Book Review

Outlander -Through a Glass, Darkly [Ep.201]


TV SYNOPSES: Returning to her own time, Claire must reconcile her future with the life she left behind. Shifting back to 18th Century, Jamie, Claire and Murtagh arrive in France, but learn that Paris presents its own challenges.


MY THOUGHTS: Need I say there might be SPOILERS ahead? Read at your own risk 😉

Outlander Season 2 2016

Let me start off by saying that my upcoming reviews and thoughts on this season will be my impressions and my take on the episodes in question. Please keep it in mind that we can view the same things differently. It’s what makes the world more interesting and exciting, colorful and not bland. That said, let me tell you my first impression of this first episode which ends almost a year long #Droughtlander.

Outlander Season 2 2016

Devastating. Heart wrenching. Painful. Hopeful. Intriguing. Those are all the words that came to mind throughout this full hour of sublime acting on the part of Tobias Menzies and Caitriona Balfe. As for Sam Heughan? He was good. Very good. We saw him interact with his wife, his godfather Murtagh and his cousin Jared, and trying to protect his wife from a very rude aristocrat. However, in this episode we didn’t get to see much of Jamie’s ‘road to recovery’ and frankly, it might have been too much of angst for us to take. Or would it? Here’s what I mean by that.

Outlander Season 2 2016As the episode opens, Claire is lying in the middle of the stone circle and just knows that she’s back, knows he’s dead, and even though her mind knows this, her heart is still denying it. As she finally realizes that the Culloden battle was lost by the Highlanders, she is physically and emotionally broken. The scene on the road is so well done that I dare you not to have tears in your eyes! At this point, as I watch this, I’m shaking … I’m feeling her anguish.

Outlander Season 2 2016The next few scenes between Frank and Clare are so emotionally charged that I’m not just shaking, I’m in full blown “wreck” mode. For any of the readers who ever doubted Frank’s feelings and the full effect of Claire’s disappearance on him, doubt no more. Tobias Menzies WILL win an Emmy and a Globe for these scenes alone. Remember, you heard it here first, but you’ll be hearing about it in the next year numerous times.

Outlander Season 2 2016As we transition from 1948 to 1744, I finally take a breath and start to feel calm, soaking in our Jamie and Claire as they arrive in France. At this point I welcome that calmness and as Jamie lays his weary bones on that canopied bed, I am wondering if he’ll dose off and start having nightmares, which he doesn’t and I feel relief.

jamie f

As the show continues in France, we get to see them lay out the plan of action and settling into the roles they’ve assigned to themselves. We’re also introduced to the new enemy Clare makes as she diagnoses some shipmate’s condition as a smallpox, forcing the authorities to destroy the ship and cargo of that man, Comte St. Germaine.

As in the first season, each episode is meant to take us on a journey of discovery, be it personal or literal, of our Claire. And each episode is designed to highlight certain characters within that episode. Ron D. Moore wrote this episode and he gravitates to writing episodes with heavy Frank content. He likes the character and seems to want to dig deeper into it and I don’t blame him, especially with Tobias playing him.

In this one, Franks character shined so brightly, I was blinded. No, seriously. The depth of the portrayal of Frank’s love, devotion and pain as he comes to grips of not just her return, but her condition, is off the charts. Tobias Menzies has taken both roles, of Frank and BJR, to heart and he’s made them more human than the books ever did. That speaks volumes to the talent of the man. Same goes for Cait as we see the pain Claire goes through as she tries to accept the reality and Frank’s devotion to her and to the child she carries. Both actors brought their A game and then some!

Those were my thoughts on this episode after I’ve watched it only once. I wonder what I’ll come up with after I see it 10+ times!

So, have you seen it and what did you think? All comments are welcome and appreciated. I do understand that what works for me, what I see and feel about it may not be the same with you. That’s natural. We all bring into everything we view, our own perspective because we’re influanced by our background. And that’s perfectly all right. It’s what makes life interesting, colorful and challenging.

Melanie for b2b


27 thoughts on “Outlander -Through a Glass, Darkly [Ep.201]”

  1. My heart broke for Frank as it never did in the books (Sorry, Diana!). The scenes in the past advanced the story, but it was the scenes in the 1940s that made me cry. This season is going to be awesome!

    1. Like you, I always thought Frank to be the “wronged” one. Unintentionally, but never the less, wronged just the same. The way Tobias portrayed him in this episode was pure unadulterated perfection. It just couldn’t have been done better by anyone EVER!
      And YES! This season is going to rock BIG TIME!
      I know that big scenes are coming and I’m all ‘aflutter’ 😉

    1. Last season I got used to watching it alone on the first showing, then with my hubby [he likes to comment, and ask questions, which is ok but distracting like hell], and then I’d watch it for the third time with the sound off and Ron’s podcast on ….Yeah, I know! Obsessed much?!
      Looking forward to you stopping by after you see it 🙂


  2. How lucky is Claire to have 2 great men love her the way they do!!! I didn’t care too much for book Frank. But Tobias makes you love him as Frank and hate him as Black Jack. It was so good. As I was watching episode 2, I started to think if we’ll see him in season 3. Because I want to see more Tobias but don’t know if we will =(

    1. Right?! Lucky woman indeed!
      As for book Frank, I just always felt sorry for him. And I think that’s because I always compared him to my ex. He was in my mind at least, always an introvert and he just had a lot of trouble with expressing his feelings, always holding himself back. I always say that no matter that we “see” the same object or “read” the same book, or “watch” the same show/movie, we never experience the same feelings. We bring to our outlook our own baggage, our background always plays into what we feel …

      As for show Frank, I remember hearing of Tobias being cast and I just knew he would blow this out of the water! I saw him awhile back in ROME on HBO, and he stole the show as Brutus. I was right. He is stealing the show right now, not purposely. He is a talent that went under the radar for such a long time and I’m glad he’s getting the attention that he is.

      There’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be in throughout the seasons that are coming. First, Ron loves writing for him; second, Claire thinks of Frank often throughout the series, so flashbacks will be coming, and third, Jamie’s nightmares come from time to time so flashbacks of BJR are inevitable.

      What did you think of scenes with Jamie?


  3. Sigh, I… Didn’t love it. 😦 I wanted to. So much anticipation. So much preparation. So much love for the story, the characters, the actors, the writers, and the crew. Well, most of the actors. I am apparently the one person on the planet who doesn’t think Tobias Menzies is the best thing since sliced bread. He does a fine job of separating both roles, and plays the duplicity as well as anyone could, I’m sure. But there’s no emotion in his frozen, elongated face. Except when Claire tells him that she’s pregnant and he works out that it’s Jamie’s. A look of shock and anguish does not go amiss on that countenance. It’s like seeing Kristen Stewart finally smile. But I digress.

    I think Ron did a great job of bringing the story to the 20th century, and Cait knocked it out of the park, especially the scene where she finds out that the British won Culloden after all. Has the word heart wrenching been used enough? The transition scene to France was brilliant. Sam was looking great as ever, but from there the dialogue seemed forced and all the scenes of Jamie looked like model shoots. Claire came off as a pushy rabble rouser and Jamie was just blindly following her mad ramblings rather than being the strong, strategic leader. It also felt like they were trying to cram a ton of contrived plot driving into a short time.

    I still have faith in the crew, and I look forward to the rest of the season gaining momentum. Thanks for letting us share.

    1. But if you read the books, Claire did just as she was portrayed. She felt obligated to step in on the ship “situation”…. And did it not knowing the ramifications. Jamie, still not really grasping Claire’s drive for such things, had no choice but to rectify the situation, and in the book explain to Claire the consequences of her actions.

      Her strength as a 20th century woman is exactly what causes her to be a “rebel rouser”… And actually, that term is pretty spot on looking forward.

    2. I didn’t love it either, though I did find Tobias’ performance brilliant. The accolades for him in S1 got a bit wearisome, but here he gained ground with me.

      Overall, I don’t know if was due to too many sneak peaks or what, but it was just a bit too predictable for me, especially the outreached hand of Frank transitioning to Jamie’s. Who couldn’t see that coming?

      I think perhaps the whole episode should have stayed in the 1940’s, with the transition to the 18th century in the last five minutes of the episode, because it did seem like they tried to cram too much plot into too little time.

    3. Gosh Darned!

      I wish you’d felt what I did with scenes of Frank and Claire 😦
      It is fascinating to me to hear other POV’s. I understand your comments, yet I took away such different feel from this episode.

      For me, Tobias playing Frank, I can see the understated frustration, hurt, disappointment and pain. His facial expressions are one of those “stiff upper lip” British expressions that he does well. He is brought up that way. Men held things in check, and if you add the WWII crap he went through, it all makes more sense that he holds things close to the west.

      As for the dialogue being forced, that was on purpose. They’ve not been intimate with each other yet, and both are walking on egg shells and are trying to figure out how to deal with it. Jamie didn’t even take his clothes off, and went to write a letter to his cousin. She’s giving him time to heal and forget, and instead of talking about it, they’re ignoring it and plunging into the mission.

      LOL! Claire just can’t get out of the 20th Century woman mode, and when she sees a sick person, her nursing skills scream to offer help. At this point Jamie knows better than to forcefully interfere, so he pleads and tries to point her in a right direction.

      I can’t wait to hear your thoughts as the show progresses 🙂

      Thanks for your input!


    4. However I am going to play devil’s advocate on several counts.
      1 Frank/Tobias, The Character of Frank is a Historian, Most Historians I have met are rather dry, unemotional, look at the facts kind of people. Also in that time period men did not show emotions like they tend to do now. His emotions were very subtle. He is still unsure if Claire took off and disappeared of her own volition? or did something else more sinister, out of her control happen ( which is his hope). At this point before she tells him she is pregnant I don’t think he quite knows how to react or what to do. he is hiding his feelings.
      2. Sam/Jamie, Jamie is at the most only a few weeks after his encounter with BJR and is suffering serious PTSD. Claire had to fight to get Jamie to even want to live. Their relationship is strained. and she is asking him to do something that He may think is actually contrary to his loyalty to Scotland but he trusts her. I think Jamie is trying to hide his weakness right now and thus seems aloof but this attitude helps to feed into the rift that the two go through later when Claire gives birth. I think they are all doing a great job.
      In the books we don’t get much of an insight into how Frank felt during the time Claire was gone and I think that is an important part to see in the series. especially if they address any of what happens later just before Frank dies. I think this season is going to be very interesting.

  4. I had to give up my hate of Frank. I didn’t want to but Tobias made me feel sorry for Frank. In fact, Frank broke my heart!

    1. RIGHT?!

      So glad you came around 😉

      Those scenes were deep! I’m looking forward to this season. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Starz just gave us ALL 13 episodes so we can binge watch?!

      Thanks for stopping by!


  5. My bad, but I’m confused on the timeline. Claire is pregnant, but not visibly so, when she returns to 1948, and gone two years? When we go back to France it’s 1745, early pregnancy again. They’ve talked about how her baby bump grows through S2. Does that happen after she’s back in 1948?

    1. You either need to read the book or keep watching unless you want someone to spoil it for you. 😦 Answering your question would give away too much of the story.

    2. LOL!
      None of us want to spoil it for you because it’s a MAJOR plotline so with a bit of patience, all will be clear to you by Ep. 5 or so 🙂

      How did you like this episode? What did you think of Frank and did your thinking stay the same in regards to him?

      Oh, and that new theme!!! How did you like that?


  6. I went to the premiere in Chicago last night. Awesome to see it on a big screen. Cait and Tobias broke my heart. The emotions were palpable and my heart was racing. Cait’s portrayal of Claire in the standing stones brought out all the primal emotions of loss and longing. Claire’s reaction to Frank when he first approaches her brought only one thought to mind, PTSD. Beautifully acted and visually stunning.

    1. I would love to see it on the big screen it would be amazing. The power of the emotion was stunning. earthshaking. I can honestly say I have felt that way at one time in my life and this was RAW! So good. can’t wait to see it again tomorrow night.

      1. Oh Karen!
        Me too, I totally understood Frank. His emotions came out even though you could feel his fear of loosing her take over for a bit. LOVED!

  7. I loved the way the Episode opened. Can i say balling on my third watch! In the books we never see these actual events and they make a lot of sense. The book is Clairs point of view and in this we see Franks. And yes, it totally changed my opinion of him and explains a lot of things in future books. ****but to me the overriding message which hit me hard was the utter TRAGEDY of Culloden and fate on so very many people..Claire, you tore my guts out!

    1. OMG!
      Black screen and Claire’s voice comes … “I wish I were dead …” HOLY CRAP! I knew right away where she was!
      Wait ’till the real battle scenes come … I’ll be crying like a baby!!!!

      I know I didn’t bring up the opening credits theme, not on purpose mind you, but I think it has to “grow” on me. It’s a bit jarring … but not bad. I understand why they needed to do it though.

      What did you think?


  8. I have to say that I didn’t make it 30 seconds without tearing up!!! Having read the book and knowing what is going to happen, I was wondering where Briana and Roger were going to come in, and was pleasantly surprised with the amount of “Frank” that we got instead. I agree… total Emmy-worthy performance by Tobias… and Cait! I cannot imagine watching the show without reading the book first (as many of my friends/family have not read them) – acknowledging how confusing this episode must be with the pregnancy (I had 2 friends call me last night to ask). All I can say is… hold on. All will be revealed. I would say that this episode was tissue-worthy… and I am stocking the rest of my boxes up now!!

    1. So agree with you!
      That’s why I think Jamie’s nightmares were not in this episode. I honestly think the audience, at least myself, couldn’t deal with all the drama.

      Did you like the new theme by Bear?


  9. I can remember reading DIA for the first time 20+ years ago after waiting for it for awhile. When adult Brianna shows up in the opening chapter, I was so confused knowing the story from Outlander. I had to stop reading and go review the first book before continuing with DIA. This TV rendition is just as confusing to non-book readers. But I do love knowing the story and knowing I can still appreciate the adaptation for TV. Even DG has blessed it. Frank is so real on TV compared to the books. BJR was very real in the books, but not Frank. At least to me. Now if I can only figure out what the meaning of the ring without the stone that Claire found in the grass after returning to 1948 is all about, I’d be a happy camper.

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