Outlander is a show that has been pretty much going from strength to strength as each season goes on, constantly evolving, especially by Season 2 when the core duo of Jamie and Claire became a core quartet with the additions of Roger and Brianna. During these past four seasons, we had a dangerous expedition to France, the slow rise of the Battle of Culloden that caused a long 20-year separation across time between Claire and Jamie, a treacherous journey from Scotland to America, and a major reunion between our four central characters.
By the end of Season 4, Roger makes the decision to stay behind to care for Brianna and their newborn child, while Jamie and Claire are trying to build a new home for themselves and their community, despite the fact that the American Revolution looms over the horizon. Things go further south when Jamie is tasked with hunting down his own godfather in Murtagh and Brianna’s attacker Stephen Bonnet comes back to haunt her and her child. This season does a solid job of expanding our characters and taking them further than they’ve been taken. We see Jamie learning to accept Roger as his new son-in-law, we see Jamie struggling with both his obligation to the Crown and to his family, Claire is trying to bring science and medical practices from her time into the 17th Century, Roger is trying to cope with being accustomed to the 17th Century as new trials and tribulations are thrust upon him, and Brianna is haunted by the revelation that her attacker is still out there.
This allows for new story avenues to be explored, even going as far as to tackle heavier themes like PTSD as shown in episode 8 of the series. While the show can be light-hearted and adventurous, it isn’t afraid of being dark and bleak when it wants to. While it’s still hard to buy Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe as people in their late ’40s-’50s, the pair still have amazing chemistry and still give commanding performances, as do both Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton, who both still excel as true rising stars.
Outlander’s fifth season is another strong in what has so far been a consistently strong show, taking the characters we know and love and placing them in new challenging scenarios that are, at times, very unpleasant. This show doesn’t always provide the easiest of answers, but it’s admirable that this show isn’t afraid of going dark when it needs to. There are some slow moments and one or two cop-outs that are annoying, but this show hasn’t shown any signs of aging just yet, and here’s hoping the forthcoming sixth season also delivers this strongly.
Dir: Stephen Woolfenden, Jamie Payne, Meera Menon, Annie Griffin
Scr: Toni Graphia, Matthew B. Roberts, Diana Gabaldon, Luke Schelhaas, Barbara Stepansky, Alyson Evans, Steve Kornacki, Stephanie Shannon, Danielle Berrow, Shaina Fewell, Megan Ferrell Burke
Cast: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Sophie Skelton, Richard Rankin, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Duncan Lacroix, John Bell, David Berry, Cesar Domboy, Lauren Lyle, Colin McFarlane, Caitlin O’Ryan
Music: Ben McCreary
Number of Episodes: 12
Episode Run time: 51-65mins
Outlander: Season 5 is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray.