'Outlander' Season 5 Episode 2: Jamie is on wrong side of history while Claire is ahead of it with her cures
Claire who has done an autopsy on a dead farmer decides to use the body to train an apprentice surgeon. She also starts trying to create the "right" kind of bread mold to make penicillin
Causes are peculiar things, shaped by the times you live in. For Jamie Frazer, born to be a laird, setting up the Frazer's Ridge settlement is what grounds him in America, the new country far from his beloved Scottish Highlands. Protecting the residents on his land who he thinks of as "his people" is a natural extension of being a laird.
But he cannot leave old loyalties behind either, not entirely. Especially to his godfather Murtagh Fitzgibbons, who he told in the last episode to escape and "be hard to find". With Lieutenant Hamilton Knox breathing down his neck, Jamie Frazer, as a "Colonel", is forced to head out with the garrison of British soldiers to track down Murtagh.
Murtagh, on the other hand, is not lying low. He leads a band of Regulators into Hillsborough town and vandalizes the houses of several local corrupt officials, who are guilty of double taxation at a time when the peasants were already reeling given the crop failure because of the drought.
In a particularly gruesome opening scene, we see Murtagh pass harsh judgment on these officials as they cry for mercy while being tarred and feathered by the angry mob. After some rioting and looting, Murtagh and his band of Regulators leave.
However, three Regulator revolutionaries are captured and are brought before Jamie and Hamilton once they arrive in the town. Edmund Fanning, who Jamie calls "Governor Tryon's friend", has also been injured in the violence and wants justice.
Hamilton sees Regulators as a threat to "King and Country" and think they are the scum who threaten the "civility" and the rule of law that has been established by the King's soldiers in the new country. He calls men like himself and Jamie "protectors" of this civility. But he is forced to call himself a hypocrite when he stabs one of the Regulators after threatening him with a sword.
Jamie (who recognizes the Regulators and they also know him from a previous encounter) tries to calm both parties down, even as he tries to beg the prisoners with his eyes not to reveal what they know about Murtagh's whereabouts.
Later, Jamie steals into the prison and sets the two remaining prisoners free and tells them to inform Murtagh to stay far away from Hillsborough and Governor Tryon's army of men who will be collecting in Hillsborough (which will include his Frazer's Ridge militia). The freed prisoners who still haven't forgiven Jamie for standing by while their friend was killed by Hamilton, says the Regulators will be ready to take them. "How many men do you have?" they ask Jamie jeeringly.
Later, after learning the prisoners have escaped and knowing that there are "traitors" in their midst, he tells Jamie to hurry back and gather his men and "come prepared for war". His words foreshadow the main battle around which season 5 is centered around -- the historical Battle of Alamance that is considered a catalyst to the American Revolutionary War.
Claire is fighting a battle of her own but against both the diseases of the day and the "cures" for them that include mercury pills and bloodletting. A farmer dies of a burst appendix on her table as his weeping widow tells her how she gave him "blue mass" - a name for a mercury-based medicine that was commonly prescribed at the time, hastening his death.
Claire, who hasn't really had the chance to practice her surgeon skills in the 1700s, chafes at the restrictions the period places on her. She tells Brianna that the man could have been saved by a simple appendectomy and how she doesn't have access to the simplest antibiotics.
Claire who has done an autopsy on the man, gets Roger to fill a casket with rocks and bury it at the funeral. Claire decides to use the dead body to train an apprentice surgeon. Her eye falls on Marsali, who is good at butchering and knows her way around dead bodies, even if they are animals.
Marsali is shocked at what Claire has done but intrigued at the prospect of healing people based on what they learn from autopsies. Claire also starts trying to create the "right" kind of bread mold that will help her make penicillin.
Brianna, who is already struggling with how Roger seems uncomfortable in this period -- more happy strumming a guitar than shooting a gun to hunt -- thinks her mother is "playing God" since penicillin isn't invented till 157 years later. But Claire, who wants to make the era as safe as possible at least for the residents of Frazer's Ridge, says, “…Time, space, history be damned".
She also tells Brianna that as happy as she is to have her daughter with her, Brianna has to return with Roger to the future as soon as baby Jemmy can "hear the rocks" that allows them to time travel. She tells Brianna, "I'm doing everything I can to make this a safer time but it's not."
This is a decision they will have to revisit with war about to break out and a bloodthirsty Stephen Bonnet, back to his pirating ways, thinking of himself as a "father". There is no way that he will not stake a claim on baby Jemmy.
Next week will see Jamie's effort to raise the militia to serve at Governor Tryon's commands and the insight Claire and Brianna can bring to the situation since it is such an inextricable part of American history.
'Outlander' airs on Sundays at 8:00 pm ET/PT on STARZ, the STARZ app, and STARZ On Demand.