Droughtlander is finally over and the new season dives right in and kicks you in the gut (in the best way possible). Tears, surprises, plague and promises, we recap and reflect on this stellar launch of Outlander season 2!
For anyone who’s new to our recaps and reflections, here’s our ground rules:
- We assume you watched season 1. If you didn’t, get on that immediately! (Or you can read our season 1 re-caps)
- This is a recap so we will spoil what happens in the episode!
- We will also clearly mark our discussion for book readers which may contain spoilers for non-readers.
- We ask that any comments also refrain from spoiling anything for non-readers as well.
- We live tweet on Saturdays (Erica/@Cambear with the East/Central airing and Alica/@novelstrumpet with the West) and our tweets will relate to what’s happening in the episode and may thus be a little spoilery.
With that said, let’s jump into the brilliant start of the new season!
Recap – Episode #201 “Through a Glass Darkly”
We start off with a howling Claire at Craigh na Dun. Wait?!?! Weren’t she and Jamie on a boat headed to France?
Claire, clearly grieving and alone, wanders the countryside onto a paved road (?!?!) when a car (?!?!) approaches. Yes, Claire has stepped through the stones, is now in 1948 Inverness. A kind gentleman gets out of his auto to ask Claire if she needs assistance and the poor man is confronted with a crazy woman dressed in (stylish) 18th century Highland garb interrogating him about the Battle of Culloden. Sad news…the British still won. Claire crumples.
(Insert new opening credits sequence with gorgeous new images and a revised theme with French verses. O la la!)
Frank Randall anxiously arrives at a hospital to see Claire who is adjusting to life with machines and noise — and adjusting poorly. He’s hopeful and so excited to see her while she’s withdrawn and barely looks at him. In fact, she flinches and flashes back to Black Jack Randall when he approaches her. Doh!
Frank finds the 18th century clothes Claire was wearing lying near her bed and upon examining it further…well here’s where having Frank the historian as a husband could become troublesome.
Then the paparazzi shows up and takes her picture (yes, they existed back then!). Her odd clothing, disoriented state and missing years is news so the press has sensationalized her story as a kidnapping by the fairies. The sad part is that they aren’t too far off which makes you reconsider those alien kidnapping stories in the National Enquirer (or not).
Frank tells Claire he has arranged an extended stay with Revered Wakefield (and Mrs. Graham) to give her some time to put herself back together and escape the reporters. After a week, she hasn’t explained what’s happened and is devouring all the books she can find on the Battle of Culloden. Meanwhile, Frank has sent Claire’s unusual garb to a colleague who authenticates it as actual 18th century clothing in remarkable condition.
While she’s been mum with Frank, Claire has been talking to Mrs. Graham since she’s familiar with the power of the Craigh na Dun. Claire talks about Jamie to Mrs. Graham even though she knows she has to move on since Jamie’s been dead for 200 years. Still, Claire wants to know if Jamie really died with his men at the Battle of Culloden. Mrs. Graham urges Claire to stop chasing a ghost when she’s got a devoted Frank waiting for her. (Cue Frank with the puppy dog eyes!)
Claire finally decides to tell Frank her story. Frank reassures her that he doesn’t care where she’s been, since he’s just happy she’s back. Famous last words…
As mad as her story is, her clothing sort of backs up her tale and Frank wants to believe her. She calls herself his ex-wife, but he points out she still wears their wedding ring. Frank won’t let her distance herself even though she professes she really loved this other guy. Frank’s been so torn up without Claire that he wants her back since this other guy is truly dead and gone.
She’s not giving in and he gets on his knees with an open declaration of love (just try not to cry during this scene!) when she announces she’s pregnant. Utter joy shines across Frank’s face and then the reality hits. It’s Jamie’s. Gulp.
Frank has a flash of anger (shades of Black Jack!!), but then runs out to the shed and whales on the stuff stored in there instead. Sorry, Reverend Wakefield!
Frank has a heart to heart with the Reverend and confesses that he’s sterile. Cruel irony for a man obsessed with his family genealogy. The Reverend essentially says this may have been God’s plan, which Frank isn’t too fond of and expresses his angst with a very choice word just as…
Adorable, apple-cheeked Roger, the Reverend’s foster child and nephew, walks in to ask permission to play outside. Frank comments on the fact that Roger calls the Reverend “father,” but in the familial way, not as a member of clergy. Wakefield points out that it’s how the kid sees him that matters and Claire’s baby is a chance for Frank to have a child.
Frank goes to Claire’s room and proposes that they resume life together with the child and a new start in Boston to get away from the British press. He has two conditions: the child will be raised as his child (and not a ghost’s) and Claire has to stop obsessing over finding references to Jamie. Claire promised Jamie she would let him go, so she agrees to Frank’s conditions. They tentatively and awkwardly hug for the first time since she’s been back.
She hands over her old clothing to Frank and also reaches for her wedding ring from Jamie, but he knows she’s not ready to give that up yet. He tells Claire that she can let go of the ring when she’s ready. He leaves to burn the clothing and she holds up another ring, one that’s been bruised and is missing its stone.
She and Frank fly off to America for a fresh start and to leave the past behind…
…and we flash to France 1745 where a relieved Jamie (not so good on the water is our lad) and Claire are getting off the boat for a fresh start in France. They’ve arrived in La Havre, France, along with Murtagh, but they don’t exactly have a detailed plan on how to stop Bonnie Prince Charlie from trying to reclaim the Scottish throne and stop the bloody Battle of Culloden.
Jamie is also still recovering from his Black Jack wounds so he’s not so gung-ho on betraying the Jacobites. He’d rather help the Jacobites win, but Claire doesn’t have enough tactical information to make that happen. Prince Charles is in France now so Claire believes their best chance is to stop the rebellion by infiltrating the Jacobites. Jamie’s cousin Jarrod is a Jacobite and may be able to hook them up. They’ll be lying to everyone they know which doesn’t sit well with Jamie, but Claire points out the greater good is worth it.
Of course they need Murtagh’s help, but they don’t tell him about Claire’s knowledge of the future. Jamie vows he will tell Murtagh when the time comes. That’s enough for Murtagh so he’s now ready to betray the Jacobites as well. We all need a Murtagh in our life!
Cousin Jarrod is surprised at Jamie’s sudden urge to join the Jacobites. Jamie shows the scars on his back to convince Jarrod that he has a reason for his change of heart. Jarrod believes Jamie’s new purpose and offers the couple an introduction to the Jacobites he knows, the use of his place in Paris and a job managing his wine business while he goes off to see to some work overseas. Well that was easy…too easy.
Claire is strolling along the port when she sees sick people taken off a ship. Claire jumps in to help, but the captain tries to bar her from seeing the bodies. It’s too late – she’s already identified the patient as a victim of small pox.
Once she informs the harbormaster, he has no choice but to burn the contaminated ship and its cargo which infuriates the ship’s owner, the imperious Comte St. Germain with the angry eyebrows. He vows revenge as only the French can do it.
Yep. Claire is in France for a few days and she’s already made a powerful enemy. Things are back to normal!
Reflection – what did we think?
Erica: Did anyone predict the season would start off Claire’s return to Frank? Nope? I love how this show is true to the books, but can still surprise you. Tobias did such a great job in those scenes. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.
Alicia: OMG…FRANK! TEARS STREAM! It is a testament to how amazing an actor Tobias is that I just wanted to cry and not once did I compare him to Black Jack until he has his fit of anger after Claire tells him about his pregnancy. Even then…he’s nothing like Black Jack. I mean…when do we start the campaign to get this man an award!
Erica: I never understood the fans who don’t like Frank and I’d say they have to be singing a different tune now. Tobias was just heartbreaking.
Alicia: I really loved the transitions, the shots with the reaching hands (harkening back to last season’s posters), the way they updated the theme song, but even more I love the fact that they subtitled the French. It took me a moment to catch on, but then I realized, Claire knows French and since this is her story she’ll understand what everyone is saying unlike last season where they never subtitled the Gaelic because she doesn’t speak it. Genius!
Erica: The subtitles did give me a quick pause — we’re going to have to read Outlander now? Lol! A lot of the plot happens in French so we’re going to definitely need the translation.
Erica: They packed so much into this episode, I double-checked to be sure it wasn’t a 2 hour premiere! There’s so much to do this season and there’s only 13 episodes so I think they may be jam packed like this one. Yeah!
Alicia: Also…the feel of the show. You can just tell it’s going to be a different animal but it still feels right. They did such a fabulous job with the sets so far…I can’t wait for Paris!
—–BOOK READERS DISCUSSION – (Spoiler Alert!!)———————————
Erica: Such a smart twist to open with a leap forward to 1948 rather than the 1960’s. This keeps the tone of the books, but provides a nice twist for book readers. I love how they are adapting this show!
Alicia: Agreed! I like that they keep close to the book, but still manage to give us a little surprise here and there.
Erica: Diana Gabaldon never really writes about Claire’s reunion with Frank, but the show has spent more time developing him so I thought we might see more of Frank’s reunion with Claire. I just didn’t expect to see it so soon and so beautifully done!
Alicia: I love how nearly that whole opening is more his story than Claire’s. It’s his pain and joy we feel, it’s his anguish and frustration. Love it. Also…how much did I love seeing a wee Roger in the same house as a pregnant Claire. OH THE CLEVERNESS OF YOU RON MOORE! Tee hee.
Erica: We certainly needed a little apple-cheeked adorableness to lighten up the mood. This episode was just shredding my heart again and again.
Alicia: Here’s my one teensy little beef. They make a point of commenting on how Claire talks about Jamie’s sense of humor with Mrs. Graham, which in the books is quite evident, but I feel has been lacking from the show. I really, really, really hope they find ways to bring that out more now that they’ve pointed it out. A couple of smirks on Sam’s adorable face is not really a good representation of how much Jamie teases Claire in the books and how often he laughs.
Erica: Well, they have spent most of the time running for their lives so it’s hard for them to have a good laugh around the campfire. I do hope we’ll get to see more of their team chemistry and banter since, well, we know there are bumps in the road coming up (to say the least…).
—–END OF BOOK READER DISCUSSION ——————————————————
You’ve read what we think, but how did you like this episode? What was your favorite part?
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This prize pack includes:
- A copy of Outlander signed by Diana Gabaldon
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- An Outlander tartan bandana
- Outlander bookmarks and a variety of promo postcards from the teaser to season 1 poster
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