[This is a review of Outlander season 1, episode 3. There will be SPOILERS.]
Diana Galbadon’s #1 bestselling book Outlander has been blessed with an ability to represent multiple genres simultaneously. Is her story about a lovely young Englishwoman named Claire Randall fantasy, or is it more science fiction-focused?
This week’s episode, titled ‘The Way Out,’ takes that very question to heart as a young boy is dying from what the town’s people believe to be demonic possession. Are the ancient ruins of a Prussian church truly haunted, or is there a more scientific explanation waiting to be uncovered?
What’s fascinating about Claire’s exploits this week is her inability to accept the supernatural events that surround her very existence in 1743 Scotland. Our lovely heroine does acknowledge that she’s “fallen through time,” but the first mention of a young boy being killed by demons is unthinkable to her.
Like any good, pragmatic 20th century woman, Claire immediately looks for the scientific reasoning behind the incident, which of course turns out to be true in the end. And like the book itself, Claire is slowly discovering what kind of world she exists in. Is this a world of magic, or is a scientific process behind it all?
The process of her discovery is what makes ‘The Way Out’ the best episode of the series so far.
Last week showed us some of the inner workings of Castle Leoch’s hierarchy, while here we get a glimpse at how the people in the village live. Executive producer Ronald D. Moore is doing a remarkable job of taking Galbadon’s expansive world and condensing down into these hour-long episodes. Just before you know it, the episode has ended, giving the viewer a large amount of content to digest without it ever feeling forced.
Another genre that Outlander encapsulates so well is that of a romance narrative. Moore and Galbadon never let you forget about Frank back in 1945. The use of flashbacks throughout each episode are helpful reminders of who Claire used to be compared to the woman she is becoming. With each passing week, Jamie becomes more of a threat to her marriage. How long do you think it will take Claire to accept this new life in the past as the only one she knows?
Perhaps she will never truly forget where she came from, as the bard’s beautiful melody about a traveler who touched a stone and was transported through time was remarkably familiar to her. The prophetic voice says she will find love in another. Is that person Jamie? Frank seems like a “good guy,” so hopefully she’ll be reunited with him at some point.
Only three episodes in and Outlander appears to have found its footing. Do you like the pace that Moore and his team have set, or is there not enough going on to keep you engaged? Stay tuned if you wish to see what happens next.
Outlander continues with ‘The Gathering’ next Saturday @9pm on Starz.