The big day is finally here on Outlander— Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) make it 1700s legal in the Season Five premiere, “The Fiery Cross.” Surrounded by friends, family and some unwelcome interlopers, they take their vows and prepare to make a future together in the past.
Jamie (Sam Heughan) is nearly done building a new house for himself and Claire (Caitriona Balfe ) in a particularly bonny setting on their land, and he and Claire have gifted their original house to Brianna and Roger as a wedding present. Jamie gives Roger a clean, close shave (and a sense of the importance of taking care of his baby girl) in the old house, and Claire helps Brianna with her lovely dress and fancy hairdo in the new one. When the moment arrives, Jamie collects Brianna and escorts her down the aisle to give her away. She’s wearing her grandmother’s pearls, which she brought with her from the 20th Century.
The ceremony is lovely and it goes off without a hitch– except the intended one! In the gathering assembled to witness the happy union, we see that hunky Lord John Grey (David Berry), Fergus (César Domboy) and Marsali (Lauren Lyle) (now with TWO little ones!), Auntie Jocasta (Maria Doyle Kennedy), Brianna’s pal Lizzie Wemyss (Caitlin O’Ryan)… and no Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix). Where his rugged face should be, instead there’s a surprise: Governor Tryon (Tim Downie). We also get a sweet flashback to Jamie and Claire’s wedding during the vows, and they exchange a hungry and devoted look as they share the memory.
Most of the rest of the episode is the reception, which takes place (as the ceremony did) in the land surrounding the new Fraser residence. There’s music, dancing and spirits. Lord John Grey, Fergus and Marsali compete with others in a drinking game where the objective appears to be contributing a new tongue-twister or limerick and drinking if you fail. Roger gets roped into dancing more than he’d expected, and with a variety of ladies. And Jamie gets more than one piece of alarming news.
First, Governor Tryon abuses the receiving line to let Jamie know he’s brought a regiment with him to hunt Regulators and that he isn’t satisfied with Jamie’s progress in capturing the fugitive Murtagh Fitzgibbons. Second, he learns that Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers) has been spotted. Unfortunately, Brianna overhears the latter piece of news and spends the rest of her wedding night hiding her fear that Bonnet will come after the baby she told him was his when she visited him in prison.
Eventually, the party winds down. The remaining guests appear to be either passed out drunk or coupling up for some love. (Except Lord John, who sits alone by a fire as drunkards snore around him.) Brianna and Roger consummate their marriage in their new home, after which she rolls over to have private fear. Jamie and Claire manage to get some lovemaking in, despite babysitting their fussy grandson so his parents can get to work on a sibling. And Jocasta has her slave, Ulysses (Colin McFarlane), guide her to the shack in the woods where Murtagh is hiding out so that she can spend the night with him.
The next day is a rough one for Murtagh. In the afterglow of his night making love to her, Jocasta tells him that Duncan Innes (Alastair Findlay) has proposed to her. Murtagh knows that as a fugitive and a rebel he can’t compete with his old friend from Ardsmuir Prison. He tells her he won’t stand in the way of her happiness.
Not long after, Tryon basically tells Jamie that if he doesn’t produce Murtagh soon, he may lose his land over it. Although Murtagh is Jamie’s Godfather, Jamie is determined to technically fulfill his commitment to Tryon for the sake of his family and all of the settlers on his land. He knows that if the war Claire has warned him of really comes soon, his contract with Tryon will be void, but in the meantime he must hunt Murtagh. He agrees to take the soldiers Tryon is leaving, as well as a force of his own men, to deal with the Regulators. They’ll leave in one week.
Jamie meets with Murtagh to tell him that he is released from the vow of protection that he made to Jamie and his mother– the vow that keeps him close. He asks him to go immediately and to make himself hard to find. They part, and Jamie cries.
Another noteworthy exchange the day after the wedding takes place between Jocasta and Roger. He visits her at her pavilion (most of the wedding guests are glamping on the grounds of the Frasers’ house), and she baits him with the suggestion that she’s changing her will to make Brianna’s son her heir in case Roger ever rejects the child because he’s not the real father. Her ploy is extremely successful, making Roger so spitting mad that he tells her exactly where to stuff her money and rushes home to his wife and baby. He slices his hand and symbolically smears some of the blood on the baby’s forehead, claiming him as his own blood in front of Brianna, and giving her a modicum of peace of mind.
As the post-nuptial day wears on, Jamie is uneasy. He visits Claire in the fancy clinic they’ve built onto the new house and discusses his situation with her. After evaluating his options, they agree that it’s important to have the men of Fraser’s Ridge loyal to him, rather than to the current government. That way they will serve now as needed and also follow Jamie when his allegiance needs to shift during the Revolutionary War. Jamie understands that Tryon wants him in his pocket because he has sway with his fellow Scots, so he declares to Claire that if a Scot is what Tryon wants, a Scot is what he’ll get.
Jamie opens a dusty trunk and reverently removes his plaids, donning them for the first time in a long time. That evening, looking the Highlander he is, he marches to a clearing in the midst of his lingering wedding guests and lights the straw cross at its center. As a curious Lieutenant Hamilton Knox (Michael D. Xavier) looks on, Jamie addresses the settlers who live on his land and asks them to stand with him– not as their Clansman or their Chief, but as a brother in arms. Lieutenant Knox seems to accept that the call to arms is in service of Tryon’s task, which serves Jamie’s purpose.
As Jamie asks the gathered men to stand by his hand, he extends a literal hand to Roger. Roger hesitates, and another man steps forward to be the first to pledge loyalty to Jamie. Afterwards, Jamie is more direct in his call to Roger, the son of his house, to become a shield for both their families. Roger nods and steps forward, surprising Jamie with his ability to make the pledge with the correct language: “I swear by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the holy iron that I hold, to give ye my fealty, and I pledge ye my loyalty. If ever my hand be raised against ye in rebellion, I ask that this holy iron pierce my heart.” He rises Captain Roger MacKenzie, assured that he’ll be safe by Jamie’s side.
Next, Jamie calls on Fergus, son of his name and his heart, to make the pledge. Fergus comes eagerly, and the rest of the men in the gathering form a line behind him to follow. Jamie promises them that he won’t call on them to fight until and unless it’s needed, and that he’ll light a fiery cross to summon them at that time.
A moment worth mentioning: While dancing at their wedding, Roger makes a crack to his new bride about how they can do it all again when they go home to their own time, which draws a LOOK from Brianna that he misses completely. These two are rarely as in sync as Jamie and Claire have been from minute one, and it’s a little exhausting (to me).