In the season premiere of Outlander, the quest to stop the Jacobite rebellion begins.
Well, it’s been a long time, but Outlander is finally here. Thanks to work stuff, I haven’t had a chance to watch the new episode until now. So many changes! Let’s begin.
The show starts with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) back at Craigh Na Dun, but back in her time. She has come back through the stones to save herself from the battle at Culloden Moor. Claire has come back to the time of planes, trains and automobiles, but without her redheaded love. As she walks down the paved road in her 18th century attire, a vehicle pulls up behind her. The driver beeps his horn and Claire stops. She turns slowly, causing the man to ask her if she’s alright. She answers by asking him what year they were in. Having a strange person in strange clothing ask what year it is would, for most people, be a clue that said person is nuts. But he tells her the year is 1948 and she freaks. Claire shrieks at the poor man who was probably wishing he had kept on going, demanding to know who won the war. He tells her the British and she falls to her knees. Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Jacobites and everyone she knew during her time with Jamie had been destroyed.
Later, Frank Randall (the excellent Tobias Menzies) enters the hospital where his newly-returned wife is convalescing. The doctor tells him that Claire is physically well, but mentally, well that’s another story. Frank walks into the room without saying a word, but Claire sees him in the window and thinks it’s Black Jack Randall. Yeah, that’s not gonna be a problem. The man is basically Captain Randall’s doppelganger! She realizes it’s Frank and asks him to turn off the radio, which she hasn’t heard in two years. The traffic noise drives her mad and just adds to her misery. Frank, on the other hand, is happy that she’s back and when he tries to touch her, she recoils. Unlike his distant relative, Frank is gentle with her and wants to make sure his wife is alright. He makes arrangements to stay with Reverend Wakefield and Claire asks about Mrs. Graham. She knows that the woman would believe her about falling through the stones.
Luckily, Mrs. Graham (Tracey Wilkinson) is still in Reverend Wakefield’s employ and helps Claire deal with her loss as much as possible. The good Reverend (James Fleet) asks Frank if his wife has given him any answers about where she’s been. When he answers in the negative, Wakefield basically says it’s time to find out. Outside, Claire is pouring over any information about the Jacobite rebellion and Culloden. She’s frustrated that there’s no concrete evidence of what happened to Jamie and Mrs. Graham tells her that she will have to move on with Frank and not chase the ghost of Jamie, who Claire has spoken of so much.
Later that night, Claire invites Frank into her room and, over some good whiskey, she finally tells him what happened to her. They stay up all night and Frank tries to make sense of what he’s just heard. Surprisingly, he says he believes her. Not in so many words, but he has decided to keep his promise and not abandon her or love her any less. Claire, who understandably fights his kindness, is interrupted though, as Frank has his own story to tell. He admits how he felt when she disappeared, how people told him she had run off with another man. But Frank never believed that and her story proves it. So yes, he believes her and still loves her very much. That love is definitely tested again when Claire says she’s pregnant. Frank, for a few seconds, thinks the baby is his, but then remembers, she’s been gone for two years. Jamie is the father! He gets up and almost strikes her, Captain Randall’s ghost springing up from the grave just briefly. Frank gets a hold of himself before he goes any further and leaves the room. He heads for the shed and destroys everything in his path.
Later that night, Frank apologizes to Reverend Wakefield for the damage, but the Rev could care less about the mess. He wants Frank to move past Claire’s revelation and embrace the child as his own. While he’s counseling the poor guy, little Roger Wakefield MacKenzie (played by Rory Burns) comes into the room. What a cute little guy (who will turn into a hot as hell, grown ass man later played by Richard Rankin). Little Roger, an orphan now living with his uncle, has his own troubles, but we’ll talk about those later. When the adorable kid leaves, Frank tells the Reverend about his “plumbing” problems and why he was so excited to learn Claire was pregnant. He said that for a moment, he really thought the two of them had created a child. But the Reverend tells him to accept it, as there’s an innocent child without a father waiting to be born.
Upstairs, Frank apologizes to Claire for his outburst and says that he will raise the child as his own. He had been offered a post at Harvard and said he’d like to take it. The farther away from Scotland they are, the easier it will be to move on from everything. At first, things go well until he says the word “flog” and Claire tells him not to ever use that word again (for good reason). But Frank has his own conditions and says as long as he’s breathing, Claire must not do anymore research on Jamie. She agrees and she lets Frank hold her. I tell you, Frank is a friggin saint. I don’t know ANY man who would be able to deal with all that’s been thrown his way. But deal with it he does. Frank takes the clothes Claire traveled back in. But when she tries to take off Jamie’s ring, she can’t and Frank tells her she can wait until she’s ready to do it. He then takes the clothes outside and burns them.
A few days later, Claire has packed her bag and is wearing the clothes of the current times (including underwear!). She looks great but feels like a different person. Later, she and Frank are on a plane to America. When they land, Claire is the last one to step out of the plane. Frank is waiting for her at the bottom of the steps. When she gets to the last one, he holds out his hand and says, “one more step.” She smiles at him, reaches out, the camera does some trick and then we are staring at the glorious face of Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).
The year is 1745 and the Frasers have just arrived in Le Havre, France by ship. The port is bustling and the smell, according to Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix), is reminiscent of frogs. The Frasers find a place to lay their heads but Jamie is still broken not just in body but also in mind. He tells Claire that he can still feel Randall’s touch, but she tries to get his mind off of it. Instead, they talk of the Jacobite Rebellion and how it can be prevented. Jamie and Claire agree to write to Jamie’s cousin Jared (Robert Cavanah) to possibly set up a meeting with the men in charge. The next day, the Frasers and Murtagh go for a walk. Murtagh knows his friends are hiding something from him and he wants answers. Claire doesn’t want to say, but Jamie appeases his friend by saying that when the time is right, he will tell him everything. Murtagh is satisfied with that and goes on his merry way. Three weeks later, Jamie and Claire are in front of said cousin, who wants proof of why Jamie wants to join the rebellion. He proves his loyalty (and makes us all happy at the same time) by removing his shirt to show his cousin the roadmap that is now his back. Jared is speechless, as he should be. He needs no more convincing after that. He then offers Jamie a chance to earn some money by offering him a job in the wine business. Jamie negotiates for 35 percent of the profits and Jared also offers him the run of his house in Paris (I need a cousin like that).
After the meeting, Claire walks around the port and sees a commotion on one of the ships. So of course she has to see what’s happening. As she gets closer, she sees men being removed from the ship, all with pustules on their faces. She pushes through the crowd, looks at one of the men and tells the Harbor Master that the men have smallpox. Jamie arrives to try and get her to mind her business, but since this is Claire, that won’t happen. The owner of the ship, Le Comte St. Germain (played by the gorgeous Stanley Weber) arrives and wants to know who Claire is. Mind you, all of this is happening in French and it’s glorious. I’ve been learning French and was able to understand most of the conversation without the captions (thanks Duolingo). Hearing Jamie speak French almost made me dizzy.
Anywho, Claire keeps going on and on about the pox and the Harbor Master tells St. Germain that he must burn the ship and all of its cargo. Oh crap. Jared arrives just in time to hear this and he doesn’t even hide his glee. Later that night, everyone watches as the ship burns. Jamie tells Claire that they’ve just made a powerful enemy. And it only took them three weeks.
I have to say, I really enjoyed this premiere and especially liked all of the changes so far. The opening song has changed, including the use of French for some of the lyrics. There’s more color and that will only be more pronounced as the costumes get better and better. But there’s definitely a lot more craziness to come for the Frasers.
Outlander airs on Saturdays at 9pm on Starz.
Photo courtesy of Starz