The latest chapter in the Outlander saga finds Claire on the search for Jamie, a journey that takes her into unexpected territory and reconnects her with a few surprising faces.
This weekend brought viewers the fourteenth episode of Outlander, which catapulted the story into entirely new territory and once again created the mix of humor, drama, and emotion that fans have come to love. Having set out to track Jamie’s capture across Scotland, Jenny and Claire prove themselves to be capable outlaws, but soon enough they run afoul of redcoats and Claire finds herself with a shocking decision to make. When Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) returns in time to prevent Claire and Jenny from staining their hands with British blood, the plot to search becomes the plot to be sought out.
“The Search” takes fans of the Outlander story farther outside of the bounds of the novel’s structure as old characters resurface and new characters are foregone altogether. The show’s creative driving forces have been particularly skillful in their workings with the novel’s basis, staying true to the core facts (and the fan-favorite moments) while adventuring sidelong as well in a way that spins the story of Jamie and Claire into something that feels altogether new and unexpected. In this way, the series has become something a bit beyond a straightforward retelling and has ultimately given fans a chance to experience the characters they love – or the ones they love to hate – from entirely different angles. In the case of this episode, the return of Murtagh and his perhaps cockamamie plot to draw an escaped Jamie out from hiding makes room for a new adventure before the undoubtedly dark episodes to come. As proud Claire dons a man’s clothes and performs a ribald tune for villagers, she and Murtagh are left to hope that it will be Jamie whose attention is caught by word of their unusual traveling show – and not the attention of the British, particularly Captain Randall.
Weaving the emotionality of Diana Gabaldon’s story with the reimagined world of the show, this episode draws on characters to whom the viewers have already developed an attachment, which makes for an even more captivating experience as Claire and her small band of warriors set out to bring Jamie home in the episode’s final scene. How she enlists them is a particular surprise to the audience when her song – a Scottish tune which Murtagh says Jamie knows well – draws from the shadows not her lost husband, but the MacKenzie’s war chieftain. While Dougal’s motives regarding Claire, Jamie, and even Lallybroch are brought to light, a piece of Murtagh’s history is also revealed in an emotional scene in which he explains to Claire what connects him so strongly to Jamie. Rather than bringing in an entirely new set of characters (and this with only two episodes remaining in the season), the decision to tell the bones of the Outlander story through complex, brilliantly acted roles that have already been established leaves the show plenty of room to broaden its tale. And, for that matter, it makes for especially heart-rending storytelling.
What comes next for Claire and Jamie – not to mention Murtagh, Willie, Rupert, Angus, and even Black Jack Randall – is truly anyone’s guess as the determined British time-traveler and her Highlander allies prepare to face what will undoubtedly be the most dramatic trial of their adventure so far.