After what feels like the longest wait in the world, Outlander's Claire and Jamie have officially reunited. It certainly wasn't what Claire was expecting, and as book fans, it was most of the things we were expecting. It was sexy, it was awkward, it was more awkward and less sexy than we would have liked, but we get it. 20 years is a long damn time, and you can't just jump right back into most things.
We first saw a bit of Jamie's morning leading up to the shock of his life, but it was mostly a madame telling him he needed a woman's touch, and then he went off to print some propaganda with his coworker Geordie.
Once he recovered from his fainting, the first thing he said to Claire was, "You're real," and then once he realized he fell on an ale pot, he promptly (OK, cautiously and shyly) took off his pants. What a great start we were off to!
Even the buildup to their second first kiss felt like the longest wait ever. It was like they were both middle schoolers who don't know how to do this and, you know, adults who have only seen ghosts and dreams of each other for 20 years. It w as some good kissin' though.
Unfortunately for all of us, the really sexy stuff had to wait. Geordie returned, and upon finding his boss canoodling pantsless with some lady before it was even noon, he felt the need to quit. Jamie didn't seem too concerned, but he also didn't seem too fond of Geordie.
"It's very fine to see you again, Claire," Jamie said as he pulled on some new pants. Seemed like kind of a casual thing to say in this situation, but before we had time to ponder it, Jamie suddenly remembered the bairn. Claire handed over a little photo album (to a man who's never seen a photo before), and he had to pull out the most adorable reading glasses in the world in order to see it.
He thought Brianna was a terrible name, was shocked at Brianna wearing something called a bikini next to a boy, and suddenly he got all weird because he had something to confess. He's got a son!
Of course we knew this, but we didn't know he was going to tell her so soon. In the book, it's not even Jamie who tells her, and that's not until much later in the story. We'll get to that major change in a minute, but first there's some stuff to do.
For one, Claire had to reunite with Fergus, who's now like 30 and wants to know where Claire has been for 20 years (er, she went to live with relatives when she thought everyone was dead), and then we had to meet Mr. Willoughby. Mr. Willoughby (not his real name) is Jamie's Chinese friend who gets into a lot of trouble in bars because he likes to lick womens' elbows.
Then Jamie took Claire to a brothel, where he's got a room on hold, but not in that way. He just kind of lives there sometimes because there's food, a bed, and privacy, and it's better than his cot at the printshop. Jamie warned Claire that they hardly knew each other now, but he still wanted her if she wanted him. And of course she wanted him (because what a waste that trip would have been if she didn't), and things almost got sexy until they were interrupted...again...by dinner at the door.
So they sat down to talk to each other about their lives, and then finally, when no one could take it anymore, they began undressing each other in slow motion. The slowest motion. A collar undone over here. A neck scarf over there. Take off a jacket. Undo your hair.
After what felt like ages, the pants came off. Claire's very historically incorrect zipper was unzipped. "Christ," Jamie said upon the sight of Claire's body. Soon they were both standing there naked, talking about how scared they were. It was...so much.
After some awkward nose-hitting and some laughter, it was time to shut the windows to spare the neighbors.
Claire and Jamie lazed around in bed for quite a while, talking about Jamie's smuggling business and other important bits of their lives. The next morning, they were a little too busy for breakfast, so while Jamie had some things to deal with, Claire found breakfast with the women who worked in the brothel. The Madame eventually found her and sent her back up to Jamie's room, where she found a scary man waiting for her.
He called her a whore, and of course the episode ended just as he attacked her. Super cool. Always love a cliffhanger with Claire in danger!
While we worry a lot (because we don't yet have a screener for the next episode!), scroll on down to get the scoop on that major change from the books.
In the book, Jamie does not rush to tell Claire about his son, Willie. In fact, he's not the one to tell her at all, but EP Maril Davis explained that Jamie just had too many secrets to keep them all.
"Ron [Moore] felt very strongly that once Jamie and Claire get back together, there's obviously a lot they haven't told each other, and with [Jamie's other big secret], you know, there were so many things that he didn't tell her that that became such a big thing that it seemed odd..."
After certain events later on this season, Claire and Jamie make a pact to tell each other no more lies, so the minds behind the show thought it was "too much" for Jamie to continue to keep Willie a secret.
"[Moore] just felt like when they're discussing their daughter, he would also blurt out the thing about Willie," Davis said. "It's not the time to talk about anything, because they're obviously rushing off and going to do other things, but he felt very strongly that it would be hard for that to come out later if he'd also promised her that he would be forthcoming about other things after the marriage."
And honestly, as jarring as that sudden admission was to watch, we're pretty glad it happened.
In tonight's episode, Claire and Brianna both went back to Boston, where Brianna struggled to adjust to regular life after learning who her real father was. In the book, only Claire goes back to Boston to get her life in order before going through the stones. Brianna and Roger even follow Claire to the stones, but in the show, Brianna and Roger stayed behind and we didn't even see Claire's journey back in time. EP Maril Davis says there are a few reasons for that change.
"One, we've seen that journey through stones with Claire before," she tells us. "This is not the first time we would have seen it. Two, the location where we go and film the stones is not easy to get to, and sometimes it's difficult if you're only doing one scene there. ... I mean, creative is always our first guidepost in terms of obviously, if we think creatively it works, we'll push for it. But I think this time, because I think we felt like we'd seen that before and you know, the logistical issue, combined with the fact that we wanted to put a little spin on it with bringing Roger out to Boston instead of taking the ladies back out to Scotland, we thought was an interesting little twist as well, so I think all of those factors combined for us to do it this way and do something a little different and put a little spin on the story."
While Brianna doesn't get to be the protagonist in very many scenes in the book, she gets some time here to start to dissect how she feels about what's going on—the news about her father, the reality that they may find her real father, and the fact that she may lose her mother to him forever.
We'll see a lot more of Brianna in episode five, and Davis says this is a perspective that the writers didn't want to overlook.
"Brianna and Claire have always had a tough relationship. It's certainly loving, but it seems like Claire has always held Brianna kind of at arm's length. And Brianna's always kind of wondered why and has always been closer to Frank, and to find out the reason for that is because your father was somebody else, and maybe every time your mother looks at you she thinks about your real father and that is a very complicated relationship," she says. "To then question your own identity and what that all means was important to us, because if it was glossed over in the books, we felt that was something that was so interesting to portray and such an interesting character beat for that character, to see those emotions."
Article continues below
Nobody's a huge fan of Frank Randall, but you have to admit that you kinda feel bad for him this season. Poor guy finally found his wife after she's been missing for three years, and she's pregnant with the baby of a man from the 1700s, who she's desperately in love with. That sucks!
There are more scenes in the show featuring Claire and Frank than there were in the book (at least in this particular book), both in this episode and in the episodes to come.
"Book Frank is a little different than TV show Frank," EP Maril Davis explained to us. "And you're never going to root for Claire to stay with Frank, you just aren't. I mean as soon as she meets Jamie, it's like Frank's off the table. But the thing from the books that we really enjoyed and wanted to continue in the show is that Frank was an outstanding father to Brianna. And you know, Claire makes the ultimate sacrifice to stay with Frank for her daughter. I think if she had come back and she wasn't pregnant, I don't think she and Frank would ever have been together or stayed together, but I think she knows that it's a certain time and place and Brianna needs a father, and if it can't be Jamie, she wants Brianna to have a loving man in her life, and Frank, for me, is one of the tragic figures of Outlander because he loves Claire desperately, but that love is not reciprocated."
Forget watching the Battle of Culloden. Thanks to tonight's opening scenes, we were in that battle.
"It's wonderful, it places you in the action, and obviously it's a memory of Jamie's, but he's sort of coming to and remembering the moments that happened there, and of course he meets Black Jack Randall in the midst of the melee and they have this great sort of finishing chapter to their relationship," Sam Heughan told us of the scenes, which he says took a couple of weeks to film.
"Doing it in flashback like that gives it a slightly surreal, unworldly kind of atmosphere to it," Tobias Menzies added. "It's kind of a more interesting way of doing it than just straight on, kind of battle sequence."
Watching that jerk of a doctor force Claire to be knocked out for the birth was infuriating, but it was historically accurate.
"Up until the late '40s, early '50s, childbirth was mostly done with midwives and it was very much a female thing, and it was only in the '50s that it became much more medical, and it started being treated as some sort of an operation," Caitriona Balfe told us. "So women, they were sort of taken out of the process completely. They were told to just sort of lie there, shut up, and do what they're told. So it was really interesting to have Claire—obviously she's coming to it having already lost a child, and she had a lot of nerves about it. She was worried about it. So to have this man sort of come in and dismiss any concerns she might have or any knowledge that she might have, or desires...it was pretty frustrating for her."
Stay tuned for more scoop on season three!
Article continues below
Jamie and Claire are apart for now, and while many of us are going to be waiting with bated breath for their reunion, don't discount the stories that need to be told before they find their way back to each other. Executive producer Maril Davis says their separation was a major concern going into season three, but the writers quickly found that there's a lot of excellent story to be found in their separate journeys.
"I think going into it you do worry that these two people who are the backbone of our show not being together, that's what makes this show very special, is their relationship," she told us. "But quite honestly, while we do all prefer having them together, I do think we were pleasantly surprised how well the stories worked on their own, because each have such strong stories, and the reason it works is that they have such a longing for each other. And there's a despair there. There's a hole missing because they've lost the loves their lives. So I think that's actually what makes Claire's story with Frank so interesting, because it's like there's a ghost in the room, and then also for Jamie, he's like a walking ghost himself, because it's almost like he's missing an arm or leg, because he doesn't have the person who makes him whole. So we just felt like those stories, while at first we were concerned with how that would be, I think we're all pleasantly surprised and thrilled about how well this turned out."
"The journey had to be earned," she continued. "They are separated, and then you feel like if it's a chapter before they're together again, you're not living their lives with them separated. Even as a book reader, I think while you want them desperately to be back together, you appreciate that time that's apart because it makes their reunion all that much sweeter."
While this season follows the third book in the series, "Voyager," there are going to be a lot of changes from book to screen—some minor, some major. But they're all in service of making the show as good as possible.
"We're never going to be able to make the books exactly as they are," Davis explained. "There's so much detail in the books, and there's certain things we've always said that read well but sometimes don't translate well to screen. So for us the perfect balance is keeping all the beats of the book and keeping the spine, but also infusing into it things that we feel are interesting or want to see, or maybe filling in the gaps in certain places."
"Jamie's story is laid out very well, and with specific tentpole moments and Claire's story was a little more difficult, because not all of her story with Frank is told in this book, so we did kind of have to add and just wanted Jamie and Claire to be on a similar emotional journey over those 20 years that they're apart."
Trust us, that journey's going to be good.
Outlander airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Starz.