With Outlander on hiatus this week before the finale, Tara Ward recaps her top ten favourite moments from the series so far from perverse back-licking to the angriest of chins.
This series of Outlander has been a cracking adventure, filled with battles, blood, bigamy and bow-chicka-wow-wow – and we’ve still one episode to go! Before we return to Wentworth to discover Claire and Jamie’s fate, let’s revisit the top ten moments of our Outlander journey so far.
1) Claire Randall travels back to 1743 (E01)
Who hasn’t gallivanted about on a rocky hill and mistakenly travelled through time? It’s happened to at least four people I know (how else do you explain walk socks and shorts in 2015?). One minute our heroine is wandering about Craigh Na Dun collecting pretty flowers, the next she’s being sexually accosted by her husband’s eighteenth century ancestor. It was a bad day at the office for Claire, and the trouble was just beginning.
Shame about the stains on that nice white frock, too. Period costume drama rating: a dreamy 8/10.
2) Jamie Fraser reveals himself (E02)
Welcome to Castle Leoch, Claire: this is Jamie and he’ll be your host this evening. He’s equal parts stoic, vulnerable, fearless and stubborn – with a six-pack so sharp you could grate cheese on it. Jamie and Claire have instant chemistry, and Jamie promises Claire “ye need not be scared of me; nor anyone else here, as long as I’m with ye.” That noise? Thousands of middle aged women worldwide who’ve loved Fictional Jamie for twenty years, swooning breathlessly to the floor.
All hail our flawed hero, James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser. Chiseled cheekbones by the firelight rating: a glowing, glistening 8/10.
3) Givealittle: the Jacobite Rebellion (E04)
The MacKenzie’s solicit rent by day and political rebellion by night. Dougal invites his tenants for drinks and nibbles, followed by a party political broadcast starring Jamie’s back scars. Now, my Gaelic’s not great, but I’m fairly sure Dougal’s either inciting rebellion against the Crown, or asking his tenants to “behold this glorious specimen of masculinity, who obviously inherited his brutish biceps and shifty eyes from my side of the family.” Regardless, I’m banging my fist on the table in fierce agreement.
As an English outsider who knows the Jacobite cause is doomed, Claire’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. The last time that happened she disappeared into a vortex of time and space. Mind how you go, Sassenach. Angry Scotsman rating: an eye-bulging 7/10.
4) Captain Jack Randall: always killing the mood (E06)
Black Jack Randall keeps popping up everywhere. First he attacked Claire in the forest, the he gatecrashed her lunch with the English army. Worst manners ever! Those flared nostrils, that snarled lip, that tendency for sadistic violence: Black Jack Randall is an evil piece of work to be avoided at all costs.
Got that, Big Red? Avoid AT. ALL. COSTS. Dougal to the rescue rating: a heart-soaring 9/10.
5) Everyone loves a good wedding (E07)
Claire has a tough choice – be imprisoned by a sadomasochist, or marry a Scotsman and wake every morning safely nestled in a soft bed of ginger curls. Marrying Jamie makes Claire a time-travelling bigamist adulteress, but we’re not here to judge. There’s newlywed rumpy-pumpy aplenty, though I like to think it’s Jamie’s fascinating conversational skills and/or the three vats of whiskey Claire guzzles that has them totes in lurve by the episode’s end.
This Highland hot potato has put his spanner in Claire’s works, in more ways than one. What about her plan to return to 1945? Glad Eye factor: off the eighteenth century chart.
6) Claire makes a run for it (E08)
Claire finally finds herself back at Craigh Na Dun, and despite her feelings for Jamie, takes her chance to return to Frank in 1945. Damn those pesky Redcoats, with nothing better to do than play peekaboo in the gorse.
Frank! She’s coming, Frank! Or, not. Angry chin factor: a belligerent 8/10.
7) Claire Gets Territorial (E10)
An early object of Jamie’s affections, Laoghaire spent most of Outlander scribbling ‘J4L 4EVA’ on the castle toilet walls. She’s rightly annoyed when he turns up married to ol’ witchypoo Claire, and tries to convince Jamie that blonde is best. Never mind that five minutes ago, Claire was trying to return through the stones to Frank. Nothing like a bit of competition to help you make your mind up, eh Claire?
Still, what’s the worst Tits McGee could do? Knitted neckwear rating: a chunky 6/10.
8) Which Witch is Which? (E11)
Memo to self: never piss off Tits McGee. Before Claire can say “the Ginger is mine”, she and Geillis Duncan are found guilty of witchcraft by a bunch of Highlanders in desperate need of a hot bath and deep conditioning treatment. Thankfully our sword-wielding Ginja Ninja arrives to save his Missus from the world’s worst barbeque, but not before we discover Geillis a) has Dougal’s bannock in her oven, b) is a time traveller from 1968, and c) travelled back in time to help the Jacobite cause.
Whoa, big news day in Cranesmuir. Angry Scotsman rating: an eye watering 9/10.
9) The Search for Big Red (E14)
Lallybroch was supposed to be a safe haven where Jamie and Claire could chillax and raise a family of little ginger-haired, shifty-eyed bairns. But no, Jamie had to go and get himself captured by the Redcoats. Woe betide the fool who gets in the way of Jenny and Claire, two fiercely independent women who’ll do whatever it takes to save their beloved Jamie. (Including dressing as a man and singing smutty songs in cheap Highland taverns, but the sooner we forget that plotline the better).
10) Orange is the New Black (Jack)
Crap. Jamie’s at Wentworth Prison, stuck with the worst cellmate ever: Captain Jack Randall. Tortured, exhausted and with a date with the hangman’s noose in the morning, Jamie’s left with no choice but to surrender himself to Black Jack and ensure Claire’s safety. It feels like all the previous Outlander episodes pointed inevitably to this climax, so to speak, as Black Jack licks Jamie’s scarred back in a nauseating scene of perverse enjoyment.
“Shall we begin?” Black Jack asks, as a lone tear trickles down our broken hero’s face. Watch from behind a cushion rating: 11/10.
And so, we’ve nearly reached the end of our Outlander journey. Will Claire’s plan to save Jamie work? (Let’s hope so; it’s an unlocked door). How far down into the depths of hell will Black Jack drag our hero? And how on earth will a bunch of scraggly old highland cattle save the day? Grab your swords and Sgian Dubh, my friends, as we count down to Sunday’s final episode. Tulach Ard!
For even more Outlander, watch Spinoff Editor Duncan Greive and staff writer Alex Casey dissect the show in the Spotlightbox video series: