*** Notes and Spoiler Warning: S writes this post coming at Outlander cold. As in, not a book reader (We do have a book reader review for you too, right here). If you don’t know the premise of the show, then you’ll be spoiled for episode one, but really?!?! ***
If you’re going to take away one thing from the Outlander premiere, the thing that’s really going to carry you into the next episode, it’s Claire Randall, grown ass, actual adult woman. Claire was a combat nurse in WWII and is attempting to get back into the swing of civilian life on a second honeymoon with her husband in Scotland when a little exploration leads to some pretty major time travel.
If you need two things, there’s also the beauty of Jamie (played by actual Scotsman Sam Heughan), and the beauty of actual Scotland, the gorgeous landscape of which is showcased throughout the episode.
Claire is defined by personality traits, and life experience (Whaaaaaat?!!?) – her desires, interest, profession and time in the war – not by what happens to her (the whole getting mysteriously getting sucked back into the 18th century thing.) You can shoot out cool premise all over the place, but if there isn’t an interesting character or two to take us on the journey, it’s a tough sell to keep going.
We have enough ladies who are a total mess adults on TV these days… and not knocking that. New Girl, Mindy Project, totally my jam. What we’re lacking is ladies who have their shit together and are depicted as three dimensional humans. This is a refreshing change of pace.
In the premiere episode alone, the show takes time to actually demonstrate Claire’s capability as a combat nurse. We see her medical training in action, how much these skills, this knowledge define her, how she’s able to think on her feet and make due under unlikely circumstances. Claire, and the camera, certainly don’t shy away from getting right in on those bloody messes (so.. heads up).
While she’s about as calm as collected as one could possibly reasonably be when transported back in time and abducted by a group of armed and kilted men, it’s when she’s able to step into her role of medical professional that she is immediately in her comfort zone, operating from the position of the person with the power.
This story is about Claire and her future (in the past…whoa!) Her immediate concern was about finally getting down to sexy times with her hubby after war tore them apart – but while he’s down for a roll in the hay now and again – at least in the first episode, his interest in family history and pressing her for info on her activities during the war (without mentioning his own) is rather unappealing. While Jamie is presented as a very handsome alternative to boring old Frank (plus their chemistry is somethin’ alright), Claire isn’t defined by her desire for them, although it’s certainly set up to be a part of her journey.It’s notable that Claire decided to go by her maiden name after her time jump, ostensibly to protect Frank, it appears as a decision to divorce herself, even temporarily, from the husband in her former life.
Speaking of which, Outlander doesn’t shy away from the sex, but contrary to a lot of sex we see on TV, it’s very much coming from Claire’s (a woman’s) point of view, casting her in the position to be a sexual person taking charge of her sex life. The sex scenes (so far) are in response to the desires of our lead character rather than being defined by exterior forces.
What we’re saying here, is go watch Outlander, love Claire, and admire all the beauty Scotland has to offer. We’ll be keeping an eye on this one. And don’t forget to check out H’s book informed thoughts on the first few episodes!
Are you excited for Outlander, seen it already? Have you read it (don’t spoil us!)? Is Claire your new go-to time travelling gal? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Outlander premieres in Canada on Showcase on August 24th at 10pm. Already airing on Starz in the States.
Photo Credits: Ed Miller/Starz/Sony Pictures Television