Wednesday, December 13, 2017

TV Show Review: Outlander (Season 3)

The Starz time travel saga shoots ahead into the future while it returns to the past once again. Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) aka Fraser and many other names returned to her present of the 1940s and her first husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) though she confesses that she fell in love with and married another man, Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). Claire is also pregnant with Jamie's child but Frank agrees to raise the daughter as his own. Time travels fast in the first few episodes as Brianna (Sophie Skelton) grows up. claire adjusts to her life and begins to express interest in becoming a surgeon. Meanwhile, in the past, Jamie is imprisoned after the gruesome battle of Culloden and injured on the battlefield. He does manage to kill his mortal enemy Jack Randall, Frank's ancestor.

Facing execution, Jamie is pardoned because of something he had done in the past. He hides out in a cave nearby Lallybroch where his sister Jenny (Laura Donnelly) lives with several children under the threat of constant British searches. Also living at Lallybroch is Fergus (Romann Berrux) who gets on the wrong side of the British troops and loses his hand in the process. Jamie has to save his life when he is left for dead and ends up being captured. In prison, Jamie struggles to survive but bargains with the warden Lord John Grey (David Berry). Claire and Frank struggle to reconcile the past but Frank can never get over Claire's betrayal and he seeks other companions. Claire flourishes as a surgeon working alongside Joe Abernathy (Wil Johnson) who also experiences prejudice due to his skin color. Joe shows Claire a strange skull from the past that belongs to a woman that died under strange circumstances.

Jamie is forced into the service of a family where he impregnates the high-class woman and he is unable to take care of his son. Claire copes with the death of Frank which I actually found quite moving. Claire returns to Scotland as it catches up to where it left off in the second season. Roger Wakefield (Richard Rankin) helps Brianna and Claire discover the history of Jamie following the clues of Jamie's survival. When Roger finds out that Jamie survived, Claire has no choice but to return to the past. She steps through the stones and seeks out Jamie who has started his own printing press while also smuggling whiskey and other alcoholic beverages. Jamie and Claire spend time in a brothel where they make up for last time but investigators and scoundrels are abound leading to trouble in one of the more confusing and boring parts of the show.

With a person murdered and Jamie's printshop set on fire, the couple is forced to flee. They return to Lallybroch where it is revealed that Jamie was keeping another secret, he had married Laoghaire (Nell Hudson) and become a father to her two children. Claire is a bit turned off but has no time to think about it as Jamie's nephew is kidnapped by scoundrels while searching an island for a chest. The show takes a swashbuckling twist as Jamie and Claire set out on the high seas with a grown Fergus (C├ęsar Domboy) and his fiance, Jamie's adopted daughter, Marsali (Lauren Lyle). They struggle to survive on the ship as the crew suspects Claire is bringing bad luck. Jamie clashes with the captain and Claire tries to help a British ship only to lose track of Jamie as the ships split up. Claire jumps into the ocean to escape and ends up stranded on the island. She meets a strange resident and recovers from her trip through the jungle. She is reunited with Jamie and they attend a party. The big twist that makes this season worthwhile and the show a little more interesting is that Gellis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek) survived the execution and escaped to the islands. Claire must prevent her from using another circle of stones and hurt Brianna so she nearly cuts off his head leaving the corpse that will be discovered centuries later.

Outlander slowed down a good bit this season and had whole episodes in the bedroom. The show had some interesting episodes interspersed with long dragging parts but it is still filled with likable characters and clever plot twists even if it takes a few hours of the show to finally play out. I like the time travel stuff but the romance adds a central plot and pulls the central couple together. Balfe and Heughan have great chemistry and are always fun to watch on screen. The story spread out from Scotland and promises even more adventures in seasons to come. I hope to read the third novel soon and get more of the details that the show might not have offered.

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