Hello! My name is Sue Strickler and welcome to my first AbbyShot Outlander Blog! I am so thrilled to be writing about one of my favorite shows on TV. I would love to have a dialogue with you about your thoughts on the show, so feel free to contact me here.
First off, I am going to assume that you have seen Outlander Season 1. If you haven’t, stop reading now, binge watch Season 1 and then come right back here so we can chat! I’m also going to assume you have not read Diana Gabaldon’s second book, Dragonfly In Amber, on which this season is based. I love this series of books and I highly recommend reading them. There is no way the TV show can be adapted to the screen in the detail Diana writes in her books. I tell my friends to think of the show & the books as two separate entities. The books are the books, the show is the show. Be happy you have both and celebrate their oneness and differences as best you can. Try not to compare them too much or you will drive yourself crazy. While this blog will deal with the TV show, I will occasionally make some references to the books. I will not give away spoilers without fair warning.
Just one more note before I begin. Did I mention that I am a huge fan? I spend way too much time and money on this show, just ask my husband. I’ve been to Outlander fan events and premieres in LA, San Diego and New York. I’ve marched in two Tartan Parades in a kilt. I even learned a wee bit of Gaelic. I know a lot of behind the scenes information because some of the writers, actors, crew members and other fellow Outlander friends follow me on social media and we often chat. So, I will occasionally throw in a “Geek Note” about something cool I know about the cast, crew or scene that you might not know about but may find interesting.
So, let’s talk about Episode 201 - “Through A Glass, Darkly”. As Season 1 ended, our main characters, Jamie, Claire and Murtaugh (Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, Duncan Lacroix), are escaping on a boat from Scotland to France. (My first Geek Note already! Check out Sam Heughan’s face on that last helicopter shot on the boat before the fade to black. Does he look a little green to you? Yep, in true JAMMF [James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser] fashion Sam was feeling very, very seasick!) Jamie has recently been tortured and raped by Black Jack Randall and is still recovering. So naturally Season 2 opens where we left off, right? Nope. Surprise! We open in 1948. Wait! What?? Yep, there is a big time jump here. Those of you expecting Claire and Jamie right away are going to be a little miffed. Claire is back from the 18th-century and is now in 1948. Culture shock hits her big time. She had hoped they had changed history. She asks the first person she sees what year it is and the poor guy thinks he’s run into a stark raving lunatic. And in a way, he has. Claire has just left the man she loves 200 years ago never to see him again. She’s failed to change history and all the people that helped her survive in the past are long dead. She is screaming and crying in pain and agony. I know I’d be a lunatic too.
Claire is then seen in a hospital bed, none too happy. Everything around her is too loud. Everything is annoying. Everything is just plain wrong to her. Especially so when Frank walks into her room. Frank is just so ecstatic to see her. And Claire? She’s less than thrilled to see him and knows what she must tell him. That she went back in time, married another man, fell in love and is now having his child. Imagine how you would feel if you were Frank? He thought he’d lost his wife forever, is so joyous to see her again only to hear this fantastical story. Claire, on the other hand, is depressed and devastated at losing Jamie. At one point when Frank tries to console her, Claire recoils at his advancing touch because he reminds her so much of Jack Randall. Show runner Ron Moore does such a wonderful job fleshing out the Frank character from the book that my heart breaks for him.
Frank then takes Claire to Reverend Wakefield’s house to convalesce. Luckily for Claire, she has Mrs. Graham to talk to who understands where she’s been and believes her. Mrs Graham pretty much tells her to stop obsessing over Jamie and start concentrating on the here and now. Stop “chasing a ghost.” That night, Claire asks Frank to come into her room to talk. She tries to tell him about the past, but he tells her it doesn’t really matter to him where she’s been. Um, yeah, it’s going to matter, buddy! They spend the whole night talking and she tells him everything anyway. Frank says it’s a “leap of faith to believe her story but he’s prepared to make it." He points out that she’s still wearing her gold wedding band on her left hand. All that matters to Frank is that she’s back. Nothing she can say or do can change how he feels about her. Then Claire drops her bombshell - She’s pregnant. At first Frank is thrilled. Then it hits him. The baby is not his. He explodes with rage, makes a fist and hovers over Claire like he’s about to hit her. Shades of Black Jack Randall again. He leaves the room and trashes the contents of a potting shed. Later that same day, he tells the Reverend that he had fertility testing done and was found to be sterile. We then see cute, wee Roger again thus illustrating that Reverend Wakefield has raised a child not his own just like Frank may have to now. “A child without a father & a father without a child,” Wakefield says. This resonates with Frank and he decides he can make this work. The next scene we see is Claire agreeing not to look for Jamie in the past anymore. She must forget about him and that means her - GASP - silver wedding ring on her right hand must come off (Geek Alert - A HUGE audience gasp at the premiere screening at the mere thought of taking off Jamie’s ring!). Frank sees how much hesitation she has in doing this and tells her to take it off when she’s ready. But then Frank goes right outside and burns her 18th-century clothes! Wait, didn’t that expert say those garments are priceless? And he a historian - for shame.
So, Frank whisks Claire away to America for a fresh start since he’s been offered a position at Harvard. There they can raise this child as their own with no questions about Claire’s past. As they disembark the plane, Frank turns to Claire and reaches out his hand to help her down the last step and - MAGIC - that hand morphs into the hand of Jamie in Le Havre, France in 1745. (Geek Note - At the Season 2 premiere in New York, the entire theater erupted in cheers & screams at this moment. Moore said this scene was inspired by Starz CEO Chris Albrecht who didn’t like what Ron had originally written and told him he could do better). This scene was pure magic for me. You gave me goosebumps, Ron! Thank you, thank you thank you. Jamie and Claire scheme to infiltrate the Jacobite rebellion in an effort to change the future thus saving Scotland. They meet up with Jamie’s Uncle Jared (Robert Cavanah) and an agreement is struck. Jamie will run Jared’s thriving wine business while Jared takes an overdue business trip and in exchange Jared will help Jamie and Claire join the political scene in Paris. Sounds easy, right? Ha! Claire opens her big mouth once again (surprise, surprise), and makes an enemy of the wealthy and powerful Comte St.Germain (Stanley Weber). Smallpox is found on his ship and Claire identifies it publicly. The ship and all the merchandise aboard must now be burned. We end with everyone watching as the ship burns down in the harbor. Jared notes "that an enemy has been made here today.” A big yep to that! This is indeed an ominous note for what’s to come for Jamie & Claire.
The previews for episode 2 show our characters at Jared’s beautiful Paris home as well as at Versailles. Jamie, Claire and Murtaugh are hobnobbing with the upper crust and don’t look very comfortable doing it. We meet a few new characters, and learn way too much about waxing!
Check back with me next week as I review Outlander Season 2 Episode 2 - “Not in Scotland Anymore."
By: Sue Strickler