moment to play the protective bear and all, but let’s remind that Claire did a brilliant job of pushing off Wylie into a pile of dung and giving him what for. And, for that matter, she gave Jamie a deserved earful as well, because men are gonna men, and get stuck in all their macho stuff.

I can’t quite express how much I dislike that Jamie would even ask for Claire’s ring(s),

despite him managing to win and return them. And while I get make-up sexytimes, she was awfully quick to forgive not only the ring thing

but also his comment that she should not forget she’s a woman. I’m really shocked Claire didn’t make more of a fuss over that. For a split-second, I almost thought Jamie was going to try to hit (spank — remember that?) Claire again; at least he was smart enough to not do that (though reminding her she’s a woman isn’t much better).

Meanwhile, as I mentioned last week and part b) of my offense taken is at both Jamie and Claire’s ever-changing murder barometer (if you will). Claire was ready to save Aaron Beardsley’s life no matter what, even though he’d beaten his wife, raped multiple wives, killed multiple wives and beaten his charges. I don’t know if Jamie discussed killing Knox with her yet, but I’ll venture she’s okay with that too because, in theory, it was basically Knox or Jamie. Now she stopped Jamie from possibly losing it and choking out Wylie, but both Jamie and Claire are intimating that he’ll kill Bonnet when they find him — and Claire is doing what she can to help find him.

Do I understand the urge to protect their family, especially their daughter and grandchild? Of course, I do. Might I have the same urges were I in their position? Perhaps I would. That said, it’s more the wavering of lines than a position on one side or the other that causes me internal turmoil. In general, we want to see Claire and Jamie as good people, who would only defend themselves. But Jamie’s temper seems to have developed an ever-shortening fuse, and Claire — a doctor very concerned with the sanctity of life, doing no harm, and saving even the worst of people if she’s able — also appears to move her moral line around depending upon weekly circumstances.

My next bit of conflict is over Murtagh and Jocasta, who I just don’t get together. Murtagh basically has chemistry all by himself … then he gets in a room with Jamie’s aunt and it’s like everything is drained from him. There is nothing between these characters (for me, anyway), throwing them quickly together didn’t light any spark, and though I felt for Jocasta’s plight, I was nothing but thrilled when she turned down his proposal and married Duncan Innes …***Book Spoiler*** Since their marriage is what happens in Diana Gabaldon’s novels and the source material killed off Murtagh in the Battle at Culloden, many viewers are now speculating that Murtagh will die this season. I really hope that’s not true.

When Jamie laments that Murtagh should be marrying Jocasta, Claire aptly observes that if Murtagh isn’t there, it’s his choice.

Though it’s always delightful to see Lord John Grey again, that was entirely too short a moment for David Berry. We need more!

Another week — another instance of Claire overhearing women talking about her (Dr. Rawlings’) medical advice …

I wonder if the bedtime story Roger mentioned his father telling — and what made him think of smoking out the locusts — was one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series books.

Let’s take a moment to cheer Chris Donald for his excellent performance as Philip Wylie. He was alternately charming, despicable, haughty and sniveling. I thoroughly enjoyed him and especially that moment he couldn’t contain himself (thank goodness nothing worse happened), and when he described Claire as a “vile succubus”.

I chose that particular quote for the headline because it seemed to me this hour there were several potential “devils” it could refer to, the obvious being Stephen Bonnet and Philip Wylie. The not so overt referral could be Jamie, himself — hear me out, because I do mostly love Jamie … but lately his quick tendencies toward violent options, without much forethought, bother me. Having one set of morals for oneself and another for others isn’t an admirable thing.

An interesting aside explored this hour was in the way Claire and Jamie responded to each other sexually, and how fantasy elements between people who feel safe with each other are so very different from other real-world occurrences. It’s one thing to have a stranger come after you aggressively in a barn, and quite another to have your husband playing at taking you aggressively — even after he made you angry with a ridiculous attempt to put a woman in her place. I’m not sure what the actual intent of those scenes was, but they added a little bonus perspective.

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over ten years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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