Spoilers ahead for the penultimate episode of Outlander Season 5 on Starz, called "Journeycake."
Only one episode of Outlander Season 5 is left before fans are sent into yet another Droughtlander, and the wait for Season 6 could be especially long. Based on the events of "Journeycake," all signs point toward Season 5 ending with a bang. Or perhaps even a blaze. The whole episode and then the Claire cliffhanger leave me wondering: is Outlander finally going to burn Fraser's Ridge in the finale?
Outlander revealed that a fire at Fraser's Ridge is going to happen -- or at least, was going to happen -- and claim the lives of both Jamie and Claire, according to an obituary from the 18th century. The obit was enough to send Brianna (and Roger after her) to the past to warn the Frasers, and she did get to them before the fire was set to start... or so it seemed.
The date on the obituary was smudged, so all that was guaranteed was the fire was originally supposed to burn Fraser's Rdige at some point in the 1770s. As Young Ian noted in "Journeycake," Claire and Co. have been able to alter the future in small ways, which could mean that the burning of the Ridge -- which is an important part of history insofar as it sent Bree back in time -- has to happen, but the deaths don't.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Why am I nervous about Fraser's Ridge possibly burning after "Journeycake, heading into the end of Season 5 and launch of Season 6? Well, I was on edge from almost the very beginning of the episode, when a caption revealed that the episode is taking place in autumn of 1772.
Outlander doesn't update on the time of the year or even year itself in every episode, so it felt to me like Outlander was trying to call attention to the fact that the Frasers are in the 1770s, and that could be a bad thing. Shortly after the year update, "Journeycake" shifted to Jamie, Claire, Brianna, and Roger discovering the smoking remnants of a house that had been burned, with the occupants seemingly killed with arrows before the house was torched. One girl did survive, but she was beyond the point of speech and any hope of recovery.
The arrows suggested that Native Americans could be responsible, but Jamie noted that it seemed unlikely otherwise. The burning was revisited when the Brown brothers along with a band of men rode to Fraser's Ridge to ask Jamie to gather some men for their "committee of safety" to more or less police the area where the governors weren't helping.
Notably, Lionel Brown was sporting a burn injury, and he wasn't too keen on Claire taking a look, and the committee wasn't too keen on Jamie eventually declaring that he wouldn't join. At the end of the episode, the Browns and Co. seemingly set the whiskey still on fire to draw the men away from Fraser's Ridge, then invaded the house, assaulted Marsali, and kidnapped Claire. These men aren't messing around, and all signs point toward them being willing to burn buildings. Could Fraser's Ridge be next?
"Journeycake" did draw attention to how well Fraser's Ridge had been built by 1772. The upstairs of the big house was completed, and the guest room was available for Lord John Grey when he turned up for a visit. The whole house has become spacious, and Claire and Jamie had a moment in the small house after Roger and Bree left to go back to the future where they reflected on how far they've come. Honestly, even if there hadn't been an obit declaring their deaths via fire, I would have been paranoid about how well the Frasers are doing!
With the finale fast-approaching and the show taking some serious liberties with the source material, I'm not going to rule out Fraser's Ridge burning (but Jamie and Claire and hopefully Fergus and Marsali's branch of the family alive) either at the end of Season 5 or early in Season 6. If ever there was a time to be paranoid, this is it.
Find out how Outlander ends Season 5 on Sunday, May 10 at 8 p.m. ET on Starz. The episode has a lot to deal with, including Claire's kidnapping, the "committee of safety," Roger and Bree's journey through the stones that seemingly didn't take them where intended, Marsali's injury, and maybe even what happened to Young Ian. While I for one doubt that we'll get nearly all these answers in the final episode of the season, it should be one that viewers shouldn't miss.