I think the night sky is still echoing with the sounds of fans screaming. It looks like our patience with the last few episodes of Outlander has paid off a little earlier than anticipated.
When we last left Claire on her journey to return to the past, she had given up all hope in finding Jamie again and she returned to Boston with Brianna. The mother and daughter duo struggle returning back to a normal life. Claire throws herself in her work as a surgeon and Brianna begins flunking her classes at Harvard and eventually decides to drop out just as everyone’s second favorite Scot, Roger, shows up for Christmas with some interesting news.
For fans who have found themselves enjoying Jamie’s side of the story more than Claire’s, this episode might seem to be a bore at first. 99% of it is set in 1968 and is focused on Claire and Brianna instead of Claire and Jamie. However, despite the fact that for the majority of this season I’ve found myself cringing at Brianna’s less than stellar acting and Claire’s selfishness, this episode was a pleasant surprise when it came to the ladies of Outlander.
This was the first time we really saw Brianna’s vulnerable, human side. She grew up in a home where her parent’s barely spent any time together, much less loved each other. She was clearly closer with Frank than Claire and after Frank’s sudden and tragic death, we never got to see Brianna grieve. We watched Claire say goodbye in the morgue but we never saw Brianna say goodbye to her daddy. Add that to the somewhat peculiar summer she had, learning that Frank Randall was not her father but a young man named James Fraser. Throw in some confusing time traveling and elements beyond her realm of understanding and she has got to be one messed up 20 year old. She begins to crumble under the pressure and for anyone who has ever gone through a traumatic experience, they can relate to her confusion, pain, and heartache. The best acting I’ve seen from Sophie Skelton all season long.
There is really nothing about this episode that I can complain about. It did an excellent job at building the anticipation from the minute Claire learns that Roger has found Jamie to when Claire actually steps foot in Edinburgh in 1766. Claire and Brianna weigh their options and it is finally Brianna that tells her to go. They celebrate their last Christmas together, toast to “freedom and whiskey,” and Claire hops in a cab, heading back to Scotland.
I was expecting it to end there. Claire driving away on Christmas Eve to travel back to Inverness. Maybe we’d get a black out to the next episode. Maybe we’d have to watch her fly across the Atlantic, drive across the countryside of Scotland, journey through the stones, and search through 18th century Scotland to get where we want to be. But no. We get a lovely monologue about puddles, an epic transition and Claire is standing at a sign reading A. Malcom and suddenly viewers’ hearts are pounding. Never before has someone walked through an alleyway and up a flight of stairs so slowly.
My heart was pounding in my chest as Claire stood outside A. Malcom’s print shop, the classic Outlander music swelling to a crescendo. It’s this excitement and anticipation that was so prevalent in season one that has been missing for the last season and a half; I’m relieved to see that it’s back. And fitting that it returns the minute before Claire sees Jamie for the first time. Only a handful of words pass between them before Jamie stares up at Claire for the first time…before fainting.
How will the couple be after 20 years of separation? What will Claire tell Jamie about Brianna? Will Jamie come clean about Geneva and little Willie? (going off of his previous record of being wholesome and all around perfect, I’m going to give that a yes) We’ll have plenty of time for all that, because next week’s episode, A. Malcolm, is an “extended episode” (only by about 10 minutes… but we’ll take it!). Check out the promo:
While only focusing on the ladies of Outlander, this episode was filled with a sense of longing different from the angst-filled brooding episodes of this season thus far. It was a girl suddenly questioning her place in the world and the relationships she’s had up until this point, and a mother trying desperately to put her daughter before herself when everything in her is telling her to go back to Jamie. It’s heartbreaking to watch as the anticipation mounts. It was well written with believable acting which ended with some laughter and tears.
+Sophie Skelton’s best acting to date.
+Joe Abernathy and his friendship with Claire.
+Roger. Just sweet, precious Roger.
+Claire’s return to the past.
+Jamie and Claire are FINALLY together. FINALLY.
-Jamie’s fainting spell after seeing Claire, ruined the beauty of the moment.
What’d you think of the episode? Leave a comment below.
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Amanda Woomer-Limpert is one of the Geekiverse’s newest writers and an Outlander fanatic. Now that Claire and Jamie are together, she’s counting down to their reunion with Murtagh.
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