‘Outlander’ Season 5 Episode 9 sees Brianna engineer injection using viper fangs to save Jamie's infected leg
Brianna, the engineer, finds Jamie's infected leg is the moment of crisis that is the mother of invention. She fashions an injection using fangs of a dead viper to inject penicillin into Jamie's leg
Welcome to another edition of frontier life, 'Outlander' style! Despite being a time-travel romance drama, the show has not shied away from the more gruesome aspects of the 18th century. From its treatment of women to the very real and fatal dangers lurking in every corner that we, in our cocooned 21st-century existence wouldn't even dream about.
The episode starts with Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) searching out Brianna (Sophie Skelton) for a hunt in the woods to restock the homestead's meat supplies before the winter. But alas, he has to settle for Roger Mackenzie (Richard Rankin) instead because Brianna wants to spend the day indigo dyeing with her mother.
It was hilarious to see Jamie's expression when he realizes that he has just interrupted Roger and Brianna's morning love-making, skedaddling out of their cabin as soon as he can. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode is not so cheery.
While on the hunt, Jamie and Roger split from the others to drive a herd of wild buffaloes towards them. After injuring one fine specimen, Jamie gets bitten by a viper. As he collapses, he sends Roger to find the others. But Roger, who has no idea how to navigate a forest let alone find people wandering in it, shoots his rifle a few times, hoping the sound will attract Fergus and Young Ian, but no one responds.
Jamie and Roger are forced to spend the night in the woods away from Claire's healing hands. Roger cuts and drains the wound but the quick-acting venom has already spread through Jamie's body.
Close to death, Jamie says the "sins of the father are visited on the son", telling Roger that his "sin" of helping Stephen Bonnet from the gallows means that Roger has to now take on the task of killing Bonnet to keep Brianna and Jemmy safe.
According to 18th-century law, Bonnet can make a case using witnesses at the bar in which he raped Brianna that he is the father and Jemmy's guardian since Roger married Brianna only after the boy was conceived. It is unfair but also true and Roger recognizes this.
He only wonders if he has it in him to kill a man in cold blood but he also looks simultaneously gratified that Jamie considers him a son to whom he could pass on such a duty. It is only the next morning that Ian and Fergus set out to find Jamie when their horse returns unattended. Till then, everyone thought they had camped out because it got dark. Where is a mobile phone when you need one? But that said, maybe it is time the Fraser clan tamed some pigeons or falcons or any other carrier bird for emergencies like this.
When they get Jamie back, he is in a very bad state. His leg is infected and his body is burning up trying to fight both the infection and the venom coursing through his body. Even though Claire uses maggots to try and clean the wound, the rot has spread too far inside his leg during the night.
A penicillin shot would help but Claire's only glass injection was destroyed by the Brown patriarch in the Battle of Alamance. Why she didn't carry a few more back from the future since they are made of glass and thus prone to being shattered is a question that will forever remain unanswered. Instead, Claire makes him drink penicillin, which is much less effective.
Jamie makes for one extremely fidgety patient. He steals Claire's amputation saw and makes her promise to allow him to die rather than make him a cripple. And then when the wild buffalo he had shot before stumbles through their front gate, ramming Brianna who was trying to distract him from Jemmy, he again crawls out to the porch. Thankfully, Claire is an excellent shot, killing the buffalo and securing its meat for the settlement.
Jamie then gets Roger and Young Ian to carry him to his own bed, rather than lie in the surgery bed because he wants to die in his own bed "like a man." We love Jamie, but in this episode, some of that old-fashioned machoism pops out as he tries to take care of his family even when on his death bed and he prefers to die than become dependent on others like Young Ian's father or Fergus with his wooden hand. It takes Young Ian's caustic words to shake him out of this false show of manliness and agree to his leg being amputated.
But just when Claire, with her shaking hands, picks up the scalpel, Brianna bursts in through the door with Roger. Brianna, the engineer, finds that this moment of crisis is the mother of invention. She fashions an injection using the fangs of the dead viper that has the ability to inject poison or in this case penicillin. 'Outlander' shows how Claire has always been a "born healer". This episode shows why Brianna is a "born engineer" who has finally found her path.
'Outlander' will airs new episodes on Sunday at 8 pm ET/PT, on STARZ, the STARZ app, and STARZ On Demand.