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TV Review: Outlander 3.1 “The Battle Joined”
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Outlander 301

Outlander
Season 3 Episode 1: “The Battle Joined”
Directed by Brendan Maher
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Created by Ronald D. Moore
Based on the books by Diana Galbadon
Starring Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, Duncan Lacroix, Richard Rankin, Sophie Skelton, Grant O’Rourke, Romann Berrux, Andrew Gower, John Bell, Steven Cree, Laura Donnelly, Greg Esplin
Starz
Air Date: Sunday, September 10th, 2017, 9:00pm

Warning! Spoilers below for the season 3 premiere of Outlander!

Outlander has finally returned! Starz’s sweeping time-traveling historical romance based on the series of novels by Diana Galbadon returned last night with “The Battle Joined.” This season is based on Gabaldon’s 3rd novel, Voyager, which is supposed to reunite husband and wife, Jamie (Sam Heughan) and Claire Randall Fraser (or rather, Claire Randall Fraser Randall Fraser played by Caitriona Balfe), after he pushed her back to the 1940s and to 1st husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies).

Spoilers below.

Outlander 3.1 “The Battle Joined” review: The season opens with a pile of corpses at Culloden, the British soldiers picking through for riches and stabbing to ensure definite death. Jamie opens his eyes seeing the reality of the aftermath, and then the battle in his minds eye, of pompous Charles, and running towards certain death. And then we see him standing alone at the stones, after Claire had gone through. BlackJack and Jamie stare at each other, still amongst the chaos. They both look so heroic as they charge for each other. Their final fight, and Randall gets a a good one in, but Jamie stabs him. They are the last 2 standing as Jack reaches for him and they fall together. His last vision is of Claire walking towards him on the battlefield, “Are you alive?” He is saved by Rupert McKenzie (Grant O’Rourke). The Scots are holed up, more dead than alive. The British walk in and tell them they will be shot, but they obviously feel bad, and offer pen and paper. The young boys are afraid, but not spared. Jamie wants to die.

I the 40s, Claire and Frank look at homes. He is solicitous and they are flirtatious. Claire is sad and soon heavily pregnant. She goes to a function with Frank and is spoken to completely condescendingly. Frank knows… it makes me feel so bad for him because he is so kind and understanding. They are so cute talking about tea and coffee, but Frank is upset because she pushes him away. They fight. He tells her to go or stay, “But do it because its what you really want to do.”

Jamie says farewell to Claire and the scene passes to Frank sleeping on the couch, unable to sleep amongst a cacophony of tiny but jarring house sounds. He begins a letter to the Reverend about Jamie, but Claire interrupts – her water broke.

In the past they shoot each prisoner, finally getting to the feeble ones. Jamie states him name and the officer stops immediately. He is the brother of the boy Jamie spared years ago and now he owes him a debt of honor. He arranges for a safe (and discreet) hay ride home to Jenny and Ian (Laura Donnelly, Steven Cree) at Lallybroch.

Claire goes through 1940s labor and delivery, complete with needles and gas. It’s a girl! Frank is crying and Claire is happy for their little family of three – a new beginning. Then a shadow…

“Where’d she get the red hair?”

The battle scenes were vivid and fierce, juxtaposed against the blur of Jamie’s shifting consciousness. Even the color of the sky followed its script, contributing to the battle as much as the swords.

Heughan had some powerful moments with minimal dialogue, especially with the palpable disappointment at being spared. His expressions spoke volumes.

Menzies was utter perfection as always. Heughan is a dreamboat, yet I almost wished Claire would fall for Frank. That’s how good Menzies is.

It was a perfect return to one of my favorite shows ever.

Outlander airs Sunday nights at 9pm ET on Starz.

Video

Outlander | The Reunion of the Centuries Trailer | STARZ


Separated by time and centuries, how will Jamie and Claire face life without each other? Season 3 of Outlander premieres September 10 on STARZ.

Follow me on Twitter.

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