‘Outlander' season 2 finale: Heartbreaking truths lead to new future for the Frasers
"I want the truth. No matter what," demands Brianna midway through the season 2 Outlander finale.
That's not so easy.
When truth is tested, faith and trust step in. The men on battlefield have faith their leaders are strong. Daughters trust their mothers are good. And Outlander continually shows us that knowing the past doesn't strengthen the present and the future. With time, truth is uncovered, and it evolves through faith and trust.
"Dragonfly in Amber" was the culmination of everything we love about Outlander. It gave us great period costuming and music, and sent us on a roller coaster of emotions (well, mostly sad ones). So instead of a straight recap and play-by-play of all 90 minutes, I'd like to just touch on some highs and lows.
1968 looks good on all the characters. Claire looks like Anne Bancroft, and Roger's turtleneck collection seems abundant. Brianna's beautiful red hair pairs nicely with those bell bottoms. But speaking of Brianna ...
Sophie Skelton is the weakest actor on the show, but she's up against some exquisite talent. Here's hoping she sharpens those acting chops during the break. Her hostility toward her mother is obviously warranted, but I just didn't buy it. She hasn't earned our respect, yet, so it's unfortunate this introduction paints her as childish.
They sure set up a fantastic premise for the next season. Not only do we have two new lovebirds on the horizon. Their scene at Fort William set to Solomon Burke's "Baby, Come On Home" was inspired. They've got as much chemistry as our leads. Richard Rankin is an absolute delight. He's intelligent, witty, charming and bearded. So, my type. Anyway, if you didn't notice, they heard the buzzing at the stones (Jamie didn't) so that means they'll be able to cross through the stones — and through time.
So Roger is actually a MacKenzie descendent! This family tree just got even more confusing. And having read the books, I know we're just getting started on all that genealogy.
I welcomed the return of Geillis Duncan. In 1968, she's still Gillian Edgars, a curious woman set to change Scottish history. Brianna tests Gillian's theories, and we see Brianna's got Frank's knack for reading between the lines and Claire's stubbornness. But Gillian is headstrong in her theories and even though Claire tries to warn her before she travels back in time, we know what has already happened to her. I can't even wrap my head around if they stopped her from going. Another wrinkle, another layer of time travel rules.
HIGH AND LOW
But the ultimate test to how time travel affects history was the Battle at Culloden. Jamie and Claire's last ditch effort to thwart the rebellion fails when Dougal hears the plan to murder Charles Stuart. Oh, Bonnie Prince Charles. Claire later shows her hostility toward the prince and his cause at a museum. In the books, she talks about this with Roger, who is a historian as well.
"You don't know why," she said. "You don't know, and I don't know, and we never will know. Can't you see? You don't know, because you can't say what the end is — there isn't any end. You can't say, ‘This particular event' was ‘destined' to happen, and therefore all these other things happened. What Charles did to the people of Scotland - was that the ‘thing' that had to happen? Of was it ‘meant' to happen as it did, and Charles's real purpose was to be what he is now — a figurehead, an icon? Without him, would Scotland have endured two hundred years of union with England, and still — still" — she waved a hand at the sprawling letters overhead — "Have kept its own identity!"
"Well, that's the hell of it, isn't it?" she said, turning away. "You never know, but you have to act anyway, don't you?"
The show successfully showed us the significance of Scotland's uprising and the flawed leaders behind it, but we didn't get to actually witness the battle. Instead, the gravity of the situation was rooted in Dougal's death. He was the war chieftan hellbent on saving Scotland, and ultimately he couldn't. Even if he would have lived, the battle would have ultimately failed.
And with that, Jamie knew his future was grim, so after saying goodbye to Claire (which I'll obviously get to in a bit), he goes back to fight and face death. But, he didn't die after all. There was lots of build up for something we all knew was inevitable. But, that's the story is trying to show us: Just because you know something is certain doesn't mean you shouldn't act. You just never really know.
Jamie and Claire's goodbye was exquisitely painful. Like Jack and Rose in the cold ocean, Claire and Jamie fight for one last moment together. It was the part in the book I cried so hard I had to reread it a few minutes later when I dried my eyes. And again, I cried watching it on my television. Give. Caitriona. An. Emmy.
Claire has lost the love of her life, but now, in honesty, with trust and faith, she will gain so much more. Without carrying the weight of trying to change the past, Claire's future looks bright. I can't wait for the next season.
In the meantime, I'll be cooking all the recipes from this.