Outlander: Season Two


Picture Courtesy of Sony Television Pictures


If you’ve read my review of the first book you may be surprised that I would even continue with the show into the second season.  After that, you may even be wondering why I continued after my review for the first season of the tv adaptation.  It all began with the first episode…

Season two opens with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) appearing at the stones of Craigh na Dun.  In distress and seemingly disoriented, just as we are, Claire wonders through the countryside until she happens upon a road and a motor vehicle.  It is here that we both come to the realization that we are back to a time when Claire initially disappeared from the Scottish Highlands what seems ages ago.  After being admitted to a hospital, Frank (Tobias Menzies) is contacted and comes rushing to the hospital, overjoyed that his wife has returned to him after being missing for three years.  Frank’s joy becomes even more intense after learning that Claire is pregnant, until his mind pieces together the fact that it obviously could not be his.

Season two takes us on a whirlwind journey between the future and the past landing us in the port of France in 1744.  With Claire’s knowledge of the future and the inevitable demise of the Scottish Highlanders, Claire and Jamie (Sam Heughan) set out on a dangerous mission within the French Court to join the Jacobite cause and stop their planned rebellion.

Season two of Outlander has a very different look than the first season.  The first episode still has the same qualities of the first season, but when we jump to episode two with Claire’s recollection and the beginning of our journey in France, things are clearly very different.  The cast has a polished new look, both Claire and Jamie decidedly more attractive, or perhaps just clean.  As many of you may know I have a thing for monarchies, royals, and castles.  I was markedly giddy upon seeing Claire’s French couture and the lavished architecture and accommodations that adorn the second season.  Not to say that there were not many good characters within the first season, but the second season creates an avalanche of new characters full of joy, friendship, sorcery, and enemies.

Claire’s character, while a stranger in a different land and different time, was at the mercy of those around her in the first season.  Though the second season finds her in a den of snakes, she is given the position to be the strong woman that we know she is and in this, she flourishes.  Using her quick wit, cunning, and skills as a healer Claire becomes the heroine that we so sorely needed in the first season.

Jamie Fraser is still the same reliable honor-bound husband from the first season, but there is something different about him.  He is somehow more handsome in the second season than in the first and remains our rock as we travel through the maelstrom of the French Court and the impending war.

There are many familiar faces that rejoin the cast for the second season with Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) having grown on us greatly and we welcome his weathered face and sour expression.  The Duke of Sandringham (Simon Callow) with his schemes that make you admire his character while wanting to punch him at the same time and even that little witch Laoghaire (Nell Hudson) who you wish would just burn already.  Though this is only a fraction of the familiar, there are a great many new faces worth mentioning for the good and the bad.  The Jacobite cause intends to put the Bonnie Prince Charlie (Andrew Gower) on the English throne in honor of the Stuarts who once claimed it as well as God.  I’m not sure what should have come to mind with a name like Bonnie Prince Charlie, but Charles Stuart was not what came to mine.  The pale sneaky little man who seems nothing more than a puppet chooses to find his voice at the most inopportune times and utters the phrase “mark me” more often than I care to say.  Perhaps this should be a praise for his acting and role as we are not meant to like him, but I would have very much liked to have done away with him and saved us all a lot of trouble.  Fergus (Romann Berrux), joins our story as a young thief and while he does not play a large role, he has found a way to steal our hearts.  Perhaps a dangerous friendship to begin having just escaped a witch trial, Claire be-friends an apothecary owner named Master Raymond (Dominique Pinon).  I’m not sure if it is wise to deal with someone who does business by selling potions and poisons, but Master Raymond plays a significant role in the second season and becomes an unlikely ally.  Now that I’ve found myself rambling I want to add one more new face quickly, though there are more I’d like to touch on, Mother Hildegard (Frances de la Tour).  Claire finds herself aiding a hospital for the poor which is run by the nuns and Mother Hildegard.  Frances de la Tour has earned a special place in many of our hearts when she took on the role of Madame Maxime in the Harry Potter series.    Now that I’ve sufficiently rambled about nothing…

I absolutely loved the second season of Outlander, greedily binging on each episode far more quickly than I did the first season.  Towards the end of the season, I found myself clutching my chest for fear of having a heart attack and also holding back tears.  I now find myself in a predicament where season three has been completed but it is not available on Netflix.  It looks as though I may be picking up those hefty tomes once more in the future if the third season proves to be as good as the second.

Outlander: Season One

Picture Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television

After having read the first book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon I decided to leave it up to the TV series to decide how I would continue the adventure.  You can find my book review here.

My favourite thing about watching a TV show or movie based on a book I have read is making the connections between the two and comparing how I envisioned them as to how things play out.  I happen to have a thing for accents with British coming in at first place but my knowledge of the Scotts and their accents was pretty slim.   It’s here that reading the book then watching the show came in handy.  While I knew the context of what they were saying in the book, there were times I didn’t know how it was properly said.  I think this plays both ways, if I were to have watched the show and not read the book I feel like there were a few things I might not have got, but would have got on just fine.

The second world war has just ended and Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and her husband Frank Randall  (Tobias Menzies) are vacationing in Scotland.  The trip acts as both an escape as well as to reconnect having been newly wed during the war and separated during the war.  While exploring the ruins of Craig na Dun near a small town called Inverness, Claire is transported back in time 200 years.  Claire must try to assimilate to the time as well as being an English woman in the 17th century.  Upon her arrival, Claire comes face to face with a ghost of the past with the face of her future when she meets Frank’s ancestor Jonathan Randall.  In an attempt to escape Black Jack Randall, Claire is captured by Scottish Highlanders of the clan MacKenzie.  It is here that Claire meets our main man and heartthrob, James “Jamie” MacKenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan).

The series follows Claire’s attempt to understand why she has been sent back into the past, how to survive in this new time and which path to follow.  Not knowing if and how her choices in the past will affect her future, Claire must make some difficult choices to follow the path she once led, or to take a new path on this new adventure that this ancient magic has provided her.

The TV series follows the books for one season per book, or so it would seem.  The show has done a good job following the book accurately but has taken its advantages by skipping some things and adding others for the sake of viewing ease and for those who have not read the books.  There are scenes of passion and sex within the novel, but I must say it is much more prevalent watching the show than having read the book.  Unless it was simply the fact that the images are in your face and you are more aware of it while breasts and ass flash (or remain) on the screen while you are riding the bus to/from work or watching on your lunch break with wandering eyes abound?

Now that I’ve read the first book and watched the first season I think I have come to the determination that rather than continuing with the rather cumbersome tomes I will continue the series on Netflix, and potentially on TV as they come.  I have already caught the first episode of season two and find the show and the characters to be slightly more polished than the first season.  The introduction to season two was a bit of a shock, but I am intrigued to see how things play out.