Wait, Is Outlander's Stephen Bonnet The Biggest Threat Of Season 5?

outlander season 5 brianna sophie skelton scared starz
(Image credit: Starz)
(Image credit: Starz)

Spoilers ahead for Episode 4 of Outlander Season 5, called "The Company We Keep."

Outlander moved past the horrifying book story from the third episode of Season 5 to spend most of the fourth episode with Jamie and Claire dealing with complications in Brownsville, but the most sinister aspect of the episode happened back on Fraser's Ridge when Brianna was given reason to believe that Stephen Bonnet himself had dropped by and given a coin to Jemmy. Considering Bree was already haunted enough by Bonnet and what he did to her, could he turn out the be the biggest threat of Season 5 in the flesh?

Although Ed Speleers only appeared in one episode of Season 5 to date, Stephen Bonnet's presence has weighed on Brianna. She drew haunting pictures pictures of him, and the memory of him was enough reawaken the trauma of her rape. She learned that Bonnet was back in the area shortly after her wedding, and Bonnet seemingly learned of Bree and Jemmy's location and Fraser's Ridge and dropped by for a visit.

Admittedly, "The Company We Keep" didn't confirm that the man who visited Fraser's Ridge and gave a coin to Jemmy was actually Stephen Bonnet, and Mrs. Bug didn't remember whether or not he had a scar on his face. She did notice, however, that he was Irish when he asked if Jemmy took more after his mother or his father. Can we really blame Bree for assuming this was Bonnet? I would argue he makes the most sense, and that's far more than poor Bree deserves.

Although Bonnet did not emerge from the darkness to kidnap Jemmy, as Brianna feared in a moment of panic when she couldn't find Jemmy, the possibility of his presence was already affecting Brianna. A talk with Marsali seemed to do Bree some good, and she burned her drawings of Bonnet, but that surely won't be the end of the story, especially if we assume that the man who visited Fraser's Ridge was indeed Bonnet.

The divergences from Diana Gabaldon's books at this point are significant enough that I'm not sure viewers should count on the show following those events too closely, but it's worth noting that Bonnet could be the villain of the season without upsetting history. Neither Claire nor Bree can recall any major historical battles that would have been recorded in North Carolina around this time; Stephen Bonnet is small enough to go unnoticed by the history books but big enough to ruin the lives of the Fraser family.

Viewers know that no matter what Jamie and Claire do, the American Revolution is almost certainly going to happen just like Culloden was bound to happen. Viewers do not know how much damage Bonnet might or might not do, and isn't that the mark of a truly frightening villain?

In a character-focused series like Outlander, the biggest threats may be the ones who aren't important to history on a grand scale. Black Jack Randall ranks as one of my personal picks for scariest TV villains, and he wasn't exactly a major player in the Outlander history books. If Bonnet has a major part to play in Season 5 after all the damage he did in Season 4, he could join the ranks of Randall.

See what happens next for Brianna, the rest of the Fraser family, and perhaps even Stephen Bonnet when the next new episode of Outlander airs Sunday, March 15 at 8 p.m. ET on Starz (opens in new tab). If all this talk of Stephen Bonnet has left a sour taste in your mouth, try cleansing your palate with our picks for Outlander's sexiest moments so far!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.