Je suis pret! Vive les Frasers! Amidst a massive marketing campaign, droughtlander is over and season 2 of Outlander premiered tonight! This is the first season I will be writing weekly recaps. Please drop a comment about things you do or don’t like! I have read all of the books, most more than once. I will try to keep my reviews to the show as it airs, or at least to well publicized press releases (like casting announcements) but I may make some comparisons to the books. I will warn you mid post if I am venturing into book knowledge that will spoil the future. For example, you might not want to read the Bonus section today. And now, the five things I have to talk about- and likely the only one all season where I will scarcely mention Jamie. To France!
1. Sorry, did I say France? We have all been inundated with trailers. We know the Frasers are off to France. Yet we start this episode at the stones. Claire is overwhelmingly distraught. Soon after we learn we are in 1948. She has returned to Frank. I am not surprised they went this route with the storytelling. The book season two is based on, Dragonfly in Amber, actually has a much larger time jump. When thinking of it in the terms of a television narrative I had wondered if they would approach it this way. The relatively late casting of both Roger and Brianna furthered my suspicions. I was however surprised to pick up the season here and not on the boat where we left Claire and Jamie.
2. The theme song is back! Slightly different instrumentally and half in French which amplifies the haunting nature in many ways. The effect is stunning. We also get new clips with many shots of the French costumes. Drool. This will definitely not be my last post where we talk about those costumes!
3. Let’s give an entire section to talking about Caitriona Balfe. Every time I forget what a nuanced performer she is, she throws it in my face. The first half hour of this episode is a master class. She takes us swiftly through Claire’s stages of grief without shorting us the emotion of any of them. Her reactions are simultaneously disconnected and sharp as a tack. Even though I feel like I know Claire, I meet her again every time Caitriona speaks. Even though I have read probably 10,000 pages about Claire Fraser’s life, I gain insight from her performance. That is remarkable.
4. This is already shaping up to be a season of supporting actors. I was actually somewhat disappointed by the amount of screen time given to Murtagh in season one, but I can already tell season two is going to make it up to me. All of the pieces are in place for his character to become the smart, savvy, and supportive force he is. We also got an excellent introduction to one of this season’s villains, Comte St. Germaine. I was also delighted to see Mrs. Graham again. Reverend Wakefield actually made me laugh out loud with his one liner about the devil! And sweet baby Roger makes me feel like I could wait for 12 more episodes to see the grown up version 😉
5. Now we must wrap up by talking about Frank! Tobias Menzies has shown up again to remind us just how talented he is. His Frank is going through a tumultuous time and we feel every moment of it. The same actor that haunted the nightmares of so many characters by the end of season one draws you in to feel anger, pain and pity on his behalf in the first twenty minutes of the episode. He is so much more sympathetic in his screen time than book Frank ever was. This looks to give us a full season through Frank’s journey and I never knew I wanted that. Tobias should have won all the awards for season one. It seems he has approached this season by saying, “It really was nice to be nominated. Now I intend to break your heart an entirely new way. I’ll show you, Emmy voters!” And then he did.
BONUS! Remember above when I told you there would be super spoilery book images I loved? Here they are. If you read below the picture of my pop figures guarding my scotch, you’ve made your choice.
- The empty ring at the stones. We don’t really get in to stone magic until Voyager. Cool.
- Book readers: Did anyone else adore little Roger’s airplane? And sigh a little as it dropped to the floor? It made me connect to revelations in FAR future books!