Spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of Outlander Season 5, called "Between Two Fires."
Outlander Season 5 got off to a start that was almost suspiciously happy, and it was clear by the end of the premiere that things were going to go downhill for the Frasers. "Between Two Fires" saw the family split, with Jamie forced to join a British lieutenant to hunt down Murtagh while the rest stayed back at Fraser's Ridge, where Claire was pushing the limits of 18th century medicine, Roger wants to go back to the 20th century, and Bree was trying to be happy and shake off the memory of Stephen Bonnet. Nothing is too bad so far, but could Roger and Brianna staying in the past destroy everything?
While I would normally feel a little overdramatic saying something like that after only two episodes that haven't featured anything too catastrophic, I have already watched four full seasons of Outlander, so I think fans will probably understand why I'm inclined to imagine the worst happening.
To Outlander's credit, "Between Two Fires" gave a solid explanation for why the newlyweds can't just traipse over to the first time travel stones they can find and journey back to the future. They don't know if Jemmy can time travel yet, and they can't try and leave unless they're absolutely sure their son can go with them. Even though Roger wants to go (and has Claire's support) and Bree wants to stay, it's at least a fight that they can delay until Jemmy is old enough to potentially time travel.
So, why do I think Roger and Brianna staying in the past could destroy everything? Read on for my reasons!
The Frasers May Change History Too Much
As Brianna pointed out in "Between Two Fires," big moves made by any in the Fraser family have the potential to change history, and they're in a time and place in history where even minor changes could have huge consequences. The American Revolution is fast-approaching. Unless the Fraser family with an extra two time-travelers on board now stops making waves, things could change too much.
Given that Bree herself is a product of American history thanks to growing up in Boston, changes they make now could fundamentally impact her, and even Claire due to her decades on the American side of the pond. Admittedly, the events of Culloden may be proof that major events in history can't be changed no matter what time travelers do on Outlander, but that's a big "may."
Claire Is Going Too Far With Her Medicine
Understandably, Claire struggles with watching the settlers on Fraser's Ridge suffer and die due to preventable ailments, oftentimes made worse by the "treatments" favored by the people of the time. She has had trouble with this from the beginning of the series and earned suspicions of witchcraft along the way.
Her decision to start making penicillin in "Between Two Fires" struck me as mostly motivated by the presence of her grandson, who doesn't have his 20th century immunizations and could die from an infection easily, as Claire pointed out to Brianna, who was aghast that her mom was inventing penicillin 157 years early. Now, Claire is training Marsali and trying to trick the locals into following her 20th century recommendations. Would Claire really be taking such big risks if not for Jemmy being at risk?
Roger Doesn't Fit In
Outlander has shown repeatedly that Roger is really not suited to life in the 18th century. As a singer and scholar from the 1900s, through no fault of his own Roger doesn't have the hands-on knowledge or experience for this new life. Jamie doesn't seem to think much of him, and his decision to leave Roger to watch over Fraser's Ridge in his absence seems to be to keep Roger out of his way more than anything else. Between Roger and Brianna, Brianna is more likely to hit anything with a gun.
Roger also isn't too careful about keeping the future separate from the past. Singing Three Dog Night's "Joy To The World" to Jemmy was definitely cute, but he's lucky Bree was the one to walk up behind him. And Roger wants to go back. His reluctance and self-sabotage, which he suggested to Claire were why he wasn't successfully learning to shoot, could make things difficult for him and his family. Speaking of which...
Stephen Bonnet Is Back
"Between Two Fires" ended on the reveal that Stephen Bonnet is back in the area and considers himself a father, after he encountered the very pregnant Brianna back in Season 4. He also doesn't seem to have been miraculously changed since making his escape from jail, as John Grey indicated in the Season 5 premiere. In fact, instead of stopping a duel after his opponent yielded, he went ahead and blinded him. While every indication so far is that Bonnet is back for shady business dealings with the Brits, there is cause for concern for Brianna.
Bree is clearly haunted by what Bonnet did to her. Could she go after Bonnet for some reason? Alternately, could Bonnet head up to Fraser's Ridge to try and claim "his" child? I'm nervous that he'll set his eye on the Ridge while Jamie and the rest of the fighters are away, with Roger charged with protecting them. At least Fergus with his hook is there too, I guess, and the women of the Fraser family can certainly hold their own and probably out-shoot Roger. But with Brianna in the past, a living Stephen Bonnet will always be a threat. Poor Bree!
Jamie Has A Weak Spot
Jamie may not think the world of his heretic, ill-prepared 20th century son-in-law, but he clearly adores Brianna and his grandson, even if Jemmy wasn't born (or baptized) the way Jamie would have liked. Admittedly, Jamie has a whole lot of soft spots now that he has taken responsibility for the people of Fraser's Ridge and of course his love for Claire. Still, if anybody threatens Bree and the baby, I can't see Jamie doing anything that would put them specifically in danger.
Considering he's currently trying to convincingly fulfill his oath to the Brits by hunting Murtagh while also saving every Scot he can manage, any leverage the British have over him could push him to do a lot that he never would have considered before. Case in point: that shot in the Outlander Season 5 trailer of Jamie dressed as a redcoat soldier. He's an example of a character who doesn't need to time-travel himself to be pushed by those he loves from another time into potentially changing America ahead of the Revolution. Doing what he has to do to protect Bree might be bad in the grand scheme of things.
Only time will tell if Roger and Bree's presence in the past really is disastrous, or if Outlander will have plenty of disasters to go around that aren't necessarily impacted by the two time-travelers. See what happens next on Outlander with the next new episode airing on Sunday, March 1 at 8 p.m. ET on Starz.