This week’s installment of everyone’s favorite historical-romantic-science-fiction-fantasy epic (*gasps for breath after spilling out each and every genre that is appropriate to Outlander and all the kilt twirling sexiness therein) upped the proverbial ante and then some! It was inarguably the strongest episode to date. I think this is something new fans and old would agree with, and if they don’t, I will fight them—either in a cage, or with longswords. I’ll be real: I won’t last long in either scenario, but I’m hoping my foolhardy bravery will be noted and, hopefully, commemorated in song.
Winnowing down Claire’s voiceover until it more closely resembled Gabaldon’s original novel created a strong personal connection for the first time between her and viewers. Add to this the burgeoning connection between Claire and Jamie and the integration of the lives (and conflicts) of the other residents of Castle Leoch and you’ve got a show that is virtually un-look-away-from-able. In a word, if I were an overly dramatic teenage girl: Draaaaaaaaaama (*End with elaborate jazz-hands flourish*)!
Claire’s relationships with the locals are deepening all around. Geillis Duncan seems to be a strong ally for Claire, someone who can literally and figuratively translate the strange goings on of this ancient age. Something that is completely admirable about Claire: How much she values her female friendships. Growing closer with not just Geillis, but with even Laoghaire and Mrs. Fitz, seems to ground her more than ever in the past.
But no relationship in this world is as simple and straightforward as it might originally seem. While Claire thinks she’s getting buddy-buddy with young Laoghaire, trying to set the ditz up with Jamie, she’s actually learning that she and the mysterious scarred Scot share a deeper (AND SEXIER) connection. While Claire’s bond with Mrs. Fitz will lead to infinitely less sexy goings-on, the trust the woman has in her ups the stakes for Claire tremendously. When Mrs. Fitz’s nephew is ill, Claire wants to treat him. But, because this is the 18th century, everyone else is all, “SET HIM ON FIRE HE IS FULL OF THE DEVIL”. Claire—with Mrs.Fitz’s backing—manages to save the boy, but not before the priest hisses something along the lines of “I will not let go of this grudge and I am COMING you for medicine-witch-woman!” Which like, even an amateur knows can’t be good.
The ending of this week’s episode was bittersweet. For the first time, Claire began to settle into this new world and forge connections there. But she’s pining for her husband and seeing signs pointing her back to the future (sorry, had to) and to the standing stones at every turn. In some ways the series is more effectively communicating Claire’s internal struggle than even the novel did. I cannot wait to see how next week unfolds. And in closing, now as ever, Jamie Fraser can get it.