The Return of the Sassenach…
So it’s back, with the highly anticipated review from me on the series that introduced us to time travelling Claire and the Tartan Totty. (Totty being a good looking chap to prevent confusion to the readers.)
Outlander Season 2 Alternate Trailer, April, http://www.youtube.com and pictures © Starz
So after what seemed like an eternity, Outlander (2014-) – meaning ultimately Scotland and home in glorious HD – returned to Finnish telly. I and the Finnish nation had been looking forward to seeing the what happened after Claire and Jamie literally sailed off into the sunset together at the end of the first series (newbies or for a wee refresher CLICK HERE for that review), with Murtagh, Jamie’s wingman in tow. As the rest of the world tuned in almost 2 months before, avoiding spoilers was like a movie star avoiding a tongue in cheek insult from Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes, almost impossible. But we were not transported to the boat with the lovebirds, but back to the ruddy standing stones with Claire minus Jamie. In Scotland.. WTF? said the whole of Finland, in Finnish (apart from the expats).
So after the trailer (reviewed HERE) Claire Randall Fraser (Caitriona Balfe) is back and narrating live from the stones – or is she telling her psychiatrist, or Frank? Perhaps we will cut to scenes throughout the series in a parody of the scenes in the film comedy, Airplane (1980) where various people kill themselves after lead Ted Striker tells his tale of how he met, romanced etc his ex-girl, Elaine. Anyway, after Claire finds what looks like a button in the ground – which surprisingly hadn’t been found by before – she cries and wails as there’s no Jamie but his button.
She’s still wearing her 18th Century frock and it’s very much a moment mirroring Somewhere in Time (1980) but without the vortex effect as Jamie is plucked from her grasp. Surprisingly she doesn’t run through all the stones frantically, as travelling through the stones worked before getting her to meet Jamie in the first place. Nor does she explain the whole season all as a possible dream, as the Outlander writers know the Dallas (1978-91) writers will shark was well and truly jumped in the Bobby’s resurrection from the dead episode. Luckily Claire finds a main road and stopping a car finds out its 1948, or 19 hundred and 48 as the wee Scottish man tells her. Which explained the road. And the car. And the man’s attire. She goes a wee bit crazy asking about the fate of the Scots at Culloden.
Frank zooms to the Inverness hospital to see her as fast as his wee legs will take him. On his arrival, with a quick flashback Claire thinks of his doppelgänger, the evil Jack Randall, as you do. A ẅee ploy no doubt to remind the fans – and thus confusing the newbies who have tuned in to see what all the fuss was about – about this character. This is Tobias Menzies moment to shine as Frank, her other husband, with his little face of a man reunited with his wife a joy to see. Relief, adoration and happiness exude from every pore, and for a moment you think he’s kinda sexy even with his doppelgänger gear on. Your heart melts and you are so happy for him. You almost want to shake Claire for her leaving him for Jamie, despite the wee lamb’s obvious attributes. Claire looks at him in shock. no feeling and this from the woman who spent most of the first series plotting her escape to the stones to return to him. She looks at him says I’m back, and oh the Terminator references continue..
So the reunited couple stay at the vicarage where she tells all to the kindly non judgemental housekeeper, as she reads up every history book she can find to find more on Culloden (is this a reason for her return?). In which case Marty should have returned for a sports almanac before Biff did in Back to the Future Part II (1989), Luckily the vicar has the best History book collection North of the Border. Then it’s Frank’s turn for her time travelling tale, and as she tells him everything, wee sweet Frank with his wee happy face accepts it all over a bottle of Scotch. He is so understanding he lets her wear the wedding ring Jamie gave her, in another WTF moment.
Why do these men accept this time travel line? It is surprising as Jamie did without question in the first series. Luckily now, Outlander seems to have cut down on the “I explained everything…” montages of the first series so it is daylight and Frank yawning, signalling she’s told all but still on the whisky. Which was a shame as half expected a scene with him apologising Hugh Grant style for all the crap his relative put poor Claire (and Jamie through). He is also asked have to not say the word flogged as it brings back memories of Jamie. Then she tells him she is pregnant with Jamie’s child, after he mentally does the Maths he’s understandably angry. He shakes his fist and smashes up the comedy vicars shed.
Frank then in very odd heart to heart with the vicarand swearing in front of his nephew – who calls the vicar, Father for non religious reasons – tells him he’s sterile. As he checked out his virility when Claire went missing, WTF?. He then says he will bring up the child as his own if Claire never mentioned the kilted one again. He decides they should move to his new job offering in Harvard so Claire packs away the button as he burns her 18th century outfit on the lawn. They then fly to Boston and as she takes his hand for the last step, with the first look of affection from her…
And she’s back with Jamie. WTF? I screech again. Darlin’ husband says it’s a flashback.. Now in France, Claire tells Jamie she hopes to stop Culloden, she’s a more than a wee bit vague about it all but Jamie is supportive as usual. They even convince Murtagh who trusts them – and Jamie says he’ll tell him all later (Cue yawning,
birdsong whisky and daylight in a future episode). Luckily Jamie has a cousin, Jared in France and Jamie takes his shirt off (Hurray!) to show how Jack Randall flogged him and how dastardly the Jacobites are. This cousin offers the couple a vineyard to look after and his help in stopping the uprising.
And then Claire and Jamie can both speak French – I was particularly impressed with Jamie’s Scottish French – on par with my Scottish Finnish, ie heavy accent, poor pronunciation – unfortunately this meant subtitles in Finnish for the French. Luckily I had Darlin’ Husband translation services at hand. Claire then makes an enemy out of Le Comte St. Germain after aiding one of his crew who dies of smallpox – which she had diagnosed from afar and was of no risk to her or child as she rushed to help – as he has to burn his boat and goods. The couple then make their first enemy….
So was it worth the wait, in a nutshell I hope we see more of Frank and that if she buggers off to Scotland again he meets someone nice, just as Jamie meets someone when she’s with Frank. Because Claire, I’m sorry but I’m not liking you too much just now, and I don’t want this to end up like a sitcom of My 2 Husbands…minus the bromance.
Weeper Rating: /10
Handsqueeze Rating: /10
Hulk Rating: /10
Bonus Trailer: No