Blacklanderz Convos! Outlander S5 Epi3

Blacklanderz Convos!

Outlander S5 Epi3 – Free Will

Written by Luke Schelhaas | Directed by Jamie Payne

V: Having an out of focus, Impressionist, view of Marsali practicing suturing on a raw young pig leg was beautiful!

This conversation is between Blacklanderz Cathy, Vanita, and Marva. Arranged and edited by Vida; and, for those who don’t know, she [V:] interrupts sometimes.


Cathy: Jamie and Claire’s compassion for the Beardsleys – boys, wife, and Mr. The Beardsley abandon their home – boys, child, Mrs., and responsibility (Mr.). Suspended belief – the boys as thieves, the wife as cruel, the husband as redeemable.

I loved this episode for other reasons more than the story – cinematography, writing, acting. My enthusiasm may have diminished a bit because the honeymoon period is over, after 501 and 502, and the subject matter darker, but it is definitely a case of “don’t believe everything you think”.


Vanita: I like this episode very much also.  It definitely includes a lot of story that is hard to warm up to, but all areas of this episode are very well done.  Also, it is great to see Jamie and Claire working as a team and finding common ground, when they disagree.


Marva: What a dark journey into the dankest parts of the Carolina wilderness. Just like when I read these chapters in the book, I thought the events here were creepy and a bit over the top (the goats, the gangrene, the ick factor).  But it is an excellent study of the choices people make, and the consequences for them.

C: I love the cold openings they have adapted this season. The drone shots are stunning and Lauren Lyle/Marsali is always a joy to watch. She elevates every scene she’s in – love her sass.  Watching Marsali’s relationship with Claire strengthen is wonderful.

Va:  The cold opening once again starts with a beautiful wide aerial view.  It’s another angle of The Ridge and we get to appreciate a different view of its splendor.

M: Marsali might be smarter than Claire gives her credit for. That sass/attitude in that comment about Boston seemed a little “too” knowing. Marsali knows something is off about Claire.; but unlike Fergus and Young Ian, I think she has questions.

Va: She has made the choice to work with Claire and is a thinking student.  The theme of “Free Will”, choices and consequences, is obvious from the beginning and all throughout the episode.  On a lighter note, I think it’s safe to say that Marsali was throwing shade at Claire about Boston.

C: I’m SO happy the voice overs are back.  It was underutilized in S4. And the time lapse bread decay represented more than just a science experiment (which spoke to me), but also represented the care, forethought, and respect to the material and viewers – no cheap tricks.

This scene used to consist of Claire alone at her microscope, searching for penicillin and recalling (in voiceover) how she and Jamie had tried to change the past before—to no avail. It was decided through various conversations and revisions that Marsali should be a part of this—to continue her education as Claire’s apprentice. It’s fun to see Claire as a teacher—Cait and Lauren are so good in these scenes together.

In an early draft of the script, we had Claire successfully find penicillin at the end of this scene, but we realized that was happening too quickly. Not only was it probably unrealistic that she might discover it so early in the course of her experiment, but it felt like we were burning through some really good story. The truth is, we weren’t sure when (in which episode) Claire would have another chance to discover it, if not here.

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

But in the end, it didn’t feel right. Trying to “invent” penicillin is, in Claire’s own words, “tempting fate,” “bringing the future forward” and “daring history to try and stop me.” That’s no small task. And no small risk. To get to that too quickly would have been a mistake. As a writer, you’re often tempted to “get to the good stuff.” But you can get there too soon sometimes. Any big moment in an episode (or arc of episodes) needs to be earned—and often that takes a little time.

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

M: Ah… that first glimpse of home after a long time away. Jamie’s face says it all.

C: The whole scene of him coming home was shot beautifully.

Jamie and Claire’s love story is what drew us to the story [in the first place]. It’s the rock of everything else that goes around them. They have this extended family now, but always at the heart of it, Jamie and Claire are deeply in love.

There’s finally no more wondering, When will they be together? They’ve aged gracefully together, and they still have a great love for each other, and I don’t think that’s ever going to end. ~ Sam Heughan

Deo gratias.

Va:  Jamie’s return home is punctuated by his very, short but very meaningful prayer over a sleeping Claire.  He rarely misses a chance to express his gratitude for having her in his life, even after twenty-five years.

C: The sense of relief in both of them is palpable.

Everyone’s so worried about the passion. I think that the circumstances of this season have really allowed us to invest in those relationship moments, so we see a lot more of the intimacy and the passion of Claire and Jamie. We have the luxury of them being in one place a lot of the time, so we get to see how they work together as a couple…it’s really lovely to see them just converse as a couple in this supportive and emotionally supportive way. ~ Caitriona Balfe

What were you thanking the lord for?

For the sight of you, Sassenach.

Often you’re presented with this problem (or one like it) in writing an episode of television: 1) Claire needs to know what happened to Jamie in the last episode; so… 2) Jamie needs to tell her; but 3) we’ve already seen everything that happened, so to have him catch her up on camera would feel repetitive; so… 4) we come in on the tail end of a conversation that has happened off screen. This exchange was the inspiration for the title of the episode.

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

C: I think Jamie saying that he liked Lt. Knox and didn’t think him capable of such a thing is a callback to the terrible things Murtagh did in the previous episode. War is terrible and you never know what you’ll be capable of in those situations

Their conversation about the Regulators and stopping war harkens back to the days in Paris and them trying to stop Culloden.

C: He is done arguing with her over her “free will.” He also knows he’s better off with her than without!

Va: I was glad to see how quickly they agreed that she should join him, as they ride out to muster men for the militia.

Yes, amazing stuff. Jon Gary Steele and his team this year again just upped the game. The big house, we joke about it, but we’re like, “Gary, it’s just called the big house. It’s not necessarily supposed to be that big.” That’s what [showrunner] Matt [B. Roberts] always says because Matt Roberts met with Gary and was like, “Let’s talk about how big this is going to be.”

But it’s gorgeous, and the setting we found to put the big house is pretty outstanding. We found a location that we could shoot 360, which is amazing, because normally where you’re shooting, sometimes you can only shoot from that way or this way. ~ Maril Davis

C: I can’t figure out why Cesar/Fergus is so underutilized.  He’s become a prop of little consequence except to highlight others’ lines and actions.

M: Shouldn’t he be getting some of that aging makeup? How old is he supposed to be now? 35? 40??

Va:  I too was glad to see Fergus but wish his part had had more substance.

C: Ummmmm. How did he just grab a quill and write without ink, and why would someone put an inky quill in his pocket?  I know the point was to show Fergus getting paper out of Claire’s surgery (which I would think was off limits on threat of death), but still.

Va: Lol! Cathy, I yelled at the screen for him to take the ink with him.  But hey! TV magic!  He was able to write Jamie’s every word.  It’s always fun to see Germain, even if only for a moment.

C: The house though! And the woodwork and color of the porch! Stunning sets as usual.

M: Yes, the house is amazing. I saw those same archways over fireplaces in castles when I visited Scotland. I didn’t realize people would have those huge brick structures inside plankboard houses in the Carolina wilderness.

C: The Blue Ridge Mountains are always stunning.

C: Watching the community coming together to finish the main house, shows their investment and loyalty to Jamie, but the scene didn’t make sense as a segue from scene 2 and 4.

The men kneading clay and powdering the surface while making bricks, much like how the women make bread, was interesting. But, if watching daily life at the Ridge was supposed to make a point, I missed it.

M: That house might be like a highway… someone always working on it, never gets done.

M: I have to wonder what Marsali is thinking now that she’s butchering that pig. Is she going over her newly learned anatomy lessons, or just thinking about bacon?

Va:  That’s funny! I think this season we may see daily workings on The Ridge every chance they get to add it. I found the brick making and the butchering fascinating. As the house is finished, it will become the family members in the background, doing something.

Sometimes you have to throw in a line just to make the audience aware of something. What’s important here (and for later episodes) is that they aren’t heading straight for Hillsborough… they will make a stop at a place called Brownsville first. Stay tuned.

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

C: OMG Claire’s coat! I want it! Again, Fergus used as a prop. Finally have the Buggs confirmed.

Va:  I was just happy to see Claire in a coat, so my teeth won’t be chattering throughout episodes, as I watch her go through winter in only a knit capelet.  Then I looked at the coat.  I WANT ONE ALSO! Did I say that loud enough for Torrid or better yet, a pattern company, to get the hint?

Milord, a letter for you arrived  
from —  

This is called “setting something up,” i.e. teasing the audience. You can bet this will come back into play later.

~ Luke Schelhaas Annotation

I ken who sent it.

Keep up your studies. You may have
to sew up a wound at the very
least, so practice your stitching.
Pig’s flesh is a good substitute
for human tissue.

C: Lauren jumping out of every scene per usual. And cutie pie Germain…Not much to think about, just see. I hope this doesn’t mean we have to suspend our intellect to enjoy the rest.  And thank goodness for the new wig budget! Bree’s hair looks natural.

Va: After looking at Bree’s sweater, I’m ready to pullout the knitting needles.

It’s always nice when we have scenes together, the four of us, ‘cause it hasn’t happened, really, until now. Especially for Season 4, ‘cause even we spent so much of that season apart. I feel like it’s nice because, in real life, the four of us do have that banter on set and I feel like that seeps into the family dynamic for the show.

Obviously, that’s what the season is based around. It’s the family, and the four of them standing together, and I think that really shines through, from real life onto the screen. ~ Sophie Skelton

C: Poor Jamie having a bittersweet reaction to being replaced as the top man in his wee girl’s life.

I still don’t feel the warmth between Roger and Bree. But Roger is looking better in each episode so I’m starting not to care.  He’s not yet foine, but he’s getting close.

M: Is that what you felt Jamie was thinking? I thought he was thinking, “Yes I’m taking him. No I can’t guarantee he won’t get himself killed. Yes, I’ll do my best to look out for him.”

I feel like Scarlett O’Hara. All  
the men leaving the plantations.

Especially for Roger, Bree and Claire. You know, they have to monitor so many aspects of their personality, their language, and everything when they’re around other people, their references — so it’s lovely when we do get those scenes where we can let the ’60s seep in. When the three of them are just together and they can talk so candidly and they have those nostalgic moments. ~ Sophie Skelton

It’s like their own secret language. ~ Richard Rankin

M: I adore Roger. His sense of humor is very attractive to me. Okay… I’m lying. Everything about him is attractive to me.

Va: I love Roger, like Bree, and love them together.  I find their interactions sweetly romantic and loving.  It is odd.  I became a Richard fan because he plays Roger. I like Bree more than I did when reading the books, because I fell in love with Sophie and her interpretation of Brianna.

He’s familiar with this period, I think, but it’s not his area of expertise. He’s a professor of history, so he’ll be very familiar with the run-up to the American Revolution, or certainly key aspects of it. The set up of the New World, I think he’s probably read about. He has done military history. This will all have come up for him. But that’s not his field of expertise. He’s more Scottish and European history than he is American. ~ Richard Rankin

So, yes, history, it’s not a huge advantage to him. It doesn’t help him in the day-to-day, which is unfortunate. I don’t think it sits very well with Roger. He struggles with that. I think that irritates him, and irks him, the fact that his own profession doesn’t particularly help him in some of the situations he finds himself in. ~ Richard Rankin

The challenge is that we have this whole new settlement. Fraser’s Ridge has really flourished. There’s a lot of towns nearby and you can feel the buildup of it. There are the clouds in the distance gathering for the great war. Jamie and Claire are really fighting to make sure that they’re on the right side. I think the sheer size of what we’re dealing with now and the sheer numbers of cast and of locations, as well, is a challenge. ~ Sam Heughan

That one reference (“across shallow creeks”) led to quite a time-consuming day of production. When you write, you have to be careful what you wish for. It’s easy to type, “the Titanic sinks.” It’s a lot harder to shoot it. Thankfully, crossing a creek is a lot easier than sinking an ocean liner.

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

C: Bonnet – the threat that keeps on threatening.

M: Yeah, and he just keeps committing heinous crimes in front of God and everybody!

C: There have been some scene choices that seem disjointed (e.g., showing Roger riding in on his horse while Jamie and Claire are talking).  If they had him see they were talking and then have him watch them with suspicion on concern, it would have made sense. But just to have him ride in – then nothing – seems like a waste of time that could have been used elsewhere.

[V: If I’m not mistaken, Roger did look over at them. I will have to go back and watch that part again.]

Va:  Unfortunately, talk of Bonnet almost always brings up memories and talk of Black Jack Randall.

C: Teach them to fight like Highlanders. The Laird is back.

C: Ragtag group of men talking smack around a campfire has been a common thread throughout the seasons. Scottish camaraderie hasn’t been lost.

M: I remember that “Roger Mac… is hairy as a bear” line from reading The Fiery Cross! Hah! Perfect casting! I bet Richard Rankin thinks he got the part because he could sing! Nope! It’s because of that pelt he’s carrying around on his chest!

Va:  The callbacks to the first season seem to be a sub theme this season.  The bawdy jokes around the campfire worked well for everyone except the one who recently arrived from the twentieth century.  Another opportunity for Roger to feel awkward.

I love the relationship between Jamie and Roger through season five. It’s a lot of fun. It evolves in baby steps. There’s a lot of prodding, just wee jabs. Does he forgive Jamie? No, not really. But there’s a lot at play at the start of season five in terms of what they think of each other. First and foremost, I think they trust each other. ~ Richard Rankin

C: Wow!  They did an awesome job with the twins.  It’s impossible to tell there is only one actor playing them both. The cinematography is amazing.

I can’t wait to see how this plays out (no spoilers but tempted).

This scene is an example of taking something from the book and coalescing it into a more expedient version for television. Sometimes, you just have to do that.

~ Luke Schelhaas Annotation

Va:  Yes! The twins are amazing!

The acting and cinematography combine to create real TV magic.

Va:  Their backstory is a prime example of how, in spite of “free will,” we may not be in control of all are choices.

We must take responsibility for our choices, nonetheless.

C:  And again, love seeing Jamie as the strong, thoughtful, gracious Laird that comes naturally to him.

Va: Jamie’s leadership style is so effective, in part, due to his choice to reserve judgement of others, because of the choices they make.

He is great with the twins, so far.

We knew all the way back in Episode 501 of this season that we had to get to this moment—i.e. in one way or another, Jamie had to make Josiah his tenant back in Episode 501. We didn’t do it exactly as it is in the book—but we knew we couldn’t neglect it.

~ Luke Schelhaas Annotation

C: I hated what happened to him starting in S3 and the coffin nail in S4. As I’ve said before, it’s as if his balls were put in a jar and put on a shelf.  I’m glad he has them back (thank you writers and producers).

M: Maybe his balls were in Claire’s pocket, along with that mirror she just pulled out.

How long has she been carrying that around? That woman’s pockets are like a magician’s hat!

Beardsley’s the name of the man who  
bought you, then.

[V: Roger is the forever fact finder.]

C:  When Jamie asked Roger to go and gather more men without him, the “oh sh*t” look on Roger’s face is priceless. Can you imagine? An Oxford historian asked to gather men for what he knows is the fight for American independence. I’m assuming he knows what side of history Jamie is on.

M: #PoorRoger. I honestly CAN’T imagine!

Va:  I admire Roger’s resolve to meet what must be frightening challenges.  “I won’t let you down.”

C: Ho! The House!” is such a universal gesture when approaching a home. In Kenya it’s “Hodi!”  In South Carolina – “It’s me! Don’t shoot!” Haha! Just kidding, not really…

I’m amazed by how Jon Gary Steele has made a Scottish set look so much like North Carolina.

And there are still houses along Carolina back roads that look just like the Beardsley’s house.

[V: This house looks totally abandoned. From the looks of the outside, it is hard to imagine someone living in there and then we see what’s actually in there.]

Was that a weird moment? Or were you like, this is the 18th century; goats probably lived in houses?

~ Luke Schelhaas Annotation

M: Definitely creepy!

I’ve watched the episode twice and I jumped both times when that pale, round, flat, big-eyed face appeared in that window!

 Hopefully this is the moment where you first think: wait a second, this isn’t a normal Outlander episode; this is a horror movie!

~ Luke Schelhaas Annotation

C: Jamie’s finger is tapping.  There is a problem he has to solve. Claire: “There’s something strange about this place…” ya think?!

M: I was surprised she had the instinct to leave that place. You know how she tends to go running willy nilly into trouble. Still, she decided to go check the barn by herself. Typical Claire.

“Don’t go into that house!” Again: horror movie. The source material here is great. Diana placed a little gothic horror movie in the middle of Book 5, ripe for the picking. Love it.

~ Luke Schelhaas Annotation

Va:  All that I said about Jamie and non-judgement; none of that applies to Claire until later.

C: And the wife when Jamie says he needs the indentured papers – the universal look of “whatever” in any era. Creepy ass house for real! Excuse me – STANKy creepy ass house! With a creepy ass woman in it…and goats?! Jamie’s loyalty to those he has pledged to protect, goes beyond.

Let me explain the goats. The goats are in the book… but in a different way. Same with the (later) birthing scene—it happens quite differently in the book, but it’s there. And it’s essential. And it’s fantastic. Basically, we took a number of elements that were spread out over the course of a few days (chapters) and a few different locations in the book and made it all happen over the course of one night in one haunting place.

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

M: Hah! Billy’s locked in a closet. Is that similar to keeping Jamie’s balls on a shelf?

C: And why not just tell them there’s a goat in the closet?  Bear McCreary had me thinking Chucky was about to jump out with that creepy violin music.

Va: I was looking forward to meeting Billy but did not expect to find him in the closet.

M: That house is awfully caverness for a shanty in the woods, don’t you think? It’s roomier on the inside than it looks from the outside.

Va:  The house was much easier to watch than read about.  DG makes me smell stuff, whereas when watching TV, I can find humor in the reactions of the characters.

That odor, it isn’t the goats…

This season, we have one that’s extremely creepy – it’s almost Stephen King-esque. Well, I probably shouldn’t use another author, but he’s a good one, so… A horror film kind of episode that we haven’t really delved into before, but it was there in the book so we pulled it out and dove into that genre. What’s special about a show like Outlander is that you almost don’t know what you’re going to get when you tune in. ~ Matthew B. Roberts

Va: Mrs. Beardsley was wonderfully cast and played by Bronwyn James. I think she stepped right off the page and she brought that house with her. Aaron Beardsley didn’t look as bad as I had imagined, thank goodness.

C:  Sooooo, you’re in a creepy house, with an even creepier woman, that stanks to high heaven.  You see something even more vile dripping from the ceiling, and your first thought is to do what?!  Investigate?!

Can I just say… I had so much fun writing this episode. When I read this portion of the book, I literally wrote in the margin of my book… “This is a whole episode!” (complete with exclamation points).

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

M: Yes Claire, go investigate. Sure. Walk right into whatever ruckus that might be up there. Now that’s the Claire we all know and love.

Va:  I like that Fanny is not just a pushover.  It takes guts to snap back at Claire.  I’m guessing Fanny Beardsley has decided in the last few weeks, she wasn’t going to be pushed around anymore.  She still has a way to go but she must be better than she had been the last 2+ years.

C:  How Claire finds Beardsley is what we should have gotten with the corpse from the last episode – foul smelling with flies.

This is what I love about Outlander. I’m just chilling watching my favorite show and I get Friday the 13th mixed into a historical drama!

C:   I almost jumped out of my chair when Beardsley took a breath.  I didn’t see this coming.  I don’t remember the book well enough to anticipate what might happen. But that scared me. But Claire, true to form, goes into doctor mode and helps. Jamie’s like “what goes around comes around…”


M: I jumped too! I remember reading this part in the books, but he’s not what I imagined. He’s all shriveled and decaying and covered in sores. Delightfully nasty!

Va:  It’s hard to believe he was still alive.

C: Mistress Findlay – I like her. Roger seems like a fish out of water, but he’s keeping his word to Jamie and gathering troops. I guess after Bonnet, not many people or situations, would seem intimidating, but damn he looks good. FINally, we see Rik’s handsomeness come through.

M: Should he be guaranteeing that those boys will get back home? This isn’t a storybook, Roger! This isn’t history! You don’t know how this will end!

Va:  He qualified it. But he’s going to have a bad time with her if her sons don’t make it back to her.

C: Beardsley’s wounds are so realistic.  I almost felt sorry for him…almost.

Even Claire loses her sympathy, but her medical training to help when able, is realistic (even if “Do no harm” really isn’t part of the Hippocratic Oath).

M: What would Outlander be without her doing some disgusting surgery? Those feet!

There is, actually. It does come back. I can’t say how, but we just thought it was such a creepy, cool moment.

It stood out to us, and it was also a great moment to have Jamie and Claire isolated from the rest of the group, to see them on their own. ~ Maril Davis

For us, it was a chance to see an environment that we don’t normally see, a creepy, cool setting, and an interesting dilemma for Claire with this man who is essentially torturing his wife and the Beardsley twins, and what do you do?

His right foot’s gangrenous.

What’s your duty as a doctor to save this person you know is not a good person? ~ Maril Davis

I’ll have to amputate or it’ll spread and he’ll die.

M: Get ‘em, Mrs. Beardsley! Dang!

She nearly bested the great Jamie Fraser! They were almost evenly matched.

[V: All the while, Mr. Beardsley is looking confused and probably trying to figure out who these people are and what the hell is going on.]

Va:  Even though Jamie probably wasn’t giving it his best, I was shocked when she knocked him across the room.

C: Her water broke!  Didn’t see that coming.

M: If it hadn’t broken, they might have gone a few more rounds.

[V: I loved that they showed the actual birth. From this angle you can clearly see the difference between the baby’s complexion and Mrs. Beardsley’s complexion.]

In the book, the baby has dark patches on her skin that indicate to Claire that her father was black. We wanted it to be more definitive.

~ Luke Schelhaas Annotation

[V: Again from Mr. Beardsley’s POV, he now knows a baby was born from hearing it crying. I can’t even imagine being in that state of helplessness.]

C: Well, that was unexpected!

A Black baby in the Carolinas during slavery. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the show.

The baby’s skin . . .

M: Well that baby was unexpected. That didn’t happen that way in the books.

It would appear her father was  


Let me see her.

Va: Listen to Mrs. Beardsley shouting at the old degenerate that the baby wasn’t his! Good for her!  I felt a strange sense of “woman power” at her glee, and Beardsley’s obvious misery!  The title of the episode is “Free Will.” She had the free will to sashay on out and get her a man who treated her better! Take that, you old curmudgeon!

She did have a Black baby in the book. However, she wasn’t born until the mean old man was dead and buried.  I prefer this change.  The baby was born in the house with Claire to assist. Fanny got to let Beardsley hear how happy she was that the baby wasn’t his.

She isn’t even yours!

C: I’m always impressed by how the writers take us on a journey That completely changes our perception of a character.  I’m also glad the 5th Mrs. Beardsley referred to the father of her baby as a good man.

Again, all of this came later in the book—on another day, in another locale. But we really wanted to play all of it in the cabin. And that wasn’t primarily a budget or scheduling decision… it was about embracing the gothic horror of it all—this one creepy, dark, claustrophobic cabin in the woods.

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

C:Having a baby doesn’t make me a mother any more than sleeping in a stable make someone a horse…” “and your name is Sassenach…” were great lines.

Va: Yes, Cathy.  Best lines award goes to Mistress Fanny Beardsley!

M: I was thinking the same thing. Why am I sympathizing with this murderous, scary, torturing, creepy chick? I wonder why she seemed reluctant to talk about the father.

Va:  Not only did Fanny save her own life, she kept Aaron blank bullets from marrying and killing more young women after her.  Death is the only thing that was going to stop him.  He would have never admitted that he was the reason he couldn’t have children.

And your name is Sassenach.
Only to my husband.

It was important to us to see this change in Fanny—to see a real human being in there: broken, damaged, lost and alone.

~ Luke Schelhaas Annotation


M: Poor Claire. She knows it’s much safer in the future. She’s seen so much horror in the 18th century. I think she’s right. But I understand Jamie valuing family over everything else, considering his past. And Bree, who risked and suffered so much to GET to her family. I understand how Bree feels too! Still, I’m with Claire and Roger. They should go back to the future as soon as they can.

He doesn’t want them to go. Jamie feels like he can protect anybody as long as they’re around him. So he feels that it’s safer to be around family — people that they can trust, which is a great argument. It’s a great argument on both sides. … And Roger and Bree are both caught in the middle of that as well. ~ Matthew B. Roberts


C: He was so innocent in his response to “What kind of world…” and his response “The only world…” And with his response as if penicillin is a magic cure for everything. And why are they sleeping on that nasty floor? I love that we got a closeup of Sam’s beautiful hands.


M: No. No No. I don’t believe for one second they would fall asleep in that filthy, creepy house. And I don’t believe they would sleep through Fanny rummaging for papers, packing up and leaving! I guess Fanny is good at creeping out at night without anyone noticing. She’s had some practice, obviously!

Va:  If not for the creaking floor, I would have had no trouble believing it.  Like I said above, I prefer to accept this scene to Fanny giving birth by herself and leaving the babe to the mercy of the elements.


C: Another baby and another story line to anticipate that deviates from the book. Such a beautiful child! I hope they stay true to history when going forward.


M: It’s not a huge deviation from the book. Just a compacting of events. That baby was born in a later chapter. A tiny black girl who owns her own land and whatever goods are in the house. I’m worried about someone taking her inheritance from her. I remember all the dreadful rules for slaves explained in episode 402. What are the rules for a black child born free? They can’t be in her favor. I’m so worried about that little girl.

This is the other moment I “wrote to.” It’s one of those moments where, when it first occurs to you, you realize quite suddenly that you’ve seen the shape of the episode—and you know it’s going to work.

~ Luke Schelhaas Annotation


Va:  I was not at all comfortable with the story line in the book, for the reasons you express Marva. But, at least, she didn’t abandon the child in the snow.

I remember there was a lot of debate in the room about all of this—is Jamie being merciful here…? Vengeful? Loving? Forgiving? Is Beardsley even deserving of mercy, of being given an opportunity to confess? And should he take that opportunity or refuse it? Etc. Etc.

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

C: Jamie steps up… “I would do it for a dog, Claire…” A merciful death is more than Beardsley deserves.

C: I love how they showed scenes from Beardsley’s perspective – blurred edges and voice distortion. I love the creative changes they have added to this season.

M: Yes, the perspective change was captivating. Beardsley was a wicked man.

When Jamie asks him to pray for forgiveness, we are in Beardsley’s point of view. He blinks twice for no. Why? From his perspective is he NOT wicked? Did he feel how he treated others was justified?

So maybe Beardsley knows he is wicked. It was his choice to live that life. It is now his choice to die without apology for how he lived his life. Free will. Another death on Jamie’s soul. I know they burden him, no matter the justification. He only has one thing to weigh against all of that burden. That he was given a rare woman, and he loved her well. Yes, yes… I still haven’t gotten over THAT scene!

We always knew we wanted to be with Claire when the gunshot went off. This one small mention of passenger pigeons taking flight led to the (later) idea of filling the screen with a flock of millions of pigeons at the end of the show.

We decided to make it very ominous in keeping with the tone of the episode (passenger pigeons are a naturally somber topic after all—a symbol of destruction and cruelty and hubris… the loss of an entire species that was hunted to extinction).

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

C: The birds! Such a great creative touch (even if sad that, according to Matt, the birds depicted are now extinct in America).

M: Lots of fun spooky stuff. Yes the birds, cabin, the strange woman, and a gnarled old man.

At one point, these words were the last ones in the script: “Claire sheltering the baby from the bitter perilous chill.” But we decided to take it one step further and do the next scene. In retrospect that seems like the obvious thing to do. The next scene (the new last scene) is such a great moment from the book. How could we not do it?

~ Luke Schelhaas, Annotation

C: Poor Jamie thinking about how his father had a stroke and wondering if he suffered afterwards. Then, he asks Claire to kill him, if he comes to the same fate.

M: Jamie thinking of his father was devastating to watch. What an excellent way to end the episode. I know all of this was in The Fiery Cross, but in a show that only has 12 hours to tell its story, this episode could appear to be a diversion.


But the creators allowed us to process the episode’s horror first through Claire’s eyes, as she wondered about cruelty of “this world,” and finally through Jamie’s eyes, as he imagined both his father and him in that wasted, wretched condition.

M: In the final moments, we are with Jamie and Claire as they decompress from the horror we just witnessed. And no, I don’t think Jenny would have told him.

Va: I also doubt Jenny would have told him, but Dougal would have.  It was good of Claire to convince him, regardless of what she thought.

Episode Rating (1-5 Shots)

We give this episode another, we give this episode 4.2-shots!

This is one of the most iconic chapters in the Outlander book series and we were worried, as book readers, that it wouldn’t rise to our expectations. Despite lacking some goat and ghost shenanigans from the book chapter, we thought the episode did a great job with the creepy atmosphere and also tying the events to the greater story line: Should Roger and Bree return home, and the continuing saga of Jamie’s difficult life.

As with all episodes, there are things we liked in it and those we did not. The cinematography was top notch with all of scenery shots, not just around the Ridge, but those that showcased the area. We are amazed how well the producers and crew have made Scotland look so much like North Carolina. We thoroughly enjoyed Jamie Payne directing this episode with all the visual effects that showed the story from Mr. Beardsley’s point of view with the audience experiencing how he received information, what he saw around him and what he heard. The writing was also very good, and for one of us, it is her favorite script by Luke Schelhaas.

We enjoyed the acting and introduction of new characters. Paul Gorman did an outstanding job playing both Josiah and Keziah (hope he is getting twice his pay). We are still trying to figure out how they had both on screen and they looked so natural as twins. We were happy to meet Fanny Beardsley. Though she might have had a flat cadence in her character for one of us, we were pleased to see her evolve in such a short period of time. And though not new, we love Marsali’s additional role and are glad we get to spend more time with her.

However, for one of us, the editing seemed choppy and some scenes seemed to be fillers and of no use (e.g., Fergus leaving on a horse). It is interesting how he, Fergus, has taken a backseat thus far. Hope this isn’t a constant in each episode. And, the fact that Jamie and Claire actually slept soundly in that house threw one of us out of the story completely.

We are still singing Jon Gary Steele (and crew) praises for creating masterpieces. We love the dark wood and the colors selected for the house. As for the Beardsley’s house, the inside struck us as larger than it looked from the outside. But hey, that is the magic of the creative process and television. Since we are now in the colonies, we knew the costumes would change, as they have in other seasons. We love Claire’s blue coat from this episode. We will have to keep an eye open for more favorites. Last, but certainly not least, Bear and his music selections just ups the ante with every episode. At time, with this episode, it scared the bejesus out of us!


What we are looking forward to in the S5 Epi4.

Vanita:  Next week I’m most looking forward to more leader Jamie and more Jamie and Claire teamwork.  I’m anxious to see what happens to the beautiful baby girl but I’m thinking I may not like it.  Brownsville will be a challenge for the Frasers, and I want to see how they handle it. Follow Vanita on Twitter – @AtvmMountain.

Marva: Next week, I hope we will see more from Fergus, which my conversation companions and I are hungry for! I look forward to Roger getting the chance to prove himself, and I hope they find a good home for that baby! Finally, I want to learn what Claire’s response is to that teaser line from Jamie, “If you want a baby, I’ll give you one.” That left me a little confused. Hasn’t he been doing all he could to “give her a baby” since she returned? It appeared so to me! Follow Marva on Twitter – @mjsol.

Cathy: I am really looking forward to seeing more of Marsali, the new baby storyline, and Claire in her role as a doctor.  I like this Claire.  She seems more like a modern physician – compassionate, curious, and empathetic – than she has been in prior seasons.  As a physician myself, I relate more to her now than ever before. Follow Cathy on Twitter – @DrkKnightingale.

S5 Epi4 – The Company We Keep – Synopsis

Roger leads Jamie’s militia to the rural trading post of Brownsville and finds himself embroiled in a bitter feud.  Jamie and Claire arrive to find that Roger’s rather unusual strategy may have cost them the loyalty of the militia.  Claire learns that her ‘modern’ medical advice has spread further than she intended.

Outlander | S5 Ep4 Preview ~ Video via TV Promos

See ye next week!


Disclaimer: We hold no rights to any of the pictures.  No copyright infringement intended. 


8 thoughts on “Blacklanderz Convos! Outlander S5 Epi3

  1. Job Gary Steele? I thought it was Jon. 😀
    I gave this episode an A for keeping me in suspense for an entire hour.

    Know that I appreciate the work you all do to review these episodes. Looking forward to seeing more as the season progresses. Slainte mhath!


  2. Hi, Ladies! I continue to really enjoy your running commentary coinciding with the stills from each scene. I’m going to be honest here, this was not my favorite of all the books, and I skimmed through a lot, so a number of facts are “fuzzy” (in addition to the fact that was so long ago). That being said, I am good with the series combining a number of events in one episode and location, like they did in this creepy episode. We only have 12 episodes, as we all keep reminding ourselves. Just so delighted this season has returned to J&C. Wonderful Marsali adds to ANY scene she’s in, but I am sooooo tired of Fergus underused as someone to hand off a baby to, or grab a piece of paper. I can only imagine that might be just a bit hurtful to Monsieur Domboy… That just might be the shame of this season if his underutilization carries on through the season. Otherwise, S5 is such an improvement over last season for me! Thanks for sharing!


  3. I really appreciate your discussions of each episode. Had to laugh at the Beardsley cabin ‘larger on the inside’ – maybe it is like the Tardis?! But Dr Claire showed up to save the day instead of Dr Who! With Jamie as her companion! I enjoyed the way that Jamie and Claire were portrayed, talking things through, acting as a couple in ways that seemed very realistic and also true to the book story.


    1. We thank you. Oh, how funny. The Tardis. Lol Yes, that would be it. And, you just reminded me that I need to catch up with Dr. Who (two episodes). It was nice to the two of them together away from the others and working things out. Thanks for reading!!


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