And so – with UK audiences now firmly on board thanks to Amazon releasing the episodes pretty much in sync with their transmission on Starz in the US – Outlander returns, picking up from Randall’s attempted rape of Claire and Jamie’s arrival at the window. It’s an unusual episode, in that, for the first time, it’s narrated by Jamie rather than Claire, which gives a very different perspective on events.
The show has never shied away from the realities of life for the Highlanders in the years between the Jacobite rebellions, or the very different way in which marriage and property are regarded. While Jamie starts to learn there may be a different way of handling his wife, he still has to maintain his position, leading to a very strong scene between Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan as he asserts his authority… something that he comes to realise derives from a different source than he perhaps believes.
Authority is central to the whole episode: who takes precedence – country or clan – is at the heart of the battle between the Mackenzie and Dougal. There are no easy answers, and we see a more diplomatic side to Jamie than previously as he brokers a peace. We, as viewers, know this is only putting off the evil day for a short time, but to the characters (bar Claire of course), it’s very much pushing the problem away for the foreseeable future.
Verdict: Continuing to be a very different sort of genre show, Outlander picks up easily where it left off in the autumn as one of the must-watch shows of the season. 8/10