Outlander Season 3 Episode 1: The Battle Joined

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#DROUGHTLANDER IS OVER!!!

It's been 428 days since Jamie and Claire have graced us with their presence, but Outlander Season 3 Episode 1 is here! Rejoice, pour yourself a dram, and enjoy a fortifying stew or meat pit with bannocks because there's some ish to get through before our lovers are reunited.

You didn't think it was going to be that easy, did you?

Jamie at Culloden - Outlander

Those who read the book know the opening battle scene took a more serious tone than the source material's opening chapter. At first, I lamented the loss of humor that delirious Jamie provided the audience, but I've come around to Robert Moore's grittier and disjointed take on Culloden.

It felt more real through this interpretation, and the lack of chatter established the tone for Jamie. The Laird of Lallybroch's musings on heaven, hell, and purgatory are worth a read if you haven't treated yourself yet, but Jamie's isolation was felt more keenly through Moore's representation.

There were many shots within Jamie's flashbacks that drove home the horror of the battle for me: the hare making its way across the field amongst the bodies and Jamie suffocating a soldier with a clod of grass after a no holds barred BRAWL were two of them. 

Fight to the Death - Outlander Season 3 Episode 1

But Black Jack Randall's death wasn't one of them. Having read the novels, I knew it was coming and kept thinking various Redcoats were supposed to be our villain. When he finally did show up, things got almost too surreal.

There were parts of the fight that you could tell were edited in later, and the feeling that the two actors were alone in front of a green screen instead of on a battlefield full of soldiers wouldn't leave me. 

It's a seemingly small complaint, but I found it jarring, and it completely distracted me from the larger narrative point.

And while the shots of Randall and Jamie after the battle were beautifully staged with their heads posed as if lovers in bed, placing the fight scene before the reveal of Black Jack's body atop our hero was backward.

I'm not saying I forgive you for Dougal, but I'll not go to my grave hating ye for it either. The Lord will judge us both, and I trust in his mercy. Farewell, Jamie.

Rupert

While I (obviously) have a lot of thoughts on the 12-minute battle scene, I was very happy when the narrative picked up with Rupert finding Jamie, only to have my heart broken by the outcome.

I knew it was coming. The slaughter of the men in the cottage is a major plot point in the books; it's the first sign of Jamie after the battle for Claire and the others in 1968. But I was hoping that Rupert and Ross would survive somehow.

We'll have to be gratified that Rupert died with his own brand of irreverent dignity and that he's reunited with Angus. So much of the focus is always on Jamie and Claire, now more than other, that I really adored this scene and its acknowledgment of second tier characters.

I'm glad you're awake. I did no want to say farewell while you snored and farted in your sleep.

Rupert [to Jamie]

Jamie's survival and return to Lallybroch happened much as they were in Diana Gabaldon's original text, let's turn to Claire and her adventures in Boston with Frank.

Adventures may be the wrong word, at least at this point in the story. Claire's return to the modern era isn't covered much in Voyager, but the season will be stronger for Moore and his team's additions.

While I'm #TeamFraser all the way, I really love that Claire at times was downright bratty. Sure, there are extenuating circumstances, what with Frank's resemblance to a man who tried to rape her multiple times, grieving her one true love, and pregnancy hormones, but there's also intent in her actions.

It was no slip of the tongue when she was deliberately trying to butter up Frank calling the baby "our child." And when she didn't get her way, she took away the toy he so desperately desired. 

I only have one note on their scenes together, and that's that she should have thrown a vase at Frank's head instead of an ashtray. It would have been nice symbolism referencing back to Outlander Season 1 Episode 1.

Well, God love Jerry, and I do, despite what you may think. He's really no different than most men in this world who don't want their wives doing anything out of the ordinary. Just cook, clean, raise the kids, look pretty when they meet the boss.

Millie

Honestly, I wish Frank would have behaved a little more terribly so that I could really align with Claire in her decision to distance herself from him. 

But he's starting out as being quite patient with her. Besides wanting her to start over in Boston and thinking she's crazy with her story of a Highlander from the 18th century, he's not asking that much of her.

Sure, he could have stood up for her more directly at the cocktail hour with his boss but redirecting the conversation and ignoring his boss' strictures weren't nothing

Ha, "a column in the Globe." Professor Randall, you're gonna have to pay closer attention to your wife's reading habits. She keeps reading The Globe, next thing you know, she'll be trying to get women into Harvard Law.

Department Chairman

I do feel for her with the constant misogyny she was experiencing in 1948. It's not at all subtle, but it feels right for the times. What's weird is that it's more constant than what she experienced in the 1740s.

Yes, she was tried as a witch and beaten by her husband and faced rape an absurd number of times, but on a day-to-day basis, she walked through the world with impunity, was allowed to practice medicine, and treated as a rational being. 

Where's my baby? Where's my baby? Is it dead?

Claire

With Bree's birth, Claire will have other things to focus on for awhile. It's still ways before she and Jamie will be able to reunite, but I think you'll all enjoy the journey. We still have to meet Joe Abernathy, find out what happened to Murtagh, Fergus, and what will happen to Jamie now that he's back at Lallybroch

He's no longer the laird but an outlaw, and Outlander Season 3 Episode 2 will deal with how that affects not only him but the rest of the family. 

Tell us what you thought of "The Battle Joined" in the comments below, but careful not to spoil the ending if you've read ahead! Of course, if you haven't, hurry up and pick up a copy of Voyager now so that you can be as excited as the rest of us Outlander Fanatics!

And remember, if you just can't get enough Jamie, you can always watch Outlander online with us here!

The Battle Joined Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (73 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Outlander Season 3 Episode 1 Quotes

I'm glad you're awake. I did no want to say farewell while you snored and farted in your sleep.

Rupert [to Jamie]

Claire: I can manage, really.
Millie: Well of course you can manage my dear, but why should you when you can have help?