Claire Fraser has started her research to make penicillin in the 18th century. However, Outlander Season 5 included a huge error.
Every now and then, a TV show will create an error. This is especially common when it comes to historical accuracy, but Outlander Season 5, Episode 2 took the error a little further. Claire has started her penicillin research, but there’s no way she’d be able to create penicillin with the way she’s done her research.
During the episode, Claire placed bread on plates. The idea is to allow mold to form to create the right strain of penicillin. The big problem is the use of the glass jars.
Mold develops due to air particles. In a comment on a post on Facebook, Diana Gabaldon admitted that she told production that Claire couldn’t have created penicillin with the jars. However, people in production hasn’t listened. It could be that the jars looked better for the production of the show, but it takes away from some of the accuracies.
Claire’s penicillin development was done properly in the books. Well, as accurately as possible. Claire had various pieces of bread out and all were able to be affected by the air. However, there was a point where Mrs. Bugg removed all the bread believing it to have gone off (well, it had but not for the reasons she thought), meaning Claire had to start the process all over again.
It’s just one of those inaccuracies in the show that we’re going to have to overlook moving forward. They happen. At least it’s not a Starbuck cup a la Game of Thrones.
Personally, I’ve become used to inaccuracies like this happening. It happens in every type of TV show. There are ridiculous actions taken in military dramas that just wouldn’t happen or historical events that couldn’t have possibly happened in historical fiction. It’s just a part of TV that you either accept or don’t. And I just choose to roll with it because it’s not going to change.
Outlander airs Sundays on STARZ.