Basically: Clear your Sunday night and raise a glass of whiskey to globetrotting, time spanning epic intrigue, and red haired romance! Sláinte!
“For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is the one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I shall stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weigh against the rest. Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”– Jamie Fraser
For all the scheming, bloodshed, and betrayal from season two Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) were not able to prevent the Battle of Culloden. We leave our lovers separated by time and space. Claire traveling back to the 18th century pregnant with their baby and Jamie to meet his maker on the battlefield. However, as fate would have it Claire discovers Jamie did not die in battle and this is where we end and begin the next season of Outlander.
We see Jamie lying on the battlefield at the pivotal brutal end between the Jacobite rebellion and the English Loyalists. Like the best war stories, the viewer has the epic montage of the final blow to the Scottish Highlanders’ way of life juxtaposed with the personal confrontation between Jamie and Captain Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies)
Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser)
At the end we see Jamie clutching to the dragonfly in amber token Claire had given him; dropping it onto the ground where we transition to 1948, there Claire and Frank (in a brilliant double role by Tobias Menzies) begin their lives looking for a new home in America. It’s a bit jarring to see headstrong Claire go from 1700’s Parisienne royal court drama to settling as a respectable housewife in late 1940’s Harvard Academia society—where women were only expected to, as one neighbor advises, cook, clean, raise children, and look pretty when meeting the boss.
Neither Claire or Jamie have gotten over the other and are learning how to navigate through their circumstances unfortunately both are not faring well. Jamie is haunted by Claire walking towards him amongst the dead while snow falls like a surreal snowglobe. What saves Jamie’s life from execution at the hands of the English is because he spared Lord John Grey’s life and the oath of honor that bound his older brother Harold to letting a wounded Jamie escape.
Though everyone loves Jamie and Claire’s timeless love, the domestic drama between Claire and Frank was a highlight of the season premiere. You see two good people trying to do the right thing, but one has realized the other is not the love of her life. He still loves her like he always has, but it is heartbreaking for Claire that Frank transforms from her kind husband into the villain Captain Jack Randall. We see Frank patiently wait for her to come back to him. Unaware that the roadblock to her trusting him is his uncanny resemblance to his distant ancestor. Only at the birth of Brienne, does Claire recognize the love Frank has for her and who child is not his. This was the moment of clarity Claire needed to put Jamie and the past behind her and to live in the present with Frank and her daughter.
This is a strong season premiere, it does a good job of setting up the characters and story regardless of whether the audience is an ardent fan of either the tv or book series. References to last season, like the scene where Jamie escapes, are discovered through Brienne and Roger’s research and this sets up the importance of Lord John Grey. It’s enough of a taste to whet your whistle. Now that Droughtlander is finally over clear your Sunday night and raise a glass of whiskey to globetrotting, time spanning epic intrigue, and red haired romance! Sláinte!
In a nutshell Claire’s story: If you can’t be with the one you love. Love the one you’re with! Jamie’s story: you never know when that oath of honor card will come in handy!