OutlanderBTS The Discussion, Episode 507 – The Ballad of Roger Mac

Photo: Jamie pleads with Claire to save Murtagh’s life, and breaks all our hearts. Ep 507, Starz

OK guys, this one was over 3 hours long, and I edited it down to under two hours, so I am feeling a bit like a miracle worker right now! A little background… Our beautiful Catherine lost her father recently, which is why she was absent a few weeks ago. This episode was difficult for her to watch, and she has a hard moment during out chat, but we loved her through it (and took a break from recording, which you don’t see here). 

I hope you enjoy our discussion of fabulous Episode 507…

Here is the translation of what Jamie says in the river, provided by Gaelic consultant (and my dear friend!) Ádhamh ÒBroin via his Instagram. Beautiful…


Here’s a fun fact by Karmen, about puir Murtagh’s liver! Outlander Anatomy Fun Fact: Liver.

Here is Diana’s interview with Parade Mag for this week’s episode: Author Diana Gabaldon Reveals Why The Death on Tonight’s Outlander Is a ‘Turning Point’ for Jamie. 

If you are behind on our Season 5 Episode discussion, catch up here: Episode Discussions

Lots of love to you! xo

PS People ask each week how to listen to the podcast or read the scripts. Go to the bottom of my homepage (on your phone) or bottom right corner (on your laptop), under “Links to More Great Outlander Stuff” and you’ll find links to both the Season 5 podcasts and the Season 5 scripts. Enjoy! 

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32 comments on “OutlanderBTS The Discussion, Episode 507 – The Ballad of Roger Mac

  1. Poor Jamie – that look on his face is one of desperation, grief and pain. I think it must have sunk in that he was fighting on the wrong side, and that he had lost the one person who was there for him at all times – no matter what happened. We’ll all miss Murtagh very much. He was a true friend and protector.

  2. Yea ladies, we were all happy with this episode! You are so right, there was so many scenes that were so well done, incredible acting. I was sobbing too when Murtagh died with Jamie. One scene at the end that nobody touched on here was when Brianna realized that was her Roger hanging from the tree, Claire’s face as she looked at Brianna with such anguish because her daughter was being struck down with grief and how could she as a mother be of any help to her grieving child. Only a mother can look at her daughter like that. And one thing that I noticed was that when Jamie was forced to put on the Red Coat, did any of you notice that the left shoulder epilet was missing? I wonder what that meant. Was that just a wardrobe malfunction or was that done purposefully? And I have to say, as much as I love Sam’s body, and I do, the bit in the stream before he went into war was a little too beef cake/Chippendale for me. I guess it was a gift to all his female fans, but to me a little cheesy. But there were so many great parts to this episode, I can’t really complain about anything. It was pretty much a masterpiece. Kudos to the actors, writers, cameramen and director.

    • I remember him saying in one of his interviews that he had to bulk up a lot to play Jimmy Dalton in Bloodshot, so he was bigger than he would normally be for Jamie this season.


    • Yes!! I noticed the missing epaulet, but then I looked at the other jackets on other soldiers and they were the same.

    • There is talk on Twitter that maybe that jacket was Knox’s??? And, I don’t think I focused on Claire for that scene, always on Bree. I will go back and look. Thanks Suzie!

      • Ah, that kind of makes sense that it was Knox’s coat and that would really be an odd twist since Jamie killed him and nobody knows that! That doesn’t explain the missing epaulet, but maybe in the rush to save Knox, it fell off. I guess we will never know. I just hope they follow the book when it comes to the hanging. They have to, right???

  3. Just finished viewing your chat. Thanks for sharing! As always, I have things to say, but written long before your discussion, abd this was how it went:

    It’s 1:00A on Sunday, 29 March 2020. I just finished watching S5E7 of OUTLANDER; the midnight release on Starz in On Demand. And now I have to watch it again, immediately, because I want to chronologically put down in words what I just experienced in the watching of it. I’m worried I might loose some of it if I try to do this later in the day, although right now, I don’t see how that’s possible.

    • With Claire, Brianna, and Roger all in the same place for now, it’s fun when they get to go all 20th century in their conversations with each other, after the 18th century person leaves the room! It took a long time before Claire had Jamie to bring 20th century facts up to, only it was all news to him, nothing he knew first-hand.

    • Claire singing her Marilyn Monroe-to-JFK version of “Happy Birthday”, was not lost on me, and since that song was written in 1893, Jamie has probably only heard it privately from Claire in their years together, yet not sung out loud elsewhere. This intimate scene in the tent with J & C was 100 times more gratifying than that ridiculous stable fiasco of Ep. 6, for me. These two, together, continue to be magic, given the dialogue and settings they deserve.

    • Jamie, shirtless, in a tent. Jamie, shirtless, in a stream. Twice in an episode. Dear OUTLANDER, thank you for getting me through solo self-quaratining during the Covid-19 pandemic. Amen. I love, love, love that we now have numerous one-on-one conversations between J & C, through out this season.

    • If Jamie wasn’t planning on warning Murtagh about the Alamance Battle “history” himself (how could he suddenly be missing from the ranks?), and he thought, at first, it was too dangerous for Roger (“he knows I’m from the future”) to do, who WAS he going to send?

    • Roger saying cleverly (as inside knowledge only to him) to Morag MacKenzie, “It runs in my family too.” 😉 What brilliance, bringing Graham McTavish back to play Dougal’s son, Buck MacKenzie (his child with Geillis, then subsequently given to others to raise). “Get away from my wife”, off camera, and I’d recognize that voice anywhere! When he’s on camera later, he is almost unrecognizable, and had I not heard the voice would likely not have known it was him.

    • What happens to Roger in the next scene, I’ve been dreading to see on screen…

    • The Red Coat Sam pushed for, although not portrayed in the book. Jamie’s demeanor, stooped stance, body language and facial expression beautifully performed by Sam, the actor we’ve come to love and admire. I know this scene has rankled many book-readers out there (I am also a book-reader), but I was not offended. The way Sam portrayed Jamie viscerally changing at the sight of, and being forced into, that red coat was palpable. While I respect others and their opinions, I remain unshaken by this change, especially seeing what Sam did with it. Top it off with Claire seeing him in it, the shock on her face, and everything that must be going through her mind, was wonderful as well. “JHRC”, coupled with the now very pained look on her face. Again, more J & C one-on-one conversation that I can’t get enough of. The ever-present, “Soldier”, and Claire is sending him off to yet one more battle. His line about today not being the time they’d be parted again; her worried exhale. The benefit of years of Sam and Caitriona acting off each other has never been more evident, and only gets better and better.

    • When Tryon orders, “Fire on them, or fire on me!”, wouldn’t it have been sooooo great if they had indeed just fired on him?! I know, I know, not in the history, just sayin’… I mean Jamie did give Meyers a look before ordering “Fire!”

    • Another horrid battle with a familiar pipes tune playing over it all, leading us to…

    • I believe I will always think it beautiful AND now cruel that they kept Murtagh alive, through this season, this episode. They bragged about doing it because they knew what a fan favorite he has been. I remember the pure joy I felt seeing Duncan LaCroix in that first Ardsmuir Prison scene! Subsequently, his reuniting with Jamie, with Claire, meeting Brianna, renewed with Jocasta, and all the brilliant scenes in between. Another amazing scene between Sam and Duncan (who has ALWAYS been terrific), and bringing Murtagh into Claire’s field hospital with Jamie’s anguished cries, Claire’s cring”Murtagh, my friend” and the touch to his face, well… I’m grateful for the extra time we got to spend with him, but my heart is sick, and broken 💔, for the loss of him. While grateful, I don’t know at this moment, this very moment, that I’m glad they did it (invented the story past Culloden because it gave me hope) and I am just plain gutted. I don’t know what the justification for killing him now is. If they saved him from the Culloden death in the book, there WERE NO “RULES” TO FOLLOW with that character anymore. Six years of countless Murtagh scenes race through my brain and what he brought to OUTLANDER will be no more. In the “Inside the World” for this episode, Matt and Maril seem a bit cavalier about Murtagh’s death, and for me it felt very TOO CLEVER BY HALF! Be very careful with our hearts, kids. And Toni wrote the very-well-written episode (she is one of their best!), so as Executive Producers all three had a hand in the decision. I believe this is a huge mistake on their parts, and I also believe there is likely to be a torrent of backlash from the apparently underestimated fan base. I’ve never heard/read any reasoning for the supposed inevitability of this decision. These are my own personal reflections that will not be swayed, so no need for other viewers to offer their justifications. I respect that you might differ from me, and please, let’s just leave it at that. Thank you!

    • One thought on WHO shot Murtagh: What is the reasoning for one of the Findlay brothers shooting Murtagh? Murtagh’s rifle was pointed away and down from Jamie, and clearly no threat. Jamie’s rifle was more raised, he was right in front of Murtagh, and easily could’ve defended himself if necessary. The Findlay boy had to shoot from far behind, and past Jamie. Even if Findlay showed up on the scene just before the shot, he was not witnessing a threat to Col. Fraser. If TPTB were to come back with a version where he was confused by what he was seeing, they should’ve taken another extra 30 seconds of film to show that.

    • And now Jamie recognizes, and has found, Roger, hanging from the tree, with his right arm bent and hand hidden under a hood over his head. White flag of truce coming out of his coat pocket…

    I see why Sam has been touting S5E7 for a long time. It’s the first episode of the season I rated 10/10 on IMDb.com. I was just waiting for this type of episode to award that and it feels right. Wonderful direction by Stephen Woolfenden. The acting by every single actor in this episode is noteworthy, praiseworthy. One of my all-time favorites, despite my profound heartache. I’ve lamented the lack of nominations for Sam Heughan’s acting, ad nauseam over the years, but this was his finest hour! I clearly feel the Murtagh death is poor judgment on the parts of the producers. Bear McCreary, your orchestration is the icing on the cake!


    It’s 2:30A. I really need to go to bed now…

  4. So happy to hear Bear McCreary, getting props for the music. In my opinion, nothing eclipsed his music for Season I but this season he is bringing it! You ladies are also bringing it in this discussion. All the props to Sam. All the props to Toni Graphia. All the props to Steven Wolfenden (spelling?). I have watched this episode 4 times and I will probably watch it another 4 times since there is a break this week. Thank you all for the intelligent, diverse, and funny discussions. Yes, Antoinette, Jamie’s leather coat ! Oh my…. Stay safe y’all.

  5. Aww, Catherine is crying, now I am crying…again. I just cannot say the name Murtagh without crying. It really does bring you to a personal place. Ok now y’all are laughing again. Hugs.

  6. Courtney it makes me smile that you are in on John Quincy Myers. He’s a gentle giant. And yes, the ‘Help me now!’ from Jamie was heart wrenching. And JQM with that subtle look of ‘he’s dead but don’t say anything’. I’m choked up just replaying it in my mind.

  7. BTW, everyone, if you haven’t seen it already, I highly recommend King FireMan’s latest video entry on his YouTube channel, titled “Murtagh || Godfather (Outlander)”! Egads, as if I hadn’t shed enough tears… 😭 It IS beautiful though, so please check it out. This young producer is crazy talented!

  8. Such a wonderful episode…now THIS is the Outlander we all know/want and LOVE! Toni’s use of Diana’s words is superb…wish other writer’s would take note of this! I LOVED Catherine’s comment of finally being treated like intelligent human beings from the writers…Totally applauded. I too noticed Bear’s use of the Highlander’s music in this episode. I think the instrument used might be a hurdy-gurdy. I love this episode for many. many, of the reasons you four lovely ladies mentioned.

    I’ll start with particular lines that were so wonderfully used…again kudos to Toni and company. By Jamie, “Fight as they do” so true to Jamie’s character to ALWAYS take everyone into account and doing his best for ‘his’ men in every situation. And again by Jamie, the repeated use of “There is the Law and there is what is done” Perfection…..sigh

    Before the battle began and Jamie and his militia were facing Tryon…Did you also notice the Cannons facing Jamie? Seemed intentional and a bit foretelling for book readers…disturbing but loved the image…sigh

    The birthday, taking stock scene was so, so lovely….especially in contrast to the poor job done of that stable scene. Yea Toni!….I get they like to spread the writing and directing credits around, but you’d think they would know what/who’s contributions works better than others. sigh…..

    And, once again, where’s Fergus?!? Worse than playing Where’s Waldo. If Fergus was part of the Militia, and Jamie valued him, wouldn’t he be around on some level…even if it was to assist Claire? Be Jamie’s right hand (since his left hand is gone)…so to speak? another sigh….

    OMG! The fueling the Brown Brothers hatred of Claire (and Jamie)…oh the set up…Lionel….so visceral….sigh I suspect I know what the 12th episode might entail…but it is not for voicing just now.

    I too, wondered about the lack of use of Herman Husband, especially since he was specifically introduced to the audience…hmmm it will be interesting to see if they have a particular role for him to play.

    How fun was it to hear/see Graham again? Had a good loud whoop upon first viewing. :-} …Sigh

    Now, let’s me talk about Sam/Jamie…sigh Again, perfection…so well done. I too, had the moment when Jamie cut his had…and then ignoring it, after using the blood….and how cold was Sam?!?…I shivered in reaction. Loved Jamie’s attempt to protect Roger before Roger left…again, perfection. LOVED Jamie’s speech to his militia… not here to kill your brothers but to protect yourself…perfection. And now…..SAM..O Sam…and his face…I don’t really have the words to describe how amazing he is. Speaking of Sam-isms…the only one I noticed is Sam licking his lips before kissing….almost always does it.

    Cait/Claire was so lovely in this episode…I must admit I was incredibly surprised her syringe lasted as long as it did (remember the storm and her almost drowning? Where was the syringe? Could it have been packed so well that it didn’t break?). Perfect use of JHRC! ‘Good luck and I love you soldier….Luck is good, I love you is better!….sigh…I LOVED that they gave her the time to say goodbye to Murtaugh….perfection….sigh. I also loved that she took his broach, I assume for Jamie.

    Duncan/Murtaugh…sigh….just sigh…so beautiful and well done and heartbreaking. Jamie’s realization of who shot Murtaugh…just heartbreaking. I think this is the first time we ever hear Jamie say ‘help me’. Just heartbreaking. ‘You canna leave me’….heartbreaking.

    Richard/Roger…Did a quick nod to Clementine, being the last of Roger’s lovely voice…Richard has gained confidence and sounds pretty fine these days. A wonderful job of attempting to get Murtaugh to listen. As soon as he starts tell Morag about being a Militiaman….my heart sunk. and Graham! so fun…I loved that Roger’s 20th Century mind reacted to Buck’s man handling of Morag without thinking. I appreciate every time they give Richard quality scenes. And then we come to…

    Sophie/Bree….I have such a hard time warming up to how this character is portrayed. …at his point, with Bree not being as careful of thinking outside the time she is in, how could Lizzy not question or something? I can’t really put my finger on exactly what bothers me about that. I did like the image of Bree’s tireless ride to join the Militia…beautiful photography…sigh….Bree offers to help Claire but doesn’t like the sight of blood or bodies…what is her character…she seems wafflely to me. I did appreciate the image of Bree’s back and tear as she worries about Roger….but…as in the final scene when she sees and realizes it is Roger hanging there….I get the frozen shock…but I would have appreciated something..anything….would’t one’s knees buckle or appear not to be able to breath…or something? and then there was no urgency to get him down….even if in the moment, they accept that he is dead, (and in the book, if I remember correctly urgency was present) I would expect some more urgent action….obviously, my ‘what did not work’ moment.

    All that said…what an amazing,…delicious…heartbreaking episode. And a final homage to our hearts…how many times in this episode did my heart break and yet it still beats…

  9. I think everyone hit the nail on the head in this discussion. I was very happy that Karmen finally mentioned about Bree’s facial expression in seeing Roger hanging from the tree. I actually shook and felt that emotion with her. I am learning to appreciate her acting. My heart broke for all of them.

    Also, one little tidbit- no one mentioned when Brown stepped on the syringe and broke it. An opportunity to hate them even more and an opportunity to go back to the books for the delivery system of the penicillin.

  10. I spent the afternoon with you ladies – absorbing, analyzing and laughing. Your Outlander joy brightened a very cloudy day. My message to you last Sunday evening – “they hit it out of the park !” can apply to you four and your discussion of 507. Thank you.

  11. Dear BTS panel,
    I miss you!! I haven’t been to visit only because I can’t bring myself listen to anything about EP 507 – even the most glowing and/or delightfully sassy commentary – while I wallow in it’s class. Lol, I’m afraid of seeing the tiniest element from a different perspective, even if it’s a better one.
    I still have half of 506 to listen to and look forward to hearing 507, once it’s spell is diffused by the next episode, for better, close in quality, or worse (please no show!)
    I can tell from Twitter comments how much I will enjoy seeing you again.
    xoxo Diane/Belee

  12. Hello awesome four. I thoroughly enjoyed your discussion of this stellar episode. So many poignant and emotional moments that demand accolades. Apart from this , I appreciate each of your personal contributions to this conversation. Antoinette, I concur with your unbridled remarks regarding Diana’s words and your “happy dance” for Roger’s portrayal in this episode particularly. Courtney, you threw in an aside about Roger being Job and by golly, I think you have it. Catherine I love your aesthetic sensibilities and observations of color, lighting, texture and music. Karmen, you are a remarkable professor of anatomy and I am absorbed by the wealth of your knowledge, “dying eyes” and appropriate blood color in particular, for this episode. Until next time.

    • Thank you Marion!! This was one of my favorite episodes of the season, if not my favorite. I have to think about that. Yes, POOR ROGER! No wonder he whines, he has a lot to whine about!! I feel the same as you about the other 3. I learn something every week, it’s always fresh. Thanks for watching and commenting, dear Marion. xoxo

  13. Things that stood out for me.

    I know Sam pushed for the whole wearing of the red coat as a visceral thing but have you noticed that, while mentioned, this is not what most people are talking about and focusing on in this episode? I thought it was well-acted and executed but still didn’t care for the “story” behind it and while I didn’t hate it, I didn’t like it either and don’t think it did anything good or bad to move the story forward. I actually thought it was a bit self-serving and was to just give Sam another meaty scene.

    I know many think having Graham McTavish was a brilliant move, but like the “Bat suit” from Season 3, this might have been best left as a funny thing to joke about in the writers room, especially if we get to a later book where Graham would need to be 2 characters in the same scene. Graham is actually 59, and while I thought they did a great job of aging him down and he did the part well, Buck is actually about 27 at that time, not in his thirties like you all thought. So I liked it for what it was but didn’t totally buy into a man of that age.

    My little nitpicks of the episode was the scene when Roger and Morag bang heads reaching for the dropped piece of clothing. Thought the acting was amateurish and not convincing. Also, like Karmen said about the scene where Jamie slashes his hand in the river, don’t think he would have slashed his dominant hand and that gash looked deep enough to warrant stitches. There was also an amazing lack of blood while putting his shirt back on. Lastly, I don’t like when they play loosey-goosey with history. Where the heck was Herman Husband who was actually a leader of the Regulators? I actually thought it would be him coming into the tent to talk to Roger and then try to talk the men down, similar to the book. To me that would have made more sense than Murtagh doing an about face and trying to talk them down after his hellfire speech earlier, and it would have included the actual historical figure that was actually there. Kind of like having Murtagh standing in the rowboat instead of Washington when they crossed the Delaware.

    While still not liking the fact that they kept Murtagh alive and all the extra ensuing storyline, I loved the scene with Jamie when he died. Thought Sam was at his best in this scene and when he brought him to Claire. Sam killed it in this episode in every scene.

    My biggest criticism of the episode/writing was the change where Morag doesn’t race to find Jamie to tell him of Roger’s hanging. To me it takes the element of urgency out of it. Instead we have an undercurrent of concern looking for Roger but their search was almost lackadaisical. I wish they kept to the book in this aspect.

    Overall I really liked this episode and hope the show continues in this vein. I don’t think I’ve come close to feeling this strongly since Birds and Bees last season, and a longer time before that. Diana says that while there’s nothing wrong with Episode 8, she doesn’t include it in her favorites which are all the remaining episodes after that.

  14. I was able to listen to the 507 discussion in its entirety today. This is the first time I’ve listened. Thoroughly enjoyable & well facilitated.
    To the episode, I must choose Jamie & Claire’s pre-battle goodbye in my top favorite scenes. Claire lifts Jamie’s spirit despite the red coat incident giving him emotional strength for the fight. Another commentator claimed no one says “soldier” like Claire (Cait) does. I agree. Her emphasis on the word makes it a name, not just a noun. Then Jamie assures her he will return today making this scene some of the last of the upbeat dialogue in the episode.
    I appreciate this forum. Thank you for sharing.

  15. For Dr. Schmidt: Re: “the dead eyes”. You said the muscles in the eyes would not stay wide open after death. I found my friend Ray Campi’s body 8-12 hours after he died in bed. His eyes were wide open! I had trouble trying to close them and you’re right in that I couldn’t get them to close all the way. I do love these discussions. Very entertained by them and during droughtlander I’ve listened to them all more than once. Thanks so much.

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