After a long wait, it’s time for the fifth season of Outlander, the time-travelling period drama overflowing with daring conquests, heart-warming romance, and countless lusty looks. It’s the show that has us all wishing to come across a magical rock circle on our holidays. Just in case.
The series is based on the critically acclaimed novels by Diana Gabaldon, centering on Claire (Caitriona Balfe), a WWII nurse who finds herself taken back in time to eighteenth century Scotland. The drama follows her story as she falls in love with Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), and as they must navigate life through Jacobite rebellions, Parisian politics, and the realities of colonisation in North Carolina. So far, we’ve had a not inconsiderable fifty-five episodes to get through, with Season Five and Six both commissioned for twelve episodes each. That’s a lot of binge-watching. But hey, it’s summative season! What else are you going to spend your time doing if not some healthy procrastination…?
Season Five, which is set to be loosely based on the fifth book in the series, ‘The Fiery Cross’, premiered its first episode on Monday on Amazon Prime, with a new episode being released each week. At this point, the action also includes the Fraser’s daughter, Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and her partner Roger (Richard Rankin) as they too must settle into a time that is not their own, with a new baby to take care of. We can be certain that this season will once more come with the guarantee of angst, excitement, and plenty of those heartfelt moments which they always do so well. There’s something immensely special, almost extraordinary about the treatment of the couples in Outlander. The enduring love of Claire and Jamie has been protected across multiple oceans and time periods, making it no wonder they’re such a beloved staple of the show. Now we have Brianna and Roger overcoming equally tumultuous times for the sake of their love. It isn’t cliché or overdone, but presented as the most enchanting part of life, outstripping even the mysteries of Craigh na Dun.
Another interesting storyline to keep an eye on is the blossoming romance we saw at the end of Season Four, between our favourite outlaw Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix), and Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy). This is a relationship that deviates entirely from the books but is one that fans of the show are getting excited about, for good reason. The writers are proving that it isn’t only the young blood who are allowed to find passion and romance. Representation for older couples in hugely popular shows such as this, is a really important progression towards keeping the voice of the show relevant, relatable, and real.
In particular, the exploration of a matriarchal role such as Aunt Jocasta’s, in terms of such passion and desire, is revolutionary in itself. Matriarchs are usually presented solely as a vehicle for some cutting wit, maybe instigating a few ruffled feathers every now and again. They are the characters we love, but struggle to see as ever having been young. (That’s what made the Prince Kuragin/Dowager Countess storyline in Downton Abbey so brilliant, but that’s another article in itself.)
The opening episode is a beautiful family affair. The wedding of Brianna and Roger takes centre stage, with fantastic success on the wardrobe and set fronts, forming a gentle reintroduction to the lives of almost every character. The best scene by far comes with Roger’s rendition of Nat King Cole’s gorgeous song ‘L-O-V-E’ over a gorgeous montage. We can always appreciate these nods to later times – it’s all part of the vast appeal.
I am sure that this series has plenty more in store for us. And, actually, thank you to Amazon Prime for mercifully only releasing one episode a week. I may not be grateful for the wait, but my degree most certainly is.
Feature Image from @outlander_starz on Instagram.