It looks like Marsali will become Claire's apprentice in Outlander Season 5. This will be a change to the books, but one of the best changes ever.
In the promos for Outlander Season 5, we get a glimpse of Claire's life on Fraser's Ridge and the work in her surgery. It looks like Marsali is going to become her apprentice, which is a change to the book story. But, in my opinion, it's one of the greatest changes.
Not only is Marsali becoming Claire's apprentice a change to the books, but it seems to speed up the storyline. After all, Claire doesn't get an official apprentice until the sixth book in the series, and that storyline certainly causes some trouble for Claire, Jamie, and many others. With the change, it looks like this part of the drama is going to be skipped.
And in a way, I hope it is. There's a lot to cover in "The Fiery Cross" and "A Breath of Snow and Ashes." Not all of the drama needs to be included, and as viewers, we want to see Claire and Jamie have some happiness now and then. For those who haven't read "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" yet, I'm not going to share details of the storyline but you can look up who Malva Christie is.
Getting to know the characters
Because the TV series has just 12 episodes to the fifth season, the storylines need to be contained. That means some of the side stories needs to be adapted or removed entirely, especially when there needs to be some focus on Murtagh and the Regulators to get an understanding of their plight, their actions, and why not everyone joined with them.
Bringing in extra characters could mean trouble for the storytelling. We need to get to know the characters to feel something for their storyline, whether it's pity or hatred. We need time to understand why Claire would trust someone enough to make them her apprentice.
Remember that what Claire is doing is extremely dangerous. People will think she's a witch using 20th-century medicine in the 1770s. She needs to be able to trust someone, understand who they are and know that they won't turn her over to the townspeople for her "witchy ways." It's easier to do that with a character we already know, especially with Marsali.
Giving Marsali more screentime
Rather than bring in more new characters to the series, I'd prefer to see the development of the characters we already have. Books have time to allow us to get to know other settlers, but that's not the case with TV shows, especially 12-episode season shows. So, I want to know the characters we already have.
While there are many book readers who would like to see some of the other storylines play out and already feel like they know the characters, Outlander also has a lot of show-first or show-only viewers. They need to be respected too, and that means finding a way to make the characters become real without changing too much of the bones of the story.
We've met Marsali and got to know a little about her. Viewers have had a chance to see the bond between Marsali and Claire change. It makes sense to give Marsali more screentime by making her Claire's apprentice, continuing the growth of that bond. It would also mean some screentime between Brianna and Marsali, which is something I'm desperate to see in Outlander Season 5.
There are certainly some storylines that I don't mind being cut out. The Malva Christie one and everything that brings is one of those storylines. I just don't think there's enough time to do it justice in full. There are many other storylines to bring in Season 5 and beyond. Making a switch to have Marsali as Claire's apprentice shows that this could happen, and I honestly think it's the best decision the show has made.
What do you hope to see between Claire and Marsali in Outlander Season 5? What do you think about Marsali becoming Claire's apprentice? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Outlander Season 5 premieres on Feb. 16 on STARZ.