[This is a review of the Outlander mid-season finale. There will be SPOILERS.]
A honeymoon is interrupted this week by darker tidings in the exciting mid-season finale of Outlander, entitled 'Both Sides Now.' Ronald D. Moore writes an engaging albeit abrupt hour of television likely to have you yearning for more.
Moore and Author Diana Gabaldon have slowly developed a series for Starz that can now be mentioned in the same breath as their older brother and sister networks like HBO and Showtime. Starz has always been the runt of the premium family, with shows like Spartacus being touted as nothing more than a sword and sandal drama with nudity that would make even Cinemax blush.
While the excessive debauchery cannot be denied. creator Steven DeKnight (who is now heading up Marvel's Daredevil television series) crafted an incredible show, filled with great character actors and a thrilling series finale. Starz deserves more respect than it has been getting. Outlander may be that symbol of maturity this network sorely needs.
'Both Sides Now' is the perfect title to describe Claire's state of mind as the series moves forward. Not only is she on the wrong side of time, but her allegiances have also been split. Claire and Jamie may be in love, but it's interesting how he still refers to her as Sassenach (or Outlander) from time to time. The handsome Scot says it in a non-threatening manner, but that word is devoid of any kind of love and affection.
Is there some deeper meaning from his choice of words? Do you think Jamie has fully accepted Claire as his wife and kin? It would seem so from their constant giggling and coupling, but there appears to be a darkness brewing that has yet to reveal itself.
Speaking of darkness and all matters of evil, it was nice to see Frank kick a little butt this week, as a group of ruffians attempted to mug our troubled Englishman. Reverend Wakefield's words of warning to Frank about not drinking too deeply from the cup of evil was a great scene. Frank may not believe in time travel and magic stones, yet he still went to rocks, only to hear Claire's voice snatched away by the British military. Hopefully this will not be the last time we see Tobias Menzies in the form of Frank.
While many of you have stated that Frank is not of great importance in the books, Menzies portrayal of the brilliant history professor, while also taking on the role of the sinister Black Jack Randall, has been the highlight of this first season. His Emmy-worthy performance should not be taken lightly by book readers and casual fans alike. Who has been your favorite character over the past eight episodes?
Moore's ending to this week's outing was abrupt, but surely that's the point of a mid-season finale - Moore wants you to pull out your hair while impatiently waiting over the next several months for the series to return. Claire's predicament is the worst it has been since the premiere, as she was nearly raped - twice!
Thankfully, Jamie pulled off (well, maybe?) a heroic rescue by barging in the window with his gun drawn. Has there ever been a greater shot of a knight in "kilted armor" rescuing his kidnapped princess? Perhaps Jamie will not always be the hero, but until then, Moore and Gabaldon have molded him into that classic form over the past several weeks.
Either way, it's been fun watching Sam Heughan grow throughout this series. He is not yet up there with the likes of Menzies in terms of his acting bravado, but the dreamy young Scot is proving himself to be an actor you'll want to look out for in next few years.
Sadly, the second half of Outlander will not return for over six months. Share with us your favorite moments from the first half of this incredible season.
Outlander will return April 4, 2015 on Starz.