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Outlander: Perpetual Adoration

Murder. And kittens.

It was quite clever of Lieutenant Knox to send for a copy of a prisoners' list from Ardsmuir, something he must have thought of months ago considering how long it would take to get anything across the Atlantic Ocean in 1770. A bit of a coincidence that the list arrived while Jamie was visiting Knox to leave off the muster roll. Or was Jamie already planning to kill Knox when he walked in the door?

Yes, Jamie had to kill Knox to protect himself and his family, but I hated seeing him commit murder… okay, Jamie did try to talk Knox around first, and didn't take action until Knox pulled a knife on him. And I'd want Jamie to keep his head in this dangerous situation and carefully cover his tracks anyway, putting Knox's body in bed and closing the damper in the fireplace before climbing out the window. It's just sad that Lieutenant Knox thought he knew the real Jamie Fraser, and it cost him his life. I wouldn't be surprised if Jamie had some real trouble with this particular killing, even though he had no choice. Especially after what just happened with Aaron Beardsley.

I'm a cat person, and I love that Jamie stumbled over a kitten in the alley while departing the crime scene, and took the fuzzy little beast home to Claire. It was also lovely that Jamie had quite a tale to unload on Claire, but he didn't because he could see she was deeply preoccupied with something herself.

Claire managed to isolate the mold that makes penicillin in time to carry out twin tonsillectomies on Kezzie and Josiah, but penicillin doesn't cure everything; people can die, no matter what you do. Back in 1968, Claire became close to one of her patients because he was a Scot that reminded her of Jamie, and the poor man died of anaphylaxis – an event that ultimately led Claire back to London, to Reverend Wakefield's funeral, to Roger, and ultimately to Jamie.

Seeing Claire in 1968 again was something of a shock, and I wasn't expecting it. The flashbacks (or would they be flashforwards?) were mostly Claire at the hospital, talking with Joe, observing Graham's perpetual adoration shift at St. Finbar and pondering the nature of God and whether or not fate had anything to do with time travel. This fate question has come up numerous times during the series and of course, it is still unanswered. Perhaps it always will be unanswered.

We also got another installment of Roger and Brianna's dysfunctional new marriage. After some welcome home sex that he wasn't sure Bree enjoyed, Roger stumbled over the black diamond that Stephen Bonnet gave Bree "for his maintenance" and knew whose gem it originally was.

Bree does keep too much to herself. She should have told Roger about her prison visit to Bonnet before now, although I understand why she didn't – because she was worried that Roger would react exactly the way he did, with peevish jealousy and hurt. The thing is, Bree has nothing to apologize for. She showed a moment of genuine compassion toward the man that raped her, a man she believed was about to be executed. She kept the black diamond for a specific reason, too – to travel through the stones. If this were happening to Jamie and Claire, would Jamie treat Claire the way Roger is treating Bree? I don't think so. I keep comparing Roger to Jamie, and Roger comes up wanting.

Fortunately, Claire stepped into the breach with a bit of practical marriage counseling. She was right that it's a judgment call: sometimes the truth is called for, and sometimes it is not. Should Jemmy ever know that he might be Bonnet's son instead of Roger's? I'd say no. But Bree did need to know that she was Jamie's daughter, not Frank's, because it's not the same situation. At least Roger realized in the end that he wasn't being fair to Bree.

Roger's solution to the Bonnet problem is to return to the twentieth century. That wasn't what Bree wanted to hear. He even nixed the idea of starting a school right there in the eighteenth, which would be much better suited to his own skill set than captain of a militia.

That made me think. If our Outlander characters were indeed eighteenth century university professors, what would they teach? Bree mathematics, of course; Claire (obviously) health and medicine; and Jamie could teach Latin, Greek, archery and fencing. And maybe French.

Book versus series (avoiding spoilers)

While last week's episode was right out of The Fiery Cross, this week's was more out of left field.

In the Outlander books, Jamie and Claire prayed for each other a great deal during their twenty year separation. In the abbey at the end of the first book, Claire learned about perpetual adoration while Jamie was near death. Later, when they were separated by time, Claire joined a perpetual adoration group herself. This hasn't been shown in the series.

In the books, Claire did indeed lose Graham Menzies, a Scottish patient she cared deeply about, and it did inadvertently set her on her path back to Jamie. The difference was that Graham was fatally ill, and Claire conspired with him to acquire an overdose of morphine, which led to the hospital putting Claire on leave. Claire did at one point lose a patient to anaphylaxis, but it was someone in the eighteenth century, not the twentieth. And Jamie did indeed kill a redcoat that he befriended, but it was under different circumstances and the man wasn't named Knox, and I won't say more in case it comes up in a future episode.

The most delightful bit was The Impetuous Pirate. In the books, while Claire and Joe met in their classes, they started to become friends in a waiting room while talking about the silliness and escapism of the book while their patients were in recovery.


— The title card vignette was the hospital waiting room table full of magazines, with the April 1968 issue of Modern Building Review featuring "The Most Fabulous House in North Carolina." And of course, Loretta McKibben's immortal work, The Impetuous Pirate.

— I loved the montage of clips of pivotal moments from the entire series that opened this episode.

— Darts with dirks. Note that Jamie deliberately missed Murtagh's face.

— I've been so enjoying Claire with Marsali, and Jamie with Fergus. Fergus and Marsali weren't in enough of season four. Marsali did great during the operation, while Lizzie nearly passed out. "Holy Mother of God."

— The Regulators versus the Crown is over, for now. Governor Tryon is pardoning all of them, except Murtagh. Let's see how long that lasts.

— The kitten was named Adso of Melk, whom I think was a real person. He was played by Christian Slater in The Name of the Rose.

— I didn't know penicillin mold looks like paintbrushes. Live and learn.

— No Murtagh in this episode. Although in a way, the entire Hillsborough debacle was about Murtagh.

— Thanks to Outlander Online for the second, third and fourth screencap.

— In this week's hair report, Claire looked better than she did in the other episodes set in 1968 (which were "Dragonfly in Amber," "Of Lost Things," and "Freedom & Whisky"). Did they get Caitriona Balfe a better hairpiece, perhaps?


Claire: "Time is a lot of the things that people say God is."

Graham Menzies: "It's but one more scar, nothing worth brooding over."
Jamie said the exact same thing to Claire once, and she remembered it.

Bonnet: "Women will do anything for trinkets, coins, jewels. Anything at all. They're yours for a pretty penny. Or a diamond, or a ring."
Misogynistic ass.

Claire: "You remind me someone I met in Scotland years ago. We lost touch."
Graham: "He must have been a fool."
Claire: "Well, if he was, then I was equally so."

Brianna: "I guess you never really know what's coming, do you?"

I liked this one a lot. Three and a half out of four paintbrushes,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I was initially bothered by the religion in this episode, but putting that aside I found it a bit too disjointed at first, but I thought I knew where it was going. I was genuinely surprised by Jamie killing Knox, not because it didn't work, but because I'd hoped things would work out differently... for some reason this show is generally not that forgiving.

    On a much brighter note... amazing gray ball of fur, amazing gray ball of fur, amazing gray ball of fur!!! Did I say what an adorable kitten, I've never seen a kitten like that.

    Loved seeing Joe again. It's unfortunate it was set after Frank's death though, because I would've liked to have Tobias back for at least a scene.

    Roger is a dolt, and I got back and forth whether I like him or kind of hate him. I guess for Bree's sake I'll tolerate him... like Jamie.

    Did I mention the kitten? SOOO CUTE!!!

  2. I’ve seen and read various (but surprisingly many) comments and actual references regarding the book (Joe’s romance novel that in the actual book, Claire picked up in the break room—and if I remember correctly—had seen Joe previously reading—-) and I’ve been wondering for awhile, and trying to find out if in fact, the novel “The Impetuous Pirate” by Loretta McKibben is actually a really novel.

  3. Impetuous, I'm a librarian and I checked Worldcat. There is no book entitled "The Impetuous Pirate" and no author named Loretta McKibben. Believe me, if there were, it would be in Worldcat.

  4. The Impetuous Pirate, by Loretta McKibben, “Author of Barra“ question as to if this book is a real novel or not... after Season 5 Episode 505, this is what was discussed in the ‘afterword,’ of the episode in ‘Outlander Inside the World.’

    In the beginning of this particular commentary, Davis mentions, “We were actually very excited to get that in (The Impetuous Pirate). We spoke to Diana, she was also very excited—“ “It’s a book within a book” (Roberts) “Yes,” (Davis) “For those that didn’t catch it...
    ...we had the Art Department do a cover, and we built the books, and one of them is sitting in my office right now.” (Quote from Matthew B. Roberts, Showrunner). “And that’s something I WILL be stealing—“ (Maril Davis, Executive Producer). (Quoted from “Outlander, Inside the World, Season 5, Episode 5, “Perpetual Adoration”). Soooo... is this book a creation of Gaboldan’s?? Or was it a novel truly in print in the late 60s?? When Davis makes the reference to getting the part about that particular romance novel “in” and Gaboldan being pleased as well, in my opinion (and based on the facts that no record of such novel(s) by such an author comes up from any current or latent sources, I believe the fictitious novel mentioned in both the book and the show, is indeed just that—fictional. ����

  5. I was surprised to see Jaimie murder Knox, especially after he agonised so much over Beardsley, which seemed to me less agony-worthy. It seemed odd, that they were quite close and then suddenly, murder. But I guess he felt he didn't have a choice.

  6. Josie "Now There's a Kitten!" KafkaMonday, May 18, 2020 at 2:00:00 AM EDT

    If this were happening to Jamie and Claire, would Jamie treat Claire the way Roger is treating Bree? I don't think so. I keep comparing Roger to Jamie, and Roger comes up wanting.

    That was exactly my thought, and it got me thinking about what the purpose of Bree/Roger is. Are they supposed to be the new Jamie/Claire? Because I think they're a relationship foil, not a repetition: by watching Bree and Roger struggle with typical couple problems (like communicating, not like secret gemstones), we can see just how great Claire and Jamie are together.

    Later, when they were separated by time, Claire joined a perpetual adoration group herself. This hasn't been shown in the series.

    That is quite interesting. I was actually going to post a comment on this ep that I was really fascinated/pleased by the way that Outlander portrayed religion and faith in a totally non-judgemental way. Now I'm wondering if they cut out some of the religiosity to avoid controversy, or something.

    The kitten was named Adso of Melk, whom I think was a real person. He was played by Christian Slater in The Name of the Rose.

    How delightful! That's a fabulous deep cut from the author and a lovely shout-out to Umberto Eco.

    Also: kitten! Finally, kitten! Kitten, kitten, kitten. Adso is all I was promised and more.


  7. Josie, I think you're right that Bree and Roger are a relationship foil, a counterpoint to Claire and Jamie instead of a repetition, because that's what I keep commenting about. They have completely different couple problems.

    The religion thing is interesting. I'm not religious at all but I've always liked what Gabaldon did with it in the books, with the emphasis on tolerance. The Outlander books are long and dense, and the producers have had to pick and choose. Maybe they did decide to turn down the volume a bit.

  8. Claire scolds her patient about smoking. But both Claire and Caitriona smoke cigarettes.

  9. Here are my notes on the podcast for "Perpetual Adoration," episode 5x5. Commentary was by executive producer Toni Graphia with the two writers of the episode, co-producers Steve Kornacki and Alyson Evans. This was the first episode they wrote for Outlander; they also went to Scotland to supervise the filming of the episode.

    They realized they hadn't had any time travel in the season yet, so they folded it into the penicillin story and filled in some of Claire's missing time. Kornacki said they took Graham Menzies from Voyager. In the book, Claire euthanized him, but that essentially repeated what happened with Colum and Rufus, so they changed it to the penicillin story and thought it worked well explaining how Claire and Brianna ended up in Scotland. They love seeing Claire back in the 1960s and it was nice to see Claire more in her professional life than in just her relationship with Frank. They spent some time finding the perfect Graham Menzies, an actor who would remind us of Jamie. Graphia said this is why she loves Outlander, the serendipity of Claire meeting Menzies at that moment. Was it fate sending her back to Jamie?

    The scene where Jamie killed Knox was carefully choreographed, of course. Sam does as much of his own stunt work as he can. Knox isn't in the book, but he's a little bit of Lieutenant Hayes, who was introduced at the Gathering that opened the book, The Fiery Cross.

    It's very difficult to shoot with children which is why they have twins. Same with animals. There are two Rollos. They auditioned a couple of cats and cast two, but only one really had the acting chops and was a scene stealer. Jamie giving Claire the kitten was supposed to be the end of the episode, but Matt Roberts had decided to break up the 1968 story. Kornacki said they were all cat people and they all have numerous photos with Adso.

    They praised Richard Rankin and Sophie Skelton for their acting in the Roger/Brianna scene about Bonnet's diamond. The writers were all conflicted about why she did what she did in the first place; everyone had strong opinions and that carried through into this scene. Graphia says that this is what makes for the best scenes, when the writers can see both sides of a complicated issue. They also worked on how much can they get away with for Roger without him looking like a jerk. The core of the issue for Roger was that Bree believed it was Bonnet's child.

    In the scene where Roger and Brianna were talking on the front porch, there were a lot of sheep nearby making a lot of noise, and the sound guy managed to keep the bleating out of the scene. More praise for Richard and Sophie's acting.

    Production notes:

    Filming Josiah and Kezzie in the same frame was of course a visual effects shot, and it took a lot of the afternoon, longer than the filming of the operation.

    Sam Heughan did his own knife throwing in the pub and got it right the first time. Of course, he's had practice.

    The church they filmed in wasn't Catholic, it was a Baptist church and they covered the baptismal font with an altar. Hundreds of people showed up outside because they heard that Caitriona was inside filming an Outlander scene.


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