This Outlander review contains some spoilers.
When I read the Outlander books back in the day, I didn’t often stop and ponder how the story would translate onto the screen — big or small. It seemed like an impossible feat. Also there were so many bottoms — both front and back — prominently featured that I could not imagine anyone seriously trying to translate this time traveling Highland sex-romp into anything resembling traditional serial fare.
With my skepticism in mind, I’d like to go on record as being completely ripped apart by the trial section of the book, which I mean in the best way possible. If I’d been sure that the book was untranslatable, I was equally sure that if for no other reason than this conflict alone it merited trying. The Starz adaptation did not disappoint in anyway – except for maybe with voice-over, but that’s been my resounding complaint throughout, one which has lessened over time.
This week it rankled again, if only because we didn’t need to be reminded that Claire as a traveler from the future knows exactly how witch trials usually end, the trial itself is frightening enough. I tip my hat to any show that can make me anxiously bite my lip in fear over the central protagonist’s fate even though I know full well that they’re going to stick around. This happens more and more lately, but that’s probably lingering trauma from watching Game of Thrones (RIP – EVERYONE).
The trial as portrayed on the show was utterly gripping. There was no doubt that Geillis was a witch (because uh, she is), and that alone made people predisposed to hate on Claire and burn her just ‘cause. Then effin’ Laoghaire stepped in and was all “Jamie at one time liked me, but now he likes this ho,” and because at our core throughout the ages as a people we’ve all always been audience members at The Jerry Springer Show, everyone was like “BURN THE STRANGE WOMAN WHO CAN HEAL ILLNESS!” Luckily, Jamie had zero time for it. This is why he is better than Jon Snow would probably would’ve let the crowd kill Claire and then moped about it for roughly eighty years.
It’s also worth noting that this week, Claire finally told Jamie the truth about who she is, where she comes from, and the fact that she is a bigamist — which will never not be a delight. To his credit, Jamie took Claire at her word. Ultimately, when he gives her the option to go back to Frank, Claire picks Jamie. This might have resonated more if the relationship between the duo hadn’t been so deeply rooted so early on.
As it stands, the most conflict we saw from Claire was this week when she hesitated inexplicably over admitting whether or not she loved the dude. It was strange, since I think most viewers would agree that they’ve loved each other practically from go, circumstances be damned. I did think it was a strong choice for Jamie to apologize to Claire for beating her when he discovered that she had run away to try and get home to Frank. The show has done a decent job working with the reality of that domestic violence — they can officially put it bed and move on.