Outlander Review: Prestonpans

Outlander Review: Prestonpans

Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Outlander Season 2, Ep. 10 – “Prestonpans.”

War is hell. And, in case you missed that message in every other piece of pop culture ever created, Outlander is here to remind you. In war, even when you win you can lose and never is that more true than when you are a time traveller who knows for certain that you will in fact lose.

And herein lies the problem with these recent episodes of Outlander; we already know the outcome. The Jacobite Rebellion is destined to lose so the only suspense comes from wondering who will die along the way. And, as devastating and beautifully rendered as Angus’ death was, it was also more than a little expected.

Although truthfully, given Outlander’s penchant for putting its characters through the emotional ringer, it was more surprising that it wasn’t Fergus who was killed. But, since Prestonpans was the (one and only) battle the Jacobites won, perhaps those more potent deaths will be saved for Culloden.

Which means we may not find out which beloved characters we’ve lost until next season. Claire isn’t going to stick around long enough to find out who wins the battle or if Jamie survives, so it stands to reason we won’t find out either until she makes her way back to the 1740s.

And this is what I find the most frustrating about this turn; it feels like narrative wheel spinning. The story is being built as if the outcome of this war is of the utmost importance while the answers we actually want, like how and when Claire will journey back to Jamie from the 1950s, seem further away with every second spent on war room debates.

But for now this has firmly become a war story and so we must march on towards the eminent doom keeping our fingers crossed we only sustain minimal casualties (to the characters we truly care about).

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