[This is a review of the Outlander season 2 premiere. There will be SPOILERS.]
Before Claire Randall Fraser can change the past, she must first journey back to the future to face the man she left behind in the wonderfully crafted season 2 premiere of Outlander, entitled ‘Through a Glass, Darkly’. The Ronald D. Moore-created series based on the best-selling books written by Diana Gabaldon could have faltered easily into a sophomore slump, but avoids those pitfalls superbly in an hour of television you won’t want to miss.
Remember poor Frank Randall who happens to resemble the villainous Jack Randall? Well, for those of you who did miss our favorite historian, it was great to see Tobias Menzies reprise the role of the man that both time and Claire forgot. It has been a little over two years since he last saw his beloved wife, who shows up unexpectedly back at Craigh na Dun.
It’s hard to blame Claire’s reluctance at seeing her former husband, especially since he looks exactly like the man who raped and tortured Jamie. This reviewer continues to have a soft spot for Frank since he doesn’t fit the “classic” example of what a knight in shinning armor should look like. That statement was not meant to take a jab at Sam Heughan, who has done a stellar job with his portrayal of Jamie. It’s just nice to root for the underdog every now and then.
There is no denying Balfe and Heughan’s chemistry on screen, but Menzies also shines whenever he and the lovely Irish-born actress share a room. While in character as Black Jack Randall, Menzies delivered an Emmy-worthy performance with his interrogation of Claire in ‘The Garrison Commander’. Back in Scotland in 1948, the two talented actors again prove not only their skill, but the excellent writing by Mr. Moore. Frank’s anger and frustration after learning the news of her pregnancy was powerful. Thankfully, he took out his rage on some old pots in the shed instead of Claire’s body. He may look like his monstrous distant relative, but Frank remains a good man.
Back in eighteenth century France, Claire and Jamie are looking to begin a new life among the Jacobite elites. One of Jamie’s cousins happens to be one of those elites who has a home in Paris. As usual, Claire can’t go anywhere without causing trouble and this time she angers a local aristocrat named Le Comte St. Germain. The Sassenach has a bad habit of making enemies quickly, yet Jamie still finds a way to discover the humor in it all by saying that he wouldn’t want her to change for anything. It must be nice to be loved that much in two different time periods. Frank and Claire might not share the same passion as she does with Jamie, but you can’t deny the love Frank feels for her. Life could be worse.
This premiere sets up the season nicely, by reintroducing us to the world we came to love last year, while also keeping the story going in the right direction. It should be fun to see how Claire and Jamie handle life in the French court with Louis XV on the throne and a baby on the way. There’s also the question of how much time we’re going to spend with Frank as he starts his new job at Harvard? Tobias Menzies is too good a talent to waste away as a secondary character, so let’s hope we see more of him.
There is also the matter of the other Scottish characters we’ve grown fond of, like Dougal MacKenzie and Angus Mhor. It would be nice if we get some episodes showing us what life is like back in the highlands. Murtagh looks so out of place in France, so there should be some nice comedic moments for him while attending the French court. He’s one of the most loyal supporters of Jamie and Claire and one can’t help but feel sympathy for him while the two leave him in the dark concerning their plan.
‘Through a Glass, Darkly’ was another stellar entry into the world of Outlander. Are you excited to see what life will be like in France and do you want to see more of Frank and Claire, or has that relationship run its course? Keep watching to see what happens next.
Outlander continues with ‘Not in Scotland Anymore’ next Saturday @9pm on Starz. Check out a behind the scenes look below: