Outlander Review: Through a Glass, Darkly

Outlander Review: Through a Glass, Darkly

Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Outlander Season 201, Ep. 1 – “Through a Glass, Darkly.”

Outlander has never been show overly concerned with conventional pacing. Last season saw episodes packed to the rafters with action and intrigue followed by episodes focused solely on everyday family dramas. Last season left Claire and Jamie on their way to France in the hopes of stopping the Jacobite rebellion, but this season delayed any movement on that front for a full half an hour; instead throwing us, and Claire, back to the future of 1948.

When Claire arrived in 1948 she had been missing for two years. When we last left Claire in 1744 she had only been gone from her own time for about a year, she was newly pregnant and she was fully committed to stopping the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 and saving the Highland culture. But, when she arrived in 1948, presumably after a year of political intrigue in France, she was still newly pregnant (not showing, at least) and the British army had still crushed the Highlanders at the Battle of Culloden.

So what does this mean for the coming season? Does it take anything away from the ensuing episodes to know that Jamie and Claire’s efforts will ultimately be in vain? Also, does this mean the baby she’s carrying now is a second child with Jamie? And of course, with Claire accompanying Frank to Boston, how will she ever get back to the 1700s and Jamie? Because she had to get back to him, right? There are still six more books of material to cover.

But these questions have plenty of time to be answered. For now, “Through a Glass, Darkly” gave us a gentle reintroduction to the world we love. And, by spending so much time in Claire’s present day, it did a good job of reminding us of the central love triangle at the heart of this story. We spent so much time last season watching Tobias Menzies play evil personified as Blackjack Randall, it was easy to forget how sweet and loving he can be as Frank.

And, as swoon worthy as Jamie is with his kilts and brogue and his undying love for Claire, Frank not only accepted Claire’s insane story of time travel, he also agreed to raise another man’s child. That’s pretty swoon worthy too. Basically, no matter the timeline, Claire has pretty great luck with husbands.

Back in 1744, Claire and Jamie arrived in France and immediately set to work infiltrating the Jacobites. Luckily Jamie’s cousin is a member of the group and happily (after the always motivating sight of Jamie’s back) offered to make introductions in exchange for Jamie and Claire’s help in running his wine business in Paris while he’s away.

Unluckily, before they could get to Paris, Claire pulled a typical Claire move, causing all sorts of trouble, oblivious to the consequences. She spotted some sailors with clear indications of smallpox and instead of letting the harbor master deal with the issue quietly (and illegally) she loudly announced to the crowd that it was smallpox, forcing the harbor master to destroy the goods and ship that had carried the disease.

Enter this season’s villain, Comte St. Germain, the owner of said ship who was none too pleased with its destruction. Although, unless he’s another psychotic sadist, I think the Frasers can handle him.


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