Spoilers below for Outlander and the Outlander book series.
And just like that, another season of Outlander has come and gone and many, many months stand between us and the the calming reassurance of Claire “I Am Handling It” Fraser, the warm (imaginary) embrace of Jamie’s swole arms, and the confusing horniness that sets in every time you see such a hot dude wearing such small glasses.
But reader, have no fear! Because we have the books. If you can’t wait for more information on what might befall our time-traveling heroine Claire and her hunky husband who just! can’t! stay! out! of trouble!, look no further than Diana Gabaldon’s fifth novel in the Outlander series, 2001’s The Fiery Cross. The book clocks in at almost 1,000 pages, so there’s no way everything will fit into season five, and the show continues to make changes to fit its own narrative, but below are some guesses (and wishes) as to what might make the leap from page to screen as the Starz drama tackles the next installment in the Frasers’ time-traveling saga. Obviously, it’s Spoiler City down there, so proceed at your own risk.
You will probably hear the word “militia” a lot.
So much militia talk in The Fiery Cross. The final scene in season four, in which Jamie receives a letter from Governor Tryon ordering him to form a militia and hunt down Murtagh is — aside from the Murtagh stuff since Book Murtagh is long gone — actually from the beginning of Gabaldon’s fifth novel. In the book, Jamie’s first order is to use his militia to find Regulators involved in a riot (that took place in Drums of Autumn), which although not as personal as being asked to turn in his godfather, still fills Jamie with much angst, since many Regulators happen to also be Highlanders. As was intimated in season four, Jamie has a tough line to walk with all this militia business, and not just because of his loyalty to his Scottish comrades — because thanks to Claire, he knows that being on His Majesty’s side is not going to do him any favors come time for the American Revolution.
Somebody’s getting married!
The beginning of The Fiery Cross devotes a lot of time to Brianna and Roger’s wedding day, which is part of a larger traditional Scottish gathering ceremony. Although the show could skip this altogether because we have spent way too many episodes angst-ing over Brianna and Roger’s relationship status, it might be nice to see these two all dolled up and doing something nice, since for their handfast ceremony they were alone and also trespassing. Another pro to actually showing Bree and Roger tie the knot is that in the novel, Claire spends much of the day wishing Frank could see Brianna so happy, which means it could be another way to have Tobias Menzies pop in again, which is always welcome. Especially if he’s wearing (regular-sized) glasses.
The other big wedding in The Fiery Cross belongs to Jocasta and Duncan Innes, which of course won’t happen since Duncan doesn’t exist in the show world and Jocasta is hot and heavy with our favorite silver fox Murtagh. Since he’s a fugitive, it might not be the right time for him to get married, but who knows? Love is love is love. And a lot of crazy shit goes down at Auntie Jo’s wedding.
As if there was any doubt: Stephen Bonnet will be back.
Yes, the devil returns to terrorize the Fraser family once more. In the books, the prison explosion plays out a little differently — obviously, since Murtagh has long been dead in Book Outlander — and the Frasers are well aware that Bonnet has survived. They spend much of the, again, almost 1,000 pages trying to find and kill him, so that’s fun. In the show, everyone assumes that he died in that explosion, so it’ll be much more of a shock when he pops up again. Fingers crossed they stick pretty closely to the big showdown between Bonnet and the Ladies of Fraser’s Ridge when Bonnet tries to kidnap Bree and her son — it’s an excellent moment for Claire and one of the best scenes in the entire novel. And Bree gets to shoot Bonnet where it’ll hurt the most, if you catch my drift.
If you thought Roger already suffered as much as humanly possible, you thought wrong.
Hasn’t Roger MacKenzie been beaten up — both physically and emotionally — enough? Book readers will know that the answer is: apparently not. Once again, due to a wrong place, wrong time, poor decision-making skills situation, Roger goes through it. And by through it, I of course mean he is hanged, and then thanks to Claire’s miracle hands, survives. It’s told in excruciating detail in the novel, and the show has never backed away from even the most brutal moments of the Outlander story, so it’s a safe bet we’re going to have to watch Roger suffer some more in season five. Honestly, it’s awful.
There’s no time travel!
Seems weird for a time travel show, right? But it’s true: The action of The Fiery Cross stays planted firmly in the past. (It takes place roughly from 1770 to 1772.) There is, however, lots of talk about time travel, especially in regards to Brianna’s son and if he does or does not have the ability to do so. Since the season four finale already set it up, one could assume the show will, like the novel, expand on the Otter Tooth character. In the book, Young Ian returns to give Claire journal belonging to Otter Tooth (also known as Robert Springer), and the whole gang learns more about how this man became a traveller, from where and when he came, and some additional time travel rules. Otter Tooth’s stone, which caused Claire and Jamie so much trouble in season four, will also reveal an important use. Perhaps the show will play around with the timeline of the books, as they have in the past, to give us at least a little hint of traveling via noisy stones. Because without time travel, this is simply a show about hot people in corsets running around the woods putting out literal and figurative fires in between boning sessions. Listen, I’m not saying I’m not into that show, but what I am saying is I am definitely into that show.
Claire invents penicillin!
One of the best scenes of season four was most definitely Claire’s impromptu surgery in the lobby of a North Carolina theater. The show doesn’t focus on Claire’s scientific prowess as much as the novels do (there’s lots of technical terminology to read in between all the sexual tension), but the fact that Dr. Fraser makes her own batch of penicillin out there in the woods of Colonial America in The Fiery Cross is pretty cool (I’m a nerd?) and would also serve as a reminder of how gosh darn good she is at her job. And here’s a tease I refuse to go into lest I ruin the fun: In The Fiery Cross, Claire first uses her miracle medicine on the Beardsley twins, and if the show goes fully in on those characters, oh what a treat you have to look forward to. (On Outlander, “treat” means “horror show”.)