TV Review: Where My Girls At? We’re Watching “Outlander”
Let’s face it: this review goes out to all the ladies with a Starz subscription.
You’d be hard-pressed to get a straight guy to sit through an entire episode of this show. Even the plot summary will make their eyes roll—in 1945, a British couple travels to Scotland on a second honeymoon. The woman happens upon a mystical stone, touches it, and is magically transported to 1743.
The lost and confused woman, Claire (the stunning Caitriona Balfe), is taken in by a Scottish clan. Meanwhile, her husband Frank (Tobias Menzes) searches desperately to find her. Claire manages to get into trouble with the villainous Captain Jack Randall (and her husband’s ancestor, also played by Menzes), and the only way to save her…is to force her to marry the hottest lad in the clan, Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan).
Predictably, Claire and Jamie fall deeply in love and a lot of sex scenes follow. You see a LOT of naked Claire (and as a former model, Balfe totally pulls it off). Eventually, Claire is faced with a choice: touch the stone and return to husband Frank in 1945, or stay with husband Jamie in 1743. She chooses what we all would have: life with Jamie.
In summary, Outlander is one, long romance novel based on the books by Diana Gabaldon. For a visual, just check out Balfe and Heughan’s cover of Entertainment Weekly. While the casting, costumes, and scenery make this series so good, the drama and spark surrounding Claire and Jamie make it addicting.
Unfortunately, most of those qualities are left behind in the second season. The first episode begins with Claire waking up “back in the future” with Frank. I haven’t been that disappointed since the Seinfeld finale. But then we go back to see how she got there, and we follow Claire and Jamie in their escape to Paris. While Scotland was all muted greens and browns, Paris is all color and flash and cleavage.
Claire and Jamie have a new focus — stopping the Jacobite rebellion, thus preventing the deaths of Jamie’s clan back in Scotland. It’s a tall order, but Claire seems determined, and manages to convince Jamie to take on the cause. And in doing so, this season involves a whole lot of antiquated political strategizing (YAWN).
Claire and Jamie are spending most of their time apart — Jamie plots with Duverney (Marc Duret) all day, and Prince Charles Stuart (Andrew Gower) at night. A restless and pregnant Claire volunteers at the charity hospital.
Jamie and Claire struggle with the lies and schemes required to carry out their plan, and are often at odds. And what this season needs is less talk, and more sexy times.
But in this latest episode, “La Dame Blanche,” things get more interesting. Claire and Jamie are finally “reconnecting” (wink, wink). There’s also more drama — Claire, Mary Hawkins (Rosie Day) and Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) are attacked by a gang on their way home. Mary was raped, and Claire was able to glean a few clues to the identity of one of the men. Could Comte St. Germain (Stanley Weber) have something to do with it? We already suspect him of trying to poison Claire at a social function.
We also discover that the malicious Captain Randall is still alive. Inexplicably, the news perks Jamie right up, despite the nightmares of his torture by Randall. Jamie now has a goal of murdering Randall the next time he gets the chance.
Now that we’re halfway through the second season, I hope the show continues to pick up speed, and goes back to what it does best: drama and romance.