Outlander Season 5: Unanswered Questions

Here are the answers to Outlander fan’s most burning questions following the Season 5 finale.

Photo: Starz

Warning: This article contains MAJOR spoilers for the Outlander Season 5 finale but does not contain any book spoilers beyond Season 5.

Outlander fans are likely still trying to cope with all of the harrowing content in the Season 5 finale. Claire has successfully escaped her abductors and rapists while Bree, Roger, and Jemmy have returned to the 18th century? Here are the answers to everything the season finale did not address.

Why did Bree, Roger, and Jemmy fail to return to the 1970s?

Successful time travel in the world of Outlander depends on several factors so far revealed on the show: gemstones, genetic ability, the time of year, and focusing the mind on a fixed point in time. Bree, Jemmy, and Roger have gemstones and genetic ability. They left Fraser’s Ridge in the autumn, so it can be assumed they timed their departure around the pagan festival Samhain (Halloween today). Bree and Roger said they were thinking about their modern homes, but it is not clear that Jemmy was focused on anything specific. Most likely, he believes home is the 18th century and not the future, and this is why they were unable to travel.

Will the Mackenzies make another attempt to time travel?

Roger and Brianna didn’t completely settle into 18th century life before they left. Now that they can assist Jamie and Claire on the Ridge again, Season 6 will likely feature the second round of exploration on this topic. A return to the future depends on how much the writers adapt from A Breath of Snow and Ashes and later books.

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Why is Marsali so heavily pregnant again?

It is true Fergus and Marsali have quite a few kids in the novels, but the internal timeline on Marsali’s pregnancies is a bit wonky. She gives birth to Felicité at the end of “Monsters and Heroes” which takes place in late August or early September. “Journeycake” takes place between that point and the end of October. “Never My Love” is in early November, with only a few days between the abduction and Jamie finding Claire. Assuming Fergus and Marsali make no attempts to stop sex during breastfeeding, she should only be in her first trimester by the time she gives the hemlock injection. Marsali appears to be well into her second trimester, which means there’s a slip up in continuity. 

What else is in Otter Tooth’s diary and what happened to Wendigo Donner?

Wendigo Donner clearly slipped away before Jamie’s retribution squad found Claire’s abductors. Otter Tooth’s mission, as revealed in Season 4, was clearly an attempt to reverse British colonization. The journal not only contains his predictions of the future for the current tribes at the time but also plans for defeating colonist militias. Recall how, in “Journeycake,” the Committee of Safety members claimed the tribes were responsible for the vigilante cabin burnings. Wendigo’s mission is likely to sabotage attacks on the Cherokee from the inside. Helping Claire, unfortunately, would have blown his cover before he assembled others to fight the men or collected enough intelligence on future plans. He escaped the Fraser/Mackenzie slaughter, so most likely we will see him and the rest of the diary’s contents in Season 6

What is the full backstory with Ian’s wife?

This is impossible to answer without revealing potential spoilers from the book. The book timeline followed Ian’s entire journey with the Mohawk and his efforts to adjust to their way of life. Season 6 will most likely reveal what happened through flashbacks or dialogue. If you don’t mind spoilers for the book plot and a potential future show plot, you can read this article for more information.

Why did Jamie save Brownsville from his revenge?

Jamie realizes the Brown men who were involved in Claire’s abduction and rape were clearly not acting on orders from the mayor. He can’t prove every single person in the town agrees with Cuddy Brown’s hatred of Dr. Rawlings’ pamphlet. There is also no evidence the town is harboring Wendigo or anyone else who might have slipped past Ian, Fergus, and Roger. In addition, Jamie realizes that, when it is time to fight the British Army, he will need the remaining Brown men to assist. Rising tensions with the colonial government will likely lead to some version of the Committee reforming next season, but with more legitimate legal authority.   

What happens to Jocasta and River Run ?

Ulysses foiled Forbes’ plans to establish Stephen Bonnet as Jemmy’s father and to kill Jocasta and Duncan Innes. The stolen Jacobite gold Jocasta references in “Better to Marry Than To Burn” is the second half of the scheme as depicted in The Fiery Cross. Because Natalie Simpson could not reprise her role as Phaedra and, due to other logistical issues, this resulted in the switch from Phaedra and Ulysses being involved in the stolen gold plot in the book to Ulysses killing Forbes in the show. This is why Ulysses must flee to London with Lord John Grey. So far, only David Berry (Lord John Grey) on social media has said he is finished filming on Outlander. There is no word on if Maria Doyle Kennedy (Jocasta) or Colin McFarlane (Ulysses) will reprise their roles for Season 6. At this time, it is impossible to predict how Season 6 will reconcile the drastically-altered Jacobite gold plot or any potential London cameos with the novel storyline. 

Although fans can find some of the answers to these and other questions if they read The Fiery Cross and A Breath of Snow and Ashes, they must keep in mind that Season 6 has the potential to radically edit the contents of the book in order to streamline storytelling.