Outlander Episode 1: Meet Claire Randall

OutlanderAre you watching the television adaptation of the Outlander series? Every week we’ll be bringing you a recap of the onscreen adventures of everyone’s favorite time-traveling heroine, Claire Randall, and her kilted paramour, Jamie Fraser.

If you are a fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and you have been worried that the television adaptation airing on the Starz network wasn’t going to do it justice, rest your weary head. As a fellow fan, I’m pleased to report that if the first episode is any indication, the books are being fully realized on screen—and I do mean…fully. That’s my coy way of saying that if you feared the sexy-times on the moor would be banished from the small screen, you’re wrong. Thankfully, in addition to all the hot and heavy action, the indomitable force that is the character of Claire Randall is also incredibly well-wrought. Feminists rejoice!

In episode one, “Sassenach,” we meet Claire Randall and her husband Frank. The English couple has traveled to Scotland for a second honeymoon, of sorts. Their hope is to reconnect with each other after their service and separation during World War II. While the chemistry between them is still palpable, a lot has changed. They almost don’t know each other anymore. During the day, Frank, a historian, is researching his family’s genealogy. Claire, whose main passions include mending broken bones and identifying plants, finds Frank’s fixation charming, but a little dull.

That is, until, you know, a circle of ancient Druidic standing stones that he’s dragged her to accidentally SEND HER BACK IN TIME. Claire returned to the stones after a visit with Frank to collect a plant sample she’d been eyeing (as one does). She places her hands on a large slab of stone (also as one does) and next thing she knows she’s surrounded by redcoats, one of whom could be her husband’s double. She’s convinced this man (who is, in fact, her husband’s ancestor, Black Jack Randall) is her husband. You know, until he tries to rape her. Then she’s all, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Claire is rescued by a band of Highlanders trying to evade the English. They are suspicious of her because of her accent, and her risque 1940s-style clothing (nothing screams ‘woman of the night’ like an ankle-length poplin print). But Claire proves her worth twice over when she manages to remember that a certain rock formation was used by the English for ambushes, and when she sets the shoulder of one of their clan—Jamie Fraser.

If you are like me, you maybe got up and started running around in small, concentric circles of glee when Jamie and Claire first clapped eyes on each. Their chemistry is palpable, and given that I’m saying this after a scene where she fixes a dislocated shoulder, that’s really saying something. Because the sound of popping muscles and a grown-man screaming? That should not be as sexy as this was.

The episode ends with Claire’s arrival at Castle Leoch. She is far from the stones that could send her home and surrounded by people who distrust her. Frankly, the feeling is probably mutual. The first episode was well-handled and very faithful to the book. Here’s hoping that the next installment is equally awesome.

Are you watching the television adaptation of the Outlander series?

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