#Droughtlander is over! With the early release of the Season 5 premiere, ‘The Fiery Cross,” today, Starz has given us the best possible Valentine’s Day present. And based on the episode, it wasn’t just viewers who were getting a present. It seems like almost everyone is in love in this hour. It’s almost possible to believe that it’ll stay that way. In fact, let’s do just that for a bit as we break down the premiere with our “Swords & Skins” Scoring System.
**Spoiler Warning. The following recap contains spoilers for episode 501, “The Fiery Cross.” Do not read further if you have not seen the episode and wish to avoid spoilers.**
Skin Score: 8/10.
It’s Valentine’s Day, so we’re starting with the love. There’s so much of it to go around this week, and in so many forms. First is familial love: Jamie struggling with saying goodbye to his daughter and accepting his new son-in-law, Murtagh struggling with a vow he made to Jamie 40+ years ago, and Aunt Jocasta struggling with making sure Brianna is protected. Then there is the romantic love: Brianna and Roger celebrating their marriage, Jamie & Claire still madly in love with each other, Fergus & Marsali expanding their family (what is that, baby #3 now?), and Aunt Jocasta and Murtagh (which is still our #1 shipping.)
The best thing is that, while every relationship is at a different stage, all these glimpses show the same thing: that love is more than just a feeling. It’s a constant choosing of the other person no matter what, and that together two can change the world. Oh, and Roger singing “L-O-V-E” wasn’t bad either.
Sword Score: 5/10
There’s a lot of groundwork laid here for the rest of the season, but the action only picks up at the very end of the episode. Governor Tryon proves himself to be a terrible wedding guest when he shows up unannounced and leaves behind a Lieutenant Knox and an entire platoon as perhaps the world’s most passive-aggressive wedding present ever. Tryon reminds Jamie of his obligations to both Tryon and the Crown- to hunt down and kill the rouge Regulator, Murtagh. That’s going to be a season-long arc for sure, and we’re really hoping it ends with both Jamie & Murtagh alive. Our hearts can’t take another goodbye scene as Jamie & Murtagh have in this episode. “Be hard to find” indeed, Murtagh.
Also likely to be a season-long arc is the fact that STEPHEN BONNET IS STILL ALIVE. Because of course he is. No one stays dead in Outlander. But seriously- couldn’t last season’s villain remain in their assumed grave just once? There’s no doubt that he’ll make an appearance at some point and Roger, Bree, and Jamie will all have to deal with that. We just hope it ends with Bonnet’s double-crossing neck in a noose.
The last thing we have to talk about is Jamie going full Highlander and calling up his clansmen to pledge fealty to him. There are more relationship layers packed into this scene than in the previous 4 seasons of the show put together. Jamie lights the fiery cross as a signal to his fellow Scots. Jamie recognizes Roger as his son. Fergus finally gets chosen first for the fight team. Unrelated men stand as clansmen with Jamie, acknowledging him as their chieftain and vowing to stand by him in battle. Lieutenant Knox and his men watch with interest, assuming that Jamie is gathering his troops to hunt Murtagh as ordered. But Jamie, as always, has far deeper and further plans than that. He’s building his army for the upcoming American Revolution.
We’re one episode in, and Outlander already has us on an emotional rollercoaster. New bonds have been forged, old bonds have been broken, and war looms large on the horizon. We can’t wait to see how it all plays out, even if it’s going to tear out our hearts at least a few times along the way. One episode down, eleven to go.
P.S.- Can we talk about Lord John Grey as the sole survivor of the drunken poetry slam? Because we need an entire episode dedicated to that.
Catch up on previous Outlander coverage: