The Season three premiere of Outlander airs on Starz tonight, September 10th. For those who don’t remember, Outlander Season 2 saw some serious changes to the show’s formula. Outlander started out as a show about a woman out of time, but it has steadily developed into a show about the ongoing exploits of a time traveler attempting to right historical wrongs (emphasis on “attempting”).
Since Outlander has covered so much ground in its 13-episode second season, I present the Complete Guide to Outlander Season 2 for those who need a refresher. Read on, fellow Jacobites …
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 1: “Through a Glass, Darkly“
Outlander Season 2 started off with an unexpected visit to the 20th century. Claire stumbles out of the forest and into a paved road. A car nearly hits her. The driver informs Claire that it’s 1948 and the English won the Battle of Culloden. Claire’s reunion with Frank proves tense but he agrees to raise her and Jamie‘s unborn son. Frank demands that Claire never investigate the life of Jamie Fraser. The reunited couple fly to the US and Claire has a flashback to her time in France (where Season 1 left off). Jamie and Claire take up residence in Jamie’s uncle’s house. They become wine merchants who seek to covertly undermine the Jacobite uprising. We meet le Comte St. Germain and Claire demands that the authorities burn his smallpox-infested ship and cargo.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 2: “Not in Scotland Anymore“
Jamie has night terrors involving Black Jack Randall. As a result, he’s unable to be intimate with Claire. Claire learns the intricacies of running an 18th-century house. We meet Mary Hawkins, a freshly waxed Louise de La Tour, Master Raymond, Charles Stuart, and Alexander Randall in this episode, all characters that figure largely in Outlander Season 2. Jamie and Murtagh‘s first meeting with Stuart confirms their suspicions: he is a ponce who won’t accept good counsel. The Frasers secure an invitation to King Louis XV‘s court in order to try to curry favour with the French king.
We see Louis attempting to take a dump and Jamie suggests the king eat porridge. Claire spurns the flirtations of Joseph Duverney the French finance minister. He begs to help her in order to keep his extra-marital advances secret from his wife. We see the return of the Duke of Sandringham who reveals to Claire that Black Jack is still alive after his run in with a herd of cattle in Season 1.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 3: “Useful Occupations and Deceptions“
Jamie and Murtagh develop a plan for stopping the Jacobite uprising and Claire realizes that the stammering Mary Hawkins is actually her 20th-century husband Frank‘s ancestor. Claire’s inner monologue describing the implications of Mary Hawkins’s lineage represents another brief return for Outlander to the Fantasy genre, back from Romantic Historical Fiction. And, Claire and company meet Mother Hildegarde (Frances de la Tour), the harpsichord-playing nun with a keen medicinal sense, and her dog Bouton who can apparently smell infections (woof). Oh, and Claire tastes pee.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 4: “La Dame Blanche“
“La Dame Blanche” contained a revelation of royal adultery and a long-awaited sex scene featuring a pregnant Claire. “La Dame Blanche” also covered some disturbing ground, specifically Mary Hawkins’s rape at the hands of a Parisian brigand. Also, viewers finally saw Jamie and Claire form a concrete plan on stopping the Jacobite rebellion: they want to discredit Charles Stuart in front of his recently revealed potential financier, the Duke of Sandringham. Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan and Jamie is arrested while St. Germain suggests to Stuart that they retire to a less boisterous environment.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 5: “Untimely Resurrection“
“Untimely Resurrection” featured the long-awaited return of Black Jack Randall. Jamie and the duke discuss “horses”. Claire and Jamie both suspect St. Germain is responsible for Mary Hawkins’s rape but, as a whim of Charles Stuart’s demands, Jamie and St. Germain are now the most begrudging of business partners. And, Claire tells Jamie that Frank is Black Jack’s descendant. She bargains with Jamie to allow Randall to live for one year.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 6: “Best Laid Schemes“
“Best Laid Schemes” threw viewers some curveballs. Murtagh learns the origin of Claire’s unique perspective on 18th century life. Claire has her first real conversation with M. Forez who describes the process of drawing and quartering to her. Claire comes up with a concoction that will make it look like another of St. Germain’s shipments has been infected with smallpox. Murtagh successfully stages a robbery of St. Germain’s shipment of wine and we see Stuart break into tears at the thought of returning to Poland. Fergus learns the hard way not to go anywhere near Black Jack Randall, and Jamie, avenging his young ward, duels with Randall. As a result of the duel, Jamie is arrested and Black Jack is stabbed in the groin. A miscarrying Claire watches from the sidelines, screams, and keels over.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 7: “Faith“
“Faith” exposed the hypocrisy of King Louis XV’s sorcery trials, ended the life of Season Two’s de facto villain St. Germain, presented a moment in Claire’s 20th-century life, and showed an emotionally overwrought Claire mourning the death of her stillborn baby. Claire gets it on with the constipated king in order to secure Jamie’s release from the Bastille (also an orange). And, with Jamie exonerated, the Frasers are able to return to Scotland. Jamie and Claire say a tear-filled farewell to their unlucky firstborn at her grave and set their sights on Lallybroch.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 8: “The Fox’s Lair“
“The Fox’s Lair” gave viewers a break from Outlander’s regular fare of misery. Although “The Fox’s Lair” did contain threats of rape and execution, standard fare in Outlander, no one was actually attacked in this episode aside from Lord Lovat‘s seer Maisri, and that was just yer run-o-the-mill servant whooping. It seems that, unsurprisingly, Fergus may have abandonment issues. And, still very much in love with him, Laoghaire MacKenzie craves forgiveness from Jamie after having accused Claire of practicing witchcraft in Season One. An unforgiving Claire takes advantage of Laoghaire’s guilt: Claire, seeking to embolden Lord Lovat’s son Simon Fraser, instructs Laoghaire to show some interest in young Simon.
Young Simon, emboldened by a flash of Laoghaire’s boobs, stands up to his father and demands that he pledge men to the Jacobite rebellion. And, though Colum succeeds in convincing him to sign a neutrality pact, Lord Lovat unofficially provides a small force to help his son fight in the rebellion.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 9: “Je Suis Prest“
“Je Suis Prest” operated as an intermediary between the events of Seasons one and two. We saw some old friends who stayed behind in Scotland while Jamie, Claire, and Murtagh went to France. The battle tactics and pecking order of Jamie’s troops were challenged by one of those familiar faces. And, viewers were given a rare look at Claire’s time as a World War II combat nurse by way of a her reliving those events through PTSD flashbacks.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 10: “Prestonpans“
“Prestonpans,” contained some long-awaited action. The battle scene gave viewers a graphic sense of what being involved in this early-morning raid may have been like, and a couple of characters introduced in Season One didn’t make it through the battle. Fergus‘s mental health is at no risk of spontaneously improving, having just gotten a taste of what being involved in a Highland charge is like. It was bloody. It was gory. It was Prestonpans.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 11: “Vengeance Is Mine“
Murtagh used a bit of the ultra-violence to wrap up a loose end in “Vengeance Is Mine”. Wrapping up that loose end, though, involved Murtagh doing away with one of Outlander’s best guest stars. Claire and Jamie seem to be no closer to stopping the Battle of Culloden: the other generals disagree with Jamie’s (and Claire’s) advice to push on to London rather than retreat to Scotland until spring. And, Rupert‘s in a bad way. Already mourning the death of Angus at Prestonpans, Rupert sustains a potentially fatal injury at the hands of the redcoats.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 12: “Hail Mary“
“Hail Mary,” featured the inevitable return of the complicated villain Black Jack Randall. “Hail Mary” also cleared up a question viewers may have had about Claire’s 20th-century husband Frank‘s lineage. And, viewers said goodbye to two recurring characters in this episode, one who’s been around since Season One and one who appeared in Season Two.
Outlander Season 2 – Episode 13: “Dragonfly in Amber“
Claire and her daughter Brianna meet Roger Wakefield at his father Reverend Wakefield’s wake. Brianna and Roger get close as the episode goes on, and Roger is eventually revealed as the descendant of Gaellis Duncan, who Claire and viewers previously saw burnt at the stake in the 18th century. But with no visible signs of having been burnt alive, Gaellis appears in 1968 calling herself Gillian Edgars! Claire, after proving by way of a DNA test that Roger is actually Gaellis’s (Gillian’s) descendant, resolves to try to stop Gillian from passing through the stones. On top of trying to stop her from being burnt alive after traveling back in time, Claire also discovers that Gillian intends to sacrifice someone in order to make the trip back.
In the 18th century, Jamie’s got his own problems after murdering his own uncle to cover up his conspiracy to kill Charles Stuart — Claire and Jamie hatched the ill-fated plot in an effort to prevent the Battle of Culloden. Sigh, life’s tough for a Scottish revolutionary and his time-traveling wife.
Briann’s skepticism about her mother’s mystical time travel story vanishes upon seeing Gillian disappear into the stone after lighting a man on fire. So with her faith in her mother restored, Roger and Brianna show Claire a document that implies that Jamie Fraser survived the Battle of Culloden. Credits roll as Claire gazes optimistically at the stones.
Next Steps …
I’m interested to see where season three takes us. Will Claire be the same age she was during the Season Two finale, or will she somehow revert back to the age she was before she traveled back to the 20th century? Will Roger or Brianna travel back in time as well? What’s going on with Fergus? Will Jamie and Claire get to meet up or will viewers be forced to wait until the Season Three finale for their reunion? These and other questions will hopefully be answered this season, but, as usual, I’m sure other questions will pop up along the way.