TV Reviews

Outlander Season 3 Episode 1: The Battle Joined Review

One person is in the year 1746 and the other in 1960s. Will the two ever meet again? Yes, I’m talking about Claire and Jamie in the hit Starz TV show Outlander, which is based on popular novel series by author Diana Gabaldon. A mixture of fantasy, romance, and historical fiction, the show, which first premiered in August 2014, tells the story of Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse who in 1945 finds herself transported back to the Scotland of 1743, where she encounters the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser and becomes embroiled in the Jacobite risings. For those who don’t remember what happened last season, here’s a summary of Outlander season 2

In Paris, Claire and Jamie try to prevent the Jacobite risings by subverting the funds that King Louis XV of France is likely to provide to the pretender Charles Stuart. They make an enemy of the powerful Comte St. Germain. Jamie becomes a confidante of Charles, hoping to discourage him and sabotage his plans. Claire learns that Randall is still alive, but fears telling Jamie. She eventually does, and when Randall appears in Paris, Claire makes Jamie swear to keep him alive until Frank’s ancestry is assured. Randall’s rape of Fergus, Jamie and Claire’s adopted son, prompts Jamie to challenge him to a duel; this trauma results in Claire losing her baby. A grieving Claire and Jamie return to Scotland. Knowing that the Jacobite uprising is now inevitable, Jamie assures that the forces of Charles Edward Stuart will defeat the English. The Jacobites are victorious at the first battle of Prestonpans, but Angus dies of his injuries. Afterwards, Claire convinces Randall to marry the woman carrying his dying brother Alex’s baby, thus ensuring that Frank will someday be born. Set for the Battle of Culloden, Jamie convinces a pregnant Claire to return to the 20th century to protect their child.

Twenty years after returning, Frank has died, and Claire takes her daughter Brianna to Scotland. Fiery Brianna discovers that Frank is not really her father, but refuses to believe Claire’s story about time travelling until she witnesses Geillis Duncan pass through the stones. Claire discovers that Jamie did not die at Culloden, and vows to return to him.”

Synopsis: Jamie’s past provides his only hope of survival following the Battle of Culloden; a pregnant Claire attempts to adjust to life in 1940s Boston. (IMDB)

Writer: Ronald D. Moore

Director: Brendan Maher

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 64mins

For the most part, the first episode of season three consisted of two main subplots, interwining Jamie’s story in the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden in 1746 and Claire’s story adjusting to life in Boston in 1948.

Following the big battle at Culloden, shown via flashback snippets of Jamie’s memories, we find Jamie after the battle, battered, bruised, and left for dead for several days before being discovered by Rupert and his fellow comrades and brought to a safe house to rest with the remaining British soldiers.  I would’ve liked to see a lot more of the battle rather than what was shown, but what was shown was enough to suffice and get a feel of the scale of the fight. Anyway, the one big thing that was revealed during these battle flashbacks was that Jamie finally got his revenge against the infamous Captain Jonathan Randall, with the pair fighting and Jamie landing the final blow. So, with Jamie rescued by Rupert (and the other surviving comrades), the group finds a shelter to recover their wounds, but are suddenly surprised when a group of Red Coats finds them and plans to execute them by means of a soldier’s death (aka by firing squad). Sadly, as the Jacobite rebels are being slowly executed one by one, Rupert (Grant O’Rourke) is killed. Luckily, Jamie’s fate is spared when the commanding Red Coat officer (Lord Melton), the elder brother of the boy whose life Jamie spared before Prestonpans, recognizes Jamie and, bound by honor, sends a dying Jamie back home to Broch Tuarach, expecting him to die en-route. It was kind of a forgone conclusion that Jamie was gonna live through the ordeal. It was just “how” and “why” he survived that was the mystery. Jamie’s story ends in the episode with him being returned to Lallybroch, reuniting with his sister Jenny and her husband Ian. While he’s safely home with family, Jamie’s story looks far from being over. Also, Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was seen briefly in the Battle of Culloden flashback scenes, with many claiming that he’s been mostly killed off. Does that mean that Murtagh is dead?

As for Claire, her story continues from where she was back at the beginning of episode one of season two (the show flash forward) with Claire having arrived in America (Boston) with her husband Frank. We see Claire trying to put on a brave face for Frank, as they settle into their new apartment and lifestyle, but Claire still feels empty inside, feeling like an outsider in her own time period after the time she spent in the past. Regardless, despite her attempts, she still feels distant from Frank, who is still gravely upset over the fact that Claire isn’t close to him as she once was, still somewhat grieving over the loss of Jamie. There’s a little back and forth between the two, but everything changes when Claire, who is pregnant at the time, gives birth to her daughter Brianna, who was seen having red hair. This will probably be a trigger Frank’s animosity towards Claire in the coming episode as a constant reminder that Brianna is Claire and Jamie’s child and not his. I do wonder how this season is gonna show the dynamics between Clair, Frank, and Brianna before it jumps back to the 1968 (the current time period where the season two finale left off).

The fate of Jamie during the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden is revealed, while Claire tries adjust to her new life in Boston (both physically and emotionally) in the season three premiere. The episode was a good way to reintroduce viewers back to the tale world of the show, switching back and forth between the two distinct time periods as Claire and Jamie pick up the pieces of their now fractured lives. It wasn’t my absolute favorite episode of the series, but it was definitely a solid one. The big question still remains, how many episodes are there going to be before the big reunion between Claire and Jamie? Personally, I hope soon. Only time will tell…

8.o Out of 10 

If interested, check out my movie blog @ Jason’s Movie Blog for my reviews of current movies.

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