Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven’t seen Outlander Season 2, Ep. 2 – “Not in Scotland Anymore.”
As the title suggests, this week’s episode spent a lot of time pointing out the distinct differences between life in the Scottish highlands and life in the upper societies of Paris. Who would have thought that living in forests and glens would prove more decorous than life at an actual court? But, while the French looked down on these Scottish and English visitors for their un-musical language and tendency to practice fighting in public parks, the French’s penchant for bodice-less dresses and public viewings of the king’s bathroom breaks proved equally as shocking.
But these cultural differences only scratch the surface of the hurdles facing the Frasers in their quest to stop the Jacobite rebellion. After three months in Paris, Jamie finally scored a meeting with Bonny Prince Charlie himself. And it turns out that the man is completely bonkers. Simply telling him he is pursing a lost cause proved pointless because Charles Stuart is convinced that it is God’s will that a Catholic, specifically his father James, sit upon the English throne.
But obviously this quest was going to be more difficult than just telling the prince his rebellion is doomed. No, the real reveal of the night came from a familiar face, the Duke of Sandringham.
After the Frasers (and Murtagh) were invited to Versailles, they came across the Duke who was up to this usual tricks; skillfully evading any responsibility for not upholding his deal with the Frasers and delivering the letter of complaint. Then he casually introduced Claire to his new secretary, Alexander Randall, the younger brother of Jonathan Randall who, according to his brother is still very much alive.
Now, since this season began with a trip to the future in which Frank Randall still very much exists, the fact that Blackjack Randall didn’t die under those cows is no great surprise. Also because a show does not simply kill off one the best villains ever to grace a television set. But, to Claire Fraser this was shocking indeed. Jamie is still so haunted by his assault that he cannot even make love to his wife (and we all know how much he used to enjoy that). How will he react when he learns his attacker is still alive and likely more dedicated to tracking him down than ever before?
Lastly, I just want to take a minute to talk about the masterful costuming of this show. Not only are the costumes this season even more intricate and breathtaking than last season, they are also working so well in contributing to the narrative. This episode Claire wore a gorgeous 18th century version of the Dior New Look and a stunning red evening gown that was shocking in its modernity (though not the most shocking dress of the night). These nods to the fashions of the 40’s, Claire’s time, underline her status as an outsider in the time she currently resides. It’s such an easy, visual way to keep Claire from blending in, to always remind those around her and the viewers that she doesn’t belong. It’s this attention to detail that sets Outlander apart from so many other shows currently airing.
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