FRIENDS. We have survived the horrors of the Beardsley Excursion and for our sacrifice it appears we are being rewarded in the swooniest of ways. With hand-kissing. And forehead touching. And James Alexander Malcom MacKenzie Fraser DANCING. Dancing, you guys. Dancing so hard that he has to remove his belt and coat to do it properly. What a time!
If last week we took a long, hard look at a relationship from hell, “The Company We Keep” brings some of the romance back to Outlander. Don’t get me wrong, not-so-great things that will definitely have an effect on the rest of the season happen because, hello, this is Outlander and nothing can ever be too good, but they are all in the name of love.
When Claire, Jamie, and the Beardsley baby finally make it to Brownsville to meet up with Roger, Fergus, and the ever-growing militia, they walk straight into a precarious situation. When Roger and Fergus first came upon Brownsville, they were not met with the warmest of greetings. By which I mean, Brownsville dudes started shooting at them. Those guys are all hyped up because they spot Isaiah Morton in the ranks of the militia (Morton is that stud in the hat who pledged his loyalty to Jamie first in the Fiery Cross ceremony, if you need to place him), and if there is one thing guys in Brownsville hate, it’s Isaiah Morton strolling into town. It turns out that Morton hopped into bed with Lionel Brown’s daughter Alicia and completely ruined Lionel’s big plans to have her marry a rich dude. Lionel is REAL PISSED. He wants them to hand Morton over.
This is Roger’s first big moment in command! He can prove that Jamie was right in putting all this responsibility in his uncalloused hands! He can be a hero.
So, he decides the best course of action is to tell all the Browns of Brownsville — how they passed over “Brown Town” in town naming brainstorming sessions is beyond me — that they’ll stand down and hand over Morton even though the militia definitely outnumber these guys. Then he tries to get them all drunk on Fergus’s whiskey in hopes that they’ll forget all of this ever happened. “Get everyone drunk enough so they forget they’re mad at you” sounds like a plan I would’ve come up with in college to ease tensions with my roommates when I put dish soap in the dishwasher and flooded our kitchen. But, sure, Roger.
One of my favorite developments in season five is the focus on just how different Jamie and Roger are. Yeah, they grew up in different centuries, but even if they were of the same time, they would have literally zero things in common. Roger doesn’t understand Jamie’s Highlander way of life and Jamie has absolutely no time for Professor MacKenzie. So when Jamie rides into Brown Town to find Roger singing his little heart out and hears that his plan has cost them several soldiers who left, unable to respect a captain who would hand one of them over like Roger did with Morton, the last thing Jamie wants from Roger is a linguistics lesson on the phrase “dutch courage.” It is the tensest father-son-in-law relationship in all the land.
Jamie has arrived and he is going to handle some shit. First, he goes to see Morton tied up in a shed to get the full story. Morton explains that he loves Ali with all of his heart, and she loves him too — but he’s in an arranged marriage. Rather than let the Browns have their way with him, Jamie cuts Morton free and tells him to run. When he’s discovered missing, it does not go over well. There’s almost a shootout in the streets until the, I guess, head Brown of Brown Town shows up (I don’t know how this town works), and he and Jamie smooth things over. He promises Jamie his men will join his militia and they will be, like, soooo good at it, but there is a caveat: his men will follow his orders. Jamie is like, cool, cool, cool, but you’ll follow my orders, right? And this is all probably going to bite Jamie in the ass later. Regardless, things seem fine for now.
Meanwhile, Claire’s got her own thing going with the Brown ladies. She finds Lucinda Brown, a woman who just gave birth but lost her daughter, and Lucinda is able to breastfeed the baby. There is a suggestion that Lucinda and her husband could take in the baby and raise her as their own. They have the space in their home and their hearts. Claire needs to put a pin in that discussion, though, because there are some other things to take care of. First, when hanging out with Lucinda, she sees their newspaper and spots the “Dr. Rawlings Recommends” column in there. She, Jamie, and Fergus have a powwow about it because if someone comes looking for “Dr. Rawlings,” they can trace him back to Fraser’s Ridge through the printer where Fergus accidentally dropped it off. So that is definitely happening at some point.
Claire also has to be a feminist icon to Alicia. Alicia is distraught over Isaiah skipping town. He is the true love of her life! Claire is all like, don’t you dare cry over that married man, you hear me?! But if you think people hate feminism now, they really hated it back then. Isaiah being married is news to Alicia and now she’s extra-distraught because she’ll never be with him and — surprise! — she is pregnant with his child. Alicia wants to die and that situation couldn’t get any worse.
Hey, at least people are partying in the streets, right? Spirits are high as all the men register for the militia, there is singing and drinking and yes, Jamie even does a little jig for me — I’m sorry — them. How amazing is it to see Jamie and Claire drunk and flirty? They never get to have this much fun. Not one person is trying to kill either of them.
Out in the woods, under the moonlight, all boozed up, Jamie asks Claire if she wants to keep the baby. He’s seen her holding “the wee bonny” and knows this could be their last chance to raise a child together. “I have no life but you Claire, but if you wanted another child, I thought that perhaps I might give you one,” he says, ironically impregnating all of us. Claire looks at her husband with tears in her eyes, just so unbelievably moved. “Please know that if it’s at all possible, I love you even more for wanting to take the chance,” she replies. YOU GUYS. Sure, I’ve had a little wine but I am crying just thinking about how much Claire and Jamie love each other. It’s so much! Claire doesn’t want a baby because she’s not an insane person and also she loves their life together and doesn’t want it to change, and just because they regret not being parents together, that isn’t a good reason to keep a child in their situation. Plus, she reminds him, there’s still that whole “Bree found our obituary in a newspaper” thing hanging over their heads, because talking about their impending death is their love language. “I’m grateful for every day we have,” she tells him. It’s all so romantic, I cannot even stand it.
And then a shot rings out and Claire and Jamie find Alicia in the woods trying to kill herself, and the brief respite from things being terrible is over. Alicia’s only grazed her arm, but she is beyond devastated.
When Jamie goes out to find some alcohol to help calm Alicia’s nerves, who does he run into? Isaiah Morton. He’s been biding his time, waiting until he could safely see Alicia again. He MUST see her. Speaking of two people madly in love, Morton and Ali are in this. Neither Morton nor his wife are happy in their marriage, they haven’t slept in the same bed in two years, and Ali and their baby are his real family. When Jamie and Roger, who has joined this little party, remind Morton that if he doesn’t leave, he’ll be killed, he calls them out. Would either of them listen to anyone who told them to walk away from the loves of their lives? If someone told them they’d never see their wives again, what would they do? And then Jamie and Roger both get it. They’d never be able to leave the women they love, either. Hm, so maybe these guys do have one thing in common.
They decide to help Morton and Ali flee together. It won’t be easy out there on their own, and the Browns will definitely be pissed, but there is no other choice. “All you can hope for is that the good may outweigh the harm that may come of it,” Claire says in an ominous voiceover as Morton and Ali ride out of town in the early morning. Only time will tell what will become of them. As for Claire, Jamie, and Roger, their time in Brown Town is over. Jamie is going to take his men forward to Hillsborough to hopefully put this problem with the Regulators to bed without any bloodshed. Claire, however, needs to return to Fraser’s Ridge because now both Kezzie and Josiah have tonsillitis and she fears Kezzie isn’t strong enough to wait for surgery. Jamie tasks Roger with escorting them back. Roger views this as a big demotion — evidence that Jamie has no faith in him — but honestly, he’s going to be thankful he’s been sent home once he sees the state Bree is in.
She’s happily managing the Ridge, but once she hears that an Irishman came up to Jemmy in town and asked if he looked more like his mom or dad and then left a very familiar coin in his crib, Bree is sure Bonnet has found them. When Jemmy briefly goes missing in the Big House, she loses her shit and no matter how many drinks and heart-to-hearts she has with Marsali (Marsali opens up about her abusive, now dead, father and remains such a force on this show), no matter how many portraits of Bonnet she tosses in the fire, she just cannot shake that guy. She needs her mom and her husband home ASAP.