Outlander, the story of a young World War II war nurse who travels back in time to the 18th century, is an incredibly popular book series by Diana Gabaldon and has been turned into an even more popular TV series starring Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan. It’s seen two seasons now, traveling from Scotland to France and 1743 to 1948, all the while telling the epic love story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser. The second season last aired on July 9, 2016 and the Droughtlander has been going strong for over a year now, but all of that will change when season three airs this Sunday.
Few of us have time to rewatch season two before season three premieres on Sunday, September 10, so, instead, here is our TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch) cram session. If you watched the second season of Outlander last year, consider this your review session. If you haven’t, consider this your final warning.
Season two of Outlander begins with a twist that, while many of us were expecting it, we didn’t want to see it happen so soon. Claire wakes up at the standing stones of Craigh Na Dun in 1948… three years after she first fell through time and 200 years after the Jacobite uprising at Culloden Moor.
She learns, wandering through the Scottish countryside, that the Jacobite uprising has failed and Claire assumes the worst: Jamie died in the battle along with all of her other friends and allies at Culloden. Frank (remember: Claire’s first husband and the descendant of Black Jack Randall) is reunited with Claire in the hospital where she admits to him that she was with another man for the last three years and that she is pregnant.
Claire is overcome with grief over losing Jamie but, somehow, she manages to make a deal with Frank: she will leave Jamie and any memory of him behind, and they will raise Claire’s child together and resume their once happy marriage. They decide to leave Scotland behind and they move to Boston but as she arrives in America, she can’t help but think back to when she first arrived in France with Jamie in 1744.
The couple, leaving behind the traumatizing events at Fort William, settle in Paris where Jamie begins working for his Jacobite uncle, Jared Fraser. Claire is pregnant with their first child, and they manage to make an enemy out of Comte St. Germain. They are in Paris in an attempt to put an end to the doomed Jacobite uprising. Jamie meets with the young bonny Prince Charles Stuart. The Prince is convinced that he is on a mission from God and that he cannot fail in reclaiming the English throne. In an attempt to thwart Charles’ plans to receive money from King Louis XV, Claire uses her friend, Louise, to get into Versailles. There, Claire is reunited with the Duke of Sandringham, meets Alex Randall, and learns that Alex’s brother, Jonathon Randall, is still alive after Jamie’s rescue from Fort William.
Jamie continues to try to belittle Charles’ claim to the throne as he cohorts with the Lord of Finance all while trying to meet with the bonny prince and talk some sense into him. As Claire is left alone, pregnant, to run the house, she begins to feel restless. She wanders through Paris, meeting Master Raymond, an apothecary and practitioner of the dark arts, and finds a new sense of purpose at the L’Hôpital des Anges, a charity hospital in the dodgy part of town, working under the ever watchful Mother Hildegarde. As time passes and Jamie continues to spend more and more time with Prince Charles (learning that Sandringham is actually helping the young prince raise funds), Claire fears that sooner rather than later, Jamie will learn the truth that Randall is still alive.
Jamie finally learns the truth: Black Jack Randall, the man that tortured him at Fort William is still alive. Claire feared that this truth would cause Jamie to return to his suicidal thoughts but, instead, it reinvigorates him. He finally has something to live for again: to seek revenge on Randall. As the duo (along with a still clueless Murtagh) continue to meet with the Lord of Finance in the hope of ending the Jacobite rebellion before it can even begin, Claire is poisoned. There is only one suspect in this attack: Claire and Jamie’s only enemy at the moment, Comte St. Germain. However, it is a poison that Claire learned of from Master Raymond and she and her unborn child are unharmed.
In the hopes of trying to stop the Duke of Sandringham from continuing to provide monetary support to Prince Charles and the Jacobite cause, Claire and Jamie decide to throw a dinner party and invite the Duke, the Prince and his lover, Louise, who has confided to Claire that she is pregnant with the prince’s child… but she will claim that the child is her husband’s to give it a safe life. But as Claire is making her way to the dinner party along with Murtagh and Mary Hawkins (a newfound friend through Louise), a group of bandits stop them and they attack young Mary, violating her. Claire brings Mary back to their house where Alex Randall declares his love for the girl and offers to watch over her. But as Mary comes to, she panics, causing an enormous misunderstanding among the dinner guests and a brawl breaks out among Jamie, Alex, and Mary’s uncle.
Despite the tragedy that strikes Mary, the dinner party is a success–the would-be investors for Charles are dismayed and retract their support. In their place, however, a new ally for Charles appears in the form of Jamie and Claire’s enemy: St. Germain. Charles forces Jamie and St. Germain to work together to continue raising money for the Jacobite cause and Jamie must agree in order to stay in the good graces of the prince.
Claire, fearing for her first husband, Frank, does everything she can to keep Mary Hawkins and Alex Randall apart. Frank is the decedent of Jonathon Randall, not Alex Randall.
The mortality of Frank and the challenge to make certain that he is born in the 20th Century overwhelms Claire. When Jonathon Randall appears at Versailles, Claire’s fears are realized: Jamie comes face to face with the man that tortured him and violated him back in Scotland and Jamie challenges Randall to a duel. Knowing that duels are outlawed in France and that, in his rage, Jamie could kill Randall before he can wed Mary Hawkins and guarantee Frank’s existence, Claire forces Jamie to call off the duel. Wait one year. Hold out on revenge for one year. After that, Jamie can kill Randall and she will be happy to help him do it. When Jamie informs his second, Murtagh, that the duel has been called off, he demands to know why. Finally, Jamie and Claire reveal the truth: Claire is from the future and they have been trying to destroy the Jacobite rebellion simply because they know that it is doomed to fail.
Jamie and Claire begin to panic as they run out of options. Charles continues to find support in St. Germain and unknown investors. They decide to come up with a plan to put an end to Charles’ and St. Germain’s plans. With her medical knowledge, Claire comes up with a way to give St. Germain’s men symptoms similar to small pox and Murtagh, disguised, attacks Jamie and St. Germain on the road to steal the wine that would be used as payment. The plan is a major success and it would seem that the hopes of Prince Charles are dashed.
Despite the fact that Jamie swore to Claire that he would not kill Black Jack Randall until a year has past and he and Mary conceived a child, Claire learns that Jamie and Randall have crossed paths. Convinced that Jamie betrayed her trust, she rushes outside the city and finds the two men dueling. Jamie stabs Randall just as the gendarmes arrive. As everyone is being arrested, Claire begins bleeding and collapses as she orders her servant to take her to Mother Hildergarde.
Claire spends several days in a fever at the L’Hôpital des Anges. Her daughter is stillborn. Louise comes to her to console her and Claire nearly dies from a fever before being saved by Master Raymond. Jamie is still locked away in the Bastille and so Claire must return home alone where she learns that Randall had attacked Fergus (Jamie and Claire’s adopted son), leading Jamie to challenge the soldier to a duel. Now armed with the truth behind Jamie’s betrayal, Claire goes to King Louis to plead for his release.
The king likes Claire and respects Jamie and is willing to listen to Claire’s request. In exchange for Jamie’s release, he asks Claire to help him: he has two sorcerers in custody, both of whom (if found guilty) will be sentenced to death as witchcraft is illegal in France. Claire stands face to face with Master Raymond and St. Germain, both of their lives in her hands. She comes up with a plan that could save them both but in a trick, Raymond poisons St. Germain, proving to the king that the count was, indeed, a sorcerer and Raymond was innocent of such claims.
Claire ends up succumbing to the king in exchange for Jamie’s release.
When Jamie returns home, he finds a broken and bitter Claire. She hated him for what he did: betraying her trust and killing their daughter in the process. The couple decide that it’s time to leave Paris and all the pain and heartache it brought them. Taking Murtagh and Fergus, they decide to return to Scotland but only after they visit the grave of their daughter, Faith.
The small makeshift family manages to find a quiet life at Jamie’s family home of Lallybroch where they can all find time to recover and heal from their traumatizing time in Paris. But all of that changes when a letter arrives: a declaration in support of Charles Stuart and his father’s claim to the throne with Jamie’s signature forged. No matter how hard they tried to avoid the Jacobite uprising, Jamie and Claire must seek military allies. They journey to Jamie’s grandfather, Lord Lovat, where they ask for his assistance in the uprising. They are reunited with Jamie’s uncle, Collum, and Claire comes face to face with Laoghaire for the first time since her betrayal and the witch trial. Claire uses Laoghaire to manipulate Lovat’s son and in the end, Lovat plays both sides: publicly claiming neutrality with Collum and secretly sending his fighting men off with Jamie to fight for the Jacobites.
As they arrive at camp, they are reunited with Rupert, Angus, and Dougal all ready to fight for their prince and the Jacobite cause. They begin training Lovat’s men but the training and gun shots send Claire back to her traumatic memories from World War II. While in camp one evening, a young spy for the British army is captured and brought to Jamie. As he is about to hurt the boy in order to get information out of him, Claire arrives and the couple put on a show to convince the young man to talk in order to save Claire’s honor. The boy gives them vital information on the British army’s location.
Using the information from the young boy, the Jacobite army is able to sneak into the British camp and they are victorious at their first battle at Prestonpans. Using the element of surprise and the fog, the Scotsmen are able to bring home a victory but at a high cost: Angus dies from internal bleeding from a cannon blast… the first of many casualties in the doomed war.
After the battle at Prestonpans, Claire, Jamie, Rupert, and Dougal flee the battlefield and hide out in a church. They are surrounded by redcoats and Claire pretends to be a hostage in order to give the men some time to escape. She is taken to the home of the Duke of Sandringham where (after she writes a letter telling Jamie where to find her) she learns that he is planning on luring Jamie there in order to hand them both over to the redcoats. While there, Claire is reunited with Mary Hawkins who turns out to be Sandringham’s goddaughter. It doesn’t take long for Claire to recognize the duke’s servant as the man that attacked Mary back in Paris. Jamie and Murtagh arrive at the duke’s home as they learn the truth: the Duke was behind the attack. Mary ends up killing the duke’s servant and Murtagh beheads the duke, begging for Mary’s forgiveness.
Jamie continues to avoid the Battle of Culloden by continuing to be Prince Charles’ right hand man. The Jacobites continue to fight the British victoriously but after supplies are sparse and the men are tired, it is decided to bring the army back to Scotland where they can be surrounded by allies. They return to Inverness right outside Culloden Moor. While in Inverness, Claire runs into Mary who is buying medicine for Alex Randall who has fallen ill. She visits the dying young man as Black Jack Randall appears. He demands that she help his brother in exchange for information on the nearby British army. Claire does all she can to ease Alex’s pain but in the end, she cannot save him. Learning that Mary is pregnant with Alex’s child, Randall is convinced to marry Mary in order to protect her and the unborn child.
A dying Collum arrives to name a successor before his son is of age. Instead of his brother, Dougal, he names Jamie his successor. He begs Claire to help him die peacefully and painlessly. She gives him poison to help him drift into a deep sleep. Before he dies, he tells her that Geillis was not burned as a witch until she gave birth to her and Dougal’s child and that the child has been adopted as a MacKenzie.
We then jump back to the future where it is now 1968, Claire is 50 years old, and returns to Scotland for the first time for the funeral of Reverend Wakefield where she is reunited with the man’s adopted son, Roger, who was only a small child back when she knew him. Her daughter, Brianna, is with her and as she investigates the correspondence between her father, Frank, and the Reverend, she learns that her mother left her father for another man for three years and that Frank is not her father, but someone names James Fraser.
The day has finally arrived in 1746: the Battle at Culloden. As the minutes crawl by, Jamie and Claire come up with one final plan to end the doomed battle: kill the prince. As they plan to use the same poison Claire had given Collum, Dougal appears. Overcome with rage, he attacks Jamie, calling him and Claire traitors. Together, they overcome Dougal and stab him with his own dagger just as Rupert appears. Jamie begs Rupert to give him some time to get Claire away before he answers for the murder he had just committed.
Jamie takes Claire to Craigh Na Dun where he reminds her of the promise she made: if there was ever a time when he could no longer protect her, she would return to Frank. She finally agrees to go as they both realize the Claire is pregnant once more and, this time, they would not lose the baby. After a long, tear-filled goodbye, Jamie sends Claire through the stones before returning to die on Culloden Moor.
Back in the 20th Century, Brianna comes into contact with Scottish Independence activist Gillian Edgars who Claire realizes is Geillis Duncan. She begins to realize that Roger is the decedent of Geillis and Dougal and tries to warn Geillis before she disappears through the stones. But the trio is too late and arrive just in time to watch her disappear through the stones. Having seen it with her own eyes, Brianna finally believes her mother’s stories of time travel and Jacobites.
The season ends with Roger revealing to Claire that Jamie was not killed at Culloden and the sun rises over Craigh Na Dun as she realizes that she can go back to Jamie.
Season two was a build up to the inevitable. We knew that Claire would return to the 20th Century from the minute the season premiered. We all knew what was going to happen, we just didn’t know how we would get there. It looks like season three will be no different. We know that Claire will somehow find her way back to the past but we don’t know how that is going to happen.
What we do know is, despite the fact the Claire tries to live a normal, happy life with Frank, she simply cannot forget the love of her life, Jamie. She tries to find meaning in life with her husband, her daughter, Brianna, and her mission in becoming a surgeon but there is always something missing for her and that is Jamie. And it seems the longing will be felt on both side of the standing stones. Jamie somehow manages to survive the battle of Culloden and must now face a life without Claire. But again, we know what is going to happen: Claire will somehow find a way back to her red headed Highlander… we just don’t know how or when but it is sure to be a wild, passionate ride bridging the gap between time and space.
Here’s a sneak peek at what you can expect this season:
Outlander season three premieres Sunday, September 10th at 9pm on STARZ and will run for thirteen episodes. Oh! And did we mention it’s already been renewed for a fourth season?
Are you looking forward to the end of the Droughtlander? Which episode do you think Jamie and Claire will be reunited? Who the heck is the waif at 1:16? Which character are you most looking forward to seeing again? Let’s get fangirling… I mean, chatting in the comments!
Amanda Woomer-Limpert is one of the Geekiverse’s newest writers and an Outlander fanatic. While she’s still stuck in book one, she is counting down the days until season three.
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