It’s been twenty years since Jamie and Claire said their goodbyes, parting ways before the fateful Battle of Culloden. This season has explored their lives apart from one another and in different timelines but the pair will finally be fully reunited in an extended episode tonight (last episode gave us a preview, swooning Jamie and all).
Though the separation was inevitable, it’s left Season Three a bit uneven. In mid-twentieth century Boston, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) has spent a melancholy twenty years in an unhappy marriage (poor Frank) while earning her medical degree, raising her daughter, and expertly applying eyeliner. Jamie (Sam Heughan), meanwhile, has been equally sad, his sorrows compounded by the fact that nearly all of his friends are dead, not to mention the dream of an independent Scotland.
Between prison, medical school, Fergus, an illegitimate child, Brianna, endless archival work, and Jamie’s questionable relationship to personal hygiene, this season of Outlander has felt adrift, explaining a lot of minor subplots in service to the larger—yet largely absent—narrative. Outlander has always been at its best when it lets chemistry and costuming do the show’s hardest work. But, for the most part, this season has been left to conjure up chemistry with memory, often in ways that felt weirdly sentimental since Claire and Jamie’s relationship has always been defined by it pure physicality. Which is to say, the show’s narrative threads have always been neatly braided by sex, particularly Claire and Jamie’s sexual attraction to one another.Hopefully, tonight’s extended episode will anchor the drift. If not, there will definitely be sex. A lot of sex.
Kelly and I will be back to chat about the episode on Monday. In the meantime, share your thoughts in the comments.