Spoilers ahead for Episode 10 of Outlander Season 5, called “Mercy Shall Follow Me.”
Outlander brought Stephen Bonnet back in a big way with “Mercy Shall Follow Me,” and it was a wild and terrifying ride that fortunately came to a definitive end by the final minutes. Although he found some brand new ways to traumatize Brianna and came very close to separating her from her loved ones forever, he was executed and is definitely, totally, truly 100% dead this time, and it means some interesting changes ahead for the rest of Season 5.
The plot picked up with Bonnet managing to kidnap Bree to his private island and attempt to seduce her into making him a gentleman and forming a little family unit with them and Jemmy. While Jamie, Claire, and Roger worked furiously to find out where she was, her efforts to trick Bonnet went sideways, and he was on the verge of selling her to a ship captain when her family finally caught up with them.
Bree decided she wanted him tried and condemned according to the law, and since Jamie was still owed a favor by Governor Tryon, all Bonnet’s connections weren’t enough to save him. He was sentenced to die by drowning, and was on the verge of going under for good when Brianna shot him through the head. When Roger asked if she did it out of mercy or a desire to make sure that he was dead, Bree didn’t answer. Still, the threat of Stephen Bonnet as anything other than a memory and a nightmare is gone.
And with the death of Stephen Bonnet -- which was a long time coming and undoubtedly pretty satisfying to fans -- ends arguably the second of Season 5’s two major plots. The Regulators vs. the crown arc ended a few episodes ago, when Murtagh died and Roger was nearly hanged to death. With Bonnet dead and even the slimy Forbes dead despite his efforts to kill Jocasta and secure her fortune to Bonnet, the arc of anybody having designs River Run via Jemmy is over as well.
Basically, “Mercy Shall Follow Me” closed the two biggest stories of Outlander Season 5 two episodes shy of the finale, which raises the question: what is Outlander supposed to do for the rest of Season 5? The only big dangling plot threads at this point seem to be Claire meddling with the timeline by bringing modern medicine back to the 18th century, Young Ian’s mysterious departure from the Mohawk, and Jamie and Claire’s upcoming deaths by fire as recorded by the obituaries that brought Bree back in time in the first place.
Season 5 has put the extended Fraser family through enough hell that I'd be game for Outlander to spend the last two episodes with Jamie and Claire playing with Adso while nothing bad happens to Brianna, Roger, and Jemmy. Since this is Outlander, however, I doubt that much peace is on the way even with the end of the Regulator threat and the death of Stephen Bonnet.
I wouldn’t blame Brianna and Roger if they spent some of their final Season 5 screen time seriously debating whether or not they should try and go back to the 20th century sooner rather than later. Much as Bree loves her parents, she was just kidnapped and nearly sex trafficked by her rapist, who she then shot in the head.
Personally, however, I would love to see Clare somehow pay the price for meddling in history and bringing too much of modern medicine to the 1700s. She’s not even bothering to change the names of instruments, ailments, and treatments that could be recorded in history before they were even supposed to be invested, and I for one would like to see some consequences. That said, Jamie and Claire are supposed to die in a fire sometime in the 1770s, so that could happen -- or not happen -- before the end of Season 5.