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J-Fray and Dr Claire are back, baby (Photo: Starz)
J-Fray and Dr Claire are back, baby (Photo: Starz)

Pop CultureJune 19, 2023

Outlander 101: A handy guide to everything that’s happened so far

J-Fray and Dr Claire are back, baby (Photo: Starz)
J-Fray and Dr Claire are back, baby (Photo: Starz)

As Outlander reaches a whopping seventh season, Tara Ward catches us up on all the action from the hectic time travel drama.

Six juicy seasons of Outlander have already passed through the stones, but it’s not too late to jump aboard the Outlander Express, destination Love Town. You too can travel through time by beginning your Outlander journey at season seven (which started last weekend on Neon), thanks to this handy guide about everything that ever happened* in the sweeping historical drama about Scottish Highlander Jamie Fraser and his brilliant time-travelling surgeon wife Claire. 

(*definitely not everything, a lot of other batshit stuff goes on.)

Mostly, it’s important to know one thing: Jamie from the ‘Broch and the good doctor are beautiful hornbags destined to be together. Others describe the show as “an epic love story that transcends centuries”, but you say “tomato”, I say “what about the time Jamie fixed the local mill by taking his clothes off”. This quick six-season recap also doesn’t include the time Claire let a herd of cows into a prison, or when she was tried for witchcraft, or when a pig ate Jamie’s favourite hat… but you get the jist. Jump in, lovers. The water’s warm. 

Claire time travels from 1946 to 1743

Nurse Claire Randall is on honeymoon with her husband Frank in Inverness when she visits some standing stones and wakes up in 1743. Having accidentally travelled through time, Claire discovers the 1700s are full of rapey English soldiers and accident-prone Highlanders, and gets taken to Castle Leoch so she can swab Jamie Fraser’s deltoids with garlic water. Everyone thinks she’s an English spy, while Claire thinks 18th century Scotland is bonkers. 

She’s forced to marry Jamie Fraser

Outlander 2014

This batshit logic wouldn’t stand up in court, but when a villainous Redcoat named Black Jack Randall tries to claim Claire for the English, Clan Mackenzie protects her by making her marry Jamie. The two barely know each other, but quickly discover they share the same hornbag energy. Jamie and Claire’s romance begins with a lot of cheese and candles, as all good love stories should. 

Claire knows they’re all going to die

Because her husband Frank was always wanging on about Scottish history, Claire is now a walking encyclopedia of doom. She knows the Jacobites lose the Battle of Culloden, and realises her hot potato of a new husband will probably die in the rebellion. She also knows Black Jack is Frank’s ancestor, which means Jamie can’t kill him or Frank will never be born. Can Claire and Jamie use her knowledge to change the future? No, but that doesn’t stop them sailing to France to eat a lot of macarons while persuading Jacobite leader Bonnie Prince Charlie to calm the farm. 

France sucks

Outlander goes to Paris

Paris is not all onions and berets for the Frasers. Claire suffers a miscarriage, Prince Charles (not that one) gets bitten by a monkey and Jamie is arrested for stabbing Black Jack through the groin. Ooh la la! Claire sleeps with a constipated King Louis to get Jamie out of prison, and they return to Scotland to change the future by winning the Battle of Culloden. Their efforts are in vain, and when Claire realises she’s pregnant, Jamie sends her back to the safety of 1948 and trots off to his inevitable death

Claire and Frank raise Jamie’s child in the 20th century

Back to the future

Frank is mega surprised to see his wife turn up again, but agrees to raise Claire and Jamie’s baby if Claire never mentions her golden man-mountain again. The Randalls move to Boston, where there are neither standing stones nor ginger kisses, but live separate lives. Frank plays tennis and has affairs, Claire becomes a top surgeon with a fondness for mid-century furniture.

Claire goes back in time to find out what happened to Jamie

Claire and daughter Brianna travel to Scotland in 1968 and meet bearded historian Roger Wakefield, a man who always dresses for the conditions. Roger reveals Jamie did not die during the Battle of Culloden, which is exciting news, particularly for Jamie. Turns out Jamie actually lived in a cave for several years and lost control of his hair, and eventually moved to Edinburgh, which is where Claire finds him in 1766. They pash. A lot.  

Claire and Jamie travel to North Carolina, via Jamaica

When Jamie’s nephew is kidnapped by pirates, Jamie and Claire follow him to the West Indies. While the sea air is great for Jamie’s hair, it’s less fun for Claire, who gets trapped on an island with a talking coconut. After saving nephew Ian from freaky time traveller (and Roger’s ancestor) Geillis, Jamie and Claire’s ship to Scotland sinks. Honestly, these two have the worst luck. They wash up in America, and later rejoice in a field of wild strawberries. 

Claire’s medical skills are next level

Claire’s World War Two nursing skills come in handy in the 18th century, especially when a hernia explodes during a night at the theatre. She amputates a man’s arm in a pub, heals measles with the power of her thumbs and develops her own homemade penicillin and anaesthetic. Also, Jamie dies from a snake bite in season five and Claire brings him back to life just by giving him a nude hug. You’ll never see that on Grey’s Anatomy.

Brianna and Roger travel back in time too

The gang’s all here

In the 1960s, Brianna (who we could argue is 240 years old by now) ditches Roger to travel to the past, so she can meet her father while he pees and then tell her mother when she’ll die. Roger follows Brianna through the stones, but after their passionate reunion in 1769, Brianna is assaulted by season four villain Stephen Bonnet. She discovers she’s pregnant, but who’s the daddy? Claire hasn’t invented 18th century DNA testing yet, so nobody knows.

The Frasers try to live happily ever after, but stuff keeps getting in the way

In seasons five and six, Jamie and Claire build a community of assorted Scots and stragglers on Fraser’s Ridge. They become grandparents, their hair turns an attractive shade of grey and they make cool stuff like matches and plumbing. But their dreams of a simple life filled with sexy time and sandwiches is disrupted by an endless parade of war-hungry officials and baddies in need of a bath. Everyone wants a piece of the Fraser pie, and frankly, who can blame them? 

Between all the births and battles, murders and kidnappings, funerals and feral goats, Jamie ends up fighting for the Redcoats and Roger is beaten up by his great-great-great-great grandfather. As season seven begins, Claire is accused of the murder of a woman who chopped dead people’s fingers off to make love spells, and the American Revolution is finally here. Another war, but everything will be fine, right?

Season seven of Outlander streams on Neon, with new episodes every Saturday.

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