Reviews of movies and TV focused on women

Outlander, season 5, the epic saga continues

Caitríona Balfe, Sam Heughan in Outlander

Older seasons of Outlander are moving to Netflix. The most recent to arrive there is season 5. This epic time travel, romance, history lesson, and human interest drama continues to intrigue, fascinate, and capture total interest.

In season 5, Outlander takes us through years leading closer to the American Revolution. There are plenty of conflicts even without a war for these characters.

Caitríona Balfe, Sam Heughan, John Bell, Richard Rankin, and Sophie Skelton in Outlander
Several of the main characters as played by Caitríona Balfe, Sam Heughan, John Bell, Richard Rankin, and Sophie Skelton

Main characters Claire (Caitríona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) are living in Virginia now. They are building a huge home and community around themselves and are prospering. Claire figures out how to make homemade penicillin and is healing everyone.

Jamie works with the British at first in a fake attempt to capture the rebel regulators. He is required to do this to keep the 10,000 acres the governor granted him. He’s not really trying, however, because his godfather Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) is the leader of the regulators.

Brianna (Sophie Skelton) and Roger (Richard Rankin) are living there with their young son. Jamie’s nephew Ian (John Bell) comes back from living with the Mohawk people. Lord John Grey (David Berry) shows up occasionally with news of Jamie’s secret son. Claire is teaching Marsali (Lauren Lyle) to be a healer.

In past seasons Jamie and Brianna faced violent trauma. In season 5 it becomes Roger’s and Claire’s turns. Both have horrible experiences to deal with.

The source of much of that horror, Stephen Bonnet (Ed Speleers), is still around causing trouble. The other problem facing them is the Brown clan led by Lionel Brown (Ned Dennehy). Both these antagonists are busy making life miserable through most of the season.

Maria Doyle Kennedy in Outlander

I happen to be a big fan of Maria Doyle Kennedy. She plays Jamie’s Aunt Jocasta. She has a rich plantation and a secret affection for Murtagh – she can be with him but not publicly. She wants to bequeath her estate in a way that attracts the attention of the horrible Stephen Bonnet.

I’ve seen a number of sighted actors play blind people, but Maria Doyle Kennedy makes them all look like amateurs. She’s really good at seeming not to see anything.

The performances from the women actors in this series are so strong, especially since it’s the women who get brutalized and damaged by the dangerous men around them. Men still brutalize women – the passage of nearly 300 years has done nothing to stop that.

It may be a while before season 6 reaches Netflix, and season 7 is not available yet. You can be sure when Netflix has it, I’ll be watching. If you have STARZ and can watch it the moment it releases, count yourself lucky.

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