The second season of Outlander was pivotal for the show. Many of us are still recovering from the insane amount of heartbreak that rained upon us once it was released. Even though it's been a minute since it ended, and two other seasons have aired in the meantime, with yet another on the way, there's something about the Season 2 that still resonates deeply with audiences.
Being a show that's based on a book series, we always expect that a few things will have to be edited out and tweaked in order to work for the screen. Overall, fans of the books have always been pretty content with the way showrunners managed to portray their favorite characters on TV. However, some uproar will inevitably take place; this was as true for the second season of Outlander as it was for all the others. If you're curious to know just how far the writers went with their Season 2 adaptation, keep reading.
10 Fancy Some Wooden Teeth, Lord Lovat?
What usually happens when a show is renewed for a second season is that creators have more liberty to expand the show's universe. More often than not, this expansion involves the introduction of immense strings of new characters, so many that it can be hard to keep track of.
One of the new characters Outlander introduced was Lord Lovat, Jamie's less than amiable grandfather. And even though the character kept pretty much all the traits given to him by author Diana Gabaldon, there was something producers couldn't translate to the screen — his wooden teeth!
9 A Wild Young Brianna Appears
We really weren't kidding when we said the second season of Outlander was filled with heartbreak. Between Jamie's struggle with handling the aftermath of his rape and torture and his separation from Claire, in the end, there was plenty of tearjerking material to go around. But nothing quite beats the episode when Claire lost their daughter, Faith, who was stillborn.
This episode introduces something that never actually happened in the books — flashforwards of Claire with Brianna when she was little. It all adds to the angst of the episode in general, and it's a very welcomed parting from the books. Readers were never introduced to young Bree, and it simply works in the overall scheme of things.
8 The Baptism
Still on the topic of the episode were Claire miscarried her and Jamie's unborn daughter, we once again must congratulate the writers on the small yet incredibly significant changes they made from the book. What was already a heart-wrenching episode became even more emotional thanks to these tweaks.
One of them relates to Mother Hildegarde, who stood by Claire during the entire ordeal. Mother Hildegarde isn't allowed to baptize a dead child...and yet she did. She never mentions this to Claire in the books, but it became one of the most appreciated additions made by the show.
7 Whiskey? That's A No For Me
Actress Sophie Skelton had a bit of a hard time when she was first introduced to fans at the end of Season 2. Bringing to life such a pivotal character that's supposed to be the daughter of Jamie and Claire Fraser is nothing short of a feat, and book lovers, in particular, weren't convinced at first that Skelton could handle it.
Her accent and physical appearance were some of the things book fans criticized at first. But one small detail that was particularly annoying was the fact that the show made her out to be a whiskey lover when in the source material she looked at it more like rat poison than anything else.
6 Not So Much PTSD
One of the things that makes Claire so complex as a character is her bravery and her love for helping others. Both in the 20th and 18th centuries, she was able to channel both these things by becoming a war nurse and a healer. Throughout the show, her knowledge of anatomy and illnesses proved pivotal.
Which is why the show made a fantastic move when they added flashbacks to Claire's time in World War II when the Jacobite army was training for battle. In the books, this is something that author Diana Gabaldon never mentioned, but it added some much-needed layers to Claire's character.
5 No Beating Up Dead Corpses Here
Black Jack Randall will probably go down in history as one of the most vicious characters to ever be featured on a television show. We could write entire essays on the several heinous actions he committed, but anyone who is familiar with Outlander would probably prefer to forget him altogether.
His relationship with his brother Alex was the one and only instance when audiences saw a softer side of Jack. What no one was expecting, not even from him, was that he would beat up the lifeless corpse of his brother after he died — especially because it wasn't even in the book. Was it to emphasize his sadistic nature? Or was it a coping mechanism? Either way, it was horrible and unnecessary.
4 Murtagh Is The Real MVP
Among all of the departures the showrunners chose to make from the books, none were quite as surprising as the return of Murtagh from what we all assume was the world of the dead. In the original source material, once he dies in the Battle of Culloden, he pretty much stays that way.
This decision that came later in the show probably began with the expansion of Murtagh's role during the second season, which was a lot more prominent than in the books. So much so that one of the changes they decided was to have him accompany Claire when she meets with Randall to discuss his brother Alex, as opposed to Jamie. Not only does it make a lot more sense, but it also gave us more Murtagh. And we all love some extra Murtagh.
3 Where Are The Carved Initials?
Remember when Jamie and Claire had to say their goodbyes and send her back through the stones because they failed in stopping the Battle of Culloden? And they had to protect their unborn child at all costs, even though that meant being separated, perhaps forever? Yes, we also had to reach for the tissues just remembering that.
It was a heartbreaking, tear-inducing moment at its finest, and it becomes even more so in the books. Upon separating, Jamie and Claire carve each other's initials on their bodies, the definite proof that they are each other's true love. The absence of this moment on the show was received with a lot of backlash — and for good reason.
2 No Laoghaire, No Redemption
Up there on the list of Claire's enemies is Laoghaire. The girl was so in love with Jamie, she went as far as trying to have Claire burnt at the stake for being a witch back in Season 1. Everyone was pretty much done with her, and book fans weren't expecting to see her return in Season 2.
When the three meet again, Laoghaire seems to regret her actions and asks Claire to forgive her, even going as far as helping her out in seducing Lord Lovat's son. None of this happens in the books, and it doesn't really add much to the story.
1 Welcome To The '60s!
Writing a book and setting a scene in said book is a lot more tricky than it is to do so on television. Even book readers agree that upon reading the second book of the series, they were confused with the opening. It took place all the way in 1968, and Claire is back with Frank and has a grown-up daughter.
In order to avoid all of this confusion, the showrunners opted to begin in the 1940s, after Claire went through the stones and is in the hospital. The chronological order of events makes a lot more sense this way, and even Diana Gabaldon agreed.