You never really know what’s coming, do you? … a reflection on Outlander episode 5.05 Perpetual Adoration








by Beth Wesson


God the infinite. God the merciful. God the eternal.  Someday I will stand before God, and I will recieve answers to all my questions about everything in his universe, and I do have many questions…

This week’s blog is truly a reflection upon and not a review of “Perpetual Adoration”.

At times, I have wondered at how timely the themes of the Outlander’s episodes have been.  It seemed so coincidental that the show was reflecting what was happening in my life or… the world.  This week it was both. There was no way that the show could have known what was going to happen when they scheduled the dates for airing season 5.  And yet, here we are, “You never really know what is coming, do you?”  This week, I watched an episode about being in the grip of mysterious powers that we cannot fathom while living in the grip of mysterious powers that I am struggling to fathom.

The show decided to show us how events in our lives and our response to those events can lead us to the place we are meant to be.  Like a great spiderweb, the smallest of touches, decisions, events, words, can set off vibrations through the eons. You can be lying in bed with your husband, basking in the glow of lovemaking, and never see you are about to have a fight that could change your relationship forever.  And, maybe you don’t know that your embarrassment at getting sent home from battle will eventually lead you to discover your strengths and purpose in life, “You know how to get through to people”.  There was so much truth about the nature of life in this episode, I felt a bit overwhelmed at times.  It all rang very true to me. Maybe because I too am on the other side of letting go and trusting a being I can’t see, cannot hear, and at times, cannot feel.

How many times have I put my hopes, my fears, my secret longings into the hands of a being I can’t see, can’t hear, can’t even feel? And how many times have my prayers been answered?

My answer to Claire’s question is many and perpetually.  At the ripe old age of sixty-two, I find I can now reflect upon my life with the blessing of distance. Without a doubt, the most impactful event for me was the loss of my mother when I was seventeen years old. I know now her death changed the trajectory of my life.  And, as painful as it was at the time, I can credit her death for giving myself and my siblings a fresh start and a chance at lives we most probably wouldn’t have had had she lived.  All the choices, words said during that time have reverberated throughout my life. In fact, I can even trace my involvement in this fandom, the many friends and connections I have gained, and my interest in writing to her death. I began writing this blog as a way to practice writing. The only people who knew about it were two of my nieces. Unbeknownst to me, they sent this piece about my mother to Diana who read it and tweeted it and the rest, as they say, is history, A place where peace dwells… The irony that I wrote about the chapter when Jamie finds Adso is not lost on me…coincidence, if I am to agree with the premise of this episode, probably not.

Do You Ever Feel Like Everything is Leading You to a Certain Point?

I think THIS question is the theme of season 5, things happen to us over which we have no control, and yet, how we respond, every choice has consequences, and the words we speak matter. In this episode, we are told Claire has been thinking a lot about the past and we are treated to flashbacks of the events and choices in Claire’s life that lead her back to Jamie.  Like myself, she has the blessing of distance to help her reflect. I’ve always thought it an interesting dichotomy that Claire a woman of science was caught up in such a preternatural event as time-travel.  She is so pragmatic and grounded and yet, here she is 200 years in the past discovering penicillin, history be damned,  and discussing whether or not her grandchild will be able to “hear” the stones, and reflecting on how she was lead to this unbelievable point.

Both Jamie and Claire have hard choices to make this season.  I think it is difficult to determine whether their choices are right or wrong. Our response to the events in our lives depends on our perspective, which side of the battle we are on. As a result, who is to say, who is righteous? Loss has changed both Claire and Jamie and the threat of more loss influences their choices. They have lived without each other and their family and with each other and their family and they both will do what it takes, be it flouting history or committing murder, to preserve the life they both suffered and fought for. I cannot blame them, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t do the same to protect my family.  Try as you might to walk between two fires, some times it is “all for naught” and you must act and then “ask the Lord for forgiveness and receive it” because there will be “more battles to fight”.  I’m sitting here shaking my head because I am watching this play out in real life. Many people with the responsibility of the care of others are being forced to act, to make unpopular choices, risk being wrong because they know there will be more battles to fight.

Sometimes Truth Hurts and Don’t be Careless

We never really know what is coming, do we? Sometimes we are faced with truths that hurt like finding out you aren’t who you thought you were, or that your wife didn’t tell you the whole truth or that you must fight yet again in a battle of duty to other men’s ambitions.or …that your way of life has just been threatened by an enemy so small you cannot see it. Roger can hang on to the hurt, the sense of betrayal and let it ruin what he has with Bree or he can choose what really matters, the woman he traveled through time for. Jamie can choose which oath to give his loyalty to and be branded a traitor once again, and we can choose to make the best use of this time, and look at the hard truths of our own lives. What really matters?  Right now we are all facing the hurtful truth of a pandemic. It is a fearful and uncertain time. In a few short days, we have been witness to the best and worst of humanity; denial, greed, selfishness, empathy, heroic selflessness, love for our fellow man.  Claire asks Roger not to be careless.  I’ll ask you the same..hang on to what is important, let the rest go, and if you can… trust in time… “…time is, of course, all-healing.  Give anything enough time, and everything is taken care of: all pain encompassed, all hardship erased, all loss subsumed.”

Diana Gabaldon “The Firey Cross”



26 thoughts on “You never really know what’s coming, do you? … a reflection on Outlander episode 5.05 Perpetual Adoration

  1. Atlanta Gal

    Beautifully said, Beth. My favorite episode since Season One. Loved the moral ambiguities – I was once told that in a situation where everything including your next decision is not completely clear, know that you are experiencing truth.

  2. I really enjoyed this episode Beth and have also enjoyed your blogs on the season. This one just resonated with me as well because you just don’t know and right now it does feel like the world is going a bit crazy. There may be a new normal after all is said and done. So appreciate your lovely commentary and thoughts.

  3. Anne

    Thank you for your thoughts, Beth. They are appreciated, as always. This episode caused me to reflect on my life and the choices that I have made and the consequences of those choices also.. At 75, that’s a lot of reflection, but even so, we still don’t know what is coming, only what has been. Peace and love!

  4. Mc

    Thank you Beth for your words and thoughts. By the second episode, I really had a feeling of Jamie from the books. The strong, brave Highlander who would do whatever is necessary for his family and the life he has now with Claire. This episode really solidified that feeling. I could tell he had no regrets once he rode home, saw his house, and Claire. Diana’s characters are flawed. They are not perfect. I don’t know what I would have done if everything I cherished in this world would be taken from me.

  5. Adi Tamir

    Thank you Beth. I was looking forward to your Blog. This episode touched me deeply. It was very relevant to my life and all that is going on. My 97 year old father passed 10 days ago, at the funeral I was exposed to the virus and became sick. Finally got tested yesterday and waiting for results. Sitting at home and thinking a lot. My daughter will have our first grandchild this week. I was going to be there for her. I might need to wait. The world is changing very quickly. Why is this happening? What does it all mean? To me episode 5 said that I must trust in something beyond me. I do!

  6. eataylo1

    Being at Corona Virus epicenter in WA state, I have had a lot of time to contemplate in solitude as I live alone. The faith that pervades DG’s main characters is one of the reasons I find her writing so compelling. The scene between Knox and Jamie where Knox says “We can’t both be right” reminds me of the confrontation between Javert and Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Javert can’t fathom that Jean could forgive him and let him go and thus not be a villain. This inability to see things other than in stark contrast is eventually fatal. In a world gone upside down we have to let loose of them/us or we will all perish. Thanks for your wise words, stay safe and flatten the curve!!

  7. Nancy

    In just a few days, it will be the third anniversary of my beloved son-in-law’s death at 40 from leukemia. I‘ll never be able to come to terms with this. So yes, I have questions if I get to stand before the almighty. Maybe Noah will be there to greet me, and that will answer a couple. Whatever time I have left on this planet, I’m hoping to make some sense of the senseless, do good for someone in need, give back in some small way and make the hole in my heart be filled with love and gratefulness. Thanks, Beth, for sharing your personal message. I wish you well.

  8. I look forward to your blog after every episode. The writing in it is so
    prescient and deep, yet it’s not “heavy” with self-importance. Your views are true. All the best, Marge.

  9. It never ceases to amaze me how the words that Diana has written strike such deep cords of recognition. To this day, having read and re read the books so many times, I will come upon a passage, an event or a situation/conversation/dialogue that is the right thing for me to hear at that moment. I find the show, with the perspective of new voices, manages to do the same. How lucky we all are to have this circle of writer and readers to experience life’s reality together.

  10. Hi Beth,
    I can’t say this was my favorite episode but it was overflowing with events that are appropriate given the situation the world finds itself in today. The flashbacks were very effective in showing no matter how well we plan ahead we can’t anticipate everything.
    As much as Jamie loves his family I have difficulty with how he dispatched Knox. I just don’t think he would have done it that way. But I see they wrote Knox into the story in order keep Murtagh’s storyline alive. Life can be so complicated full of unexpected events that turn our world on it’s head.
    Loved wee Adso 😀

  11. Lisa N.

    Thanks once more, Beth. Always helping me to see more in the episodes than what’s on the screen. Take care. I hope you and your family stay well. And keep on blogging. Hug.

  12. Thank you for your thoughtful and deep diving post, Beth. And for sharing your personal story, that must have been very hard to go through. The comments are insightful too. I have reflected on the quote, “How many times have I put my hopes, my fears, my secret longings into the hands of a being I can’t see, can’t hear, can’t even feel? And how many times have my prayers been answered?” I see that in my life and, as much as my current bout of anxiety allows (very unhelpful to get a recurrence at this time!), will recall those times when I can do what I can do and leave the rest in the hands of that being that I know as Papa God. Bless you, and thanks! Love, Sharman x

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