If you happen to be a person with two X chromosomes, you have probably heard about Starz’ time-traveling romantic drama Outlander, and you may have even contemplated watching it. I am here today to push you off the fence and tell you why you should watch seasons 1 and 2 before the September 10 premiere of season 3.
Despite its reputation, Outlander is much more than hot sex scenes with a Scotsman in a kilt (although that part is all it’s cracked up to be). It is a classic fish-out-of-water tale centered on Claire Randall (superbly played by Caitriona Balfe), a British WWII nurse who finds herself transported to 1743 Scotland via a misstep through a Pagan stone circle. She immediately meets with the young, handsome, wounded Scottish Clansman, Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan. From here their story follows the months and years leading up to the second Jacobite Rebellion.
Beautifully shot throughout the Scottish Highlands, across Europe and beyond, the series stays historically accurate (give or take a little time travel) in its retelling of the role the Scottish Highlanders played in The Bonnie Prince Charlie’s attempt to take back the British throne. Every character is fully developed and plays an integral role in Jamie and Claire’s story. From Captain Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall, the Captain of His Majesty’s Eighth Dragoons, rapist, sadist and great-great-great-grandfather of Claire’s husband Frank Randall to Dougal McKenzie, Jamie’s uncle, McKenzie Clan War Chieftain, Jacobite, and great-great-great-grandfather of Jaime’s future son-in-law, these characters are tangled in each other lives across continents and across centuries.
Stranded in the 18th century, Claire’s knowledge of the future and expertise in modern medicine gets her immediately pegged as a witch, and she soon finds herself on trial alongside Geillis Duncan (Lottie Verbeek), who turns out to have more in common with Claire then just the black magic they are immediately charged with.
There is plenty of action in this series with fistfights, swordfights, field hockey stick fights and enough betrayal and war to keep even the bloodlustiest of watchers engaged.
At the end of Season 2, we left Jamie and Claire hours before the Battle of Culloden, with Jamie sending Claire and their unborn child back through the stones to her own time. Jamie’s demise is imminent (or is it?) as the battle approaches and there is no reason for Claire to stay. As Season 3 opens Jamie and Claire are separated by 200 years, and Claire, assured of Jamie’s death, must return to Frank and ask him to take her back and accept Jamie’s child as his own.
There is no rest for Claire and Jamie as they negotiate the trials of 18th century life and the Jacobite uprising and rebellion, but at least there are the sex scenes, many hot, sweaty, sex scenes. Now, what do you have to better occupy your time in the dog days of summer?
Seasons 1 and 2 of Outlander are available on-demand on Starz; Season 3 premieres 9pm ET Sunday, September 10.