Outlander Season 5 Episode 2 Review: Between Two Fires

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Playing with history can be a lot of fun. 

There's a reason so many of us are drawn to fiction about time travel or featuring alternate history. Outlander Season 5 Episode 2 makes good use of the past and present.

Jamie and Claire are always dealing with what is and what will be, and the with Jamie's dealings on behalf of the crown, and Claire's interest in using modern medicine well before it's time, we're getting into some interesting conundrums.

On the Hunt for Murtagh - Outlander

As I had stopped reading the books before this point, I'm unaware of how Jamie's story working on behalf of the crown while supporting the regulators worked.

With Murtagh's involvement, it must be taking a somewhat different direction.

It's all a bit of a keep your enemies close thing, isn't it?

The more they know about the current government, the easier it could be to defeat them. But Jamie is also finding out first hand that knowing the future doesn't make his job in the present any easier.

Jamie Enters the Room - Outlander Season 5 Episode 2

Surely, he wishes that Murtagh would have heeded his advice and waited it out for the Revolution.

Joining the Regulators carries a more significant risk. Did Claire know anything about the success or failure of the Regulators?

Historically, they're set to be defeated. And with the tactics they're using, Jamie might not be all that opposed to it.

It's appreciated that both sides of the situation are shown with tact.

The conversations between Jamie and Lieutenant Knox offered a window into the average Redcoat, and they're not all that different from the Regulators.

Knox and Jamie Assess the Situation - Outlander Season 5 Episode 2

They're duty-bound and interested in maintaining the status quo, which makes sense. The colonials are interested in breaking free from the tethers to their old ways. Of course, they're going to clash.

There is humanity on both sides, but both are also making terrible decisions.

Tarring and feathering people isn't ever going to win friends and influence people in the way the Regulators hope. Even Jamie was shocked at the barbarity of their actions, and mostly that Murtagh was a part of it.

Knox: Still feeling that sympathy, colonel?
Jamie: I didna think them capable of this.

But making money off of the hard work done by others is also hard to swallow, and that's the concern with over-taxation. People would much prefer to keep the money they earn to do with as they please.

That's the backbone of our democracy here in the United States.

Lieutenant Knox Makes a Mistake - Outlander Season 5 Episode 2

We've come a long way since then, but it's still one of the biggest issues we face as a country even with duly elected officials.

But what Knox did by outright killing the man before him in a fit of rage had to offer Jamie some solace in straddling the line and using what he knows about the crown against them.

For a moment, it almost seemed as though Knox regretted his actions.

What have I done? I've become the very thing I despise. I am a hypocrite.

Knox

But when he was lamenting the soldier's death he gave to the Scot instead of being concerned with is part in being judge, jury, and executioner in one fell swoop, well, tarring and feathering started to look like a decent option.

Jamie: You must try to make amends, perhaps. Ensure a fair trial for the others.
Knox: Eh, they will be found guilty and hanged. I gave him a soldier's death. The other two will not be so lucky.

It's just a shame that common citizens are fighting amongst themselves.

Claire and an Eye Chart - Outlander Season 5 Episode 2

It can't possibly end well for Murtagh when it eventually does end. Something tells me he will be used as an example for viewers of the nature of the crown's "justice" so that we feel all up close and personal to what's happening.

Claire, too, is standing in the middle of history with her hands tied, but she has a little bit more leeway to buck the system since those around her are so medicinally ignorant.

It's bad enough I'm fighting the disease. I'm also fighting the cure.

Claire

Jamie only has Claire's word that opposing the crown will lead to future rewards, but Claire knows first hand how devastating some of the homeopathic cures of the future can be.

Bloodletting is bad enough, but when you're also feeding your family poison under the misguided belief it's a cure, that's got to be very difficult for Claire to stomach.

Women weren't known for their medical prowess back in the day, and Claire can't exactly reveal her years of medical school, so she's stuck trying to finagle her way into delivering proper medical advice.

As we saw with her conversation during candlemaking, the local women scoffed at her when she suggested the King's doctor didn't know what he was doing.

Dr. Claire Fraser on the Job - Outlander Season 5 Episode 2

So she needs to understand better the illnesses of the day and how the homeopathic remedies are accelerating them.

It hasn't been too long since Claire was labeled a witch, and even if the Salem Witch Trials are a hundred years gone, if it happened once, it can happen again.

Using a pseudonym to be heard was a brilliant idea. Doesn't Jamie have a printing business? He can get leaflets out quickly and stealthily.

Trying to invent penicillin 156 years early, though, might not be a good idea.

Claire and Roger Converse - Outlander Season 5 Episode 2

To that point, most of their meddling in time has been relatively insignificant. But advancing medicine a by well over a century should surely have more far-reaching consequences, right?

And all of their previous attempts to significantly change history have not gone well.

But Claire is also correct that by even being there, they have already changed things. A child of the past was born in the future and upon returning to the past gave birth to another.

Whether they like it or not, their being in the past has ripple effects on the future. How great those effects are, though, is surely dependent upon the nature of the change.

Roger Gets Checked Out - Outlander Season 5 Episode 2

And having the capacity to cure infections would be a life-changer.

Doing autopsies is a lot less challenging to the time-space continuum, and enlisting Marsali as a medical apprentice is a magnificent storyline on its own.

I dare say that I like Marsali much more than Brianna, so the more we get of her, the better.

She's strong, independent, intelligent, and funny. Brianna has fit in relatively well in the past, but she's always got an option to leave. Marsali is living her best and only life.

Jemmy's Milestone - Outlander Season 5 Episode 2

And the prospect of leaving has come up again, this time with Claire's support.

How would Brianna take knowing that her mother wishes her to return to her own time?

Roger doesn't fit in at all, and it's taking a toll on him. He'll stay if there's no way to get Jemmy through the stones, but he'd rather get away to the more relative safety of the future where he can contribute more to his marriage that singing a few songs.

Nobody wants to feel useless, but if you watch Outlander online, you know that's been Roger's state since he arrived. Having Claire on his side probably means a lot.

Motherly Advice - Outlander Season 5 Episode 2

Their plans could get a bit of a nudge with the reveal that Bonnet is alive, especially now that Roger knows he's on Brianna's mind.

When he finds out the man is alive, Roger isn't going to want his family in danger because of Bonnet. An easy fix would be going back through the stones.

And Bonnet knows of Jemmy. How does he know that he's a father? And is he making his way to them to assert his fatherhood?

If fighting the cure and hunting Murtagh don't give the family enough nightmares, already, they're in for an even greater threat from Bonnet.

While the family is closer than ever during Outlander Season 5, threats to their safety are looming large in colonial America.

What comes next?

Does Jamie have any chance of keeping Murtagh out of danger?

Will Jamie keep the respect of his men while he tries to play both sides of the fence?

Can creating penicillin help Claire, or will it hurt her?

And what is Bonnet's next move?

Hit the comments and share your thoughts!

Between Two Fires Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (33 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Outlander Season 5 Episode 2 Quotes

Knox: I admire a man who puts duty and honor above all else.
Jamie: Then you admire a man who'd rather starve than dishonor his own conscience.
Lieutenant: Do I detect some sympathy there for the regulators, Colonel Fraser?
Jamie: I have sympathy for any man who can't afford to eat, Lieutenant. Your generosity of coins tells me you have some, as well.
Knox: I do believe it is right to give to those in need. And I suppose it is reasonably true that there is never a convenient time for death or taxes.
Jamie: Now do I suspect some sympathy for the regulators, Lieutenant.

I can only hope one day to be granted a parcel of land that's half as prosperous as yours. Perhaps when we catch Fitzgibbons and see him hanged. Perhaps then, the governor will be so kind.

Knox