Outlander S3 Ep1 : SEASON PREMIERE "The Battle Joined"

Together in heart, separated by time.....

Together in heart, separated by time.....

Together in heart, separated by time.....

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Our Droughtlander is finally over friends!  Our thirst and desire for the return of our favorite show and lovers are now beginning to be quenched. However, this season does not start where you think it might.

"He was dead."  to quote the very first line from the book Voyager.  This is I believe the first time in the books up to now, where we are hearing and seeing things from Jamie's perspective.  Season 2 showed us 20 years passing for Claire and her daughter and ultimately finding out that Jamie survived the bloody battle of Culloden thanks to Roger Wakefield.  This prepares us for the beginning of this season as we know Jamie does not die.  An important thing to remember here is how the timeline is drastically different between Jamie and Claire in this episode.  Jamie's takes place over a matter of days, where Claire's is months, ultimately to the birth of Brianna.  That, my friends, is one of the many things that makes Outlander awesome!

Determination at its best....

Determination at its best....

The first 10-15 minutes there is basically no talking.  No voice overs either.  We get to see glimpses through the sporadic memories of Jamie lying on the cold, wet ground of the moor as he passes in and out of consciousness.  There are British redcoats going among the fallen Highlanders, looting them for any goods and running them through with bayonets if they breathe or make a sound.  Somehow, they walk right past Jamie.  We see glimpses of the battle, the first being the great peacock himself, Bonnie Prince Charlie, strutting around with a goblet still convinced they would prevail.  Oh, and of course, getting one last "Mark me...." in for good measure!  Other glimpses, show the poor Highlanders, cold, wet, starving and only brandishing swords against an army with guns and cannons.  We see some of them die and we see Jamie and Murtagh find and fight together probably for the last time.  

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Ultimately, through the cannon fire, flying debris, and blood, Jamie sees the one man he has wanted dead many times over now - Black Jack Randall.  The two spot each other than charge at one another.  They lock arms and battle, both knowing it is to the death.  Randall manages to slice Jamie's thigh, and it does not look good for our hero, but that Fraser stubbornness kicks in and he lunges at Randall, and after some struggling, Jamie stabs Randall fatally.  The both fall together to the ground. Jamie, remembering this, comes out of consciousness and looks at the body that has been lying on top of him.  It is Black Jack Randall who is finally very dead.  Thus, ends a chapter in Jamie's life that spanned over two seasons.

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Jamie's last vision is one of Claire dressed in her white shift, walking among the dead Highlanders at night and coming straight to Jamie.  She says his name and asks if he is alive.  Of course, it turns out to only be a vision, and it is Rupert and another who is asking Jamie if he is alive and when finding that he is, tells him to keep quiet, as the British were still around.  They pick him up, ignoring the protesting Jamie to let him be, the gift from Claire, the dragonfly in amber falls to the ground, ripe for the taking.  They take Jamie to a nearby farmhouse where other Highlanders have gathered, at least half if not more all in very bad shape.

Let me tell you. Usually, I am "go strictly by the book" person, but once in awhile, Ron Moore and group adds something that makes things mean more or explains something even better.  The battle scene is one of them.  In the book, Jamie thinks he is dead.  His nose throbs, which tells us he has a broken nose (not so on the show).  Corbies (crows) are all over the battlefield; he can hear them and the British.  Black Jack Randall is, in fact, dead on top of Jamie with one dead eye open and his head on Jamie's abdomen.  However, Jamie gets overlooked by the British not only because he is quiet, but because he is under a PILE of men.  The main thing here is that I am glad that it was Rupert on the show that finds Jamie.  In the book, it is the two young boys.  Also, Jamie has absolutely NO recollection in the book of the battle; he just knows that he had a purpose and that was to die, as Claire is no longer with him.  The fact that we got to see some of the battles of Culloden was awesome to me.  Culloden is such a huge part of the Scottish culture and history, and we didn't get to experience that in the books.  Plus, with talking about it and trying to stop it from happening for two seasons, it just makes sense.  

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"Fast forward" if you will go to the next scene.  Claire is standing in a big empty apartment in Boston with Frank.  Claire is afraid that they won't be able to afford it.  She surveys the kitchen area....ah, the 1948 style gas stove.  I remember my great-grandmother had one of these and I hated to light it.  Frank tries his best at a joke by telling Claire she can "wrestle up some vittals" in his best Southern American accent.  Claire puts on a smile and claims she is most likely out of practice.  They are trying to come to terms with Claire's reappearance and the pregnancy.  Claire is trying to forget about Jamie, but that is most likely not an easy thing.

We flash forward to a few months ahead, Claire now visibly pregnant and attempting to light that damn gas stove.  She gets frustrated and goes to sit on the sofa and sees the fireplace.  She goes out and buys some wood for the fireplace and as she is trying to gather up as much as she can carry, a friendly, albeit nosey, neighbor offers to help her.  She claims to remember what it was like when she had been pregnant with her kids.  Claire gives in, and we next see Claire cooking green beans and a couple of other things for dinner over the open fire.  The neighbor is awe struck at Claire's ability to cook like that and mentions that most men don't like things to be different.  Claire claims that Frank doesn't like things out of the ordinary, but it falls on deaf ears.  "Cook, clean, raise the kids, look pretty when they meet the boss. You're lucky. You won't find another man like Frank again." Claire gives her most sincere polite smile.  She DID meet someone else like that.  Jamie.

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A few weeks more pass and Claire sits hands on her swollen belly at her vanity and looks forlorn.  We can only guess what she is thinking about.  When Frank calls to her to hurry, or they will be late, she remembers her neighbor's words, so she makes herself look pretty.  They go to the university to meet Frank's boss and friends.  Here is Claire, listening to this man talk on about politics and of course, she has been doing some reading as well.  Claire, true to her nature, speaks up.  It goes about as well as a fox in a hen house.  Frank's boss tells him that he needs to keep an eye on his wife's reading habits because the next thing you know, she will be trying to get women enrolled in Harvard Law.  I believe this is where Claire decides she will do just that.  Go to college to become an official doctor.

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Back to the past, we see Jamie in the old farmhouse.  He overhears Rupert and Gordon Killlick discussing ways to escape, but there is no way.  Morning comes and with that Lord Melton and the British army.  He asks in the farmhouse if any of the men in their claim to be innocent of treason.  No one replies, except Rupert.  Nope, "traitors all," he says with a chuckle because any idiot with eyes could see they were part of the battle.  Lord Melton allows the Highlanders paper and pen to write down any last words to be taken to the family.  He also orders that they will be shot like soldiers.  

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Back in 1948, the time has passed some again, Claire looking like she is about to burst.  She is in the kitchen, cooking breakfast which attracts Frank who claims he could get used to the smell of bacon every morning.  The conversation turns to how different the Americans are and how they do things differently, but the English, in Frank's opinion do it better.  Take tea in bags, where it no longer smells like tea to Frank.  It is just wrong.  Claire loves that the country is new and adventurous.  She makes mention that she likes the idea of making this country a home for "their daughter."  This moves Frank, and he puts a hand on Claire's shoulder, then tries to touch her stomach and her jerks.  This makes for a very awkward moment between them at the table.  Claire breaks the silence finally with saying she wants to apply for citizenship.  She goes on to say she has never really had a steady place to call home and never felt any real ties to England (wonder why).  Frank is stunned.  He is a historian and a Brit at that.  He forbade Claire to change her citizenship.  A fight ensues with Claire arguing that Frank made her move there and left everything that meant anything to her behind, so why is he bringing up the past. Frank is upset that Claire won't let him touch her.  The child, not even born yet, and she won't let him in.  The deal was that they would raise it together. Claire scoffs at Frank, assuming he is upset about not getting any sex.  She says there are plenty of co-eds that would swoon over him.  Frank, totally angry now says "I am not the one who's been fucking other people!".  Claire promptly throws an ashtray at his head, narrowly missing.  Frank looks at Claire and tells her that she has been free to leave whenever she wants, but she stays.  She needs to make up her mind and do what she wants.  

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Frank gathers up his coat and walks out.  The scene ends amazingly.  Frank pausing at the front door with Claire walking fast then stopping at the entrance to the living room from the front hall.  It shows the huge void between them.

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Back in 1746, Rupert and the others have one hour to get themselves together.  In that time we find out that no one has seen or heard of the fate of Murtagh.  (**It should be noted here that something important is MISSING that I hope is addressed in a future episode.  Jamie ordered his men to retreat....sneak away at a certain time and head back to Lallybroch.  Murtagh refused to be part of that and fought alongside Jamie)  Then the firing squad starts.  One by one men is lead out to their deaths.  At one point, Rupert is pleading with Lord Melton to spare the lives of two young boys as they are just boys and didn't know what they were doing.  Lord Melton refuses.  Rupert tries to calm the boys, as they start to panic over their fate and they are lead outside.  Rupert flinches as the shots are fired.  Rupert goes to Jamie's bedside and asks if he wants him to write a letter to Claire.  Jamie just says sadly "She is gone."  Rupert makes his peace with his fate as he and Jamie remember Angus and that how "good it will be to see him again."  Rupert tells Jamie that  "I’m not saying I forgive you for Dougal, but I’ll no go to my grave hating you for it, either” and he and Jamie say their goodbyes as Rupert volunteers to go next.  Jamie closes his eyes at the sound of the gunshot.  When all able-bodied men are exhausted, Lord Melton orders his men to take the ones unable to walk outside and sit them up for execution.  Jamie jumps at the chance to be first.  

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Lord Melton is on his way out the door when he hears the answer to the question of what his name is.  "James.  Alexander. Malcolm. McKenzie. Fraser." Jamie says slowly.  Lord Melton freezes in the door and turns around.  He walks quickly up to Jamie's bedside and asks him if the name John Grey means anything.  Jamie doesn't answer, being semi-delirious.  Lord Melton asks him a couple more times, and Jamie remembers the boy who tried to kill him when he was "taking a piss."  Lord Melton reminds Jamie that he had spared that boys life and Jamie agrees saying that John Grey had said that he owed Jamie.  Lord Melton informs Jamie that it was a debt of honor that is to be kept as John is his younger brother.  Lord Melton informs one of his men that he is in a pickle, as that man lying there is the infamous Red Jamie from the broadsheets and the king would surely love a famous prisoner of war. But that same man saved his dumb brother's life, and there is now a debt of honor to be paid so that his family's name is not disgraced.  The officer offers just to kill Jamie under a false name and is done with it, but lucky for us, Lord Melton refuses.  He tells the officer to find a very discreet man with a wagon and load it with hay.  Throw Jamie into the back and have him sent home as he doubts that Jamie will survive the journey anyway.  Jamie groans as he just wants to die.

Back in 1948 again, Frank is up at night and attempting to sleep on the couch.  He gets up and sits in his study at his desk.  He begins to write a letter to Reverend Wakefield for a favor of finding a certain Jacobite soldier.  He doesn't get much further than that when Claire comes in and tells him that her water broke.  They head to the hospital.  At the hospital, the doctor informs Claire that everything will be alright and sends Frank to what I like to call a daddy daycare area.  In the operating room, the doctor informs Claire that it will be over before she knows it and she won't feel a thing.  Claire sees a nurse with a big needle and starts to protest that she is the one giving birth and she can decide how she wants to do it.  However, the nurse injects her and Claire fall asleep.  How a baby was born like that is a miracle in itself!  

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Claire wakes up, groggy at first and automatically feels her stomach.  We all know that Brianna lives, but we can not feel for Claire as she starts to panic and get louder asking where her baby is.  The nurse comes in and tries to calm Claire and Claire asks if the baby is dead.  The nurse just gets to tell her no, when Frank walks in with baby Brianna in his arms.  For the first time, Claire and Frank look happy.  The nurse asks where in the world did the baby get the red hair?  And there is that awkward feeling again.

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Back in 1746, a wagon goes across the Scottish landscape.  Jamie is getting more and more delirious and near death, in the back, as he is lying in hay and jolted around like a pinball.  He hears a voice and regains some consciousness and asks if he is dead.  He sees his sister, Jenny, and Ian, both asking if he is okay and alive.  Jenny is hanging half over the side of the wagon with her butt in the air trying to get as close to her brother as possible.  She tells Jamie, "You've come home to Lallybroch."  Jamie doesn't seem all that pleased.  He has escaped death once again, and that is a very good thing for Claire and us.

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Now, my fellow Sassenachs, what say you about the first episode of Season 3?  Overall, I thought it was very well done and a hell of an episode to start out the season.  They have to cover 20 years in 13 episodes AND reunite Jamie with Claire.  No small feat there!  It is going to be an emotional rollercoaster of a season, I can assure you that!  Oh, and say goodbye to Scotland before the end of the season.....hence the name Voyager.  

Leave comments and thoughts below!  The more the merrier!