This OUTLANDER article includes MAJOR spoilers for the Season 5 finale.
The Outlander Season 5 finale was much more self-referential than most episodes of this TV show, as we delve into Claire’s subconscious as she dissociates to avoid the reality of her abduction and abuse at the hands of Lionel Brown. Instead of staying in the present, her mind brings her to a 20th century home filled with her 18th century family celebrating American Thanksgiving. The modern house is populated with references to things we have seen Claire experience in previous seasons of this show.
It’s a clever, visually-specific way of telling us about Claire: what matters to her, what she’s afraid of, and what she’s desperately trying to avoid. It is also the kind of episodic writing and direction that wouldn’t work for a less fervid viewership. The creators obviously had faith that fans will have been paying close attention, and the clues to Claire’s past will therefore mean something to them. Let’s break down all of the references and Easter Eggs in the Season 5 finale…
The House Painting
In the dissociation scenes, we see Claire looking at an abstract painting of a house, done in oranges and reds. No, this is not a painting of the house on Fraser’s Ridge on fire, as some people have understandably guessed, but a painting of the house on Fraser’s Ridge totally not on fire.
The song playing on the record player during Claire’s dissociation scene is 1967 tune “Never My Love” by The Association. It also gives the episode its name.
One of the first Easter eggs in Claire’s dissociation sequence comes in the form of a lone orange, which is a call back to the orange that the King of France gives Claire back in Season 2’s “Faith.”
“After Claire sleeps with the King of France to save Jamie’s life, when she leaves Versailles Palace, the last thing she does is pick up the orange and take it with her,” executive producer Tonia Graphia told Elle. “It was a small gesture by Claire, a choice that symbolizes that she’s leaving with her dignity. Matt and I included it on purpose in Claire’s dream-escapes in 612: The orange being visible in the opening shot in her living room, then, when faced with the choice of whether to kill Lionel in revenge, Claire flashes on the orange—and then her walking out with it—a symbol that she takes the high road. She’s got a piece of herself that no one can ever take from her. We’re hoping the fans who remember the episode in Season 2 will get it!”
The vase we see in Claire’s “dream home” is a callback to the very first episode of Outlander. In “Sassenach,” Claire wonders in voiceover how her life might have turned out different if she made different choices, like buying a vase she saw in a shop window.
Strange, the things you remember. Single images and feelings that stay with you down through the years. Like the moment I’d realized I’d never owned a vase. That I’d never lived in any place long enough to justify having such a simple thing. And how at that moment, I wanted nothing so much in all the world as to have a vase of my very own.
The Dragonfly Toy
At one point in the sequence, a child is playing with a dragonfly toy. The second book in the Outlander book series is called Dragonfly in Amber, as is the final episode of Season 2. Both titles are a reference to the eternal strength of Jamie and Claire’s love. Like a dragonfly in amber, it can withstand even the forces of time (travel).
Claire’s Red Dress
Claire’s bright red dress seems to be a callback to the gorgeous dress that Claire wore in Season 2 when she and Jamie were in France. Or maybe red is just Claire’s power color?
Ian is dressed in a military uniform in the 20th century dream sequence. This is not a reference to anything that has happened on the show—other than Young Ian leaving home for a long while—but seemingly a reference to the Vietnam War, which would have been going on in late 1960s/early 1970s when this scene seems to be “set.”
While much of Ian’s uniform is a historically accurate U.S. Army uniform, he is wearing a patch on his shoulder that has a silhouette of a Native American, which is a reference to the character’s time with the Mohawk. Also, the medal ribbons are actually made out of Indian wampum beads,” Outlander costumer Trisha Biggar told Town & Country. You can read more about the clever costume choices she made for this sequence via Town & Country.
While it might seem like Jamie’s outfit is strictly circa 1770s, Biggar told Town & Country that they made some 20th century adjustments, such as “narrowing down the fullness of the shirt” and “making his breeches look more like a 20th century pair of trousers.”
“Breeches go into the boots, so we just made the trousers go into boots, too,” shared Biggar, “and we made his trousers out of a black denim, so it was a contemporary fabric, but still gave him his 18th century silhouette. He sort of fits in to the 20th century, but is still very much of his own century.”
“You’re Shaking So Hard…”
There were certain lines of dialogue that were direct callbacks to lines of dialogue from earlier seasons. At one point, Dream Jamie says “You’re shaking so hard, it’s making my teeth rattle,” which is something the character said to Claire back in the Outlander premiere.
Murtagh & Jocasta
While Claire doesn’t imagine other deceased loved ones in her dissociation sequence, she does interestingly imagine Murtagh, who died earlier this season, as part of the Thanksgiving Day scene. Murtagh, who mentions Prestonpans at one point in the “day,” is seemingly in a happy relationship with Jocasta, who is noticeably not blind in the sequence. Fergus also seems to have both of his hands, which is also a change from the reality Claire knows.
The Beatles and Ringo Starr
We get several Beatles references within this episode. First, it’s part of dinner conversation during Claire’s dissociation dream. Then, we hear Wendigo Donner use it as a way to confirm that Claire is from the 20th century. He asks her who Ringo Starr is (interesting choice of Beatle), and she tells him that he is a drummer.
The Plaid Blanket
The scene that sees Claire wrapped up in Jamie’s blanket after Jamie has rescued her from Lionel Brown is a call back to the scene in the Outlander pilot that sees Claire wrapped up in Jamie’s blanket after he has rescued her from Jack Randall.
Did we miss any Easter eggs? Let us know in the comments below…