Because Outlander focuses so much of its plot on Claire and Jamie’s relationship, it was probably inevitable that their time together following their reunion slightly less than halfway through this season would be short lived. After all, the reunion is only worth watching if the separation has been sufficiently pronounced.
Having been parted by the span of an ocean and over 200 years of time, being on separate ships en route to the same location might not seem like a big deal, but Jamie and Claire simply won’t have it. Of course, they do have good reason to fear being parted. Bad things tend to happen to the Frasers and the people around them when they’re not within groping distance of each other. Their irrepressible love aside, though, we should consider Jamie and Claire’s reactions to being separated in context.
Outlander: Hangings, and Typhoid, and Ants…
Even a simple rendez-vous in Jamaica provides an opening for any number of dangers. And keep in mind, without modern conveniences like the rotary telephone and the Boeing 737, it was relatively common for friends and family to get separated for long stretches of time simply because of bad travel conditions — pirates, storms, and disease being all too common reasons for arriving late or, in many cases, not at all.
Luckily for the Frasers and the viewers like me who prefer them when they’re working together rather than apart, their separation after being reunited at the end of “Freedom & Whisky” didn’t last long. Separated at the end of episode 9, “The Doldrums,” they were together again by the end of episode 11, “Uncharted.”
Outlander: Redheads Reunited
As the teaser for next week’s episode reminded me, the episode following it will be the season finale, and although the teaser revealed that the Frasers will finally find young Ian, viewers still don’t yet know if they’ll get to see him home safe.
Because of Outlander’s producers’ penchant for cliffhangers, especially going into its season finales, one wonders if, like season 2, season 3’s finale will take place back in the 20th century, Brianna and Roger following the 200-year-old news of the time-crossed couple.
Outlander: Thoughts on Season 3
So far, this season, like previous ones, has been one of separation and reunion. But more than others, season three has given viewers a sense of how wide a focus this show is capable of presenting. Active narratives spanning two centuries and as many continents feature a cast of rotating characters who connect us to these different settings. Outlander, when it’s at its best, straddles the boundaries between science fiction, melodrama, and bodice-ripping fantasy but rarely showcases all three in a single episode. Instead, this show plays the long game, and asks fans of the book series to be patient while the creative team builds the world one story arc at a time.
What continues to surprise this viewer about Outlander is the show’s relatively consistent ability to execute ideas well. Although there have been some stinkers, like Claire roaming Scotland while singing a vaudeville version of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” in the first season or the Cabin Boy-esque portrayal of Father Fogden in “Uncharted,” for the most part the creative team has proven that they understand the unique and sprawling world the show is a part of.